Flex’s top 50 most important baseball players

Clayton Kershaw

So, we were reading a Boston Globe columnist’s top 50 list of most important baseball players for the new 2016 season. After seeing the retiring David Ortiz at number eight, I was convinced to come up with my own list.

Rather than do it in writing form, I decided to randomly type each one in our off the wall Facebook Group chat. Here it is folks. Unedited. Flex’s top 50 ballplayers for 2016!

1.Jason Heyward-Cubs paid top dollar for outfielder with big WAR to reach World Series.

2.Jake Arrieta-Cubs ace had incredible 2nd half edging Greinke for first NL Cy Young. Can he duplicate 2015?
3.David Price-Big money ace brought into Boston to lead Red Saaahhhxxx to first.
4.Bryce Harper-Is Nats NL MVP star ready to lead talented ball club under Dusty Baker?
5.Zach Greinke-NL Cy runner up leaves Hollywood for Arizona richer with more pressure.
6.Giancarlo Stanton-How much of a impact will Barry Bonds make on baseball’s best slugger in Miami?
7.Clayton Kershaw-The league’s best pitcher has added pressure without Greinke for the Dodgers.
8.Mike Trout-Most dominant player must carry a flawed Angels roster.
9.Dallas Keuchel-Rating AL Cy Young was fantastic last year. Can he repeat with bigger expectations?
10.Miguel Cabrera-The forgotten former MVP can rake if healthy but do Tigers have enough?
11.Kris Bryant-The NL’s top rookie is expected to lead the Cubs to a World Series.
12.Adam Wainwright-How much can the healthy Cards’ ace add to a still quality team that lot Heyward and Lackey?
13.Madison Bumgarner-Even with addition of Cueto, the Giants’ chances in an even year depend on the arm of MadBum.
14.Josh Donaldson-The youngest of the Jays’ big boppers who won MVP needs a repeat.
15.Mark Melancon-Probably the best closer, the Pirates are depending on another big year.
16.Yoenis Cespedes-His impact last year is the biggest reason the Mets won the division. Will the pressure of a new contract get to him?
17.Wade Davis-The new Royals closer had a run for the ages resulting in a World Championship. Has all the tools to be dominant.
18.Aroldis Chapman-When the Yanks rolled the dice on the troubled former Reds fireballer, the message was sent that they plan to turn games into six innings. Will it work?
19.Matt Harvey-Even if he’s not the Met with the highest ceiling or staying power due to his massive ego, he’s the guy who wants the ball. Can he win 20 and challenge for a Cy Young?
20.Jose Fernandez-Probably the best young starter who flies under the radar due to playing for Miami. If healthy, watch out.
21.Carlos Correa-The Astros young shortstop has all the makings of a superstar who can lead franchise to first championship.
22.Justin Upton-Was brought in by the Tigers to make their lineup even more potent as they’ll still have to outscore opponents even with addition of Zimmerman.
23.Gerrit Cole-The overlooked ace could challenge for the Cy Young and lead the Pirates to the top of the NL Central and higher than a wildcard play in.
24.Andrew McCutchen-The former MVP is still one of the best players in baseball and the Pirates’ most important star.
25.Yu Darvish-When he returns, how good will he be with ace Cole Hamels at the top of the Rangers’ rotation?
26.Paul Goldschmidt-Should be higher but with the loss of Pollock, can the preseason MVP pick carry the Diamondbacks to a division title?
27.Stephen Strasburg-It’s the big arm of the potential free agent in a walk year who can determine the Nats’ season even with Scherzer.
28.Robby Cano-First two years have been disappointing but the All-Star second baseman is poised for a bounce back season.
29.Mookie Betts-In Big Papi’s final season, the young center fielder could blossom into a MVP candidate and win a Gold Glove.
30.Jose Bautista-No one has more pressure to perform in a critical walk year that could land the Jays’ slugger a huge payday which could take him to 40.
31.Adam Jones-The Orioles have no pitching but they sure can rake and are led by the combo of Davis and the All-Star center fielder.
32.Buster Posey-The game’s best catcher could be poised for another MVP run on a good San Francisco roster.
33.Corey Seager-It’s the Dodgers’ shortstop phenom who can determine what kind of season they have under new skipper Dave Roberts.
34.Mark Teixeira-Is the Yankees’ most indispensable player because he plays a Gold Glove caliber first and should hit 35 home runs and drive over 100 if healthy.
35.Dee Gordon-The best combination of hitting and speed at second on a Marlins club with potential under new skipper Don Mattingly.
36.Sonny Gray-Had a superb 2015 but finished poorly. Can he put together another big year on a flawed Oakland club or will he become the latest former A?
37.Nolan Arenado-Plays in obscurity in Coors Field and is undoubtedly one of the game’s best stars who is not only tremendous offensively but defensively at the hot corner.
38.Jose Altuve-The AL version of Gordon at second who is tough to get out and can drive opposing pitchers and catchers crazy.
39.Craig Kimbrel-Red Sox’ big move was giving up a ransom for former Padres’ closer bolstering bullpen.
40.Noah Syndergaard-It’s this young Mets’ hurler they stole along with D’Arnaud for Dickey that has the highest ceiling.
41.Chris Sale-Unfortunately one of game’s best lefties pitches in obscurity for disappointing White Sox but for how long?
42.Chris Archer-Is this the year the young Rays’ flamethrower challenges for a Cy Young?
43.Matt Carpenter-Is the unquestioned leader of the Cards who does a bit of everything minus the big contract that former teammate Heyward got.
44.Joey Votto-His offensive talent is a constant with the big Reds’ first baseman good for .300 plus 30 dingers and 100 RBI’s.
45.Carlos Carrasco-The best of the young talented starters that the Indians are counting on to challenge the Royals.
46.Michael Brantley-The best offensive player on the Indians starts on the DL due to offseason shoulder surgery. They need him for any chance.
47.Felix Hernandez-Should be higher. King Felix remains one of the AL’s best starters who gives the Mariners quality once every five days. When will it come together for Seattle?
48.Anthony Rizzo-The Cubs’ first base slugger should again be good for 30+ homers and over 100 knocked in while challenging for NL MVP.
49.Jeurys Familia-There is no World Series run for the Mets without their closer, who must overcome a bad Spring and prove he’s legit.
50.Maikel Franco-The one bright light in a rebuilding year for the Phillies who could explode with 30 homers and 90 RBI’s.
Omissions
51.Jacob de Grom
52.Max Scherzer
53.Carlos Gonzalez
54.Marcus Stroman
55.Nelson Cruz
56.Anthony Rendon
57.Prince Fielder
58.Lorenzo Cain
59.Salvador Perez
60.Joc Pederson
61.Shelby Miller
62.Stephen Piscotty
63.Addison Russell
64.Jon Lester
65.Kolten Wong
66.Todd Frazier
67.Michael Sano
68.Byron Buxton
69.Corey Kluber
70.Jason Kipnis
71.Edwin Encarnacion
72.Antonio Osuna
73.Xander Boegarts
74.Alex Rodriguez
75.Andrew Miller
76.Dellin Betances
77.Manny Machado
78.Chris Davis
79.David Ortiz
80.Alex Gordon
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Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.

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