An Underage Sports Journal For Students of the Game

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Pre Season Positional Rankings

After the Divisional Previews I figured why not rank some players. The position player lists will be just the top ten, with 1-3 honorable mentions, however with the starting pitchers there will be 20 as there are so many of them. This list will be based off of my own thoughts and will have a mix of predictions but also base it upon 2021 and 2022. Let’s get into it. Injuries and age will factor into my rankings.

Starting Pitchers

HM Christian Javier HOU, Zac Gallen ARI, Kevin Gausman TOR, Nestor Cortes Jr. NYY, Clayton Kershaw LAD

1 Corbin Burnes MIL

2 Jacob DeGrom TEX

3 Shohei Ohtani LAA

4 Sandy Alcantara MIA

5 Shane McClanahan TB

6 Gerritt Cole NYY

7 Max Fried ATL

8 Aaron Nola PHI

9 Carlos Rodon NYY

10 Brandon Woodruff MIL

11 Max Scherzer NYM

12 Luis Castillo SEA

13 Justin Verlander NYM

14 Dylan Cease CHW

15 Zach Wheeler PHI

16 Julio Urias LAD

17 Alek Manoah TOR

18 Spencer Strider ATL

19 Framber ValdezHOU

20 Shane Bieber CLE


Pitchers are so tough to rank – at least to me. The top 4 are really interchangeable as I think any order of those 4 guys isn’t wrong and clearly are separate from the rest of the pack. There are just so many great pitchers in the league which for me makes them so hard to rank. If anyone of these guys were to win a CY Young award this season it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. This list was the toughest and most thought out list I made as I went back and forth on several guys and even now making this I’m second guessing myself. 

Relief Pitchers

HM Clay Holmes NYY, Jhoan Duran MIN, Evan Phillips LAD

1 Devin Williams MIL

2 Emmanuel Classe CLE

3 Josh Hader SD

4 Ryan Helsley STL

5 Andres Munoz SEA

6 Felix Baustista BAL

7 Ryan Pressley HOU

8 Raisel Iglesias ATL

9 AJ Minter ATL

10 Camilo Doval SF


With guys like Edwin Diaz and Liam Hendriks not going to be pitching at all this season, it makes the reliever list a little more set for me due to there being less top tier arms to rank. Relievers tend to vary year to year, at least how I see it – the top guys will always be consistently at the top but there are some newer and or younger names being thrown around in the mix. 



HM Jose Trevino NYY, William Contreras MIL, Travis D’Arnaud ATL
1 JT Realmuto PHI

2 Adley Rutchsman BAL

3 Will Smith LAD

4 Sean Murphy ATL

5 Alejandro Kirk TOR

6 Tyler Stephenson CIN

7 Willson Contreras STL

8 Jonah Heim TEX

9 Cal Raleigh SEA

10 Salvador Perez KC


Another position I find tough to rank after the top 4 because there are so many catchers that are good at either hitting or defensively and average to below average on the other side and it ultimately comes down to what I value more. The young talent at the catcher spot is insane – Rutchsman, Kirk, and Stephenson are all younger than 26, and that’s without naming guys like MJ Melendez, Gabriel Moreno, Franciso Alvarez, and Kiebert Ruiz. In 6 weeks of baseball, this list could look so much differently simply because any catcher giving you average offense with an average glove is going to look a lot better than a guy that isn’t hitting as well as they typically do. 


First Base

HM Yandy Diaz TB, Ryan Mountcastle BAL, Jake Cronenworth SD

1a Freddie Freeman LAD

1b Paul Goldschmidt STL

2 Pete Alonso NYM

3 Matt Olson ATL

4 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. TOR

5 Nathaniel Lowe TEX

6 Anthony Rizzo NYY

7 Christian Walker ARI

8 Jose Abreu HOU

9 Vinnie Pasquantino KC

10 Ty France SEA


The big thing for first basemen is their ability to hit the ball for power, launch a ton of home runs, and drive in a bunch of runs – which all of these guys do. If you happen to also have a good glove then you are a rarity at the position which is typically known for not having the best of defenders as you often see players who struggle at other positions get moved to first so they can keep the bat in the lineup. Another list that could see guys explode and end up on the list at the end of the year.


Second Base

HM Kolten Wong SEA, Jonathan India CIN, Nico Hoerner CHI

1 Jose Altuve HOU 

2 Marcus Seiman TEX

3 Jeff McNiel NYM

4 Ozzie Albies ATL

5 Andres Giminez CLE

6 Brandon Lowe TB

7 Ketel Marte ARI

8 Tommy Edman STL

9 Luis Arraez MIA

10 Gleyber Torres NYY 


This position is filled with a bunch of guys that have shown that they can be stars – but haven’t been up to their standards over the last season or two and fall below some younger guys that broke out. Typically a spot for defenders and high contact guys when there are guys that offer some pop along with that they find themselves high on my list.


Third Base

HM Max Muncy LAD, Eugenio Suarez SEA

1 Nolan Arenado STL

2 Jose Ramirez CLE

3 Manny Machado SD

4 Austin Riley ATL

5 Alex Bregman HOU

6 Rafael Devers BOS

7 Matt Chapman TOR

8 Anthony Rendon LAA

9 Ke’Bryan Hayes PIT

10 Luis Urias MIL


One of the more loaded positions when it comes to top talent with 1-6 all being top 30 guys – with 2 others being former top 30 guys. After the first 8, the dropoff is kind of immediate and steep with guys who are either 30+ HR guys with a high K rate, or guys with an elite glove.



HM Tim Anderson CHW, Bobby Witt Jr. KC, Amed Rosario CLE

1 Trea Turner PHI

2 Franciso Lindor NYM

3 Corey Seager TEX

4 Carlos Correa MIN

5 Xander Bogaerts SD

6 Bo Bichette TOR

7 Dansby Swanson CHI

8 Wander Franco TB

9 Jeremy Pena HOU

10 Willy Adames MIL


Shortstop might be the most talented position in baseball and spreads the skill out all over with the proven guys being at the top but the youth of Witt, Franco, Pena, Cruz all starting to break through. 


Left Field

HM Andrew Benintendi CHW

1 Juan Soto SD

2 Yordan Alvarez HOU

3 Kyle Schwarber PHI

4 Steven Kwan CLE

5 Randy Arozerana TB

6 Bryan Reynolds PIT

7 Daulton Varsho TOR

8 Christian Yelich MIL

9 Taylor Ward LAA

10 Corbin Carroll ARI


A list that features the 2 best hitters in all of baseball but then has a very drastic fall off from them. There’s plenty of youth within the group conjoined with a former MVP and one of the best power bats in all of baseball. 


Center Field

HM Alek Thomas ARI, Kevin Kiermaier TOR, Trent Grisham SD

1 Mike Trout LAA

2 Byron Buxton MIN

3 Julio Rodriguez SEA

4 Michael Harris III ATL

5 Brandon Nimmo NYM

6 Luis Robert Jr. CHW

7 Cedric Mullins BAL

8 Harrison Bader NYY

9 Jazz Chisholm Jr. MIA

10 Tyler O’Neill STL


Some new faces joining the group at Jazz & O’Neill move over to CF. Who else but Trout at the top, followed by one of the most talented group on players at any position in the league. Plenty of young talent that will continue to rise as the years go on.


Right Field

HM Teoscar Hernandez SEA, Lars Nootbar STL, Seiya Suzuki

1 Aaron Judge NYY

2 Mookie Betts LAD

3 Ronald Acuna ATL

4 Fernando Tatis Jr. SD

5 Kyle Tucker HOU

6 George Springer TOR

7 Starling Marte NYM

8 Hunter Renfroe LAA

9 Alex Verdugo BOS

10 Anthony Santander BAL


The top 5 guys are legitimately all MVP candidates and make this position in my opinion the most star studded spot out of the position players, but not the most deep. Looking for more youth coming up to make a name at the position outside of Acuna and Tatis. 


Designated Hitter

HM Nelson Cruz SD, Brandon Belt TOR, Carlos Santana PIT

1 Shohei Ohtani LAA

2 Bryce Harper PHI

3 Eloy Jimenez CHW

4 Michael Brantley HOU 

5 Giancarlo Stanton NYY

6 Justin Turner BOS

7 Josh Bell CLE

8 JD Martinez LAD

9 Trey Mancini CHC

10 Matt Carpenter SD


These guys get paid to rake, and they do. Another tough to rank list, especially adding Harper in here as I imagine he won’t be throwing this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. It wouldn’t surprise me if this list fluctuates significantly outside of the top 2 as it’s so common for guys to go on a cold streak and fall out.



HM Whit Merrifield KC
1 DJ Lemahieu NYY

2 Brendon Donovan STL

3 Chris Taylor LAD

4 Brandon Drury LAA

5 Santiago Espinal TOR


These are the do it all guys and I had a tough time trying to determine who to end up putting in on this list as a few guys I’d consider utility guys have carved out everyday spots in the lineup at one position, but are able to play several others just as well. These are the guys I went with – even though I expect a couple to stay at one set position due to injury or just plain being better than alternative options.

That will wrap up my pre season positional rankings. Hopefully they will spark some controversy in the comment section below and definitely feel free to let me know your thoughts on my rankings and things you agree or disagree with!