MLB Network has slowly been unveiling the top 100 players in baseball right now, which they describe as including consideration of the past several seasons, but with a heavy emphasis on 2014.
The full list is now out, and you can see it here.
The highest-ranked Cubs player is Jon Lester, all the way down at number 43. Anthony Rizzo shows up at 53, and Jake Arrieta is 89. That’s it for Cubs players.
Now, then. I understand that this is a massively subjective, massively apples-and-oranges undertaking. I also understand that the Cubs haven’t been particularly good in a long time, and their players are not going to receive the appropriate level of love right now (hence, Rizzo being snubbed repeatedly last year). But I simply cannot accept that Rizzo is only the 53rd best player in baseball right now, behind, for examples, Hunter Pence (48), Carlos Gonzalez (42), Hanley Ramirez (27), and so many more. Jose Abreu is 9th. Can I handle an argument that Abreu is “better” than Rizzo right now? Sure. But 53rd versus 9th? That’s nuts.
And, with Lester, he’s sitting behind a bunch of relievers (Greg Holland and Wade Davis are 40 and 39, for example (two guys who are on the same team, and yet somehow still ranked in the wrong order)).
Don’t even get me started on Arrieta. One-year breakout? OK. But Corey Kluber is 15th(!). And among the names ahead of Arrieta, which will make you burst into flames: Chris Carter.
Starlin Castro did not make the list, which, I suppose is debatable, but, man, there are 10 to 15 guys I can see on the list over whom I’d take Castro for 2015 without even thinking for a second.
I could spend an hour griping about some of the absurdities in the list, but I reckon you’ll take care of that in the comments, and I also reckon that I’m letting myself lose sight of how inherently silly the whole thing is.
One thing that the list does get right, and does offer in the way of a reminder, is that our hopes for the 2015 Cubs are predicated largely on projection and youthful upside. Those aren’t the kinds of guys who show up on lists like this, but they frequently dictate the outcomes of seasons.