Position rankings aside, who are the best MLB players in 2023? It’s a little easier when comparing players at the same position, but who are the top players in MLB right now regardless of position?
That question becomes a little trickier because we’re truly talking about ranking the best baseball players in the world.
Ranking the best MLB players in 2023
Right off the bat, we know that there is bound to be a lot of debate when ranking the best players in MLB currently. We had to consider a lot of things, not just their track record but also how each player projects for the 2023 season.
On top of that, there was no shortage of candidates for the best MLB players of 2023. However, we narrowed it down to the best of the best, so here is our ranking of the 25 top players in MLB right now.
25. Bo Bichette
The upside Bo Bichette has is far more than what we’ve seen from him thus far. Of course, we’ve seen a lot from him, as Bichette is a career .297 hitter with an OPS of .831. Plus, he’s only 25 and plays a premium position.
Bichette has an almost ideal combination of power and average offensively while also possessing speed and solid defensive skills, so he brings a lot to the table and shouldn’t be overlooked amidst a sea of elite shortstops in the majors right now.
24. Edwin Diaz
Even though he’s just a closer, Edwin Diaz still belongs among the best players in baseball. He was that dominant in 2022, racking up strikeouts like they were getting out of style.
He’s now posted an ERA under 2.00 in three of the last five seasons and appears to be at the top of his game right now, making Diaz the best closer in baseball heading into 2023.
23. Julio Rodriguez
The baseball world is waiting with bated breath to see what Julio Rodriguez in 2023. The 22-year-old starlet snuck up on his last year, but now all eyes will be watching his sophomore campaign.
Few players of any age have his combination of power, speed, and athleticism, much less are able to turn it into on-field production. The youngster had 28 home runs, 25 doubles, and 25 stolen bases in 2022 while batting .283. There aren’t many players in baseball who can do all of that, which is why Rodriguez is not only one of the best players in baseball right now but also one of the most exciting.
22. Xander Bogaerts
Few players had a better offseason than Xander Bogaerts. Not only did he sign a massive deal but he also went straight to a contending team.
Bogaerts brings to the Padres one of the best offensive shortstops in the game. He’s hit at least .300 three times in the last four years while also being a doubles machine. Keep in mind that Bogaerts has won five of the last eight Silver Slugger Awards in the American League and shows no signs of slowing down while taking his act to the National League.
21. Carlos Correa
There will be a lot of eyes closely watching Carlos Correa this year and in the future after the saga that he went through during the offseason. But despite multiple teams showing concerns about his medical history, there are no signs that Correa won’t continue to be a top-tier shortstop in 2023.
He’s just one year removed from winning MLB’s Platinum Glove and is also coming off one of his best offensive seasons, hitting .291 with an OPS of .833. He’s still only 28, plays elite defense, and should hit 20-plus home runs again, and despite some long-term concerns, there’s nothing wrong with that kind of production.
20. Fernando Tatis Jr.
Talent-wise Fernando Tatis Jr. belongs among the elite players in baseball. But it’s fair to take a wait-and-see approach with him in 2023.
He won’t even be eligible for most of April, and that’s after not playing at all in 2022. Tatis is also being asked to switch positions, which is something to watch. That being said, over his first three years in the majors, Tatis is hitting .292 with an OPS of .965 with 81 homers and 52 stolen bases. The sky is the limit for him, but we’ll see how he responds to some of the challenges ahead of him in 2023.
19. Corbin Burnes
The way that strikeouts are valued in today’s game, Corbin Burnes is one of the most valuable starting pitchers in the big leagues. He has put up some exceptional strikeout numbers over the last two seasons while also displaying great control, finishing both seasons with a WHIP under 1.00.
Burnes is just one year removed from winning the Cy Young and more than capable of pitching just as well, if not better, than he did that season, as the 28-year-old is clearly making the most of his prime years right now.
18. Francisco Lindor
Despite a subpar season during his first year with the Mets, Francisco Lindor bounced back in a big way last year and showed his true colors. Lindor bashed 26 homers and 25 doubles while stealing 16 bases and playing exceptional defense.
The latter trait will be even more important this season without exaggerated shifts. He’ll spend the 2023 season at age 29, so this should be Lindor in the thick of his prime, perhaps setting himself up for one of his best seasons.
17. Yordan Alvarez
Defensively, we’re not sure that Yordan Alvarez adds much, even if the Astros are going to give him a chance to play left field regularly this season. But what he does with the bat more than makes up for lackluster defense or only being a DH.
Over his first two full seasons in the majors, Alvarez has 70 home runs. He’s also coming off a season with a slugging percentage of .613 and an OPS of 1.019. That’s some serious power, and we may not have seen the best of Alvarez.
16. Ronald Acuna Jr.
It’s tough to know where to place Ronald Acuna Jr. among the best players in the game because he missed the second half of 2021 with an ACL tear and clearly wasn’t himself last season.
However, before the injury in 2021, Acuna was hitting .283 with an OPS of .990. He was also a 30-30 player in 2019, possessing the speed to be a menace on the base paths and cover a lot of ground in the outfield. We’re hedging our bets a little, but if he’s healthy, Acuna has the tools to be an elite player.
15. Kyle Tucker
It should be clear by now that Kyle Tucker has moved from a promising youngster to one of the elite hitters in baseball. Even if his average dropped to just .257 last year, he still mashed 30 homers and 29 doubles, making his first all-star appearance in the process.
Keep in mind that speed is also a big part of his game. Tucker led the majors in triples in 2020 and also stole 25 bases last season, setting a new career high in that category. He also won a Gold Glove last year, showing that he’s a true five-tool player who is starting to put everything together and reach his full potential as he enters his prime years.
14. Justin Verlander
If you were skeptical of how Justin Verlander would pitch at his age coming off Tommy John surgery, he did more than enough to prove you wrong. He was spectacular in 2022 on his way to winning his third Cy Young.
While Verlander now has to prove that he can still pitch at an elite level at the age of 40, he’s further removed from the surgery and could be even healthier than he was a year ago. But even if there is some drop-off after going 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA last season, Verlander still figures to be one of the best pitchers in baseball this season.
13. Jacob deGrom
When he’s healthy, there’s nobody better than Jacob deGrom. He proved that while pitching to a 1.08 ERA over 15 starts during the first half of the 2021 season. Keep in mind this is the same guy who posted a 1.70 ERA across 32 starts in 2018.
He’s simply on another level and could go toe-to-toe with some of the best pitchers of all time. The only problem is that deGrom can’t seem to stay healthy. Even if he’s pitching at 90%, deGrom is still an elite pitcher. But if he spends half the season on the IL, his value is somewhat diminished, which is why he’s not higher on our list of the best MLB players heading into 2023.
12. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
A year ago, we started to see a little more of what Vladimir Guerrero brings to the table. Even if his numbers dropped a little from his monster season in 2021, Guerrero not only proved that he can be an everyday first baseman, but he also won a Gold Glove.
That makes him even more valuable than we previously thought. Obviously, the Blue Jays would prefer to see more of the version of Guerrero who hit 48 homers and posted an OPS of 1.002 in 2021. However, we’re starting to see a more balanced player who also has the upside of someone who could hit 50-plus homers while also hitting over .300.
11. Freddie Freeman
Moving to a new team in 2022 didn’t seem to have much of an impact on Freddie Freeman. He just keeps rolling right along, hitting .325 with an OPS of .918. The guy has failed to hit .300 or better just once in the last seven years.
He also has plenty of power in his bat despite his 21 home runs last season being a little below what we’ve come to expect. Nevertheless, Freeman is still a perennial all-star, a quality defensive player, and brings a winning mentality, all of which count for a lot these days.
10. Juan Soto
A rough second half in 2022 shouldn’t take too much away from Juan Soto’s prospects for 2023 and beyond. He’s still one of the best pure hitters in baseball with a world of power.
Even if his .853 OPS last season was easily the worst of his career, Soto still had over 50 extra-base hits last season. Now that he’s a little more settled in San Diego and knows free agency is on the horizon, there’s no reason to think that Soto won’t be able to bounce back and have an incredible season in 2023.
9. Paul Goldschmidt
It’s hard to argue against the reigning MVP in the National League being among the best MLB players in 2023. At age 35, Paul Goldschmidt figures to begin his decline at some point. But we didn’t see that last year when he hit .317 with an OPS of .982.
That kind of season has become par for the course with Goldschmidt. His worst season since his rookie campaign came in 2019 when he only hit .260 with an OPS of .822. Even those numbers put him among the best first basemen in the game. Coming off last year’s MVP season, don’t expect too much of a drop-off from Goldschmidt, who is also a Gold Glove-caliber player at first base, helping to separate him from the pack.
8. Sandy Alcantara
There are a lot of pitchers in baseball with more wins, strikeouts, and accolades than Sandy Alcantara. But at the current moment, he’s the best pitcher in the majors. He’s only 27 and coming off a magnificent season that earned him the Cy Young in the National League.
In addition to throwing over 200 innings in back-to-back seasons, showcasing his durability, Alcantara put on a complete masterclass in 2022. He’s truly at the peak of his career right now. Alcantara has figured out how to pitch from a mental standpoint while his physical tools are at their best. It’s that combination that makes him better positioned to have a brilliant 2023 campaign than any other pitcher in the majors.
7. Nolan Arenado
After his second season in St. Louis, it’s safe to say that Nolan Arenado isn’t just a good hitter at Coors Field. Even without the thin Denver air aiding him, Arenado launched 30 home runs last season while posting an OPS of .891, which is his best OPS since 2019.
However, his defensive abilities are what separates him from the pack and why Arenado should be considered among the 10 best players in MLB currently. He’s now won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves and six straight Platinum Glove Awards. Arenado is arguably the best defensive player in baseball right now, and that counts for a lot.
6. Manny Machado
After announcing that he plans to opt out of his contract after this season, Manny Machado has all of the motivation he needs to be one of the best MLB players in 2023. The 30-year-old is certainly coming off one of the best seasons of his career, batting .298 with an OPS of .897 for the Padres last season.
At times, Machado had to carry the San Diego lineup, which is the sign of an elite player. Keep in mind that Machado is also a former Gold Glove shortstop who is now playing third base. He’s not quite Gold Glove caliber at the hot corner, but he can handle himself defensively, which also helps his value.
Of course, Machado is also a safe bet to hit close to .300 while amassing 30-plus homers and 30-plus doubles, and there aren’t many players in the big leagues who can do that.
5. Mookie Betts
Even if he’s not coming off the best season of his career, Mookie Betts is still one of the most consistent and reliable players in the majors. Last year, his OPS was the lowest it’s been in five seasons, but that “down” season for Betts included 35 home runs and 40 doubles.
He’s a six-time all-star and a six-time Gold Glove winner, making him an elite player on both sides of the ball and one of MLB’s most consistent stars from one year to the next.
4. Trea Turner
At the moment, Trea Turner is very much at the top of his game. Lucky for him, he’s hitting his peak at the time of free urgency, helping him earn a $300 million contract from the Phillies.
Turner has hit .298 or better in four straight seasons, hit over 20 homers in back-to-back seasons, and has 59 stolen bases over the last two seasons. Turner is displaying a great combination of power and speed while being just two years removed from a batting title, leaving little doubt that he’ll be one of the best MLB players in 2023 and arguably the game’s best shortstop.
3. Mike Trout
Even if he no longer belongs at the top spot, Mike Trout is still one of the best MLB players in 2023. He’s undoubtedly going to go down as one of the greatest players in MLB history and is still very much in his prime at age 31.
To be fair, there should be at least a little concern with Trout being diagnosed with a rare back condition. But that didn’t stop Trout from hitting 40 home runs and posting an OPS of .999. Keep in mind those 40 homers came in just 119 games, so a healthy Trout could have pushed for 50.
He also hammered 12 home runs after September 1 last season, reducing any short-term concerns about Trout’s back heading into the new season.
2. Aaron Judge
While Aaron Judge has a tough act to follow after his 62 home runs and 131 RBIs last season, he can afford a little bit of a drop-off and still be considered among the best players in the big leagues.
In addition to his ridiculous power, Judge hit over .300 for the first time last season, so he’s becoming more of a well-rounded hitter during what figures to be the prime of his career. There’s also nothing to suggest the reigning MVP in the American League will show any signs of slowing down in 2023.
The Yankees were also able to take advantage of Judge’s defensive versatility last season, showing that he’s far more than a power hitter.
1. Shohei Ohtani
There should be no debate that Shohei Ohtani is the best baseball player in the world right now. He’s developed into one of MLB’s best starting pitchers while also being one of the league’s most dangerous hitters.
Not even the great Babe Ruth was an elite pitcher and hitter at the same time, so what Ohtani is doing is unprecedented. He’s a true unicorn, and whether or not he wins MVP, as long as he stays healthy, Ohtani will be the best and most valuable player in the big leagues this season.