MY FAVORITE CURRENT MLB PLAYERS AT EACH POSITION
(I realize this isn't going to play to my audience well, but for how much I love sport (Romney, 2012), it's amazing I haven't made a sporting list yet.
- •Catcher: Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)In no way looks the part. Perez is oversized but very athletic. Solid-pitch framer, excellent hitter, and ultra durable. For a "boring" position, he's very toolsy.
- •1B: Adrian Gonzalez (Los Angeles Dodgers)The consummate professional. Has done nothing since being the top pick in 2000 besides hit to all fields, drive in runs, and play better defense at the position than anyone. He's a joy to watch because of how effortless he makes the game look. Also by all accounts the kind of person we'd all want to work with, no matter the job (nurturing to young players, quiet leader, hard worker). (NOTE: If you're a Red Sox fan, you probably don't believe any of this and that's a shame)
- •2B: Jose Altuve (Houston Astros)He's 5'5" and arguably the best player at his position. An excellent contact hitter and base runner with great range and he's shorter than me (I'm listed, generously, at 5'8"). Looks the part of a professional athlete in no way, except when he plays.
- •3B: Matt Carpenter (St. Louis Cardinals)If a player on my least favorite team can make this list, he's doing something right. Carpenter isn't here for his glove though he's no stone-hand at the hot corner. He's here because he developed into the dream leadoff hitter. Can hit to all parts of the field. Can hit lefties or righties. Is incredibly patient. And has some pop in his bat.
- •SS: Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado Rockies)If he could stay healthy, we would be talking about him as one of the greatest shortstops of all time. As good as he is with the glove, he's even better at the plate. Great gap-to-gap hitter with exceptional power for the position.
- •RF: Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals)Brash, intense, and hyper competitive. Truly coming into his own at the plate this season. Still has never faced a pitcher younger than him at any level in organized professional baseball, and probably won't until 2016.
- •LF: Christian Yelich (Miami Marlins)An injury-plagued 2015 has him batting below the Mendoza line, but when healthy he's one of the most exciting young outfielders in baseball. And there are a lot of exciting OFers (this list is missing Yasiel Puig, Giancarlo Stanton, and Andrew McCutchen). Yelich doesn't belong in that ring of awesome yet but he is on his way. Super rangy (he could easily play CF) he's an excellent contact hitter whose power stroke is still developing. May not be a five-tool star like Trout, but who else is?
- •CF: Mike Trout (LA Angels of Anaheim, California Angels)People get nervous in sports when you make cross-race comps, but Trout is this generation's Willie Mays. Built like a linebacker, fast as a wide receiver. His game lacks flaws. He's the perfect baseball player.
- •Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers)Easy to say that the best pitcher in the game is your favorite, but sometimes the obvious answer is also the right one. From the deceptive, herky-jerky delivery, to the mid-90s fastball and that beautiful 59 1/2' curveball he's a joy to watch. Especially when he's at home and the GOAT is calling the game.
- •Manager: Joe Maddon (Chicago Cubs)The thinking man's manager. A progressive mind competing against dinosaurs. Also a total hipster. I bet he loves Guided By Voices.