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Paul Beaty/Associated Press
Baseball is a team game, and stars alone cannot power their clubs to a World Series. Just ask Mike Trout.
However, stars tend to define the sport. Some teams have numerous such players. Others have a singular figure, while more still have players or prospects on the cusp of stardom.
Regardless, there is always at least one player who figures to pique the interest of a given fanbase and provide optimism for the future.
The following is a ranking of each team’s biggest star. These players were chosen and ranked based on a number of factors, including recent past production (within the last couple of seasons), potential and charisma, among other things.
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Julio Cortez/Associated Press
30. Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers
Boyd is a bit of a confounding pitcher.
The 29-year-old has excellent stuff and decent command, as evidenced by his 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings against just 2.4 walks per nine. Indeed, Boyd racked up 238 strikeouts last season, and the Tigers seem high enough on the left-hander—and they did not “actively” look to trade Boyd this offseason, per Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
However, Boyd has a penchant for giving up the long ball. He served up 39 gophers last year, the highest mark in the American League. Boyd also gave up 27 homers in 2018.
That said, Boyd is probably Detroit’s best established asset. Former No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize might emerge as a star, but he has yet to throw a single inning in the majors. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tigers staple Miguel Cabrera is over the hill at 37.
Honorable mention: Miguel Cabrera
29. Mike Yastrzemski, San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner moved to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Buster Posey is in decline and opted out of playing in 2020. Thus, the Giants are lacking a true standout figure in the clubhouse. But Yastrzemski can be that guy.
The grandson of Hall of Fame outfielder Carl Yastrzemski made a name for himself in 2019, clubbing 21 homers in 411 plate appearances while finishing the year with a 123 OPS+. He can also play any outfield position.
San Francisco is not expecting to compete for a playoff spot, but increased production from guys like Alex Dickerson paired with the expected contributions of infielder Mauricio Dubon could make the Giants interesting nonetheless. Yaz has the most interesting bat in the mix, and San Francisco hopes the late bloomer can continue to produce in the middle of the order.
Honorable mention: Alex Dickerson
28. Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins
Anderson looks more and more like a potential star in the making.
After a strong rookie campaign in 2018, he followed by hitting 20 homers with an .811 OPS. Although his walk rate decreased slightly while his strikeout rate went up, Anderson added 68 points to his slugging percentage.
Just as importantly, the 27-year-old is tremendously versatile in the field. Anderson split time between third base and right field in 2019, and he was exceptional at both spots, posting eight defensive runs saved (DRS) at the hot corner and five DRS in right field, with positive ultimate zone ratings (UZR) at both spots, per FanGraphs.
Anderson has decent slugging potential at the dish, and he does tremendous work with the glove. He is one to watch.
Honorable mention: Jonathan Villar
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Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
27. Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners
Haniger can mash. He has also routinely struggled to stay healthy.
The California native looked to be on the cusp of stardom after a stellar 2018 in which he hit 26 homers with an .859 OPS and 139 OPS+. Haniger made his first All-Star team and finished 11th in American League MVP voting.
He got off to another strong start last year, hitting seven homers and posting an .851 OPS in the first month. But in June, Haniger had the extreme misfortune of suffering a ruptured testicle after fouling a ball off himself. He also underwent surgeries in January and February, and was placed on the 60-day injured list at the end of June because of a back injury.
The 29-year-old still has upside as a slugger and plus defender in right field. But will Haniger take the field for the Mariners this season after a slew of physical maladies?
Honorable mention: Kyle Seager
26. Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles
It’s unknown whether Mancini can play this year as he recovers from stage 3 colon cancer, though it seems unlikely. However, it should not negate what he has accomplished.
The 28-year-old had a huge 2019 for an otherwise lackluster Orioles squad. Mancini mashed 35 homers, finishing the year with a 135 OPS+. His walk rate rose while his strikeout rate fell, and Mancini also showed resilience in bouncing back from a subpar 2018.
There is no doubting he is developing into one of the more notable sluggers in baseball. Mancini has hit at least 24 homers in each of the last three seasons, and he has ranked among the top 30 players in barrels in each of the last two years, per Baseball Savant.
Of course, some things are bigger than baseball, and health is paramount for Mancini. Hopefully, he can recover in due time and get back to crushing baseballs.
Honorable mention: John Means
25. Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals
All due respect to Jorge Soler—who broke the single-season franchise record for homers last year with 48—and Adalberto Mondesi, but Merrifield gets this spot.
The two-time reigning hit champion surpassed 200 base knocks in 2019 (206) while also hitting 16 homers, hitting an MLB-high 10 triples and stealing 20 bases. Like some of the other guys below him, Merrifield seems to be a late bloomer. But he continues to produce at a high level.
There are some reasons for concern, however. Merrifield ranked below the 20th percentile in average exit velocity, hard hit percentage and barrels. He was also caught stealing 10 times, the worst mark in baseball. Plus, he has been a subpar outfielder when he plays there.
Still, it is pretty entertaining to watch Whit slap a ball into the outfield and dash around the bases.
Honorable mention: Jorge Soler
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Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press
24. Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox
Jose Abreu has been the most productive White Sox staple, and Yoan Moncada might be the team’s best player.
But it is hard to leave Anderson off the list. He plays with a certain flair, highlighted by each new bat throw (yes throw, not a bat “flip”).
Oh, Anderson also won the AL batting title last year, for whatever that is worth. The 27-year-old slashed .335/.357/.508 with 18 homers and 17 stolen bases and a 129 OPS+.
Of course, we should address the elephant in the room: The 2019 season looks like an extreme outlier. Anderson didn’t hit above .257 in the previous two years. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was a whopping .399 for the campaign.
Yet, for all his faults, Anderson is undeniably a star. He can cement his status with another excellent year in 2020.
Honorable mention: Yoan Moncada
23. Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers
Ah, Joey Gallo, the king of the three true outcomes! Only, things were a bit different for Gallo in 2019.
The 26-year-old had a higher strikeout rate, but he also had a higher walk rate. Most importantly, Gallo forced himself to be more disciplined. His swing rate decreased by nearly eight percentage points, and he hunted fastballs.
As a result, Gallo posted a career-high .986 OPS and 145 OPS+ while hitting 22 home runs. He crushed fastballs to the tune of a .289 average and an absurd .702 slugging percentage. Unfortunately, he fractured his wrist in July.
Gallo played in just 70 games. The real shame in it was not just the fact that he seemed to find a groove at the plate, but also how well he played in the outfield. Gallo posted five DRS and a 9.2 UZR/150 for the year while playing all three outfield positions.
Remember, this is a guy who surpassed the 40-homer mark in both 2017 and 2018. If he continues to remain disciplined and stays healthy, Gallo is bound for superstardom.
Honorable mention: Corey Kluber
22. Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh‘s switch-hitting first baseman had a huge year in 2019.
Bell clubbed 37 homers while ranking sixth in the NL with 116 RBI. The results seemed much more akin to the promise Bell showed as a 24-year-old in 2017, when he hit 26 homers and had an .800 OPS.
There is reason to expect more of the same in 2020. Bell ranked in the 90th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, xwOBA and xSLG in 2019. That bodes extremely well for continued success.
At the same time, Bell cooled significantly in the second half. He had just 10 homers and a .780 OPS after the All-Star break, looking far more mortal than he had during the first few months.
Still, the Pirates remain high on Bell. They retained him this offseason despite the fact that they are rebuilding, and he is clearly their best asset. However, he is almost 28, and the rebuilding Bucs might not have a choice but to move him if he excels early in 2020.
Honorable mention: Bryan Reynolds
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Matt York/Associated Press
21. Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks
If these ranking were solely based on 2019 performance, Marte would be closer to the top five.
The 26-year-old slashed .329/.389/.592 with 32 homers and 10 stolen bases last year. He was otherworldly in the second half with 12 homers and a 1.081 OPS in 55 games. All that resulted in his placing fourth in NL MVP voting and ranking sixth in WAR.
Marte saw more power by pulling the ball slightly more, but he can spray it all over the field. Not to mention, he can play either middle infield position or center field, though he will likely remain at second base with the arrival of Starling Marte.
In any case, expectations should be tempered. Much like Anderson, the 2019 season is more of an outlier than anything else at this stage.
However, it is clear Marte has tons of talent, and he will have the opportunity to be a run-producer yet again in a sneaky-good Diamondbacks lineup.
Honorable mention: Madison Bumgarner
20. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto’s success will invariably be defined by the growth of its young players. But Ryu was the Blue Jays’ top target in free agency, and they will count on the left-hander to revitalize a starting rotation that ranked 24th in WAR last year.
The 33-year-old was the MLB ERA champion with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019, posting a 2.32 ERA in 29 starts and leading the majors with just 1.2 walks per nine innings. Ryu also led the NL with a 179 ERA+.
His success stems from his ability to locate all of his pitches in any quadrant of the strike zone. He can work up with the fastball while also utilizing a bevy of changeups, which fall off the table against both right- and left-handed hitters.
As a result, the South Korean induces a ton of soft contact. Ryu ranked in the 93rd percentile in average exit velocity allowed.
It should be noted Ryu has a career 2.98 ERA in just over 740 innings. But he also has a history of injuries, and his ability to stay healthy will be a major determinant in how much year-over-year improvement the Blue Jays experience this season.
Honorable mention: Bo Bichette
19. Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay Rays
Picking one guy to represent the Rays is a tough task, because they are one of the most complete teams in baseball. But Morton is a good representative.
The 36-year-old was named to his second consecutive AL All-Star team in 2019, posting a 3.05 ERA and striking out a career-high 240 batters in nearly 195 innings. He also led MLB by conceding just 0.7 homers per nine innings, a major plus given the 2020 season is starting in the summer months when the ball flies.
To the casual fan, it might seem like Morton struggled to replicate his dominance in the second half. Indeed, he had a 4.06 ERA in 14 starts. But Morton actually had more strikeouts per walk than he did in the first half, and his opponents’ BABIP rose to .327. In other words, Morton probably got unlucky.
Like Ryu, Morton induces soft contact by locating the fastball and wiping out hitters with a dominant curveball. Opponents hit just .151 with a .193 xwOBA against Morton’s curveball last season. It is one of the best breaking balls in the game.
The Rays are looking to contend for a World Series title this year. They will need Morton to keep pitching like an ace to do so.
Honorable mention: Austin Meadows
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Orlando Ramirez/Associated Press
18. Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
Tatis’ selection HERE is a bit of a contradiction in terms of the stipulations. But the youngster is that electric.
He immediately asserted himself as arguably the best player on the Padres in his rookie season, slashing .317/.379/.590 with 22 homers, 16 stolen bases and a 153 OPS+ in 84 games.
The 21-year-old ranked in the 90th percentile for barrels and the 95th percentile in sprint speed. Tatis can flash the leather, as well, though he made a ton of throwing gaffes last year and ranked second in errors committed (18).
However, just listing statistics does the youngster a disservice. Tatis emanates excitement every time he steps on the field, especially on the basepaths. From scoring from first on singles to tagging up and scoring on an infield popup, Tatis is one of the most daring baserunners in the game.
There are no limits to his potential, and expectations are through the roof.
Honorable mention: Manny Machado
17. Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto remains the symbolic face of the Reds, but Suarez is their biggest star.
The 29-year-old finished second in homers last season (49) when he clubbed an absurd 29 dingers after the All-Star break. Suarez has posted consecutive seasons with at least 30 homers, 100 RBI and a 130 OPS+. He is a steady run-producer in Cincy’s lineup.
One of the pivotal questions for Suarez: Can he cut down on strikeouts? The Venezuelan led the majors with 189 punchouts last year, and he struggled against breaking balls and off-speed pitches.
Suarez consistently destroys fastballs. Perhaps if he models Gallo and hunts his pitch, he will be more prolific in 2020.
In any case, the Reds will count on Suarez to drive in runs as they hope to come out on top of a crowded NL Central.
Honorable mention: Joey Votto
16. Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
Goldy was one of the best players in baseball when he went to St. Louis in December 2018.
The veteran had won two straight Silver Slugger Awards in his final years with the Diamondbacks while also playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base. Goldschmidt ranked fourth among all players in WAR from 2013 to 2018, despite the fact that FanGraphs knocks first basemen more heavily for positioning.
Although Goldschmidt was still productive in his first season with the Redbirds, it feels like a disappointment.
The 32-year-old hit 34 homers and drove in 97 runs. He also posted career-low marks in OPS (.821) and OPS+ (113) during a full season.
Still, it could be argued Goldschmidt had a transformative impact on the Cardinals. His glove work at first helped the Cardinals go from worst to first in terms of errors committed and fielding percentage.
St. Louis will need steadier offense from Goldschmidt in 2020, but the six-time All-Star certainly seems capable of a return to form.
Honorable mention: Jack Flaherty
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Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
15. Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins
Donaldson’s career seemed in somewhat dire straits after the 2018 season. The 2015 AL MVP had played just 165 games combined in 2017 and ’18, and he hit just .246 in 52 games in 2018.
But the Atlanta Braves signed the veteran third baseman to a one-year deal ahead of the 2019 campaign, and Donaldson immediately proved he is still one of the best players in the game.
The 34-year-old hit 37 homers and was one of just seven players with at least 100 walks. He also played outstanding defense.
After a stellar year in Atlanta, Donaldson joins a loaded Twins lineup that set the single-season record for home runs in 2019 (307). Expect the Bringer of Rain to do just that in 2020.
Honorable mention: Nelson Cruz
14. Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
Harper is consistently labeled as overrated. But in a paradoxical way, this makes him incredibly underrated.
The 2010 No. 1 overall pick had a fantastic year in 2019, slashing .260/.372/.510 with 35 homers and 114 RBI. He also stole 15 bases and walked close to 100 times.
Perhaps even more notably, Harper was vastly improved in right field. After being one of the worst defenders in baseball in 2018, he posted 10 DRS and a 10.0 UZR in 2019.
It seems like Harper is held to the standard of his historic 2015 MVP season. That is simply not fair to a guy who continues to produce at a high level.
Moreover, Harper crushed opposing pitchers with runners on base last year (1.149 OPS). With a healthy Andrew McCutchen returning to the leadoff spot for the Phils, we could see Harper put up big numbers in this shortened season.
Honorable mention: J.T. Realmuto
13. Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics
We go from a player many deem “overrated” to a guy who—thanks in part to his market and stoic attitude—consistently flies under the radar.
Chapman rivals Nolan Arenado as the best defensive third baseman in baseball. He ranked just behind Arenado in outs above average and is particularly excellent coming in on the baseball. Chapman has won consecutive Gold Gloves and will be hard-pressed to give up his crown.
The 27-year-old is plenty productive at the dish, as well. Chapman hit 36 homers and had an .848 OPS last year. He ranked in at least the 94th percentile for both average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage.
Guys like Matt Olson and Marcus Semien also have merit for this spot. But Chapman is only just entering his prime, and his consistent excellence in the last two years points to superstardom. Heck, there’s probably an argument for moving him higher HERE.
Honorable mention: Matt Olson
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John Bazemore/Associated Press
12. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
The “will they or won’t they?” Mookie Betts trade saga was always going to dominate the headlines this offseason. Still, that is rather unfortunate, considering the year Bogaerts had in 2019.
Boston’s star shortstop set new career highs in homers (33), RBI (117) and OPS (.939) last year, also topping 190 hits for the third time in his career. He also ranked eighth in WAR, the second-best mark among shortstops (behind Semien).
While the 27-year-old leaves something to be desired defensively, he does not have many holes at the plate. Bogaerts hit .336 with a .592 slugging percentage against fastballs last year. He also hit .273 against breaking balls and, despite a .232 clip, slugged .535 against off-speed pitches.
J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers were also prolific hitters last season, but Martinez carries slightly less weight as a guy who primarily fills the DH spot for the Red Sox, and Devers is still in the early stages of cementing his stardom. Chris Sale might also have been a candidate for this spot, but he underwent Tommy John surgery at the end of March.
Bogaerts got paid like a superstar last April, and Boston will need him to carry the mantle without Betts in the lineup.
Honorable mention: J.D. Martinez
11. Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves
First baseman Freddie Freeman deserves a spot on the list. Once again, however, it is the young player with gravitas who wins out.
Acuna was just three stolen bases shy becoming the fifth member of the 40-40 club (40 homers and 40 steals in the same season). Still, he finished his sophomore campaign with 41 dingers and 37 stolen bases.
The 22-year-old has routinely dazzled with his combination of power and speed since he stampeded to the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2018.
Naturally, a 40-40 season is out of the question in a 60-game campaign. However, a 20-20 effort might not be out of Acuna’s reach.
Aside from milestones, he was about the only Braves star supplying consistent offense during an NLDS loss to the Cardinals. He had eight hits and a 1.454 OPS, though the Braves meekly bowed out in Game 5.
Atlanta will hope Acuna is only just beginning his ascent to becoming the best player in baseball. He certainly has all the tools.
Honorable mention: Freddie Freeman
10. Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
This was a tough choice. Max Scherzer probably has the best claim for this spot, and Stephen Strasburg is fresh off a World Series MVP and a huge contract.
However, it is too difficult to pick against Soto. The youngster is not only on his way to becoming the best player in the game, but also has exceptional moxie. Watching Soto taking pitches has become a fascination, given how he stares back at opposing pitchers.
Of course, it is hardly just a show. Soto slashed .282/.401/.548 with 34 homers and 110 RBI while ranking fifth in baseball with 108 walks. He also ranked in at least the 90th percentile in average exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, xwOBA and xSLG. He’s real deal and, to top it all off, he is still just 21 years old.
Soto continues to excel at the plate. But the most telling statistic is this: He tied for the lead among left fielders in outs above average. The young phenom continues to excel in all facets of the game. He even had three homers and an 1.178 OPS in last year’s World Series.
Anthony Rendon might not be in Washington, but Soto is more than ready to accept being the face of the franchise.
Honorable mention: Max Scherzer
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Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press
9. Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
When you have a nickname like El Mago (the Magician), you belong in the top 10.
Baez was the runner-up for the NL MVP Award in 2018, and he had another tremendous year in 2019. The 27-year-old hit 29 homers and stole 11 bases, though injuries hampered him down the stretch.
Some fans might argue Baez regressed solely based on production. Conversely, he actually had a higher average exit velocity than he did in 2018.
Baez is still a gifted hitter. But he truly is a magician at shortstop. The Puerto Rican was No. 2 in baseball in outs above average (19) and somehow did not win a Gold Glove Award. Baez has exceptional range and a cannon of an arm, plus his tags have become their own legend.
Whether he is on a daring foray around the bases or hitting tape-measure home runs, Baez is one of the most exciting talents in the game and a vibrant personality.
Or, as Cubs fans might simply say: “Javy being Javy.”
Honorable mention: Kris Bryant
8. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
Arenado has played seven seasons in the major leagues. He has won a Gold Glove in each of those seasons.
The 29-year-old was exceptional with the glove once again in 2019, ranking No. 1 among third basemen in outs above average.
As good a defender as he is, Arenado has been equally tremendous in the batter’s box. He had arguably his best season in 2019, hitting 41 homers and posting a career-high .962 OPS. The California native has hit at least 37 homers in each of the last five seasons while hitting over .300 in two of the last three years. Simply put: He rakes.
The argument could be made Arenado benefits from the Coors effect. But a career 122 OPS+ (adjusted for ballpark) is still pretty strong.
Coors should not negate how productive he has been, nor does it lessen his generational talent at the hot corner.
Honorable mention: Trevor Story
7. Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
There are very few comparisons for Lindor’s level of talent.
The switch-hitting shortstop had his second consecutive season with 100-plus runs scored, 30-plus homers and 20-plus steals in 2019. He is equally productive from either side of the plate, all while playing a plus-plus defensive shortstop.
Lindor ranks first among shortstops and seventh overall in terms of WAR since 2015. His consistent excellence has made him the best player at the position. Much like Baez, he also possesses a magnetic personality and plays with sheer joy.
It remains to be seen what the future holds for Lindor in Cleveland. He previously suspended extension talks with the club in March, per Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, and might be a name to keep an eye on over the next month and into the offseason.
Regardless, Indians fans should be sure to appreciate Lindor’s talents while he is still in town.
Honorable mention: Jose Ramirez
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Kathy Willens/Associated Press
6. Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
Not much needs to be written about deGrom’s dominance at this point.
The right-hander won his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award in 2019 after going 11-8 with a 2.43 ERA and NL-best 255 strikeouts. Despite some shakiness in the first half, deGrom went 7-1 with a 1.44 ERA and .481 OPS against in 14 second-half starts. It was an absurd display of dominance.
The 32-year-old simply overpowers hitters with a dominant fastball-changeup combination, also mixing in a wipeout slider for good measure.
Honorable mention: Pete Alonso
5. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
Say what you will about the Astros’ response to the sign-stealing scandal, but Bregman is unquestionably one of the best players in the game.
The 26-year-old ranked just 0.1 WAR behind Mike Trout for the top spot in baseball last year. He led the majors with 119 walks while hitting 41 homers and posting a 1.015 OPS and career-high 162 OPS+.
Bregman is hardly the biggest or strongest of players. But he is among the most disciplined hitters in the game and rarely misses his pitch.
Additionally, Bregman excels at multiple positions. He still holds down the hot corner for Houston but also filled in at shortstop when Carlos Correa was on the injured list.
Bregman has only gotten better in each of the past two seasons. It is not hard to envision an MVP Award in his future.
Honorable mention: Jose Altuve
4. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
With all due respect to Aaron Judge, all eyes are on Cole this season.
The Yankees made the right-hander the most expensive pitcher in baseball with a nine-year, $324 million deal this past offseason. New York hopes Cole is the ace it needs to win another World Series.
Cole dominated with the Astros last season. He led the majors in strikeouts (326), ERA+ (185) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.8) while also leading the AL in ERA (2.50) and fielding independent pitching (2.64).
The 2011 No.1 overall pick went 15-0 from June onward and was 11-0 with a 1.79 ERA and 14.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 14 starts after the All-Star break.
More importantly, Cole is durable. He has thrown over 200 innings in each of the last three seasons, and the Yankees will likely assign him a heavy workload as they chase championship No. 28.
Honorable mention: Aaron Judge
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Chris Carlson/Associated Press
3. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
What Yelich has done in Milwaukee is incredible.
In two years with the Brewers, Yelich has hit 80 homers and stolen 52 bases while posting a 1.046 OPS and 171 OPS+. Last season, he hit 44 bombs to go with 30 stolen bases. Lest we forget, he also missed the better part of September because of a broken kneecap.
The 28-year-old led the majors in slugging (.671) and OPS (1.100) while also leading the NL in batting average (.329) and OBP (.429). Yelich’s Baseball Savant profile is something out of a video game, because he ranks in the top 4 percent of many advanced hitting categories.
It will be interesting to see how Yelich responds to the injury. But after signing a big extension with Milwaukee this spring, he can simply focus on giving opposing pitchers hell.
Honorable mention: Josh Hader
2. Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Cody Bellinger might be the reigning NL MVP, but Betts is L.A.’s best player and biggest star.
Mookie was not quite as prolific as he had been during his 2018 AL MVP campaign, but he still led the bigs with 135 runs scored and hit 29 homers with a .915 OPS. The 27-year-old also captured his fourth consecutive Gold Glove Award.
Like Yelich’s, Betts’ advanced hitting stats are absurd. Plus, like Bregman, Betts does not miss his pitch.
Betts can do anything on the diamond. He hits for average and power, takes the extra base better than nearly anyone in the game and plays one of the best defensive right fields in baseball.
The Dodgers announced a 12-year megadeal for Betts on Wednesday, who might put the Dodgers over the top in his first season with the team.
Honorable mention: Cody Bellinger
1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Was there ever any doubt? Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, bar none.
Trout won his third AL MVP last season after hitting a career-high 45 homers while posting a 1.083 OPS and MLB-best 185 OPS+. As previously mentioned, Trout led all players in WAR, and his 180 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) was also the best mark in baseball. He did all that despite missing 28 games.
The 28-year-old could retire today and be a lock for the Hall of Fame. His 72.8 Baseball Reference WAR ranks 86th all-time, ahead of the recently elected Derek Jeter and Larry Walker as well as the likes of Tony Gwynn and Eddie Murray,
Trout was not up to his normal standards in center field last season, but he is routinely one of the best players at the position. He is also one of the strongest baserunners in the game, ranking fifth in FanGraphs‘ baserunning metric despite stealing just 11 bases.
The Angels are trying desperately to surround Trout with the talent necessary for the team to play into October. Ultimately, however, Trout’s individual brilliance is something to behold each season.
Honorable mention: Anthony Rendon