Ranking the top 100 players in Major League Baseball right now

We, the people of baseball, find ourselves in tantalizing proximity to Opening Day. In anticipation of that exalted occasion, this scribe will undertake the fool's errand of ranking the top 100 players for 2016 -- i.e., the top 100 players right now

Before we begin, let's lay out a few rather vital criteria which you should read and consider before thundering about the ignorance and injustice of it all ... 

  • These rankings are for the 2016 season only. How these players figure to fare in 2017 or beyond doesn't matter. 
  • Salaries and contracts have no bearing on the rankings. 
  • These are rankings of the actual baseball players and their actual on-field value for 2016, not rankings of their fantasy value. 
  • How good or bad a player's team figures to be doesn't matter. 
  • For position players, fielding, placement on the defensive spectrum, baserunning, and hitting are all taken into account. 
  • Age, injury history, record of performance, and especially recent record of performance are key considerations for each player. 
  • Bear in mind, we're talking about the top 13.3 percent of players on active rosters. That's an exclusive grouping, and painful omissions abound. It's not a grave insult to be left off this list. 

MLB Top 100
Who's No. 1? (CBS Sports Original)

With the housekeeping and preemptive strikes out of the way, let's unfurl the rankings like a battle flag ... 

100. Devin Mesoraco

Cincinnati Reds | C

A hip injury and subsequent surgery limited Mesoraco to just 23 games played in 2015. He's healthy now, and looking to build off the tremendous offensive skills growth he showed in 2014. Can he stand up to the rigors of catching, say, 130 games per season? That's the question moving forward.

99. Matt Duffy

San Francisco Giants | 3B

Duffy's impressive rookie campaign got lost a bit in the glow of a deeply impressive class, but he's a strong contributor. Last season, he put up an OPS+ of 110 in 149 games, swiped 12 bases without getting caught, and flashed excellent defense at third base. He could stand to cut down on his GIDPs, but otherwise Duffy profiles as a high-quality all-around performer in 2016.

98. John Lackey

Chicago Cubs | SP

With pitchers, it's more about skills retention than age. In 2015, Lackey, in his age-36 campaign, ran a sub-3.00 ERA, allowed just four unearned runs all year, and posted one of the strongest K/BB ratios of his career. The skills are still there, in other words.

97. Adam Eaton

Chicago White Sox | CF

He's poised to shift to right field this season, where his glove may be better suited. His bat will also play at a corner position. Eaton figures to be one of the AL's top leadoff hitters in 2016.

96. Kyle Schwarber

Chicago Cubs | LF

Schwarber's going to give back runs on defense regardless of whether he's behind the plate or in left field. The bat, though, is pretty special, as he reminded us last postseason. At age 23, Schwarber's best is surely yet to come.

95. Michael Wacha

St. Louis Cardinals | SP

One of the best young fastball-changeup artisans around, Wacha has thrived on a rate basis since across parts of three big-league seasons. All that's left to establish is that he has the stamina of a true rotation stalwart.

94. Jordan Zimmermann

Detroit Tigers | SP

Zimmermann has approached or exceeded 200 innings in each of the last four seasons, and over that same span he's notched a pair of top-10 finishes in the Cy Young balloting. In terms of underlying indicators, Zimmermann's been remarkably consistent since establishing himself.

93. Randal Grichuk

St. Louis Cardinals | LF

Contact issues? Yes. But Grichuk boasts tremendous power off the bat, and this season he has a clear path to regular playing time at an up-the-middle position.

92. Jung Ho Kang

Pittsburgh Pirates | 3B

He may see little time at shortstop post-leg injury, but Kang's last season more than proved himself against stateside pitching. Fade him a bit, since he'll likely miss some time to start the season, but his power and approach make him quite valuable.

91. Eric Hosmer

Kansas City Royals | 1B

Hosmer, who's still just 26, put up the best offensive numbers of his career in 2015. In related matters, he got his walk rate back in line and rediscovered his power stroke.

90. Carlos Gonzalez

Colorado Rockies | RF

CarGo enjoyed a resurgent campaign in 2015, as he tallied 40 home runs (a career high) and played in 153 games (also a career high). A healthy Gonzalez is still an impact player.

89. Nelson Cruz

Seattle Mariners | RF

Going into the winter of 2013-14, Cruz looked like a defensively challenged outfielder who was in steady decline at the plate. In the two seasons since then, he's totaled 84 home runs. Why not a bit more of the same in 2016?

88. Stephen Strasburg

Washington Nationals | SP

On the upside, Strasburg registered almost six times as many strikeouts as walks last season. On the downside, he was limited to just 127 1/3 innings because of a neck injury and oblique strain. Strasburg's very good from a run-prevention standpoint, but it's the lack of consistent innings volume that keeps him from being a genuine ace.

87. David Ortiz

Boston Red Sox | DH

Ortiz obviously contributes nothing defensively, and the 40-year-old is a net negative on the bases. However, he proved last season that he can still rake (141 OPS+). Decline phase? The Sox's warrior-poet has 102 home runs over the last three seasons.

86. Ian Kinsler

Detroit Tigers | 2B

Kinsler remains uncommonly durable by the standards of aging second basemen. He also remains a plus fielder, plus base-runner, and useful hitter by positional standards.  

85. Stephen Vogt

Oakland Athletics | C

Vogt's a primary catcher who played his home games in run-suppressing O.Co Coliseum and still managed a productive line of .268/.333/.438 over the last two seasons. At age 31, he's not a long-term asset, but he projects as a valuable piece for 2016.

84. Adam Jones

Baltimore Orioles | CF

Jones is probably coming up on the front edge of his decline phase, but he still mans a capable center field and has plenty of pop off the bat (146 homers over the last five seasons).

83. Jason Kipnis

Cleveland Indians | 2B

While Kipnis wasn't fully healthy last season, he was healthier than he was in 2014. The production followed, as he batted .303/.372/.451 with 43 doubles in 141 games. He'd be ranked higher but for his occasional penchant for injury.

82. Yasmani Grandal

Los Angeles Dodgers | C

Grandal's one of the best pitch-framers around, and at the plate he's extremely patient (15.3 BB% last season with 4.13 pitches seen per plate appearance) with occasional pop. The question is whether he can avoid injury.

81. Ryan Braun

Milwaukee Brewers | RF

Healthy again in 2015, Braun put up some characteristic numbers: 130 OPS+, 25 homers. He also enjoyed a rebirth on the bases, which bodes well for him as he moves deeper into his thirties.

80. Marcus Stroman

Toronto Blue Jays | SP

Stroman boasts a legit five-pitch repertoire and above-average velocity. The results? Across 157 2/3 big-league innings, he's running an ERA+ of 116 and a K/BB ratio of 3.79. He's now the ace in Toronto.

79. Mike Moustakas

Kansas City Royals | 3B

Moustakas has long been a defensive asset at third base, and last season the bat finally came around, as he put up an OPS+ of 120 versus a pre-2015 career mark of 82. His newfound emphasis on hitting to all fields suggests it's sustainable.

78. Carlos Martinez

St. Louis Cardinals | SP

Martinez last season responded well to the predictability and regimentation of starting detail. A polished changeup helped him against the opposite side and made him a true four-pitch hurler. So long as the shoulder holds up, he's an ace in the making.

77. Christian Yelich

Miami Marlins | LF

Yelich combines production at the plate with defense and baserunning, and he's still just 24 years of age. Each of his three big-league seasons has been a good one, and he's a candidate to take the next step toward stardom in 2016.

76. Masahiro Tanaka

New York Yankees | SP

Tanaka's wipeout splitter is as nasty as advertised, and on a rate basis he's thrived on the command and run-prevention fronts. Durability is the only question mark as he heads into his age-27 season.

75. Yadier Molina

St. Louis Cardinals | C

Molina's bat is probably in decline, and all those innings behind the plate (more than 12,000) have surely exacted a toll. For now, though, his broad base of defensive skills and contact abilities at the plate -- plus the qualities of elite catchers that evade statistical detection -- earn him the benefit of the doubt as he heads into his age-33 season.

74. Corey Seager

Los Angeles Dodgers | SS

Seager enters the 2016 season the heavy favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year honors. That's with good cause. He's got a clear path to regular playing time at shortstop, he excelled in his first brief taste of the majors last year, and he's got a strong record of performance coming up through the system. Speaking of all of that, the SportsLine Projection System tabs Seager for a line of .277/.348/.448. If that comes to pass, then he'll be quite higher on this list next year.

73. George Springer

Houston Astros | RF

Springer's got tools aplenty, and when healthy he's flashed them. Across parts of two MLB seasons, he's hit .256/.354/.463 and averaged 32 homers and 19 steals per 162 games played while grading out as a plus defender. Avoiding injury is his next challenge.

72. Ben Zobrist

Chicago Cubs | 2B

Zobrist is going into his age-35 season, so sudden decline is of course possible. However, the remarkably consistent Zobrist hasn't shown any hint of decline at the plate. The further he gets from last season's knee injury, the better his defense should be.

71. Yoenis Cespedes

New York Mets | LF

Yes, if Cespedes hits as he did last season, the he'll be higher on this list next time around. However, what he did at the plate in 2015 was somewhat out of step with the rest of his career (116 OPS+ pre-2015, 137 OPS+ in 2015). He's a low-OBP power threat who's a defensive asset at an outfield corner (but not in center).

70. Carlos Carrasco

Cleveland Indians | SP

Carrasco has some of the nastiest stuff of any starter, including one of the best sliders in the game today. He's coming off a 2015 season in which he struck out a whopping 29.6 percent of opposing batters (among qualifiers, just three pitchers -- Kershaw, Sherzer, and Sale -- had a higher K%) while walking just 5.9 percent of same. Don't be surprised if it all comes together this season for the 29-year-old right-hander.

69. Kevin Kiermaier

Tampa Bay Rays | CF

Kiermaier grades out as perhaps the top defensive outfielder in the game today. He can also hit a little bit (105 career OPS+), and he runs the bases well. It's the tremendous glove-work, though, that drives his value.

68. Cole Hamels

Texas Rangers | SP

One of the great changeup artists of his era, Hamels is a consistent purveyor of 200-inning seasons, strong run-prevention numbers (124 career ERA+), and excellent control-and-command indicators.

67. Troy Tulowitzki

Toronto Blue Jays | SS

Tulo remains a valuable defender at the premium position of shortstop, and he'll hit in 2016 -- albeit, of course, not like he did in Coors Field, at least on a raw and unadjusted basis. With Tulowitzki, though, injuries are always the thing. Just three times in his career has played in 140 games or more in a season, and it hasn't happened since 2011.

66. Dee Gordon

Miami Marlins | 2B

Elite speed, sound defense at an up-the-middle position, excellent contact skills at the plate, some pop to the gaps -- Gordon flashes all of that. Since his breakout season of 2014, he's put up an OBP of .348 with 122 stolen bases.  

65. Miguel Sano

Minnesota Twins | RF

Sano's a pure hitter. He crushed the ball in the minors, and last season as a 22-year-old rookie he batted .269/.385/.530 in 80 games for the Twins. His patience and power are special in a player so young. As for his future position, Sano's bat will play anywhere.

64. Adrian Beltre

Texas Rangers | 3B

Beltre's going into his age-37 season, but he can still pick it at third and is coming off a 2015 campaign in which he batted .287/.334/.453 with 18 homers. Indeed, Interrobang can still bring it.

63. Andrelton Simmons

Los Angeles Angels | SS

Simmons isn't just the best defensive shortstop in baseball, he's probably the most valuable defender at any position in all of baseball. No, the power potential he showed early in his career never developed further, but the glove still carries him.

62. Michael Brantley

Cleveland Indians | LF

Brantley's ongoing health concerns are duly noted, but since the start of the 2014 season he's batted .319/.382/.494 (139 OPS+) while stealing 38 bases in 40 attempts.

61. Todd Frazier

Chicago White Sox | 3B

Frazier's an excellent defensive third baseman and a plentiful source of right-handed power (64 home runs over the last two seasons). He's also played in at least 150 games in each of the past three years.

60. Justin Upton

Detroit Tigers | RF

Upton's been a reliable source of right-handed power for years, he runs the bases well, and he's averaged 152 games per season over the last half-decade. At age 28, he still should in or near his performance prime.

59. Jon Lester

Chicago Cubs | SP

No. 2 starters don't get much better than Lester, who owns a career ERA+ of 121. His K/BB ratios have taken a big leap forward over the last two seasons, and he has to his credit seven 200-inning campaigns.

58. Kyle Seager

Seattle Mariners | 3B

The M's prior to last season invested $100 million in Seager, and they did so with good cause. The 28-year-old third baseman is an excellent defender and has a career slash line of .263/.328/.434 despite playing his home games in run-suppressing Safeco Field.

57. Noah Syndergaard

New York Mets | SP

Syndergaard has a ceiling as high as any young pitcher in the game today. He boasts a fastball that sits 98 and a true four-pitch arsenal. So long as he stays healthy, he's a future frontliner.

56. Salvador Perez

Kansas City Royals | C

The champs' warrior-poet is a skilled defender behind the plate and widely earns praise for the full complement of catcher intangibles. He's also incredibly durable as catchers go, and he's got some thump in his bat, as his 21 homers from a season ago will attest. Believe it or not, Salvy's still just 25.

55. Freddie Freeman

Atlanta Braves | 1B

If not for concerns about his wrist, Freeman would be higher on this list. Since the start of the 2013 season, he's hit .296/.385/.478 with 63 extra-base hits and 81 walks per 162 games played.

54. Xander Bogaerts

Boston Red Sox | SS

The Sox finally left Bogaerts alone last season, and he responded in a big way, batting .320/.355/.421 while the average MLB shortstop had a line of .260/.308/.380. He might be in for a BABIP correction in 2016, but he's still going to be a highly valuable contributor.

53. Evan Longoria

Tampa Bay Rays | 3B

Longoria's still a standout defender at the hot corner, but his bat has slipped a bit from what in retrospect looks like his performance peak. Still, Longo's put up an OPS+ of 109 over the last two seasons, and since 2013 he's missed a total of four games.

52. Edwin Encarnacion

Toronto Blue Jays | DH

Encarnacion took the next step in his development as a hitter in 2012, and since the start of the 2012 season he's put up a line of .274/.371/.549 (150 OPS+) with 151 homers. That's elite-level production. At age 33, Encarnacion may be poised for some decline and increased proneness to injury, but he's still one heck of a hitter.

51. Jose Abreu

Chicago White Sox | 1B

Mixed scouting reports preceded Abreu's arrival in the states, but he's done nothing but hit. In two MLB season, Abreu's batted .303/.364/.540 while averaging 70 extra-base hits per year.  

50. Gerrit Cole

Pittsburgh Pirates | SP

Cole's long had the stuff and scouting reports of an ace, but the results never quite followed. Until last season, that is. In 2015, Cole worked 208 innings, pitched to an ERA of 2.60, and struck out 202 batters against just 43 unintentional walks. Given the underlying skills, that may be his new normal.

49. Adam Wainwright

St. Louis Cardinals | SP

Wainwright's 34 and coming off an injury that cost him almost all of the 2015 season. However, it wasn't an arm injury, and Waino's skills seem to be still intact. Expect a sub-.300 ERA, 200-plus innings, lots of ground balls, and few walks. Again.

48. Anthony Rendon

Washington Nationals | 2B

We know what Rendon can do when healthy -- he can do what he did in 2014, when he, with good cause, finished fifth in the NL MVP balloting and won a Silver Slugger. Last season, injuries sapped his production. In 2016, however, he'll be back at his preferred position of third base and healthy to start the season.

47. Felix Hernandez

Seattle Mariners | SP

He's not even quite 30, and he's already racked up 2,262 1/3 career innings. Is that workload taking a toll? King Felix saw some soft decline last year, while still managing to be quite effective overall. For now, he earns the benefit of the doubt, especially as a pitcher who's coped so well with velocity loss over the years.

46. Jonathan Lucroy

Milwaukee Brewers | C

He's one of the best pitch-framers in baseball, and after he got healthy last season he hit in line with recent career norms. Speaking of recent career norms, Lucroy from 2012-14 batted .297/.359/.472 with a 53-double season in 2014.

45. Jose Altuve

Houston Astros | 2B

Not that you thought otherwise, but Altuve is far more than a diminutive novelty act. He able mans a key position, adds tremendous value on the bases, and has batted .327/.365/.456 over the last two seasons. What a ballplayer.

44. Chris Davis

Baltimore Orioles | 1B

Last season, Davis reestablished himself as one of the premier power hitters in the game today. He hit 47 homers in 2015, and he's just two seasons removed from a 2013 campaign that saw him rack up 96 extra-base hits.

43. Brian McCann

New York Yankees | C

McCann's established himself as a skilled handler of pitchers and pitch-framer, and he's also pretty durable by the standards of the catcher position. He also boasts power, as he's hit at least 20 homers in nine of his 10 full seasons in the majors.

42. Brandon Crawford

San Francisco Giants | 2B

Crawford's an excellent defensive shortstop, here's how his seasonal OPS+ figures have progressed over the years: 67, 86, 93, 104, 114. That's a clear trajectory, and thanks to said clear trajectory Crawford's become one of the best hitting shortstops in the NL.

41. Robinson Cano

Seattle Mariners | 2B

Cano endured a slow start to 2015, but after bottoming out with a .598 OPS on June 6 he hit .313/.364/.515 the rest of the way. Vintage Cano, in other words. His decline phase is surely not far off, but for 2016 Cano figures to produce and be durable once again.

40. Yasiel Puig

Los Angeles Dodgers | RF

Injuries are the only question with Puig. Across parts of three seasons in L.A., he's got an OPS+ of 141, and that includes season, when leg injuries sapped his production. We know what he can do when healthy. Now let's see if he can stay healthy.

39. Jacob deGrom

New York Mets | SP

The 27-year-old deGrom may have the best stuff in the Mets' rotation, and that's saying something. He throws one of the hardest sliders in baseball, and last season he struck out 27.3 percent of opposing hitters while walking just 5.1 percent of them. So long as he holds up under a likely increasing workload, he's a threat to win the NL Cy Young in 2016.

38. J.D. Martinez

Detroit Tigers | RF

Martinez rebuilt his swing in Detroit, and on the Tigers' watch he's batted .296/.350/.543 with 61 homers in 281 games. If you thought 2014 was an unsustainable fluke, then Martinez proved you wrong by winning a Silver Slugger last season.

37. Jose Bautista

Toronto Blue Jays | RF

Yes, Joey Bats is 35 years of age, but he still rakes. Last season, his OPS+ checked in at 49, and he hit 40 homers and led the AL with 110 walks. If healthy, he should provide similar bestowals in 2016.

36. Francisco Lindor

Cleveland Indians | SS

He's already perhaps the best defensive shortstop in baseball not named “Andrelton,” and, unlike Simmons, Lindor can hit a little bit and steal bases. If his offensive ceiling turns out to be more in line with his 2015 numbers (as opposed to his minor-league outputs), then consider him a top-15 talent.

35. Russell Martin

Toronto Blue Jays | C

Martin's a skilled defensive catcher who over the last two seasons has batted .263/.364/.445. To put that in context, last season the average big-league catcher had a batting line of .240/.303/.379.

34. A.J. Pollock

Arizona Diamondbacks | CF

Pollock's developed into a complete threat. He's a good fielder in center, he's coming off a 2015 season in which he swiped 39 bags and took the extra base 52 percent of the time, and over the last seasons he's hit to the tune of a 132 OPS+.

33. Sonny Gray

Oakland Athletics | SP

The 26-year-old right-hander has a full repertoire, and across parts of three major-league seasons he's pitched to a 2.88 ERA (134 ERA+). Gray's small stature? Not a problem so far, as over the last years he's worked 427 innings and thrown 6,373 pitches.

32. Matt Harvey

New York Mets | SP

Now that his late-spring “injury” turned out to be nothing serious, we can resume projecting Harvey for another excellent season in 2016. Harvey just turned 27, so something in keeping with his career ERA+ of 144 sounds about right, and now that he's going into his second post-Tommy John campaign, we'll say he tops 200 innings for the first time in his career. Expect a top-five finish in the NL Cy Young balloting, barring injury.

31. Matt Carpenter

St. Louis Cardinals | 3B

Prior to last season, Carpenter adjusted his approach to yield more power, and it certainly worked. He entered 2015 with a career seasonal high of 11 home runs. Then he went out and hit 28 on the year, and he did while maintaining a strong OBP.

30. Alex Gordon

Kansas City Royals | LF

Gordon's 32, so decline can't be far off. That said, he's still productive in the field and at at the plate. As well, his dedication to training and conditioning should serve him well as he ages.

29. Chris Archer

Tampa Bay Rays | SP

Archer's fastball-slider-changeup approach has been refined over the years, and now he's an ace. Last season, he made 34 starts, struck out 252 batters, put up an FIP of 2.90 en route to finishing fifth in the AL Cy Young vote. At age 27, Archer should bring more of the same for at least the next handful of seasons.

28. Starling Marte

Pittsburgh Pirates | LF

Since becoming a regular at the highest level, Marte has been a valuable performer. Over the last three seasons, he's put up a 120 OPS+, and in each of those seasons his OPS+ has hovered around that overall average. He's also a threat on the bases and an excellent fielder. He understandably gets overshadowed by McCutchen, but Marte's a good one.

27. Madison Bumgarner

San Francisco Giants | SP

Mad Bum is a playoff legend already, but in the regular season he's been “merely” very good thus far. That said, his excellent stamina and upward-trending command indicators suggest that he may take the next step in his age-26 season.

26. Mookie Betts

Boston Red Sox | CF

The 23-year-old Betts has a standout glove, is valuable on the bases, and has a 120 OPS+ after 197 career games. He's small of stature, at least as major-league ballplayers go, but the power is legit. Don't be surprised if he settles in as a perennial All-Star.

25. Jose Fernandez

Miami Marlins | SP

Fernandez didn't miss a beat after returning from Tommy John surgery. He's 23 and has an ERA of 2.40 after 47 career starts. So long as he stays healthy, multiple Cy Youngs may be in his future. Consider this a conservative ranking.

24. Dallas Keuchel

Houston Astros | SP

The reigning AL Cy Young winner gets by without elite velocity by keeping the ball on the ground (he's induced almost 800 ground balls over the last two seasons), fielding his position incredibly well, and limiting walks. The spike in his strikeout numbers last season took him to the next level.

23. Jason Heyward

Chicago Cubs | RF

He's the best defensive corner outfielder in baseball and a plus baserunner, and he's got a career OPS+ of 113. It's the broad base of skills that makes him one of the most valuable commodities in the game today.

22. Jake Arrieta

Chicago Cubs | SP

The stuff is for real, and in 2015 the results proved it. Since coming to Chicago, Arrieta's evolved into a sinker-slider pitcher, and as a result he's become an ace. Since the start of the 2014 season, he's put up an ERA+ of 186.

21. Lorenzo Cain

Kansas City Royals | CF

Prior to last season, Cain was good player whose defense and baserunning drove his value. In 2015, though, Cain's plate production took a big step forward, as he started hitting the ball much harder (he added more than 20 feet to the average distance of his home runs and fly balls). That elevated him from good to MVP candidate.

20. Anthony Rizzo

Chicago Cubs | 1B

Rizzo's developed into an elite purveyor of power and on-base skills. He owns an OPS+ of 148 since the start of the 2014 season and is going into his age-26 campaign.

19. Nolan Arenado

Colorado Rockies | 3B

With the glove, he's the NL's answer to Manny Machado. Arenado would be a valuable contributor if he didn't hit, but, as it turns out, he can also hit. He's authored a 120 OPS+ over the last two seasons, and last year he hit 22 of his NL-leading 42 home runs away from Coors Field. Still just 25, Arenado should perform at a high level for at least the next handful of seasons.  

18. Corey Kluber

Cleveland Indians | SP

Some bad luck on batted balls is about all that separates Kluber last season from Kluber in his Cy Young campaign of 2014. Kluber has command of five pitches, including a wipeout breaking ball. He leaked a little velocity last season, so that's something to monitor moving forward. Everything else, though, portends another dominant season, especially in front of an improved Indians defense.

17. Zack Greinke

Arizona Diamondbacks | SP

Greinke is coming off a legendary 2015 season. That's of course not his baseline moving forward. He's going to resume being a top-tier starting pitcher who's a safe bet for 200-plus innings, a comfortably sub-3.00 ERA, and strong control and command measures. As well, Greinke's one of the best hitting pitchers in all of baseball.

16. Giancarlo Stanton

Miami Marlins | RF

Stanton's penchant of injury is noted and accounted for, but this a player who's still young and has averaged 41 homers per 162 games played and boasts a career SLG of .547. Expect even more of that now that his home ballpark won't be so homer-suppressing. Stanton's also a plus fielder and useful base-runner.

15. Kris Bryant

Chicago Cubs | 3B

Power, willingness to take a walk, durability, and better defense than advertised? It was all on display in Bryant's NL Rookie of the Year season in 2015. Expert more of the same for years to come.

14. Max Scherzer

Washington Nationals | SP

Scherzer's coming off a 2015 campaign in which he worked 228 2/3 innings, logged an ERA of 2.79, and paced all of baseball with an outstanding K/BB ratio of 8.12. In matters related, Scherzer over the last three seasons has one Cy Young and two other top-five finishes in the balloting.

13. Joey Votto

Cincinnati Reds | 1B

Last season, Votto got healthy and reminded us why he's one of the best hitters in all of baseball. He owns a career OPS+ of 156, and his career OBP of .423 leads all active players.

12. Miguel Cabrera

Detroit Tigers | 1B

Cabrera soon turns 33, and he doesn't contribute with the glove or on the bases. But he remains one of the most devastating hitters in the game today. Since turning 30, he's hit .332/.415/.566 (169 OPS+) with 34 clouts and 41 doubles per 162 games played. The only reason for skepticism is the potential for injury, as he missed significant time last season with a calf strain.

11. Carlos Correa

Houston Astros | SS

Correa's going to stick at shortstop long-term, and the bat during his AL Rookie of the Year campaign was everything we thought it would be. Entering his age-21 season, Correa looks every bit like baseball's next superstar.

10. Buster Posey

San Francisco Giants | C

Yes, Posey's gradually seeing his time behind the plate ramped down, but last season he still topped 900 defensive innings at catcher. As well, Posey's bat is All-Star caliber at any position.

9. David Price

Boston Red Sox | SP

Boston's $217 million arm is indeed an established ace. Entering his age-30 campaign, Price owns a career ERA+ of 126, and over the last two years he's averaged 234 innings per season with 2.88 ERA and 5.34 K/BB ratio.

8. Chris Sale

Chicago White Sox | SP

Sale's one of the elite bat-missers in the game today, as the 27-year-old lefty has struck a remarkable 28.4 percent of opposing batters over the course of his career. His numbers are even more impressive once you consider he's spent his entire career with a hitter's haven as his home park and in front of generally poor team defenses. Don't be surprised if he wins the AL Cy Young in 2016.

7. Manny Machado

Baltimore Orioles | 3B

Machado is possibly the best defensive third baseman in baseball (and good enough to be a fielding asset at shortstop), and last season he took a step forward with the bat. Expect the trajectory to continue in 2016. Machado's very simply one of the best players in all of baseball.

6. Josh Donaldson

Toronto Blue Jays | 3B

Donaldson of course boasts a plus glove at the hot corner, and last season he leveraged a more aggressive approach in his hitter-friendly home park to put up tremendous offensive numbers. With good cause, he's the reigning AL MVP.

5. Paul Goldschmidt

Arizona Diamondbacks | 1B

The NL's best pure right-handed hitter? Quite possibly. In addition to hitting for power and getting on base at an impressive clip, Goldschmidt also adds significant value in the field and on the bases.

4. Andrew McCutchen

Pittsburgh Pirates | CF

After McCutchen got clear of the knee injury that bothered him early in the season in 2015 and was able to recruit his lower half into his swing again, he hit like the MVP-grade performer we know him to be. Expect McCutchen again to be one of the most valuable performers in all of baseball this season.

3. Clayton Kershaw

Los Angeles Dodgers | SP

He just turned 28, he's got a career ERA+ of 154, and he's won three Cy Youngs and an MVP. Oh, and he has a 1.87 ERA over his last 100 starts. Yes, Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet.

2. Bryce Harper

Washington Nationals | RF

The reigning NL MVP absolutely punished the ball last season despite still being quite young. That level of production is in keeping with what's been expected of Harper pretty ever since he was drafted.

1. Mike Trout

Los Angeles Angels | CF

He's one of the best pure hitters in game, and he plays a solid center field while adding value on the bases. Trout's also thus far been uncommonly durable.

And there you have it. Please use the comments section below to rank, from one to 100, what you're most furious about. 

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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