The “best player in baseball” title is usually something that is up for debate, but really hasn’t been in recent years due to the greatness of Los Angeles Angels center field Mike Trout.
In eight full big league seasons, Trout has been named an All-Star each year in addition to winning seven Silver Slugger Awards and finishing in the top two of the American League MVP voting seven times, while winning the award three times.
As time goes by though, other players like L.A. Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers are beginning to enter the conversation. All three players are coming off outstanding 2019 seasons, with Trout winning AL MVP, Bellinger winning National League MVP and the 2018 NL MVP, Yelich, finishing in second due to an injury that cut his season short.
While there’s no denying that all three are great, it is nearly impossible to put one over the others if they continue their 2019 level of production moving forward.
Who better to decide who is the best than a pitcher who has faced them, and arguably the best pitcher in baseball over the last decade has been Clayton Kershaw. During the Dodgers’ Zoom party, Cedric The Entertainer asked Kershaw who is the biggest challenge to face, and he went with Trout and Bellinger over Yelich:
“Mike Trout is the best player in our game right now. Belli is probably right up there too, but I don’t have to face Belli, so I’ll go with Mike. I’ve had a little bit of success against him — I’ve at least kept it in the ballpark. But Mike Trout, man, he’s a special player.”
Other than live batting practice during Spring Training, Kershaw hasn’t faced Bellinger in his career, of course.
Kershaw’s answer was a bit interesting though considering he has had success against Trout (2-for-13 with four strikeouts and three walks), while Yelich has worn him out (9-for-18 with two home runs, five strikeouts and three walks).
Regardless, picking between those three superstars is like splitting hairs, and the game is in a good place for the next decade with them and so many other young stars on the rise looking to claim the “best player in baseball” title.
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