Posnanski: Top 100 MLB Players

Joe Posnanski put together a ranking of who he believes are the top 100 current MLB players at this moment (as in right now – not over the past two years, three years, etc).

Here is his top 10:

1. Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals
“Every hitter is human,” says pitcher Zack Greinke (No. 4). “Except Pujols.”

2. Joe Mauer, C, Twins
Could win his third batting title this year … no other American League catcher ever has won even one in history.

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins
Advanced stats suggest he’s better defensively than people think. Offensively, he leads the league in hitting and might have another 30-30 season.

4. Zack Greinke, SP, Royals
Throws four plus pitches, all for strikes, leads the league with a 2.08 ERA, and has won 10 games for a team that has scored the fewest runs in the AL.

5. Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies
Crushes the ball, plays outstanding defense and, just as a fun side note, has led the league in hit-by-pitch three years running.

6. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees
Disastrous first half splattered with injuries, rumors and a low batting average … and the guy STILL has a 145 OPS+, good for seventh in the AL.

7. Tim Lincecum, SP, Giants
The Freak is pitching even better this year (10-2, 2.27 ERA, league-leading 159 K’s) than last year, when he won the Cy Young.

8. Dan Haren, SP, Diamondbacks
League is hitting .187 against him and he has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 137-18. Baseball hasn’t seen anything like that since the heyday of Pedro.

9. Johan Santana, SP, Mets
He was 2-4 with a 6.19 ERA in six June starts and people screamed that he was done. But Santana is a demon in the second half … and sure enough he has not allowed a run in his last two starts.

10. Roy Halladay, SP, Blue Jays
Not sure where he will be pitching … but he will dominate. A handful of the people in the world can throw 93-mph fastballs that sink. A handful of people can pitch with pinpoint control. One man can do both.

It’s hard to argue Pujols being in the top spot and with how good Mauer has been this season (especially considering how there were huge concerns about his back in spring training) I’m not going to debate Posanski about his second slot either.

But I guess I’m a little confused about his ranking system overall. He says that he’s doing a top 100 of players RIGHT NOW (to use his exact phrasing of the words “RIGHT NOW”), but what does that mean? Over the past two weeks? Over the past couple days? Over the entire course of the season – what?

Because if it’s over the entire course of the season, he’s got A-Rod way too high and I don’t think Johan Santana should be ranked ahead of Roy Halladay either. Also, and I know I might catch some flack for this, but I think Lincecum is the best pitcher in baseball right now. Greinke has been absolutely phenomenal, but Lincecum just recently went 29 innings without giving up an earned run and could easily have 13 or 14 wins if it weren’t for the Giants’ pathetic use for an offense.

But hey, as with any ranking, you can debate every slot 1 through 100 and I like the feature on a whole.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Halladay, Atkins & Bannister

– The Denver Post is reporting that talks beteen the Red Sox and Rockies involving third baseman Garrett Atkins could become more serious if Mike Lowell is slow to recover from his hip injury.

– ESPN.com’s Buster Onley establishes opening lines on the Roy Halladay sweepstakes and gives the Phillies (5/2), Dodgers (8/1) and Angels (8/1) the best odds. For my money, I like the Halos at 8/1.

– The Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are seeking offers for infielder Oscar Salazar and outfielder Felix Pie.

– The Angels are looking for arms and some of the names they’re reportedly interested in are Roy Halladay, Dan Haren, Scott Downs, Brandon League, Chad Qualls and Rafael Betancourt.

– Jon Heyman of SI.com is reporting that the Royals are shopping right-hander Brian Bannister.

National League All-Star voting–who is leading and who should be

Last week we picked apart the American League all-star voting. Well, this week we will look at the National League, and after last night the starters have all been selected (aside from pitchers). You ready?

First base
Leader: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Mike’s pick: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals.
Well, this one is a no-brainer. Is it possible that Albert gets better with age? Yes, and his numbers border on staggering. 81 games in, he’s batting .336 with 31 homers and 82 RBI and a slugging percentage of .748. That projects to 62 homers and 164 runs batted in. What’s more, dude has a .993 fielding percentage. There is little doubt Pujols is the best player in the game, and he gets to flaunt it in front of his hometown crowd a week from Tuesday.

Second base
Leader: Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
Mike’s pick: Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies.
This one is also a no-brainer that the voters got correct, though as a Mets fan it pains me to say that. Utley has 17 homers, 54 RBI, he’s batting .303 with 16 doubles and a .980 OPS—all unbelievable numbers for a second baseman. This guy is a gamer.

Shortstop
Leader: Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
Mike’s pick: Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins.
This is getting to be a trend, but the numbers in the National League don’t seem to lie, do they? Hanley is batting .344 with 13 homers and 58 RBI, 26 doubles, 12 stolen bases and a .972 OPS. By comparison, he is hitting 119 points higher than JJ Hardy and 132 points higher than the slumping Jimmy Rollins. Case closed.

Third base
Leader: David Wright, New York Mets
Mike’s pick: Mark Reynolds, Arizona Diamondbacks
. Wright was leading the league in batting for quite a while, and he’s currently hitting .333 but with just 5 homers and 42 RBI. By comparison, Reynolds has clubbed 22 home runs with 57 RBI while batting a respectable .271. At a power position, I’m giving the nod to the guy barely anyone gets to see play.

Catcher:
Leader: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
Mike’s pick: Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves.
This is close, because Yadier’s brother Bengie has 10 homers and 46 RBI for the Giants, but McCann is batting .311 with 8 home runs and 33 driven in, with 15 doubles and a respectable .988 fielding percentage.

Outfield
Leaders: Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia Phillies
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Carlos Beltran, New York Mets
Mike’s picks: Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia Phillies
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies
Ibanez is having a career season, batting .312 with 22 homers and 59 RBI, and Braun just continues to rake, with 16 home runs, 58 driven in and a .326 average. But Beltran, while he plays in the biggest media market and makes mega-bucks, is not going to get my all-star nod over Brad Hawpe. Beltran is hitting .336, but has just 8 homers and 40 RBI. Hawpe is hitting .328 with 13 homers and 56 runs batted in, 25 doubles and a stunning .993 OPS. If Manny Ramirez was playing most of the season, he’d probably be on this list, but I can’t consider a guy who’s only played 28 games, regardless of why he missed all that time.

Starting pitcher
As you all know, pitchers are chosen by the managers and will be announced this Sunday.
Mike’s pick: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants. Last year’s NL Cy Young winner got off to a slow start, but has been mowing hitters down lately, to the tune of 8-2 with a 2.37 ERA and league-leading 132 strikeouts with just 28 walks in 114 innings. Arizona’s Dan Haren is a close runner-up, with a 7-5 record for a crappy D-Backs’ team, and a league low 2.19 ERA with 113 K’s and 0.81 WHIP.

Relief pitcher
Mike’s pick: Heath Bell, San Diego Padres. When this former Met helped christen Citi Field by mowing down his ex-teammates in April, I thought it was just a phase. But dude leads the NL in saves with 22, and is 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 33 innings of work. And here’s the best stat of all—Bell has saved or won 74% of his team’s wins. If he keeps that up, Bell will contend for the NL Cy Young and even garner some MVP votes.

MLB Trade Rumors: Atkins, Escobar, Haren

– According to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, the Red Sox might have interest in Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins after Boston recently placed Mike Lowell on the DL. Colorado is searching for a reliever to help improve their bullpen.

Rumor has it that the Braves’ increasing frustration with the talented, but immature Yunel Escobar could land him on the trade block. Considering he’s only 26 and is batting .293 with seven dingers and 40 RBI, there would certainly be a market for him if Atlanta does eventually make him available.

– Even though some believe that the Mets are still actively searching for offensive help, manger Jerry Manuel told reporters that the club “has enough.”

The Arizona Republic suggests that if the Diamondbacks get a package similar to the one they got when they acquired Dan Haren from Oakland a few years ago, the club could still be willing to move the starting pitcher. A trade seems awfully unlikely though.

– The Mariners have reportedly started discussions with the Padres regarding a trade for third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff according to FOX Sports.com.

Report: Angels wanted Haren, but D-Backs declined

The Angels have leapfrogged the Rangers for first place in the AL West, although that doesn’t mean that they’re ready to stand pat with their current roster.

According to a report by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Halos inquired about Diamondbacks’ starter Dan Haren, who could have joined Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, John Lackey and Ervin Santana (once he’s activated from the DL) to form one of the better rotations in the American League.

But as Rosenthal reports, Arizona didn’t want to part with Haren, who the club views as a significant piece of its future. Rosenthal writes that L.A. could have used “their surplus of catchers and middle infielders” to put together a blockbuster offer, but in the end the D-Backs couldn’t imagine a package that would be big enough to sway them to move Haren.

And who could blame them? Even though they’re a whopping 17.5 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West doesn’t mean that’d be more inclined to deal the 28-year old Haren, who leads the club in wins, ERA and strikeouts. With marquee pitching being such a premium in baseball, the D’Backs need to hang tightly onto Haren.

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