August MLB Player Power Rankings, Position-by-Position

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2013

August MLB Player Power Rankings, Position-by-Position

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    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.

Catcher

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    RankNameBA/OBP/SLGHHRRBIRWAR
    1Yadier Molina (STL) .330/.374/.479  119   8 54 46  4.3
    2Joe Mauer (MIN) .321/.403/.464 125  8 38 53 4.3
    3Buster Posey (SF) .310/.379/.508 116 14  60 44 4.0
    4Brian McCann (ATL) .286/.370/.537  66 16 44 29 2.8
    5Russell Martin (PIT) .252/.356/.407  76 10 41 41 3.8
    6Carlos Santana (CLE) .272/.374/.453  98 12 48 48 2.1
    7Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) .281/.334/.497  95 16 59 34 3.0
    8Salvador Perez (KC) .278/.309/.382  93  4 43 31 1.6
    9Jason Castro (HOU) .263/.330/.454  94 13 41 45 2.5
    10Matt Wieters (BAL) .236/.295/.418  86 15 52 41 2.0

     

    Position Overview

    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.

First Base

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    Rank NameBA/OBP/SLGHHRRBI RWAR
    1Chris Davis (BAL) .303/.377/.679 121 40 102  78 5.1
    2Joey Votto (CIN) .321/.438/.512  131  17   52 76  4.7
    3Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) .301/.389/.551 124 26  89 71 4.5
    4Allen Craig (STL) .321/.369/.472 132 11   85 62 2.2
    5Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) .282/.369/.549 116 29  88 69 3.5
    6Freddie Freeman (ATL) .307/.384/.475 115 13  73 62 2.5
    7 Kendrys Morales (SEA) .296/.350/.482 123 17  63 50 1.7
    8Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) .297/.348/.463 120 15  66 49 2.3
    9Prince Fielder (DET) .260/.355/.434 109 17  76 56 0.8
    10James Loney (TB) .313/.360/.458 115 10  51 42 2.4

     

    Position Overview

    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.

Second Base

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    RankNameBA/OBP/SLGHHRRBIRWAR
    1Robinson Cano (NYY) .288/.369/.490  118  21 70 57  3.5
    2Matt Carpenter (STL) .304/.379/.466 128  9 55 81 4.2
    3Jason Kipnis (CLE) .295/.375/.497 111 15  68 57 4.0
    4Dustin Pedroia (BOS) .293/.372/.410 129  8 66 63 3.4
    5Brandon Phillips (CIN) .261/.313/.405 107 13 83 54 1.8
    6Ben Zobrist (TB) .276/.362/.401 112  7 53 53 3.5
    7Howie Kendrick (LAA) .302/.342/.439 126 11 47 48 2.5
    8Chase Utley (PHI) .269/.331/.495  82 15 40 47 2.9
    9Ian Kinsler (TEX) .271/.344/.420  91 10 46 49 1.4
    10Marco Scutaro (SF) .310/.369/.386 114  2 22 43 2.3

     

    Position Overview

    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.

Third Base

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    RankNameBA/OBP/SLGHHRRBIRWAR
    1Miguel Cabrera (DET) .360/.455/.668  138  32  99  78  6.4
    2David Wright (NYM) .309/.391/.512 126 16 54 60 5.7
    3Adrian Beltre (TEX) .314/.357/.523 139 23 64 60 3.7
    4Josh Donaldson (OAK) .294/.373/.479 118 16 61 54 4.4
    5Kyle Seager (SEA) .296/.364/.488 126 17 51 63 4.2
    6Evan Longoria (TB) .268/.345/.489 110 21 59 63 4.8
    7Manny Machado (BAL) .296/.326/.456 141 10 52 65 4.8
    8Pedro Alvarez (PIT) .241/.303/.489  89 27 71 48 2.5
    9Chris Johnson (ATL) .346/.387/.479 117  7 42 42 2.2
    10Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) .275/.348/.438 100 12 54 46 1.0

     

    Position Overview

    Third base is a loaded position this seasonespecially in the American Leaguebut 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.

Shortstop

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    RankNameBA/OBP/SLGHHRRBIRWAR
    1Troy Tulowitzki (COL) .321/.387/.590  93 20 62 51 4.2
    2Jean Segura (MIL) .313/.349/.470 134  12 42 61 3.4
    3Hanley Ramirez (LAD) .361/.411/.644   69 11 37 37 3.6
    4Ian Desmond (WAS) .275/.331/.472 112  16  53 50  3.8
    5Andrelton Simmons (ATL) .247/.288/.370 109 11 40 58 2.8
    6Jose Reyes (TOR) .311/.374/.470  57  7 21 31 1.3
    7Everth Cabrera (SD) .283/.355/.381 108  4 31 54 3.0
    8Jed Lowrie (OAK) .289/.354/.414 118  8 44 48 2.0
    9J.J. Hardy (BAL) .252/.293/.422 105 18 60 43 2.0
    10Brandon Crawford (SF) .273/.334/.401  96  7 36 40 2.1

     

    Position Overview

    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.

Outfield

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    RankNameBA/OBP/SLGHHRRBIRWAR
    1Mike Trout (LAA) .329/.419/.568 140 18 67 77 6.9
    2Carlos Gonzalez (COL) .302/.367/.591 118 26 70 72 4.7
    3Carlos Gomez (MIL) .294/.344/.534 113 17 53 59 5.6
    4Andrew McCutchen (PIT) .307/.378/.499 126 15 62 69 5.4
    5Michael Cuddyer (COL) .330/.396/.560  111  17  63 54  1.9
    6Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) .302/.361/.426 133  5 38 67 4.1
    7Jose Bautista (TOR) .257/.352/.499 103 25 68 73 3.7
    8Adam Jones (BAL) .292/.321/.501 134 22 77 75 3.0
    9Yasiel Puig (LAD) .376/.429/.600  77
     11
     25 40 2.9
    10Shin-Soo Choo (CIN) .281/.416/.461 112 15 35 73 3.1
    11Starling Marte (PIT) .279/.335/.442 122 10 30 72 4.0
    12Torii Hunter (DET) .315/.349/.484 129
     12 55 66 2.2
    13Carlos Beltran (STL) .302/.337/.514 115 19 58 59 1.8
    14Domonic Brown (PHI) .271/.316/.531 101 24 69 51 2.2
    15Jay Bruce (CIN) .274/.326/.499 121 22 74 64 2.3

     

    Position Overview

    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 wellshedding the label of a Coors Field productand 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

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    RankNameIPW-LERAWHIPKWAR
    1Matt Harvey (NYM) 150.2   8-3  2.21  0.88 172  5.2
    2Felix Hernandez (SEA) 160.2 11-4 2.30 1.06 166 4.9
    3Max Scherzer (DET) 151.1 16-1 2.85 0.91 170 4.5
    4Adam Wainwright (STL) 168.2 13-6 2.61 1.04 151 5.1
    5Yu Darvish (TEX) 138.2 10-5 2.66 1.02 186 3.8
    6Bartolo Colon (OAK) 147.2 14-3 2.50 1.12  78 3.0
    7Jose Fernandez (MIA) 127.2  8-5 2.54 1.01 138 2.9
    8Hiroki 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
    10Jordan Zimmermann (WAS)  147 13-6 3.06 1.05 109 2.4

     

    Position Overview

    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

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    RankNameIPW-LERAWHIPKWAR
    1Clayton Kershaw (LAD) 168.1  10-6  1.87  0.86 161  4.5
    2Patrick Corbin (ARI) 150.1 12-3 2.33 1.02 129 3.3
    3Madison Bumgarner (SF)  147 11-6 2.69 0.97 146 2.6
    4Mike Minor (ATL)  144 11-5 2.75 1.01 134 2.9
    5Chris Sale (CWS)  142 6-11 2.92 1.05  155 3.9
    6Francisco Liriano (PIT) 102.2 12-4 2.02 1.15 106 2.3
    7Jeff Locke (PIT)
     125.2  9-3 2.36 1.22  94 1.3
    8Cliff Lee (PHI) 144.2 10-5 3.05 1.01 131 3.0
    9Derek Holland (TEX)  155  9-6 3.02 1.25 145 4.5
    10Matt Moore (TB) 121.1 14-3 3.41 1.23 115 1.8

     

    Position Overview

    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.

Middle Reliever

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    RankNameGW-LHLDERAK/9WAR
    1David Robertson (NYY) 48  4-1  25 1.79  11.3  1.3
    2Trevor Rosenthal (STL) 50 1-2 24 2.25 12.8  1.6
    3Drew Smyly (DET) 41 4-0 11 1.91  9.7 1.6
    4Ryan Cook (OAK) 47 3-2 16 2.05  8.6 1.7
    5Jesse Crain (TB) 38 2-3 19  0.74 11.3 1.9
    6Steve Delabar (TOR) 46 5-2  5 2.90 13.6 1.3
    7Rex Brothers (COL) 49 2-0 10 1.39  9.1 0.8
    8Tyler Clippard (WSH) 49 6-1 21 1.85  9.8 0.6
    9Alex Torres (TB) 21 4-0  3 0.26 11.0 1.0
    10Luis Avilan (ATL) 51 4-0 18 1.19  5.2 0.5

     

    Position Overview

    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.

Closer

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    RankNameGW-LSVERAK/9WAR
    1Craig Kimbrel (ATL) 43 2-2  33-of-36 1.28 14.0  1.4
    2Joe Nathan (TEX) 47 3-1 32-of-34 1.61  9.5 1.5
    3Mariano Rivera (NYY) 44  2-2 35-of-37  1.56   8.7 1.4
    4Grant Balfour (OAK) 46 0-2 29-of-30 1.84 10.2 0.7
    5Jason Grilli (PIT) 45 0-1 30-of-31 2.34 14.0 1.6 
    6Greg Holland (KC) 44 2-1 29-of-31 1.67 14.2 2.1
    7Edward Mujica (STL) 46 2-1 30-of-32 1.97  7.7 0.6
    8Glen 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

     

    Position Overview

    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.