Player’s View: Who’s the Best in the Game?

A question was recently asked of  14 players. It doesn’t have an easy answer. Given the subjectivity involved, it doesn’t even have a right answer.

Who is the best player in the game?

Their responses are listed below in alphabetical order.

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Michael Bowden, Chicago Cubs pitcher: “Miguel Cabrera.” [No elaboration.]

Jackie Bradley, Jr. Boston Red Sox outfielder: “The best player in baseball is Mike Trout. He’s got the overall package. It’s not just hitting — and he can definitely hit — but also his defense and his base paths. He’s got the whole package.”

Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles infielder: “Miguel Cabrera. We’re talking about a guy who might win the triple crown again this year. It’s ridiculous that he did it last year and might do it again. He’s hitting about .350 and he’s not even 100 percent healthy. I’d say he’s definitely the best player in baseball right now.”

Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins infielder; “Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter. He separates himself from every other hitter in this league, because he hits for both power and average, which is tough to do. As far as offensive categories, he’s definitely the best. As good as Mike Trout is, he’s also only in his second year. Miggy has been doing it for 10 years. It’s not like he plays a bad third base, either. I‘d have to go with Miggy as the best player in the game.”

Brian Duensing, Minnesota Twins pitcher; “Miguel Cabrera. Personally, I don’t know if it’s possible to get him out. He plays a decent third base. He has a lot of power and can hit to any part of the field. It’s tough to say [best] in all of baseball, because we don’t see the National League guys as much, but Cabrera is the first player that comes to mind.”

Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays outfielder: “Mike Trout. He dominates in all three facets of the game: hitting, baserunning and defense. He looks and runs like an NFL linebacker but possesses as good a set of baseball skills as just about anyone in the game.”

Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers infielder: “Miguel Cabrera. Absolutely. He’s the best hitter, and he’s pretty good defensively, too.”

Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher: “I’ve got to say Miguel Cabrera. He’s the biggest threat there is at the plate, and he plays a good enough third base. He puts the team on his back. He has presence. When you play them, you circle his name on the lineup card.”

Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher: “Mike Trout. Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in the game, no doubt, but Mike Trout is the best player.”

Adam Lind, Toronto Blue jays outfielder: “Mike Trout, I guess, if you’re going to go with overall. He does everything.”

Nate McLouth, Baltimore Orioles outfielder: “I think Mike Trout is. He can do everything. There are a handful of guys you could pick, but as far as all-around game, he’s the best there is.”

Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants outfielder: “I think it’s safe to say it’s between Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera. WAR? I think it’s kind of a silly statistic. I don’t even know what factors are involved. I remember reading about it a while ago and seeing that you can lose points for the position you play. I don’t understand all that stuff. If I was to look at what I think helps wins games, it’s run production: RBI and runs scored. OPS is a powerful stat, and stealing bases, and defense. That’s what I would look at. It’s fun to analyze that stuff, though.”

Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants catcher: “Can I have two? Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. Is that a pretty common answer? It would be a tough call there.”

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Boston Red Sox catcher: “If you’re talking all-around player, it’s Mike Trout. He plays good defense, steals bases, hits for power, hits for average. If you’re talking best hitter, even if he’s mediocre at his position, you’ve got Miguel Cabrera. He’s just an unbelievable hitter. But best overall player, Mike Trout.”

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FINAL TALLY

Mike Trout: Seven votes (Bradley, Fuld, Kershaw, Lind, McLouth, Pence ½, Posey ½, Saltalamacchia)

Miguel Cabrera: Seven votes (Bowden, Davis, Dozier, Duensing, Gonzalez, Janssen, Pence ½, Posey ½)

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Note: Thanks to Eno Sarris for procuring the quotes from Adrian Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw, Hunter Pence and Buster Posey, and to Brandon Warne of ESPN Minnesota for procuring the quotes from Brian Dozier and Brian Duensing.



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David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Mass. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from February 2006-March 2011 and is a regular contributor to several publications. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA.


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