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.

Mookie Betts: Betts was a surefire first rounder just like Trout prior to the season and he’s lived up to that. He now has three straight 20+/20+ seasons with 100+ runs. The scary thing is he’s not not even done — he’s about to have his first 30/30 season by the time the playoffs come around. His peripheral numbers support this growth too — he’s hitting the highest fly ball percentage and lowest ground ball percentage of his career all with the highest hard contact rate of his career. And just like the next player on this list, Betts hits in the lineup with the highest batting average and OPS in all of baseball while the Angels are 16th in batting average and 15th in OPS.  

J.D. Martinez: The man who has driven in Mookie Betts 26 times already this season is someone else who is reaching for that brass ring. JDM is two-thirds of the way towards achieving only the second triple crown in the past 50 years. (The one man standing in his way is only .008 batting average points above him and has been driven in by JDM 26 times this season. Hint hint.) This could become one of the most fun developments to follow over the final month of the season. The only thing keeping the #1 title out of reach for Martinez is his lack of speed. However, 5 SBs from someone you expect 0 from isn’t completely terrible and 3 of those SBs have come over his last 34 games so maybe there’s enough of a chance for him to reach to grab 5 more in September! Probably not though… All that being said, Martinez has been driven and motivated to live up to his huge Red Sox contract and he has been worth every penny.

Jose Ramirez: The one man who I think could be the closest heir apparent to the #1 spot is Ramirez. He’s got the power of Martinez (37 HRs to Martinez’s 39,) the speed of Mookie (29 steals to Mookie’s 21,) the team driven stats of both (185 runs+RBI compared to Betts’s 179 and Martinez’s 214.) and is in just as good a lineup that is 5th in AVG and 3rd in OPS. The one area where you could say Ramirez is dragging behind is AVG as he’s “only” hitting .288. But his .400 OBP compares nicely to Martinez’s .404 and Betts’s .431. This is due to Ramirez’s 15.1% walk rate which currently ranks 8th in the league — coincidentally Trout is in 1st with a 20.5% walk rate.

So what do you think Razzballians? Who is the #1 fantasy hitter in 2018?

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @KerryKlug

Top 100 Hitters

GREEN: Rising | BLUE: New Additions | RED: Falling

RANK NAME TEAM POSITION LAST WEEK
1 Mike Trout LAA OF 1
2 Jose Ramirez CLE 2B/3B 2
3 Mookie Betts BOS OF 3
4 J.D. Martinez BOS OF 4
5 Francisco Lindor CLE SS 5
6 Javier Baez CHC SS/2B 6
7 Christian Yelich MIL OF 13
8 Manny Machado LAD 3B 8
9 Andrew Benintendi BOS OF 7
10 Nolan Arenado COL 3B 9
11 Trevor Story COL SS 10
12 Paul Goldschmidt ARI 1B 11
13 Trea Turner WAS SS 12
14 Giancarlo Stanton NYY OF 14
15 Khris Davis OAK OF 15
16 Eugenio Suarez CIN 3B 16
17 Alex Bregman HOU SS/3B 19
18 Bryce Harper WAS OF 17
19 Freddie Freeman ATL 1B 18
20 Matt Carpenter STL 1B/2B/3B 20
21 Charlie Blackmon COL OF 21
22 Jose Altuve HOU 2B 23
23 Nelson Cruz SEA DH 24
24 Jean Segura SEA SS 25
25 Ronald Acuna ATL OF 28
26 Juan Soto WAS OF 29
27 Starling Marte PIT OF 32
28 Shin-Soo Choo TEX OF 22
29 Justin Upton LAA OF 33
30 Lorenzo Cain MIL OF 26
31 George Springer HOU OF 34
32 Cody Bellinger LAD 1B/OF 35
33 Mitch Haniger SEA OF 36
34 Jesus Aguilar MIL 1B 37
35 Xander Bogaerts BOS SS 38
36 Anthony Rizzo CHC 1B 39
37 Edwin Encarnacion CLE 1B 40
38 David Peralta ARI OF 41
39 Aaron Hicks NYY OF 42
40 Anthony Rendon WAS 3B 50
41 Scooter Gennett CIN 2B 44
42 Whit Merrifield KC 2B 52
43 Brian Dozier LAD 2B 45
44 Ozzie Albies ATL 2B 46
45 Rhys Hoskins PHI 1B/OF 47
46 Travis Shaw MIL 3B 49
47 Michael Brantley CLE OF 51
48 Miguel Andujar NYY 3B 58
49 Elvis Andrus TEX SS 53
50 Max Muncy LAD 1B/2B/3B 54
51 Cesar Hernandez PHI 2B 55
52 Nick Markakis ATL OF 31
53 Tim Anderson CWS SS 56
54 Mike Moustakas MIL 3B 61
55 Gleyber Torres NYY 2B/SS 65
56 Eduardo Escobar ARZ 3B/SS 59
57 Didi Gregorius NYY SS 43
58 Robinson Cano SEA 2B 71
59 Daniel Murphy CHC 2B 70
60 Nicholas Castellanos DET 3B/OF 62
61 Matt Chapman OAK 3B 68
62 Ian Desmond COL 1B/OF 63
63 Rougned Odor TEX 2B 64
64 Cesar Hernandez PHI 2B 55
65 Kole Calhoun LAA OF 66
66 Wil Myers SD 1B/OF 57
67 Aaron Judge NYY OF 27
68 Dee Gordon SEA 2B/OF 69
69 D.J. LeMahieu COL 2B 72
70 Tommy Pham TBR OF 79
71 Andrew McCutchen NYY OF 74
72 Maikel Franco PHI 3B 75
73 Joey Gallo TEX 3B/1B 76
74 Carlos Correa HOU SS 60
75 Asdrubal Cabrera PHI 2B/SS/3B 77
76 Jose Abreu CWS 1B 48
77 Joey Votto CIN 1B 78
78 Ender Inciarte ATL OF 80
79 Chris Taylor LAD 2B/OF/SS 67
80 Jurickson Profar TEX SS/3B/OF 85
81 Yonder Alonso CLE 1B 86
82 Matt Kemp LAD OF 87
83 Jose Peraza CIN 2B/SS 88
84 Carlos Santana PHI 1B 89
85 Jonathan Villar BAL 2B 100
86 Marcus Semien OAK SS 90
87 Odubel Herrera PHI OF 83
88 Justin Turner LAD 3B 99
89 JT Realmuto MIA C 91
90 Yadier Molina STL C 92
91 AJ Pollock ARI OF 84
92 Gregory Polanco PIT OF 93
93 Brett Gardner NYY OF 94
94 Adam Jones BAL OF 95
95 Nomar Mazara TEX OF 81
96 Mallex Smith TBR OF 73
97 Adam Eaton WAS OF 96
98 Wilson Ramos WAS C 97
99 Jose Martinez StL 1B/OF NR
100 Kendrys Morales TOR 1B 98
  1. DodgerWindowClosed says:
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    I traded Treinen, Albies and Manaea for Trout back when Ozzie was crushing it. A steal in my mind but owning him has been interesting as the Angels lineup is so soft opponents really don’t need to pitch to him much. Walks are great but, through no fault of his own, I would take Mookie at this one point in time. Then I would draft Trout first next year though.

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry Klug says:
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      @DodgerWindowClosed: I really wonder what Trout is thinking. He doesn’t seem to be a diva at all, but he’s got to be frustrated about his lack of playoff games. His home town Phillies are on the rise…

  2. colin reynolds says:
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    how ceasar be 61 and 54?

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry Klug says:
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      @colin reynolds: 51 and 64. I forgot to delete him from his 51 slot when I deleted him.

  3. John says:
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    can you guys do an article or analysis on players who most consistently peak in August/September? It would be interesting to see who most consistently puts up their best stats in the last 1/4 of the regular season. Pitchers too.

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry Klug says:
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      @John: That would be really helpful. I’m limping through my playoffs right now and it would be good to know who is going to get hot right when you need them most. Hmmm…I’ll think about how it could be done.

  4. Big League Choo says:
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    With Choo and Markakis in slumps, would you start the hot hitting Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes in their places right now?

  5. MagaMan says:
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    Hey Kerry, would you start a cold Brett Gardner this week or a Mallex Smith back of the DL?

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry Klug says:
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      @MagaMan: It’s a risk…but I’d go with Mallex’s speed. Could help be a game changer.

  6. PalJordan says:
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    Safe to start Justin Upton in a weekly? I could just start Nunez and save the worry……?

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry Klug says:
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      @PalJordan: All the numbers tell me to start Upton…but with a concussion? I’d play safe and go with Nunez.

  7. Chucky says:
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    RIP, AJ Pollock. Right next to John McCain….may the Republic of Arizona live on. 1-25 by AJ, gimme a break. Forget about stolen bases, what’s that? AJ is an old 30!

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry Klug says:
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      @Chucky: Yea…this 91 is his last chance. If he has a good week he’ll hover at 91. If he has a bad week…it’s curtains for him.

  8. GOING FOR FIRST PLACE
    I Do need the ribbie’s and BA even at this late stage, primarily….. and will need the runs secondly….. so who to start this week beginning tuesday from ————————

    —Quinn
    — Hanson
    — Joc Pederson ( only 3 RHP)
    – Dietrich (benched too much lately)
    — Hernan perez
    –Parra (col)
    —Domingo Santana (lots of righty P’s)

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry Klug says:
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      @luvdarooks: based on ABs and overall production I’d go with Roman (quinn) Reigns.

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