MLB Network's Top 10 Players Right Now at every position

March 26th, 2022

The 2021 season was epic, and it gave individual players time to shine, stay elite or emerge as part of that upper tier of the best of the best at each position. Continuing an annual tradition, MLB Network shared up its rundown of “Top 10 Players Right Now” for each position in a series of 10 weeknight specials that wrapped up on Friday.

Using rankings based on past player performance, a number of offensive and defensive metrics, both advanced data and traditional numbers, and analysis by the MLB Network research team, “The Shredder” gave us its input (output?) on which players are the 10 best at their positions right now.

Here's how each list shook out.

Top 10 first basemen

Freddie Freeman retains his spot as the top first baseman, but No. 2 is a player who, amidst a position change last year, wasn’t on any lists: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Matt Olson’s improved plate discipline, continued power slugging and stellar defense earn him a jump from eighth to third on the list. Two newcomers compared to last year’s lists, along with Guerrero, are Brandon Belt, who helped the Giants to a franchise-record 107 wins, and Joey Votto, who defied father time with a bounce-back performance.


  1. Freddie Freeman, LAD (Last year: 1)
  2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR (not ranked)
  3. Matt Olson, ATL (8)
  4. Max Muncy, LAD (5)
  5. Paul Goldschmidt, STL (2)
  6. Pete Alonso, NYM (7)
  7. Brandon Belt, SF (NR)
  8. José Abreu, CWS (4)
  9. Joey Votto, CIN (NR)
  10. Anthony Rizzo, NYY (6)

Top 10 second basemen

Ketel Marte missed time in ‘21, but he was great when he was on the field, earning him the top spot. Second base features three players who weren’t ranked entering ‘21: Marcus Semien, Jonathan India and Jorge Polanco. Semien set a record for homers at the position in a single season and won a Gold Glove, all in his first season as a second baseman. India was the NL Rookie of the Year, and Polanco played primarily second after previously being a shortstop. Jose Altuve made the jump from ninth to fourth as he put his 2020 struggles behind him.


  1. Ketel Marte, ARI (Last year: 3)
  2. Marcus Semien, TEX (not ranked)
  3. Brandon Lowe, TB (4)
  4. Jose Altuve, HOU (9)
  5. Jonathan India, CIN (NR)
  6. Jake Cronenworth, SD (6)
  7. Jorge Polanco, MIN (NR)
  8. Ozzie Albies, ATL (10)
  9. Jeff McNeil, NYM (2)
  10. Chris Taylor, LAD (8)

Top 10 shortstops

After making the jump to No. 2 entering 2021, Fernando Tatis Jr. enters ‘22 as the top shortstop -- part of what happens when you hit 42 homers in 130 games, especially at this position. Trea Turner and Carlos Correa each made jumps, from fifth to second and seventh to third, respectively. The lone newcomer at this stacked position is phenom Wander Franco, who tied a record held by Frank Robinson for the longest on-base streak by a player under the age of 21 and made an impact across the board for the Rays.


  1. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD (Last year: 2)
  2. Trea Turner, LAD (5)
  3. Carlos Correa, MIN (7)
  4. Xander Bogaerts, BOS (3)
  5. Corey Seager, TEX (6)
  6. Trevor Story, BOS (1)
  7. Bo Bichette, TOR (8)
  8. Tim Anderson, CWS (10)
  9. Francisco Lindor, NYM (4)
  10. Wander Franco, TB (not ranked)

Top 10 third basemen

José Ramírez propels to the top spot after ranking fourth entering last year, having fully put a down 2019 behind him. No. 2 on the list wasn’t even ranked last year: Rafael Devers. Justin Turner’s reliable bat continues to elevate him in The Shredder, as he jumps two spots up to fourth. There are two other players who were unranked in ‘21, even at such a strong position: Yoán Moncada and Kris Bryant.


  1. José Ramírez, CLE (Last year: 4)
  2. Rafael Devers, BOS (Not ranked)
  3. Alex Bregman, HOU (2)
  4. Justin Turner, LAD (6)
  5. Josh Donaldson, NYY (8)
  6. Anthony Rendon, LAA (1)
  7. Manny Machado, SD (5)
  8. Nolan Arenado, STL (3)
  9. Yoán Moncada, CWS (NR)
  10. Kris Bryant, COL (NR)

Top 10 catchers

With J.T. Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, Will Smith and Willson Contreras, in that order, atop the list, there is no change from last year’s list. But Salvador Perez jumps two spots after his torrid home run production, and Mitch Garver jumps three spots. The bottom three are all players who were unranked in ‘21, joining the party: Jacob Stallings at No. 8, Mike Zunino at No. 9 and Carson Kelly at No. 10.


1. J.T. Realmuto, PHI (Last year: 1)
2. Yasmani Grandal, CWS (2)
3. Will Smith, LAD (3)
4. Willson Contreras, CHC (4)
5. Salvador Perez, KC (7)
6. Mitch Garver, TEX (9)
7. Sean Murphy, OAK (5)
8. Jacob Stallings, MIA (Not ranked)
9. Mike Zunino, TB (NR)
10. Carson Kelly, ARI (NR)

Top 10 starting pitchers

Jacob deGrom keeps his spot at No. 1, and Gerrit Cole keeps his spot at No. 2. Newly minted New York Met Max Scherzer is still ranked third, but his former Dodgers teammate Walker Buehler makes a big jump from 10th to fourth. Of Nos. 5-10, only one pitcher was ranked entering ‘21: Shane Bieber. Brandon Woodruff, Zack Wheeler, Lance Lynn, NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes and Lucas Giolito all appear after going unranked last year.


  1. Jacob deGrom, NYM (Last year: 1)
  2. Gerrit Cole, NYY (2)
  3. Max Scherzer, NYM (3)
  4. Walker Buehler, LAD (10)
  5. Brandon Woodruff, MIL (Not ranked)
  6. Zack Wheeler, PHI (NR)
  7. Lance Lynn, CWS (NR)
  8. Shane Bieber, CLE (5)
  9. Corbin Burnes, MIL (NR)
  10. Lucas Giolito, CWS (NR)

Top 10 relief pitchers

Talk about change … relief pitching offers it. Josh Hader jumps to No. 1 after being 10th last year, Liam Hendriks goes from No. 1 to No. 2 and Devin Williams remains No. 3. Everyone else? Unranked entering 2021. Emmanuel Clase’s velocity turned heads, Ryan Pressly continued to be reliable at the end of games for the Astros and Collin McHugh played a versatile relief role for the Rays. Raisel Iglesias, Craig Kimbrel, Jordan Romano and Jonathan Loaisiga also appear after being left off the list last season.


  1. Josh Hader, MIL (Last year: 10)
  2. Liam Hendriks, CWS (1)
  3. Devin Williams, MIL (3)
  4. Emmanuel Clase, CLE (Not ranked)
  5. Ryan Pressly, HOU (NR)
  6. Collin McHugh, ATL (NR)
  7. Raisel Iglesias, LAA (NR)
  8. Craig Kimbrel, CWS (NR)
  9. Jordan Romano, TOR (NR)
  10. Jonathan Loaisiga, NYY (NR)

Top 10 right fielders

After switching to right field for 2021 and ranking No. 2 entering the year, Juan Soto now ranks first at the position. NL MVP Bryce Harper jumps from fifth to second. Everyone ranked Nos. 6-10 was either unranked or at a different position entering last year: Kyle Tucker, Nick Castellanos, Teoscar Hernández and Randy Arozarena were all unranked, while Mark Canha was in left field. These entries are impressive, especially at such a talented position.


  1. Juan Soto, WSH (Last year: 2)
  2. Bryce Harper, PHI (5)
  3. Ronald Acuña Jr., ATL (3)
  4. Aaron Judge, NYY (4)
  5. Mookie Betts, LAD (1)
  6. Kyle Tucker, HOU (Not ranked)
  7. Nick Castellanos, PHI (NR)
  8. Teoscar Hernández, TOR (NR)
  9. Mark Canha, NYM (No. 3 LF)
  10. Randy Arozarena, TB (NR)

Top 10 left fielders

New Seattle Mariner Jesse Winker makes the jump from No. 5 to leading the position, and Joey Gallo goes from the eighth-ranked right fielder to the No. 2 left fielder. Kyle Schwarber, Tyler O’Neill, AJ Pollock and Austin Meadows all enter after being unranked entering ‘21. And Brandon Nimmo enters the left field list with the Mets’ offseason moves, after being the No. 5 center fielder last year.


  1. Jesse Winker, SEA (Last year: 5)
  2. Joey Gallo, NYY (No. 8 RF)
  3. Christian Yelich, MIL (1)
  4. Michael Brantley, HOU (2)
  5. Kyle Schwarber, PHI (Not ranked)
  6. Brandon Nimmo, NYM (No. 5 CF)
  7. Tyler O'Neill, STL (NR)
  8. AJ Pollock, LAD (NR)
  9. Austin Meadows, TB (NR)
  10. Marcell Ozuna, ATL (4)

Top 10 center fielders

Mike Trout is still Mike Trout, and thus, he is still No. 1 in center. George Springer moves up a spot, to No. 2, and Byron Buxton makes an impressive leap from 10th to third. Nos. 4 and 5, Bryan Reynolds and Luis Robert, appear after not being ranked entering ‘21. Others to join the party include Cedric Mullins after his breakout season and Adam Duvall. Starling Marte moves up three spots to No. 6 after leading the Majors with 47 stolen bases.


1. Mike Trout, LAA (Last year: 1)
2. George Springer, TOR (3)
3. Byron Buxton, MIN (10)
4. Bryan Reynolds, PIT (Not ranked)
5. Luis Robert, CWS (NR)
6. Starling Marte, NYM (9)
7. Cedric Mullins, BAL (NR)
8. Cody Bellinger, LAD (2)
9. Ramón Laureano, OAK (7)
10. Adam Duvall, ATL (NR)