Each week when I sit down to write this, the first thing I look at is who hit the IL and how long they’ll be out. I feel like my twins are running around the grocery store just knocking sh!t over and I’m constantly cleaning up. This week, I’ll be cleaning up the milk that Cody Bellinger spilled, the display of toilet paper that Mike Moustakas knocked over, and Christian Walker’s banana peel prank. On top of all that, we’ll be addressing Miguel Sano and his poor attitude (performance). Let’s get to the list and then we’ll dole out some spankins.

 

Rank Player Position Team   +/-
1 Freddie Freeman 1B Braves     –
2 Vlad Guerrero, Jr. 1B Blue Jays   +5
3 Jose Abreu 1B White Sox     –
4 Pete Alonso 1B Mets   +1
5 Paul Goldschmidt 1B Cardinals   +1
6 Cody Bellinger 1B/OF Dodgers    -4
7 DJ LeMahieu 1B/2B/3B Yankees    -3
8 Matt Olson 1B Athletics     –
9 Matt Muncy 1B/2B/3B Dodgers     –
10 Eric Hosmer 1B Padres     –
11 Jared Walsh 1B Angels   +11
12 Rhys Hoskins 1B Phillies    +1
13 Anthony Rizzo 1B Cubs    -3
14 Nate Lowe 1B Rangers   +6
15 Mike Moustakas 1B/2B/3B Reds    -4
16 Carlos Santana 1B Royals   +2
17 Dominic Smith 1B/OF Mets    -1
18 Ryan McMahon 1B/2B/3B Rockies   NR
19 Jake Cronenworth 1B/2B/SS Padres   +3
20 C.J. Cron 1B Rockies    -5
21 Yuli Gurriel 1B Astros    -2
22 Miguel Sano 1B Twins    -6
23 Josh Bell 1B Nationals    -5
24 Luke Voit 1B Yankees    -1
25 Travis Shaw 1B/3B Brewers     NR

 

Starting off with the injuries, Cody Bellinger and Mike Moustakas took a bump down. Bellinger seems like he’s close to returning to the lineup, so maybe bumping him down that much is an overreaction but those guys up at the top are really good. Moustakas is out with a non-COVID illness, so he should be back relatively quickly.

I simply cannot hold back my excitement any longer with Vlad Guerrero, Jr. He’s destroying the ball and looks like he took a full six steps forward in his development. Maybe it’s too much of a bump, but I wanted to properly rank him where my heart has him.

From a real baseball perspective, there’s nothing wrong with what DJ LeMahieu is doing so far. He’s getting on base at a .375 clip but has been a little less aggressive at the plate. He’s done a nice job of laying off pitches outside of the zone, but currently is sporting the lowest zone contact rate of his career sans his rookie year. It’s still early though, so I’m not panicking too much over the reigning AL MVP.

Just like with Guerrero, I’m having a difficult time hiding my excitement about Jared Walsh, who skyrocketed in this week’s rankings. Walsh is raking in the middle of an Angels’ lineup and has kept his strikeout rate down while increasing his walk rate. Even better, he’s not sacrificing power to achieve that improved plate discipline. As you may have noticed from the list, first base falls off a steep cliff soon and Walsh needed to be on the positive side as opposed to the disappointing side.

Like Walsh, Nate Lowe deserved to be on the positive side of this list. While his batting average has cooled some, it’s tough for me to ignore 3 homers and 2 steals over the last two weeks. Anytime you can get literally any speed out of your first baseman it’s a bonus. While I did give him the bump-up, I am a little concerned about the strikeout rate. Had guys like Josh Bell and Miguel Sano not been sucking so bad, he may have stayed in the late-teens range.

While I blamed my children (players) earlier for making messes, the C.J. Cron/Ryan McMahon mess was solely on me, kind of. Two weeks ago, I sat down and busted out this sweet, sweet article and submitted it to my editor. At the time, McMahon was 4/12 with a homer. Nothing all that special. That night, he went 4/6 and mashed 3 homers, making me look like a chode. Here’s the thing. I bumped him into the rankings, but we’re 16 games into the regular season and McMahon has walked once. While he hasn’t struck out at a high rate, I’m not quite sure that this combo is what leads McMahon to the promise land. Oh, and so far Cron has looked like a batter that got cut by the Tigers and fooled us into drafting him.

Finally, Miguel Sano and Josh Bell have always had warts. Sano is currently sporting the lowest strikeout rate of his career…….at 33.9%. That’s gross. And Bell’s plate discipline was even an issue back in his breakout 2019 season. It just got covered up by the flashy numbers. Now, all we see is a 31% strikeout rate with no flashy numbers to distract us. I know these guys won’t be this bad all year, but it’s so difficult to confidently start them in their current form.

 

 
  1. jose says:
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    What about Votto? Do you see a late career resurgence? Changed his batting stance and his approach to hitting the ball hard and getting more barrels. Statcast guys think he’s been a little unlucky to start the season. Thoughts on him?

    • Richardo

      Richardo says:
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      Ugh! This is what I mean about cleaning up my mess. I feel like I’m always leaving someone off. Like do I pop Voit off being that we’re waiting on health? It’s a work in progress lol

      So I love with Votto that he’s a tinkerer. Never stuck in his ways. Love the lineup he’s in and love that he’s being more aggressive at the plate. I don’t think it’s all come together quite yet as he has the lowest zone contact rate of his career, but obviously small sample. Definitely a guy to keep an eye on and track that progress. Oh! And if it’s an OBP league, he would easily make this list.

  2. Don't Be a Hader says:
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    Are you counting R. Tellez as a DH, or he just doesn’t make the 1B list?

    • Richardo

      Richardo says:
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      I’m using ESPN’s position eligibility, so he is 1B eligible but so far hasn’t made the list. It’s tough, I like Tellez as a player, but he’s always going to sit against lefties and so far he just hasn’t started mashing. Once he’s on a hot streak, things will change but that just hasn’t come yet.

  3. 2qbn says:
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    I’m not trolling you when I tell you, I’m the guy who happens to have Bell AND Sano.

    Best options on the waiver right now, Lowe, Moran and Candelario. Would you drop either of them for those bums? I really want to drop Sano. I can forgive Bell a bit coming off covid but wtf is up with Sano?

    • Richardo

      Richardo says:
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      Haha it’s crazy! I know these guys aren’t this bad but it’s such a rough start to the season. Maybe if this stretch was hidden in June we wouldn’t even realize how bad they’ve been but staring at a .111 batting average is brutal!!

      I would definitely try and hold onto Sano and Bell and hope they work their way out of this funk but if you need the productivity now, I’m not against jumping on Lowe or Moran and just riding the hot hand. I do feel like Lowe has cooled off a little from his hot first week but I love that he’s chipped in some stolen bases.

      • 2qbn says:
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        Appreciate the reply, senor.

  4. Powdered Toast Man says:
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    Where do you put Christian Vazquez who qualifies at 1b?

    • Richardo

      Richardo says:
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      Damn, I think you’ve caught me twice on Vazquez! I definitely need to change my thinking some because it used to be other than Posey, you’d never consider starting a C in your 1B slot but let’s call it like it is, Vasquez has a higher floor than these streaky guys. He’s also chipping in stolen bases.

      I think I’d have him lumped into those 18-22 guys.

  5. Ok Ok Ok says:
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    Where would you rank Trey Mancini?

    • Richardo

      Richardo says:
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      I’m a little late on this one, but new Top 25 1B drops tomorrow and I have Mancini at 20 for now.

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