After 2 months of the 2017 MLB season, baseball fans can tell who put the most work in during the winter and improved their games. Still, as players try to reach their full potential, it still should be eminent who the best players are in our game now.
10. Josh Donaldson 3B- Toronto Blue Jays
After winning the AL MVP in 2015, the star third baseman followed his MVP campaign with a just as dominate season. He has been injured for most of 2017, although in his past 5 games he’s hit 4 homers, including 2 in one game against the Yankees on June 2.
You can always bet that Josh will hit 35+ dingers while maintaining a .370+ OBP. His power is what sets him apart from most 3B, and his stellar competitiveness and drive to win makes him a player that most teams covet to have, like his diving slide in the playoffs.
9. Max Scherzer SP- Washington Nationals
Few could deny Max Scherzer’s dominance in 2016, posting his best season in the majors since being with the Tigers in 2013. He has not missed a beat in 2017, on pace to beat his league leading 284 strikeouts in 2016, while posting a great 6-3 record and maintaining a WHIP under .900.
8. Paul Goldschmidt 1B- Arizona Diamondbacks
Goldy has been near the top of the “Who is the best 1B”, as he is a rare 5 category talent. He is one of only three first basemen in MLB history to have managed multiple seasons with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, and he and newly elected Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell are the only ones with multiple such years including a .290 batting average or better.
The most consistent problem with Goldy isn’t him, but the team around him. However, Arizona as looked like a different team this year, which is making Goldy reach his full potential.
7. Chris Sale SP- Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox franchise and organization has done wonders to Sale’s pitching effectiveness and efficiency. He is leading the MLB in strikeouts and K/9, and similar to Scherzer, Sale has a WHIP below .900. Although his last 2 starts he has been hit hard by Baltimore and his former team Chicago, he has managed to steal the wins. That helped improve his record to 7-2. With a pitching staff of Porcello, Sale, Price, Pomernaz, and currently injured Eduardo Rodriguez, it seems like the Red Sox can make a big playoff push with their pitching alone.
6. Jose Altuve 2B- Houston Astros
The league leader in batting average in 2016, Jose hasn’t let up within the early parts of the season. Currently slashing .326/.393/.520, and leading the Astros to a league best record of 42-16, it is probable that Altuve will be voted to his 4th consecutive all-star game and finish top 5 in AL MVP voting.
5. Kris Bryant 3B- Chicago Cubs
After securing National League Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in consecutive years to begin his big-league career and helping his Cubs snap a 108-year World Series championship drought, Bryant might seem to have already peaked at the age of 25. However, as the Cubbies have been struggling, Bryant’s numbers through 50 games have seen a drop off from his previous 2 seasons, where he has both a lower BA and OPB, while on pace for less dingers and RBI’s.
This is unlikely to stay though, since the Cubs are one of the most talented teams in the league today. Expect the numbers to go up as Joe Madden tries to find the leadoff hitter to replace Dexter Fowler Jr.
4. Mookie Betts CF,LF- Boston Red Sox
Even though he’s putting up solid numbers, Boston fans know Mookie can play at a much higher elite level. What worries fans though is that iconic legend David Ortiz is gone, which limits Bett’s RBI and runs opportunity.
However, Betts is one of the most talented and disciplined batters in the majors and will surely find his grove as the wear and tear of the season goes on. Lets also not get how fantastic of an outfielder he is.
3. Bryce Harper OF- Washington Nationals
After winning NL MVP honors in 2015, Bryce Harper’s 2016 was disappointing to say the least. He was walked a million times and never seemed to be able to get going. Now in 2017, it seems like MVP Bryce Harper is back and ready to shut up his critics who said he is a bust.
He’s currently slashing .322/.438/.639 with a 1.007 OPS. It seems every day Harper is a threat to go long, and with SS Trea Turner, 1B Ryan Zimmerman, and 2B Daniel Murphy, he will have plenty RBI and runs to improve his case as one of the elite players in our game.
2. Clayton Kershaw SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
The consensus best pitcher in the world returns after an injury riddled season in 2016. The Dodgers ace currently sits at a 7-2 record and his 2.28 ERA is one of the best in the NL.
His recent milestone of becoming the 2nd fastest pitcher to reach 2000 K’s is remarkable and is a testament to his greatness. During the postseason this year, he will try to prove why he’s already a 1st ballot HOF.
1. Mike Trout CF- Los Angeles Angels
And then the consensus best player! Although he’s injured, Trout has made great improvement over last year. Before the injury, he was slashing .337/.461(career high) and .761(career high by a wide margin).
The facts say Trout is redefining his game every season while carrying his team on his back the past 4 years. It’s unlikely he will receive MVP now, but beforehand, it was a lock Trout was receiving this. All baseball fans should be amazed of his work ethic to get better and better on a mediocre team.
Honorable Mentions: Nolan Arendo 3B Rockies, Anthony Rizzo 1B Cubs, Dallas Keuchel SP Astros, Corey Kluber SP Indians, Buster Posey C Giants.