This is the first of a two part list that ranks the top 100 players in Major League Baseball. This list includes both pitchers and position players, and is reflective of the very best players right now – not who had the best 2019 season, or who the top players will be in future years. The first part of the MLB 100 rankings features numbers 100 through 51.
Note: “Position Rank” indicates a player’s ranking relative to players at the same position (first base, third base, outfield, etc.). For players with multiple positions listed, the one that is ranked is the first – with the exception of Shohei Ohtani.
Honorable Mentions: Nicholas Castellanos, Mitch Haniger, Tim Anderson, Dansby Swanson, Yasiel Puig, Lucas Giolito, Mike Minor, Tyler Glasnow, Josh Hader
100: Trey Mancini, OF, Baltimore Orioles (Position Rank: #28) – The Orioles’ best player just barely makes the last spot on this list as the only Baltimore player represented.
99: Kyle Hendricks, P, Chicago Cubs (Position Rank: #26) – Hendricks has long been a reliable and clutch starting pitcher for the Cubs, and he won the Major League ERA title in 2016 with his 2.13 mark.
98: Brett Gardner, OF, New York Yankees (Position Rank: #27) – The “Gardy Party” raged on in 2019. Gardner’s 3.6 fWAR was tied for the third-best total on the AL East champion Yankees.
97: Adam Eaton, OF, Washington Nationals (Position Rank: #26) – Acquired by the Nationals in a blockbuster trade that also sent Lucas Giolito to the White Sox, Eaton proved to be a key part of the Nats’ World Series Run.
96: Yordan Alvarez, DH, Houston Astros (Position Rank: #3) – Alvarez burst onto the scene in 2019, as his otherworldly 1.067 OPS led him to AL Rookie of the Year honors.
95: Sonny Gray, P, Cincinnati Reds (Position Rank: #25) – Gray revitalized his career after he was traded to the Reds prior to last season. The righty’s 3.42 FIP in 2019 was his lowest since 2013.
94: Corey Kluber, P, Texas Rangers (Position Rank: #24) – After a trade to Texas, two-time AL Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber will look to rebuild his value after a lost 2019 season due to injuries.
93: Andrew McCutchen, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (Position Rank: #25) – “Cutch” is not the MVP-caliber player he once was, but he is still a well-above-average ballplayer. He has recorded an OBP of at least .360 and an OPS of at least .790 in each of the last three seasons.
92: Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds (Position Rank: #8) – Like McCutchen, Votto is a former MVP who has declined due to age; 2019 was the first time Votto has ever had an OPS lower than .800 for a full season. However, it’s hard to believe there isn’t something left in the tank for Votto.
91: Charlie Blackmon, OF, Colorado Rockies (Position Rank: #24) – Blackmon is a bit of an enigma. His home/road splits (1.170 home OPS, .731 road) are the product of an outfielder who plays his home games in the altitude of Coors field, which makes it difficult to appropriately evaluate him against the rest of the league. His suspect defense doesn’t help, either.
90: Lance Lynn, P, Texas Rangers (Position Rank: #23) – Lynn built a solid career for himself across the years in St. Louis, but lacked consistency in 2018 with the Twins and Yankees after the Cardinals did not resign him. The Rangers must have seen his breakout coming, as they signed him before his stellar 2019 in which he ranked third among all qualified Major League pitchers with his 6.8 fWAR.
89: Willson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs (Position Rank: #5) – Contreras is an electric ballplayer, and is one of the most gifted offensive catchers in the Major Leagues. However, his pitch framing must take a step forward if he is to fully live up to his potential.
88: Blake Snell, P, Tampa Bay Rays (Position Rank: #22) – Snell won the AL Cy Young award in 2018 with a 1.89 ERA, but dealt with injuries in ‘19 that significantly hindered his performance.
87: Roberto Pérez, C, Cleveland Indians (Position Rank: #4) – Pérez staked his claim as one of the best defensive catchers in baseball in 2019, as he took home AL Gold Glove honors. He also blasted 24 homers, tied for fifth most among Major League backstops.
86: Whit Merrifield, 2B, Kansas City Royals (Position Rank: #6) – Merrifield was a late bloomer, as his first full Major League campaign came in his age 28 season. His 8.1 fWAR over the last two seasons is the sixth highest total among second basemen.
85: Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates (Position Rank: #7) – Bell showcased his tremendous power in 2019, as he mashed 37 homers. While he did slow down in the second half, he still drove in 116 runs.
84: Luis Severino, P, New York Yankees (Position Rank: #21) – Severino has the ability to be a top-end pitcher in baseball as he was in 2018, when his 28.2 K% was top-ten in baseball among qualified pitchers. Severino’s 2019 was lost to injuries, so he will look to regain his nasty stuff in ‘20.
83: Noah Syndergaard, P, New York Mets (Position Rank: #20) – The man known as “Thor” also boasts some of the best pure stuff in MLB. His 97.5 MPH average velocity on his sinker was tops among all pitchers (minimum 3000 pitches).
82: Gary Sánchez, C, New York Yankees (Position Rank: #3) – Sánchez is clearly one of the more talented catchers in the game, but struggles with consistency and defense have been problematic. He crushed 34 homers in just 106 games in 2019.
81: Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox (Position Rank: #23) – Benintendi has solidified himself as a capable hitter since his time as a top prospect in Boston. However, he regressed in 2019; his 2.0 fWAR was less than half of his 2018 total of 4.4.
80: Nelson Cruz, DH, Minnesota Twins (Position Rank: #2) – Cruz has defied father time and continued to rake into his late thirties. He has hit no fewer than 22 homers in each of the last eleven seasons.
79: James Paxton, P, New York Yankees (Position Rank: #19) – “The Big Maple” shined in his first year in the Bronx after a slow start to 2019. He recorded a K/9 of at least 10.0 for the third consecutive season.
78: Jorge Polanco, SS, Minnesota Twins (Position Rank: #12) – Polanco broke out in 2019, and was the starting shortstop for the American League in the All Star Game. His .841 OPS in ‘19 demolished a previous career-high of .773.
77: Starling Marte, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Position Rank: #22) – Marte was the focus of trade rumors for much of the winter, and for good reason. The new Diamondbacks’ outfielder proved himself as a solid player in Pittsburgh, as he has reached at least 3.0 fWAR in each of the last two seasons.
76: Yu Darvish, P, Chicago Cubs (Position Rank: #18) – Darvish’s in-season turnaround was astonishing in 2019. He began the year with a dreadful outing in which he was totally out of control, as he walked seven and gave up three earned runs in just 2.2 IP. As the year went on, he slowly began to show signs of progress. He turned small steps into dominance by season’s end. In the second half, he was seventh in MLB among qualified pitchers in ERA (2.76), and had the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio in the game by a longshot (16.86).
75: Marcell Ozuna, OF, Atlanta Braves (Position Rank: #21) – The Braves signed a powerful hitter that is capable of elite production in Ozuna. His best season came in 2017, when he was worth 5.0 fWAR. However, his defense could be a major question as he ages.
74: Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (Position Rank: #20) – While he is sometimes quite streaky, Pederson is an extremely capable leadoff bat atop the Dodgers’ loaded lineup. This darling of the three true outcomes is something of a representation of the modern game of baseball, with plenty of power and walks, along with a heightened strikeout total.
73: Aaron Nola, P Philadelphia Phillies (Position Rank: #17) – Nola’s magnificent 2018 season led to a third-place finish in the NL Cy Young voting. His 2019 season did not match the dominance of the previous, but his 202.1 IP and 3.4 fWAR are nothing to be ashamed of.
72: J.D. Martinez, DH, Boston Red Sox (Position Rank: #1) – Martinez is one of the best pure hitters in baseball, and is the highest ranked primary designed hitter on this list. In 2018, he accumulated 5.9 fWAR, a massive total for a player that started at DH for most of the year. He has hit at least 36 homers in each of the last three seasons.
71: Clayton Kershaw, P, Los Angeles Dodgers (Position Rank: #16) – Kershaw is one of the top pitchers of his generation, and a sure bet for the Hall of Fame. His numbers have dipped since his impeccable 2016 effort, but when he’s healthy, he is still capable of pitching like an ace.
70: Trevor Bauer, P, Cincinnati Reds (Position Rank: #15) – Bauer has garnered his fair share of infamy over the years. The 2018 season saw him post 5.8 fWAR, an elite number, but his total of 3.3 fWAR in 2019 fell a bit short of expectations. Also, in light of the current Astros scandal, maybe he was truly on to something with his 2018 accusations against Houston.
69: Michael Brantley, OF, Houston Astros (Position Rank: #19) – Brantley put up really nice numbers in his first year as an Astro. His 22 homers were a career high, and his .503 slugging percentage was his best since 2014.
68: Max Muncy, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers (Position Rank: #5) – Muncy came from obscurity to become one of the top power hitting infielders in the game. His 35 homers in 2019 were second most among primary second basemen.
67: Michael Conforto, OF, New York Mets (Position Rank: #18) – Conforto has rather quietly established himself as a formidable left-handed power hitter in the Mets’ lineup. His 33 homers and 92 RBI in 2019 were each career highs.
66: Rhys Hoskins, 1B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies (Position Rank: #6) – Hoskins made headlines when he debuted in 2017, and hit 18 homers in just fifty games. His wRC+ and slugging percentages have declined in the two seasons since, but he is still an extremely talented young player with a world of upside.
65: Austin Meadows, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (Position Rank: #17) – The Rays’ heist of Meadows and Tyler Glasnow, along with prospect arm Shane Baz, from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Chris Archer could go down as one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. Meadows was fantastic in 2019, as he posted 33 homers and a 142 wRC+, along with 4.0 fWAR. The left-handed outfielder is just 24 years old, and will look to cement himself among the best outfielders in the game in the coming seasons.
64: Luis Castillo, P, Cincinnati Reds (Position Rank: #13) – Castillo’s devastating changeup became arguably the single nastiest pitch in baseball in 2019. However, the fireballing right-hander has had control issues throughout his career, including in ‘19 when he walked 3.73 batters per nine innings.
63: Kyle Schwarber, OF, Chicago Cubs (Position Rank: #16) – Many were frustrated by Schwarber’s struggles in the years after his magical 2016 World Series. Yet, in 2019, he set career highs in games played, homers, RBI, and slugging percentage. At age 26, he still has the potential to become the elite hitter that the Cubs believed he would be when they drafted him fourth overall in 2014.
62: Eugenio Suárez, 3B, Cincinnati Reds (Position Rank: #12) – Suárez had a monster 2019, as he mashed 49 homers, the most ever for an NL third-baseman. While that total, like many in ‘19, may have been bloated by a “juiced ball”, there is no denying the tremendous power of Suárez.
61: Justin Turner, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers (Position Rank: #11) – The New York Mets gave up on Turner when they non-tendered him and allowed him to land in Los Angeles. Since 2014, his first year as a Dodger, Turner has slashed .302/.381/.506, proving himself as an top-level hitter.
60: Charlie Morton, P, Tampa Bay Rays (Position Rank: #12) – Throughout most of his career, Morton was an average starting pitcher for the Braves, Pirates, and Phillies. After signing with the Houston Astros before 2017, at age thirty-three, the club helped him discover a higher-velocity fastball and sharper curveball than ever before. He signed with the Rays before 2019, and had by far his best season, reaching 6.1 fWAR.
59: Carlos Santana, 1B, Cleveland Indians (Position Rank: #5) – Until 2018, Santana had spent his entire career in Cleveland, and had been one of the better all-around first-basemen in the league. Prior to ‘18, he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent, and inexplicably had his worst full season ever. After a series of trades and some interesting parting drama, he ended up back in Cleveland and was spectacular in ‘19, posting 4.4 fWAR.
58: Mike Clevinger, P, Cleveland Indians (Position Rank: #11) – Clevinger, along with his signature flow, has come into his own as a dominant starting pitcher for the Indians. His 12.07 K/9 was sixth-best in MLB, and his 2.49 FIP was the second lowest (minimum 120 IP).
57: Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals (Position Rank: #4) – During his tenure with the Arizona Diamondbacks, “Goldy” was incredibly underappreciated. That was supposed to change after he was traded to St. Louis, yet he went on to have by far the least productive season of his Major League career in 2019. The six-time All-Star will look to return to form in 2020.
56: Jeff McNeil, 2B, New York Mets (Position Rank: #4) – The man who is affectionately known as “The Squirrel” rose to stardom in a similar surprising manner to that of Whit Merrifield. He first reached the Big Leagues at age 26 after being selected in the twelfth round of the 2013 draft. He was worth 2.7 fWAR in just sixty-three games as a rookie, and was good for 4.6 fWAR in his sophomore campaign.
55: Patrick Corbin, P, Washington Nationals (Position Rank: #10) – Corbin has been an All-Star caliber starting pitcher for the last two seasons, and proved to be a versatile Swiss Army Knife for manager Dave Martinez in the 2019 playoffs, leading the Nationals to their first World Series title.
54: Andrelton Simmons, SS, Los Angeles Angels (Position Rank: #11) – Simmons is well-regarded as the premier defensive shortstop in baseball. His offense has not always kept pace, although his 7.9% strikeout rate was the lowest of any player over the last two seasons.
53: Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins (Position Rank: #15) – Kepler is an often undervalued outfielder for the Twins who had a terrific 2019 season, as he launched 36 homers and had an .855 OPS. Using Statcast’s Outs Above Average metric, Kepler also ranked among the top twenty defensive outfielders in baseball.
52: Gleyber Torres, SS, New York Yankees (Position Rank: #10) – The real prize of the 2016 blockbuster trade that sent closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs was young infielder Gleyber Torres. Still just twenty-three years old, Torres is a budding superstar who has fully lived up to his lofty expectations to this point. While his defense needs to improve, especially because he will be the Yankees’ primary shortstop in 2020, his bat is already elite. Torres’ 38 home runs were the most for any second baseman in ‘19.
51: Ramón Laureano, OF, Oakland Athletics (Position Rank: #14) – Appropriately nicknamed “Laser” for his cannon of an arm, Laureano is a superb all-around outfielder for the A’s. He discovered his power in 2019, blasting 24 homers.
Stay tuned for Part Two of these rankings, coming up tomorrow.
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