Chris Gingrich: MLB first half 'studs and duds'


— First off, let me say that I really undervalued Ryan Grant and Brandon Jacobs a couple of weeks ago.

On average, they are both going in the second and third rounds of Yahoo drafts this year and not in the middle rounds like I predicted.

Two guys you can look for in the middle rounds of drafts are Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears and Rashard Mendanhall of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Forte has a great shot to be the Bears starting running back after Cedric Benson's run in with the law. Mendanhall will most likely get his chances to impress behind Willie Parker this year, but still could rack up decent numbers.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at some of baseball's first half "studs and duds." We'll start with the studs.

• Chase Utley, second base, Philadelphia Phillies - I was lucky enough to land Utley with the 10th pick in my draft this year and has it ever paid off. The nine people before me who didn't take him missed out on a .309 batting average, 22 home runs, 61 RBIs and 55 runs so far this year.

• Josh Hamilton, outfield, Texas Rangers - For someone who wasn't even drafted in some leagues, he's doing pretty good for himself this year. With 18 home runs, 73 RBIs, 47 runs and a .314 batting average already, he's on his way to a huge year.

Honorable Mentions - Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves, Lance Berkman, Houston Astros

Here are the players who have been duds thus far in 2008.

• Matt Holliday, outfield, Colorado Rockies - After two solid years of production, most fantasy players thought Holliday would be a great first round pick to build a team around. Eight home runs, 29 RBIs and 35 runs are not what you build a fantasy team around. The .316 batting average is excellent though, so hopefully he can turn things around and give the Rockies a much-needed boost.

• Nick Swisher, Chicago White Sox, first base/outfield - "Dude, where's my game?" is what Swisher is probably thinking right about now. A horrendous .219 batting average to go along with eight home runs, 24 RBIs and 38 runs. Coming into the season, people were predicting 30 home runs or more for Swisher, but at this pace, owners of Swisher are hoping for 15, if they're lucky.

Honorable Mentions - Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies, Chone Figgins, Los Angeles Angels.


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