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Top 50 MLB Players going into the 2020 MLB season

The Criteria

For this list of the 50 best MLB players, each player is evaluated by their consistency, durability, and value to their team. All the tools of baseballs including contact, power, speed, glove, and arm are taken into account. Players such as pitchers and designated hitters are lower on the list for the fact that they are not as involved as other position players.

50-41

50. Paul Goldschmidt

49. Yoan Moncada

48. Whit Merrifield

47. Giancarlo Stanton

46. Ozzie Albies

45. Eugenio Suarez

44. Manny Machado

43. Fernando Tatis Jr.

42. Charlie Blackmon

41. Nelson Cruz

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Missing out on the top 40 are two household names, Paul Goldschmidt and Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton is one of the premier designated hitters and is coming off an MVP season in 2017 and another great season in 2018. However, his 2019 was hindered by injury problems as he played in only 18 games. Paul Goldschmidt has been one of the more consistent hitters in this back end of the decade. Despite once being an MVP candidate, Goldschmidt’s numbers dipped in 2019. Goldschmidt had career lows in AVG, OBP, and OPS. Even so, Goldschmidt hit .260 and had an OPS of .821 which is very respectable. However, he is on the wrong side of 30 and it is more likely to see his numbers dip than to spike again.

40-31

40. J.D. Martinez

39. JT Realmuto

38. Kris Bryant

37.Pete Alonso

36. Josh Donaldson

35. Marcus Semien

34. Zach Greinke

33. Charlie Morton

32. Anthony Rizzo

31. Bryce Harper

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Coming into the top 40, there are a few spots that can be seen as controversial. The most controversial spot lies at number 31 with 330 million dollar man Bryce Harper. While Harper may be seen as overrated in today’s game, he is still the 31st best player in baseball. Harper hits for a low average but is good for an OPS around .900, 30-35 home runs and 100 RBIs. He also has shown substantial improvement on defense. In 2018, Harper had -26 DRS which he improved to 9 in 2019.

30-26

30. Walker Buehler

29. Matt Olson

28. Gleyber Torres

27. Rafael Devers

26. Xander Bogaerts

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Just missing out on the top 25 is a bunch of young players who all have the potential to become among the top 15 or even 10 best players in baseball. Walker Buehler at only 25-years old took Clayton Kershaw’s spot as the ace in Los Angeles. Matt Olson is one of the most underrated players in the entire MLB. Olson is also only 25 and plays gold glove defense at first as well being a very dangerous presence at the plate. Torres and Devers are both coming off phenomenal seasons and they are both only 23 and are bound to improve even more. Xander Bogaerts is the best hitting shortstop on this list. His ranking on this list drops a bit due to his bad defense. He had -21 DRS in 2019. If he can improve that Bogaerts can be the best shortstop in all of baseball.

25. Javier Baez

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Cracking off the top 25 is Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez. Many people believe that Baez is a top 20 player in the league. However, that is simply not the case. Baez is still a great player as he hit .281 with 29 home runs and provides gold glove caliber defense at shortstop in 2019. His biggest issue is his low OBP which ultimately affects his OPS. In 2019, Baez only walked 28 times. Even in 2018, when Baez was the MVP runner up he only had a .881 OPS. All of Baez’s hitting stats are great but none of them really pop out which is why he is number 25.

24. Jose Ramirez

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2019 was a down year for Jose Ramirez as he had his lowest OPS since 2015. However, this is in large part due to the huge slump Ramirez found himself in that lasted the first half of the season. Before the all-star break, Ramirez put up some god awful numbers. He had a .218 AVG and a .652 OPS. When looking at his second-half stats, Ramirez ranks among the best. In the second half of the season, Ramirez had an OPS of 1.105 OPS and 16 home runs. Since before 2019 Ramirez was 3rd place in MVP in back-to-back years, it is possible that his 2019 slump was a fluke.

23. Ketel Marte

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Ketel Marte had a breakout season in 2019. Marte was one of the best players in all of baseball last season as he hit .329 and had an OPS near 1.000. He also hit 32 home runs as well as driving in 92 RBIs. Not only did Marte hit the ball better than almost anyone but he played shortstop, 2nd base and the outfield on defense. While he doesn’t provide gold glove defense at any of the positions, he is not a liability out there either.

22. Stephen Strasburg

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If this list only took account regular season play, Stephen Strasburg may barely crack the top 40. However, Strasburg has shown how well he can pitch when the pressure is on him as he was large factor in the Nationals World Series win. Strasburg still pitched very well in 2019 as he had a 3.32 ERA a WHIP of 1.038 and 251 strikeouts. Strasburg’s ERA in the playoffs, however, dropped all the way to 1.98 and his career postseason ERA is 1.46, among the best of all time.

21. Juan Soto

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Just missing out on the top 20 is 21-year old Juan Soto. The things that Juan Soto can do at such a young age is unbelievable. During the regular season, Soto put up insane numbers as he hit 34 home runs and 110 RBIs. He had an OBP of .401 and an OPS of an insane .949. He is not a great fielder in left, however, at only 21, there is time for improvement. Soto, similarly to Strasburg, has benefited from his exceptional performance in the postseason. Soto had a .927 OPS with 5 home runs in the postseason including 3 in the World Series. Juan Soto is only 21-years old and already has proved he is built to play in the spotlight.

20. DJ LeMahieu

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DJ Lemaheiu had found a lot of success hitting in Colorado. He was always seen as one of the best contact hitters in the sport. When he signed with the Yankees, many people doubted he would be able to keep his numbers up without the Coors effect. LeMahieu proved all those doubters wrong as he had the best season of his career. Lemahieu had a .327 AVG along with 26 home runs and 102 RBIs. He also won a gold glove at 2nd base and also was used all over the infield for the Yankees at both 1st and 3rd base as well. He finished 4th in the MVP voting in the American League.

19. Jose Altuve

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Jose Altuve has been a top 10 player in the MLB for most of his time in the MLB. However, he faced some injury trouble in 2020 and his defense is gradually becoming worse. Offensively, Altuve remains elite as he hit 31 home runs and drove in 74 RBIs in just 124 games. His average dipped a bit however his OPS was still over .900. His speed on the base pads has also become less of a threat as he only stole 6 bases in 2019. The Astros have been under controversy lately with their cheating scandal but that does not affect Altuve’s ranking nor does it affect anyone else on the Astros who are yet to appear on the list.

18. George Springer

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George Springer is the 2nd best position player on the Astros and had a career year in 2019. Springer was already a fantastic player and put himself with elite company after his 2019 campaign. Springer finished 2019 with a .974 OPS 39 home runs and 96 RBIs. He did all this while missing almost 40 games in the season. He also improved his defense in 2019 as he had a total of 11 DRS in the outfield last season. Not only was Springer phenomenal in 2019, but he also shows up in the playoffs. George Springer won the World Series MVP in 2017 and has a career World Series OPS of just south of 1.300.

17. Matt Chapman

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Matt Chapman is another underrated Oakland Athletic appearing on the list. Many casual fans may not even know who Chapman is or at least how good he is. Chapman does not hit for the best average however, his OBP was .342 in 2019. He also is a great power bat as he hit 36 home runs in 2019. What really sets Chapman ahead of the guys he is ranked above is his defense. Chapman is not only the best defensive 3rd basemen in the league but arguably the best defensive player regardless of position. If Chapman can get his batting average up just a little bit he can for sure crack the top 10.

16. Trevor Story

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Trevor Story is one of those players who does not get enough credit because of the fact he plays at Coors Field. However Story, can be considered a five-tool player as he excels at every aspect of the game. He hit .294 with 35 home runs and a .917 OPS. He is also a threat on the bases as he stole 23 bases in 2019. Story plays great defense as well as he had 17 DRS in 2019. Going into his age 27 season Story may only be getting better as time goes by.

15. Freddie Freeman

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Freddie Freeman is the best 1st baseman and the 15th best player in baseball. Freeman is the definition of consistent as he only hit under a .850 OPS one time since 2013 and he had a .847 OPS in 2014. Last season, Freeman had a career-high in home runs with 38 and also had an OPS of .938 which is among some of the best hitters in the game. Freddie Freeman also has a reliable glove at 1st base and even has a gold glove to his name. Freeman is higher than some of the other names because of how his consistent his game has been over the past several years. While other players may have higher ceilings than Freeman, they also have the potential to go into a huge slump while Freeman seems to be good for at least a .850 OPS every year.

14. Ronald Acuna Jr

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Ever since Ronald Acuna Jr. made his MLB debut he put the entire league on notice. He won the 2018 NL ROY after having a phenomenal season. He hit 26 home runs in 2018 and finished with a .293 AVG and .917 OPS. In 2019, these numbers dropped for Acuna a tad but he was just 3 stolen bases shy of joining the prestigious 40/40 club. Acuna has also shown improvement in the field after just one season. Acuna’s biggest criticism is his lack of hustle as he has been accused of not running out ground balls he could beat out. This does not take away the player Acuna is and within a few years, he will be one of the best players in the league.

13. Max Scherzer

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The three-time CY Young winner Max Scherzer has held the title of the best pitcher in the league for a few years. However, now he is only the 4th best pitcher in the league. Max Scherzer is still an elite pitcher and puts up great numbers. He finished 2019 with a 2.92 ERA and 243 strikeouts. Scherzer also had a WHIP of 1.027 which is very good for a starting pitcher. In the postseason, Scherzer also had a strong showing. He was not as dominant as teammate Stephen Strasburg but he pitched well, with the exception of the Wild Card game. Max Scherzer has not regressed that much, just other pitchers improved and surpassed him.

12. Aaron Judge

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Aaron Judge took the league by storm in 2017 with his sensational rookie season. He set the American League rookie record for most home runs in a season with 52. He also had an OPS of over 1.000 and 114 RBIs. This was good for Judge to win Rookie of the Year and the MVP runner-up. Aaron Judge, when healthy, has been just as dominant as he was his rookie year. In his three seasons, Judge never had an OPS of under .919. Not only does Judge have an elite bat he is one of the best defensive right fielders in the entire MLB as last season he recorded 19 DRS in only 102 games played. Judge would easily be a top 10 or even top 5 player if he was able to stay healthy throughout an entire season. However, missing 110 games in the last 2 seasons keeps him outside the top 10.

11. Gerrit Cole

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Just outside of the top 10 is newly acquired New York Yankee Gerrit Cole. Cole has become one of the best pitchers in the league ever since being traded from Pitsburgh to Houston. Cole is coming off the best season of his career as he led the American League in ERA with 2.50 and 2nd in WHIP with .895. He also led the entire MLB with 326 strikeouts which was the most by any pitcher in a season since Nolan Ryan. The only weakness of Cole’s game is the home run ball as in 2019 he gave up 29 home runs. At only 29 years-old Cole can continue to be the one of the most dominant pitcher in baseball for a few more years to come.

10. Justin Verlander

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The difference between Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander is so small but Verlander ultimatly gets the edge. Justin Verlander finished 2019 with a 21-6 record and an ERA of 2.58 while logging 300 strikeouts. He also posted a WHIP of .803 which led the entire MLB. Even though Verlander struggled a bit in the postseason, his consistency and dominance over the past few years give him the slight edge over his former teammate.

9. Francisco Lindor

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Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor is the ninth best player in baseball simply for his completeness of a ballplayer. Lindor is not the best hitter on the list but still puts up great offensive numbers. Last season, Lindor hit 32 home runs a .284 AVG and an OPS of .854. He like Freeman, will consitently put up similar numbers every year. However, the fact that Lindor is also provides gold glove defense at one of the toughest positions ranks him so high. Also add in the potential of 20 plus stolen bases and you have a 5-tool player in Francisco Lindor.

8. Anthony Rendon

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Anthony Rendon is coming off the best season of his career. The newly acquired Los Angeles Angel was always one of the better hitters in baseball. His bat prior to this seaon has been unnoticed by many fans. Then in 2019 Rendon was playing so well it was impossible to disregard his success. In 2019, Rendon finished the season with a .319 AVG 34 home runs and 126 RBIs which are all career highs. Rendon along with Soto and Strasburg also played very well in the 2019 playoffs. Rendon’s career season could not have come at a more oppurtune time as he recently signed a hefty 7 year $245 contract.

7. Jacob deGrom

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Jacob deGrom has proven himself as the best pitcher in major league baseball over the past two seasons. In both 2018 and 2019 deGrom won the National League CY Young Awards. deGrom’s 2018 season was one for the history books as he finished the season with a 1.70 ERA. He also recorded 239 strikeouts and had a WHIP of .912. In 2019, deGrom followed up his historic showcase with another strong season. He led the entire MLB in ERA for a second straight season with a 2.43 and also finished the year with a WHIP of .971. deGrom’s dominance over the past two seasons earns him the spot of the MLB’s best pitcher

6. Alex Bregman

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Alex Bregman has always shown the potential of being one of the best players in baseball. Up until last season, he had always put up good numbers however, nothing to write home about. All of that changed in 2019 when Bregman had an insanely great year. Bregman put up insane numbers as he recorded 41 home runs 37 doubles an OBP of .423 and an OPS of 1.015. He also plays great defense at 3rd base as he recorded 7 DRS at the hot corner. If needed, Bregman can also play shortstop, as he took over for Carlos Correa when he was injured. Alex Bregman is one of the best players in the sport right now and he is only entering his age 26 season. He should only be getting better.

5. Nolan Arenado

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Nolan Arenado is by far the best player on this list that has never been an MVP or a runner-up for an MVP. Arenado will never get the credit he deserves for the simple reason that he plays at Coors field. His splits are worse on the road, but if you look at most players splits they are worse on the road as well. You can bet on Arenado hitting 35 home runs and have an OPS of at least .920 just about every year. Last year Arenado hit .315 with 41 home runs and 118 RBIS. He also finsihed with a OPS of .962. As well as being an elite hitter, Arenado is a gold glove defender at 3rd base. In his seven seasons in the majors he has seven gold gloves.

4. Cody Bellinger

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Cody Bellinger took a huge leap forward in 2019. He had a very good rookie season as he hit 39 home runs while driving in 97 RBIs in his rookie season. In 2018 he took a step back. He still had a good season in 2018 as he finished the year with an .814 OPS and .260 average with 25 home runs. Bellinger made a giant leap in 2019 however as he put up the best numbers of his young career. Bellinger hit for career highs in AVG, HRs, RBIs, and OPS, and was among the league leaders in all of the categories. Prior to 2019, Bellinger’s biggest problem was strikeouts. He has shown a lot of improvement however as he went from 151 strikeouts in 2018 to 108 in 2019. The 2019 MVP has also won his first gold glove last season as he played most of his career as a utility man before it. Bellinger is the definition of a true five-tool player in 2019. He hit over .300, over 40 home runs and stole 15 bases. Bellinger has a gold glove in right field and a very strong arm. He fills in all the boxes for a complete ballplayer.

3. Christian Yelich

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Christian Yelich was well on his way to winning his 2nd consecutive National League MVP in 2019 before fracturing his kneecap in early September that ended his season. Yelich has shown the pasts two seasons he is up there with Mike Trout as the two best offensive players in the league. After missing 30 games, Yelich still hit 44 home runs 97 RBIs and a league-best 1.100 OPS. The number 3 spot was a toss-up between Yelich and Bellinger but Yelich gets the nod because while Bellinger is great, his numbers dipped in each month of last season. The one aspect of Yelich’s game that is preventing him from overtaking the number two spot is his defense. He isn’t bad on defense however Yelich is not very good either, he is average.

2. Mookie Betts

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Mookie Betts ahead of both Bellinger and Yelich may be seen as controversial but here’s why Betts earns the two spot. He is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. Betts is also elite offensively. In 2019, Betts hit for a .295 AVG and 29 home runs and a .915 OPS. He is also a great base runner as he has a league-leading 135 runs with 16 stolen bases to go along with it. Those are great numbers in themself and he had an even better season in 2018 where he won the AL MVP. He has been the best defensive right fielder for years now as he has won a gold glove every year since 2016. The fact Betts is far superior in defense to Yelich and more consistent than Bellinger makes him the second-best player in baseball.

1. Mike Trout

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Was there ever any doubt about who number one was? Mike Trout is currently the most dominant player in all American sports. Many people complain about how WAR is the “Mike Trout stat” and only makes him look better. The reason why WAR makes Trout look so great is that he is just that good. Trout has been the best player in the league for years now and he does not look like he is slowing down anytime soon. He hit a career-high 45 home runs in 2019 and he missed 30 games this season due to injury. Trout’s career OPS is 1.000 which many players can not even do in a single season. To put things in perspective, only 5 players not named Mike Trout in 2019 had an OPS of 1.000 or higher. Trout has averaged that over his 9-year career. While Trout’s defense is overrated he is still is not a bad fielder and has a decent arm in center. Mike Trout is going to be the best player in baseball for quite some time and possibly one of the best players ever.

Author Twitter: @JackRants_

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Jack Murphy
Very Passionate and die hard Yankees fan as long as I can remember. Currently a junior at Monmouth University majoring in journalism. Favorite current MLB players are Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge Francisco Lindor and Anthony Rendon. Also enjoys watching Nets basketball. Find me on twitter at @JackMurph27

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