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Ranking MLB's 10 Most Valuable Individual Players

David CattaiContributor IIIFebruary 25, 2014

Ranking MLB's 10 Most Valuable Individual Players

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    Who is baseball's most valuable individual?
    Who is baseball's most valuable individual?Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    The MLB's MVP award is given to the player who encompasses the biggest impact to his individual ball club. Players like Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols and many more have received this prestigious honor throughout their careers.

    Instead of predicting who will contend for the award this season, I decided to take a look at the MLB's most valuable individuals. The players who impact their team's chances of being contenders throughout the season.

    Though some of the selections will surprise you, they need to be looked at through the importance of their role on the roster.

    Without further ado, here are the MLB's most valuable individuals.

    Note: All stats are collected from FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference unless noted otherwise.

Honorable Mentions

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    Don't worry, Ryan Howard, you are still important to your team.
    Don't worry, Ryan Howard, you are still important to your team.Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    When you are talking about a team being successful and how much a certain player means to a team, there are a few names that come to mind.

    These five players just missed the cut on the top 10, but they don't deserve to go unmentioned. These players are each important to their team's success, which is why they are the most valuable individual players to their perspective teams:

    • David Ortiz
    • Josh Donaldson
    • Ryan Howard
    • Felix Hernandez
    • Chris Davis

10. Paul Goldschmidt

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    The Diamondbacks have a player that is still improving, yet he is there most important on the roster.
    The Diamondbacks have a player that is still improving, yet he is there most important on the roster.Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Paul Goldschmidt probably would have won the National League MVP Award last season if the Arizona Diamondbacks had made the playoffs, but a second-place finish isn't too shabby.

    The Diamondbacks slugger led the National League in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and OPS last season. He also won a Gold Glove award.

    The only way Arizona makes the playoffs is if Goldschmidt is in the lineup and producing. He begins our list at No. 10.

9. Buster Posey

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    The former NL MVP is a cornerstone to the success in San Francisco.
    The former NL MVP is a cornerstone to the success in San Francisco.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    The 2012 NL MVP wasn't as dominant in 2013 as many believed he would be. But it doesn't mean that 2014 won't have a different story.

    Buster Posey plays the toughest position in the infield and plays it well. He is continuously called on to call for the correct pitch at the correct time, as well as put up numbers at the dish.

    If Posey can rebound offensively in 2014 and help the San Francisco Giants contend for the NL West, he'll probably be a candidate for the MVP once again. He is extremely important to a team that lacks offensive production.

8. Troy Tulowitzki

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    Troy Tulowitzki is always an NL MVP candidate when healthy.
    Troy Tulowitzki is always an NL MVP candidate when healthy.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Troy Tulowitzki is still the best all-around shortstop in the game when he's healthy.

    The All Star slashed .312/.391/.540 while adding 27 doubles, 25 home runs and 82 RBI despite missing a month of baseball last season.

    Tulo will compete for a National League MVP if he can stay on the field. He will be the main reason if the Rockies make the postseason in the near future.

7. Evan Longoria

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    When he is in the lineup, the Rays do nothing but good things on the ball field.
    When he is in the lineup, the Rays do nothing but good things on the ball field.Mike Carlson/Associated Press

    How many times have you heard "If Evan Longoria could just stay healthy..."?

    Well, it's true.

    Longoria is one of the league's best and most valuable individuals when he on the field. He was a catalyst in the Tampa Bay Rays' World Series appearance in 2008, and he will be a catalyst in the 2014 season if he can play more than 140 games for the Rays.

6. Clayton Kershaw

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    Kershaw isn't just the most important player on the Dodgers roster, he's the best pitcher in all of baseball.
    Kershaw isn't just the most important player on the Dodgers roster, he's the best pitcher in all of baseball.David J. Phillip/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Clayton Kershaw is the highest-ranked and only pitcher in the top 10. It's obvious why. The MLB's best pitcher must be the the most valuable individual on his team.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers will be a powerhouse in the National League during the 2014 season, and a lot of their success will be thanks to Kershaw.

    He always puts his team in a position to win because he holds his opponents to low batting averages and limits their chances of scoring. He finished seventh in the NL MVP voting in 2013, but he is the Dodgers' most valuable individual.

5. Joey Votto

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    Cincinnati's best hitter is its most important player.
    Cincinnati's best hitter is its most important player.Al Behrman/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Joey Votto has been one of the most consistent players in baseball for the past five years.

    He ranked in the top five in on-base percentage in each of the past five years, leading the NL in OBP in three of the past four season, with the exception of 2012, as he was unable to qualify due to injury.

    He can hit for power and for average. He makes everyone in the lineup around him better, especially players like Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce. Having that much of an impact on a team's lineup is a prime example of why Votto is the Reds' most valuable individual.

4. Matt Carpenter

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    Matt Carpenter does it all for the St. Louis Cardinals.
    Matt Carpenter does it all for the St. Louis Cardinals.Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Matt Carpenter is the surprise pick for the top five on this list.

    What is shocking, though, is that teammate Yadier Molina is not on the list. Molina is an MVP-caliber player, but some of the numbers that the Cardinals put up do not happen without the St. Louis Cardinals' 2013 catalyst.

    Carpenter recorded 199 hits, including 55 doubles, and scored 126 runs while hitting .318, all of which ranked among the leaders in the National League. He also finished fourth in NL MVP voting.

    Carpenter spent time as the Cardinals' leadoff hitter, and he played four positions over the course of the season. He truly will be important to the team's success in 2014. That is why he is in the top five on the list.

3. Miguel Cabrera

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    A possible transition back to first base has Miguel Cabrera nothing but smiles.
    A possible transition back to first base has Miguel Cabrera nothing but smiles.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Miguel Cabrera is 30 years old. It doesn't feel like he's been in baseball for about 11 years, but he has. The young veteran is coming off his second consecutive MVP season in the American League.

    The Detroit Tigers will need Cabrera to continue being the most-feared hitter in baseball, especially with the departure of Prince Fielder this offseason.

    Cabrera is a former Triple Crown winner. It would be tough to not have the best hitter in the game on this lest. Cabrera comes in at No. 3.

2. Andrew McCutchen

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    Andrew McCutchen was a catalyst for the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates playoff berth.
    Andrew McCutchen was a catalyst for the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates playoff berth.Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    The Pittsburgh Pirates wouldn't be anything special if it weren't for their catalyst, their spark plug, Andrew McCutchen.

    The reigning National League MVP hit .311 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI in 2013, pacing himself with a .911 OPS as well.

    The Pirates would be nowhere with him. There would not be a playoff berth. They would not have had a winning season. They would be another average team.

    McCutchen makes the Pirates a special team in the NL. He will continue to do the same in 2014.

1. Mike Trout

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    MLB's Greek god of WAR is the most important individual on any MLB roster.
    MLB's Greek god of WAR is the most important individual on any MLB roster.Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Mike Trout is the most talented, most important and most dynamic player in all of baseball.

    If the Los Angeles Angels want to contend, they are going to need Trout to be in the lineup and producing everyday. Obviously, other things need to go right as well, but without their five-tool All Star, a postseason berth—or any success, for that matter—seems impossible.

    He is MLB's Greek god of WAR for a reason. The young outfielder hit .323 with 27 home runs and 97 RBI last season. He even scored 109 runs. His 10.4 WAR led the majors in 2013.

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