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Which fantasy baseball hitters have been the best in the last calendar year?

These hitters have been the best hitters over the last calendar year.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at hitter statistics over the last calendar year is somewhat arbitrary, but it can sometimes give a glimpse into a hitter's skill set as it changes as time goes on. For example, Daniel Murphy's morphing into a power hitter began around this time last season through a technique change, and he's hit to a .956 OPS since. Alex Rodriguez was very good on the whole last year, but ran out of gas around this time last season and has hit to just a .633 OPS in 400+ PA since, which is bottom 10 in baseball.

Here are the top 30 qualified hitters by OPS in the last calendar year, dating back to the end of the first week of August 2015. All of these hitters have registered at least 500 PA over this sample.

1. David Ortiz, 1.061 OPS

2. Mike Trout, .982

3. Josh Donaldson, .977

4. Edwin Encarnacion, .970

5. Jose Altuve, .968

6. Matt Carpenter, .964

7. Joey Votto, .961

8. Daniel Murphy, .956

9. Kris Bryant, .935

10. Yoenis Cespedes, .932

11. Ryan Braun, .921

12. Miguel Cabrera, .918

13. Nolan Arenado, .916

14. Paul Goldschmidt, .914

15. Carlos Gonzalez, .913

16. Jackie Bradley Jr, .913

17. Mookie Betts, .910

18. Anthony Rizzo, .909

19. Corey Seager, .901

20. Christian Yelich, .900

21. Bryce Harper, .900

22. Carlos Beltran, .891

23. Brandon Belt, .882

24. Manny Machado, .881

25. Jose Bautista, .881

26. Dexter Fowler, .877

27. Robinson Cano, .875

28. J.D. Martinez, .874

29. Chris Davis, .867

30. Francisco Lindor, .865

Two of the most glaring are the aforementioned Daniel Murphy, who has suddenly turned into the Mike Trout of infielders, and Jose Altuve, who has hit to an amazing .968 OPS in the last year. Altuve hit to a strong .812 OPS on the whole last year, but registered a .920 OPS from this point in August 2015 to the rest of the season. Altuve has been one of the game's most elite hitters since this time last year, and his stolen bases might make him the #1 overall pick in 2017 drafts.

Bryce Harper had one of the greatest offensive seasons in recent memory last year with an OPS over 1.100, but he's crashed down badly from that this year. Harper's low .800s OPS is still very good, but not by his elite standards, and not by fantasy owners who took him in the top 3 this year. I'm not sure what has happened to him this year. Going into the Cubs series on May 5, Harper had an OPS over 1.000. Joe Maddon then had the Cubs pitchers give him nothing to hit, and Harper has not been himself since that series with just a .738 OPS, which is around league average. Other teams took similar strategies vs Harper afterwards, giving him little to hit. I don't know if the two are connected, but I suspect they might be. It's possible Harper's approach has been messed up since then. Harper is a gigantic buy for me in keeper leagues, though, and I am trying to pry him away from an owner in my keeper league while the door is cracked open.

Carlos Gonzalez is back to something near his elite vintage form circa 2011-2013 with an OPS over .900 (although without the stolen bases). He's currently ranked 12th overall in Yahoo 5x5. His .370 BABIP is very high, but he maintained a .358 BABIP in 2200 PA from 2010-13 in part because of Coors Field's spacious outfield combined with his skill set. I just unloaded him in my keeper league in an effort to sell high, though. I don't trust his ability to stay healthy long term and I'm worried to a lesser degree about the Rockies moving him away from Coors Field in an effort to get younger. He will be 31 next year.

Yoenis Cespedes has been a different hitter since being traded to the Mets. I don't know if the Mets worked on something with him to help shape his turnaround, or if things have finally clicked for such a toolsy outfielder after being in the USA for 4+ years. Cespedes has a .932 OPS over his last 600 PA. I am a believer going forward in a high .800s to low .900s type player.

Christian Yelich is budding into a star and turning in an elite OPS of .900, well up from the mid .700s OPS he had in seasons prior. He's always been said to have big raw power, and he's starting to tap into that some more this year. He also rarely hits a pop up and hits tons of line drives and ground balls, which helps him sustain a high BABIP.

Jackie Bradley Jr has become a terrific real life baseball player with his defensive value and hitting. For fantasy purposes, he's turned in a top 16 OPS in the last year, and he's a part of the top offense in baseball. After struggling a lot to start his career, Bradley is becoming a legitimately excellent hitter, and will likely be a top 50 pick in 2017 for me.

And how good has Corey Seager been to start his career? A 21-22 year old SS with an OPS over .900 is eye popping.