With less than two weeks left in the regular season, there should be no suspense as to who sits at the top of our latest striking force rankings.
Aaron Judge has been captivating baseball all season—especially as his quest for history accelerates this month. This is a star that offers everything our voters need to see. Long season franchise? examines. last performance? examines. compelling stories? examines. And the “fun factor”? Also check.
But while Judge has been confined to or near the top of these ratings for most of the season, there has also been a significant move below him. Seven of the other nine have flipped into the top ten from our previous poll, including three players who jumped for the first time this season.
1. Aaron Judge, Yankees (latest poll: 1)
The guy is making history in running at home and could be headed for an AL MVP and Triple Crown award. How not to be number 1? This is the fourth time that this one has taken the top spot in the past five rankings.
2. Jordan Alvarez, Astros (unrated)
It cooled off in August (.638 OPS) but came back again in September (1.237, enters Thursday), just in time to terrorize post-season shooters. Alvarez’s first campaign of 40 people was in sight.
3. Freddy Freeman, Dodgers (unrated)
As odd as Freeman’s Dodger Blue appearance was at first, his first season in Los Angeles was as smooth as a left-hand swing. On Thursday he came in ahead of the NL in hits, doubles, and fights, with the .299 mark back in April representing him minimum in any month.
4. Willie Adams, Brewers (unrated)
Adames does his part to help Milwaukee try to storm the field, wrapping up his first full season with the Brewers in style. In each of the first five months, the Adames racket was solid but not surprising, with OPS numbers between .727 – .780. That bat has been snappy this month, including a four-stroke game Tuesday against the Mets.
5. Shohei Utani, The Angels (2)
How cool is Ohtani? He’s fifth in the hitting power rankings – and he’s actually been a better shooter this year. With Thursday’s entry, Otani’s astounding 149 OPS+ was surpassed by 165 ERA+ on the hill.
6. Eloy Jimenez, White Sox (unrated)
With Chicago’s playoff hopes dwindling, it’s hard not to wonder what would have happened if Jimenez hadn’t missed 65 games with a hamstring injury. It took a while for things to click on his return, but Jiménez boasts an OPS of around 1,000 since the All-Star break.
7. Julio Rodriguez, Mariners (unrated)
Could J-Rod lock down the AL Rookie of the Year award on this closing stretch? September was his hottest month to date, though a background issue left him sidelined for three games over the past week and then forced him out of Thursday afternoon’s competition.
8. Carlos Correa, The Twins (unranked)
Korea’s 28th birthday arrived Thursday, and while the twins’ latest play didn’t offer many reasons to celebrate, it wasn’t due to a lack of production from their short-lived star. He entered Korea Thursday with a 1.101 OPS in September, including a pair of three matches in the past week.
9. JT Realmuto, Phillies (unrated)
Do you think Realmuto is approaching the 20-20 season? If successful, he would join Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez (1999) as the only hunter to accomplish this feat. (Notably, Pudge has been caught stealing 12 times along the way, while Realmuto has yet to be caught.)
10. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals (6).
Goldy has actually been on the decline lately, however on Thursday he entered ahead of the NL in OBP, slugging, OPS, OPS+ and overall bases. His first Player of the Year award is still looming.
Votes are also received: Kyle Schwarber (Phelees), Mike Trout (Angels), Beau Pechet (Blue Jays), Pete Alonso (Mets), Carlos Santana (Marines), Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees), Mocky Bates (Dodgers), Austin Riley (Braves), Danny Janssen (Blue Jays), Javier Baez (Tigers), Oscar Gonzalez (Guardians)
Voters: David Adler, Nick Aguilera, Doug Gossypol, Thomas Harrigan, Sarah Lang, Ted Lee, Mike Petrillo, Manny Randhawa, Shanti Seb Cheboro, Andrew Simon
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