[hitter_list list_id=”21310″ include_stats=”1″ season=”2018″]
Welcome back to Hitter List. Every Wednesday during the regular season, I’ll rank the current value of the top 150 hitters for the remainder of the year. Use these rankings to help get a sense of both a player’s expected performance and his trade value in your fantasy leagues moving forward. They’re constructed with 12-teamer, H2H, 5×5 leagues in mind; adjust as needed for your specific setup. Position eligibility does factor in to a degree.
As a reminder: There’s a ton of baseball left to be played, and these are rest of season rankings. We’re interested in the long view ’round these parts. That said, adjustments to the List are becoming more aggressive as we move deeper into the year. With that should come the acknowledgment that small shifts in a specific player’s ranking are often as much a consequence of other players’ more drastic movements as anything else. This is especially true when injuries occur. Put another way, please do not @ me if a guy moved up like two spots even if he’s failed to get a hit in the last couple games. I do, however, welcome more substantive grievances in the comments.
On to the highlights!
- It’s my birthday! Does that entitle me to any slack insofar as these rankings are concerned? Probably not.
- Injury roundup: Mookie Betts finally went on the DL after his abdominal strain didn’t improve with rest. He could be back as early as Friday, though, so he remains in #2 spot for now. Relatively good news on the Rhys Hoskins front as his fractured jaw won’t require surgery, but he’s still going to be out until perhaps the end of the month. Josh Donaldson has already dealt with a shoulder injury this year and is now on the shelf with a calf issue. If he’s ever fully healthy, a rebound in performance is likely, but it’s fair to wonder if that scenario will remain hypothetical. Brandon Belt will miss a couple of weeks after having his appendix removed. Lastly, Byron Buxton‘s broken toe continues to give him trouble, and he’s played so poorly that his only value had been coming from steals. I’ve been a Buxton apologist for years, but we’ve now got the equivalent of two full seasons’ worth of MLB data that suggests he’s simply not very good at hitting. He’s still only 24, so it’s a long way from over. Consider my faith shaken, though.
- New to or back on the List this week: Ben Zobrist, Shin-Soo Choo, Harrison Bader, and Ian Kinsler. Zorilla entered play on Tuesday hitting a cool .306/.395/.465 and has found himself installed as the leadoff hitter in the Cubs’ top-5 lineup. The Rangers’ lineup is much less productive, but Choo has spent the whole season in one of the top two spots and went deep on Tuesday for the 10th time this season, bringing his line up to .267/.369/.453 overall. Bader will have his work cut out for him finding playing time on a crowded Cardinals roster, but he’s got five homers and six steals to his credit in just 113 plate appearances. Lastly, Kinsler had four multi-hit games and three homers last week. His Statcast data suggested he had been much better than his results would indicate, and it seems like this might finally be regression kicking in.
- So the news on Daniel Murphy is…not good. A recent Washington Post article quoted a scout who described Murphy’s play on his rehab assignment as “gimpy,” “struggling to move laterally,” and “lacking straight-ahead speed.” This video certainly isn’t encouraging, either. Microfracture surgeries aren’t as easy to come back from as Justin Turner made it look last season. History may prove his drop here to be an overreaction, but with no timetable for return and these reports, it’s hard to see Murphy coming back at anything close to his previous form.