BATTERS: Young targets, 2018 updated

Let's continue our look at the most skilled young players in the game by moving on to hitters.

These bats have been the most skilled young hitters:

60+ BPV, Age 28 or Under*

Name                Age  Lg  Position     bb%  ct%  Eye   PX   HctX  xPX   Spd  BPV
==================  ===  ==  ===========  ===  ===  ====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ===
Betts, Mookie        25  AL           RF  12%  85%  0.96  164   148   161  140  140
Ramirez, Jose        25  AL        3B/2B  14%  87%  1.33  162   134   144  101  139
Trout, Mike          26  AL        CF/DH  21%  74%  1.04  176   128   154  110  114
Bregman, Alex        24  AL        3B/SS  13%  86%  1.09  136   131   157   95  109
Machado, Manny       25  NL        3B/SS  11%  85%  0.82  129   116   114  111  100
Soto, Juan           19  NL           LF  16%  78%  0.84  151   110   117  105   97
Pederson, Joc        26  NL           CF  10%  82%  0.62  148   136   146   96   96
Lindor, Francisco    24  AL           SS  10%  82%  0.61  154   135   145   79   96
Arenado, Nolan       27  NL           3B  12%  80%  0.68  154   131   136   92   95
Muncy, Max           27  NL     1B/3B/2B  18%  71%  0.74  187   120   176   72   91
Simmons, Andrelton   28  AL           SS   7%  95%  1.56   66   133    76  125   87
Suarez, Eugenio      26  NL           3B  11%  75%  0.52  160   151   170   98   83
Flores, Wilmer       26  NL        3B/1B   8%  90%  0.96   98   122   123   79   82
Rendon, Anthony      28  NL           3B   9%  82%  0.57  132   123   120   85   80
Bogaerts, Xander     25  AL           SS   8%  79%  0.43  145   117   102   95   79
Marte, Ketel         24  NL        2B/SS   9%  86%  0.68   90   116    83  149   79
Gregorius, Didi      28  AL           SS   8%  85%  0.62  111   115    99   99   78
Benintendi, Andrew   23  AL           LF  12%  80%  0.72  122    89    93  109   78
Polanco, Gregory     26  NL           RF  12%  73%  0.54  155   102   131  109   77
Albies, Ozzie        21  NL           2B   4%  82%  0.25  130   118   116  118   77
Verdugo, Alex        22  NL           LF   9%  86%  0.71  102   141   106  102   76
Baez, Javier         25  NL     2B/SS/3B   4%  74%  0.14  157   107   118  150   74
Profar, Jurickson    25  AL        SS/3B   9%  85%  0.65  105   104    86  102   73
Hicks, Aaron         28  AL           CF  13%  77%  0.68  127   125   148  106   70
Realmuto, Jacob      27  NL            C   5%  79%  0.27  132   123   110  116   70
Franco, Maikel       25  NL           3B   6%  85%  0.47  108    89    95   91   70
Freeman, Freddie     28  NL           1B  12%  79%  0.65  126   132   131   84   69
Aguilar, Jesus       27  NL           1B  11%  70%  0.40  191   116   173   47   69
Hanson, Alen         25  NL  2B/3B/SS/RF   4%  81%  0.24  118    89    78  128   69
Story, Trevor        25  NL           SS   8%  72%  0.32  157   127   158  125   69
Shaw, Travis         28  NL           3B  13%  81%  0.79  123   117   121   62   68
Panik, Joe           27  NL           2B   8%  94%  1.38   52   106    65  114   68
Kepler, Max          25  AL           RF  11%  82%  0.70  105   121   123  104   67
Andujar, Miguel      23  AL           3B   4%  82%  0.25  123   115    93   99   66
Bauers, Jake         22  AL        1B/LF  13%  72%  0.53  151   121   135   93   66
Rosario, Eddie       26  AL           LF   6%  81%  0.35  117   114   130  109   65
Altuve, Jose         28  AL           2B   9%  86%  0.75   77   116   107  121   64
Hoskins, Rhys        25  NL        LF/1B  14%  71%  0.56  157    94   143   83   63
Kemp, Tony           26  AL           LF  13%  87%  1.24   70    92    59   97   62
Bellinger, Cody      22  NL        1B/LF  11%  72%  0.43  136   104   140  137   62
Myers, Wil           27  NL        1B/LF   7%  70%  0.24  171   142   167   91   60
*min 50 AB

Let's take a closer look at a bunch of highly-skilled young performers.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jake Bauers (1B/LF, TAM) has looked like a future impact bat in his rookie season. He has shown good patience at the plate (13% bb%), and the strong power he has displayed has the backing of a 135 xPX. In addition, his batting average (.245 BA) isn't a lost cause. His .281 xBA gives it immediate upside. At age 22, Bauers remains one of the game's best investments among young bats.

Alex Bregman (3B/SS, HOU) has emerged as an elite bat in 2018. Only Betts, Ramirez, and Trout have posted better skills among young bats than Bregman: 13% bb%, 86% ct%, 1.09 Eye, 157 xPX, 109 BPV. He's firmly an elite bat against lefties (1.035 OPS, 160 PX vL). But he's also producing at the highest levels of his career against same-sided arms (.876 OPS vR).

Max Kepler (RF, MIN) is another young bat who is on a growth curve. Beneath Kepler's marginal stat line (.228 BA, .733 OPS) are some solid reasons for intrigue. For one, his plate discipline is strong (11% bb%, 82% ct%, 0.70 Eye). And he possesses underlying power skills that are well above average levels (123 xPX). His 90-mph exit velocity is significantly above the norm too.

Jurickson Profar (SS/3B/2B/1B, TEX) has delivered on his post-hype profit potential in 2018. His plate discipline continues to mature (9% bb%, 85% ct%, 0.65 Eye), and his pop has shown flashes of his former top prospect upside. He had a 113 PX and 124 xPX in June. His speed tools have been on display in July (142 Spd, 157 RSpd). And his batting eye has improved in each of the past three months: 0.35, 0.67, 0.88 Eye. He'll carry significant breakout potential heading into 2019.

Eddie Rosario (LF, MIN) has proven that his mini-breakout in 2017 was no fluke. He's on pace for his first $30+ season, and his underlying skills support most of it. His 117 PX is supported by an even better 130 xPX. His rate of hard contact is on a two-year upswing too: 89, 103, 114 HctX. And there's more upside here if he can figure out lefties (.721 OPS vL).

Andrelton Simmons (SS, LAA) seemingly is a veteran at this point in his career, but at age 28, he's entering the peak of his production. And he's doing so with the best plate discipline in the game: 7% bb%, 95% ct%, 1.56 Eye. His ability to consistently put the bat on the ball pairs nicely with his 125 Spd, giving him 20+ SB upside if he can get more opportunities to run.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Wilmer Flores (3B/1B, NYM) is another bat with a lot of MLB experience at a young age. The 26-year-old hasn't done a whole lot on the surface in 2018 (.271 BA, .781 OPS in 240 AB), but the growth in his plate discipline has been substantial: 8% bb%, 90% ct%, 0.96 Eye. He's hitting righties with authority now (.843 OPS vR).

Alen Hanson (2B/3B/SS/RF, SF) has cooled off after the immediate impact he made following his recall from Triple-A. That said, Hanson still owns an interesting combination of good contact skills (85% ct% in July) and impactful wheels (128 Spd). Pitchers have adjusted to him after his quick start, so he'll need to adjust his approach to have a strong second half.

Rhys Hoskins (LF/1B, PHI) has been on fire since the start of June. He put up a 1.088 OPS in June and has followed that up with a strong finish to July (.908 OPS). His expected batting average has jumped nearly 40 points from the first half to the second half, and he has put up an elite 150+ xPX in three separate months. At age 25, Hoskins will carry some legitimate 40-HR upside heading into 2019.

Ketel Marte (2B/SS, ARI) is another pre-peak bat who entered the 2018 season with breakout potential. He got off to a slow start (.240 BA, .703 OPS in 1H) but has really come on in the second half. Few bats have been more skilled since July 1 than Marte. His 101 BPV has helped to produce a .280 BA and .893 OPS. His plate discipline has been firmly elite in the second half too: 16% bb%, 85% ct%, 1.27 Eye. At age 24, Marte still has time to develop into an impact middle-infielder.

Joc Pederson (CF, LA) has enjoyed a big bounceback season so far in 2018. He owns an .878 OPS in 259 AB, and only Machado and Soto have posted better skills among NL bats than Pederson (96 BPV). In fact, Pederson's skills feature both good plate control (10% bb%, 82% ct%, 0.62 Eye) and plenty of pop (148 PX, 136 HctX, 146 xPX).

Gregory Polanco (RF, PIT) is another young NL bat entering his peak production years. He is on track to put up the first .800+ OPS of his career (.844 OPS). He is drawing more walks than ever too (12% bb%). And he's hitting more flyballs than ever (34/16/50 G/L/F), helping to give him even more underlying power than he is showing (135 xPX).

Eugenio Suarez (3B, CIN) was drafted as a fringe frontline 3B in many leagues (187 ADP). He has given his owners a big profit so far in 2018. He has a .301 BA and .968 OPS in 332 AB. And that jump in production has been no fluke. He owns an elite 151 HctX and 170 xPX combo, and he hasn't sold out his plate approach to reach those levels (11% bb%, 76% ct%, 0.53 Eye).

Juan Soto (LF, WAS) has exceeded his hype to this point in 2018, becoming one of the best young bats in the game at age 19. Soto's .995 OPS has come with the backing of an upper-tier 95 BPV. His plate skills have been sturdy too: 16% bb%, 78% ct%, 0.84 Eye. He has been particularly lethal against same-sided pitchers (1.157 OPS, 170 PX vL).


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.