Ranking MLB’s top 100 players for 2023: Shohei Ohtani at No. 1; Padres, Yankees, Angels all have two in top 10

The 2023 regular season is nearly upon us, and it’s time for us — on pain of termination — to rank the top 100 players in baseball.

The rankings you’ll soon be yelling about and double-birding are based upon reasonable expectations, using things like age, trajectory, scouting profile, and recent performance history to arrive at those expectations. In essence, we’re making educated guesses at which players will provide the most value in 2023. While a player’s performance in 2022 is very relevant to these rankings, it’s not the sole consideration. Again, these are in essence predictions of which players will be the very best in the season to come, and there’s more to it than just eyeballing last year’s outputs.

As for what matters, with position players it’s a mix of batting, defense, and baserunning. On offense, we’re not concerned with things like RBI. Getting on base and hitting for power matter above all, as do playing time, context of the player’s home ballpark, and production relative to positional peers (e.g., the offensive bar is lower for shortstops and catchers than it is for first basemen and DHs). For pitchers, run prevention and workload will be the drivers, but we’ll also give some consideration to underlying fundamental indicators like strikeouts and walks. We’re ranking players based on actual baseball considerations as opposed to anything having anything to do with fantasy (elves! orcs!), although there’s obviously there’s quite a bit of overlap.

Obviously, winter and spring injuries have a major bearing here, and if a player because of health concerns figures to lose a major chunk of his season, then he’ll lose a spot he otherwise would’ve earned. To cite a pair of conspicuous examples, Bryce Harper of the Phillies and José Altuve of the Astros would under normal circumstances be firmly lodged near the top of the list to come. However, injuries figure to reduce their 2023 value a significant amount, and that’s why they’ve been left off. Others suffering injuries not quite so serious will see their ranking drop based on those worries, but they’ll still make the cut. 

Before we begin, a necessary reminder for the potentially outraged page-viewer from former Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcua Aurelias: 

“You are not compelled to form any opinion about this matter before you, nor to disturb your peace of mind at all. Things in themselves have no power to extort a verdict from you.” 

Moderating wisdom in hand, let us proceed with the ranking of humans. 

What does Dansby Swanson’s first season in Chicago have in store?
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Clayton Kerhsaw is entering Year 16 with the Dodgers.
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Can Tim Anderson help the White Sox get back to the playoffs in 2023?
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Cristian Javier was part of World Series history for the Astros last year.
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Brewers shortstop Willy Adames is among MLB’s most underrated players.
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Can Jacob deGrom stay healthy in his first year in Texas?
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Fernando Tatis Jr. can be back on the field for the Padres before the end of April.
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Justin Verlander is searching for another late-career ring, this time in Queens.
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Trea Turner was the NL champs’ star offseason acquisition.
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How will Aaron Judge follow up his MVP season?
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Outraged by that upon which you have just lain jaundiced eyes? As always, reach out to the author at his personal email address — [email protected] — with all your complaints. He looks forward to vigorous and lasting engagement on this matter. 

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