August MLB Player Power Rankings, Position-by-Position
At the All-Star break, I wrote an article breaking down my midseason position-by-position power rankings. With the calendar turning over to August and the trade deadline behind us, now seems like a good time to update those rankings.
Based solely on their performance so far this season, I've updated my rankings as to who I feel have been the 10 best players at each position. I've taken into account their all-around offensive production, to a lesser extent their defensive contributions, and then what they have meant to the success of their respective teams so far this season.
Also included in my statistics is each player's FanGraphs WAR. While WAR is a useful stat in gauging a player's value, it's not the be-all, end-all stat that some view it to be. As such, don't expect this to simply be a list of the top 10 in WAR at each position.
With that out of the way, let's take a position-by-position look at the midseason player power rankings around the MLB.
*Note: There is no slide for DH, but it bears mentioning that David Ortiz (.981 OPS, 21 HR, 71 RBI) is the best DH in baseball by a huge margin. It's a toss-up between Billy Butler (.773 OPS, 9 HR, 55 RBI) and the red-hot Victor Martinez (.721 OPS, 9 HR, 60 RBI) for second-best, but again, it's Ortiz by a long-shot for the top spot.
|1||Yadier Molina (STL)||.330/.374/.479||119||8||54||46||4.3|
|2||Joe Mauer (MIN)||.321/.403/.464||125||8||38||53||4.3|
|3||Buster Posey (SF)||.310/.379/.508||116||14||60||44||4.0|
|4||Brian McCann (ATL)||.286/.370/.537||66||16||44||29||2.8|
|5||Russell Martin (PIT)||.252/.356/.407||76||10||41||41||3.8|
|6||Carlos Santana (CLE)||.272/.374/.453||98||12||48||48||2.1|
|7||Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)||.281/.334/.497||95||16||59||34||3.0|
|8||Salvador Perez (KC)||.278/.309/.382||93||4||43||31||1.6|
|9||Jason Castro (HOU)||.263/.330/.454||94||13||41||45||2.5|
|10||Matt Wieters (BAL)||.236/.295/.418||86||15||52||41||2.0|
Yadier Molina, Joe Mauer and Buster Posey are in a class of their own at the catcher position right now, and each excels in different areas of the game. Though he's hurt at the moment, Molina remains the game's top all-around catcher and gets the top spot in these rankings.
After this trio, a pair of veterans in Brian McCann and Russell Martin round out the top five. McCann missed time early in the year, but remains one of the game's elite offensive backstops, while Martin was among the best offseason pickups in all of baseball and has done a fantastic job leading the Pirates pitching staff.
Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Santana are both plus offensive options, while Matt Wieters has good pop and is an elite defender. Salvador Perez (23) and Jason Castro (26) are two guys on the rise, and they should climb up further on this list in the years ahead.
|1||Chris Davis (BAL)||.303/.377/.679||121||40||102||78||5.1|
|2||Joey Votto (CIN)||.321/.438/.512||131||17||52||76||4.7|
|3||Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)||.301/.389/.551||124||26||89||71||4.5|
|4||Allen Craig (STL)||.321/.369/.472||132||11||85||62||2.2|
|5||Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)||.282/.369/.549||116||29||88||69||3.5|
|6||Freddie Freeman (ATL)||.307/.384/.475||115||13||73||62||2.5|
|7||Kendrys Morales (SEA)||.296/.350/.482||123||17||63||50||1.7|
|8||Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)||.297/.348/.463||120||15||66||49||2.3|
|9||Prince Fielder (DET)||.260/.355/.434||109||17||76||56||0.8|
|10||James Loney (TB)||.313/.360/.458||115||10||51||42||2.4|
Through he's slowed since the All-Star break with an OPS of just .732, Chris Davis remains the top first baseman in the league so far. He has a great shot at reaching 50 home runs and has maintained a solid batting average despite a high strikeout rate.
Joey Votto may not have the same prolific power, but his on-base skills are off the charts, and he looks poised to lead the NL in OBP for the fourth straight season. Paul Goldschmidt and Allen Craig aren't far behind those two, as they are both enjoying the best seasons of their young careers.
Edwin Encarnacion has elite power, while Freddie Freeman is a budding superstar. Veterans Kendrys Morales and Adrian Gonzalez are both having great seasons, while Prince Fielder still has impressive numbers albeit in a down year.
The biggest surprise here though is James Loney, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal in the offseason but has been a big reason for the Rays' vastly improved offense.
|1||Robinson Cano (NYY)||.288/.369/.490||118||21||70||57||3.5|
|2||Matt Carpenter (STL)||.304/.379/.466||128||9||55||81||4.2|
|3||Jason Kipnis (CLE)||.295/.375/.497||111||15||68||57||4.0|
|4||Dustin Pedroia (BOS)||.293/.372/.410||129||8||66||63||3.4|
|5||Brandon Phillips (CIN)||.261/.313/.405||107||13||83||54||1.8|
|6||Ben Zobrist (TB)||.276/.362/.401||112||7||53||53||3.5|
|7||Howie Kendrick (LAA)||.302/.342/.439||126||11||47||48||2.5|
|8||Chase Utley (PHI)||.269/.331/.495||82||15||40||47||2.9|
|9||Ian Kinsler (TEX)||.271/.344/.420||91||10||46||49||1.4|
|10||Marco Scutaro (SF)||.310/.369/.386||114||2||22||43||2.3|
Despite a weakened supporting cast, Robinson Cano has been a top-tier run producer once again this year and he remains the elite second baseman in what has been an improved position league-wide.
That said, the gap between him and the rest of the field has closed, with rising stars Matt Carpenter and Jason Kipnis both having fantastic seasons. Close behind, solid veterans Dustin Pedroia and Brandon Phillips are having their usual solid seasons as well.
Aging veterans Chase Utley and Marco Scutaro have proven they still have something left in the tank, and Howie Kendrick is having a nice bounce-back season. When healthy, Ian Kinsler is still a premier table-setter, and the versatile Ben Zobrist has settled in as the primary second baseman this year in Tampa Bay.
|1||Miguel Cabrera (DET)||.360/.455/.668||138||32||99||78||6.4|
|2||David Wright (NYM)||.309/.391/.512||126||16||54||60||5.7|
|3||Adrian Beltre (TEX)||.314/.357/.523||139||23||64||60||3.7|
|4||Josh Donaldson (OAK)||.294/.373/.479||118||16||61||54||4.4|
|5||Kyle Seager (SEA)||.296/.364/.488||126||17||51||63||4.2|
|6||Evan Longoria (TB)||.268/.345/.489||110||21||59||63||4.8|
|7||Manny Machado (BAL)||.296/.326/.456||141||10||52||65||4.8|
|8||Pedro Alvarez (PIT)||.241/.303/.489||89||27||71||48||2.5|
|9||Chris Johnson (ATL)||.346/.387/.479||117||7||42||42||2.2|
|10||Ryan Zimmerman (WAS)||.275/.348/.438||100||12||54||46||1.0|
Third base is a loaded position this season—especially in the American League—but Miguel Cabrera remains the best hitter on the planet, and he has a real chance at becoming the first back-to-back Triple Crown winner.
In the National League, David Wright is the best of the bunch, and the extension he signed in the offseason looks like a great move by the Mets. That said, Chris Johnson is currently leading the NL batting race and Pedro Alvarez is tops in the NL in home runs, as they are both having great years.
The trio of Josh Donaldson, Kyle Seager and Manny Machado consists of all young players on the rise, while steady veterans Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman are once again putting up solid numbers at the plate.
|1||Troy Tulowitzki (COL)||.321/.387/.590||93||20||62||51||4.2|
|2||Jean Segura (MIL)||.313/.349/.470||134||12||42||61||3.4|
|3||Hanley Ramirez (LAD)||.361/.411/.644||69||11||37||37||3.6|
|4||Ian Desmond (WAS)||.275/.331/.472||112||16||53||50||3.8|
|5||Andrelton Simmons (ATL)||.247/.288/.370||109||11||40||58||2.8|
|6||Jose Reyes (TOR)||.311/.374/.470||57||7||21||31||1.3|
|7||Everth Cabrera (SD)||.283/.355/.381||108||4||31||54||3.0|
|8||Jed Lowrie (OAK)||.289/.354/.414||118||8||44||48||2.0|
|9||J.J. Hardy (BAL)||.252/.293/.422||105||18||60||43||2.0|
|10||Brandon Crawford (SF)||.273/.334/.401||96||7||36||40||2.1|
Though he missed 26 games in the first half, Troy Tulowitzki has still been the most productive shortstop in baseball, and after missing nearly all of the 2012 season he has returned to elite form.
Hanley Ramirez (55 games) and Jose Reyes (66 games) have both missed even more time, but they have been great when on the field. Fellow veteran J.J. Hardy have also enjoyed solid seasons in the AL, while Jed Lowrie has been a solid pickup for the A's and Brandon Crawford has added some offensive punch to his solid defensive game.
Ian Desmond has emerged as a consistent offensive threat in Washington, Everth Cabrera leads the NL with 37 steals, and Jean Segura leads the NL in hits with 134. On the defensive side of things, Andrelton Simmons is the game's premier glove man at shortstop and he's picked his offensive game up of late as well.
|1||Mike Trout (LAA)||.329/.419/.568||140||18||67||77||6.9|
|2||Carlos Gonzalez (COL)||.302/.367/.591||118||26||70||72||4.7|
|3||Carlos Gomez (MIL)||.294/.344/.534||113||17||53||59||5.6|
|4||Andrew McCutchen (PIT)||.307/.378/.499||126||15||62||69||5.4|
|5||Michael Cuddyer (COL)||.330/.396/.560||111||17||63||54||1.9|
|6||Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)||.302/.361/.426||133||5||38||67||4.1|
|7||Jose Bautista (TOR)||.257/.352/.499||103||25||68||73||3.7|
|8||Adam Jones (BAL)||.292/.321/.501||134||22||77||75||3.0|
|9||Yasiel Puig (LAD)||.376/.429/.600|| 77|| 11||25||40||2.9|
|10||Shin-Soo Choo (CIN)||.281/.416/.461||112||15||35||73||3.1|
|11||Starling Marte (PIT)||.279/.335/.442||122||10||30||72||4.0|
|12||Torii Hunter (DET)||.315/.349/.484|| 129||12||55||66||2.2|
|13||Carlos Beltran (STL)||.302/.337/.514||115||19||58||59||1.8|
|14||Domonic Brown (PHI)||.271/.316/.531||101||24||69||51||2.2|
|15||Jay Bruce (CIN)||.274/.326/.499||121||22||74||64||2.3|
After arguably the best rookie season in MLB history, Mike Trout has actually been even better this sophomore campaign, with better triple-slash numbers across the board. He's added 23 steals and fantastic defense to the above numbers, and he leads all of baseball with a 6.9 WAR.
Carlos Gonzalez is having a fantastic season as well—shedding the label of a Coors Field product—and has already recorded a 20/20 season with 21 steals to go along with his 26 home runs. Teammate Michael Cuddyer has been producing by his side, leading all qualified outfielders with a .330 average.
The Pirates also boast a pair of fantastic outfielders in Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte, the latter of which has been a fantastic table setter this year and leads NL outfielders with 32 steals. Red Sox speedster Jacoby Ellsbury leads all of baseball with 40 thefts.
It's been business as usual for veterans Carlos Beltran, Jose Bautista, Adam Jones, Torii Hunter and Shin-Soo Choo and Hunter Pence. Meanwhile, Domonic Brown and Carlos Gomez have finally realized their vast potential, and Dodgers rookie phenom Yasiel Puig has made a huge impact despite playing just over 50 games.
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
|1||Matt Harvey (NYM)||150.2||8-3||2.21||0.88||172||5.2|
|2||Felix Hernandez (SEA)||160.2||11-4||2.30||1.06||166||4.9|
|3||Max Scherzer (DET)||151.1||16-1||2.85||0.91||170||4.5|
|4||Adam Wainwright (STL)||168.2||13-6||2.61||1.04||151||5.1|
|5||Yu Darvish (TEX)||138.2||10-5||2.66||1.02||186||3.8|
|6||Bartolo Colon (OAK)||147.2||14-3||2.50||1.12||78||3.0|
|7||Jose Fernandez (MIA)||127.2||8-5||2.54||1.01||138||2.9|
|8||Hiroki Kuroda (NYY)||139.2||10-6||2.38||1.03||99||3.0|
|9||Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA)||150||10-4||2.76||0.97||133||2.5|
|10||Jordan Zimmermann (WAS)||147||13-6||3.06||1.05||109||2.4|
While he has recorded just three wins in his past 10 starts, Matt Harvey remains perhaps the biggest breakout start of 2013 and is one of the best young pitchers in the game at just 24.
Felix Hernandez and Max Scherzer look like the front-runners for AL Cy Young honors right now, while Hisashi Iwakuma has joined Hernandez to give the Mariners a dynamic one-two punch. Yu Darvish has emerged as a bona fide ace in Texas, while seemingly past-their-prime veterans Bartolo Colon and Hiroki Kuroda are both having phenomenal seasons.
In the NL, Harvey is not the only young right-hander having a great season, as 20-year-old Jose Fernandez looks like the front-runner for NL Rookie of the Year. Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright has returned to his pre-injury form, while Jordan Zimmermann has emerged as the Nationals' best pitcher.
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
|1||Clayton Kershaw (LAD)||168.1||10-6||1.87||0.86||161||4.5|
|2||Patrick Corbin (ARI)||150.1||12-3||2.33||1.02||129||3.3|
|3||Madison Bumgarner (SF)||147||11-6||2.69||0.97||146||2.6|
|4||Mike Minor (ATL)||144||11-5||2.75||1.01||134||2.9|
|5||Chris Sale (CWS)||142||6-11||2.92||1.05||155||3.9|
|6||Francisco Liriano (PIT)||102.2||12-4||2.02||1.15||106||2.3|
|7||Jeff Locke (PIT)||125.2||9-3||2.36||1.22||94||1.3|
|8||Cliff Lee (PHI)||144.2||10-5||3.05||1.01||131||3.0|
|9||Derek Holland (TEX)||155||9-6||3.02||1.25||145||4.5|
|10||Matt Moore (TB)||121.1||14-3||3.41||1.23||115||1.8|
Still only 25, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is not only in line for his third straight NL ERA title and second NL Cy Young, but he's only boosting his already sky-high stock for what will likely be a $200 million-plus extension.
There is a ton of good, young left-handed pitching league-wide right now, as Madison Bumgarner, Mike Minor, Chris Sale, Jeff Locke and Matt Moore are all 25 years of age or younger.
Veterans Cliff Lee and Derek Holland have been plus innings-eaters once again this season, while Francisco Liriano has been perhaps the best free-agent bargain of the entire offseason after signing a one-year, $1 million deal with Pittsburgh in February.
|1||David Robertson (NYY)||48||4-1||25||1.79||11.3||1.3|
|2||Trevor Rosenthal (STL)||50||1-2||24||2.25||12.8||1.6|
|3||Drew Smyly (DET)||41||4-0||11||1.91||9.7||1.6|
|4||Ryan Cook (OAK)||47||3-2||16||2.05||8.6||1.7|
|5||Jesse Crain (TB)||38||2-3||19||0.74||11.3||1.9|
|6||Steve Delabar (TOR)||46||5-2||5||2.90||13.6||1.3|
|7||Rex Brothers (COL)||49||2-0||10||1.39||9.1||0.8|
|8||Tyler Clippard (WSH)||49||6-1||21||1.85||9.8||0.6|
|9||Alex Torres (TB)||21||4-0||3||0.26||11.0||1.0|
|10||Luis Avilan (ATL)||51||4-0||18||1.19||5.2||0.5|
While a lights-out closer remains the most valuable piece of any team's bullpen, it's becoming ever important to have an equally dominant eighth-inning bridge to that closer, and David Robertson of the Yankees has been among the best in the business in that department for several seasons now.
Hard-throwing youngsters Trevor Rosenthal and Rex Brothers look like future closers, while former All-Stars Ryan Cook and Tyler Clippard both have experience in the ninth inning role already. Veteran Jesse Crain was an All-Star for the first time this year, through he has been shelved since before the break with a shoulder injury.
Drew Smyly and Alex Torres may still wind up being starters, but they have been terrific out of the 'pen this year. Luis Avilan has come out of nowhere to step up huge for Atlanta with Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty shelved for the season.
|1||Craig Kimbrel (ATL)||43||2-2||33-of-36||1.28||14.0||1.4|
|2||Joe Nathan (TEX)||47||3-1||32-of-34||1.61||9.5||1.5|
|3||Mariano Rivera (NYY)||44||2-2||35-of-37||1.56||8.7||1.4|
|4||Grant Balfour (OAK)||46||0-2||29-of-30||1.84||10.2||0.7|
|5||Jason Grilli (PIT)||45||0-1||30-of-31||2.34||14.0||1.6|
|6||Greg Holland (KC)||44||2-1||29-of-31||1.67||14.2||2.1|
|7||Edward Mujica (STL)||46||2-1||30-of-32||1.97||7.7||0.6|
|8||Glen Perkins (MIN)||44||2-0||27-of-30||2.05||11.1||1.4|
|9||Aroldis Chapman (CIN)||48||3-4||25-of-29||2.91||15.2||0.9|
|10||Kenley Jansen (LAD)||56||4-3||17-of-20||2.04||12.9||1.7|
Consistency at closer, be it throughout the course of a season or on a season-by-season basis, is hard to come by. Veterans Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera have been very good for a very long time, but 25-year-old Craig Kimbrel is the game's most overpowering reliever and top closer as of now.
Veterans Grant Balfour, Jason Grilli, Glen Perkins and Edward Mujica have not enjoyed the most illustrious of careers to this point, but they have all been lights-out this year.
The young trio of Aroldis Chapman, Greg Holland and Kenley Jansen all have swing-and-miss, strikeout stuff, and all three of them look like they'll join Kimbrel in leading the next wave of top-tier closers.
Guys like Mark Melancon, Joaquin Benoit and Koji Uehara have all been great since moving to the ninth inning role, but they have spent the bulk of the season in a setup role and were not included on this list as a result.