Every Tuesday during the season, we are 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 for the rest of the season. They 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 throughout the year. Use these rankings to help understand what to expect from batters for all of 2017 and as a tool to gauge trade value in your fantasy leagues.
Note: These rankings have been made with H2H 5×5 12-teamers in mind.
- Poor Freddie Freeman, man. He still has top 10 value when he comes back, but 10 weeks is a huge chunk of your remaining fantasy season. Stash him and try to adapt and overcome.
- Aaron Judge, J.D. Martinez, Mark Reynolds, Salvador Perez, Zack Cozart, Avisail Garcia and Corey Dickerson are all crushing the ball like men possessed. Own, start, salivate, do whatever you have to do.
- Billy Hamilton keeps hitting well and winning you steals week in, week out. You can’t deny the guy is having a great year thus far.
- Mike Napoli is on my radar with 10 homers, but the BA has to improve further still. Jackie Bradley, Jr. is also hopefully recovering from a brutal stretch. Don’t worry, I’m paying attention.
- Ryan Braun got back from the DL, as did Stephen Piscotty. A.J. Pollock, meanwhile, is still a couple of weeks and away with a groin issue. Expect Yoenis Cespedes and Mitch Haniger back relatively soon, i.e. within the week. We should see Trevor Story back for Colorado during the Philadelphia series, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they were very careful with the young shortstop’s return.
- Robinson Cano left and returned with a retroactively assessed DL stint, so his position has not changed.
- Jose Bautista is perhaps turning around. I’m speculatively boosting him slightly.
- Ryon Healy has been good in real life but not great for fantasy purposes. I need more than seven jacks from a regular DH.
- Troy Tulowitzki should see reinstatement to the active roster very soon and has been rehabbing at High A; he has the luxury of being Josh Donaldson’s teammate at High-A Dunedin this week, and expectations for both are rising. Tulo will beat Donaldson back, and I like each of them as top 85 and top 10, respectively, if and when they come back and resume crushing it how they do best.
- Falling out of the Top 150—with their previously held rank in parentheses—are Aaron Hicks (132), Neil Walker (134), Jayson Werth (147), Brandon Drury (148), Chase Headley (149), and Joey Gallo (150).
- Hicks has hit a rough patch, going just .179 with a singular homer over the last 15 days. I am relatively confident he’ll find his way back in here, although such a slump is troubling.
- Walker has just endured a 3-16 week, and the counting stats are stalled in the low 20s. As long as his average stays sub-.250 and you’re not getting much power, I’d stay away if possible.
- Werth’s 13 RBI to date just aren’t getting it done for me. Six homers and a .286 is fine and dandy, but more balanced is desired.
- Drury just had a tough 3-21 week. He’ll bounce back and hopefully reinflate the .295 average he has to date on the season. His K rate of 22.6% is a little high for my taste, though.
- Headley has cooled off after a searing start. He’s just .154 in May, hasn’t homered since April 19, and three of his five steals came during the first two weeks of the year. Out he goes.
- This demotion is more due to expectation that Adrian Beltre could force Gallo out of playing time and thus the viability of future production, rather than an indictment of what he’s done so far. The injured Beltre is potentially due back in early June.
- Making a fresh appearance on the Hitter List are Justin Bour (129), Welington Castillo (130), Justin Smoak (134), Jason Kipnis (136), Javier Baez (140) and Tim Anderson (150).
- Bour hit three homers this week alone to boost his season count to 11; he is batting .313 in the month of May and .262 overall.
- Castillo was recently on the DL but has managed some clutch power hitting in his week back that indicates he can provide value over time.
- Smoak is not widely owned but has been incredibly consistent this year, and he’s on pace for a career high in home runs.
- Kipnis took a while to acclimate to the flow of gameplay upon returning from a season-starting stint on the DL, but his bat has heated back up and it appears he has found his customary form at the dish. He is currently on an eight-game hit streak and has mashed .371 with two homers in that span.
- Baez has popped in and out of these rankings as a feast-or-famine kind of guy. He merits consideration as a starter, but patience and matchup scouting are recommended—he’s drastically better at home and against RHP. What’s encouraging is that his BABIP is holding steady at .299, so the flashes of power you do see are to be taken seriously and not dismissed. While not great in the plate discipline department, his HR/FB ratio is at a career-high 18.9% this season.
- Tim Anderson has found some consistency in tallying six multi-hit games in his last eight outings. I’d like to see some more steals and RBI specifically, but three homers in the last week caught my attention. He’s hitting .345 in May and .258 overall.