As I did last year, I’ll be keeping a running list of the Top 100 Players Right Now as they are revealed on MLB Network, eventually compiling the entire list.
They will have revealed all 100 by the end of Tuesday, February 26th. I’ll update this same space as they reveal the remaining entries.
As before I will understandably highlight the Brewers players on the list. Last year there were six Brewers on the list. Rickie Weeks was 83, John Axford was 77, Yovani Gallardo was 72, Aramis Ramirez was 66, Zack Greinke was 64, and Ryan Braun was too low at number 9.
Based on what has been revealed, it would appear a safe bet that Rickie Weeks has fallen off of the list. And how about John Axford? Could he really be in the Top 40 or did he fall off too? I’m guessing he fell off despite his fantastic 2011 season.
Looks like the Brewers will only have three this year.
The criteria for the list remains the same:
- Emphasized stats from the last three (3) seasons, weighting 2012
- Projected 2013 performance
- Defensive position
Here now are the Top 100 Players as listed by MLB Network.
100. Ryan Howard – 1B – Philadelphia Phillies
99. Sergio Romo – CL – San Francisco Giants
98. Yu Darvish – SP – Texas Rangers
97. Elvis Andrus – SS – Texas Rangers
96. Chase Utley – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies
95. Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – Los Angeles Dodgers
94. Jacoby Ellsbury – OF – Boston Red Sox
93. Victor Martinez – C/DH – Detroit Tigers
92. Jordan Zimmermann – SP – Washington Nationals
91. Michael Bourn – CF – Cleveland Indians
90. Aroldis Chapman – P – Cincinnati Reds
89. Adam Wainwright – SP – St. Louis Cardinals
88. Jon Lester – SP – Boston Red Sox
87. Mike Moustakas – 3B – Kansas City Royals
86. Brett Lawrie – 3B – Toronto Blue Jays
85. Michael Morse – 1B/LF – Seattle Mariners
84. Allen Craig – 1B – St. Louis Cardinals
83. Torii Hunter – RF – Detroit Tigers
82. Carlos Beltran – RF – St. Louis Cardinals
81. Carlos Ruiz – C – Philadelphia Phillies
80. Brian McCann – C – Atlanta Braves
79. Miguel Montero – C- Arizona Diamondbacks
78. Curtis Granderson – CF – New York Yankees
77. Jim Johnson – CL – Baltimore Orioles
76. Jason Motte – CL – St. Louis Cardinals
75. Ian Desmond – SS – Washington Nationals
74. Chase Headley – 3B – San Diego Padres
73. Adam LaRoche – 1B – Washington Nationals
72. Yovani Gallardo – SP – Milwaukee Brewers
71. Madison Bumgarner – SP – San Francisco Giants
70. Alex Gordon – LF – Kansas City Royals
69. B.J. Upton – CF – Atlanta Braves
68. James Shields – SP – Kansas City Royals
67. David Freese – 3B – St. Louis Cardinals
66. J.J. Hardy – SS – Baltimore Orioles
65. Kyle Lohse – SP – (FREE AGENT)
64. Wade Miley – SP – Arizona Diamondbacks
63. Johnny Cueto – SP – Cincinnati Reds
62. Jonathan Papelbon – CL – Philadelphia Phillies
61. Mariano Rivera – CL – New York Yankees
60. David Ortiz – DH – Boston Red Sox
59. Jason Heyward – RF – Atlanta Braves
58. Austin Jackson – CF – Detroit Tigers
57. Zack Greinke – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
56. Chris Sale – SP – Chicago White Sox
55. Billy Butler – DH – Kansas City Royals
54. Bryce Harper – LF – Washington Nationals
53. Derek Jeter – SS – New York Yankees
52. Starlin Castro – SS – Chicago Cubs
51. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies
50. R.A. Dickey – SP – Toronto Blue Jays
49. Gio Gonzalez – SP – Washington Nationals
48. Matt Wieters – C – Baltimore Orioles
47. A.J. Pierzynski – C- Texas Rangers
46. Roy Halladay – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
45. Matt Cain – SP – San Francisco Giants
44. Pablo Sandoval – 3B – San Francisco Giants
43. Josh Willingham – LF – Minnesota Twins
42. Yoenis Cespedes – LF – Oakland Athletics
41. Matt Holliday – LF – St. Louis Cardinals
40. Ian Kinsler – 2B – Texas Rangers
39. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – Toronto Blue Jays
38. Joe Mauer – C – Minnesota Twins
37. Jered Weaver – SP – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
36. Jay Bruce – RF – Cincinnati Reds
35. Justin Upton – LF – Atlanta Braves
34. Dustin Pedroia – 2B – Boston Red Sox
33. Paul Konerko – 1B – Chicago White Sox
32. Aramis Ramirez – 3B – Milwaukee Brewers
31. Brandon Phillips – 2B – Cincinnati Reds
30. Carlos Gonzalez – LF – Colorado Rockies
29. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B – Washington Nationals
28. Jose Bautista – RF – Toronto Blue Jays
27. Craig Kimbrel – CL – Atlanta Braves
26. Stephen Strasburg – SP – Washington Nationals
25. Jose Reyes – SS – Toronto Blue Jays
24. Yadier Molina – C – St. Louis Cardinals
23. Adam Jones – CF – Baltimore Orioles
22. David Wright – 3B – New York Mets
21. Buster Posey – C – San Francisco Giants
20. Cole Hamels – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
19. Cliff Lee – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
18. CC Sabathia – SP – New York Yankees
17. Andrew McCutchen – CF – Pittsburgh Pirates
16. Evan Longoria – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays
15. Giancarlo Stanton – RF – Miami Marlins
14. Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
13. Adrian Beltre – 3B – Texas Rangers
12. David Price – SP – Tampa Bay Rays
11. Prince Fielder – 1B – Detroit Tigers
10. Josh Hamilton – RF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
9. Joey Votto – 1B – Cincinnati Reds
8. Robinson Cano – 2B – New York Yankees
7. Felix Hernandez – SP – Seattle Mariners
6. Ryan Braun – LF – Milwaukee Brewers
5. Clayton Kershaw – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Matt Kemp – CF – Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Miguel Cabrera – 3B – Detroit Tigers
2. Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers
1. Mike Trout – LF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Totals by team:
- Philadelphia Phillies – 7
- St. Louis Cardinals – 7
- Washington Nationals – 7
- Detroit Tigers – 6
- Atlanta Braves – 5
- Cincinnati Reds – 5
- New York Yankees – 5
- San Francisco Giants – 5
- Texas Rangers – 5
- Toronto Blue Jays – 5
- Baltimore Orioles – 4
- Boston Red Sox – 4
- Kansas City Royals – 4
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 4
- Los Angeles Dodgers – 4
- Milwaukee Brewers – 3
- Arizona Diamondbacks – 2
- Chicago White Sox – 2
- Colorado Rockies – 2
- Minnesota Twins – 2
- Seattle Mariners – 2
- Tampa Bay Rays – 2
- Cleveland Indians – 1
- New York Mets – 1
- Chicago Cubs – 1
- Oakland Athletics – 1
- Miami Marlins – 1
- Pittsburgh Pirates – 1
- San Diego Padres – 1
- Kyle Lohse – 1
With the second “half” of the baseball season finally getting underway tomorrow, many columnists hand out awards for the first half. You can call it “lazy” or “overdone” or “cliche” if you want to, but I was asked who I would give out first half awards to both league-wide and for the Brewers so I decided to write it up.
I will name recipients of awards for the American League, National League, and Milwaukee Brewers in each of the following categories:
- Cy Young
- Rookie of the Half
I fully realize that some of these will be obvious selections, but I’ll name them all the same.
I know that I primarily write about the National League and specifically the Brewers, but I do have a dog in the AL fight each year. If you know me personally or follow along on the Twitter account (@BrewerNation) you probably know which team it is.
That little disclaimer just means that I do follow all of baseball and not just the Brewers.
Okay, on to “bidness”…
MVP – Paul Konerko
I realize that the chic pick is Mike Trout of the The Angels Angels of Anaheim, and there are great arguments to that end. The Angels starting winning when he was called up, he’s a catalyst, a game-changer on both sides of the ball, and really has sparked a team that sat double-digit games behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West very quickly this year.
But Konerko, the face of the Chicago White Sox franchise, is carrying his team in a way nobody at the age of 36 is supposed to be able to do anymore.
Posting at or near career-best paces in several offensive categories, Konerko has led his team to a 47-38 record, good for a three-game lead in the AL Central over the surprising Cleveland Indians.
He’ll truly be deserving of the award if he can help the White Sox maintain that lead throughout the balance of the year, especially seeing as how it appears that Detroit is about to make a run and they only sit 3.5 games back.
But for now, for the first “half”, Konerko gets my vote not only because of the standings of the team, and his individual numbers, but his leadership is making a major difference for a squad being led by rookie manager Robin Ventura.
One key example? The White Sox do a lot of infield practice, something that rarely happens at all let alone consistently any more with big league clubs during the season. If Konerko had played the “veteran” card and told Ventura to stick it, it would have greatly impacted the clubhouse unity and morale. Konerko bought in, his teammates no doubt saw that the 36-year-old veteran bought in, and they started busting ass too.
That’d be one of the “intangibles” you read about so many people disregarding these days.
Cy Young – Justin Verlander
I don’t think this pick needs as much explanation as the Konerko one maybe did, but I’ll justify it thusly…
Verlander is still the pitcher I feel gives his team the best chance to win every time he’s on the mound.
His record is…something that won’t be considered here.
Something that need noticing, however, are that he leads the Majors in starts of eight or more innings. That not only means he’s pitching well enough to stay in the game, but it means that the Detroit bullpen gets many nights mostly off. Limiting innings of your bullpen has been a factor in the success of many teams over the years. Verlander already has five complete games, more than any other full season of his career.
His K% is solid, his WHIP is a pretty spectacular 0.95, he leads MLB in WAR for pitchers, he’s got the highest WPA of all starters (second to only the Orioles closer), he’s all over the Top 10s of different statistical pitching categories.
To put it simply, I’ll reiterate what I said earlier. He’s got the best chance to help his team win when he toes the rubber.
Rookie of the Half – Mike Trout
All those things I said above when commenting on Konerko over Trout for MVP? Yeah, they earn Trout this distinction pretty easily.
He’s a dynamo and appears, at least very early on, to have the potential to be one of those special players that you’re going to want to see play live just so you can say you did.
This guy was highly-touted for a reason and he’s exceeding even the most glowing projections for himself to this point. He’ll likely cool off some during the second half, but chances are that he’ll still be plenty valuable when it’s all said and done in October.
MVP – Andrew McCutchen
This came down to the fact that McCutchen’s Pittsburgh Pirates are leading Joey Votto’s Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central Division.
Both had an uh-may-zing first “half” at the plate. If you compare their stat lines, they look like this:
McCutchen: .362/.414/.625, 309 AB, 112 H, 58 R, 17 doubles, 5 triples, 18 HR, 60 RBI, 14 SB, 28 BB, 185 OPS+
Votto: .348/.471/.617, 287 AB, 100 H, 50 R, 35 doubles, 0 triples, 14 HR, 48 RBI, 5 SB, 64 BB, 186 OPS+
Those are pretty darn evenly-matched players. McCutchen plays the more valuable defensive position (though he’s hardly elite in the outfield) and he has much less help than Votto does.
Lastly, while the Pirates were in first place even later last year (it finally fell apart for them on July 25th), this year has a much different feel to it. McCutchen’s elevated play is a massive part of that change.
Cy Young – R.A. Dickey
There are several worthy candidates for this award. Several have better numbers in various categories, but the fact that a knuckleballer is even in this conversation is awesome to me.
I know that Dickey didn’t pitch spectacularly in two of his final three starts prior to the break but even with those 11 earned runs in 13 innings, he finished the half with a 2.40 ERA (it was 2.00 flat before that hiccup of a stretch).
He’s doing things that nobody in this younger demographic of baseball fans has seen a knuckleballer do. That’s awesome, and worthy of adulation.
Rookie of the Half – Bryce Harper
With apologies to Norichika Aoki who has posted strikingly similar numbers to Harper in several categories, this is a 19-year-old phenom doing this at the highest level of his sport. Is there a significant slump on the horizon? Perhaps but regardless of that, this is an award for the first half.
Harper has done more than enough to earn this award, and it’s merely amplified that he’s doing it at 19. Aoki is a 30-year-old former multiple-time batting champion of the Japanese league. He’s got a touch more experience even if he’s excelling in a new country and league.
The Washington Nationals outfielder has posted a .282/.354/.472 slash line and posted an OPS+ of 123 to this point. Yes he needs to improve his patience at the plate and some of his ratios, but he’s got a lot of room and time to keep getting better.
My favorite reason to give Harper this award? He plays the game so hard each and every day. He’s got a passion, drive, and commitment to chasing excellence on the baseball field. He’s enjoyable to watch.
To preemptively state the obvious, if you need extensive explanations about why I chose these players for these respective awards, then you haven’t been paying very close attention to the team this year. That’s okay, but it’s also confusing that you’d be here reading this in the first place, if I’m being honest.
Then again, you are reading it so here are the who and the how come…
MVP – Ryan Braun
As a player that could be included in discussions regarding league MVP, he’s an easy — if obvious — choice here. Braun has been amazing this season, posting numbers in several offensive categories that are better than last year…when he actually did win the league MVP Award for the full season.
The main difference? Team success. Many people say that shouldn’t make a difference, but it does to me and to plenty of other people including Braun himself.
Cy Young – Zack Greinke
With an honorable mention needing to go to Mike Fiers here for what he’s done in just seven starts, this award belongs to Zack Greinke. He’s answered the bell from Round 1 this year and has posted the strongest numbers on the team over the larger sample size.
Believe me, Fiers got serious consideration from me because of just how good he’s been able to be since his promotion, but he didn’t do it enough.
There’s a lot going on with Greinke right now, including his being on the precipice of tying a MLB record, but his first half was the best on the team.
Rookie of the Half – Norichika Aoki
Remember a little while ago when I said that Aoki has posted some similar numbers to Bryce Harper? Well, he has. And while not enough to overtake Harper as my league-wide award recipient, it’s plenty to be recognized as the top rookie on the team so far in 2012.
Aoki came with an incredible pedigree when the Brewers signed him away from his team in Japan. (Those accolades can be found on the blog if you’re interested.) The question was how Aoki would adapt to the play and pitchers of Major League Baseball.
After primarily coming off the bench to begin the year and struggling while doing so, Ron Roenicke had a talk with Aoki about his preparation and his play has been much improved since.
At this rate, he’ll be in the league’s ROTY discussion in September, and run away and hide with the Brewers’ team accolade.
Congratulations to all the award recipients! Here’s to a second “half” that rivals the first for all of them…except McCutchen, of course, because the Brewers are chasing them in the division so a drop off in his production would help the Brewers out.