Hitter Power Rankings have a new No. 1

May 16th, 2024

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

For the first time in our four polls this season, Mookie Betts is not at the top of the Hitter Power Rankings. It’s not like his fall was particularly severe; he still ranks second, partially thanks to an OPS that remains in the four-digit zone. But nonetheless, the podium has been shaken up, with Betts at least temporarily being usurped by teammate Shohei Ohtani. Besides that change to the top of the leaderboard, this week’s rankings also feature three hitters to crack the top 10 for the first time this season.

Here are the latest Hitter Power Rankings, as voted on by our MLB.com panel, which considered track record, season-long success and recent performance. (All stats are through Tuesday’s games unless otherwise noted.)

1. , Dodgers (Last poll: 2)
Between the offseason elbow surgery that is preventing him from pitching this season, and his fair share of off-the-field headlines, Ohtani would have any excuse in the book for a slip in performance this year. Instead, he’s finding a way to get better just about every day. In the four versions of these rankings in 2024, he’s ranked seventh, fourth, second and now first. Thanks to his MLB-best 1.107 OPS and almost inconceivable 16.1% barrels/PA percentage, he could very well be there to stay.

2. , Dodgers (Last poll: 1)
Even though he “only” has a .286 batting average and .748 OPS in the month of May, don’t feel too bad for Betts. He still leads MLB with a .441 OBP for the season, along with being one of three players with an OPS of at least 1.000 (Ohtani and Marcell Ozuna). To say he’s out of the conversation for his second career MVP award (and first with the Dodgers) would be an extreme reach.

3. , Yankees (Last poll: 3)
Though Soto has not led this poll at any point this season, he has joined Betts as the only players to be ranked in the top three all four times, which is a testament to his remarkable consistency at the plate. Though he’s most known for his plate discipline -- and for good reason, given that his chase rate has ranked in the 93rd percentile or better in each of his seasons -- he’s brought some power to the table in 2024, trailing only teammate Aaron Judge in average exit velocity.

4. , Braves (Last poll: 10)
With Spencer Strider out for the season, and with Ronald Acuña Jr. struggling to come close to his production from a year ago, there have to be some other reasons that the Braves have still won twice as many games as they have lost. And Ozuna’s breakout season is at or near the top of that list. Not having made an All-Star Game since 2017 with the Marlins, the 33-year-old has discovered the “Fountain of Youth,” ranking second behind Ohtani in xwOBA.

5. , Astros (Last poll: not ranked)
A general rule of thumb: When you hit five home runs in a six-game span, there’s a good chance you end up on this list. Tucker was no exception, using his remarkable stretch from May 5-12 to surge into MLB’s lead in home runs (currently at 13), while also surging into his first appearance on these rankings in 2024. Given that he ranks fourth in MLB in OPS, he seems to be a relatively safe choice to make his third consecutive All-Star Game this year.

6. , Brewers (Last poll: 6)
Contreras isn’t just “good for a catcher” at the plate -- he’s good, period. The 26-year-old ranks in the 90th percentile or better in just about every key Statcast metric, while his .352 batting average ranks third in MLB behind Ohtani and Cleveland’s Steven Kwan. He also extended his current hit streak to nine games on Wednesday afternoon, going 3-for-5 with a triple and a homer, and is batting .472 over that span.

7. , Yankees (Last poll: not ranked)
Tucker isn’t the only established star AL outfielder to be making his season debut on this list, as The Judge has started getting back on track after an uncharacteristically poor start to the year. Through April 22, Judge had a paltry .174 batting average to go with a .645 OPS. In 20 games since then, he has cranked seven dingers, along with a .310 average and 1.119 OPS, giving the Yankees the lethal outfield they envisioned this offseason.

8. , Twins (Last poll: not ranked)
Tucker and Judge might be names you were surprised not to see on this list until the fourth edition, but Jeffers is anything but. In fact, Jeffers has never played 100 games in a season. But this season is the first of his career in which he’s played almost daily, and it’s paid off for a Minnesota team in the thick of a competitive AL Central race. Jeffers has a .997 OPS, which only trails the likes of Ohtani, Ozuna, Betts and Tucker among qualified hitters.

9. , Royals (Last poll: 8)
Maybe this is the year of the catcher, with Perez joining Contreras and Jeffers on this list (though the latter splits catching duties with Christian Vázquez). But despite having a lower ranking than his counterparts, Perez’s effort might be the most impressive given that it’s coming in his age-34 season. Given that he ranks in the top 5 percent of MLB in xBA, xSLG and xwOBA, that production could very well be here to stay for the rest of this season.

10. , Phillies (Last poll: 9)
Bohm has cooled off slightly since a stellar stretch from April 19 to May 4 (.492/.523/.797 batting line in that span), hence his minor decline in our poll. But he’s still the team leader in slugging percentage (.526) and OPS (.926) for a Philadelphia team that has been steam-rolling everything in sight lately.

Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper (Phillies), Gunnar Henderson (Orioles), Brent Rooker (A’s), Jurickson Profar (Padres), Bobby Witt Jr. (Royals), Cal Raleigh (Mariners), Tyler O’Neill (Red Sox), Oneil Cruz (Pirates)

Voters: David Adler, Scott Chiusano, Doug Gausepohl, Thomas Harrigan, Whitney McIntosh, Ricardo Montes de Oca, Arturo Pardavila, Manny Randhawa, Andrew Simon