Sunday 14th February 2016,

Current MLB Players To Build A Team Around

1B Albert Pujols

September 25, 2009 – Peter Schiller

The list that follows is a listing of players I would build a team around if all MLB players were available to choose from. Because this list is for players to build a team around, anyone over the age of 34 will not be included on this list…sorry Mariano Rivera fans, but I’m building this team for the future and he’s pushing 40.

For this list I will include one player per everyday position with five starting pitchers, one set up man and one utility player. Their current age will be in parenthesis.

CYadier Molina (27):

In my opinion Yadier is the best all around catcher in the game right now and he’s only 27! Just read the August ESPN Magazine article on him which can be found here.

Honorable Mention:

Joe Mauer – he’s found his power stroke the first part of the year, but he just can’t touch Yadier behind the dish. Who can?

1BAlbert Pujols (29):

Do I really have to defend this one? The numbers speak for themselves.

Honorable Mention:

Adrian Gonzalez – on a better team & he might give Pujols a run for this slot.

2BChase Utley (30, turns 31 on 12/17):

His power at this position (30 + HR when healthy) and his age are what gets him onto this list. He’s not too shabby in the field either.

Honorable Mention:

Dustin Pedroia – he’s younger.

3BEvan Longoria (23, turns 24 on 10/7):

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he’s just a beast! He’s also one of the youngest guys on this list. He plays both sides of the ball extremely well and is calm, cool and collective on the field. His numbers are up across the board, this guy doesn’t know the phrase, sophomore slump. His BA is up 10 points from last year and his OBP, BB and RBI are up more than 20 and he’s even hit more HRs. The only negative I can find is that he has struck out more this season.

Honorable Mention:

David Wright – If his power didn’t disappear this year, I might have given him some more thought.

SSHanley Ramirez (25, turns 26 on 12/23):

His defense has improved, but he’s still no Omar Visquel, but he has also head and shoulders above the rest as his BA, RBI have gone up this year as he is also striking out less than he did a year ago which shows more patience (and that’s with moving to the # 3 hole in the line up). However, his SBs and HRs are down.

Honorable Mention:

Troy Tulowitzki – he’s much better on defense, has hit more HRs this year, but his average is almost 70 points lower and with 20 fewer RBIs, too.

LFRyan Braun (25, turns 26 on 11/17):

100 HRs, over 300 RBIs to go along with 45 SBs while hitting for a .305 BA with an OBP of .361 and he has walked more this year, and all in his first three seasons and this one’s not over yet. Who has better numbers than these?

Honorable Mention:

Carl Crawford – He has proven this year that 2008 was an off year and he is still a terror on the bases which is why he’s even mentioned next to Braun.

CFJacoby Ellsbury (26):

Currently at 66 SBs while hitting .303 with an OBP of .354 and he has learned how to be a legitimate leadoff hitter in only his second full season. He’s not too shabby in CF either.

Honorable Mention:

Grady Sizemore – When healthy, his 30/30 prowess is quite impressive.

RFJustin Upton (22):

I’m probably missing someone here, but on top of Justin’s solid defense, he is much improved in his second full season in Arizona. So far he has 10 more HRs while doubling his RBI total, will probably reach 20 SBs and raised his BA more than 50 points and his OBP by almost 20.

Honorable Mention:

Nick Markakis – His numbers are down again from his 2007 season or he would be in the running. Maybe on a better team and he’d be more in contention.

UTILTy Wiggington (31, turn 32 on 10/11):

He has some pop in his bat and is a gritty player who can play any position except up the middle (C, P and CF). His versatility is what gets him this spot on my list and the fact that he averages 20+ HRs, 76 RBIs, with a .271 BA. What more do you want in a utility player?

Honorable Mention:

Ben Zobrist – Aside from this year, he just hasn’t played enough to be considered, but his ability to play every position except P, C and 1B is impressive!

SP1Roy Halladay (32):

A former Cy Youn Award winner with 3 other top 5 finishes beyond that! Doc has 24 complete games in the past three years with 6 of those being shutouts and he threw no less than 225 innings in those years. In that same time he has 52 wins and over 540 strikeouts after his complete game shutout tonight. The doctor is in my house and he makes house calls!

SP2Zack Grienke (25, turns 26 on 10/21):

Over the past two years Grienke has pitched well for a bad team! He has pitched over 200 innings with an ERA of 3.67 and under with over 400 strikeouts and he’s only 25. Just think of how good he would be on a contender!

SP3CC Sabathia (29):

A former Cy Young Award winner who can hit and do so with power. Just in case my team is playing in the NL, you’ll need a pitcher that can hit. By the way, he can pitch, too. Since that award winning year he has compiled 12 complete games in 516 innings pitched and 54 wins with 646 strikeouts in those three years.

SP4Felix Hernandez (23):

Another good pitcher on a bad team who has gone 190 innings plus over the past 4 years with 7 complete games with 3 of those being shutouts and over 700 strikeouts in that span. And remember, he’s still only 23!

SP5Tim Lincecum (25):

Last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner who will earn his 40th win in his career (3 seasons) with his next win. In 6 complete games half of those were shutouts in over 584 innings and 662 strikeouts. Just think of what he could do on a team with a better offense.

Honorable Mentions:

Justin Verlander – This 26 year old was the 2006 Rookie of the Year and has only 1 year without 17 or more wins since then. In 6 complete games half of those were shutouts in over 813 innings with over 720 strikeouts.

CloserJonathan Papelbon (28, turns 29 on 11/23):

Papelbon has been an all star since 2006 when he came in second in Rookie of the Year voting. In that time he has compiled 150 saves in 261 innings with 310 strikeouts

Honorable Mention:

Jose Valverde – He has 115 saves over the past three seasons in 187 innings with 207 strikeouts and that’s with missing some time this year.

If any of you have a bone to pick with this list, please make this an opportunity to do one of two things:

  1. Make your own list & post it in the comments section
  2. Tell us of your additions or subtractions to this list, with your reasons why, it in the comments section

We always welcome a good debate and we very well might have missed someone. Heck, I missed Tommy Lasorda on my previous list.

My name is Peter Schiller. I am the creator/owner of Baseball I’m also a contributing writer. To read more of my work at Baseball Reflections just click HERE!



Like this Article? Share it!

  • http://none RaSMG

    Your list is close. Here’s a few I’d add.

    Pablo ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Sandoval – Switch hitting, .300+ slugger, plays C or corner IF. Great glove @ 3B.

    Jair Jurrjens has become the current ‘Ace’ of a great pitching dynasty. Look at his quality starts, imagine on a high budget team like the Yankees or Dodgers.

  • matthew

    matt kemp for Centerfield! jacoby ellberuy????

    jonathon broxton for closer! paplebon over broxton?

    joe mauer not number 1 catcher??

  • Pat

    Molina over Mauer? You’re out of your mind. MLB players picked Mauer as one of the top three players in all of baseball they would start a team around (see SI players poll).

    With you on most of the other picks.

  • deep

    Molina over Mauer has to be a god damn joke

  • Schillerisamoron

    Molina?! Are you out of your freaking mind? He’s never hit 10 homers in a season and only once hit .300? What is wrong with you? How do you have a job in the sports industry?!

    Freaking shock jock… You’re like Eminem, you only have a job because you say shocking things to annoy people. That doesn’t mean you know anything or have substance. This is infuriating!

    Yadier Molina. Unbelievable. I could entertain Victor Martinez, Matt Wieters, or obviously, Mauer. But Molina, wtf.

  • Perk

    No love for Adam Wainwright (28)? Career era of 3.17 and quietly putting together a Cy-Young calibur season.

  • saul

    I like the smell of my own farts.

  • Jeffries

    I actually sort of see his point. At least he listed Mauer as the H.M.

    Yad is still a solid pick to start your team around at that position. It’s certainly up for debate. Don’t think either one is a runaway choice over the other.

  • wow

    wtf guys Molina is the freaking best catcher in the major league get over it because its true. So he cant hit but he can damn sure throw from his knees to 2nd base with time to spare.

  • kelly

    give me a break… Mauer’s OPS is 300 points higher than Molina’s. 300 points. leads the AL in average and slugging, and he’s above average defensively, not even a discussion.

  • Peter

    First, I appreciate all of your comments, but this is my list, you don’t have to agree with it. :-)

    I like that people disagree with me it makes it more interesting and I don’t think I’m a shock jock. Molina is just the best defensive catcher in baseball right now & I just so happen to be old school in this regard, I still think defense is a more important priority for a catcher & offense is a bonus (not necessarily power either). The way he can call a game, throw, block balls thrown in the dirt, etc.

    Victor Martinez is actually one of the worst defensive catchers in the game, check out that ESPN article I linked to on Molina and Weiters is too young (not yet proven).

    Plus, no one seemed to mind my other choices that much.

    Kemp is another good choice as an honorable mention, but I just think that Ellsbury creates havoc with his speed. Not every position needs to hit for power.

    Broxton is too new as a closer.

    Keep the debate going though, it’s great!

  • Steve L

    Prince Fielder is better than Adrian Gonzalez hands down. Fielder’s averaging 42 HR’s and 120 RBI’s over the past 3 years and he’s still improving as a hitter. Very, very close to Pujols’ level and should be given the proper recognition.

    Joe Maurer is the best catcher the game has seen since Pudge Rodriguez. Dominate at his position both at and behind the plate. A hitter with 22 HR’s and 70 points lower in batting average…better?? Really??

    Aaron Hill should been on the list as an honerable player somehow. Comeback player of the year and Toronto future (along with Lind) after Halladay moves on.

  • JP Newman

    So, you’d rather have a slightly (and I mean SLIGHTLY) better defensive catcher than the best hitter in the American League regardless of position? Completely and totally indefensible. If the major leagues were wiped clean and the rosters of every team reset, Joe Mauer would be the 2nd player taken behind Pujols. There is no question. He is top 5 defensively at his position, yet top 5 offensively AT ANY POSITION!

    I bet you’re from Missouruh.

  • Jonathan


  • Gco

    I’m a Sox fan, but Jacoby Ellsbury as your CF? His defensive value is actually negative according to all sabermetrics, and getting to a .350 OBP for the first time means he’s finally become a great lead-off hitter? Matt Kemp being a 30-30 at age 25 seems like a good trade for 10 HRS and 70 overrated SBs. Jacoby ranks behind Denard Span in OPS, BA, OBP, has the exact same SLG, with less runs scored in more at bats while playing for a better offensive team, and is older! Don’t ignore the stats just because he makes a good diving catch every week.
    And does Molina’s defense alone make him better than Mauer, or even McCann, who is only 25?

  • Ryan

    i agree with the Molina over Mauer….who cares if he hasnt hit more then 10 home runs….its not all about offense….he’s got one of the best arms in baseball and he’s one of the hardest to strike out in all Mlb

  • Alex Linebrink

    Great list!

    My one big disagreement is with 1st base. YES – Albert Pujols should definitely be number 1. BUT, for runner up, Miguel Cabrera trumps Adrian Gonzalez in every number AND is younger.

    Which then means the Tigers are sitting pretty nice right now with 3 runners-up!


  • Brenden

    Adam wainwright best there is.

  • Morey

    I was serouilsy at DefCon 5 until I saw this post.