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Top 5: Baseball’s Best Players (Non-Pitchers)

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Spring training is at an end, and it’s about time to see some official game action. The big-time offseason issues worked themselves out. Alex Rodriguez ended up resigning with the New York Yankees, despite Yankee front office threats of no extension offers if A-Rod opted out of his previous contract. Johan Santana was finally traded, to the New York Mets – for a lot less than the Yankees or the Boston Red Sox offered.

There are more, but Day One makes the entire previous offseason erasable. It’s fun to debate who the best players are because generally no one can really agree. There are certain players who are absolute locks to be on every list, but their list placements are never assured.

My list is about baseball’s best players, and there are some who include pitchers and some who don't. I’d rather not get into that argument, so I’ll just stick to talking about position players.

1. Hanley Ramirez (SS) — Florida Marlins

I bet not many people knew Ramirez tied for the second most (NL) hits with Jimmy Rollins last year. If you look at his 2006 and 2007 stats, you’ll see a scary trend: in roughly the same number of at-bats, he had 33 fewer strikeouts and 27 more hits, with almost half of that hit increase being home runs (17 to 29). This is a good sign that Ramirez is beginning to find his power and could seriously contend for 30-30-30 (2B, HR, and SB) in only his third full season. He was traded in a deal involving Josh Beckett a couple years back and while the Red Sox probably wouldn’t have won a World Series without him, I bet Theo Epstein shakes his head whenever Julio Lugo steps up to the plate.

2. Alex Rodriguez (3B) — New York Yankees

No need to defend this pick.

3. Carl Crawford (LF) — Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays

He’s probably the most underrated player in baseball. Playing for the Rays can keep you unnoticed from most people. He posted his highest batting average (.315) and second highest OPS (.820) last year. He’s always had to carry the team, but looking at 25-player roster (no more Elijah Dukes and Delmon Young to watch over) his burden might not be so heavy this time around, especially considering the starting rotation.

4. David Wright (3B) — New York Mets

Wright was the only shiny September spot for the Mets last year. Had the team not collapsed as it did, he might have garnered at least one first place vote in the MVP balloting. And by the way, how many third basemen do you know had 30-30 seasons?

5. Curtis Granderson (CF) — Detroit Tigers

He starts the season on the disabled list, but I don’t think anyone doubts he’ll push for another seat in the 20-20-20-20 club (2B-3B-HR-SB). Here’s a scary fact, the only single digit number on his 2007 stat sheet is his CS (caught stealing)… at 1.

Honorable Mention

Jimmy Rollins (SS) — Philadelphia Phillies: The reigning National League MVP never seemed to the get the same attention for being a 20-20-20-20 player as Granderson did.

Chase Utley (2B) — Philadelphia Phillies: Had an MVP-caliber year last season despite missing the final month. Will be MVP come October.

Joe Mauer (C) — Minnesota Twins: His career high for games played is 140 in 2006. Will he ever reach that again?

Vladimir Guerrero (RF) – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: I still flinch every time he swings a bat. I couldn’t imagine pitching to him.

Jose Reyes (SS) – New York Mets: I guess you’d have to see this guy live to be as enamored as Peter Gammons is.

Grady Sizemore (CF) — Cleveland Indians: He falls in the same category as Reyes. Needs to bounce back if he wants to keep in Gammons’ good graces.

Troy Tulowitzki (SS) — Colorado Rockies: I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, but I will if he explodes this year.

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About Tan The Man

I am a proud dork and loser.
  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Hmm. Granderson isn’t even the best Detroit Tiger.

  • Tony

    I’m sorry but this is a pretty crazy list. An .820 OPS is horrible. That doesn’t even put Crawford in the top 40!

    Plus, throughout this article you completely ignored .OBP which is crucial.

    You’re spot on with David Wright and A-Rod. Otherwise H. Ramirez was 33rd in OBP and 17th in OPS. He’s going to very good but top 5? no way.

    On your honerable mentions Troy isn’t even the best player on the Rockies; what about Matt Holiday?

    Also no Ryan Howard with his .392 OBP and .976 OPS or Prince Fielder with his 1.013 .OPS and .395 OBP.?

    Even Maggs from Detroit had a .434 OBP, hit .363 and had an OPS of 1.029.

    And I love Granderson. I think the kid is completely the truth and will be a star but he had one year. Albert Pujols, while injured a lot last year, still was in the top 5 in most offensive categories and you can’t discount his amazing career if you’re saying top five in baseball period.

    I think maybe you should rethink this one but well written article. Great to be debating baseball again!

  • http://www.dorksandlosers.com Tan The Man

    I ignored Troy since he’s only had one full season under his belt. I let Hanley have at least two…

    I guess I should have fleshed out the reasons for my picks a bit more, but I wanted to cherry pick a few that I thought were more worthy. These picks also kind of based on athleticism too, and I’m sorry but there’s usually a reason why certain players are first basemen.

    A quick note about Howard’s stats, the .392 OBP and .976 OPS are high despite his 199 Ks. It’s scary to think how much bigger those numbers would be if he worked harder on pitch recognition.

  • Braxton

    Yeah this list is nuts…maybe you mis-titled it. It could be “Who I think will be the best players in 3-5 years” That “might” work for this article. Otherwise your missing Holliday, Howard, Cabrera. Also your links are broken….

  • enrique

    you dont know what you are talking about. where is howard, fielder, beltran, ichiro, jeter, ortiz, they either gotta be in ur honorable mentions or the top 5.

  • nyla

    i like your reading and you are a rock star and just keep up with base ball nice meating you and bye

  • Tim

    Pujols is the top dog. I don’t even think it can be argued against. For him not to be in the top 5 or even the honorable mention is the most ridiculus thing I’ve ever seen.

    Although everyone mentioned on your list is a really good player, there are several who just flat out don’t belong. Nothing against Troy Tulowitski, but he is out of place here. Crawford and Granderson are by no means MVP canidates and may not even make the all-star game.

    Here’s my top 5 list in somewhat of an order:

    1.) Albert Pujols
    2.) Alex Rodriguez
    3.) Chase Utley
    4.) Vladimir Guerrero
    5.) David Wright

    My honorable mentions would be something like:

    Jimmy Rollins
    Matt Holliday
    Grady Sizemore
    Jose Reyes

    a few others

  • the tan man

    This is the stupidest shit i have ever seen.

  • wud up

    are you kidding me????? you know nothing aabout baseball!!! where the heck is pujos?!?!?! he is better than every one of those guys you listed. he is starting better than a-rod did in his career! i cant see how he isnt even on honorable mention. you are an idiot!!! he will break the homrun record which a-rod will prolly break and pujols will break that too!!! pujols is just amazing and its not only hitting his defense is great!!! he won a gold glove last year. wow dont write an article if you dont even have good facts!

  • dean

    without pujols on it (at the top) and some of the names you do list-it is pretty obvious you are not a baseball fan. please pick a sport to pontificate on that you actually know something about.

  • t bone

    it’s pujols…if you don’t know this then you know nothing about baseball

  • mason

    wow this is horrible pujols is first

  • John

    I agree with most people here…I scanned down the list to see where you had Pujols(and never saw his name).So then I thought maybe I mis read the title…this list is bull shit and totally mistaken.