MLB Network this week completed its countdown of the top 100 players in Major League Baseball right now. Their list is, of course, subjective and yours may be different.
They ranked the Angels’ Mike Trout as the game’s No. 1 player followed by Detroit’s Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera second and third with the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw fourth and fifth.
Four Orioles made the list with Adam Jones at No. 23, Matt Wieters No. 48, J.J. Hardy No. 66 and Jim Johnson at No. 77.
So I decided to take a page out of their book and rank my top 10 Orioles right now. I considered the players’ stats from last year and contribution to the 2012 team along with their defense and leadership. This is hard to do because you have to rank pitchers against position players, and in the case of two players on my list, relievers against starters and position players.
Remember, it’s subjective, but here is my list:
10. Manny Machado: Came up with two homers and a triple in his second big league game. His defense was huge at the hot corner.
9. Jason Hammel: He filled the role of No. 1 starter for much of the year. Does anyone remember he was a finalist for the fan vote to make the All-Star team?
8. Miguel Gonzalez: Showed amazing poise and pitched so well down the stretch. Won on the road at New York, Boston and Tampa.
7. Chris Davis: Led club in homers and RBIs and when he homered in six straight games late in the year, he put his name alongside Reggie Jackson in the club’s record book.
6. Darren O’Day: If you can heap praise on a reliever that is not a closer, here is the guy. He was great just about all year. Went 4-0 with 1.10 ERA against the AL East and held division batters to a .270 slugging percentage.
5. J.J. Hardy: Rock-solid defense at short and quiet leadership. Did you know he didn’t start four games last season and the Orioles went 0-4?
4. Nick Markakis: Posted his highest average and OPS since 2008 and hit .335 batting leadoff. Some question his defense - not certain why, but I don’t.
3. Jim Johnson: Bet I consider closers more valuable than most. Especially when they save 51 games to set a club record and become one of just five in AL history to post 50 or more.
2. Matt Wieters: Made the All-Star team, handles the pitching staff incredibly well, calls a great game and, oh yeah, had a .930 OPS the last 27 games.
1. Adam Jones: After back-to-back Most Valuable Oriole awards and top 10 AL finishes in total bases, runs, hits and homers along with playing all 162 games, he’s No. 1.
Chris Tillman, one of the club’s best starters down the stretch and Wei-Yin Chen, the club’s most durable starter who was so good most of the year, didn’t even make my top 10. Again, this is not easy to do and you find you have to make some hard decisions.
So there are my top 10 Orioles right now. What do you think of this list? How would change it? How would you rank them?