Most Indispensable Players in MLB Right Now
Indispensability is not a word commonly associated with MLB players.
While there is always someone younger, ready and willing to take a veteran's place, certain players mean more to their franchise than what meets the eye.
Whether they have a powerful bat in the middle of the lineup or their team wins more times than not when they're active, many players are indispensable to their teams.
Here's a look at 10 of the most indispensable players in baseball right now.
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The primary way a team is measured is by wins and losses.
For the Oakland Athletics, their number of wins has increased since Yoenis Cespedes joined the lineup.
When Cespedes is in the lineup, the A's are 95-50. When he hasn't been in the lineup or has been on the disabled list, the A's are 17-33.
During the course of his brief MLB career, Cespedes has a batting average of .285 with 29 home runs and 100 RBI.
Cespedes played a big role in Oakland making the playoffs last year and will be a key piece in 2013 if the team wants to make another postseason run.
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The Texas Rangers continue to perform well, but the starting rotation is a walking infirmary.
Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz are out until midseason with elbow injuries, and Matt Harrison underwent more surgery on his back. The rotation seems to be in trouble.
However, Yu Darvish has been the one constant that's held the rotation together thus far. He is 5-1 with a 2.56 ERA and 72 strikeouts in seven starts this year.
Darvish is continuing his strong play and is someone the Rangers have depended on every fifth day.
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The New York Yankees have dealt with their fair share of injuries this year.
From Derek Jeter to Mark Teixeira to Curtis Granderson, the Yankees are struggling to keep guys healthy.
The one constant has been Robinson Cano, who is batting .315 with eight home runs and 19 RBI.
With Cano headed to free agency after this season, he's showing the Yankees just how valuable he can be. He's helped the Yankees into second place despite all of the team's injuries.
Once the above players return, Cano will look to help move the Yankees back atop the division.
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When it comes to the Washington Nationals, the offense depends on Bryce Harper.
Harper is batting .312 with nine home runs and 18 RBI.
The rest of the offense hasn't been doing so well, batting .237 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI.
Without Harper, the Nationals wouldn't have a winning record or be in the division race. With him, they have a chance.
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With all of the injuries the Los Angeles Dodgers' starting rotation is currently facing, Clayton Kershaw is the most indispensable player on the club.
Currently up for a new contract, Kershaw's value has shown to be even higher as the Dodgers deal with injuries to Zack Greinke and Chad Billingsley.
Hyun-Jin Ryu has pitched well early in his MLB career, but this is Kershaw's team.
With the Dodgers' rather anemic offense (3.41 runs per game), Kershaw is almost expected to pitch like a Cy Young winner every start. If he doesn't, the Dodgers could be in trouble.
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He's one of the best backstops in the game, passing both forms of measurements (stats and sabermetrics).
In 2012, Molina hit .315 with 22 home runs and 76 RBI. He also ranked fourth in wins above replacement (6.4), which is a statistic that many people used to support Mike Trout's MVP run last year.
Molina throws out almost half of his runners every year and is one of the best field catchers in the game, as is evident by his five straight Gold Gloves.
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The Atlanta Braves have gotten off to a hot start thanks in large part to Justin Upton.
Upton is batting .278 with 12 home runs and 21 RBI. He's been one of the key parts of the offense, allowing the Braves to jump out to first place in the division.
What makes Upton indispensable is the fact that players like B.J. Upton, Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward have been slow out of the gate.
If not for Upton, the Braves would likely be struggling as much as the Nationals are.
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For years, the Kansas City Royals went without an ace on their pitching staff.
With James Shields now in the role of ace, Kansas City is being taken seriously as a possible contender in the AL Central.
Shields hasn't racked up the wins this year, but he's still 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA and 48 strikeouts in seven starts.
His winning mentality, along with that of Ervin Santana, has trickled down, and the Royals are succeeding with a second-place standing in the division.
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The New York Mets are struggling this year, but the lone bright spot is Matt Harvey.
Harvey is 4-0 with a 1.28 ERA and 58 strikeouts. Even more, he had a near-perfect game on Tuesday night, retiring all but one of the batters he faced in nine innings.
If it weren't for Harvey, the only thing Mets fans would have to look forward to is David Wright.
With so much talk centering around pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, Harvey has shown that he can be the team's ace for many years to come.
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Players have come and gone for the Seattle Mariners, but the one thing that has remained the same is Felix Hernandez.
Since 2006, Hernandez has taken the ball every fifth day, making 30-plus starts in each season. Over the last four years, he's pitched at least 232 innings and had at least 217 strikeouts every year.
So far in 2013, King Felix has started seven games and has an ERA of 1.60 with 51 strikeouts.
Simply put, there is nobody on the Seattle roster who has been as dependable as Hernandez.