MLB Network, affirmed in their belief that we will watch a rankings show devoid of any suspense by our delight in batting practice and cone drills, released their Top 100 Players Right Now. Not ten years ago. Right. Freaking. Now.
Four Mariners crack the Top 100, and while who was included was no surprise, where they ranked did seem a bit odd in some cases:
Number 15: Robinson Cano
This feels very much like a return to form vote. We've written a great deal about how injuries sapped Cano of his usual offensive potency in the first half of last year, but his second half was classic Cano, hitting for average and rediscovering his power. His 5.2 fWAR was the second most by second baseman in 2014. He's the second highest ranked second baseman on this list, behind fellow AL Wester Jose Altuve. Fifteen feels a touch high, but if he turns in another performance like 2014, with 2015 power? Well, he can do this:
Number 27: Nelson Cruz
Human beings enjoy being right. We feel comforted and validated by correctly predicting outcomes and events. It makes us feel smart. I thought Nelson Cruz would be a mess in Seattle. And I have never been happier to be wrong. Scott Servais has indicated that Cruz will spend much more of his time at designated hitter this season, a relief for those worried about his durability and the team's ability to endure his fielding. He will probably regress some from the highs of 2015; he was the ninth most valuable position player in the AL at 4.8 fWAR last year. He'll probably get on base a little less, and hit fewer home runs. 2015 Cruz plus a little regression is still incredibly valuable. But who knows. Maybe we're in for another pleasant surprise. I've been wrong before.
Number 35: Felix Hernandez
Felix's 2015 was rocky. There were brilliant starts, and there was Boston. There was great joy, but also speculation that he might be injured. There was a late season surge. 2015 may be the year where we mark the beginning of his decline, or might simply go down as a temporary blip. He's still electric, his changeup is still one of the best pitches in baseball, and he'll play 2016 with (hopefully) improved defense and blond hair. He is ours, and you still can't have him.
Number 48: Kyle Seager
Oh Kyle. Seager gets the nod at 48, ahead of younger brother Other Seager, Corey at 99. Seager's 2015 wasn't as spectacular as 2014, but he's one of the most well rounded players in baseball, as well as one of the most consistent. He's still overlooked by other fan bases, but coming in this high on MLB Network's list is a testament to his quality of play since 2012. Seager is coming into his prime, and has yet to run outta moonlight. He suffers from playing in an era replete with very good third basemen. But for someone who projected as a utility infielder, 48 ain't too shabby.
Other AL West players making the list include: Mike Trout (1), Jose Altuve (12), Carlos Correa (13), Adrian Beltre (24), Sonny Gray (57), George Springer (68), Stephen Vogt (75), Prince Fielder (82), Albert Pujols (83), and Andrelton Simmons (91), who is an Angel even though you probably didn't remember he was.
Which means we had the most. Which means we're the best, probably. Some of the names on the full list are... curious. Oh hi, Randal Grichuk, what are you doing at 44? All-Star Stephen Vogt, how? Alex Rodriguez hmmm? Jhonny Peralta whaaaaaaa? And some of the omissions just as strange. Corey Seager, who played 27 regular season games last year, is 99th, but Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels don't rank at all.
How do you think our guys rank, and what were the biggest surprises? Leave 'em in the comments.