Hitter List 5/5 – Ranking the Top 150 Hitters for 2021

Ranking the top 150 hitters for fantasy baseball every week of the year

Hello, and welcome back to Hitter List, where every week during the regular season I’ll be sharing updated rankings for the top 150 hitters in baseball. These rankings are geared toward standard, daily, 12-team H2H leagues, as that is typically the most popular fantasy baseball format. They will only factor in the five standard categories: Runs, RBI, Home Runs, Batting Average, and Stolen Bases.

First, let’s get some basics out of the way:


  • I would recommend not paying super close attention to the specific ranks of each player, and honing in more on the respective tiers that they’re in. Each tier represents a grouping of players that I think could arguably perform at a similar level, and/or carry similar levels of risk in terms of injury concerns or playing time obstacles. If Player X is ranked at #55 and Player Y is ranked at #65, but they’re in the same tier, it means that I personally like Player X a lot better, but think there’s a valid argument to be made for Player Y performing just as well.


  • Player movement (+/-) can be influenced by the movement of players around them in the ranks. You may see a player rise a few spots despite a poor performance, or drop a few spots despite a great performance. This can happen when players above them are moved below them, or vice versa. It could also be the result of injured players returning to the list after coming off the IL, or dropping off the list when they hit the IL. Just something to be conscious of if you see a change that doesn’t initially make a ton of sense.


  • Any player currently on the IL or not in the majors is removed from the list.


  • Hopefully it goes without saying, but these rankings aren’t an exact science. Every person’s rankings are influenced by their own biases, strategic philosophies, determinations of risk, and projections. It’s why no two rankings are ever exactly alike. My way of evaluating and ranking players has worked out well for me over the years, but it might not be a great fit for you. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and that what makes the game so fun. Please keep that in mind before eviscerating my fragile mental health in the comments.


And now a couple of notes on how I generally evaluate hitters before we dive in:


  • I’ve typically weighed stolen bases pretty heavily, but I’ve gradually learned to value the stat less and less over the years. I’m hoping to continue to move in that direction this year, with one caveat: I still think players with truly elite speed (e.g. Trea Turner and Adalberto Mondesi) are worth their weight in gold. As stolen bases have plummeted in recent years, and previous world-class speedsters like Mallex Smith, Dee Strange-Gordon, and Jonathan Villar currently find themselves with declining skillsets and/or no path to full-time at-bats, players who can swipe 30+ bags have become a true rarity. Getting that kind of stolen base output from one lineup slot allows you so much more flexibility in how you put together the rest of your team, and I think that can really give you an edge when it comes to roster construction.


  • Batted ball quality is huge for me (as I’m sure it is for most people). Every year the industry takes further strides in how it evaluates contact quality and its relationship with launch angle. Connor Kurcon’s DHH% and TrueHit statistics are revelations, and something I hope to rely on for player rankings throughout the year, once those stats are updated for 2021. Looking at quality of contact in conjunction with a hitter’s plate discipline, contact ability, spray charts, and batted ball tendencies is really where the meat of my player analysis tends to take place.


  • Considering the format that these rankings cater towards (standard 12-team H2H), I generally think streaming catchers is a viable strategy, and as a result I’m a bit lower than most on the mid-tier options. That said, a catcher like J.T. Realmuto is essentially in a tier of his own, and as a result I think rostering him gives you a significant edge over your competitors. With this position in particular, I weigh ceiling significantly more than floor.


  • I hate kids. As exciting as it is to own a young prospect right as he’s breaking out, I’ve found that trying to pinpoint which prospect will take off and when is a complete crapshoot, and can oftentimes result in spending a lot of playing time and FAAB on young players who don’t return much value. As a result, I tend to lean towards veteran hitters with longer track records.


Ranking Notes




  • As a general rule, I typically wait a full month before making any drastic roster decisions with my teams. I don’t even pay that much attention to the standings until a month has passed. Because not even 20% of the season has elapsed, and think of it this way: if you were to judge the television show Lost based on the first 20% of its run, you’d think it was amazing. But in retrospect, we now know that they never had a real explanation for the Smoke Monster, or The Man in White, or any of the thousands of other McGuffins that were introduced. Before I veer off into a rambling thesis on the shortcomings of Lost, what I’m trying to say is: it’s still early. However, we *are* just starting to reach that one-month mark, the point in the year where we should be taking stock of our rosters and coming to grips with the fact that some of the players we had high hopes for might not pan out. In light of that, there are a couple of big swings in the ranks this week.


  • Fortunately, Jesse Winker is a guy that is swinging in the right direction both this week and this season. This was a breakout that actually first got underway early last season, but was unfortunately curtailed by a back injury that sapped his power and dragged his overall statline down. Now healthy, Winker has picked right back up where he left out, marrying excellent power (53% Hard Hit) with above-average plate discipline and a 27% whiff rate that’s, frankly, much lower than it has any right to be given how hard he swings. His groundball rate is the lowest it’s ever been, and he’s spraying the ball well to all fields, which are both welcome developments for a left-handed hitter who might otherwise be prone to shifts. There seems to be only two potential roadblocks standing in Winker’s way on his path to becoming an elite hitter: health and performance against lefties. But even if he never manages to overcome the latter, if he can stay on the field I think there’s a .285+ hitter here with 35+ home runs and tons of counting stats, and that’s dope.


  • Trea Turner leapfrogs Trevor Story this week on the heels of a seven-game stretch that saw him hit .423 with two steals and two homers. Turner has picked up right where he left off in 2020, when he was pacing towards a 35/35 season, and while I’m skeptical that 30 home runs is an attainable benchmark in a full season, it’s not impossible if he starts elevating the ball a bit more than he customarily has, as the 46.6% Hard-Hit rate is incredibly impressive for a guy with his speed. For fantasy purposes, the weak lineup behind him will likely limit his counting stats, but Turner is still right on the cusp of being elevated into Tier 1 in my eyes.


  • A healthy Byron Buxton is one of the greatest gifts to baseball that anyone could possibly ask for. The Hitter List Curse tried to sap the vitality from his patellar tendon, but he successfully warded it off, slashing .393/.433/.821 over the past week with three more homers and three stolen bases. He’s leading the league with a 61.9%(!!!) Hard-Hit rate at the moment and flashing 99th-percentile sprint speed, and it’s more than enough to justify bumping him up into Tier 2. Is that still too low? If we’re assuming this keeps up all year, yes. But baseball operates under the same premise as the Final Destination film series sometimes–fate can only be tempted for so long before it inevitably lays us low. This isn’t an allusion to just his injury history (though that’s a consideration here too). Buxton has made some great gains this year at the plate, but he’s still an aggressive hitter who whiffs over 30% of the time, chases a decent amount of pitches outside the zone, and has done the majority of his damage against fastballs (which pitchers have started throwing him less of). I’m not portending a drop off a cliff here for Buxton–he obviously has top-10 upside. But there’s a path here that I think pitchers could follow to limit the damage he can do.


  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also makes the jump into Tier 2 this week. He’s finally pushed the ground-ball rate (44%) down to about league average, and everything else looks conducive to him continuing this breakout, with excellent plate discipline, great ability to go to all fields, and absurd performance against breaking balls (.466 xwOBA). This is going to be a fun year.


  • I know that anyone rostering Francisco Lindor or Kyle Tucker probably thinks it’s certifiably insane for them to be as high as they are still. But here’s the thing–nothing that either of them has been doing this year under the surface is especially concerning. Tucker’s running an above-average strikeout rate with great hard contact numbers (46% Hard Hit), and has a huge gap between his .255 wOBA and .359 xwOBA. The 20% whiff rate is great, and other than hitting a few too many fly balls and pop-ups, nothing about the batted ball profile is super concerning. Lindor has the opposite problem right now–too many ground balls. But other than that, nothing about his contact rate, plate discipline, or quality-of-contact numbers is all that different from what he was doing in 2018, when he had a truly elite fantasy season. Based on the ground-ball rate and uncharacteristically low 27% Sweet Spot rate, it just seems like Lindor is struggling to square up the baseball at the moment. But with both Lindor and Tucker, I think there’s a hot streak on the horizon, and this seems like a good buy-low opportunity.


  • It might seem weird to drop DJ LeMahieu given that he hasn’t been *bad*, and he’s coming off a week where he hit .356. But the lack of power to this point is compounding a concern I had about LeMahieu in the preseason. He has been walking a very fine line with his power the past few years, with ground-ball rates that regularly exceeded 50%. Yankee Stadium and excellent Hard Hit rates helped him make the most of the flyballs he did hit and reach that 20+ home plateau. But with his contact quality plummeting this year despite the bouncier ball, and his groundball rate at 58%, I’m starting to worry that he can’t maintain this tightrope act. The batting average floor is still high here, but if he struggles to eclipse 20 homers I think he’s highly overvalued for fantasy purposes.


  • Just your weekly reminder that Kris Bryant is hitting more pulled fly balls than he has in a long time, while also posting the best Hard-Hit rate (45.3%) of his career. I’m not sure his performance so far is a fluke, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he had one of his better offensive seasons in 2021.


  • Tier 6 is the purgatory where the promising upstarts and the abject failures mingle. It’s been a good 15-game stretch for C.J. Cron (.348 AVG, 5 HR), Nick Solak (.276, 4 HR), Jesús Aguilar (.260 AVG, 6 HR), and Yuli Gurriel (.263, 14 RBI). It’s been a dreadful 15-game stretch for Joey Gallo (.226 AVG, 53% K-rate), Brandon Lowe (.190 AVG, 32% K-rate), and Jorge Soler (.222 AVG, 1 HR). Like passing ships in the night, expect continued movement in both directions if the struggles and successes of everyone in this tier continue.


  • Raimel Tapia has been awesome this year, but he’s been particularly good over the past week, hitting an even .400 with a home run and two steals. He has the tools to be a .280+ batting average asset, with a good all-fields approach, great contact ability, and 84th-percentile sprint speed. With the high ground-ball rates, I’m not sure the home run ceiling is much higher than 15, and he hasn’t historically been inclined to steal that many bases. But I think the high floor and ability to contribute in all categories is intriguing enough to be worth rostering, especially while he’s hot.


  • Austin Riley just keeps hitting, with a .426 average over his last 15 games along with three homers. What Riley is doing is… confusing. He’s not elevating the ball particularly well this year, with a 24.6% Sweet-Spot rate and 49.2% ground-ball rate. That’s not allowing the power to play up. However, he’s going to the opposite field a lot, and has improved his whiff and walk rates for the third straight season. So he seems to slowly be morphing into a better overall hitter, at the expense of his power. It’s a welcome development in the sense that he’s had some contact issues prior to this year, and if he can add more fly balls to this new approach he’d be a really solid all-around hitter. But the jury’s still out there.


  • Injuries have opened up some opportunities for Josh Rojas and Pavin Smith in Arizona, and they’ve been doing some interesting things. After a dreadful start, Rojas has homered in four of his last five games, and is slashing .357/.438/.786 over his last 15 games. Smith has cooled off recently, but is rocking an impressive 52.6% Hard Hit rate and 17.6% strikeout rate, which are surely propping up his .298 xBA. Smith strikes me as a batting average asset whose power could be capped below 20 homers due to his high ground-ball rates, similar to teammate David Peralta. Rojas is an overly passive hitter who also hits the ball on the ground a fair amount, which I think limits his upside as well. Arizona also has a crowded roster with Christian Walker and Tim Locastro returning, and Ketel Marte on the mend, so I’m not sure how often they play long-term. Still, they’re worth rostering in the short-term if you have a roster spot.


Rank Hitter Position Change
1Ronald Acuña Jr.T1OF-
2Mike TroutOF-
3Juan SotoOF+UR
4Fernando Tatis Jr.SS-
5Mookie BettsOF-2
6Trea Turner
7Trevor StorySS-2
8José Ramírez3B-1
9Freddie Freeman1B-1
10Corey SeagerSS-1
11Bryce HarperOF-1
12Bo BichetteSS-1
13Nelson CruzDH-
14Rafael Devers3B+1
15J.D. MartinezDH+1
16Xander BogaertsSS-2
17Byron BuxtonOF+17
18Vladimir Guerrero Jr.1B, 3B+1
19Manny Machado
3B, SS
20Shohei OhtaniDH+1
21Nick CastellanosOF+4
22Aaron JudgeOF, DH-2
23Yordan AlvarezOF, DH-
24Anthony Rendon-
25Pete Alonso1B+1
26Trent GrishamOF+1
27Francisco LindorSS-10
28Kyle TuckerOF-6
29Matt Olson1B, DH-1
30Jesse WinkerOF+11
31George SpringerOF+UR
32José Abreu1B, DH-14
33Marcell OzunaOF-4
34Nolan Arenado3B-3
35J.T. RealmutoC-
36Whit Merrifield2B, OF-
37Tim AndersonSS+1
38Alex Bregman3B-6
39DJ LeMahieu1B, 2B, 3B-9
40Ozzie Albies2B-1
41Franmil Reyes
42Giancarlo StantonOF, DH+4
43Ramón LaureanoOF+6
44Austin MeadowsOF, DH-7
45Randy ArozarenaOF-12
46Paul Goldschmidt1B-6
47Dominic Smith1B, OF-3
48Charlie BlackmonOF-1
49Jared Walsh1B+9
50Wil MyersOF-7
51Michael ConfortoOF-6
52Yoán Moncada3B-2
53Anthony Rizzo1B-1
54Teoscar HernándezOF, DH+UR
55Max Muncy1B, 2B, 3B-7
56Dansby SwansonSS-5
57Michael Brantley
58Justin Turner3B+2
59Kris Bryant3B, OF+9
60Javier BáezSS-1
61Yermín MercedesDH+8
62Eric Hosmer1B-6
63Mitch HanigerOF-1
64Nathaniel Lowe1B-
65Alex VerdugoOF+2
66Carlos CorreaSS-1
67Tommy PhamOF-12
68Alec Bohm3B-11
69Tommy Edman2B, 3B, OF-6
70Matt Chapman3B-9
71Gio Urshela3B+2
72Jose Altuve2B-19
73Lourdes Gurriel Jr.2B, OF-3
74Rhys Hoskins1B-3
75Ty France
2B, 3B
76Jeff McNeil2B, 3B, OF+5
77Trey Mancini1B, OF+7
78Josh Donaldson3B+10
79Yuli Gurriel1B, 3B+11
80Marcus SemienSS+11
81C.J. Cron1B+14
82Brandon Lowe2B-10
83Gleyber Torres2B, SS-6
84Mike Moustakas2B, 3B-6
85Will SmithC+7
86Josh Bell1B-4
87Carson KellyC+26
88Jesús Aguilar1B+13
89Joey GalloOF, DH-15
90Jorge SolerOF, DH-11
91Nick Solak3B+11
92Mark Canha1B, OF+1
93Eddie RosarioOF-7
94Willson ContrerasC+UR
95Dylan CarlsonOF-8
96Dylan Moore
1B, OF
97Salvador PerezC+2
98Cavan Biggio2B, OF-22
99Austin Riley3B, OF+41
100Ian HappOF-15
101Eugenio Suárez3B-35
102Corey DickersonOF+2
103Kyle LewisOF-5
104Manuel MargotOF-1
105Joey Votto
106Nick Madrigal2B+6
107Alex KirilloffOF+41
108Ryan McMahon1B, 2B, 3B+UR
109Garrett Hampson2B, OF+9
110Cedric MullinsOF+9
111Andrew BenintendiOF+24
112Raimel TapiaOF+UR
113Christian Walker1B+UR
114David Fletcher2B, 3B, SS-4
115AJ PollockOF+16
116Jed Lowrie2B, 3B+UR
117Clint FrazierOF-21
118David PeraltaOF+UR
119Victor RoblesOF-19
120Brandon NimmoOF+UR
121Bryan ReynoldsOF-
122Justin UptonOF-
123Carlos Santana1B, DH+22
124Isiah Kiner-FalefaC, 3B, SS+23
125Jeimer Candelario3B-16
126Jake Cronenworth1B, 2B-11
127Christian VázquezC-21
128Didi GregoriusSS-12
129Kolten Wong2B-
130Chris Taylor2B, OF+UR
131Andrew VaughnOF+UR
132Bobby Dalbec
133Yasmani GrandalC+UR
134Nick SenzelOF+UR
135Gavin Lux2B, SS-9
136Colin Moran3B+8
137Eduardo Escobar2B, 3B-9
138Randal GrichukOF+UR
139Buster PoseyC+UR
140Ryan Mountcastle1B, OF-6
141Josh Rojas2B, OF+UR
142Gary SánchezC, DH-28
143Evan Longoria3B+UR
144Hunter Dozier3B, OF, DH-5
145Pavin SmithOF+UR
146Andrew McCutchenOF+UR
147Avisaíl GarcíaOF-4
148Alex DickersonOF-15
149Akil BaddooOF-25
150Kyle Seager3B+UR


Photo by Scott Kane/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)


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."

14 responses to “Hitter List 5/5 – Ranking the Top 150 Hitters for 2021”

  1. Jay K says:

    Love your work. Appreciate the honest assessment of Biggio. I need to let go. I have a thousand questions, but I’ll stick to: Why so high on Dom Smith still? He’s available in a couple of my leagues and I haven’t seen his upside. Why should we hold out hope for him?

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Appreciate that–thanks for reading!

      Dom has hit into some bad luck this year. He’s got a 100+ point gap between his wOBA and xwOBA, and his xwOBA is just below what he posted last year, when he looked like a legit .290 AVG/30 HR hitter. I feel fairly confident he’s going to turn things around in the near future.

  2. Mike Honcho says:

    V.Robles was dropped this week in our 12 team standard roto (5 OF’s). Using your ranking system as a guide, if I’m an Eaton, A.Hays, A.Hicks, or Naylor owner, I should be dropping any of them for V.Robles in the hope of him turning things around. Who should go first in your opinion?
    Is there much difference between Robles’ struggles and Hiura? Does he need to be sent down? Will he be once Soto can be back in the field?

    • bobbo says:

      IMO Robles superb defense will continue to keep him in the lineup… but he just can’t hit and his speed hasn’t translated to successful basestealing. These aren’t new problems, with weak contact trends going back almost 2 years now. There’s always hopes he finds his 2018 self, and at least he is learning to take a walk or two, but personally I’m letting someone else ride the growing pains.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I think Naylor likely has the lowest upside of that bunch, and is therefore the most replaceable in that format, so I think he’d be my first cut.

      Robles hasn’t been totally awful this year–he’s actually showed some much-improved plate discipline, and any bump in OBP should benefit a speedster like him. Not entirely sure why he’s been so unsuccessful on the basepaths to this point. There’s no guarantee he figures things out, but I think he’ll be a regular fixture in the lineup, and might be worth a stash if you have room on your bench.

  3. THICC Willie says:

    Yo, where is THICC Willie Calhoun?

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Ah, thank you for pointing him out–that’s an oversight on my part. I think I’d have him somewhere around Tier 7.

  4. Hitter List SuperFan says:

    As always, thank you for your hard work on this list every week!

    I know that you’re a big Pham Phan and it’s good to see that he was lowered this week, but he’s been absolutely atrocious to start the season and I thought he’d be even further down the list. Do you see him continuing to trend down as the season goes on, or do you think he’ll come around? I really feel like the stabbing is affecting him both mentally and physically…

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Thanks for reading, your support means a lot.

      As a Pham Phan who has rostered him in more than a couple places, I feel the pain, believe me. The thing is, nothing about what he’s doing stands out as a red flag in terms of his production. Still flashing elite plate discipline, has his groundball rate under control (by his standards), whiff rate in line with career norms, Hard Hit rate high, going to all fields well, handling all pitch types. I’m just not seeing the glaring flaw that would explain his surface numbers to this point.

      I know that’s cold comfort, but if he keeps hitting the ball the way he has, I don’t see how there isn’t a correction coming. I think the only concern for me is a potential loss of playing time as they work Profar in more.

  5. Johnny says:

    Where do you think Nola would slot in now that’s he is off the IL?
    Also what are your thoughts on Ian happ?

  6. Timothy Burton says:

    Brandon Belt?

    • Jonathon Daku says:

      Also teammate Brandon crawford? Are they going to keep this up? Should we ride the wave or stay clear?

  7. Dhroa says:

    Great list! Always a good read.
    Anyway an IL table can be implemented like the pitcher one has, where you give a broad placement for when they return (top 40 hitter, top 15 OF or something)?


  8. LongJohnSmith says:

    Lindor is pretty high on your list. Do you expect a big jump in his play? He’s been outperformed by Baez and there’s quite a gap between the two.

    Thank you

Leave a Reply

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

Account / Login