Hitter List 9/9: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters for 2020

Ranking the top 150 hitters in baseball every week throughout 2020.

Hello there, and welcome to Hitter List, where every week throughout the season I’ll be flawlessly ranking the top 150 hitters in baseball.

With about two-and-a-half weeks left in the season, you can throw a lot of your philosophies and feelings about players out the window and try to hone in on guys who are swinging a hot bat. That’s easier said than done, of course. And track record does come into play in some cases–it can be hard to cut bait with a J.D. Martinez knowing what he’s capable of if he starts to get into a groove over the next few weeks. But I’d recommend really trying to get ruthless with your roster decisions right about now.

It’s also not a bad idea to start looking ahead at projected matchups for hitters. There are a couple of writers who have made painstaking and admirable efforts to do just that. One that I personally stumbled upon and found useful can be found in this Twitter thread (shoutout to @RunDMcD for his work). Obviously predicting hitter performances is difficult work, but in leagues that are going to come down to the wire, every little edge can help.

 

Hitter List Notes

 

 

  • Franmil Reyes refuses to cool down. He hit .400 over the past week, continuing a month of hot hitting that has seen his overall line rise to .313/.377/.527 with eight homers. When you dig around in the numbers, nothing much seems to have changed from last year. He’s striking out a bit less but is still doing most of his damage against fastballs, and the expected stats don’t paint the picture of a slugger who has figured out how to attack other pitch types. He’s also hitting the ball on the ground more than half the time, which may explain why the home run total is slightly lower than you might expect at this point from a guy with 40+ home run power. I know, it’s a lot of knocks for a guy ranked as highly as he is this week. The good news his, his xAVG, xSLG, and xwOBA all line up with their corresponding surface stats, and at this point in the year it’s all about riding the hot hand. Continue to start Reyes with confidence — just don’t bank on this being the new normal heading into 2021.

 

  • It’s been a bit of a lost year for Ketel Marte. The plate discipline disappeared, and he’s not pulling the ball at ideal launch angles the way he was last season, which has caused a precipitous drop in his barrel rate. He’s still hitting for a high average and is a master at avoiding the strikeout. But this is looking very much like the rookie version of Marte, who was pegged as more of a contact-oriented hitter who didn’t have anything close to the pop he flashed during his 2019 breakout. It’s becoming hard not to think that last year might have been an aberration.

 

  • Whit Merrifield has been scuffling hard the last few weeks, hitting just .169 over his last 15 games with one stolen base and no home runs. The counting stats all still look solid thanks to the hot start he had to the year, but he’s looking a bit lost right now. If you’re in need of steals, you may want to consider (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) Adalberto Mondesi, who has quietly hit .280 over the past week with a homer and four stolen bases. I’m not even going to pretend to know how exactly Mondesi makes his dreadful peripherals work for him during his hot streaks, but if this is in fact the start of a hot stretch for Mondesi, you’re going to want to get him on your roster. As bad as he’s been, he has the tools to be a big difference-maker down the stretch.

 

  • The great thing about streaky hitters like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is that they can give you weeks of elite production and then, when things start to tail off, you can comfortably cut bait with them in shallower formats. That cooldown period hasn’t shown up yet this year though, as Gurriel is hitting .444 over the past week and .312 over his last 30 games. Like his brother, he’s a bit of a free-swinger that has been making it work thanks to good contact rates both inside and outside the zone. In a full season his power is probably in the 25 home run range, with double-digit speed and a solid average, though getting there will likely be a bit of a roller coaster ride.

 

  • It doesn’t seem like Dylan Moore missed a beat after spending time on the IL the past few weeks, as he has three stolen bases, a home run, and four RBI in his four games since rejoining the Mariners. Hard contact, a prodigious line drive rate, good speed, and an incredibly aggressive approach on the basepaths? Yes, please, I’d like some Moore. He’s definitely been getting some recognition this year, but I’m absolutely looking to him as a potential sleeper in 2021.

 

  • I’ll be honest: I’ve never been a fan of Rhys Hoskins‘ passive, fly ball-heavy approach. In the past he just hasn’t hit the ball hard enough to really make it work long-term, and between the called strikeouts and the ineffectual fly balls and pop-ups, he gave away a lot of at-bats. However, there’s no denying he’s been hitting really well over the past month, and the encouraging thing is that he finally seems to be putting some oomph behind his swings. The pop-ups are still an issue, and I don’t think the batting average will ever be more than mediocre unless he becomes more aggressive, but at the very least he’s making more of those fly balls count. Let’s hope he can finish the year strong.

 

  • It would appear that Andrés Giménez has usurped the Mets’ shortstop gig from Amed Rosario. Giménez is not only a superior defender, but appears to be a more polished hitter as well, hitting .421 over the past week and .309 over his last 81 at-bats. Giménez is a must-add if you’re starved for speed, as he’s managed to swipe seven bags despite very limited playing time to this point, and he should see a big uptick in opportunities in the near future.

 

  • The torrid runs of Robinson Canó, Randall Grichuk, and Kyle Lewis have been losing steam over the past week. I’m not ready to pronounce any of them done based on such a small lull, and Grichuk and Canó have some encouraging peripherals, but consider abandoning ship in redrafts if their cold spells linger much longer.

 

  • The Tigers are a surprisingly fun offense. Victor Reyes, Willi Castro, and Jeimer Candelario are all absolutely on fire right now. Candelario is taking more of an all-fields approach so far this season while hitting more line drives and making A LOT more hard contact. I think that makes his .319 average fairly legit, but considering the lack of fly balls so far, the power might be a bit capped. Castro is sporting a high ground ball rate, an inflated BABIP, and poor plate discipline, so I’m not sure this will work long-term for him, but there’s no harm in enjoying his production while it lasts. Reyes, meanwhile, is looking very legit, adapting an approach that I think fits his speedy skill set really well and should set him up for a 10 HR/20 SB baseline level of production in future years.

 

  • Rowdy Tellez came here to smack baseballs and chew bubble gum; and he’s all out of bubble gum. Tellez has been a one-man wrecking crew over the past month, smacking seven home runs and hitting .305 over his last 30 games. He’s somehow managed to cut his strikeout rate nearly in half this year, as it’s down to just 15.7%, and he’s pairing that elite contact ability with incredibly hard contact. Though he isn’t elevating the ball enough to really tap into his ostensibly high-end power, he’s doing just about everything else right and it’s hard not to buy into this. If the strikeout rate gains stick next year, and he begins elevating the ball a bit more, watch out.

 

RankPitcherPositionChange
1Fernando Tatis Jr.T1SS-
2Mike TroutOF-
3Mookie BettsOF-
4Trevor StorySS-
5Juan SotoOF-
6Ronald AcunaOF-
7Francisco LindorSS+1
8Nelson CruzDH+1
9Trea TurnerSS+3
10Jose Ramirez
T2
3B
-
11Freddie Freeman1B-
12Xander BogaertsSS+1
13Anthony Rendon3B+2
14Jose Abreu1B, DH+4
15Marcell OzunaOF+5
16Cody Bellinger1B, OF-9
17Christian YelichOF-3
18Charlie BlackmonOF-2
19Nolan Arenado3B-
20Eloy JimenezOF, DH+1
21Luis RobertOF+1
22Bryce HarperOF-5
23Manny Machado3B, SS-
24Starling MarteOF-
25Tim AndersonSS+3
26Alex Bregman3B, SS+UR
27Corey Seager
T3
SS
+2
28Rafael Devers3B-2
29Josh Donaldson3B+UR
30Franmil ReyesOF, DH+7
31Keston Hiura2B+4
32Jesse WinkerOF-1
33Paul Goldschmidt1B-8
34Dansby SwansonSS+6
35Cavan Biggio2B, OF+6
36Luke Voit1B, DH+6
37Michael ConfortoOF+7
38Pete Alonso1B+26
39DJ LeMahieu1B, 2B, 3B+9
40Kyle TuckerOF+9
41George SpringerOF+16
42Trent GrishamOF+8
43J. T. Realmuto
T4
C
-10
44Nick CastellanosOF-14
45Ian HappOF+11
46Eugenio Suarez3B+13
47J. D. MartinezDH-4
48Dominic Smith1B, OF+13
49Mike YastrzemskiOF+18
50Wil MyersOF+2
51J.D. Davis3B, OF+17
52Carlos CorreaSS+10
53Jeff McNeil2B, 3B, OF+28
54Yoan Moncada3B-18
55Austin MeadowsOF, DH-23
56Michael Brantley
T5
OF
+22
57Lourdes Gurriel2B, OF+31
58Ketel Marte2B, OF-24
59Anthony Rizzo1B-14
60Javier BaezSS-7
61Whit Merrifield2B, OF-34
62Jake Cronenworth1B, 2B+17
63Dylan Moore1B, OF+UR
64Clint FrazierOF+26
65Christian Walker1B+5
66Miguel Sano3B+7
67Matt Chapman3B-29
68Jonathan Villar2B, SS-29
69Brandon Lowe2B-14
70Rhys Hoskins1B+35
71Brandon Belt1B+9
72Shohei OhtaniDH-1
73Rowdy Tellez1B+UR
74Max Muncy1B, 2B, 3B-20
75Kyle LewisOF+1
76Matt Olson1B, DH-16
77Eddie RosarioOF+5
78Marcus SemienSS+5
79Gleyber Torres2B, SS+UR
80Victor ReyesOF+28
81Alex VerdugoOF+5
82Garrett Hampson2B, OF+11
83Adalberto MondesiSS+17
84Randal GrichukOF, DH-21
85Ramon LaureanoOF-27
86Mark Canha1B, OF+1
87Mike Moustakas2B, 3B-21
88Kyle SchwarberOF-14
89Donovan Solano2B+18
90Jeimer Candelario3B+37
91Jorge PolancoSS+4
92Byron BuxtonOF+7
93Mitch Moreland1B, DH-4
94Kyle Seager3B+2
95Yuli Gurriel1B, 3B-23
96Jesus Aguilar1B+1
97Hunter Dozier3B, OF, DH+1
98Shin-Soo ChooOF, DH+5
99Vlad Guerrero Jr.3B-22
100Colin Moran3B+1
101A. J. PollockOF+14
102Jean SeguraSS+2
103Ryan Mountcastle
T6
SS, OF
+16
104Paul DeJong+UR
105Didi GregoriusSS-3
106Jonathan Schoop2B+12
107Wilmer Flores1B, 2B, 3B-1
108Austin Riley3B, OF+12
109Kris Bryant3B, OF-18
110Alec Bohm3B+11
111Willy AdamesSS+UR
112Andres Gimenez2B, SS+UR
113Tommy Edman2B, 3B, OF-19
114Brad Miller3B, SS+11
115Gary SanchezC, DH-2
116Joey GalloOF, DH-24
117Alex DickersonOF+9
118Adam DuvallOF+UR
119Robinson Cano2B-9
120David Fletcher2B, 3B-4
121Nick Solak+8
122Tommy La Stella2B, 3B+UR
123Erik Gonzalez3B, SS+13
124Andrew McCutchenOF-7
125Raimel TapiaOF+UR
126Victor RoblesOF-3
127Nick Madrigal2B-3
128Evan Longoria3B+UR
129Willi Castro3B+UR
130Jurickson Profar2B, OF+UR
131Howie Kendrick1B, 2B-19
132David PeraltaOF-10
133Josh Bell1B-48
134Carlos Santana1B-4
135Robbie GrossmanOF-2
136Jon Berti2B, 3B+1
137Gregory Polanco+11
138Willson ContrerasC+UR
139Randy ArrozarenaOF+UR
140Cesar Hernandez2B-2
141Kole CalhounOF+1
142Hanser Alberto2B+2
143Jason HeywardOF+2
144Nick MarkakisOF+2
145Bobby Dalbec1B+UR
146Isiah Kiner-FalefaC, 3B+UR
147Jo AdellOF+UR
148Brandon Nimmo+UR
149Daniel Murphy1B, DH-17
150Brian Anderson3B, OF-10

 

Graphic by JR Caines (@JRCainesDesign 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."

5 responses to “Hitter List 9/9: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters for 2020”

  1. Avatar Armadillofury says:

    Should Pillar be on the list just by virtue of being a decent hitter in Coors who can also chip in SB’s?

    • Avatar Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Tough to know what direction the Rockies will go on any given night regarding their lineup, so playing time may be a concern. But I’m okay subbing him in somewhere in that bottom tier if you feel strongly about him.

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      I would say so. He is always undervalued. He is a good OF and they have some bad ones so that should help him get ABs.

  2. Avatar Brandon says:

    No Austin Nola?

  3. Avatar theKraken says:

    Weird year.. even more so than I would have thought. The hot streaks change the landscape more than we are used to. I wonder how much bearing anything happening this year should have on the future. Some of my predictions have not gone too well this year!

    You are absolutely right on Gurriel-types. Some guys are easy starts and sits as they are just crazy hot and not. I like owning guys like that. Sano and Buxton are like that… Matt Kemp was always like that. Joc Pederson is like that. The more difficult ones are the Bryce Harpers and Cody Bellingers… where they are either great or worthless but you have to sink a high pick into them.

    I said ealier this year that Moore has no track record of anything like this and I am going to stand by that and say that I wouldn’t target him in 2021. Have I seen a single AB, no.. so I am guilty here of being what I constantly criticize in “analysts” simply looking at numbers but none of it is precedented. Unusual development wouldn’t be precedented though would it?

    I always know Turner so I think it is only fair to mention him. I don’t hesitate to kick him when he is down , so this is fair right? The SB are not going to win a category, so what is he? Drafting a speed guy in the first rd has always been a sucker bet which is why I always criticize him in that position. I don’t claim to know what he is. There are some very strange names in the BA leaders lists this year. Turner is having a great year but it inst what anyone expected – the same is true of many players this year.

    I havent check these ranking is a month or so I dont think. Good to see Seager up there.

    I still think Swanson is way overvalued. What does he really provide a reliable source of? He is a .388 BABIP away from being disappointing.

    I still don’t buy Biggio as being that kind of an asset. You know I don’t buy Franmil either but the production has been there for the past month and you can’t argue with that.

    Kyle Tucker sure isn’t irrelevant! I think he is maybe the weirdest player this year IMO. I really feel like he has been carried by HOUs commitment to giving him favorable lineup placement and an unwavering commitment to everyday ABs. It has resulted in production but probably nobody has been more babied this year. His value is very much the absurd R+ RBI which is weird coming from a guy with an OBP around .300 but again it is all what HOU does for him. In differing circumstances he could have played himself out of his opportunity but that is what being a top 5 pick does for you. A lot of his slugging comes from 3B which is weird too. He is flat out weird. I always figured he might figure it out later in his career… yet, I am not sure if this is that happening. if you don’t know, he was drafted having one of the worst swings around (some kooks comped him to Ted Williams lol) and it was always going to be about making significant adjustments. Whenever I see him he looks awful but I am obviously missing the good games.

    Domonic Smith checks all the boxes for being a fraud as his BABIP sits near .400 and he has never hit for much power before. I think it is crazy that we have all of the BA flukes with the BABIP not supporting it and yet we don’t talk about it. I am pretty sure there is more truth in BABIP than any batted ball metrics. The standard stats are more insightful than both yet we continue our journey towards progressively branded regressive analysis.

    I’ll be honest, I came here to talk about Cronenworth. By all accounts he looks like a big league player. Maybe he is a utility player, but he seems like he has some skills. Consider the fact that prior to this season, his future was most likely as an RP. Consider how much TB butchered that development. They wanted to have a two-way player so badly that they didn’t even give him the opportunity to be a position player. They were ready to settle for a low leverage bullpen arm and they had a talented position player right in front of their eyes. At this point, I don’t think he is a top 100 player.

    Hampson isn’t a top 100 player aIMO. Whoever hits leadoff in COL is worth owning though.

    AJ Pollock is a steal at that ranking as he is hitting well. DJ Stewart is highly relevant at the moment. Severino is superior to Fafela at C. Buxton is back and looking OK. Frazier is looking like a pumpkin at the moment. I can go on all day. Thanks for the lists!

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