Injuries and lineup shuffling and breakouts and slumps are everywhere, so let’s get them applied to the Hitter List!
Only 47 players have hit the 50 plate appearance mark, so while some stats are getting close to a meaningful sample (walk and strikeout rates, in particular), a lot are still filled with noise. I’ll mention some stats, but as a general rule I’m trying to avoid taking too much meaning from the stats themselves.
Oh, and one other thing — I won’t be here to write this column for the next two or three weeks because my family is growing! My wife is very pregnant with twins, and they’ll be delivered on or before the 18th, so I’ll be spending my time trying to somehow keep up with them. My esteemed colleague Dave Swan will be covering for me until I can reliably carve out enough time to write again.
Let’s get some basics out of the way in terms of how to interpret these rankings. None of this stuff should come as any major surprise, but it never hurts to provide background:
- Dansby Swanson already has four games with at least three hits, and while the power hasn’t shown up yet, I believe that it will soon.
- Gleyber Torres continues to play well and even led off for a game earlier this week. If he starts doing that more, the upside would definitely go up.
- Anthony Santander is cold, and he’s been a streaky hitter in the past. I’m not overly concerned yet, but another bad week or two would get me there.
- Alec Bohm already has three home runs. He didn’t have three home runs in 2022 until May 21. 20 home runs, here we come!
- Nick Castellanos is looking better than he did last season, but he remains the most difficult top-75 player for me to get a feel for as his 2022 struggles did not make much sense.
- José Abreu has just one extra base hit so far and one barrel. The sample is small, but it’s not promising.
- Luis Arraez has a batting average north of .500 because that’s just what Luis Arraez does. Four straight multi-hit games, and he’s only struck out three times this season while walking six times. I’m surprised he hasn’t swiped a bag yet, but seeing Arraez bat third is kind of neat.
- Jorge Polanco is playing in rehab games and should be nearing a return.
- I might not have dropped Jake McCarthy far enough.
- Jarred Kelenic looks good in the majors, and that must feel so good. Projections will keep him down due to the horrible major league samples in 2021 and 2022, but there’s still hope that he can be a 25 home run, 15 stolen base guy.
- Jake Fraley is hitting really well, but also sitting against lefties.
- Bryson Stott isn’t going to give you a lot of home runs or steals, but leading off for Philadelphia is a nice gig if he can keep it. Stott was very up and down in 2022, so I’m being a bit cautious for now.
- Keep an eye on rookie Spencer Steer. The plate discipline has been excellent and while he’s been a bit lucky on batted balls, it’d be neat if he was a serviceable back-end third baseman or decent corner infielder.
- Jorge Mateo is striking out a lot less than I thought, and that’s worth watching.
- Ke’Bryan Hayes will keep playing because of the glove, but the bat is not doing what I hoped coming into the season.
- Brian Anderson falls, but that’s mostly because of the guys I wanted to move up. I still like him as a plug-in, but let’s not forget that his upside is fairly limited.
- I’m waiting to see what the timeline is for Adam Duvall’s wrist injury. He’s been hot, sure, but he’s not necessarily a true priority on your IL in leagues with only two IL spots.
And here’s the Taxi Squad, presented in no particular order:
No Austin Hays on the taxi squad?
No, because he was supposed to be on the list. He replaces Oscar Gonzalez in the final tier. Hays’s approach has been aggressive in years past making him prone to hot and cold streaks (he doesn’t strike out as much as others, instead he makes weak contact over and over on pitches he should leave alone), so let’s see if this goes beyond that.
Thoughts on Edouard Julien?
I like him better for OBP with that insane 15%+ walk rate in the minors, but I do worry that the strikeout rate might be near the 30s in the majors. When 40% of your PAs are either walks or strikeouts, you have to be able to make the absolute most of the other 60%. I wonder if Julien has enough power to do that, but he’s a top 100 fantasy prospect for sure (but not top 50).
Congrats on the twins!
I’m going to keep hitting jacks until you put me on the list.
It’s tough to have many catchers on the Hitter List, so the bar is quite high.
Must agree with Hippity-Hop. Leading ML catchers in dingers. Hoppe should at LEAST be taxi squad, have been starting him over Melendez…
Surprised Oscar Gonzalez made the list given his lack of playing time (short side of platoon). There are several OFs who didn’t even make the taxi squad I would rather have.
Thanks for catching that – I fully intended to replace Oscar Gonzalez with Austin Hays, so that’s corrected now.
Miles Straw definitely deserves a spot on the List – regardless of ‘what you think.’ I know you make the list, but it should have some universal truths includes such as speed and contact are where it’s at this season, and Straw has both in spades. Look at 140-150, I would take Straw all day before those bats.
But good job on the list. I continue to read although it makes me laf.
The Taxi Squad and back of the list are interchangeable in some ways, but since this list is geared towards 12-team H2H with 3 OF, speed-only guys don’t matter as much and that’s all Myles Straw can do long term. If it was geared towards something like 15-team roto, he’d be more valuable.
Congratulations, Scott! Best wishes for mama and babies.