Hitter List – Ranking the Top 150 Hitters for the 2021 Season

Ranking the top 150 hitters for fantasy baseball every week of the year

Hello, and welcome to the first Hitter List of the 2021 season! Every week during the regular season I’ll be sharing updated rankings for the top 150 hitters in baseball. These rankings are geared toward standard, daily, 12-team H2H leagues, as that is typically the most popular fantasy baseball format. They will only factor in the five standard categories: Runs, RBI, Home Runs, Batting Average, and Stolen Bases.

First, let’s get some basics out of the way:


  • This first entry in the series is being released now, as opposed to earlier in the offseason, because we wanted to ensure Scott Chu’s excellent positional rankings on the site got all the attention they deserved. Scott put a truly bonkers amount of work into those rankings, and I can say with 100% confidence you were better served referring to those for your drafts than you would have been had you used these. That said, I thought it would still be fun to release this first list prior to Opening Day, as something we can all look back on at the end of the year to see what I got right and what I got really, really wrong.


  • Since it’s still technically the preseason, these rankings reflect where I think each player will likely end up in terms of relative value by season’s end. Once the season is underway, anyone on the IL or not currently in the majors will be removed.


  • I would recommend not paying super close attention to the specific ranks of each player, and honing in more on the respective tiers that they’re in. Each tier represents a grouping of players that I think could arguably perform at a similar level, and/or carry similar levels of risk in terms of injury concerns or playing time obstacles. If Player X is ranked at #55 and Player Y is ranked at #65, but they’re in the same tier, it means that I personally like Player X a lot better, but think there’s a valid argument to be made for taking Player Y in a similar spot.


  • Hopefully it goes without saying, but these rankings aren’t an exact science. Every person’s rankings are influenced by their own biases, strategic philosophies, determinations of risk, and projections. It’s why no two rankings are ever exactly alike. My way of evaluating and ranking players has worked out well for me over the years, but it might not be a great fit for you. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and that what makes the game so fun. Please keep that in mind before eviscerating my fragile mental health in the comments.


And now a couple of notes on how I generally evaluate hitters before we dive in:


  • I’m weighing the shortened 2020 season as little as I can, especially when it comes to players with extensive track records prior. The 2020 season was strange for a lot of reasons. Players’ training and conditioning routines were thrown out of whack due to the delayed season, in-game video review was prohibited due to health/cheating concerns, and several players were dealing with bouts of COVID themselves. Then, on top of all of that, we had just 60 games of data to base our player evaluations off of–hardly a large enough sample size to make any truly substantial determinations in terms of player progress or regression. In cases where 2020 was a player’s first real taste of major league action (e.g. Randy Arozarena, Jared Walsh, Kyle Lewis), I found myself weighing their successful seasons a bit more heavily. But I mostly avoided penalizing rookies or veterans for down years.


  • I’ve typically been one of the biggest stolen base lovers around, but I’ve gradually learned to value the stat less and less over the years. And I’m hoping to continue to move in that direction this year, with one caveat: I still think players with truly elite speed (e.g. Trea Turner and Adalberto Mondesi) are worth their weight in gold. As stolen bases have plummeted in recent years, and previous world-class speedsters like Mallex Smith, Dee Strange-Gordon, and Jonathan Villar currently find themselves with declining skillsets and/or no path to full-time at-bats, players who can swipe 40+ bags have become a true rarity. Getting that kind of stolen base output from one lineup slot allows you so much more flexibility in how you put together the rest of your team, and I think that can really give you an edge when it comes to roster construction.


  • Batted ball quality is huge for me (as I’m sure it is for most people). Every year the industry takes further strides in how it evaluates contact quality and its relationship with launch angle. Connor Kurcon’s DHH% and TrueHit statistics are revelations, and something I hope to rely on for player rankings throughout the year. Looking at quality of contact in conjunction with a hitter’s plate discipline, contact ability, spray charts, and batted ball tendencies is really where the meat of my player analysis tends to take place.


  • I hate kids. As exciting as it is to own a young prospect right as he’s breaking out, I’ve found that trying to pinpoint which prospect will take off and when is a complete crapshoot, and can oftentimes result in spending a lot of playing time and FAAB on young players who don’t return much value. As a result, I tend to lean towards veteran hitters with longer track records.


Ranking Notes


  • Let’s start with the top tier. I’m going with Tatís Jr. in the top spot over Acuña Jr. for a few reasons. First is position eligibility — he’s the only top-tier player who isn’t an outfielder, and I love the flexibility that this gives you with roster construction. Acuña Jr. also seems poised to bat leadoff for the Braves, which I think could hinder his RBI ability a bit, especially in the slightly-less-scary Atlanta lineup. Both are pretty comparable otherwise in terms of raw talent and fantasy upside.


  • I see the argument for Soto above Trout. I’m just not as convinced as others that Trout’s days of stolen base totals in the mid-teens (or higher) are over. And I don’t think enough is said about the volatility that Soto’s high groundball rates could introduce in terms of his power output. Yes, it won’t be an issue as long as he continues to post a 51.6% Hard-Hit and make the most out of all the flyballs he does hit. But I think there’s a real possibility of him capping out around 35-40 homers, which suddenly makes maintaining a batting average well above .300 kind of pivotal for him to stay in the conversation as a top-5 hitter.


  • I’d like to have Cody Bellinger just outside the top-10, but a poor 2020 paired with offseason shoulder surgery and his penchant for changing his batting stance every year are raising enough red flags to where I’m okay missing out on him this year if he doesn’t fall well into the second round.


  • Randy Arozarena is one of the more divisive hitters this season. It’s no secret that the ceiling is that of a potential first or second round pick. But the floor is also quite low considering how badly his peripherals were last year against non-fastballs. He posted an awful .164 wOBA against breaking balls, and while his .327 wOBA against offspeed stuff was pretty impressive on the surface, it was backed by a dreadful .236 xwOBA. On top of that, he outperformed his .468 xwOBA against fastballs by a wide margin. Correction here could make drafting him in the first few rounds very painful. I have him ranked fairly high for the upside alone, but your risk tolerance will probably determine how likely you are the roll the dice.


  • A guy who I see as a cheaper alternative to Arozarena is Teoscar Hernández. Hernández possesses similarly elite hard contact skills, and enough speed to be a minor asset in the stolen base category. However, unlike Arozarena, he held his own against non-fastballs last year, and his xwOBA against those pitch types lined up pretty favorably with his actual performance. With his line drive rate jumping to an elite 30% last year and what seems to be a new focus on going up the middle more, I think there’s a big-time ceiling here. Like with Arozarena, the batting average floor is low. But I think a full season of at-bats could see him net close to 40 home runs with at least 10 stolen bases, and with a shot at batting cleanup in that deep Blue Jays lineup, there’s potential big-time value here.


  • I’m so overexposed on Dylan Moore this year that he should be slipping dollar bills into my waistband. I’ve ended up with shares on literally every team that I’ve drafted, and it’s because I find his combination of plus-power and aggressive baserunning so intriguing. Yes, he feasted primarily on fastballs last year. But when I say feasted, I mean feasted–to the tune of a .448 xwOBA. An elite line drive rate last year (35% according to Savant) and the ability to go up the middle a decent amount of the time have me hopeful he can mitigate some of the damage that his struggles against non-fastballs will inevitably have on his batting average. And man, that 13.8% barrel rate from a guy who seems to attempt a stolen base every time he’s on first base has me daydreaming about 30/30 upside. Will the Hard-Hit rate backslide a decent amount this year? Probably. Is there risk of him completely imploding and being on waivers after two months? For sure. But if things break right, there’s like top-30 hitter upside here that I just can’t turn down.


  • I’m finding myself lower than the field on Ke’Bryan Hayes this season. Part of it is the subpar power output in the minors, likely driven by some launch angle issues. Part of it is the barren Pittsburgh lineup. This isn’t to say I think he’ll be a bad hitter. There’s no doubt he puts a charge into the ball, and I think his contact ability gives him a pretty high batting average floor. I just think you can probably get similar output from a Justin Turner or a Gio Urshela, both of whom are hitting in much better lineups, and don’t have anywhere near the helium that Hayes does at the moment.


  • I think hitter-only Ohtani is being super undervalued right now in daily formats. Even in a dreadful 2020 campaign, he was putting together a full-season pace of 20/20 with 80+ R and RBI. And he’s shown in the past he can give you at least 20/10 with just 400 plate appearances. If you add that output to a league-average hitter who can fill in on the days he’s out of the lineup, the combination resembles something like a top-30 hitter (at least). He was fairly unlucky last year, and likely impacted by his elbow woes. And I think the uncertain playing time and DH-only eligibility further suppress his perceived value. But if employed right, there’s an offensive powerhouse there.


  • I feel like Christian Walker is so close to a breakout season. The contact quality is there (48% Hard Hit the past two season), and the roughly league average whiff rate is impressive considering how hard he hits the ball. He’s got a great line drive swing, and goes with pitches instead of trying to pull everything. But in a sense, I almost wonder if that’s working to his detriment, because a bit more elevation and a slightly higher pull rate could really unlock that 35-40 home run power. There’s still plenty of value here as a 30-home-run bat that’s hitting cleanup for Arizona and could give you a league-average batting average with a smattering of stolen bases. But it really does feel like there’s another gear he could kick things into.


  • Corey Dickerson seems underrated considering he’ll likely be the Marlins’ leadoff hitter, and should provide an above-average batting average with solid power. Consider this: in his seven seasons prior to 2020, Dickerson finished with a batting average about .300 on four occasions, and hit at least .282 in five of those seasons. Late in drafts it can be hard to find a batting average asset that won’t hurt you anywhere, and I think he’s a sneaky option who very well could be sitting on your waiver wire.


  • Some of the guys in the last few tiers of this list (or who just missed this list) may very well be sitting on waivers, and oftentimes in H2H formats you want guys on your bench that specialize in one area, who you can sub in late in the week if you need help winning a category. With that in mind, let’s do a lightning round featuring guys that are available in a lot of 12-team leagues, who I think are worth grabbing specifically to help out if you find yourself behind in AVG, HR, or SB:


    • Batting Average:
      • Donovan Solano: An elite flares/burners guy, which usually correlates with a very high batting average. Hit .326 and .330 the past two seasons and may bat third.
      • Corey Dickerson: Mentioned above.
      • Yuli Gurriel: Owns a .287 career batting average and posted three straight seasons of a .290+ average prior to last year.
      • Tommy La Stella: Posted an absurd 5.3% strikeout rate last year and seems to improve at making contact every year.
    • Home Runs:
      • Adam Duvall: Probably going to hurt your average, but has two straight years of 13%+ barrel rates, which puts his home run ceiling just under 40. Should get plenty of playing time in the heart of the order.
      • Bobby Dalbec: Smacked eight homers in just 92 plate appeaerances last year, and has seven in 47 at-bats this spring. Like with Duvall, the average will probably hurt, but the power is legit.
      • Hunter Dozier: Bounceback candidate who has also been crushing this spring. Showed potential for 30-35 homers with a decent batting average.
      • Rowdy Tellez: Last year was the first time Tellez paired his above-average power with excellent strikeout and whiff rates. Possible breakout candidate.
      • Nate Lowe: Reminds me a bit of a stronger Conforto with a bigger hole in his swing. Good plate discipline, big-time 30+ home run power, and a solid all-fields approach. Just needs to cut down on the whiffs and keep Ronald Guzman at bay.
      • Jesus Aguilar: Cleanup hitter with 30+ home run power and a decent average you can grab in a lot of leagues right now.
    • Stolen Bases:
      • Manuel Margot: Former top prospect finally seemed to start putting it all together last year. Thinking 30 stolen bases with some pop and a decent average is a possibility–Victor Robles lite.
      • Andres Gimenez: Ran wild with the Mets in a part-time role. Has the sprint speed to back it up, and could be a big stolen base asset in his new full-time role.
      • Elvis Andrus: Not sexy, but he’s a year removed from a 30+ stolen base season and has been one of the most steady 25+ stolen base contributors over the past decade.
      • Lorenzo Cain: Probably crossing your fingers and hoping for 20 stolen bases from Cain at his age, but he has the skillset to be a multi-category contributor.
Rank Hitter Position Change
1Fernando Tatis Jr.T1SS-
2Ronald Acuña Jr.OF-
3Mike TroutOF-
4Juan SotoOF-
5Mookie BettsOF-
6Trevor Story
7Trea TurnerSS-
8José Ramírez3B-
9Freddie Freeman1B-
10Christian YelichOF-
11Francisco LindorSS-
12Corey SeagerSS-
13José Abreu1B, DH-
14Marcell OzunaOF-
15Cody Bellinger1B, OF-
16Anthony Rendon3B-
17George SpringerOF-
18Bryce HarperOF-
19Bo BichetteSS-
20Manny Machado3B, SS-
21Nelson CruzDH-
22Xander BogaertsSS-
23Kyle TuckerOF-
24Starling MarteOF-
25Pete Alonso
26Ozzie Albies2B-
27DJ LeMahieu1B, 2B, 3B-
28Rafael Devers3B-
29Yordan AlvarezOF, DH-
30Adalberto MondesiSS-
31Aaron JudgeOF, DH-
32Nolan Arenado
33Trent GrishamOF-
34Randy ArozarenaOF-
35Tim AndersonSS-
36Charlie BlackmonOF-
37Teoscar HernándezOF, DH-
38Michael ConfortoOF-
39Alex Bregman3B, SS-
40Luis Robert Jr.
41J.T. RealmutoC-
42Whit Merrifield2B, OF-
43Tommy PhamOF-
44Ketel Marte2B, OF-
45Austin MeadowsOF, DH-
46Paul Goldschmidt1B-
47J.D. MartinezDH-
48Eugenio Suárez3B-
49Vladimir Guerrero Jr.1B, 3B-
50Nick CastellanosOF-
51Dominic Smith1B, OF-
52Jorge SolerOF, DH-
53Lourdes Gurriel Jr.2B, OF-
54Yoán Moncada3B-
55Gleyber Torres
2B, SS
56Max Muncy1B, 2B, 3B-
57Brandon Lowe2B-
58Wil MyersOF-
59Giancarlo StantonOF, DH-
60Shohei OhtaniDH-
61Matt Chapman3B-
62Franmil ReyesOF, DH-
63Keston Hiura2B-
64Dansby SwansonSS-
65Matt Olson1B, DH-
66Cavan Biggio2B, OF-
67Jose Altuve2B-
68Dylan Moore1B, OF-
69Alec Bohm
70Ian HappOF-
71Anthony Rizzo1B-
72Michael BrantleyOF-
73Mike YastrzemskiOF-
74Jeff McNeil2B, 3B, OF-
75Javier BáezSS-
76Jesse WinkerOF-
77Mike Moustakas2B, 3B-
78Luke Voit1B, DH-
79Kyle LewisOF-
80Ramón LaureanoOF-
81Josh Bell
82Gio Urshela3B-
83Joey GalloOF, DH-
84Clint FrazierOF-
85Ke’Bryan Hayes3B-
86Justin Turner3B-
87Josh Donaldson3B-
88Alex VerdugoOF-
89Marcus SemienSS-
90Travis d’ArnaudC, 1B-
91Byron BuxtonOF-
92Carlos CorreaSS-
93Eddie RosarioOF-
94Kris Bryant
3B, OF
95Ryan MountcastleSS, OF-
96Jarred KelenicOF-
97Anthony SantanderOF-
98Victor RoblesOF-
99Eric Hosmer1B-
100Trey Mancini-
101Christian Walker1B-
102C.J. Cron1B-
103Dylan CarlsonOF-
104Will SmithC-
105Jesús Aguilar1B-
1063B, OF-
107Rhys Hoskins1B-
108Salvador PerezC-
109Miguel Sanó3B-
110Mark Canha
1B, OF
111Tommy Edman2B, 3B, OF-
112Gary SánchezC, DH-
113Andrew McCutchenOF-
114Didi GregoriusSS-
115Aaron HicksOF-
116AJ PollockOF-
117Hunter Dozier3B, OF, DH-
118Kyle SchwarberOF-
119Manuel MargotOF-
120Max Kepler
121Alex DickersonOF-
122Andrew VaughnOF-
123Austin HaysOF-
124Andrés Giménez2B, SS-
125Brian Anderson3B, OF-
126Andrew BenintendiOF-
127Donovan Solano2B-
128Jeimer Candelario3B-
129Austin Riley3B, OF-
130Corey DickersonOF-
131Alex KirilloffOF-
132Rowdy Tellez1B-
133Ty France2B, 3B-
134Yuli Gurriel1B, 3B-
135Bobby Dalbec1B-
136Lorenzo CainOF-
137Paul DeJong-
138Jorge PolancoSS-
139David DahlOF-
140Gavin Lux2B-
141Willi Castro3B-
142Ha-Seong Kim2B-
143Jake Cronenworth1B, 2B-
144Nathaniel Lowe-
145Victor ReyesOF-
146Jared Walsh1B-
147Tommy La Stella2B, 3B+UR
148Kolten Wong2B-
149Josh Rojas2B, OF-
150Nick SenzelOF-

Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire. Cover Image Designed by the great J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign).

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."

12 responses to “Hitter List – Ranking the Top 150 Hitters for the 2021 Season”

  1. Ted Williams frozen head says:

    Using your logic about dismissing most of what we saw in 2020. Why are you so low on Moncada, Devers and Bregman? Moncada was near elite in 2019, and battled COVID last year. Shouldn’t he be getting a pass, as well as Devers?
    I can see your thoughts on Bregman considering the Houston scandal and maybe his power is less than legit, but hitting metrics from 2020 show he’s the same hitter he always was, which was been very polished and one of the best at his position.

    Again, not an exact science but I’m surprised to see those guys with proven elite track records, entering their prime, fall so low.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Great question. Bregman was a guy I was low on prior to last year, just because I think he’s really walking a fine line in terms of power output based on his barrel rates. A lot of his expected stats paint the picture of a guy who could easily fall well outside the top-50 hitters in a given season, and I’m just not sure that his amazing 2019 wasn’t an outlier for him.

      For Devers, I feel like inside the top-30 is fair. Anyone in those first three or four tiers has elite upside. His groundball tendencies and free-swinging nature introduce a good bit of volatility into his profile for me, but there’s no doubt he can be a star. I think I just prefer the stolen base upside and/or the track records of the guys in the tier above him.

      Moncada probably is too low, though that tier runs from 40 all the way to 54, and I really wouldn’t take issue with anyone grabbing him in the top-40. With him I think it’s the subpar pre-2019 seasons paired with the down 2020 that are introducing a bit of doubt in my mind about which is the real Moncada.

  2. I Must Stash You a Question says:

    Kirilloff really worth picking up? Seems you’re pretty high on him considering he didn’t make the roster and didn’t perform all that well in spring training. I’ve had him on my radar and I’m unsure whether he’s worth a grab and stash.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      It feels like he’ll be up in three weeks, barring a torrid start to the year from Jake Cave, and the hit tool seems legit. Not sure where the power will settle but he gives me Verdugo vibes.

  3. Andrew S says:

    Surprised to not see Brandon Nimmo listed somewhere on the List. Do I just value him higher because I’m in OBP leagues? I think he’s a better option than a group of the later OFs listed.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Absolutely love Nimmo in OBP formats. If the big strikeout rate gains from last year are legit, and he can hit close to .280, I think he definitely deserves a spot somewhere here. If he goes back to being more of a .250-.260 guy though, I don’t think he really has the upside to be worth a pick-up in standard formats.

  4. carbontacos says:

    Carlos Santana is completely off the radar? He’s certainly viable in my league’s points scoring system.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      In a 12-team H2H format I could see him having some value, but I think it’ll come down to the counting stats with him, because I’m not sure I’m expecting much more than his typical career line (.260 average, 25 HR). And without a super intriguing ceiling, I think I’d personally rather take a flier on someone with more upside.

  5. Patrick says:

    No Nick Solak? The PL staff rankings have him as the #80 overall hitter, figured he’d be somewhere in the top 150

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I’d be okay slotting him in somewhere in that bottom tier. Personally, I don’t have the confidence others do that his 2019 breakout was legit. I mentioned mostly ignoring 2020 output, but it becomes a bit harder in this case just because his performance last year resembled what he did in the minors pre-2019, which in turn kinda makes 2019 look like the outlier. If you buy it, I think there’s an argument for a potential top-100 hitter. I’m taking more of a wait-and-see approach.

  6. Eric says:

    I’m intrigued by the Jesse Winker ranking; you have him in a tier with players who are drafted in almost any type of league, but yet Winker sits on most waiver wires. Could you elaborate Winker’s top 75 (okay, 76), Tier 7 ranking? Thank you!

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