Over the last few days, MLB Network rolled out their top-100 players in baseball. Five Dodgers cracked the top-100, including one in the top three.
On Tuesday, MLB Network began counting down their top-100 players in baseball. Tuesday night, they announced players 100-61 and four Dodgers were on that part of the list. Corey Seager was ranked 99th, Yasiel Puig 85th, Justin Turner 84th and Adrian Gonzalez 79th. They announced players 60-21 on Wednesday, but there were no Dodgers on that part. Thursday, they announced the top 20, with one obvious Dodger.
After Gonzalez, there was a bit of a Dodger drought, as the next Dodger didn’t come until Clayton Kershaw at three. Kershaw was the highest ranked pitcher on the list and only ranked behind Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. He fell two spots, as MLB Network named Kershaw the best player in baseball going into last season.
They stressed Kershaw’s body of work as the reason he was the highest ranked pitcher. Ron Darling called him a victim of his own success, and although he had a “worse” season than Jake Arrieta in 2015, the body of work over the last few years is second to none. They also went as far to call Kershaw, who will turn 28 in less than a month, a future hall of famer. They made me sad by asking what would happen if Kershaw retired at 27, much like the trend in the NFL. Darling, Bill Ripken and Greg Amsinger unanimously declared that if Kershaw never threw another pitch, he would still be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Notable former Dodgers on the list include Russell Martin (69), Dee Gordon (41), Adrian Beltre (24) and Zack Greinke (16). The Dodgers and Giants each had five players on the top-100. The Giants had Brandon Belt (61), Johnny Cueto (60), Madison Bumgarner (40), Brandon Crawford (33) and Buster Posey (seven). The Diamondbacks only had three, but each of them were in the top-20 (A.J. Pollock at 20, Paul Goldschmidt at six and Greinke). The Rockies only had Nolan Arenado at 23, and the Padres didn’t have a player in the top-100.
Most of the Dodgers that were deserving of being on the list got on the list, with the only real snub arguably being Kenley Jansen. It’s very difficult to differentiate between elite closers. Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Craig Kimbrel and Dellin Betances were the only relievers to make the list and while they’re all elite, Jansen, Ken Giles, Zach Britton and Darren O’Day, among others, could easily have a case as a top reliever worthy of being a top-100 player.