Our last article before we hit our top-50 players and there are some surprises in here, mainly because I — Mike — was on a completely different page on about six of these guys. Alas, we are starting to get into some heavy hitters here on our countdown. The rules were explained in the first article, so you can take a look there if you’re confused. Let’s get weird.
No. 60 – Patrick Corbin: Mike 66, Ben 39, Jorge 74
Patrick Corbin, White Castle Special. 🤢🍔🍔🍔
[And a de-helmet + Sword] ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/fX3prqmLlN
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 16, 2019
Ben: Yes, it’s true. Patrick Corbin is the 3rd best pitcher on the Washington Nationals. However, the two guys he’s behind are both future hall-of-famers in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, so it’s not much of an insult to be #3 on that list. In fact, Corbin performed like an ace in 2019, despite being an afterthought in a monster rotation like Washington’s. The 30-year-old tossed 202 innings in 2019, with an ERA of 3.25, a 1.18 WHIP and 238 K’s. Don’t sleep on this guy anymore.
No. 59 – Josh Bell: Mike 46, Ben 68, Jorge 63
Ben: It looks like the Pirates have a legitimate franchise cornerstone sitting at 1st base. Josh Bell can mash with the best of them. In 2019, the Texas-native posted career highs in nearly every statistical category with a BA of .277, 37 HR, 37 2B and 116 RBI’s. His regular season was so potent that if he didn’t share a conference with Freddie Freeman and Pete Alonso, he’d probably have a Silver-Slugger award on his shelf to show for his efforts.
No. 58 – Whit Merrifield: Mike 54, Ben 63, Jorge 56
Jorge: Stranded on the Kansas City Royals, Whit is just such a good hitter. His 206 hits led the league for the second year in a row and has some surprising speed that you would not guess by just looking at him, swiping 99 bases over the past three seasons. His average of .302 is good, as one would expect with that many hits, but he doesn’t walk nearly enough, resulting in his OBP being just 46 points higher. Seriously, 735 plate appearances, which was second in the MLB, he walked a grand total of 45(!!) times. Still, he just hits the ball so well and can do a bit of pretty much everything else on the field. Oh, and did I mention he got starts at six different positions last season? Well, five, and one made up one, DH (NL 4 Life). The man is versatile as anyone could be, almost like a modern-day Emilio Bonifacio, but one that actually hit.
No. 57 – Paul Goldschmidt: Mike 39, Ben 85, Jorge 45
FOR A FIFTH STRAIGHT GAME!!!
Paul Goldschmidt is the hottest hitter on the planet!
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 27, 2019
Mike: After moving to St. Louis last offseason, Goldschmidt definitely regressed in a new lineup. Even so, he is still really really good. On a down year in 2019, he finished 20th in NL MVP, hit 34 home runs, drove in 97 runs and played in 161 games. He is going to be one of those bubble Hall of Famers that we have all slept on for years. He has finished top-6 in MVP four times in the last seven season, including two No. 2 finishes in 2013 and 2015. He’s only 31 and he’s just getting used to a new ballpark. He deserves more respect than we’ve given him.
No. 56 – Mike Clevinger: Mike 81, Ben 37, Jorge 50
Ben: Mike Clevinger is the reason the Indians can live without Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber. Well, that and those guys had rotten 2019 seasons, but still. Clevinger built on his excellent 2018 season with an even better showing in 2019. This past season, he went 13-4 and had a 2.71 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and 169 strikeouts in just 21 appearances. Let’s see if Clevinger and Shane Bieber can still perform like aces without sharing a rotation with Bauer and Kluber. My bet is they can.
No. 55 – Michael Brantley: Mike 64, Ben 51, Jorge 48
Jorge: Brantley is one of those Astros who really shouldn’t get any of the boos directed towards him whenever the season picks back up. After all, he only got to Houston last season, and unlike a lot of players on the team, he had already established himself as a professional hitter long before. He made his third-straight All-Star team in 2019 and his OPS of .875 was his best since 2014 when he finished third in the AL MVP race. While more of an average guy than a power guy, he still hit 22 home runs, which was the most in his career. The long-time Cleveland Indian is just very good at his job, and while he may be getting up there in age (turns 33 in a week), he should continue to remain productive for at least a few more years.
No. 54 – Shane Bieber: Mike 53, Ben 52, Jorge 54
Shane Bieber is a Cy Young candidate.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) September 21, 2019
Mike: In simple terms, this man is lights out. In his second year in the big leagues, Bieber struck out 259 batters in 214.1 innings while leading the league in walks per nine, allowing 1.68. His 3.28 ERA was fourth-best in the AL and his WHIP was third, behind Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. There’s a reason he finished fourth in the Cy Young voting and I’m excited to see what else he can do.
No. 53 – Jose Ramirez: Mike 52, Ben 55, Jorge 51
Mike: Ranking Ramirez this high stung me, mostly because I drafted him in the first round of one of my fantasy baseball leagues last year and he stunk up the joint so badly I had to trade him at a lower value. However, he’s still an incredible player and if we were doing this list in 2018, ranking him this low could be considered a crime in some states. To his credit, after a first half OPS of .652, he really turned it on for the home stretch, much like Nicholas Castellanos who we already ranked. In his final 44 games, he hit .327 with a 1.105 OPS, a 182 OPS-plus, 16 home runs, 48 RBIs and 18 doubles. All of those statistics dwarfed his first-half production over 85 games.
No. 52 – Nelson Cruz: Mike 65, Ben 50, Jorge 40
Jorge: Did you know Nelson Cruz had the most home runs out of anyone in the major leagues in the 2010s? Sure, he only led the league once, but he was just so consistent, never having less than 22 a season and having 37-plus six times. Last season Cruz, in classic Nellie Boomstick fashion, put 41 baseballs over the fence which was tied for No. 7 in the MLB. He also hit .313, his highest average since 2010, and had an OPS of 1.031, his best ever and only the second time his OPS ever eclipsed 1.000. This should have been his age-39 season, but at this point he’s just 53 days away from turning 40. At his age, it’s natural to think that the other shoe will probably drop soon, but until then, Cruz might just best DH in the MLB.
No. 51 – Austin Meadows: Mike 38, Ben 72, Jorge 43
Welcome back, Austin Meadows.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 11, 2019
Mike: Every time I see Meadows’ name cross my eyeballs, I just think of what an absolute steal the Tampa Bay Rays got for Chris Archer. In his first full season in Tampa, Meadows hit 33 home runs, drove in 89 runs and finished the year with a .922 OPS. He’s also a faster runner than Mookie Betts, Ketel Marte, Jose Ramirez and Jean Segura in terms of foot speed. I ranked him so highly because I truly think he’s going to be a star and once Tampa eventually trades him two years from now, we’ll all get to see it.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors on Twitter