Welcome to Perception Vs. Reality where we take a look at the player rater to find out where exactly our players rank as we progress through the season. In this article, we only look at the values of position players and leave the pitching up to the rest of the fine folks here. Let’s get right into the players that I want to talk about this week.

Shortstop/Second Base

Javier Baez – Baez is flat out having his break out season and sits at #10 on the player rater. In about half of the at bats that he had in the 2016 season, he has already equaled the number of home runs that he had that year (14). His batting average is sitting at .270 and that is about on par with with his previous seasons, although he still doesn’t walk very often. He has only walked seven times this season. He also already has 8 stolen bases so it looks like he will easily surpass his previous career high of 12 steals. Baez is starting to look like the 30/15 capable guy that prospect analysts were talking about a few years back to go with his excellent big play ability on defense.

I haven’t talked much about OBP leagues so far in this article, so I want to focus the rest of this week’s piece on some top of the line 5X5 OBP talent. (Javy Baez is 12th on the player rater in OBP, by the way).

Outfield

Bryce Harper- Harper’s batting average is sitting at a very pedestrian .232 but that doesn’t matter in OBP leagues as he is getting on base at a .371 clip. With his solid power numbers and a slight uptick to a possibility of double digit steals, Harper sits at #6 on the player rater. Bryce Harper is actually one spot ahead of Manny Machado in 5X5 OBP leagues to this point. Despite the dismal batting average, Bryce looks like he could possibly put up the second 40 home run campaign of his career.

Justin UptonJustin Upton is much more interested in hitting for power than for average nowadays as he is on pace for his 3rd straight 30 home run season. His OBP isn’t great either at this point in the season as it sits at .323, but it is certainly more manageable than his batting average considering the counting stats that he is able to put up. Upton already has 35 runs and 38 rbis to go with his 13 home runs, making him a three category contributor that doesn’t kill you with a bad walk rate. It would be nice if he’d swipe double digit bags again this year, but he is going to turn 31 before the season is over. He currently sits at #26 on the OBP player rater.

Catcher 

Yasmani GrandalYasmani Grandal is having a very good season at the plate in any format for such a scarce position. But, with the help of his 12.4 percent walk rate, Grandal sits just a few spots behind Gary Sanchez at #46 on the player rater. Other than in 2017, when his walk rate was just over 8%, Grandal has always been willing to take a walk. Grandal also looks to be on pace for his 3rd straight 20 home run season.

Third Base 

Travis Shaw – I wrote the second straight good season in a row that Travis Shaw is having in 2018. It’s ever better than I thought in OBP leagues. He is currently ranked inside the top 40. You’d think that hitting clean up for a first place team would net Shaw more RBI opportunities, but that’s where his less than desirable batting average has hurt him this season. At 36 rbis, it doesn’t look like he’s on pace to have his second straight 100 rbi season, but that could certainly change. Over the past three seasons, Shaw’s walk rate has slightly increased. This year the increase is a little more steady as it has gone up over two whole percentage points and has settled at 12.2 percent so far. That is good for a .342 OBP, the second highest mark of his career.