Let’s get some basics out of the way regarding how to interpret these rankings. None of this stuff should come as any major surprise, but it never hurts to provide background:
- Not much shuffling here either as we go into the Break. Luis Robert Jr. is one of the most explosive talents in the league, but considering he’s never made it to 100 games played in the big leagues, I’m hesitant to move him up too high. The injury risk is extreme, though the potential reward is a top-five fantasy hitter.
- NOW we’ve got some shuffling! Christian Yelich has been phenomenal over his last 21 games, hitting .378/.463/.622 with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. The three home runs aren’t necessarily eye-popping, but the extra-base power is there and he’s also chipped in four steals (three of which have come in the last seven games). Yelich will probably hit too many grounders to become a truly elite player (unless the rabbit ball comes back), but the skills remain impressive. Back issues could pop back up at any time, but they seem pretty well taken care of at the moment.
- As other catchers on the lit struggle with consistency, Sean Murphy continues to be a rock for fantasy managers.
- Jose Altuve may not play again until after the Break, but we will have to wait until after action resumes to see how his health truly fares.
- We don’t know when Bryce Harper’s power will come back, but we know it’s likely related to his offseason surgery and we know that it will return eventually. At least the ratios are good while we wait. Max Muncy had this issue last season, and his did come back a little while after the break.
- Oh Elly De La Cruz, you beautiful, volatile man. I truly mean it when I say that his ups and downs will come on a series-by-series basis, as each team will have different approaches to how they attack him. Teams with a bad plan or just bad pitching in general, like the Nationals and Rockies, will get destroyed, while teams like the Royals, Orioles, and Padres seemed to have the leg up (at least for now). The strikeouts and lack of walks will just be something we have to deal with, and those in head-to-head leagues will find the weekly ups and downs a bit more frustrating than rotisserie managers, but no one has ever doubted that this was a special talent. The interesting stuff, and the stuff we need to know before we can truly judge his long-term value, will really start happening when De La Cruz starts seeing pitchers for the second and third time.
- Masataka Yoshida will continue to be a stud in points leagues, but for everyone else, the ceiling may be a little lower than I hoped after just two home runs and a single stolen base in June.
- I get asked about dropping Daulton Varsho a lot, and the fact remains that he has been a top-seven catcher on the season and will almost certainly finish as one. There are very few (if any) catchers on your bench who can say the same, and Varsho’s ceiling is definitely higher than anyone on your wire.
- Strikeouts are plaguing Josh Jung right now, and I am betting he gets over it and goes on another tear.
All players in this tier started with a +2 to +5 to their ranking
- Max Muncy had a decent week and I still have faith that the power will come with better ratios, but I understand if you’re down on him right now.
- Yandy Díaz actually fell five spots, but the net gain from other players falling past him kept it to a neutral ranking. He just isn’t getting the ball in the air anymore, and there’s no sign that he’s going to start.
- Steven Kwan also took a bit of a tumble, but it’s mostly just because I’ve recalibrated what my ceiling expectations are. The batting average just isn’t where I hoped, and the power never took the step forward that I expected. Hitting .270-.280 and stealing 25-30 bases will only take you so far in the new stolen base environment. The reason he still ranks ahead of other speedsters is the very high floor and the fact he can score 100 runs.
All players in this tier started with a +4 to +5 to their ranking
- Alex Verdugo is slumping a bit and never had a high ceiling to begin with, so he falls just a bit.
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. may always be a frustrating player, yet he’s still got a chance to finish the season with almost 20 home runs and 25 steals despite likely playing in fewer than 100 games.
- Jonah Heim probably deserves to be ranked a bit higher, so don’t be shocked if he jumps up in the next installment.
- Byron Buxton is doing Byron Buxton things. If you’re willing to ride this roller coaster, there’s a lot of upside but also a lot of crash and burn potential with both performance and injury risk.
- Brandon Nimmo is continuing to be a very weird hitter, striking out far more than ever before but also hitting for power and producing. Is this a new hitter?
All players in this tier started with a +4 to +6 to their ranking
- Andrés Giménez kind of looks like the man we saw in 2022, and the more he looks like that, the closer to the Top 50 he can get.
- Gunnar Henderson is struggling with consistency, but the upside should keep him somewhere on this list unless the playing time totally evaporates.
- Nobody wants Mike Trout to be hurt because that’s bad for baseball. The current timeline is four to eight weeks to recover from that surgery, but he remains a Top-100 player until we know he’s just not going to play.
All players in this tier started with a +4 to their ranking
- Orlando Arcia is slumping, but I expect him to recover and go back to being the dependable middle infielder that he’s been all season.
- Joc Pederson hasn’t actually changed. I have no idea why it keeps saying he was unranked.
Rankings from here on out are very volatile, so if a move is less 10 spots it likely isn’t something to give much attention.
- It’s a massive tier, but an interesting one! Tommy Pham is one of the bigger movers as he continues to produce as a regular in the lineup. His long-term outlook is clouded by his injury history and how unexpected this surge is, but for now we can just enjoy it.
- Justin Turner hasn’t actually changed. I have no idea why it keeps saying he was unranked.
- I love that Henry Davis is succeeding, and he should be rostered in every league that uses a catcher. Playing in the outfield not only gives him an advantage over other catchers with playing time, but the wear and tear on his body (and mind) that he’d experience putting on the gear and learning to handle a big league staff isn’t going to happen.
- Since June 1st, Whit Merrifield has zero home runs and has been caught four times in nine stolen base attempts. Will the Blue Jays continue letting him run as often? So far it seems like no, as he has just a single steal in two attempts over his last 14 games.
- TJ Friedl is a guy who keeps producing despite not hitting the ball hard, and unlike guys like Isaac Paredes who succeed using a specific formula (like pulling everything he hits in the air), Friedl has a pretty normal spray chart. It makes me very nervous about ranking him higher than this, but the production has been so good that he’s been locked into the top of a very good lineup.
- And now for our featured guy, Ha-Seong Kim. The former KBO star is just a single home run away from the total he put up last season (11), and his 15 steals is three more than he had in 2022. Even if the power fades a bit, Kim’s upside looks higher than ever as he’s been slotted into the top of the Padres’ lineup. I think he has a very real chance to finish the season with 90 runs scored, 15-18 home runs, and 22-25 stolen bases along with an acceptable batting average and good OBP. Some of that upside is contingent on staying at the top of the order, but considering that they used guys like Cronenworth or Profar in that spot for so long, I think Kim will get plenty of run as the leadoff man.
- I’ve dropped Giancarlo Stanton in at least one 12-teamer (three outfielders) at time of publishing.
- I like Jake Fraley’s skill set more than his teammate Friedl’s, but Fraley has been stuck in too many platoons and suffered too many injuries to move up too high in these rankings.
- Oh hey, look at you go, Anthony Volpe! He’s not making better decisions or contact (see below), but at least the results are there. I’m not sure how long they can keep up with this approach, but I’m willing to give the top prospect for New York the benefit of the doubt for now.
- Bryan De La Cruz had a pretty lackluster June (80 wRC+), and he wasn’t that good in April, either. Seems like the explosive May is the outlier here.
- I’ve dropped Seiya Suzuki in several 12-teamers as well. The ceiling is high, but I’m tired of waiting for it.
- Nick Gonzales isn’t striking out nearly as much as I thought he would, and I’m intrigued. Very few players can strike out less in the majors than they did in the minors, so it’s more likely that he falls back to the Taxi Squad than rise in the ranks, but there’s hope.
- Colton Cowser is the hot name right now thanks to his call-up, but I’m not so sure that he has the hit tool or power to make a big impact. I’ve ranked him because I know people would ask and also because he was showing good signs in the minor leagues, but I’m fairly skeptical.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List: