MLB Network ranked their top 100 players right now in baseball and just one player is projected to be better than Yankees star Aaron Judge.
Entering the 2022 season, the MLB Network Top 100 players rankings weren’t released until the beginning of April due to the lockout and subsequent delayed start to the season. In those rankings, though, Yankees superstar Aaron Judge didn’t even crack the Top 10, coming in at 11th, which was ten spots higher than his 2021 ranking.
Despite his 2022 ranking, Judge went on to have one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. Finishing with a .311 average, 62 home runs, and 131 RBI, Judge walked away with 28 of the 30 possible votes to be named the 2022 American League MVP.
The other two first-place AL MVP votes went to the player that the MLB Network ranked as their number one player on their 2023 Top 100 player list: Shohei Ohtani.
Coming off an AL-home run record-setting year, and a nine-year, $360 million contract extension, it still wasn’t enough to impress the MLB Network to rank him above Ohtani in their Top 100 player rankings going into the 2023 season. As impressive as Judge is both at the plate and on the field defensively, Ohtani is at the very least top-three in the league as both a hitter and as a pitcher.
Shohei Ohtani is the only player MLB Network ranked above Aaron Judge
Rounding out the Top 5, MLB Network has Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout falling one spot from his 2022 ranking to No. 3, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts improving two spots to No. 4, and moving up 13 spots from his previous year, San Diego Padres third-baseman Manny Machado in the fifth spot.
Believe it or not, Spring Training is upon us. While their goals and aspirations probably aren’t to land the top spot in MLB Network player rankings, they are the two best players in baseball right now and it will be interesting to see how this season plays out.
Now that he got his well-deserved mega contract, how will Judge follow up his 2022 season? With so much uncertainty with the Angels organization right now, how will Ohtani perform this season? Both storylines will be analyzed closely in 2023.