The baseball season might have been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but we’re inching closer every day to the potential start of the 2020 MLB campaign. With that in mind, it’s time to start looking at the best players in the league heading into the 2020 season because those are going to be the stars in a position to make the biggest impact, especially in a shortened season.
The last few offseasons have seen players signing some of the biggest contracts in MLB history. But does that guarantee that the players receiving those contracts like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Giancarlo Stanton are going to show up on a list of the best players? Let’s find out for sure as we take a look at the top-10 position players in baseball heading into the 2020 season.
Don't forget to check out our ranking of the 10 best pitchers in the MLB.
10. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Freeman has been around so long that he’s almost easy to forget about amidst all of the young, rising stars in baseball. In fact, he barely edged out teammate Ronald Acuna Jr. for the last spot in our top-10 ranking. However, he is still going strong and coming off one of his best seasons, hitting a career-high 38 home runs and posting an OPS of .938 in 2019.
Freeman took home his first Silver Slugger Award last season, and even at age 30, he remains one of the most feared left-handed hitters in the game.
After helping lead the Braves to back-to-back NL East crowns, it’s a safe bet that Freeman has a few more All-Star caliber seasons in him.
9. Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels
Rendon was overlooked for many years because he had to share the spotlight in Washington with Bryce Harper. But after Harper left, Rendon proved himself to be a bonafide star and helped the Nationals win their first World Series championship.
Somehow, last year was Rendon’s first All-Star selection and his first Silver Slugger Award since 2014. However, he’s now hit better than .300 and posted an OPS over .900 in three straight seasons.
Rendon's defense isn’t too shabby either. After hitting a career-high .319 and smashing 34 home runs, Rendon is set up for big things in 2020 after signing with the Angels.
8. Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
He may be 21, but Soto has already asserted himself as one of the best players in baseball. In his first full season in the majors, he more than made up for the absence of Bryce Harper with his 34 home runs and 110 RBIs while posting a .949 OPS.
Soto's five home runs during the postseason didn’t exactly hurt his cause either. In fairness, there’s always a chance that a young player like Soto will struggle once pitchers see more of him and learn how to pitch to him. But everything we’ve seen from Soto over the past two seasons makes him look like the real deal.
7. Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
Over the last four seasons, Lindor has become arguably the best shortstop in baseball. There aren’t many 5-foot-11 shortstops who play slick defense like Lindor while also mashing 30-plus home runs and 40-plus doubles per season.
Lindor has also averaged just over 20 stolen bases over the last four seasons. At times, he had to carry Cleveland’s lineup last season, which isn’t a burden that most shortstops have to face.
Lindor, who is just 26, could be poised for the best season of his career.
6. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
Forget about Correa, Altuve, Springer, and the rest of the cheating Astros, Bregman is now the marquee player in Houston's potent lineup. Granted, he gets plenty of help by being surrounded by those players, but as a 25 year old in 2019, Bregman hit .296 with 41 home runs and an OPS of 1.015.
Bregman also lit it up in the postseason the past two years and came painfully close to beating out the great Mike Trout for MVP honors last season. The crazy thing with Bregman is that the best might be yet to come, which could keep him hot on Trout’s tail for MVP again in 2020.
5. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
The fact that Arenado plays half his games at Coors Field boosts his numbers just a little, but that’s no reason to discount his accomplishments. Anyone who can hit over .300 and surpass 40 home runs is doing something right, regardless of where they play.
Arenado — who we thought should be traded to the Chicago Cubs — also stands out among most third basemen on the defensive side. Heading into 2020, he’s won seven consecutive Gold Gloves and three straight Platinum Gloves.
Arenado is arguably the best defensive player in the majors at any position and one of the most reliable hitters in the game. That combination is just enough to put him among the top-five position players in baseball heading into the 2020 season.
4. Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Being traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers shouldn’t hinder Betts, which means he’s still a top-five player in the MLB. Granted, it was always going to be difficult for him to match the insane numbers he posted when he won MVP in 2018, but hitting .295 with 29 home runs and an OPS of .915 last season is still exceptional.
Betts has now been to four straight All-Star Games and won four consecutive Gold Gloves, accomplishing all of that by the age of 27. He’ll once again be one of the premier two-way players in baseball in 2020.
3. Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
The reigning MVP in the National League will turn 25 in July, which means he’s still just scratching the surface of how good he can truly be. The only thing that keeps Bellinger behind the two players ahead of him is that they both have multiple seasons like the one Bellinger had in 2019.
If Bellinger can replicate a .305 average and 1.035 OPS in 2020, he’ll be on par with the players ahead of him. At this point, there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to do that. The Dodgers slugger has quickly become one of the most feared hitters in baseball. If that wasn’t enough, he also won a Gold Glove in 2019, meaning Bellinger gets it done on both sides of the ball.
2. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
For whatever reason, Yelich’s trade to the Brewers has been his good luck charm. He was good with the Marlins, but he’s been on another level during his two seasons in Milwaukee.
In addition to winning MVP honors in 2018, he’s been the National League batting champion and a Silver Slugger Award winner in each of the past two years. Yelich actually increased his home run total and his OPS significantly from 2018 to 2019.
Despite getting beat out for MVP last season, Yelich remains hands-down the best hitter in the National League and a solid defensive player as well. He’ll be 28 during the 2020 season, so there shouldn’t be any expected dip in his production, either.
1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
There should be little argument that Trout remains the best player in baseball, no questions asked. He impacts games in every possible way: hitting, fielding and running.
Trout has posted an OPS over 1.000 in three consecutive seasons and is coming off a career-high 45 home runs in 2019 while still hitting .291.
The most important thing is that Trout is still in his prime at just 28 years old. Fresh off his third MVP and eighth straight all-star appearance, there’s no reason to think that Trout is going to slow down anytime soon.
He will continue to be the best player in baseball during the 2020 season and probably a few years beyond that.
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