MLB Midseason Player Power Rankings: Top 10 Stars at Each Position

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

MLB Midseason Player Power Rankings: Top 10 Stars at Each Position

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    We're approaching the midpoint of the 2019 MLB season, which is as good a time as any to rank the top 10 players at each position.

    This ranking is based on what players have done for their respective teams in 2019 on offense, defense and on the mound, using fWAR as a guide. When there was an fWAR tie, we used wRC+ to break it for position players and xFIP for pitchers.

    Past production and future potential didn't factor in. To qualify, a player needed to have played the majority of his games so far this year at the position in question.

    Oh, and we didn't count designated hitter as a position, though multiple part-time DHs made the cut at other spots.

Catchers

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    1. Yasmani Grandal, MIL (3.0 fWAR)

    2. J.T. Realmuto, PHI (2.5 fWAR)

    3. Willson Contreras, CHC (2.2 fWAR)

    4. James McCann, CWS (2.1 fWAR)

    5. Christian Vazquez, BOS (2.0 fWAR)

    6. Gary Sanchez, NYY (2.0 fWAR)

    7. Mitch Garver, MIN (1.7 fWAR)

    8. Tyler Flowers, ATL (1.7 fWAR)

    9. Robinson Chirinos, HOU (1.6 fWAR)

    10. Omar Narvaez, SEA (1.5 fWAR)

               

    Notes

    In his age-30 season, Yasmani Grandal has emerged as the best backstop in baseball. He's hit 17 home runs and posted a .927 OPS for the Milwaukee Brewers while also rating as the game's fourth-best pitch-framer, per StatCorner.

    J.T. Realmuto's OPS has dipped from a career-high .825 in 2018 to .750, but he's hit 10 homers and is fifth in pitch-framing in his first season with the Philadelphia Phillies.

    The Windy City is flush with catching riches thanks to the Chicago Cubs' Willson Contreras (.294 AVG, 16 HR) and the Chicago White Sox's James McCann (.328 AVG, 7 HR).

    Elsewhere, Christian Vazquez (.291 AVG, .814 OPS) is enjoying a career year with the Boston Red Sox after batting a scant .207 in 80 games in 2018, while the New York Yankees' Gary Sanchez has a .959 OPS and 23 home runs but is rated as the sixth-worst pitch framer in the game, which hurts his stock.

1st Basemen

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    1. Pete Alonso, NYM (3.3 fWAR)

    2. Freddie Freeman, ATL (2.9 fWAR)

    3. Max Muncy, LAD (2.9 fWAR)

    4. Carlos Santana, CLE (2.6 fWAR)

    5. Josh Bell, PIT (2.4 fWAR)

    6. Anthony Rizzo, CHC (2.1 fWAR)

    7. Rhys Hoskins, PHI (2.0 fWAR)

    8. Howie Kendrick, WAS (1.7 fWAR)

    9. Edwin Encarnacion, NYY (1.6 fWAR)

    10. Luke Voit, NYY (1.5 fWAR)

                             

    Notes

    Pete Alonso has been a hard-contact machine for the New York Mets as he's bashed 27 home runs with a .642 slugging percentage. Expect him to headline the Home Run Derby in Cleveland on July 8 during the All-Star festivities. 

    The Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman is putting together another superlative season with 21 home runs and a .315 average. 

    Out in SoCal, Max Muncy is proving his 2018 breakout was no fluke with 17 home runs and a .911 OPS for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Veteran Carlos Santana is injecting pop into a mostly anemic Cleveland Indians offense with 17 homers and 47 RBI, while the Pittsburgh Pirates' Josh Bell boasts a 1.026 OPS.

2nd Basemen

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    1. Ketel Marte, ARI (3.7 fWAR)

    2. DJ LeMahieu, NYY (2.8 fWAR)

    3. Mike Moustakas, MIL (2.7 fWAR)

    4. Brandon Lowe, TBR (2.3 fWAR)

    5. Tommy La Stella, LAA (2.0 fWAR)

    6. Whit Merrifield, KCR (2.0 fWAR)

    7. Derek Dietrich, CIN (1.9 fWAR)

    8. Jeff McNeil, NYM (1.9 fWAR)

    9. Eric Sogard, TOR (1.8 fWAR)

    10. Ozzie Albies, ATL (1.5 fWAR)

       

    Notes

    Injuries have limited the Houston Astros' Jose Altuve to just 44 games, or of course he'd be on this list. Remember, it's only about 2019 production.

    Tip your cap to the Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte, who is hitting .312 with 20 home runs. Also to veteran DJ LeMahieu, a quiet offseason signing by the Yankees who has 10 home runs and an American League-leading .331 average.

    Mike Moustakas (.280 AVG, 22 HR) qualifies here despite logging significant innings at third base for the Milwaukee Brewers. Likewise, the Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Lowe (.282 AVG, 15 HR) has played multiple positions, but the bulk of them have been at the keystone sack.

    Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Angels' Tommy La Stella has 15 home runs after never hitting more than five in a single season and could be a surprise All-Star.

3rd Basemen

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    1. Nolan Arenado, COL (3.3 fWAR)

    2. Alex Bregman, HOU (3.2 fWAR)

    3. Matt Chapman, OAK (3.2 fWAR)

    4. Anthony Rendon, WAS (3.2 fWAR)

    5. Kris Bryant, CHC (2.9 fWAR)

    6. Yoan Moncada, CWS (2.5 fWAR)

    7. Rafael Devers, BOS (2.4 fWAR)

    8. Eduardo Escobar, ARI (2.2 fWAR)

    9. Manny Machado, SDP (2.1 fWAR)

    10. Josh Donaldson, ATL (1.8 fWAR)

                

    Notes

    It's a golden era for third basemen. The Colorado Rockies' Nolan Arenado remains the hot corner fWAR leader with his perennially slick glove, 19 home runs and .977 OPS. But the Houston Astros' Alex Bregman is charging hard with 21 homers and a .910 OPS.

    The Oakland Athletics' Matt Chapman has cracked 18 homers along with the defensive prowess that won him a Gold Glove in 2018.

    Getting back to the National League, the Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon (1.038 OPS), Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant (.927 OPS) and San Diego Padres' Manny Machado (.847 OPS) join Arenado to make for a hopelessly crowded All-Star picture. 

Shortstops

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    1. Xander Bogaerts, BOS (3.5 fWAR)

    2. Marcus Semien, OAK (3.0 fWAR)

    3. Javier Baez, CHC (3.0 fWAR)

    4. Paul DeJong, STL (2.9 fWAR)

    5. Trevor Story, COL (2.9 fWAR)

    6. Jorge Polanco, MIN (2.9 fWAR)

    7. Gleyber Torres, NYY (2.2 fWAR)

    8. Adalberto Mondesi, KCR (2.1 fWAR)

    9. Elvis Andrus, TEX (2.0 fWAR)

    10. Corey Seager, LAD (2.0 fWAR)

                      

    Notes

    The Indians' Francisco Lindor and Astros' Carlos Correa missed the cut after losing significant time to injury, despite being two of the most talented shortstops in baseball.

    The top billing goes to the Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts, who's hitting .296 with 14 home runs and leads all shortstops in 2019 fWAR.

    The Athletics' Marcus Semien has 10 homers and a career-high .359 on-base percentage, while the Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez is following up last season's second-place NL MVP finish with 19 homers and an .879 OPS.

    Paul DeJong has 13 home runs and eight defensive runs saved for the St. Louis Cardinals. And Trevor Story has smacked 17 long balls for the Colorado Rockies.

Outfielders

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    1. Cody Bellinger, LAD (5.4 fWAR)

    2. Mike Trout, LAA (5.3 fWAR)

    3. Christian Yelich, MIL (4.7 fWAR)

    4. Joey Gallo, TEX (3.2 fWAR)

    5. Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL (2.9 fWAR)

    6. George Springer, HOU (2.7 fWAR)

    7. Max Kepler, MIN (2.7 fWAR)

    8. Byron Buxton, MIN (2.6 fWAR)

    9. Mookie Betts, BOS (2.5 fWAR)

    10. Tommy Pham, TBR (2.4 fWAR)

                                           

    Notes

    The Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger (.353 AVG, 25 HR) and the Milwaukee Brewers' Christian Yelich (.342 AVG, 29 HR) are locked into a dogfight for NL MVP honors.

    Over in the American League, Mike Trout has 22 homers and a 1.108 OPS for the Los Angeles Angels. Might want to keep an eye on that kid.

    The Texas Rangers' Joey Gallo is shedding the label of one-dimensional slugger with a .421 on-base percentage to go along with his 17 home runs. 

    In Atlanta, reigning NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr. is thumbing his nose at a sophomore slump with 18 homers, 10 stolen bases and an .867 OPS.

Starting Pitchers

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    1. Max Scherzer, WAS (4.2 fWAR)

    2. Lance Lynn, TEX (3.3 fWAR)

    3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD (3.3 fWAR)

    4. Frankie Montas, OAK (2.9 fWAR)

    5. Chris Sale, BOS (2.9 fWAR)

    6. Jacob deGrom, NYM (2.8 fWAR)

    7. Lucas Giolito, CWS (2.8 fWAR)

    8. Jose Berrios, MIN (2.8 fWAR)

    9. Gerrit Cole, HOU (2.7 fWAR)

    10. Walker Buehler, LAD (2.6 fWAR)

                                                    

    Notes

    Max Scherzer is the best pitcher in baseball. The three-time Cy Young Award winner may be on his way to a fourth with a 2.62 ERA and an NL-leading 146 strikeouts in 106.1 innings, though he could be dinged for the Washington Nationals' poor performance.

    Lance Lynn has been a revelation for the Texas Rangers at age 32 with a 3.07 FIP and 108 strikeouts in 100 frames.

    Hyun-Jin Ryu is a candidate to start the All-Star Game under Dodgers manager Dave Roberts thanks to Ryu's MLB-leading 1.27 ERA, and Jacob deGrom is averaging 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings on a seemingly dysfunctional sub-.500 Mets squad.

    After a tough start, Chris Sale is pitching like an ace again for the Boston Red Sox.

    Put an asterisk next to A's right-hander Frankie Montas, who was having a superb season before receiving an 80-game suspension under MLB's performance-enhancing drug policy.

    Also worth noting: top-shelf pitchers including the Astros' Justin Verlander narrowly missed the list.

Relief Pitchers

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    Aaron Gash/Associated Press

    1. Josh Hader, MIL (1.8 fWAR)

    2. Kirby Yates, SDP (1.8 fWAR)

    3. Brad Hand, CLE (1.6 fWAR)

    4. Ken Giles, TOR (1.4 fWAR)

    5. Liam Hendriks, OAK (1.3 fWAR)

    6. Aroldis Chapman, NYY (1.3 fWAR)

    7. David Hernandez, CIN (1.2 fWAR)

    8. Will Smith, SFG (1.1 fWAR)

    9. Ryan Pressly, HOU (1.1 fWAR)

    10. Felipe Vazquez, PIT (1.1 fWAR)

                  

    Notes

    Milwaukee Brewers lefty Josh Hader has locked down 18 saves, owns a 1.91 ERA and is averaging an absurd 17.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

    Hot on his heels for the title of best closer in baseball? The San Diego Padres' Kirby Yates, who has an MLB-leading 26 saves, a 1.36 ERA and 14.7 strikeouts per nine.

    The Cleveland Indians' Brad Hand (1.05 ERA) and Toronto Blue Jays' Ken Giles (1.33 ERA) could both be trade candidates.

    In Oakland, Liam Hendriks (1.49 ERA) has been a revelation and taken over the closer role with Blake Treinen (shoulder) on the injured list.

                              

    All statistics, including advanced metrics such as fWAR, are current entering play Tuesday and courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.