And the best hitter in baseball is.........Jose Bautista?
Hitters are ranked for their expected performance from this point forward for the rest of the season in standard 5x5 leagues, not for statistics that have already been accrued. For more positional rankings check out:
Top 30 Third Basemen:
1. Jose Bautista, TOR—The new Barry Bonds? On pace for .370 AVG, 64 HR, 137 R, 109 RBI, 16 SB, 1.388 OPS and an astounding 141 BB. That stat line looks an awful lot like Bonds circa 2000-2004
2. Evan Longoria, TB—It pains me to have Longo at No. 2, because he truly is elite, but Bautista is proving to be just that good. I think Longo ends the season with a line around .285/75/25/85/12
3. Alex Rodriguez, NYY—Even in 137 games last season he hit 30 HR and drove in 125 RBI, so if he misses some time here and there don't sweat it, the production will come.
4. Kevin Youkilis, BOS—Was worried, now I'm not.
5. Adrian Beltre, TEX—His BABIP is at an ultra-low .216 (career .292) and he is still manufacturing runs (33 RBI, 24 R, 10 HR). When the BABIP regresses to the mean and both Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz return, expect a big summer from Beltre. He could easily pass Youkilis and A-Rod in that lineup, but he doesn't run enough (at all anymore?) to breach the top-3 for me.
6. Martin Prado, ATL—Not totally sold yet. Sure, he will hit .300 and hit somewhere around 15 HR, but he doesn't run at all and his counting stats are struggling with the lack of production from Heyward/Uggla/Freeman. I really wanted to put him below Michael Young, but I think Young is playing too far over his head right now to make that decision just yet. Let's give it a week.
7. Michael Young, TEX
8. Mark Reynolds, BAL—And now for my "reach" ranking. Like Beltre, his BABIP is at an ultra-low .226 (career .316). His AVG is below the Mendoza-line at a horrific .183, but he's still manufacturing a decent amount of runs (17 RBI, 16 R, 4 HR). When he starts making more contact and getting luckier, which he should, his numbers will take a huge bump and his AVG should rise to around his career mark at .240.
If his power returns, which it will (28, 44, 32 HR over the last 3 seasons) and he steals a few more bases, I could see him supplanting Prado and Young, but they are certainly much safer options at this point. Now is a good time to buy-low on Reynolds if you are more averse to the risk/reward type players.
9. Casey McGehee, MIL
9.5a This is where I would put Brett Lawrie, TOR if he were up right now.
9.5b This is where I would put Mike Moustakas, KC if he were up right now.
10. Mike Aviles, KC—He's on pace for 20 HR and 32 SB. But he's only hitting .252 and on the Royals, you may say. He too has an unusually low BABIP at .264 (career .322) and he's a career .294 hitter. Despite the BA struggles, he's producing at an oddly consistent rate (26 RBI, 11 R). As his AVG regresses to the mean expect his R totals to come up, and if he can sustain his HR/RBI/SB categories you are looking at a top-5 3B no doubt. Buy-low while you still can.
10.5 This is where I would put Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE if he were up right now.
11. Placido Polanco, PHI—His BABIP is a bit inflated and he doesn't have much pop or speed (on pace for eight home runs and 12 SB), but he's a career .304 hitter, and with additions to the lineup of Utley and Brown, he should be able to sustain the R/RBI totals.
12. Aramis Ramirez, CHC—Oh where, oh where has my ISO gone? Oh where, oh where can it be!?!
Over his career, he has averaged 30 HR per 162 games and an ISO of .214, but this season he has only one home run and an ISO in the toilet of .083. I know he's aging (33 years old), but traditional power hitters don't just fall off the map like that, it's more of a slow decline.
Expect (hope) for the power to return, but his counting stats don't look good with who he's surrounded by in that lineup. Much more potential than Polanco, but Polanco gets the edge because of safety factor.
13. David Wright, NYM—Pending actual prognosis, of course, but I am incredibly worried.
14. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS—I think he should be fine when he returns. Might take him a little while to find his stroke though.
15. Jhonny Peralta, DET
16. Scott Rolen, CIN
17. This is where I put Brett Lawrie, TOR the rest of the way.
- Absolutely raking. The job is his if he continues this for another week or so. Though it's not too difficult to fend off Encarnacion, if that power stroke of Big Double-E's heats up and he begins to streak (like he often does), Lawrie may lose a few days of playing time per week. But right now, over a full season, he has the the potential to go .275/90/25/70/25. His speed is real and the Jays like to run.
18. This is where I put Mike Moustakas, KC the rest of the way.
- I like Moustakas as a better overall prospect than Lawrie, but I think Lawrie is up first and has a better shot of playing everyday out of the gates (barring a trade of Betemit/Aviles/Getz, etc). I also think that Lawrie runs quite a bit, which gives him an advantage for me. That being said, Moustakas has legitimate 30-plus HR power right now, a la Mike Stanton, so if he gets hot he could shoot up the rankings quite a bit considering Prado is No. 6 and Young is No. 7. Right now, over a full season, he has the the potential to go .280/70/30/90.
19. This is where I put Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE the rest of the way.
- I think Chisenhall will hit for a decent AVG (.275) and has decent pop (20-25 HR potential over a full season), but he doesn't run at all and he doesn't nearly have the power ceiling Moustakas has. Right now, over a full season, he has the potential to go .275/80/25/80.
19.5. This is where I put Alex Gordon, KC if he is 3B eligible in your league.
- Gordon's numbers are actually quite deceiving. He's got a fairly high BABIP at .344 (career .299) which points to the reason for his inflated .284 AVG. That being said, if .284 is inflated, then he's kiiiiiiinnnndd of in trouble. He doesn't add too much in either power or speed, as I think he's a 10-15 type-guy in both categories, and if we're being realistic he is a .260-.275 hitter at best. What he does have going for him right now are his counting stats (on-pace for 102 Runs and 90 RBI). However, when his BABIP comes back down to earth and Hosmer takes over his spot in the three-hole -- which I 100% believe he does at some point -- those numbers will drastically decrease. I think Gordon ends the season with a line similar to .270/80/15/75/13. I know he was a "can't miss" 1st round pick, but really he's just a little bit better version of Chase Headley.
20. Pedro Alvarez, PIT - This hurts my heart. I was all-in on that power stroke of his. I'm wondering if he needs a kick in the butt, because he certainly is deserving of a possible demotion, a la Ian Stewart and Travis Snider. Wishful thinking ranking him here?
21. Jed Lowrie, BOS—Playing time is my only concern. He's a good overall hitter.
22. Alberto Callaspo, ANA
23. Maicer Izturis, ANA
24. Pablo Sandoval, SF—It pains me to rank him here because of the wonderful season he was having, but I'm thinking the hamate injury will sap his power in half when he returns.
25. Chipper Jones, ATL—I'm thinking this isn't going to be a fun finish to 2011 for Chipper... or his career?
26. Chone Figgins, SEA—Again, wishful thinking part duex?
27. Chase Headley, SD
28. Wilson Betemit, KC—Low ranking because of playing time concerns/trade rumors (Moustakas/Aviles/Getz/Hosmer/Butler).
29. Danny Valencia, MIN
30. Chris Johnson, HOU