Please see our player page for Odubel Herrera to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

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.

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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. 

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The rich keep getting richer and the poor get poorer.  The middle is being squeezed.  When I Google, “What happened to the middle class?”  I found some socioeconomic theories on Yahoo Answers, and ads to get rich quick and stop having to “steal food from Whole Foods.”  Okay, I have no idea how they know about that, but, if you switch a price tag, it is not exactly stealing.  It’s redistributing “gummies made with real fruit juice.”  All of this is fascinating and all, but I was trying to find out what is happening to the middle class of starters!  Aaron Nola (8 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 9 Ks) and Max Scherzer (7 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 10 Ks) faced each other, and both pitchers have ERAs of 2.13.  Not surprisingly, the police code for fantastic use of arms is 2.13.  Again, there’s top starters with a sub-3 ERA, and there is a ton of starters above 4.00 ERA that I don’t want, but where are the 3.50 ERA pitchers?  Doesn’t it feel like this middle class of pitchers has shrunk?  *coming across something on the internet*  Hmm, maybe this article by a Harvard professor in The Economist will explain it to me.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’m going to do something a little different this week. I wanted to do a fun little experiment to show how tricky it can be to rank 100 hitters every week. It can be tough to decide which statistic is more valuable in standard 5×5 leagues while also taking into account: age, injury history, lineup, previous performance, home stadium, position eligibility, splits, etc.

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Matt Carpenter (up 36 spots): In his first 186 ABs: 23 runs, 7 HR, 21 RBI, .215 AVG. In his next 183 ABs: 47 runs, 19 HRs, 36 RBI, .339 AVG. End paragraph. 

There’s a few guys every week who I’m keeping a close eye on who are on the cusp of making the Top 100 Hitters list. This week the guys on the bubble are: Mallex Smith, Kole Calhoun and Ian Kinsler. Smith is looking like everything  we want Billy Hamilton to be. Like Hamilton, Smith had an eye-popping stolen base season in the minors (92  in 2014!) But Mallex is actually getting on base at a great rate (.357) this year, something Hamilton has sworn against. Mallex has all the speed of Hamilton and with opportunity could put together an amazing full season next year. I’m sure you already realized this, but Kole Calhoun was just the worst until the end of May. .162 batting average. That’s worse than some pitchers! Maybe — I don’t know. I’m pro-NL-DH. Haters gonna hate! Well Kole world got demoted and found the ghost of Babe Ruth while hitting for the Salt Lake Bees. (Beads?!) Since his return to The Los Angeles Trouts he’s hitting .302 with 27 runs, 13 HRs, 30 RBI and has even stolen 2 bases just for fun. If this pace keeps up, he’ll be rocketing up this list. Finally, Ian Kinsler has a pretty nice 20 game hot streak. He’s got 15 runs, 2 HRs, 10 RBI, 2 SBs, and a .347 AVG in that span. Now, put those numbers batting 6th behind Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and friends. His value just got a nice shot in the arm.

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It’s a short-slate Monday in MLB land, with only 9 games on the schedule. But that doesn’t stop us hardcore DFS-ers: we’re still going to run our beautifully crafted lineups out on Draft. So without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty with a pitcher I strongly recommend you prioritize: Robbie Ray. 

New to Draft? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well, be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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When I left Jose Martinez off my Top 100 Hitter rankings earlier in the season people were calling for Grey to take my head. Well maybe this is why I was hesitant: Martinez hasn’t homered since June 30th. Oh wait, let me make that even more shocking — he hasn’t scored a run since June 30th. He also only has 1 XBH since June 30th. I like JMart, really I do. But we all need to pump our brakes on him. If he keeps up this “pace” — he’ll find himself just like Eric Hosmer off my Top 100 list and onto Chris Jericho’s list.

Cody Bellinger was enjoying a fine season until the end of June too. He had 49 runs, 16 HRs, 40 RBI and even 5 stolen bases with a .832 OPS. Like Martinez, Bellinger’s power has disappeared in this past month. He only has 1 HR and 4 RBI in 90 ABs.

You have to wonder if Max Muncy absorbed Bellinger’s power in some Space Jam Monstar style scheme. Bellinger and Martinez owners have to hope that Mike Trout beats the Monstars in Space Slam and gets Bellinger’s powers back. Or would it be Bryce Harper? Mike Trout apparently doesn’t use his personal marketing department enough.

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Say cheese! Mike Moustakas was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder and top prospect Brett Phillips along with right handed pitcher Jorge Lopez in a move that tells the baseball world that the Brewers really think they’re in this thing. Isn’t that adorable? Mil-ee-wauk-kay is Algonquin for “the good land,” and this is very good news for Moustakas and his owners if they’re not already in last place as Mike goes to one of the most hitter friendly ballparks for lefties in the entire league. Mike was slashing .249/.309/.468 with 46 runs, 20 home runs, 3 stolen bases and 62 RBIs through the first 98 games and I think it’s more than reasonable to expect he can improve upon these stats in Wisconsin. He’s received a huge upgrade not just to his home park but also a much better supporting line up (reuniting with former teammate Lorenzo Cain) and hitting around the likes of Ryan Braun, Christian Yelich and Travis Shaw (who will mostly likely move over to play second base). His counting stats should improve along with the power numbers and it’s all around just a grand ol’ time to own the Moose. Going the other way, highly touted prospect Brett Phillips was slashing .240/.331/.411 with 6 dingers, 25 RBI and 11 stolen bases at AAA and should be a regular in the Kansas City outfield going forward. He’s worth a speculative add in deep leagues based on his upside and should play every day. Jorge Lopez was serviceable out of the Brewers pen in 19.2 IP this season posting a 2.75 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and 15/13 K/BB. Meh is right but he’s a bullpen arm whose name we could hear a lot more of soon if/when Wily Peralta eventually pitches his way out of the closing gig. Overall, seems like a solid trade for both teams and unlike most of these dreaded deadline deals, this trade has more helpful implications for fantasy owners than usual. No one’s losing a closer or a starter or moving to an impossible division or ball park. This trade is basically a win for all of us involved, so let’s hear it for the new Milwaukee Moose!

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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I started writing this week’s top 100 hitters article the same way I do every week: on the balcony of my penthouse apartment inside One57 skyscraper on West 57th street overlooking Central Park. Sipping a tall glass of Chateau Lafite 1787 while my trained Tibetan Mastiff, Chanel rests her head on my lap. This is the type of lifestyle being a Razzball writer has afforded me.

In reality, I’m sitting on my second-hand couch in north Jersey catching up on this week’s episodes of Big Brother with my wife while drinking flat Mr. Pib as my cat walks across my lapto9oi[p9vgdvc12er2`q.

Perception and reality can change over time. Our perception of a certain player during our draft will become a completely different reality over the course of the season. Since there have only been one full day of games since my last rankings this week I’m going to post last week’s rankings and compare them with where I had them ranked at the beginning of week 1 to see where my perception and the player’s reality were at odds.

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