Historic month lifts new Hitter Power Rankings leader

May 30th, 2024

Every year, we are reminded anew: There are many twists and turns to a 162-game season, and the tenor of a player’s campaign can change just like that. The latest Hitter Power Rankings are a showcase for that dynamic.

The slugger taking over the No. 1 spot struggled, by his standards, throughout April before crushing the ball when the calendar flipped to May. Meanwhile, two newcomers to the list have lengthy histories of excellence with the bat but took some time to heat up in 2024.

As always, our MLB.com panel considered career track record, season-long success and recent performance in casting their votes. Here are the latest Hitter Power Rankings. (All stats are through Tuesday’s games.)

1. , Yankees (Last poll: 7)
The Dodgers’ hold on the top spot is over, after Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani combined to lead our first four polls of the season. Judge wasn’t in the picture in the first three of those, as he entered play on May 4 batting just .200/.336/.392 with 12 extra-base hits in 34 games. Since then, though? Try .408/.521/1.000 with 23 extra-base hits in 22 games. Judge’s 30 barrels in May smashed the previous record for any single month (24 by Ohtani and Matt Chapman).

2. , Dodgers (1)
Ohtani slips from the top spot after a relatively quiet stretch that saw him enter Wednesday riding a nine-game homerless drought in which he slugged only .270. Despite that, he still leads the NL with a 183 OPS+ and 131 total bases. One underrated part of Ohtani’s season: He’s 13-for-13 stealing bases after averaging 19 total steals with a 70% success rate over the previous three years.

3. , Astros (5)
Tucker’s mastery of the strike zone is taking his game to an even higher level after three straight stellar seasons. Among qualifiers, he has the highest walk rate (18.3%) and 20th-lowest strikeout rate (15.4%) -- all while leading the Majors with 18 home runs. Tucker’s AL MVP finish has gone from 20th to 15th to fifth since 2021, and that number looks likely to improve again in ‘24.

4. , Yankees (3)
It remains to be seen if the Yankees can sign Soto to an extension before season’s end, or keep him in the Bronx via free agency. But for now, the first-place Yanks certainly are enjoying the show. With a unique swing that allows him to hit for average and power, Soto is leading the AL in OBP (.408) and total bases (125).

5. , Orioles (not ranked)
This is Henderson’s third Hitter Power Rankings appearance of the season. The 22-year-old has made another leap forward this year, and since a slow start to his 2023 campaign, he has been raking for the past calendar year. That’s thanks in part to a fast, short swing that currently has him on track to set an MLB record for single-season home runs by a leadoff man.

6. , Dodgers (2)
After launching five homers in his first eight games of the season, Betts has added only three in 48 games since. But he continues to be an exceptional table-setter atop the Dodgers lineup, batting .313 with a .400 OBP and more walks (28) than strikeouts (20) in that span, while also going 8-for-9 in stolen base attempts.

7. , Guardians (not ranked)
This is the 2024 Hitter Power Rankings debut for Ramírez, who didn’t look like himself for the first few weeks of the season. That slump is firmly in the rearview mirror now, thanks to a .295/.374/.667 slash line and 13 homers over his past 34 games. Ramírez leads the Majors with 56 RBIs this season, and he has come through in some big spots as well, helping him rank third in win probability added.

8. , Brewers (6)
Contreras has been a mainstay in these rankings while helping carry the Brewers to the top of the NL Central this season. The 26-year-old leads all regular catchers in the majority of major statistical categories and looks headed toward his second career All-Star selection. If Contreras can keep it going, he figures to be in the NL MVP conversation all season long.

9. , Royals (not ranked)
Kansas City has been one of MLB’s most pleasant surprises this season, and Witt is right in the middle of that, starting every single game at shortstop and leading the AL in hits (67) and runs scored (48). The 23-year-old endured a bit of a power outage after a fast start but is slugging .816 with four homers and 13 RBIs in his past nine games.

10. , Phillies (not ranked)
Like Ramírez, Harper is a veteran you expect to see in these rankings. Like Ramírez, he has recovered from a tepid start to mash for a first-place team. And now he’s back in the top 10. Harper has slashed .302/.416/.587 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs in his past 35 games, all while looking right at home at first base.

Others receiving votes: Corey Seager (Rangers), Marcell Ozuna (Braves), Salvador Perez (Royals), Rafael Devers (Red Sox), Luis Arraez (Padres), Brent Rooker (A’s), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays), David Fry (Guardians), Freddie Freeman (Dodgers)

Voters: Jason Catania, Daniel Feldman, Travis Miller, Brian Murphy, Sweeny Murti, Efrain Ruiz, Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru, Andrew Simon, Ismail Soyugenc, David Venn, Tom Vourtsis, Andy Werle