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.
39. Anthony Rizzo (1B, Chicago Cubs)
Entering his ninth season with the Chicago Cubs, Rizzo has displayed consistency over the years. The 2019 season marked the sixth consecutive season in which he totaled 150 hits or more. Despite hitting under 100 RBIs for the first time since 2014, Rizzo put together a career-high batting average of .293.
With his glove, Rizzo did enough last season to earn his third career Gold Glove award. With a career fielding percentage of 99.5%, there was very little question whether Rizzo would appear on this segment.
38. Shane Bieber (P, Cleveland Indians)
Despite only two seasons in the MLB, Shane Bieber has been phenomenal to date. With a record of 26-13 over the last two seasons, he has accumulated a career ERA of 3.72. With 100 more innings pitched during the 2019 campaign, Bieber totaled a league-low 1.70 BB/9.
Named as the Opening Day starter for the Indians, Bieber has the potential to become an elite MLB talent. At the age of 24, there is reason to believe he will be due for his second consecutive All-Star appearance in 2020.
37. Ketel Marte (IF/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks)
After a career-high 628 plate appearances in 2019, it resulted in a 56.2% increase in home runs (32), 35.9% increase in RBIs (92), and his first All-Star nomination. In addition, Marte finished in fourth in the National League MVP voting.
Entering his age 26 season, there are a lot of reasons to admire Marte’s game. He spent time at second base, shortstop and center field while meriting a 99% fielding percentage or above from all three positions.
36. Josh Donaldson (3B, Minnesota Twins)
After an underwhelming 2018 season between the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves, Josh Donaldson moves onto his fifth MLB franchise in the Minnesota Twins for the 2020 campaign. His stellar 2019 season marked the first in which Donaldson has hit for 140 hits or more since 2016.
Despite a career-high 155 strikeouts, Donaldson’s .521 slugging percentage marks the fourth time in which he has totaled eclipsed the .500 mark. In the field, his 96.9% fielding percentage was 1.1% higher than his career average of 95.8%.
35. Blake Snell (P, Tampa Bay Rays)
Much like Donaldson, Blake Snell has had a roller coaster career. After a Cy Young season in 2018, Snell followed it up with a 6-8 record and 4.29 ERA during the 2019 season. In addition, his home runs allowed per nine innings totaled 1.20; a career-high.
On the other hand, Snell finished with 3.68 strikeouts per win; a 6.2% increase from his Cy Young 2018 season. In order for his stock to rise, Snell needs to remain composed on the mound and showcase why that one standout season wasn’t a fluke.
34. JT Realmuto (C, Philadelphia Phillies)
After his first season with the Philadelphia Phillies, JT Realmuto experienced a career year. His 25 home runs were a career-high, as were his 83 RBIs, 92 runs, and .493 slugging percentage.
As one of the top catchers in the MLB, Realmuto earned an All-Star nomination, Golden Glove, and Silver Slugger award from the 2019 season. His defensive WAR of 1.7 was a career-high in 2019; proving Realmuto’s worth to the Phillies entering the new season.
33. Kris Bryant (3B, Chicago Cubs)
After another season with 100+ hits and 30+ home runs, Bryant was elected to his third All-Star appearance in five seasons. Entering his age 28 season, he also won Rookie of the Year back in 2015, and the National League MVP the year after that.
The 2018 campaign worried some fans, as Bryant only appeared in 102 games for the Cubs. However, this past season provides evidence that he remains an elite option at third base for years to come.
32. Fernando Tatis Jr (SS, San Diego Padres)
At the age of 21, Tatis Jr has become one of the most popular names in the MLB. During his rookie campaign, he totaled 106 hits across 334 plate appearance; resulting in a .317 batting average.
Most expected for Manny Machado to become the top talent for the Padres, but Tatis Jr is slowly taking over that role. With a similar output in 2020, he could very well emerge as one of the young stars in the league.
31. Rafael Devers (3B, Boston Red Sox)
After a superb third MLB season with the Boston Red Sox, Devers has solidified himself as an elite third baseman. At the plate, his 54 doubles and 359 total bases both lead the league.
The numbers of Devers have steadily increased throughout each of his first three seasons. That becomes evident through his career-highs in batting average (.311), on-base percentage (.361), and slugging percentage (.555).
30. Marcus Semien (SS, Oakland Athletics)
To round out the segment, we end with Marcus Semien, who finished third in American League MVP voting in 2019. His 747 plate appearances led the MLB, and it resulted in a career-high .892 OPS.
While Semien isn’t notorious for his power, his 33 home runs last season marked a career-high. In the field, his fielding percentage of 98.1% marked a career-best among qualifying seasons.