I plan on updating my rankings once every month but decided to split up hitters and pitchers. I feel like, given the small samples and some of the crazy stat-lines for many aces, I’m going to hold off for a couple of weeks. I’m not ready to drop certain pitchers based on a couple of bad starts because there are many early-season factors to consider. My updated hitter and positional rankings are shown below. Below the table, I’ll cover a few interesting risers and fallers for each position and the reason for their changing stock. Keep in mind that the +/- shown are based on Expert Consensus, not my preseason rankings. If you’d like to compare these rankings to my preseason ranks, feel free to check them out here.
Cover biggest risers and fallers with how many spots they moved
Hunter Dozier (1B/3B – KC) – Movin’ on up
Dozier was somewhat of a forgotten man on draft day but has gone off in the first month of the season. He’s hitting .304 with seven home runs and batting in the middle of a surprisingly decent Royals lineup. I’ve written about him here and here. I wouldn’t just move him up over 100 spots without some sort of improvement. I’ve explained it in the linked articles but his plate approach and discipline has improved greatly without sacrificing any contact. He’s actually improved his exit velocity and barrel rates.
Note: Check he status because he left Monday night’s game with back spasms, sigh.
Other risers: Matt Chapman, Josh Donaldson, Yandy Diaz, Maikel Franco
Travis Shaw (3B – MIL) – Get Low
It pains me to drop one of my preseason favorites in Travis Shaw but he has been straight up bad. It’s mostly a contact issue as his strikeout rate is up almost 14% from 2018! His contact rate is down by the same amount but he’s not expanding the zone or swinging less frequently. He’s just missing balls in the zone that he should be hitting. It’s too bad because his quality of contact is just fine, in fact, it’s better than in 2018. All is not lost but if I’m the Brewers, I might sit him down for a few days to clear his head.
Other negative movers: Justin Turner, Miguel Andujar, Wilmer Flores
Dansby Swanson (SS – ATL) – Movin’ on up
Yes, that’s right, Swanson is a post-post-hype sleeper. Let’s just compare his 2018 to his to-date metrics in 2019 because a picture says a thousand words.
Wow! Not much to say here. He’s already barreled eight balls after just 15 in all of 2018 and his exit velocity is up four MPH. He’s also swinging a lot less often, especially outside the zone. These are astronomical changes that should yield significantly better results in 2019 for Swanson. I’m buying in for sure as he could be solid producer of power and speed from the MI position.
Jose Peraza (2B/SS – CIN)
I was off Peraza this preseason but obviously not enough. His approach has gone to sh&t. He’s swinging at everything outside the zone and has extremely weak contact. He’s dropped to the bottom third of the batting order and could be in danger of losing playing time going forward. He’s hit just one homer and stolen two bases thus far and has yet to draw a walk in over 60 plate appearances. He’s never walked much, but this is not a good sign. He can be dropped in shallow formats.
Wilson Contreras (C – CHC) – Movin’ on up
Contreras has seemed to put his poor 2018 behind him as he’s hitting .321 with six home runs and ranks number one for all catchers in terms of wOBA at .483. His launch angle has improved and he’s never hit the ball harder in his career. Remember, he was the number two catcher off the board in 2018 drafts and he looks 100% back here in 2019. With how shallow the position is, Contreras looks like a great investment given hos draft-day discount.
Other positive movers: Omar Narvaez, Willians Astudillo, Mitch Garver
Negative Movers: Danny Jansen, Robinson Chirinos, Francisco Mejia
Trey Mancini (1B/OF – BAL) – Movin’ on up
My man Trey “Boom Boom” Mancini is looking like he’s breaking out in his age-27 season. His strikeout rate is down, walk rate is up, and launch angle is up. His power metrics are actually right in line with 2018 but he’s hitting the ball in the air more frequently. He underperformed based on his number of barrels last year but his luck is changing this year. No, he’s not a .300 hitter but could carry a .275 average with 30 Home runs.
Other positive movers: Cody Bellinger, Joey Gallo, Pete Alonso, Dan Vogelbach
Jesus Aguilar (1B – MIL) – Get Low
Aguilar is suffering from an extremely low BABIP but it’s his lack of power that is so surprising. He has yet to homer and his playing time is at risk. I debated moving him down even more but his plate discipline and contact rates are still solid. He’s not hitting the ball quite as hard, so there is some concern here. The Brewers are competing and have other options at first base (Eric Thames and Ryan Braun), so they may not be as patient with Aguilar to figure it out. He’s still inside the top 20 1B, but he’s in danger of dropping even further.
Other negative overs: Joey Votto, Mat Olson, Eric Hosmer
Clint Frazier (OF – NYY) – Movin’ on up
This one is obvious because everyone on the Yankees is going down with injuries. The Yankees’ preseason starting outfield is entirely on the injured list and Frazier has finally gotten his opportunity. All he’s done is hit six bombs in only 17 games. The metrics look good so far and Yankee Stadium is certainly helping out. I think we will see an elevated strikeout rate from Frazier but as long as he continues to get playing time, he’s a must own.
Other positive Movers: Christian Yelich, Domingo Santana, Kike Hernandez
Greg Allen (OF – CLE) – Get Low
I know, he was largely undrafted but looked like he could be a solid source of stolen bases given the shallow depth in the Cleveland outfield. He’s really struggled to get on base and the Indians have signed Carlos Gonzalez and Jake Bauers is also getting some time in the outfield. Allen can play some defense and really run, so he’s still going to get playing time but sparingly. He’s a drop in all formats expect AL-Only.
Negative movers: Kris Bryant, Ender Inciarte, Jackie Bradley Jr.