What follows is my take on the 25 most important players for the 2014 MLB season. Each of these guys made my list for a different reason, and there's no doubt that your list of 25 likely differs greatly from mine, but I've attempted to explain my reason for each choice as best I can.
A player could earn the distinction of being one of the 25 most important players in 2014 for one of the following reasons:
- He has dealt with some injuries in the past and absolutely must stay healthy for his team to contend.
- He would make a huge difference if he could pick up his production, but he is off to a slow start.
- He represents a cornerstone piece of a rebuilding team and must continue improving.
- He is likely to be on the trade block come July and could be a second-half X-factor for a contender.
So it is important to realize that this is by no means a list of the top 25 players in baseball. In fact, you won't see the likes of Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera or Clayton Kershaw on the list that follows.
Instead, it's a collection of guys who are capable of being a significant X-factor for their team in one way or another, whether it's in terms of helping it get to the playoffs, helping it take the next step in their rebuilding effort or netting it a big return on the trade market.
So here is my take on the 25 most important players in MLB for the 2014 season and my reasoning behind each selection.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference, unless otherwise noted.