MLB Network's yearly ranking of the Top 100 Players Right Now has been released, and, as to be expected, a bevy of comments and commentary has followed in its wake...Twitter, Facebook, our various fellow SB Nation baseball blogs and now here, at Fish Stripes!
Perusing the entire list, I can't find much to be upset about. You can make an argument that certain players should be on the list but it's hard to find someone who didn't, at least, have a good year last year. At a minimum, it's an acceptable snapshot of who the game's great players are, right now, heading into the 2016 season.
Three Miami Marlins made this list this go-round, the same number that made the list in 2015 and one more than in 2014. By a quick and dirty count, it appears that the Red Sox and Cubs came away with six players apiece, most on the list this year. In case you don't think three Marlins is that many, note that the Reds came away with just one player (Joey Votto) and the Padres, alongside fellow NL East teams Philadelphia and Atlanta, had no representation on the list.
So who were the players representing the Marlins? Batá drum roll, please.
93. Jose Fernandez:
The Marlins ace comes in at number 93 on this year's list, down thirteen spots from his previous ranking of number 80 on 2015's list, and way down from his heady number 18 ranking in 2014. When discussing him while breaking down the 100-81 picks on the list, the network noted that he was the first starting pitcher to appear on the list. Another way to look at it is that he was the last starting pitcher to make the cut-off. Injuries have taken a toll on his perceived standing; it's a testament to his raw talent and the quality of the innings that he has pitched that he even remains on the list at all. I don't think there's any question that he'll be ranked significantly higher if we get the full José Fernández experience in 2016.
41. Dee Gordon:
Flash Jr. makes his debut on the Top 100 list at number 41. Dee could not have had a better debut season with the Fish, hitting .333/.359/.418, swiping 58 bases, winning the NL Batting Title, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards for second base. The Marlins rewarded him with a five year, $50 million dollar extension in the off-season, so he'll be doing his thing for the Marlins for awhile yet. It's unlikely Gordon wins a batting title again, but he should maintain a respectable average while stealing a ton of bases and playing above average defense at second base.
14. Giancarlo Stanton:
The Marlins' top ranked player is Stanton, who moves down ten spots from his number four ranking in 2015 but up six from his No. 20 ranking in 2014. He was like teammate Fernández in two regards: He spent much of 2015 injured, and when he did play, he was fantastic. He was worth 3.8 fWAR last season and is projected via Steamer to be worth 5.1 fWAR this year, playing 54 more games then he appeared in previously (cross your fingers). A healthy Stanton has the ability to be this season's home run king, and if that happens, he might snag that No. 1 overall spot on next year's top 100. Below is a video of Stanton's homerun in (out) of Dodger Stadium last year, which also doubles as the probable moment when Don Mattingly decided he'd be coming over to Miami in the off-season.
Christian Yelich, who appeared at #79 in last season's Top 100, did not feature this season. He is still, by all accounts, a swell guy, though.