Sorry, folk! You’ve got me instead of the fabulous Scott Chu for one more week. And since this is my opportunity to makes waves in the list, we’ve shuffled things up quite a bit. So, expect changes; some dramatic and some not so much.
Let’s get some basics out of the way regarding how to interpret these rankings. None of this stuff should come as any major surprise, but it never hurts to provide background:
- Taylor Ward has fallen out of favor as the leadoff hitter. While the walk rate has stayed intact(12% BB%), his 35% HC% and lack of consistency are not helpful. The .208 batting average with no speed and middling power is an eyesore from your OF spot.
- Andrés Giménez’s underlying metrics point to him being the same player as last year(17 HR/20 SB). But he’s swinging a little bit less in the zone and no power is showing up. He was likely ranked a tad bit high, and the drop is a correction.
- This tier features a TON of exciting names. Although, none is more interesting than Bryce Harper. We’ve seen what he’s capable of and if you believe he’ll be fine from day one; heck, #64 overall is too low. Still, we need to see more. He could move either way in next week’s column.
- Michael Harris II is back and roaming the Atlanta OF. He’s shown the ability to be a 20/20 player, so he’ll slide up the ranks a touch. But mainly because a few fell.
- Salvador Perez is hitting the ball fine. But it’s not his usual quality of contact and he’s no longer a cut above the rest masses at the catcher position. It’s still early and he could finish the season as a top-five catcher, but right now he’s closer to the pack than we’d like.
- Gunnar Henderson and Tommy Edman are not getting regular playing time atop the lineup. Both could quickly regain their ranks among their respective teams but neither is doing much at the dish lately.
- Maybe I’m being a little harsh on Gleyber Torres. Don’t let the -11 fool you, he’s been a serviceable player that might have been unlucky the past two weeks.
- Ok! Let’s talk about Nico Hoerner! I’m willing to admit he needed to get a bump, however, not to the extreme as some may suggest. He’s still only showcasing a 1.8% barrel rate and putting nearly 50% of his batted balls on the ground. Furthermore, while it’s impossible to discredit his disruptions on the basepaths, he 100% deserves a bump.
- Tim Anderson is back and slotted into the leadoff role for his first game back. His stolen base aggression and plentiful batting average are enough to send him racing up the list. He could go higher, but we hit the pause button and kept him behind Nico and Jeremy Peña.
- Sean Murphy and Jarred Kelenic continue to smash baseballs. They jump an extra tier and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Murphy surpass Perez in the near future. Kelenic is just held back by his lack of ABs vs. LHP.
- Willson Contreras drops five spots. He’s been extremely frustrating for fantasy managers because we all expected a bit more. Although, I wouldn’t go moving him for pennies on the dollar. Behind his lackluster production is a 9.6% barrel rate and 35% HC%(91st percentile). Just wait, it’ll come.
- After diving into Anthony Santander, it’s apparent that pitchers are throwing him inside more than before and he’s been unable to make adjustments. Furthermore, it’s caused his K% to jump nearly 10%. He’ll need to figure this out quickly or continue to fall.
- Yandy Díaz and Rowdy Tellez are still crushing baseballs. They jump up and help push Ty France down. For France, he’s been in a horrendous slump, and outside of counting stats, not much of a help from your 1B-especially since there have been so many serviceable ones.
- Seiya Suzuki continues to hit the ball hard(31% HC%) but not in the air(52% GB%).
- Jorge Mateo is having an unreal start from what anyone expected. He gets the pause button while we wait and see if this is just a hot start or the production sticks around.
- Cody Bellinger has cut his K% under 20% and is making very loud contact. As he keeps flexing his power/speed skill set, he’ll climb the ranks. The question is, can he get back to the MVP caliber we’ve seen in the past?
- Tyler O’Neill takes a big hit. In the past, he’s been able to overcome the bloated K% because he made enough hard contact. However, even though he’s doing that again, getting everyday playing time hasn’t been there. At some point, it’ll start creeping into everyone’s head to cut him – especially in three OF leagues.
- James Outman came back down to life…a smidge. He was knocked down a peg after a rough week but shouldn’t get dropped in your leagues. Additionally, it seems fitting that he sits next to his teammate (J.D. Martinez).
- Jack Suwinski and Brent Rooker are fresh faces to know. Both have become 12-team relevant. Yes, I said 12-team relevant. Scoop them up if available.
- Oof! It’s been a rough start for M.J. Meledenz. He’s hitting well below the Mendoza Line and not for much power. At some point, he might start losing some playing time entirely.
- Jonah Heim has become a catcher you need to consider in all formats. The power is real and he’s even racking up the counting stats.
- Josh Lowe doesn’t start every day, but when he does it’s been filled with production.
- Esteury Ruiz showed he can steal bases in a hurry, as he swiped six in the last seven days.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
And here’s the Taxi Squad, presented in no particular order:
J.Duran no mas?? Not even on the taxi squad. Ouch
Great list Dave!
No Harold Ramirez?
This is crazy. HR has some of the best metrics in the game right now.
Playing time is the only concern.
I had a strategy question that I really don’t have a good answer to, so I wanted to pick your brain!
If I was somehow able to pick up Sean Murphy as my second catcher in a h2h 10 teamer 1-catcher league (my drafted catcher is Will Smith), would you think it’s worth it to roster two catchers considering they’re both elite bats regardless of C eligibility?
Or is it still not worth rostering a second catcher even if it’s Sean Murphy?
My other end of bench bats are the likes of Volpe, Henderson, Vargas (Vargas is my only backup 1B and 2B).
Please let me know your thoughts! Thanks so much.
I’m not a pro by any means, but I win my league with a pretty high degree of regularity so you can take this for what it’s worth.
Please God do not give up Sean Murphy unless you are getting good value for him. He is obviously performing above expectation right now, but he’s also playing for a real MLB team for the 1st time in his career.
This is what his statcast page looks like https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/sean-murphy-669221?stats=statcast-r-hitting-mlb
I know statcast isn’t the answer to everything, but it certainly gives context to what he is doing. I would very happily slide him into a utility slot and leave him there. He’s hitting in the middle of one of the best lineups in baseball so the counting stats are going to be there. His avg is up, but his BABIP is running just a tick over last year.
It’s his year 28 season ( theoretical peak). He is walking more than he ever has. His strikeouts are up a negligible amount from last year.
If you got him cheap you may well have gotten an incredible deal the kind of value that wins your league for you. If you don’t want to fill a utility slot with him then trade him for great value. There are not many catchers that are both great hitters and play for one of the best offensive teams in baseball.
Jonathan India has been putting in work. He needs to move up higher. The fact that Tommy Edman is above him is laughable.
Cutch is playing like 2010 Cutch basically. Low BA, but his BABIP is pretty low too. He’s still slashing .238/.339/.465 with 6 HR, 4 SB, 16 runs scored and 15 RBI.
Not sure what the Conforto/Solers of the world have done to show more value than this guy. He’s batting 3rd on the 1st place team in the NL Central and are 20-12 even after getting swept by TB.
Him coming back to Pittsburgh and raking is such a great story. Get him up there!