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:
- Fernando Tatis Jr.continues to slump, but that’s not enough for me to change my rest-of-season outlook in any meaningful way. His upside is too immense, and the Padres seem poised for a second-half surge.
- This tier just feels loaded with talent, and I bet we will feel that in 2024 drafts. I probably would want to pick in the middle or back of the first round if I had to pick, assuming I was doing a draft today.
- Austin Riley continues to crush baseballs, and if you wanted him at the top of this tier, I wouldn’t argue much.
- Bobby Witt Jr. seems to be turning a corner in his sophomore season, and he could be in the middle or top of the tier before long.
- No actual changes here, apart from slight shifting thanks to Witt Jr.
- Wander Franco has shown signs of life lately, but the limited power has me hesitating on putting him back in Tier 3.
- I still believe that Bryce Harper will put on a fireworks display this fall, and until then he will continue to have excellent ratios.
- I will continue to mention every week that Elly De La Cruz will not be consistent, and that’s OK. The good should outweigh the bad, however it will make those in head-to-head leagues pull their hair out at times.
This Tier has a net +2 to all rankings
- There was movement all over the place in this tier for a myriad of reasons (guys getting hurt, guys coming back from the IL, guys falling hard, etc.), so the numbers to the right are probably even less helpful than usual.
- Masataka Yoshida hasn’t been awful, but he takes a bit of a fall here because I continue to reevaluate his ceiling, and the limited power is putting a harder cap on it than I originally hoped.
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. came back to a team that seems a bit more interesting than it did when he went down. It was good to see Jazz hit a double and steal a base, though I didn’t love that he hit the pine against a lefty. I don’t anticipate that will continue, and Jazz’s power/speed combo should finally begin to shine through.
- I don’t know what’s wrong with George Springer, though it’s worth noting that he seems to have had similar dips before that were fairly short-lived (see below in 2018, 2021, and earlier this season). You can’t drop him yet, that much I do know.
- Josh Naylor is hopefully going to avoid the IL and continues to put the ball in the air, so the recent slump isn’t a sign that he’s returning to the old, boring Naylor.
From here until Tier 12, there is an average net gain of +4 to all players
- Nick Castellanos is the bane of my analyzing existence (along with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Cody Bellinger). Everything has fallen apart lately and I can’t really point out a reason that makes any sense, especially considering that Castellanos was so strong in the first half with metrics that supported the results. Sometimes, there’s no way to identify what is happening with the data we have available and we have to accept that we are at the mercy of the player.
- Ha-Seong Kim gets his second big bump of the season as the Padres geared up for a second-half run at the postseason. Kim should continue to bat at the top of the order, and with two of Soto, Machado, and Tatis Jr. clicking at any given time, I expect Kim to get plenty of pitches to hit and plenty of runs scored.
- Keep it going, Gunnar Henderson! He has five home runs and 28 combined runs and RBI so far in the second half and I expect the good times to keep coming as Henderson continues to avoid strikeouts and put the ball in play.
- Salvador Perez takes a tumble in the hitter rankings, but he stays right where he was in terms of catcher rankings. Perez has always been an aggressive hitter at the dish, and that will lead to extended slumps that eventually give way to blistering hot streaks. It’s just the nature of his play style.
- Dansby Swanson is slugging .735 since July 3 and the entire offense (other than Suzuki) is on fire. They won’t stay this hot, of course, but Swanson had been underperforming all season and finally looks like he can hit the way we expected coming into 2023. His 2022 will likely end up being a career year, but there should still be a handful of top-75 to top-100 hitter seasons in him.
- Are we finally seeing Hunter Renfroe be the power-hitting machine he was supposed to be? He has the strength to pile up a lot of home runs in a very short time, and with Ward out for the season, this offense will need every home run they can get from Renfroe to keep their playoff hopes alive.
- Jonathan India drops in part because of the injury (which hopefully only requires a minimum stay on the 10-day IL) and in part because I’ve taken a closer look at his recent performance and found it particularly lacking. India would have been an ideal trade candidate if he wasn’t hurt, though staying a Red isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
- I may have overrated Jorge Soler during an earlier hot streak. Like many other sluggers, the ups and downs can be quite extreme.
There is a +5 to +7 net change to all rankings in Tiers 12 and13.
- Every time I get sick of Alec Bohm, he puts together a stretch that reminds me that he ought to be a top-100 hitter. The power is probably capped at 15-17 home runs in a single season, but the .280-.290 batting average and 90 RBIs are nothing to scoff at.
- I’ve explained this before, but Austin Hays is an aggressive hitter, and while he won’t pile up too many strikeouts, he will pile up some very ugly outs via poor contact.
- Jordan Walker has plenty of upside, but it may take longer than redraft fantasy managers can wait for it to really blossom.
- Lars Nootbaar should be the primary leadoff man going forward with Brendan Donovan having season-ending surgery, and it’s an ideal situation for a guy who can make contact while also putting up 15% or higher walk rates over extended periods.
There is an average change of +12 to all rankings in this tier
- Another late-season surge from Tyler O’Neill would be classic him, wouldn’t it? There’s no denying he has power and speed, so as long as he stays healthy O’Neill should continue to climb these rankings.
- Here’s to hoping that Ryan Mountcastle continues to show off the power we saw in his rookie campaign and doesn’t have to worry about platoons ever again.
- The last tier is enormous, and that’s intentional. At this stage of the season, needs are highly specific from team to team and your positional and categorical needs combined with your place in your league’s ranks will dictate how patient you can be and what you need to prioritize.
- Christian Encarnacion-Strand could certainly turn it around, but the early returns are a good example of the risks involved with holding prospects in redraft leagues. You need to be able to absorb and stomach this kind of early slump whenever you play the prospect game in non-keeper formats.
- I cannot understand how a guy with Daulton Varsho’s speed and power just stops hitting entirely when he moves to a better team and better hitting environment.
- Jake McCarthy looks like he’ll be a platoon player with the addition of Pham, and I have a bad feeling that McCarthy’s dismal second-half performance is an indicator that he’s just too streaky to trust.
- Jake Burger is going to a worse park, but should get a chance to be an everyday guy even when he slumps in Miami. The average will still stink, but let’s see if Miami can help him continue his recent run of good plate discipline.
- Luke Raley is sitting more and more as the power has evaporated entirely in the second half. It was a great run earlier this season, but I’m getting pretty close to moving on, especially if I’m fighting for my life in the standings.
- Ezequiel Duran needs to really turn it on over the next two weeks if he’s going to carve out a meaningful role when Corey Seager returns. The DH slot is more open with the loss of Jonah Heim, but you don’t get to DH if you’re not hitting on a contender.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List: