Advertisement

If Manny Machado signs with the White Sox, he instantly would become Chicago's best player, according to these rankings

Javier Baez is the best Major League Baseball player in Chicago — for now.

The Cubs middle infielder, who finished second to the Brewers’ Christian Yelich for the National League MVP award last season, is No. 29 on MLB Network’s “Top 100 Right Now” rankings for 2019. According to MLB.com, the network’s research team and show producers compile the list annually using statistical analysis.

Advertisement

The top 100 includes three other Cubs: Third baseman Kris Bryant is No. 32, first baseman Anthony Rizzo No. 34 and left-handed pitcher Jon Lester No. 98. Two-time All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu is the lone White Sox player on the list — at No. 77 — but that could change in the coming days (or weeks?).

Sox free-agent target Manny Machado is No. 14, one spot ahead of Bryce Harper, who also is a free agent. So if Machado chooses the Sox, he would become the city’s best player, according to this list.

Baez, 26, enjoyed a breakout 2018 season, hitting .290 with 34 home runs and an NL-leading 111 RBIs and an .881 OPS — all career highs. He vaulted into the top 30 after being unranked last year. Bryant dropped 24 spots from No. 8, Rizzo dropped 11 spots from 23rd, and Lester was unranked. Abreu fell 39 spots from No. 38 in 2018.

Also of note: Chris Sale, who spent his first seven seasons on the South Side before being traded to the Red Sox in December 2016, is ranked 13th. Sale picked up the save in the Red Sox’s World Series-clinching victory last season, striking out the side in Game 5 against the Dodgers — including Machado on a wicked slider for the final out.

The top 10

1. Mike Trout, Angels OF (2018 rank: 1)

2. Mookie Betts, Red Sox OF (19)

3. Nolan Arenado, Rockies 3B (7)

4. Francisco Lindor, Indians SS (17)

5. Max Scherzer, Nationals SP (11)

6. Jose Altuve, Astros 2B (2)

7. Alex Bregman, Astros 3B (57)

8. Christian Yelich, Brewers OF (46)

9. Jose Ramirez, Indians 3B (22)

Advertisement

10. Jacob deGrom, Mets SP (52)

Twitter @ChrisBoghossian

Advertisement
Advertisement