Hitter List 8/22: Ranking the Top 150 Batters ROS

By | | ,


Every week during the season, we have been releasing a list of the best batters in fantasy baseball that’s designed to be similar to Nick’s list of Top 100 Starting Pitchers that comes out each Monday. Our objective is to give you the most current rankings of who we see as being the top 150 hitters league-wide, especially as the season winds down toward playoff matchups. The rankings take into account expectations going into the season and production to this point—as well as recurring trends and streaks—as a way of analytically extrapolating who will bring you the most fantasy dividends in the time you have left. Use this list to help understand what batters are doing and may be capable of. Gauging trade value can be a difficult beast to tackle, so feel free to comment with questions regarding potential transactions; the circumstances surrounding your roster may result in different advice or recommendations depending on your needs in your roto league. Also, I’m happy to explain any moves up or down should you be curious about my rationale, as some readers have voiced a desire to make sense of the fluctuations they see. Enjoy!

Note: These rankings have been made with H2H 5×5 12-teamers in mind.

Zach Davies’ Fastball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Monday’s Games

By | |


Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Zach Davies’ Fastball – Davies hasn’t had the smoothest 2017 season, but he’s shown improvements over the last month. He got off to a great start in Monday night’s affair by striking out his first batter with a beautiful front-door Fastball that stunned Denard Span.

Batter’s Box: The Bux Stops Here

By | |


Alright, let’s talk about Byron Buxton. The former top prospect in all of baseball has had quite the up and down MLB career so far (mostly down), but lately he’s been crushing it, slashing .370/.400/.704 over the past 15 days, and he continued it in yesterday’s double header, going 3-8, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI between the two games. Up until he got sent down to the minors, Buxton had been awful, slashing .218/.292/.311 once he was sent down, but since he got called up at the beginning of August, he’s been on fire, slashing .333/.367/.597, and it’s got people wondering if he’s finally starting to live up to his potential. Well, count me as someone who’s in on Buxton right now. Something’s changed in Buxton, something since he got called up, he’s changed a bit as a hitter. Now, I won’t deny that some of this streak is luck-driven, he’s got a .408 BABIP since he got called up, that’s not going to stay, but there are some meaningful changes that have been made, specifically in quality of contact and plate discipline. Here are some stats for you to consider: up until he was sent down to the minors, Buxton’s strikeout rate was 30.8%, with a 13.4% whiff rate and a 71.4% contact rate, along with a 22.2% soft contact rate and a 25.7% hard hit rate. Since he’s been called up, he now has a strikeout rate at 25.6%, a whiff rate of 11.4%, a contact rate of 76.9%, a soft contact rate of 8.9%, and a hard hit rate of 30.4%. Those are some stark differences, and they essentially say that he’s striking out less, hitting the ball more, and hitting it way harder. Now, do I expect him to maintain a soft contact rate below 10%? No, nor do I expect the 23.5% HR/FB rate he’s had since being called up to stay, but I think Buxton has made a change that could limit the regression a bit and that could mean really good things for fantasy players the rest of the season. And he’s still available in around 53% of ESPN leagues.

Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday’s games:

Check The Mike

By | |


I wish I had good things to tell you about Mike Clevinger after his 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks outing against the Red Sox, but I don’t. Just six whiffs across 81 pitches, velocity hovering at a mediocre 91.8mph, he allowed HRs off a poorly placed Fastball and a massively hung Slider, and four walks in under five innings is flat out terrible. I just don’t know what to do with him. On one hand, I know he can show up and dominate – he did so across multiple stretches this year – while he often looks flat out lost in starts and makes you question why you were ever a fan in the first place. He’s turning into a PEAS right in front of eyes, but I’m willing to ease off that full label and give him the Cherry Bomb name first. Here’s to hoping he can be sweeter more than destructive against the Royals next time out. My gut is saying he can help you there, but that’s a tough bet to make.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Batter’s Box: Manny Of Your Dreams

By | |


You’d have to imagine every MLB player—past, present and future—dreams about the feat Orioles 3B/SS Manny Machado was able to pull off Friday night with his three-HR outing that culminated with a walk-off grand slam. With the robust aggregate stat line of 6-13, 3 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, K, Machado now has reached 81 RBI and 26 homers after five weeks of a very strong second half. He’s been significantly better at Camden Yards all year long (.290 as compared to .249 away from home), but his average since the All-Star break is that much drastically better as he’s hit .345 with 34 RBI over the course of the last five weeks. This has obviously been a boon to his fantasy owners who had become understandably frustrated on his brutally slow start after drafting him in the first round. Just as Josh Donaldson has picked up the pace in a serious way lately, I believe the data shows Machado is once again the obvious set-and-forget 3B people had hoped he would be at some point this year. Despite his failure to replicate the rate of HR production of the past two years, the good news is Machado’s hard contact is registering at a career-high level of 39.8% currently, so enjoy what that brings you in the coming weeks as the fantasy playoffs approach.

Let’s have a look at what some other hitters around the league were up to this weekend:

Catchers To Stream For Week 21 (8/21- 8/28)

By | |


If you haven’t already, add Wilson Ramos. I’m totally gonna take credit for recommending him as a desperation play last week, even though I didn’t expect this. He is finally emerging as the prince who was promised. He made a change in his swing that is producing serious results so far. You might’ve given up on him after his struggles returning from an ACL tear, but you should never give up on good hitters, as they’re always capable of finding their stroke again. Yes, he’s had a light week in terms of opposing pitchers, but not just anyone goes 11/20 with 2 home runs, and my favorite part, three walks. It’s not a fluke either, as his hard hit% is up 9% and his soft hit rate is down 4% over this stretch. I know it’s only been a week, but the swing change explains it. And he passes the eye test as his hands definitely seem to be getting to the ball quicker. Unless you are rostering Sanchez, Posey, Realmuto, Salvy (who will be back Wednesday) or maybe Molina, I’d go with Ramos right now. He’s hotter than any other non-stud catcher right now and he could be a difference maker down the stretch for your team. Ramos did call the change a fix though, so I expect him to return closer to his career numbers. This means his 28% HR/FB% is unsustainable as is his FB%, which is significantly higher than his career numbers, but I like him regardless. I’ll discuss his schedule in the streaming section below.

Let’s recap last week:

Hector Neris’ Splitter + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From This Weekend’s Games

By | | ,


Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Congrats to Marcus Stroman’s Slider for winning Nastiest Pitching GIF of the Week! Stroman has really developed his Slider, and it’s much improved.

Hector Neris’ Splitter – Neris got 2 saves this weekend using his high velocity Fastball, and a Splitter with ridiculous bite. This pitch to Carlos Moncrief has both horizontal and vertical movement that takes it away from Moncrief’s bat.

Snell Ya Later

By | |


Yesterday had a good amount of interesting starts but the one that stood out like Dellin Betances in Japan was Blake Snell tossing an absolute gem against the Mariners via 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Here are some fun stats about Snell to put this in context: It’s just the fourth start of the year above 5 strikeouts. Only the fifth time going 1 ER or fewer in 17 outings. Just the second time he’s held a WHIP under 1.00. Only the fifth time he completed at least six innings. You get the idea, this was ridiculously good. He threw more Curveballs at the cost of Sliders for the second start in a row (prior start was 4 ER in 6.0 IP…) and had the second highest whiff rate of the season at 13.9%. First pitch strikes were still low at 45.8% and under 60% strikes overall, which is not what we want to see from Snell. I’m not taking this start all too seriously and I don’t think Snell has turned a corner. He has gotten a little extra movement with his Curveball since the start of July, though I don’t think that’s the big change that will save his season. I have an eyebrow raised, but not enough for me to start trusting it for my leagues.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Reviewing All Starting Pitcher Matchups For Week 21 (8/21 – 8/27): Who To Sit/Start

By | |


Every weekend here at Pitcher List, I review all expected starting pitcher matchups for the week ahead. There are three labels: StartMaybe, and Sit. Outings marked with a Maybe are circumstantial and dependent on your needs in a 12-teamer, while the other two are self-explanatory. Feel free to question my designations in the comments and we’ll dive into it together.

Here’s the massive table containing every Week 21 start from 8/21 – 8/27:

Feeling The Heat

By | |


I’ve talked a lot about Jose Berrios this season and his narrative takes yet another turn after he spun a sparkling 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks outing against the Diamondbacks on Saturday. To give some contest here, seven of his previous nine starts had come with 4+ ER, where he tallied, holding a 6.20 ERA in that time. Absolutely horrific. So you’re probably wondering if this start is a sign of a major turnaround or just one outlier as he continues down his terrible path for the rest of the season. I’ve talked about how Berrios’ Fastball command has been the root of his problems (-4.0 pVal on his Four-Seamer, -0.4 on his Sinker in that poor stretch) and it was fantastic last night, earning a 2.7 pVal mark for both heaters combined yesterday, which sets up his Changeup and Curveball proper. That’s a great sign and a necessary one if he were to turn it around. Obviously we can’t be sold after one start and it’s a bet that depends on your situation entirely. Do you need to take the risk in Berrios or are there higher floor options that you can run with instead? Do you need a major upside play and are the other options just not good enough? The best news here is that he gets the ChiSox twice in a row now followed by a struggling Rays offense, then the Royals and Jays…dang that’s good. This could go either way the rest of the season, with this start being just a good outing or one where he made a tweak we weren’t aware of. Only time will tell.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

The Nastiest Pitching GIFs Of Week 20 – Which Pitch Gets Your Vote?

By | |


Every week we review the nastiest pitches from the previous week in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest, which will be live this All-Star week. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Dellin Betances’ Curveball – The camera angle on this GIF shows just how Dellin gets so many flinches on his great Curveball. The ball looks like a Fastball coming at the hitter’s waist before changing directions and hitting the strike zone. All of that in the mid to upper 80s. Pitches like this make me wonder how anyone gets a hit off Dellin.

Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 21 (8/21 – 8/27)

By | |


Championships are won by making the right little decisions through the season and micromanaging your lineup well can be the difference maker. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of this week, and five hitting matchups you should avoid this week. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 21 (8/21 – 8/27) of the fantasy baseball season.

Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based off of projections as of this writing. It is entirely possible that the actual matchups could change either because of injury, weather, or anything else. Keep in mind, this article is geared toward middle-of-the-road players, meaning you should be starting top of the line bats regardless of the matchup. Always start your studs.

START

Minnesota Twins hitters – The Twins get to play eight games this week thanks to a double-header at in Chicago against the White Sox on Monday. They’ll be spending the week in nothing but hitter’s parks, as they have four games at Guaranteed Rate Field, and then three games in Toronto at Rogers Centre against the Blue Jays, and even better, aside from a matchup against Marcus Stroman (and maybe the one against Carlos Rodon), they’ll be seeing nothing but mediocre-to-bad pitchers. You’re already starting Brian Dozier and I’d recommend starting Miguel Sano, despite his recent troubles, but there’s some value to be found on this team. First, there’s Byron Buxton, who’s finally catching fire and has been slashing .345/.393/.582 over the past month (and is available in around 85% of ESPN leagues), then there’s Eddie Rosario, who’s been slashing .351/.394/.660 over the past month (and is available in around 49.2% of ESPN leagues), and there’s Max Kepler, who’s slugging .579 with a .333 ISO in August (and is available in 84.6% of ESPN leagues). And finally, there’s Jorge Polanco, who’s slashing a ridiculous .429/.462/.612 in August so far and is available in 97% of ESPN leagues. Some of these guys are just on hot streaks that will eventually end, but they’re not going to end this week, ride them while they’re hot.

Questioning Your Faith

By | |


I’m probably one of the highest on Zack Godley among any other writers you may read across the internet. I don’t know, I try to not read too many in order to stay unbiased for y’all. Godley has been at #10/11 for a few weeks now and he’s had an odd string of starts since his initial boost to the Top 15, with his recent 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks that will turn more heads. I can see the comments now suggesting that “he’s good, but clearly not Top 15,” to which I say, “um nah, he’s still Top 10.” Okay, I totally get that he a deserved to get a little hit around this outing. His hard contact was an absurdly high 69.2%. That’s atrocious. And this might sound like I’m being biased toward one of my guys, but I also see 12.3% whiff rate (14.2% for the year!) as he earned a co-Gallows Pole victory and his stuff hasn’t changed. He made a few mistakes last night and got punished. This isn’t a new Godley, it’s the same old one that will be your man for the final weeks of the year.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

On The Corner Podcast Episode 46 – We’ll All Rodon Okay

By | |


Nick Pollack and Ian Post are back to talk all things Starting Pitching in Fantasy Baseball in Episode 46 of On The Corner. This week, they discuss Carlos Rodon, Taijuan Walker, Lucas Giolito, Luke Weaver, Reynaldo Lopez, Patrick Corbin, Jose Urena, and many others.

Timestamps

News and Injuries:

Jacob Faria Interview Preview (26:35)

The List