Mid-season sleeper studs & superstar duds

Studs.Duds pic

This has been the official year of the sleeper, as well as the official year of the superstar dud.  This is evident with 30 all star first timers in the midsummer classic.  And while a lot of players have come out of nowhere and a lot have fallen way short of their expectations, this is my top 3 from each:

Studs

Pablo Sandoval – SFG – .326 AVG, 15 HR, 56 RBI, .933 OPS

Pablo has taken the MLB by storm.  He swings at everything, but squares up everything as well.  He only turns 23 in a few weeks, and while he was snubbed by Charlie Manuel for the All Star Game, he will surely be in line for many All Star Games for years to come.  Fantasy owners who drafted him in the mid to late rounds of their draft are getting top 6 round production out of him, helping boost them to the top of their league.

Ben Zorbist – TB – .303 AVG, 18 HR, 53 RBI, 1.007 OPS

Looks like Ben finally figured it out. The 28 year old super utility man for the suddenly hot Rays, has put together quite a season. Nobody would’ve expected this fourth year Ray to perform like this, not after 3 seasons as a role playing bench player with a career AVG of .221.  If you picked him up for merely his versatility in the late rounds of your fantasy draft, you got yourself an all star for no risk at all.

David Aardsma – SEA – 22 SV, 2 BS, 1.83 ERA, 53 K/44.1 IP

Aardsma was drafted as a closer by the Giants with the 22nd overall pick in 2003 out of Rice U. He was a top closer back then, but fell way off the charts, and has been bounced around in trades and minor league contracts since his MLB debut with the Giants in 2004.  And up until this year, the once prominent 9th inning college stud never even had one save on his big league resume.  Until this year, as he’s stepped it up HUGE for a SEA team that’s somehow still in the playoff hunt thanks to his 9th inning resurgence.  He probably went undrafted in your fantasy draft, proving you don’t always need to freak out during a “closer run” (see below: Brad Lidge).

Duds

Brad Lidge – PHI – 19 SV, 6 BS, 6.82 ERA, 21 BB/34.1 IP

The man who threw the last pitch of the 2008 MLB season, falling to his knees to cap off what was the perfect year for a closer, was supposed to follow it up with another solid year.  WRONG! Despite his 19 Saves, he has been on and off the DL and has been less than stellar.  Many “closer runs” in your fantasy draft had this guy atop everyone’s list.  Now, those fantasy owners may start the 2010 season with a different game plan for their closer.

Josh Hamilton – TEX – .243 AVG, 7 HR, 28 RBI, .291 OBP

2008’s HR Derby champion and baseball golden boy looked like he was primed to get his career on the right track at the age of 28.  And although he was a 2009 All Star because of a faulty voting system, even he felt he didn’t belong there.  He’s a great story, going from the first overall pick, to bottoming out through drugs, and then battling back to be on top of his game.  But the only tears shed this year for Hamilton, were tears of fantasy owners who used a 1st or 2nd round pick on him in.

Russel Martin – LAD – .262 AVG, 2 HR, 28 RBI, .315 SLG

Since Martin entered the Dodgers lineup in 2006, he had steadily been one of the top Catchers in the NL.  Well, at least that’s what most people thought entering the 2009 season, as Martin was selected as a top three Catcher in nearly every fantasy league.  He has only disappointed this year, as his stats have been in line with that of a fantasy bench player.  This has left many Martin owners to hit the waiver wire for help from their starting Catchers spot.

Eric Platano writes exclusively for CloudFantasy.  Email him here.

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