Every week 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. They do not take 6/28 games into account.
- Tampa Bay C Wilson Ramos is back but has only gone 1-9 since his return. We’re advising patience as he gets re-accustomed to the workflow of a full-time MLB schedule after months on the DL. He’s a legitimate fantasy asset, but he could see a demotion if the rust doesn’t get shaken off quickly in the near future.
- Trea Turner had a hell of a week, but the cross-category dominance of Aaron Judge cannot be denied so they have switched spots to round out the top 10. Despite being day-to-day and perhaps on the cusp of a DL stint, Corey Seager has been excellent when healthy, while Kris Bryant and Josh Donaldson have been off their game at the plate lately so they saw a slight bump to end up beneath Seager. Jake Lamb also did some meritoriously-earned leapfrogging; he scored six runs this week and 62 RBI are hard to argue with, plus he averages nicely and seems like a threat to go yard in every game. Conversely, possible All-Star Miguel Sano has been on the strugglebus of late and is immersed in a 1-18 slump so he was bumped a few spots to account for this.
- Carlos Gomez seems to be back for good. He homered three times this week and is finally producing like we’d hoped he might.
- Billy Hamilton isn’t stealing bases nearly as often as someone who was billed early on as a near-automatic category winner should be. His fantasy appeal has taken a major hit with the speed has mostly disappearing.
- A.J. Pollock (groin) should be back by the weekend. After some quad tightness delayed his scheduled return, his resumed rehab assignment has gone smoothly so far. Expect the extremely versatile and talented Pollock to be unusable for the tail end of your current H2H matchup. Given his imminent return, he’s experienced a slight promotion.
- Jonathan Villar (back) has returned to the Brewers, but he was a healthy scratch from the lineup. Essentially, since Eric Sogard is playing so well, Villar no longer has a starting job. The eligibility at multiple positions is nice, but Travis Shaw and Orlando Arcia are also good at their respective jobs so Villar’s fantasy stock has plummeted. He’s nothing more than a backend streamer who might get spot starts and PH opportunities for the time being. He has been demoted like crazy in these rankings.
- Ryan Braun (calf) has finally returned to Milwaukee’s active roster and should be regarded as an eventual top-30 fantasy player, but we’re taking things conservatively until he eases back into a productive groove. He’s conditionally ranked at No. 44 right now, but I expect good things from him, and this could necessarily tank Hernan Perez’s fantasy stock in the near future since playing time will be at a premium.
- Zack Cozart (quad) should be reactivated from the 10-day DL today. He theoretically will pick up where he left off to continue enjoying a fantastic season with a high average and the tendency to score a lot of runs with occasional power. He’s at No. 67 and likely due to ascend higher if he can sustain the efficiency he had previously shown.
- All heading to the DL this week were Starlin Castro, Aaron Hicks, and Matt Holliday. They have been requisitely dropped in the rankings to account for their absence. Rough week of ailments for the Yankees.
- As detailed in a Batter’s Box on Wednesday, Rougned Odor is in a freefall as far as his fantasy value until he can snap out of his funk. I personally have dropped him in our staff league for Brandon Phillips, if you needed me to put my money where my mouth is. Similar treatment has been applied to Trevor Story, who is currently in the middle of a .167 week with a singular RBI. Whole lot of nope.
- Falling out of the Top 150—with their previously held rank in parentheses—are Chris Davis (123), Hunter Pence (133), Cesar Hernandez (138), Yangervis Solarte (142), and Jason Kipnis (144).
- Davis is struggling with an oblique strain and had a plasma injection this week because the recovery is not going as smoothly as planned. There’s a possibility he returns by the All-Star Break but nothing is guaranteed. We’ve contingently removed him from the rankings while this gets sorted out.
- I realized during my research this week that Pence’s fantasy résumé just isn’t up to snuff. I’d had him higher than he likely deserve, and sometimes double takes show you things you didn’t necessarily want to admit. The fact that he had had a high-average week (8-24) made it initially easy to want to promote him, but looking at the big picture, he’s only homered twice in the last month with 11 runs scored and nine RBI. That’s not really getting it done, and I had to correct the discrepancy between reality and expectation.
- Hernandez and Solarte are both dealing with DL stints due to oblique injuries and are not in the doghouse at all. Their absence from the Top 150 is likely only temporary and they could very well return when healthy. With them being tricky injuries, only Hernandez has an estimated return date of late July, while Solarte’s ETA is unknown as yet.
- Kipnis just isn’t what we thought he was. A .239 hitter with eight HRs on the season who’s yet to crack the 30-run/30-RBI thresholds isn’t winning me any matchups.
- Making a fresh appearance on the Hitter List are Matt Adams (129), Michael Taylor (132), Ian Happ (139), Josh Reddick (141) and Mitch Moreland (147).
- Adams cannot be denied any longer. He has been mashing his way into not only a starting spot with the Braves, but he has succeeded so handily at his job that Freddie Freeman is likely going to be moved to 3B when his hand heals. Adams owns a .295 BA to go along with 29 runs, 13 homers and 38 RBI. He’s been more productive with 190 at-bats than many guys have been with 250 or 300. He’s also not widely owned, so hop on the train if you need to because the playing time is not going anywhere.
- Taylor was featured in our Monday Batter’s Box, and his competitiveness as a fantasy OF is definitely legitimate at this point in the season. Not only has he had a great week (.429, 7 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 SB) but his overall profile is a strong one as well. He’s a .277 hitter in a great lineup and could be on pace to rack up 70 runs and 70 RBI if he stays the course. Fifteen or 20 steals wouldn’t hurt you either.
- Happ has been a low-ish average guy since his callup but the power is real. Ten homers in his first 143 at-bats have to be recognized for the achievement they represent. He has been a guy whose fantasy ownership has been skyrocketing. He has 22 runs and 23 RBI already.
- Reddick was in the rankings a couple of weeks ago and then went to the 7-day concussion DL, so we were being cautious with his status. He’s back in now that he’s a healthy asset. The .305 average and the 46 runs he has scored are the two things that most make him valuable.
- Moreland had slumped in mid-June but has since picked the pace back up. He mashed .368 this past week with four runs, three homers and four RBI. More than enough production to warrant re-inclusion in the Top 150.
- As referenced for the last two weeks, Pittsburgh OF Starling Marte is due back from his 80-game suspension for PED use in the middle of July. He offers considerable fantasy value over the second half of the 2017 season, given his top-20 positioning before the suspension took effect. Marte’s spot in the rankings is trickling upward over the next several weeks leading up to his reinstatement to the Pirates’ 25-man roster. I see him having roughly a ceiling of Top 50 right now because of the time constraints on what he can do ROS, but that could change and is a very difficult thing to calculate before we see how he performs starting next month. As the weeks tick by until Marte suits up for Pittsburgh once again, he’ll slowly be rising through the list to account for his prospective value in the latter part of the season.