Baseball is back, along with the Power Hitter Rankings.
Since last year, throughout the season, MLB.com will be looking at the hitters who are turning heads and making life miserable for pitchers. For today’s inaugural edition, our voters have chosen the top 10 hitters in the majors, taking into account not only their performances in 2022, but also what is expected of them in 2023.
Who else? Judge was one of the legends of 2022 and dominated the Hitters Power Ranking. On his way to setting the AL record for home runs in a season, Judge has homered in five of our last six games, including season one. He now has a new $360 million contract in hand, and while it seems impossible to top his accomplishments from last year, it will be exciting to try him.
The only question about Trout is whether he can stay on the field. Due to various injuries, he has played in less than 70% of the Angels’ games since 2017. But in that span, he leads the majors in on-base percentage (.428), slugging percentage (.630) and OPS+ (185). . One day, Trout will no longer be among the best hitters in the league. But that moment did not come.
3. Yordan Alvarez Astros
Álvarez’s left hand has been hampered in spring training, but the 20-year-old appears to be ready, which is a huge relief for Houston’s lineup without Jose Altuve. Also, studying Alvarez for opposing pitchers continues to be a pain in the ass. There are no injuries that can stop this gun. Álvarez was a formidable presence as one of the game’s elite hitters when he came to the majors in 2009.
Last season, Soto had an on-base percentage over .400, a 149 OPS+, led the league in walks and 27 home runs. And this is a disappointing campaign. That’s how high the standards Soto set for himself in his career. (Remember: At 24, Soto is younger than Adley Rutschman, who finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2022.) Clearly, our plan is to expect more from Soto in his first full season in San Diego.
5. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
Goldsmith had one of his best seasons in 2022, finally winning his first MVP award, finishing in the top three polls in three straight seasons. The All-Star first baseman led the National League in slugging percentage (.578) and OPS+ (180), while surpassing 30 homers and 100 RBIs four times in his career. Now he faces the challenge of returning to produce at that level 35 years ago.
6. Shohei Ohtani, Angels
We suggest that we only consider Ohtani as a hitter here, although the star also throws a bit. Despite not corroding his offensive numbers since 2021, Ohtani produced plenty of hitters last season, hitting .273/.356/.519 with 34 homers. To think that it could be better in 2023 is really scary.
7. Freddie Freeman, Dodgers
As rare as it was to see Freddie Freeman in Dodgers blue at first, the veterans didn’t miss a beat last year. Stronger than ever, he played 159 games as a first baseman and led the National League in plate appearances (708), runs scored (117), hits (199), doubles (47) and on-base percentage (.407); at tcmpus hit .325 Libertus is one of just eight players to have had at least 450 plate appearances in nine consecutive seasons, and the only one of that group with an OPS+ over 130 in each of those seasons.
Machado, who finished the second year in the league’s national MVP voting, completed the third, fourth and fifth career marks of his career. Will this be a winning year? Even with a star-studded roster, the Padres are counting on Machado to lead them to a World Series title now that he’s signed a long-term extension.
9. Julio Rodriguez, Mariners
Much was expected of Rodríguez in his rookie season, and boy did he deliver. Among his accomplishments: an all-star Game Call (including an impressive performance at the Home Run Festival), a 25-25 season, a Silver Slugger and Rookie of the Year award – all before the 21st century. Plus, it helped the Mariners break their longest drought in non-playoff games.
10. Arenado Nolan
Adjusting the numbers to account for the stadium results, last season was the best of Arenadon’s career. Although his raw numbers didn’t match the highs he had when he was playing half of his games at Coors Field, his 154 OPS+ was easily the best of his career. Arenado still had 30 home runs and 100 RBIs for the seventh consecutive full season (excluding the shortened 2020 season). No other player has more than four similar years in that stretch.
Also receiving votes: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays), Trea Turner (Phillies), José Ramírez (Guardians), Corey Seager (Rangers), Rafael Devers (Red Sox), Mookie Betts (Dodgers), Masataka Yoshida (Red Sox), Pete Alonso (Mets), Lewis Arraez (Marlins)
Contributors: David Adler, Brett Blueweiss, Paul Casella, Doug Gausepohl, Thomas Harrigan, Sarah Langs, Ricardo Montes de Oca, Brian Murphy, Manny Randhawa, Efraín Ruiz, Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru, Andreas Simon, David Venn