Hello there, and welcome to this season’s final edition of Hitter List, where every week throughout the season I’ve been flawlessly ranking the top 150 hitters in baseball.
With just a handful of games left, and playoffs now underway in H2H formats, you’re really going to want to identify and grab the hottest bats available. This has probably been the case for at least a week at this point, but now is really the time to pull the trigger on that Christian Yelich for DJ Stewart swap that you didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to pull off earlier. With that in mind, this week’s rankings are really just a glorified leaderboard from the past week, highlighting some of the hottest hitters in baseball right now–and a couple of guys with enough underlying talent to keep crossing your fingers for.
I should note that one edge you can grab here in the waning days of the 2020 season comes in the form of the discrepancy in the number of games that each team has left to play. Keep in mind, with games lasting only seven innings during doubleheaders, and no guarantee that particular hitters will start both games, grabbing players on teams with more games left isn’t a slam dunk way of securing additional at-bats. But in leagues that will literally come down to a handful of counting stats, even the slightest edge can be a difference-maker. With that said, here is how many games each team has remaining after today:
|Phillies, Pirates, Giants, Rockies, Tigers, Blue Jays||12|
|Orioles, White Sox, Brewers, Mets, Rangers, Mariners, Astros, Indians, Yankees, Rays||11|
|Diamondbacks, A’s, Braves, Dodgers, Cubs, Angels, Royals||10|
|Red Sox, Twins, Reds, Padres||9|
Hitter List Notes
- Injuries/Illnesses/Demotions: Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, Justin Turner, Jose Altuve, Max Kepler, Nick Senzel, David Fletcher, and Ozzie Albies all made their way back to our loving arms this week. Jonathan Schoop, Rhys Hoskins, Matt Chapman, Luis Arraez, Jon Berti, Howie Kendrick, and Shin-Soo Choo were all cast into the etern-IL abyss.
- Quick note: the tiers are quite large this week. Let’s be honest, over the course of 10+ games literally anyone can outperform anyone, so the range of possible outcomes widens. Still, there are certain groupings I’d prefer over others.
- We touched on Jeimer Candelario last week, but man has this guy been money lately. He’s now hitting .404 over his last 52 at-bats while striking out less than 20% of the time. If he could lift the ball in the air a bit more, he could take advantage of that juicy 47.1% Hard Hit rate and really take that next step towards being a future star. But it’s hard to really complain at the moment. If the changes he’s made this year stick in 2021, he could be a huge value on draft day.
- As expected, the hottest hitter in baseball over the past week has been… Jared Walsh? With five homers and 14 RBI in his last 30 at-bats, he’s been scorching hot, and is a must-add in all formats for these final few weeks. He hit 36 homers with a .325 average last year in the minors in just 98 games, so there’s a chance some of this is legit.
- Though he’s been hitless over his last two games, Adalberto Mondesi has been stuffing the stat sheet lately, with four homers and 8 steals over his last 15 games. Of course, that production came with a .218 average during that span. Mondesi’s profile is scary, because even when things are going well the way they have been for the last few weeks, his production could drop off a cliff at literally any time. If you need speed, you have to keep him rostered, but keep tabs on the next few games to see if he’s entering another protracted.
- Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton broke their backs. Oops, sorry, they are back. Easy mistake. Both were having solid seasons before they went down, and Judge in particular looked to be in peak form. I’m going to assume they’re healthy and uninhibited over these next 1-2 weeks because I like to live dangerously.
- Ah, what better way to end the year than to talk about Josh Bell. Again. For like the 15th time this year. I was a big fan coming into the year, he disappointed heavily, messed around with his swing like a mad scientist, and now is possibly back to being good? It’s a .300 average with three homers over his last 50 at-bats, and I think you’ve gotta roll the dice here, as he’s capable of putting up some monster numbers if he catches fire the way he did in the first half of last year.
- I know. Austin Meadows is terrible. So is J.D. Martinez. And Max Muncy. And a whole host of other players I haven’t outright dropped from the list. Here’s the thing though–anything can change in an instant, and these guys have demonstrated the ability to perform at an elite level as recently as last season. Sometimes you just have to go down with the ship on certain players with the hope that they come alive right when all hope is lost. At this point it’s highly unlikely, but would a five-homer week from a Muncy or a Martinez truly shock you?
- I don’t think, coming into the season, anyone expected the Tigers and Orioles to have fun offenses. But that’s kinda been the case this year. In Baltimore there’s DJ Stewart, of course, who has hit seven homers over his last 15 games with a .310 average. Then you have Ryan Mountcastle, who is hitting .350 with five homers since he debuted and hasn’t slowed down even a little the past few weeks. Detroit has the aforementioned Candelario, along with hot-hitting Willi Castro who now has his average up to .352, and Victor Reyes who has cooled a bit but looks like a serious 10 HR/25 SB threat. It’s been a fun year for “bad” teams. Except the Mets. The Mets are always the exception.
- Some Cardinals’ hitters get a little extra boost simply on account of how many games they have left to play. Brad Miller has cooled off, but guys like Matt Carpenter and Tommy Edman have been good lately, and a few extra at-bats could be useful down the stretch.
Well, that does it for this year. Thanks to everyone for reading–I hope it was helpful in some way, and best of luck this season and next.
Graphic by JR Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter)