Way too early 2018 MLB player power rankings: 20-11
In part four of theScore's MLB player rankings countdown, we're getting to the cream of the crop. Very little separates these players from one another, and each one delivers in crunch time. By the end of 2018, it wouldn't be a surprise to see any of these players raise their league's MVP or Cy Young trophies high above their heads.
20. Jose Ramirez, Indians
It seems Ramirez is only just getting started. The Indians could either see into the future when they signed him to a five-year, $26-million contract (plus two team options totaling an additional $24 million) or they got very lucky. Either way, this doubles machine finished the year as a surprise MVP finalist, and he's currently the biggest bargain in baseball.
19. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
No other first baseman has Goldschmidt's combination of batter's eye, power, and speed on the basepaths. Since becoming a full-time player in 2012, Goldschmidt has stolen 113 bases. In that same window, Wil Myers is the only other first baseman to swipe more than 50 bags (64).
18. Mookie Betts, Red Sox
Betts may not have had as strong of a season as his near-MVP campaign in 2016, but he's the best defensive right fielder in baseball with 63 defensive runs saved and a 38.2 ultimate zone rating over the last two seasons. Both are tops at the position. The bat should turn around, as he suffered from a career-low .268 BABIP and improved his walk rate in 2017.
17. Trea Turner, Nationals
Imagine Billy Hamilton if he could actually get on base and had a little more pop in his bat, and you've got Turner. A broken wrist sidelined him for much of this past season, but he still managed 46 stolen bases in only 98 games. If anyone can swipe 100 bags in a single season, it's him.
16. Anthony Rendon, Nationals
Rendon should have been a finalist for the NL MVP in 2017. He was the most consistent bat in a formidable Nationals lineup, just as he has been for years now (2015 notwithstanding). He posted career highs in home runs and OPS, and walked more often than he struck out, all while playing elite defense at third base. Simply put, he just doesn't do anything poorly.
15. Corey Seager, Dodgers
Seager achieved those numbers while dealing with a nagging back injury, which may have limited his power in his sophomore campaign. He missed the NLCS but came back healthy enough to make an impact in the World Series. Entering his age-24 season, he's just the tip of the iceberg in the golden age of young shortstops.
14. Francisco Lindor, Indians
The combination of 30-homer power and durability - 317 games played over the last two seasons - gives Lindor the slight edge over Seager. He's also one of the slickest fielders at the position. Lindor's a true five-tool talent and owned one of the most dramatic moments in last season's playoffs.
13. Chris Sale, Red Sox
There's a great argument to be made in favor of Sale being the rightful owner of the 2017 AL Cy Young. No pitcher missed more bats, as the big lefty mowed down nearly 13 batters per nine innings of play. And durability doesn't appear to be an issue, as he's basically a lock for 200 innings every season.
12. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
Only Giancarlo Stanton and J.D. Martinez hit more home runs than Donaldson in the second half of the 2017 season. Once he got healthy, he salvaged an otherwise lost season and reminded everyone he's one of the most dangerous hitters in the game. If Donaldson is at 100 percent as he nears free agency, he could have his most explosive season yet.
11. Joey Votto, Reds
Other than a disappointing 2014, Votto has been one of the most consistent players in baseball. He has a career OBP of .428 and draws walks like no one else. Since 2009, he's been issued 932 free passes. Jose Bautista is second with 801, while only two other players have more than 700. Beyond that, who else would buy their teammate a donkey for making an All-Star Game?
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