Albert Pujols and the Best Player on Each MLB Team
Each MLB team has one player that stands above the rest of the team. Their talent is obvious, as they put up consistently great numbers and are clutch in every sense of the word. They lead their team through bad streaks and good, and win numerous awards. Many of these players may be future Hall of Famers, while many are just producing in the prime of their career, but are soon to disappear later in their careers. With that said, here are the best players on each MLB Team.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Justin Upton
Justin Upton is by far the most talented player on the Diamondbacks roster. The former National League All-Star already has 72 home runs and 243 RBI in his career, and he is only 23. The young superstar is off to his best start in the majors so far, as he is batting .291 AVG, has 12 HR and 31 RBI. If he manages to keep putting up these numbers, Upton will be a present force in the middle of the Diamondback's lineup for years to come.
Atlanta Braves: Brian McCann
Brian McCann is the best catcher in the National League right now. He is a five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger winner, and he is yet to enter the prime of his career, as he is only 27. With a .290 career average, the former All-Star MVP has emerged as the best hitter in the Braves lineup. With his talent, McCann could one day be known as the best catcher of his generation.
Baltimore Orioles: Nick Markakis
Nick Markakis is one of the best contact hitters in all of baseball. A career .294 hitter, the 27-year-old right fielder has shown the ability to score and drive in runs in the Orioles lineup. Though his power has dropped off in recent years, Markakis still manages to be a force both in the lineup and the field.
Boston Red Sox: Adrian Gonzalez
The Boston Red Sox have a stacked roster, with names such as Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, Carl Crawford, David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis. But the best player on one of MLB's best teams is Adrian Gonzalez. The three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Winner carried the Padres offense for years, hitting over 30 home runs for the last four seasons. A career .289 hitter, Gonzalez can hit for power and contact, while also being an outstanding defender. The Red Sox superstar is off to the best start of his career, as he currently leads the American League in batting average and RBI. He could soon win his first MVP award.
Chicago Cubs: Starlin Castro
The Cubs have a lot of disappointing veterans on their roster, so one of the lone bright spots on their team is 21-year-old Starlin Castro. The young shortstop has shown the Lovable Losers terrific fielding and outstanding hitting, as he has hit over .300 average in his short career. The shortstop has shown the ability to lead off while also hitting in the middle of the order. Castro could be the cornerstone to the Cubs franchise for years to come as they enter a rebuilding phase.
Chicago White Sox: Paul Konerko
Despite his age, Paul Konerko has not slowed down at the plate. He has continued his illustrious career by having MVP-caliber numbers in the last two seasons. The four-time All-Star has 381 career home runs and 1208 career RBI, while establishing himself as one of the greatest White Sox of all time. The veteran first baseman has been the core of the South Siders for years, even leading them to a World Series Championship in 2005.
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
Joey Votto has shown baseball fans his outstanding talent in recent years. The reigning National League MVP has produced at All-Star level. A career .316 hitter, the first baseman has been a huge presence in the middle of an explosive Reds lineup. Over the past three seasons, Votto has produced a 162 game average of .323 AVG, 33 HR and a 111 RBI. Those numbers don't just make him the best player on the Reds, but maybe in all of baseball.
Cleveland Indians: Asdrubal Cabrera
Asdrubal Cabrera has emerged as the best player on the Indians roster this season. He currently leads the Indians in home runs (12) and RBI (43), while placing second in batting average at .298. The young shortstop has provided the Indians with a presence in the middle of the lineup, and he gives them hope for the future.
Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki
Troy Tulowitzki is one of the best shortstops in the league. He has produced at an All-Star level for most of his brief career, and he has shown that he can do it on both sides with his terrific arm and outstanding power hitting. Over the last three seasons, Tulowitzki has produced a line of .298 AVG, 35 HR and 111 RBI, better than any other shortstop in the league.
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in the American League. He constantly puts up MVP-caliber numbers, with a career 162 game average of .313 AVG, 33 HR and 119 RBI. He has never had a full season in the majors without hitting 30 home runs or not driving in 100 runs. The first baseman already has 260 career home runs, 926 RBI and nearly 1500 hits, and he is only 28. Without doubt, Miguel Cabrera is a future Hall of Famer.
Florida Marlins: Josh Johnson
The first pitcher to make the list is Marlins ace Josh Johnson. With so many devastating pitches, the right-hander is known as one of the best starting pitchers in all of MLB. He sports a career 48-23 record with a 2.98 career ERA and 667 K. Josh Johnson has the kind of stuff to make him the next Roy Halladay.
Houston Astros: Hunter Pence
Hunter Pence is the best player by a landslide on a dismal Astros roster. The former All-Star has hit for power and contact over the course of his career, as he has smacked 25 home runs over the last three seasons, while sporting a career batting average of .291. The right fielder is off to the best start of his young career this year, and he has been embroiled in trade rumors, as many competitive teams would like the 28-year-old on their roster.
Kansas City Royals: Billy Butler
Billy Butler is not well known among average baseball fans because he plays in Kansas City. People who do follow him know of his ability to bat like an All-Star year in and year out. The 25-year-old has hit over .300 AVG in each of the last three seasons. He has shown an ability to drive in runs, as he has averaged 85 RBI in the last few years. A career .299 average hitter, Butler is a doubles machine, as he has hit 45 or more doubles in the last two seasons.
Los Angeles Angels: Jered Weaver
Jered Weaver has been absolutely lights out for the last year and a half. Over that span, he has a 21-16 record, a 2.70 ERA and 329 K in just over 333 innings. The right-hander has been dominant and has simply overpowered hitters throughout his career. The former All-Star has turned into one of the best pitchers in the American League.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp
Matt Kemp just edges Clayton Kershaw as the best Dodgers player. The center fielder is off to an unbelievable start to the season, as he is currently first in the National League in home runs, while also being in the top five in batting average and RBI. The former Silver Slugger Award winner is not just in contention for the MVP, but for the Triple Crown.
Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun
Ryan Braun may be the best player in the major leagues right now. In just four years in the MLB, he has made three All-Star appearances, has won three Silver Sluggers and has claimed a NL Rookie of the Year. The Brewers right fielder has shown the ability to do everything on the diamond, and he has emerged as a fan favorite in Milwaukee and beyond. He sports a career line .307 batting average and averages 36 HR and 117 RBI a season. It is only a matter of time until he claims his first MVP award.
Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer
Joe Mauer has been the best catcher in baseball over the last five seasons. Over that span, he has made four All-Star appearances, won four Silver Sluggers, three Gold Gloves, an AL MVP and three batting titles. He is the best hitting catcher of the decade and is also an outstanding fielder. He sports a career .326 average, and has led the Twins to numerous division titles. He may go down as the best Twins player of all time.
New York Mets: Jose Reyes
Although the Mets are full of seasoned veterans with many All-Star appearances, the best player on their roster is Jose Reyes. The former Silver Slugger winner provides energy and enthusiasm to the clubhouse and has shown the ability to be the best leadoff man in baseball. The three-time All-Star is off to a ridiculous start, as he is leading the National League in batting average, hits, triples and multi-hit games, while also being in the top five in runs, doubles and stolen bases. Jose Reyes is the best shortstop in the major leagues right now.
New York Yankees: Robinson Cano
Another team loaded with All-Stars, the Yankees have numerous players who could be the best on the team. However, I have chosen young second baseman Robinson Cano for that honor. At just 28, Cano has already made two All-Star teams, won two Silver Slugger Awards and claimed a Gold Glove. His career batting average stands at .307, and his power has really come through the past few seasons. Cano is the best second baseman in the MLB right now.
Oakland Athletics: Trevor Cahill
Trevor Cahill has emerged as the ace of a young Athletics pitching staff. The 23-year-old is coming off a terrific season that saw him go 18-8 with a 2.70 ERA. The former All-Star has continued his dominant pitching this year, as he remains a bright spot for a struggling Oakland squad.
Philadelphia Phillies: Roy Halladay
The Phillies are another team littered with All-Stars and MVPs, but Roy Halladay stands above the rest. The 34-year-old has made seven All-Star teams and has led the league in wins twice, complete games six times, innings pitched five times and shutouts four times. The two-time Cy Young Award Winner has been one of the premier pitchers in the league for over a decade, but his stuff just keeps getting better.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen is the best player on a young, talented Pirates roster. The 24-year-old center fielder is a terrific fielder and hitter, as he has shown the ability to bat for power and average. A potential future 30/30 guy, the Pittsburgh native has provided a much needed spark in an emerging Pirates lineup.
San Diego Padres: Ryan Ludwick
Despite being a playoff contender last season, the Padres have fallen off the map. They hold the league's worst offense, but without Ryan Ludwick, it could be even more devastating for Padres fans. The right fielder currently leads the Padres in home runs and RBI, and places third in batting average.
San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum
The defending World Series Champions boast one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, led by perennial ace Tim Lincecum. "The Freak" has had an unbelievable start to his career, winning at least 15 games and leading the league in strikeouts in each season, while also claiming two National League Cy Young Awards. The star right-hander led his team to the World Series last season, dominating hitters in the postseason and cementing himself as one of the best pitchers in MLB.
Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez
Felix Hernandez has emerged to become one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball. Over the last two-and-a-half seasons, Hernandez has gone a combined 39-22 with a 2.54 ERA and 552 K. King Felix has led the league in wins, ERA and innings pitched in one of the last seasons. King Felix followed his Cy Young runner up season in 2009 with the Cy Young in 2010 and is sure to rack up more awards as he continues his dominance over the rest of the league.
St Louis Cardinals: Albert Pujols
Although the Cardinals have numerous All-Stars on their roster, Albert Pujols reigns supreme. He is just the third player in MLB history to have 10 straight 30 HR and 100 RBI seasons. He has made nine All-Star teams, won six Silver Slugger Awards, two Gold Gloves, a National League Rookie of the Year and three NL MVPs. His 162 game average is a ridiculous .329, 42 HR and 127 RBI. The Machine is the best player in MLB, and he has been for most of the decade. He could be the best right-handed batter in the history of baseball.
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria
Evan Longoria has already made three All-Star teams, won two Gold Gloves, garnered a Silver Slugger and has led his team to a World Series appearance. He has become a fan favorite across baseball, and he appeared on the cover of the video game MLB 2K10. The slugging third baseman has become the American League's best at his position.
Texas Rangers: Josh Hamilton
Despite struggling with injuries and addictions early in his career, Josh Hamilton has become one of the best outfielders in all of baseball. The reigning American League Most Valuable Player and batting champion emerged into the spotlight after the 2008 Home Run Derby, in which he slugged a record number of big flies. The former All-Star led his team to a World Series appearance last season and has a lot of damage left to do before he hangs up his jersey for the final time.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista
Jose Bautista hammered his way into the spotlight last season, as he slugged a Blue Jays record 54 home runs. This season, he has quieted the non-believers by putting together another spectacular campaign. He currently sits at 20 home runs and his average is well above .330. The right-hander has made himself a respected All-Star after years of struggling at the major league level.
Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman
Ryan Zimmerman has become one of the best third baseman in MLB over recent years, as he has made an All-Star team and has won two Silver Sluggers. The 26-year-old provides a terrific presence in the middle of the Nationals order, and he has driven in runs while also hitting for power and average over the course of his career. With newly acquired Jayson Werth hitting behind him, he should be able to put up even better numbers for years to come.