Today marks 10 days to Opening Day so I have decided to make a list where I rank the top 10 players at each position, focusing on a different position each day. First off, we start with position number “0”, the Designated Hitter. This is probably the hardest category to rank as the DH is only used in the American League, with 15 teams.
- J.D. Martinez – Boston Red Sox
Ever since Martinez was traded to the Diamondbacks during the 2017 season, he has been on an absolute tare. Some people wondered if he would be able to replicate that production in Boston last year after signing a five-year, $110 million deal. Martinez definitely was able to replicate his second half numbers from 2017 by posting up 43 Home Runs, a .330 Batting Average, and a .629 Slugging, all good for 2nd in the MLB in 2018. Martinez also recorded a league leading 130 Runs Batted In. Look for Martinez to have another dominant season for the defending champs.
2. Giancarlo Stanton – New York Yankees
Sure Stanton’s season didn’t live up to that of in 2017, but Stanton still put up massive numbers in his first year in the Bronx. His ability to put up those stats is impressive especially of playing in front of one the hardest to please fan bases in Baseball. Expect Stanton to put up crazy numbers in 2019.
3. Khris Davis – Oakland Athletics
Move over Chris Davis, Khris Davis is the better C/Khris Davis in Baseball right now. For four consecutive seasons, Davis has hit .247, yes .247 each year. He has also topped 40 HR and 100 RBI for the last three years. Although he does strike out a lot, when he doesn’t he puts up huge numbers unlike his Chris counterpart in Baltimore who has just crumbled into pieces hitting .168 and surprising not hitting any lower.
4. Edwin Encarnacion – Seattle Mariners
Encarnacion has been one of the most consistently elite power hitters in baseball for nearly a decade now, and is the only player to have hit at least 30 home runs in each of the past seven seasons, and is the major league leader (by nine) in the category in those seven years.
5. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
A ruptured biceps tendon ended Cabrera’s 2018 season after a hamstring injury had previously limited him to just 38 games. Cabrera walked a lot (14.0 percent walk rate), but his .448 SLG was the second-lowest mark of his career, ahead of only the .399 mark he posted in 2017. I expect Miggy to have a bounceback year this season.
6. Nelson Cruz – Minnesota Twins
After a successful four-year run in Seattle, during which he paced all major leaguers with 163 home runs while ranking among the game’s top eight in slugging percentage (.546), Cruz took a one-year deal this winter with the Minnesota Twins, and now he’ll call home a ballpark that’s a bit more favorable for right-handed power. At 38, he’s one of those players who has aged gracefully, but don’t make the mistake of interpreting that as his not aging, expect to see his numbers decline than improve despite the ballpark swap
7. Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels
Pujols missed more than a month last season following surgery on his left knee in late August, but his playing time was likely going to be reduced anyway with the output the Angels received from Shohei Ohtani in his rookie season. For the second year in a row, Pujols was a below-league-average hitter, posting a .245/.289/.411 line with 19 homers and 64 RBIs. The wear and tear accumulated over more than 11,000 MLB plate appearances has understandably taken its toll, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Angels opted to reduce his role even further in 2019
8. Shin-Soo Choo – Texas Rangers
It was a typical season for Choo, albeit with less run production than usual. Choo is sure to play nearly every day when healthy, which he was the past two seasons. At some point, Father Time catches up to everyone, but there’s no indication Choo is in decline. There’s no upside, but if you need outfield stability, Choo can provide it.
9. Mark Trumbo – Baltimore Orioles
Trumbo’s season came to an end in late August when he finally succumbed to pain in his right knee that had bothered him since May, and he had surgery to repair torn cartilage in that knee. Trumbo had an improved season around the injury, hitting for more power and a better average, but his 2016 level of production looks more like an outlier than something in the range of possibility moving forward. He is in the final year of his deal with Baltimore, which is worrisome because he is a hitter tailor made for the dimensions of Camden Yards. It is safe to assume Trumbo will play at least the first half of the season with Baltimore, but the probability of him being dealt away and/or losing playing time will increase as the season wears on.
10. Avisail Garcia – Tampa Bay Rays
Garcia’s 2018 mark was a career-low .271. However, Garcia’s HR/FB rose to a personal-best 21.3 percent, resulting in a career-high 19 homers, despite playing in only 90 games. Garcia hurt his hamstring in late April, costing him two months on the DL. He aggravated it in July, forcing a shorter, 11-day visit. In mid-September, Garcia was shut down with a sore knee, requiring arthroscopic knee surgery after the season.
Jorge Soler – Kansas City Royals