this annual list is based on the players' performances over the past three seasons, with a particular emphasis on the most recent (2014). other criteria taken into consideration for these rankings includes projected performance for the upcoming season, defensive position, individual accolades, and the intangibles they bring to game (ex. team leadership).
|photo courtesy of @MLBNetwork twitter|
a little more than one month ago, Michael had been ranked as the 3rd best left fielder in the game by MLB Network's The Shredder. because of that and the fact that Michael won the 2014 AL OF Silver Slugger Award PLUS finished 3rd in the 2014 American League MVP voting, i had high expectations. i wanted
to see Michael in the Top 20 of this list.
to my surprise, in his Top 100 debut, Michael was ranked as the 21st best player in the majors right now. i let out a huge gasp when i saw Michael's name on the screen at #21, i gotta be honest. i understand that certain other players should be ranked ahead of Michael, but i didn't necessarily agree with every player in the Top 20.
this is a hard list for him to place really high on because it's all inclusive. Michael, a position player, is having his stats compared not just to all other position players, but to pitchers, too. and both leagues are grouped together as well. it's not an easy task trying to fairly and accurately rank everyone because there is so much talent in baseball. consequently, this list is definitely subject for debate. there were several players left off the list that even the hosts of the show couldn't get over, so take it for what it is.
some people may even think Michael doesn't deserve to be ranked as high as #21. their tired argument is that Michael's never had a year like he did in 2014 in the big leagues before, and so they question if he can do it again. i basically squashed all concerns and pessimists with my most recent blog, Will Brantley Be "Worse" In 2015? spoiler alert: i said no! lol
what really hurt Michael here is this: his 2012 and 2013 seasons were just not that flashy. he was still consistent, having the highest batting average on the team and being very clutch, but the power and accolades were absent from his resume. i'm betting that if he puts together numbers in 2015 that are even remotely close to what he did in 2014, then a year from now, Michael will crack that Top 20.
btw, Michael was not the only player representing Cleveland on this list. the 3 other Indians on the Top 100 list include Carlos Santana at #72 (his highest rank ever on this list), Yan Gomes at #56 (Top 100 debut), and Corey Kluber at #15 (debut).
congratulations to Michael and the rest of the Indians who made this year's Top 100!
the complete Top 100 Players Right Now list can be found here.