Top 10 Right Now Series: Part 4

For the 4th installment of the Top 10 Right Now series, I will be breaking down my top picks at First Base and Starting Pitcher. Both of these positions are star-studded and very deep. First basemen have long been known as “sluggers only”, but this is not the case with *most* of the current players at the position. The First basemen of today are continuing to become more well-rounded ballplayers, and some of them can even play multiple defensive positions. As for starting pitchers, the recent trend that the more analytical baseball society we live in has been to use bullpen arms more and more often; while this can be a good game plan at times for matchups, starting pitching will always be a very important part of the game, especially over the marathon of a 162 game schedule. Luckily for us die-hard baseball fans, we are constantly treated to being able to watch some very good starters, most of which will not even make my list just based on the fact that this is a very very deep position.

Top 10 1B Right Now (according to Nathan White):

  1. Freddie Freeman, Braves
  2. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
  3. Joey Votto, Reds
  4. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
  5. Jose Abreu, White Sox
  6. Rhys Hoskins, Phillies
  7. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
  8. Brandon Belt, Giants
  9. Jesus Aguilar, Brewers
  10. Eric Hosmer, Padres

Just Missed: Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks; Max Muncy, Dodgers; Yuli Gurriel, Astros; Matt Olson, Athletics

The top 4 on this list are, in my opinion, on another level all by themselves. Freeman and Goldschmidt are both incredible all around players, who can both carry a team for months. Votto and Rizzo both play very good defense as well, can get on base (Votto especially) at a very high clip, and can of course hit for average and power. Jose Abreu is a very underrated player, most likely because he plays for the White Sox, but he can flat out hit. Rhys Hoskins spent the majority of last year playing left field because of Carlos Santana, but in 2019 he will be back where he belongs. Rhys plays in a very hitter friendly home ballpark, but he could put up offensive numbers anywhere. Ryan Zimmerman found a renaissance a few years ago, and has since put together a few above average offensive years in a row. Brandon Belt is another player that sometimes gets lost in the crowd, but he is about as consistent as they come when talking about excellent defense, and a solid at bat every time. Jesus Aguilar had a major breakout in 2018 (he literally came out of nowhere) for the Brewers and should be considered one of the best power hitters in the NL going into 2019. Finally, Eric Hosmer struggled a bit in his first year with the Padres, but personally, I have always thought of him as one of the best, day-in and day-out. Excellent defense, and a great knowledge of who he is at the plate net him the 10th spot.

Top 10 SP Right Now (according to Nathan White):

  1. Max Scherzer, Nationals
  2. Chris Sale, Red Sox
  3. Jacob deGrom, Mets
  4. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
  5. Corey Kluber, Indians
  6. Justin Verlander, Astros
  7. Carlos Carrasco, Indians
  8. Luis Severino , Yankees
  9. Aaron Nola, Phillies
  10. Blake Snell, Rays

Just Missed: Noah Syndergaard, Mets; Charlie Morton, Rays; Gerrit Cole, Astros; Trevor Bauer, Indians

Personally, I love talking about pitching. It truly is an art form. Max Scherzer comes drawn as a bulldog, in that aspect. Max has been dominant for years now, but somehow still manages to improve from year to year. Chris Sale has absolute wipeout stuff, possibly even the best our game has to offer, and he has to pitch in the AL while still putting up fantastic numbers. I think Boston is happy they made that trade. Jacob deGrom had a 2018 for the ages. It was, simply put, one of the best years a pitcher has ever had. I’m not sure how he can possibly follow that up in 2019, but with his stuff and ability to control the zone, I would not put it past him. Clayton Kershaw has been at the top for basically his entire career, and even though the injury bug has bitten him each of the past few seasons, causing his innings to plummet, he is still Clayton Kershaw. Corey Kluber has absolutely filthy stuff, and if this position wasn’t so deep, he could have a legit shot at being the best starter in the game. He is not too far behind. Justin Verlander has gone through a renaissance, to say the least. After having a few down years, due in part to a core injury which caused him to lose some of his velocity, he has cemented himself as one of the best in the business once again. Carlos Carrasco can flat out pitch; sometimes he gets lost in the fire being behind Kluber in that Indians rotation, but Carrasco is incredibly consistent, not to mention filthy. Luis Severino, while he can be inconsistent at times, has one of the most electrifying arms in baseball. When he’s on top of his game, he can completely shut an offense down, and make them look absolutely lost. Even when he’s not at his best, his pure stuff still makes him effective. Aaron Nola and Blake Snell have been highly touted prospects in our game for a few years, both struggled a bit when they first came up, but both proved to the baseball world just how good they can be. Both of these two were Cy Young finalists in their respective leagues, both were the undeniable ace of their overachieving teams, and both project forward very nicely as we look to 2019 and beyond.

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