Major League Baseball is full of the most talented position players on the planet. Which begs the question, who are the top ten position players in the MLB?
10: SS Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies)
Trevor Story was ranked as the number one shortstop by MLB Network. Story also placed 9th in NL MVP voting. So there is no surprise that he is making an appearance on this list. Story has provided elite defense and great power, while also providing a strong batting average. In 2019-2020 Story slashed .293/.361/.544/.905, hitting 45 home runs, and a WAR of 8.5. In 2019, Story provided exceptional defense, having a DRS of 21, in 2020 his DRS was 6.
From 2019-2020, Story allowed just a joined 18 errors, while playing arguably the hardest position besides pitcher and catcher. Any team would be lucky to have a guy like Story on the squad. I believe his talent to be worthy of being in the top ten for position players. However, to stay here he must continue to dominant and improve his road numbers. I believe him to be capable of this.
9: LF Christian Yelich (Milwaukee Brewers)
It would not be a top ten list without including 2018 MVP and 2019 MVP runner-up Christian Yelich. Yelich had a lackluster 2020 for a player of his caliber, but I think with how weird and short the season was we should not be concerned. He was ranked the best left fielder in the game by MLB Network.
Despite having a bad year for his standards, he was still able to bat an OBP of .356 and hit 12 home runs. He is looking to go back to his MVP-type numbers. So far in Spring Training, Yelich has been on fire. If he can continue this energy and production into the regular season we will see the same Yelich we saw in 2018 and 2019. The reason Christian Yelich is still making this list is because of his potential and how good he was not too long ago. I believe that 2020 was a fluke and he will dominate in the blue and gold.
8. CF/1B Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Similar to Yelich, Cody Bellinger also had a lackluster 2020 for a player of his caliber. But the 25-year-old star should have no problem bouncing back. Despite a lackluster 2020, Bellinger was still ranked as the second-best center fielder in the league by MLB Network, only behind Mike Trout. With the 2021 season being somewhat more normal than 2020, we should see a bunch of star players who struggled in 2020 return to form.
Cody Bellinger provided when it mattered most in 2020, the postseason. He hit four home runs in the 2020 postseason and was on fire during the NLDS versus the San Diego Padres batting an OPS of 1.179, hitting a home run, and driving in five runs across three games. Bellinger then provided offense in the NLCS hitting two home runs, driving in five runs again, and having an OPS of 875 in the seven-game series. He has a lethal bat when he is on, and hopefully, he shows up in 2021.
7. 3B Jose Ramirez (Cleveland Indians)
There are very few players in Major League Baseball who are MVP candidates year in and year out, and Jose Ramirez is one of them. Jose Ramirez following his amazing 2021 finished second in AL MVP voting. Ramirez plays arguably the most talented position in the MLB, third base. Jose Ramirez was ranked as the fourth-best third baseman by MLB Network, behind Rendon, Bregman, and Arenado.
I believe that he should have been ranked second. Ramirez has finished top 3 in AL MVP voting in three of the last four years. From 2017 to 2020 he has slashed .284/.367/.549/.917 while hitting 108 home runs, and accumulated 20.5 WAR. Ramirez also has some versatility, he is capable of playing second base, shortstop, and a little left field. His versatility gives him a lot of value. I believe he will once again be an MVP candidate this year, and might even finally win the award.
6. 3B Anthony Rendon (Los Angeles Angels)
Anthony Rendon was once arguably the most underrated player in baseball. While with the Nationals he was always in the shadow of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Bryce Harper. Prior to 2019, he had never been named to an All-Star game, despite putting up All-Star level numbers. Rendon is a superstar, who was ranked eighth in the entire MLB by MLB Network. Of course, he was also ranked as the best third baseman in the game.
From 2017-2019 Rendon had a batting average in the .300s all three years in a row. He “broke out” in 2019 when he finished third in NL MVP voting. His OPS from 2017-2020 is .949 and he accumulated 19.3 WAR. In 2018 and 2019 he led the National League in doubles. In 2019 he put up an OPS of 1.010 and led the entire league in RBIs. Rendon was super clutch in the 2019 playoffs, the year his team the Washington Nationals won the World Series. Rendon dominated in the Division Series, Championship Series, and Work Series. He was unstoppable that postseason and was a key part of the Nationals’ success.
He is also capable of shining with leather. From 2017-2020 he had a DRS of 16 and only allowed 28 errors across those four seasons.
5. CF/RF Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta Braves)
I do not think anybody will disagree with me when I say that Ronald Acuna Jr. is in the top ten for best position players in the league. Acuña Jr. has the potential to be a 40/40 player, which is someone who hits forty home runs and steals forty bases in a single season. He was super close in 2019, he was a measly three stolen bases short of forty stolen bags. He is a superstar and is one of the brightest young talents in the game.
In 2018, he was the NL rookie of the Year. Acuña Jr. got off to a slow start in 2020, but he was able to get things going, putting up an impressive OBP of .406 and an OPS of .987. While also hitting 14 home runs. These stats won him a silver slugger for outfielders. It is worth mentioning him winning the silver slugger in 2019, which was a full season. Ronald Acuña Jr. will be a top-tier talent for years to come, and other teams are not looking forward to playing against him.
4. 1B Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)
Two Braves back to back? Absolutely. Freddie Freeman, your 2020 NL MVP. An argument can be made to put Acuña Jr. over Freeman, however, I feel as like Freeman is better as of right now. Following a dominating 2020 season, the voters knew who the only choice was. Freeman received 28/30 votes to win the NL MVP Award. Freddie Freeman is the face of the Braves, and strikes fear in the eyes of his opponents. Freeman provides a silver slugger bat and a gold glove. Which he has both won by the way. The Gold Glove in 2018 and the Silver Sluggers in 2019 and 2020.
Freeman should continue his reign of terror over the league in 2021. He is consistently able to provide a batting average of around .300 and an OPS around .900. I can say safely that this man is one of the most consistent players in the game. Constantly providing a dominant bat and glove. I look forward to seeing what he can do this upcoming season. However, as a Mets fan, I also am not looking forward to seeing what he can do going forward.
3. RF/LF Juan Soto (Washington Nationals)
Talk about a young superstar. Bryce Harper leaves, and Juan Soto steps up. Arguably the face of the Nationals, Juan Soto is one of the best hitters in the game. His plate discipline for his age is unreal and he should continue to get even better as he gets older. Soto has unbelievable power and can hit for average. This is a deadly combination for a hitter to possess. Had Soto played more in 2020 I believe he would have won the MVP award.
He slashed .351/.490/.695/.1.185 and an OPS+ of 212. He led the National League in batting average and led the entire league in each one of those other categories. For the 47 games he played, Soto was absolutely unstoppable. However, due to the season being shortened and him only playing 47 games he was not given the MVP. In fact, he “only” finished fifth in voting. But this was quite the 47 game stretch. No team wanted to face him, in just 47 games Soto was intentionally walked 12 times, which is another stat he led the entire league in.
Unfortunately, his glove is nowhere near as good as his bat. Now Soto has been moved to right field, a harder position than left field, so we will have to wait and see how he does defensively this season. This man will continue to be among the top ten position players for years to come.
2. Mookie Betts (Right Fielder, Los Angeles Dodgers)
This man is on the path towards Cooperstown. If Mookie Betts keeps it up he could be a no doubt, first ballot hall of famer. At just 27, the superstar right fielder has accumulated 45.4 WAR, a careers slash-line of .301/.373/.522/.895 with 1,029 hits, 155 home runs, and 136 stolen bases. At only 27, Betts has won quite a few awards.
His career awards include one MVP, five gold gloves (2016-2020), four-time all star (2016-2019), and five silver sluggers (2016-2020). Had there been an all star game in 2020 it would have been five all star appearances. Being able to consistently win awards for offense and defense is remarkable that only few can do. Betts is one of them. He is easily one of the best position players in the game.
In 2020, guess who finished second in NL MVP voting? Yep, of course it was Betts. It was also his first time playing in the National League. I cannot wait to see what this man can do over a full season in the National League.
Top Position Players: Honorable Mentions
DJ LeMahieu (Second Baseman, New York Yankees), Fernando Tatis Jr. (Shortstop, San Diego Padres), Francisco Lindor (Shortstop, New York Mets), JT Realmuto (Catcher, Philadelphia Phillies), Nolan Arenado (Third Baseman, St. Louis Cardinals), Alex Bregman (Third Baseman, Houston Astros)
1. Mike Trout (Center Fielder, Los Angeles Angels)
Mike Trout is the best, period. There is no debating it. Mike Trout is a 3X MVP winner, most recently winning in 2019. He finished 5th in voting in 2020. Since his rookie of the year season in 2012, Trout has finished top five in MVP every time. He has placed top 3 seven times. His career WAR is 74.5, the best in baseball in the 2010s. This is the type of scenario where opinions can be wrong, any answer on who the best player is other than Mike Trout is wrong.