Hitter List 7/17: 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:

  • Given that these rankings are taking place in a vacuum, I tend to value stolen bases 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 major leaguers named Kirby. And home runs are an abundant resource that are becoming more prevalent, like reasons to dislike Angel Hernandez. All else being equal, I’ll 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=”33962″ include_stats=”1″]


Now onto the recaps:

  • Injuries: Willson Contreras, Matt Carpenter, and Yadier Molina hit the IL this week, while Hunter Pence, Luke Voit, A.J. Pollock, and Corey Seager were activated. Some pretty gloomy news about Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton’s injuries resulted in substantial drops.
  • Additions: Nate Lowe, Danny Santana, and Danny Jansen made their triumphant returns/debuts in exchange for Wil Myers, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Willie Calhoun. Calhoun was demoted, Cabrera has been struggling for awhile now, and Myers no longer seems to have a starting job.
  • Nate Lowe has piqued a lot of interest after hitting .357 with five homers over his last seven games. There’s only 49 batted balls worth of data to this point, but the 53% hard hit rate and 18.4% barrel rate are elite. I’m not sure he has this much power, but his profile does remind me a bit of Michael Conforto (i.e. a left-handed hitter with tons of plate discipline and 30-homer power who can drive the ball to the opposite field). I may be a bit aggressive in pushing him up this far this early, but his minor league track record is impressive and what he’s done so far in a small sample has been amazing. I would definitely be stashing him in all formats.
  • A.J. Pollock has wasted no time since being activated from the IL, swatting three homers and batting .444 in the four games since his return. After having a metal plate removed from his elbow, I was concerned that he might be… rusty. Boo me all you want, I can’t hear you. Anyway, that hasn’t been the case at all, and I wouldn’t be shocked by another 10+ homers and 6+ steals over the rest of the season, which I think is absolutely worth your time.
  • At the time of writing, no official word has been given on Adalberto Mondesi’s shoulder injury, but it didn’t look good at all, and I’m operating under the assumption that it will be at least a month until he’s back on the field.
  • Ramon Laureano has been on fire for awhile now, and I’ve admittedly overlooked him a bit the past few weeks. Over his last 30 games he’s hitting .287 with 10 homers, 6 steals, 22 runs, and 28 RBI. He makes a good amount of hard contact, and hits plenty of line drives, which I think will mitigate some of the effects of his inflated strikeout and swinging strike rates. All told I like his chances of keeping the batting average around .260 while contributing above-average numbers in all the other standard categories.
  • The Olson twins (aka Matt Olson’s biceps) woke up from their nap, and they’re ready to cause a ruckus. After another three-homer week, Olson is now up to 12 home runs over his last 30 games, and he isn’t showing signs of slowing down. His hard contact and barrel rates are in the top 2% in baseball, yet he’s still underperforming his absurd .403 xwOBA. Expect the average to continue to climb and the home runs to continue to fall as he looks to put up another video game-like second half a la 2017.
  • Jose Altuve is still hitting for average and a healthy amount of power, but I can’t help but continue to ding Altuve as long as the stolen bases are missing in action, because those are such a big part of what made him an elite fantasy option. I really do think his knee injury is still wearing on him enough that he doesn’t want to put stress on it any more than he has to, and while I still think an Altuve that can’t run is useful, he just doesn’t have top-15 upside without those steals.
  • So I’ve finally started to come around on the high-average types this year: if guys like Jeff McNeil and DJ LeMahieu can provide batting averages five or six standard deviations about average, they can be a huge asset even without providing a ton of power or speed.
  • If you actually had the patience to hold onto Yuli Gurriel all year, you deserve the .347 average and 12 homers he’s posted over the past month. And if you picked him up randomly on the wire right as he started to heat up, you don’t deserve any of this production at all, but you got it anyway, and what does that say about the nature of the world we live in? Gurriel is elevating the ball a lot more this year, and I think that does justify this recent power outburst to an extent. Like his brother, I think his lack of plate discipline will make him prone to hot and cold streaks, and his middling hard contact numbers probably mean 25 homers is the absolutely peak in a given year, but there’s no shame in riding this out for as long as it lasts.


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."

22 responses to “Hitter List 7/17: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters to Own ROS”

  1. Aaron says:

    Olson or laureano Ros? Also do you think hiura is best 2B Ros?

    • WheelhouseWreck says:

      According to this nice piece he put together for us, looks like it’s Olson and Baez, not Hiura…in a vacuum, by the by. Welcome

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      It kinda depends on format and team needs, but in a vacuum I’d take Olson.

      Hiura has been awesome, but there’s a lot there that concerns me. Below-average plate discipline, poor contact ability, and a hyper-inflated BABIP. He also has a history of high groundball rates in the minors that I worry might show up soon. He reminds me a bit of Austin Riley actually–capable of going on an incredible hot streak, but very prone to a disastrous cold spell as well. That’s why I’m skittish long-term, though I think it’s fine to ride out the hot streak for as long as it lasts.

  2. Ryan says:

    Escobar went 2-for-7 tonight to boost his triple-slash to .290/.344/.546 with 21 home runs, six triples, 61 runs scored and 75 RBI on the season. He is tied with Mike Trout for third in the major leagues in RBI, trailing only Josh Bell (84) and Cody Bellinger (77).

    Tied for 3rd in ALL of baseball for RBI’s and you slot him at 80. Hear that sucking sound? It’s your credibility.

    Sorry, but you’ve waited way too long for your anticipated regression with a veteran hitter. At this point I can’t help but read your rankings and laugh. I hate to say this but I’d go somewhere else for your top hitter report. But don’t go anywhere else for Nick. That guy knows what he’s doing.

    Should we still sell Tatis Jr. even though you moved him up to near the top 30 this week?

    At least you’ve got Bobby Sylvester behind you.


    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Thanks for your comment–I look forward to it every week, haha.

      I’m okay going down with the ship on this one because, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t see anything different in his profile that indicates to me that his uptick in performance is based on anything more than luck. You’re focusing on his overall output to this point, but remember, these rankings are meant to be rest-of-season. And frankly, his offensive production has been trending down all year.

      Here are his month-by-month wRC+: 136, 126, 112, 108.

      Here are his month-by-month wOBAs: .384, .369, .348, .341

      I don’t think it’s absurd to expect that trend to continue, especially when his peripheral stats are so lackluster. And sure, maybe he’s an outlier. Maybe he keeps this going for the entire year. In that case I’ll have been wrong, and it certainly won’t be the first or only time (hi Wil Myers!). But I do have valid reasons for not being a fan of Escobar, and when I look at the guys ranked above him, I would honestly rather have them than him ROS. And that being said, being the #80 ranked hitter in fantasy is hardly a slap in the face.

      If you disagree, that’s cool. Disagreements are what make this game fun, and if everyone agreed on player values there would really be no point in playing. There’s still about 40% of a season left, so let’s see what happens.

      • Ryan says:

        I respect your professionalism in responding to me. I tried to give you warning for 2 weeks before I said what I said. Here’s the thing: He’s 3rd in all of baseball in RBIs through almost 2/3rds of the season. At what point do you cut your losses? He’s been performing like this for almost 4 months now. Feel me? Do you need him to steal 5 bases next week to impress you? How many SB does Mike Trout have?

        As far as the Tatis Jr. move up the ladder and then advising people you were worried and look to sell…..that’s a mistake you should own up to. You moved him into nearly the top 30 this week.

        I know this job isn’t easy. That’s why I warned you for 2 weeks before I got negative about Escobar.

        Maybe your metrics don’t account for a veteran hitter in a breakout season and a rookie with unbelievable talent and speed.

        Just maybe???

        I’ve been in the top 2 in a 12 team $500 league the past two seasons, largely because of Nick. My pitching staff is amazing because of him.

        I’d just like to form my hitting staff on this site as well, but I don’t think you’re giving people the attention to this list and advice that they deserve in order to do so.

        I’m always honest and I live and breathe fantasy baseball.

        I encourage you to strive to be the best.

        • Facts says:

          Ive never seen someone so downright rude and condescending over free advice about fantasy baseball. If youre not a fan of these rankings just go somewhere else instead of trashing the writer who is taking time out of his day for this thankless job, since ranking hitters has to be the toughest task and i’d guarantee this list would look better if we compared it with your sorry attempt. Nobody owes you anything, try not spending time out of your day articulating how much of a douchebag you are in the comments section of a free website.

          Sorry pitcher list staff, I couldn’t sit back and read this fool’s cringeworthy responses anymore even though he was nice enough to “give you a warning”

          • Ryan says:

            Thanks to his mother (or himself) for this post.

            • Facts says:

              Lol nah I’m just someone who enjoys the site and is tired of listening to your bullshit. It ain’t even about who’s right or wrong anymore, you just need to find a better way to spend your time homie. I’m sure your a real joy to hang out with…

            • Ryan says:

              No worries “homie”. Sorry if I find you an idiot for not seeing the 3rd ranked player in all of baseball rated 80th on this list.

              I’m sure his mother wouldn’t talk that way. Would he?

              Too funny

      • Ryan says:

        Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-5 with a solo homer and a pair of RBI to power the Diamondbacks to a 10-7 win over the Brewers on Friday.

        Just a Friday update:

        Ecobar drilled a game-tying RBI triple into right field in the third inning and also slugged a solo homer — his 22nd round-tripper of the season — in the fourth inning. The 30-year-old infielder has been one of the best values in fantasy baseball this season, hitting .291/.344/.554 with 63 runs scored, 77 RBI and three steals in 422 plate appearances.

        But he’s 80 here.

        Sorry…..that’s laughable.

        Honestly I know Nick was calling for new people last year to apply. I hope there’s an evaluation process after this season. I never question his rankings. But this stuff? It’s mostly silliness and name recognition. Sorry.

  3. A says:

    Jonathan, what would you say is a good range on the hitter list to target if I’m shopping Soroka in redraft h2h? No specific position need; slight preference to add some SB but really just looking for a good starting place for trade talks.

  4. Jonathan Metzelaar says:

    I would shoot for someone in Tier 4 or Tier 5. I feel like that would be a good range to target.

  5. Vinny says:

    Hey Jonathan,

    Huge fan. Even if I don’t completely see eye to eye on all of these rankings, thank you for taking the time to compile this list for us! Don’t let the haters bring you down, some of us here really appreciate the work you, Nick, and the rest of the outstanding staff put in. Keep up the great work, and I feel for you having to endure another classic season of Met’s baseball!

    • Ryan says:

      I never started out hating on him at all. I started out trying to provide him insight. I have zero want to hate on this site. Zero motivation to hate on this site. I love this site.

      What I want this site to be is close to as good offensively as it is defensively, and it’s not. Period. At least in these rankings.

      He’s strictly a metrics guy. I highly doubt he studies the game like Nick does. It’s unfathomable that he has Escobar rated at 80. Two weeks ago he had him at 100. this is a guy who is having a CAREER year and could save your season…..but he’s too stubborn to recognize it and tell people to grab him.

      Plus, I will never forget him moving Tatis Jr. up into the 30’s while also writing in the same article that he’s scared and people should look to sell.

      If you buy his stuff and worship him; cool. Good luck to you

      I see through it. He’s not nearly progressive enough to give followers a jump on the competition on who to pick up. He has name recognition people who were drafted and no one is letting go of in his top 30 or 40…and then he’s scared to move anyone who isn’t a superstar after that. That’s not a recipe for people in competitive leagues to get a much needed competition.

      3rd ranked guy in all of baseball in RBIs rated 80 rest of season on here.

      Sorry, it’s not hate. It’s truth.

      • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

        I’ve been nothing but respectful towards you despite your obsessive and straight-up rude comments the past few weeks. Every time you’ve presented an argument, I’ve explained the reasoning behind my rankings, and shown you the stats that I feel support them.

        Here’s what I actually wrote about Tatis Jr. a few weeks ago:

        “The .436 BABIP is insane, even for someone as fast as him, and when I look to the line drive rate to try and justify it, I see that he’s hitting nearly half his batted balls on the ground. Now that’s not the worst thing in the world considering his speed, but when paired with his subpar contact ability, I can’t help but think his batting average and power output to this point are due for some major regression. And a lot of that is borne out in the gap between his expected stats and his actual stats (.236 xAVG and .335 xwOBA vs. his .330 average and .419 wOBA). It might not be a terrible idea to shop him, as his value may never be higher.”

        I still feel that way, frankly. If you could get a top-20 player for Tatis Jr., who doesn’t have a lot of the concerning peripherals that he has, why wouldn’t you make that trade? A lot of fantasy baseball is about risk management, and despite his production to this point there’s still plenty of risk there in my opinion. Maybe it never comes to fruition, but few players manage to beat their peripherals to the degree he has.

        Also, once again, these are rest-of-season rankings. I’m not sure how many times I have to explain that to you. Citing a player’s production to this point is only useful to me if I feel it informs their future production. And as I’ve said several times before, nothing Escobar is doing this year looks significantly different from what he did in years prior, when he was only a slightly above average hitter. I’ve cited the stats already. I’m not sure how many more times you need to see them to understand where I’m coming from.

        Finally, if you want to make a compelling argument for a player and have a respectful discussion about them, I’m all for it. That’s the fun of doing this for me, and I’m willing to change my opinions on guys when presented with a compelling argument. But you’ve yet to make any argument at all, besides copying and pasting his daily performance updates and hollering about how many RBI he has this year. That’s not analysis, and there’s no thought behind it.

        I appreciate you reading, and I certainly appreciate your passion (about Eduardo Escobar of all people). But please try better to handle yourself like an adult here.

      • Vinny says:

        I really feel sorry for you that you have nothing better to do, than lurk around these comments… if you dont agree with the rankings that’s fine, just go somewhere else instead of trashing the author who takes the time out to do his best here FOR FREE. I dont necessarily agree with every ranking here but I’m not about to “warn” the author that he needs to make changes, like what kind of ridiculously entitlement is that? Seriously, go somewhere else because you add nothing to the discussion and are simply wasting the time of everyone who is unfortunate enough to read your comments.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Thanks Vinny–I really appreciate the kind words, and all your support dating back to my days writing Batter’s Box :)

      That said, if you could please NEVER remind me that the New York Mets exist and that I’m a fan of them, I’d really appreciate that. Just for the sake of my mental health and sense of self-respect. Haha.

  6. Ryan says:

    Hey Jonathan,

    Is this the first half of the season or the second half? Which is it? Are you Bobby Sylvester Jr. or some dude looking for help from his followers to maintain credibility?

    Just saying, Jonathan, I think you are a weak evaluator. You said it yourself. You’re “old school”.

    Here’s the proof in the pudding, Jonahtan: Because of Nick, my pitching staff is first in my league.

    If I listened to what you’ve listed and encouraged so far this season, I’d be BOTTOM Tier in my league.

    I’m sorry if that stings. And I have been around for 20 years in fantasy sports to know how a guy can rally people to post in his defense.

    Dude, you’re not very good. A few weeks go, after I posted, another poster showed you that you’re not that good. You take last years superstars and hold them tight, and then when someone moves up, you say you’re scared about them and look to sell.

    I’ll keep on you after reading all this crap tonight. Trust that.

    You started this ROS bull crap with me with Escobar two months ago. Where is he now? lol. 3rd in RBI’s and 80th on your list.

    I am a 20 year fantasy baseball and football player who can spot an average to below average contributor when I see one.

    Nick is top of the line. You’re the aforementioned. Now go find more more people to defend you and I’ll take them on, too.


    • Vinny says:

      For the record no one told me to post here. It’s entirely possible that more than one person disagrees with you but I’ll wait for you to post your 150 hitter ranks first.

      @Jonathan I’m sorry if I made it worse by posting here, my intention was just to let you know that most of us do appreciate your time putting this together. I wont argue with this fool anymore, I just couldn’t stand this nonsense any longer.

  7. I said good day says:

    No dog in the Escobar fight. Would love to have had him on my roster all year. But any analysis of how to rank a hitter rest of season that is based primarily on RBI total to date won’t cut it if you want to win in my league, or most competitive leagues. It’s the most context-dependent hitting stat of the usual 5. If the hitters in front of Escobar don’t get on base, then he’s Franmil Reyes with a slightly better AVG and OBP.

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