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:
- The consensus #1 overall pick in all formats for 2024 is Ronald Acuña Jr.
- Bryce Harper continues to rake and hit for power, with 10 home runs in his last 25 games to go along with an insane .482 OBP and more walks than strikeouts. We knew the power would come back eventually, we just didn’t know when. Durability clouds his projected ADP for next season, but it’s going to be higher than where he finishes this season.
- No, I don’t know when Shohei Ohtani will play again, but this ranking assumes he comes to full-time action back over the weekend.
- Michael Harris II still has an outside chance to achieve a 20/20 season thanks to three home runs over the last week. He’s done well to keep the strikeout rate down as the season has progressed and while there isn’t really a clear path to moving to the top part of the lineup, the Atlanta offense is so good that it doesn’t seem to impact his overall output all that much.
- Kyle Schwarber has been streaky but productive this season, but we didn’t really see that patented Schwarber explosion until rather recently. It’s hard to say how long this unbelievable stretch can continue (13 home runs in 24 games), but finally seeing it tells me that he’s still the same ol’ Schwarber, and that’s a big deal. In OBP formats, he’d be in the middle of Tier 3.
- Christian Yelich has slumped over the past few weeks and now has taken a few days off with back issues. This will play out one of two ways: either he rests up and feels good down the stretch, or he can’t get over the issue and it haunts him for the rest of the season. I’m hoping it’s more the former than the latter, and that’s what the ranking reflects.
- Elly De La Cruz just hasn’t been able to make the necessary adjustments lately to get back on track, but the talent is so extreme that I can’t really drop him further than this. Elly is starting to improve his decision-making, though, and it’s only a matter of time until that starts paying off.
- Seiya Suzuki is having another late-season surge, just in time to move him up the draft board for next year. Inconsistency has been a hallmark for the Japanese import, and I’m not super confident that it has changed yet.
- Josh Naylor hasn’t missed a beat since coming back from injury.
- Nathaniel Lowe’s drop in the rankings is long overdue. I really felt that the power could stick and that the RBIs could pile up with the improved lineup, but despite hitting third for most of the season, Lowe couldn’t really excel in any stat. The situation couldn’t be better, and while that keeps his floor somewhat high, the ceiling going forward is not at all what I hoped.
- Hopefully, Willson Contreras isn’t going to miss too much time with the bruise on his hand, as he’s hitting the ball well and a catcher is not an easy thing to replace at this point in the season. The elder Contreras has been one of fantasy’s best catchers in the second half and should finish as a top-seven catcher even if he misses a little extra time.
- Josh Lowe’s horrible summer might end up being lost in the overall narrative of his season thanks to how strong he was in the spring and the fall, and that’s OK. 2024 will hopefully give us a clue as to whether Lowe is a hot-and-cold type of hitter or one who can find some overall consistency.
- Yandy Díaz has been excellent lately, but a testicular contusion sounds truly horrible and I expect him to miss some time even if he avoids the IL. Get well soon.
- Triston Casas seems much more stable and comfortable at the plate in recent months, and that shines through in his rolling walk and strikeout rates, which went from extremely volatile to much more steady. Every player has variance in their plate discipline metrics, but less volatility is a good sign for Casas, as his patience at the plate is key to his overall approach.
- I love what I’m seeing from Ronny Mauricio, and you should too. Yes, he’s been a bit fortunate on his handful of batted balls so far and hasn’t put too many in the air yet, but he’s kept the strikeout rate down and put the ball in play, and the more he does that, the more Mauricio can shine.
- Andrew Vaughn bounces back a bit thanks to a bit of a power surge, with three doubles and two home runs in his last six starts. Power is the missing piece for Vaughn at the major league level, though he didn’t have any issue with power in the minors. There’s still some faint hope he can turn into a 25-home-run bat in future seasons with a decent batting average, and a six-home-run September would go a long way toward making that future seem more likely.
- Davis Schneider’s high barrel rate is really cool, but I don’t know how much longer his 27.6% home run to fly ball rate can continue. All I know is that he can’t keep it for very long. There’s plenty of power here, but the batting average remains highly suspect (which is even more suspicious when you look at his .500 BABIP and .248 xBA).
- James Outman’s slow start to September is awful timing, as bench bats like Hernandez and Taylor are smoking hot. The drop in ranking is less about my feelings about his overall talent and more about how I expect him to get benched more often in favor of hotter bats.
- Just so you’re aware, Thairo Estrada hits near the top of the lineup and is about to be in Coors for four games.
- Chas McCormick has been hitting the bench more lately, and at this point in the rankings, even sitting twice a week is enough to take a significant tumble.
- TJ Friedl appears to not be in a platoon after all and is showing impressive plate discipline of late. He’s got just enough pop to be dangerous, especially at home, and guess where Friedl will be for six games next week?
- Tommy Pham is batting third for an offense that seems to be out of its recent slump, plus he’s smacking some home runs and stealing some bases.
- Ezequiel Tovar, Wilmer Flores, and Ryan McMahon will all be in Coors starting on Thursday.
- I’m not sure anyone has time to wait for Giancarlo Stanton to get hot again, especially in a head-to-head playoff.
- Jarred Kelenic not only got called up, but he started against a lefty. That tells me he’s going to play.
- Alex Kirilloff has a great hit tool and good power, but never stays healthy.
- Evan Carter has a strong floor, but his overall upside is probably like a 15 home run, 25 stolen base sort of player. That can be really valuable, depending on where in the lineup he hits and what ratios it comes with, but it’s still a limited ceiling.
- Logan O’Hoppe is definitely worth a stream if you need a catcher.
- Edward Olivares has been jerked around by the Royals over and over again, but he’s hitting and starting so there’s at least a little intrigue there.
- Cavan Biggio has been mostly awful for a few years now, but he’s hot at the moment, playing most days, and eligible almost everywhere. I wouldn’t start him against any lefties, but there is some pop and speed here if you need it.
- Kris Bryant is back and in Coors a few more times, and he actually hit a few balls hard.
- Josh Jung could be back this weekend! He’s worth a scoop if anyone dropped him.
And now, once again, it’s time for the Hitter List: