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Fantasy Baseball Burning Questions: Jonah Heim, Ezequiel Duran, Wander Franco

Fantasy Baseball Burning Questions: Jonah Heim, Ezequiel Duran, Wander Franco

It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means.

Each and every Wednesday, I’ll address 10 burning questions that I’m looking either for answers for during the week or questions that may help fantasy managers navigate the week-to-week grind of their team.

With the holiday falling this week, along with the announcement of the All-Star rosters, I figured I’d switch it up this week and do things a little bit differently.

I’ll be looking at my fantasy All-Stars position by position.

The regular format will return next week, so submit your questions!

Let’s get to it.

FantasyPros My Playbook

2023 Fantasy Baseball All-Star Team

Who is your All-Star fantasy catcher?

Jonah Heim (C – TEX)

Current rank: 71

I mean, how can it not be Heim, right? The entire list isn’t going to be a player with the largest gap between his ADP and his current production, but we’ll start off that way.

Heim had a surprising season last year, but he was the 17th catcher drafted on average this year. All he’s done is reward managers with 12 homers, 99 runs+RBIs, two steals, and a .282 average.

Oh yeah, he earned a trip to his first All-Star Game.

I’d still take a number of catchers over him moving forward, but he’s locked into a top-10 spot in the rankings.

Who is your All-Star fantasy first baseman?

Yandy Diaz (1B, 3B – TB)

Current rank: 45

We’ve been waiting for the Diaz breakout ever since the Guardians traded him to Tampa Bay for Jake Bauers years ago. It was the same issue year after year with him, as he was consistently among the elite hitters in the game in batted ball metrics, but he would hit it into the ground nonstop.

That’s changed this year, as Diaz has found the power to the tune of 12 homers and a .318 average.

Well, it changed earlier this season, at least. Diaz hasn’t hit a home run since May 26, and in that time, his launch angle and Barrel% have dipped while his GB% spiked.

Still, it’s been an encouraging first half for Diaz and fantasy managers alike.

Who is your All-Star fantasy second baseman?

Ketel Marte (2B – ARI)

Current rank: 28

Since 2019, we’ve been drafting Marte in hopes that he’d repeat his rabbit-ball success from that season. To be fair, prior to the breakout, the peripherals had all of the underlying signs of an on-the-verge breakout.

He’s disappointed since then, hitting 14 homers in 2021 and 12 last season.

Already this year, Marte has 15 home runs and has nearly surpassed both his RBIs and run totals from a season ago. He’s already stolen more bases, and the average has bounced back from the dismal .240 mark a season ago.

The patience – or refusal to move on – has paid off.

Who is your All-Star fantasy third baseman?

Ezequiel Duran (2B, 3B, SS, OF – TEX)

Current rank: 127

This was a tough one, as the other player I debated is Duran’s teammate, Josh Jung. The tiebreaker for me was the expectation.

Jung was clearly under drafted (221 overall, 20th 3B), but there were still expectations for him to be a starting 3B for fantasy.

That wasn’t there for Duran, but he’s made the most of his 227 plate appearances so far this season.

In that short work, Duran has a .308 average with 12 home runs, 69 runs+RBIs, and four steals. What’s more, he’s absolutely demolishing lefties this year, slugging .712 against them.

Duran has been a surprise for the red-hot Rangers, steadily contributing as an option with eligibility at four different positions.

Who is your All-Star fantasy shortstop?

Wander Franco (SS – TB)

Current rank: 51

A generational talent. Elite plate discipline. Future superstar.

Those were the words that were used to describe Franco as he was ascending in the minors, but the narrative quickly shifted on Franco that he would be a better real-life player than a fantasy player.

Yeah, we were wrong. The power and average have been nice, but the most value that Franco has added this year has come on the basepaths, as he has 26 stolen bases. He had 36 from 2019-2022 at all levels.

The speed came out of nowhere, but he’s been taking advantage of the bigger bases in a way that no one saw coming.

Who is your All-Star fantasy outfielder?

Esteury Ruiz (OF – OAK)

Current rank: 104

It feels really weird not picking Ronald Acuna this year, but he’s doing things that the 1.1 should do. Instead, we’ll look at Ruiz, who has exceeded expectations.

The thought was that Ruiz could steal you bases when he was able to get on base. But the reality is that Ruiz is hitting .258 – better than I expected – and has 42 stolen bases this year.

Jon Berti led all of baseball with 41 steals last year.

The power is non-existent, as he has just one big fly this season, but if you drafted him, you were hoping for the steals, not the power.

Who is your All-Star fantasy starting pitcher?

Mitch Keller (SP – PIT)

Current rank: 48

We had no business buying into Keller again this season. It’s been disappointment after disappointment, so why would it change now?

In Spring Training, I was watching a game between the Pirates and the Blue Jays when Keller unleashed a beautiful sweeper with a 2,600 spin rate, 37 V”, and 17H”. It was then that I was ready to be hurt again.

But instead of hurting me or any other fantasy managers, he’s been one of the few reliable arms this year for fantasy managers. Despite a rough three-start stretch to end May and begin June, Keller has righted the ship and has a 27.3 K% – up from 20.1 last season.

We believe in Keller as a fantasy ace in this household.

Who is your All-Star fantasy reliever?

Carlos Estevez (RP – LAA)

Current rank: 79

There was some doubt around Estevez with the Angels. We were assuming that he’d be the closer because he was the guy who had experience. The experience wasn’t great in Colorado, and the skills didn’t look to be all that good, either.

But Estevez has taken the job and run with it. He has 21 saves and a 1.85 ERA so far on the season. The walks aren’t great, but he’s been getting the job done regardless.

Who makes the honorable mention team?

C: Sean Murphy (C – ATL)

1B: Josh Naylor (1B/OF – CLE)

2B: Marcus Semien (2B – TEX)

3B: Josh Jung (3B – TEX)

SS: Thairo Estrada (2B, SS, OF – SF)

OF: Corbin Carroll (OF – ARI)

SP: Joe Ryan (SP – MIN)

RP: Alexis Diaz (RP – CIN)

Who makes the anti-All-Star team?

C: Alejandro Kirk (C – TOR)

1B: Jose Abreu (1B – HOU)

2B: Andres Gimenez (2B – CLE)

3B: Jose Miranda (1B, 3B – MIN)

SS: Vaughn Grissom (2B, SS – ATL)

OF: Jazz Chisholm (2B, OF – MIA)

SP: Alek Manoah (SP – TOR)

RP: Cristian Javier (SP, RP – HOU)

Fantasy Baseball In-Season Waiver Wire & Trade Advice

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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