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MLBRank 100-51: Impressive young stars move up the rankings

From ESPN - April 17, 2018

Who are the best players going to be in Major League Baseball for the 2018 season? To determine this, ESPN formed a panel of MLB writers, analysts, contributors and Insiders to rank the top 100. We polled almost 40 experts who voted from a list of just under 300 players.

We are starting with Nos. 100-51, which includes 23 new players from last season's top 100. We will reveal Nos. 50-1 on Wednesday. We have included Dan Szymborski's preseason ZiPS projected WAR for every player, starting with a young Phillies pitcher.

No. 100: Aaron Nola, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 4.3

Did you know?

When Nola started for the Phillies on Opening Day, he was 24 years and 298 days old. He was the youngest Phillies Opening Day starter since Dennis Bennett in 1964. He earned that with a 3.54 ERA in 2017 that by far led Phillies starters. -- ESPN Stats & Information

No. 99: Chris Taylor, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 2.7

Did you know?

Taylor completed his first full season with the Dodgers as far more than an injury replacement, finishing among the top three in on-base percentage (.354) and slugging percentage (.496) on a roster with no shortage of young stars. The question remains as to whether he can do it again, as his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was the highest on the team (.361). -- Riley Foreman, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 98: Ender Inciarte, CF, Atlanta Braves

2017 rank: 94

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 3.4

Did you know?

Inciarte can do it with the bat and the glove. From 2015 to 2017, he's one of just six players with both a .300 batting average (minimum 500 PA) and at least one Gold Glove. Last season, he became the first Brave to collect at least 200 hits in a season since Marquis Grissom in 1996 and just the fourth player to do so since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966. -- Evan Wildstein, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 97: Kyle Seager, 3B, Seattle Mariners

2017 rank: 60

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 4.4

Did you know?

Only four position players in Mariners history have a higher WAR than Seager -- Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro Suzuki and his current hitting coach, Edgar Martinez. While "Corey's Brother" may not be the flashiest name in Seattle, his preseason 4.4 ZiPS projected WAR in 2018 is a full win better than any of his teammates. -- Foreman, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 96: Kevin Kiermaier, CF, Tampa Bay Rays

2017 rank: 82

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 3.3

Did you know?

From 2015 to 2017, no player in the majors had more defensive runs saved than Kiermaier's 89. In that time, the second most belonged to Andrelton Simmons (75). It's the most defensive runs saved in a three-year span since Simmons had 94 from 2013 to 2015 (note -- Kiermaier injured his thumb Sunday and could miss 8-12 weeks). -- Matt Willis, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 95: Jean Segura, SS, Seattle Mariners

2017 rank: 93

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 2.1

Did you know?

Since the start of 2016, only four players in the majors have hit over .300 and stolen more than 50 bases -- Segura, Trea Turner, Mike Trout, and Jos Altuve. The latter two have been named American League MVP in that span. -- Foreman, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 94: Michael Fulmer, RHP, Detroit Tigers

2017 rank: 78

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 2.9

Did you know?

In Fulmer's first two major league seasons (2016-17), he ranked fifth among AL pitchers with 0.81 homers per nine innings, and led the league in that category in 2017 (0.71). The 2016 AL Rookie of the Year made his first All-Star appearance in 2017. -- Sopan Shah, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 93: Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Washington Nationals

2017 rank: 32

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 0.8

Did you know?

Zimmerman is one of the most prolific players in Nationals/Expos franchise history. He has the most home runs and RBIs of any player to wear either uniform, and has the second-most career games played. And he got to those records with a resurgent 2017 that included a career-high 36 home runs and 108 RBIs, his second-most ever and most since 2006, when he finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 92: A.J. Pollock, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 3.4

Did you know?

Despite being hampered by injuries, Pollock has shown that he can be a five-tool player when healthy. In his one complete season in 2015, Pollock hit 20 homers with 39 stolen bases, while batting .315 and winning a Gold Glove. -- Wildstein, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 91: DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Colorado Rockies

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 2.1

Did you know?

LeMahieu has been a hit machine the past few seasons, collecting 551 hits from 2015 to 2017, fourth most in MLB. LeMahieu was the 2016 NL batting champ, and has hit .319 over the previous three seasons, third best in baseball. -- John McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 90: Rhys Hoskins, LF, Philadelphia Phillies

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 3.6

Did you know?

In his rookie season Hoskins slugged 18 homers in just 50 games. Prior to that, the most home runs by a player who played in 50 or fewer games was 14, done by Sam Horn in 1987. -- McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 89: Carlos Santana, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 3.3

Did you know?

Santana is one of six players to play in 150-plus games in each season since 2013 (Kyle Seager, Nick Markakis, Evan Longoria, Robinson Can and Jos Altuve are the others). Since entering the league in 2010, Santana is one of three players to record five seasons with at least 85 walks and 20 home runs, along with Joey Votto (six) and Jos Bautista (five). -- ESPN Stats & Information

No. 88: Yasiel Puig, RF, Los Angeles Dodgers

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 3.2

Did you know?

Puig quietly put together one of the best seasons of his career in 2017, setting career highs for homers (28) and stolen bases (15) while posting an .833 OPS. The underlying numbers support his improvement, too -- he set career bests with a 17.5 K percentage and 11.2 walk percentage -- Wildstein, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 87: Wade Davis, RP, Colorado Rockies

2017 rank: 65

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 1.7

Did you know?

Few pitchers have been as effective out of the bullpen than Davis in recent years, and that's in part due to limiting the long ball. Only 0.9 percent of batters faced homered off Davis from 2014 to 2017, tied with Zach Britton for the lowest rate in the majors. -- McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 86: Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinals

2017 rank: 77

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 2.6

Did you know?

Molina's eight career Gold Gloves ranks third among catchers. Last year, Molina had one of his more productive seasons with the bat. His 82 RBIs were a career high, and his 18 home runs were his most since he finished fourth in the MVP race in 2012. -- Mackenzie Kraemer, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 85: Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox

2017 rank: 38

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 3.2

Did you know?

Few shortstops produce with the bat the way Bogaerts does. From 2015 to 2017, Bogaerts posted a 12.8 offensive WAR (oWAR). The only regular shortstop with a higher oWAR in that span was Carlos Correa. Bogaerts hit .296 with a .352 OBP in that time (note -- on the DL with an ankle injury). -- McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 84: Archie Bradley, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 1.7

Did you know?

Bradley posted a 5.18 ERA in 34 starts in the majors before shifting to the bullpen, a move that has given him new life. Bradley posted a 1.73 ERA in 73 innings out of the pen last season, fifth best among NL relievers. -- McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 83: Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

2017 rank: 23

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 2.0

Did you know?

Cabrera finally showed signs of slowing down last season as he posted career lows in batting average (.249) and OPS (.728). Even if he does not return to his Triple Crown ways, a slight increase in those numbers would still make an effective everyday hitter. -- McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 82: Gerrit Cole, RHP, Houston Astros

2017 rank: 92

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 2.9

Did you know?

Cole posted a career-worst 4.26 ERA last season, but beneath the surface, his season was much closer to the first four of his career. After allowing home runs on 6.8 percent of fly balls in his first four seasons, he allowed homers on 11.8 percent of fly balls in 2017. Combining that bad luck with his second career 200-inning season, Cole managed to end up with the second-highest WAR of his career (2.8). -- Mills, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 81: David Price, LHP, Boston Red Sox

2017 rank: 61

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 3.4

Did you know?

Price is one of seven pitchers to record five seasons or more of at least 200 strikeouts and double-digit victories in the past 10 seasons -- others are Justin Verlander (7), Clayton Kershaw (7), Flix Hernndez (6), Zack Greinke (6), Max Scherzer (6) and Chris Sale (5). -- Brendan DeAngelis, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 80: Cody Allen, RP, Cleveland Indians

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 1.7

Did you know?

Since becoming the Indians' primary closer in 2014, Allen has consistently performed at a high level. He and Kenley Jansen are the only pitchers to record at least 20 saves with an ERA under 3.00 in each of the previous four seasons, owning a strong 12.1 K/9 innings pitched in that span as well. -- Wildstein, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 79: J.T. Realmuto, C, Miami Marlins

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 2.8

Did you know?

One of the last men standing after the Marlins' offseason rebuild, Realmuto finished fourth among catchers in WAR last season (3.6). He is second among backstops in hits during the past two seasons, and he has impressive athleticism for a catcher, stealing at least eight bases in each of the past three seasons (note -- on the DL with a back injury). -- Kraemer, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 78: Tommy Pham, CF, St. Louis Cardinals

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 3.3

Did you know?

Only three players hit 20 home runs, stole 20 bases and hit .300 last season: two-time MVP Mike Trout, 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve and Pham. Prior to Pham in 2017, no Cardinal had ever posted a 20-20-.300 season. -- McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 77: Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins

2017 rank: 34

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 2.7

Did you know?

San was an All-Star for the first time last season, becoming the youngest Twins third baseman to make the All-Star team since Rich Rollins in 1962. San also had a 92.3 mph average exit velocity in 2017, the fourth highest of any player with at least 100 batted ball results. -- Harrison Marder, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 76: Didi Gregorius, SS, New York Yankees

2017 rank: NR

ZiPS projected 2018 WAR: 2.2

Did you know?

Last season, Gregorius posted career highs in home runs (25), RBIs (87), OPS (.796), and runs (73). Gregorius also came up big in October, when he became the first player in MLB history with three home runs in winner-take-all games during the same postseason.-- Marder, ESPN Stats & Information

No. 75: Jose Quintana, LHP, Chicago Cubs

No. 74: Willson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs

No. 73: James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners

No. 72: Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers

No. 71: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

No. 70: Lorenzo Cain, CF, Milwaukee Brewers

No. 69: Yoenis Cespedes, LF, New York Mets

No. 68: Kyle Hendricks, RHP, Chicago Cubs

No. 67: Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Baltimore Orioles

No. 66: Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals

No. 65: Jake Arrieta, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

No. 64: Eric Hosmer, 1B, San Diego Padres

No. 63: Daniel Murphy, 2B, Washington Nationals

No. 62: Jon Lester, LHP, Chicago Cubs

No. 61: Andrew Benintendi, LF, Boston Red Sox

No. 60: Brian Dozier, 2B, Minnesota Twins

No. 59: Andrelton Simmons, SS, Los Angeles Angels

No. 58: Justin Upton, LF, Los Angeles Angels

No. 57: Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros

No. 56: Byron Buxton, CF, Minnesota Twins

No. 54: Aroldis Chapman, RP, New York Yankees

No. 54: Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

No. 53: Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants

No. 52: Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Los Angeles Angels

No. 51: Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

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