Top 100 MLB players: Nats' Max Scherzer, Dodgers' Cody Bellinger in top 10; Phillies' Bryce Harper misses first-half cut

The first half of the 2019 regular season is in our rear-view mirror not unlike the stranger's mailbox that we've just obliterated with a borrowed '79 Buick Riviera (sliding bench seats, leather, all four windows rolled down). That means it's time for us to rank the top 100 players in baseball at the midpoint.

For this first installment of the season, these rankings were based upon reasonable expectations, using things like age and recent performance history to arrive at those expectations. Now, it's all about the value those players have produced within the confines of the current season. As such, the rankings you're about to see reflect nothing more than who has been the best for the first half of the 2019 season. The preceding has been italicized for emphasis.

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, run prevention and workload will be the drivers, but we'll also give some consideration to underlying fundamental indicators like strikeouts and walks. Also, we're ranking players based on actual baseball considerations as opposed to anything having anything to do with fantasy (although there's obviously some overlap). Whether any of these performances are sustainable over the full season doesn't matter. 

Above all, remember that this is Internet Street, and only righteous grievances -- and defeated mailboxes -- live here …

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Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez has taken a bit of a step back this season. Mike Meredith/CBS Sports
100
Andrew Cashner Baltimore Orioles SP
Cashner in his age-32 season has limited hard contact to the tune of a 120 ERA+ in 96 1/3 innings. Don't be surprised if he gets moved before the July 31 trade deadline.
99
J.D. Martinez Boston Red Sox DH
Martinez has taken a step back from his 2018 levels, but you can do that and still be a darn productive hitter. After 79 games, he has an OPS+ of 136 with 18 homers and 19 doubles.
98
Hunter Dozier Kansas City Royals 3B
Dozier's overall value has been dinged a bit by an upper body injury, but when healthy he's been outstanding in 2019. The third baseman has a 136 OPS+ with 32 extra-base hits in 68 games.
97
J.T. Realmuto Philadelphia Phillies C
Realmuto is in the discussion for best defensive catcher in baseball, and while his offensive numbers are down from last year they're still strong as catchers go.
96
Walker Buehler Los Angeles Dodgers SP
Buehler struggled to start the season, but he's been much more in character since a rough April. At the break, he's got an ERA+ of 121 with 99 more strikeouts than walks.
95
Paul DeJong St. Louis Cardinals SS
DeJong's developed into a plus fielding shortstop, and this season he's putting up quality offensive numbers by positional standards.
94
Christian Vazquez Boston Red Sox C
Boston's catcher concerns are no more, as Vazquez has stabilized the vital role while batting .299/.332/.520 with 14 dingers in 74 games.
93
Aaron Nola Philadelphia Phillies SP
Nola endured a rough start to 2019, but of late he's been flashing the skills and results that landed him third in the NL Cy Young balloting last season. Overall, he's got a 120 ERA+ in 110 2/3 innings.
92
Kyle Hendricks Chicago Cubs SP
The changeup artist and one of the most underrated pitchers in the game is at it again in 2019: 127 ERA+ with a career-best 4.47 K/BB ratio.
91
Sonny Gray Cincinnati Reds SP
It's been a nifty renaissance for Gray in Cincinnati after a rough 2018 with the Yankees. After 17 starts this season, Gray's pitched to a 3.59 ERA with a 3.12 K/BB ratio.
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Manny Machado, now a member of the Padres, checks in at No. 86 on our list. Mike Meredith/CBS Sports
90
Tommy Pham Tampa Bay Rays LF
Pham's been a defensive asset in left for the Rays while running an OPS+ of 123 in 83 games.
89
Brandon Woodruff Milwaukee Brewers SP
Woodruff's been a vital part of the Milwaukee rotation this season. After 18 starts and 108 innings, he's put up a 3.67 ERA with 126 strikeouts against just 25 walks.
88
Robinson Chirinos Houston Astros C
Chirinos has given the Astros almost 600 defensive innings behind the plate while maintaining an OPS+ of 112 with the bat.
87
Domingo Santana Seattle Mariners LF
Santana's first season in Seattle is going quite swimmingly. The 26-year-old has played in 90 games, and along the way he's posted a slash line of .286/.354/.496 with 18 homers and 19 doubles.
86
Manny Machado San Diego Padres 3B
Machado has met expectations in his first season in San Diego. He's been an asset at third base and capable at short while producing in line with career norms at the plate.
85
Matthew Boyd Detroit Tigers SP
The prize of the trade deadline? Boyd might be the guy. The 28-year-old lefty has a 123 ERA+, and he leads the AL with a K/BB ratio of 7.10.
84
Jacob deGrom New York Mets SP
The reigning NL Cy Young winner isn't up to last year's level -- how could he be? -- but deGrom is still turning in a strong campaign: 3.27 ERA, 138 strikeouts versus just 24 unintentional walks.
83
Tommy La Stella Los Angeles Angels 2B
La Stella's laid up with a leg fracture, but his pre-injury body of work is more than enough to land the second baseman on this list: 125 OPS+ and 16 homers in 78 games.
82
Alex Verdugo Los Angeles Dodgers CF
The Dodger rookie has been a plus glove man in center this season while at the plate running an OPS of .839.
81
Omar Narvaez Seattle Mariners C
Narvaez isn't the strongest defensive catcher, but an OPS+ of 130 in 76 games is special stuff for someone at his position.
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Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is on pace for 200 innings pitched this season. Mike Meredith/CBS Sports
80
Hunter Renfroe San Diego Padres LF
The .308 OBP through 81 games played isn't ideal, but Renfroe more than makes up for it with his .613 SLG and 27 homers.
79
Tanner Roark Cincinnati Reds SP
Roark's been a nice addition for the Reds, as he's pitched to a 132 ERA+ after 92 ⅓ innings. He's also running career-best strikeout numbers.
78
Daniel Vogelbach Seattle Mariners DH
Finally given a full-time opportunity at age 26, Vogelbach has responded in a big way: .881 OPS and 21 home runs in 85 games.
77
Tim Anderson Chicago White Sox SS
The Sox's shortstop is having his best season yet. Through 70 games played, Anderson a 119 OPS+, 11 home runs, and 15 stolen bases.
76
Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals SP
Strasburg's on pace to top 200 innings for just the second time in his career, and he's got a 125 ERA+ with 138 strikeouts.
75
Chris Paddack San Diego Padres SP
The rookie Paddack has sparkled thus far for San Diego: 2.84 ERA with 87 strikeouts against 18 walks.
74
Wade Miley Houston Astros SP
Miley's development of a cutter has changed his career. Through 18 first-half starts, Miley has ridden his capacity to induce weak contact to a 3.28 ERA/136 ERA+.
73
Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs 1B
Rizzo's played 86 games, and over that span he's batted .272/.384/.519 with 19 home runs.
72
Jake Odorizzi Minnesota Twins SP
The 29-year-old is well on his way to the best season of his career. In 88 2/3 innings for the first-place Twins, he's got a 3.15 ERA and a 3.20 K/BB ratio.
71
Brandon Lowe Tampa Bay Rays 2B
Lowe's on the IL with a shin injury, but he's already banked enough value to pass Top 100 muster. The Rays' primary second baseman owns a 125 OPS+ with 16 home runs in 76 games.
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Astros outfielder Michael Brantley is in the midst of a career revival. Mike Meredith/CBS Sports
70
Whit Merrifield Kansas City Royals RF
In his age-30 season, Merrifield has a batting line of .306/.355/.495 with 43 extra-base hits in 91 games. He's also seen time at five different positions.
69
Luke Voit New York Yankees 1B
Voit powered up in a big way after being traded from the Cardinals to the Yankees in July of last year. This season, he's got an OBP of .393 to go with 17 homers.
68
Trevor Bauer Cleveland Indians SP
Bauer right now leads the majors with 132 innings, and he trails only Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in innings/start. Bauer also has an ERA+ of 129 and 149 strikeouts to his credit.
67
Lance Lynn Texas Rangers SP
Lynn's got an ERA under 4.00 at the break, which scales to a 128 ERA+. He also boasts a K/BB ratio of 4.73 in 115 innings.
66
Byron Buxton Minnesota Twins CF
Buxton spent some time on the IL, which keeps him from being higher on this list. He remains a stellar defender and baserunner, and he's putting up good numbers at the plate.
65
Michael Brantley Houston Astros LF
Remember when it seemed like Brantley's career might be effectively over after the 2017 season? The 2019 All-Star has played in 84 games this year with a slash line of .324/.383/.511.
64
David Price Boston Red Sox SP
Remember when Price was a supposed disappointment in Boston? After 16 starts, the veteran lefty boasts an ERA+ of 147 and an FIP of 2.84. On a rate basis, it's shaping up to be one of the best seasons of his career.
63
Jon Gray Colorado Rockies SP
Gray's topped 100 innings while averaging more than a strikeout per frame, and despite working 43 innings at Coors Field he's got a sub-4.00 ERA.
62
Patrick Corbin Washington Nationals SP
Corbin hasn't disappointed in his first season after inking a $140 million contract with the Nats. He's got a 3.34 ERA/136 ERA+ after 18 starts and 113 1/3 innings.
61
Shane Bieber Cleveland Indians SP
Bieber's been a rotation savior for Cleveland this season. The 24-year-old "sophomore" and All-Star Game MVP boasts a 3.45 ERA and 3.36 FIP after 112 1/3 innings.
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Injuries have not stopped Rangers slugger Joey Gallo from reaching the top 60 of our list. Mike Meredith/CBS Sports
60
George Springer Houston Astros CF
A hamstring strain cost Springer roughly a month, but when on the field he's batted .303/.384/.589 while serving as Houston's primary center fielder.
59
Spencer Turnbull Detroit Tigers SP
The rookie right-hander is dealing with shoulder issues, but he's still been a bright spot for the struggling Tigers. He's got a 3.31 ERA/143 ERA+ after 17 starts.
58
Joey Gallo Texas Rangers CF
Even with the lost time to injury, Gallo earns a strong spot in the rankings. He's taken well to center field and has thus far been an elite "take and rake" hitter at the plate. He's long had some of the most impressive raw power in the game. Gallo has yet to hit into a double play this season.
57
Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers SP
Velocity loss certainly hasn't knocked Kershaw off his lofty perch. In the first half, the future Hall of Famer put up a 3.09 ERA through 15 starts with a K/BB ratio of 5.69.
56
Mike Moustakas Milwaukee Brewers 3B
Moose has spent time at second and third for the Brewers, and along the way he's batted .263/.334/.551 with 25 homers.
55
Max Kepler Minnesota Twins RF
Kepler's a standout defensive right fielder, and he's batting .263/.337/.523 (125 OPS+) with 21 home runs thus far in 2019.
54
Rhys Hoskins Philadelphia Phillies 1B
Hoskins has been Philly's big bat this season. He's slashing .263/.401/.530 with 20 homers, 20 doubles, and an NL-leading 68 walks.
53
Charlie Blackmon Colorado Rockies RF
Blackmon's halfway to one of his best seasons: 138 ERA+, 1.010 OPS, 20 homers, and an NL-leading seven triples.
52
Juan Soto Washington Nationals LF
Still just 20, Soto is producing right in line with what he achieved in 2018, when finished runner-up in the NL Rookie of the Year vote. Childish Bambino right now has an OBP of .406 with 34 extra-base hits in 79 games.
51
Roberto Perez Cleveland Indians C
In addition to being one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, Perez this season has reached new heights with the bat -- especially in terms of power. How was he not an All-Star?
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White Sox righty Lucas Giolito was once viewed as a prized prospect, and at 24, he's finally lived up to the billing. Mike Meredith/CBS Sports


50
Eduardo Escobar Arizona Diamondbacks 3B
The veteran infielder has helped the Diamondbacks stay relevant in the post-Paul Goldschmidt era. He's played 89 games and produced a line of .296/.353/.543.
49
Mookie Betts Boston Red Sox RF
While Betts has slipped from his MVP heights of 2018, he remains one of the most complete players in the game today.
48
Marcus Stroman Toronto Blue Jays SP
Stroman's been laid up with a pectoral injury, but his success in 2019 has made him one of the most buzzed-about names leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. In 104 2/3 innings, Stroman's got an ERA+ of 141.
47
Zach Davies Milwaukee Brewers SP
Davies has been a rotation savior for the reigning NL Central champs. In 96 2/3 innings, he's rung up an ERA+ of 146 while inducing 11 double plays.
46
German Marquez Colorado Rockies SP
Marquez ranks second in the NL in innings despite making half his starts in Coors Field. That's a feat. To go with that impressive load, he's got an ERA+ of 119 and a 4.46 K/BB ratio.
45
Max Muncy Los Angeles Dodgers 1B
The eminently useful Muncy has seen time at three different infield positions while batting .266/.366/.531. He's on pace to threaten 40 homers and 100 walks.
44
Yonny Chirinos Tampa Bay Rays SP
Chirinos showed promise in his rookie campaign, and the 25-year-old has been even better in 2019. He's got 100 innings under his belt at the break, and over that span he's got a 144 ERA+ with 81 strikeouts and 21 unintentional walks.
43
Lucas Giolito Chicago White Sox SP
Giolito, formerly one of the top prospects in all of baseball, had failed to live up to the press clippings until this season. Now he's looking like a top-tier starter in the AL.
42
Francisco Lindor Cleveland Indians SS
Lower-leg problems delayed Lindor's start to the season until April 20. Since then, though, it's been vintage Lindor. He's picked it at short while registering an .866 OPS in 69 games.
41
Mike Soroka Atlanta Braves SP
The 21-year-old former first-rounder is looking every bit the young ace in 2019. After 15 starts, Soroka has a 188 ERA+ and just four home runs allowed.
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Padres youngster Fernando Tatis is probably one of the most electric players in all of baseball. Mike Meredith/CBS Sports


40
Nolan Arenado Colorado Rockies 3B
Arenado is of course still a plus at third base (although not quite at peak levels anymore), and he remains a highly productive hitter even after you put Coors Field in context.
39
Jeff McNeil New York Mets 2B
McNeil's played four different positions for the Metropolitans in 2019, and all the while he's produced in a big way at the plate: .349/.409/.509 with 101 hits in 76 games. That batting average leads the majors.
38
John Means Baltimore Orioles SP
Here's a bright spot for the mostly hapless Orioles. The 26-year-old rookie lefty has a 183 ERA+ through 14 starts and four relief appearances this season.
37
Rafael Devers Boston Red Sox 3B
In case you forgot, Devers -- not so long ago one of the top prospects in baseball -- is still just 22 years of age. At that age of 22, he's busting out in a big way. Devers right now is batting .324/.377/.546 with 16 homers and 25 two-baggers.
36
Carlos Santana Cleveland Indians 1B
The 33-year-old is on his way to the best season of his career. Right now, he's got a 149 OPS+ with 19 home runs in 87 games and more walks than strikeouts.
35
Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves 1B
What a hitter. The ruthlessly consistent Freeman is having another strong season. At the break, he leads the NL in hits, and he's got 50 extra-base knocks.
34
Marcus Semien Oakland Athletics SS
Semien's having a strong defensive season as shortstop for the contending A's, and he's also running a career-best OPS+ of 116. Right now, Semien also leads the majors in games played and plate appearances.
33
Fernando Tatis San Diego Padres SS
It says here that Tatis is the most exciting player in baseball. He's also been one of the best, as the Padres' shortstop has slashed .327/.393/.620 with 13 stolen bases. If not for a hamstring injury that cost him more than a month, Tatis would be near the very top of these rankings.
32
Cole Hamels Chicago Cubs SP
Hamels' late-career renaissance, if it keeps up, is going to put him squarely in the Hall of Fame discussion. This season he's been one of the NL's best starting pitchers.
31
Yoan Moncada Chicago White Sox 3B
Moncada's breakout season has arrived. The 24-year-old third baseman owns a line of .308/.364/.544 with 16 home runs, 18 doubles, and only one GIDP.
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Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole has been one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball. Mike Meredith/CBS Sports


30
Trevor Story Colorado Rockies SS
Story remains a top-tier defensive shortstop, and at the plate he owns a 115 OPS+ in 349 plate appearances.
29
Ronald Acuna Atlanta Braves CF
Acuña looked like a present and future star during his rookie season of 2018, and that's still the case in 2019. Thanks to his excellence at the plate, in the field, and on the bases, he's on pace to approach 6.0 WAR for the season.
28
Kris Bryant Chicago Cubs 3B
The shoulder woes that compromised Bryant's 2018 campaign haven't hindered him this year. He's got a 144 OPS+ with 46 walks and, tidily enough, 46 extra-base hits.
27
Gleyber Torres New York Yankees SS
Steady as she goes for the gifted young Torres. In his second season, he's got an OPS+ of 132 with 19 home runs, and he's also logged the hefty majority of his defensive innings at shortstop.
26
Javier Baez Chicago Cubs SS
Baez has pinned down shortstop for the contending Cubs while slugging .556 with 22 homers. He remains one of the most exciting players in baseball.
25
Xander Bogaerts Boston Red Sox SS
The most underrated player in baseball? It seems an odd question to ask about a Red Sox shortstop who earned a ring in 2018, but here we are. Bogaerts continues to put up excellent numbers, particularly by positional standards.
24
James McCann Chicago White Sox C
It remains to be seen whether it's sustainable, but an excellent first half is in the books for McCann: .316/.371/.502 in 63 games. It's a growth economy for hard-hitting catchers in Chicago.
23
Anthony Rendon Washington Nationals 3B
Rendon in 75 games has a slash line of .304/.386/.611. The 29-year-old's next contract will be well into nine figures.
22
Gary Sanchez New York Yankees C
Sanchez was a strong bounceback candidate heading into 2019, and he's done that and then some. Thanks to his elite power production from the catcher position, he figures to be in the AL MVP discussion.
21
Gerrit Cole Houston Astros SP
When he's on, Cole is as dominant as any starting pitcher in the game today. Thus far in 2019, he boasts 3.09 ERA, and he's struck out 36.7 percent of opposing batters -- a remarkable figure for a starter.
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Pirates first baseman Josh Bell is in the midst of a breakout season. Mike Meredith/CBS Sports


20
Ketel Marte Arizona Diamondbacks 2B
He's a middle infielder with a plus glove, and at the break he's got 44 extra-base hits and 198 total bases.
19
Yasmani Grandal Milwaukee Brewers C
Grandal remains a skilled pitch-framer, and he's having perhaps his best season at the plate thus far in 2019.
18
DJ LeMahieu New York Yankees 2B
Where would the Yankees be without LeMahieu? More than anyone else, he helped not only withstand but also thrive through those early season injuries. In addition to excellent overall numbers at the plate, he's been one of the MLB's top clutch hitters thus far in 2019.
17
Josh Bell Pittsburgh Pirates 1B
What a breakout season for Bell, who in 2019 has established himself as one of the game's top power hitters. He's on target to make a run at 50 homers.
16
Willson Contreras Chicago Cubs C
With a 139 OPS+, a .381 OBP, and 18 home runs in 77 games, Contreras has been the most productive catcher in baseball this season.
15
Pete Alonso New York Mets 1B
Alonso right now would be the runaway choice for NL Rookie of the Year. He's on pace to top 50 homers for the season in part because of his elite exit velocities.
14
Jose Berrios Minnesota Twins SP
The young right-hander continues his ascent. At the break, he's got a career-best 3.00 ERA and career-best 4.52 K/BB ratio in 117 innings this season.
13
Justin Verlander Houston Astros SP
Age 36 has brought no sign of decline for the former MVP and Cy Young winner. Right now, Verlander boasts a sub-3.00 ERA, and he leads the majors in innings. He's also on target to make another run at 300 strikeouts.
12
Zack Greinke Arizona Diamondbacks SP
No sign of a decline phase yet for Greinke, who's closing in on his 200th career win. He's got a sub-3.00 ERA with only one unearned run allowed with 108 strikeouts against 14 unintentional walks.
11
Alex Bregman Houston Astros 3B
The All-Star third baseman is producing at a high level once again. In 88 games, he's cracked 23 home runs while running an OBP of .393.
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Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich is gunning for back-to-back NL MVP honors.  Mike Meredith/CBS Sports


10
Matt Chapman Oakland Athletics 3B
Chapman may be the best defensive third baseman in baseball, and at the plate he's got a slash line of .265/.353/.534 with 46 extra-base hits in 89 games.
9
Jorge Polanco Minnesota Twins SS
A plus-fielding shortstop with an OPS in the neighborhood of .900? Polanco this season has quietly been one of the best players in baseball.
8
Charlie Morton Tampa Bay Rays SP
Morton has been an ace and then some for the Rays this season. In 112 2/3 innings, he's struck out 142 batters against 36 walks and put up an ERA of just 2.32.
7
Luis Castillo Cincinnati Reds SP
Thanks in part to a tweaked changeup, Castillo has emerged as the ace of a quietly impressive Reds rotation. He's also in the midseason discussion for NL Cy Young honors.
6
Christian Yelich Milwaukee Brewers RF
Regression? The opposite has happened so far, contrary to most expectations. The reigning NL MVP is on pace to breeze past 50 homers for the season.
5
Mike Minor Texas Rangers SP
Minor in his age-31 season has taken the unlikely leap from solid, which is what he was in 2018, to possible Cy Young frontrunner, which is what he is in 2019. He's been a huge part of the Rangers' surprising relevance thus far.
4
Hyun-Jin Ryu Los Angeles Dodgers SP
Ryu is halfway to a career year and then some. Right now he boasts a sub-2.00 ERA and has almost 10 times as many strikeouts as walks.
3
Max Scherzer Washington Nationals SP
Scherzer's coming off an utterly dominant June, and the overall body of work is what you expect from Peak Max. That is, he's again been one of the best pitchers on the planet.
2
Cody Bellinger Los Angeles Dodgers RF
Thanks to an OPS+ that's hanging around 200 and strong defensive metrics, Bellinger right now leads MLB in WAR by a fairly comfortable margin.
1
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels CF
Trout's on pace to join Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Willie Mays, and Walter Johnson as the only players ever to record more than three 10-WAR seasons. Trout, of course, is still just 27 years of age.
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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