You probably think maintaining player rankings is easy.

What's hard about it, right? You're just rearranging some names, bada-bing bada-boom. What you're failing to account for, though, is how many names there are. It's in the neighborhood of 500, some of which are repeated at multiple positions, and anytime you're working with hundreds of something, it'll take up some time. How much time? Hours. How many hours? I'm almost embarrassed to say, so I'll just leave it at "several."

Understandably, then, the maintaining of the rankings is not an everyday task. Sure, I'll react to major developments when they happen, moving the relevant players up or down as appropriate, but a full audit, where I go name by name through the rankings, happens more like once a week.

I'd like to do something different this year for that weekly audit. I'd like to take you inside the process, highlighting some of the biggest moves I make at each position with a brief explanation as to why. Notice I say some of the biggest moves. A full accounting would also take "several" hours -- to read, I mean, much less to write.

Speaking of big moves, what a whopper we have for this first edition of Rankings Movers. If you haven't heard, Jackson Holliday, regarded by many as the top prospect in baseball, will be called up to the majors Wednesday. It's not a total shock. In fact, most leagues drafted him like he'd be on the opening day roster, so it's not like you can go pick him up off the waiver wire. But when the Orioles announced that he'd begin the year at Triple-A, it wasn't clear how long he'd stay there, which necessitated a move down the rankings. Turns out it was only two weeks.

So how far up the rankings does Holliday go? Let's begin at shortstop this week and dispense with the suspense. No doubt, you'll want to reference my updated rankings while reading about the adjustments I've made, and you'll find those right here.


So yeah, 15th is where I've slotted Holliday, moving him five spots up my shortstop rankings, which is almost exactly where I had him prior to the demotion news late in spring training. You could argue it's too conservative, perhaps -- especially since he was slashing .342/.490.605 at Triple-A Norfolk, having homered twice, stolen a base and walked more (11) than he struck out (8) -- but he is only 20 and sped through the entire minor-league system in just two years' time. Growing pains are to be expected, and in fact, for as good as he looked in spring training, he also struck out 31.3 percent of the time.

The bigger obstacle for Holliday's ranking, though, is that shortstop is really freaking good. I'm already frustrated that I can't move Anthony Volpe higher than 14th, for all the breakout signs he's shown, and having Holliday leapfrog him right away doesn't seem like the prudent move. Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson are the two directly ahead of Volpe and Holliday, and while Holliday's ceiling is higher than both, Bogaerts and Swanson are nonetheless too good to discard for a relative wild card, particularly with them playing so well to begin the year.

No, Carlos Correa, Willy Adames, Thairo Estrada and Jackson Merrill -- those are the shortstops who you could come closer to doing without, if for some reason Holliday presents you with such a complication, and so ahead of them is where he ranks for me. Really, that 15 spot marks the cutoff for the shortstops who I consider to be must-roster, so the important thing is that Holliday ranks among them.

One other shortstop note: I'm not the least been compelled to move Francisco Lindor down amid his slow start. Well ... OK, so I moved him behind Corey Seager in my Head-to-Head points rankings, but that's how I had them in the first place, prior to Seager's hernia surgery. Now that Seager is recovered from said surgery, it seemed appropriate to put them back.

Second base

  • One of my biggest regrets from draft prep season is that I didn't pay enough attention to what was happening with the Cubs lineup. Most notable is that Nico Hoerner is now batting in the lower third rather than the upper third, at least against righties, which of course is going to cost him in certain counting stats. I'm most worried, though, that he'll run less since he's no longer in that tablesetter role. Players can be funny like that. Sure enough, he has yet to steal a base this year, but he's hardly had the chance given that he's batting just .139. I don't doubt he'll hit, so I'm being careful not to rush to judgment on the base-stealing until he does.
  • It helps that no one at second base is demanding to be moved ahead of Hoerner, other than Ketel Marte in points leagues. I've made that switch in that format, but I'm keeping Marte behind in categories leagues for now since he's a non base-stealer at a position where many depend on stolen bases.
  • Bryson Stott has dropped behind Andres Gimenez for me, which is probably how I should have ranked them in the first place. It's not a stretch to think Gimenez could steal twice as many bases, though that's not what we're seeing so far. What we are seeing is Stott riding the bench against certain left-handed pitchers.
  • Two players scarcely mentioned in draft prep content have climbed into the top 25 at second base. Brice Turang basically forced his way there with his early base-stealing prowess, though he's a hitting lightweight who I think could struggled to keep his job. I'm more hopeful for Jake Cronenworth, who we've seen be a Fantasy standout in the past. He's hitting the ball harder and at a flatter angle so far this year.

First base

  • I'm not ready to move Vinnie Pasquantino down yet, in spite of his dreadful start. It's fair to wonder if he's still feeling the effects of last year's shoulder surgery, but he's already hit a ball nearly 112 mph, which is harder than any he hit last year. The plate discipline remains excellent as well. It's too early to conclude that it's anything other than a slow start, and it's not like Josh Naylor and Rhys Hoskins are demanding to be moved ahead of him. I did, however, move Spencer Steer ahead of Pasquantino in points leagues, where I probably undervalued him in the first place (he was already ahead in categories leagues).
  • I went ahead and moved Jeimer Candelario down a few spots, behind Isaac Paredes. It doesn't mean I'm giving up on him as a sleeper in the most homer-friendly park he's ever played in, but the initial ranking was an optimistic one. Paredes has the better track record of the two, and he's the one delivering so far. No need to be stubborn about it.

Third base

  • I don't really know what to do with Royce Lewis, who of course hasn't played since opening day because of a quadriceps injury that figures to sidelined him for all of April, at least. He was a consensus top-60 pick, despite his limited track record, so I feel like he's owed the deference of a stud. The lack of a concrete timetable certainly doesn't help. If he's back in early May, then dropping him behind Ha-seong Kim and Nolan Arenado will seem silly in retrospect, but there are reports suggesting Lewis could be sidelined until June.
  • Speaking of Arenado, I decided to move him behind Spencer Steer, who no longer faces concerns about his playing time and is off to a terrific start. Now in his mid-30s, Arenado's home run potential may be on equal footing with Steer, and Steer has him beat in every other respect, most notably speed. The added versatility helps, too.
  • Brett Baty's promising start puts him the same range as Michael Busch and Colt Keith for me (with Busch being slightly higher in points leagues because of his on-base ability). The only reason he ranked behind those two to start out is because he already has a failed season on his resume while Busch and Keith are basically blank slates. But the upside isn't dissimilar -- and may be the highest of the three, in fact -- so if Baty is showing the clearest signs of making good on it, why should he rank any lower?


  • Luis Campusano has moved ahead of Bo Naylor and Henry Davis for me, putting him just outside of the top 12. He's playing ton. He's rarely striking out. He's looking every bit like the hitter he was in the minors. Meanwhile, Naylor has been losing at-bats against left-handed pitchers, and Davis has been losing at-bats to newly signed Joey Bart.
  • Speaking of Bart, he, Reese McGuire and Ivan Herrera are now inside my top 30, putting them within striking distance for two-catcher leagues. They're all playing more than expected and making the most of the playing time they're getting.


  • I'm not ready to react to Julio Rodriguez's and Corbin Carroll's slow starts yet. They were consensus top-five picks in Rotisserie leagues, after all, and we're not even two weeks into this thing. A two-week slump would barely raise an eyebrow in June. Plus, Rodriguez  has been a slow starter each of the past two years. You might say Carroll is more worrisome because of the shoulder stuff he dealt with around July 4 last year, but he played a lot of baseball after that and generally played quite well. The bottom line is it's just too early to make any radical moves with the most high-end players.
  • You will see some movement just a little further down the outfield rankings, however, namely Mike Trout climbing ahead of Randy Arozarena and Christian Yelich climbing ahead of both Kyle Schwarber and Nolan Jones. It's easier to fixate on a player's propensity for injury when everything is theoretical, but then the season starts and you realize everyone is susceptible to injury. Trout is crushing it right now, as if there was ever any doubt. Yelich's power surge is more surprising given that he hasn't been even a 20-homer guy since he was competing for NL MVP in 2018 and 2019. His exit velocities have remained high through the ups and downs, though, and his launch angle is back to where it was in those MVP days. Consider me intrigued.
  • Tyler O'Neill just hit his sixth home run Tuesday and is now all the way up to 30th in my outfield rankings, which in part reveals how thin the margin is in that range. A hot hitter who doesn't seem like a total phoney can quickly gain ground at a weak position, and O'Neill doesn't seem like a total phoney. He has a 34-homer, 15-steal season in his past. He's a phsyical marvel. He's healthy for the first time in a long time and getting to enjoy Fenway Park for the first time. Why not buy in over Lane Thomas and Anthony Santander?
  • In the same vein, why not buy in on Giancarlo Stanton over Chas McCormick? Why not buy in on MJ Melendez and Taylor Ward over McCormick? Who the heck is McCormick to get any benefit of the doubt over those three, who all have better track records and/or underlying characteristics? For Melendez, it's more the underlying characteristics, I guess, but his plate discipline and quality of contact has me thinking breakout already.

Starting pitcher

  • Jared Jones (40th), Bryce Miller (51st) and MacKenzie Gore (63rd) all made significant moves up the rankings, in part because I read this fantastic article by our own Chris Towers highlighting the signs of a breakout for each. To sum up, Jones has two wipeout pitches, including a fastball that grades out as the best in baseball by FanGraphs' Stuff+ model, and is giving off some Spencer Strider vibes. Miller also has an excellent fastball and may have developed an excellent splitter to go with it. Gore has created more separation between his fastball and changeup and seems to have a more robust arsenal as a result.
  • The single biggest riser for me at starting pitcher, though, is Reid Detmers, who climbed about 30 spots to 42nd, ahead of other early hype cases like Jack Flaherty and Gavin Stone. Part of that's because the starting pitcher rankings are so malleable beyond the top 20 or so, and part of it's because the left-hander is showing ace characteristics through two starts. His slider has gotten the most attention since he's back to throwing it like he did in 2022, but his fastball registered double-digit swinging strikes in each of those starts, which is the sign of a bat-misser extraordinaire.
  • Injured pitchers like Walker Buehler, Gerrit Cole, Kodai Senga and Max Scherzer all got a little bump from me and now rank in the 35-45 range. Every week puts them a little closer to returning, right? Plus, with all the pitching injuries we've seen so far, it kind of feels like everyone is teetering on the edge of disaster anyway. Might as well sell out for upside.
  • Tanner Houck's two efficient and strikeout-fueled outings have moved him up to 60th for me. That's firmly must-roster territory, and indeed he's up to 83 percent rostered in CBS Sports leagues. Sean Manaea (now 73rd) may be the next one to target given the improvements he's made to his secondary arsenal.
  • Going further down the rankings, Tyler Anderson, Martin Perez and Spencer Turnbull are all at least visible on the rankings page now. I wouldn't say I'm a big beliver in any, but they've enjoyed some success in the past and will deserve more and more love the longer they keep it going.

Relief pitcher

  • The closer scene has actually been pretty stable for the past week, so the only move I made was to slide Adbert Alzolay back ahead of Kenley Jansen. It's where I had him before manager Craig Counsell started talking like he had no clue who his closer would be. Spoiler alert: it's Alzolay. It was always Alzolay.
  • Most of the changes to my relief pitcher rankings this week had to do with the starting pitchers who happen to be eligible there. A.J. Puk, with his continued control issues, has gone from the Michael King range to the Chris Paddack range, dropping behind Frankie Montas, Garrett Whitlock and Reynaldo Lopez, to name a few. Jordan Hicks, meanwhile, has made just as significant of a move in the other direction.