Hitter List 9/2: 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



  • It’s pretty wild that the regular season is only about three weeks away from being over. Despite the fact that it still feels early, it’s important to transition into the mindset of this being the final, all-in push to secure a title this year. What that means in terms of hitters right now, at least in redraft formats, is that you can feel free to cut bait with underperforming big names in favor of players who are on a roll right now. I’ve tried to have the rankings reflect this as much as possible. Some players, like J.D. Martinez and Nolan Arenado, are still buoyed up by their track record and ability–it wouldn’t be that surprising to see them get white-hot over the final weeks despite their lackluster numbers to this point. But for the most part you can start to feel comfortable dropping brand names in order to try and catch lightning in a bottle.


  • Speaking of catching lightning in a bottle: Jesse WinkerI mean, wow. For a guy who was largely undrafted, he’s been hitting like an absolute superstar this year, and is likely going to win a lot of people their leagues. His triple slash is now up to .327/.433/.683 with 10 homers and an absurd 16.7% barrel rate. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a little skeptical of the barrel rate being sustainable, as his groundball rate still hovers close to 50% and he’s not hitting a lot of flyballs. He’s also traded some of his trademark contact ability for that extra power. But for now, he’s maximizing the few flyballs he does hit by absolutely demolishing them. And, again, with about 20-25 games left in the season, there’s no reason he can’t sustain this. Just be careful about investing too heavily in 2021.


  • It’s been a bit of a lost season for Pete Alonso, who’s now hitting .206 with just six homers and a pedestrian 9.3% barrel rate. He’s actually seeing more fastballs this year–which is the pitch he destroyed last season on his way to hitting 53 homers. And he’s seeing more strikes as well. Unfortunately he just has not been able to elevate them or hit them with much authority to this point. I’m inclined to believe this is more an issue of approach than a true reflection of his talent, as I think most of what Alonso did last year was legit. However, time is running out for him to turn things around. I’m still holding him in 12-teamers with the hope he can flash that 50-homer power over the coming weeks, but it’s understandable if managers are running out of patience.


  • If you do end up ditching Alonso, a guy like Brandon Belt might make the perfect fill-in assuming he’s still available. With multi-hit efforts in five of his last eight games, he’s raised his average to .337 on the year. His 19.7% barrel rate is also within the top 3% of all hitters, which makes his 25% strikeout rate all the more impressive. He’s walking at a customarily high rate as well (13.1%), and is entrenched as the Giants cleanup hitter right now. Former Belt owners know he’s prone to unsustainable hot streaks, but again, there’s no harm in seeing if he can make this last at least until the end of the month.


  • We’ve been checking in on Josh Bell’s batting stance pretty regularly throughout these rankings updates, for absolutely no reason other than my own personal amusement. It’s fascinating, because I don’t recall ever seeing a player’s stance change so dramatically in such a short span. Bell has clearly been tinkering with things this year, and the good news is that he seems to have eliminated a lot of the extra movement he was displaying earlier in the year and returned to a more stable stance recently. He has hit two home runs over the past week and looked a little better at the plate, but time will tell if the tweak can help get him back to being the offensive force he was in the early part of last year.


  • Tim Anderson is such an interesting player. Every time you think you have him pegged, he starts doing something a little bit different that changes his offensive profile. This season he’s started hitting the ball significantly harder, nearly doubling his barrel rate from last year to bring it up to 9.5%. Sure, he’s whiffing more as a result. But he’s also still hitting a lot of line drives and maintaining an elite sprint speed, which should help him continue to post high BABIPs and a higher-than-expected batting average. The floor with Anderson is lower than most, but he can contribute in all five standard fantasy categories.


  • Dominic Smith just keeps hitting. He now owns the ninth-highest slugging percentage in baseball, and continues to reap the benefits of increasing both his Hard Hit and Pull rates. He’s owned in just 73% of Yahoo leagues at the moment, which seems criminally low. What he’s been doing over the past month has been really impressive, and looks legit.


  • Austin Riley is coming off an August where he hit .286 with five homers, and as we saw when he was first promoted last year, he can go on a really impressive hot streak at a moment’s notice. It’s interesting to note that he’s actually improved substantially against breaking balls so far this year, so that may help him avoid some of the pitfalls that led to his prolonged slump last season. He’s definitely worth grabbing while he’s hot if you need a potential boost in the power department.


  • Fresh off an absurd three-homer performance, lots of people are looking at Alex Dickerson and wondering if he’s worth a speculative add. I think he’s absolutely worth rostering rest-of-season. Before injuries derailed his time in San Diego, Dickerson showed an impressive ability to pair hard contact with good contact rates. I’m not sure that 30+ home run power would be in the cards over a full season, but he sprays the ball to all fields, hits lots of line drives, and seems like a really well-rounded hitter that’s on a tear right now.


  • Statcast Sleepers: It’s pretty interesting to see Robinson Cano and Brad Miller as high as they are on the Hard Hit% leaderboard–what year is it? They’ve both been on fire the past few weeks, and are definitely worth plugging into your lineups for the time being. Willy Adames is also having an incredible year, and making lots of hard contact, but not elevating the ball enough for that to be reflected in his home run totals. With a .317 average on the season though, it’s hard to complain.


Rank Hitter Position Change
1Fernando Tatis Jr.T1SS+1
2Mike TroutOF-1
3Mookie BettsOF-
4Trevor StorySS-
5Juan SotoOF-
6Ronald Acuña Jr.OF+1
7Cody Bellinger1B, OF+1
8Francisco LindorSS+1
9Nelson CruzDH+1
10José Ramírez
11Freddie Freeman1B+1
12Trea TurnerSS+6
13Xander BogaertsSS+8
14Christian YelichOF-8
15Anthony Rendon3B-2
16Charlie BlackmonOF-1
17Bryce HarperOF-
18José Abreu1B, DH+6
19Nolan Arenado3B-5
20Marcell OzunaOF+8
21Eloy JiménezOF, DH+8
22Luis Robert Jr.OF+9
23Manny Machado3B, SS+14
24Starling MarteOF-4
25Paul Goldschmidt
26Rafael Devers3B+13
27Whit Merrifield2B, OF+11
28Tim AndersonSS+15
29Corey SeagerSS+16
30Nick CastellanosOF+3
31Jesse WinkerOF+42
32Austin MeadowsOF, DH-10
33J.T. RealmutoC+7
34Ketel Marte2B, OF-15
35Keston Hiura
36Yoán Moncada3B-13
37Franmil ReyesOF, DH+14
38Matt Chapman3B+4
39Jonathan Villar2B, SS+5
40Dansby SwansonSS+7
41Cavan Biggio2B, OF+11
42Luke Voit1B, DH+20
43J.D. MartinezDH-27
44Michael ConfortoOF+11
45Anthony Rizzo1B-9
46Jorge SolerOF, DH-5
47Eric Hosmer1B+19
48DJ LeMahieu1B, 2B, 3B+UR
49Kyle Tucker
50Trent GrishamOF+10
51Teoscar HernándezOF, DH+24
52Wil MyersOF+16
53Javier BáezSS-27
54Max Muncy1B, 2B, 3B-6
55Brandon Lowe2B-1
56Ian HappOF+21
57George SpringerOF-4
58Ramón LaureanoOF-28
59Eugenio Suárez3B-
60Matt Olson1B, DH-26
61Dominic Smith1B, OF+29
62Carlos CorreaSS-12
63Randal GrichukOF, DH+33
64Pete Alonso1B-37
65Jose Altuve2B-16
66Mike Moustakas2B, 3B-3
67Mike YastrzemskiOF+7
683B, OF-22
69Anthony Santander
70Christian Walker1B+8
71Shohei OhtaniDH-10
72Yuli Gurriel1B, 3B+4
73Miguel Sanó3B+13
74Kyle SchwarberOF+8
76Kyle LewisOF+3
78Michael BrantleyOF-14
79Jake Cronenworth1B, 2B+13
80Brandon Belt1B+47
81Jeff McNeil2B, 3B, OF-16
82Eddie RosarioOF-26
83Marcus SemienSS-13
84Max KeplerOF-13
85Josh Bell
86Alex VerdugoOF-1
87Mark Canha1B, OF-3
882B, OF+6
89Mitch Moreland1B, DH+11
90Clint FrazierOF+13
91Kris Bryant3B, OF+UR
92Joey GalloOF, DH-35
93Garrett Hampson2B, OF+16
94Tommy Edman2B, 3B, OF+1
95Jorge PolancoSS-2
96Kyle Seager3B-9
97Jesús Aguilar1B-6
98Hunter Dozier3B, OF, DH-
99Byron BuxtonOF+UR
100Adalberto Mondesi
101Colin Moran3B+9
102Didi GregoriusSS-
103Shin-Soo ChooOF, DH-15
104Jean SeguraSS-3
105Rhys Hoskins1B+17
106Wilmer Flores1B, 2B, 3B-2
107Donovan Solano2B+1
108Victor ReyesOF+15
109Yasmani GrandalC-10
110Robinson Canó2B+35
111Willy AdamesSS+UR
112Howie Kendrick1B, 2B+2
113Gary Sánchez
114Elvis AndrusSS+UR
115AJ PollockOF+4
116David Fletcher2B, 3B+23
117Andrew McCutchenOF+33
118Jonathan Schoop2B+30
119Ryan MountcastleSS, OF+UR
120Austin Riley3B, OF+UR
121Alec Bohm3B+17
122David PeraltaOF+7
123Victor RoblesOF-18
124Nick Madrigal
125Brad Miller3B, SS+UR
126Alex DickersonOF+UR
127Jeimer Candelario3B+UR
128Tommy La Stella2B, 3B+UR
129Nick Solak-11
130Carlos Santana1B-24
131Adam EatonOF-20
132Daniel Murphy1B, DH-19
133Robbie GrossmanOF+8
134Evan Longoria3B+UR
135Mike TauchmanOF-23
136Erik González3B, SS+11
137Jon Berti2B, 3B-1
138César Hernández2B-13
139Asdrúbal Cabrera1B, 2B, 3B-19
140Brian Anderson3B, OF-24
141Amed RosarioSS-24
142Kole CalhounOF-12
143Will SmithC-
144Hanser Alberto2B+UR
145Jason HeywardOF+UR
146Nick MarkakisOF+UR
147Avisaíl GarcíaOF, DH-26
148Gregory Polanco+1
149Eduardo Escobar2B, 3B-18
150Aaron HicksOF-15


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."

5 responses to “Hitter List 9/2: Ranking the Top 150 Hitters for 2020”

  1. GB says:

    Was Paul DeJong intentionally left off this list?

  2. Scott Chu says:

    Why do you hate Eduardo Escobar?

  3. ArmadilloFury says:

    Winker seems too high at #31. He has a 47.6% HR/FB%. He’s not a guy that has monster pop – it would be unreasonable to project more than a 20% HR/FB% going forward. His defense is atrocious so he has to hit at a 120+ WRC+ level to stay in the lineup and he still hasn’t proven that he can hit lefties for any prolonged stretch (72 wRC+ vs LHP career) .

  4. Chris says:

    Do you still think that Mondesi can turn things around? He has been a tremendous disappointment and I am considering dropping him in my 12 team dynasty.

  5. Ryan says:

    Where would Torres fall in on this ROS? Think he’s worth keeping around over Tim Anderson and Swanson?

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