Life is good for the Toronto Blue Jays. They sit in first place in the American League East and they feature the most fearsome lineup in baseball. Unlike their disappointing 2013 season, the Jays are healthy and their best players are producing like their best players.
Jose Reyes is finally playing well in Toronto, providing the much-needed spark atop their batting order. As good as he’s been lately, Jose Reyes might not even be the best player named Jose on his own team.
Which made me think: who is the best Jose in all of baseball? Why not rank all 17 of the men who use Jose as their given name who saw big league action this year?
In that spirit, theScore presents the definitive 2014 Baseball Jose Power Rankings.
Joses are to be considered for their playing ability, intangible skills and value adds. They're also subject to our own proprietary Jose Approval Rating.
Jose Silva works at theScore as a graphic designer and while he’s a mean soccer player and devoted fan of The Beautiful Game, he isn’t much for baseball. So I asked him what he thought/knew/assumed about each of our Joses and added it to the calculus. It is important that real recognize real in the battle for Josepremacy.
17. Jose Ortega
Playing ability (out of ten) - 1. This Jose appeared in just one game this year. In relief of an injured Anibal Sanchez, he gave up four runs and was promptly sent down. The Anibal Power Rankings are much shorter than the Jose Power Rankings.
Intangibles (out of ten) - 1. Could you pick Jose Ortega out of a lineup? If so, you are probably related to Jose Ortega.
Jose’s Take - “He seems too uptight for my liking. Doesn’t seem cool enough.”
16. Jose Alvarez
Playing ability - 1. The last time this Jose appeared in a big league game, threw one pitch and gave up a hit, allowing two inherited runners to score. He was optioned to the minor leagues the next day.
Intangibles - 2. See below.
JOSE ON JOSE VIOLENCE - As a member of the Tigers, Jose Alvarez surrendered a home run to Jose Reyes
Jose’s take - “I don’t think very highly of him. Not good enough for MLB, not good enough for me.”
15. Jose Cisnero
Playing ability - 1. They call it replacement level for a reason. He pitched for the Astros for a while, didn’t do much, and was promptly replaced.
Intangibles - 3. Out for a year after Tommy John surgery.
Jose’s Take - “He looks like Keenan Thompson!”
14 (tie). Jose Ramirez
Playing ability - 2. He’s still young and throws reasonably hard, picking up strikeouts as a reliever.
Intangibles - 3. He made his big league debut in a rather tough spot, facing the powerful Oakland A’s late in a tie game. Josh Donaldson hit the fourth pitch he ever threw out of Yankee Stadium. At least the Yankees believe in him!
Jose’s Take - “I like him, that’s my mom’s maiden name.”
14 (tie). Jose Ramirez
Playing ability - 1. Cleveland called up the 21-year old infielder when Jason Kipnis went down with an injury in May. He picked up a hit in his first start and then went 1 for 22 over the next month. Cleveland sent him down.
Intangibles - 4. He’s very small and very young, making him a delightful oddity at the big league level.
Jose’s Take - “He has a lot to live up to if he wants to make the Ramirez people proud”
12. Jose Veras
Playing ability - 2. Signed by the Cubs as a free agent, a deal that looks wise enough. Was terrible, is currently in DFA limbo. Isn’t all bad.
Intangibles - 4. He’ll be back and pitching for a good team this year.
JOSE ON JOSE VIOLENCE. Surrendered a home run to Brother Jose Lopez in 2008.
Jose’s Take - “he looks like the kinda guy you can’t trust. Shady.”
11 - Jose Dominguez
Playing ability - 2. Strikeouts. Lots of strikeouts when he’s going well. Home runs! Lots of home runs when he’s not going well.
Intangibles - 5. Actually the number of times he’s shuttled between the big leagues and triple-A this season. Made the Dodgers out of Spring Training, was sent down on April 5th, was recalled and pitched for LA once, was sent down again, pitched once at AAA, came back up to the Dodgers, pitched once, was sent back down and has been in down ever since.
Jose’s Take - “How many more of these are there?”
10 - Jose Molina
Playing ability - 4. Is an elite pitch framer and one of the worst hitters in baseball right now. Has 12 hits - all singles - and six walks in 102 plate appearances. The Rays are in last place. No way to frame that up.
Intangibles - 4. Is universally beloved to the point that it masks how bad he’s become. Also, isn’t beloved by many fans who view pitch framing as “cheating.”
Jose’s Take - “he used to play for my hometown team (Toronto) so he gets some extra respect.”
9. Jose Valverde
Playing ability - 2. Is terrible now. Wasn’t even good when he was good. Is out of a job again after the Mets - the Mets! - released him.
Intangibles - 7. Was a Proven Closer so he got more than his fair share of chances. “Papa Grande” is an elite nickname. Is secretly awesome to watch.
Jose’s Take - “Too fat for baseball.”
8. Jose Tabata
Playing ability - 4. He’s mostly terrible but still good enough to earn regular turns in the Pirates outfield.
Intangibles - 6. Those turns in the Pirates outfield are about to dry up as Gregory Polanco rides into town, making Tabata something of a valuable commodity.
Jose’s Take - [googles] “I don’t trust his wife….now I feel bad for saying that.”
7. Jose Lobaton
Playing ability - 4. Is actually a very capable backup catcher and part of a strong tandem in DC. Hits well enough to be a perfect stand-in behind Wilson Ramos.
Intangibles - 7. Loves ice cream. Did this.
Jose’s Take - “I can relate to the ice cream thing. He’s alright.”
6. Jose Quintana
Playing ability - 7. Is probably better than you think, owning a 115 ERA+ this year. Isn’t good enough that you actually know or care who he is (he plays for the White Sox FYI.)
Intangibles - 5. Throws a screwball? Signed a cheap contract extension. Sort of shares a name with the greatest bit character in movie history.
JOSE ON JOSE VIOLENCE - served up a home run to Jose Bautista in 2012.
Jose’s Take - “isn’t that the guy from the Big Lebowski? No, no, that’s Jesus.”
5. Jose Altuve
Playing ability - 7. Improbably leads the American League in both hits and stolen bases this year. After a down year in 2013, is producing at better than league average for the Astros.
Intangibles - 8. Is teeny tiny. Hilariously so. Very little.
Jose’s Take - “Too short for baseball.”
4. Jose Abreu
Playing ability - 8. Home runs. SO MANY HOME RUNS. (But also outs. Outs in bushels.) But the home runs vault us up the list.
Intangibles - 8. Did we mention the home runs? And the strength and ability to hit said home runs off the end of the bat, at Dodger Stadium, off Clayton Kershaw? Home runs.
Jose’s Take - “I like Cuban people, they’re very nice.”
3. Jose Reyes
Playing ability - 7. Look, there is no disputing Jose Reyes is playing much better over the last month or so. But his defense isn’t what it once was and his great month doesn’t erase his slow start and inability to stay on the field.
Intangibles - 10. He is Jose Reyes. You know how players are described as “stars” just by looking at them. That’s Jose Reyes. From the million watt smile to the boundless energy, you want to watch Jose Reyes play baseball. Maybe, one day, he’ll come to your house. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Jose Reyes? A fool, that’s who.
JOSE ON JOSE VIOLENCE - the aforementioned home run off lowly Jose Alvarez.
Jose’s Take - “Love him. Great energy. Love his attitude. Fan favorite.”
2. Jose Fernandez
Playing ability - 9. He’s amazing. High 90s heat with a beautiful curveball he can shape and throw in a variety of ways. Finished third in Cy Young voting last season, his first above single-A.
Intangibles - 9. Docked one point because he’s out for the year. All the things said above about Jose Reyes are true of Jose Fernandez. He’s amazing.
Jose’s Take - [listens to sales pitch] “He’s the future of baseball.”
1. Jose Bautista
Playing ability - 10. One of the five best hitters in baseball. Leads baseball in on base percentage. The thinking ballplayer who prepares like few others. Throws guys out at first base on singles to right field. Really wants to be a leader.
Intangibles - 9. Follows you on Twitter. Leads MLB in All Star votes. Rehabbing his image with aplomb. Looks cooler hitting his home runs than anyone on Earth.
JOSE ON JOSE VIOLENCE - Jose Bautista homered off four different Joses in his career. Quintana, as noted above, Jose Mesa, Jose Valdez, and Jose Mijares.
Jose’s Take - “He’s what you like in any sort of professional. Good to people. Never hear a bad word about him.”
Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/ Jerome Miron