Hitter List 5/15: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters to Own ROS

Jonathan Metzelaar shares his weekly ranking of who will be the top 150 hitters in baseball through the end of the 2019 season.

Hello and welcome to Hitter List, where every Wednesday I’ll be flawlessly ranking the top 150 hitters in baseball from now through the end of the season.

To truly hate something, you must first understand it, so here’s a general overview of how I go about evaluating players so you can be upset with these rankings more thoroughly:

  • I value stolen bases significantly more than home runs. The 5,585 homers hit in 2018 were the fourth-highest total in modern history. And the 2,474 stolen bases from last year were the lowest total since 1994 and the eighth-lowest total since 1969. In other words, stolen bases are a scarce resource getting even scarcer, like reasons to believe in Joey Votto. And home runs are an abundant resource that are becoming more prevalent, like Yu Darvish walks. All else being equal, I’ll always take the guy with 15 HR/20 SB over the guy with 20 HR/15 SB.
  • I’m generally not a believer in positional scarcity, so position eligibility only comes into play in two instances: as a tiebreaker when two players are fairly evenly matched, or if a player is eligible at catcher, because catcher is a barren wasteland this year filled with adrenaline-fueled maniacs playing guitar riffs while strapped to 18-wheelers. Wait, no, that’s Mad Max: Fury Road, but catcher is just as bleak and weird.
  • I’m an old man who’s afraid of change, so I tend to be low on young players without major league track records.
  • I lean on track record more than recent performance, unless I see a significant underlying change in approach.
  • These rankings apply only to leagues using standard scoring (R, RBI, HR, SB, AVG) and lean more towards rotisserie and H2H categories leagues. Adjust accordingly for other formats.
  • These rankings are meant to be from today’s date through the end of the season. These are purely for redraft, so I’m not taking 2020 into account here at all.
  • A player’s movement in the rankings can be just as much about where guys around them have moved as anything else. A player might move down purely as a result of someone below them rising, and vice versa.


[hitter_list_2019 list_id=”31346″ include_stats=”1″]


Now onto the recaps:

  • Injuries: Ender Inciarte, Buster Posey, Jose Altuve, Miguel Andujar, and Travis Shaw all started feeling IL this week. Elvis Andrus and Anthony Rizzo also appear to be dealing with potential injuries, and Giancarlo Stanton is reportedly welcoming a new shoulder injury into the world.
  • Additions: Keston Hiura, Austin Riley, and Alex Verdugo make their debuts on the list this week. Mallex Smith also makes his triumphant return. Jurickson Profar, Harrison Bader, Dansby Swanson, and Nate Lowe fall off the list as a result. I worry a bit about the long-term playing time outlook for both Riley and Hiura since they both find themselves on fairly crowded rosters, but they’re both well-disciplined hitters that I think could make a difference in all formats.
  • Miguel Cabrera has been something of an anomaly to this point. Incredible hard hit rate (50.9%) and a decent launch angle that hasn’t translated to barrels somehow (just 6.4% on the year). I still kind of believe there’s 25-homer power in his bat that he just hasn’t tapped into yet, and I definitely believe in him more than Joey Votto. He drops due to the lack of production to this point, but I haven’t given up just yet.
  • Add Josh Bell to the list of guys I was 100% out on in the preseason who have transformed themselves into completely different players this year. My main gripes with him—the lack of hard contact and the plethora of grounders—have all but evaporated this year. He’s posting a 55% hard-hit rate and a 17% barrel rate while still making roughly league-average contact. Is this what love feels like?
  • Alex Verdugo is someone who probably should have made an appearance last week, as his hit tool is absolutely elite and he sprays the ball to all fields really well. I run into the same problem with ranking him as I do with someone like Jeff McNeil: How beneficial is the batting average if he’s going to struggle to give you much in home runs or stolen bases? The barrel and hard contact rates are pretty middling to this point, but I think he could hit .290 with something like 15 homers and possibly a handful of steals. Nothing to get too excited about, but solid all around.
  • With Jose Altuve I was concerned that the lack of stolen bases indicated that something was still bugging him injury-wise. Lo and behold, he’s gone down with a hamstring strain. The relief here is that it doesn’t appear to be related to the knee injury that hampered him last season. He still takes a big hit due to the fact that it’s a lower body injury and speed is such a huge part of his game.
  • Who to watch for: I’m keeping an eye on both Nicky Lopez and J.D. Davis this week. Lopez has excellent contact ability with some pop and speed, and appears to be in line to pick up lots of at-bats as the Royals second baseman. And with Jed Lowrie suffering a setback and Todd Frazier being, well, Todd Frazier recently, I’d like to see if Davis can wrestle away the starting third-base job in New York. If he can, his hard contact rates are off the charts and he could be in line for a breakout.

Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)

Jonathan Metzelaar

Jonathan Metzelaar is a writer, content manager, and podcaster with Pitcher List. He enjoys long walks on the beach, quiet dinners by candlelight, and essentially any other activity that will distract him from the perpetual torture of being a New York Mets fan. He's written for Fangraphs Community Research and created Youtube videos about fantasy baseball under the moniker "Jonny Baseball."

36 responses to “Hitter List 5/15: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters to Own ROS”

  1. MookieBestt says:

    I think you gotta move Machado down much further. Suarez is at 30, and their lines last year weren’t much different outside of speed. Even if Machado starts hitting like last year again, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be running anymore in San Diego, which should knock him down a ways.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I see where you’re coming from. With Machado I think the batting average ceiling is higher than Suarez, who I see as a .275 hitter. And while I know the steals have historically been all over the map, but at least with Machado there’s a decent chance he can get you double-digits in the category. I find him to be one of the rare players who has both a high floor and a high ceiling, and that makes him really appealing to me.

      • MookieBestt says:

        I think you can maybe defend Machado being in the 20s for his floor, but his K rate this year has gone way up, and I think if he hits .275 from this point forward, you’d have to consider that a victory. He’s at .265 with an xBA of .250. Combine the lower average with the 0 steals and he’s a 3 category guy. I’d be selling him for just about anyone in the top 30.

        • Jonathan Metzelaar says:
        • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

          The season is all about peaks and valleys when it comes to offensive performance, and Machado has had periods where his strikeout rate has spike this high. In fact, it spiked even higher for awhile last year, and he ended up posting one of his best seasons. I think he’s still in line for a vintage Machado season, so I’m definitely snagging him from anyone selling low right now.

      • theKraken says:

        Machado is dual position eligible – that is pretty valuable. I don’t think Suarez is doomed to a .275 AVG – he has 2 .280+ seasons and I think he is legitimately improving as a hitter. Contrast that with Machado who certainly is not – he got paid and I wouldn’t be surprised if he never takes a step forward. I think there is little chance that Machado steals 10 ever again. He is not trying to work harder than he has to. He stole some bases last year to get paid a bit more. I would also have Machado ahead of Suarez all that said as Machado has the ceiling and the eligibility edges. I am a Suarez fan as you can tell, but I think his gains are as a hitter and making quality contact – I don’t think he has the elite athleticism and that is what worries me a bit. I am not sure how much further he can go or how long he will be able to maintain it. Suarez is good at putting the barrel on the ball – not the stat barrels, but real barrels.

  2. Fisch says:

    Just curious where you’re at with Tommy La Stella this season? I didn’t see him on the list (unless I missed him) I’m curious about your rationale for not having him on there yet.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      My main issue with La Stella is that a lot of his batted ball metrics are essentially league average (barrel rate, hard hit %, exit velo), which makes me think this power outburst isn’t sustainable and he settles back into being a guy with roughly 10-homer power. The contact skills are legit though, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him hit .285 or so. But again, because of the lack of standout power and no speed I’m not really buy in on him ROS.

      • Fisch says:

        Perfectly reasonable rationale. Agree on contact and that K% is crazy 6.3%. But the advanced stats on power isn’t there to make him list worthy. Of course, he just hit another HR today, but your point is well taken on what he settles back into.

  3. Al Bumbry says:

    Seems Haniger is heating up with HRs in his last 2 games and doesn’t warrant the 9 spot drop.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      The power isn’t really the issue for me–he’s hitting just .220 over the past month and striking out in nearly a third of his at-bats during that span.

      • Al Bumbry says:

        Harper has struck out in nearly a third of his ABs on the entire season and is ranked 30 spots ahead of Haniger.

        • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

          Sure, but that’s where upside comes into play, right? If we’re talking rest of season production, I’d much rather have Harper, whose ceiling is significantly higher than Haniger’s, especially when you take ballpark and lineup into account.

          • Al Bumbry says:

            Sure Harper has the sexy name and the $300M contract. However I wouldn’t underestimate Haniger’s upside. Not even sure who had the better fantasy season last year between the two. I guess we’ll see. Thanks for the list!

  4. TheTinDoor says:

    Josh Bell as the 15th-ranked 1B?? +33 isn’t nearly enough… you’d be laughed out of the room if you offered Bell for Encarnacion, Carpenter, Olson, Voit, or Muncy.

    By production so far, he’s the #2 overall 1B. And nothing lucky about it, by Statcast metrics he’s absolutely crushing the ball – EV, Hard Hit%, xwOBA, xSLG, and xBA are all 95th% or better.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      The baseball season is very, very long, and I think it’s always important not to get too far ahead of yourself when it comes to both slumping AND hot players. I love what Bell is doing, but if you look at his 10-game rolling averages, he’s been prone to hot streaks not unlike this one in the past. Now I do think something is different this time around, but I’m not quite ready to anoint him a top-10 first baseman after 40 games.

      • Gary R says:

        The baseball season is very, very long….and Amed Rosario has never done one well. How is he ahead of J. Bell?

        Also, how far past 150 is Yandy Diaz?

        • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

          It’s two spots, so I don’t feel super strongly about one over the other. And Nick Gerli wrote a great article about Rosario a few weeks back that I think is worth a read:


          I think Rosario has the raw tools to be a fantasy monster, though his ranking admittedly has plenty of expected/hopeful growth baked in.

          People ask about Yandy every week, and he’s not far outside the top 150. But I just can’t bank on a guy who historically has hit the ball on the ground a ton (and is still hitting it on the ground half the time) reaching 20 homers by season’s end. And if he can’t do that I just don’t think he’s super special in terms of fantasy.

      • TheTinDoor says:

        So if you owned Bell, you’d swap him straight up for EE, Carp, Olson, Voit, Muncy? Those guys are all 10-25 spots ahead.

        If you would, that would be impressive (?) commitment to your preseason opinions…

        • Max says:

          yeah its a complete joke. He’s too locked in to his preseason opinions. Nobody would make that trade, and he knows it.

        • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

          Yes to all of those, though EE would admittedly give me pause, so Bell probably deserves to be up a bit higher (or EE a bit lower).

          I mention in the introductory notes I’m generally a track record guy. That means I’ll miss out on a breakout here and there but it also means I don’t over-invest in guys like Brandon Belt and Christian Villanueva who were some of the best hitters in the league to this point last year and then completely disappeared. I think we just have a difference in philosophy.

      • Cal says:

        I don’t think you can make this argument while at the same time having Moncada 42 spots ahead of Ball.

        Ball has overall better numbers and talk about streaky? Other than 2 games in the past 2 weeks Moncada has been a big 0-fer. All his stats have come in literally 2 games.

        I’m not saying you’re definitely wrong about Ball, but the argument you’re using is pretty flimsy based on some of the other rankings.

  5. Jim says:

    This may be out of pocket, but what about J Soler? .841 OPS is top 100, are you not buying because of lineup, track record or injury risk? It’s gotta be something.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Mostly track record and underlying stats for me–I generally ignore injury risk if a guy is healthy, and I like the Royals lineup. The 31% strikeout rate, 14% SwStr, 69% contact rate, 46% GB–these are all red flags for me that have me shying away from him in terms of rest-of-season value.

  6. Jackson says:

    Are you keeping an eye on Tapia or did he just have a few nice weeks?

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      He has really bad contact peripherals to this point and is running up a .400 BABIP so I’d bank on his production to this point being more of a fluke than anything worth investing in.

  7. steve says:

    Cain seems far too high. He posts a good average but his steal numbers are down which is the one thing that makes him fantasy relevant (not crazy to think they will decline in his age 33 season). Im curious why pete alonso is as far down as he is. His batted ball profile is very good and has been a rock this season. Also Gary Sanchez statcast numbers are unreal — he should be in for an incredible season when its said and done.

  8. Herbert says:

    Do you mind giving an explanation of what you like about Clint Frazier and is Ronny Rodriguez on your radar at all for this list? He’s 16th best in xWoBA.

  9. Theo says:

    Josh Bell definitely needs to be moved up. People forget how big of a prospect he was at one time and he’s finally living up to it. Needs to be in the top 30.

  10. Ricky says:

    How do we feel about Soto ROS? He’s just kind of been chilling in mediocrity and rarely mentioned. Is this a buy low candidate or wait til next year when he can figure out how to hit junk guy?

  11. Armadillofury says:

    How is Brian Dozier still on this list despite all evidence to the contrary? .210/.302/.376 and .297 wOBA in 785 PA’s spanning 2018-19 backed by .292 and .286 xwOBA in 2018 and 2019

  12. theKraken says:

    I would guess that the gap between Merrifield and Mondesi grows. That lack of plate discipline is probably going to catch up with him at some point. Not the most substantive prediction but I think he is a candidate to take a huge nosedive at some point. I was scanning through trying to find some points to make, not something I have a lot of certainty on. I would surely rather have Springer.
    Suarez has been red hot as of late and I have always thought he is undervalued. Certainly shuold not have a down arrow.
    I always say this, but Wil Myers is too high. He is not as good as his final numbers because he is just so streaky. I think that counts against him. He is King 37% of the time this year which is always his problem to start.
    I would rather have Ozuna than Domingo Santana. Ozuna has a really low BABIP – sure hitting all those HR doesn’t help, nor does taking walks… but those are not exactly problems either.
    I don’t think Cano is top 100 and I own shares.
    If you like SB (you do), then Buxton is really bordering on elite. He will start running at some point and he has to get moved up in the lineup at some point – its speculative but I like him.
    Devers seems undervalued – he was one of the better prospects of the past decade. Its always good to bet on those types when they start to hit.
    Austin Riley doesn’t belong on the list yet.
    From the value bin I like Franco, Adam Jones, Schoop and Brandon Lowe.
    Thanks for putting this together – always appreciated.

  13. theKraken says:

    Re: Josh Bell – Things like hitting GB are very fixable and they vary a lot year over year. People use the stats they have available to them incorrectly all the time. Its a much better problem than hitting too many FB which isn’t so fixable mechanically. GB are just a few millimeters from LD on the barrel and LD can go either direction very easily. You don’t know that GB are not barely missing out on being LD. People who hit LD can do what they want with LA. That why you see guys like Yelich and Lindor simply decide to hit HR and do it. Too many GB isn’t the death sentence that a lot of people interpret it to be.

  14. Doc Holler says:

    Is Pham at #17 a mistake or is he really supposed to be a top 20 player? What am I missing here? Genuinely curious.

    Thanks for the list. Anyone who is hating, I invite you to make your own list. It’s tougher than you think going into it.

  15. Mark says:

    Hey man, good call on Josh Bell being the 86th best bat in the league. Good call. You were right on with that one……

    This site loses all credibility. How can you possibly rank him there??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login