Aaron Judge Won’t Stop Hitting Homers and Rising in MLB Hitter Power Rankings

Aaron Judge is hitting over .300 with 12 home runs in just 10 games. He’s now the second highest ranked MLB hitter, behind only teammate Giancarlo Stanton. Is he for real?

The “mlb preseason rankings” are out and Aaron Judge is on top. The Yankees slugger has been on fire and will most likely be the best player in baseball.

Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado, and Aaron Judge all feature in the MLB Hitter Power Rankings The MLB Hitter Power Rankings include Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado, and Aaron Judge. Sportscasting/Mike Calendrillo

Aaron Judge seems to want baseballs to be a permanent fixture in the New York Yankees’ fan base. Mike Trout is off to another solid start for the Los Angeles Angels, who are leading the American League West despite Shohei Ohtani’s difficulties to rediscover his flow at the bat after a brilliant, MVP-winning season. Given his defensive prowess at the hot corner for the St. Louis Cardinals, Nolan Arenado has been probably the finest all-around player in baseball.

But who will come out on top in the first MLB Hitter Power Rankings? Is there a chance that a new rival may take the top spot?

We’re using rolling player ratings, which utilize offensive value over average (OVOA) to analyze how each player has fared over his previous 20 appearances while accounting for baserunning and output at the bat, based on statistics given by MLB Math. The greater the number, the higher the quality of the work.

To be eligible for our top-25 ranking, players must have played at least once in the past week and have made at least 20 total appearances in 2022.

Ke’Bryan Hayes, Nick Castellanos, Yandy Diaz, Xander Bogaerts, and Bryce Harper (Nos. 25-21)

25. Pittsburgh Pirates’ Ke’Bryan Hayes: 0.725

Nick Castellanos of the Philadelphia Phillies is ranked 24th with a 0.744 rating.

Yandy Diaz of the Tampa Bay Rays is ranked 23rd with a 0.745 rating.

Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, 22nd place: 0.836

Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies) is ranked 21st with a score of 0.850.

Early in his career, Yandy Diaz was renowned more for the size of his biceps than for his hitting ability, even though the latter appeared to imply that he could make the most of his great power potential. Despite this, he’s continued to improve, coming into the 2022 season on the heels of three straight seasons with at least 1.0 WAR.

Diaz is now displaying a more cautious approach at the plate, refusing to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone and making contact almost every time the bat leaves his shoulders. He isn’t going for the home run every time, but instead is taking a more cautious approach.

As a consequence, in his first 20 at-bats with the Tampa Bay Rays, the 30-year-old is slashing.318/.451/.455 with three doubles and two homers, and his.301 xBA and.443 xSLG show that he could really be putting together a sustainable performance.

Andrew Benintendi, Max Kepler, Freddie Freeman, Tommy Edman, and Austin Riley (Nos. 20-16)

Andrew Benintendi of the Kansas City Royals is ranked 20th in the MLB with an ERA of 0.872.

Max Kepler of the Minnesota Twins has a 0.916 OPS.

Freddie Freeman (Los Angeles Dodgers): 18. Freddie Freeman (Los Angeles Dodgers): 0.930

17. St. Louis Cardinals’ Tommy Edman: 1.004

1.017 for Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves.

Austin Riley burst in 2021 after hitting below-average during the first two seasons of his career (apart from the odd dinger). He made his first All-Star Game debut and finished eighth in the National League MVP vote while hitting.303/.367/.531.

Was it a one-time occurrence? Not if Riley’s blazing start to 2022 is any indication.

Though the Atlanta Braves have failed to put together a compelling World Series defense, it’s not due to the slugging third baseman’s fault. He’s slashing with seven doubles and seven home runs in 25 games while also showing a more disciplined eye at the bat. 274/.367/.568 with 1.1 WAR already on the board. Last season, he had 6.1 WAR, and this season, he’s on pace to have 6.9 WAR.

Atlanta supporters must be ecstatic to see him ahead of Freddie Freeman in the rankings.

Anthony Rizzo, Tim Anderson, Josh Bell, Wander Franco, and Jeff McNeil (Nos. 15-11)

New York Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo (15th): 1.025

Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox has a 1.045 ERA.

Josh Bell (1.114) of the Washington Nationals is number thirteen.

Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays is ranked 12th in the MLB with a batting average of 1.126.

11. New York Mets’ Jeff McNeil: 1.133

Wander Franco had an incredible rookie season in 2021, reaching base in 42 straight at-bats for the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s simply… grown that much better as an encore, leading the American League in runs coming into games on May 4.

The bat skills are incredible. Franco’s tremendous power and superhuman contact rates have allowed him to hit four home runs in his first 22 games of the 2022 season, while also adding eight doubles, a triple, and three steals. His 174 OPS+ outperforms his 128 OPS+ as a rookie, and it all seems to be sustainable.

He boasts a 99th percentile xBA (.356) and a 91st percentile xSLG (.594), and a Statcast profile that will color your whole screen red. He’s also 21 years old. The future exists both now and in the future.

Juan Soto, Ty France, Nolan Arenado, J.P. Crawford, Manny Machado (Nos. 10-6).

Juan Soto, Washington Nationals, 10th place: 1.262

9. Seattle Mariners’ Ty France: 1.363

8. St. Louis Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado: 1.373

7. Seattle Mariners’ J.P. Crawford (1.621)

San Diego Padres’ Manny Machado: 1.679

Was anybody expecting this?

Even though J.P. Crawford was featured extensively in our preseason sleeper shortstop possibilities for your fantasy baseball team, we didn’t think so. Even back then, the theory was that he’d be able to rack up counting stats — specifically, runs — while batting atop a revamped Seattle Mariners lineup.

Crawford has hit in the bottom half of the order in all but one game, when he batted third, but he’s ripping the cover from the ball like he’s never done before. His.357 batting average,.450 on-base percentage,.595 slugging percentage, 1.045 OPS, and 214 OPS+ are all career highs, and he’s on track to break his previous career best of nine home runs. He has four home runs in the Mariners’ first 24 games, putting him on pace for 27.

Crawford is destined for some average and power regression, but the underlying numbers point to a significant overall rise. He’s a true breakthrough possibility in his age-27 season, with a stronger eye and greater patience at the bat, a fresh ability to turn around on heaters, and the same excitement that oozes from his body every time he plays.

Eric Hosmer, Aaron Judge, C.J. Cron, Jose Ramirez, and Mike Trout are the Nos. 5-1.

5. San Diego Padres’ Eric Hosmer (1.689)

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge: 1.713

3. Colorado Rockies’ C.J. Cron (1.759)

2. Cleveland Guardians’ Jose Ramirez: 2.177

1. Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout (2.326)

Aside from a lone walk, Aaron Judge has had 11 prior bat appearances against rookie Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah, and the results were dreadful. The emerging ace seemed to have his number with four strikeouts and no hits on the board.

But then, with two outs and a full count in the sixth inning, Judge recalled how hot he’d been for the New York Yankees during the 2022 season, and launched a home run off Manoah to tie the game at one run each.

Judge now has eight home runs in ten games, and his bat is so hot that he could soon be walking to the plate wearing oven mitts. He’s slashed.357/.386/.976 in that span, utilizing an all-or-nothing style that includes 14 strikeouts and two doubles in addition to the eight home runs. It seems to be working for him, as he appears to be very driven to succeed ahead of an offseason in which he might sign yet another large deal.

Judge has everyone on their feet.

Unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of Baseball Reference, Fangraphs, and Baseball Savant, and are current as of May 4th.

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