It’s rare to see a player having a breakout year in his age 35 season in the post-Selig era, but Yuli Gurriel needs just 2 runs, 1 RBI and even 2 SB to set career highs in all of those categories. He already has a career-high in HRs with 25 and could end the season with 30-35. With 37 games remaining Gurriel could end the season with an 85/33/100/8/.300 line for the year. Not too shabby from a guy with an ADP in the 200s. This production uptick is due to a career-low ground ball rate, career-high fly ball rate, career-high hard contact rate — the underlying numbers are pointing to this being for real and he should finish the year strong.

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Who else got victimized by Nelson Cruz last week? In his last 75 ABs here’s his line: 19/14/26/0/.333. That’s more than some guys had in the entire first-half. Oh wait — that’s almost more than the 16 Cruz put up the first half. The Twins are going to be battling for the AL Central with the Indians until the bitter end and clutch Cruz should keep them afloat the rest of the way.

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Who would’ve thought little D.J. LeMahieu would be the best free agent signing of the past decade? Yeah, I said it! Mainly because I have an awful memory and suffer from extreme recency bias! He’s definitely the best signing of this preseason though. He’s 3 HRs away from setting a new career-high, already has a new career-high in RBI and is again leading his league in batting average as he did with the Rockies in 2016. His disappointing, injury-plagued 2018 caused his stock to dip a bit, but Brian Cashman is looking like a genius again for this signing. And oh yea, not that it matters to us, but he’s playing Gold Glove defense again at both 2B and 3B. Does defense matter to you? Do you use any defensive stats in any of your leagues?

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It’s been a few weeks since I ranked the top 100 fantasy hitters and a lot has changed! Stranger Things season 3 has dropped, Josh Bell broke the record for most extra-base hits in the first half of an NL season, my wife had our first child, and Giancarlo Stanton got injured and hit the DL! Only one of those is the real reason I haven’t written an article in a while and yea, maybe I took Stanton getting hurt too personally.

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There are those who would call for Yordan Alvarez to be a top-50 player already. With 27 combined HRs this season and 78! 78! 78! RBI in 60 games between AAA and the big leagues — I get that. I’m just a little hesitant due to his playing time. When George Springer comes back and the rest of the Astros get healthy will he stay up? I hope so because he is crushing the ball right now — but he has minor league options left and is still only a 22-year-old kid. Age is just a number though as this kid’s potential has MVP written all over it in one of the best lineups in baseball.

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Well, I did it. I removed Jose Ramirez from my top 100 hitters rankings. He played another 5 games and only managed 2 hits. 2 runs? Sure. 4 RBI? Sure. 1 SB? Sure. But when he is hurting you this bad he is permanently in the limbo that is ranking #101. I am fully prepared to rocket him up the rankings if he turns it around — but right now? He is the wonderful 101.

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Last week here’s what I said about Austin Riley: “A lot of people were calling for Austin Riley to make his rankings debut after hitting 5 HRs in his first 9 games, but I’m a little wary of rookies. Especially rookies who have a 15:2 K/BB ratio in their last 33 ABs. Pitchers are already starting to figure him out.”

Well, another 3 games played since last week’s rankings and he’s crushed another 2 HRs — however — with another 3 Ks. In his 15 games played so far he’s only not struck out in 2 games. Riley was a top 30 prospect heading into this season and so far the power potential (three 19+ HR seasons in the minors) is showing up, but so is the strikeout potential (8 consecutive minor league seasons with a 20+% K/rate.)  Look, he’s 22. He can crush, but he can also miss. I’ve put him at 99 for now — one spot above Jose Ramirez — and I’ll be watching his progress.

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#100. One hundred. Benjamin Franklin. C-note. One hunnit (RIP Nipsey Hussle.) That’s where you’ll find Jose Ramirez this week. Last week he was sitting at a no-so-nice #69 and he had another awful week: 6 games, 20 ABs, 4 hits, 0 runs, 0 HRs, 0 RBI, 0 SB. Sorry Ramirez fans — his season line: 193 ABs, 17 runs, 4 HRs, 15 RBI, 12 SBs, .197 is not a top-100 player anymore. However, this might be a perfect buy low opportunity since Ramirez is an avid Razzballer and doesn’t want to find himself missing from the most controversial column on the site.

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There were many big movers and shakers in the Top 100 this week perhaps none bigger this year (and maybe the past few years) than Josh Bell. Bell has slapped a hit in all but 9 of his 42 games so far this season. In 15 May games alone he’s hitting .383 with 12 runs, 6 HRs, and 18 RBI. (Writer update: since I started writing this, Bell has crushed another 2 HRs and 4 RBI tonight!) Bell keeps this up and he could be in top 20-25 territory.

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Yea, yea, yea. I accidentally left two Stephen Piscotty’s in my Top 100 two weeks in a row. What had happened was: The first week was just a good ol’ fashioned screw-up. On my rankings spreadsheet my process for moving a player is to copy their row, delete their row and insert their row in their new ranking location. Grey and Jay were gracious enough to fix it after week 5 by replacing Piscotty on the website — but ya boy didn’t delete him in his own rankings spreadsheet. To make a long story short (“TOO LATE!”) there will be four Stephen Piscotties scattered through this Top 100. You pick which one fits best for your world view.

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