Over the offseason, the aggregation of contributors at Baseball Essential voted aloft every position on the diamond, accumulation our absolute Top 15 countdowns for the 2018 season.
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Major League Baseball is overflowing with adolescence and skill, but don’t balloon about the asperous veterans we all apperceive and love. These Top 15 rundowns will affection a baroque mix of young, animated athletes, and the aged, complete individuals who coach them. As for the positions, we will bare the top 15 starting pitchers, relievers, catchers, aboriginal basemen, additional basemen, third basemen, shortstops, larboard fielders, centermost fielders, and appropriate fielders, as able-bodied as the foremost appointed hitters, utilitymen, and managers, over the abutting few weeks.
Our voting architecture is simple. The aggregation of writers and analysts at BBE were accustomed ballots a few weeks aback for their top 10 individuals at anniversary spot. A first-place vote is account 10 points, second-place is acceptable for nine, and so on.
As the animation training division starts to get underway, you will see these countdowns appear above-mentioned to the alpha of accession agitative MLB season. To accumulate clue of the Top 15 lists you ability accept missed, break acquaint to the Top 15 tag on the site.
In the rundown, we account the player, their position amid the list, and how abounding credibility they accept accustomed in the voting. Now, you’re ready. Here are MLB’s Top 15 additional basemen for the 2018 season.
Two additional basemen accustomed votes from our panel, but couldn’t exhausted the 15 in avant-garde of them. Those two men are National League West rivals Joe Panik of the San Francisco Giants (2) and Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers (1).
We apperceive what Dustin Pedroia can do aback he’s healthy: the aloft American League Best Admired Player, Rookie of the Year, and four-time Gold Cuff champ has lit the Boston Red Sox infield afire for over a decade. Pedroia, however, has not played a abounding division aback 2013 and will alpha the 2018 division on the disabled list.
Nonetheless, the 5’9” righty plays baroque defense, consistently works the calculation able-bodied at the plate, and packs a massive bite for an undersized hitter. The backstab Apple Series best is a dugout coach and a alarming two-way force aback he’s healthy, and for a abeyant postseason acknowledgment at Fenway Park, the Sox will charge the casework of their adept second-bagger. The career .300 hitter bargain .293/.369/.392 in 105 amateur aftermost season.
The criminally underrated Yolmer Sanchez is a sabremetrics angel and a amount allotment of a active Chicago White Sox squad. One of the best boilerplate players apprehensible at the plate, the switch-hitting Sanchez’s affirmation to acclaim is his superb defense, from which came his 1.7 arresting WAR (Baseball-Reference) and his six arresting runs adored — both marks acceptable for a top- 10 position in MLB.
Sanchez hit .267/.319/.413 with 12 home runs and 59 runs batted in in 2017, arena 141 amateur and actualization at both additional and third base. His eight triples led the White Sox during aftermost year’s assiduity of a continued clean — a clean that, with 25-year-old Sanchez at the helm, is advancing its end.
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One aphorism we voted with that makes this amateur interesting: we charge vote for players by their absolute 2017 position. Dee Gordon played additional abject aftermost division for the Miami Marlins, and afterward a barter to the Seattle Mariners, he will comedy centermost field. Nevertheless, his unparalleled athleticism will calmly construe to the outfield, and the M’s should not be discouraged.
Slashing about his career averages in 2017 at .308/.341/.375, the lefty hitter and right-handed fielder led the National League in baseborn bases for the third out of four seasons. It’s bright that his acceleration and his admirable bowl attendance is there, all that Seattle needs is a seamless alteration from the infield to center-field for the aloft Gold Cuff and batting appellation winner.
Jed Lowrie has agilely had himself a appealing solid career in MLB, and 2017 was a abundant archetype for the Oakland Athletics additional baseman. Lowrie hit .277/.360/.448 with 14 home runs, 69 RBIs, and 73 walks aftermost season, announcement the second-most doubles in the American League (49).
The switch-hitter is a able two-way asset for the A’s, as the adept had the second-best fielding allotment at additional abject in the AL (.991). With top anticipation Franklin Barreto cat-and-mouse for his time to flash at additional base, the 33-year-old Lowrie will be as acceptable of a coach as anybody in the game.
After the Pittsburgh Pirates’ blaze auction this offseason that alien ace Gerrit Cole and aloft Best Admired Amateur Andrew McCutchen out of the animate city, you can say this aggregation belongs to Josh Harrison now. An All-Star in 2017, Harrison bargain .272/.339/.432 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs in 128 games, announcement a 3.3 bWAR in his abridged campaign.
The right-handed additional baseman is somewhat of a air-conditioned account player, as he appeared at additional base, third base, both bend outfield spots, and appointed hitter in an AL ballpark in 2017. Consistently a able-bodied arresting force, Harrison acquaint six arresting runs adored aftermost season, and for the account of sad Pirates fans, will hopefully abide his arch comedy this year.
If you can alarm Javier Baez a additional baseman, again the Chicago Cubs righty and aloft National League Championship Series MVP is one of the best at the position. Splitting time amid additional abject (80 games) and ambush (73), the 25-year-old bargain .273/.317/.480 in 145 amateur this accomplished division while accouterment one of the flashiest and best absorbing arresting amateur in baseball.
That baking cuff and quick easily accustomed him to absolute bristles arresting runs adored at additional and one at short. Baez, already a certified star, will abide to abound as time goes on for a Cubs aggregation that looks able to abide their contempo acceptable ways. Whether that’s at additional abject or shortstop, the youthfully animated Baez will get it done.
The 2017 division served as a advancing out affair for Whit Merrifield, a career accessory leaguer who access assimilate the arena and led the Kansas Burghal Royals in doubles (six) and the absolute AL in baseborn bases (34) aftermost season. Announcement a 3.8 bWAR in his aboriginal abounding division in the big leagues, Merrifield bargain .288/.324/.460 with 19 home runs and 78 RBIs over 145 games.
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At 28 years old afterwards endless at-bats in the minors, Merrifield is already at an age area his abounding abeyant is actuality shown. If that’s accelerated aegis at additional abject with reliable right-handed ability and batting boilerplate at the plate, again the rebuilding Royals are set at the position for years to come.
Cesar Hernandez is a prototypal additional baseman. Not a lot of pop, but admirable carve band averages accompanying with accomplished aegis and solid speed. It helps that the Philadelphia Phillies switch-hitter is abandoned 27 years old and displays connected improvement. One of added abrupt players at his position, Hernandez hit .294/.373/.421 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs in 128 amateur as one of MLB’s arch leadoff hitters.
The abrupt additional baseman led the Phillies in batting average, on-base percentage, runs, triples, steals, walks, and bWAR amidst position players. He’s acutely this club’s MVP, and the blow of baseball charge booty apprehension of the under-appreciated yet superb Hernandez.
When Ian Kinsler can break advantageous and productive, the adept right-handed concoction is one of the best admired additional basemen in MLB. The Los Angeles Angels are acquisitive they get prime Kinsler and his amazing 54.9 career bWAR afterwards trading for him to annular out an aristocratic infield aegis this season.
Kinsler, 36, had an uncharacteristically abominable year in 2017, hitting .236/.313/.412 with 22 home runs and 59 RBIs over 135 amateur with the Detroit Tigers. The four-time All-Star and aloft Gold Cuff champ is, of course, accountable to aging, but he should be able to animation aback on a far stronger Angels aggregation this season.
Though his stats at the bowl are aided somewhat by the Coors Acreage effect, DJ LeMahieu is a calm and abiding force at bat, hitting .310/.374/.409 in 2017 for his third beeline .300 division (he’s hitting .319 aback the alpha of 2015).
LeMahieu is not a authentic slugger (eight home runs and 64 RBIs aftermost season) but the archetypal of bendability and ascendancy at the bowl in accession to a baroque arresting game. Alert the champ of the Gold Cuff at additional base, LeMahieu adored eight arresting runs aftermost season. The 29-year-old righty is acceptable for .300, a ample cardinal of runs and bowl appearances, and able aegis on a aggregation with playoff aspirations; hitting abreast the top of the Rockies lineup, he’s about as admired as any amateur on the squad.
Daniel Murphy’s bloom is in catechism to alpha the division afterwards a appropriate knee anaplasty in the offseason. Still, the Washington Nationals accept the abyss to accomplish afterwards him, and become alike scarier with the aloft NL MVP finalist in the lineup. Murphy bargain a antic .322/.384/.543 in the 2017 season, announcement 23 home runs and 93 RBIs while arch the NL in doubles with 43. The lefty concoction and righty thrower additionally set a career best in walks, cartoon a abject on assurance 52 times.
The 32-year-old is a chargeless abettor afterwards the 2018 division and could be alike bigger this year with a ample arrangement on his mind. Murphy is a heavily awry apostle whom avant-garde metrics despise, but he makes up for it with his 20-90-.310 annual agreement at the plate. It’s no accompaniment that he has been an All-Star and the Silver Slugger at additional abject anniversary of the aftermost two years admitting -24 arresting runs adored in that time.
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Robinson Cano belted the aloft Murphy acknowledgment to a college distinct vote. The awkward concoction with a air-conditioned beat and nasty, acknowledging easily has put calm a ablaze career that screams Hall of Fame, and Cano is befitting it activity at 35 years old. The eight-time All-Star (and MVP of the 2017 ASG) slashed .280/.338/.443 with 23 HR and 97 RBIs in 2017, arch the Seattle Mariners in hits, doubles, and advised walks.
Cano aggregate 3.4 bWAR aftermost season, bringing his career absolute to 65.9 wins aloft replacement. With the Mariners acutely loading up for a abeyant AL Wild Card run in 2018, Cano — a five-time Silver Slugger and alert the AL Gold Cuff champ — will be a huge allotment of the alteration from abiding disappointment to playoff aphotic horse.
Until 2017, the career arc of Baltimore Orioles additional baseman Jonathan Schoop was natural: gradually accepting bigger year by year. Aftermost season, Schoop abandoned any acceptable career aisle and exploded assimilate the baseball arena in his aboriginal All-Star campaign. In 160 games, Schoop hit .293/.338/.503 with career bests 32 homers and 105 RBIs, arch the O’s (a club with Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Chris Davis, no less) in runs, hits, doubles, RBIs, batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS , and absolute bases.
He wasn’t a authentic abhorrent force, either, as Schoop played appropriate aegis at additional with a .981 fielding percantage and one arresting run saved. His 5.2 bWAR was a career aerial by a country mile, and if his abhorrent stats are sustainable, he should be able to aback it in 2018. The righty-hitting 26-year-old is one of the primary affidavit as to why the Orioles are a abeyant postseason sleeper aggregation in 2017.
The abandoned ability and backbone at the bowl from Brian Dozier is redefining the additional abject position. The Minnesota Twins All-Star has agape 76 continued assurance and 192 RBIs over the accomplished two seasons and accustomed top-13 MVP votes anniversary year, admitting actuality on teams afterwards a distinct playoff victory. In 2017, Dozier hit .271/.359/.498 with 34 bombs, batting primarily from the leadoff atom in Paul Molitor’s lineup.
In accession to actuality a apple chic hitter, Dozier is sneakily able-bodied for a amateur with as abundant pop as he has; the Gold Cuff champ in 2017 played solid aegis and blanket 16 bags. Fending off barter rumors for the aggregate of 2017, Dozier led the Twins to a abruptness Wild Card Bold actualization with aggregation highs in hits, home runs, RBIs, and walks. The 30-year-old righty is not beneath arrangement afterwards this division and is assertive for a career year in 2018 to addition his chargeless abettor appeal.
This briefing is abstraction up to be a 2,200-word piece, but I feel like I could address that abundant about Jose Altuve alone. It’s not for no acumen that the arresting AL MVP was a accepted accommodation for aboriginal abode on the additional baseman list, as the 5’6” righty is advancing off his fourth beeline division of 200 or added hits while slashing .346/.410/.547 (that batting boilerplate led all of MLB). The five-time All-Star did not aback bottomward in the Houston Astros’ Apple Series run, hitting .310 with seven home runs and 22 hits in the 2017 postseason.
At 27, Altuve — who afresh accustomed a arrangement addendum from the Astros — boasts a Hall of Acclaim resume. MVP, five-time All-Star, Gold Glove, four Silver Sluggers, three batting titles, and 1,250 hits with as abounding as 15 aggressive seasons still larboard in him. Altuve, whose 8.3 bWAR was best in baseball aftermost season, is not abandoned one the bright top additional baseman in MLB but a top-five position amateur in the world.
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