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.
Five Biggest Fallers Since Week 1:
- Gary Sanchez, fell 66 spots: After a 33 HR/90 RBI season in 2017, Gary’s ADP was hovering around pick 33 in ESPN leagues. Unfortunately, after 231 ABs to start the season El Gary was hitting only .190. Sure, the 14 HRs/41 RBI were nice but man was he tanking your ratios every week. Then, almost mercifully, he missed 20 games with a groin injury. Hopefully he can start to restore that batting average closer to the .284 average he had in his previous two seasons with the Bombers. Until he does, I’m going to keep him down in the 90s.
- Eric Hosmer, fell 49 spots. I really don’t think the Petco Park effect is the cause for Hosmer’s decline this season. As I wrote about last week — it seems like Hosmer has completely altered his approach for some reason. He’s hitting the highest percentage of ground balls (62%) he’s ever hit in his career and striking out at the highest rate of his career as well (22.6%.) There’s still plenty of time for him to return to form, but he needs to act like he’s playing in Kansas City.
- Jose Abreu, fell 42 spots. Going into the season Jose Abreu (and Anthony Rizzo) were looking like the safest picks in the entire draft. Abreu’s HR totals since 2014 have been: 36, 30, 25, and 33. His RBI totals: 107, 101, 100, 102. His batting averages: .317, .290, .293, .304. This year? If he reaches the 604 ABs he’s averaged over the past four seasons he’s on pace for 21 HRs, 85 RBI and is only hitting .251 on the season.
- Kris Bryant, fell 39 spots: I’ve been getting a lot of flack for still even having Bryant in my rankings at all, let alone not letting him fall out of the top 50. However, I can’t be alone in thinking that the former rookie of the year & former MVP is going to bounce back and still have a great season. His .283 average isn’t so far off from the .288 career average he had before this year. I know the power numbers are hurting, but I believe that Kris Bryant was hurting as well. He missed 16 games with a shoulder injury that I think was bothering him since spring training. Since his return he’s hit safely in all six games he’s played in and has 2 HRs, 1 double, and 6 RBI as well. I think he’ll get back on track in the second half and climb back to the mid-30s in my rankings.
- Dee Gordon, fell 39 spots: Dee Gordon at his peak is deserving of being ranked 25th overall. Peak Dee Gordon has averaged 61 SBs, 98 runs and a .309 average in his last three non-suspension years. Those 61 SBs are truly where Dee’s value shines as he has the most stolen bases over those three seasons in the entire league. He has three elite categories and two pitiful categories, but he can win you one of those categories every week single-handedly. Right now he’s on pace for 37 SBs and 77 runs. Yes, anything can happen in the second-half and in a speed-starved league 37 SBs are really still great — but those numbers no longer make him an elite top 25 player.
Five Biggest Risers Since Week 1: (of players who were ranked in Week 1)
- Mitch Haniger, rose 76 spots: I was high on Haniger going into the season but wasn’t sure about his health or if his 2017 was a bit flukey. Well, he’s already surpassed his 2017 HR, RBI and SB total in 20 fewer ABs. He realistically could end up with 30 HR, 100+ RBI, 10+ SBs and a .275 batting average.
- Ozzie Albies, rose 70 spots: I’m an Albies enabler, but even I didn’t see 20 HR/9 SB in the first half of his first full season at age 21. However, he was a 25+ stolen base threat throughout the minors, and even showed developing power in 2017 hitting 15 HRs across AAA and the bigs. The Braves are going to be a force for the next decade and Albies has MVP potential hitting near the top of their lineup and going 25/25 with a .280 average.
- Javier Baez, rose 64 spots: Javier Baez didn’t come here to not swing. His 3.8% walk rate is 8th worst in the league. His 25.6% K/rate is 22nd worst in the league. Obviously that would lead to his .015 BB/K rate ranking behind only Dee Gordon and Salvador Perez. However, in only 93 games Baez has 19 HRs, 72 RBI and 18 SBs. Pair that with his 62 runs and 72 RBI and you have a 1st/2nd round pick in 2019. Baez has upped his hard contact rated to 39.3% He comes to the plate with only one thing in minded — swing and swing hard and so far this season it is paying off for him.
- Eddie Rosario, rose 60 spots: A lot of guys on this list share something in common — I wasn’t completely sold on their one good major league season. Rosario hit 27 HRs and stole 9 bases with a .290 average in 2017, but I needed to see him repeat that after only hitting over 20 HRs once way back in the Twins rookie league. Well, Rosario is making me look foolish with his development this year. He’s hitting 65/19/61/6/.310 through 94 games and is poised to finish as a top 25 hitter this season.
- Tim Anderson, rose 55 spots: If not for his .243 AVG and .299 OBP Tim Anderson would be even higher. He’s got 13 HRs/21 SBs so far and could end up with a 20/30 season if he keeps it up. However, that 6.3% walk rate and 24.3% K/rate are holding him down. I think the average will come back up a bit as his .292 BABIP creeps closer to his career .333 mark.
Biggest Debut Risers Since Week 1: (players unranked to start the season)
- Eugenio Suarez, now ranked 19: Another guy who I didn’t fully buy into his 2017 developments — it didn’t help that he went down with a major thumb injury in April that saw him miss 16 games. Suarez was expected to lose his job to Nick Senzel by now, but due to Senzel’s injuries and Suarez playing like an MVP candidate — third base is booked in Cincinnati for the next few years.
- Jesus Aguilar, now ranked 30: How did we all miss on this guy? Your NL HR leader went undrafted in your league, but that was mainly due to being blocked by the Brewers over-zealously adding offensive weapons. In 2016 Aguilar had a 40 HR/114 RBI season in the Indians minor league system with a .261 average. Unfortunately, the next year, the Indians signed Edwin Encarnacion and must be kicking themselves now for letting Aguilar slip through their fingers while E5 starts his slow decline.
- Scooter Gennett, now ranked 31: Excuse the crap out of me for assuming a 5’10” 185 pound guy named SCOOTER hitting 27 HRs last season was a fluke! SCOOTER never hit more than 11 HRs in the minors and even the 14 he hit in 2016 with the Brewers was seen as a huge outburst for him. Well SCOOTER and his his fans — I’ll admit it now. I was wrong.
- Shin-Soo Choo, now ranked 33: My brain must’ve been still locked into Big League Choo’s lost 2016 season where he played only 48 injury-riddled games. Even so, his OBP in 469 games with the Rangers prior to this season was a pedestrian (by his standards) .358. He was also averaging 16 HRs and 6 SBs. Compare that to the .390 OBP with 13 HRs and 13 SBs he was averaging in the 843 games prior to his Lone Star excursion and you can tell why I didn’t rank him. Well Choo has rediscovered his patience (14.9% walk rate; 11th best) and is continuing his power stroke, but should surpass his career high HR total (22) in the next month (he’s at 18 now.) Unfortunately, on a Texas team that is 25th in team batting average and 20th in team OPS his runs and RBI aren’t going to be as high as they should be.
- Max Muncy, now ranked 35: ¯_(?)_/¯ What can I even say anymore?
Top 100 Hitters Now and Then
No Longer Top 100: