The hot corner. One of the hardest positions to play in the league but if you can play it well, you will be considered one of the most electric players in the game. The combination of arm strength, quick instincts and hand eye coordination needed to play this position is no easy task and these 5 guys have just that and then some. These 5 super star players also have the ability to swing the sticks and we start with a player from the land, who had somewhat of a surprising year last season and definitely has grasped the media’s attention.
5. José Ramírez – CLE Indians
José Ramírez had a decent 2016 season where he hit for just over .300 and knocked in 76 runs. He was a decent player, but wasn’t considered as anything special. Then during the 2017 season Ramirez became a superstar. His bat exploded for a career high 29 HR, knocked in 83 runs and batting for a staggering average of .318. This not only earned Ramirez an all star game starting spot, but also an AL MVP finalist nomination. The season however, was followed by a disappointing postseason for Ramirez which is why he lands here at number 5 on our list. The greats shine when the lights are the brightest and Ramirez shows that he is not quite on that level yet. I expect him to have a good 2018 season, but have a small drop off from his historic 2017 campaign. I like him batting for over .300 for the the third straight season, driving in right around 80 runs and hitting around 25-30 HR. Ramirez’s production will be crucial to the Indians this year and he will need to learn how to hit in the playoffs if they want to win a pennant any time soon.
4. Manny Machado – BAL Orioles
I love me some Manny Machado man. The Dominican star athlete can do it all and takes the diamond like he owns it night in and night out. He is dripping with swagger and fields his positions with a freaking grace. I really would like to put Machado at number one but the numbers are just not good enough to be given the top spot. Machado is a great power hitter and finished the 2017 season with 33 HR and 95 RBIs but where he struggled was with his BA where he finished batting a measly .259. If he can get those BA numbers up he is one of the elite players we have in the league without question, but I just cannot compare him to a guy like Nolan Arenado when he is batting barely over .250. That being said, I think he will improve and have him finishing the year with a .275 BA, hitting 35 HR and driving in 110 runs. He is also going to play some SS this year which is his natural position so I think he will win a gold glove at either the 3B or SS position. Machado is must see TV and I strongly suggest that you check him out at some point during this upcoming season.
3. Josh Donaldson – TOR Blue Jays
Since being acquired from Oakland during the 2015 season, Josh Donaldson has had a huge impact to the Blue Jays organization and has in many ways, turned them into contenders. Donaldson is one of the best power hitters in the league and has one of the most explosive swings you will ever see. Donaldson finished the 2017 season with a .270 BA, hit 33 homers and drove in 78 runs. Some may say that Donaldson is starting to decline slightly by that he hit 41 homers and drove in 123 in 2015, but he is still producing big power numbers and is a prize to have in the middle of the lineup. I think Donaldson will have a huge year during this upcoming season and like him hitting for a .280 BA, hitting 40 homers and driving in 110 runs. I just have that gut feeling that this slugger is going to have a HUGE year.
2. Kris Bryant – CHI Cubs
Kris Bryant has only played 3 seasons in the majors, but has already established himself as one of the purest hitters in the entire game. Bryant was one of the most hyped up prospects of all time and for good reason and his athleticism is like no other. Bryant finished the 2017 season with a .295 BA, 162 hits, 29 HR, and 73 RBIs. He is also a hell of a defensive third baseman and has a cannon for an arm. I think Bryant will have a monster season this year and have him finishing with a .310 BA, have him hitting 30 to 35 homers and have him driving in 90 runs. With a baseball IQ as high as Bryant’s and with him being so young, we are going to have to get used to him because this guy could very well be one of the faces of baseball in the upcoming years.
1. Nolan Arenado – COL Rockies
Nolan Arenado is the superstar we dream about. The type of guy who is a 5 tool athlete. The type of player that can drive in runs, hit for power, run the bases well, hit for average and field his position better than we have ever seen. Nolan Arenado is literally the guy you create on a video game. The fact that Arenado did not win the 2017 NL MVP was an absolute farce. Like they say numbers never lie and the numbers were clearly there for Arenado. He finished the year with a .309 BA, collected 187 hits, scored 100 runs, drove in 130 runs and hit 37 HR. He also won his 5th Gold Glove award. The crazy thing about Arenado is that he produces these numbers year in and year out and this guy deserves an MVP award more than anyone. I think this will finally be the year he does it however, as I have Arenado having a huge 2018 campaign, hitting for .315, driving in 135 and hitting 40 HR. If those numbers don’t win him the MVP this season I don’t know what will.