MLB Position-by-Position Player Power Rankings, September Edition

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2015

MLB Position-by-Position Player Power Rankings, September Edition

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    It's time for an updated version of our position-by-position power rankings, as we enter the final month of the 2015 MLB campaign.

    The preseason rankings were released March 3, with subsequent versions published April 14June 2 and Aug. 6 so with another month gone by, it's time for the latest update.

    The following rankings take into account players' all-around offensive abilities, their defensive contributions as well as what they have meant to the success of their respective teams.

    This is an overview of the top 10 players based solely on what they have done in 2015, so past success and/or expected regression does not play a factor.

    It should be noted: These are not power rankings in the traditional sense in which recent performance greatly influences position. Instead, it is simply meant to be a "best of" so far in 2015, with the entire body of work this season taken into account.

    On top of naming the top 10 overall players at each position, we've included a quick look at the top three rookie performers in an effort to shine more light on who may be the future at each spot.


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    Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Catchers

    1. Buster Posey, SF.325.857221680635.41
    2. Stephen Vogt, OAK.269.816201867533.57
    3. Russell Martin, TOR.241.771191756642.82
    4. Brian McCann, NYY.243.788152382552.74
    5. Salvador Perez, KC.256.700191856402.46
    6. Francisco Cervelli, PIT.298.78714637452.28
    7. Caleb Joseph, BAL.248.742151146362.4NR
    8. Yadier Molina, STL.281.68622459331.810
    9. Yasmani Grandal, LAD.261.815121544411.33
    10. Nick Hundley, COL.302.812211043451.75

    Position Overview

    With a .346/.379/.434 line since the All-Star break, Buster Posey has once again left little doubt that he's the best offensive catcher in the game. If the Giants can find a way to climb back into the playoff picture, he'll have to be considered among the MVP front-runners.

    While Posey has been a superstar for years now, Stephen Vogt and Francisco Cervelli have provided the biggest breakouts at the position in what is each guy's first opportunity to be the primary catcher.

    On the defensive side of things, Salvador Perez and Yadier Molina are still the gold standard in their respective divisions, though it is the aforementioned Cervelli who leads the league in pitch framing, according to Stat Corner.

    Veteran Brian McCann has bounced back nicely from a poor first season with the Yankees to lead the position in both home runs and RBI, as he's once again an elite offensive option behind the plate.

    It's hard to quantify the value Russell Martin brings to a team, as it goes beyond the surface statistics, which are impressive on their own. He's undoubtedly been a big part in the Blue Jays' improved pitching staff, though.

    Caleb Joseph has established himself as the catcher of the present and future for the Orioles as a solid defender with good pop, while Yasmani Grandal and Nick Hundley round out the top 10 on the strength of their offensive production.

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Blake Swihart, BOS.284.72115224380.5NR
    2. James McCann, DET.259.68416630260.91
    3. J.T. Realmuto, MIA.241.65116738411.32

First Basemen

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    Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 First Basemen

    1. Paul Goldschmidt, ARI.3221.000302797857.51
    2. Joey Votto, CIN.3161.025292770816.72
    3. Anthony Rizzo, CHC.282.917302779745.63
    4. Miguel Cabrera, DET.3591.045251767555.05
    5. Adrian Gonzalez, LAD.284.857302579683.96
    6. Mark Teixeira, NYY.255.906223179573.84
    7. Chris Davis, BAL.253.877213897763.310
    8. Eric Hosmer, KC.309.837271477823.67
    9. Jose Abreu, CWS.288.843282480763.48
    10. Brandon Belt, SF.281.836301761663.6NR

    Position Overview

    Paul Goldschmidt has joined rare company in putting together a 20 HR/20 SB season this year, as he becomes just the 13th first baseman in MLB history to join that club and the first since Derrek Lee (31 HR, 21 SB) back in 2003. He's as dynamic a player as there is in the National League today.

    Close behind is Joey Votto, who is enjoying a terrific bounce-back season and has been playing out of his mind since the All-Star break. He has a .399/.576/.748 line with 14 doubles and 12 home runs in 143 second-half at-bats.

    Anthony Rizzo has emerged the leader of a young Cubs roster, and assuming they hold on and secure a playoff spot, he has to be considered in the NL MVP picture.

    Tigers star Miguel Cabrera takes a bit of a hit for missing significant time to a calf strain, but he is still in line to win his fourth batting title in five years. 

    Adrian Gonzalez remains as consistent as any player in baseball and this season is no different, while Mark Teixeira (.711 OPS, 22 HR in '14) and Chris Davis (.704 OPS, 26 HR in '14) have both rebounded from disappointing 2014 seasons to again emerge as elite power threats.

    After a strong performance last October, Eric Hosmer has continued to star for the Royals, and at this point it wouldn't be out of line to call him the face of the franchise.

    Jose Abreu has not matched his huge rookie numbers, but he remains a dangerous power threat, while Brandon Belt is on his way to a career year at the plate, and he claims the final spot over guys like Albert Pujols and Lucas Duda.

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Ben Paulsen, COL.283.812181045361.11
    2. Justin Bour, MIA.252.771151549290.02
    3. Travis Shaw, BOS.288.8797717201.2NR

Second Basemen

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    Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Second Basemen

    1. Ian Kinsler, DET.305.807321065845.62
    2. Jason Kipnis, CLE.317.85737745764.81
    3. Brian Dozier, MIN.244.794342668902.63
    4. Jose Altuve, HOU.315.788241155673.68
    5. Dee Gordon, MIA.328.76219235663.76
    6. Joe Panik, SF.309.81625735563.14
    7. DJ LeMahieu, COL.318.79020651722.95
    8. Robinson Cano, SEA.282.756311459662.8NR
    9. Brandon Phillips, CIN.289.712131052583.0NR
    10. Neil Walker, PIT.265.752281355571.510

    Position Overview

    On the strength of a big second half and terrific defensive metrics, Ian Kinsler jumps ahead of Jason Kipnis and into the top spot among second basemen.

    Kinsler is hitting .366/.396/.600 since the All-Star break, and his 13 defensive runs saved (DRS) are tops among all second basemen, according to FanGraphs. That's not to take anything away from Kipnis, though, as he's enjoying a terrific season in his own right.

    Just behind them is Brian Dozier, who provides a rare mix of power and speed for the position and undoubtedly ranks among the most underrated players in the game today.

    Jose Altuve may not be hitting .341 like he did last year on his way to the AL batting title, but he's still pacing the AL with 163 hits and serving as a catalyst for the upstart Astros.

    Over on the NL side of things, it's Dee Gordon who leads the league with 164 hits. He's also added 47 stolen bases and been surprisingly good with the glove (11 DRS).

    Second-year standout Joe Panik and 2014 NL Gold Glove winner DJ LeMahieu have both exceeded expectations at the plate this year, though Panik has been sidelined since early August with a back issue.

    Robinson Cano and Brandon Phillips have long been among the elite offensive players at the position, and they have looked more like their usual selves since the All-Star break. Cano is hitting .343/.406/.544 since the break and Phillips is close behind with a .311/.344/.421 line.

    The final spot goes to Neil Walker who remains a consistent producer for a very good Pirates team, as he edges out Kolten Wong and Rougned Odor. 

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Devon Travis, TOR.304.85918835382.51
    2. Cory Spangenberg, SD.266.70413212261.43
    3. Kelby Tomlinson, SF.304.811211370.3NR

Third Basemen

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    Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Third Basemen

    1. Josh Donaldson, TOR.304.96137361111047.61
    2. Nolan Arenado, COL.281.8793333100785.13
    3. Manny Machado, BAL.291.851272667806.22
    4. Todd Frazier, CIN.262.825393077723.84
    5. Kris Bryant, CHC.269.855222284744.28
    6. Matt Duffy, SF.302.782231061614.26
    7. Mike Moustakas, KC.282.795271559583.910
    8. Matt Carpenter, STL.260.822332069802.67
    9. Justin Turner, LAD.292.868211552433.05
    10. Adrian Beltre, TEX.272.738211347644.0NR

    Player Overview

    It was viewed by many as a foregone conclusion that Mike Trout would again be taking home AL MVP honors around the time of the All-Star break, but Josh Donaldson is making a strong case to take home that honor and is the clear choice for the league's top third baseman.

    Close behind is a budding superstar in Nolan Arenado. The 24-year-old leads the NL in home runs (33) and RBI (100), while also pacing all third basemen with 20 DRS and ranking second with a 12.1 UZR/150, per FanGraphs. He's going to be a good one for a long time.

    Manny Machado is also an elite option with the glove (15 DRS, 9.5 UZR/150), and he's taken his offensive game to another level with a big bump in his power numbers. It's been a trying season in Cincinnati, but at least Todd Frazier has proven his 2014 breakout for real.

    Rookies Kris Bryant and Matt Duffy round out the top five, and while Bryant has surged ahead of Duffy at this point, they should both figure prominently into the NL Rookie of the Year conversation.

    Much like his teammate Eric Hosmer, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has built off of his strong postseason performance and turned this into a career year at the plate.

    Matt Carpenter remains a terrific catalyst for the Cardinals, but he's also found his power stroke this year with a career-high 20 home runs. 

    The versatile Justin Turner has settled in nicely as the Dodgers everyday third baseman, while 36-year-old Adrian Beltre is still a solid offensive contributors and a terrific defender (15 DRS, 12.3 UZR/150).

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Kris Bryant, CHC.269.855222284744.22
    2. Matt Duffy, SF.302.782231061614.21
    3. Maikel Franco, PHI.277830221348431.43


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    Top 10 Shortstops

    1. Brandon Crawford, SF.263.802291975585.71
    2. Carlos Correa, HOU.276.858171645383.02
    3. Xander Bogaerts, BOS.319.76226563603.83
    4. Troy Tulowitzki, TOR.284.792251666722.84
    5. Andrelton Simmons, ATL.262.66720334543.06
    6. Jhonny Peralta, STL.281.769241660572.45
    7. Francisco Lindor, CLE.308.78415731332.8NR
    8. Jose Iglesias, DET.302.72017223441.67
    9. Didi Gregorius, NYY.272.69317844492.7NR
    10. Adeiny Hechavarria, MIA.281.68917548542.28

    Player Overview

    The shortstop position as a whole has been undeniably weak the past few seasons, but that figures to change in the years to come.

    Brandon Crawford has been one of the biggest breakout stars of 2015, as he's transformed himself from a glove-first shortstop into the best all-around player at the position. He currently leads all shortstops in doubles (29), home runs (19) and RBI (75) while also putting up a position-best 21 DRS.

    His reign at the top may be a brief one, though, as 20-year-old Carlos Correa looks like a superstar in the making, and he's certainly made his presence felt since being called up on June 8. 

    Xander Bogaerts has also taken a big step forward in his sophomore campaign, though his lack of power is a bit puzzling after a 12-homer rookie season.

    Troy Tulowitzki remains one of the best offensive players at the position, while Andrelton Simmons is still the gold standard defensively and has quietly hit a a solid .287/.376/.343 since the break.

    Correa may be the first-year player everyone is talking about, but no one at the positionrookie or otherwisehad a better August than Francisco Lindor. The 21-year-old hit .370/.413/.500 with 10 extra-base hits last month.

    Jhonny Peralta remains one of the few power threats at the position and a steady defender, while Jose Iglesias, Didi Gregorius and Adeiny Hechavarria all boast similar skills sets with a solid average, minimal power and a good glove.

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Carlos Correa, HOU.276.858171645383.01
    2. Francisco Lindor, CLE.308.78415731332.83
    3. Nick Ahmed, ARI.215.59113726441.92

Left Fielders

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    Top 10 Left Fielders

    1. Yoenis Cespedes, NYM.293.859342887855.11
    2. Michael Brantley, CLE.321.879401274613.45
    3. Starling Marte, PIT.279.767251563744.03
    4. Brett Gardner, NYY.273.781261356853.42
    5. Randal Grichuk, STL.284.894211544463.24
    6. Justin Upton, SD.253.795192472714.07
    7. David Peralta, ARI.307.887231471502.88
    8. Alex Gordon, KC.284.859141140332.69
    9. Gerardo Parra, BAL.303.831301442741.36
    10. Kyle Schwarber, CHC.270.91751338411.7NR

    Player Overview

    Two of the top bats on the free agent market this coming offseason will be Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton, as both players are likely headed for paydays north of $100 million.

    That said, Cespedes is an easy choice for the top spot here among left fielders. He's given the Mets a huge boost since being acquired at the trade deadline, hitting .295/.345/.605 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI in 30 games. He also leads the position with a 13.1 UZR/150 and has 11 DRS.

    Last year's breakout star Michael Brantley has seen his home-run total drop, but he leads the AL with 40 doubles and currently sits second in the AL batting title race.

    Starling Marte leads the position with 18 DRS while contributing his usual mix of power and speed, and Brett Gardner has put up similar numbers as a consistent producer in the Yankees lineup.

    Rookies Randal Grichuk and Kyle Schwarber have both given their teams a huge boost offensively, and they both earn a spot on the list despite somewhat limited playing time.

    David Peralta is quietly having a great season and has established himself as a core piece for the Diamondbacks, while Gerardo Parra has seen his production drop off significantly since joining the Orioles but still cracks the list.

    He's played just 79 games on the season, and just recently returned from a groin strain, but Alex Gordon was still good enough pre-injury to sneak onto the list.

    He didn't crack the top 10, but tip of the cap to Franklin Gutierrez (130 AB, 1.012 OPS, 11 HR, 30 RBI) who deserves some serious consideration for AL Comeback Player of the Year.

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Randal Grichuk, STL.284.894211544463.21
    2. Kyle Schwarber, CHC.270.91751338411.73 (C)
    3. Stephen Piscotty, STL.340.91611424201.4NR

Center Fielders

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Center Fielders

    1. Mike Trout, LAA.297.972253374847.51
    2. Andrew McCutchen, PIT.303.922332085764.34
    3. Lorenzo Cain, KC.313.859301361836.62
    4. A.J. Pollock, ARI.321.870321561936.13
    5. Kevin Kiermaier, TB.260.70921731506.46
    6. Adam Jones, BAL.274.796232467683.65
    7. Mookie Betts, BOS.275.773311364674.38
    8. Charlie Blackmon, COL.294.818281551751.97
    9. Kevin Pillar, TOR.262.66822945643.610
    10. Dexter Fowler, CHC.255.778251537872.2NR

    Player Overview

    Despite the fact that he's hitting a somewhat pedestrian .265/.380/.490 here in the second half, Mike Trout is still an easy choice for the top of the center field rankings. He's going to have his work cut out for him holding off Josh Donaldson for AL MVP honors, though.

    Andrew McCutchen might be the NL MVP front-runner right now, assuming the Nationals and Bryce Harper wind up missing the playoffs, as he's again been the driving force behind a very good Pirates team.

    Behind those two superstars is a pair of players who have really come into their own this season in Lorenzo Cain of the Royals and A.J. Pollock of the Diamondbacks. Both players are hitting for a terrific average, flashing more power than expected and playing great defense in center field.

    If their defense has been terrific, we'll need another word entirely for Kevin Kiermaier, who leads all of baseball with 37 DRS and 44.3 UZR/150. Those are historically good metrics, and while his offense has been about league average (96 OPS+), he does lead the AL with 12 triples. 

    Adam Jones remains a steady producer in the middle of the Orioles lineup and Charlie Blackmon has followed up his 2014 breakout with another solid year that includes 36 steals.

    The Red Sox were wise not to trade Mookie Betts, as he looks like a franchise cornerstone, while Kevin Pillar has played his way into a regular job thanks in large part to his glove (12 DRS, 13.5 UZR/150).

    Dexter Fowler rounds out the top 10 on the strength of a .302/.430/.543 line since the All-Star break, and the Cubs will face an interesting decision this coming offseason on whether or not to re-sign him.

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Joc Pederson, LAD.211.789182448592.41
    2. Odubel Herrera, PHI.295.74825634552.53
    3. Billy Burns, OAK.293.71314331611.82

Right Fielders

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    Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Right Fielders

    1. Bryce Harper, WAS.3311.086313178928.01
    2. Nelson Cruz, SEA.310.967223982775.32
    3. J.D. Martinez, DET.289.906253487765.13
    4. Jason Heyward, STL.292.790271150694.56
    5. Curtis Granderson, NYM.258.808282359774.39
    6. Carlos Gonzalez, COL.270.873223380723.17
    7. Jose Bautista, TOR.243.879233189892.95
    8. Giancarlo Stanton, MIA.265.952122767473.74
    9. Ryan Braun, MIL.282.855232479783.48
    10. Josh Reddick, OAK.278.784231566533.0NR

    Player Overview

    From a numbers standpoint, no one has had a better season offensively here in 2015 than Bryce Harper, despite the fact that the Nationals have been perhaps the biggest disappointment in all of baseball.

    His 8.0 WAR leads all position players, and his .331 average currently gives him a slight edge over Dee Gordon (.327) in the NL batting title race. At 22 years old, Harper has finally turned his tremendous raw tools and incredibly high ceiling into production on the field.

    He may not provide anything in the way of defensive value (-7 DRS, -12.8 UZR/150), but Nelson Cruz is on his way to once again leading all of baseball in home runs after a 40-homer season a year ago.

    J.D. Martinez was plucked from the scrapheap to become one of the surprise breakout players of 2014, and he's been even better this season. On top of his career-best offensive numbers, he's also been terrific defensively (8 DRS, 13.1 UZR/150).

    Jason Heyward (14 DRS, 15.0 UZR/150) and Curtis Granderson (13 DRS, 9.0 UZR/150) have also been studs with the glove and key contributors for their respective offenses. Heyward is hitting .331/.394/.493 since the break, setting himself up for a huge payday this winter.

    Aside from their batting averages, Carlos Gonzalez and Jose Bautista have put up very similar elite-level offensive numbers this season. For Bautista, what he lacks in average is more than offset by an impressive 85/85 BB/K ratio.

    Giancarlo Stanton has not played since June 26, but his numbers still hold up enough to warrant a place in the rankings, while Ryan Braun and Josh Reddick edge out Kole Calhoun and Andre Ethier for the final two spots.

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Yasmany Tomas, ARI.287.7301884338-0.61
    2. Steven Souza, TB.214.705111534470.52
    3. Jorge Soler, CHC.265.7101874235-0.23

Designated Hitters

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    Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 5 Designated Hitters

    1. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR.271.902283092743.4NR
    2. David Ortiz, BOS.265.874272981582.24
    3. Prince Fielder, TEX.317.857251873611.92
    4. Alex Rodriguez, NYY.256.843182673712.61
    5. Kendrys Morales, KC.288.825351794601.83

    Position Overview

    Something of a forgotten man in Toronto for much of the year, Edwin Encarnacion reminded everyone just how good he is by hitting .407/.460/.919 with 11 doubles and 11 home runs over 86 at-bats in August.

    Meanwhile, David Ortiz is closing in on history, as he sits just five home runs away from 500 for his career. His next home run will also mark the ninth time he's hit 30 home runs in a season, as he continues to build a compelling Hall of Fame case.

    Prince Fielder is currently fourth in the AL batting title race with a .317 average, and his resurgence has certainly played a major part in the Rangers' push for a playoff spot this year.

    The No. 1 spot on this list had previously been occupied by Alex Rodriguez, but a .153/.273/.259 line in August took a bite out of his overall numbers. That said, he's still provided way more than anyone would have guessed heading into the year.

    The final spot goes to Kendrys Morales as his 94 RBI rank third in the AL and the two-year, $17 million deal he signed in the offseason has proven to be a great value.

    With just 51 games under his belt, Miguel Sano doesn't quite have the overall numbers to push his way onto the list. The 22-year-old has been an absolute stud since getting the call, though, and he looks like a star in the making.

    Top Rookie

    Miguel Sano, MIN.2961.025131542332.1NR

Utility Players

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    Top 5 Utility Players

    1. Logan Forsythe, TB.291.823271553594.71
    2. Jung Ho Kang, PIT.287.821221349523.92
    3. Ben Zobrist, KC.295.844281148612.1NR
    4. Brock Holt, BOS.276.72321237442.83
    5. Chris Colabello, TOR.323.879151349470.35

    Position Overview

    The "utility players" slide was created last year when there was nowhere to clearly place Pirates standout Josh Harrison, and there are several players who have found success while playing all over the field once again here in 2015.

    After hitting just .223 with a .616 OPS last season, Logan Forsythe has been one of the biggest surprises of 2015. The bulk of his time has come at second base (106 G), but he also saw time at first base (25) when James Loney was hurt and has started at third base (8) as well.

    Korean import Jung-ho Kang has been well worth the four-year, $11 million flier the Pirates took on him during the offseason, as he's not only been a standout offensively but has also helped the team overcome injuries while splitting his time at third base (65) and shortstop (56).

    The Johnny Cueto trade got the most attention in Kansas City, but Ben Zobrist has also been a huge addition. He's hit .319/.412/.517 since the trade, and on the year he's spent time at second base (44), left field (44), right field (4) and third base (4).

    Brock Holt earned a spot on the AL All-Star team this year as he's continued to play all over the field and put up solid offensive numbers. He's played second base (52), third base (22), right field (17), left field (12), shortstop (11), first base (8) and center field (2).

    Rounding things out is Chris Colabello, who is an awful defender whether it's at first base (-4 DRS, -1.2 UZR/150) or in the outfield (-14 DRS, -13.9 UZR/150), but he has put up big offensive numbers for the Blue Jays in just 279 at-bats.

    Top Rookie

    Jung-ho Kang, PIT.287.821221349523.91

Right-Handed Starting Pitchers

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Right-Handed Starting Pitchers

    1. Zack Greinke, LAD15-31.590.846.1891698.11
    2. Jake Arrieta, CHC17-62.110.940.1951906.29
    3. Jacob deGrom, NYM12-72.320.945.2041714.44
    4. Sonny Gray, OAK12-72.361.002.2061526.03
    5. Matt Harvey, NYM12-72.601.010.2181584.3NR
    6. Chris Archer, TB12-102.781.039.2112234.45
    7. Gerrit Cole, PIT15-82.641.134.2461683.66
    8. Shelby Miller, ATL5-122.561.180.2271474.410
    9. Michael Wacha, STL15-42.691.125.2301343.7NR
    10. Max Scherzer, WAS11-112.890.957.2172195.12

    Position Overview

    Truth be told, you could pad the list of right-handed starting pitchers out to 20 and still exclude some deserving arms, but there is a clear-cut No. 1 on this list in Zack Greinke.

    His 1.59 ERA would be the lowest since Greg Maddux posted a 1.56 mark during the strike-shortened 1994 season, and he's gone at least six innings each time out this year with 25 quality starts in 27 games.

    Jake Arrieta has quickly closed the gap, thanks to a dominant month of August that saw him go 6-0 with an 0.43 ERA, and he capped things off with a no-hitter last time out. If he keeps it up, the NL Cy Young vote could be closer than many would have guessed.

    Jacob deGrom, Sonny Gray, Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole have all taken a big step forward this season to emerge as the aces of their respective staffs, and the best may be yet to come from all four of them.

    Meanwhile, Matt Harvey has returned as well from Tommy John surgery as any pitcher we've ever seen, and Michael Wacha has shown no ill-effects of the shoulder injury that plagued him last season, as he's stepped into the role of ace with Adam Wainwright sidelined.

    His 5-12 record is not pretty, but few pitchers in recent memory have had as bad of luck as Shelby Miller. He has not won a game since May 17, going 0-11 with a 3.13 ERA in his last 19 starts, and his 2.56 ERA overall ranks fifth in the NL.

    The final spot goes to Max Scherzer, despite a drop in production in the second half, as he edges out Johnny Cueto, Carlos Martinez and several others.

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Taylor Jungmann, MIL8-52.481.169.227832.93
    2. Noah Syndergaard, NYM8-63.311.136.2381291.71
    3. Chris Heston, SF11-83.561.246.2391111.72

Left-Handed Starting Pitchers

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    Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Left-Handed Starting Pitchers

    1. Clayton Kershaw, LAD12-62.180.897.1992516.32
    2. Dallas Keuchel, HOU16-62.240.997.2131736.91
    3. David Price, TOR13-52.471.077.2341885.44
    4. Scott Kazmir, HOU7-92.501.124.2211424.23
    5. Madison Bumgarner, SF16-72.961.035.2302003.88
    6. Chris Sale, CWS12-
    7. Francisco Liriano, PIT9-
    8. Jaime Garcia, STL7-42.030.968.213643.2NR
    9. Cole Hamels, TEX8-83.701.215.2401783.49
    10. Mark Buehrle, TOR14-63.531.181.267802.310

    Player Overview

    Clayton Kershaw got off to a slow start this season, posting a 4.32 ERA over his first nine games. He's once again emerged as a dominant force since then, though, going 10-3 with a 1.26 ERA in his last 18 starts. His 251 strikeouts already represent a new career high.

    Close behind is Dallas Keuchel, who has proven his out-of-nowhere 2014 season was no fluke with an even better performance this year. If the season ended today, he'd likely be your AL Cy Young winner.

    David Price, Scott Kazmir and Cole Hamels all changed teams at the trade deadline, and they have all pitched well since joining their new teams.

    All three would be pitching in October if the season ended today, and it will be interesting to see who winds up being the best pickup of July. Price and Kazmir will also be hitting the free agent market this winter, and a strong stretch run could go a long way in boosting their stock.

    It's been business as usual for Madison Bumgarner and Chris Sale, as both have been ace-caliber arms once again. Sale leads the AL with 239 strikeouts, and if you remove a pair of midseason starts (10.1 IP, 14 ER), his ERA is 2.74.

    While Gerrit Cole has taken over as the ace of the Pirates staff, bringing back Francisco Liriano on a three-year, $39 million has proven to be a terrific move. His time in Pittsburgh has been fantastic, as he's gone 32-24 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.231 WHIP and 9.5 K/9 in three years.

    Jaime Garcia has been brilliant since finally getting healthy and returning to the Cardinals rotation, while timeless wonder Mark Buehrle is 29 frames short of his 15th consecutive 200-inning season and again having a strong year.

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Andrew Heaney, LAA6-
    2. Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS8-
    3. Carlos Rodon, CWS6-64.101.500.2571230.6NR

Non-Closer Relievers

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Non-Closer Relievers

    1. Wade Davis, KC567-1160.990.82310.42.81
    2. Dellin Betances, NYY616-3211.300.90914.23.32
    3. Darren O'Day, BAL545-2131.740.98711.31.84
    4. Will Harris, HOU545-281.370.8608.72.36
    5. Tony Watson, PIT623-1342.070.9188.01.9NR
    6. Joaquin Benoit, SD586-4252.220.9008.41.77
    7. Justin Grimm, CHC492-4122.041.03412.51.2NR
    8. Mark Lowe, TOR451-2151.801.13310.81.5NR
    9. Kevin Siegrist, STL666-1242.231.13711.01.65
    10. Carter Capps, MIA301-0111.160.80616.81.33

    Player Overview

    At any given time there are about 180 non-closer relievers active around MLB, and even more now that rosters have expanded, so there is no shortage of options to fill these 10 slots.

    The top two spots on this list are a no-brainer, though, as Wade Davis and Dellin Betances have both been phenomenal once again this season. They have both seen time in the closer's role due to injury but are back in the eighth where they have been lights out since the beginning of last year.

    Those two were joined by Darren O'Day in earning a spot on the All-Star team this year, as the side-winding righty continues to be as reliable as any setup arm in the game. Since joining the Orioles in 2012, he's posted a 1.99 ERA and 0.951 WHIP over 259 appearances.

    Tony Watson and Joaquin Benoit have been stellar once again after strong 2014 season, while Kevin Siegrist has bounced back in a big way after posting a 6.82 ERA in 37 appearances last year.

    Bargain additions Mark Lowe (minor league contract) and Will Harris (claimed off waivers) have both far exceeded expectations and now find themselves pitching in a key role on contenders.

    The Cubs employ the one-two punch of Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon at the back of their bullpen, but a strong case can be made for Justin Grimm being their best reliever so far this year and one of the best in the entire National League.

    The final spot goes to Carter Capps and his quirky delivery, despite the fact that he's been sidelined since Aug. 2, as his 16.8 K/9 are tops among pitchers with at least 30 innings of work.

    Top 3 Rookies

    1. Hunter Strickland, SF422-3141.940.8889.51.22
    2. Chasen Shreve, NYY496-1101.891.10810.21.83
    3. Keone Kela, TEX606-5172.671.16710.01.3NR


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    Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

    Top 10 Closers (15+ Saves)

    1. Andrew Miller, NYY 482-229/301.860.82813.81.81
    2. Mark Melancon, PIT643-143/451.710.9846.32.02
    3. T. Rosenthal, STL 592-242/441.491.19310.32.88
    4. Kenley Jansen, LAD412-128/302.270.73114.81.2NR
    5. A. Chapman, CIN 553-427/291.791.24715.92.15
    6. J. Papelbon, WAS492-123/231.740.9688.41.79
    7. F. Rodriguez, MIL490-332/332.510.87910.21.33
    8. Craig Kimbrel, SD541-236/382.771.07712.51.010
    9. Zach Britton, BAL 524-030/332.001.05610.71.74
    10. R. Osuna, TOR561-416/181.990.86910.12.0NR

    Player Overview

    The Yankees' decision to invest $36 million over four years on Andrew Miller raised more than a few eyebrows at the time, but it has proven to be one of the best signings of the offseason, as the left-hander has been lights out.

    The peripheral numbers of Mark Melancon and Trevor Rosenthal are not quite as dominant, but they have had terrific seasons nonetheless. Both pitchers should hold their respective franchise records for saves before the season is over.

    In terms of overpowering stuff, Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman may be the two most dominant closers in the game this year. Jansen thrives with a stellar cut-fastball, while Chapman consistently dials his fastball up to triple digits and pairs it with a filthy slider.

    His chances have been few and far between, but Jonathan Papelbon has yet to blow a save this season while splitting the year between Philadelphia and Washington.

    Francisco Rodriguez and Craig Kimbrel have the two highest ERAs among the 10 closers chosen here, but the veterans have been effective nonetheless with solid peripherals numbers.

    Last year's breakout closer Zach Britton has thrived once again thinks to his sinker. He has a 78.5 percent groundball rate, and he has allowed just 12 fly balls all season.

    Rounding out the list is 20-year-old Roberto Osuna, who has more than held his own despite the pressure of closing for a contender. He has a 1.45 ERA and is 12-of-13 on save chances since the All-Star break.

    Top Rookie

    Roberto Osuna, TOR561-416/181.990.86910.12.0NR

    All standard stats and WAR totals courtesy of Baseball-Reference and defensive metrics via FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted. Stats are current through Wednesday, Sept. 2.

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