by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We are two months into the season so there have obviously been changes to our rankings. Who has shown signs of improving? Who has struggled and thus has a cloudier outlook? Let’s take a look at how things currently stand (Note: The number in parenthesis represents the player’s ranking in our previous rankings update):
1. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants (1)
2. Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees (NR)
3. J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins (2)
4. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals (8)
5. Brian McCann – Houston Astros (4)
6. Matt Wieters – Washington Nationals (7)
7. Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers (5)
8. Austin Hedges – San Diego Padres (9)
9. Wellington Castillo – Baltimore Orioles (14)
10. Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets (10)
11. Jonathan Lucroy – Texas Rangers (3)
12. Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs (6)
13. Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays (12)
14. Evan Gattis – Houston Astros (13)
15. Stephen Vogt – Oakland A’s (11)
- The biggest questions facing Gary Sanchez is his strikeouts (22.0%) and popups (24.0% IFFB). Those are fair numbers to point out, but he’s not chasing pitches outside the strike zone (27.5% O-Swing%), isn’t benefitting from luck (.313 BABIP, 22.5% line drive rate) and is posting a believable HR/FB (16.0%). While he’s not quite as good as he showed last season, there’s little reason to think that he’s anything besides one of the best.
- It’s hard not to slot Salvador Perez near the top of these rankings, as his production supports that of a Top 5 option (.263 with 11 HR and 29 RBI). However we also can’t ignore the obvious risks involved in investing in him. His plate discipline has been abysmal (44.3% O-Swing%) and he’s clearly swinging for the fences (52.7% fly ball rate). That said it’s not like he’s benefited from luck (.301 BABIP), nor is his HR/FB an unbelievable mark (14.3%). While he may not be able to maintain this type of pace, there’s obviously a lot to like.
- We’d like to see better plate discipline from Austin Hedges (36.9% O-Swing%, 14.9% SwStr%), but there’s reason to believe that he’ll improve upon his .209 average (.235 BABIP). He’s also proven that last year’s power surge was very much for real (9 HR, 18.8% HR/FB), despite playing half his games in Petco Park.
- Obviously Jonathan Lucroy has been among the biggest disappointments of 2017 (.265 with 3 HR). However he’s actually showing elite level plate discipline (2.9% SwStr%, 28.7% O-Swing%), but when he’s making consistent contact it’s been rather weak (24.6% Hard%). Maybe he needs to take a more aggressive approach, and given his track record (.309 career BABIP, compared to a .267 mark in ’17) there’s every reason to believe he’ll get there. Now is actually the time to try and buy, as opposed to lose hope, despite his drop in the rankings.
Sources – Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||April 26|
|Second Base||May 1|
|Third Base||May 4|