Photo Credit: MLB.com

 

Catcher

1. Gary Sanchez
2. Buster Posey
3. Wilson Contreras
4. Salvador Perez
5. J.T. Realmuto

The catcher position has a new face on top. Gary Sanchez is now the best catcher in Baseball, despite being somewhat mediocre sometimes on defense. Sanchez hit .278 with 33 bombs and 90 RBIs. It’s not everyday you can find that kind of production out of the catcher position. Want some speed? How about a catcher you can steal you some bases? J.T. Realmuto had a total of 8, but that’s super impressive for a catcher. No longer are the days where we are used to seeing Yadier Molina and Buster Posey. Gary Sanchez, J.T. Realmuto, and Wilson Contreras said slide over. There was a time where defense was the most prominent attribute looked at amongst catchers, but with these five, offense is a major part of their game and that’s what makes them elite.

First Base

1. Paul Goldschmidt
2. Joey Votto
3. Anthony Rizzo
4. Freddie Freeman
5. Cody Bellinger

With first base, I went with the player who was the most complete, showing all five tools. Paul Goldschmidt provides contact, power, speed, defense, and arm strength. Joey Votto, Anthony Rizzo and Freddie Freeman can provide the contact, defense and power, but their speed is a weakness. Cody Bellinger has all the power in the world, along with speed, but he just strikes out way too much for my liking. Nonetheless, you’re looking for sluggers out of the first base position, and all five of these players do it at an elite level and that’s all you can really ask for from a position that thrives at producing sluggers.

Second Base

1. Jose Altuve
2. Robinson Cano
3. Daniel Murphy
4. Brian Dozier
5. Jonathan Schoop

Jose Altuve is everything you want in a player. Good power, good speed, good hustle, clutch…talk about a fantastic player. Excuse me Mike Trout, but you may have competition in being labeled as the best player in Baseball. Robinson Cano is an old face, but he continues to get the job done, meanwhile Brian Dozier is still smashing the ball over the fence. All Daniel Murphy does is hit. His defense is atrocious, but that’s the risk/reward you take for an offensive second baseman. There’s a new face, and his name is Jonathan Schoop. Last year, Schoop hit .293 with 32 home runs and 105 RBIs. Schoop broke out in 2017 and this Orioles’ slugger will be a mainstay in the top 5/top 10 for years to come, no doubt. The second base position is evolving. None of the skinny little contact hitters anymore, there’s big boys now. There’s some real power at this position, and it’s there to stay.

Third Base

1. Nolan Arenado
2. Kris Bryant
3. Josh Donaldson
4. Manny Machado
5. Jose Ramirez

This one was relatively easy for me. Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado are the best defensive third basemen by far. It’s hard to believe some people still use Coors Field against Nolan Arenado as well. Arenado at home batted .336 with 19 home runs and on the road, Arenado batted .283 with 18 home runs. The guy simply just crushes everywhere, give him his credit. Kris Bryant is phenomenal, in fact he can play every position above average, except catcher and first base. Jose Ramirez did nothing but finish third in the AL MVP voting. A player with exceptional speed and power combination, he’s made his way up into the top third basemen conversation, and he’s going nowhere.

Shortstop

1. Carlos Correa
2. Francisco Lindor
3. Corey Seager
4. Trea Turner
5. Andrelton Simmons

Yet another Astro is leading the top of a list. This shows how elite and powerful that baseball club is. Carlos Correa is a terrific young talent. He has a history of injury problems, but if he’s stays healthy, I wonder what kind of numbers we’ll see. Maybe .280 plus, 40 bombs, 100 RBIs…from a short stop? I’ll take it. His player comparison is Alex Rodriguez after all. Francisco Lindor broke out with 33 home runs last year. I know he caught me by surprise, because I’ve always seen him as a average/doubles guy. Corey Seager is similar to Francisco Lindor, it just amazes me how Corey Seager will swing at every single pitch in an at-bat and still have the success that he has. The best defensive shortstop in the game, Andrelton Simmons, finally broke out hitting .278 with 14 bombs. There are so many young shortstops thriving in the big leagues right now. I mean Trea Turner may be the fastest guy in all of baseball. I do believe these five are in the top tier, but there’s a second tier of guys who could very well be in the top five in anyone’s given rankings. It’s more opinion based. Names such as Elvis Andrus, Didi Gregorius, Xander Bogaerts, Trevor Story, Paul DeJong, Brandon Crawford and Jean Segura are the guys I’m talking about who some people may have in their top five. It just shows how deep this position is, no more Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes, there’s a younger core on top now.

Left Field

1. Yoenis Cespedes
2. Marcell Ozuna
3. Justin Upton
4. Andrew Benintendi
5. Ryan Braun

When I was making this list, I noticed there were a bunch of guys who have fallen off either because of injury or age. I had Andrew Benintendi number two behind Marcell Ozuna initially, then I was like “wait a minute.” There’s Yoenis Cespedes and Ryan Braun, two guys who have made their names off of being prominent left fielders that some fans may have forgot about. Yoenis Cespedes will have his 30 bombs and 100 RBIs if he stays healthy, along with Ryan Braun and Justin Upton. That’s as much production as you can really ask for out of left field. Andrew Benintendi has the perfect stroke. I eventually see him as a 30/30 guy. His arm strength/accuracy needs a little bit of work, but he’s about as all-around as they come. Left Field isn’t as deep, just a bunch of average players, but youth is on the way. Guys such as Andrew Benintendi and Ronald Acuña could very well rule the top spots in the coming years.

Center Field

1. Mike Trout
2. Charlie Blackmon
3. George Springer
4. Christian Yellich
5. Starling Marte

Who else was going to be on top of this list other than the best player in Baseball? We saw a breakout year from Charlie Blackmon leading to him finishing fifth among his peers in the NL MVP voting. George Springer finally cut down his strikeouts along with the whole Astros lineup. Talk about thump, these two guys out of the lead off spot are terrifying. Up one nothing over your opponent with one swing of the bat, then it goes on from there. Christian Yelich remains one of the best center fielders in the game, despite his power numbers slacking a bit. The center field position as seen above, is still offense heavy. Maybe there will be a day where defense plays a factor in ranking the top players in that category such as Jackie Bradley Jr., Byron Buxton, Kevin Pillar, and Kevin Kiermaier. Right now though, offense is at a premium and that’s what I looked at when ranking my top five at this position.

Right Field

1. Bryce Harper
2. Mookie Betts
3. Aaron Judge
4. Giancarlo Stanton
5. J.D. Martinez

Right field is probably the position where I’d say was the most difficult putting together because your top four are all such great players. Literally any of the top four, you can make the case for being number one. I went with the star player mixed in with his untapped potential along with his age to lead this group. Bryce Harper is everything you want your star player to be. No shortage of charisma, elite at the job, good work ethic. Everything Bryce Harper does is on display. For those who wouldn’t have Bryce Harper at number one, here’s another name. Mookie Betts. In my opinion, he has the best case at being number one out of everyone else listed. Great defense, a great arm, great base running, just a very good all around baseball player. The guy can do just about anything. Stanton and Judge will be in the same lineup this year. I’m sorry to all the pitchers who don’t have nasty breaking balls to get these two players striking out left and right. Last year we saw 52 bombs from Aaron Judge and 59 from Giancarlo Stanton. Facing these guys 3-4 times a night…no thank you. J.D. Martinez comes in at the fifth spot. He’s everything you want offensively, but he’s awful defensively. With these five guys though, you can’t go wrong. If you want homers and RBIs, look at the players in right field. You’ll get what you want, I promise.

Relief Pitchers

1. Kenley Jansen
2. Craig Kimbrel
3. Andrew Miller
4. Corey Knebel
5. Felipe Rivero

Whether you value the save or you don’t value the save, these guys are masters at accomplishing it. On a team, you want the best out of the best to get the last chance at putting a win in the win column. You need guys who you can trust, guys who will come in and get three up, three down. Kenley Jansen is the number one closer in my opinion, he may have the best cutter I’ve ever seen aside from Mariano Rivero. As a Red Sox fan, watching Craig Kimbrel come in and straight up dominate was almost laughable to the point of how he went about getting it done. Nasty curveball, 100 mph fastball, then another nasty curveball or 100 mph fastball up in the zone. Boom, you’re out. That quick. Same goes for Andrew Miller too, except with Miller, it’s the slider. Slider, fastball, slider. Sit down. No chance. Corey Knebel and Felipe Rivero are new to this list. In 76 games, Knebel had 39 saves with an earned run average of 1.78. In 73 games, Rivero had 21 saves and an earned run average of 1.67. These guys are a pair of young closers who really just touched surface this year on how good they’re going to be. Four of the closers above were on clubs who finished in first place. Take what you want from that, but if you’re a team that plans on contending or making the playoffs, you better have a lockdown closer. I mean some teams can get away with it, such as the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks. Ken Giles and Fernando Rodney….YIKES. With everyone now coming out of the bullpen throwing 95 plus, if you’re a pitcher who’s still relying on command of a 88 mph fastball, you better be spectacular at it, because if you miss one time, your ball is about to be traveling 500 feet as a result of not being as over powering or dominant as this group of new age relievers.

Starting Pitchers

  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Max Scherzer
  3. Corey Kluber
  4. Chris Sale
  5. Noah Syndergaard

When you are choosing just five, some positions are harder to rank than others. You can’t go wrong with any of these starters. Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer are always neck and neck in NL Cy Young votes, both have taken home the award three times each. If you like strike outs, pay attention to Corey Kluber and Chris Sale. Two guys who nearly almost always finish in the top 5 in American League Cy Young votes. For Noah Syndergaard, I look at the stuff. Multiple pitches to get batters out, late life on all his pitches. Kershaw and Scherzer are about to get some real competition in the Cy Young race, all Syndergaard needs to do is just stay healthy.. Sure you can make the case for Zack Greinke, Madison Bumgarner, and Stephen Strasburg, but in the end I went with guys who are amongst the best at what they do. Someone who is going to take the ball every fifth day and straight up dominate. True aces, not number ones.

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