Hitter List 8/14: 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 Pittsburgh Pirates that Yasiel Puig hasn’t tried to punch. Meanwhile, home runs are an abundant resource that are becoming more prevalent, like baseball fans who can now correctly spell “Aristedes.” 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=”35122″ include_stats=”1″]


Now onto the recaps:

  • Injuries: It was a very light week injury-wise, as Lourdes GurrielAvisail Garcia, Nelson Cruz, and Austin Riley were the only ones to officially go down. Jeff McNeil tweaked his hamstring yesterday, and may join this group soon. Gary Sanchez and Dee Gordon were activated, and Mitch Haniger appears to be nearing a return.
  • Additions: Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, Wil Myers, Will Smith, Francisco Mejia, Colin Moran, and Aristides Aquino join the list this week.
  • Mike Trout, true to his name, has been swimming downstream the last couple of weeks. First Christian Yelich leapfrogs him, and now Ronald Acuna. It’s no knock on Trout–he’s having another unbelievable year. But with roughly six weeks to go in the regular season, I’m much more comfortable with riding the hot hand than I would have been earlier in the year. And few players have been as hot as Acuna lately. He hit .419 over the past week with seven homers and three steals. If he maintains anything close to that pace, he’ll be just the fifth player in history to reach the 40/40 club. The debate over who gets the #1 overall pick in drafts next year just got a little more interesting.
  • The Aristides Principle, first formulated by Cincinnati wunderkind Aristides Aquino, postulates that hitting eight homers over your first 39 career at-bats is very good. After submitting said principle to several proofs and extended scholarly scrutiny, it appears as if it may be an incontrovertible truth. It’s always hard to know what to make of recent call-ups when there’s such a small sample size of major league data. Based on his minor league track record, I am a bit concerned that the strikeout rate and pronounced flyball rates will result in an average at-or-below .250 in the long run. But the tradeoff is that you’ll likely get 30+ homers over a full season, which is plenty useful. In terms of rest-of-season value, he’s definitely worth an add in most formats.
  • If you picked up Mike Tauchman last month, you must be really feeling yourself right now–and not just because you own one of only two players in the majors whose heads look like giant wet thumbs (the other is Brian McCann). With eight homers, four steals, and a .398 average over his last 30 games, Tauchman has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. So, will it continue? Probably not. Tauchman is drastically overperforming his expected stats to this point. He’s posted just a .248 xBA, and has a 150-point gap between his SLG and xSLG. He’s also historically posted some pretty high groundball rates, and while he’s curbed that to some extent this year, I’m not totally sold that he’s totally revamped his swing. All that said, enjoy the production while it lasts, but don’t be afraid to cut bait once he starts to tail off.
  • I love Gio Urshela, and you should too. Very few players make as much contact as he does (81%) while also crushing the ball as much as he does (43% hard contact). Sure, the plate discipline isn’t as refined as you might like, but he’s been batting in the heart of the Yankee lineup lately and everything he’s done to this point looks legit. After hitting .517 with four homers this past week, your window to add him has likely passed, but add him immediately if he’s still available.
  • After a rough stretch that lasted nearly a month, the Josh Bell has begun ding-ing and dong-ing again. It’s a .360 average over the past week with four homers, and all appears to be right with the world again.
  • When it came to Tommy Pham in the preseason, I was a big Tommy fan. The quality-of-contact numbers he’s able to post speak to a guy who could post high averages with 25 HR/20 SB upside. However, he incurred a hand sprain a few weeks back that he’s been trying to play through, and the results have not be stellar. He’s hitting .218 over his last 30 games, and while he has swiped six bags during that time, he’s just not able to hit the ball with much authority. If he continues to try and play through it, everyone will have a bad time.
  • I panned Jorge Soler earlier in the year as I thought his contact issues would prevent him from posting a batting average much higher than .250, and I wasn’t sure more than 30 homers was in the cards. That prediction was looking pretty good until these past 30 games, during which Soler has hit .330 with 12 homers and become an absolute offensive force. Perhaps most impressive is that his strikeout rate has plummeted to around 20% during this span. He’s actually underperforming his xwOBA by about 10 points so far if you can believe it, so this all seems pretty legit.
  • There was a brief glimmer of hope earlier this month that Khris Davis might be turning things around, but that has been immediately stamped out over this past week. He’s hit just one homer in his last 30 games, and as I mentioned last time, I think he’s playing through a hip injury. Sometimes, miraculously, these things sort themselves out and guys can get back on track. But in the current hitting environment, where several guys will likely eclipse the 40-homer mark this year, I’m not sure holding out hope for a big turnaround is really worth it.
  • The prodigal son has returned! Wil Myers, who I notoriously love more than people related to me by blood, makes his first appearance on the list in months. With Franmil Reyes out of the picture, playing time has returned for Myers, and he’s been… fine. I still contend that there’s a 20/20 hitter here, and even if that comes at the cost of a low batting average, that’s nothing to sniff at. He’s worth a flier in deeper leagues.


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."

28 responses to “Hitter List 8/14: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters to Own ROS”

  1. theKraken says:

    It is probably about time to throw in the towel on Dansby Swanson. His second half has been bad which is in line with the rest of his career. He very much reminds me of Addison Russell as player in a good lineup on a popular team that gets an infinite leash – at some points he is going to produce but I think it would be a mistake to settle for him as your starter.

    I think Biggio’s average is a problem.

    I am not sure that Laureano is not a top 50 guy. The plate discipline is scary, but so is his athleticism. The players that overcome plate discipline always are – Vlad and Baez come to mind.

    I see you got Sano in there. Good news is he is playing more regularly and in the heart of the lineup. Bad news is that he is not hot right now. Good news is he is taking some walks. Bad news is that he never finished the year healthy. In any case, his potential for a streak is elite.

    I don’t think Dee Gordon is much of a factor right now. Every years its the ame story with him – he starts the year healthy hitting above .300 and on a 40-50 SB pace, then the injuries pile up and everything goes up in flames. It sure that could be where he is at right now – In two games back he has a CS and a hat trick. I love Dee, so I am holding out some hope but it sure looks like something I have seen before.

    Why would anyone want Colin Moran on their team? That tolerable average comes with an inflated BABIP and there is nothing else there. Id rather have Brett Gardner which doesn’t say much. I would rather have Joey Votto. I would rather have Kevin Pillar. Just looking at rosters with bad players that I am rostering at this point but there are probably 50 more I could grab. I get that 100+ is really tough as here isn’t a lot that separates them and many guys are always under the radar – that’s where the machines generally come in and create an arbitrary pile so I really appreciate you doing it manually as it is more insightful than WAR or some OPS derivative.

    You should know that I appreciate the work. Thanks for the effort!

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Thanks for the feedback, great to hear from you again.

      I definitely agree about Biggio’s average being a problem–he’s a guy that seems almost too patient, which results in him taking a lot of called third strikes and finding himself in a lot of pitcher’s counts. That said, the power/speed combo and the fact that he’s been racking up counting stats in the leadoff spot is really enticing for fantasy purposes, so I still think there’s a lot of value there.

      Moran I think is perfectly serviceable as a guy who can give you a decent average with a little pop and good RBI production, but you’re right that he could easily be replaced by a handful of other guys. If things break right I think there’s a potential .280/20 HR guy there though, which can be useful in deeper formats.

      As always, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  2. theKraken says:

    You seem like you generally value an opinion, so I will give you what I can on Aristides Aquino. I don’t know. I could be a complete hack and say what he is doing isn’t sustainable and cite some underlying metrics, but you don’t need anything to tell you he isn’t going to hit 100 HR and hit .400. You have to like what he did in AAA this year – that’s really good. The power has been there for quite a while but there is nothing that has ever indicated batting titles in his future. He is a monster of a man and the power is obviously real… the only question what does the volatility look like? I imagine that there is a lot of volatility there. Hitters his size generally have a hard time avoiding that, so that isn’t really insightful. In short, he reminds me of Chris Carter from what I have seen. His swing is about as manageable as he can get it but he is just a huge dude and he is going for peak torque as opposed to consistency. The swing isn’t overly long, but neither was Carter’s. The same can be said of Miguel Sano. The price of hard contact is real. It looks like he has quite a few movement that he needs to coordinate and that doesn’t look like a strength for him but he doesn’t go full Gallo more either. I don’t think there is much that needs to be fixed but it looks like it all coming together is going to come and go. While the swing is clean, there are some moving parts and he is a big man. He is interesting for sure, but I think everyone already knows that. Perhaps the most fair comp is Franmil Reyes… who is a hard player to value IMO. Just a little better hitter than Reyes and better everything else is a really good player.

    PS – holy smokes there is a lot of YouTube videos on Aquino. My opinion was not needed lol.

  3. theKraken says:

    You should like Urshella because of his defense. There are four players that I think are the best defensively at their positions. SS – Andrelton Simmons. 1B -Cody Bellinger. CF – Byron Buxton. 3B – Gio Urshella. Every other “top” 3B has an absurd tendency to take 6 steps after they field a ball and then chooses to make a Harlem Globetrotters style throw, but Gio is the one with range who actually gets rid of the ball quickly. I have a sneaking suspicion that computers mis-judge the difficulty of a player choosing to make a play look difficult. 3B seems he most prone to this error as middle infielders don’t have time to put on a show.

    PSA -p lease search YouTube and watch “Giovanny Urshela Defensive Highlights” its his CLE highlights – the second play is the best I have ever seen. The fourth one is disgusting too. Notice the quick release. Think about how a computer values a quick release vs 6 steps… do those 6 steps count as range? Does a computer mesaure where the ball contacts the glove or where the throw comes from? Does it vale a difference in those two points? Is it positive or negative? Does the off-balance throw count for something? It should… but not if you choose to do it or because of poor footwork. Arenado and Manny Machado will often sit and pat the ball a few times just to make the play close (show up the runner). Does a machine like that? I don’t know, but I have questions and concerns. Ever notice how most get plays involve a catcher or 1B running? Anything over three steps with the ball is bad footwork – Urshella shows you what that looks like. Range is tricky, but footwork can be measured by counting steps after the ball is fielded roughly – you have to combine it with balance but this is a good crude measure.

  4. Reason&Logic says:

    ^I’m a Yankee fan and you’re comment is still absurd for a homer. To say Urshela is unequivocally better than Matt Chapman, Arenado or Machado at third base? You forgot to mention Chapman of whom Arenado says is the best fielder in the league. Period. Only one I agree with is Simmons. Bellinger plays outfield too much, not to mention the plethora of vets at 1st like Goldschmidt that you’re disrespecting. CF-Maybe if Buxton could stay on the field and there was no Kevin Kiermaier, Mike Trout or JBJ in the league. You forget RF-Kole Calhoun who in my opinion has by far biggest gap between best at a position to second. SS has Tatis Jr.

    • J says:

      Calhoun isn’t even close to the best at his position… Worth 0 DRS and 2.5 UZR this season, plus -1 outs above average. If we look at the last 5 years Mookie and J-Hey are head and tails above everyone else. Mookie: 97 DRS, 65.6 UZR. J-Hey: 65 DRS, 42.1 UZR. Calhoun: 17 DRS, 26.4 UZR. By UZR he’s the third best over that time frame, but mostly that’s because he has the 2nd most innings there in baseball. It’s straight up delusional to say he’s by far the best RF defensively.

  5. DK says:

    Statistically correct, yet delusional? Heyward is a great point, but you think Urshela as the best defensive 3rd basemen (The Athletic had Chapman as the #1 defensive player in the MLB entering this year) is less delusional? Best ability is availability, a reason why Calhoun was mentioned I imagine

    • J says:

      I didn’t say that was less delusional. It’s still delusional. Heyward and Mookie haven’t been unavailable – they’re just good enough fielderd that they get put in center sometimes, as Heyward has for much of this year.

  6. BaseGodBall says:

    Urshela is -5 DRS this season.

  7. Ryan says:

    “I’m an old man who’s afraid of change, so I tend to be low on young players without major league track records.”

    You also tend to be silly with veterans having the best seasons of their career. Add that to your bullets.

    Honestly, and without intending to be malicious in any way…..if you’re counting on this guy’s rankings to put your offense in position to win your league…..you’re in for a rude awakening. I’ve followed it closely all year, and he either misses players that have emerged, or is stubborn with other players who are leading the league in categories after 100 games that he demotes them further down his list.

    Get in that FantasyPros contest next year. I guarantee a bottom 30% finish.

  8. London Underpants says:

    Adalberto Mondesi’s skills are really tantalizing so I understand his inclusion here, but still, I don’t think it’s likely that he’ll contribute much this year. I mean, it’s possible he doesn’t return at all. And if he does, the shoulder issue could really limit him. Shoulder injuries have been known to affect home run ability. And how often will he be diving headfirst into second? Sliding on his chest with arms outstretched was how he ripped up his shoulder in the first place. Take away his homers and bags and he’s Alcides Escobar.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Good point–I thought a return in the next week or so was a possibility, and his speed is game-changing, so that’s primarily why he’s stayed so high. A report just came out that he “might” return in early September though, so if that’s the case he’ll drop substantially next week.

  9. Armadillo Fury says:

    Why have guys in the top 100 who aren’t even playing everyday (Mazara and Kiermaier – platoon and Braun – body can’t handle full playing time)? At the risk of stating the obvious, accumulation is a big part of fantasy value.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      While I agree with your point on accumulation, I don’t think Kiermaier is in a strict platoon (especially now that Garcia is hurt), and he’s been a really underrated power/speed asset who chips in a solid amount of counting stats too. There’s definite value there. Braun has been playing every day lately and producing fairly well, so I can’t really ding him until an actual injury comes up. Mazara’s a fair point though–he seems to get bench about 5 times a month, and his production has been pretty uninspiring.

  10. Ryan says:

    @MikeHerz – Friend of the family? Staff member? lol — I’ve seen it all and I know the drill. I do this stuff for a living.

    The bottom line is that he’s been doing this column all season, and he’s had every opportunity over the past 4.5 months to recognize trends and respond to them. He doesn’t do that. Go ahead and follow him. I’m merely stating that, as opposed to Nick, there a ton of better options out there to get your hitter information from. That’s it, nothing more.

    There are multiple instances of proof of this. The most notable being the 2nd place guy in all of baseball in RBIs at this point in the season. He didn’t even crack Jonathan’s top 100 until about a month ago. What’s that tell you? It tells you a guy was mashing for months and he didn’t respond to it. He says he’s old and doesn’t trust rookies, yet he’s proven he’s bad at evaluating veterans. He’ll stick guys at the top of the rankings on name recognition alone like most do, but winning a league is all about finding a guy who knows what he’s doing who can alert you early in the season to someone who’s having a career year that you should run to the ticket window to grab. This guy doesn’t do that effectively whatsoever.

    Feel free to have your brother or sister or yourself chime in and call me a troll. I’m sorry if the truth hurts. You’re just not that good at this and anyone trying to better themselves offensively has a plethora of better options to choose from.

    I haven’t hidden myself once, and Jonathan knows that. My criticism comes with my name and (to him/staff) my email address.

    He just won’t win you a championship with his failure to adapt, adjust and respond accordingly in his rankings.

    Again, this “troll” brings no malice. He’s just not right for this job on this site if this site is going to become a dual threat. That’s it; nothing more. I certainly haven’t given his rankings credibility for a couple months, but I come here every single day for Nick. I’ve crushed my leagues in pitching the past two seasons because of him.

    It is what it is. Happy Friday

    • MikeHerz says:

      uh oh, looks like I touched a nerve lmao

      • Ryan says:

        A nerve? How could you have touched a nerve? Is this site a stock I have shares in?

        I just can spot a phony when I see one. That’s it, nothing more. I love this site, and I tried to help this guy right his wrongs for weeks before turning on him. He’s mediocre at best. If that touches your nerve then so be it. I’ve just closely followed and am stating facts.

  11. matt says:

    The trout knock aged poorly, pretty fast.

    Yelich has been anything but hot over the last week, and has been pretty pedestrian over the last 2.

    Also, surprised to see Brantley dropping, rather than rising; or at least staying flat.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I would disagree there. Yelich hasn’t done much in the two games since he returned from a back issue, but he’s still hitting .296 with three homers in his last 7 games. Even after yesterday’s 4-for-4 performance, Trout’s at .286 with two homers and a steal over that span. Based on his back issues, I’ll likely drop Yelich if he doesn’t show some life in the next few games, but I think it’s too early to say either way.

      • matt says:

        Appreciate the reply. It’s a fair point. sometimes I forget the rankings are AVG based rather than OBP based.

        One question if you’ll humor me! Do you think Jose Ramirez is back to life for the remainder of the season? If so, what’s his ceiling on the list?

        • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

          I do, actually. His Hard Hit% has been trending way up over the past two months, and he’s also not uppercutting the ball as much as he was in the first half, which has helped him cut down on the number of pop-ups he’s hitting. We saw last year that the upside is that of a top-5 hitter, but I think he could realistically settle into the 10-15 range ROS.

  12. Ryan says:

    Sat, Aug 17

    Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-6 with a solo homer and a pair of runs scored in the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Giants in extra-innings on Friday.

    Advice: Escobar kick-started the Diamondbacks’ improbable five-run rally in the eighth inning with a solo shot to left-center field off Tony Watson. It was his 28th round-tripper of the season. The 30-year-old third baseman owns a .273/.329/.530 triple-slash line with 75 runs scored, 97 RBI and five stolen bases in 532 plate appearances. He’s on pace to easily record the first-ever 30-homer, 100-RBI season of his career.

    1 off the major league lead in RBIs after 120 games, Jonathan. 40 games to go. Barring injury, explain to me how he’s not in contention for a 35 HR 120 RBI season, and then begin to rationalize where you have him listed, and how you ignored him all season long up to this point. Trout has 41 home runs, Escobar has more RBI’s than Trout.

    Just step down after this season, man. Let them find someone who can better evaluate trends. You’re not going to win anyone their leagues, and that should be your main goal with this column.

  13. JG says:

    Gotta agree with Ryan on this one. I fell ill 3 years ago in my second to last semester of senior year of college, still without a diagnosis, fantasy baseball podcasts and news gets me thru the days. I listen and read ALL fantasy baseball related content, and I have been a PITCHERLIST enthusiast ever since. This year, however, I realized how different these hitter rankings were from fantasypros, espn, yahoo, cbs, etc. As the other sites usually have some minor differences, I have realized that PITCHERLIST hitter rankings are more like rankings for real life players. The writer of this column this year has been so far off, I cannot even begin to explain how different these rankings were from fantasypros, yahoo, cbs, espn, etc. They seem to be more based on name recognition, defensive prowess, and veteran status. Do not follow/add players accordingly. Proof is in the pudding, if you want legitimiate examples of how far off these rankings were all season from the other fantasy sites, which sometimes is a good thing, but not in this case. Much respect to Ryan for being critical, real and unafraid. BTW, I feel this is the only column on PITCHERLIST that is completely useless.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Your main criticism is that these rankings are different than the ones featured on other sites? Rankings aren’t a science. Everyone who compiles them brings their own valuation systems, philosophies, and biases to the table. To say these rankings are bad because they’re not like the rankings on other sites is like saying hamburgers are bad because they’re not pizza. Rankings, by nature, are going to have major differences, because the people compiling them have different strategies and value systems.

      There have been plenty of fantasy analysts/columns/podcasts I’ve encountered over the years that I’ve disagreed with. My response has been simply not to use those resources, and to seek out writers and advice that I did find personally useful. As they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. And I highly recommend everyone seek out the way that makes the most sense to them.

      Finally, I appreciate your input. But there is a line between voicing your opinion and being blatantly disrespectful. And I feel that you (and Ryan) have crossed it. If you disagree with something you read here, I’m happy to engage in a discussion with you about it. I’m happy to debate you and enter into a conversation where we can potentially learn from each other. But saying this column is “completely useless” offers no opportunity for any of that to occur. I think you and Ryan should reflect on whether fantasy baseball–which we all love and play for fun–is something that’s really worth insulting another person over.

      Thanks for reading.

    • Ryan says:

      Thank you, sir. I’m just now seeing this.

      I appreciate your comments and am sorry at the same time that they come at the detriment of this site that we love.

      I still believe from his responses to me before that he’s a good guy. I just feel strongly that he’s not the person for this job.

      Thanks again for your words. They were very much appreciated.

Leave a Reply

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

Account / Login