In the Eye On Baseball Top 10, here's what we do: Rank players according to criteria. Those criteria change depending upon week and whim, but the Top 10 will always be informed by some angle or another, painfully contrived or otherwise.
And that brings us to this week's guiding query: Who have been the best position players and pitchers in the NL Central thus far in 2014?
As you're no doubt aware, we've been using this space to name the top performers in each of MLB's six divisions. Now we've made our way to those National League squads that hail from flyover country.
So as the question above implies, these are NL Central hitters and hurlers who are producing the most value in 2014. We list them with no regard for their pre-2014 histories and no regard for whether or not these performances are sustainable. That is, this is about performance in 2014 to date and nothing else. As for position players, defense and base-running are very much part of the calculus.
Omissions? There are some notable ones. Specifically, you'll find a number of players -- Joey Votto, Matt Adams, Devin Mesoraco, Russell Martin, Aramis Ramirez and Scooter Gennett, for instance -- left off because injuries/lack of playing time have sapped their overall value. Obviously, any "in a vacuum" list of best players in the NL Central will have Votto near the top, but this season he just hasn't been in the lineup enough. It's of course possible to make this list despite a DL stint (see below for a couple of examples), but in the cases of some players, the value just wasn't there. Elsewhere, Ryan Braun, while having a quality season, didn't quite make the cut thanks to his ongoing decline at the plate.
So let us now recite baseball names for the dual purposes of SEO and making you angry. Feel free to brandish your incorrect opinions and make idle threats in the comments section.
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