Opening Day: Top 20 Players

In the spirit of opening day, here is my list of the top 20 players in the MLB, regardless of position.  Lets get started…

1. 1B – Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals – As good as they come, maybe ever.  Went .312 42HR 118RBI in a “down” year last year.  He even stole 14 bases.  Oh yeah, add in his Gold Glove.  This year, Pujols is in a contract year, that could mean scary numbers.

2. P – Roy Halladay – Philadelphia Phillies – Simply put, there’s no better pitcher in the game.  He’s a workhorse, can go 9 innings when called upon.  Had a 2.44 ERA pitching against a good hitting AL East.

3. OF – Carl Crawford – Boston Redsox – When you think of 5 tool players you think Crawford.  .300 batting average 40+ SB, 20+ HR, 90+RBI and plenty of runs batting on top of that BoSox lineup.

4. SS – Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins – He’s a younger Carl Crawford at a different position.  Nearly the same numbers as Crawford.  Crawford is a better defender, giving him the edge, but  Hanley has age on his side.

5. 1B – Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers – Cabrera is the closest 1B rivaling Pujol’s numbers.  He hit .328, with 38 HR and 126RBI.  He’s one of the best pure hitters in the game, and expect another solid season from Miggy.

6. P – Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners – If King Felix was on the Phillies he may be in Halladay’s spot.  He hasn’t done it for as long though.  Still, a 2.27 ERA with 230+ K’s is nothing to mess around with.  The 13 wins looks less than amazing, but again, look at his team.

7. 3B – Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays – Longoria is one of baseballs biggest rising stars.  As just a 24 year old, he hit .294 with 22HR and 104RBI.  Expect those numbers to improve as he becomes even for vital to TB.

8. OF – Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers – Another rising star in the league.  A .300 25+HR 100+ RBI guy, with those numbers only to likely improve.  Braun is the strong force that holds Milwaukee together, and is one of the elite  players in the league.

9. 1B – Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds – The NL’s reigning MVP aims to steer his Reds back to the NL Central title.  But the question is, can Votto continue those numbers, which came out of nowhere last year.

10. 1B – Adrian Gonzalez – Boston Redsox – The man put up great numbers in the biggest pitchers park there is – PETCO.  .298 31HR 101RBI.  At Fenway those numbers should increase.  Not to mention he’s maybe the best D 1B in the game.

11. P – Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants –  By his standards, he had a terrible last year… and his team still won the World Series.  Lincecum was fantastic in the playoffs after a 16W 3.43 ERA, I expect him back to his usual self this year.

12. 2B – Robinson Cano – New York Yankees – At 2B, value comes no higher than Robbie.  A .319 29HR 109RBI hitter puts him at the top of his position.  There’s that porch in RF, and the hitters he bats around, those numbers should stay high.

13. 1B – Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies – Howard is another player coming off a big down year.  At 31 he has some worried that his downward spiral has started.  He batted .276 with 31HR and 108 RBI.  If that’s a terrible year, hopefully Howard can “rebound.”

14. OF – Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals – After another perennial slow start, Holliday is proving that he can hit out of Colorado.  Holliday was .312 with 28 HR and 103 RBI hitting in the 4 spot.  If he could ever get over those pesky slow starts, he could move even further up this chart.

15. OF – Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies – Gonzalez had MVP like numbers last year… .336 34HR 117RBI.  The big question is, can he repeat, and prove he’s not just the Coors next big beneficiary.  If he can, throw him high on MVP watch list.

16. SS – Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies – A second Rockies player makes the list.  Tulo’s a .315 hitter with pop, at a position.  The combo of Carlos and Troy could be lethal for the Rockies this year.

17. 3B – David Wright – New York Mets – Wright rebounded after struggling in 09.  He got his pop back up to 29 HR and the RBI back over 100.  Wright is about as solid as they come defensively at 3b.

18. 1B – Mark Tiexiera – New York Yankees – Tiexiera has been consistent with his power, but at times his batting average has eluded him.  He hit just over .250 last year, but puts up consistent 35HR 100RBI. If he gets the batting average in order, he can be a top 10 player.

19. 3B – Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees – A-Rod is showing his signs of age, and no steroids.  And even after all that, he’s still productive.  He hit .270 with 30HR and 125RBI, and continues to bat around a solid lineup.

20. C – Joe Mauer – He may have been a victim of the new big contract, but Mauer’s numbers weren’t MVP like last year.  His BA dropped, but still a solid .327.  Hit 9 HR with 75 RBI.  I expect his power to pick back up this year.

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