Last week, we unveiled the worst lineup in baseball in terms of WAR, and the list was surprising as it included six former All-Stars, a former MVP and a former No. 1 overall draft pick. While those players have struggled in 2017, here are the players who the SABR gods have smiled at this year.
Pitcher – Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)
WAR – 6.8
It’s not surprising to see Scherzer atop this list. His ERA is second only to Clayton Kershaw in the league, but he has tossed 25 more frames than the Dodgers and has a WHIP of 0.85, the best in baseball. His 232 strikeouts are also the second best in MLB.
Catcher – Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
WAR – 3.8
This really isn’t much of a surprise, both Andre Young and I also said Posey was the best catcher in baseball earlier this summer. The real surprise is how low is WAR is. His WAR of 3.8 is his lowest mark since 2011, when he played just 45 games. There is, however, still a month of baseball left, so he could still match his 2016 total of 4.7.
First Base – Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds)
WAR – 6.4
Votto turns 34 this week, but he has shown no sign of wearing down. His 115 walks and .448 on base percentage are the best in baseball and he’s socked a healthy 34 home runs. His 1.036 OPS is two points shy of Giancarlo Stanton’s league-best 1.038.
Second Base – Jose Altuve (Houston Astros)
WAR – 7.4
Altuve has been so good this year that his 7.4 WAR is nearly a full run higher than the next best player in the league. His .354 average is the best in baseball, his OPS (.976) ranks seventh and ranks fourth in stolen bases (31).
Third Base – Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies)
WAR – 5.9
Arenado has been a bit anonymous due much in part to playing for bad Colorado teams, but now that they’re in the playoff hunt, he has more than risen to the occasion. Arenado leads all third basemen in slugging percentage (.577) and his .983 fielding percentage is the best at his position.
Shortstop – Andrelton Simmons (Los Angeles Angels)
WAR – 6.6
Simmons has always been a defensive wizard, but his bat has really come alive since coming to the American League as his slash line has inflated from .256/.304/.362 in four years with Atlanta to .285/.332/.409 with the Angels. His 34 doubles are a career best and he’s three home runs shy of matching his personal best of 17.
Left Field – Justin Upton (Los Angeles Angels)
WAR – 5.2
The Angels acquired Upton at the waiver deadline, so he has only played a handful of games with Los Angeles, but he has been great all season and could opt out of his contract in search for a bigger payday this winter. He has struck out a lot (150 times to be exact), but still owns a healthy .282/.369/.541 slash line.
Center Field – Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)
WAR – 6.1
Even after a lengthy disabled list stint, Trout is still the best center fielder in baseball and is making a push to earn his third MVP award due much in part to his 1.125 OPS.
Right Field – Giancarlo Stanton (Miami Marlins)
WAR – 6.6
Stanton’s scorching hot second half, combined with Aaron Judge’s fading play, has made the Marlin the top right fielder in baseball. Now, Stanton looks to swat 60 home runs and keep Miami in the playoff push.
Designated Hitter – Nelson Cruz (Seattle Mariners)
WAR – 3.1
Cruz leads the AL with 104 RBIs and is just nine home runs away from his fourth straight 40 home run season.