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:
- It’s still Ronald Acuña Jr. and Shohei Ohtani together at the top. I just don’t see how you’d put anyone above these two for the rest of the season. There’s some guys in Tier 2 who have been fantastic, but I there’s no scenario where I rank one of them above Ohtani or Acuna.
- Juan Soto is still very good, but it feels like the ceiling is not what it once was ever since he became a Padre. I’m not suggesting that there’s a causation there, it’s just that the batting average has taken a significant step back and his power cap hasn’t really changed.
- I’m not trying to speculate as to why Corbin Carroll is struggling in August, and I’m hoping it will get better soon. It could be anything from lingering injury to an adjustment he needs to make or just wear and tear. Who knows.
- IL stints and other negative stories have taken their toll on this tier, giving everyone a bump.
- Cody Bellinger is the only real mover here. Again, I have absolutely no idea how long this will last, as his inconsistency throughout the last several years is well-documented. All I know is that the longer it lasts, the more comfortable I feel.
- Ozzie Albies hits the IL with a hamstring issue, meaning his ranking is more about projecting future playing time than talent. That’s incredibly hard to do at this point in the season, but he’s definitely not even close to droppable in any format.
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. is striking out a LOT these days, as in 37.2% of the time since returning from the IL, and I worry that it will make his performance highly erratic, especially considering how much injury risk he has. The results have been decent, but I worry nonetheless.
- Nick Castellanos is an enigma, but at least right now he’s in the positive end of the spectrum. The ups and downs within the season are maddening, but at the end of the season, I think we’re going to get a line that’s only slightly worse than his peak years with Detroit, Chicago, and Cincinnati.
- Steven Kwan has done good work for points league players thanks to all the hits, but the overall counting stats leave much to be desired. I think I just have to accept that the ceiling is extremely capped.
- George Springer looks a lot better, assuming he stays on this trajectory, he’ll be back in the top 40 sooner rather than later.
- Bryan Reynolds finally looks like himself again, or rather, he looks even better than his usual self as he’s slashing .317/.388/.633 so far in August with five home runs and 21 combined runs and RBI in 15 games. The Pirates are not a good offense so the counting stats will fluctuate based on how well everyone else hits, but Reynolds should continue to be a moderate source of power with strong ratios.
- How long will Teoscar Hernández keep up the hot streak this time? They’ve been far too short to balance out the cold spells for the most part this season, but it’s not hard to imagine him doing enough in August and September to clear 25 home runs on the season and find a decent landing spot as a free agent for 2024.
- Speaking of hot streaks, Salvador Perez is on one right now with eight hits in his last four games with two home runs and nine RBI. As I keep saying, Sal is a very aggressive hitter, and that will often lead to high volatility.
- Most players got about a three-spot bump in the rankings due to other guys falling out of the tier.
- Isaac Paredes should hit for a better average than he does, but I suppose that’s the way it goes when you’ve turned yourself into an extreme pull-hitter. As long as he’s like this, the power will stay up and the ratios will be inconsistent at best.
- Hunter Renfroe is a power hitter, and what do I always say about power hitters? They’re streaky. The ones that aren’t are way higher up on the list, largely for that specific reason.
- Jonah Heim returned much quicker than I expected, but I wonder if the Rangers intend to ease him back into the lineup. This ranking assumes that they will sit him a few times a week until September.
- Sure, Ryan Mountcastle may only have two home runs so far this month, but the man is hitting .430/.492/.580 with excellent plate discipline in August. The Orioles are just a lot of fun right now.
- At least Xander Bogaerts is hitting for average, right? I think that’s all we can expect for now, which is fine for points leagues but won’t justify the draft position in category formats.
- The longer James Outman keeps up the sub-30% strikeout rate and double-digit walk rate, the higher he’ll move. That and making more contact in the zone is critical for him to avoid becoming like Rooker or Suwinski.
- Wander Franco drops in the rankings because he’s not playing and I don’t know when or if he will play. If cleared quickly, he jumps way back up. If not, he drops or falls off completely.
- Ty France is playing better of late, and while the ceiling remains low over a whole season, he can be a difference-maker with his batting average, moderate power, and decent counting stats on your path to the playoffs.
- Thairo Estrada went from hitting second to sixth and then ninth. I expect he’ll move back up eventually, but there’s a chance he doesn’t and that would crush his overall value.
- This is just what Christopher Morel is right now, folks. He’s extremely streaky and is always either terrible or fantastic. Until he starts making better swing decisions and doing so at a consistent level, he’ll always be like this.
- C.J. Cron has been awful with the Angels and has just a single extra-base hit in 50 plate appearances with them. He’s droppable if you need to ride a hot hand instead of waiting to see if he turns it around.
- I could probably drop Henry Davis further, but I don’t want to overreact to a single cold streak. It’s mostly just that the timing is bad, as several other catchers are hitting well, and if you’re in dire need of immediate production, the other lower-ranked catchers are a fine move to make. If you’re NOT desperate, though, hold Davis.
- Josh Bell is on fire with the Marlins, but I’ve been fooled by these little surges from him before. He’s worth an add for now, but it could fall apart at any time.
- Jarren Duran drops because most folks can’t afford to wait in the outfield, but I’ll be watching closely to see if he can break out of this slump faster than he did his previous one. That will help a lot in setting expectations for 2024.
- Hooray, I get to feature a Tiger! Kerry Carpenter has been extremely productive for Detroit thanks to his power, hitting .459/.512/.865 over his last 10 games. As a power hitter, Carpenter is prone to streakiness, but at this point in the season, there’s no issue trying to find the next big thing in your playoff push. Carpenter does have real power and should continue to bat in the heart of the order for Detroit, and with excellent plate discipline of late, there could be something fairly exciting brewing here.
- MJ Melendez might finally be showing off some of the promise we saw last season, and his ceiling is just a touch higher than the three catchers in the next tier.
- Matt Wallner keeps hitting for some power, so I guess he’s worth a look if that’s what you need. I don’t expect good ratios due to his high strikeout rate, though.
- Keibert Ruiz, Cal Raleigh, and Yainer Diaz are a collection of catchers who are doing enough to be of interest right now. They’re probably just streamers, with Ruiz being the ratios guy, Raleigh being the power guy, and Diaz being the one who can do a little of both (but who plays a little less).
- Ke’Bryan Hayes has been an extremely erratic hitter since coming to the big leagues, but when he’s hot he is relevant in most formats. I’d probably drop him if he has a bad week, as he hasn’t shown he can break out of slumps with any kind of quickness.
- Ezequiel Tovar is at home for the rest of the week if you need a streamer at middle infield.
- Max Kepler is a streaky power hitter who has historically struggled against lefties, but is worth a look if you need a boost in home runs.
- Brandon Lowe would have dropped off the list if I had someone I really wanted to squeeze on.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List:
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)