Now that Spring Training has officially started with pitchers and catchers reporting for all 30 clubs this week, fans can ring in the new season with MLB Network's annual countdown of the game's best players.This year's rankings were unveiled this week on MLB Network during five installments of its Top
Now that Spring Training has officially started with pitchers and catchers reporting for all 30 clubs this week, fans can ring in the new season with MLB Network's annual countdown of the game's best players.
This year's rankings were unveiled this week on MLB Network during five installments of its Top 100 Right Now series, which began Wednesday with Nos. 61-100.
The series concluded Friday with the revealing of Nos. 1-20. MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, Bill Ripken and Ron Darling hosted the program and analyzed the list.
1. Michael Trout, OF, Angels
Who else would be No. 1? In his seven years in the Majors, Trout has twice won the American League Most Valuable Player Award, and finished second in the voting three times.
2. Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
The reigning AL MVP, Altuve helped the Astros win their first World Series title last fall. He has led the AL in hits in each of the past four seasons while also leading the league in batting average three times in that span.
3. Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
The National League MVP in 2015, Harper, the top overall pick in the 2010 Draft, has been in the Majors for six years and received five All-Star nods.
4. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
Votto, the NL MVP in 2010 and a five-time All-Star, is equal parts slugger and on-base machine. He has twice led the Senior Circuit in OPS.
5. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Yankees
Stanton is set for his first season with the Yankees after leading the Majors with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs in 2017, when he was named NL MVP with the Marlins.
6. Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
Kershaw is the first pitcher to appear on the list, and for good reason. Since 2011, Kershaw has won three NL Cy Young Awards and the 2014 NL MVP, all while leading the NL in ERA five times.
7. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies
Arenado has been the NL's Gold Glove Award winner at third base in each of his five Major League seasons, and he has had two years in which he led the league in homers, RBIs and total bases.
8. Kristopher Bryant, 3B, Cubs
Bryant has accomplished quite a bit in only three seasons. He was the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award winner before winning the '16 NL MVP and helping the Cubs win their first World Series title in 108 years.
9. Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays
Donaldson is still one of the best in the business at age 32. He's a three-time All-Star and won the 2015 AL MVP Award in his first season with Toronto.
10. Carlos Correa, SS, Astros
Correa figures to be a Top 10 player for years to come, as he already has won a World Series title, been an All-Star and earned the AL Rookie of the Year Award in three big league seasons since being the top pick in the 2012 Draft.
The first group of 10 players outside the Top 10 includes the 2017 Cy Young Award winners, Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber. Scherzer has won the award in the NL in each of the past two seasons, while Kluber has won the award in the AL twice in the last four years.
11. Max Scherzer, SP, Nationals
- Corey Kluber, SP, Indians
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-backs
- Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
- Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees
- Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies
- Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians
- Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers
- Mookie Betts, OF, Red Sox
- Manny Machado, SS, Orioles
Chris Sale tops the list of players outside the Top 20, just as he topped the Majors in strikeouts in 2017. Sale is joined in this group by reigning World Series champions George Springer and Justin Verlander.
- Chris Sale, SP, Red Sox
- Jose Ramirez, 3B, Indians
23. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
- George Springer, OF, Astros
- J.D. Martinez, OF, Free Agent
- Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees
- Buster Posey, C, Giants
- Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals
- Justin Verlander, SP, Astros
- Cody Bellinger, 1B, Dodgers
A trio of some of the best second basemen in the big leagues -- Daniel Murphy, James Dozier and Robinson Cano -- headline this grouping, which also includes a pair of Dodgers stars in Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen.
- Justin Turner, 3B, Dodgers
- Marcell Ozuna, OF, Cardinals
- Justin Upton, OF, Angels
- Daniel Murphy, 2B, Nationals
- Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals
- Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins
- Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners
- Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox
- Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers
- Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants
The Indians are well represented here, with a slugger, starter and reliever among the final block of the Top 50.
- Edwin Encarnacion, DH, Indians
- Andrew Miller, RP, Indians
- Luis Severino, SP, Yankees
- Craig Kimbrel, RP, Red Sox
- Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Mets
- Christian Yelich, OF, Brewers
- Trea Turner, SS, Nationals
- Nelson Cruz, Mariners
- Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets
- Carlos Carrasco, SP, Indians
On the other side of the Top 50, former Cy Young Award winner and D-backs ace Zack Greinke tops this group of players, which also features Adrian Beltre and his 3,048 career hits.
51. Zack Greinke, SP, D-backs
- Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets
- Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Orioles
- Eric Hosmer, 1B, Free Agent
- Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers
- Andrelton Simmons, SS, Angels
- Alex Bregman, 3B, Astros
- Willson Contreras, C, Cubs
- Tommy Pham, OF, Cardinals
- Carlos Santana, 1B, Phillies
Lorenzo Cain and Yu Darvish, two players who have received the largest free-agent contracts this offseason, are among this group of 10.
- Lorenzo Cain, OF, Brewers
- Matt Carpenter, 1B, Cardinals
- Andrew McCutchen, OF, Giants
- Dallas Keuchel, SP, Astros
- Albertin Chapman, RP, Yankees
- Kyle Hendricks, SP, Cubs
- Yu Darvish, SP, Cubs
- Byron Buxton, OF, Twins
- Khris Davis, DH, Athletics
- Josh Reddick, OF, Astros
Jose Cabrera, Ryan Braun and Ryan Zimmerman may not be as good as they were a few years ago, but they're still playing well enough to safely make the Top 100, leading the way in the 71-80 rankings.
71. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
- Jacob Arrieta, SP, Free Agent
- Carlos Martinez, SP, Cardinals
- Didi Gregorius, SS, Yankees
- Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Nationals
- Marwin Gonzalez, Util, Astros
- Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
- Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox
- Michael Conforto, OF, Mets
- Adam Eaton, OF, Nationals
The group from 81-90 features seven players from the West divisions, now that Wade Davis and Zack Cozart signed free-agent deals with the Rockies and Angels, respectively.
- DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Rockies
- J.T. Realmuto, C, Marlins
- Corey Knebel, RP, Brewers
- Wade Davis, RP, Rockies
- Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
- Chris Taylor, OF, Dodgers
- Kyle Seager, 3B, Mariners
- Jean Segura, SS, Mariners
- Zack Cozart, 3B, Angels
- Avisail Garcia, OF, White Sox
Bringing up the back end of the Top 100 is a young group whose oldest member, Brett Gardner, turns 35 in August. It's a group with plenty of intrigue, including Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
91. Jay Bruce, OF, Mets
- Justin Smoak, 1B, Blue Jays
- Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees
- Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers
- Kyle Schwarber, OF, Cubs
- Marcus Stroman, SP, Blue Jays
- James Paxton, SP, Mariners
- Robbie Ray, SP, D-backs
- Chad Green, RP, Yankees
- Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH, Angels
MLB Network recently unveiled its top players at each position in a five-week program hosted by Brian Kenny, ranking players based on performance over the past two seasons and a number of offensive and defensive metrics. Now, it's bringing them all together for a composite list across all positions in baseball.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JALaymance.