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MLB Best Tools 2019: Managers, Scouts & Executives Vote On Baseball's Best Talent

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Mike Trout (Photo by Tom DiPace)

Baseball America has tracked Best Tools winners in the American and National leagues continuously since 1988. In that time, no player has medaled—placed in the top three—in balloting for all five of the traditional scouting tools: hit, power, run, field and arm.

In fact, just seven players in 32 years have medaled in four of the five tools, indicating the difficulty of the task. These “four-dimensional” superstars include all-time greats like Ichiro, A-Rod, Griffey and Trout—players so iconic that they are identifiable by one name. Nolan Arenado is also a member of the club and might one day be viewed in a similar light.

But the other two members of the club might surprise you. One is Jose Reyes, who so thoroughly dominated the fastest baserunner, best defensive shortstop and best infield arm categories in the 2000s that he has a top 20 total for career Best Tools “medal” points, using an Olympics’ 5-3-1 scoring system.

The seventh four-dimensional superstar is former Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, our 2011 Major League Player of the Year. While Kemp is not nearly so decorated—he never won a Best Tools category—he picked up stray “silver” and “bronze” medals for four of the five tools at various points during his peak seasons.

The following 2019 Best Tools winners are working on active streaks ranging in length from two seasons to eight.

Eight straight
Mike Trout — Most Exciting Player (AL)

Six straight
Nolan Arenado — Best Defensive 3B (NL)
Billy Hamilton — Fastest Baserunner (AL/NL)

Five straight
DJ LeMahieu — Best Defensive 2B (AL/NL)
Joey Votto — Best Strike-Zone Judgment (NL)

Four straight
Mike Trout — Best Hitter (AL)

Three straight
Chris Sale — Best Slider (AL)
Max Scherzer — Best Slider (NL)

Two straight
Javier Baez — Best Infield Arm (NL)
Matt Chapman — Best Defensive 3B (AL)
Matt Chapman — Best Infield Arm (AL)
Josh Hader — Best Reliever (NL)
Max Scherzer — Best Pitcher (NL)
Mike Trout — Best Strike-Zone Judgment (AL)
Trea Turner — Best Baserunner (NL)

Below are the 2019 winners, followed by voting results for each category.

CategoryAmerican LeagueNational League
Best HitterMike Trout, AngelsChristian Yelich, Brewers
Best PowerJoey Gallo, RangersPete Alonso, Mets
Best BunterBilly Hamilton, RoyalsVictor Robles, Nationals
Best Strike-Zone JudgmentMike Trout, AngelsJoey Votto, Reds
Best Hit-And-Run ArtistElvis Andrus, RangersYadier Molina, Cardinals
Best BaserunnerAdalberto Mondesi, RoyalsTrea Turner, Nationals
Fastest BaserunnerBilly Hamilton, RoyalsTrea Turner, Nationals
Most Exciting PlayerMike Trout, AngelsCody Bellinger, Dodgers
Best PitcherJustin Verlander, AstrosMax Scherzer, Nationals
Best FastballJustin Verlander, AstrosJosh Hader, Brewers
Best CurveballCharlie Morton, RaysAaron Nola, Phillies
Best SliderChris Sale, Red SoxMax Scherzer, Nationals
Best ChangeupYonny Chirinos, RaysLuis Castillo, Reds
Best ControlJustin Verlander, AstrosHyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers
Best Pickoff MoveMatt Boyd, TigersJulio Teheran, Braves
Best RelieverAroldis Chapman, YankeesJosh Hader, Brewers
Best Defensive CatcherChristian Vazquez, Red SoxJ.T. Realmuto, Phillies
Best Defensive 1BMatt Olson, AthleticsAnthony Rizzo, Cubs
Best Defensive 2BDJ LeMahieu, YankeesKolten Wong, Cardinals
Best Defensive 3BMatt Chapman, AthleticsNolan Arenado, Rockies
Best Defensive SSFrancisco Lindor, IndiansNick Ahmed, D-backs
Best Infield ArmMatt Chapman, AthleticsJavier Baez, Cubs
Best Defensive OFByron Buxton, TwinsHarrison Bader, Cardinals
Best Outfield ArmRamon Laureano, AthleticsCody Bellinger, Dodgers
Best ManagerBob Melvin, AthleticsDave Roberts, Dodgers

AMERICAN LEAGUE 


Best Hitter

1. Mike Trout, Angels
2. Alex Bregman, Astros
3. Michael Brantley, Astros

Best Power

1. Joey Gallo, Rangers
2. Aaron Judge, Yankees
3. Mike Trout, Angels

Best Bunter

1. Billy Hamilton, Royals
2. Dee Gordon, Mariners
3. Delino Deshields Jr., Rangers

Best Strike-Zone Judgment

1. Mike Trout, Angels
2. Alex Bregman, Astros
3. Carlos Santana, Indians

Best Hit-And-Run Artist

1. Elvis Andrus, Rangers
2. Whit Merrifield, Royals
3. David Fletcher, Angels

Best Baserunner

1. Adalberto Mondesi, Royals
2. Whit Merrifield, Royals
3. Billy Hamilton, Royals

Fastest Baserunner

1. Billy Hamilton, Royals
2. Terrance Gore, Royals
3. Byron Buxton, Twins

Most Exciting Player

1. Mike Trout, Angels
2. Mookie Betts, Red Sox
3. Alex Bregman, Astros

Best Pitcher

1. Justin Verlander, Astros
2. Charlie Morton, Rays
3. Gerrit Cole, Astros

Best Fastball

1. Justin Verlander, Astros
2. Aroldis Chapman, Yankees
3. Gerrit Cole, Astros

Best Curveball

1. Charlie Morton, Rays
2. Trevor Bauer, Indians
3. Blake Snell, Rays

Best Slider

1. Chris Sale, Red Sox
2. Justin Verlander, Astros
3. Ryan Pressly, Astros

Best Changeup

1. Yonny Chirinos, Rays
2. Mike Minor, Rangers
3. John Means, Orioles

Best Control

1. Justin Verlander, Astros
2. Chris Sale, Red Sox
3. Mike Leake, Mariners

Best Pickoff Move

1. Matt Boyd, Tigers
2. Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays
3. Zach Plesac, Indians

Best Reliever

1. Aroldis Chapman, Yankees
2. Brad Hand, Indians
3. Ryan Pressly, Astros

Best Defensive C

1. Christian Vazquez, Red Sox
2. Roberto Perez, Indians
3. Jeff Mathis, Rangers

Best Defensive 1B

1. Matt Olson, Athletics
2. Mitch Moreland, Red Sox
3. Ronald Guzman, Rangers

Best Defensive 2B

1. DJ LeMahieu, Yankees
2. Brandon Lowe, Rays
3. Jose Altuve, Astros

Best Defensive 3B

1. Matt Chapman, Athletics
2. Alex Bregman, Astros
3. Gio Urshela, Yankees

Best Defensive SS

1. Francisco Lindor, Indians
2. Andrelton Simmons, Angels
3. Marcus Semien, Athletics

Best Infield Arm

1. Matt Chapman, Athletics
2. Carlos Correa, Astros
3. Andrelton Simmons, Angels

Best Defensive OF

1. Byron Buxton, Twins
2. Kevin Kiermaier, Rays
3. Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox

Best Outfield Arm

1. Ramon Laureano, Athletics
2. Kevin Kiermaier, Rays
3. Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox

Best Manager

1. Bob Melvin, Athletics
2. Kevin Cash, Rays
3. AJ Hinch, Astros

Howie_Kendrick_Juan_Soto_SeanHaffeyGetty.jpg

After Decade Of Heartbreak, Nationals Chase Away Postseason Demons

The Nationals beat the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS on Wednesday night, ending a decade of postseason heartbreak.

NATIONAL LEAGUE 

Best Hitter

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers
2. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
3. Nolan Arenado, Rockies

Best Power

1. Pete Alonso, Mets
2. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
3. Christian Yelich, Brewers

Best Bunter

1. Victor Robles, Nationals
2. Kolten Wong, Cardinals
3. Brandon Belt, Giants

Best Strike-Zone Judgment

1. Joey Votto, Reds
2. Freddie Freeman, Braves
3. Anthony Rendon, Nationals

Best Hit-And-Run Artist

1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals
2. Jeff McNeil, Mets
3. Jean Segura, Phillies

Best Baserunner

1. Trea Turner, Nationals
2. Kolten Wong, Cardinals
3. Jarrod Dyson, D-backs

Fastest Baserunner

1. Trea Turner, Nationals
2. Tim Locastro, D-backs
3. Garrett Hampson, Rockies

Most Exciting Player

1. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
2. Christian Yelich, Brewers
3. Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves

Best Pitcher

1. Max Scherzer, Nationals
2. Jacob deGrom, Mets
3. Zack Greinke, D-backs

Best Fastball

1. Josh Hader, Brewers
2. Walker Buehler, Dodgers
3. Jacob deGrom, Mets

Best Curveball

1. Aaron Nola, Phillies
2. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
3. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals

Best Slider

1. Max Scherzer, Nationals
2. Patrick Corbin, Nationals
3. Jacob deGrom, Mets

Best Changeup

1. Luis Castillo, Reds
2. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers
3. Zack Greinke, D-backs

Best Control

1. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers
2. Zack Greinke, D-backs
3. Kyle Hendricks, Cubs

Best Pickoff Move

1. Julio Teheran, Braves
2. Eric Lauer, Padres
3. Max Fried, Braves

Best Reliever

1. Josh Hader, Brewers
2. Kirby Yates, Padres
3. Will Smith, Giants

Best Defensive C

1. J.T. Realmuto, Phillies
2. Austin Hedges, Padres
3. Yasmani Grandal, Brewers

Best Defensive 1B

1. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
3. Freddie Freeman, Braves

Best Defensive 2B

1. Kolten Wong, Cardinals
2. Ketel Marte, D-backs
3. Ozzie Albies, Braves

Best Defensive 3B

1. Nolan Arenado, Rockies
2. Anthony Rendon, Nationals
3. Manny Machado, Padres

Best Defensive SS

1. Nick Ahmed, D-backs
2. Trevor Story, Rockies
3. Javier Baez, Cubs

Best Infield Arm

1. Javier Baez, Cubs
2. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
3. Nolan Arenado, Rockies

Best Defensive OF

1. Harrison Bader, Cardinals
2. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
3. Lorenzo Cain, Brewers

Best Outfield Arm

1. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
2. Hunter Renfroe, Padres
3. Starling Marte, Pirates

Best Manager

1. Dave Roberts, Dodgers
2. Craig Counsell, Brewers
3. Bruce Bochy, Giants

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