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The 2022 'John Gensler MLB Top 50'

Image: MLB

Hello. My name is John, and I know things. I've got all the answers, stats, and numbers for you!

Well, not really. I can’t tell you what love or beauty is; that would fall under the purview of philosophy, a subject which I am in fact not an expert on, nor could I tell you how to become a millionaire investing in fake money and pictures of monkeys. I can’t really tell you any drafting strategies for fantasy football either.

What I can tell you, however, is that there are 1,000 or so players who make an MLB roster, and I know the best 50 baseball players and why, objectively (I guess not technically objectively) they are where they are.

Before I get too it let me explain my process for determining how good a player is:

  • Their past stats! Straight up, I go to fangraphs and I look at their stats! Only the good ones of course, we’re talking the good stuff, the real advanced pencil pushin analytics. MATH! ALGORITHMS! CALCULATIONS! Using math we can DETERMINE VALUE! You know, the good stuff.

  • WAR- how much value they produced!

  • wRC+(weighted Runs Created)- with 100 being league average this is how much better/worse at hitting they were!

  • Their Slash lines, walk%, Strikeout%, Pitching metrics and so much more!

  • Their Statcast stats! Using Baseball Savant with statcast data, these stats only focused on expected outcomes based on statcast data. Like eXpected Batting Average (xBA) and Average Exit Velocity (EV), more descriptive than prescriptive, but very useful nonetheless at analyzing how a player actually played relative to outcome.

  • PROJECTIONS- stats made out of stats by stats nerds about players history are used to predict how their stats will be. STATS!! I’m using ZiPS Depth Charts, Steamer, Fangraphs Depth Charts, ATC, and BAT X. All courtesy of Fangraphs, Baseball Reference is for chumps.

  • My personal opinion! Reality can be whatever the hell I want. If I think Mookie Betts is better than Judge. Its true, its my list, you can fight me

The 2022 John Gensler MLB Top 50 With Projected Stat Ranges

1. Mike Trout (OF) 165-180wRC+ 7.5-10WAR

I’ll just get to it, you don’t need the analytics. I'd let Mike sleep with my dad, mom, sister, cousin, turtle, and uncle Terry just to keep him on my team, even if he had to play catcher. On my tombstone, put a photo of Mike robbing a home run from Yelich. I would kill my whole family and yours to get to touch Mike. I could dissect Mike's greatness like my therapist dissected my parents’ marital problems. He's George Springer minus the stutter. He is god. If you shit on Mike Trout within my earshot I will smoke you. You are small and insignificant to Mike's legacy and you aren’t worth the energy expended making fun of you for it.

2. Shohei Ohtani (P/DH) 145-155wRC+ 3.35-3.70ERA 7.5-9WAR

Mike is the best player in the game despite the yearly articles of some contrarian oxygen thief jabroni fat old guy, and if you're going to argue against that I'd need you to prove you can read one page of a Harry Potter book before you did. Get out of here with that noise thats what I would normally say, but for the first time since Miguel Cabrera was king of Detroit with a triple crown, you can make a reasonable case for someone not named after a fish to be your number 1. Still, I have to go with Mike figuring as he’s probably going to put up a 8-9 WAR season if he's healthy with 170+wRC+ in centerfield. Nevertheless, a very strong case can be made. Fangraphs pretty squarely thinks he’ll be an MVP candidate hitter and his teams best starter. If Ohtani can pitch as well as he did in the second half last year with stats close to his 1.28BB/9, 27.6K%, and sub 1 WHIP, he has a good shot of having a Cy Young next to his MVP(s) and Rookie of the Year trophies.

3. Juan Soto (OF) 165-190wRC+ 7.5-8WAR

This young son of a bitch is getting on base more than 40% of the time and guess what? It makes you look stupid, stupid and small. Simply put, the kid can hit, and hit he does. He hits tanks into the upper deck, walks his way to first base over 20% of the time and he don’t miss. All while grabbing his crotch in between each and every pitch. He's just a stud who is going to put up at minimum a 170wRC+. The things I’d let him do to me…

4. Jacob Degrom (SP) 2.20-2.55xERA 5.5-7WAR

I don’t need to explain Jake's greatness to you. The man pitched as well as anyone has ever pitched for those 15 games last season. Despite a tragic injury (rip in peace), he will hopefully do it again when he comes back if only for at most 3 and a half months. This will be more of a true talent list so I'm not moving him post injury

5. Fernando Tatís (SS) 150-170wRC+ 4.5-7WAR

His defense isn’t anything great, some would say its a glaring hole in him, but that kind of raw, grease missile offense at short? ZiPS really likes Tatís and you know what? I do too baby let's go home run Tatís oh boy home run let's go SLAM DIEGO Don Orsillo.

6. Mookie Betts (OF) 140wRC+ 6-6.5WAR

I don’t know how you can not love Mookie. You’re probably just a salty Yankees fan. Mook is always a pleasure to watch, the consistent quality of contact keeps his average exit velo well above what you’dexpect for his suboptimal raw power. Just lasering the ball everywhere, combined with playing right field just like Ichiro and you’ve easily got yourself an MVP candidate. Lets not forget when he put up 10.4 WAR in 2018, also he cute as hell.

7. Jose Ramirez (3B) 140wRC+ 6-6.5WAR

Love me some JRam, can’t get enough of the kid. José is good at everything he does. He slugs, walks, runs, and is damn good in the hot corner.

8. Ronald Acuña Jr (OF) 135-150 wRC+ 5-6.5WAR

“Reminds me of a younger Barry Bonds. Promising discipline and walk rate in the latter half of last season I see him taking the next step this year.”

That was me last year and guess what; I was so damn right. God I love myself. I mean he only did it for half a season then got injured but I’m kind of a prophet. Anyway, Acuña has always had the flashiest raw tools with incredible exit velos and intense athletics but within the last 2 seasons of the young mans career, he's guaranteed some upper ballot MVP votes. What troubles me is his defense and how he plays post an ACL tear coming back sometime in late May.

9. Trea Turner (SS) 130-140wRC+ 5-6.5WAR

“99th% sprint speed with competent defense at short with a low strikeout rate and yet he still hits ball hard. I think he's underrated”

An old take by me proven yet again so right. Definitely one of the more annoying batters to face. My only knock is he doesn’t walk much at all and who knows how well he can hold together his powerful quality of contact that he's had going the past 2 years. If he can maintain that kind of production at the plate while playing at shortstop; he'll be a real force of nature.

10. Aaron Judge (OF) 140-155wRC+ 5-6.5WAR

Judge was in the 100th percentile in average Exit Velo and Hardhit% in 17, 18, 19, and 21. He didn’t get enough PAs to qualify in 2020. During this period, he amassed 158 Homeruns in less than 600 games. Needless to say Judge is the best power hitter in the game, but that's not all he's got to his game. During said campaigns while slugging well over .500 he had walk rate over 40%, getting him consistently near the upper top of the wOBA leaders each season. While he’s not quite THE MOOK in right field, he fields his position well (though he took a noticeable dip in his usual competence last year). He may be a Yankee but he's damn good at ball, so he's going to cap off my top 10. He’s probably really stupid tho.

11. Bryce Harper (OF) 145-150wRC+ 5-6WAR

Yeah, Bryce Harper was a little overrated for a bit after his insane 2015, but afterwards he's actually been underrated. So I’m setting it straight now; Bryce Harper is now properly rated, shut up.

12. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B) 160-170wRC+ 5.5-6WAR

He hit like a prime Nelson Cruz last season with a sexy (uwu) .300/.400/.600 slash line and 48 bing bongs right along with it. Here's my deal with Vlad though he's a first baseman. I hate first basemen and I don’t think they should be winning MVPs, let alone when they are one of the worst fielders in baseball. Yeah I could put him higher, but I’m not going to.

13. Corbin Burnes (SP) 3.30–2.60ERA 5-5.5WAR

Taking just a cursory look at Corbin’s Savant page and you see nuthin but red, whole lotta red (yuh). The reason for this is simple, he throws the ball really hard, with a lot of spin, and good control. His cutter averages over 95mph with 2750rpm. Very fast, much spin, and he knows where it's going.

14. Carlos Correa (SS) 135wRC+ 5-5.5 WAR

A perfectly balanced elite hitter at shortstop with gold glove defense? In this economy?

15. Manny Machado (3B/SS) 120-130wRC+ 4.5-5.5WAR

I know Raffi is a bit better of a slugger but Manny isn’t far behind. Manny, however, is incredible at 3rd base. Some people don't think Manny is a very nice guy, but I could change him. You know what though, I could accept him as he is. you don't like getting bats thrown at you and your ankles stomped? Grow up. The atrocities are part of him, and I've decided they are funny.

16. Xander Bogaerts (SS) 120-130wRC+ 4.5-5WAR

Prior to Tatís’s entrance, X-Man was the best offensive shortstop in the game. But my Aruban king still got it. He smacks the ball like my wife smacks me right after I lied about going to work when I was just fishing.

17. Marcus Semien (2B) 120-125wRC+ 4-5.5WAR

Marcus is just a all-round great player, and you know what? Probably a decent guy too. I mean not that I could ever know but I’m sure he is. Hottake for you he should have gotten second in MVP voting ahead of Vlad but whatever that's just a me thing. Dude always seems mad angry though… kind of scares me.

18. Corey Seager (SS/3B) 125wRC+ 4-5WAR

Why are Marcus and Xander ahead of Corey Seager? Because I like them and Corey is just sooooo boring. I don’t like Corey Seager and I don’t want to talk about him, so that's all you’re getting.

19. Rafael Devers (3B) 135-140wRC+ 4.5-5WAR

Crazy lefty sweet swinging pop all over the field Rafael Devers is just really good at baseball. Not 3rd base exactly but baseball. I think he just plays because they give him ice cream when he does well. Not genuinely sure he is getting any of those millions. Just Ice cream. But I’m sure he’s fine with that.

20. Gerrit Cole (SP) 3.50-2.80ERA 4-5WAR

Annoying weasel Yankee dude Ferret Cole is going to have the best shot at the Cy Young unfortunately. He's just kind of really good at throwing the ball even without sticky stuff. Still praying on his downfall.

21. Freddie Freeman (1B) 140-145wRC+ 4.5-5WAR

Again, I don’t like first baseman really but Freddie is just a guy who slaps the ball around all over the damn place with a smile on his face. He Steadily held a .390-.400 on base percentage and has been slugging well above .500 every year. He’s not exactly slowing down, and he's probably got a lot of hittin’ left in him. His son is so annoying I just want to punt him across the field in Minecraft.

22. Alex Bregman (3B) 125-140wRC+ 4-6WAR

After finishing in the top 3 in MVP voting two years in a row, all while putting up 16 WAR, he kind of fell off and ratioed himself into just an above average hitter with a 115 wRC+ last year. Still, while his statcast data supported him outperforming his expected outcome those two years, if he can continue to walk more than strike out he will still be very good offensively this year.

23. Matt Olson (1B) 130-140wRC+ 4-5WAR

Matt is the best defensive first baseman (congrats?) but he is also a sweet swinging lefty who mashes and there ain’t much better than that I tell ya.

24. George Springer (OF) 125-135wRC+ 3.5-5.5WAR

George has been an underrated player that has been hard to place for many a man making a baseball list. He can be an elite hitter with mid 30s homerun pop and solid on base skills.

25. José Altuve (2B) 120-135wRC+ 4-5WAR

He smol.

26. Max Scherzer (SP) 3.50-3.10ERA 4-5WAR

Here is my deal with Scherzer. Is he good? Yes, but! He's ugly and old and that my dear, is a double negative, so I ain’t putting him any higher.

27. Will Smith (C) 125-130wRC+ 4-5WAR

While nothing immediately pops out of his stat line, he is the best offensive catcher, and excellent framing puts this dope at the #1 spot behind home plate for me.

28. Yasmani Grandal (C) 120-130wRC+ 4-5WAR

Grandal walks a lot. Like a lot, a lot. More than he struck out last season (23.2% to 21.9% K rate). The man also hits his fair share of homeruns for a catcher. He is also one of the best pitch framers in the league. Add it all together and you’ve got a great defensive catcher who can put up a .370 OBP and slug somewhere in the upper 400s. That is great stuff, 29th best player in baseball type stuff I’d say.

29. Bo Bichette (SS) 120wRC+ 4-5WAR

The Marcus Allen of the MLB. I'm not elaborating.

30. Shane Bieber (SP) 3.50-3.30ERA 4-5WAR

After striking out 41.1% of the batters he faced in 2020, Bieber pretty cleanly swiped a Cy Young award. While he probably isn’t going to reach those heights this year, he will definitely produce a whole lot of swing and miss.

31. Byron Buxton (OF) 120-140wRC+ 3-5WAR

Buxton is one of those guys that is just incredibly difficult to rank. He doesn't walk at all (never above 8% in his career) and he hardly ever plays (only 215 games in the last 4 seasons). However, he is one of fastest players in the game, has elite defense in centerfield, and has got a ridiculous power tool (92.5mpg Avg EV, right with Bruce Harper and Josh Bell). Without the bed of walking a competent amount to hang back on or the consistent contact skills, how good he will be is going to be up to how much he can play and how many Barrels he can put up. Provide they're up there, he could potentially put up a 6+ WAR season.

32. Yordan Alvarez (DH) 130-155wRC+ 3.5-5.5WAR

Yordan just lays down some classic abuse to the baseball, real bambino shit, just hits the absolute piss out of it. Hellacious seeds all over Minute Maid. It seemed like he got figured out a little towards end of his rookie year getting his long arms targeted up and in with heaters and cutters. Though he slowed down a touch compared to that outrageous season, he remains an strong hitter after slashing 277/346/531 with 33 dingers in 144 games he is projected by everyone and most importantly me to surpass that line. I’d bet on him breaking 45 ding dongs in a full season.

33. Kyle Tucker (OF) 120-135wRC+ 3.5-5WAR

Weirdly underrated I feel? Probably because he's a random generic Astro outfielder who just silently came in and became an all-star caliber player out of nowhere last year. But the kids swing is legit, he even underperformed his expected outcomes. Is he 140wRC+ good? I'm not so sure.

34. Nolan Arenado (3B) 115-130wRC+ 3-4.5WAR

His whole not getting on base thing kind of has me worried but like he’s still Nolan, webgem defense and 30+ homer pop. What's new? Absolutely nuthin.

35. JT Realmuto (C) 100-115wRC+ 3.5-5WAR

Realmuto has a decent power tool keeping him an above average hitter and some speed to him. But he really shines through impeccable defense and framing. Fangraphs thinks he's the most valuable defender in the game and I would have to agree.

36. Matt Chapman (3B) 105-120wRC+ 3-5WAR

Being one of the greatest fielders in the game is a large and soft cushion to fall back on. Defense doesn’t exactly disappear overnight, unless those aliens from Space Jam come I guess. The defense will secure his value even if his offensive woes continue. He’ll still manage to put up solid power numbers I reckon (a change of scenery out of the dilapidated metal bog that is the Oakland Coliseum might do him some good too) .

37. Zack Wheeler (SP) 3.90-3.30ERA 3.5-5WAR

Dude's just gonna strikeout 200 dudes and put up a lower 3 ERA. He throws hard, but for some reason it's not cool when he does it.

38. Wander Franco (SS) 120-130wRC+ 3.5-5.5WAR

Slugged fairly well in his first MLB season while playing a damn fine short. The 80 future value prospect put up 2.5 in 70 games. I'm confident in some improvement this year on his quality of contact and discipline, but he’ll be 4 win player regardless.

39. Anthony Rendon (3B) 120-140wRC+ 3.5-5WAR

Ok, so Anthony got knocked down a few pegs, but I'd consider his 2021 as much more of an injury problem than him getting worse. That 300/400/500+ guy is still in there waiting to be unleashed again and I would like that to start up again. Please.

40. Luis Robert (OF) 115-130wRC+ 3.5-5WAR

Simliar to Buxton with an absurd power tool, lightning speed, and Spider-Man athleticism in center. The kid is good. He’ll slug for good power and strikeout a lot but do so with gold glove defense. He’ll be fun to watch.

41. Ketel Marte (2B/OF) 120-135wRC+ 3.5-5WAR

I'm feeling another breakout from Ketel. I'm hoping for 7 WAR Marte-parte soon enough, brothers.

42. Francisco Lindor (SS) 105-115wRC+ 3.5-5WAR

Lindor's offensive troubles seem to still be haunting him as he struggles to hit for the power he once did. Without it he's just kind of Puerto Rican Nick Ahmed. But hey, I like Nick Ahmed.

43. Trevor Story (SS/2B) 115-125wRC+ 3.5-5WAR

Hits ding dongs and plays a great shortstop (I guess 3rd base now?) he's fallen off a bit offensively but he's gonna steal 20 bags and hit 30 homers.

44. Brandon Lowe (2B) 125-135wRC+ 4-4.5WAR

Brandon Lowe is like weirdly a very good power hitting second baseman. Still he's not any good at fielding his position and his exit velo is nothing special. If he can maintain a good launch angle, he will hold up just a bit better than Muncy potentially.

45. Max Muncy (1B/2B) 125-140wRC+ 3.5-4WAR

Just absolutely painful to watch the team you're rooting for try and pitch to Muncy. Just an absolutely suffocating strike zone. Dude definitely snarls and scoffs to himself when he takes a ball, and whispers “¾ inch off the plate” to himself. Great command of the zone and then just comes out with a massive dong when ones left down the middle. Hate this guy, reminds of Wario and I like Wario but like he reminds me of him in a bad way. WAH!

46. Giancarlo Stanton (DH/OF) 125-145wRC+ 3-4WAR

The broken old man still hits the ball as hard as ever, which is probably the hardest a baseball has ever been hit. He’ll probably hit like 30-40 homeruns easy with almost a 30% KRate if he gets to play.

47. Walker Buehler (SP) 4.20-3.40ERA 3-4WAR

He had his best year in 2021, but it still he had a high percentage of runners left on base and a K% down while also outperforming his xERA and xFIP. Still he didn’t get hit very hard and his spin rates remain above the 90th percentile.

48. Seiya Suzuki (OF) 115-140wRC+ 2-4.5WAR

My 48th best MLB player has yet to play in the MLB. I'm fairly confident in his approach and swing translating well. I’m looking for a 280/360/480 line from him 107-142wRC+ 1.5-3.8WAR.

49. Aaron Nola (SP) 4.20-3.30ERA 3-4WAR

Aaron Nola is so boring. He did get noticeably unlucky last year, though I see a comeback from him. He's just boring tho.

50. Pete Alonso (1B) 125-135wRC+ 3-4WAR

There's a big guy in ‘A Goofy Movie’ (1995) named Pete, he’s kind of like this Pete. Pete hits the ball hard, that's it

51. Kevin Gausman (SP) 4.10-3.50 3-4WAR

SURPRISE 51 BABBBBYYYY WOOOOOO!! Bet you didn’t see that coming! I love Kevin and his splitter so much.

Honorable Mentions

There are some honorable mentions who, maybe if I thought about it more, would find a spot for them, but they're mostly boring; Trent Grisham, Paul Goldschmidt, Bryan Reynolds, Tyler O'Neill, Sandy Alcantara, Logan Webb, Ozzie Albies, Brandon Nimmo, Brandon Woodruff (definitely should be at least in the 40's), and Lucas Giolito.

I expect to be spot on with every pick exactly. If you want to discuss or argue with me, feel free to do so in the comments, or you could just subtweet me. Coward. I’m also hanging around the park on Peconic Lane Tuesday-Thursday 5-10PM playing tennis if you want to throw hands. I’ll take 3 of you per day, but only one at a time in 30 minute intervals.


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