Friday, May 31, 2013

Ranking the most valuable players through two months of the MLB season

The conclusion of Friday's action around Major League Baseball means that we are officially two full months into the regular season. For the record, this also marks the one-third point of the season, as we still have four full months to go before the postseason.

Obviously, there remains a lot of baseball left to be played. However, at this point we can now begin to rank the players who are having great individual seasons knowing the sample size we have is relatively legitimate. The basis for these rankings is based solely on the Wins Above Replacement data for each player available on Baseball Reference. Using this data, I was able to come up with a list of the top 11 most valuable players through the first two months of the season. Now, this could definitely change as the year moves on, but the following 11 players have proved more valuable than any others so far.

1) Manny Machado - 3B - Orioles
WAR: 3.5
+ Leads all of baseball in doubles (25) and ranks sixth in AVG (.336).

T-2) Matt Harvey - RHP - Mets
WAR: 3.4
+ Leads all pitchers in WHIP (0.82) and ranks fourth in ERA (1.85).

T-2) Clay Buchholz - RHP - Red Sox
WAR: 3.4
+ Ranks third in ERA (1.73) and fifth in wins (7).

T-4) Clayton Kershaw - LHP - Dodgers
WAR: 3.3
+ Leads majors in ERA (1.68) and is third in WHIP (0.87).

T-4) Joey Votto - 1B - Reds
WAR: 3.3
+ Ranks first in OBP (.466), runs (44), and walks (44).

6) Carlos Gomez - CF - Brewers
WAR: 3.2
+ Ranks among top ten in NL in AVG, SLG, OPS, HR, and SB.

T-7) Paul Goldschmidt - 1B - Diamondbacks
WAR: 3.1
+ Ranks third in NL in OPS (1.002) and RBI (41).

T-7) Dustin Pedroia - 2B - Red Sox
WAR: 3.1
+ Ranks among top ten in AL in AVG, OBP, and hits.

T-7) Felix Hernandez - RHP - Mariners
WAR: 3.1
+ Leads MLB in IP (83.1) and ranks fourth in strikeouts (87).

T-10) Cliff Lee - LHP - Phillies
WAR: 3.0
+ Ranks third in MLB in IP (80.2) and sixth in NL in wins (6).

T-10) Chris Davis - 1B - Orioles
WAR: 3.0
+ Leads MLB in home runs (19) and is second in RBI (50).

A few notable names not found on the list include Tigers ace Justin Verlander (1.4), Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp (-0.4), Angels outfielder Mike Trout (1.7), Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen (2.6), and Mets third basemen David Wright (2.5), among several other perennial All-Stars.

Honorable Mentions: DET Miguel Cabrera (2.9), COL Troy Tulowitzki (2.8), SEA Hisashi Iwakuma (2.8), CHW Chris Sale (2.7), STL Adam Wainwright (2.7)

*Stats taken entering Friday's (5/31) games

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