Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players of 2014

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Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players of 2014

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Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

As we go from one season into the next, the question of who the best is will continuously come up. In a world as big as Major League Baseball there are always differences of opinions on such wide ranging questions as who the best teams are players are. One thing is guaranteed however. Whoever you think the best from this past season of MLB is, that player is definitely on this list. They might be lower than you think they should be or higher but the best in your opinion should be here.

The Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players will go through the very best of the best according to our panel of voters. Some you will agree with and others you definitely will not agree with. Whether you disagree with their rank or think they shouldn’t be on here at all, don’t hesitate to let your voice be heard in the comments section below. Feel free to click the name of the player as you go through the slideshow to read the full article on that player.

One thing to point out is that this isn’t a list of the best players over the last five years. These are the best current players based mainly upon their most recent season. Going into the 2014 season these players will be looked upon as some of the very best at their craft. That might not mean they were great two years ago. On the other hand they could be further down on such a list now than they would have been two, three or even one year ago. Here we go.

David Miller is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @davidmillerrant, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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50 – Hisashi Iwakuma

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For the Seattle Mariners, most of the focus for the season was the huge contract signed by Felix Hernandez in the previous offseason. When the season hit however a surprise showing was put on by Hisashi Iwakuma. He came in this season and showed the Mariners and the world of baseball that he might soon deserve the credit of being the best pitcher on the Mariners, or perhaps some other starting rotation.

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49 – Brian McCann

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Any doubt that was shown towards Brian McCann after entering the season with a recently repaired throwing shoulder quickly disappeared. He put on one of the better seasons of his career and continued the all-star showing that has become the usual for one of the game’s best catchers.

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48 – Carlos Gonzalez

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies is definitely considered one of baseball’s best outfielders and for good reason. If it weren’t for a few injury issues this season he may have been even higher on this list but suffice it to say he remains one of the best at what he does.

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47 – Edwin Encarnacion

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

He might not be considered an MVP level player just yet but if Edwin Encarnacion continues putting up seasons like he has for the last couple of years he will be. After all, pencil in 30+ homers and over 100 RBI at any position and you have one of the league’s best. Encarnacion was definitely one of the best this year.

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46 – Matt Holliday

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Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

From the start of the season through the final game of the World Series, Matt Holliday was one of the most feared players in baseball. He is the Cardinals big power threat and remained so throughout the season.

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45 – Joe Mauer

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Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Whether behind the plate or at his now announced new position of first base, the impact of Joe Mauer is bound to be felt by any and all opponents. It earned him a rank among the best this year.

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44 – Adam Jones

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Though he might not be the most explosive player on his team, Adam Jones is surely the second or third. One of the best offenses in baseball wouldn’t work nearly as well without him slotted perfectly near the meat of the line-up.

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43 – Andrelton Simmons

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

There are a few young players on this list and most are higher ranking than this electrifying shortstop. Andrelton Simmons could only be seen now as one of the naturally great defensive players in all of baseball.

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42 – David Price

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more valuable starting pitchers in baseball, David Price is someone wanted by every team in the game the moment his team makes him available. His potential trade value speaks well of his ability on the mound as does his position on this list.

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41 – Giancarlo Stanton

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If there was a robotic prototype of the way a great baseball player would look, Giancarlo Stanton wouldn’t be too far from that standard. His size and appearance aren’t all he has going for him though. Even in a pitcher’s ballpark he is able to put up more than respectable numbers just like he did this year.

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40 – Stephen Strasburg

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

If the sight of this young man’s name surprises you on this list, I hope it’s because you wish he was higher. Stephen Strasburg put together another great season in 2013. He won’t win the Cy-Young award but make no mistake; he’s definitely still one of the best that toe the rubber.

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39 – David Wright

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets might not have had a lot of great things going for them this season but David Wright was about as good as he can be in an injury shortened season. Like usual, he was one of the better lone offensive powers on the team but he did more than his part for this team for sure.

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38 – David Ortiz

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

I feel sure that few fans of baseball would disagree that David Ortiz is one of the best clutch players in the game. His performance in the postseason alone describes all of the qualities that put him on this list.

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37 – Koji Uehara

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

The Champions of baseball wouldn’t be where they are right now if it wasn’t for their emergent closer Koji Uehara. He is already one of the more reliable closers in baseball and there could be no doubt of that.

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36 – Jason Heyward

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Though his season was shortened by injuries at both ends, Jason Heyward was clearly one of the more important players in the game. Whether it was making amazing plays on defense or leading the line-up from the top spot, he was definitely one of the great ones this season.

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35 – Josh Donaldson

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Though the list of great third basemen might be a tad short this year for baseball, Josh Donaldson is one of them. Chances are good that he will be one of the best third baseman after he is no longer a member of the Athletics.

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34 – Clay Buchholz

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

No great team can be great without a few good or great starting pitchers. Clay Buchholz was one that filled that role this year for the Red Sox and he appears to only be getting better with experience and time.

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33 – Jose Fernandez

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Without a doubt this first season to see Jose Fernandez on such a list, it will not be the last. The current Rookie of the Year will be a perennial contender for one of the best players in the game.

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32 – Dustin Pedroia

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

If this were a list of the greatest second basemen in the game Dustin Pedroia would be in the top five. As it is this rank speaks well of just how much of an impact he has on his team with simple and gutsy playing of the game.

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31 – Chris Sale

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It isn’t always easy for a great pitcher to remain one of the good ones when his support system is non-existent. That was the case with Chris Sale for this season. He walked into the season with a hefty extension and was able to keep his head above water and then some in spite of the terrible season from the White Sox.

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30 – Troy Tulowitzki

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Just like his Rockies teammate on this list, Troy Tulowitzki was good this season in spite of a few injury issues. It would be interesting to see where both would reach on such a list with a completely healthy season next time around.

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29 – Craig Kembrel

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Whatever your opinion of whether he should have pitched in the Braves last game of the playoffs, Craig Kembrel is doubtlessly one of the greatest closers in the game. As long as he stays healthy, he will definitely be one of the best closers ever if he keeps on his current path.

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28 – Anibal Sanchez

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

On a staff where he has a much lower rank than he would almost anywhere else in the game, Anibal Sanchez still put up one of the best seasons of any starting pitcher. With periods of greatness along the way, he absolutely deserved to be mentioned in the same sentence with his counterparts.

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27 – Hanley Ramirez

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Though the answer might differ depending on who you ask, the Dodgers electrifying jump start was every bit as much because of Hanley Ramirez as because of anyone else on the roster. He showed truly what he is capable of when he fully applies his talents on the field.

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26 – Bryce Harper

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Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The second season for the Nationals’ Bryce Harper ensured that there wasn’t a single sophomore slump among the previous season’s best rookies. He did have a little bit of injury trouble but he was the heart of the Nationals’ line-up when he was in there.

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25 – Manny Machado

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The instant and overwhelming outcry of the world of baseball when Manny Machado went down at the end of the season speaks to how highly the young third baseman is thought of. It is with good reason as his defensive skills are quickly being caught by his ability to produce on offense.

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24 – Yasiel Puig

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

While it might be a debate on many things about this Rookie of the Year runner-up, it would be difficult to argue that his enormous impact on the world of baseball put him among the best of the best. It is anyone’s guess how well Yasiel Puig will fair next season but this year he was one of the best.

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23 – Joey Votto

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After his 2012 season ended in injury, Joey Votto made certain to erase any doubts about his further success as one of baseball’s best first basemen.

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22 – Cliff Lee

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Line up any starting pitcher you want or even the best batting order you can imagine. I don’t care if it is the all-star team, they would struggle against the excellence of Cliff Lee. He will probably remain one of the best pitcher’s in the game until he hangs up the rosin bag.

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21 – Evan Longoria

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The revolving door that exists with the Rays team doesn’t exist at third base. Evan Longoria will be a fixture at third for the Rays even if no one else on the team remains for more than two or three seasons. He’s one of the best, period.

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20 – Carlos Gomez

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of questionable things about this exciting center fielder but you don’t have to question his ability on the field. Carlos Gomez can hit anyone’s pitch out of the ballpark and reach over any wall to bring another home run back as an out.

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19 – Buster Posey

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Though his supporting players weren’t what they were in the previous season, Buster Posey was just as consistently effective this season as he was in his MVP season in 2012. The overall stat line might be different but he remains one of the best catcher’s in baseball.

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18 – Freddie Freeman

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

First base for the Braves is suddenly a very comfortable position thanks to this MVP candidate. Freddie Freeman was good enough to win the vote to be inserted into the NL all-star team. That should go a long ways towards letting you know how good he played in his first full healthy season.

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17 – Zack Greinke

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Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The first month of the season brought on something that few pitchers will ever have to overcome. Zack Greinke successfully rebounded from a broken collarbone to have a very dominant season for the Dodgers and helped lead them to the NLCS in the postseason.

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16 – Jacoby Ellsbury

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Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

If you want to know how valuable Jacoby Ellsbury is the just pay attention to the huge contract he signs during the offseason. He has become one of the top available outfielders in all of baseball for a reason.

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15 – Paul Goldschmidt

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Dbacks might not have performed up to their standard for the entire season but their first baseman absolutely did. Paul Goldschmidt didn’t slack off one bit and the season was good enough to make him one of the top few in the NL MVP race. It also puts him high on our list.

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14 – Matt Carpenter

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Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

It is very difficult to have a better season than Matt Carpenter had at second base for the Cardinals. He is easily a top candidate for the N.L. MVP award and whether he wins it or not he will go down as having one of the best seasons of anyone in baseball this year.

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13 – Yu Darvish

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

From start to finish Yu Darvish went to the mound and made himself easily one of the best pitchers in the game. His stats speak for themselves.

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12 – Felix Hernandez

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

There is one thing that can be said to best describe the season had by Felix Hernandez. He got one of the biggest contracts in history and then went out and earned it well all season long.

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11 – Adrian Beltre

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone that reaches higher on the list of great third basemen than Adrian Beltre is guaranteed to be one of the very best players in all of baseball. That is true mainly because Beltre is certainly one of the best players himself and it remained so for the entirety of the season.

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10 – Justin Verlander

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last decade few pitchers have been better than Justin Verlander. This isn’t as much about that as it is his ability to be one of the best still even in a year that wasn’t quite as easy as a few others. He fought through and remained one of the best.

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9 – Adam Wainwright

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The success of Adam Wainwright is probably most important this season because he has cemented his return from Tommy John surgery. He is back fully and certainly one of the best pitchers in baseball, bar none.

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8 – Chris Davis

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Davis turned a strong start to the season into one where he competed for a possible triple crown for the majority of the year and ended with two –thirds of the stat categories that are required for that right and honor.

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7 – Yadier Molina

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Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

There might be players that are more successful in the stat column than Yadier Molina but none are better field generals than the Cardinals backstop. He is simply one of the best of all time.

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6 – Max Scherzer

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Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

It might be hard for anyone in the A.L. to claim to have had a better season from the mound than Max Scherzer. It just doesn’t get a lot better than his enormous performance for the entirety of the season.

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5 – Robinson Cano

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This write-up is actually quite easy. Robinson Cano is the absolute best second baseman and one of the top overall infielders in the entire game of baseball. It’s as simple and exact as that.

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4 – Andrew McCutchen

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After years of leading the Pirates on one losing quest after another, their leader was right where he should be when they finally achieved their postseason goals. Andrew McCutchen was the leader and the player that he was known to be and continues to be during the season. He deserves any honor bestowed upon him.

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3 – Clayton Kershaw

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

When any starting pitcher puts themselves into the Greg Maddux category of ERA and overall performance dominance, they deserve and and all recognition that they recieve. Such is true of Dodgers super-ace Clayton Kershaw . He is simply the best starting pitcher in baseball.

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2 – Mike Trout

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The top two in this top 50 could go either way in most people’s opinion. Coming in at the 2 spot is Mike Trout. Trout has had what can only be called one of the all time great starts in baseball history. To already be considered the second best player in the game and some say the best, is just as outstanding as it sounds.

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1 – Miguel Cabrera

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

There has been only one triple crown winner in the last several decades and that man is Miguel Cabrera. Miggy is good enough right now that he nearly repeated the victory in this most recent season. When he is healthy there is little doubt that he is one of the most valuable players in all of baseball.

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