MLB Top 100 Players: Trout has not been the best player so far, so who has been?

The first three months of the 2017 season are behind us, and it's time for our monthly look at the top 100 players in baseball.

When we did this coming into the season, the rankings were based on reasonable expectations -- using things like age and recent performance history -- to make educated guesses at which players would provide the most value in 2017. Since then, though, each installment has been about performance to date. As such, the rankings you're about to see reflect nothing more than who has been the best through the first half of the 2017 season.

The preceding has been italicized for emphasis. Now we're going to bold it and italicize it -- and perhaps even brandish a larger font size -- for even more emphasis:

The rankings you're about to see reflect nothing more than who has been the best through the first half of the 2017 season.

In coming up with these rankings, your scribe paid no heed to what might or might not be sustainable. Some of the names will be very much at home among the game's best, while others belong to players who have solidly over-performed or are just establishing themselves as premium performers. Whatever the case, we're not worried about whether the performances will stick. It's all about what has happened in 2017 thus far.

As for what matters, with position players it's a mix of batting, defense and base running. On offense, we're not concerned with things like RBI. Getting on base and hitting for power matter above all, as do playing time, context of the player's home ballpark, and production relative to positional peers (e.g., the offensive bar is lower for shortstops and catchers than it is for first basemen and DHs).

For pitchers -- and since this is a backward-looking assessment of value provided -- run prevention and workload will be the drivers, but we'll also give some consideration to underlying fundamental indicators like strikeouts and walks. When it comes to relievers, leverage, or the relative importance of the innings a reliever works, are taken into account. (Note: It's hard for relievers to crack this list in the first place, given how much more valuable starting pitchers tend to be, thanks to their much higher innings loads.)

Again, this is all about 2017 to date, and the rankings suggest nothing about whether the player in question can maintain the current level of performance going forward. As such, the next time you see this list, it'll probably look very different.

As always, reach out to the author at his personal email address -- hotmail@hotmail.jpg -- with all your complaints. He looks forward to a productive dialogue …

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100
Martin Maldonado L.A. Angels C
The Halos brought in Maldonado because they wanted better pitch-framing. He has given them that while also hitting a little.
99
Joe Kelly Boston RP
Suffice it to say, Kelly's transition to the bullpen has gone swimmingly. He's now one of the hardest throwers in the game.
98
Josh Harrison Pittsburgh 2B
Harrison has a plus glove at the keystone, and he's also putting up quality numbers at the plate (including a league-leading 20 HBPs).
97
Felipe Rivero Pittsburgh RP
The lefty reliever has given up four earned runs in 47 1/3 innings. That's a lot of innings, and that's great run prevention.
96
Scooter Gennett Cincinnati 2B
He of the four-homer game earlier this season is batting .311/.363/.603.
95
Archie Bradley Arizona RP
He has pitched to a 1.10 ERA in 41 innings while striking out 47 batters versus just eight walks.
94
He's a skilled defender, he's patient at the plate, he can still run into one on occasion and he's a highly regarded clubhouse presence.
93
Zack Godley Arizona SP
As rotation plug-ins go, Godley has been an excellent one, as he has posted a 2.58 ERA in 11 starts for the Snakes.
92
The bat's coming around, especially in terms of power, and we've seen the throwing arm he has.
91
Brian McCann Houston C
McCann missed some time earlier this season with a concussion, but when healthy he has put up strong numbers at the plate while remaining a sound defender.
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90
Kenley Jansen L.A. Dodgers RP
Jansen's heavily used cutter might be the best single pitch in all of baseball. Speaking of which, this season he has a sub-1.00 ERA and 57 strikeouts against two walks.
89
Jose Abreu Chi. White Sox 1B
In his age-30 season, Abreu is slugging better than .500 and on target for more than 30 spanks -- typical Abreu, in other words. It has been a nice rebound in the power department relative to last season.
88
The curveball specialist is a 2017 All-Star on the strength of his 131 ERA+ and 3.93 K/BB ratio after 16 starts.
87
Justin Bour Miami 1B
The 29-year-old first baseman in 2017 mashed his way into the Home Run Derby. In related matters, he's slugging better than .550 with 20 bombs.
86
Avisail Garcia Chi. White Sox RF
Garcia is hitting for average, and he's putting up good power numbers relative to his established standards. The Sox have believed in him for some time, and now he's justifying their faith.
85
Mike Moustakas Kansas City 3B
One year removed from a major knee injury, Moose is looking solid in the field while putting up impressive power numbers early.
84
Kyle Freeland Colorado SP
Here's another homegrown starting pitcher contributing mightily to the Rockies' success. He flirted with a Coors Field no-hitter and he now sports a 3.77 ERA after 107 1/3 innings.
83
Andrew Miller Cleveland RP
The arm that revived the fireman role is still at it. He's on pace to provide the Indians with 80 or so innings of complete and utter dominance.
82
Stephen Strasburg Washington SP
The All-Star has been pitching exclusively from the stretch this season, and he has arguably put up the best numbers of his career along the way.
81
Craig Kimbrel Boston RP
Kimbrel is back to vintage form and then some. In 36 appearances, Kimbrel has registered an ERA of 1.19 while striking out an astounding 50.8 percent of opposing batters.


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80
Aaron Hicks N.Y. Yankees CF
Hicks is laid up with an injury at the moment, but he has been a valuable contributor when healthy. He has seen time at all three outfield spots while putting up strong numbers at the plate.
79
Justin Upton Detroit LF
Upton didn't quite live up to the billing in his first season in Detroit, but this season he's back to his usual self.
78
Yes, the high batting average is driving Bogaerts' overall offensive value, but the reality is that he's producing at a high level, especially considering he's an everyday shortstop. He's also adding value on the bases.
77
Adam Duvall Cincinnati LF
Duvall has an OPS+ north of 120, and he's second in the NL in extra-base hits.
76
Jimmy Nelson Milwaukee SP
Nelson has been a vital part of the Brewers' success in 2017. In 109 innings, he has an ERA of 3.30 with 118 strikeouts against 27 walks.
75
Stanton might be showing signs of decline in the field, but the bat remains potent. His first 40-homer season might be in the offing.
74
Nelson Cruz Seattle DH
Cruz recently turned 37, but he just keeps hitting. Since leaving the Rangers following the 2013 season, he has put up an OPS+ of 148.
73
Khris Davis Oakland LF
Davis is following up his 42-homer campaign in 2016 by once again numbering among the most prolific home run hitters in baseball.
72
Chris Taylor L.A. Dodgers 2B
No player is more emblematic of the Dodgers' incredible depth this season. Taylor has manned five different positions while running an OPS+ of 126.
71
Eugenio Suarez Cincinnati 3B
The 25-year-old third baseman has been a solid hitter at the plate, and in the field he has been a standout at the hot corner.
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70
Texas' bedrock shortstop enjoyed a rebound season at the plate last year. Thus far in 2017, he has improved even further, and he has already set a career high in home runs.
69
Robinson Cano Seattle 2B
Cano's numbers are down a bit from last season, but the future Hall of Famer remains a high-level producer as middle infielders go.
68
Josh Reddick Houston RF
Reddick has missed a little time with injury, but overall he has produced in a big way at the plate while still adding value in right field.
67
Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh CF
Cutch overcame his slow start and has proved he's still a star. He'll go into the second half with a line of .294/.380/.528.
66
Yonder Alonso Oakland 1B
Alonso has dealt with some injuries this season, but when healthy he has put up some of the best rate-based numbers in all of baseball.
65
Steven Souza Tampa Bay RF
Souza is an asset at the outfield corners. With the bat, he has already matched his career high in homers while easily besting his career high in OPS+.
64
Michael Conforto N.Y. Mets LF
What a season he's having. Despite erratic playing time, the 24-year-old outfielder has an OBP of around .400 and an OPS+ of around 150.
63
Jake Lamb Arizona 3B
The Arizona third baseman is on pace to make a run at 40 homers while also running a high OBP.
62
Jean Segura Seattle SS
Segura missed a chunk of June with an ankle injury, but after returning he got back to producing at an elite level among shortstops.
61
Justin Smoak Toronto 1B
The veteran first baseman has an OPS+ of around 140 and he's set to make a run at 40 homers. He's headed for a career year, in other words.
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60
Gonzalez has put up tremendous offensive numbers in semi-regular duty while also seeing time at six different positions. That's highly valuable, to say the least.
59
Luis Severino N.Y. Yankees SP
With an ERA in the mid-3.00s and strong command-and-control numbers, the 23-year-old has been a vital part of the Yankees' rotation.
58
Michael Fulmer Detroit SP
The 2016 AL Rookie of the Year is at it again in 2017. His numbers are very similar to what he authored last season, but this time around he's on pace to top 200 innings.
57
Starlin Castro N.Y. Yankees 2B
Castro is putting up quality numbers at the plate, especially by the standard of middle infielders. He's out with a hamstring injury, but for now he has enough value in the bank to merit a spot.
56
Alex Avila Detroit C
Thanks in part to some swing changes, the veteran catcher (and part-time first baseman) has absolutely crushed the ball. Regression might happen at some point, but it hasn't happened yet.
55
Mike Leake St. Louis SP
Since that lights-out April, Leake has steadily regressed. However, the overall numbers remain quite strong.
54
Yasmani Grandal L.A. Dodgers C
In addition to being one of the game's best pitch-framers behind the plate, Grandal is hitting for power again this season.
53
Corey Kluber Cleveland SP
Kluber was laid up for a while with injury, but he has otherwise been in Cy Young form this season.
52
He has played just 34 games thanks to the wrist injury, but his line of .341/.461/.748 keeps him on the list. Freeman might have been on his way to the NL MVP Award before the injury.
51
Yu Darvish Texas SP
It's looking like another quality season for the free-agent-to-be. After 19 starts, Darvish owns an ERA of 3.50 with 125 strikeouts in 118 1/3 innings. That he has been healthy has been huge.
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50
Bradley plays a nifty center field, and he has put up a line of .280/.363/.490 at the plate.
49
Tyler Flowers Atlanta C
Flowers is light on playing time relative to most guys on this list, but he has produced in a big way at the plate. He's also a highly skilled defender behind it (i.e., the plate).
48
Corey Dickerson Tampa Bay DH
Dickerson leads the majors in hits, and he's on pace to top 30 homers for the season.
47
Charlie Blackmon Colorado CF
Blackmon was a starter for the NL All-Star team, and it was not undeserved. He has been at another level since the start of the 2016 season.
46
He's on pace to catch more than 1,000 innings this season and he's putting up very strong numbers at the plate, as catchers go. Realmuto is a highly underrated player.
45
Cody Bellinger L.A. Dodgers 1B
The rookie Bellinger in the first half smashed 25 home runs in just 70 games. If he had played all of April, he would be even higher on this list.
44
Jed Lowrie Oakland 2B
Lowrie has an OPS+ of more than 120 while playing the middle infield on a daily basis. That easily puts him in the top 100 and makes an attractive trade candidate.
43
Gary Sanchez N.Y. Yankees C
Sanchez missed almost a full month with injury, which kept him off recent editions of this list. Now he's back on track to play more than 100 games while putting up excellent numbers at the plate.
42
Alex Wood L.A. Dodgers SP
Injuries have taken a bite out of Wood's innings load and thus his overall value, but on a rate basis he has been one of baseball's best starters in 2017.
41
Jonathan Schoop Baltimore 2B
Schoop is an underrated defender at the keystone and he's having one heck of a year at the plate. He has a shot at getting to 30 homers and 40 doubles this season.
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40
Salvador Perez Kansas City C
KC's team leader remains a durable presence behind the plate, and he's on pace to make a run at 30 homers.
39
Travis Shaw Milwaukee 3B
Shaw has been a big part of Milwaukee's success this season. At present, he's on pace to rack up 80 extra-base hits or so.
38
Carlos Carrasco Cleveland SP
Carrasco is once again putting up strong numbers for the Indians. After 17 starts he's running an ERA+ of 138 with 114 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings.
37
Eric Thames Milwaukee 1B
Thames has slacked off quite a bit since his otherworldly April, but the overall numbers remain strong enough to keep him on the list.
36
Anthony Rizzo Chi. Cubs 1B
Barring injury, Rizzo will set a career high in home runs and walks, and he remains a standout defender at first base.
35
Dallas Keuchel Houston SP
The 2015 AL Cy Young winner endured a disappointing 2016 season, but this year he appears to be back to ace form for Houston. Even with the injury problems this season, Keuchel easily deserves to be ranked.
34
Ivan Nova Pittsburgh SP
Thanks in part to excellent control, Nova boasts a 3.21 ERA after 120 2/3 innings this season. The Pirates' decision to bring him back is looking sage indeed.
33
Marcus Stroman Toronto SP
Stroman is putting together his best season yet. After 112 1/3 innings, he has an ERA+ of 139 with a 3.21 K/BB ratio.
32
Jedd Gyorko St. Louis 3B
Gyorko has stabilized third base for the contending Cardinals while also hitting for average and power and seeing time at three other positions.
31
Logan Morrison Tampa Bay 1B
Morrison is running an OPS+ north of 150 while playing every day. This is the breakout we've been waiting for from him.
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30
Ozuna is hitting for average and power, and he has also nudged up his unintentional walk rate. He's on pace to make a run at 40 homers.
29
Kris Bryant Chi. Cubs 3B
The reigning NL MVP got off to a bit of a slow start in 2017, but now he's producing pretty much in line with last year. He remains one of baseball's best hitters when it comes to avoiding the double play.
28
Robbie Ray Arizona SP
Here's a stealth Cy Young candidate. Ray has an ERA in the low 3s despite an offense-friendly home ballpark, and he has some of the best strikeout numbers in all of baseball.
27
Ryan Zimmerman Washington 1B
Coming off a terrible 2016, the 32-year-old first baseman is putting up what will be the best numbers of his (very good) career, should things continue at this pace.
26
Miguel Sano Minnesota 3B
Few hit the ball as hard as Sano does when he lays into one. His numbers have been trending downward a bit, but on balance he has been a highly productive hitter in 2017.
25
Daniel Murphy Washington 2B
Murphy is not quite on the level of his 2016 campaign, when he finished second in the NL MVP balloting, but that's splitting hairs. He has again been one of the best hitters in baseball, all while pinning down an up-the-middle position.
24
Ervin Santana Minnesota SP
After 120 1/3 innings, Santana boasts a sub-3.00 ERA, thanks in large part to a knack for inducing weak contact.
23
Gio Gonzalez Washington SP
Gonzalez in his age-31 season has put up outstanding run-prevention numbers. Maybe he's getting overlooked because he's rotation label-mates with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
22
Jose Ramirez Cleveland 3B
Here's a "stealth" AL MVP candidate. Ramirez is a plus defender at the hot corner, and he's slugging close to .600 while also getting on base at a high clip.
21
Zack Greinke Arizona SP
Greinke's bounceback season is in full effect. He has a sub-3.00 ERA and the best K/BB ratio of his career. Consider him a Cy Young contender in the NL.
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20
Zack Cozart Cincinnati SS
To say that the veteran shortstop is enjoying a career year at the plate is a sizeable understatement. Don't be surprised if he's dealt to a contender before July 31.
19
Corey Seager L.A. Dodgers SS
The 23-year-old shortstop is once again producing at a high level while capably manning a premium defensive position. He'll once again be in the NL MVP discussion.
18
Nolan Arenado Colorado 3B
The Rockies are in playoff position at the break, and Arenado with his power and elite defensive skills has of course been a major part of that success.
17
Mike Trout L.A. Angels CF
Trout is still sidelined after undergoing thumb surgery. However, thanks to his 1.203 OPS, capable glove at an up-the-middle position and excellent base-running, he easily has enough value banked to merit a high ranking.
16
Bryce Harper Washington RF
Harper has rebounded in a big way from his disappointing-by-his-standards 2016 campaign.
15
Anthony Rendon Washington 3B
Rendon remains an asset with the glove, and he's working toward the best offensive season of his career. Right now, he should be on your NL MVP watch list.
14
Jason Vargas Kansas City SP
Vargas is well on his way to a career year. After 17 starts, he leads the AL with an ERA of 2.62.
13
Andrelton Simmons L.A. Angels SS
Simmons is still a defensive wizard at the premium position of shortstop, and this season he's authoring the best numbers of his career at the plate and on the bases.
12
Mookie Betts Boston RF
Just like last year, Betts is providing excellent value at the plate, in the field and on the bases. Almost no other player provides such a complete package.
11
Buster Posey San Francisco C
Posey is putting up his best offensive numbers since his MVP season of 2012. He also remains an elite defender behind the plate, and he's on pace to catch almost 1,000 innings.
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10
Justin Turner L.A. Dodgers 3B
Turner has missed some time due to injury this season, but when healthy he has been one of the most productive hitters in baseball.
9
Springer is adding significant value on defense while also putting up the best numbers of his career at the plate. He has an outside shot at 400 total bases.
8
Clayton Kershaw L.A. Dodgers SP
And the excellence continues. Kershaw has an ERA in the low-2.00s, and he has struck out roughly seven times as many batters as he has walked.
7
Chris Sale Boston SP
Sale boasts a 2.75 ERA, and he has worked 127 2/3 innings. Sale also leads the AL in K/BB ratio and the majors in strikeouts (178 of them). Yes, a 300-strikeout season is very much in play.
6
Joey Votto Cincinnati 1B
Votto got off to a slow start in 2017, but he has long since resumed putting up big power numbers and commanding the strike zone at the plate. He has been one of the most productive hitters in all of baseball. Again.
5
Goldschmidt remains one of the most productive hitters around and the most complete first baseman in baseball. Is this the year he wins the NL MVP? Quite possibly.
4
Jose Altuve Houston 2B
Houston's All-Star second baseman looks like he's going to wind up in the top 10 of the AL MVP balloting for a third straight year. Deservedly so.
3
Max Scherzer Washington SP
The 2016 NL Cy Young winner is still one of the best pitchers on the planet. Ten times this season he has struck out 10 or more batters in a start, and he has an absurdly brilliant ERA+ of 206.
2
Carlos Correa Houston SS
Correa wasn't quite himself in April, but the 22-year-old Houston shortstop has been punishing the ball since then. He's an AL MVP candidate in 2017.
1
Aaron Judge N.Y. Yankees RF
The 25-year-old colossus is leading the majors in home runs and OPS+ while also grading out as a deceptively good defender in right field. He has been the best player in baseball to date.


You mad, bro?

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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