MLB Superstar Power Rankings: How All 30 Teams' Biggest Stars Stack Up in June

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2018

MLB Superstar Power Rankings: How All 30 Teams' Biggest Stars Stack Up in June

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The calendar has flipped to June. The 2018 season is churning toward the heat of summer.

    Let's take this opportunity to rank every team's biggest star, from No. 30 to No. 1.

    The hardest part is picking a biggest star from each club. In some cases, it's obvious; in others, it's a coin toss.

    Corey Kluber or Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians? Madison Bumgarner or Buster Posey for the San Francisco Giants? Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton with the New York Yankees?

    In the end, a certain degree of subjectivity is involved, but we considered talent, track record, stats, name recognition and national profile.

    After that, we ranked them according to their FanGraphs' WAR as of Wednesday and used Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) as a tiebreaker. We also placed hitters ahead of pitchers in tie situations, since the former impact more games. 

Nos. 30-21

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    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    No. 30: Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers

    FanGraphs WAR: 0.2

    Hamstring injuries cost Adrian Beltre the end of April and most of the month of May. He's 39 years old.

    He's also a likely Hall of Famer who was a top-10 American League MVP finisher as recently as 2016. On a Texas Rangers team poised for a rebuild, he's the biggest star for now.

    In the 33 games he's played, Beltre has slashed .302/.360/.422. Staying off the DL will be the trick.

       

    No. 29: Josh Donaldson, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

    FanGraphs WAR: 0.6

    It's been a disappointing contract year for Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, to say the least.

    Injuries have held him to 36 games and a .234 average. The Jays might attempt to trade him by the deadline, but at the moment the 32-year-old 2015 AL MVP's value is arguably as low as it's ever been.

    No. 28: Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

    FanGraphs WAR: 0.8

    Clayton Kershaw is the biggest star on the Los Angeles Dodgers until further notice. A trio of Cy Young awards and a National League MVP keep that title on ice.

    Kershaw has also been limited to eight starts by biceps and back injuries in 2018. His 2.76 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 49 frames are typically stellar, but he hasn't eclipsed 200 innings since 2015.

    He turned 30 on March 19. It's worth asking if his body is betraying him.

       

    No. 27: Marcell Ozuna, LF, St. Louis Cardinals

    FanGraphs WAR: 0.8

    Marcell Ozuna was the St. Louis Cardinals' offseason offensive prize. So far, since coming from the Miami Marlins to St. Louis in a blockbuster trade, Ozuna has been a mixed bag.

    He's hitting .571 with two home runs in five June contests, which is excellent. Overall, though, his .699 OPS doesn't make him the lineup-anchoring hitter the Cards expected.

       

    No. 26: Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks

    FanGraphs WAR: 0.8

    Under normal circumstances, Paul Goldschmidt would reside near the top of this list. But the five-time All-Star hasn't been producing up to par for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Through 59 games, Goldschmidt is hitting a paltry .220 with 75 strikeouts. 

    "I'll share exactly something that he told me to tell you guys because he's aware of these questions being asked often," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of his star's struggles, per Arizonasports.com's Kellan Olson. "And he said, 'Just tell them that I suck.'"

    History suggests that's ludicrous, though recent results give it credence.

       

    No. 25: Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

    FanGraphs WAR: 0.8

    Speaking of great first baseman trying to prove themselves anew, Miguel Cabrera has been dinged by ailments in his age-35 season and played in only 32 contests for the Detroit Tigers.

    He's also hit .307 with a .394 on-base percentage. 

    Father Time could undo Miggy, but don't give up on the Tigers slugger quite yet.

       

    No. 24: Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.0

    The Kansas City Royals are barreling toward a rebuild. Any and all veteran pieces should be on the block.

    That said, it's tough to imagine K.C. dealing Salvador Perez, the 28-year-old franchise catcher who shepherded the Royals to a pennant in 2014 and a title in 2015.

    So far, Perez is hitting .236 with a .289 on-base percentage. He's also clubbed 10 homers, is signed through 2021 and increasingly looks like the face of a franchise in transition. 

       

    No. 23: Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.0

    After trading franchise outfielder Andrew McCutchen and ace Gerrit Cole to the San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros, respectively, this winter, the Pittsburgh Pirates are without an obvious star.

    We'll tap 26-year-old right-hander Jameson Taillon.

    The second overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft, Taillon has struck out 60 in 65.2 innings for the Bucs while flashing the makings of an ace. In his last start on June 1, he twirled eight shutout innings against the Cardinals.

       

    No. 22: Brian Dozier, 2B, Minnesota Twins

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.0

    With center fielder Byron Buxton an injury-plagued enigma, the title of top Minnesota Twins star falls to second baseman Brian Dozier.

    The 31-year-old finished 11th in AL MVP voting and won a Gold Glove last season, but is hitting a meh-inducing .247 so far in 2018.

       

    No. 21: Eric Hosmer, 1B, San Diego Padres 

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.0

    With a .290 average and .850 OPS, Eric Hosmer hasn't been a bust with the San Diego Padres. He's hitting .318 in June.

    But expectations will remain sky-high for the former Royals first baseman after he inked a franchise-record eight-year, $144 million deal this winter with the small-market Friars. 

Nos. 20-11

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    No. 20: Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.1

    A .333 average and .952 OPS in June have raised Jose Abreu's profile. 

    Perhaps it means anchoring the Chicago White Sox's burgeoning young lineup. Perhaps it means a blockbuster trade-deadline deal that will send Abreu to a contender and net the ChiSox even more MiLB chips.

    Either way, the 31-year-old Cuban masher will matter on the South Side. 

       

    No. 19: Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.2

    The Tampa Bay Rays placed right-hander Chris Archer on the disabled list retroactive to June 3 with an abdominal strain.

    It's bad news for the club and crummy news for Archer, a two-time All-Star whose 4.24 ERA belied a 3.79 xFIP and who had amassed 76 strikeouts in 76.1 innings.

       

    No. 18: Bryce Harper, RF, Washington Nationals

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.3

    Bryce Harper has hit 18 home runs in the first 60 games of his probable swan song with the Washington Nationals. At the same time, he hit .223 in the month of May and is hitting .167 in June. 

    There's time for Harper to hike his average northward as he heads toward free agency and a potentially massive payday.

    At the moment, the brash 25-year-old sits much lower in these rankings than expected.

       

    No. 17: Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.6

    Madison Bumgarner returned from the disabled list on Tuesday and reminded the Giants why they missed him while he was nursing a broken pinkie suffered on a spring training comebacker. 

    San Francisco also took a college catcher, Joey Bart, with the second overall pick in the amateur draft on Monday.

    Still, Buster Posey remains S.F.'s defining star, and is slashing .303/.370/.443 while capably managing the pitching staff with experience and aplomb.

       

    No. 16: Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.6

    The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Christian Yelich from the Marlins this offseason with the hope the 26-year-old would become a franchise-anchoring force.

    Thus far, he's slashing .301/.373/.474 while logging innings at all three outfield positions, though he's managed just one extra-base hit since June 1.

    No. 15: Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

    FanGraphs: 1.6

    Much like the rebuilding Cincinnati Reds team for whom he toils, Joey Votto hasn't made a massive splash in 2018.

    After a slow start, though, he's raised his average to .306 and his on-base percentage to a characteristically robust .417. Expect another strong stat line from 2017's NL MVP runner-up, even if it's in service of a losing cause.

       

    No. 14: Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.9

    After kissing most of 2017 due to injury, Noah Syndergaard hasn't pitched since May 25 because of a strained ligament in his right index finger.

    When healthy, Thor has dazzled with his usual high velocity and bat-missing stuff while striking out 76 in 64.2 innings, but we've used the "when healthy" caveat too often for a pitcher in his prime.

    No. 13: J.T. Realmuto, C, Miami Marlins

    FanGraphs WAR: 1.9

    Keep the trade watch going for J.T. Realmuto on a Marlins team that jettisoned Ozuna, Yelich, Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton this winter.

    Despite a recent cold spell, Realmuto is slashing .299/.360/.503 for the Fish and has thrown out an impressive 42 percent of would-be base stealers.

    The odds of him wearing a different uniform by late summer are high.

        

    No. 12: Matt Chapman, 3B, Oakland Athletics

    FanGraphs WAR: 2.0

    Despite a .231 average and the fact that he toils in anonymity for the Oakland A's, Matt Chapman deserves a position in these rankings on the strength of his nine homers and the 17 defensive runs saved he's posted at the hot corner.

    The 25-year-old is an unexpected fast-riser on a franchise that loves players of that description.  

       

    No. 11: Jean Segura, SS, Seattle Mariners

    FanGraphs WAR: 2.4

    After second baseman and possible future Hall of Famer Robinson Cano received a legacy-tarnishing 80-game performance-enhancing drug suspension, Jean Segura became the de facto top star for the Seattle Mariners.

    The 28-year-old has earned the title with a .333 average and .836 OPS for an M's club that is trying to snap a 16-season playoff drought.

    "I don't think like thatthat I'm a leader," Segura said, per TJ Cotterill of the News Tribune. "But at this point if people want to call me a leader, I'll take it."

No. 10: Aaron Nola, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    FanGraphs WAR: 2.4

    There are other pitchers with higher WAR rating than Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola. None of them, however, are their team's unequivocal biggest star.

    That title clearly belongs to Nola, who owns a 7-2 record and 2.35 ERA for an emerging Phils team and could insert himself into the NL Cy Young Award competition.

    "He deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as [Washington Nationals ace Max] Scherzer and Kershaw," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said, per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

No. 9: Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs

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    Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images

    FanGraphs WAR: 2.4

    Kris Bryant already has a Rookie of the Year and a National League MVP in his trophy case. He's hitting .293 with eight home runs for one of the Senior Circuit's presumed top clubs.

    That's enough to garner further MVP attention, though Bryant is in many ways the victim of his own success.

    After all he and the curse-busting Chicago Cubs have accomplished in such a short time, what will they do for an encore?

    Stay tuned.

No. 8: Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros

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    Adam Hunger/Getty Images

    FanGraphs WAR: 2.5

    With a .332 average and MLB-leading 85 hits, Jose Altuve is proving why he's the reigning AL MVP.

    Can the diminutive Houston Astros second baseman repeat the feat as his club attempts to repeat its title run?

    That's a story worth following as the season progresses.

    For now, let's all pause and be grateful for Altuve, who manages to out-star the likes of shortstop Carlos Correa and even ace Justin Verlander, though a case could be made for either on a loaded 'Stros squad.

No. 7: Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    FanGraphs WAR: 2.7

    Nolan Arenado has suffered for years because he plays his home games at Mile High altitude. Fair or not, it colors a player's offensive output.

    This season, however, the Colorado Rockies third baseman has been impossible to dismiss. He's hitting .325 with 12 homers and typically superlative defense for a Rockies team that's chasing another postseason berth.

    An MVP Award is on the table, as is the recognition that Arenado is among the best in the gamealtitude be damned.

No. 6: Manny Machado, SS, Baltimore Orioles

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    FanGraphs WAR: 2.9

    The Baltimore Orioles are buried in last place in the AL East at 19-41. Manny Machado is hitting .323 with 18 home runs and can capably play third base and shortstop.

    The writing for a trade-deadline swap is scribbled all over the wall.

    Where Machado will go if he is dealt and what price the purchasing team will pay remain to be seen. But this is a story to follow heading into July, and one that could significantly tilt any number of playoff races.

No. 5: Aaron Judge, RF, New York Yankees

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    FanGraphs WAR: 3.0

    Aaron Judge has officially eclipsed Giancarlo Stanton as the biggest, baddest slugger on the New York Yankees.

    That didn't take long.

    Stanton has had his moments since winning an NL MVP and coming to the Bronx via trade. Judge, however, resides supreme with a team-leading 17 home runs, a .401 on-base percentage and .967 OPS after winning AL Rookie of the Year honors with 52 dingers in 2017.

    All of those figures eclipse Stanton and mark Judge as the offensive leader of the Yankees team that's second to the Boston Red Sox in runs scored and paces MLB in OPS.

No. 4: Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves

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    Cameron Hart/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images

    FanGraphs WAR: 3.0

    The Atlanta Braves have been one of the best early stories of 2018, thanks in large part to their trove of young talent.

    Give credit to Freddie Freeman as well. After playing just 117 games due to injury in 2017, the first baseman is slashing .338/.432/.561 with 11 homers and has leapt into the NL MVP discussion. 

    With a pair of All-Star appearances already under his belt and an emerging roster at his back, this feels like the season the 28-year-old vaults into the stratosphere. 

No. 3: Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    FanGraphs WAR: 3.4

    Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber has won two Cy Young Awards. Third baseman Jose Ramirez leads the team with 4.3 WAR.

    But flashy, 24-year-old shortstop Francisco Lindor is our pick for the Tribe's biggest star.

    Lindor combines the swagger, two-way skill-set and unbridled potential MLB needs. He can pick it with highlight-reel flair at a premium defensive position and has already smashed 14 home runs this season.

    Kluber is an ace among aces but lacking in the personality department. Ramirez is a hard-working, underrated stud. 

    Lindor is the complete package, full stop.

No. 2: Mookie Betts, RF, Boston Red Sox

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    Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press

    FanGraphs WAR: 4.2

    Mookie Betts has missed nearly two weeks with an abdominal strain. He's approaching a return, per Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald

    That's good news for the Boston Red Sox, as they seek to defend their AL East title, and better news for baseball.

    Before his injury, Betts was hitting .359 with 17 home runs in 48 games. He was giving Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (more on him in a second) a run for his money.

    It's always fun when superstars go toe-to-toe, and this matchup is no different. Get well, Mookie.

No. 1: Mike Trout, CF, Los Angeles Angels

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    Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    FanGraphs WAR: 5.1

    Who were you expecting, the Easter Bunny?

    Two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani grabbed headlines with the Los Angeles Angels. Betts garnered some AL MVP talk with his hot start.

    Yet here's Mike Trout, doing Mike Trout things, posting an MLB-leading .444 OBP with 19 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 13 attempts and...do we need to continue?

    He's the best player in baseball. He's won two MVP Awards already, and he's somehow only 26. Only his Nilla Wafer personality keeps him from being the biggest sports star on Earth.

    Don't take him for granted, folks. Guys like this come around once in a generation. 

       

    All statistics current as of Thursday and courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference.

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