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Fantasy Baseball Depth Chart Review: Blake Snell, Tim Anderson, Josh Naylor

Fantasy Baseball Depth Chart Review: Blake Snell, Tim Anderson, Josh Naylor

Thanks to a rare summer vacation for yours truly, it has been nearly a month since my last edition of this MLB season’s depth chart review. I am glad to be back and at such a pivotal time of the campaign. As of this writing, the MLB All-Star break is officially underway, signaling the halfway point of what has so far been a spectacular season.

To catch everyone up (including myself), here is a little recap of what we are looking at so far in terms of divisions, leaders, and surprises:

AL West AL Central AL East NL West NL Central NL East
Rangers: 52-39 Guardians: 45-45 Rays: 58-35 Dodgers: 51-38 Reds: 50-41 Braves: 60-29
Astros: 50-41 Twins: 45-46 Orioles: 54-35 Diamondbacks: 52-39 Brewers: 49-42 Marlins: 53-39
Mariners: 45-44 Tigers: 39-50 Blue Jays: 50-41 Giants: 49-41 Cubs: 42-47 Phillies: 48-41
Angels: 45-46 White Sox: 38-54 Yankees: 49-42 Padres: 43-47 Pirates: 41-49 Mets: 42-48
Athletics: 25-67 Royals: 26-65 Red Sox: 48-43 Rockies: 34-57 Cardinals: 38-52 Nationals: 36-54

There are some interesting teams at the top this year, for sure. The surprise Rangers have had hot bats all year long, led by their impressive core of young studs featuring four starting lineup All-Stars (Jonah Heim, Marcus Semien, Josh Jung, Corey Seager). In the AL Central, there is not a single team with an above .500 record, yet in the AL East, every team is above .500, as the Red Sox sit in last place in the division at 48-43.

The NL West has turned into an incredibly interesting race, with Arizona chopping at the heels of the Dodgers while the ever-consistent Giants sneak their way up the standings. The insurgence of Elly De La Cruz and (to a lesser extent) Spencer Steer have Cincinnati fans salivating at the mouth as this young promising franchise sits atop the AL Central leaderboard. And, as expected, the Atlanta Braves are currently the best team in baseball, cruising through the NL East with a 60-29 record. Less expected, however, are the Jorge Soler-led Marlins, who have worked hard to get all the way up to second place in the division with 53 wins.

Some other fun notes while we’re at it: Marlins 2B Luis Arraez continues to pace the MLB with a .383 batting average and looks to have a legitimate shot at finishing the season with a .400 average for the first time since Ted Williams accomplished the feat way back in 1941. The craziest part about if Arraez somehow does this is that he still probably won’t win the MVP, as he is almost assuredly going to be overshadowed by the prolific season that Ronald Acuna Jr. is having down in Atlanta.

Meanwhile, we already have five players in the MLB with more than 25 homers at the break and eight more with at least 20!! Shohei Ohtani (32), Matt Olson (29), Mookie Betts (26), Pete Alonso (26), and Luis Robert Jr. (26) all respectively have a chance to break records during the second half of the 2023 season.

Two players have 40-plus steals already in Oakland outfielder Esteury Ruiz (43) and the aforementioned Acuna Jr. (41) while seven pitchers have already recorded 10-plus wins: Zac Gallen (11), Shane McClanahan (11), Spencer Strider (11), Clayton Kershaw (10), Nathan Eovaldi (10), Taijuan Walker (10), Zach Eflin (10).

I could go on with stats like this forever, but I’m sure many came here to read about the headlined players in relation to their teams’ depth charts. Here are a few guys that stood out and seemed worth mentioning in this second week of July.

Fantasy Baseball Depth Chart Review

Blake Snell (SP – SD)

One of if not the hottest pitchers in the MLB headed into the break, former Cy Young winner Blake Snell looks like he has completely rounded back into ace form in 2023. His stats since the calendar flipped over to June have been truly mind-blowing. In his past seven appearances Snell has posted a sparkling 0.87 ERA across 42.0 innings, allowing just 21 hits and three (!!) earned runs with a 71:15 K:BB ratio. He has fully inserted himself back into the NL Cy Young race, as he has been virtually unstoppable for well over a month.

Snell’s K% on the season now sits in the 93rd percentile across the sport, and he is in the top 75th percentile of nearly every meaningful category for pitchers, including top-20 in WAR. Those who took shots on Snell in fantasy early this year have now been reaping the reward for weeks. For owners that might be looking to upgrade to an alternate position, Snell’s trade value will never be higher than it is right now. That said, trading him could prove to be foolish if he is able to keep up his insane production in the second half. I would be betting on him to do just that.

Tim Anderson (SS – CWS)

Tim Anderson is currently amidst the worst season of his eight-year career, as he is sporting a .223 average and was unable to notch a single home run in the first half of the campaign. He recorded just 19 total hits between the months of June and July and had just four RBI over that timeframe. It is clear a change of scenery could do him well.

Luckily for Anderson’s second-half prospects, that could very well happen. The White Sox are second to last in the AL Central and don’t seem to have many hopes for a playoff push in 2023. It has also been reported that the team is willing to trade almost anyone on their roster (including Anderson), and with the deadline rapidly approaching, it seems more likely than not that he will be dawning another jersey for the first time in his career.

The 30-year-old has dealt with some injuries this season as well, but he seems to finally be fully healthy at an opportune time. Anderson’s likely pending change of scenery could lead to an improved situation that could help him turn it around individually. He is a player to keep an eye on in the coming weeks, as he is likely sitting on a majority of waiver wires across the fantasy baseball landscape.

Josh Naylor (1B – CLE)

There is a case to be made that Josh Naylor is the most underappreciated and underrated first baseman in the entire MLB. Most people probably have no idea that the 26-year-old is currently ranked fifth in the MLB with 64 RBI and that he is also sporting a batting average north of .300. Naylor has been even more spectacular through July so far, as he had gone 11-for-28 (.393) in his last seven games prior to the break.

Naylor should return from the layoff as a continued key piece in the Cleveland lineup, and he should also be on rosters of most fantasy leagues across the board. The Guardians currently lead their division, and they will need guys like Naylor to continue to produce if they want to make the postseason this year. He has the ability to profile as a difference maker as an everyday player going forward.

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