Not a lot of us saw this major league breakout coming from Jesus Aguilar. We were all expecting an awkward OF & 1B battle in Milwaukee between Eric Thames and Ryan Braun. Then here comes Jesus walking on the waters of Lake Michigan from Cleveland to Milwaukee to become an All-Star with the Brew Crew (he should be — stay tuned.) Maybe we all should’ve seen this coming — in 655 minor league at-bats in 2016 Aguilar hit 40 HR and 114 RBI. The average was only .261, but in the Indians minor league system he has some high average seasons (2011: .288; 2013: .291; 2014: .304.) Aguilar has already dropped his strikeout rate from 30% to 24.6% and if that number continues to go down while his contact rate continues to climb — Jesus’s ascension could continue.
- Eugenio Suarez, 3B, CIN: Guess who is second in RBI in all of baseball? Good guess, considering this is Eugenio Suarez’s paragraph. If Suarez was playing for a team with a .500 record he’d be an NL MVP candidate. Suarez has upped his hard hit percentage from 33.8% last year to 48.6% this year. He’s also upped his fly ball percentage from 37.1% last year to 40% this year. Add those last two sentences together and you get a believable growth in HR/FB of 22.9%. He’s also striking out about 5% less from last year. Pair all this was a BABIP of .314 (which is almost identical to his career .315) and you’ve got a believable NL MVP candidate on your hands.
- Eduardo Escobar, 3B/SS, MIN: Escobar is the only hitter in the top-10 in slugging percentage with less than 15 HRs. His high slugging percentage is due to his league-leading 32 doubles so far on the season. Here’s the fun thing about that number — the Twins have only played 73 games on the season. The record for most doubles in a single season was 67 way back in 1931 by Earl Webb. Right now, Escobar is on pace for 71. Obviously a lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but how cool would it be to see Escobar break this 87 year old record? And just as a predictor — Jose Ramirez hit 56 doubles last season and look where he’s at now.
- Dee Gordon, 2B/OF, SEA: Who is Dee Gordon if he isn’t stealing bases? Well in the past 17 games he has 0 SBs and only 8 runs. The .290 average is fine — but without the power or speed, he’s essentially Melky Cabrera. I wonder if the broken toe injury that he returned from at the end of May is still affecting him. The 19 steals he has collected keeps him in the top-5 in that category, but if he doesn’t start swiping some bags again you basically have Melky Cabrera at second base — and nobody wants that.
- Gary Sanchez, C, NYY:
Oh, he has the second worst BABIP (.197) to only what’s left of Dexter Fowler. Gary is still hitting the ball with authority as evidenced by his 36.7% hard hit rate, but he’s only hitting line drives at a 14.5% clip and is hitting 40% of his balls into the ground. Hit it as hard as you want, but if you’re hitting a lot of ground balls and have almost a 50% pull rate and you’re a slow catcher — defenses are going to shift and easily throw you out at first.
Top 100 Hitters
GREEN: Rising | BLUE: New Additions | RED: Falling
If you’ve got any questions, complaints or arguments about my rankings — please leave them below!