The Top Players in Baseball Heading into the 2017 season


Who really stands out among the elite in Major League Baseball can be tricky because there are offensive stats and pitching stats.


Still, these are the best MLB players heading into the 2017 season.


1) Mike Trout, OF, Angels

2016: .315, 29 HR, 100 RBI, 30 SB

Trout earned AL MVP honors and is already considered the best in the game at age 25. He is a solid defender in the outfield, but his five-tool talent is what stands out about him. He was the only player in the league to have a WAR above 10 (10.55).


2) Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers

2016: 12-4, 1.69 ERA, 0.72 WHIP

Injuries slowed Kershaw down to only 21 starts in 2016, but he remains the most devastating pitcher in the game whenever he takes the mound. He has had four straight seasons where his ERA was no higher than 2.13.


3) Mookie Betts, OF, Red Sox

2016: .318, 31 HR, 113 RBI, 26 SB

At age 24, Betts had an incredible season and was second only to Trout in WAR. He is a fine defender in right field, but the 5-foot-9 Betts generated surprising power in only his third season in the majors.


4) Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants

2016: 15-9, 2.74 ERA, 1.02 WHIP

There is no other player who can swing a postseason series a team’s way than Bumgarner. He did just that in leading the Giants to the 2014 World Series title where he was the series MVP. He is durable, having started at least 31 games for six straight seasons, and has owned a sub-3.00 ERA for the past four.


5) Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros

2016: .338, 24 HR, 96 RBI, 30 SB

The 5-6 Houston second baseman showed some improvement in his power numbers, but he remains a steals threat and likely is the odds-on favorite to win a batting title, having won it two of the last three years.


Honorable mention:

Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs

Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays

Max Scherzer, SP, Nationals

Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles

Corey Kluber, SP, Indians

Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers

Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies