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TOP 100

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A NEW SEASON, A NEW PECKING ORDER: THE BEST BALLPLAYER ON THE PLANET IS ... YOU GUESSED IT. BEYOND THAT THERE WERE PLENTY OF SURPRISES (NO BRYCE IN THE TOP 10?!)AND FRESH FACES (HELLO, TOMMY PHAM) WHEN SI'S BASEBALL EXPERTS GOT TOGETHER TO RANK THE BEST PLAYERS IN THE GAME RIGHT NOW

1. MIKE TROUT, OF, ANGELS

Trout's combination of power, speed and defense make him the game's best player by a wide margin; his 26.7 WAR over the past three years is about five wins ahead of second-ranked José Altuve. The gap would be even wider had the Millville Meteor not missed six weeks in 2017 due to a torn ligament in his left thumb, interrupting what was shaping up as his best offensive season. He still set career highs in on-base percentage (.442), slugging percentage (.629) and OPS+ (187). Remarkably, it's very possible that the best player in baseball is still getting better.

2. JOSÉ ALTUVE, 2B, ASTROS

3. KRIS BRYANT, 3B, CUBS

4. MAX SCHERZER, SP, NATIONALS

5. JOEY VOTTO, 1B, REDS

6. MOOKIE BETTS, OF, RED SOX

7. CLAYTON KERSHAW, SP, DODGERS

8. NOLAN ARENADO, 3B, ROCKIES

Doubt hovers over Arenado because he plays in Coors Field. Sure, he has a huge split in batting average, but his power numbers (19 homers at home, 18 on the road) are close, and his OBP has improved. At any altitude, he's the best defensive third baseman in the game. Arenado, just 26, has won five Gold Gloves. Third base is baseball's deepest position, but no one else can match his skill—in fact he may be the best defender at any infield position.

9. CARLOS CORREA, SS, ASTROS

10. PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT, 1B, DIAMONDBACKS

11. COREY KLUBER, SP, INDIANS

12. BRYCE HARPER, OF, NATIONALS

Strictly by the numbers, Harper isn't a top 20 player: He had an incredible MVP performance in 2015, but his weighted career stats were brought down by injury-filled '16 and '17 seasons. Still, Harper's ceiling is so high that, by pedigree and promise, he belongs near the game's truly elite players. And as limited as he was last year, playing only 111 games, he still hit .319/.413/.595 as a 24-year-old. With Harper, it's not what he's done but what he can do that makes him a top 20 player.

13. GIANCARLO STANTON, OF, YANKEES

14. AARON JUDGE, OF, YANKEES

He's played one full season. He may not hit 52 home runs again. But his plate discipline, raw power and hitting maturity make Judge one of the game's elites. Last year he took 127 walks to build a .422 on-base percentage, which trailed only Joey Votto and Mike Trout. He scored an AL-high 128 runs. He finished with a higher OPS+ (171) than Giancarlo Stanton (165), who hit 59 home runs. Now, he'll alternate between DH and rightfield with Stanton, which will allow him even more focus on his hitting.

15. FRANCISCO LINDOR, SS, INDIANS

16. JOSH DONALDSON, 3B, BLUE JAYS

17. COREY SEAGER, SS, DODGERS

18. MANNY MACHADO, ORIOLES

Machado's move from third base to shortstop is one of the most fascinating story lines of the season; with his elite range he should remain one of the game's top defenders. He did struggle offensively in 2017—he finished with career lows in batting average (.259) and OBP (.310)—but he's still an extra-base hitting machine who has three consecutive seasons of 30-plus homers. And he's only 25, still capable of becoming a top 5 player..

19. JUSTIN VERLANDER, SP, ASTROS

20. CHRIS SALE, SP, RED SOX

21. JUSTIN TURNER, 3B, DODGERS

22. FREDDIE FREEMAN, 1B, BRAVES

23. ANTHONY RIZZO, 1B, CUBS

24. ZACK GREINKE, SP, DIAMONDBACKS

25. STEPHEN STRASBURG, SP, NATIONALS

His stuff might be the best of any pitcher alive: a 97-mph fastball, a vanishing changeup, a curveball that loops like an out-of-control roller coaster. But when you have that arsenal, nothing ever feels good enough. Forget the hype, and forget the haters: When Strasburg is on, there's almost no pitcher on earth you'd rather have, and even when he isn't, he's still one of the best starters in the league.

26. JOSÉ RAMÍREZ, 2B, INDIANS

27. GEORGE SPRINGER, OF, ASTROS

28. CHARLIE BLACKMON, OF, ROCKIES

29. BUSTER POSEY, C, GIANTS

30. ADRIÁN BELTRÉ, 3B, RANGERS

31. CARLOS CARRASCO, SP, INDIANS

Are you ready to accept that Carrasco is one of the best pitchers in the game? The righty was dazzling in 2017, with career bests as a starter in innings (200), strikeouts (226), ERA (3.29) and WAR (5.4). Then again, none of those were terribly far off from what he did the previous year. Were it not for the presence of Corey Kluber, Carrasco would be the Indians' ace. As is, he's arguably the game's best No. 2 starter.

32. ANDRELTON SIMMONS, SS, ANGELS

33. ANTHONY RENDON, 3B, NATIONALS

34. ROBINSON CANÓ, 2B, MARINERS

35. NOAH SYNDERGAARD, SP, METS

36. MADISON BUMGARNER, SP, GIANTS

37. LORENZO CAIN, OF, BREWERS

38. TREA TURNER, SS, NATIONALS

39. CHRISTIAN YELICH, OF, BREWERS

The former Marlin sneaks up on you. He has never appeared in the postseason or the All-Star Game. He has spent much of his career as the third-best outfielder on his own team. But he does everything well. He hits for average and moderate power; he hits to all fields; he walks; he steals bases; he plays a credible centerfield. He's done all this for four straight years—and he's only 26. The major question facing Yelich and his new employers in Milwaukee is whether he can become more than someone with a slugger's frame but the swing of a slap hitter. The Brewers will need him to.

40. CODY BELLINGER, 1B, DODGERS

41. BRIAN DOZIER, 2B, TWINS

42. KYLE SEAGER, 3B, MARINERS

43. KEVIN KIERMAIER, OF, RAYS

44. JACOB DEGROM, SP, METS

45. MARCELL OZUNA, OF, CARDINALS

46. NELSON CRUZ, OF, MARINERS

47. JUSTIN UPTON, OF, ANGELS

48. GARY SANCHEZ, C, YANKEES

49. CARLOS MARTÍNEZ, SP, CARDINALS

50. MICHAEL FULMER, SP, TIGERS

51. TOMMY PHAM, OF, CARDINALS

One of the breakout stars of 2017, the 29-year-old outfielder was an astonishing 6.4-WAR player in his first full season. With third baseman Matt Carpenter and catcher Yadier Molina aging into their mid-30s, Pham is now the centerpiece of the Cardinals' lineup.

52. JAKE ARRIETA, SP, FREE AGENT

53. YU DARVISH, SP, CUBS

54. JOSÉ ABREU, 1B, WHITE SOX

55. A.J. POLLOCK, OF, DIAMONDBACKS

56. BRETT GARDNER, OF, YANKEES

57. YOENIS CÉSPEDES, OF, METS

58. ENDER INCIARTE, OF, BRAVES

59. LUIS SEVERINO, SP, YANKEES

60. ELVIS ANDRUS, SS, RANGERS

After seven years of being a mediocre hitter who offered speed and little else, the 29-year-old reinvented himself over the last two seasons. The former slap hitter bought into the fly ball revolution and hit 20 home runs in 2017 after just 35 the previous eight years combined, and also had a career-best .471 slugging percentage. He's something entirely new—and entirely more valuable.

61. J.D. MARTINEZ, OF, FREE AGENT

62. KENLEY JANSEN, RP, DODGERS

63. CRAIG KIMBREL, RP, RED SOX

64. CHRIS TAYLOR, OF, DODGERS

65. IAN KINSLER, 2B, ANGELS

66. JOSH REDDICK, OF, ASTROS

67. EVAN LONGORIA, 3B, GIANTS

68. BYRON BUXTON, OF, TWINS

We've all dreamed of what the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft, one of the game's most tantalizing talents, could do. He can look lost at the plate, but Buxton's time may finally have arrived: After another slow start in 2017, he made mechanical adjustments and laid waste to the AL in the second half, hitting .309/.358/.538 from July 1 through the end of the season.

69. ALEX BREGMAN, 3B, ASTROS

70. JON LESTER, SP, CUBS

71. DALLAS KEUCHEL, SP, ASTROS

72. KYLE HENDRICKS, SP, CUBS

73. MARCUS STROMAN, SP, BLUE JAYS

74. JACKIE BRADLEY JR., OF, RED SOX

75. JONATHAN SCHOOP, 2B, ORIOLES

Find another second baseman in his mid-20s with a plus glove and 30-homer power. Sure, Schoop hasn't learned how to take a pitch (he finished 2017 with 35 walks and 142 strikeouts), but he is establishing himself as one of the most powerful infielders in the big leagues.

76. EDWIN ENCARNACIÓN, 1B, INDIANS

77. DANIEL MURPHY, 2B, NATIONALS

78. ERVIN SANTANA, SP, TWINS

79. BRANDON CRAWFORD, SS, GIANTS

80. JOSÉ QUINTANA, SP, CUBS

81. ANDREW MILLER, RP, INDIANS

82. BRANDON BELT, 1B, GIANTS

83. DIDI GREGORIUS, SS, YANKEES

84. GIO GONZALEZ, SP, NATIONALS

85. DJ LEMAHIEU, 2B, ROCKIES

86. COLE HAMELS, SP, RANGERS

87. ZACK COZART, SS, ANGELS

88. JEAN SEGURA, SS, MARINERS

89. JOHNNY CUETO, SP, GIANTS

90. KEVIN PILLAR, OF, BLUE JAYS

91. WILLSON CONTRERAS, C, CUBS

92. MATT CARPENTER, 3B, CARDINALS

93. LANCE LYNN, SP, FREE AGENT

94. DAVID PRICE, SP, RED SOX

95. J.T. REALMUTO, C, MARLINS

96. J.A. HAPP, SP, BLUE JAYS

97. ERIC HOSMER, 1B, PADRES

98. ROBBIE RAY, SP, DIAMONDBACKS

The best way to counteract the effect of juiced balls is to keep hitters from hitting them, and Ray is among the best in that department. In 2017, hitters made contact only 68% of the time when they swung at a Ray offering, lowest among pitchers with at least 120 innings. Ray's 15--5, 2.89 ERA season was made possible by both his development of a lethal curveball and some luck on balls in play; his numbers might take a half step back in '18. His left arm has become one of baseball's treasures.

99. ODÚBEL HERRERA, OF, PHILLIES

100. TODD FRAZIER, 3B, METS

His batting average has fallen in each of the past three years, and his on-base percentage was just above .300 in both 2015 and '16. Even so, Frazier's tremendous power (102 homers over three years), good plate discipline and above-average defense make him a reliable two-way contributor, just enough to beat out Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun—and the Angels' mystery man, Shohei Otani—for the last spot on this list.

SI.COM

For expanded discussions on each player in the Top 100, go to SI.com/mlb.