[hitter_list list_id=”24179″ 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.
We’re officially in the back half of the season, which means that adjustments to the List will be more aggressive than they’ve been previously. In particular, injuries will take on added importance as even a minimum DL stint will cost a player a decent chunk of their remaining games. Rest assured that any rankings you vehemently disagree with were explicitly an attempt to insult you and/or your favorite player(s) personally. Seriously, before you work yourself into a rage in the comment section, understand that this is only one person’s opinion. I’m wrong a lot! Comes with the territory of doing this sort of thing.
On to the highlights!
- A bunch of trades happened since last week, because yesterday was the non-waiver deadline and MLB general managers are notorious procrastinators. Wilson Ramos probably loses some value since he won’t play as often without the luxury of being able to DH. Ian Kinsler, Mike Moustakas, Jonathan Schoop and Brian Dozier get slight boosts by virtue of landing with much better teams, which should help their counting stats. While he’s not currently on the List, I’ll be interested to see if a change of scenery/consistent playing time do anything for Jonathan Villar.
- Injury roundup: This was a rough week. Lourdes Gurriel would have made his debut on the List, but he suffered ankle and knee sprains on an awkward slide. The Jays have announced that he’ll miss between two and six weeks, which at this juncture of the season is sort of like when the cable company says they’ll send out a tech between 8:00 and 3:00. Gurriel had collected multiple hits in a whopping 11 straight games. Not long after making his List debut, Jesse Winker‘s season is over. His injured shoulder required surgery, which isn’t great for a guy who already had fringy power. Corey Dickerson strained his hamstring but should be back when first eligible on Saturday. Rafael Devers is in the same boat, though his return will be further away since his injury happened more recently. (Come for the rankings, stay for the hard-hitting analysis!) Finally, not one but two of the top six hitters on the List hit the other, less fun list (i.e., the disabled): Aaron Judge suffered a chip fracture in his wrist that will sideline him well into August, while Jose Altuve‘s sore knee lands him on the DL for the first time in his career. It’s expected to be a minimum stint, at least. If I may be so bold, banning injuries should probably be Rob Manfred’s top priority for the 2019 season. Never mind pitch clocks, commish.
- New to or back on the List this week: Kinsler, Ketel Marte, and Nick Williams.
It seems kind of crazy to write, but I think Baez should be higher. 30 HR/20 SB and an average close to .300 looks kind of likely. Not to mention a ton of RBI and XBH, which gets completely overlooked these days. The walks stink, but that either matters or it doesn’t.
Nimmo in the top 150 looks a bit like a stretch. His current pace looks like .250 AVG, 20 HR, 10 SB which… you are hurting if you are starting unless BB count for something. The scary thing is how that pace is inflated off of his heater a while back – it very well could be less than that. Current Nimmo looks a lot like 2017 Nimmo – food for thought.
Bellinger has been terrible for a while now and is settling into the bottom of that lineup.. not good for him – I could see a 2017 playoff-like spiral in his future. It won’t be that bad because the quality of arms won’t be there, but almost all of his hits have been bloops the other way and infield hits which isn’t why you own Bellinger – his last HR was a month ago. So much of his value comes from the lineup spot that he enjoyed for a long time. Put another way, he has outscored Matt Kemp in my league despite inferior production across the board and that is over. Not to say that Kemp won’t fall apart (currently on an 0-20 bender), but the RBI, R and BB are going to dry up.
I would rather have Maikel Franco than many of these guys right now. He has burned literally everyone over the past 4 years at some point, but a Franco heater is worth owning. He is still the talented guy that so many people have gone all-in on at previous points in his 25 y/o career. I feel like people hate him because he was a saber posterboy with the hard contact and lack of Ks and pundits really got burned by him and in the process worked really hard to build a case why we sucks. He has alienated most of the people that could create a case for his stardom – he has something in common with Matt Kemp in that regard. Try not to forget that he is young and was never demoted – he was just thrown to the wolves when he struggled… I don’t know another player who has been developed like that. He is my Javy Baez candidate – by that I mean if he ever gets moved up in the order above the clearly inferior bats he could blossom. Hitting late in the lineup is the worst thing a team can do for a player allergic to walks like Franco. Thant won’t happen because Kapler doesn’t like him, but its worth long-term consideration. Kapler has tried to give away Franco’s job and hit him as low as possibly justifiable all year long, but at some point he may force himself into the heart of the order. He hit .330 in July.
I know this has to be really hard and I don’t envy the task but those are a few that stood out to me where I have some insight. Of the three, I know the least of Nimmo but I think I know overhype when I see it. He seems a lot like the player that he has been since he was drafted, which looks better on paper than IRL. Fangraphs certainly planted their flag in him at several points. I get that making massive weekly corrections would lead to a ton of chaos, hence the smaller ones. I greatly appreciate your work. You get the weekly flack, but anyone would! Its one thing to call out corrections, but it is another to write a list from scratch. I really appreciate that I get to see one other person’s weekly list.
I come to pitcherlist for the articles mostly, but also for TheKraken. Excellent analysis once again. Baez has been a monster.
I mean, top 20 is nothing to sneeze at RE: Baez, especially given where he opened the season on the List. Pretty much everybody ahead of him is killing it and/or has a longer track record of success. But I hear you.
Fair point on Nimmo as well, but I’m expecting Bellinger to come back around.
Always appreciate feedback when it includes a thoughtful argument. Thanks for reading each week and taking the time to respond.
I like that you bring up M Franco here. To me it is unbelievable that he has only landed on this list between 132-140. When he was recently dropped in my H2H league, I jumped at the claim. He was rewarded nicely those that have either held onto him, or wisely used their claim to add him. Devers, for example, has been seen in a very favorable light despite having cold streaks this year making him practically unusable in most formats. Now he has the injury question. Yet he is still a few tiers above Franco at #99. They could flip ranks and not many would bat at eye or question it. I know the ranks are compressed after the first 40 or so, but this is an example of a guy that needs to get more respect universally; ranks, ownership, write-ups.
As a Phillies fan who has been overly optimistic about Franco in the past, I’m probably overcompensating a bit. I want to believe, but it’s not easy to forget how often he’s let me down…
You had Sano at #79 before the demotion. Waiting for a larger sample size before re-evaluating, or is he no longer Top 150 for the rest of the season?
He was too high before the demotion in retrospect and yeah, I do want to see how he looks before he reclaims a spot.
When does Cano enter the list and where do you assume he’d fit in it??
Great job as always Kyle!!
Next week or the following, probably somewhere in the 75-100 range.
Looking forward to 8/1-8/8.
RE: Bellinger (7/25-8/1), remember Lorenzo Cain jumped about 20 feet in the air to rob Bellinger in center, the ball was 398 ft from the dish. Regardless, let’s get through the ugly stuff first. Bellinger managed only 2 hits through 28 PA’s. Both hits were singles and (even worse) one was an infield single. However, he reached via BB six times and managed to swipe one bag. We all know, when Bellinger’s in a slump, he strikes out like it’s his job. Through those 28 PA’s he K’d eight times. He’s had worse but still.
Bellinger’s season on the whole has been disappointing. I know because he was one of my 3 keepers I was allowed to keep this year. I expected regression of course, you’d be foolish not to, however, Belly’s ability to counterpunch MLB’s attack on his inner-half has taken much longer than expected. All of that in mind, I still believe he’ll come around before season’s end. Here’s why…
Thus far, from 8/1-8/7, Bellinger’s at a .353/.500/.588 clip. He put 14 balls into play throughout 22 PA’s. Of those 14 batted balls, 9 were either line-drives or hits harder than 95mph (designated by Baseball Savant as: “Hard Hits”). Further, of the 14 BIP, exactly zero were infield pop-ups (he did have one “pop-up,” but it went 240 feet from home) and zero were infield base hits. In other words, he’s striking the ball w/ authority. This leads to my next stat: from August 1st-7th, Bellinger’s BB% was 22% and his strikeout-rate was 13.6%. I know it’s only a week’s sample (and I’m new to this site) but a small sample size is one of the requisite parameters of this list correct? Weekly ROS projections?
When a power-hitting 1B has a walk-rate higher than his K-rate (and isn’t either Joey Votto or Freddie Freeman) that is a good thing. By no means am I comparing Cody Bellinger to either of those 1st basemen. That’s ridiculous. However, I am saying that eventually Belly will figure out how to counterpunch NL’s pitching. It’s inevitable. He’s far too talented, young, and surrounded by supremely smart, tested, and proven teammates w/ coaches and corporate brass who are patient enough to leave Turner Ward to his job and Bellinger to his. Eventually (and I think it’s very close) the revelation will take place.
In fact, suffice to say that his weakest quadrants are on the inner-half (neck-high to ankle-high, quadrants 3-6-9), he may be making progress. Toward the end of last season and especially into the World Series, opposing teams started throwing breaking stuff in on Bellinger. Of course we all know that it didn’t take long before Bellinger’s ‘Achilles-heal’ grew to be glaringly obvious. Lance McCullers, I’m looking at you. Since then, pitchers who can locate in on lefties have owned Cody Bellinger. For a long time, Belly couldn’t even make contact w/ any breaking ball in, whether up, down, it didn’t matter. Fast-forward to present and although he hasn’t forced pitchers to try something new, he’s at the very least, making contact. In fact the grand-slam he ripped down the right-field line and banged off the foul-pole? That was a slider, in, and low, via J Chacin. Even though it was mere inches from being nothing but a loud foul ball, it wasn’t. In comparison to the Cody Bellinger of last year (especially in the W.S.) this HR is a vast improvement.
I’m not saying that; due to that one grand-slam Bellinger is cured for all-time. Quite the contrary, forget about the immediate quadrants 3-6-9. Unless you’re Justin Verlander on a good day, most MLB pitchers don’t have that quality of control to hit 3 quadrants and 3 quadrants alone on every pitch. Sliders don’t always slide, curves don’t always curve (etc.). Because pitchers are human, this’ll help Bellinger get a few extra 2-base hits, or HR’s while he continuously works on that gaping hole in his swing. He turned on that slider down and in vs. Chacin for a granny, who’s to say that won’t happen again?