It is undeniable that Major League Baseball is full of talent at every position. This current generation of players are unlike any other. Shattering records of the past at the rate of a fastball is what makes this current crop of talent special. Debates about who’s the best player at each position are always fun, it’s one of the things we love most about baseball.
Here are my picks for the best players at each position.
Pitcher: Max Scherzer
Few pitchers have ever been as dominant as Max Scherzer. He made his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008. Since the start of the 2013 season, Scherzer has made the All-Star team seven times, twice with the Detroit Tigers and five times with the Washington Nationals. Scherzer has also won the Cy Young Award three times, including back-to back in 2016 and 2017. He has thrown two no-hitters and has had a twenty strikeout game. Scherzer has 2,682 career strikeouts, which vaults him to 24th on the all-time list. He has led the National League in strikeouts each of the past three seasons. His dominance has made him a lock as a first ballot hall of famer. While Scherzer’s former Detroit teammate Justin Verlander also has an outstanding case to be the best pitcher in the game, Verlander struggled for a few seasons while Scherzer dominated consistently.
Catcher: Yadier Molina
Yadier Molina was drafted 113th overall in the fourth round of the 2000 draft by the St. Louis
Cardinals. He has been one of the best catchers in the major leagues since making his debut in 2004 and has helped the Cardinals win two World Series titles in 2006 and 2011. Over his career, Molina has made nine All-Star teams, including seven consecutively between 2009 and 2015. In 2013, Molina won the National League’s Silver Slugger award as the league’s best hitting catcher. He is also an eight time Gold Glove winner and a four time Platinum Glove winner. Molina has a career .281 batting average to go with 1,950 hits, 154 home runs and 908 runs batted in. While many people believe that Molina does not have strong enough offensive numbers to make the hall of fame, I believe that he has displayed such exceptional defensive ability that he should be enshrined in Cooperstown.
First Base: Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt has been one of the most consistently dominant first basemen this generation has seen. Goldschmidt was drafted 246th overall in the 8th round – yes, you read that right -in the 2009 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since making his debut in 2011, he has become a six time All-Star and a four time Silver Slugger Award winner. Goldschmidt has also been the recipient of three Gold Glove Awards for his defensive ability at the first base position. Goldschmidt is a career .292 hitter with 240 home runs, 799 runs batted in, and 1,325 career hits. He now plays for the St. Louis Cardinals after being traded from Arizona following the 2018 season.
Second Base: Javier Baez
When it comes to fielders making difficult plays look easy, Javier Baez is in a class of his own, having mastered the craft while playing for the Chicago Cubs. In just five seasons, the former 9th overall draft pick has helped lead the Cubs to their first World Series title in 2016. The championship ended the team’s 71-year National League pennant drought and 108-year World Series championship drought -the longest in baseball at the time. In the 2016 NLCS, Baez was named the MVP of the series. Baez is a two-time National League All-Star and won a Silver Slugger Award in 2018. Baez is a career .270 hitter with 110 home runs, 354 runs batted in, and 626 career hits. While the MLB has a number of second basemen to consider, few have had the impact on their team than Javier Baez has on the game.
Third Base: Nolan Arenado
It has been a long time since the MLB has seen as outstanding of a third basemen as Nolan Arenado. Arenado made his debut with the Colorado Rockies in 2013. Since then, he is a five time National League All Star and a four time Silver Slugger Award winner. Arenado has also taken home six consecutive National League third base Gold Gloves and has a good chance of making it seven in a row in 2019. In addition, Arenado has won a Platinum Glove the last two seasons. Arenado led the National League in home runs in 2015, 2016, and 2018. He also led the National League in RBIs in both 2015 and 2016. He is a career .294 hitter with 226 home runs, 733 runs batted in, and 1,152 career hits. While some may say that Matt Chapman of the Oakland A’s is the best third basemen, he does not have the accolades or the experience that Arenado possesses.
Shortstop: Francisco Lindor
Francisco Lindor is lauded for his play, but more than anything else -for the love of the game. The man known as Mr. Smiles made is debut with the Cleveland Indians in 2015 and has since helped lead them to three consecutive American League Central Division championships in 2016, 2017, and 2018. The team also won the American League pennant in 2016. Lindor is a four time American League All Star and a two- time Silver Slugger. He also has a Gold Glove and a Platinum Glove to his name. Lindor is a career .289 hitter with 129 home runs, 380 runs batted in, and 827 career hits. Although Andrelton Simmons of the Los Angeles Angels has more Gold Gloves and possesses more defensive talent, Lindor’s offense propels him to the top of my list.
Left Field: Cody Bellinger
Of everyone on this list, Cody Bellinger is by far the least-experienced in the league. Bellinger was drafted 124th overall in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made is debut in 2017 and took home the National League Rookie of the Year award. Bellinger is a two time National League All Star and has helped lead the Dodgers to two consecutive National League pennants in 2017 and 2018. Bellinger is currently one of the frontrunners to win the National League Most Valuable Player award in 2019. He is a career .277 hitter with 109 home runs, 283 runs batted in, and 435 hits in his young career. The MLB does not have many left fielders who stand out like Bellinger, which is what made this decision a somewhat easy one.
Centerfield: Mike Trout
Even if you do not follow baseball, you have certainly heard the name Mike Trout. Since coming onto the scene in 2011, Trout has established himself as one of the greatest players to ever play the game and is already destined to be a first ballot hall of famer. He won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2012 and the American League Most Valuable Player award in 2014 and 2016. He is annually in discussion for the award. He has made the American League All Star team every year since 2012 and won the All Star Game MVP award in 2014 and 2015. He is a six time Silver Slugger winner and led the American League in RBIs in 2014 Trout is a career .305 hitter with 285 home runs, 752 runs batted in, 200 stolen bases, and 1,324 career hits.
Right Field: Christian Yelich
Christian Yelich made his major league debut with the Miami Marlins in 2013. During his time with the Florida club, Yelich won a Silver Slugger Award in 2016 and a Gold Glove in 2014. In January of 2018, Yelich was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers and he immediately took his game to another level. In his first season with the Brew Crew, Yelich made the National League All Star team, won the National League MVP, and earned a Silver Slugger Award. He also hit for the cycle twice and helped lead the Brewers to the playoffs. In 2019, Yelich was putting up another strong season and was again in the discussion for the National League MVP award. Unfortunately, Yelich went down with a fractured kneecap a few weeks ago, ending his impressive 2019 season. Yelich is a career .301 hitter with 139 home runs, 500 runs batted in, and 1,067 career hits.
These players are no doubt the best at their positions right now, but that could easily change over the course of the next few seasons. Many young players, like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Pete Alonso, could easily make this list once they gain more major league experience. Nobody can know for certain, however, because baseball is one of the most unpredictable sports we have.