With less than two weeks left in the regular season, there should be no suspense about who sits atop our latest Hitter Power Rankings.
Aaron Judge has been captivating baseball all season long — and especially as his pursuit of history accelerated this month. This is a star who is offering everything our voters need to see. Season-long excellence? Check. Recent performance? Check. Compelling storylines? Check. And “fun factor”? Also check.
But while Judge has been ensconced at or near the top of these rankings for most of the season, there has also been considerable movement below him. Seven of the other nine spots in the top 10 turned over from our previous poll, including three players who jumped in for the first time this season.
1. Aaron Judge, Yankees (Last poll: 1)
The man is making home run history and could be headed for an AL MVP Award and a Triple Crown. How could he not be No. 1? This is the fourth time he has occupied that top spot in the past five rankings.
2. Yordan Alvarez, Astros (not ranked)
He cooled off in August (.638 OPS) but has come roaring back in September (1.237, entering Thursday), just in time to terrorize postseason pitchers. Alvarez’s first 40-homer campaign is within sight.
3. Freddie Freeman, Dodgers (not ranked)
For as odd as Freeman looked in Dodger Blue at first, his first season in Los Angeles has been as smooth as his left-handed swing. He entered Thursday leading the NL in hits, doubles and batting average, with his .299 mark back in April representing his lowest in any month.
4. Willy Adames, Brewers (not ranked)
Adames is doing his part to help Milwaukee try to break into the playoff field, closing out his first full season with the Brewers in style. For each of the first five months, Adames’ bat was solid but unspectacular, with OPS figures between .727-.780. That bat has been scorching this month, however, including a four-hit game on Tuesday against the Mets.
5. Shohei Ohtani, Angels (2)
How amazing is Ohtani? He’s fifth in the Hitter Power Rankings — and he’s actually been better as a pitcher this year. Entering Thursday, Ohtani’s impressive 149 OPS+ was surpassed by his 165 ERA+ on the mound.
6. Eloy Jiménez, White Sox (not ranked)
With Chicago’s playoff hopes dwindling, it’s hard not to wonder what might have happened if Jiménez didn’t miss 65 games with a hamstring injury. It took some time for things to click upon his return, but Jiménez boasts an OPS of around 1.000 since the All-Star break.
7. Julio Rodríguez, Mariners (not ranked)
Can J-Rod lock up the AL Rookie of the Year Award over this closing stretch? September has been his hottest month yet, despite a back issue that sidelined him for three games over the past week and then forced him out of Thursday afternoon’s contest.
8. Carlos Correa, Twins (not ranked)
Correa’s 28th birthday arrived Thursday, and while the Twins’ recent play has not provided many reasons to celebrate, that has not been due to a lack of production from their star shortstop. Correa entered Thursday with a 1.101 OPS in September, including a pair of three-hit games in the past week.
9. JT Realmuto, Phillies (not ranked)
Would you believe that Realmuto is closing in on a 20-20 season? If he makes it, he would join Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez (1999) as the only catchers to accomplish that feat. (And it’s worth noting that Pudge was caught stealing 12 times along the way, while Realmuto has yet to be caught).
10. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals (6)
Goldy has actually been slumping of late, yet he still entered Thursday leading the NL in OBP, slugging, OPS, OPS+ and total bases. His first MVP award remains on the horizon.
Also receiving votes: Kyle Schwarber (Phillies), Mike Trout (Angels), Bo Bichette (Blue Jays), Pete Alonso (Mets), Carlos Santana (Mariners), Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees), Mookie Betts (Dodgers), Austin Riley (Braves), Danny Jansen (Blue Jays), Javier Báez (Tigers), Oscar Gonzalez (Guardians)
Voters: David Adler, Nick Aguilera, Doug Gausepohl, Thomas Harrigan, Sarah Langs, Ted Lee, Mike Petriello, Manny Randhawa, Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru, Andrew Simon