i wasn't expecting Baseball Tonight to start its Top 100 countdown so soon. usually, they do that over two days at the end of spring training, both online and in a TV special. now, the Top 100 reveal is taking place over 10 days, from March 15-24. every morning, a new set of 10 players, beginning with #100-91, is posted on ESPN.com. and when it's time for the Top 10 to be announced on March 24, that will occur on a special edition of Baseball Tonight at 10 pm EST on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.
much like the change in the publication of this list, the way in which it was constituted differs from last year as well. a panel of 70 ESPN experts (vs. 60 previously), including MLB writers, analysts, and contributors, was polled in February and March after being given a list of more than 350 MLB players (vs. 600 last year). these experts evaluated the players by assigning them a number from 0 to 10 based on player projections for 2016.
a year ago, Michael Brantley made his debut on this list when he ranked 43rd on BBTN's Top 100. knowing that Michael's 2015 season was not as strong as his All Star 2014 season, and knowing that projections don't take into account the fact that Michael played hurt a lot in 2015 (which consequently hindered some of his stats), i presumed Michael wouldn't top last year's rank.
so where does Michael fall on this list?
i was prepared for a lower rank, somewhere between 50 and 60, but i was shocked and appalled when i checked ESPN's website today, on March 17, and saw Michael was ranked as the 80th best player in baseball. WHAT in the actual HELL?
am i being April fooled early? are people already super drunk because it's St. Patrick's Day? what's going on? i mean, yeah he played with injuries in 2015
and therefore his stats weren't as high, but it's not as if he played
like total garbage. certainly not "bad" enough to be listed in the first
20 players on this countdown. he's not even expected to miss much time in 2016 now either so i really don't understand this.
making this more confusing for me is the fact that Michael was recently ranked as the 31st best player on MLB Network's Top 100 list on February 24. so how on earth is he 80th here? for whatever reason, BBTN always has Michael (and other Cleveland Indians) further back on their list. but 80? that is such a significant difference! what a joke. stuff like this just keeps adding to my dislike of ESPN. i always say, if you want legit baseball information, your go-to consult should be MLB Network. and that holds true yet again. ESPN is simply not as educated when it comes to baseball. sorry, not sorry.
Michael wasn't the only Indians player to make BBTN's Top 100 list, but their rankings are quite surprising compared to where Michael placed:
--Carlos Carrasco made his debut and was ranked ahead of Michael at #79. (don't get me started.) for comparison's sake, he was ranked at #74 on MLB Network's Top 100 this year.
--Jason Kipnis made the list at #66. he ranked at #52 on MLB Network's list. (no way is he a better player than Michael.)
--Francisco Lindor made his debut at #65. he made his debut on MLB Network's Top 100 at #42. (this kid hasn't even played a full season in the big leagues yet and he's already 15 spots ahead of Michael here? GTFO.)
--Corey Kluber was the highest ranked Indians player at #34. he ranked #30 on MLB Network's list. (yeah okay, i'm fine with this ranking.)
the fact that Michael ranked last out of all the Indians on this list is disgusting nonsense and quite frankly a sham.
this is normally the part where i congratulate Michael and the rest of his teammates on their placement in this list, but these rankings are so ridiculous, i just can't do it. clearly i'm not happy about Baseball Tonight's ranking of Michael, but
i'm not gonna to be throwing my laptop around over it. i will say,
however, that ESPN needs to find some better "experts" when they do this
list next year because the ones polled this year should be ashamed of themselves.
the full BBTN Top 100 can be found online, starting here. what do you think about it (so far) this year? do you like MLB Network's list better? leave me a comment below!
PS--i have some very exciting Brantley news coming up in my next blog (i promise), which i plan to post in a few short hours! stay tuned!