MLB Power Rankings: The 5 Best Players at Each Position in the League Today

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IApril 19, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: The 5 Best Players at Each Position in the League Today

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    Who doesn’t like an old fashioned power ranking of the best players in the game by position?

    For many of us, these sort of slideshows are nothing more than an extension of our childhood; a time when we sat around with friends and argued over who was the best pitcher in the game, who was the fastest shortstop, etc.

    Childhood? Heck, many of us still do that today, right?

    Whether you think Roy Halladay or Tim Lincecum is the best pitcher in baseball, we can all find common ground on the grand argument arena of who's the best.

    So let’s take a look at who I have lined up as my five best per position.

    Each number one will be highlighted by a small blurb explaining why. I will not just take into account statistical factors since numbers change every day:

    EX: (If I compared Albert Pujols to Carlos Delgado before his retirement announcement) Carlos Delgado topped all first baseman with 473 home runs, but Albert Pujols averages 40-plus a year and is a better glove defensively…arguably, Pujols is the better player, understand?

    In short, this is one of those good old-fashioned back-and-forths, so feel free to leave your argument in the comment section.

    After all, not everyone’s opinions are going to be the same now are they?

First Base

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    1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals:

    I could simply write chicken soup banana-dog right here, and there would be plenty of you who would simply say:

    “Oh yeah, no doubt Pujols is No. 1 at first.”

    • A 40-plus home run hitter every year.
    • 9 time All-Star
    • 6 time Silver-Slugger
    • 2 time Golden-Glover
    • 3 time MVP
    • 2001 Rookie of the Year
    • The heart and soul of the St. Louis franchise.

    Any arguments, anyone?

    2. Ryan Howard, Phillies

    3. Mark Teixeira, Yankees

    4. Prince Fielder, Brewers

    5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Second Base

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    1. Chase Utley, Phillies:

    To be honest, Utley, Cano, and Pedroia are in a class of their own for so many reasons. From their above-average talents in the field, on the paths and at the plate to their overall value as a team player these three literally rule second base.

    But there can only be one king of the hill, and that is Utley.

    His role in the dugout, in the community, in the club house and organization are all indelible marks that have defined Utley over his residence in the City of Brotherly Love.

    But it is his undeniable style of defensive play that I think sets him apart from the other two, making him my clear choice for No. 1.

    What about you?

    2. Robinson Cano, Yankees

    3. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

    4. Brandon Phillips, Reds

    5. Dan Uggla, Braves

Third Base

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    1. Evan Longoria, Rays:

    Clearly the best in the game right now. I know Yankees fans don’t’ wanna hear it with A-Rod in the game, but in my opinion Longoria takes the cake.

    Not only is he one of the best—if not the best—hitters at his position, he is a true class act inside and out, and if you combine that with his dual threat as an offensive and defensive weapon, there is little wiggle room to make a case for A-Rod as the best.

    But don’t worry, I expect you Yankees fans to come in droves on this one.

    2. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

    3. David Wright, Mets

    4. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals

    5. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox


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    1. Shane Victorino, Phillies

    Believe me, these power rankings are not as easy as you think.

    Go ahead. Tar and feather me, take your best shot—whatever—but I stand by my choice here for several reasons.

    As a defensive player you don’t get much faster than Victorino on defense. The guy can cover more real estate in pursuit than any other outfielder in the game—not to mention his exceptional range and unbelievable glove.

    As an offensive player, where do I begin? With his speed, Victorino is one of the best base-stealers in the game. With his keen eye, Victorino has mastered the art of both small ball and power (a rarity for any player, let alone an outfielder).

    As an individual Victorino is one of the most valuable players in the game for his team and for the league. He epitomizes the term role model and is a class act.

    2. Ryan Braun, Brewers

    3. Carl Crawford, Red Sox

    4. Ichirio Suzuki, Mariners

    5. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies


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    1. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins:

    Another hard choice to a certain degree, but I think Han-Ram takes the cake here. Between his threat at the plate, on the basepaths or defensively Ramirez is hands down the best in the game right now.

    You’ll notice some of the mainstay names a bit further down the list, and that is simply because all gods fall from grace sooner or later.

    Jeter, Reyes and Rollins have dominated this position for years, but they have clearly lost a step.

    2. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

    3. Derek Jeter, Yankees

    4. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies

    5. Jose Reyes, Mets


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    1. Joe Mauer, Twins:

    No surprise here, eh? Mauer is about as good at the backstop as any in the league. Mauer is a four-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger, a three-time Gold Glover and the 2009 MVP.

    That’s technically in six years of being a starter.

    The other catchers listed are pretty good in their own right, but I don’t feel they come close to Mauer’s level.

    Yes, there are a few rookies that could be mentioned (Buster Posey and Matt Wieters) but c’mon, are you going to compare them to Mauer just yet? No.

    He’s simply the best.

    2. Victor Martinez, Tigers

    3. Brian McCann, Braves

    4. Carlos Santana, Indians

    5. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies

Designated Hitter

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    The DH spot is a bit tricky considering players are being interchanged at the position on a daily basis. Players like Billy Butler and Victor Martinez will show as a DH on their team’s respective roster, but are also considered starters, so this top five is obviously VERY debatable.

    1. Vladimir Guerrero, Orioles:

    So with the above mentioned, I suggest to you—the audience—Vlad the Bad as the best DH in the game. He has a defensive prowess despite having more mileage on his legs than a used VW bus, has a power swing that seemingly gets stronger every year and makes whatever team he is on that much better and dangerous.

    Vlad is a truly iconic player who is incredibly invaluable.

    2. Adam Lind, Blue Jays

    3. David Ortiz, Red Sox

    4. Jason Kubel, Twins

    5. Bobby Abreu, Angels

Starting Pitcher—National League and American League Combined

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    1. Roy Halladay, Phillies:

    What can I say? I mean, really. Halladay is the poster child of the workhorse pitcher of the old days. Halladay is a relentless worker, a tenacious pitcher and a competitor that has that thing you don’t come across every day.

    The last pitcher to have it was Nolan Ryan in my opinion.

    In today’s modern game, the majority of pitchers are lucky to go 6.2 innings regardless of performance, so to see a guy consistently go deep is a thing of wonder.

    To see a guy consistently go deep with as much success as Halladay is a thing of beauty.

    2. Tim Lincecum, Giants

    3. C.C. Sabathia, Yankees

    4. Felix Hernandez, Mariners—Could a trade be looming for the King?

    5. Johan Santana, Mets

    6. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals

    7. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals

    8. Jon Lester, Red Sox

    9. Josh Johnson, Marlins

    10. Justin Verlander, Tigers


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    1. Mariano Rivera, Yankees:

    The guy is 41 years old, hasn't had an ERA higher than 1.80 or WHIP higher than 0.90 over the last three seasons and just keeps on trudging along—a true ageless wonder. Rivera easily takes the cake at the number one spot, but make no mistake, some of the players right behind him are destined to be No. 1 themselves, some day.

    2. Brian Wilson, Giants

    3. Nefalti Perez, Rangers

    4. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox

    5. Houston Street, Astros