The first month of the 2017 season is 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 upon reasonable expectations -- using things like age and recent performance history -- to make educated guesses at which players would provide the most value in 2017. From this point forward, though, each installment will be 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 month of the 2017 season. The preceding has been italicized for emphasis. Now we're going to bold it and possibly even enlarge it for even more emphasis …

The rankings you're about to see reflect nothing more than who has been the best through the first month 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 baserunning. On offense, we're not concerned with things like runs batted in. 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 designated hitters). 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 will probably look very different.

As always, reach out to the author at his personal email address -- hotmail@hotmail.jpg -- with all your complaints …

Top 100 players right now
Aaron Hicks N.Y. Yankees RF
Here he is, the best fourth outfielder in baseball thus far. He has seen time at all three outfield spots while batting .288/.433/.615 in 68 plate appearances.
The stuff has played up in the bullpen in a big way, and Bradley has been one of the best multi-inning relievers of 2017.
Gallo is on here despite a .200 batting average. He has enough walks to lift his OBP into acceptable territory, and he's slugging a robust .533 with eight homers.
Blackmon's park-adjusted numbers look strong again, especially by the standards of an up-the-middle defender.
Hamels will be laid up for a while, so he won't be on the next edition of the top 100, but for now he's here thanks to a 140 ERA+ across 32 2/3 innings.
Hector Santiago Minnesota SP
Santiago has been a pleasant surprise for the Twins this season, as he has run an ERA of 2.78 after his first six starts.
Jesse Hahn Oakland SP
After four starts and one relief appearance, the 27-year-old righty has a 151 ERA+ going for him. Oakland's rotation has generally been a strong one, largely without Sonny Gray.
Trea Turner Washington SS
Turner has missed some time, but in addition to pinning down shortstop for perhaps the best team in baseball, he has batted .310/.347/.535.
Brad Hand San Diego RP
Hand has been a high-volume, high-leverage reliever with dominant results.
Matt Kemp Atlanta RF
Yes, Kemp is a liability in the field these days, but his production at the plate so far is more than making up for that.
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.
Suffice it to say, the Indians are thrilled to have this former franchise cornerstone back on this list after he missed almost the previous two full seasons.
Ozuna is once again putting up strong power numbers, and this season he's also hitting for average.
Jeremy Hellickson Philadelphia SP
Another year, more good results on Philly's watch. Hellickson has continued to make strides with his K/BB ratio while also keeping runs off the board at an impressive clip.
Wil Myers San Diego 1B
Fresh off signing an $83 million contract extension with San Diego, Myers is on pace for his first 30-homer season.
Robbie Ray Arizona SP
What does Ray have going for him? He has a 3.47 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 36 innings. This season, the results are matching the stuff.
Castillo is on the DL at present, but he has provided the Orioles with a 115 OPS+ from the catcher position.
Darvish is off to a fine and vintage start in his walk year. After six starts, Darvish has an impressive ERA+ of 140.
Austin Romine N.Y. Yankees C
Romine has helped the Yanks not miss a beat while Gary Sanchez has been out with injury. Getting a line of .316/.349/.456 line from your stop-gap catcher is a luxury indeed.
Anthony Rizzo Chi. Cubs 1B
Rizzo is one of the best defensive first sackers in baseball, and in 2017 he's putting up typically strong numbers at the plate.
A.J. Pollock Arizona CF
Pollock is back after missing almost all of 2016, and he's producing at a high level while also adding value on the bases and in the field.
Max Scherzer Washington SP
By all indications, the 2016 NL Cy Young winner is going to continue being one of the best pitchers in all of baseball in 2017.
Ryan Braun Milwaukee LF
Braun is in his age-33 season, but he just keeps hitting. He's also closing in on career homer No. 300. As always, his health is worth monitoring.
Andrew Miller Cleveland RP
The arm that revived the fireman role has worked 13 2/3 innings in 2017 without surrendering a run. So here he is.
Manny Machado Baltimore 3B
Machado opened the year in a slump, but he's coming out of it, particularly on the power front, and he's still one of the best defensive third basemen around.
Yoenis Cespedes N.Y. Mets LF
Cespedes is laid up with a hamstring injury at the moment, but he has put up the best numbers of his career on a rate basis.
Joey Votto Cincinnati 1B
Votto got off to a slow start in 2017, but now he's back to putting up big power numbers and commanding the strike zone.
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Yonder Alonso Oakland 1B
Since Alonso was drafted seventh overall in 2008, we've been waiting for the sustained big season. Will 2017 be it? So far, so good.
Strasburg is pitching exclusively from the stretch, and it seems to be working for him, especially in terms of improved control.
Zack Greinke Arizona SP
Greinke has the early makings of a bounceback season in terms of both run prevention and command-and-control numbers.
Manny Pina Milwaukee C
Pina's body of work is almost the exact same as that of his teammate and catcher-mate, Bandy. So here they are ranked in succession.
Jett Bandy Milwaukee C
No, it won't last, but Bandy is a semi-regular catcher who's putting up monster numbers at the plate in 2017.
The preseason favorite for AL Rookie of the Year honors is living up to the hype and then some this year.
Lance Lynn St. Louis SP
Lynn's first season back from Tommy John surgery has yielded strong results.
Salvador Perez Kansas City C
Perez remains durable, a steady leader and a high-grade handler of pitchers. At this writing, he's also slugging better than .500.
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Chris Owings Arizona SS
An everyday shortstop with an OPS+ comfortably north of 100? That's Owings so far this season, and that earns him a spot on this list.
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Matt Cain San Francisco SP
This is looking like a nice renaissance season for Cain, who hasn't pitched at a high level since 2012. The Giants need that from him given Madison Bumgarner's absence.
Jay Bruce N.Y. Mets RF
Bruce doesn't do much more than hit these days, but in 2017 he has done nothing but hit. Right now, he's on pace for more than 40 homers.
What's he doing on here? Gonzalez has put up big power numbers in semi-regular duty while also seeing time at five different positions. That's valuable.
Adam Eaton Washington CF
Eaton obviously won't be on future editions of this list since he's out for the year with a torn ACL. However, his performance before that injury -- a .393 OBP while manning center and adding value on the bases -- earns him a spot for April.
Andrelton Simmons L.A. Angels SS
Simmons is still a defensive wizard at one of the most vital positions in the game, and this season he's running a career-best OPS+.
Somewhat quietly, Realmuto has developed into one of the best-hitting young catchers in baseball. He has established himself as a solid on-base threat with pop to the gaps.
Wade Miley Baltimore SP
Miley is missing bats and walking hitters. In the early going he has rediscovered the ability to limit contact off the bat. From that, a nifty 2.32 ERA has flowed.
Jameson Taillon Pittsburgh SP
A lot has gone wrong for the Pirates in 2017, but Taillon's performance is a pleasing exception. At age 25, he could be pre-peak.
Jonathan Schoop Baltimore 2B
Schoop is an underrated defender at the keystone, and like a lot of other Orioles he has plenty of pop at the plate.
Kyle Freeland Colorado SP
Yep, another homegrown starting pitcher contributing mightily to the Rockies' success. Central to his success has been allowing only one home run through five starts.
Ian Kennedy Kansas City SP
Career year for the 32-year-old right-hander? It's early, yes, but in terms of run prevention he has been among the league's best this season.
Josh Harrison Pittsburgh 2B
He has seen time at three different positions, including primary duty at second base, while batting better than .300 and slugging better than .500.
Alex Avila Detroit C
No, it won't last, but in limited action the veteran catcher has crushed the ball this season.
Clayton Kershaw L.A. Dodgers SP
Yes, he's at it again. At this writing, Kershaw has an ERA in the mid-2.00s with 44 strikeouts against just three walks.
Conforto is a bit light on playing time thanks to the crowded Mets outfield situation, but he has made the most of his opportunities, to say the least.
Estrada has been on another level since joining the Jays before the 2015 season. Through six starts in 2017, he has an ERA+ of 168 and a K/BB ratio of 3.80.
Justin Upton Detroit LF
Upton didn't quite live up to the billing in his first season in Detroit, but this season he's running an OPS of more than .900.
Chase Headley N.Y. Yankees 3B
A Headley renaissance in the Bronx? It's looking like it. Maybe at age 33 he'll once again flash the MVP-caliber skills that he showed in 2012 with the Padres.
Chase Anderson Milwaukee SP
Yes, the 29-year-old righty will probably come back to earth at some point, but he has been one of the NL's strongest starting pitchers in 2017.
Steven Souza Tampa Bay RF
Souza has looked good in the field, and at this writing he leads the AL in hits while also showing some extra-base pop.
He remains a skilled defensive catcher, and on a park- and league-adjusted basis, he's putting up some of the best offensive numbers of his career.
The 22-year-old rookie has been an important fixture in the Colorado rotation and has put up excellent numbers through six starts.
Buster Posey San Francisco C
Posey has missed some time with injury, but he's producing at the plate at a customary level while also continuing to be a pronounced defensive asset behind the plate.
Ground-ball tendencies, a funky arm angle and lots of late movement have paid off big for Triggs in 2017.
Texas' bedrock shortstop enjoyed a rebound season at the plate last year. In 2017, he has improved even further. He's already more than halfway to a career high in home runs.
Cesar Hernandez Philadelphia 2B
Hernandez was darn good by middle infielder standards in 2016, and this season he has been even better.
Coming off a disappointing 2016, Corbin looks ready to resume his upward trajectory. He's off to a career-best start.
Corey Dickerson Tampa Bay LF
Dickerson has always been a hitter, but this season, slotted in as the Rays' primary DH, he's reaching new heights.
Goldschmidt remains one of the most productive hitters around and perhaps the most complete player among first basemen.
Jedd Gyorko St. Louis 3B
Gyorko enjoyed a career year in 2016 with the Cards, and this season he's off to an even better start at the plate while stabilizing third base.
Gio Gonzalez Washington SP
Gonzalez in his age-31 season is running a sub-2.00 ERA and is doing a fine job when it comes to keeping the ball in the park.
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Daniel Murphy Washington 2B
Murphy in 2016 was perhaps the most productive middle infielder in the game, and he hasn't dropped off much to start 2017.
Dylan Bundy Baltimore SP
Surprised? Don't be. Bundy has always had electric stuff, and this year the results are following. Right now, the 24-year-old is running a sub-2.00 ERA with a strong K/BB ratio.
Nelson Cruz Seattle DH
Cruz, to the surprise of many of us, has done nothing but rake since leaving the Rangers. He's continuing to do just that in 2017.
Kevin Pillar Toronto CF
Pillar is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game and this season he's hitting for average and power.
Jason Vargas Kansas City SP
Thanks in part to come excellent control, Vargas is off to a tremendous start. Right now, he boasts an ERA of 1.42 after five starts.
Nolan Arenado Colorado 3B
The Rockies are one of the pleasant surprises of the season, and Arenado -- still an elite defender at the corner and putting up the best numbers of his career at the plate -- has much to do with that.
Eugenio Suarez Cincinnati 3B
Yes, he's almost certainly performing over his head, but the 25-year-old third baseman is producing at an exceptionally high level in 2017.
Carlos Carrasco Cleveland SP
Given the depth of the Cleveland rotation, Carrasco tends to be a bit overlooked, but he has been an ace when healthy since 2014.
Jose Ramirez Cleveland 2B
The Indians infielder is following up his breakout 2016 campaign with even better numbers at the plate.
James Paxton Seattle SP
Paxton has always had the stuff, and this season the results are following. He has yet to give up a home run through six starts and he boasts an ERA+ of 269.
Zack Cozart Cincinnati SS
The veteran shortstop is raking. If he stays healthy, he could be a coveted piece leading up to the non-waiver deadline (assuming his Reds fade by then).
Haniger is on the DL, but he has already banked enough value -- strong production at the plate plus quality defense in right field -- to rank high on this list.
Starlin Castro N.Y. Yankees 2B
Castro is a quality defensive second baseman, and in 2017 he's hitting like an All-Star first baseman.
Justin Turner L.A. Dodgers 3B
He's still a plus defensive third baseman, and those swing changes he undertook before the 2014 season are still paying off.
Jose Altuve Houston 2B
He's putting up rate-based numbers that are right in line with what he did in 2016, when Altuve finished third in the AL MVP balloting.
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.
Kris Bryant Chi. Cubs 3B
The reigning NL MVP got off to a bit of a slow start but now he's back where he belongs thanks to broad-based excellence, including lofty numbers at the plate.
Matt Wieters Washington C
Wieters is a regular catcher who is hitting .303/.398/.526. That earns him a lofty ranking.
Ivan Nova Pittsburgh SP
Nova's rebirth since joining the Pirates continues apace. In 2017, he's running a sub-2.00 ERA and he has more complete games (two) than walks (one).
Avisail Garcia Chi. White Sox RF
Is Garcia finally realizing his potential as a hitter? In his age-26 season, he's putting up some of strongest numbers of any player.
Mike Leake St. Louis SP
Through April, Leake has been the Cardinals' best starter in terms of run prevention and command-and-control indicators. He also remains a quality hitter by the standards of pitchers.
Corey Seager L.A. Dodgers SS
The L.A. "sophomore" is once again producing at a high level while capably manning a premium defensive position.
Ervin Santana Minnesota SP
Santana is following up a strong 2016 campaign with an even stronger start to 2017. At present, he leads the AL in ERA, ERA+ and WHIP.
Miguel Sano Minnesota 3B
Yes, he strikes out too much. Overwhelming that concern is that he's one of the most patient hitters in baseball and he also has devastating power.
Eric Thames Milwaukee 1B
You know the creation story by now. Thames failed to stick in the bigs, went to Korea, retooled his approach and signed a multiyear deal with the Brewers. In 2017, he has done nothing but abuse the ball.
Lindor continues to be on the short list of top defensive shortstops and he also continues to develop with the bat. This could be your 2017 AL MVP.
The 2015 AL Cy Young winner endured a disappointing 2016 season, but this year he appears to be back to ace form for Houston.
Ryan Zimmerman Washington 1B
After getting some tips from hard-hitting teammate Daniel Murphy, Zimmerman appears to have put his decline phase on hold. In fact, he's one month into what would be the best season of his career.
Aaron Judge N.Y. Yankees RF
The thunderous power is as advertised, as the 6-foot-7, 282-pound Judge leads the majors in home runs.
Chris Sale Boston SP
Sale has been an ace for several years now, and in 2017 he's off to what is easily the best start of his career.
Bryce Harper Washington RF
Harper looks like he has regained his MVP form of 2015. Injuries might have sapped his production last season, but in 2017 he has looked like a monster at the plate.
Always a skilled and productive hitter, Freeman has been on another level in terms of power since June of last year. Consider him one of the very best hitters in the game today.
Mike Trout L.A. Angels CF
Not only is Trout excellent on a historic scale, he's also ruthlessly consistent. It's looking like vintage Trout in 2017. Thus he lands in his accustomed spot.

Until next month, suckers.