MLBRank 20-1: A Yankees prodigy takes his place among the best

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The top 100 players of 2017, as voted by a group of 65 ESPN experts, will be revealed over five days.
» 2017 MLB Rank Index

June 26 — Nos. 100-81
June 27 — Nos. 80-61
June 28 — Nos. 60-41
June 29 — Nos. 40-21
June 30 — Nos. 20-1

Who are the best players in Major League Baseball right now?

To determine this, ESPN formed a panel of MLB writers, analysts, contributors and Insiders to rank the top 100, which we’ve counted down from No. 100 to No. 1 — 20 players per day for five days.

To compile the top 100, we collaborated with Microsoft Research and The Wharton School, and polled 65 ESPN experts who voted in thousands of head-to-head matchups based on a list of 167 players. We asked our panel to vote on both the quality and the quantity of each player’s contributions to his team’s ability to win games. After seven days of voting in June, we have our results.

Harry How/Getty Images

Position(s): Starting pitcher

Team: Washington Nationals

Honors: National League All-Star (2012, 2016), Silver Slugger (2012)

Twitter: @stras37

Career stats (through 2016 season): W-L: 69-41, 1 shutout, 924.1 innings pitched, 3.17 ERA, 1,084 strikeouts, 1.094 WHIP

2016 Rank:44

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.2

Did you know?

Stephen Strasburg has struck out more than 10.5 batters per nine innings in his career, the highest rate in major league history through a pitcher’s first eight seasons (minimum 1,000 innings). And if he finishes this season at his current pace, he’ll be either the third or fourth pitcher who made at least 12 starts and struck out at least 10 batters per 9 innings in six different seasons. The “either” depends on how teammate Max Scherzer fares. — John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire

Position(s): Catcher

Team: San Francisco Giants

Honors: National League Rookie of the Year (2010), NL MVP (2012), NL All-Star (2012-13, 2015-16), Silver Slugger (2012, 2014-15), Gold Glove (2016)

Twitter: None; Team Twitter: @SFGiants

Career stats (through 2016 season): .307/.373/.476, OPS — .848, hits — 1,005, HRs — 116, RBIs — 527

2016 Rank:17

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.2

Did you know?

This is Buster Posey’s ninth season in the bigs and his eighth full season. He already has won a Rookie of the Year award, MVP award, batting title and three World Series rings. Hall of Famer Johnny Bench had two MVP awards and a Rookie of the Year award through his first nine seasons, but didn’t win his first World Series until the ninth season (1975). — Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Position(s): Center fielder

Team: Colorado Rockies

Honors: National League All-Star (2014), Silver Slugger (2016)

Twitter: @Chuck_Nazty

Career stats (through 2016 season): .298/.348/.467, OPS — .814, hits — 667, HRs — 74, RBIs — 251

2016 Rank: Not ranked

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 3.8

Did you know?

At every level, Charlie Blackmon has hit. He batted .396 in 2008 with Georgia Tech before being drafted by the Rockies in the second round. He hit .301 in seven seasons in the minors, and he has continued the high average in the majors. But what has really allowed Blackmon to take the next step is the increase in his power. His slugging percentage has increased in each of the past four seasons. He’s slugging over .600 this year and is on pace to shatter his career-best .552 of last season. This season, he already has 10 triples, reaching that mark at the earliest point in the season in Rockies history. — Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

Joe Skipper/Getty Images

Position(s): First baseman, third baseman

Team: Atlanta Braves

Honors: National League All-Star (2013-14)

Twitter: @FreddieFreeman5

Career stats (through 2016 season): .288/.373/.484, OPS — .857, hits — 949, HRs — 138, RBIs — 515

2016 Rank:77

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 4.7

Did you know?

Freddie Freeman has a .290 lifetime batting average to go along with a .376 on-base percentage and a .495 slugging percentage in about 4,000 plate appearances. There are only two other players in Braves franchise history to reach those thresholds with that many plate appearances through their first eight seasons: future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and 1960s star Rico Carty. — Bonzagni

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The top 100 players of 2017, as voted by a group of 65 ESPN experts, will be revealed over five days.
» 2017 MLB Rank Index

June 26 — Nos. 100-81
June 27 — Nos. 80-61
June 28 — Nos. 60-41
June 29 — Nos. 40-21
June 30 — Nos. 20-1

Position(s): Third baseman

Team: Baltimore Orioles

Honors: American League All-Star (2013, 2015-16), Gold Glove (2013, 2015)

Twitter: None; Team Twitter: @Orioles

Career stats (through 2016 season): .284/.333/.477 OPS — .811, hits — 699, HRs — 105, RBIs — 311

2016 Rank:18

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 4.1

Did you know?

Manny Machado has had quite the start to his career. Only 26 players hit more home runs before turning 25 years old, and only five of them were infielders. But he also shines with the glove — he’s fifth in MLB history in Baseball-Reference.com’s defensive wins above replacement through his age-24 season. — Fisher

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Position(s): First baseman

Team: Cincinnati Reds

Honors: National League MVP (2010), NL All-Star (2010-13), Gold Glove (2011)

Twitter: None; Team Twitter: @Reds

Career stats (through 2016 season): .313/.425/.536, OPS — .961, hits — 1,407, HRs — 221, RBIs — 730

2016 Rank:25

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.6

Did you know?

Joey Votto entered this year with six seasons in which he qualified for the batting title and had a .400 on-base percentage, which was tied with Hall of Famer Joe Morgan for the most in Reds history. He’s well on his way to a seventh season in 2017. Votto’s .424 career on-base percentage is the best of any active player in the majors. — Bonzagni

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Position(s): Right fielder

Team: New York Yankees

Honors: None

Twitter: @TheJudge44

Career stats (through Read More…

Via:: NDTV – Sports

      

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