With the regular season starting in one week, ESPN dropped their top 100 player rankings, including two Dodgers firmly within the top 10 — Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts.
After posting arguably the best regular season of his career in his first year with the Dodgers, Freeman has been ranked as not only the best first baseman in baseball, but as the fifth best player in general, ahead of players including Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez, and Trea Turner.
Freeman posted career highs in both hits and doubles, leading the National League in both categories, while hitting .325, with 21 home runs, 100 RBI, a .918 OPS and an OPS+ of 152. As impressive as his numbers are, what ultimately determines a player’s impact is their availability, which Freeman has shown, as he has played in at least 158 games in each of the past four full regular seasons.
As far as finding the definition of a model five-tool player, Betts fits the mold, and has been rightfully placed within ESPN’s top 10 as the ninth best player in baseball.
Coming off of his sixth straight All-Star season, Betts set a career high in home runs in 2022 with 35, while continuing to play elite defense out in right field. If there is a reason as to why he might not be considered a top 5 player, then it might be due to the overall slash line he posted (.269 AVG/.340 OBP). Regardless, Betts led the league in runs scored for the third time in his career, while collecting his sixth Gold Glove and fifth Silver Slugger, en route to another season finishing top 5 in MVP voting.
ESPN notes that with the new rule changes coming to Major League Baseball, it will benefit players like Betts:
“Betts hasn’t reached 20 stolen bases since swiping 30 in 2018, but the bigger bases and the limited pickoffs should present more opportunities. He hasn’t driven in 100 runs since 2017, but the Dodgers would love to put him in more run-producing situations this season — if they can find someone else to lead off.”
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