Hitter List 8/19: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters for 2020

Ranking the top 150 hitters in baseball every week throughout 2020.

Hello there, and welcome to Hitter List, where every week throughout the season I’ll be flawlessly ranking the top 150 hitters in baseball.

This season is very, very weird for a lot of different reasons. Most notable is that just 60 regular season games are taking place. While that may be a merciful change for fans of the Baltimore Orioles, it’s an unprecedented and confounding one for fantasy managers, who are left to figure out how this might affect player values. After all, fewer games means a smaller sample size, which introduces more randomness into the equation. Compounding this is the fact that the National League has implemented the DH this year, and COVID-19 could claim a player at any time for at least a quarter of the season. It’s a lot to factor in, and nobody truly knows how any of it will impact how we should approach roster construction.

With that said, here are a few general philosophies I try to follow when ranking players:


  • Stolen bases: Those who followed Hitter List last year know that I love me some stolen bases. My reasoning is pretty straightforward — they’ve been about as scarce over the past three years as they’ve been during any similar time period in the last 40 years. Obviously they’re not the end-all-be-all, but if we’re talking about players in a vacuum, I think it’s always really helpful to grab a guy who can chip in for the category. Now, truth be told, I’ve softened on this stance a good bit over the past year. But I will say this: In a 60-game season, I believe the value of a hitter with elite speed increases. Why? Because I think you’re more likely to luck into some surprise homers than you are some surprise stolen bases. Consider this: Two months into the 2019 season, Joc Pederson, Derek Dietrich, and Eddie Rosario were all in the top 10 in the league for home runs. But among the stolen base leaders, only Kevin Kiermaier registers as a surprising name — and even he always flashed above-average speed. I don’t think you would really blink if someone with middling power like Amed Rosario or Whit Merrifield popped nine homers this year. But I don’t think you’re as likely to back into above-average steals output from low-tier speedsters like Rougned Odor or Marcus Semien. It’s purely a theory, but I think locking down elite speed will be as important as ever this year.


  • Coronavirus/IL Stints: Players who test positive for coronavirus during the season or hit the IL for any reason will be removed from the rankings until they return. In a short season, most injuries are going to cost hitters at least 15% of their at-bats. Furthermore, it’s to nobody’s benefit if I attempt to play doctor and presume when a player might return from an injury or a battle with COVID-19.


  • Veterans vs. Prospects: Though I feel more comfortable going out on a limb with talented prospects this year, in general I tend to lean towards players with proven track records.


  • Underlying Stats: Statcast is love, Statcast is life. I tend to place a premium on a hitter’s quality-of-contact metrics, especially if they pair favorably with their plate discipline and contact rates. I’m less interested in their surface-level numbers and more interested in the underlying skills that Statcast data can shed light on, as I think they are more helpful at predicting future success. That being said, given the short season, I’m going to try and bump up hot hitters more than I customarily would. Churning through hot hitters on waivers is a more realistic strategy this year, and could catapult teams to a championship if they catch lightning in a bottle a few times.


  • Tiers: Tiers represent groupings of players I think could all conceivably produce at a similar level in terms of fantasy output. The actual rankings within the tiers are personal preference, but I think you could make an argument for anyone within each tier to be ranked above anyone else within that tier.


  • Formats: These rankings apply only to leagues using standard scoring (R, RBI, HR, SB, AVG) and lean more toward rotisserie. I understand that hitter values can vary widely based on league format, but the only way to come up with a consistent way of ranking hitters is to hone in on one league type. Adjust accordingly for other formats.


  • Player Movement: A player’s movement up or down in the rankings can sometimes be a byproduct of other players rising above or dropping below them. For example, if Kyle Schwarber lands on the IL and is dropped off the list, everyone ranked below him will automatically receive a +1 bump in the rankings. Conversely, if a player rises from one week to another, everyone he leapfrogs will take a -1 hit. Just something to keep in mind if you see a ranking change that doesn’t immediately make sense in the context of that particular player.


Hitter List Notes



  • There’s A LOT of movement this week. Some of that is related to the list losing nearly 10% of its players from last week to injuries/demotions. Most of it is related to the fact that stats are starting to hit their early stabilization points, and we can give some more credence to hot/cold starts to the year for certain players. Strikeout rate (60 plate appearances), exit velocity (45 balls in play), and launch angle (50 balls in play) has stabilized for most hitters. Contact rate (100 plate appearances) will be stabilizing soon. This of course doesn’t mean these things are anywhere close to being set in stone. But you can actually start to trust these numbers a little more. As a result, I’ve started heavily trimming the fat from the list this week, and am trying to bump guys up whose underlying stats look promising. I think this is the point in the year where you have to start making those big decisions.


  • We talked about how promising Anthony Santander was looking last week, and he just casually popped six more homers since then, including two multi-homer performances (one of which took place against Max Scherzer). Santander is now top-5 in baseball in home runs, runs, and RBI, and is batting a sweet .298. And it all looks legit right now too, as he’s spraying an absurd amount of line drives (37.7%) to all fields, barreling the ball at a 9.1% clip, and striking out just 12.8% of the time. The only real knock here is that he’s a bit of a free-swinger, but other than that this breakout looks like the real deal. Grab him everywhere you can.


  • Fernando Tatis Jr. was the featured hitter last week, and apparently pushing him into the top-10 wasn’t good enough, as he just continues to dominate every aspect of the game. With Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger scuffling, and Ronald Acuna hitting the IL, the path has been cleared for Tatis Jr. to ascend to the #2 spot for the foreseeable future.


  • I gave Jesse Winker’s profile a glance about a week into the season, saw he was doing his customary thing of hitting too many groundballs, and moved on. Then he went on an absolute tear, and I went back to see if there was something I was missing. And here’s the thing–he’s still posting a 50% groundball rate. Winker has always hit the ball with authority, and he’s always been great at making contact–the two things you value most in a hitter. But he’s never been great at elevating the ball, and that’s primarily what has held him back to this point. All this to say, I buy that he’ll post a high batting average and I think around 20 homers is a reasonable expectation in a full season. But as we’ve seen with guys like Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado, if you hit the ball on the ground a lot, it introduces a lot of volatility in your power and batting average output. So I wouldn’t be shocked if Winker hits an equally cold spell at some point.


  • This really is the Year of the Seagers. We’ve already discussed Corey Seager’s encouraging performance to start the year, but Kyle Seager is also doing some wild, wild stuff. Though he’s always been a decent contact hitter, Seager has managed to cut his strikeout rate in half this season, posting just a 9.8% K-rate. He’s swinging a lot less at pitches both inside and outside of the zone, which may be a sign that he’s being more selective at the plate. Other than that though, there isn’t anything glaringly different about what he’s doing this year compared to years past, and he’s been hitting more groundballs than he ever has this season. I’m cautiously optimistic that Seager has somewhat improved this year, but am not fully buying into this being a wholesale breakout for him.


  • Primarily employed against lefties to begin the year, Garrett Hampson has recently become entrenched as the Rockies’ everyday leadoff man and has taken full advantage of the opportunity, hitting .300 with 13 runs scored and three stolen bases on the year. I’m a fan of Hampson–I very inaccurately predicted he would win Rookie of the Year last season–and I think he has enough speed, contact ability, and pop to contribute in most standard categories. There’s no telling what new and exciting ways Colorado has devised to stunt his development, but for now he’s a really worthy add for those looking for help in the stolen base or runs scored categories.


  • After a very quiet July, Franmil Reyes has gone off in August, smacking five homers and hitting .333 so far this month. He hits the ball harder than most hitters, and could easily reach 40 homers in a full season. The question has always been, will he hit for a high enough average to become a top-50 bat? Unfortunately he’s still whiffing far too much for me to be hopeful of that, but the batting average floor isn’t as low as a lot of people think, and the power is worth the risk.


  • Statcast Sleepers: So here’s a new, fun segment that I figured was worth including to help people keep an eye on potential breakouts. In addition to some underrated options like Jake Cronenworth and JaCoby Jones, guys like Erik Gonzalez, Dominic Smith, and Robbie Grossman have been making some waves in terms of their quality-of-contact this year. Of the latter trio, I’m digging what Smith has been doing the most. He’s always been great at elevating the ball at an ideal launch angle, but he’s now pairing that with much harder contact and has started pulling the ball more. He’s also flashed excellent plate discipline and is talented enough defensively that he should be a regular fixture in the Mets’ lineup for the rest of the year. Another guy who has been absolutely on fire is Randal Grichuk. He seems to go on a run like this every year, so I’m not holding my breath that anything is significantly different about him this season. But there’s always been 30 to 35 home run power in his bat, so he’s definitely worth an add.




Rank Hitter Position Change
1Mike TroutT1OF-
2Fernando Tatis Jr.
3Mookie BettsOF+1
4Trevor StorySS+2
5Juan SotoOF+7
6Christian YelichOF-4
7Cody Bellinger1B, OF-2
8Francisco Lindor
9Nolan Arenado3B-
10José Ramírez3B+1
11Freddie Freeman1B+3
12Nelson CruzDH+6
13J.D. MartinezDH-
14Charlie BlackmonOF+6
15Trea TurnerSS-7
16Ketel Marte2B, OF-1
17Anthony Rendon
18Bryce HarperOF+7
19Alex Bregman3B, SS+2
20Starling MarteOF+2
21Yoán Moncada3B+3
22Xander BogaertsSS+1
23Austin Meadows
24Javier BáezSS-7
25Pete Alonso1B+7
26Nick CastellanosOF+2
27José Abreu1B, DH+7
28Marcell OzunaOF+8
29Eloy JiménezOF, DH+11
30Ramón LaureanoOF+12
31Anthony Rizzo
32Luis Robert Jr.OF+7
33Keston Hiura2B-7
34Paul Goldschmidt1B+7
35Matt Olson1B, DH+8
36Jose Altuve2B-5
37Manny Machado3B, SS+10
38Whit Merrifield2B, OF+7
39J.T. RealmutoC+12
40Rafael Devers
413B, OF+12
42Jorge SolerOF, DH+12
43Matt Chapman3B+12
44Eugenio Suárez3B-11
45Max Muncy1B, 2B, 3B+7
46Jonathan Villar2B, SS+11
47George SpringerOF-3
48Carlos CorreaSS+12
49Michael Conforto
50Tim AndersonSS+14
51Joey GalloOF, DH+11
52Corey SeagerSS+23
53Franmil ReyesOF, DH+28
54Adalberto MondesiSS-16
55Shohei OhtaniDH+1
56Josh Bell1B-8
58Eddie RosarioOF+3
59Jeff McNeil2B, 3B, OF-1
60Gleyber Torres2B, SS+6
61Dansby SwansonSS+9
62Justin Turner3B+7
63Cavan Biggio2B, OF+10
64Kris Bryant3B, OF-15
65Marcus SemienSS-15
67Kyle SchwarberOF-
68Yuli Gurriel1B, 3B+6
69Jorge PolancoSS+3
70Brandon Lowe2B+21
71Max Kepler
72Gary SánchezC, DH+4
73Wil MyersOF+6
74Luke Voit1B, DH+12
75Trent GrishamOF+3
76Eric Hosmer1B+30
77Byron BuxtonOF+8
78Anthony SantanderOF+39
79Jesse WinkerOF+UR
80Christian Walker1B+4
81Mark Canha1B, OF+13
82Willson ContrerasC-2
83Ian Happ+12
84Mike Yastrzemski
85Teoscar HernándezOF, DH+22
86Alex VerdugoOF+6
87Nick SenzelOF+11
88Victor RoblesOF-23
89Salvador PerezC+12
90Kyle Seager3B+UR
91Shin-Soo ChooOF, DH+11
92Miguel Sanó
93Kyle LewisOF+17
94Jesús Aguilar1B+14
95Mitch GarverC-6
96Danny SantanaOF+UR
97Yasmani GrandalC-14
98Dylan Moore1B, OF+25
99Dominic Smith1B, OF+UR
100Elvis AndrusSS-10
101Garrett Hampson2B, OF+UR
102Jean SeguraSS+2
103Tommy Edman2B, 3B, OF-21
104Kyle TuckerOF+10
105Hunter Dozier3B, OF, DH-12
1062B, OF-7
107Clint FrazierOF+43
108Didi GregoriusSS+1
109Carlos Santana1B-22
110Colin Moran3B+14
111Avisaíl GarcíaOF, DH-
112Donovan Solano2B+9
113Adam EatonOF-10
114Mike TauchmanOF+17
115Daniel Murphy1B, DH+7
116Amed RosarioSS-16
117Howie Kendrick1B, 2B+17
118Brian Anderson3B, OF+17
119Tommy La Stella2B, 3B+UR
120Nick Solak+UR
121Asdrúbal Cabrera1B, 2B, 3B+UR
122Bryan Reynolds
123Jo AdellOF-8
124Hunter RenfroeOF-12
125Khris DavisDH-9
126Rhys Hoskins1B-1
127David DahlOF-30
128Yandy Díaz3B, DH+11
129AJ PollockOF+UR
130Eduardo Escobar2B, 3B-12
131César Hernández2B+5
132Luis Arraez2B-4
133Randal GrichukOF, DH+UR
134Kole CalhounOF+7
135Ryan BraunOF-5
136Edwin Encarnación1B, DH-16
137Jake Cronenworth1B, 2B+1
138Victor ReyesOF+5
139Brandon Nimmo+UR
140Domingo SantanaOF, DH-8
141Aaron HicksOF+1
142Robbie GrossmanOF+UR
143Rio Ruiz3B+UR
144Joc PedersonOF, DH-15
145JaCoby JonesOF+UR
146Robinson Canó2B+UR
147David PeraltaOF+UR
148Erik González3B, SS+UR
149Andrés Giménez2B, SS-3
150Carter Kieboom3B-10


Graphic by JR Caines (@JRCainesDesign 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."

13 responses to “Hitter List 8/19: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters for 2020”

  1. Joe says:

    Where would Brantley rank when he comes off IL?

  2. theKraken says:

    You never really explained why those guys are StatCast sleepers. Here are the wRC+ of the “statCast, brought to you by Google” sleepers – Grichuk (163), Cronenworth (165) JaCoby Jones (160), Erik Gonzalez (117), Dominic Smith (194), and Robbie Grossman (184). You can use whatever metric you like to quantify their hot starts. Granted, I don’t use those tools but I see a leader board with Jason Castro, Matt Carpenter, Will Myers, Albert Pujols, Mitch Garver and Jurrickson Profar at the top in that order lol.

    6 HR since last week lol! I tried buying a week ago but Santander is impossible to acquire now. I wish I would have noticed just a bit earlier.

    I imagine Tatis deserves that placement.

    Winker is also hurt a lot, so you always should discount him based on that as well. I would argue that FB is what puts a burden on your AVG, not GB. Lots of bad swings end up in GB – it is in the details, which don’t exist in the world of batted ball data. If you hit a GB on a good swing, then I like your chances.

    Hampson has a BABIP north of .400. He really is not that exciting. He is the most hyped utility player in baseball. He is essentially who David Dahl was in terms of that lineup. We never seem to acknowledge how not real the Coors production is when it comes from a young player. We only penalize the veterans. he has a .217 AVG on the road vs .351 at home. He also strangely has a reverse platoon split. It all smells a bit fishy to me.

    As much as I am not a fan, Bryce Harper is on a real heater and those are pretty real! He and Bellinger are the kings of monster runs. I think it is OK to jump them way up or way down more than most players.

    I think Austin Meadows is the most out of place. Last year doesn’t look particularly real at this point and I think it was overvalued to start with. I guess it is the 3 HR in the past week you like but he is too streaky and injury-prone to have that value in my book.

    As much as I love Moncada he probably is too high. He absolutely refuses to run so that doesn’t hep with anything. Just a completely strange thing to say but I think he and Corey Seager are in the same tier…wherever that is.

    Franmil is wildly out of place among those players. I know you like how hard he hits the ball but he is not a good hitter. He is a one category streaky, better-left-on-someone-elses-roster type of guy.

    I don’t see how Swanson belongs in that tier. His BABIP is (.409) and his BB rate is through the floor.

    Are you actually worried about Edman? How much has really changed in a week? We should have expected rust when the rest of the league has been busy playing games. I figure he is a good buy-low at the moment.. or one the verge of complete bust!

    Dylan Moore is already falling apart. Nothing curbs SB like two CS in back-to-back games.

    I have a suspicion that Tim Anderson might end up way up that list. There are hints in his profile that he is special.

    Kyle Tucker is irrelevant.

    Thanks again for the rankings. it always gives me a handful of player to do some digging on.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      As usual, thanks for reading and checking in.

      Definitely can see why you might not be in on Meadows if you’re not interested in the Statcast stuff. I just really like how hard he hits the ball for a guy who also makes a ton of contact. Hitters who marry those two things are hard to find–and he’s got some speed on top of it.

      Not necessarily super worried about Edman, but he doesn’t have a long enough track record for me to give up a big leash. If he starts showing signs of life soon I find him really intriguing and he’ll shoot back up.

      Tucker has been disappointing, but the Yordan injury should secure him some more time to turn things around. Love the pedigree, and think if that lineup finally starts figuring things out he could post some really impressive numbers.

      Appreciate the input!

  3. Dewey says:

    What do you make of Winker’s better FB/GB numbers in August? GB% at 41% and FB% at 26%. Real improvement?

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Nice! That’s definitely encouraging. I think ideally you want that groundball rate in the mid-30% range, but every little bit helps. Let’s see how long he can sustain it.

  4. BBHHI says:

    The Franimal is the real deal => by end of season he will be up 1-2 levels.

  5. Ross says:

    You may or may not read this, but I just wanna say I appreciate how thorough and thoughtful your Hitter List always seems to be. I feel that you really examine each player rather than just a few.

    I was reading a different Hitter List on a different fantasy baseball website, and I don’t mean to RAZZ them, but it really can’t compare to the one you’re putting out each week. So thanks.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Wow, thank you Ross. This comment made my day. I definitely pour a lot of time and energy into this each week, so I’m glad people find it helpful.

  6. ESB says:

    Hey Jonathan,
    I know these rankings are pretty fluid, especially in this crazy season. I like Hampson too, any concern with his strike outs being up the last few games …especially with Rodgers up now too? Basically Im trying to decide between Hampson 2B/OF, Edman 2B/SS/3B, or Escobar 2B/3B in a rotisserie league. for ROS. Any advice?

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I think from a talent standpoint, Edman and Hampson are actually very similar players with similar skillsets. I’m leaning Hampson at the moment because he’s hot, he’s leading off, and he’s playing half his games in Coors. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about the Rockies doing their typical thing of messing with their young players by placing them all in weird platoons. Escobar is a distant third there.

  7. Triumph the Dog says:

    Surprised to see Dom ranked so high. Seems like a candidate likely to regress to the mean? His exit velo is only in the 20th percentile.

    Also not equally but kind of surprised to see McNeil way up there. Think he’s oppo type of candidate who is likely to instead find his groove sooner than later?

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