Hello and welcome to Hitter List, where every Wednesday I’ll be unapologetically ranking the top 150 hitters in baseball from now through the end of the season.
To truly hate something, you must first understand it. So before we jump into the rundown on this week’s rankings, here’s a general overview of how I go about evaluating players:
- I value stolen bases significantly more than home runs. The 5,585 homers hit in 2018 were the fourth-highest total in modern history. And the 2,474 stolen bases from last year were the lowest total since 1994 and the eighth-lowest total since 1969. In other words, stolen bases are a scarce resource getting even scarcer, like crude oil. And home runs are an abundant resource that are becoming more prevalent, like… the Kardashians? All else being equal, I’ll always take the guy with 15 HR/20 SB over the guy with 20 HR/15 SB.
- I’m generally not a believer in positional scarcity, so position eligibility only comes into play in two instances: as a tiebreaker when two players are fairly evenly matched, or if a player is eligible at catcher, because catcher is a barren wasteland this year filled with adrenaline-fueled maniacs playing guitar riffs while strapped to 18-wheelers. Wait, no, that’s Mad Max: Fury Road, but catcher is just as bleak and weird.
- I’m an old man who’s afraid of change, so I tend to be low on young players without major league track records.
- These rankings apply only to leagues using standard scoring (R, RBI, HR, SB, AVG). Adjust accordingly for other formats.
- These rankings are meant to be from today’s date through the end of the season. These are purely for redraft, so I’m not taking 2020 into account here at all (though it is weighing heavily on my mind politically — thanks for asking).
[hitter_list_2019 list_id=”29489″ include_stats=”1″]
Now onto the recaps:
- Injuries: Corey Dickerson and David Dahl take a hit in the rankings this week due to some unfortunate injuries. Not a ton of fantasy impact here, though it likely means a bump in playing time for Raimel Tapia for those playing in deep leagues.
- Pete Alonso gets a bump this week. I’ve watched a decent amount of his at-bats and, while he definitely has lots of swing-and-miss in his game, he really knows how to work a count and the pitches he does make contact with get absolutely crushed. He’s swatted four homers over his last three games and though there may be an adjustment period on the horizon, I see at least a 30-homer floor here.
- Yoan Moncada and Domingo Santana have both ascended into the top 100 this week. I mentioned in the preseason that Moncada had the most called strikeouts in baseball last year and would likely benefit from a more aggressive approach. Lo and behold, in the early going his swing rate has shot up to a career-high 46% and he’s reaping the rewards thus far. Santana, on the other hand, has cut down on his strikeouts drastically thanks to a swinging strike rate that’s nearly half his career average. His launch angle appears much approved as well to this point, as he’s traded grounders for line drives. I’m buying into improvements from both guys this year.
- A wild Dan Vogelbach has appeared! Vogelbach was a sleeper for me heading into last year, but he never secured the playing time to show what he could do. Unfortunately, I see that potentially still being an issue for him this year, which tamps down my hype a bit. Still, it’s hard not to get excited about a guy who has hit .500 with five homers over the past week and posted a 20.4% (!!!) walk rate in the minors last year. He’s worth an add in 12-teamers while he’s hot and is getting at-bats.
- Kolten Wong is also making his first appearance on the list. Though he’s cooled down a bit over the past week, I see potential for Jorge Polanco-like production from him (i.e. a decent average with low-teens power and speed) and I think that’s borderline rosterable in 12-teamers.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)
Bader hasn’t done anything this whole season. Is there a reason why he’s still in the top 100?
I love the 20/20 upside, and it’s way too early in the season to be overreacting to most hot/cold starts. That said, I agree that he might be a tad high at the moment.
Still no 150 love for the Ketel? He was borderline as a role player last year. But now is an every-day starter batting 2nd with eligibility soon at SS/2B/OF. He’s in his prime and has a batted ball profile, history, and start suggesting that a 80/15/80/15 season with a solid BA is not out of the question. I’d take that ROS bet over several other MIs you have listed between 100-150 (respectfully looking at you Cesar).
I would argue that he hasn’t done anything over the past few years to indicate that 15 stolen bases has a high likelihood of happening, and he’s hit just .260 the past few seasons. It’s also going to be very difficult to drive in 80 runs hitting second in that lineup. I just don’t see the upside there, as he doesn’t have a single standout skill. But maybe he’ll change my mind this year.
I’ll wait for the add ;-)
Hi Jonathan, love the list and appreciate all the work you put into it! I was too slow acting on Pete Alonso and Domingo Santana, so I picked up Trey Mancini for some extra power. Do you see Mancini breaking into your top 150 or just brush it off as an early season hot streak? Would be interested in your thoughts on him. Thanks!
At some point the Ms should swap Mallex and Dee Gordon IMO in that order or at least stop hitting Dee 8th/9th whatever. I get that Dee’s second half was trash but he is Mallex Smith’s ceiling. Gordon is kind of killing it as he always has when healthy… which is about 2/3 of the time. Dee also has odd (good) eligibility – I was skeptical because of last year, but he is performing like the 3rd rder he was last year right now if you like speed.
I’d love to see your top 200 hitters ;)
Pinder over Heyward ROS, right?