New faces shake up Hitter Power Rankings

July 1st, 2022

The first three months of the 2022 season are in the books, clubs are nearing the midpoint of the schedule and it’s time for the sixth edition of our Hitter Power Rankings.

Because these rankings take into account recent performance, compelling storylines and a bit of “fun factor” in addition to season-long excellence, it’s difficult for even the best sluggers to remain on the list time after time. Yet four of our top five hitters this week have managed to do that, each making at least his fourth appearance.

At the same time, six hitters who didn’t make the top 10 last time around jumped into the mix here, with five of those joining the fun for the first time in 2022.

Here are the latest Hitter Power Rankings.

1) , LF/DH, Astros (last poll: 2)
An incredible month ended in scary fashion for Alvarez when he collided with shortstop Jeremy Peña on Wednesday afternoon against the Mets and had to be carted off the field. Houston will hope that Alvarez -- our fifth different No. 1 in six rankings -- returns to the plate (if not the field) soon. His 1.346 OPS last month was the highest for any player in June (minimum 90 plate appearances) since Jason Giambi in 2003.

2) , 1B, Cardinals (3)
Goldy has been a machine at the plate this season, which has put him in our top three for three straight rankings. He entered Thursday leading the NL in hits, average, OBP, slugging, OPS, OPS+ and total bases, having slashed .393/.471/.820 over his past 16 games.

3) Alejandro Kirk, C/DH, Blue Jays (not ranked)
There is one Toronto player in our top 10, and it’s not Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette or George Springer. It’s a 23-year-old catcher who hails from Mexico and is listed at 5-foot-8, 245 pounds. That would be Kirk, who seems to be ascending to legendary status in Canada. After a slow start, he had slashed .354/.445/.633 with 10 homers over a 45-game stretch entering Thursday and seems poised to start for the AL in the All-Star Game.

4) , CF/RF, Yankees (1)
Yes, his bat has been relatively quiet over the past couple of weeks -- by his high standards. Yet somehow it still seems as if Judge is finding the seats just about every other night as he runs away with the Major League home run title. So while he drops three spots from our last rankings, he still lands in the top five for the fifth straight time.

5) , CF, Angels (7)
Trout has been so consistent at the plate for more than a decade now that when he goes hitless for seven straight games -- as he did from May 29-June 5 -- it sticks out more than your typical slump. So how has Trout responded? By hitting .313/.410/.851 with 10 homers in 19 games since that hiccup.

6) , SS, Braves (not ranked)
Swanson had a miserable first couple of weeks at the plate, but he has been raking ever since. He posted an .847 OPS in May and kept going in June, with a .978 mark entering Thursday. All of the sudden, the No. 1 pick from the 2015 Draft looks like he could be a premium free agent this coming offseason.

7) , DH/P, Angels (not ranked)
If this were the “Hitter + Pitcher Power Rankings,” Ohtani would be a clear No. 1 after authoring a huge June in both categories. Alas, we’re only considering the bat here. But the reigning AL MVP still did more than enough to force his way into the top 10 for the first time this year, including his two-homer, eight-RBI outburst on June 21 against the Royals.

8) Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles (not ranked)
Adjusting to Major League pitching is really difficult, and even the best often struggle at first. MLB’s No. 1 prospect was no exception upon his May 21 debut, producing a mere .422 OPS over his first 15 games. But the 24-year-old switch-hitter owns a .940 mark in 17 games since, with 10 doubles and three homers for an O’s club that played over-.500 ball in June.

9) , 1B, Dodgers (not ranked)
It says a lot that Freeman could withstand the emotional tidal wave of his return to Atlanta last weekend and still go 4-for-12 with three walks in the series. That was just part of a big month for Freeman, who entered Thursday batting .407 over a 13-game hitting streak.

10)  3B, Red Sox (not ranked)
This is the third appearance over the past four rankings for Devers, who followed up a spectacular May with an only slightly less impressive June. Devers closed out his month on Wednesday as the MLB leader in hits (98) and the AL leader in doubles (26).

Also receiving votes: Pete Alonso (Mets), Jose Altuve (Astros), Josh Bell (Nationals), Byron Buxton (Twins), Adolis García (Rangers), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays), Manny Machado (Padres), Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles), Isaac Paredes (Rays), José Ramírez (Guardians), Kyle Schwarber (Phillies)

Voters: David Adler, Nick Aguilera, Doug Gausepohl, Thomas Harrigan, Sarah Langs, Ted Lee, Mike Petriello, Manny Randhawa, Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru, Andrew Simon