Another One of Those ESPN Lists

It’s time again for another one of those periodic lists that ESPN puts out touting something they consider important. This time it’s their annual list of the 100 best players in Major League Baseball. Obviously, I’m not going to go through the entire list for you. You can go to ESPN, click on their MLB section, and see the entire list. But here’s a couple of comments on the list:

First, if you want to put together a complete team with an infielder at each position and one each of all three outfield positions (in other words, one left fielder, a right fielder, and a center fielder, rather than a center fielder and two right fielders), a catcher, four starters (including at least one lefty and at least one right-hander), a closer, and a Designated Hitter (the first duplicate position player takes the DH slot–in this case he’s a first baseman), you get a lineup that looks like this, with the number following the name the position on the overall list:

1b Joe Votto-9th

2b Jose Altuve-3rd

ss-Carlos Correa-10th

3b-Nolan Arenado-7th

rf-Bryce Harper-5th

cf-Mike Trout-1st

lf-Christian Yelich-41st

c-Buster Posey-22nd

p-Clayton Kershaw-2nd

p-Max Scherzer-4th

p-Corey Kluber-6th

p-Chris Sale-8th

reliever-Kenley Jansen-28

DH-Paul Goldschmidt-11th

A couple of comments on this lineup. Note how many of the top players are infielders. Back when the big names were outfielders (Aaron, Mays, Mantle, Reggie Jackson), now you’re seeing more and more of the better players on the infield. There are several right fielders and center fielders on the list before Yelich shows up as the top left fielder. And finally Ohtani shows up on the list (52nd). I don’t care how much of a phenom he is or is going to be, he ain’t in the top 100 players after less than 20 games played. Even Babe Ruth wouldn’t be that good.

So take a look and if you have complaints, voice them here or where ever you feel like, but make sure you blame ESPN and not the messenger (that would be me.)

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3 Responses to “Another One of Those ESPN Lists”

  1. Miller Says:

    Two quick things and then a slightly longer one.

    1. You’re right about Ohtani, of course.

    2. This list appears unlike most ESPN lists – reasonable.

    3. I simply don’t understand the Bryce Harper obsession. He was an incredible prospect who has done incredible things at times. At times. But those times have been too infrequent for all the adulation he receives. Since his rookie year of 2012, he’s topped 1.5 WAR just three times. Sure, one of them was the incredible 2015 campaign. Plus 2013 and 2017 were good seasons. But we’re looking at a guy who isn’t healthy enough and simply hasn’t been good enough. Will he be amazing this season and for the next ten? Maybe. However, there’s exactly one season in his past that would make anyone call him a top-5 player in the game.

  2. Jackie, The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    Wow, you had to get to 41 before you got to the top left fielder … interesting. (And, I agree, Bryce Harper certainly deserves a place on the ESPN list, but #5 seems awfully generous if you ask me.)

  3. wkkortas Says:

    The one that surprised me (not that I necessarily disagree) is Arenado at #7. He just seems to me to be a guy who would end up under the WWL’s radar a bit, being at a non-glamor position in a smaller market.

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