Spring training is well underway, with each team currently setting up camp in Florida or Arizona in preparation for the upcoming 2023 MLB season. With the regular season being kicked off in four and a half weeks, the MLB’s superstars are back to work, and each is hoping to lead their team to eventual glory.
The 2022 MLB season brought spectacular action and spectacular plays on both sides of the ball. We can expect to see more of the same in the upcoming season, and the 2023 campaign is sure to see more superstars emerge within the league.
Heading into the new season, I decided to create an All-MLB starting lineup. This list includes the best player at each position in baseball, and while there are players who excel at either offense or defense, I decided to choose the best overall player at every position. Below is my list of the best player at every position heading into the 2023 MLB season.
Pitcher – Sandy Alcantara(RHP), Miami Marlins
The 2022 Unanimous NL Cy Young Award Winner returns for his 7th season in Miami following a career year. Sandy Alcantara finished 2022 1st in innings pitched, with 228.2, complete games, with, and wins above replacement, with 8.1, as well as 4th in quality starts, with 24, 5th in Earned Run Average, with 2.28, and 8th in strikeouts, with 207.
It was truly a dominant season for the right-handed pitcher in 2022, and he’ll surely be looking to continue his dominance in 2023. Despite a large number of talented pitchers in the MLB at the moment, no one stands above Alcantara, and I expect him to replicate his impressive season again this year.
Catcher – J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies
After the nine-year veteran’s extremely impressive season, it’s easy to see why he’s currently the best catcher in baseball. In 2022 he led all catchers in putouts, double plays, runners caught stealing, runners caught stealing percentage, and defensive wins above replacement.
However, Realmuto’s production wasn’t just limited to fielding, as he was quite dominant on offense as well. The veteran led all catchers in hits with 139, runs with 75, total bases with 241, stolen bases with 21, slugging percentage with .478, on-base percentage plus slugging percentage with .820, and wins above replacement with 6.5. Not much else needs to be said about the Phillies catcher. He truly stands above the rest.
First Baseman – Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
Coming off his first MVP award and probably the best season of his career, the twelve-year veteran opens the 2023 season as the best first baseman in baseball. Among all first basemen in 2022, Paul Goldschmidt ranked 1st in fielding percentage and 2nd in double plays and range factor.
In addition to his excellent defense, Goldschmidt displayed his talent on offense as well. Among all players in the MLB in 2022, he ranked 3rd in batting average with .317, total bases with 324, slugging percentage with .578, and wins above replacement with 7.8. Goldschmidt will certainly be a solid anchor for the Cardinals to mount a postseason run in 2023.
Second Baseman – Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Guardians
Perhaps the biggest surprise on this list, Andres Gimenez was truly impressive on both sides of the ball and deserving of the top second baseman spot in the MLB. Posting respectable marks in his first two seasons, Gimenez exploded on the scene with his new team.
En route to winning the Golden Glove, Gimenez ranked 2nd in range factor and putouts, 3rd in total chances, assists, and defensive wins above replacement. He was also lights out on offense, leading second basemen in wins above replacement with 7.2, ranking 2nd in slugging percentage with .466, 3rd in on-base percentage with .371, and batting average with .297. I’m excited to see Gimenez can keep his impressive play up this season.
Shortstop – Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies
Although he can be used as a utility infielder, Trea Turner made the most of his stint in Los Angeles as their primary shortstop. Now entering his ninth season, Turner will try replicating his monster year for his new team.
The new Phillies shortstop isn’t the best-defending shortstop in the major leagues by any stretch, but he is still above average and provides solid play. Where Turner really excels is his proficiency on offense, as the veteran shortstop ranked 2nd among all MLB players in hits with 199, 7th in runs with 101, and 8th in stolen bases with 27. He led shortstops in nearly all offensive stats and will be an exciting addition for the Phillies.
Third Baseman – Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals
Ten seasons, ten golden gloves. Do I really need to say more? From the moment he entered the major leagues, Nolan Arenado has been far and away the best third baseman in the MLB. Arenado continued his Hall of Fame career with another spectacular 2022 season.
Among third basemen in 2022, Arenado ranked 1st in double plays and 2nd in defensive wins above replacement, assists, and range factor. On the offensive side, Arenado ranked 2nd in wins above replacement with 7.9, 4th in slugging percentage with .533, 6th in doubles with 42, and 7th in runs batted in with 103, among all players in the MLB. After ten years of dominance, it can be expected that Arenado will be able to maintain his spectacular level of play.
Left Fielder – Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros
Although making a number of appearances as a designated hitter, the Houston Astros left fielder Yordan Alvarez still deserves the top spot on this list. Alvarez provides solid play from a defensive standout, but his offensive output and extreme power at the plate are where he really stands out.
Among all players in 2022, Alvarez ranked 2nd in slugging percentage with .613 and OPS with 1.019, 3rd in on-base percentage with .406, 6th in home runs with 37, wins above replacement with 6.8, and 7th in batting average with .306. One of the most prolific current power hitters in baseball, Alvarez is one to watch in 2023.
Center Fielder – Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
A player that is in the MVP conversation practically every season, Mike Trout continued his historic career with another impressive campaign. Despite it being a below-average season for Trout in 2022, he was still able to finish 3rd in home runs, with 40.
2022 certainly wasn’t a season to write away about for Trout, but he still has maintained his spot as the best center fielder in baseball. Hopefully, Trout can get things back on track in 2023.
Right Fielder – Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Another easy selection for this list, Aaron Judge not only won the 2022 AL MVP award but also broke the single-season home run record with 62. In addition to this, Judge also led all of the MLB in runs with 133, runs batted in with 13, total bases with 391, on-base percentage with .425, slugging percentage with .686, OPS with 1.111, and wins above replacement with 10.6.
Judge’s historic 2022 season is one that we surely aren’t to forget anytime soon, and hopefully, his 2023 campaign has something similar in store. Aaron Judge fully deserves his spot on this list and is probably the most valuable player in baseball at the moment.
Designated Hitter – Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Ever since his arrival from Japan in 2018, Shohei Ohtani has redefined what a baseball player is capable of. An all-star as both a pitcher and designated hitter, Ohtani is genuinely the quintessential definition of an all-around player. Although he has found success from the mound, he’s earned his spot on our starting lineup list as a designated hitter.
In 586 at-bats, Ohtani had 90 runs, 160 hits, 34 home runs, 95 runs batted in, and a .356 on-base percentage. He provided ample production on the offensive side despite remaining in the starting pitching rotation. It will be interesting to see whether Ohtani will remain in Los Angeles, but what is known for sure is that wherever he ends up will surely be happy to have him.