Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams. When talking about baseball’s all-time greatest sluggers, these players should be the top of anyone’s list. After all, Ruth, Gehrig and Williams all have some of the highest career batting averages, on-base percentages and slugging percentages of any other player in the history of Major League Baseball. While those players were absolute legends, today’s sluggers have put up some remarkable power numbers this season as well. In this article, we’ll take a look at every teams’ slugger and rank them from worst all the way to the very best.
When comparing other sluggers around the league or the sluggers of yesteryear, an important stat to consider is OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging). A player’s OPS not only indicates whether or not a player is reaching base but also takes into account just how much the player is crushing the ball when it's hit. Just hitting long balls on a weak batting average isn’t going to rank a power hitter very high on this list. Likewise, a high batting average isn’t going to make a slugger out of someone who barely hits home runs. The best sluggers on this list will have high numbers across the board, from batting average, to walks, to home runs.
After looking at all the numbers, including the amount of strike outs and even more advanced statistics like WAR, some of the rankings of certain hitters may be surprising. However, big names and big contracts don’t translate to big numbers. On this list, OPS takes a high priority but other offensive numbers can make a difference in pushing one slugger above another. So, without further adieu, here is every team’s current slugger ranked from 30th to 1st.
30 San Diego Padres: Eric Hosmer
I can’t fault the San Diego Padres for signing Eric Hosmer to a huge 8-year deal. He’s only 28 and had some great seasons with the Kansas City Royals. I can’t fault Hosmer for taking the deal either. He’s signed the largest contract in Padres’ history, gets to live in San Diego and has some solid job security for years to come.
However, as far as production, Hosmer didn't have a normal year for himself.
His batting average was way down, and compared to other sluggers in the league, his offensive numbers hover near the bottom.
If he even hits 20 home runs this season, it’ll still be a weak showing for someone who is supposed to be a power hitter.
29 San Francisco Giants: Evan Longoria
The San Francisco Giants traded for one of their sluggers, Andrew McCutchen, and then sent him away to the Yankees. However, the Giants still have slugger Evan Longoria. Unfortunately, "Longo" didn't push San Fran any closer to a .500 season. His offensive numbers are down almost across the board and, at 32, the third baseman's best years may already be behind him.
Out of all the sluggers on the active roster, Longoria was almost dead last in OPS with under 20 home runs and a WAR that ranks in the bottom five of all sluggers. These numbers are likely not to get much better with age and as trips to the DL become more frequent.
28 Kansas City Royals: Salvador Pérez
After gutting most of their top players, Kansas City really doesn’t have many sluggers left on their team. However, Salvador Pérez remains. It’s hard to pick on him since he’s a catcher on a rebuilding team, and the role as the Royals' defacto slugger kind of fell onto him. That said, Pérez needs to be ranked, and sadly he ranks pretty low among the other heavy hitters in the league.
Pérez is still one of the better, if not the best, players on the Royals, but his batting average was down even for him. He can still crank out home runs, but his slugging percentage hovers around .450 which is fourth from the bottom among major league sluggers on here.
27 Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones
Like Salvador Pérez , Adam Jones is doing his best on a team scrapped for parts. Astoundingly, Jones wasn’t traded, despite putting up solid numbers in 2018. While his average may be great, compared to other power hitters, he still remains pretty low on the list of sluggers.
Jones failed to hit 20 home runs this season. His slugging percentage ended at .419 with an OPS of only .732 which is almost last among major league sluggers.
To make matters worse, his WAR was barely above 0, making him the least valuable slugger among active major league players. As a matter of fact, his batting average is the only thing keeping Jones this high on the list.
26 Tampa Bay Rays: C.J. Cron
The Rays may have missed the postseason, but they can hold their heads high for hanging with the big dogs, Boston and New York. Part of the Rays’ success has been due to their excellent pitching and C.J. Cron’s slugging.
Cron, since coming to Tampa Bay via trade with the Angels, belted nearly 30 home runs with a slugging percentage of nearly .500 and an OPS of over .800. While that’s not as deadly as some of the sluggers in the league, it’s enough to get a pitcher’s attention, working against this young Rays team.
25 Minnesota Twins: Eddie Rosario
While 2018 didn’t go the Twins’ way, Eddie Rosario is turning into one of the better hitters in the game. His numbers continue to rise with each season, and his young career is only just starting.
Rosario is a solid player with a WAR and batting average that was ranking near the middle of the pack among sluggers until his season ending injury. However, his slugging percentage was under .500, his OPS was just barely above .800, and his low home run total put him in the lower third of major league sluggers.
24 Chicago White Sox: José Abreu
The Chicago White Sox have José Abreu locked down through the end of the 2019 season, but the question is will their slugger be traded before then? Abreu is playing for a bad team but is still producing solid numbers. Come 2019, he may be an important piece to trade away and bring Chicago some much needed youth in exchange.
While Abreu is a good player for a bad team, compared to other sluggers, he's still pretty mediocre.
In comparison to other sluggers on this list, his batting average is better than some. However, his offensive numbers like OPS, SLG and home runs place him firmly in the bottom tier of sluggers.
23 Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo
The Texas Rangers may have Adrián Beltré, who has been their slugger since 2012, but Joey Gallo has arrived and has since taken that mantle. Gallo out-slugs Beltré by nearly 100 points, has a higher OPS and is hitting about twenty more home runs.
However, Beltré hits roughly 60 points higher in batting average than Gallo, and that’s why Gallo, despite his tremendous power numbers, ranks low on this list. His batting average was the worst out of MLB’s sluggers (just barely above .200). While that all-or-nothing approach helps his SLG, his lack of hits and mounting strike outs hurt him.
22 New York Mets: Yoenis Céspedes
It’s cruel to pick on the Mets, who have had a disappointing season, and Yoenis Céspedes, who spent most of the season hurt, but New York doesn’t really have any other “sluggers.” When healthy, Céspedes can give a team a 30 home run season, but his increasingly frequent injuries can’t be ignored.
While injuries push Céspedes down on the list, he still managed a decent batting average with nine homers in 38 games. His slugging percentage was almost .500 and had a healthy OPS above .800. However, injuries and a lower batting average compared to other sluggers keep Céspedes from moving any higher on the list.
21 Toronto Blue Jays: Justin Smoak
With Josh Donaldson injured all season and now gone, it’s a toss up between Justin Smoak and Randal Grichuk for the title of Toronto Blue Jays slugger. Both were neck and neck in home runs, but Smoak had a higher OPS which puts him over all-or-nothing Grichuk.
Compared to other sluggers around the league, however, Smoak isn’t nearly as dangerous, as his batting average and SLG are pretty weak.
On the other hand, his WAR was better than almost half of the sluggers on this list and ranks near the top 20 in OPS among AL hitters. That's right about where Smoak belongs on this list as well.
20 Pittsburgh Pirates: Gregory Polanco
Despite losing Gerrit Cole and slugger Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates put up an admirable fight in the unusually competitive NL Central. However, Starling Marte and Francisco Cervelli have stepped up offensively with Gregory Polanco bringing most of the power.
While Polanco brings the pop for the Pirates, his numbers compared to other sluggers haven't been that awe-inspiring. His numbers are steady across the board, but with less than 30 home runs, Polanco’s pop isn’t enough to rank any higher than 20th.
19 Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper
Some may be surprised to see Bryce Harper this low on this list, but here’s why. Bryce Harper can be a great slugger, but the key word is “can.” When he puts forth the effort, Harper can hit above .270, can easily slug over 20 homers a season, and can play a great outfield. However, when the effort isn’t there, it shows as his WAR is surprisingly low for someone who will demand a lot of money after this season.
With that said, Harper’s offensive numbers were still very impressive even as he plays with questionable effort for a disappointing Nationals team. His slugging percentage was around .500, and his OPS is near .900. Although those numbers are very good, they’re still not as good as some of the other sluggers’ offensive stats around the league.
18 New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton
Like Harper, many might be surprised to see Giancarlo Stanton this low on the list or even on this list at all. Stanton really took the role of slugger after Aaron Judge’s injury, but, like Harper, his numbers didn't finish as high as other sluggers on the list.
All the strike outs (2oo+) really lower Stanton's ranking as well.
As far as Stanton over Harper, both sluggers' numbers aren’t much different. Both had a SLG around .500, and both hit roughly the same number of home runs. While there could be an argument to put Harper ahead of Stanton, Stanton’s higher batting average, WAR and effort place him slightly ahead of Harper on this list.
17 Philadelphia Phillies: Rhys Hoskins
Rhys Hoskins is catching the MLB by storm and is absolutely putting together a nice season for the Phillies. He’s definitely turning into one of the elite sluggers in the league, and just barely edges out Giancarlo Stanton on this list.
Hoskins’ batting average hurts him among sluggers, but his SLG and home run count were about the same as Stanton’s. Stanton’s batting average may be higher, but Hoskins had roughly 60 fewer strike outs and passed Giancarlo in OPS by 20 points.
16 Detroit Tigers: Nick Castellanos
With J.D. Martinez in Boston and Miguel Cabrera undergoing a season ending injury, Nick Castellanos was given a huge opportunity to show to Tigers fans that he can be an elite slugger as well. Castellanos was a highly touted prospect for Detroit and became the first player in Tiger’s history to reach 100 RBI before the age of 25 since “Miggy.”
Compared to other sluggers in the league, Castellanos may not hit as many dingers, but his batting average was higher than most on this list. His SLG was almost .500 and had an OPS of nearly .850 which is higher than brand names like Anthony Rizzo, Cody Bellinger and George Springer.
15 Miami Marlins: J.T. Realmuto
Many experts were surprised when Derek Jeter’s Marlins didn’t trade J.T. Realmuto. Instead, the team seems intent on building around the Miami catcher who's putting up some exceptional numbers.
Even as a catcher, Realmuto is the clear slugger on the rebuilding Miami team. His SLG was just below .500, but his OPS of .843 was quite good. His WAR was also insanely high (over 4.0) with a batting average that surpasses many other sluggers on the list. However, in terms to sheer power, Realmuto is still middle of the pack in comparison to other clean-up hitters who can hit more than 20 home runs a season.
14 Oakland Athletics: Khris Davis
The Oakland A’s were a surprise team in 2018, but their success is largely due to the offensive clinic courtesy of Khris Davis. So, why does the home run king of 2018 not rank higher on this list of sluggers?
It is true that Davis ranked near the top ten in the league in SLG and had an OPS of .874.
Unfortunately for him, he also has a batting average that is almost identical to Hosmer and Longoria, the sluggers who are at the bottom of this list.
Davis can definitely hit the ball far when he connects, but being in the top ten in strike outs and having such a low BA knocks even the home run leader down a few pegs.
13 Seattle Mariners: Nelson Cruz
In 2018, Nelson Cruz launched over 30 home runs and had a batting average of .260. After fourteen years in the big leagues, it’s safe to say that Cruz has still got it.
What makes Cruz such a dangerous slugger? For one, his SLG was well over .500, and his OPS was .850. To make matters worse for pitchers, Cruz doesn’t strike out as often as other sluggers on this list. The fact that he’s only 13th on the list isn’t a knock on Cruz, but a testament to the other sluggers on the list.
12 Cincinnati Reds: Eugenio Suarez
The Cincinnati Reds have a good team that seemingly can’t put it all together just yet. They still have Joey Votto, who has been their slugger for many years, but even Votto may have to relinquish the role of slugger to Eugenio Suarez.
Suarez had a monster year, and time will tell if he’s the real deal or just a flash in the pan.
He hit nearly .285 with over 30 home runs and over 100 RBIs. Suarez is also slugging over .500 with an OPS in the 900s, and definitely deserves the #12 spot on this list.
11 St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Carpenter
Most fans wouldn’t think of Matt Carpenter in the same league as the some of the sluggers on this list, but he’s a huge reason why the Cardinals turned their season around and almost snuck into the postseason. He cranked out over 30 home runs, had a SLG of .523 and has an OPS in the top ten in all of baseball.
The reason “Carp” isn’t higher is because of his miserable May which sunk his batting average. Had Carpenter started the season off in the leadoff spot where he does all his damage, he’d probably have been in consideration for MVP or at least higher on this list.
10 Los Angeles Dodgers: Manny Machado
If Manny Machado stayed in Baltimore, he’d be a lot higher on this list. However, since moving to L.A., Manny saw his offensive numbers in the regular season slip.
Machado’s batting average dropped over 40 points, his SLG dropped below .500, and his OPS went from an insane 963 to just above .800 after going to the Dodgers. Had Manny not been an absolute beast while in Baltimore for half a season, he’d be a lot lower on this list. Thankfully, his time as an Oriole pushed his totals much higher with an OPS just above .900, a SLG comfortably above .500, and a BA near .300.
9 Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado
The Rockies have no shortage of power hitters in their lineup, but Nolan Arenado is going to be the game-changing free agent of 2019 that Manny Machado was in 2018. Arenado was in the top ten in all of baseball in OPS, SLG and RBIs. He had a WAR above 5.0, and his batting average was near .300.
Despite having a sick OPS of .935, a few other sluggers around the league have an OPS that's actually higher than that.
In addition, Arenado’s batting average wasn't in the top ten in all of baseball which slightly hurts him compared to other sluggers. There's no question, he’s a great hitter, but Nolan doesn’t take as many walks as other higher than him on the list.
8 Houston Astros: Alex Bregman
The Houston Astros have a juggernaut of a lineup, but Alex Bregman’s superhuman power numbers rise above those of even Jose Altuve, George Springer and Evan Gattis. Bregman is the clear slugger for the “Stros” with over 30 home runs, but putting him just above Nolan Arenado was a hard decision.
Arenado and Bregman have offensive numbers that are very close, with Nolan edging out Alex just barely in several of those stats. However, three stats that Bregman dominates Arenado in are walks, strike outs and doubles. Bregman takes almost twenty more walks than Arenado, has over 30 fewer strike outs and led the league in doubles.
7 Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez
With Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo supposedly having down years, Javier Baez stole the spotlight in Chi-Town. Baez may not have been in the top ten of league leaders in OPS. However, he remained in the top five in slugging percentage, second in the league in triples and third in the league in RBIs.
As great as “Javy” is, his batting average, which is under .300 slips him down a little in the list of top five sluggers. He also strikes out a lot compared to the other sluggers on this list and is seemingly allergic to walks.
6 Atlanta Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr.
While many still consider Freddie Freeman the slugger for the Braves, enter Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna’s SLG and OPS are way higher than Freeman’s, and both have nearly identical batting averages. Acuna is a rising star which is why there was such an uproar when José Ureña plunked him.
This kid is something special, and his numbers prove it.
No one in the league hit more home runs in fewer plate appearance than Acuna. His slugging percentage was .552 and his OPS of .917 also challenged the next five players on this list.
5 Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt
This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that Paul Goldschmidt is this high on the list. Even after a slow start, "Goldy" hit over 30 home runs and had a batting average around .300. In all of baseball, his SLG percentage was in the top ten, his on base percentage was in the top 10, and his OPS over .922, is eighth.
Goldschmidt’s only downside was the mounting strike outs and the limited RBIs. While .290 is an average every player would love to have, it’s not enough to make it into baseball’s top four sluggers on this list, which is a scary thought.
4 Milwaukee Brewers: Christian Yelich
And I present to you the National League MVP, Christian Yelich. The Brewers certainly got more than they thought they would out of their trade for Yelich. He hit two cycles in one year and ranked first in the National League in batting average and OPS. Need more evidence? Yelich's slugging was tops in the National League as well.
So, which slugger could possibly be doing better than Yelich? Well, the numbers don’t lie. Here are the top three sluggers in all of baseball.
3 Cleveland Indians: José Ramírez
The Indians easily won their division, but Cleveland didn't have the record compared to the other division leaders in the AL. It’s certainly not for a lack of trying on José Ramírez’s part.
Ramírez is one of the best hitters in the AL and in all of baseball.
He cranked out the fifth most home runs in the major leagues, and ranked fourth in OPS, which was near 1.000. Ramírez’s batting average of (only) .270 hurts him, but the fact that he can generate so much power and has only a little more than 70 strike outs should be scary to pitchers.
2 Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout
Mike Trout was number one on this list for a hot second just because of the absurd OPS he dished out this season which led the league. His on-base percentage led the league as well to go along with Trout’s batting average which was in the top three in all of baseball and in the top two in the league in walks also. Adding to his tremendous stats was a third overall finish in slugging.
Mike Trout could be number one in anyone’s list of sluggers, but even with over thirty home runs and a batting average well above .300, Trout still didn't have the numbers this season to justify being named the current number one slugger in all of baseball.
1 Boston Red Sox: J.D. Martinez
Despite being the number one slugger, J.D. Martinez almost didn’t make the list. The Boston Red Sox have such a stacked lineup, the title almost went to Mookie Betts who led the league in batting average, had a higher OPS than Martinez and held a ridiculous WAR of 10.9.
However, Martinez’s other stats cannot be ignored. He was neck and neck with Trout in SLG to lead the league, was second in batting average, knocked over 40 home runs and led the AL in hits and in RBIs. The number one slugger is obvious. In a league of sluggers, on a team of sluggers, J.D. Martinez is number one.