Predicting each team’s best player for 2020

December 2nd, 2019

Who’s your team’s best player? It’s a tougher question to tackle than you might think: , for example, has only been his team’s best player once in the past five years, according to Baseball Reference’s version of WAR. If it’s tough to figure out who your best player just was, imagine how hard it is to guess who it will be next year?

Today we try to take that leap: It’s our predictions on who the best player, by WAR, will be on each team in 2020. We’re gonna make it even harder on ourselves, too: Free agents count. will probably the best player on some team next year. But which one? Let’s venture into the future.


Blue Jays -- , 3B: The 20-year-old didn’t explode on the scene the way many thought he would in his rookie year, but then again, didn’t either.

Orioles -- , OF: He was actually third on the Orioles in WAR this year -- behind and -- if you can believe that. But the Orioles’ rebuilding process won’t bring in anyone who stands in his way.

Rays -- , SS: He was second in 2019 … and he is just getting started.

Red Sox -- , RF And our first big offseason prediction: Betts stays put.

Yankees -- Gerrit Cole, RHP: And here’s our second one. If the Yankees want him -- and they certainly need him -- they can get him.


Indians -- , 3B: The possibility that they might trade , combined with Ramírez back as his old self all year, makes him the choice.

Royals -- , DH: Soler has to have just hit the quietest 48 homers in recent memory.

Tigers -- , LHP: OK, here’s our first “out of the box” pick, but he was much better than that 3-13 record made it look, and he actually had a lower ERA (4.49) than (4.56), who is also in a lot of trade rumors.

Twins -- , SS: One of the best players in baseball in 2019, and a primary reason the Twins did what they did. And yet will still pass him if he’s healthy all year.

White Sox -- , 3B: Good thing the White Sox waited out the earlier struggles: He’s looking like a perennial All-Star now.


Angels -- Mike Trout, CF: It honestly doesn’t matter even if they sign ALL the free agents.

Astros -- , 3B: He almost beat out Trout for AL MVP this year, so don’t be surprised if he actually pulls it off next year.

Athletics -- , 3B: The real question: Are the A’s going to lock him up long term?

Mariners -- , 1B: His new contract means the top Mariners prospect might end up the Opening Day starter at first, and he’ll have a full season to justify the Mariners’ clear belief in him.

Rangers -- , OF: If he can stay healthy, he can win the MVP. (Even if the Rangers sign .)


Braves -- , OF: You kind of get the feeling that he’s just going to keep getting better.

Marlins -- , 3B: You’ll know the Marlins are starting to take bigger steps forward when someone passes Anderson.

Mets -- , RHP: With a terrific season, he’ll pass Darryl Strawberry and Jerry Koosman and move into fourth on the all-time Mets WAR list, behind Tom Seaver, David Wright and Dwight Gooden.

Nationals -- , LF: Even if the Nats re-sign and Rendon, he’s the man here, now and moving forward.

Phillies -- Bryce Harper, RF: Between you, us and the wall … Bryce is our dark horse MVP pick for 2020.


Brewers -- , OF: The Brewers have three more years with him at the center of their lineup, giving them an immediate advantage over every team in the NL.

Cardinals -- , RHP: If Flaherty can be the 2019 second-half pitcher all year in '20, he’ll win the Cardinals’ first Cy Young Award since Chris Carpenter in '05.

Cubs -- , 3B: Bryant has been better than anyone has appreciated the last two seasons, and if he can stay healthy, he can remind everyone just how great he is.

Pirates -- , OF: The rookie was their best player in 2019, and seems a likely trade candidate.

Reds -- , 1B: We may regret this pick. But for all the trendiness of the Reds as a potential NL Central sleeper, their best route back to contention is Votto being Votto again.


D-backs -- , 2B/CF: If Marte is this moving forward, Arizona has an MVP candidate for the next half decade.

Dodgers -- , OF: Though we wouldn’t put it past to have a vintage year in 2020 either.

Giants -- , OF: Why not another run up the flagpole for one of the best stories in baseball in 2019? The Giants look like the rebuilding process is just beginning.

Padres -- , SS: Every time we watch Tatis play, all we can think is, “Man, we wish he played on our team.”

Rockies -- , 3B: The question is: Will anyone else on the roster be close? Arenado would like to know that himself, actually.