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Monday 23rd Oct 2017

Don't look now but teams have played at least 100 games. That leaves fewer than 60 for most clubs. What we're going to do is look at the leaders in the standard hitting categories through May since that matches the time we have left this season. The reason for this is two-fold. First, you're reminded that there will be some surprises in the coming weeks - there always are. Second, you have a reasonable expectation what the best players may produce for the rest of the season so you can be practical and reasonable in your evaluations.

 

name AVG name HR name SB
1 Troy Tulowitzki 0.352 1 Nelson Cruz 20 1 Dee Gordon 34
2 Yasiel Puig 0.344 2 Edwin Encarnacion 18 2 Jose Altuve 20
3 Victor Martinez 0.340 3 Giancarlo Stanton 16 3 Billy Hamilton 20
4 Miguel Cabrera 0.332 4 Josh Donaldson 15 4 Eric Young  Jr. 17
5 Alexei Ramirez 0.329 5 Jose Abreu 15 5 Rajai Davis 16
6 Robinson Cano 0.327 6 Jose Bautista 14 6 Jacoby Ellsbury 15
7 Matt Adams 0.325 7 Troy Tulowitzki 14 7 Alcides Escobar 15
8 Angel Pagan 0.325 8 Albert Pujols 14 8 Ben Revere 15
9 Jonathan Lucroy 0.321 9 Victor Martinez 13 9 Brett Gardner 13
10 Chase Utley 0.320 10 Justin Upton 13 10 Elvis Andrus 13
11 Ryan Braun 0.320 11 Brandon Moss 13 11 Brian Dozier 12
12 Jose Altuve 0.318 12 Adrian Gonzalez 12 12 Starling Marte 12
13 Carlos Gomez 0.318 13 David Ortiz 12 13 Emilio Bonifacio 12
14 Alex Rios 0.317 14 Mark Reynolds 12 14 Carlos Gomez 11
15 Charlie Blackmon 0.317 15 Yasiel Puig 11 15 Alexei Ramirez 11
16 Giancarlo Stanton 0.316 16 Carlos Gomez 11 16 Desmond Jennings 11
17 A. J. Pollock 0.316 17 Mike Trout 11 17 Jonathan Villar 11
18 Nelson Cruz 0.315 18 Michael Morse 11 18 Angel Pagan 11
19 Jose Bautista 0.310 19 Brian Dozier 11 19 Everth Cabrera 11
20 Melky Cabrera 0.309 20 Paul Goldschmidt 10 20 Jose Reyes 11
name Runs name RBI
Josh Donaldson 48 1 Nelson Cruz 52
Troy Tulowitzki 45 2 Giancarlo Stanton 51
Brian Dozier 44 3 Miguel Cabrera 49
Jose Bautista 43 4 Edwin Encarnacion 48
Hunter Pence 42 5 Josh Donaldson 46
Paul Goldschmidt 41 6 Brandon Moss 46
Giancarlo Stanton 40 7 Jose Abreu 42
Nelson Cruz 39 8 Jose Bautista 40
Edwin Encarnacion 39 9 Yasiel Puig 40
Ian Kinsler 38 10 Michael Brantley 39
Melky Cabrera 37 11 Paul Goldschmidt 38
Matt Carpenter 37 12 Mike Trout 38
Christian Yelich 37 13 Michael Morse 38
Carlos Gomez 36 14 Troy Tulowitzki 37
Charlie Blackmon 36 15 Charlie Blackmon 37
Anthony Rendon 35 16 Adrian Gonzalez 37
Michael Brantley 34 17 Yoenis Cespedes 37
Freddie Freeman 34 18 Ryan Howard 37
Mike Trout 34 19 Alexei Ramirez 36
Daniel Murphy 33 20 Victor Martinez 34

When deciding between two players, the seemingly obvious question is "who do you expect to have a better rest-of-season. The problem with that is anything can happen over the last two months and while talent should win out, the choice is often the player you feel will play better, there are other considerations.

1. Playing time - This is my first filter at this time of the season. Any time I'm deciding between players anywhere close in potential, I'll choose the one I know will play more. This can be because they hit higher in the order. It can be because the team has no reasonable option, like a minor league prospect they want to audition. Opportunity trumps almost everything down the stretch.

2. Health - I just get done convincing myself to give Troy Tulowitzki nearly regular at bats the rest of the way and he reminds me why I hedged back in the spring. As will be discussed in a minute, upside is a consideration and some perennially injured players have significant upside, but the replacement pool for injured players is much weaker than it was in May. Be judicious with where you hang your hat.

3. Upside - Often, you're looking at two players where one has a higher floor but lower ceiling while the other has a higher ceiling but lower floor. Context is everything. if you're behind and need to make up ground, you may need the higher ceiling. If you're protecting a lead then the higher floor may be best.

4. Streaks - Riding the hot hand is fine, but not at the expense of a better player. There may be some new research that suggests streaks are real but regardless. what goes up must come down. Again - context - if you need to take a chance then riding the August/September version of Chris Colabello may be the play. But take a look above, where's Colabello? The talk of the early season didn't make the top-20 lists through May. So sure, play a hot guy and bench someone else but have a very short leash. Don't drop a better player for a hot player. Someone else in your league will pick up the dropped player and benefit while you're trolling the wire to replace the now cold player.

Good luck down the stretch. You've come this far; let's take it home.

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