There hasn’t been a #1 ranked hitter in my rankings besides Mike Trout since he went down with an injury at the beginning of August 2018. His replacement, Mookie Betts was in the thick of his AL MVP/World Series campaign and the difference between them wasn’t that vast anyway.
This year, the 2018 NL MVP who everyone was sure was going to regress has done just the opposite and started off even hotter than anyone anticipated. Christian Yelich has tied Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez with 14 HRs to begin the season. To top both of those jabronis, Yelich has also stolen 6 bases. Just to whet the appetites of Yelich owners — A-Rod went on to win the AL MVP that season while Pujols was the runner-up in his season. Yes, I know that Cody Bellinger is beating Yelich in some statistical categories already this season, but forgive me if I believe more in Yelich’s .350 AVG right now over Bellinger’s .420.
Top 100 Hitters
|6||Ronald Acuna Jr.||OF||ATL||6||0|
Notes: I had Trevor Story ranked exactly 8th in my pre-season rankings with a lot of hesitation due to his 2017 stats. I dropped Story out of the top-10 after he only hit .209 in the first 12 games of the season to try and save face a bit. He’s hit .349 since then so look how smart and fearless I am! It’s been Trout/Betts at 1 and 2 since I started writing this column last year, but Betts has started this season pretty slow with only 5 HRs, 1 SB and a .267 AVG so far. Could Betts be suffering through a bit of a World Series hangover? You don’t have to look too far back (2017) when Betts hit .264 with a .268 BABIP. This year his BABIP is .267 — maybe this is just natural year-to-year fluctuations.
Notes: I can’t ignore Tim Anderson anymore. I want to — but I can’t just yet. A career .258 hitter all of a sudden hitting over .400? Chill. However, I can’t deny the power/speed threat even if that batting average humanizes to his normal numbers. While I was only ignoring Anderson — I was actively rooting against Mondesi going into this season due to the countless times I said I thought he was going to be a bust. My main concerns were his plate discipline and approach, but he’s making solid contact for a .290 AVG. The 32:5 K/BB ratio still is hideous, but maybe he’s good enough, fast enough and doggone it I was wrong about him.
Notes: Bregman’s tumble in these rankings isn’t because he’s been bad necessarily — and the fact that I have him so high should reflect that. However, only 4 HRs and 1 SB are pretty unspectacular for a guy some people had tabbed as an MVP Candidate. He’ll still be okay by season’s end, but for now, he’ll stay in this range. Look at all these great outfielders! From Ozuna to Cain you can’t really go wrong with any of them and that’s why they’ve all gotten a bump this week. Lindor should climb a little bit, however, how high depends on the health of his legs. I’m not convinced he’ll steal over 20 bases this season.
Notes: Jose Ramirez Watch! He continues to tumble. Since last week he’s stolen 3 bases (yay!) but only had 5 hits in 6 games (boo!) Welcome Pete Alonso to the top 40. I’m still a little nervous that he’ll go through the same bumps that everyone rookie goes through, but he’s been pretty fantastic so far for the Amazin’s.
Notes: Gallo is still striking out in 35% of his ABs, but he’s upped his walk rate by 5% and his hard contact rate is at a phenomenal 65%. Anyone who drafted him late because he can’t hit over .210 must be loving this Gallo. Here’s the Moncada we were all hoping for! He’s striking out 11% less than 2018 and is riding a .377 BABIP to the highest average of his career. Time will tell if he is the 30/30 prospect everyone projected him as a few years ago — but this is a great first step.
|55||Vlad Guerrero Jr.||3B||TOR||72||17|
|59||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SS||SD||77||18|
Notes: Quick — everyone yell at me in the comments for not making Vlad Guerrero a top-5 ranked player! Even Mike Trout hit .220 over his first 40 games. I want him to be the best hitter of all time too — but let’s let him get some ABs first. See also: Tatis Jr. Hopefully you bought low on Nelson Cruz after he hit 1 HR in his first 41 ABs because he now has 4 in this last week and *NBA JAM voice* “he’s heating up!”
Notes: Am I the crazy one for not being fully convinced that Trey Mancini is a .300+ hitter? No — you are, you’re the crazy one! His .413 BABIP is the 4th highest in the league — time to sell SO unbelievably high right now. Here are a few guys who are officially on notice: Joey Votto, Robinson Cano, Mallex Smith, and Travis Shaw. By this time next week I’ll be just as full of anxiety about Game of Thrones and these guys will be just as full of anxiety about falling off my top 100 list.
Don’t pay too much attention to the change column this week — there were a lot of movers/shakers/rank correctors that it looks like I’m low on somebody — but it’ll normalize next week. Rankings are hard!