- The 2019 Major League Baseball season began on March 28.
- Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Alex Bregman are among some of the top players of 2019.
- Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has topped the 200-inning mark in each of the past six seasons.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
The 2019 Major League Baseball season kicked off on March 28 – the earliest opening day ever in MLB history, according to the league. With the new season already underway, you may be wondering which players to keep an eye on this season.
We crunched the numbers and checked the stats to identify this year’s top talents in the MLB. Here are the top 12 baseball players of 2019.
Mike Trout — Los Angeles Angels
When someone agrees to pay you $US430 million, typically it means you’re doing something right. That’s exactly what happened last month when Trout, a five-tool player thought to be baseball’s biggest active star, signed an extension with the Angels that will keep him in Los Angeles through at least 2030. Those big bucks are well-deserved for the 27-year-old New Jersey native, who has finished first or second in American League MVP voting in six of his seven full MLB seasons.
The only thing missing from Trout’s resume? A playoff win. The Angels have only made the postseason once during the Trout era and were swept in three games in the opening round.
Mookie Betts — Boston Red Sox
The reigning American League MVP and batting champion, Betts has posted a .308 batting average to go with 87 home runs, 295 RBI and 82 stolen bases for the Boston Red Sox over the past three years combined.
Add to that an elite glove that has earned the right fielder three consecutive Gold Glove awards, and it’s easy to see why Betts – who moonlights as an elite bowler – is considered one of the best all-around players in the game.
Jose Ramirez — Cleveland Indians
A Cleveland Indians infielder, Ramirez keeps getting better with each passing year and has finished third in AL MVP voting each of the past two seasons.
In 2018, Ramirez finished with a career-high 39 home runs to go with 34 stolen bases making him the first player since Trout in 2012 to join the 30-30 club. Shortly after, he was joined there by Betts – not bad company.
Francisco Lindor — Cleveland Indians
Another dangerous Indians infielder, Lindor has been an All-Star each of the past three seasons and led the league in runs with 129 during the 2018 season.
He’s also an elite defender who won a Gold Glove in 2016, and while he’s been sidelined by an ankle injury to start the 2019 season, there’s no reason to think he won’t be one of the game’s best when he returns.
Nolan Arenado — Colorado Rockies
Arenado is already building quite a resume. In his first six seasons with the Rockies, he won six gold gloves, was named to the All-Star team four times, led the National League in home runs three times, and finished in the top five of MVP voting three times.
Max Scherzer — Washington Nationals
As one of the oldest players on this list (he’ll be 35 in July), Scherzer has been one of baseball’s most feared pitchers over the past six seasons, bringing home three Cy Young Awards in that time.
A total workhorse, Scherzer has topped the 200-inning mark in each of the past six seasons and has led the league in strikeouts in each of the previous three. Must have something to do with his multi-coloured eyes.
Jose Altuve — Houston Astros
At 5-foot-6 and 165 pounds, the Houston Astros second baseman Altuve doesn’t necessarily look the part of a major league star, but the 2017 AL MVP checks all the boxes as one of the most dangerous hitters and base-stealers in baseball.
Altuve has been named to the All-Star team in six of his past seven seasons and has led the league in hits four of the past five seasons. His .316 career batting average is second among active players, and he was a critical piece of the youth movement that earned the Astros the 2017 World Series title.
Alex Bregman — Houston Astros
Another one of those young Astros stars? Third baseman Alex Bregman, who, at 25-years-old, is emerging as one of the most promising players in baseball.
Last year, Bregman earned his first All-Star nod, hitting .286 with a league-leading 51 doubles, 31 home runs, and 103 RBI. He rarely strikes out (85 in 705 plate appearances in 2018) and has a patient eye (96 walks in 2018), and, so far, has shown no signs that he won’t continue to improve.
Jacob deGrom — New York Mets
Mets fans haven’t had much to cheer for over the past three decades, with just a handful of playoff appearances (including a pair of World Series duds) since the team’s last championship in 1986. One exception to that statement is deGrom, a right-handed pitcher who dazzled fans and baffled hitters en route to the National League Cy Young Award in 2018.
With a microscopic 1.70 ERA, deGrom became one of just nine pitchers since 1970 to finish a season with an ERA under 1.80. The Mets rewarded deGrom for his efforts this offseason, inking him to a five-year, $US137.5 million contract extension.
Manny Machado — San Diego Padres
Machado, who signed a $US300 million, 10-year contract with the San Diego Padres just days before Trout locked in his mega-deal with the Angels. Machado made his major league debut at just 20 years old in 2012 and has made four All-Star teams and won two Gold Glove awards since. A reliable 30-homer, 100-RBI threat, Machado is everything you want in a franchise player, and the Padres are counting on their investment paying off.
Corey Kluber — Cleveland Indians
A Cy Young winner in 2014 and 2017, Kluber has reigned as the Cleveland Indians’ ace for years and is as reliable as they come. Kluber has surpassed 200 innings pitched in each of the past five seasons and has won at least 18 games on the mound in four of those five. He has been named to the AL All-Star squad in each of the past three seasons, and over the past two, Kluber has a combined 38-11 with a 2.58 ERA with 487 strikeouts in 62 total starts.
Paul Goldschmidt — St. Louis Cardinals
One of baseball’s most consistent sluggers over the past half-decade, Goldschmidt has made the NL All-Star team each of the past six years and has played in at least 155 games in five of those seasons. During that six-year run, Goldschmidt has batted .301 and has averaged 30 homers and 100 RBI a year.
It remains to be seen whether Goldschmidt will thrive in St. Louis as he did in Arizona after being traded in December and signing a five-year, $US130 million extension in March, but given the first baseman’s history, it’s a safe bet that he’ll be just fine.
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