It is not easy to stay on top of the hitters power rankings. It needs good health, good luck and a great and continuous production with logs.
And just like that, for the second time in a row, we have a new No. 1.
A trip to the disabled list with a right hip strain helped eject Aaron Judge. Mike Trout filled in for him one last time, only to suffer a rare slump in May.
Our latest poll features not only a new leader, but also six hitters who moved up from unranked status in our previous installment, four of whom made this list for the first time in 2023. Here are the results, what they consider track record, excellence throughout the season and recent performances.
All stats up to Sunday’s game.
Acuna is not only back, but playing better than ever. The NL leader in runs (36), hits (54), bases (90) and stolen bases (17) also has a career-high 167 OPS+. The 25-year-old Venezuelan is throwing the ball, with a hard hit rate that is in the 95th percentile (or better than 95% of sluggers) and four home runs with an exit velocity and projected distance of at least 113 mph. over 440 feet (no other player has more than one home run). Six weeks into the season, he appears to be the favorite to win the National League MVP award.
Despite good seasons from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bechette, Chapman has been Toronto’s best hitter in 2023, ranking near the top of MLB in most important offensive categories. Chapman, a .240 hitter in his first six years, entered Sunday nearly 90 points above that number (.326), thanks to a 65.7% hard-hit rate, the best in the Great Big Ten.
When the Braves acquired Murphy in a trade from Oakland during the off-season, it was clear that they were getting one of the best receivers in the game. No one expected Murphy to start his Braves career like the best version of Mike Piazza. While a more hitter-friendly park certainly helps, the 28-year-old is also making more solid contact, nearly doubling his career hit rate.
Has Cuba’s Arrojarena Discovered The Formula For “Postseason Randy” To Produce All Year Long? Entering 2023, he had a 1.121 career OPS in the postseason, compared to .807 during regular-round games. But after making his mark with the Mexico team during the World Baseball Classic, Arrozarena helped the Rays get off to a historic start. He’s hitting the ball harder than ever (96th percentile hard hit rate and 97th percentile hit rate), and his production has followed suit.
Venezuelan Arraz went 4–2 on Opening Day and was still hitting .500 after the Marlins’ 15th game. He didn’t dip below .400 until Wednesday, when he went 0-for-3. Even if Arraz doesn’t break .400 again, his effort to do so will stand as the longest by a ranked hitter, in terms of team games, since Cody Bellinger in 2019.
He’s flown under the radar a bit given the Cardinals’ massive struggles this season, but Goldie is looking to have another big year in 2022 following his NL MVP campaign. While his numbers aren’t nearly as impressive, his expected metrics (according to Statcast) are actually better, thanks to better contact quality and a lower strike rate. He sits in the 98th percentile in expected slugging percentage and expected wOBA.
After going 2-for-4 on Sunday, Alvarez is hitting .340 with five doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI in his first 14 games after missing four games with neck pain. That’s been the story throughout Alvarez’s career: When he’s healthy and in the lineup, he makes a difference.
After a stellar first month of the season, Franco has been even better so far in May (.805 OPS). The switch-hitter rarely fans out the air, makes solid contact and has already stolen more bases (12) than in 2021-22 combined (10).
Cuban Díaz always looked like a hitter, but due to his penchant for putting the ball on the ground, he didn’t necessarily hit like a hitter. Now his numbers correspond to his physique. Diaz is raising the ball higher while maintaining a great combination of excellent plate discipline and his ability to make contact. He has already passed his nine home run total past 10 in 2022, while his 184 OPS+ is second best in the majors.
Bichette, who is second in hits to Acuña and second in bases in 2023, continues the improvements he made last season when he hit .406/.444/.662 in the past month. One area in which he particularly excelled: Hits to opposite field. Bichette’s 59 balls, on the other hand, are the most ever hit in the majors, and he’s hitting .420 with those connections.
Also receiving votes: Masataka Yoshida (Red Sox), Mike Trout (Angels), Brent Rucker (A), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (D-Back), Rafael Devers (Red Sox), Shohei Ohtani (Angels)
Voters: David Adler, Brett Blueweiss, Paul Casella, Doug Gossepohl, Thomas Harrigan, Sarah Langs, Travis Miller, Ricardo Montes de Oca, Brian Murphy, Sweeney Murthy, Manny Randhawa, Efrain Ruiz Pantin, Shanti Sepp-Chepuru, Andrew Simon, David Friend