Hitter List 8/28: 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=”35758″ include_stats=”1″]

 

Now onto the recaps:

  • Injuries: Jose Ramirez, David Peralta, Jesse Winker, and Carlos Correa hit the IL this past week. It seems as though Winker and Correa will return shortly, but Ramirez and Peralta are likely done for the year. Dansby Swanson, Jeff McNeil, and Avisail Garcia were activated from the IL.
  • Additions: Kolten Wong, Freddy Galvis, Jurickson Profar, Andrelton Simmons, Renato Nunez, Evan Longoria, and Avisail Garcia make their debuts/returns to the list this week.
  • On the mend: Byron Buxton and Adalberto Mondesi are rumored to be returning this week, so they get a healthy bump as a result. It’s worth noting that Mondesi has been advised not to slide headfirst for the rest of the season, which may impact his stolen bases output going forward. As a sidenote, Mitch Haniger had a setback during his rehab stint, and no longer has a timetable for return.
  • Wanna know something crazy? Human beings shed over 40 pounds of skin during their lifetimes. Wanna know something else that’s crazy? Jonathan Villar is currently tenth among all hitters on ESPN’s Player Rater. This is thanks in no small part to a five-homer week, and a 30-game stretch where Villar hit .364 with nine homers and 11 steals. The feat is made even more impressive by the fact that he’s done it while playing for the hapless Baltimore Orioles. It’ll be interesting to see where he’s taken in drafts next year, especially if/when he’s traded to a better offense.
  • Adam Eaton? More like Adam Crushin’, amirite? Eaton has been on an absolute tear for a month now, hitting .313 with five homers and six steals over his past 30 games. He’s been the 50th-best hitter in baseball this year according to ESPN’s Player Rater. It’s worth noting that his average launch angle has nearly doubled this season, sitting at 13.3 degrees compared to his 7.2 career average, which may explain why he’s hitting for a bit more power this year.
  • Yordan Alvarez apparently is human after all, as he hit just .273 over the past week with *gasp* only two home runs. Regression is probably inevitable, but August has been his best month of the season in terms of xBA (.332), xwOBA (.481), and barrel rate (22%), so I wouldn’t be too concerned that it’s coming anytime soon.
  • After disappointing stints in the majors and 2017 and 2018, people seem pretty slow to buy in on what Willie Calhoun is doing this year. He’s owned in just 37% of Yahoo leagues at the moment, which is shameful considering that he’s put up a .300 average with 10 (!) home runs over his last 30 games. Obviously that pace is unsustainable, but guys who can post 84% contact rates while generating hard contact 41% of the time are few and far between. If Calhoun is still available in your league, grab him.
  • Corey Dickerson has really been enjoying his time batting in the heart of the Phillies lineup. He drove in 12 runs this past week, and now has 22 RBI over his first 20 games with Philadelphia. With on-base machines Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper hitting in front of him, you can probably expect this production to continue, and Citizens Bank Park should bode well for his power output down the stretch as well.
  • The commonly held belief that Cuban hitters improve as the weather warms up will never die as long as Jose Abreu is around. During his career, he’s hit .281 in the first half and .308 in the second half. With a .343 average, six homers, and 26 RBI so far in August, Abreu seems committed to keeping that narrative alive.
  • I really thought 30 steals was going to be a given for Whit Merrifield this year, but right now it looks like even 20 isn’t a sure thing. On the plus side he’s shown that the mid-teens power isn’t a fluke, and he’s still helping quite a bit in runs and batting average. A strong September could get him up to 20/20, and I think that might be enough to help people forget about the fact that they primarily drafted him to shore up the stolen base category.
  • Part-time Oakland Athletics slugger, full-time vampire Mark Canha continues to be the hottest hitter in the game right now, blasting four homers over the past week while posting a blistering .448 average. The .241 xBA and .355 xwOBA indicate that he’s been getting real, real lucky this year, but there’s no shame in riding this out for as long as it lasts. And then, when he’s no longer of any use to you, disposing of him with a garlic-coated stake.

 

Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)

Jonathan Metzelaar

Jonathan Metzelaar is a writer, content manager, and podcaster with Pitcher List. 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 Wes says:

    Buying into the stats and hype, going to add Kingery and Calhoun, dumping Upton and Tony Disco after tonight’s start.

  • Avatar Mr. Skin says:

    Came for the hitting insight, stayed for the skin-shedding facts

  • Avatar sean says:

    You would drop Cain or Upton for Willie Calhoun?

    • Avatar Wes says:

      See above, I just dropped Upton for Calhoun. When the most attractive thing about a hitter is where he is hitting in the lineup and who is in front of him AND he still isn’t producing, then screw him.

  • Avatar LOLWUT says:

    Castellanos is still ranked way too low!

    • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Yeah, he’s been absolutely killing it lately. I do think a lot of guys in that 55-70 range have similar ceilings to Castellanos (JD Davis, Matt Chapman, etc.) so I could definitely see an argument for pushing him up another 10-15 spots.

  • Avatar Ryan says:

    That chirping sound around this column today?

    It’s crickets.

    People know there’s much better info out there.

    Just saying. Have a nice week!

    • Avatar PitcherList_SuperFan says:

      Remember that one time where you tried haggling the author over Eduardo Escobar then he completely fell off? Yeah… crickets homie

      • Avatar Ryan says:

        Moron or Staff Cronie: which fits better?

        Fri, Aug 30

        Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-5 with a three-run home run and two runs scored in Thursday’s win over the Dodgers.

        Advice: The only thing faster than Joe Kelly’s 100-mph delivery in the sixth inning was Escobar’s bat speed, as he was able to get around on the triple-digit heat and knock it into the pool area in right field at Chase Field. The home run was the 30th of the year for the 30-year-old, the first time he’s reached the 30-homer milestone. This season also marks his first 100-RBI campaign, as he’s now got 106 RBI and 82 runs scored in 131 games. He’ll have a number of personal bests under his belt by the time 2019 is over.
        (Rotoworld.com)

        • Avatar MikeHerz says:

          lol, this guy again

          i love that you can’t accept that most of the people who read this column a) don’t like you, and b) think you’re a moron. crazy idea–if you don’t agree with this list, just stop reading it. nobody wants to come here to listen to you cry like a baby about eduardo escobar.

  • Avatar BBHHI says:

    Sometimes I feel like these rankings rely too much on historical performance and not enough recognition of potential injury, etc is baked in. EG: I don’t know what’ s going on with Mookie, but he no longer deserves an automatic top 5-10 ranking. Just seems mildly out of sorts and I can’t explain why, IMHO.

    • Avatar Sam says:

      On the flip side, having Bryce at 51 behind guys like Yuli and Gio Urshela is ridiculous

      • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

        Is it though? Last 30 games:

        Harper: .237 AVG, 11 homers, 26 R, 24 RBI
        Yuli: .363 AVG, 8 homers, 18 R, 32 RBI
        Urshela: .408, 8 homers, 24 R, 21 RBI

        As the end of the season draws near, I think it’s necessary to bump guys’ values a bit more based on how well they’ve been performing lately, and you’d have a hard time convincing me that Yuli and Urshela haven’t been better fantasy assets than Harper over the past month+.

  • Avatar Brad R says:

    Where does Laureano rank when healthy? He’s not back but I assume the 10 spot move is in preparation.

    Any possibility of doing ROS SoS like Nick does for just specific teams?

    • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I think I’d have Laureano somewhere in the 40-50 range once he’s back and healthy–I’m a big fan.

      And man, I would love to do a strength-of-schedule breakdown, but compiling something like that for pitchers is incredibly difficult (hat tip to Nick for the work he put into that). And I would argue it’s even more difficult for hitters, because you have to predict which starting pitchers guys are going to draw down the stretch. Like, Pete Alonso facing the Nationals becomes a totally different matchup depending on if the three-game set draws Scherzer/Corbin/Strasburg or Corbin/Sanchez/Ross. Then you factor in lefty/righty matchups and the fact that teams tweak their rotations all the time with off days and the like and it becomes a real beast.

  • Avatar Chris says:

    Curious where Omar Narvaez is?

    • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Narvaez is having an awesome season, but his peripherals are pretty terrifying. .249 xBA, 28.4% Hard Hit, 5.5% barrel rate. Those are all well below-average, and he’s been slumping a bit the past few weeks, so I can’t really endorse him with confidence going forward.

  • Avatar Ryan says:

    Jonathan,

    I did a check on Fantasypros tonight of the overall hitter rankings. I found it humorous that Nick has Eduardo rated at 74, the same as you have, while the only other guy to update in the past couple days has him at the #44 overall best hitter.

    Just wondering, is Nick using your numbers or is Nick doing this for you? I hope it’s the former, because, no offense, and I understand your need to rally your troops around you anonymously, but no one should be using your numbers, man. Nick can win people their leagues in pitching. You are so “old” and “stubborn” and “myopic” that you will lose people their leagues in hitting.

    Fri, Aug 30

    Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-5 with a three-run home run and two runs scored in Thursday’s win over the Dodgers.

    Advice: The only thing faster than Joe Kelly’s 100-mph delivery in the sixth inning was Escobar’s bat speed, as he was able to get around on the triple-digit heat and knock it into the pool area in right field at Chase Field. The home run was the 30th of the year for the 30-year-old, the first time he’s reached the 30-homer milestone. This season also marks his first 100-RBI campaign, as he’s now got 106 RBI and 82 runs scored in 131 games. He’ll have a number of personal bests under his belt by the time 2019 is over.
    (Rotoworld.com)

    How’s Eduardo doing this week, btw? 1 off the MLB lead in RBIs, MLB leader in triples? Think he can score 100 runs and 120 RBIs and 35 Homers? How will that fare end of season? 93rd place? LOL

    I hope you continue to understand that I mean no offense. You’re just not remotely close to top 1/3 of experts who rank hitters.

    • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Escobar is hitting .194 over the past week and .194 over his last 30 games :(

      • Avatar Ryan says:

        Just dropping by. You didn’t answer my question, Jonathan. Was that Nick’s numbers or yours on FantasyPros? Update me when you get a chance on how he’s doing this week. Better yet, I’ll update you. You should probably enlist some more cronies to spam me next week…..because here’s your August-is-almost-over update on your 74th ranked hitter. At least I got you that far. But, seriously, let me know when you are ready to man-up. Since Sunday it’s 5 runs scored, 3 HR’s, 8 RBIs.

        Sorry, man, anyone that trusts your stuff is silly. How’s Vlad’s numbers doing, btw? ;-) Has he reached that tear that keeps him in your top 40 something?

        I know. I should just go away. But I tried to help you months ago, and you’re too silly with your metrics to see a freight train coming…..or leaving for that matter.

        Again, I urge you to put in your bullets that your an old man who is scared of rookies (Tatis Jr.) and also one who is scared of proven veterans having the best season of their careers. Add that to your resume and you have someone who has no business compiling this list.

        Sat, Aug 31

        Eduardo Escobar went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer to lead the Diamondbacks to a 5-4 victory over the Dodgers on Friday.

        Advice: Escobar socked a two-run tater — his 31st big fly of the season — off Dodgers’ starter Tony Gonsolin to put the Diamondbacks on the board in the sixth inning. He’s left the yard three times in his last five games. He also doubled and singled to record his 14th three-hit effort in 132 games this season. The 30-year-old third baseman has put together a remarkable campaign, hitting .270/.323/.531 with 83 runs scored, 31 homers, 108 RBI and five stolen bases in 585 plate appearances. He currently sits one RBI behind Braves’ slugger Freddie Freeman for the major-league lead with one month left in the regular season.
        (Rotoworld.com)

        • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

          Vlad Guerrero Jr. last 30 days:

          .341 average (30th best in baseball)
          .409 wOBA (41st best in baseball)
          159 wRC+ (40th best in baseball)

          :(

  • Avatar Ryan says:

    Care to post Vlad’s stats for the entire season to date? Or should I? When and where has there ever been any indication that he’ll finish the year doing anything other than what he’s done?

    Just checking in for an official end-of-August update on your 74th ranked hitter:

    Sat, Aug 31

    Eduardo Escobar homered for the third consecutive game to help power the Diamondbacks to a narrow victory over the division-rival Dodgers on Saturday.

    Advice: Escobar crushed a solo homer off Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen to extend the Diamondbacks’ lead to two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was his lone hit in four at-bats in this one. The 30-year-old third baseman has obliterated the entire Dodgers’ pitching staff in this series, leaving the yard in each of the first three games of the four-game set. He’s now tied with Freddie Freeman, Josh Bell and Anthony Rendon for the major-league lead with 109 RBI on the season. He’s hitting .270/.323/.535 with 84 runs scored, a career-high 32 home runs, 109 RBI and five stolen bases in 589 plate appearances.
    (Rotoworld.com)

    That’s now 6 runs scored, 4 HR’s and 9 RBI’s in the past 6 games.

    Again, no offense intended. I just call ’em like I see ’em, and I’ve been doing fantasy baseball for 19 years and see pretty well. If you’re still writing this column at the beginning of next year, something is way off in this organization.

    Vlad (rated 39) full year stats to date with one month remaining: Avg. 280 HR 15 RBI 59 SB 0

    Escobar (rated 74) full year stats to date with one month remaining: Avg. 270 HR 32 RBI 109 SB 5

    That’s total and complete incompetence.

    Did you ever answer whether those were Nick’s numbers or yours on FantasyPros? I didn’t find your response to that. They had Nick’s name to them, but was your exact placement.

    I’ll see ya Wednesday, man. I honestly tried to help you and your myopic ways and you know that. Metrics can only judge so much. Metrics can’t judge a determined human being with a new team who is determined and reinvigorated. Do you have a metric for reinvigoration?

    I kind of feel bad for the people you’ve misled with your tendency to value hype, name recognition and metrics while having zero feel for players that live outside those boxes.

    • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Vlad wasn’t called up until April 26, lol.

      Very amusing stuff, as always. Thanks for reading. See you next year :)

      • Avatar Ryan says:

        That’s exactly how a person who’s been owned responds, Jonathan. Thank you for that. Question still not answered: Was that Nick’s rankings or yours? Honestly, you should go out there and create your own name on FantasyPros and do it yourself….just so you can find out how bad you are. No offense.

        April 26? lol. Did you read in my previous posts from Rotoworld that Eduardo struggled for the first two weeks or more?

        Amusing? People who know what they’re doing know what you’ve provided this year, and have told you as such. Amateurs will follow you blindly, and I won’t let you screw their seasons with your sub-par crap. Trust that. I’m as dedicated as they come to what I love in life.

        Feel me ;-)

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