Yesterday, MLB network had a four-person panel come up with their top-ten players in baseball right now. Here’s what each person’s looked like:
For anyone interested in what the others on today’s MLB Now panel had as their top 10: pic.twitter.com/qHllhVjsdH
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) February 16, 2021
Now, these lists are almost impossible to agree on because they are so arbitrary, so of course, I have some bones to pick. I’ll go through each person’s list individually, then come up with my own list.
The first thing I want to say about all of this is — if you don’t have Mike Trout as the best player in the game, you need your brain checked. The track record is simply too extensive. He hasn’t finished outside of the top-five in the AL MVP voting IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER and has led the league in OPS in each of the last three full seasons. Trout is the best player in the game, and it isn’t particularly close.
I don’t have a problem with Mookie Betts at #2 and am fine with Jacob DeGrom third — he’s the best pitcher in the game. Soto at #4 is fair as well. He was unbelievable during the Nationals World Series run and has turned into possibly the toughest out in the game. Tatis Jr. at #5 is way too high. He barely has a full season of games under his belt and really slumped towards the end of last year after a scorching hot start. That’s merely recency bias at it’s best.
Francisco Lindor? There’s no way he should even be on this list. Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman at #7 and #9 is respectable. Although I would have Gerrit Cole ahead of both of them. Bringing up the rear of the list for O’Dowd is D.J. LeMahieu, who shouldn’t be in the top-ten. He had an unbelievable 50 games last year but has finished with an OPS below .800 in two of the last three full seasons.
As I said above, having anybody ahead of Mike Trout is frankly embarrassing. No offense to Mookie Betts; he just belongs in the #2 spot. Yelich is a little high, but he should be on this list. I actually like the inclusion of Rendon. He’s had an OBP of over .400 in three of the last four seasons. However, #4 is probably a little high. Again, Fernando Tatis in the top-five is crazy, and there’s no way he should be ahead of Juan Soto. Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story have both beniffited from playing in Colorado. I don’t think either of them are top-ten players in the game, but Manny Machado is deserving. Cody Bellinger is not, however.
Sherman’s list is easily the most egregious. Mike Trout at #3? That is blasphemous. I wouldn’t mind having Betts and Soto right behind him, though. By now, I think I’ve made it clear what I think about having Tatis that high. DeGrom and Cole are fine at #5 and #6 respectively. Freeman belongs in the top-ten, and Seager dominated last year’s postseason, but he’ll have to do a lot more than that to crack my top-ten.
Kenny has two mistakes in his top-five. You should already know one by now, but Bregman also shouldn’t be on this list at all, especially after the trash can fiasco. Yelich, Freeman, Cole, and DeGrom are all deserving, but Story is far too high for my taste.
- Mike Trout
- Juan Soto
- Mookie Betts
- Jacob DeGrom
- Gerrit Cole
- Freddie Freeman
- Anthony Rendon
- Ronald Acuña Jr.
- Fernando Tatis Jr.
- Manny Machado
We can skip over Mike Trout and go straight to Juan Soto. He would have been the MVP of the NL if not for his weird COVID situation to begin the season. The man had a .490 OBP last season for goodness sake. I understand the sample size is small. But still, that’s ridiculous. Right now, he’s my second-best player in the game. Mookie Betts is fantastic; he belongs in the top-three, and the two best pitchers follow him. Freeman’s consistency and recent uptick in production with protection in the lineup firmly cements him inside the top-ten.
After that is where the debates should begin. Rendon is among the most underrated players in the game. I’m so glad he decided to take his talents to the other side of the country and play for the Angels. That’s best compliment you can give a player. Acuña should be on everybody’s list. He’s the only legitimate 40/40 threat in the majors, and his willingness to take walks led to an OBP of over .400 this past season. Tatis also belongs inside the top-ten, but I would say Acuña has shown more through this point in their respective careers. I rounded out the list with Machado, but there really is a number of players that could have filled that spot.