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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Extra Innings: Top 10 players for 2024

Best of the best in MLB.

extra innings-henry blickenstaff

Honorable Mentions:

Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves; Francisco Lindor, SS, New York Mets; Julio Rodríguez, CF, Seattle Mariners

10. Matt Olson, 1B, Atlanta Braves

Olson has been one of the game’s best sluggers for the past several seasons. Since 2021, he has 127 homers and 353 RBIs with a .902 OPS, and he’s missed only six games in that span. Last season, he led all of MLB with 54 homers and 139 RBIs and posted an NL-best .604 slugging percentage.

9. Marcus Semien, 2B, Texas Rangers

Last year, Semien finished in the 99th percentile for outs above average while racking up 29 homers, 40 doubles and an .826 OPS — outstanding offensive numbers for a second baseman. He’s also missed just eight games in the last five seasons combined and has accumulated 29.1 WAR in that span.

8. Gerrit Cole, P, New York Yankees

Cole was a bright spot on a Yankee team that was otherwise a bitter disappointment last year, winning his first career Cy Young award. Over his last six seasons, he has a 2.93 ERA and 0.991 WHIP, and he’s struck out 1,418 batters in 1,076 and two-thirds innings.

7. Aaron Judge, RF, New York Yankees

Judge didn’t replicate his historic 2022 campaign, but he still posted a monstrous 1.019 OPS and hit 37 homers in just 458 plate appearances. The biggest concern for him is injuries — he played only 106 games last year, and he’s missed substantial time in previous seasons.

6. Corey Seager, SS, Texas Rangers

Seager is coming off the best year of his career, slugging .623, hitting 33 homers and posting 6.9 WAR despite playing just 119 games. He certainly looked to be worth every penny of the mammoth 10-year, $325 million contract he signed with Texas.

5. Juan Soto, LF, New York Yankees

Soto’s unreal plate discipline at such a young age gives him the potential to be one of the greatest hitters of all time. His 157 career adjusted OPS trails only Mike Trout and Judge among active players with at least 3,000 plate appearances, and he has yet to finish a season with an on-base percentage under .388.

4. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers

After barely missing the cut for my top ten last year, Freeman shut me up by putting together one of the best offensive seasons of his outstanding career, hitting .331 with a .976 OPS. He also set a Dodgers record for most doubles in a single season with 59.

3. Shohei Ohtani, DH, Los Angeles Dodgers

It might be a hot take having Ohtani this low, but since he won’t pitch at all this year, I’m evaluating him solely on his merits as a position player — which are still substantial. He’s coming off his best offensive season with a 1.066 OPS and 44 homers, both of which are otherworldly.

2. Mookie Betts, RF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Betts had the second-best offensive season of his illustrious career, hitting a .987 OPS with 39 homers, and led the National League in WAR with 8.3. At 31, Betts is already a top-50 player of all time in my book, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

1. Ronald Acuña Jr., RF, Atlanta Braves

Acuña is coming off only the fifth season in MLB history with 40 homers and 40 stolen bases, posting 41 and 73, respectively. The previous record for stolen bases in a 40–40 season was Álex Rodríguez with 46. He’s reached his full potential as the most ungodly combination of power and speed since a young Barry Bonds, and he’s still just 26.