It’s an exciting time to be a baseball fan. The game is brimming with young, energetic talents who are determined to bring the sport into the 21st century, while relics from the past like Bartolo Colon and Ichiro are still employed. Here we look at the ten best all-around position players in the league.
Sorry Rockies fans, but the splits just aren’t there to back it up. Despite leading the NL in homers and RBI the last two seasons, Arenado is just a .266, .783 OPS hitter away from Coors Field. He’s still one of the most lethal bats in the game, but his drastic home/road drop-off kept him out of our top ten.
You just can’t help but like this guy. We hope not ranking him in our top ten doesn’t prevent him from wanting to grab a beer or see the new Star Wars with us, because that’d be a real shame. He gets better every year at the plate and in the field, and his bromance with Kris Bryant is the stuff that Paul Rudd movies are made of.
10. Corey Seager
He might have a baby face and facial hair that suggests he hasn’t quite completed puberty, but this kid is a full-grown man with a bat in his hands. In his first full season, Corey won Rookie of the Year, finished third in MVP voting, and kept up with his extensive collection of Pokémon cards. His brother Kyle ain’t too bad either over in Seattle.
9. Josh Donaldson
Unrivaled intensity and an air of douchiness work in tandem with big right-handed power and solid defense to make Donaldson a nightmare to every team but his own. He was a bit of a late bloomer compared to others on this list and will hit free agency in 2019 at 33. Look for him to maintain his MVP-caliber play and net a huge payday.
8. Manny Machado
M&M hit 37 homers last year as a 23-year-old and should only continue to develop at the plate. While he’s had some minor character concerns arise and once intentionally flung his bat at the player listed before him, those should dissipate with age and the massive contract he signs with the Yankees in 2019.
7. Robinson Cano
One of only two players on this list born outside of the nineties is the annoyingly casual, Skippy-smooth second baseman Robinson Cano. Don’t let his seemingly lackadaisical style of play fool you, Cano has been one of the most consistent stars in baseball for the last eight years. While his massive contract will eventually sink Seattle, he should remain one of baseball’s best for the next couple of seasons.
6. José Altuve
A half-foot away from being a dwarf, this fleet-footed hit machine rarely gets the respect he deserves. That’s why we’re here, José. Two AL batting titles in the last three years, stellar defense, and a boatload of stolen bases, all while being smaller than my 12-year-old cousin, make him hard not to root for.
5. Francisco Lindor
As we spoiled baseball fans enjoy the Golden Age of shortstops, Lindor has managed to emerge as the face of the youth movement. Equipped with a glowing smile and love of the game that gets scouts and coaches hard faster than Cialis, Frankie burst onto the national radar last October. While mainly heralded for his superb fielding and superlative intangibles, Lindor is starting to separate himself at the plate as well.
4. Mookie Betts
We almost put Mookie higher on this list for his name alone but settled on the four spot for the Red Sox right fielder. Standing at just 5’9, Betts possesses enormous power for his size (31 HRs in 2016) while also managing to hit for average, steal some bases, and play Gold Glove defense in the outfield. And again, his name is Mookie Betts!
3. Kris Bryant
Hailing from Asgard and opting for a bat instead of a hammer like his brother Thor, Bryant is every coach’s wet dream. He’s huge (6’5, 230), he’s athletic, and he has the charisma and natural feel for the game that makes God say “Okay, f**k it. Let’s give Chicago a World Series.”
2. Bryce Harper
Following a down year in 2016 in which he played through myriad injuries, the phenom is off to a scary good start in 2017. His smooth left-handed power stroke is the best one we’ve seen since Griffey, and his shiny, slicked-back haircut makes him look like he should be on Peaky Blinders. Oh, and he’s only 24. Greatness awaits.
1. Mike Trout
Sorry, this isn’t Se7en or The Usual Suspects. There’s no shocking twist to be had. Mike Trout is undoubtedly the best player in baseball. The two-time MVP winner and five-time All-Star is still just 25 years of age, meaning he hasn’t even entered his prime yet. With his youth, elite tools, and a Redwood tree trunk-sized neck, Trout has no ceiling in sight.