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And No. 1 is … MLBN ranks Top 100 players

@paul_casella
February 13, 2020

It's that time of year when pitchers and catchers start to report to Spring Training, which means it's also time for the annual countdown of the Top 100 players in Major League Baseball. MLB Network's production and research team used statistical and scouting analysis to rank the Top 100 Players

It's that time of year when pitchers and catchers start to report to Spring Training, which means it's also time for the annual countdown of the Top 100 players in Major League Baseball.

MLB Network's production and research team used statistical and scouting analysis to rank the Top 100 Players Right Now for the 2020 season. The formula differs from the Shredder, which is used to determine MLB Network’s annual rankings for the Top 10 players at each position.

Without further ado, here's the full list of MLB Network's Top 100 players for the 2020 season.

1) Mike Trout, OF, Angels (2019 rank: 1)
Not surprisingly, Trout maintains his hold on the No. 1 spot in the rankings after winning his third career American League Most Valuable Player Award in 2019. The superstar somehow continues to get even better, hitting a career-high 45 homers in just 134 games last season. Trout led the Majors with a 185 OPS+, marking the fourth consecutive season he's led MLB in that category. Along with his three AL MVP Awards, Trout -- who has a career OPS of 1.000 -- has finished as runner-up four times.

2) Christian Yelich, OF, Brewers (2019 rank: 8)
Yelich narrowly missed out on winning his second straight National League MVP Award in 2019. The Brewers outfielder missed the final 18 games of the season with a fractured right kneecap and ultimately finished second in voting to Cody Bellinger. Yelich still finished with 44 homers and 30 stolen bases, while leading the NL in batting average (.329) and on-base percentage (.429), as well as pacing the Majors in both slugging percentage (.671) and OPS (1.100).

3) Cody Bellinger, OF, Dodgers (2019 rank: 44)
The reigning NL MVP made a massive jump from No. 44 in last year's rankings. That tends to happen when a 24-year-old superstar hits .305 with 47 homers, 115 RBIs and a 1.035 OPS, all while playing Gold Glove Award-winning defense. Bellinger's trophy case also includes the '17 NL Rookie of the Year Award, and he's averaging 37 homers and 96 RBIs in his first three big league seasons.

4) Mookie Betts, OF, Dodgers (2019 rank: 2)
The Dodgers check in with two of the top four players, thanks to the recent blockbuster that sent Betts to Los Angeles. Though the 2018 AL MVP took a step back in '19, he still finished with 29 homers, 40 doubles, 16 stolen bases and a .915 OPS. It wasn't quite the .346/.438/.640 hitting line from '18, but the four-time All-Star did enough to earn his third Silver Slugger and fourth Gold Glove.

5) Alex Bregman, 3B, Astros (2019 rank: 7)
Bregman, a two-time All-Star at the hot corner, finally breaks the run of outfielders to start the Top 100. The 25-year-old Astros superstar had a breakout season in 2018, then followed it up with an MVP-caliber campaign in which he racked up 41 homers and 112 RBIs, while posting a 1.015 OPS. He finished second in AL MVP Award voting behind Trout.

6) Anthony Rendon, 3B, Angels (2019 rank: 21)
Rendon carried the Nationals down the stretch last season, ultimately helping the franchise win its first World Series title before signing a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Angels in December. The 29-year-old third baseman posted career highs last year in homers (34), RBIs (126), batting average (.319), on-base percentage (.412), slugging percentage (.598) and OPS (1.010).

7) Gerrit Cole, SP, Yankees (2019 rank: 42)
Cole is the highest-ranked pitcher in the Top 100 after a dominant 2019 season in which he racked up 326 strikeouts -- the most by any pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2002. Cole also led the AL with a 2.50 ERA, though he finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting to then-teammate Justin Verlander. Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees this winter.

8) Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets (2019 rank: 10)
deGrom has won back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards and will be eyeing a third straight in 2020. Though he wasn't quite as dominant as he was in 2018, when he finished with a 1.70 ERA and 269 strikeouts, the right-hander still posted a 2.43 ERA and led the NL with 255 strikeouts last season.

9) Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies (2019 rank: 3)
Despite swirling trade rumors throughout the offseason, Arenado remains with the same team for which he's played his first seven big league seasons. Arenado has won a Gold Glove Award in each of those seasons, while also racking up five All-Star selections and four Silver Sluggers. He's averaged 40 homers and 124 RBIs over the last five seasons, and he is the only player with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs every year since 2015.

10) Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (2019 rank: 4)
Like Arenado, Lindor's name was floated in trade rumors for much of the winter, but the 26-year-old shortstop is set to begin 2020 with the Indians. Lindor has been named an All-Star in each of his four full seasons, while receiving a share of AL MVP votes in each of those campaigns. He's also a two-time Gold Glove winner and has averaged 34 homers and 21 stolen bases since 2017.

Though the reigning World Series-champion Nationals do not have a player in the top 10 thanks to the departure of Rendon, they are well-represented in Nos. 11-20. It starts with 21-year-old superstar Juan Soto at No. 11, while co-aces Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg check in at 14 and 20, respectively. There are also three Astros in Nos. 11-20, as well as a pair of Braves teammates.

11) Juan Soto, OF, Nationals (2019 rank: 36)
12) Ronald Acuña Jr., OF, Braves (2019 rank: 35)

13) Justin Verlander, SP, Astros (2019 rank: 20)
14) Max Scherzer, SP, Nationals (2019 rank: 5)
15) Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves (2019 rank: 17)

16) Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees (2019 rank: 12)
17) José Altuve, 2B, Astros (2019 rank: 6)
18) George Springer, OF, Astros (2019 rank: 37)
19) Matt Chapman, 3B, Athletics (2019 rank: 27)
20) Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals (2019 rank: 80)

Just outside of the top 20 is a trio of All-Star shortstops in Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts and Javier Báez. They're followed by reigning National League Rookie of the Year Award winner Pete Alonso, who checks in at No. 24 -- the highest ranking for any player who was not in the Top 100 last year.

21) Trevor Story, SS, Rockies (2019 rank: 30)
22) Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox (2019 rank: 46)
23) Javier Báez, SS, Cubs (2019 rank: 29)
24) Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets (2019 rank: NR)

25) Ketel Marte, OF, D-backs (2019 rank: NR)
26) Josh Donaldson, 3B, Twins (2019 rank: 61)
27) J.D. Martinez, DH, Red Sox (2019 rank: 11)
28) Jack Flaherty, SP, Cardinals (2019 rank: NR)
29) Walker Buehler, SP, Dodgers (2019 rank: 65)

30) Marcus Semien, SS, Athletics (2019 rank: NR)

As with 21-30, Nos. 31-40 begin with young superstar-caliber shortstops. Gleyber Torres, who is sliding over to shortstop to replace Didi Gregorius, sits at No. 31, followed by Fernando Tatis Jr., whose impressive rookie season was cut short due to a back injury. While both of those players have MVP potential, they are followed by a pair of former NL MVP Award winners in Bryce Harper (2015) and Kris Bryant ('16).

31) Gleyber Torres, SS, Yankees (2019 rank: 69)
32) Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres (2019 rank: NR)

33) Bryce Harper, OF, Phillies (2019 rank: 15)
34) Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (2019 rank: 32)
35) Eugenio Suárez, 3B, Reds (2019 rank: 50)
36) Max Muncy, 1B, Dodgers (2019 rank: 63)
37) DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Yankees (2019 rank: NR)
38) Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics (2019 rank: 58)
39) Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs (2019 rank: 34)
40) Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox (2019 rank: NR)

Nos. 41-50 begin with the two best catchers in baseball, as Philadelphia's J.T. Realmuto gets the slight edge over White Sox newcomer Yasmani Grandal. This group also features a pair of players who will be looking for bounce-back seasons in 2020 after dropping more than 30 spots from last year's rankings in Paul Goldschmidt and José Ramírez.

41) J.T. Realmuto, C, Phillies (2019 rank: 40)

42) Yasmani Grandal, C, White Sox (2019 rank: 96)
43) Carlos Correa, SS, Astros (2019 rank: 31)
44) Michael Brantley, OF, Astros (2019 rank: 75)
45) Austin Meadows, OF, Rays (2019 rank: NR)
46) Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Cardinals (2019 rank: 16)
47) Mike Clevinger, SP, Indians (2019 rank: 82)
48) Patrick Corbin, SP, Nationals (2019 rank: 78)
49) Jeff McNeil, OF, Mets (2019 rank: NR)
50) José Ramírez, 3B, Indians (2019 rank: 9)

Nelson Cruz will turn 40 years old in July, but he continues to climb these rankings. Cruz moved up 23 spots from last year and now sits just outside the top 50 after pacing the Twins with 41 homers last season. Nos. 51-60 also feature three starting pitchers who were not ranked among the Top 100 last year in Charlie Morton, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Shane Bieber. Also worth noting is Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who moved up 24 spots despite being limited to 106 games and zero pitching appearances in 2019 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.

51) Nelson Cruz, DH, Twins (2019 rank: 74)
52) Charlie Morton, SP, Rays (2019 rank: NR)
53) Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, Blue Jays (2019 rank: NR)

54) Justin Turner, 3B, Dodgers (2019 rank: 22)
55) Ozzie Albies, 2B, Braves (2019 rank: 85)
56) Whit Merrifield, 2B, Royals (2019 rank: 49)
57) Shohei Ohtani, DH/SP, Angels (2019 rank: 81)
58) Shane Bieber, SP, Indians (2019 rank: NR)
59) Manny Machado, SS, Padres (2019 rank: 14)
60) Yoán Moncada, 3B, White Sox (2019 rank: NR)

Nos. 61-70 include a superstar trio seeking bounce-back seasons in 2020. Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale and Giancarlo Stanton all ranked in the top 25 in each of the last two seasons, but all three find themselves further down the list this time around after injury-plagued seasons. They're joined, however, by a handful of newcomers, including American League Rookie of the Year Award winner Yordan Alvarez.

61) Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers (2019 rank: 25)
62) Chris Sale, SP, Red Sox (2019 rank: 13)
63) Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Yankees (2019 rank: 19)
64) Joey Gallo, OF, Rangers (2019 rank: NR)
65) Yordan Alvarez, OF, Astros (2019 rank: NR)

66) Zack Greinke, SP, Astros (2019 rank: 71)
67) Mike Soroka, SP, Braves (2019 rank: NR)
68) Tommy Pham, OF, Padres (2019 rank: 45)
69) Jorge Soler, OF, Royals (2019 rank: NR)
70) Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates (2019 rank: NR)

Nos. 71-80 feature the top three relievers in the Majors. Kirby Yates gets the slight edge, checking in at No. 73, followed immediately by fellow All-MLB First Team reliever Josh Hader and six-time All-Star Aroldis Chapman. That trio of relievers is followed by a pair of National League shortstops who have yet to match the production from their impressive rookie seasons in 2016. Trea Turner, who finished as the runner-up to Corey Seager for the '16 NL Rookie of the Year Award, finds himself one spot ahead of Seager entering the 2020 season.

71) Nick Castellanos, OF, Reds (2019 rank: 87)
72) Max Kepler, OF, Twins (2019 rank: NR)
73) Kirby Yates, RP, Padres (2019 rank: NR)

74) Josh Hader, RP, Brewers (2019 rank: 51)
75) Aroldis Chapman, RP, Yankees (2019 rank: 73)
76) Trea Turner, SS, Nationals (2019 rank: 84)

77) Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (2019 rank: 48)
78) Michael Conforto, OF, Mets (2019 rank: 60)
79) Willson Contreras, C, Cubs (2019 rank: NR)
80) Gary Sánchez, C, Yankees (2019 rank: 93)

Nos. 81-90 feature three Cy Young Award-caliber pitchers and ends with three Minnesota sluggers. Aaron Nola took a step back in 2019 after finishing third in NL Cy Young Award voting in '18. He's followed on this list by Blake Snell, who struggled to an even greater extent last year after winning the '18 American League Cy Young Award, and Luis Severino, who was limited to three starts in '19 due to right shoulder issues. As for the trio of Twins sluggers, Jorge Polanco, Mitch Garver and Miguel Sanó all played their way into the Top 100 after helping Minnesota hit an MLB-record 307 home runs last season.

81) Aaron Nola, SP, Phillies (2019 rank: 24)
82) Blake Snell, SP, Rays (2019 rank: 26)
83) Luis Severino, SP, Yankees (2019 rank: 43)
84) Ramón Laureano, OF, Athletics (2019 rank: NR)
85) Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies (2019 rank: 38)
86) Carlos Santana, 1B, Indians (2019 rank: NR)
87) Eduardo Escobar, 3B, D-backs (2019 rank: NR)
88) Jorge Polanco, SS, Twins (2019 rank: NR)
89) Mitch Garver, C, Twins (2019 rank: NR)
90) Miguel Sanó, 3B, Twins (2019 rank: NR)

The final 10 spots in the Top 100 feature plenty of newcomers. Overall, 14 of the final 15 players on the list were not ranked among the Top 100 at this time a year ago, including nine of these last 10. Along with a pair of veteran three-time All-Stars in Mike Moustakas and José Abreu, the list is rounded out by a number of promising young stars, including Keston Hiura, Eloy Jiménez and Blue Jays teammates Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

91) Luis Castillo, SP, Reds (2019 rank: NR)
92) Tyler Glasnow, SP, Rays (2019 rank: NR)
93) Mike Moustakas, 2B, Reds (2019 rank: NR)

94) Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers (2019 rank: NR)
95) Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox (2019 rank: NR)
96) José Abreu, 1B, White Sox (2019 rank: 77)
97) Eloy Jiménez, OF, White Sox (2019 rank: NR)
98) Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (2019 rank: NR)
99) Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays (2019 rank: NR)
100) Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays (2019 rank: NR)

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.