While the MLB season is temporarily on hold, it’s not too soon to look ahead at what could be an exciting campaign. With new managers and heated rivalries around the league, the 2020 season will be one to remember. With that, four analysts from The Athletes Hub worked diligently on individual lists ranking out the top 50 players for the current year. Those lists were then averaged out, creating the most fair results.
29. George Springer (OF, Houston Astros)
The first of multiple players of the Houston Astros happens to be George Springer, who has received an All-Star nod in each of the last three seasons. Despite the controversy, he has two Silver Slugger awards (2017, 2019) and a career batting average of .270.
The 2019 campaign resulted in a career-high in home runs (39), RBIs (96), on-base percentage (.383), and slugging percentage (.591). The completed investigation against the Astros will hinder the opinion of how we regard the talent in Houston, but Springer has proven to be talented in the previous six seasons.
28. J.D. Martinez (DH, Boston Red Sox)
In Febraury of 2018, the Boston Red Sox made a splash by signing J.D. Martinez to a five-year, $110M contract. To date, he is currently the third-highest paid designated hitter in the American League behind Miguel Cabrera ($30M) and Giancarlo Stanton ($26M).
Still, Martinez has been worth about every penny. He has hit 35+ home runs and 100+ RBIs in each of the last two seasons, and has received an All-Star appearance in both of those campaigns as well. With a career .294 batting average, this seems like an appropriate ranking for someone who finished fourth in the American League MVP race two seasons ago.
27. Jack Flaherty (P, St. Louis Cardinals)
Regardless of the smaller sample size, Flaherty has gotten progressivley better through his first three seasons with the Cardinals. Last season alone, he posted an 11-8 record and career-low 2.75 ERA.
After Cy Young consideration, Flaherty finished fourth in voting. This comes after posting a league-low 0.968 WHIP across 196.1 innings pitched. With Adam Wainwright entering his age 39 season, St. Louis is inheriting another ace in Jack Flaherty.
26. Gleyber Torres (IF, New York Yankees)
At the age of 23, Torres has made a tremendous impact for the Yankees over the last two seasons. With 115 more at-bats in 2019, his batting average rose 2.5% (.278) and his slugging percentage jumped up 10.3% (.535).
With back-to-back All-Star nominations, Torres has been a cornerstone for the new era of Yankees baseball. In the field, he started 64 games at second base, and 73 games at shortstop.
25. Bryce Harper (OF, Philadelphia Phillies)
At one point in time, Harper would have made a case as the top 10 players to enter an MLB season. Still, the top 25 seems like a reasonable ranking. His 35 home runs were the highest since the 2015 campaign; a season in which he won the National League MVP. Additionally, Harper totaled a career-high 114 RBIs.
Still, Harper has a higher ceiling than he put on last season. His on-base percentage of .372 was a 5.6% decline from the season prior. In addition, he has not surpassed 100 runs in three of the last four seasons.
24. Xander Bogaerts (SS, Boston Red Sox)
As the new face of the Boston Red Sox, Bogaerts will have the spotlight on him throughout the 2020 season in a competitive AL East division. Still, last season provided reason as to why he is up to the task.
His batting average of .309 from the 2019 campaign was a 6.8% from the season prior, while his on-base percentage of .384 resulted in a 6.2% incline. His efficient play both at the plate and in the field shows promise, as he finished in fifth in AL MVP voting in 2019.
23. Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)
In one full season, Alonso has emerged as the franchise name of the New York Mets. His rookie campaign resulted in a league-leading 53 home runs, 120 RBIs, and a .260 batting average. As a result, Alonso was awarded as the National League Rookie of the Year.
The sample size is minimal, but Alonso was consistent through his first season in the MLB. With similar success in 2020, he could continue to climb his way up the ranks.
22. Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies)
Another positive season resulted in an All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award for the Rockies shortstop. Story totaled 35 home runs for the second consecutive season, as he trailed only Nolan Arenado (41) in that category for the team-high.
Through four MLB seasons, Story has a career batting average of .276 and a slugging percentage of .537. His fielding percentage of .987 during the 2019 season was a career-high for the 27-year old.
21. Matt Chapman (3B, Oakland Athletics)
After consecutive seasons with 140+ hits and a combined 60 home runs, Chapman has rightfully earned his spot at #21 in this segment. In fact, he ranks second on the A’s in virtually every offensive category behind Marcus Semien. However, with a smaller sample size and four less years of MLB experience, Chapman could very well have the higher ceiling in the near future.
20. Jose Altuve (2B, Houston Astros)
This particular list is rounded out by one of the most controversial names in Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve. Despite his 2019 season being riddled with injuries, the real decline resulted in the cheating scandal that resulted in the departure of General Manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch.
Based on the numbers alone though, it would be disrespectful to not consider Altuve one of the top 50 players in the MLB. He has accumulated 140+ hits in each of the last eight seasons, and his .550 slugging percentage in 2019 marked a career-high.