|photo courtesy of ESPN.com|
MLBRank's Top 100 countdown commenced today and will run through June 30. each morning, 20 players will be posted on ESPN.com, starting with #100-81 and going all the way down to #20-1. (previously, players were
revealed in increments of 10 over 10 days on the BBTN list, with the Top 10 being announced on a TV special.)
MLBRank was formed as a result of ESPN collaborating with Microsoft Research and The Wharton School. a panel containing 65 ESPN experts (down from 70 last year) was polled over seven days in June based on a list of 167 Major League players (down from 350). these experts--comprised of MLB writers, analysts, contributors, and Insiders--considered both the quality and quantity of a player's contributions to his team's ability to win games as they voted in thousands of head-to-head matchups.
today, on June 26, MLBRank's Top 100 had Michael ranked as the 81st best player in baseball right now. i'm not surprised Michael falls on the early portion of the countdown given that he practically missed all of last year due to shoulder and biceps issues. had this list been constructed during spring like it normally is, Michael may not have even made it at all because no one knew for sure what kind of player he would be when he returned to the field. so them voting in June probably helped Michael here, but still, this is his worst ranking since he's been on any of ESPN's Top 100 lists and i think he should have been ranked somewhere in the #80-61 range.
that said, i tend not to put much stock in what ESPN has to say when it comes to baseball. i much prefer listening to the guys over at MLB Network who eat, sleep, and breathe baseball. and speaking of, MLBN ranked Michael 74th on their Top 100 back on February 15. it seems MLB Network always has a tendency to rank Michael in superior spots on their lists than any list that ESPN puts out, and that might play a part in why i like them more.😛
for comparison's sake, here are Michael's ranks from BBTN & MLBN's last three Top 100s:
going into 2016, BBTN ranked Michael 80th and MLBN ranked him 31st.
going into 2015, BBTN ranked Michael 43rd (in his Top 100 debut) and MLBN ranked him 21st (debut).
going into 2014, BBTN did not rank Michael on the Top 100 and neither did MLBN.
so you can see how ESPN has always undervalued Michael compared to MLB Network. and it's not just Michael--this typically happens with the other Cleveland Indians players as well. and that's why i personally encourage anyone seeking baseball information to get it from MLBN because, again, all their focus is on baseball and they know what they're talking about.
now let's take a look at where Michael's teammates placed on MLBRank's Top 100:
Jason Kipnis ranked at #95 (vs. 76th on MLBN's list). last year, BBTN ranked him 66th.
Jose Ramirez ranked at #83 in his debut (vs. not ranked on MLBN's list.)
Edwin Encarnacion ranked at #69 (vs. 26th on MLBN's list). last year, BBTN ranked him 38th.
Carlos Carrasco ranked at #51 (vs. 75th on MLBN's list). last year, BBTN ranked him 79th in his debut.
Andrew Miller ranked at #36 (vs. 38th on MLBN's list). last year, BBTN ranked him 52nd.
Corey Kluber ranked at #29 (vs. 25th on MLBN's list). last year, BBTN ranked him 34th.
Francisco Lindor ranked at #11 (vs. 19th on MLBN's list). last year, BBTN ranked him 65th in his debut.
note: Carlos Santana did not rank on this list (vs. 93rd on MLBN's list). last year, BBTN did not rank him either.
as always, ESPN has several Indians down many spots on their list when compared to MLB Network's list. and honestly, now that we're about three months into the season already, some of these rankings look really bad. (sorry, but Frankie's performance thus far does not warrant a spot at #11 right now.) but congratulations to Michael and all the Indians who made it on this year's Top 100 anyway! it's an honor just to be mentioned, now go prove those ESPN experts wrong and do BETTER!
really the only similarity between the two Top 100 lists comes from the inclusion of position players and pitchers from both the American and National Leagues. there's a large pool of guys to choose from to rank and that will be cause disagreements over the results.
so what are your thoughts? were there any snubs? did MLBRank place someone too high or too low on their list? and do you, like me, prefer MLB Network's Top 100 over this one? let me know in a comment below!
MLBRank also posted that it will be unveiling their Top 10 players by position on June 30. i am extremely interested to see where Michael is ranked on the Top 10 Left Fielders list.
ICYMI: Michael has just been activated from the 10-Day DL after dealing with a right ankle sprain and is scheduled to start in left field in tomorrow night's game versus the Texas Rangers and bat 3rd. be sure to follow me on twitter @clevelandgirl23 for information about all his plate appearances and other news regarding Michael throughout the rest of this season!
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