12: Ender Inciarte – Atlanta Braves
Ender Inciarte has managed to stay in the leadoff spot this season despite a bit of a slow start. This might be due to the fact that the team is playing well as is, but it might also be due to the fact that he is still finding ways to contribute at the leadoff spot. Inciarte is currently one of the league’s stolen base leaders. Although he is hitting under .250, his speed on the base paths has helped to ignite an offense that is ranked high in many important fundamental categories. Despite not being in All Star form this season, Inciarte is still making it happen for a Braves team that is winning a lot of games.
11: Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Carpenter is a very good player, but he is an unlikely leadoff hitter. He seems to fill the role well enough for the Cardinals, but it also hasn’t really helped them to get back to their dominant ways in the NL Central either.
Although he is the kind of player anybody would want on their team, it’s hard to justify ranking Carpenter too high on this list.
That’s a shame because he is putting up nice numbers once again this season. However, something doesn’t seem right with the way their managing their batting order. The Cardinals need to go back to the drawing board and put Carpenter in the middle of the lineup where he belongs.
10: Whit Merrifield – Kansas City Royals
The story of Whit Merrifield has been a bright spot in an otherwise disastrous season for the Royals. Merrifield has found himself in the leadoff spot for quite a few games this season. Although the team hasn’t performed well, Merrifield has often helped to get the team off to a good start as he is hitting over .300 and is putting up good on base averages all around. The only downside for Merrifield is that his major league career didn’t start until he got into his late 20’s. Considering how he’s playing, his career as a leadoff hitter could potentially be cut short if trade rumors involving Merrifield are true.
9: Brett Gardner – New York Yankees
Brett Gardner is an underrated leadoff option. Although he is getting older, his stats clearly show that he can hang with some of the better leadoff men in the major leagues. Gardner may not be the first name that comes to mind when fans think of leadoff hitters, but he has shown that he can run the bases well and is capable of giving the high octane Yankees the jumpstart their lineup needs. Although some talk of placing Aaron Judge at the leadoff spot have swirled around the rumor mill, it might be in the Yankees best interest to keep their high performing offense intact as is.
8: Jose Peraza – Cincinnati Reds
Believe it or not the Reds have had a good amount of success on offensedespite their subpar record going into the second half of the 2018 season. The Reds can thank the leadoff hitting of Jose Peraza for their offensive success.
Peraza showed some promise by batting over .300 a few seasons ago and is on pace to flirt with .300 again if he can keep it up during the second half of the season.
For now, Peraza is a young player who is growing and contributing on a team that is pretty much overlooked thanks to their record.
7: Lorenzo Cain – Milwaukee Brewers
For the sake of argument, Lorenzo Cain will be considered the Brewers leadoff man due to the constant changes in the batting order. Although the Brewers are doing very well this season, Their production at the plate isn’t necessarily the reason why. Despite all of the changes, Cain is enjoying an All Star season. This may very well justify the lineup shuffling that is going on in Milwaukee, but there is no doubt that Cain’s home is at the top of the order. When it comes down to it, we’ll probably see him there more than anywhere else. Either way, it looks like success has followed Cain from Kansas City. That makes him a top performer on this list.