NL fantasy All-Stars

Catcher: Russell Martin, Dodgers

An easy choice for National League catcher. Martin was a popular sleeper candidate going into this season, but he's surpassed the expectations of even his biggest fans. He's batting .306 with 11 homers and 60 RBIs. But what's made Martin an especially valuable fantasy player has been his 16 steals. He had 10 all of last season.


First base: Prince Fielder, Brewers

Milwaukee's young slugger has outperformed the likes of fantasy first-round picks Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard. He's batting .284 with 29 homers and 70 RBIs. Fielder had 28 homers and 81 RBIs in 157 games as a rookie last season. Meanwhile, Pujols (.310, 16 HRs, 52 RBIs) and Howard (21 HRs, 67 RBIs) rank fourth and sixth among fantasy first basemen respectively.


Second base: Chase Utley, Phillies

He's batting .325 with 15 homers, 68 RBIs, 64 runs and six stolen bases. Utley's on pace to post his second straight 100 RBI/100 run season. Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips earns an honorable mention with 17 homers, 47 RBIs, 60 runs and 16 stolen bases.

Third base: Miguel Cabrera, Marlins

The jokes continue about his weight, but Cabrera continues to produce at the plate, hitting .324 with 18 homers and 61 RBIs. David Wright, Chipper Jones and Aramis Ramirez have all produced as expected. One surprise has been Milwaukee's Ryan Braun. The Brewers rookie is batting .350 with 11 homers, 32 RBIs and eight steals in 40 games.

Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins

This was probably the most hotly-debated position when All-Stars were announced. Jose Reyes has the best speed. J.J. Hardy and Jimmy Rollins have the best power. But Ramirez has shown the best mix of everything through the first half of the season. He's batting .331 with 14 homers, 70 runs and 27 stolen bases. Reyes meanwhile has just four homers, Rollins has 15 steals and Hardy has none. Hardy deserves serious consideration for the top spot because he wasn't on anyone's radar during draft time yet has produced 18 homers and 54 RBIs.

Outfielder: Matt Holliday, Rockies

He might be underappreciated by the average baseball fan, but he's definitely a star on the fantasy front. Holliday is batting .341 with 15 homers and 69 RBIs. He broke out last season with a .326 average to go along with 34 bombs and 114 RBIs.


Outfielder: Eric Brynes, Diamondbacks

The former Oriole will likely be in for a big payday as a free agent at the end of this season if he continues to produce like he has in the first half. Byrnes is batting .306 with 14 homers, 49 RBIs, 53 runs and 17 steals. Byrnes was one of only three players to hit at least 25 homers and steal at least 25 bases last season.

Outfielder: Carlos Lee, Astros

It's tough to argue with 16 homers and 73 RBIs at the break. Lee is also hitting .297 and has stolen six bases. Other possibilities in this spot: Adam Dunn (24 HRs, 58 RBIs); Ken Griffey Jr. (23 HRs, 59 RBIs) and Shane Victorino (11 HRs, 27 SBs).

Starting pitcher: Jake Peavy/Chris Young, Padres

Peavy's bounced back in a big way this season, going 9-3 with a 2.19 ERA and 125 strikeouts in the first half. His teammate Young has pitched just as well, going 8-3 with a 2.00 ERA and 99 strikeouts. I guess it's no wonder San Diego is 49-38 at the break.


Starting pitcher: Brad Penny, Dodgers

I was able to snag him pretty late in one of my drafts, and the results have been spectacular. Penny is 10-1 with a 2.39 ERA and 82 strikeouts. Others who deserve consideration here: John Maine (10-4, 2.71 ERA, 93 K) and Cole Hamels (10-4, 3.72 ERA, 124 K).

Relief pitcher: Takashi Saito, Dodgers

Los Angeles' closer was unhittable in the first half, piling up 23 saves to go along with a 1.47 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. Saito has amassed 47 strikeouts and has walked just four batters. The always-reliable Trevor Hoffman also deserves a mention with 25 saves and a 1.91 ERA.