Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer

Height: 6-3
Weight: 208 lbs
Age: 38
College: Missouri
New York Mets

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CBS SportsMLB Opening Day pitching matchup rankings: Max Scherzer vs. Sandy Alcantara, Jacob deGrom vs. Aaron Nola, more

All 30 teams are in action to open the 2023 season on Thursday; which ace vs. ace matchup is the best?

Source: CBS Sports
Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023

The Score6 teams under most pressure to win 2023 World Series

On the eve of Opening Day, we take a look at the six teams facing the most pressure to deliver a World Series championship this season.San Diego Padres Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres / Getty Images Sport / GettyThe Padres continued an incredible few years of financial commitments with one of the biggest offseason spending sprees in recent memory. Team owner Peter Seidler opened his wallet to land shortstop Xander Bogaerts and also re-signed All-Star third baseman Manny Machado and right-hander Yu Darvish to lucrative, long-term contract extensions.With Fernando Tatis Jr. set to return from injury and suspension, the Padres boast arguably the most impressive collection of talent in the game. Opposing pitchers will have to combat some combination of Bogaerts, Machado, Juan Soto, and Tatis atop manager Bob Melvin's lineup in 2023.The Padres tasted some October success last season after vanquishing the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. San Diego ultimately fell to the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies in six games in the league championship series.Soto is under club control until the conclusion of the 2024 campaign, and you have to wonder if Seidler will reach a limit on how many massive extensions he can carry on the payroll.With the Dodgers tightening the purse strings to an extent this offseason, the Padres enter the season as the favorites to win the division for the first time in quite a while. There will be stiff competition in the National League this year, but San Diego looks poised to reach the World Series for the first time since 1998.New York Yankees New York Yankees / Getty Images Sport / GettyFor most teams, going without a World Series banner since 2009 would be more than acceptable. The Yankees aren't most teams. After a remarkable run in the late 1990s and early 2000s, New York has failed to reach the Fall Classic since winning its last championship.If the Yankees are to put an end to the dry spell, they likely must find a way to vanquish the Houston Astros. New York has seen its season come to an end at the hands of the Astros four times since 2015. The latest defeat was an embarrassing four-game sweep in last year's ALCS.With reigning American League MVP Aaron Judge back in the fold and a deep roster on both sides of the ball, the Yankees enter the season as favorites in the AL East and arguably the second-best team in the Junior Circuit behind the Astros.Manager Aaron Boone has led the club to the postseason in each of his five seasons at the helm but has posted a 14-17 record in the playoffs. Fans are growing impatient at the lack of success in the most important moments of the season.New York Mets Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins / Getty Images Sport / GettyWhen Steve Cohen became Mets owner in 2020, he said the club's goal was to win a World Series in three-to-five years. Cohen is entering his third season in control and has taken steps to put together a roster capable of fulfilling his mission statement.The Mets made the ultimate win-now move by signing reigning AL Cy Young winner and World Series champion Justin Verlander to replace Jacob deGrom in the rotation. The club is hoping Verlander and Max Scherzer can continue their respective dominance in the twilight of their careers.The injury to star closer Edwin Diaz illustrates how precious each year is for a team in win-now mode. The Mets must find a way to soften the blow and try to avoid any significant slip in on-field performance.New York will face some stiff competition within its own division in 2023. The Atlanta Braves and Phillies are loaded with talent, and the NL East could easily have three of the five or six best teams in the entire league this season.As long as Cohen is in charge and willing to shell out incredible sums of money, the Mets should be able to remain contenders. However, this iteration might not have that many more kicks at the can. Verlander is 40, Scherzer will be 39 later this year, and the Mets have a number of other players on the wrong side of 30. This season represents a golden opportunity for the Mets to gun for a first championship since their memorable run in 1986.Philadelphia Phillies Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport / GettyThe Phillies came within two wins of winning it all last season. Philadelphia isn't resting on its laurels after 2022's surprising October run, as the club ponied up to land a game-breaking talent in All-Star shortstop Trea Turner.Turner's skill set is a perfect fit for the Phillies and will help them weather the absence of Bryce Harper until the All-Star break. With some uncertainty around the futures of right-hander Aaron Nola and first baseman Rhys Hoskins beyond 2023, this season could be the last run before this roster undergoes some changes.Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is known to be aggressive when he feels his club is within striking distance of contention. The moves this offseason show that Dombrowski is confident in his team's ability to back up last year's success and make another run in October.Owner John Middleton said in the offseason that he was more focused on establishing a "legacy" than making a profit. The roster is set up for success in 2023. The Phillies are entering the season with arguably their highest expectations since the days of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins.Los Angeles Angels Michael Owens / Getty Images Sport / GettyIt might seem strange to include a team that hasn't made the postseason since 2014. However, with arguably two of this generation's biggest stars on the roster, it's past time for the Angels to start delivering.Two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani is expected to become perhaps the biggest free agent in the sport's history at the conclusion of the season. Winning a World Series might be the only way to keep Ohtani in the fold beyond 2023. All-Star teammate Mike Trout knows the pressure around the team will be high this season with the uncertainty surrounding Ohtani's future and said he will do whatever it takes to keep his co-star at his side.Angels general manager Perry Minasian approached the offseason with a sense of urgency, adding a slew of veterans to provide Ohtani and Trout with a more capable supporting cast than they've been accustomed to.The Angels are probably a long shot to win their first World Series since 2002. However, they operated like a franchise that knows how important 2023 is. That's something to be admired.Los Angeles Dodgers Harry How / Getty Images Sport / GettyThere's always pressure on the Dodgers to win the World Series. Despite losing some star power this offseason, fans will still expect Los Angeles to remain in contention this season. The Padres might be the team to beat in the NL West in 2023, but it's hard to count out a team built around Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts.The Dodgers slashed payroll this offseason, opting to take fliers on veterans hoping to bounce back like J.D. Martinez and Noah Syndergaard. It's possible those moves pan out, but it was still surprising to see president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman not spend lavishly after several years of doing the opposite.The expectation around the game is that the Dodgers were more conservative this winter as they look to gear up for a run at Ohtani next year. With Betts and Freeman still very much in their primes, L.A. needs to do whatever it can to maximize its opportunities to contend every year.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Source: The Score
Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023

The ScoreEach MLB team's spring training MVP

With spring training set to wrap up, we review the best player on each team from the exhibition schedule.Arizona Diamondbacks, Corbin Carroll: The D-Backs see so much potential in Carroll that they signed him to an eight-year, $111-million contract on March 11 despite just 32 MLB games under his belt. He's shown why Arizona thinks so highly of him in spring camp. The 22-year-old is slashing .372/.500/.628 with eight extra-base hits, 11 walks, 13 runs scored, and five steals.Atlanta Braves, Matt Olson: There may not be a hotter hitter in spring training than Olson, who leads everyone with seven homers to go along with 16 RBIs and a 1.000 slugging percentage. The Braves should be dangerous this season with Olson following Ronald Acuna Jr. and hitting in front of Austin Riley in Atlanta's lineup.Baltimore Orioles, Adley Rutschman: The Orioles have had plenty of standouts this spring, but Rutschman graces this list thanks to a .325/.438/.625 slash line combined with a powerful and patient approach - four homers and eight walks in 40 at-bats. Baltimore should benefit immensely from a full season of the backstop, who has franchise player written all over him.Boston Red Sox, Triston Casas: The Red Sox planned to start the season with Casas at first base, but it wasn't a certainty. The 23-year-old has done everything he's needed to ensure Boston gives him the job, slashing .346/.397/.615 with eight extra-base hits and 11 runs scored in 18 spring games.Chicago Cubs, Yan Gomes: Gomes leads the Cubs in spring RBIs, is tied for the team lead in homers, and has a .324 batting average with a .703 slugging percentage. The veteran backstop's fine spring might lead to him getting the majority of the reps behind the plate this season in a tandem with Tucker Barnhart.Chicago White Sox, Hanser Alberto: Alberto entered spring training as a non-roster invite, but he worked his way onto Chicago's Opening Day roster with a strong camp. The 30-year-old posted a .450/.476/.800 slash line with nine of his 18 hits going for extra bases.Cincinnati Reds, Graham Ashcraft: Christian Encarnacion-Strand looked primed to take this spot, but the Reds optioned him to Triple-A earlier this month, leaving Ashcraft as the pseudo spring MVP. The right-hander has 25 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings while maintaining a 0.87 WHIP and .197 opponent's batting average.Cleveland Guardians, Shane Bieber: Bieber's spring has been impressive. The 2020 Cy Young winner owns a 1.54 ERA with 13 hits allowed in 23 1/3 innings. His 0.64 WHIP is also top among qualified AL starters in spring training.Colorado Rockies, German Marquez: The Rockies have had some terrific springs from players like Mike Moustakas and Kris Bryant, but Marquez has been unreal. Colorado's ace owns a 0.53 ERA with 20 strikeouts and two walks in 17 innings, earning him the start on Opening Day.Detroit Tigers, Nick Maton: Maton has been tremendous in his first spring camp with the Tigers after they acquired him in an offseason trade. The 26-year-old leads Detroit with five homers and 12 runs scored alongside a 1.067 OPS. He's projected to start at third base to begin the season.Houston Astros, Ronel Blanco: Blanco appeared in just seven games with the Astros last season, but he's set himself apart and should be in Houston's bullpen to start the campaign. The hard-throwing righty has limited opposing hitters to a .184 batting average, allowing one earned run in 14 spring innings while striking out 17.Kansas City Royals, Franmil Reyes: The Franimal looks like a beast again as a non-roster invite for the Royals after a down year in 2022. The former Guardians slugger leads Kansas City with 12 RBIs and 16 hits. He's also sporting a .372/.438/.674 spring slash line.Los Angeles Angels, Anthony Rendon: Might this be the year signing Rendon finally pays dividends for the Angels? The third baseman, who hasn t been able to stay healthy since inking a seven-year, $245-million deal with Los Angeles, is hitting .452/.514/.774 with nearly half of his spring hits going for extra bases.Los Angeles Dodgers, James Outman: Outman's dream came true when the Dodgers announced he made the Opening Day roster, and the decision wasn't a surprising one after the 25-year-old posted a .990 OPS with 11 RBIs and 15 hits in 21 spring games while playing all of the outfield spots.Miami Marlins, Sandy Alcantara: Alcantara hasn't skipped a beat since winning the NL Cy Young last season. The Marlins ace owns a 0.68 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in 13 1/3 innings and recently struck out the first eight hitters of a game against the Astros.Milwaukee Brewers, Mike Brosseau: Brosseau has had a ridiculous spring for the Brewers and looks poised to make the Opening Day roster as a bench player. The 29-year-old owns a 1.532 OPS with six homers and 14 RBIs. He should get plenty of reps against left-handed pitching, although he's crushed all pitching this spring.Minnesota Twins, Jose Miranda: Skipping the World Baseball Classic might have been a blessing in disguise for Miranda, who is mashing for the Twins this spring. The third baseman owns a .778 slugging percentage, leads Minnesota with five homers, and is second on the team with 10 RBIs.New York Mets, Pete Alonso: The Polar Bear spent a good chunk of the spring at the WBC, but he's impressed for the Mets, too. Alonso has four homers and a .647 slugging percentage in 34 spring at-bats and has shown solid patience at the dish with five walks, helping him author a .400 on-base percentage.New York Yankees, Anthony Volpe: Volpe has turned so many heads in camp that he fast-tracked expectations and will begin the year as the Yankees' starting shortstop. The highly touted prospect owns a 1.064 OPS with 10 extra-base hits, eight walks, and 13 runs scored in 17 games.Oakland Athletics, Kevin Smith: Smith did not look good last season for the A's, but he's doing everything in his power to get another shot in the bigs this spring. The 26-year-old, who wasn't projected to start the year with Oakland's big-league squad, leads the team with 15 RBIs and could push someone else out of the picture.Philadelphia Phillies, Jake Cave: Cave looks like an impressive pick-up by the Phillies, who claimed the outfielder off waivers from the Orioles. The 30-year-old leads the Philles with 14 spring RBIs and a 1.301 OPS. Ten of his 22 hits have also been of the extra-base variety, including three homers and three triples.Pittsburgh Pirates, Ke'Bryan Hayes: Hayes owns the most lavish contract in Pirates history and appears ready to reward the franchise for investing in him long term. The youngster leads the club with four homers and is second with 10 RBIs alongside a .750 slugging percentage. He looks poised for a breakout campaign.San Diego Padres, Nick Martinez: The Padres decided to invest in rotation depth this offseason, and one of those signings, Martinez, has looked sharp in spring camp while also dipping his toe in the World Baseball Classic. The hurler owns a 1.93 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP and 19 strikeouts in 14 innings. He's expected to be a part of San Diego's six-man rotation.San Francisco Giants, Blake Sabol: Giants fans are quickly getting to know Sabol, who came to the club in a trade for a player to be named later. The catcher has crushed pitching to the tune of a .349/.474/.651 slash line with 10 RBIs and 11 walks. Giants exec Farhan Zaidi recently said Sabol will likely make the Opening Day roster because of his strong spring.Seattle Mariners, Robbie Ray: Ray was solid for the Mariners last season after signing a lucrative multi-year deal, but he's looked like he's rediscovered his Cy Young form this spring. The southpaw has 26 strikeouts in 17 innings while allowing only two earned runs. Opposing hitters are hitting a measly .190 against him.St. Louis Cardinals, Jordan Walker: Walker put together such a fantastic spring that he was named to the Cardinals' Opening Day roster after never playing a game above Double-A. MLB's No. 4 prospect had 18 hits in 19 games, including three homers, five doubles, nine RBIs, and a .508 slugging percentage.Tampa Bay Rays, Luke Raley: The Rays are among baseball's elite at finding talent, and it looks like they discovered another gem in Raley, who was acquired from the Dodgers in March 2022. The 28-year-old tore up minor-league pitching last season and has brought similar thunder to spring camp this year. He owns a 1.117 OPS and leads the Rays with five homers and 14 RBIs.Texas Rangers, Ezequiel Duran: Duran may have earned a big-league roster spot with an awesome spring that saw him put more RBIs on the board than slugger Nathaniel Lowe while posting a slash line almost as good as franchise shortstop Corey Seager.Toronto Blue Jays, Yusei Kikuchi: Kikuchi struggled mightily in his first year with the Blue Jays, but the club wasn't ready to give up on him. The southpaw was recently awarded a starting rotation spot after a stellar spring that included 25 strikeouts in 18 innings with just two earned runs allowed.Washington Nationals, Josiah Gray: Gray might finally be blossoming into the ace-type pitcher the Nationals hoped they traded for in the Max Scherzer deal. The 25-year-old has looked sharp in five outings, striking out 14 in 16 1/3 innings while allowing one earned run and two walks.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Source: The Score
Monday, Mar 27, 2023

Yahoo SportsMets' Justin Verlander looking forward to starting home opener, watching Max Scherzer on Opening Day

Justin Verlander spoke about the honor to start the Mets first home game and how excited he is to see Max Scherzer start on Opening Day.

Source: Yahoo Sports
Monday, Mar 27, 2023

The ScoreTop 20 players in Major League Baseball for 2023

Ahead of Opening Day, we rank the top 20 players in MLB this season. Just missed: Ronald Acuna Jr., Jose Altuve*, Xander Bogaerts, Corbin Burnes, Gerrit Cole, Bryce Harper*, Austin Riley, Fernando Tatis Jr.**Player is injured/suspended to start the season20. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 160 32 97 .818 2.8 It speaks to Guerrero's prodigious pedigree and talent that a season in which he hit more than 30 home runs and posted an OPS above .800 is considered somewhat of a disappointment. However, after a transcendent 48-home run performance in 2021, Guerrero struggled to find the same level of consistency last campaign. The 24-year-old had a hard time getting the ball in the air as he had a ground ball rate of 52.1%, up from 44.8% in 2021. Guerrero said earlier in the offseason that he put too much pressure on himself at times last season and is entering the 2023 campaign with a renewed focus and approach. Betting on a big bounce-back season from Guerrero is probably a wise decision.19. J.T. Realmuto, Phillies Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 139 22 84 .820 6.5 A true force on both sides of the ball, Realmuto's coming off a 2022 campaign in which he threw out a league-best 44% of would-be base-stealers. He also became the second catcher ever with a 20-homer, 20-steal season en route to winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. The 32-year-old is incredibly durable for a catcher, appearing in over 130 games for the second straight season in 2022. When it comes to catchers, Realmuto is in a class unto himself as the best in the business.18. Rafael Devers, Red Sox Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 141 27 88 .879 4.9 It's easy to forget that Devers is just 26 years old and still at the beginning of his prime. That's a scary thought when you consider he already owns a World Series ring, two All-Star berths, a 50-double season, and a Silver Slugger. Devers is arguably the best third baseman in the AL and one of the Junior Circuit's best lefty sluggers. The Red Sox made him the face of their franchise over the winter with a $313.5-million extension, and it's easy to see why. He should have no trouble continuing his ascent in 2023.17. Justin Verlander, Mets Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins / Getty Images Sport / Getty IP ERA FIP fWAR 175 1.75 2.49 6.1 Age is but a number for the 40-year-old Verlander, who remains firmly in the conversation for the title of baseball's best pitcher. Fresh off winning his third Cy Young Award during a historic comeback season with the Astros, Verlander is now the co-ace of a Mets squad with legitimate World Series aspirations. MLB's active strikeouts leader should still be good for 170-200 innings and around 200 strikeouts a season while limiting the long ball in a homer-heavy environment. Verlander's more than just an ace: he's an all-time great.16. Yordan Alvarez, Astros Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 135 37 97 1.019 6.6 Since landing Alvarez in a lopsided trade with the Dodgers in 2016, the Astros have seen him develop into one of baseball's most fearsome power hitters. Alvarez trails only Mike Trout and Aaron Judge in wRC+ (164) and OPS (.973) since debuting in 2019. The 25-year-old signed a long-term extension last year, keeping him in Houston into his prime years. With the Astros firmly in a win-now mode, Alvarez has plenty of opportunity to author more memorable moments and climb the franchise's all-time leaderboard in a number of offensive categories.15. Max Scherzer, Mets Newsday LLC / Newsday / Getty IP ERA FIP fWAR 145.1 2.29 2.62 4.4 Scherzer was as exceptional last year as he's ever been. However, his 2022 was treated as a disappointment because he didn't throw 170-plus innings for what would've been the 13th consecutive full-length season (omitting the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign). He's getting older, there's no avoiding that. But among pitchers with at least 140 innings thrown, the righty still ranked sixth by ERA, sixth by strikeout rate, sixth by FIP, and second by K-BB%. It seems like Scherzer will be the elite of the elite until he literally can't throw anymore. And with the pitch clock as an added weapon? Look out.14. Francisco Lindor, Mets Sarah Stier / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 161 26 107 .788 6.8 After struggling in his first season with the Mets, Lindor rebounded in 2022. The star shortstop set a new career high with 107 RBIs and was extremely durable, appearing in 161 games. Lindor is a magnetic personality and has taken to the bright lights of New York City seamlessly. The Mets enter 2023 with high expectations and a lot of pressure to win the franchise's first championship since 1986. Lindor will be counted on to lead the charge as one of the league's best shortstops. 13. Sandy Alcantara, Marlins Eric Espada / Getty Images Sport / Getty IP ERA FIP fWAR 228.2 2.28 2.99 5.7 Alcantara was a workhorse en route to winning his first career Cy Young last season. The big right-hander led the league in innings pitched and complete games, emerging as a throwback type of pitcher in an era where hurlers aren't pitching as deep into games. Alcantara's durability and ability to pile up quality starts should allow him to contend for another Cy Young in 2023.12. Freddie Freeman, Dodgers Denis Poroy / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 159 21 100 .918 7.1 Freeman is quietly one of baseball's most consistent, durable and productive players. The 2020 NL MVP could have easily been a finalist for, or even won, last year's honor after leading his league in a slew of offensive categories. He should be in that conversation again in 2023 as the Dodgers' offensive anchor. Barring injury, Freeman will cross several important career milestones this summer. It's a bit strange he often gets overlooked, but that might just be the result of a glut of talented first basemen in the NL. Few in the majors are better or have a sweeter swing.11. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals Rob Tringali / MLB / Getty Images GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 151 35 115 .981 7.1 It always felt like a tragedy that Goldschmidt hadn't added an MVP award to his mantle, but last season finally put that to bed. The seven-time All-Star had previously been runner-up twice and finished as a finalist one other time. This past year, he led the Senior Circuit in slugging percentage and OPS with a career-best 180 OPS+. Still, somehow, the five-time Silver Slugger feels underappreciated even though he could easily threaten back-to-back MVPs in an incredibly deep Cardinals lineup.10. Trea Turner, Phillies Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 160 21 100 .809 6.3 Turner showed off at the World Baseball Classic, crushing five homers for Team USA and boasting a 1.483 OPS over six games. It was a great reminder heading into the upcoming campaign that Turner is so much more than just speed. His aggressiveness on the bases should obviously be noted entering a season in which MLB added rules to try to entice more base-stealing. But Turner is also an all-fields hitter with elite pop and the ability to play a demanding defensive position. He's the entire package.9. Julio Rodriguez, Mariners Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 132 28 75 .853 5.3 It only took one year for J-Rod to crack the top 10. Rodriguez announced his presence in the majors with a historic rookie season that rocketed him to superstardom and helped end the Mariners' long playoff drought. What can he do for an encore in his age-22 season? How about a 30-30 campaign? A Gold Glove? A .900 OPS? Nothing seems out of bounds for Rodriguez - and the scary thing is, he's yet to enter his prime. This might be the last year that J-Rod sits outside the top five players for a long time.8. Juan Soto, Padres Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 153 27 62 .853 3.8 It's a testament to how good Soto is that a season with an .853 OPS and a 145 wRC+ is considered disappointing. The slugger acknowledged that he battled some mechanical issues with his swing in 2022 and feels much more locked in heading into the new season. Soto's performance at the World Baseball Classic could be an indicator of what's in store for 2023. He's still only 24 years old and looks poised to return to the form he showcased in 2021 with the Nationals when he posted a staggering 7.0 fWAR with a .999 OPS. It wouldn't be shocking if Soto moves up into the top five on the list at this time next year.7. Nolan Arenado, Cardinals Dustin Bradford / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 148 30 103 .891 7.3 Arenado can stake a claim to being the greatest defensive third baseman of all time. The 31-year-old added a staggering 10th Gold Glove and sixth consecutive Platinum Glove last season. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Arenado has shown no signs of slowing down, ranking in the 99th percentile in Baseball Savant's outs above average in 2022. He also put together his best offensive season since 2019, posting an .891 OPS with 30 home runs and finishing third in NL MVP voting. It's fair to expect another strong year in 2023 from one of the game's most complete players.6. Jose Ramirez, Guardians Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 157 29 126 .869 6.2 Ramirez remains one of baseball's most underrated and underappreciated stars. The 30-year-old is fourth behind Judge, Betts, and Trout in FanGraphs' WAR since the 2017 season. Ramirez's ability to hit for power, use his legs, and play solid defense at a premium position allows him to provide tremendous value for the Guardians. He took a below-market extension to remain in Cleveland for the long haul and could end up as the greatest player in franchise history whenever he finishes his career.5. Manny Machado, Padres Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 150 32 102 .898 7.4 Machado is the only third baseman who can keep Arenado from claiming the title of best at the hot corner, and it's easy to see why. The 30-year-old is a perennial MVP candidate with light-tower power, a solid glove, and consistency that rivals any of the best hitters in the sport. When it's all said and done, Machado has a good chance to go down as one of the greatest all-around players of his generation - and he's not even close to being done. That's a treat for baseball fans everywhere.4. Mookie Betts, Dodgers Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 142 35 82 .873 6.6 As if Betts wasn't satisfied with being the best right fielder in baseball, he's now adding the infield to his repertoire. Betts will play games at second base on a semi-regular basis this season, a level of versatility that makes him even more dangerous. Even if he stayed in right all year, we're still talking about a generational talent who covers right field with the effortless grace of a dancer and owns a cannon for an arm that baserunners would be fools to test. Oh, and lest we forget, Betts remains one of the most dangerous hitters in the sport and a virtual lock for an annual top-five MVP finish. It's hard to imagine how a player gets better than him.3. Aaron Judge, Yankees Julio Aguilar / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 157 62 131 1.111 11.4 We might never see a season as special as Judge's 2022 again. With 62 homers, the Yankees' newest captain set the AL record for dingers in a single season, and he's the first player in any league to reach the 60-dinger plateau since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa in 2001. If we omit players implicated with steroid use, he really is the home run king, surpassing Roger Maris (61 in 1961) and Babe Ruth (60 in 1927). Expecting the four-time All-Star to repeat would be ridiculous, but he's also more than just a slugger. Judge ranked in the 85th percentile in outs above average and 93rd percentile in arm strength, and he obviously possesses an incredibly keen eye with a walk rate in the 96th percentile.2. Mike Trout, Angels Brace Hemmelgarn / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 119 40 80 .999 6.0 Trout's bona fides are unimpeachable. As a three-time MVP, 10-time All-Star, nine-time Silver Slugger, and two-time All-Star Game MVP, Trout would go down as one of the best to ever play if he retired today. And while he was held to 119 games last year, he still hit 40 homers and finished eighth in AL MVP voting ahead of Xander Bogaerts, Verlander, and Bo Bichette, to name a few. He took a step back defensively in center field and isn't trying to steal many bases anymore, but this next version of Trout seems to be a truly prolific slugger, boasting a .630 SLG. Pro-rated over a full season, his homer pace last year would equate to roughly 54 dingers. He's still the hitter everyone envies.1. Shohei Ohtani, Angels Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS fWAR 157 34 95 .875 3.8 IP ERA FIP fWAR 166 2.33 2.40 5.6 The fact Ohtani needs two different charts illustrates the entire point. The two-way phenom followed up his 2021 AL MVP season by getting even better and was only deprived of back-to-back honors because of a different historic achievement from Judge. So, the two-time All-Star had to settle for finishing runner-up in MVP voting and fourth in Cy Young voting. If Ohtani decided to only hit or pitch, it seems quite clear he'd be top of the league in whichever he chose. Instead, he's, at worst, the fourth best at both. Ohtani is beyond comprehension. It seems like his health is the only thing that could prevent him from winning his next MVP.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Source: The Score
Sunday, Mar 26, 2023


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