Before a new baseball season commences, it was important for us to come up with a ranking of the 10 best MLB players in 2024. Obviously, any ranking of the best players in MLB is subject to change during the course of the season. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t take a crack at creating our own top-10 list.
Ranking MLB’s 10 Best Players Ahead of 2024 Season
To come up with a list of the top baseball players currently, we couldn’t just look at each player’s track record. We had to project what each player will do during the upcoming season. Needless to say, baseball predictions are hard to get right. Nevertheless, here is our initial ranking of the 10 best MLB players in 2024.
10. Bryce Harper
The injury that sidelined Harper for the first part of 2023 is behind him. Upon his return, he managed to hit .293 with an OPS of .900 while settling into a new position in the field. With the injury clearly in the rearview mirror, we’re expecting Harper to bounce back in a big way and keep his name in the discussion among the top players in baseball.
9. Matt Olson
After a season with 54 home runs and 139 RBI, it’d be impossible not to include Matt Olson on this list. Even if he produces 80% of that, he’ll be a top-10 player.
Keep in mind that Olson isn’t some aging veteran who had a good season. He’s only turning 30 the day after Atlanta’s home opener, so he’s in his prime right now. Olson also has two Gold Gloves on his resume, bringing more to the table than just power.
8. Corey Seager
Now a two-time World Series MVP, Corey Seager has made it clear that he belongs to be mentioned among the best of the best.
His 2023 regular season was something special, batting .317 with 33 homers and 96 RBI. That was more than enough to make him a First-Team All-MLB player and earn his third Silver Slugger. There might be some concern that there could be a drop-off after a shorter offseason, but there aren’t many reasons to doubt Seager while he’s in the prime of his career.
7. Francisco Lindor
Is Francisco Lindor the best shortstop in baseball? He’s certainly the best two-way shortstop.
He was robbed of a Gold Glove in 2023 because he had a phenomenal season defensively in the first year with the new shift rules. On the bright side, Lindor won the Silver Slugger Award. He also joined the 30-30 club for the first time with 31 home runs and 31 stolen bases. In other words, the 30-year-old still fits the definition of a five-tool player, and he’s doing it while playing a premium defensive position. That makes Lindor a far more valuable player than what his offensive numbers might have you believe.
6. Shohei Ohtani
It’s impossible not to list the reigning AL MVP and the $700 million man on a list of the best players in baseball. Of course, Shohei Ohtani would have been a lock for the no. 1 spot if he were healthy enough to pitch this season.
Unfortunately, being a DH – and perhaps occasional outfielder – caused him to drop a few spots. That being said, Ohtani’s bat is enough to make him a top-10 player. After all, the guy led the AL with 44 home runs last year while also batting over .300. If not for an oblique injury late in the year, his number could have been even higher. Now that he’s focusing primarily on hitting in 2024, we expect a huge year offensively from Ohtani.
5. Julio Rodriguez
When you combine what he’s accomplished in the big leagues and the fact that he’s only 23, there should be no debate that Julio Rodriguez is an elite player. He’s a two-time all-star and two-time Silver Slugger.
Again, he only turned 23 this past December. It almost boggles the mind how good he is at this age. As mentioned, part of putting this list together is projecting the season ahead, and we envision that the kid with 32 homers, 103 RBI, and 37 stolen bases last season will be even better in 2024 and be mentioned among the best players in baseball right now.
4. Aaron Judge
Multiple trips to the IL limited Aaron Judge to just 106 games in 2023, keeping him from properly defending the MVP and home run king honors he won in 2022. That being said, when Judge was healthy enough to play, he still looked like one of the best in the game.
He still posted a 1.019 OPS and hit 37 home runs. In fairness, we’re not expecting Judge to return to his 2022 form; that was a career year for him. He’ll also be 32 in April, so he might be on the backside of his prime years. However, Judge is still an elite player who’s capable of hitting 50-plus homers with 100-plus RBI and at least flirting with .300. He’s still on the shortlist of players who are capable of doing that.
3. Freddie Freeman
Now 34, Freddie Freeman isn’t showing any sign of slowing down. He’s put together a resume that will likely take him to Cooperstown one day, forging a place among the greatest baseball players ever. Freeman earned MLB First-Team honors in 2023, making it clear that he’s still the best first baseman in baseball.
He’s hit .300 or better in seven of the last eight seasons with his .331 average in 2023 being the second best of his career. Also, last year was just the fourth time that he eclipsed 100 RBI. As mentioned, there are no signs of Freeman slowing down, which is why we expect another strong campaign from Freeman in 2024.
2. Mookie Betts
It doesn’t matter if the Dodgers want to play him at second base or in the outfield, Mookie Betts is still one of the best players in baseball. He’ll be an elite fielder at any position and remains one of the great catalysts in baseball at the top of the batting order.
A year ago, Betts hit .307 with 80 extra-base hits, including a career-high in home runs. It was the best season of his career outside of his MVP year in 2018. We’re not expecting much of a drop-off from him in 2024. With the Dodgers putting plenty of talent around him and itching to win a World Series, Betts is bound for another big year.
1. Ronald Acuna Jr.
Last year, Ronald Acuna Jr. reminded us of just how good he is when he’s able to stay healthy. Injuries got the better of him in 2021 and 2022, but nothing was stopping Acuna in 2023.
He hit .337 with an OPS of 1.012, 41 home runs, and 106 RBI. He rightly took home MLB First-Team and NL MVP honors. Don’t forget that Acuna also stole 73 bases in 2023 and was successful on nearly 84% of his attempts. That’s an element to his game that virtually no other elite player can match and why we believe he’ll be the best MLB player in 2023. The other reason is that he’s just 26 years old. He should be right in the middle of his prime years, so unless he’s hit by the injury bug, Acuna will be the best that MLB has to offer this year.