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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Extra Innings: Top 10 MLB players for 2023


I won’t waste too much time on a long introduction since the title should be pretty self-explanatory. Here are my top 10 players in the MLB for the 2023 season. 

Honorable Mentions: 

Freddie Freeman, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers; José Ramírez, 3B, Cleveland Guardians; Trea Turner, SS, Philadelphia Phillies

  1. Yordan Álvarez, DH/OF, Houston Astros

After a solid 2021, Álvarez broke out and put up outstanding numbers in 2022. His 1.019 OPS was second-best in the majors behind only Aaron Judge. He trailed only Judge in barrel rate and hard-hit rate. Álvarez’s discipline is also impressive, as he walked 78 times in 561 plate appearances. 

  1. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

Long one of the more underrated players in baseball, Goldschmidt finally broke through and won his first career MVP in 2022. Last season saw him put up a .981 OPS, the best in the National League, as well as 35 homers and 115 RBIs. Even at age 35, Goldschmidt just keeps hitting. 

  1. Manny Machado, 3B, San Diego Padres

With Fernando Tatis Jr. missing all of 2022 with injuries and a PED suspension, the Padres needed someone to step up, and Machado did just that, putting up one of his best seasons. He hit .298 with a .898 OPS and racked up 102 RBIs, finishing second in National League MVP voting. 

  1. Nolan Arenado, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals

The last player to win an NL Gold Glove at third base not named Nolan Arenado? Chase Headley in 2012. As for 2022, he posted a .891 OPS, generated 7.9 wins above replacement and won his sixth — yes, sixth — consecutive NL Platinum Glove, given to the best defender in each league. 

  1. Jacob deGrom, P, Texas Rangers

For some time now, deGrom has been the most dominant starter in the game. Over the last two seasons, both shortened by injuries, he’s faced 563 batters. 248 of them struck out and 19 walked. Whether or not he can get through a full season is still a question mark, but when he’s healthy, there’s no better pitcher in baseball. 

  1. Juan Soto, OF, San Diego Padres

In what was an off year for him, Soto had the sixth-best on-base percentage in the game at .401 in 2022. He’s a master of the strike zone, as he was in the 100th percentile in both walk rate and chase rate, and he had 39 more walks than strikeouts. He’s the closest thing to Barry Bonds there is in the game today. 

  1. Mookie Betts, RF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Betts hasn’t been able to regain his 2018 form — a year that saw him slash .346/.438/.640 — but he still managed a .873 OPS with 35 homers and 40 doubles in 2022 while capturing his sixth career Gold Glove in right field. His career 56.4 WAR at the age of 30 puts him on a Hall of Fame track. 

  1. Aaron Judge, RF, New York Yankees

2022 was Judge’s year. He set an American League single-season record with 62 home runs while also leading all of baseball with 131 RBIs, a .425 on-base percentage, a .686 slugging percentage and a 1.111 OPS en route to American League MVP, an award he’s poised to make a run for again in 2023. 

  1. Mike Trout, CF, Los Angeles Angels

The best player of his generation is still getting it done. Despite only playing 119 games in 2022 due to injuries, Trout clobbered 40 home runs, tied for the third most in baseball, and slugged .630. He’s been an MVP candidate in every full season of his career, and assuming he stays healthy, there’s no reason to expect 2023 will be any different. 

  1. Shohei Ohtani, DH/P, Los Angeles Angels

Ohtani is arguably the best athlete on the planet right now. Last season, while everyone was focused on Judge, the 2021 AL MVP quietly put up a better OPS than Mookie Betts and a lower ERA than Max Fried while generating 9.6 WAR to follow up his 9.0 WAR 2021 season. The only other players with consecutive 9+ WAR seasons in the 21st century? Barry Bonds, Randy Johnson, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. I’d say that’s good company.