The Best Current MLB Player At Every Age (www.yardbarker.com)

MLB has become more of a young man’s game in recent years, but some of the league’s best players are still in their late 30’s or early 40’s. Here’s a look at the best players in the league at every age, as of August 2020.

 

20: Luis Patino, P, Padres

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A top prospect in the Padres rich farm system, Patino made his arrival to the team’s bullpen this season at age 20. His future is likely in the starting rotation, where he’s posted a sub-3.00 ERA in three minor league seasons.

 

21: Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres

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Tatis Jr. is quickly becoming one of the true faces of baseball. He hit .317-22-53 with 16 steals and a .969 OPS in only 84 games during his rookie season, and he’s quickly become the favorite for the NL MVP halfway through 2020. Tatis’ early performance edges out fellow 21-year-old star Juan Soto of the Nationals.

 

22: Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Braves

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Just in his third MLB season, Acuna is already a superstar. He won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2018 and a Silver Slugger last year, hitting .280-41-101 with a league-leading 37 stolen bases. He was off to another strong start this year before suffering a wrist injury.

 

23: Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox

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A prized prospect between the Cubs and White Sox farm systems, Jimenez finally arrived to the majors last season and hit .267-31-79 with an .828 OPS in 122 games. He’s off to a very powerful start in 2020, with eight home runs through 24 games.

 

24: Jack Flaherty, SP, Cardinals

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Flaherty has quickly developed into one of MLB’s best starting pitchers, finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young race last year with a 2.75 ERA and league-best 0.97 WHIP over 33 starts. He also finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year vote in 2018.

 

25: Cody Bellinger, OF, Dodgers

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Bellinger’s career is off to quite the start, winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2017 and winning the MVP Award two years later. He hit ..305-47-115 with a 1.035 OPS for the Dodgers last season, hitting more than 100 home runs before his 25th birthday.

 

26: Ketel Marte, 2B, Diamondbacks

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Marte became a sudden star last season, hitting .329-32-92 with a .981 OPS and finishing fourth in the NL MVP voting. He’s continues to hit well to start 2020 after moving back to second base full time.

 

27: Mookie Betts, RF, Dodgers

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Betts signed a massive 12-year, $365 million contract with the Dodgers that begins next year, and he’s earned that money with an MVP Award, four Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers to date. His Dodgers career is also off to a great start at the plate.

 

28: Christian Yelich, RF, Brewers

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Yelich has emerged as the best all-around player in the National League over the last two years, winning the MVP in 2018 and finishing second in the race last year. He’s led the league in batting average and OPS in consecutive seasons, with a combined 80 home runs and 52 stolen bases.

 

29: Mike Trout, CF, Angels

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Trout has clearly established himself as the best player of his generation with three MVP Awards and eight consecutive top four finishes in the voting. Incredibly, Trout has led the AL in on-base percentage in four consecutive years and OPS in three straight campaigns. He’s off to another great start in 2020.

 

30: Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves

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Freeman has been a star in Atlanta since 2011. Over that time, he’s made four All-Star appearances and also finished top 10 in the NL MVP voting four times. Last year was one of his best, hitting .295-38-121 with a .938 OPS.

 

31: Whit Merrifield, OF, Royals

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Merrifield was a late bloomer for the Royals but has made his mark since 2016. He’s led the AL in hits over the last two years, and also led the league in stolen bases in 2017 and 2018. Merrifield also made his first All-Star appearance last year, and hit .302-16-74 with 20 steals for the season.

 

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32: Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets

32: Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets

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DeGrom has emerged as the best pitcher in the NL, winning back-to-back Cy Young Awards. Last year he went 11-8 with a 2.43 ERA and league-high 255 strikeouts in 204 innings. DeGrom was also the NL Rookie of the Year winner in 2014.

 

33: Lance Lynn, SP, Rangers

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Lynn was a good pitcher early in his career with the Cardinals, but he’s taken his game to another level since joining the Rangers in 2019. He went 16-11 with a 3.67 ERA and 246 strikeouts in 208.1 innings last year, finishing fifth in the AL Cy Young voting. He’s off to an even better start this season.

 

34: Carlos Santana, 1B, Indians

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Santana has never been a star during his career, but he’s been a consistent power and on-base hitter. Last season was a career year for him after rejoining Cleveland, hitting .281-34-93 with a .911 OPS. Santana made his first All-Star appearance and also won a Silver Slugger.

 

35: Justin Turner, 3B, Dodgers

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Turner didn’t hit much in the majors until he joined the Dodgers in 2014, putting together a breakout year at age 29. He’s been a regular for LA ever since, finishing top 15 in the NL MVP vote three times. He hit .290-27-67 with an .881 OPS in 135 games last season.

 

36: Max Scherzer, SP, Nationals

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Scherzer is a surefire Hall of Famer who has finished top five in the Cy Young voting in seven consecutive seasons and won the award in three of those campaigns. He’s continued to post elite strikeout numbers and led the Nats to their first World Series last year. He has 3,000 career strikeouts in sight, likely hitting that mark at some point in 2021.

 

37: Justin Verlander, SP, Astros

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Verlander won his second Cy Young Award last season and also won an MVP alongside his first Cy Young in 2011. He’s had a dominant second act in Houston after spending the first 13 years of his career in Detroit, though Verlander has missed time with an arm injury in 2020.

 

38: Adam Wainwright, SP, Cardinals

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Wainwright has spent his entire 15-year MLB career with the Cardinals, and was clearly an elite NL pitcher from 2009-2014 with four top three Cy Young finishes. Injuries have become an issue over the last five years, but Wainwright remains a key part of the Cardinals starting rotation at age 38.

 

39: Oliver Perez, RP, Indians

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Perez is the only 39-year-old in MLB this year, and has had quite the career. He began his career as an ace lefty with Randy Johnson comparisons but has evolved into an excellent reliever since 2012. He continues to get outs in Cleveland’s bullpen this year.

 

40: Nelson Cruz, DH, Twins

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Age is just a number for Cruz, who is off to another start after hitting 41 home runs in 120 games for Minnesota last season. His breakout season didn’t come until 2009 at age 28, and Cruz is still going strong with over 400 career home runs.