The MLB Network Top 100 Players Right Now was released this week, with the 2021 New York Mets grabbing seven spots. This number bested most other major league ballclubs, and also significantly improved on their place in the 2020 rankings. While this isn’t the final measure of team success, it’s a valuable indicator of the strides forward this team has taken. Let’s take a deeper look at how they performed compared to the competition.
MLB Network Top 100 Players: The Mets Seven
Most impressively, Jacob deGrom was ranked the third-best player in baseball, behind only Mookie Betts and perennial number one Mike Trout. It has been largely accepted that deGrom is currently the best pitcher in the game, but to place him in this group puts him on a new level. It’s often difficult for pitchers to get equal credit to hitters, and this ranking gives deGrom the pedigree he has earned over the last three seasons. His placement at #3 also gives him a significant edge over Gerrit Cole and Shane Bieber at #11 and #12, respectively.
It’s also worth noting that, of these seven, six were drafted by Sandy Alderson in his first tenure with the Mets. The lone exception being Lindor, who Alderson helped acquire last month. This continues to validate the drafting excellence of the Alderson regime.
MLB Network Top 100 Players: Mets Make Big Improvement
The Mets made major strides over the past 12 months, including both internal improvements and outside acquisitions. Last year, they managed just four members on the top 100, including deGrom (8), Alonso (24), McNeil (49), and Conforto (78). All of these besides Alonso moved up the list, while Nimmo and Smith moved into the group, and Lindor was acquired from Cleveland.
MLB Network Top 100 Players: The Rest of the NL East
Not only do the 2021 Mets compare favorably to the 2020 squad, but also to the rest of their NL East competition. They snagged more spots on the list than every other team in the division, including the Braves (5), Nationals (4), Phillies (3), and Marlins (0).
Not each spot on this list is equal, however. To account for this, each spot on the list will be assigned a value from 0-99, with 99 corresponding to #1, 98 for #2, and so on. It’s not the be-all-end-all of team quality, but it’s a decent way to compare the upper ends of these rosters.
Once again, the Mets outperform their competition. In many ways, this breakdown is indicative of the way these teams are built. The Braves get more than half of their points from the elite ranking of Freeman (4) and Acuña (7). In much the same way, in the last few years, Atlanta’s offense has been buoyed by elite production from Freeman, Acuña, and Ozuna, while the rest of the team performs somewhere around league average.
On top of this, of the Braves 310 points, only 30 are attributed to pitchers (Max Fried, 70). While Atlanta will head into 2021 with a plethora of young pitching options, no others have proved themselves reliable enough to make this list. The questionable nature of the Atlanta rotation after Fried and Morton is also what has led a number of projection systems to be very low on the 2021 Braves.
In contrast, over the last two seasons, the Mets have showcased a number of elite batsmen to surround deGrom. Six of the Mets’ eight lineup members featured in the top 100. This is a big part of the reason why they led the league in OPS+ in 2020, with McNeil, Conforto, Nimmo, Smith, and Alonso all posting an OPS+ above 120.
MLB Network Top 100 Players: The League’s Best
With the Mets besting their NL East competitors, I was curious to see how they stack up against some of MLB’s best teams. Within the National League, the obvious top two teams are the Dodgers and the Padres.
The Padres score five spots on the MLB Network Top 100 Players, with superstars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado at the top followed by their three aces in Yu Darvish, Dinelson Lamet, and Blake Snell. This nets them 292 points (though they probably deserved higher rankings of Snell and Lamet), not to mention their insane pitching and bench depth.
The Dodgers, incredibly, grabbed nine of the 100 spots. Not only that, but all nine ranked within the top 50 players. This includes four-fifths of their infield (Will Smith, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, Justin Turner), two-thirds of their outfield (Mookie Betts, Corey Bellinger), and three of their elite rotation (Trevor Bauer, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler). This gives them an absurd 616 points, over 200 more than any other team.
MLB Network Top 100 Players: Subway Series Rivals
Last, let’s compare the Mets to their crosstown rival Yankees. The Yankees matched the Mets with seven names on the top 100, including the infield of Luke Voit, D.J. Lemahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Gio Urshela, as well as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gerrit Cole. However, the Yankees on the list averaged slightly lower rankings than the Mets, for a total of 374 points.
MLB Network Top 100 Players: The League Overall
Out of all 30 major league teams, the Mets are tied for the third most members on the list, behind only the Dodgers and the White Sox. This has, historically, been a decent indicator of team success. At the least, it’s a good sign for the Mets to not underperform expectations again.
This year, the upper echelon of teams according to the MLB Network top 100 players includes the Dodgers, White Sox, Mets, and Yankees, each of whom have at least seven on the list.
Obviously, this list fails to account for a number of factors, such as roster depth, players returning from injury, and bullpen strength (the top 100 includes just three relief pitchers). However, it still lends more support to the increasing number of projections giving the Mets a serious edge in the NL East.
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