A slew of National League Central stars are proving that they are both worth the money and a valuable asset to their team. As that race heats up, potential free agents and franchise players are starting to make a dent in the fantasy baseball market. From locked up players like Ryan Braun to potential free agents like Jose Reyes, the NL Power Rankings are chalk full of talent. These are the National League Power Rankings as of July 24th.
1) Ryan Braun – MIL (Last Week: 4)
Ryan Braun, who has been in and out of the Brewer lineup, has been a force when he gets to play. Braun has only played 11 games this month, but in those games, he is hitting .303 with 4 homers. His season average now sits at .321, good for second in the league. With Braun’s injuries, there is some cause for concern, but he has hit when he is in the lineup.
2) Joey Votto – CIN (LW: 1)
Votto’s power has really slowed down, but he is still hitting for average. Votto has hit .310 in July, which is right around where his season average of .315 stands. But with that high average are only 2 homers this month, and that is keeping his RBI count relatively low. Reds manager Dusty Baker believes his team is about to take off, so fans will see if Votto goes with that.
3) Jose Reyes – NYM (LW: 7)
Jose Reyes has not missed a beat since he was out with an injury that caused him to miss the All-Star game. Since returning, he is 10-for-30, with a double, a triple, and a home run. As the year wears on, it will be interesting to see how much Jose Reyes can improve his stock while the Mets look to be sellers are the trade deadline.
4) Matt Kemp – LAD (LW: 2)
Matt Kemp had a good weekend with 4 hits in 8 tries, but his overall performance has been slacking in July. A .225 average this month has seen his season average of .330 drop 20 points to .310 since the beginning of July. Fantasy owners should not worry too much, however, as even the best hitters cannot stay hot all the time.
5) Prince Fielder – MIL (LW: 3)
Prince Fielder has had about as good a month as Kemp, hitting only .230 in July. What is more surprising is his home run drought. He has only hit one for the Brewers this month, which makes fans wonder if participating in the Home Run Derby may have messed with his swing. But Fielder has been to the Derby before, and will get out of his current funk.
6) Lance Berkman – STL (LW: 5)
The average may be slipping, but the home runs keep coming from Lance Berkman. Rejuvenated in the Cardinals offense, Berkman had been slipping as the All-Star break approached. But fantasy baseball owners can look at his home run total of 27 bombs for the year, and he makes a good outfield candidate.
7) Justin Upton – ARI (LW: NR)
While he is not playing like he did in June, which is what made him the clear cut hometown favorite in the All-Star game, Justin Upton is still putting up good numbers, with a .286 average in July, keeping his overall average floating over .300. Upton joins a pack of National League outfielders that make good fantasy baseball options.
8) Carlos Beltran – NYM (LW: NR)
With trade rumors surrounding Carlos Beltran, he has been proving his worth yet again in a contract year. The last time Beltran was available as a free agent, he made the most of the opportunity in the playoffs as a member of the Astros. This is one of those guys that sees a contract year coming and takes advantage of it.
9) Brian McCann – ATL (LW: 8)
Brian McCann has been all that and more for the Braves offense. Homering twice over the weekend, McCann has been anchoring the Braves offense, and his numbers are starting to reflect his good work. A perennial good option at catcher, McCann has proven himself to be one of the best offensive players regardless of his position.
10) Andrew McCutchen – PIT (LW: 6)
It will be interesting to see what the Pittsburgh Pirates do at the trading deadline now that they are in the hunt for a playoff spot. If they make a move, expect to see McCutchen move into a more comfortable role closer to the top of the lineup. That move may diminish his RBI totals, but the average could jump.
Tags: 2011 All Star Game, 2011 fantasy baseball, 2011 MLB All Star Game, Andrew McCutchen, Brian McCann, fantasy baseball power rankings, joey votto, jose reyes, justin upton, Lance Berkman, Matt Kemp, National League, NL Power Rankings, prince fielder, ryan braun