While the Bottom 9 teams remain the same in our rankings, there is a lot of shuffling going on as MLB teams are approaching and passing the 120-game mark of the 162-game regular season.
Every game takes on added importance now, and that means the best players on each should be rising to the top of the situation. To honor that reality, today’s rankings examine the top WAR (Wins Above Replacement value) producer on each team to date.
Note: Current records through Sunday, August 11, are included, as well as the previous ranking from last week.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (79-41, 1): Right fielder Cody Bellinger is having a crazy season at age 23, with 38 home runs, 89 RBI, and a .317 batting average. With 7.6 WAR currently, he is heading toward impressive historical company.
- Houston Astros (77-41, 2): Third baseman Alex Bregman and his 5.7 WAR lead the Astros right now, despite the team’s impressive pitching talent. With 28 HRs, 88 walks, and some stellar defense, Bregman has taken over the top role on this team.
- New York Yankees (77-41, 3): With so many injuries for this club in 2019, perhaps it’s not a surprise that second baseman DJ LeMahieu and his 4.7 WAR lead the team. The .334 average proves this former Rockie can hit away from Coors Field.
- Chicago Cubs (64-54, 6): Shortstop Javier Báez is still the best player on the Cubbies, as his 4.6 WAR demonstrates. The 28 HRs and 80 RBI lead the team, and those stats are only part of the story for this kid as he plays his age-26 season.
- Tampa Bay Rays (69-50, 4): At age 35, starting pitcher Charlie Morton is having his best season ever, accruing 4.1 WAR so far. He has just 7.0 WAR for his entire career. A 13-4 record and an 11.1 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate will do that.
- Minnesota Twins (71-47, 5): Defense matters, as SS Jorge Polanco has shown MLB fans this year. His .847 OPS is modest, so the glove has been shining all year for Polanco, who leads the Twinkies with 4.5 WAR right now.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (59-59, 8): Center fielder Ketel Marte has put it all together at age 25, both in the field and at the plate. The .945 OPS is stellar, as Marte also has a .318 average and 24 HRs. It all adds up to 5.6 WAR.
- Oakland Athletics (67-51, 7): Our defensive theme continues here as both SS Marcus Semien and 3B Matt Chapman are posting 5.0 WAR marks right now. Their OPS numbers (.831 and .844, respectively) are comparable as well.
- Cincinnati Reds (56-60, 11): SP Luis Castillo has an 11-4 record and a 2.69 ERA along with a 10.8 K/9 rate. His team-leading 143 2/3 innings pitched also means he’s been a workhorse this year for the Red to earn that 4.4 WAR.
- Atlanta Braves (70-50, 9): CF Ronald Acuña, Jr. could be on his way to a 40-40 season at age 21, as his 33 HRs and 28 steals suggest. The 80 RBI and the .916 OPS add up to 5.0 WAR right now.
- Cleveland Indians (71-47, 13): It’s SP Shane Bieber leadng the Tribe with 4.9 WAR, as his 12 wins and 11.1 K/9 rate are building a nice portfolio for the pitcher in his age-24 season.
- Washington Nationals (62-55, 12): At age 34, SP Max Scherzer is still the man for the Nationals in 2019. His 5.3 WAR is built upon a 2.41 ERA, a 12.7 K/9 rate, and a 0.990 WHIP, although he is currently on the disabled list.
- Boston Red Sox (62-58, 10): RF Mookie Betts is the reigning American League MVP, and his 4.8 WAR this season is a good follow-up effort. His .882 OPS is lower than last year, but his defense remains very good in Fenway Park’s quirky outfield.
- St. Louis Cardinals (61-55, 14): 2B Kolten Wong has been steadily getting better for years now, and his 3.3 WAR leads the Cards this season. His well-rounded game highlights defense and speed (15 SBs).
- New York Mets (61-57, 17): SP Jacob deGrom is having a similar season to the one last year that won him the National League Cy Young. The 2.68 ERA and the 11.5 K/9 rate add up to 5.1 WAR, despite just a 7-7 record for the staff ace.
- Milwaukee Brewers (62-57, 15): RF Christian Yelich won the NL MVP last year, and despite missing 14 games this season with injuries, he still has compiled a 6.0 WAR in 2019. His 39 HRs lead the majors, and he’s also stolen 23 bases as well.
- Texas Rangers (59-58, 16): Is it surprising to see that one of the highest WAR marks this season (7.0) is being posted by 31-year-old SP Mike Minor? We think so. But 11 victories and a 9.2 K/9 rate for a middling is enough to do the trick.
- San Diego Padres (55-62, 21): Rookie SS Fernando Tatís, Jr. is taking southern Southern California by storm with 4.3 WAR in just 82 games this year. The 22 HRs, 16 SBs, and a .983 OPS are just the start of a crazy-good career for this 20-year old.
- Los Angeles Angels (58-61, 19): You knew this was coming, as sure as climate change. CF Mike Trout is just 27, but his Hall of Fame career continues to roll along smoothly with a 7.6-WAR season, currently.
- Philadelphia Phillies (60-58, 20): SP Aaron Nola is 10-3 with a 3.67 ERA and a 10.1 K/9 rate. That adds up to a team-best 3.4 WAR, and perhaps that says more about the 2019 Phillies than it does about Nola.
- Colorado Rockies (53-65, 18): SS Trevor Story has replaced club legend Troy Tulowitzki effectively in his young career, which includes a 4.6 WAR this season, based on 26 HRs, 16 SBs, and a .902 OPS.
- San Francisco Giants (59-60, 22): One reasons the Giants aren’t good is that their “best” player, 3B Evan Longoria, has posted just a 2.3 WAR in 2019. His defense is his forte, as his .249 average, 14 HRs, and .769 OPS are mediocre, at best.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (48-69, 23): Rookie left fielder Bryan Reynolds has made an impression in his first 94 MLB games, leading the team so far this season with 3.7 WAR. His .934 OPS is a big reason why.
- Seattle Mariners (48-71, 24): SP Marco Gonzales is the best player still with the team, posting 1.9 WAR right now. His 12-9 record on this team is pretty impressive, and his 4.25 ERA also leads the club in 2019.
- Toronto Blue Jays (49-72, 25): The team traded away its two best players, so rookie 3B Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. is what is left, along with his 1.7 WAR in 88 games this season. After a slow start, his OPS has been steadily rising to its current .805 level.
- Miami Marlins (44-73, 26): 3B Brian Anderson has been a steady producer for the Marlins this year with 20 HRs, 60 RBI, and an .801 OPS. The 3.8 WAR is entirely respectable for this desultory squad.
- Chicago White Sox (52-64, 27): SP Lucas Giolito is shining on this team in 2019 with a 4.3 WAR mark. A 12-6 record, a 3.42 ERA, and an 11.3 K/9 rate is being somewhat wasted on this (very distant) third-place team.
- Kansas City Royals (43-76, 28): RF Whit Merrifield has stolen 16 bases to go along with his .306 average, .852 OPS, and 62 RBI. That adds up to 3.5 WAR for the Royals, a team that is playing for 2020 right now.
- Baltimore Orioles (39-78, 29): Rookie SP John Means has been very respectable for the Os, in compiling 3.5 WAR. He has an 8-7 record, and on a team this bad, a winning mark is very good.
- Detroit Tigers (35-80, 30): What is it like to be the best player (3.3 WAR) on the worst team in the majors? Ask SP Matthew Boyd. His 12.0 K/9 rate is outstanding, even though its amazingness is not reflected in his other stats (yet?) this season.
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