Here it is. At long last, here’s the final installment of the top-100 players in the MLB right now. Sure, we may have started this list months ago. And sure, baseball has been back for over a month now, but we had something special planned for the top-10.
We wanted it to go in print.
Now that we’re back at school, that can finally happen. So sorry for the wait, I know everyone is dying to find out who the top-10 players in baseball are, but here it is.
Also, don’t forget that this list was made prior to the season start. Soto came in at No. 12. Tatis at No. 31. Bieber at No. 54. If we made the list right now, they’d obviously be higher.
And remember, we waited this long to put it out because we wanted it in print, not because we forgot. Totally not the reason.
No. 10 – Gerrit Cole: Mike 10, Ben 8, Jorge 12
Ben: In 2019, Gerrit Cole pretty much wrote the blueprint for how to cash in on a contract year. Pitching 212 innings for the American League champion Houston Astros, Cole threw up a microscopic 0.89 WHIP and 2.50 ERA, good for second and third in the MLB, respectively. He finished in the top five among pitchers in WAR (6.6, 5th), ERA (2.50, 3rd), WHIP (0.89, 2nd), wins (20, 2nd) and strikeouts (326, 1st). He was also able to back up his impressive regular season with a near-legendary postseason, going 4-1, with 47 K’s and an ERA of 1.83. It’s no wonder the Yankees paid this guy like royalty.
No. 9 – Anthony Rendon: Mike 11, Ben 9, Jorge 7
Jorge: For the past couple of seasons, Rendon has been one of the most criminally underrated players in baseball. Last year though, people finally realized how great he is. He made his first All-Star game at long last despite averaging an OPS of .923 in the two years prior. In 2019, he hit 34 home runs, drove in 126 runs which led the MLB and had an OPS of 1.010, culminating in a World Series victory with the Washington Nationals. All of this earned him a 7-year, $245 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels, which was more than deserved.
No. 8 – Alex Bregman: Mike 8, Ben 7, Jorge 10
Jorge: Bregman might not be the most popular player in baseball right now for reasons that we all know, but you can’t deny his talent. An All-Star, Silver Slugger award winner and AL MVP runner-up last season, Bregman was clearly one of the best players in baseball. With 41 homers, 112 RBIs and an OPS of 1.015, he was unstoppable. It remains to be seen what’s in store for him without, errr, help, but I really don’t expect it to affect him too much. He’ll still be elite.
No. 7 – Justin Verlander: Mike 7, Ben 10, Jorge 8
Mike: Justin Verlander has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball for nearly a decade and a half, except for one down year in 2014. He has a career 3.33 ERA and struck out 290 and 300 batters the past two years, respectively. In his illustrious 16-year career, he has finished in the top-5 of the Cy Young voting in nine seasons, including two first place finishes and one second place finish in 2016 that should have gone to him. He has been injured this season, but overall he is an incredible difference maker. He is easily among the top-10 on this list.
No. 6 – Mookie Betts: Mike 6, Ben 5, Jorge 6
Ben: After winning a World Series and the 2018 AL MVP, Mookie Betts had an underrated 2019 season. Yes, the wheels fell off on the Red Sox and Mookie’s numbers didn’t 100% line up with the year prior’s but come on now, this is Mookie Betts; he’s got Gold Glove caliber defense, Silver Slugger caliber offense, a winning pedigree and an enthusiastic personality. There’s plenty his new teammates in Los Angeles will fall in love with. Yes, technically his .295 batting average from 2019 is a “drop-off” from his ridiculous .346 in 2019, but he can still hit with anyone in the MLB. Sharing a lineup with reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger should make both superstars even more dangerous. Look out for the Dodgers in 2020. With Betts on board (now through 2032), they’re the World Series favorite.
No. 5 – Nolan Arenado: Mike 4, Ben 6, Jorge 5
Mike: While I had Arenado above the next pick, Cody Bellinger, I am fine with him slotting in at fifth on this list. He is the best defender in baseball (sorry Matt Chapman), and he has the stick of a perennial MVP-candidate, which he has been for the last six seasons. He has been an All-Star in each of the last five seasons, finishing in the top-8 of MVP voting in each of those seasons. The third baseman has led the NL in homers in three out of the last five seasons and has not seen an OPS under .900 since he had an .898 in 2015. He has not been his peak this season, slashing .268/.319/.496 but he’s still an above average hitter at an OPS-plus of 102. Nolan Arenado is a top-5 MLB player and there’s an argument to be made for him to be higher on this list.
No. 4 – Cody Bellinger: Mike 5, Ben 4, Jorge 4
Mike: I got about half an inch away from trading Cody Bellinger in fantasy Monday, but that is no reflection of his talent. He is seriously one of the most impactful and promising young players in baseball. He already has an MVP to his name after winning one last year. Through three and a “half” seasons in the bigs, he has been worth 17.9 bWAR. He struggled to begin this season, but has ramped it up a bit in the past couple weeks. His .225 average and .783 OPS do not tell the story of Cody Bellinger, but rather that of the shortened season. Also, since this is the last sentence I will write in this series, I was right about Zac Gallen.
No. 3 – Jacob deGrom: Mike 3, Ben 3, Jorge 2
Jorge: Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball. Sure, there are challengers (Cole, Verlander, Scherzer and the like), but no one has been as good as deGrom in recent years. That’s not even an exaggeration — no starter has an ERA better than deGrom’s 2.05 over the past two seasons. Only one pitcher has even hit that mark in one of the past two seasons, much less maintaining that over two, and that was Blake Snell in 2018. Oh, and don’t forget the two Cy Young awards. Until someone dethrones him, he’s still the king.
No. 2 – Christian Yelich: Mike 2, Ben 2, Jorge 3
Ben: I am of the belief that Christian Yelich should have won the 2019 NL MVP award just as he did in 2018, cementing himself as the de facto second best player in the MLB. As excellent as Bellinger was a year ago, Yelich had him beat in just about every statistical category other than games played. Yelich hit .329, Bellinger hit .305. Yelich had an OPS of 1.100, Bellinger had an OPS of 1.035. Yelich stole 30 bases, Bellinger stole 15. The list goes on. Had Yelich not missed the final 26 fewer games than Bellinger due to injury, he likely would have passed Bellinger in homeruns (44 vs 47) and RBI’s (97 vs 115) as well. Bellinger was unbelievable in 2019, but on a per-game basis, Yelich was just a bit better.
No. 1 – Mike Trout: Mike 1, Ben 1, Jorge 1
Mike, Ben & Jorge: He’s Mike Trout. No explanation needed.