ASL's Michael Nease gives you an overview of who has been the most productive fantasy baseball stars thus far and unveils his early MVP choice.

Baseball gives us a great opportunity to sit around with a couple of friends and reminisce about great legends of the past, or the merits of current players. Words like “better than” or “GOAT (Greatest of All Time)” buzz around the discussion like hungry mosquitoes.

Those of us who have ventured into the world of fantasy baseball are quite focused on our teams and also the available players’ list. While those analyses are important, we tend to overlook the big picture. Yes, we are able to see current rankings. We also have daily resources to help tell us which players are the very best waiver adds or, conversely, ice-cold drops.

Being a long-time fan, going back to the late-1950s, I used to enjoy scanning the overall batting and pitching statistics in the newspaper until the last few years. Now that I never read the papers anymore, I fail to take the time to look very often. As a result, my knowledge base is below the level I like to maintain.  

With the overload of stats, the game's platforms do give us most of what we readily need without going out of our way to find them. Why are these other numbers important? After all, we see the current player rankings. The answer is easy. These facts and reports provide us with a measuring stick. How do my players match up with the top players statistically? In 5x5 scoring, do our players rank highly in one or two areas, or do they give us all-around strength in several categories?

Let’s take a look. Seeing how your team stacks up against the early leaders in the 5x5 categories and can make the difference between winning and losing.

Batters

Runs:

  1. OF Mookie Betts, BOS        32
  2. 2B Ozzie Albies, ATL          30
  3. OF Bryce Harper, NYY        27
  4. SS Didi Gregorius, NYY      26
  5. Two tied with 25  

HRs:

  1. OF Mike Trout, LAA             11
  2. OF Mookie Betts, BOS         11
  3. OF Charlie Blackmon, COL  10
  4. OF A.J. Pollack, ARI            10
  5. Four others tied with 10

 RBIs:

  1. SS Didi Gregorius, NYY       30
  2. 2B Jed Lowrie, OAK            30
  3. C Gary Sanchez, NYY          27
  4. OF Mark Haniger, SEA        27
  5. Two tied with 26

 SBs:

  1. OF Ender Inciarte, ATL       13
  2. SS Trea Turner, WAS          12
  3. OF Dee Gordon, SEA           12
  4. OF Michael Taylor, WAS     10
  5. SS Tim Anderson, CWS       9

 AVG:

  1. OF Mookie Betts, BOS         .365
  2. SS Manny Machado, BAL     .353
  3. OF J.D. Martinez, BOS         .343
  4. 2B Dee Gordon, SEA           .342
  5. 2 tied with .341

Pitching

Wins:

  1. SP Max Scherzer, WAS        6
  2. SP Corey Kluber, CLE          5
  3. SP Luis Severino, NYY        5
  4. 18 tied with 4

 Saves:

  1. RP Edwin Diaz, SEA            12
  2. RP Wade Davis, COL           11
  3. RP Brad Boxberger, ARI     10
  4. RP Jeurys Familia, NYM        9
  5. 2 tied with 8

 Ks:

  1. SP Max Scherzer, WAS       65
  2. SP Justin Verlander, HOU   62
  3. SP Gerrit Cole, HOU            61
  4. SP James Paxton, SEA        60
  5. SP Patrick Corbin, ARI        55

 ERA:

  1. Johnny Cueto, SF                0.84
  2. Sean Manaea, OAK             1.03
  3. Jarlin Garcia, MIA              1.09
  4. Justin Verlander, HOU       1.13
  5. Carlos Martinez, STL          1.40

 WHIP:

  1. Sean Manaea, OAK             0.62
  2. Justin Verlander, HOU       0.67
  3. Johnny Cueto, SF               0.69
  4. Patrick Corbin, ARI            0.75
  5. Corey Kluber, CLE              0.78

To say the least, I was surprised with some of the names above. Last week, I asked readers a question in a few baseball and sports groups on Facebook: Who is the MVP thus far? Out of the large sampling of comments, I saw literally dozens of names. There was, of course, bias based on team allegiances. One name that I saw on a regular basis was Didi Gregorius. Based on the numbers above, I would say that as of now, he is in the lead for being the AL MVP. Over in the NL, I see it as a wide-open race. With 85 percent of the season to be played, anything can happen.

Stats updated through May 2

Over the years many readers have contacted me for fantasy baseball advice throughout the season. I look forward to helping you on your journey to win championships this year. You can contact me with any questions or comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., follow me on Twitter @mikeinsights, or join me as a member of Couch Tomatoes, my fantasy sports discussion group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/330237687362965/

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Good luck! Have fun!