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A lot’s happening in Korea these days. Not sure if you watch the news, but let’s just say they’re not happy with us in the North. You know, the whole communist vs. freedom thing. [Jay’s Note: Or is it simply two man-child idiots battling over who’s more emotionally unstable?] But in the South, where our friends live, we may be getting on their bad side, as well. No, not in a manner that causes global political strain, but with one of their most beloved past-times… our national past-time.

The KBO had a monster in it the last few years. Sure, Japan claims Godzilla, but Korea can say they produced a baseball godzilla. Steamer loved him in the preseason projections, ESPN hated him enough to put his pre-draft ranking at 200+, and other Razzball pundits warned of not overspending for someone that couldn’t make it in the MLB just a few years ago.

And now? Well, Milwaukee not only paid him, but they’ve been seeing a lot of the gif above recently. Platoon? GTFO. You don’t platoon this…

(Note: Last year, and even last week, I said I’d try to focus on one player that’s owned in less than 30% of leagues, but that doesn’t fit with the Top 100. Why I didn’t think of this earlier? Who knows. But moving forward the upcoming highlight will revolve around the article’s title player, whether it’s someone dropping fast, rising up the ranks, or new to the scene.)

  • Eric Thames, OF, MIL (77.6% owned) – Alright, for all the hype I just wrote we do need to breathe for a second. As much as it would be incredible to see Thames continue his 42.6% HR/FB ratio, his .553 ISO or his .921 SLG%, there will be some regression. NO ONE does that across a whole season. Not in the MLB. But there are so many promising stats hidden underneath Thames already impressive line of .368/11/6/12/0. He strikes out 1/4 of the time, but walks 11%+. He sports a .381 BABIP, but that’s actually consistent with his numbers in the minors, and, of course, with what he did in Korea. Steamer may have been the only ones right on his projections, and now they say his end of season line will look something like: .280/78/32/81/11. And I’d say many of those numbers could very well be a floor. And beyond all that, the stat that truly makes me believe we’ll see even more from Thames is the ridiculous 55.6% hard hit rate. Dude’s locked in and destroying the ball. Hopefully he’ll adjust well as pitchers shift in their approach to him, but if he can we’re looking at a monster. A KBO-blossomed godzilla. Haha, in just 11 games he’s already produced 1.0 WAR. I mean, come on!

You won’t see too many changes. Again, the upside of the players ranked highly still carries more ROS value than the upstart two-week hot hands. Some of them make their way into the Top 100, but it’s those that I think could really stick around. Thames? He’s gonna be higher than Avisail Garcia. I believe in him more. And much of the below rankings are my subjective thoughts, so don’t agree? THAT’S WHAT THE COMMENTS ARE FOR!

Note: These rankings are considered ROS Trade Value

[email protected]’s Top  Hitters

(Rankings based on 12-team Roto. GREEN = player rising. RED = player dropping. BLUE = new to the 100.)

Rank Name Pos Team
1 Mike Trout LAA OF
2 Mookie Betts BOS OF
3 Bryce Harper WSH OF
4 Paul Goldschmidt ARI 1B
5 Nolan Arenado COL 3B
6 Jose Altuve HOU 2B
7 Kris Bryant CHC 3B/OF
8 Charlie Blackmon COL OF
9 Manny Machado BAL 3B/SS
10 Anthony Rizzo CHC 1B
11 Freddie Freeman ATL 1B
12 Trea Turner WSH 2B/OF
13 Corey Seager LAD SS
14 Starling Marte PIT OF
15 Daniel Murphy WSH 1B/2B
16 Brian Dozier MIN 2B
17 Josh Donaldson TOR 3B
18 Joey Votto CIN 1B
19 Miguel Cabrera DET 1B
20 Francisco Lindor CLE SS
21 Carlos Correa HOU SS
22 Ryan Braun MIL OF
23 Nelson Cruz SEA OF
24 Wil Myers SD 1B/OF
25 George Springer HOU OF
26 Edwin Encarnacion CLE 1B
27 Rougned Odor TEX 2B
28 Robinson Cano SEA 2B
29 Xander Bogaerts BOS SS
30 Jonathan Villar MIL 3B/SS
31 Yoenis Cespedes NYM OF
32 Giancarlo Stanton MIA OF
33 Carlos Gonzalez COL OF
34 Kyle Seager SEA 3B
35 Christian Yelich MIA OF
36 Khris Davis OAK OF
37 Jose Abreu CWS 1B
38 Trevor Story COL SS
39 Andrew McCutchen PIT OF
40 Matt Kemp ATL OF
41 Gregory Polanco PIT OF
42 Ian Kinsler DET 2B
43 Chris Davis BAL 1B
44 Mark Trumbo BAL OF
45 Adam Jones BAL OF
46 Kyle Schwarber CHC C/OF
47 J.D. Martinez DET OF
48 Hanley Ramirez BOS 1B
49 Adam Eaton WSH OF
50 Matt Carpenter STL 1B/2B/3B
51 Aledmys Diaz STL SS
52 Buster Posey SF C/1B
53 Alex Bregman HOU 3B
54 Todd Frazier CWS 1B/3B
55 DJ LeMahieu COL 2B
56 Eric Hosmer KC 1B
57 Carlos Santana CLE 1B
58 Justin Upton DET OF
59 Joc Pederson LAD OF
60 Jackie Bradley BOS OF
61 Jonathan Lucroy TEX C
62 Miguel Sano MIN 3B/OF
63 Ian Desmond COL OF
64 Stephen Piscotty STL OF
65 Evan Longoria TB 3B
66 Marcell Ozuna MIA OF
67 Eric Thames MIL OF
68 Jake Lamb ARI 3B
69 Jose Ramirez CLE 3B/OF
70 Nomar Mazara TEX OF
71 Michael Brantley CLE OF
72 Brad Miller TB 1B/SS/2B
73 Albert Pujols LAA 1B
74 Andrew Benintendi BOS OF
75 Lorenzo Cain KC OF
76 Jay Bruce NYM OF
77 Adam Duvall CIN OF
78 Gary Sanchez NYY C
79 Mitch Haniger SEA OF
80 Ender Inciarte ATL OF
81 Odubel Herrera PHI OF
82 Justin Turner LAD 3B
83 Billy Hamilton CIN OF
84 Troy Tulowitzki TOR SS
85 Manuel Margot SD OF
86 David Dahl COL OF
87 Yasiel Puig LAD OF
88 Elvis Andrus TEX SS
89 Dee Gordon MIA 2B
90 Jean Segura SEA 2B/SS
91 Jason Kipnis CLE 2B
92 Eduardo Nunez SF 3B/SS
93 Adrian Beltre TEX 3B
94 Salvador Perez KC C
95 Willson Contreras CHC C/OF
96 Jonathan Schoop BAL 2B
97 Anthony Rendon WSH 3B
98 Kevin Kiermaier TB OF
99 Avisail Garcia CHW OF
100 Keon Broxton MIL OF

And the honorable mentions. The next five in.

101 Mike Moustakas KC 3B
102 Eugenio Suarez CIN 3B
103 Yasmany Tomas ARI OF
104 Cesar Hernandez PHI 2B
105 Hunter Pence SF OF

Dropped from the Rankings: Dustin Pedroia (71), Jose Bautista (76), Byron Buxton (88), Mike Napoli (93), Victor Martinez (94), Javier Baez (97), Dexter Fowler (99), Maikel Franco (HM)

A few notes on the 100:

  • Yep, all I needed was two good weeks from Bryce Harper to move him back ahead of the others in the Top 5. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that guys like Altuve struggled a little out of the gate, but Harper was the arguable #1 pick last year, and has shown that all of his talent is on display again for 2017. I’m on board.
  • It will be interesting to see how some big names fare through the year. Can they hold off the newcomers? There seems to be a slight shift in the landscape happening. Name value for Carlos Gonzalez (I know Grey was all over that one), Adam Jones and Justin Upton will soon give way to the kids like Mazara, Mitch and Margot.
  • Khris Davis still may prove me right from last week and lead the AL in HR.
  • And I don’t care what anyone said about him in the preseason, there is zero reason that Daniel Murphy couldn’t be considered a first round talent. He’s continued to mash in the exact same way he did from 2016. Why is he all of a sudden going to slow down? Why can’t he hit .350 this year? In that lineup, why can’t he produce a line of .340/90/20/100/10?

As always…don’t agree with something?

DROP THOSE COMMENTS!

Follow [email protected] on Twitter at @matthayes for far more than just fantasy advice.

   
  1. Michael Regan says:
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    Pollock slip through the cracks?

  2. The old professor says:
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    No a j pollack?

  3. Cafuné

    Maxi says:
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    Thank you for the rankings!! I have Thames in my yahoo 16team h2h keeper ($5) and my RCL league, so Im very pleased with the Godzilla of Bellarmine Prep/Pepperdine so far (Pepperzilla?) (Godzilladine?)

    In that yahoo keeper league, I was offered this trade (no AVG, ADD OBP and SLG):

    His Bruce/Bregman for my Ozuna

    I currently have Franco at 3B, so I love buying Bregman now (guy spent $24 on him, he may not be a keeper). My OF is Ozuna, Thames, Judge, Renfroe, Broxton, with Dahl on the DL. Note that we only star 3OF + 2UTIL

    Question is should I try to get another bat in place of Bruce by maybe offering up a SP? Or do I keep Ozuna and try to trade a different bat? Maeda/Snell/Nelson are all tradeable from my rotation. He has Mazara, Blackmon, Hayward, Tomas, Healy, Cesar Hernandez, Jose Ramirez (whose positional flexibility would help my team out a ton).

    Thanks and cheers!

    • @Maxi: I’d do the one that’s offered. And throwing in a SP to grab Ramirez isn’t a bad move, either. I’m big on Bregman, and Bruce as a bounce back. Just three weeks ago I would have Bruce in similar territory and Bregman about 75 slots higher than either.

  4. Token says:
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    Early but would you Miggy and Estrada for Yelich, Desmond, and Thames?

    • @Token: Yes. Give me the hitters. Especially if Thames can somehow get to a Freddie Freeman type level.

  5. Good, U? says:
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    I need an updated fearless forecast on mitch haniger. Off to a fast start and buddy crushed 20 HRs in 74 games while batting .341 in his last stint at AAA. Could this guy be a superstar?

    • @Good, U?: Superstar, probably not. But he can be a top 30 OF. If he goes .270/75/25/80/10 it would be a bump over his projections, and really valuable. A lot will depend upon at bats, and if his BABIP remains .100 points over last season’s small sample size.

  6. Chud says:
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    Great stuff as always! U have Desmond at 63 right now …..when he comes back where do u see him at? Top 30/40?

    Trying to get in on the buy low right now since my Buxton/Broxton twins r struggling so much ! Ugh

    Thanks

    • @Chud: I think he could easily get there. I had him Top 20-30 before the injury, but I want to see him come back and hit with pop. Hand injuries can be a nuisance. Either way, he’s the second best DL stash right now behind J.D. Martinez, in my opinion.

  7. Sun Tzu says:
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    I find it interesting to see Avisail Garcia cracking the Top 100. I did a deeper dive on him this morning myself. It looks like his hard hit rate climbed since I last checked. It’s now 30.3%, which is about in line with his career. 24 LD rate may be sustainable. He was at 24.5% in 2015.

    It looks like the high average can be explainable by how he has so far traded soft contact for medium contact (9.1% soft and 60.6% medium). Now the question is does the 10% or so abnormal medium contact rates go to his hard hit rate, or does it revert back to the soft variety?

    Batted ball type wise, he is hitting a few more flyballs, but so far nothing really jumps out. Of the 20 hits, 16 singles, and 1 double, 1 triple, 2 homers.

    Looks like more grounders may be finding holes. 13.3% infield hit % supports the extra groundball hits theory.

    I’m not sure any of that is either sustainable or reason to think that a breakup is upon us. Do you have any additional insight to justify his rather lofty inclusion in your rankings?

    • @Sun Tzu: I think when you hit this hot for anything longer than one week it’s worth noting and watching. I doubt he climbs to another tier or level, but for right now I wouldn’t have trouble dropping any of those names under or around him to grab him if you are willing to take the risk that some serious regression is likely in store.

      Love the contact rate stats you gave. Those kind of numbers are what validate a lot of projection for players. To me, at least. And Ralph. He’s likely getting quite lucky through the middle of April, but it’s not like this is Nick Ahmed doing it. There’s some reason to believe we could be seeing a breakout.

  8. Mud Ducks says:
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    Where do you have Max Kepler?

    • @Mud Ducks: Not in my Top 100. And not close. Not yet, at least. I just can’t rally around what he’s projected to do when SO many others are projected to do something similar. Give me any of the OF listed in that 105 over his vanilla upside.

  9. eric says:
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    Rank order: Castellano, Franco, Headley

    • @eric: I’ll lead by saying none of the above, haha. But if I must rank ROS: Franco, Headley, Castellanos.

  10. Wacha Wacha says:
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    Do you think Choo or Duda make or approach the top 100 in OBP format or not enough of a boost?

    Thanks!

    • @Wacha Wacha: Choo has always been great in those formats, and even OPS leagues. This year starts with nothing different as he dotes a 17% BB rate. Duda is similar, with a little less patience, but a lot more power. I’d probably have both of them creeping towards the 100, but both are massive injury risks.

  11. westcoastpete says:
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    Schoop or Solarte in 14 team OBP league?

    • @westcoastpete: Well, neither has much patience at all, but Solarte has shown the smallest penchant for more BB than Schoop. More power with Schoop, but in an OBP I’d probably take the safer route at the position with Solarte.

  12. fake name says:
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    any reason why suarez can’t break through this year? be a 5-12 3b?

    • @fake name: I just don’t know that his hit tool is high enough to get him consistently over .260 throughout an entire year. That being said, he’s only 25, was a sneaky 20/10 guy last year, and is hot out of the gates. He’ll regress from his .394 BABIP, but he could still sneak into the Top 10 of 3B by season’s end.

  13. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    ALL HAIL STEAMER!

  14. M says:
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    Thoughts on Steven Souza rising the ranks soon?

    • @M: I want to see him do this consistently. Has the potential and talent to be a fantasy star and go 20/20 at least, but hasn’t shown he can put it all together yet. Need that consistency, especially with his AVG.

  15. Travis says:
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    Are you playing Trea Turner this week?

    • @Travis: A little late replying to you, but I would have benched him. The minor league rehab stint makes that look like a great answer now. As soon as he’s back, though, he’s definitely in.

  16. Anodyne says:
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    Thoughts on Taylor Motter? Sounds like the Mariners might find a lineup spot for him even after Segura returns, and he’s mashing. Just a hot schmotato, or are you buying?

    • @Anodyne: I really like him. Check out his profile on FanGraphs and he seems to be someone that would translate to MLB success, but he’s probably labeled as a AAAA player since he’s 27 and just now really breaking through. That being said, he’ll lose at bats when Segura comes back, but if he keeps hitting this hot they will find a way to get him in. If that increases positional flexibility then even more value to him.

      Picked him up in an AL-Only league. Super hyped about it.

  17. What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas says:
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    Arrietta for Lindor or Donaldson for Lindor or stay put?
    I have Miller at SS and Turner at 3rd.

    Loaded offense off to slow start. Arrietta is my best SP but would still be OK with Strasburg, Maeda, Cole, Salazar, McCullers, Nova and Walker..

    • @What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas: Don’t trade Donaldson. Definitely move Arrieta for him. Hitters over Pitchers all day long, especially when you’re talking someone trending up as much as Lindor.

      Your staff should be fine without him. Try to flip your current SS, or drop them for a steamer SP option.

  18. GeauxrillaBall says:
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    Thinking of trading, Trumbo, Eaton, or Jones for Haniger?

    • @GeauxrillaBall: No. No. No.

      Haha, He’s hot right now, but those other three should fetch more than him. That’s a massive sell low and buy high.

  19. Jbaseball says:
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    I am being offered Thames for Brantley.

    Hitting categories: AVG, SLG, BBs, Ks, HRs, RBI, Runs, SBs,

    Brantley is looking strong and has a better MLB track record, but Thames has me drooling over the upside and considering buying high.

  20. Tommy John says:
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    Have a trade offer for my Arrieta, for his McCutchen and Stroman, H2H 6X6 cat. Outfield is weak, pitching is relatively strong. Outfield is Trumbo, Kepler, Peraza, Pence, Pederson. JBJ. Pitching Staff is Arrieta, Duffy, Lackey, Ross, Maeda, Fulmer, Pineda, Snell, Glasnow (Dropping). Do you take that trade?

    • @Tommy John: The pitching’s not bad, but Arrieta is the clear #1. I’d do it, because McCutchen and Arrieta hold similar value, so adding Stroman is a big bonus, but I may now try to flip someone like Kepler/Pence/Peraza for more help elsewhere.

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