Who are the best players in Major League Baseball right now?

To determine this, ESPN formed a panel of MLB writers, analysts, contributors and Insiders to rank the top 100, which we’ve counted down from No. 100 to No. 1 — 20 players per day for five days.

To compile the top 100, we collaborated with Microsoft Research and The Wharton School, and polled 65 ESPN experts who voted in thousands of head-to-head matchups based on a list of 167 players. We asked our panel to vote on both the quality and the quantity of each player’s contributions to his team’s ability to win games. After seven days of voting in June, we have our results.


Stephen Strasburg

Position(s): Starting pitcher

Team: Washington Nationals

Honors: National League All-Star (2012, 2016), Silver Slugger (2012)

Twitter: @stras37

Career stats (through 2016 season): W-L: 69-41, 1 shutout, 924.1 innings pitched, 3.17 ERA, 1,084 strikeouts, 1.094 WHIP

2016 Rank: 44

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.2

Did you know?

Stephen Strasburg has struck out more than 10.5 batters per nine innings in his career, the highest rate in major league history through a pitcher’s first eight seasons (minimum 1,000 innings). And if he finishes this season at his current pace, he’ll be either the third or fourth pitcher who made at least 12 starts and struck out at least 10 batters per 9 innings in six different seasons. The “either” depends on how teammate Max Scherzer fares. — John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

Buster Posey

Position(s): Catcher

Team: San Francisco Giants

Honors: National League Rookie of the Year (2010), NL MVP (2012), NL All-Star (2012-13, 2015-16), Silver Slugger (2012, 2014-15), Gold Glove (2016)

Twitter: None; Team Twitter: @SFGiants

Career stats (through 2016 season): .307/.373/.476, OPS — .848, hits — 1,005, HRs — 116, RBIs — 527

2016 Rank: 17

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.2

Did you know?

This is Buster Posey’s ninth season in the bigs and his eighth full season. He already has won a Rookie of the Year award, MVP award, batting title and three World Series rings. Hall of Famer Johnny Bench had two MVP awards and a Rookie of the Year award through his first nine seasons, but didn’t win his first World Series until the ninth season (1975). — Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

Charlie Blackmon

Position(s): Center fielder

Team: Colorado Rockies

Honors: National League All-Star (2014), Silver Slugger (2016)

Twitter: @Chuck_Nazty

Career stats (through 2016 season): .298/.348/.467, OPS — .814, hits — 667, HRs — 74, RBIs — 251

2016 Rank: Not ranked

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 3.8

Did you know?

At every level, Charlie Blackmon has hit. He batted .396 in 2008 with Georgia Tech before being drafted by the Rockies in the second round. He hit .301 in seven seasons in the minors, and he has continued the high average in the majors. But what has really allowed Blackmon to take the next step is the increase in his power. His slugging percentage has increased in each of the past four seasons. He’s slugging over .600 this year and is on pace to shatter his career-best .552 of last season. This season, he already has 10 triples, reaching that mark at the earliest point in the season in Rockies history. — Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

Freddie Freeman

Position(s): First baseman, third baseman

Team: Atlanta Braves

Honors: National League All-Star (2013-14)

Twitter: @FreddieFreeman5

Career stats (through 2016 season): .288/.373/.484, OPS — .857, hits — 949, HRs — 138, RBIs — 515

2016 Rank: 77

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 4.7

Did you know?

Freddie Freeman has a .290 lifetime batting average to go along with a .376 on-base percentage and a .495 slugging percentage in about 4,000 plate appearances. There are only two other players in Braves franchise history to reach those thresholds with that many plate appearances through their first eight seasons: future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and 1960s star Rico Carty. — Bonzagni

Manny Machado

Position(s): Third baseman

Team: Baltimore Orioles

Honors: American League All-Star (2013, 2015-16), Gold Glove (2013, 2015)

Twitter: None; Team Twitter: @Orioles

Career stats (through 2016 season): .284/.333/.477 OPS — .811, hits — 699, HRs — 105, RBIs — 311

2016 Rank: 18

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 4.1

Did you know?

Manny Machado has had quite the start to his career. Only 26 players hit more home runs before turning 25 years old, and only five of them were infielders. But he also shines with the glove — he’s fifth in MLB history in Baseball-Reference.com’s defensive wins above replacement through his age-24 season. — Fisher

Joey Votto

Position(s): First baseman

Team: Cincinnati Reds

Honors: National League MVP (2010), NL All-Star (2010-13), Gold Glove (2011)

Twitter: None; Team Twitter: @Reds

Career stats (through 2016 season): .313/.425/.536, OPS — .961, hits — 1,407, HRs — 221, RBIs — 730

2016 Rank: 25

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.6

Did you know?

Joey Votto entered this year with six seasons in which he qualified for the batting title and had a .400 on-base percentage, which was tied with Hall of Famer Joe Morgan for the most in Reds history. He’s well on his way to a seventh season in 2017. Votto’s .424 career on-base percentage is the best of any active player in the majors. — Bonzagni

Aaron Judge

Position(s): Right fielder

Team: New York Yankees

Honors: None

Twitter: @TheJudge44

Career stats (through June 29, 2017): .296/.407/.618, OPS — 1.025, hits — 104, HRs — 31, RBIs — 72

2016 Rank: Not ranked

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 7.2

Did you know?

When Aaron Judge reached 20 home runs before anyone else this season, he became the first rookie in MLB history to do so. He’s on pace to be the fifth different player in Yankees history with a 50-homer season; he would join Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez and Mickey Mantle. And Judge is on pace for the second-most HRs in a season by a player 25 or younger. — Fisher

Corey Seager

Position(s): Shortstop

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Honors: National League Rookie of the Year (2016), NL All-Star (2016), Silver Slugger (2016)

Twitter: @coreyseager_5

Career stats (through 2016 season):.312/.374/.519, OPS — .892, hits — 226, HRs — 30, RBIs — 89

2016 Rank: 97

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.5

Did you know?

Corey Seager had 6.1 wins above replacement last season as a rookie, the most by any rookie shortstop since Troy Tulowitzki had 6.8 in 2007 and the most by any SS since Andrelton Simmons had 7.0 in 2013. — Langs

Mookie Betts

Position(s): Right fielder

Team: Boston Red Sox

Honors: Gold Glove (2016), Silver Slugger (2016), AL All-Star (2016)

Twitter: @mookiebetts

Career stats (through 2016 season): .304/.355/.500, OPS — .855, hits — 443, HRs — 54, RBIs — 208

2016 Rank: 56

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.4

Did you know?

Mookie Betts finished with 9.5 wins above replacement in 2016, the most WAR in a season by a Red Sox player since Carl Yastrzemski had 9.5 in 1970. — Simon

Francisco Lindor

Position(s): Shortstop

Team: Cleveland Indians

Honors: AL All-Star (2016), Gold Glove (2016)

Twitter: @Lindor12BC

Career stats (through 2016 season): .306/.356/.454, OPS — .810, hits — 304, HRs — 27, RBIs –129

2016 Rank: 65

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 4.5

Did you know?

Francisco Lindor had 10.3 wins above replacement in his first two seasons. That’s the third-highest total by a player whose primary position was shortstop. The two higher are Hall of Famers Johnny Pesky (12.1) and Arky Vaughan (10.8) — Simon

Jose Altuve

Position(s): Second baseman

Team: Houston Astros

Honors: NL All-Star (2012), AL All-Star (2014, 2015, 2016), Silver Slugger (2014, 2015, 2016), Gold Glove (2015)

Twitter: @JoseAltuve27

Career stats (through 2016 season): .311/.354/.437, OPS — .790, hits — 1,046, HRs — 60, RBIs — 322

2016 Rank: 29

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 6.2

Did you know?

José Altuve became the fifth second baseman in MLB history with at least three seasons with 200 hits. The other four are in the Hall of Fame (Charlie Gehringer, Rogers Hornsby, Nap Lajoie, Billy Herman). — Langs

Carlos Correa

Position(s): Shortstop

Team: Houston Astros

Honors: American League Rookie of the Year (2015)

Twitter: @TeamCJCorrea

Career stats (through 2016 season): .276/.354/.475, OPS — .829, hits –266, HRs — 42, RBIs — 164

2016 Rank: 16

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.6

Did you know?

The best may be yet to come for the 22-year-old Carlos Correa, but what we’ve already seen from him has been incredible. Only three shortstops have produced more wins above replacement through their age-22 seasons: Alex Rodriguez and Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby and Arky Vaughan. — Bonzagni

Nolan Arenado

Position(s): Third baseman

Team: Colorado Rockies

Honors: NL All-Star (2015, 2016), Gold Glove (2013-2016), Silver Slugger (2015-16)

Twitter: None; Team: @Rockies

Career stats (through 2016 season): .285/.331/.520, OPS — .851, hits — 613, HRs — 111, RBIs –376

2016 Rank: 24

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 4.8

Did you know?

Nolan Arenado is the fifth player with multiple 40-HR, 130-RBI seasons before his age-27 season (the others are Alex Rodriguez, Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth and Chuck Klein), and Arenado still has another chance, because he’s 26 this season. On the defensive side, he has won the Gold Glove at 3B in all four seasons of his career. — Langs

Max Scherzer

Position(s): Starting pitcher

Team: Washington Nationals

Honors: AL Cy Young Award (2013), NL Cy Young Award (2016), NL All-Star (2015-16), AL All-Star (2013-14)

Twitter: @Max_Scherzer

Career stats (through 2016 season): W-L: 125-69, 4 shutouts,1,696.1 innings pitched, 39 ERA, 1,881 strikeouts, 1.145 WHIP

2016 Rank: 14

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 7.2

Did you know?

Max Scherzer led the majors in wins (73), strikeouts (1,052) and innings pitched (891⅔) over the previous four seasons. His 1.01 WHIP ranked second to Clayton Kershaw. Scherzer has increased his strikeout total in each of the past five seasons, recording 284 in 2016. — Simon

Kris Bryant

Position(s): Third baseman

Team: Chicago Cubs

Honors: National League MVP (2016), NL Rookie of the Year (2015), NL All-Star (2015-16)

Twitter: @KrisBryant_23

Career stats (through 2016 season): .284/.377/.522, OPS — .900, hits — 330, HRs — 65, RBIs — 201

2016 Rank: 28

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.4

Did you know?

Kris Bryant is the fourth player in MLB history to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in consecutive seasons. The others are Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Howard and Cal Ripken Jr. Bryant amassed 13.6 wins above replacement through his first two seasons, most among position players in MLB history. — Simon

Chris Sale

Position(s): Starting pitcher

Team: Boston Red Sox

Honors: Five-time AL All-Star (2012-2016)

Twitter: None; Team: @RedSox

Career stats (through 2016 season): W-L: 74-50, 2 shutouts,1,110 innings pitched, 3.00 ERA, 1,244 strikeouts, 1.065 WHIP

2016 Rank: 12

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 8.2

Did you know?

Per the Elias Sports Bureau, Chris Sale is the only player in the modern era with multiple streaks of 10-plus strikeouts in at least eight straight games. At this point in his career, he has a higher strikeouts-per-9-innings ratio than starter Randy Johnson did. — Langs

Paul Goldschmidt

Position(s): First baseman

Team: Arizona Diamondbacks

Honors: NL All-Star (2013-2016), Gold Glove (2013, 2015), Silver Slugger (2013, 2015)

Twitter: None; Team Twitter: @Dbacks

Career stats (through 2016 season): .299/.398/.525, OPS — .924, hits — 844, HRs — 140, RBIs — 507

2016 Rank: 4

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 6.3

Did you know?

Paul Goldschmidt has combined rare strength and speed at his position in his career. He already has had four seasons in his career in which he hit 15 home runs and stole 15 bases, the second-most seasons ever by a player whose primary position was first base. Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell is the only player who had more, with five such seasons; no other player has more than three. — Dan McCarthy, ESPN Stats & Information

Bryce Harper

Position(s): Right fielder

Team: Washington Nationals

Honors: National League MVP (2015), NL Rookie of the Year (2012), NL All-Star (2012-13, 2015-16), Silver Slugger (2015)

Twitter: @Bharper3407

Career stats (through 2016 season): .279/.382/.501, OPS — .883, hits –651, HRs — 121, RBIs — 334

2016 Rank: 2

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.7

Did you know?

Bryce Harper was the unanimous MVP at 22 years old, the fourth youngest to win the award since it was first handed out in 1911. And by wins above replacement (9.9), it was one of the four best seasons ever for a position player that young. — Fisher

Clayton Kershaw

Position(s): Starting pitcher

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Honors: NL Cy Young Award (2011, 2013-14), NL MVP (2014), NL All-Star (2011-16), Gold Glove (2011)

Twitter: @ClaytonKersh22

Career stats (through 2016 season): W-L: 126-60, 15 shutouts, 1,760 innings pitched, 2.37 ERA, 1,918 strikeouts, 1.007 WHIP

2016 Rank: 3

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 5.7

Did you know?

Clayton Kershaw has lowered his career ERA after every season he has been in the big leagues. And if he finishes this season well, he’ll be the first pitcher in MLB history to make 20 starts and have an ERA+ of at least 130 in nine straight seasons. — Fisher

Mike Trout

Position(s): Center fielder

Team: Los Angeles Angels

Honors: American League Rookie of the Year (2012), AL MVP (2014, 2016), AL All-Star (2012-16), Silver Slugger (2012-16)

Twitter: @MikeTrout

Career stats (through 2016 season): .306/.405/.557, OPS — .963, hits — 917, HRs — 168, RBIs — 497

2016 Rank: 1

ZiPS Projected 2017 WAR: 6.9

Did you know?

Mike Trout has led MLB in the offensive component of WAR in each of the past five seasons, the longest streak by a player in major league history. Trout is the fifth position player to win two MVPs by age 25 or younger (Johnny Bench, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Jimmie Foxx). — Simon