THE NEXT *TOP 75* HITTERS by Paul Sporer November 16, 2020 In a recent episode of the podcast, I spoke with Alex Fast about some potential breakout starting pitchers at different levels and I really enjoyed that so I want to do the same for hitting. Today, we are going to identify some players who be the next Top 75 players. Just to give you an idea of that range, hitters like Pete Alonso and Adam Duvall were just inside in the Top 75 while Eric Hosmer and Kevin Pillar were juuust outside. So these are solid fantasy contributors for sure. Sean Murphy, C | 205 ADP, 280 Player Rater Murphy has been strong in two small MLB samples, totaling exactly 200 PA of a 132 wRC+ with 11 HR. The 27% K rate is born of no plan at the dish or a stark inability to make contact meaning there could be some improvement there, pushing his .237 AVG northward. The power will drive this profile and be a huge factor in whether or not he can reach this level while he also needs to be much closer to his MiLB .267 AVG, too. Jared Walsh, 1B | 240, 206 I really liked the new and improved Walsh we got to see for 108 PA during which he hit .293/.324/.646 with 9 HR, 26 RBI, and 19 R. He changed his stance and approach, resulting in a massive contact boost as he struck out just 14% of the time, well below his 24% MiLB mark and nowhere the 40% clip we saw in tiny 87 PA sample in 2019. Of course, 108 PA is small, too. It’s not inherently super viable just because it went remarkably well. He also doesn’t need to maintain his 2020 level to be a top 75 guy. He can be in that Alonso/Duvall mold with upside for even more. Sign me up! Jake Cronenworth, 2B | 141, 217 I’m definitely getting nauseating about Cronenworth at this point. It’s just a robust fantasy profile with power, speed, and plate skills all there leaving him so many avenues to have a carrying skill. I doubt the power would carry (25+ HR), but 20+ SBs or a .300+ AVG are definitely possible. Willy Adames, SS | 258, 167 Quietly had a solid year even though he was somehow the 912th SS. OK, he was 19th, but a good 124 wRC+ was supported by 8 HR and 2 SB – a full season pace of 24/6. He needs more to get in the top 75, but I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet as he enters his age-25 season. In a breakout season, I could see a .274 AVG/33 HR/5 SB full season. Alec Bohm, 3B | 123, 162 His strong debut has earned some attention and will likely push the ADP up even more as the offseason evolves, but I’m paying anything in the triple digits for sure and might even buy in the 90-99 range, too. His strong hit tool is the foundation with burgeoning power that we got only glimpses of this year. He did have a .213 ISO across three levels (A, A+, AA) in 2019. A sneaky SB contribution (8-12 over 162) could give him that extra boost to land him even higher than the top 75. Ian Happ, OF | 143, 124 A strong finish in 2019 earned Happ a full-time role and he backed it up with a 131 wRC+, 12 HR, 28 RBI, and 27 R in 231 PA. He has shown enough speed to be a useful SB asset but fell off some in 2020 as his sprint speed and home-to-1st marks dropped. The impact on his SBs was just a 1-for-4 effort. I’d be fine with a very nice 6-to-9 output over a full season. A top 75 season will absolutely come via power. He has a career .233 ISO and was at .247 in 2020. There’s a 35-HR season in his bat at his best. As the leadoff hitter, 100+ R is definitely in play given his .344 career OBP (.361 in ’20). Franmil Reyes, OF | 157, 116 This is the standard masher profile. He gets into the top 75 by just smashing the hell outta the ball and hitting 45+ HR. Pete Alonso has back-to-back top 75 years and he did the 2020 one with a .231 AVG. Dylan Carlson, OF | 167, 726 This is my biggest leap of the bunch. Carlson had a brutal debut, hitting just .200/.252/.364 with 3 HR, 16 RBI, and 11 R in just 119 PA. Of course, this is my favorite profile to pick up – the “flop” prospect. He’s obviously not a flop after a whopping 119 PA, but the fantasy market often inflates top prospects prior to their arrival before writing them off if they don’t perform immediately. A 167 ADP isn’t dirt cheap, but it does remove the premium we often see for such a high ceiling profile and he went 175+ in 6 of the 9 drafts. He runs well creating a real 25 HR/15 SB potential with an AVG that could push north .280, too.