New faces surge into Hitter Power Rankings

September 9th, 2022

The playoffs will begin in less than one month, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late for players to make a big move in our Hitter Power Rankings.

Yes, season-long excellence matters here. But so do recent performance, compelling storylines and “fun factor.” So while some familiar faces have stayed in the top 10 -- including at No. 1 -- the 11th edition of these rankings also features four first-timers.

Here are the latest Hitter Power Rankings.

1. Aaron Judge, Yankees (Last poll: 3)

Who else? This is Judge’s fifth time grabbling the No. 1 spot this season, while nobody else has done it more than once. He’s chasing home run history, but the understandable focus on big flies has almost obscured just how sensational Judge has been overall at the plate. Before the All-Star break, he posted a lofty .983 OPS, and entering Thursday, his second-half OPS was 335 points higher than that.

2. Shohei Ohtani, Angels (not ranked)

Will the 1-2 punch at the top of the Hitter Power Rankings mirror this year’s AL MVP Award voting? This is only Ohtani’s second appearance in the top 10 this season, coming on the heels of a nine-game stretch in which he has slugged .868 with six homers. And oh yeah, he also has a 2.58 ERA in 23 starts on the mound in 2022.

3. Bo Bichette, Blue Jays (not ranked)

It hadn’t exactly been an electrifying season for the 24-year-old shortstop, who was batting .260/.305/.420 through the end of August. Bichette has been scorching since the calendar flipped to September, though, going 16-for-31 (.516) with five homers and 14 RBIs in seven games. That includes a three-homer effort in the second game of a doubleheader on Monday in Baltimore, plus three other games with at least three hits in that span.

4. Mookie Betts, Dodgers (not ranked)

He has taken things up a notch since Aug. 1, batting .314/.364/.664 with 10 homers in 34 games, including a three-game homer streak from Aug. 26-28 in Miami. His 33 big flies for the season already have set a new career high, and Betts is on track to lead his league in runs scored for the third time since 2018.

5. Mike Trout, Angels (not ranked)

In case you forgot, Trout is still really good at baseball. The three-time AL MVP missed 30 games with a back issue before returning to action on Aug. 19, and all he has done since is bat .310/.364/.676 with eight homers. That includes a dinger in each of his past four games. Trout has now gone deep 30 or more times in seven different seasons.

6. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals (1)

By his standards, Goldy has cooled off a bit over the past couple of weeks, yet he is still very much in the hunt for the first NL Triple Crown since 1937. This is his ninth straight appearance in the top 10.

7. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox (not ranked)

Before going 0-for-3 on Tuesday, Bogaerts had notched multiple hits in nine straight games, tying Roy Johnson, Jim Rice and Kevin Youkilis for the longest streak in Red Sox history. Heading into Thursday’s action, Bogaerts (.315) had pushed past the Twins’ Luis Arraez (.314) for what would be his first career batting title, and muscled his way into the top 10 for the first time.

8. Michael Harris II, Braves (not ranked)

Harris has raked pretty much ever since making his Major League debut on May 28, but this is his first appearance on this list. The 21-year-old, who is battling teammate Spencer Strider for NL Rookie of the Year honors, is hitting a torrid .465/.489/.721 over his past 11 games and has a shot at a 20-20 campaign despite spending Atlanta’s first 46 games in the Minors.

9. Manny Machado, Padres (6)

Machado actually has scuffled thus far in September but is coming off a 1.011 OPS in August. He is all over the NL leaderboards in 2022 and his 157 OPS+ remains easily his best over a full season.

10. Nathaniel Lowe, Rangers (not ranked)

Flying under the radar for a Texas club that is well below .500, Lowe has nonetheless been destroying the ball over the past couple of months. Entering Thursday, Judge and Goldschmidt were the only qualifying MLB hitters with a higher second-half OPS than Lowe (1.072), who now vaults into the top 10 for the first time.

Also receiving votes: Jose Altuve (Astros), Alex Bregman (Astros), Austin Riley (Braves), Justin Turner (Dodgers), Joey Meneses (Nationals), Tommy Edman (Cardinals), Tyler O'Neill (Cardinals), Randy Arozarena (Rays), Adley Rutschman (Orioles)

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