I’m starting a new feature for this column — Jose Ramirez Watch! The mood is tense! No one is losing more value than Ramirez right now. In a lot of leagues he was a top-10 pick and right now he isn’t even justifying a top-100 pick. It’s still early for him — but his owners have to be disappointed.

Last Week: 14 | This Week: 25

Last 7 days: 5/22, 6 runs, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 227 AVG

Another disappointing week for J-Ram, however, it is better than the previous week when he went 2 for 25. Baby steps? Here’s what I said to a commenter in last week’s top 100 column:

“JRam wasn’t hitting over .250 until April 24th last year.He’s got a higher hard contact rate so far this season (yay!) but also a higher soft contact rate (boo!) His BABIP is only .167 after last year’s 252. I’d obviously hold and wait until May 1. I think he’ll be fine — not 2018 foooiinnneee — but 2019 fine.”

Let’s see where his average sits later this week…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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It’s the most glorious weekend of the year — Wrestlemania weekend! You know what that means: wrestling themed blurbs!

On the Double Turn…

Two players in my pre-season top-5 are trending in opposite directions, but I don’t start freaking out too much until tax day. A lot of experts were calling for Jose Ramirez and Christian Yelich to regress from their MVP-caliber seasons last year. Well Yelich came out swinging an angry stick hitting a homerun in four straight games to start the season leaving him ranked third on the Razzball Player Rater so far. He’s reached base successfully in every game so far and is on his way to competing for the MVP again in 2019. Jose Ramirez? Not so much. For some players we like to point out how they’re “continuing their hot hitting from the end of 2018.” Ramirez is doing the opposite. He ended 2018 with a 40 game slump hitting .166 with a .597 OPS. He also only hit .231/.646 in the minors. His BABIP is currently sitting at .150, he only has 3 strikeouts to 2 walks and he’s hitting a higher percentage of fly balls from 2018 (small sample size) so maybe he’s just getting a bit unlucky in the early going. However, it’s enough to make me flip these two in the rankings.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m not going to overreact to 20 at-bats. I will not do it. That being said, if you’re in a league with me — every one of my players is a bum and is on the block. Starting next week we’ll start to see some moving and shaking, but this list is mostly a refresher from the pre-season. There are really only six “fallers” this week and they’re all injury related. I’ll be writing more about them in my injury column which drops on Wednesday, but here’s who slipping, tumbling, sinking, fumbling:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This won’t be a formal full update of my Top 100 Rankings list. I’m just going to highlight a few players who have helped their cause after the first week of Spring Training. I’m not going to focus on anyone who is falling in my rankings just yet. It’s hard enough to provide a weekly top 100 hitters list during the regular season when the games matter — but I’m not going to overreact to a few spring training games. Dominic Smith is currently leading the league in batting average for Pete Alonso’s sake! Hey…that sounds like a good place to start!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Categories, eligibility and speed. These are the things that dictate where I rank hitters. Categories: A guy who contributes in all 5 categories is going to be ranked higher than someone who contributes in only 4 — even if those 4 categories are elite. That’s why I’m a bit lower on J.D. Martinez and Nolan Arenado compare to other people. Eligibility: obviously guys with multiple position eligibility or a shallower position will be ranked higher than say an outfielder. “Then why aren’t you higher on catchers?” Because after the top-2 catchers they’re basically all the same and likely to miss time. Speed: the most elusive of 5×5 categories. If you can give me at least 10 steals I’m going to give you a boost in my rankings. That’s why I’m higher on someone like Tommy Pham than others. If Trea Turner gets the 75-80 stolen base attempts that the Nationals want him to get then he has the chance to end the season as a top-3 player.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A lot of the hitters you’ll find on this list aren’t necessarily going to be God awful, fall off the face of the Earth, undraftable players — they’re just guys who had explosive 2018’s who you shouldn’t draft at their 2018 end of season value. Something I’m noticing is that there a lot more players who I’m high on (might have to do a part 2 of that series!) Maybe I’m too optimistic of a person, but I’m hoping every player is working on improving themselves in the off-season. Eric Hosmer HAS to be in his backyard taking golf swings to improve that 60.4% ground ball rate, right? Brian Dozier is definitely at the batting cage with a stance so closed the pitcher will be able to read his full name on the back of his jersey to improve his 49.9% pull rate, right? Billy Hamilton has to be working on his bunting so he can reach first base more than 30% of the time right?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

That’s the question that’s been on my brain as I worked on these rankings the past few weeks. I’m not over the past 10 years, not for next year, not for the next 10 years — right now — is Mike Trout still the #1 hitter this year? Even with a lengthy DL stint, Trout is still one of the top players in the league and is close to surpassing all of his numbers from last year’s (also) injury shrunken season (88 runs/31 HRs/2 SBs in 116 games so far this year vs. 92/33/22 in 114 games last year.) But while he missed 19 games in August this year, three players have kept chugging right along and putting up phenomenal numbers. Let’s take a look at these three challengers for the crown.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The 10 HR/8 SB/.302 AVG player we saw from AJ Pollock over the first month or so of the season is a top-20 player if that pace continues for a full season. However we know how this story goes, since May 4th (yes I know there was an injury in there because OF COURSE there was) Pollock has 184 ABs with only 6 HRs and 2 SBs with a .261 AVG. However, I keep him on these rankings because peak Pollock is a 20/40 threat. The only problem is peak Pollock is a pretty preposterous proposition. Whatever is hurting him this time seems to be limiting him on the base paths which is limiting you in your standings. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?