Position By Position, Here Are MLB’s Best (www.mlb.com)

They’re the best of the best — the top players at each position as ranked by the Shredder during MLB Network’s annual “Top 10 Right Now” shows, which concluded Wednesday. There’s stiff competition at each spot on the diamond for the title of the best in baseball, and you can find the entire list of the top 10 at each position

. But as for the cream of the crop, here’s a look at the No. 1 player at each position heading into the 2021 season:

Starting pitcher: Jacob deGrom, Mets
He may not have won a third consecutive National League Cy Young Award, but deGrom was still “deGreat” in 2020, keeping his spot atop the list of top 10 starting pitchers in the game. The 32-year-old right-hander posted a 2.38 ERA with an MLB-best 104 strikeouts over 12 starts last season. Over the past three seasons, deGrom has put together an incredible run, pitching to a 2.10 ERA (188 ERA+) and 33 percent strikeout rate over 76 starts.

Catcher: J.T. Realmuto, Phillies
Realmuto, who recently signed a five-year, $115.5 million contract to remain with the Phillies, remains the best all-around backstop in the game. In the shortened 2020 season, he hit .266/.349/.491 with 11 home runs in 47 games, while continuing to shine behind the plate defensively.

First base: Freddie Freeman, Braves
Freeman finally broke through in 2020 to win the NL MVP Award after posting a 1.102 OPS, leading the Majors with 51 runs scored and 23 doubles to go along with 13 homers. He had received MVP Award votes five times previously, finishing fifth in 2013 and fourth in 2018, but this time he was the league’s best.

Second base: DJ LeMahieu, Yankees
The Yankees accomplished their No. 1 priority this offseason when they re-signed LeMahieu to a six-year, $90 million deal to keep him in the Bronx. LeMahieu finished third in American League MVP voting with another tremendous campaign for New York last year — he led the Majors by hitting .364, posted an AL-best 1.011 OPS and hit 10 homers in 50 games. It marked the second consecutive season he finished fourth or higher in AL MVP voting.

Shortstop: Trevor Story, Rockies
Story is the top shortstop in baseball for the second straight year after hitting .289/.355/.519 with an NL-best four triples and 15 steals. Since a difficult sophomore season in 2017, when he led the NL with 191 strikeouts and posted a .765 OPS, Story has slashed .292/.355/.554 with 83 homers and 65 steals in 361 games.

Third base: Anthony Rendon, Angels
Rendon flew under the radar for most of his time with the Nationals, but announced his presence as one of the elite third basemen in the game with a huge 2019 campaign, helping lead Washington to the first World Series title in franchise history by posting a 1.010 OPS with 34 homers and an MLB-leading 126 RBIs. Rendon picked up where he left off in his first season with the Angels in 2020, slashing .286/.418/.497 with nine homers, picking up MVP votes for the fourth straight year.

Left field: Christian Yelich, Brewers
Yelich moved from right field last year, and though he had a rough 2020 campaign at the plate, he remains the premier left fielder in the game thanks to his otherworldly production in the prior two seasons. Even with an OPS drop of more than 300 points from 2019, Yelich has produced a .308/.405/.599 slash line with 92 homers in 335 games for the Brewers from 2017-20.

Center field: Mike Trout, Angels
Were you expecting someone else? Trout just keeps proving himself year-in and year-out as the best player in the game. Despite finishing fifth in AL MVP Award voting in 2020 (that’s so low, we know), Trout still posted a .993 OPS (168 OPS+) and belted 17 homers in 53 games for the Angels. He also took home his eighth Silver Slugger Award in 10 MLB seasons.

Right field: Mookie Betts, Dodgers
Betts thrilled us in the postseason with tremendous defensive gems and his usual exploits at the plate to help lead the Dodgers to their first World Series championship in 32 years. And all of that came after another great regular season for the former MVP — he posted a .927 OPS with 16 homers and 10 steals in 55 games, and won his fifth career Gold Glove Award in his first season with Los Angeles. He also finished runner-up in NL MVP Award voting.

Relief pitcher: Liam Hendriks, White Sox
Hendriks was stellar for the Athletics in 2020 before signing a three-year, $54 million contract with the White Sox. The right-hander was utterly dominant for the second consecutive year, finishing with a 1.78 ERA, 40 percent strikeout rate and 14 saves for Oakland, garnering AL MVP and Cy Young Award consideration. In 2019, he posted a 1.80 ERA over 75 appearances, which included 25 saves for the A’s.

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