With the MLB All-Star Game nearly upon us, is there a better time than now to rank each of the 18 players that will comprise the starting lineups for the American League and the National League?
I can't think of one.
Ranking anything can be a difficult undertaking, especially when it's a small group of elite athletes that are widely considered to be the best in their field.
It'd be easy to look at a single statistic, such as WAR or wRC+, and put the player with the highest number at the top of our rankings. But if we've learned anything over the years, it's that sometimes statistics can be misleading.
So, how do we go about it?
While the primary focus is put on what a player has done this season, recent history does come into play here. A player who has seemingly come out of nowhere to put together an All-Star-caliber season, for example, isn't going to be ranked as highly as someone who has an established track record of success.
At the same time, what a player did, say, five years ago has no bearing on where he stands among his contemporaries today.
I've taken into account a player's overall profile—offense and defense—in putting these rankings together, but they remain highly subjective, as most rankings do.
So, who is the best of the best?
Let's take a look.
*Unless otherwise noted/linked, all statistics courtesy of FanGraphs and are current through games of July 14.