Welcome to September. In four short weeks, the MLB regular season will be over. The majority of teams have just nine series left. For some, nine lives left to lock up that playoff spot. More importantly, in seven days, my kids (and wife) return to school, and the magic that is a silent house returns. While this final list will cover the rest of season rankings, I want to take a look at some of the biggest movers from the beginning of the season. We’ll talk about the breakouts and the busts and see what went right (or wrong). Without further ado, let’s take a look at the list:

Rank Player Position Team +/- Original Rank
1 Jose Ramirez 3B Indians    –     1
2 Rafael Devers 3B Red Sox    –     7
3 Austin Riley 3B Braves   +4    20
4 Manny Machado 3B Padres   -1     2
5 Max Muncy 1B/2B/3B Dodgers   -1    10
6 Kris Bryant 1B/3B/OF Giants   -1    14
7 Nolan Arenado 3B Cardinals   -1     5
8 Alex Bregman 3B Astros   +9     6
9 DJ LeMahieu 1B/2B/3B Yankees   -1     4
10 Jonathan India 2B/3B Reds   -1    NR
11 Justin Turner 3B Dodgers   -1    19
12 Josh Donaldson 3B Twins   +1    17
13 Tommy Edman 2B/3B/SS/OF Cardinals   +1    18
14 Yoan Moncada 3B White Sox   +8    11
15 Matt Chapman 3B Athletics   -3    13
16 Jonathan Villar 2B/3B/SS Mets   +5    NR
17 Patrick Wisdom 1B/3B/OF Cubs   NR    NR
18 Joey Wendle 2B/3B/SS Rays   NR    NR
19 Kyle Seager 3B Mariners   +5    NR
20 Ryan McMahon 1B/2B/3B Rockies   -4    NR
21 Jean Segura 2B/3B Phillies   -4    23
22 Eduardo Escobar 2B/3B Brewers   -8    24
23 Isiah Kiner-Falefa 3B/SS Rangers   NR    NR
24 Jeimer Candelario 1B/3B Tigers   -4    NR
25 Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B Pirates   -9    16

Before we get to the end-of-season review, let’s talk about the big jumpers. Alex Bregman is finally healthy and back in the lineup, so he jumps to the top 10. Yoan Moncada is on fire and it only took until the end of August for him to put things together. If you held on, or if Moncada was dropped, it’s time to ride the streak.  Finally, Patrick Wisdom and Joey Wendle are running hot. Wisdom has popped seven homers over the last two weeks, while Wendle has provided a consistent power/speed combo with batting average to boot.

Taking a look back, Anthony Rendon (3) was easily the biggest bust of the position. He was injured for two-thirds of the season and never got the engine started. Rendon had season-ending hip surgery at the beginning of August, which should have him ready for the start of next year. But after dealing with the myriad of Rendon’s injuries, I’m not sure I’m prepared to draft the Angels’ third baseman in the top 80 next year.

There were three other players that I had ranked in the original top 12 that did not appear on this final list – Cavan Biggio (9), Eugenio Suarez (8), and Alec Bohm (12). I’ll start with Biggio. My thought on Biggio had to do with his advanced plate discipline. In 2019 and 2020, his first two big league seasons, Biggio walked at a rate above 15%. During those years, he batted .234 and .250, respectively. My big brain thought was that if he already knew the strike zone, isn’t the next step locking into pitches in “his zone” and driving them? Maybe that does come eventually, but that was not what occurred this year. Like Rendon, Biggio dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness, but he was also batting in the bottom of the Blue Jays order. Not what you want to see. Heading into next year, I’m hoping we get a deep discount on Biggio so we can “post-hype sleep” on his booty.

I don’t even know where to begin with Suarez. How about this? His current -26.4 offensive WAR ranks third-worst since 2018 among all qualified players. The only two that were rated worse were Chris Davis in 2018 and Orlando Arcia in 2019. Suarez has managed to mash 23 homers and has a chance to sniff 30 bombs, albeit with a .169 batting average. He’s now been relegated to the weak side of the platoon with Mike Moustakas. For the last two years, he’s been selling out for power and pitchers have gotten smart, throwing fewer fastballs to the Reds’ slugger. Looking forward to 2022, if the market is willing to give me a discount on Suarez, I’m likely to take a flier on him just because we’ve seen how high the ceiling can be.

When looking at Bohm, I think it’s fair to admit that he didn’t belong ranked up at 12 to start the season. I’ll admit, I’m from the Philly area and my hopes were high for Bohm, but his season has been tough to watch. Even when Bohm was on a “hot stretch” from June-July and batted .316, it was disappointing. There was no pop in Bohm’s bat. When Juan Pierre was up at the plate hitting singles all the time, you were cool with it, because he could steal second. But every time Bohm got a hit it was a single. There was no “ompf” in it. With just turning 25, I’m not completely out on Bohm heading into next year. There’s certainly time to develop.

I’ll quickly touch on the two young bucks that shot up this list all year – Austin Riley and Jonathan India. Riley has been a stud all year and I feel like a heel for not putting more stock into the plate discipline growth he made from 2019 to 2020. When you go from a 36.4% strikeout rate down to 23.8%, that’s something to take notice of. While I feel bad for not picking up on Riley’s GAINZ, I have no regerts about missing out on India. The dude never had a plate appearance above AA heading into this year. I knew the prospect pedigree but with Suarez manning third, Moustakas at second, and Joey Votto entrenched at first, where was he going to play? Well, Moustakas went down, Suarez sucked, and the rest is history. Looking forward to 2022, I’m excited about both players but need to see the cost before I tell you to take my money.

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Harley Earl
Harley Earl
11 months ago

Richardo!

I remember when Austin Riley could barely even make your list! I had to scream at you to get you to seriously consider him! Boy, times sure have changed!!!

I also had to yell at you about Cody Bellanger. Boy the Bellman sure stinks doesn’t he? He’s putrid like spoiled eggs in your garbage can in the 100 degree Arizona heat for three days stink.

But I’m glad to see you with the Austin Riley love. It’s earned, for sure. Personally, I’d have Devers #1 simply because he’s younger and should outlast Jose. But there’s no arguing you’ve got the top three right at this point. And look at you with the Muncy love. You’re on top of your game this week!

Let’s celebrate with a Wendy’s spicy chicken super value meal! Large Size!