Hitter List 8/21: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters to Own ROS

Jonathan Metzelaar shares his weekly ranking of who will be the top 150 hitters in baseball through the end of the 2019 season.

Hello and welcome to Hitter List, where every Wednesday I’ll be flawlessly ranking the top 150 hitters in baseball from now through the end of the season.

To truly hate something, you must first understand it, so here’s a general overview of how I go about evaluating players so you can be upset with these rankings more thoroughly:

  • Given that these rankings are taking place in a vacuum, I tend to value stolen bases more than home runs. The 5,585 homers hit in 2018 were the fourth-highest total in modern history. And the 2,474 stolen bases from last year were the lowest total since 1994 and the eighth-lowest total since 1969. In other words, stolen bases are a scarce resource getting even scarcer, like the New York Mets’ chances of making the playoffs. Meanwhile, home runs are an abundant resource that are becoming more prevalent, like baseball fans who can now correctly spell “Aristedes.” All else being equal, I’ll take the guy with 15 HR/20 SB over the guy with 20 HR/15 SB.
  • I’m generally not a believer in positional scarcity, so position eligibility only comes into play in two instances: as a tiebreaker when two players are fairly evenly matched, or if a player is eligible at catcher, because catcher is a barren wasteland this year filled with adrenaline-fueled maniacs playing guitar riffs while strapped to 18-wheelers. Wait, no, that’s Mad Max: Fury Road, but catcher is just as bleak and weird.
  • I’m an old man who’s afraid of change, so I tend to be low on young players without major league track records.
  • I lean on track record more than recent performance, unless I see a significant underlying change in approach.
  • These rankings apply only to leagues using standard scoring (R, RBI, HR, SB, AVG) and lean more towards rotisserie and H2H categories leagues. Adjust accordingly for other formats.
  • These rankings are meant to be from today’s date through the end of the season. These are purely for redraft, so I’m not taking 2020 into account here at all.
  • A player’s movement in the rankings can be just as much about where guys around them have moved as anything else. A player might move down purely as a result of someone below them rising, and vice versa.

 

[hitter_list_2019 list_id=”35395″ include_stats=”1″]

 

Now onto the recaps:

  • Injuries: Domingo Santana, Nomar Mazara, Ender Inciarte, Fernando Tatis Jr., Avisail Garcia, and Jeff McNeil got bad boo-boos this week. Nelson Cruz‘s mommy kissed his boo-boo and now he’s all better.
  • Additions: A wild Nick Ahmed, Mike Yastrzemski, Wilmer Flores, Mark Canha, James McCann, and Kevin Pillar have appeared! Now that we’re just about a month away from the end of the year, you can expect guys on hot streaks to receive more significant bumps each week, and names that I wouldn’t ordinarily have included here to make their appearances.
  • On the mend: With Adalberto Mondesi, Mitch Haniger, and Luke Voit seemingly just a week or two away from their returns, they’ve jumped a bit higher in the rankings.
  • Oh my lord is Rafael Devers good. He hit .516 this past week with three homers, and just refuses to cool down even in the slightest. I had concerns earlier in the year about the high groundball rates and low average launch angle, but it seems he’s taken the 2018 Christian Yelich approach of overcoming those issues by absolutely murdering every baseball he sees. His average exit velocity this year is in the top 3% in baseball, and it’s scary to think that he could potentially hit 35-40 homers in a given season if he just elevated the ball a bit more. Regardless, he’s elite.
  • I’ve faded Miguel Sano all year on account of his horrendous contact ability and high strikeout rates, but he’s been on a roll for the past month and, like the aforementioned Devers, is elite at producing hard contact. In fact, he’s currently eighth in baseball in barrels per plate appearance, and in the top 1% of the league in hard contact. If you’re not trying to make up ground in batting average rest-of-season, Sano is one of the better options out there for power and counting stats right now.
  • It’s been an up-and-down year for Eloy Jimenez, but things seem to finally be starting to trend up for the talented rookie. His barrel rate in August has shot up to 15%, and the past week has seen him hit three homers with a .276 average and a much-improved strikeout rate. If any early owners of Jimenez have cut bait out of frustration, now might not be a bad time to swoop in and see if he can finish the year strong. Even with his struggles, his current home run output would prorate to nearly 40 homers over a full season.
  • Carlos Correa seems destined for the IL after straining his back this past week. Remember, back issues are what derailed him last season, so this injury is particularly concerning for his rest-of-season prospects. I’ve dropped him quite a bit this week, and if an IL stint is deemed necessary he’ll likely drop significantly further next time around.
  • A change of scenery really can work wonders–just look at what Nick Castellanos has been up to since joining the Cubs. In 79 plate appearances since getting to Chicago, Castellanos has hit .365 with seven homers. It’s a small sample size, but his line drive rate has gotten back to the elite level it was at last year, which is encouraging if you’re looking to get a boost from him in batting average down the stretch.
  • Mike Yastrzemski has done a great job of elevating well-struck baseballs this year, leading to several occasions where he has circled the bases completely, without any assistance from his teammates. In other words, he real good at hitting home runs. Considering how much hard contact he makes (41%), the fact that his contact rates are slightly above average is really impressive, and makes me think he can continue to outperform his .250 xBA. I see a 30-homer bat with a decent average here, and am buying in on what he’s done so far this year.
  • One of my bold predictions in the preseason was that Wilmer Flores would hit .280 with 20 homers this year, so I guess you could say I knew this recent hot streak from him was coming. He’s hit .545 over the past week with four homers, and has lifted his average for the year up to .307. It seems as though he’ll get fairly regular playing time at second base going forward, with Ketel Marte shifting to the outfield, and he’s always been incredible at making contact. In really deep leagues, he may we worth a speculative add.

 

Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)

Jonathan Metzelaar

Jonathan Metzelaar is a writer and content manager with Pitcher List, and co-host of the On the Barrel podcast. He enjoys long walks on the beach, quiet dinners by candlelight, and essentially any other activity that will distract him from the perpetual torture of being a New York Mets fan. He's written for Fangraphs Community Research and created Youtube videos about fantasy baseball under the moniker "Jonny Baseball."

  • Avatar Ryan says:

    Let’s keep Vlad Jr. up there solely on the hype train, even though his most impressive feat this season was in the derby when it didn’t count.

    +9 for Eduardo Escobar is still silly at best. He recorded his 100th RBI last night and is 2nd in the entire league, which either means you closed your eyes to him and did the readers of this column a disservice while he mashed, or stuck to your guns and have been waiting for his fall off the cliff, which has never happened. Epic failure and a disservice to people trying to win a league.

    By the way, I own Vlad. He’s been a disappointment all season, and you having him valued that high means you continue to pray to god that he produces and epic finish so you can save face. Otherwise, he’s the greatest hype train of all time that didn’t live up to it.

    The only question that remains is whether Escobar has 115,120 or 125 RBIs with 35 games remaining in the season. Never mind that he has the chance to score 100 runs and hit 35 homers.

    Sorry. Again…..there are much better options available for you to get your rankings from if you want to win your league.

    No offense intended and have a nice rest of your week.

    • Avatar Not Ryan says:

      Wtf are you talking about? Vlad is slashing .328/.396/.560 since the all-star break.

    • Avatar Not Ryan says:

      And .356/.429/.655 in his last 30 games

    • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Eduardo Escobar monthly splits:

      March/April: 134 wRC+, .383 wOBA
      May: 124 wRC+, 368 wOBA
      June: 111 wRC+, .347 wOBA
      July: 87 wRC+, .311 wOBA
      August: 86 wRC+, .310 wOBA

      Escobar has gotten worse every single month of the season, and has been a below-average hitter for two months now. He’s hitting .213 in the second half. He gets a bump because he’s miraculously kept his home run and RBI production going, but based on the peripherals that’s an aberration. Given that these are rest-of-season rankings–something I’ve stressed repeatedly–I see no reason for him to be higher than where he is.

      I’m not arguing that Escobar hasn’t been a fantastic fantasy asset this year, much better than where he’s currently ranked. But, again, there’s nothing behind his production that indicates to me that this season has been anything more than a fluke, and he’s been getting worse all year.

  • Avatar Sir, This is an Arby's... says:

    Ryan has one take and its Escobar’s RBIs, Guess who has more RBI’s (in 20 fewer ABs) than Escobar over the past 30 days….

    Lets hope Ryan doesn’t have kids or a S/O that have to listen to him ramble about a Jon’s list every week.

  • Avatar JG says:

    Well done, Jon. Did not mean to be disrespectful towards last week’s rankings, you’re right, we shouldn’t be hurting each others’ feelings over fantasy baseball (as much as I love it). Keep on keepin’ on. Agree much more with these updated rankings aside from Braun (Sure you have your reasons). Love the Sano move, underlying/advanced stats/numbers are stupid. Walking back my comments, this column is very useful folks.

    • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Thanks JG, I really appreciate you saying that. It means a lot.

      Look, it would be insane for me to believe that I’ve been perfect with these rankings all season. I’ve been slow to react on some hot/cold performances. I’ve talked up some players that never panned out. I’ve faded some guys prematurely. It comes with the territory–any time you try to rank 150 players, you’re going to make some good calls, and you’re going to make some bad ones.

      I really just wanted to make it clear that this is something I take seriously, and that I devote a lot of time to each week. There are ALWAYS going to be players we disagree on. And when that happens, I’m always open to having a discussion about them. That’s the fun of this, I think, for all of us, readers and writers alike. We love watching the sport, and we love talking about it, and we love learning new things. I’ve learned a lot this year from the criticisms I’ve received, and I hope readers like you will continue to let me know when you think I’m wrong–as long as it’s civil :)

      Thanks again for the kind words, and for reading.

  • Avatar JG says:

    Anytime. Keep on keepin’ on & living my dream! Interested in your personal opinion on who to play at 2B for next week. Hopefully Mondesi is back, but if not, for a 6×6 (includes XBH, no AVG & OPS instead) would you rather hold on to the hot hand of Galvis or take a shot on Murphy heating up at Coors?

  • Avatar Jonathan says:

    I think I might lean Galvis in that format. At this point in the season you’re probably better off cycling through guys on hot streaks than hoping for a turnaround from someone like Murph.

  • Avatar Ryan says:

    LOL. Again, I know the drill. You get your cronies to chime in when your abilities are suspect at best.

    Here’s the thing, Jonathan: The few people who have sided with you? It’s been clear that it’s hurt your feelings. If they aren’t family/friends/staff—they’re still hiding, right? lol

    When did you start this column, Jonathan? How many of Escobar’s 100 RBI’s did you have him ranked below 100 before you decided to move him up?

    Did you notice this week that your column was a ghost town for the first time until cronies stepped in?

    Like I always was told…..the world needs ditch diggers as well. I’m just pointing out one, nothing more and no offense. There are a ton of better options out there to find where to buy and sell your hitters.

    Sun, Aug 25

    Eduardo Escobar hit his 29th homer of the season in a win over the Brewers on Sunday.

    Advice: Escobar extended Arizona’s lead to 4-0 with his 29th homer of the season; a solo shot off of Zack Davies. It also gives him 101 RBI on the year, and he’s slashing .266/.320/.531 in his first full season in a Diamondbacks’ uniform. Escobar got off to a relatively slow start over the first two weeks of the campaign, but he’s been one of the best — and most underrated — third baseman in baseball since.
    (Rotoworld.com)

    • Avatar Ryan says:

      Sorry, I, meant the few people who have sided “against you”.

      And you can trust that I didn’t enlist them.

      Vlad in the 40s? lol. You’ve had him there all season. How’s that worked out?

      Dude, I’ve got staying power like you can’t understand. I care greatly and am stubborn as hell, and believe strongly that I know what I know. So if you keep employing this tactic, trust that I”ll continue to make sure others know that there’s 100 better options to find your hitter information from.

      Have a great Monday.

      How about you?

      #SinkingShip

      • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

        Haha, I’m flattered that you think I have the power to command others to do my bidding for me. I’ve noticed this “cronies/relative” narrative is one you turn to when you’re having trouble accepting that other readers don’t agree with you at all, and I hope it at least helps you feel a little better.

        As for the future of this list, I’ve already been asked to return next year–sorry, I know that must be crushing for you to hear, haha. That said, I am looking forward to more weekly Escobar updates (now hitting .190 over his last 30 games!), so please do keep them coming.

        I hope you find the help you need, bud, I really do. And thanks for being my most loyal reader all year :)

        • Avatar Scott Chu says:

          Can confirm – I am one of Jon’s cronies and he has not asked for my assistance. Those other folks are doin’ it for free.

  • Avatar Ryan says:

    And looking forward to Wednesday!

  • Account / Login
    >