Hitter List 9/11: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters to Own ROS
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 functioning kneecaps on Christian Yelich. Meanwhile, home runs are an abundant resource that are becoming more prevalent, like baseball fans who can now correctly spell “Aristides.” 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.
Now onto the recaps:
- Injuries: Byron Buxton and Mike Tauchman hit the IL this week. Gio Urshela and Ramon Laureano were activated. Javier Baez and Christian Yelich have not officially hit the IL, but they are likely done for the season. Their fall off the list has resulted in automatic bumps for everyone below them.
- Additions: At this point in the season, picking up anyone and everyone who’s swinging a hot bat is a totally viable strategy, so Brett Gardner, Nick Solak, Rougned Odor, Kevin Newman, Matt Joyce, Nomar Mazara, Asdrubal Cabrera, Luis Urias, Josh Rojas, Josh Reddick, Starlin Castro, and Trent Grisham join the list this week.
- Even minor nagging injuries can crater a hitter’s value this late in the season, so that’s why you’re seeing drops from Mike Moustakas, Tommy Pham, Justin Turner, Ramon Laureano, and Yuli Gurriel, who are all still nursing various injuries at the moment. It’s also why Max Muncy remains fairly low on the list despite the fact that he’ll likely be activated next week.
- Corey Dickerson has been an RBI machine this year, especially since arriving in Philadelphia. He’s tallied 34 RBI in just 33 games with the Phillies, and over the past week he’s started tapping into his power as well, smacking three homers. He’s owned in just 41% of Yahoo leagues at the moment, but I think he’s a must-add if you’re looking to make a late-season offensive push.
- It seems appropriate that “Mets” is homophonous with “mess.” With Brandon Nimmo, Jed Lowrie, and Robinson Cano back in the fold, J.D. Davis found himself on the bench a few times this past week. Davis has been an elite hitter this year according to most Statcast metrics, posting a .305 xBA, .383 xwOBA, and 47.6% Hard Hit rate. But none of that is going to do your fantasy teams much good if he isn’t consistently making it into the lineup. With less than three weeks to go in the season, you may want to consider swapping Davis for somebody who will soak up regular at-bats if this turns into a situation where he’s only playing every other day.
- It is a basic rule of the fantasy baseball universe that only one Dozier is allowed to excel at any given moment, so now that Brian Dozier has fading into the ether, it’s Hunter Dozier‘s time to shine. After hitting getting off to a blazing hot start, Dozier hit a bit of a lull around midseason, but has quietly gone back to dominating over the past month. He’s hitting .319 with seven homers over his last 30 games, and is coming off a week where he hit. 462.
- Wil Myers, I wish I knew how to quit you. I’ve always been a Myers fan, and I even had him inside the top-50 at one point this season. That obviously never came to fruition, though his production has been something of an anomaly this year. Regardless, it’s nice to see him finishing so strong, as he’s hitting .301 with four homers and four steals over his last 30 games, and hit .522 with two homers and two steals this past week.
- Nick Solak has been a pleasant surprise since his call-up, batting .333 over 83 plate appearances with three homers and a steal. The 9.8% barrel rate is impressive, and Solak did manage to hit 27 homers in 115 games in the minors this year, so he’s not a bad guy to wring some production out of here in the final few weeks.
- Matt Olson is the ultimate tease. After setting absurd expectations at the end of 2017, when he hit 24 homers in just 59 games, Olson disappointed over a full season last year. Then he missed time with a hamate injury this season, and many of us started to move on. Well, with nine homers and a .325 average over his last 30 games, it’s probably time to hop back on the hype train. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes in drafts next year, as he clearly has the potential to hit 40+ homers over a full season.
- Next week: With the season winding down over the next two weeks, and most playoffs wrapping up at the end of next week, this will likely be the last iteration of this list in its current form. Next week I’ll be posting a way-too-early list of the top 150 hitters for 2020 just for giggles, and beyond that the dark, joyless void that is the offseason awaits.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)