The Toolsiest MLB Players Of The Past 30 Years

Baseball America has been documenting all the 80s in the big leagues since the ’80s.

Annually since 1988, BA has polled American and National league managers to determine the toolsiest hitters, pitchers and defenders in baseball across 25 different categories. The very best players—especially over multiple seasons—can be viewed as having 80-grade tools on the 20-80 scouting scale.

We value the perspective and expertise of big league managers and coaches, but with no Best Tools ballots cast in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, BA turned its attention to its robust archives.

The first Best Tools feature appeared in our pages in 1985 but was abandoned for two seasons before being presented annually beginning in 1988. The presentation began with only top vote-getters displayed but was expanded to show first-, second- and third-place finishers in both the AL and NL beginning in 1990.

To determine the toolsiest players overall, I assigned a weighted scoring system—five points for first place, three points for second and one point for third—to our 33 seasons of Best Tools data. Seasons in which players finished No. 1 in voting—in either the AL or NL—are displayed for the highlighted category.

Best Hitter



1. Tony Gwynn 
Category wins (11x): 1985, 89, 1990, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99

Gwynn won eight batting titles between 1984 and 1997, hitting .342 in those 14 seasons. Only Ty Cobb, with 11, won more batting titles overall. Gwynn hit .338 over 20 seasons thanks to his all-time bat control and ability to “hit ’em where they ain’t.” Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., both enshrined in 2007, were the first Hall of Famers to be covered as prospects by BA.

2. Albert Pujols
Category wins (7x): 2003, 05, 06, 08, 09, 2010, 11

Pujols hit .328 in first 11 seasons with Cardinals and won three MVP awards. He finished runner-up four other times.

3. Miguel Cabrera
Category wins (5x): 2010, 12, 13, 14, 15

A career .315 hitter, Cabrera has won four batting titles and a Triple Crown. He now has 3,000 hits and 500 home run in his sights.

4. Mike Trout
Category wins (4x): 2016, 17, 18, 19

Trout regularly hits .300, but it’s his supreme batting eye, 40-homer power and plus speed that combine to make him an all-time great.

5. Ichiro Suzuki
Category wins (3x): 2002, 03, 07

Ichiro topped 3,000 hits despite making major leauge debut at 27. He collected a record 10 200-hit seasons and rapped a record 262 hits in 2004.

6. Barry Bonds
Category wins (2x): 1993, 2004

The all-time leader for homers and walks was a career .298 hitter. Bonds might have reached 3,000 hits if not for 1994 strike.

7. Joey Votto
Category wins (2x): 2012, 17

Votto was better known for his batting eye (career .424 OBP) but still owns a .307 career average, with black ink for doubles, walks and OPS.

8. Todd Helton
Category wins (3x): 2000, 01, 02

Helton hit .349 with power during his 2000-04 Coors Field heyday. A career .316 hitter, his average broke down as .345 at home and .287 on the road.

9. Kirby Puckett
Category wins (3x): 1989, 1990, 92

The career .318 hitter logged five 200-hit seasons and made 10 straight all-star teams before career cut short at 35.

10. Frank Thomas 
Category wins (3x): 1994, 96, 97

The “Big Hurt” delivered more than raw power—though he had plenty with 521 homers—with a career .301 average and .419 on-base percentage.

Best Power



1. Giancarlo Stanton
Category wins (5x): 2012, 14, 15, 16, 17

Stanton won a pair of home run titles in his first 10 seasons and swatted 308 bombs overall in the 2010s. Only ageless sluggers Nelson Cruz and Edwin Encarnacion hit more in the decade. Even with an injury-plagued 2019 season, Stanton is well on pace for 500 career homers. Expect his patented line-drive laser show to continue into the 2020s.

2. Mark McGwire
Category wins (6x): 1992, 95, 97, 98, 99, 2000

The five-time major league home run champ topped 50 twice, 60 once and reached 70 once. McGwire retired with 583 homers.

3. Barry Bonds
Category wins (5x): 1993, 2001, 02, 03, 04

Bonds holds the single-season (73) and career (762) home run records. He reached 40 seven times in 22-year career.

4. Alex Rodriguez
Category wins (3x): 2002, 05, 07

A-Rod blasted 696 career homers and led the AL five times. He has 6 of the 12 ever 40-homer seasons by a shortstop.

5. Albert Pujols
Category wins (3x): 2005, 06, 09

Pujols ranks sixth all time with 656 home runs. His slow but steady climb includes two homer titles, but zero 50-homer campaigns.

6. Jose Canseco
Category wins (3x): 1988, 1990, 91

Baseball’s first 40-40 man thrilled with his power, speed and notoriety. Canseco retired with 462 homers.

7. Ken Griffey Jr.
Category wins (2x): 1998, 99

“The Kid” tallied 438 homers through age 30. Though injuries took their toll afterward, Griffey still finished with 630.

8. Manny Ramirez
Category wins (2x): 2001, 04

An incredible hitter, Ramirez topped 40 homers five times and finished with 555 bombs. He ranks ninth with a .996 career OPS.

9. Miguel Cabrera
Category wins (1x): 2010

Cabrera tallied 386 homers in his 20s. His pace slowed in his mid-30s, but he entered 2020 a mere 23 homers shy of 500.

10. Sammy Sosa
Category wins (0x): runner-up in 1998, 99, 2000, 01, 02

Sosa topped 60 homers three times but amazingly never led his league. He ranks ninth all time with 609 homers.

Fastest Baserunner



1. Carl Crawford
Category wins (6x): 2004, 06, 07, 08, 09, 2010

Carl Crawford topped out with 60 stolen bases in 2009 and nabbed four American League stolen base titles. He swiped 480 for his career, and only Juan Pierre, Jose Reyes and Ichiro Suzuki stole more bases in the 2000s. We don’t have MLB Statcast sprint speed readings for Crawford’s prime, but even at age 34 in 2015 he ranked in the top quartile.

2. Kenny Lofton
Category wins (5x): 1992, 93, 94, 95, 96

Lofton swiped 622 bags—more than anybody since 1990. He led the AL in steals from 1992 to 1996 and was a key part of 1,000-run ’99 Indians.

3. Ichiro Suzuki
Category wins (3x): 2001, 02, 03

Ichiro claimed only one stolen base crown, but he topped 30 steals 10 times and finished with 509—plus 199 more in Japan.

4. Billy Hamilton
Category wins (6x): 2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Hamilton swiped 50 or more bases from 2014 to 2017 but never led the NL. He entered 2020 with 299 steals and a part-time role

5. Vince Coleman
Category wins (5x): 1985, 88, 89, 1990, 91

Coleman led the NL in steals his first six seasons, topping 100 in first three. His 752 steals rank sixth all time.

6. Tom Goodwin
Category wins (3x): 1997, 98, 99

Goodwin had a short shelf life as a regular player, but he made most of playing time with 369 stolen bases, including four seasons of 50 or more.

7. Deion Sanders
Category wins (4x): 1992, 94, 95, 97

The football Hall of Fame cornerback showcased his speed on the diamond. Sanders had one season of 56 steals and another with 14 triples.

8. Jose Reyes
Category wins (4x): 2005, 06, 07, 08

Reyes swiped 78 bases in 2007, the highest total of 2000s. He led the NL in steals three times, finished with 517, primarily as the Mets’ leadoff man.

9. Juan Pierre
Category wins (2x): 2003, 04

Pierre’s 614 stolen bases are the most for any player in 2000s. He used his speed to compile four 200-hit seasons.

10. Michael Bourn
Category wins (4x): 2009, 2010, 11, 12

Bourn tailed off in his 30s but in his 20s won there NL stolen base crowns and two Gold Gloves in his 20s. He finished with 341 steals.

Most Exciting Player



1. Barry Bonds
Category wins (7x): 1992, 93, 94, 95, 96, 2003, 04

Bonds could do everything but throw. He hit for average (.298 career, two batting titles), hit for power (a career-record 762 home runs and single-season record 73), stole 514 bases and won eight Gold Gloves. Ironically, Bonds might have been the most exciting when not swinging the bat. He led his league a record 12 times in walks.

2. Mike Trout
Category wins (8x): 2012, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

It’s almost unfair for one player to do so many things. Trout hits .300 with power, steals bases, draws walks and plays a fine center field.

3. Ken Griffey Jr.
Category wins (6x): 1994, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99

The transcendent star of the ’90s, “The Kid” hit .300 regularly in his 20s, won four AL home run crowns and 10 Gold Gloves.

4. Ichiro Suzuki
Category wins (5x): 2001, 02, 03, 06, 07

Ichiro showed amazing breadth of skill by finishing first in Best Tools balloting for hitting, speed, baserunning, bunting, arm, defense and most exciting.

5. Vladimir Guerrero
Category wins (5x): 2000, 01, 02, 04, 05

Vlad Sr. had game-changing power, speed and arm strength in right field. The notorious bad-ball hitter compiled .318 average.

6. Albert Pujols
Category wins (3x): 2005, 09, 2010

Pujols has top 10 career totals for home runs and doubles to go with 3,200-plus hits. In his prime he rounded out his game with a plus glove and smart baserunning.

7. Jose Reyes
Category wins (3x): 2006, 07, 2011

At his peak Reyes made an impact with his bat, speed, glove and arm. He had enough power for double-digit home run totals seven times.

8. Kenny Lofton
Category wins (2x): 1993, 97

Perhaps the last great leadoff man, Lofton used his speed and on-base ability to push Cleveland toward top of AL in runs in the 1990s and early 2000s.

9. Bryce Harper
Category wins (3x): 2015, 16, 17

Harper’s prodigious power and preternatural patience define one of most celebrated prospects ever.

10. Alex Rodriguez
Category wins (1x): 2000

A-Rod’s excitement level is undersold here considering his career totals: 696 home runs, 329 stolen bases, a .295 average and two Gold Gloves at shortstop.

Best Fastball



1. Randy Johnson
Category wins (10x): 1993, 94, 96, 96, 97, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 04

Johnson stands as perhaps the most dominant pitcher of all time. The 6-foot-10 lefthander peaked at 100 mph in his prime and averaged 94 even at age 40. With his high velocity and low arm angle, Johnson led his league in strikeouts nine times and finished with 4,875 punchouts to rank second all time only to Nolan Ryan.

2. Aroldis Chapman
Category wins (7x): 2011, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

The first to hit 105 mph in the age of Statcast, Chapman has shown rare longevity for a closer. He averaged nearly 100 mph for decade of 2010s.

3. Justin Verlander
Category wins (6x): 2007, 09, 2010, 11, 12, 19

Fastball velocity, command and ride have enabled Verlander to dominate into his late 30s. He has compiled the most pitching WAR (72.1) since 2000.

4. Roger Clemens
Category wins (5x): 1988, 89, 1990, 91, 92

“The Rocket” would certainly rank higher if credited for prime seasons in 1986 and ’87. Clemens rode his fastball to the third-highest strikeout total ever.

5. Billy Wagner
Category wins (4x): 2003, 05, 06, 07

Observers marveled at 100 mph velocity coming from Wagner’s 5-foot-10 frame. He averaged 95-97 mph even late into career.

6. Rob Dibble
Category wins (5x): 1989, 1990, 91, 92, 93

Dibble topped 100 mph at a time when that was rare. He served as a dominating closer for the Reds’ early ’90s “Nasty Boys” bullpens.

7. Pedro Martinez
Category wins (3): 1999, 2000, 01

Martinez used his 95-98 mph fastball to set up his incredible changeup and breaking ball. He was one of most dominant pitchers ever at his 1999-2000 peak.

8. Mark Wohlers
Category wins (3x): 1995, 96, 97

Wohlers emerged for the dynastic ’90s Braves by throwing 100 mph heat out of bullpen, but he faded quickly because of wildness.

9. Joel Zumaya
Category wins (2x): 2006, 08

The fire-breathing reliever helped the Tigers capture a surprise 2006 AL pennant. Zumaya averaged 99 mph in a short, injury-plagued career.

10. Bartolo Colon
Category wins (2x): 1998, 2003

Known more for fastball command, longevity and stoutness today, Colon sat in mid-90s early in his Indians career.

Best Curveball



1. Darryl Kile
Category wins (8x): 1994, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2000, 01

Kile was recognized by NL managers for his curveball an incredible eight straight seasons, spanning his time with the Astros, Rockies and Cardinals. Kile’s hook received notice even in the high altitude and thin air of Coors Field, where he pitched for two seasons. He died tragically of a heart attack while still active at age 33.

2. Clayton Kershaw
Category wins (6x): 2011, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18

Few pitchers throw more breaking pitches than Kershaw, but the proof is in the pudding with three Cy Young Awards, five ERA titles and three strikeout crowns.

3. Tom Gordon
Category wins (5x): 1989, 1995, 96, 97, 98

The little righthander (5-foot-9) with a big curveball, Gordon rode the pitch to 138 wins and 158 saves in a 21-year career.

4. Mike Mussina
Category wins (3x): 1999, 2000, 01

The man who made the knuckle-curveball famous won 270 games and finally got his Hall of Fame due in 2019.

5. Justin Verlander
Category wins (4x): 2009, 2010, 11, 12

The prototype power pitcher has thrived with a dominant fastball/curveball combo and remarkable durability.

6. Barry Zito
Category wins (5x): 2002, 03, 04, 05, 06

Zito rode his big-breaking curveball to the 2002 AL Cy Young Award, serving as one-third of Oakland’s Big Three with Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder.

7. Gregg Olson
Category wins (4x): 1990, 91, 92, 93

The 1989 AL Rookie of the Year drew instant acclaim for his hammer curveball. Olson notched 217 career saves, mostly with the Orioles.

8. Adam Wainwright
Category wins (3x): 2010, 13, 14

Threw one of most famous curveballs ever to end the 2006 NLCS. Wainwright has continued riding the pitch to four top-three Cy Young Award finishes.

9. Dennis Martinez
Category wins (3x): 1990, 91, 92

“El Presidente” is the best player ever from Nicaragua. Martinez’s famous curveball helped him pitch 23 seasons and win 245 games.

10. Ben Sheets
Category wins (3x): 2004, 07, 08

The 2000 Olympics hero had a short but memorable run as the Brewers’ ace. Sheets’ power 12-to-6 curveball elevated him.

Best Slider



1. John Smoltz
Category wins (8x): 1995, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2003, 06, 07

Smoltz’s famous power slider helped him mute righthanded hitters and serve as one of the most dominant starters and closers of the past 30 years. He won the 1996 NL Cy Young Award, two strikeout titles and Hall of Fame election in 2015. Smoltz ranks among the all-time postseason leaders for both strikeouts (199) and innings (209).

2. Randy Johnson
Category wins (8x): 1994, 95, 96, 97, 2000, 01, 02, 04

The “Big Unit” threw one of the best sliders ever thanks to Incredible extension, low angle and high velocity. Only Nolan Ryan recorded more strikeouts.

3. Chris Sale
Category wins (5x): 2012, 13, 17, 18, 19

Sale’s 11.1 SO/9 is the second-highest rate ever thanks to mid-90s heat paired with incredible slider command from a low arm slot.

4. Max Scherzer
Category wins (4x): 2015, 17, 18, 19

The epitome of a power pitcher, Scherzer has leaned on his elite fastball/slider combo to win three Cy Young Awards and three strikeout crowns.

5. David Cone
Category wins (3x): 1991, 98, 99

An incredible slider helped Cone lead the majors in strikeouts each season from 1990 to ’92. He later served as the unsung hero of the late ’90s Yankees.

6. Jose Rijo
Category wins (3x): 1992, 93, 94

The unsung Reds ace led Cincinnati to the 1990 title. Rijo used a repertoire fronted by a great slider to rank second in MLB in ERA+ from 1988-93.

7. Pedro Martinez
Category wins (2x): 2000, 03

Martinez was better known for his curveball, but his lower arm angle may have prompted votes for his slider to go with his all-time fastball and changeup.

8. Craig Kimbrel
Category wins (3x): 2012, 13, 14

Kimbrel showed remarkable durability for a closer. He used his power breaking ball to record 14.6 SO/9, the second-highest rate ever for a reliever.

9. Jeff Nelson
Category wins (1x): 2001

A sidearm reliever famous for his frisbee slider, Nelson pitched 15 seasons—plus 8 postseasons—and held righthanded batters to a .203/.306/.290 batting line.

10. Felix Hernandez
Category wins (2x): 2010, 11

His effectiveness waned in his 30s, but in his prime “King Felix” threw one of the best sliders in the business.

Best Changeup



1. Greg Maddux
Category wins (6x): 1997, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 03

Maddux expertly paired his all-world changeup with his two-seam fastball, freezing batters and getting them to expand their zones. Maddux’s impeccable command of all his pitches, including his changeup, put batters on high alert, causing them to frequently guess wrong. He won four straight NL Cy Young Awards from 1992 to ’95.

2. Pedro Martinez
Category wins (7x): 1998, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 03, 05

Batters had a lot to worry about between Pedro’s high-90s heat, power breaking ball and mid-80s changeup.

3. Johan Santana
Category wins (6x): 2005, 06, 07, 08, 09, 2010

One of the most renowned changeup pitchers of the past 20 years, Santana rode the pitch to two Cy Young Awards.

4. Tom Glavine
Category wins (4x): 1993, 94, 95, 96

Famous for working the corners, Glavine never gave in to hitters. He owned the best changeup of the ’90s, using it to win two Cy Young Awards and win 305 games.

5. Trevor Hoffman
Category wins (3x): 2002, 06, 07

The converted position player quickly mastered his changeup and rode it to 601 career saves, the second most all time.

6. Cole Hamels
Category wins (5x): 2011, 12, 13, 14, 15

Hamels’ lengthy career has been made possible by his outstanding changeup. He pitched like an ace at his peak, winning MVP honors for the Phillies in the 2008 NLCS and World Series.

7. James Shields
Category wins (5x): 2008, 2010, 11, 12, 13

Shields defied odds as a frontline righthanded starter armed only with fastball/changeup. He helped pitch the 2008 Rays and 2014 Royals to AL pennants.

8. Jimmy Key
Category wins (4x): 1991, 93, 94, 97

The crafty lefty kept hitters guessing with wide repertoire. Key finished runner-up for two Cy Young Awards and recorded a 3.15 ERA in 69 postseason innings.

9. Jamie Moyer
Category wins (0x): runner-up in 1998, 99, 2000, 02, 03

Moyer pitched until he was 49 even with an 80 mph fastball, thanks to a fearless pitching approach and outstanding changeup.

10. Mike Mussina
Category wins (1x): 1996

The cerebral pitcher kept his edge for 18 seasons thanks to constant tinkering and a wide repertoire of pitches.

Best Defensive Catcher



1. Ivan Rodriguez
Category wins (12x): 1992, 93, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 04, 06, 07

Rodriguez won a record 13 Gold Gloves at catcher thanks to his cannon arm and cat-like agility. “Pudge” threw out 46% of career basestealers and led his league in that category a record nine times. Rodriguez became a regular at age 19 and lasted until 39, catching a record 2,427 games.

2. Yadier Molina
Category wins (10x): 2006, 08, 09, 2010, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

The nine-time Gold Glover guided the Cardinals to four World Series, winning two rings. Molina’s 1,947 games caught ranks seventh—and he’s still climbing.

3. Salvador Perez
Category wins (5x): 2013, 14, 15, 16, 17

Defense carried Perez to the majors at age 21 and helped make him a six-time all-star and five-time Gold Glove winner in the 2010s.

4. Mike Matheny
Category wins (5x): 2001, 02, 03, 04, 05

A series of concussions cut Matheny’s career short, but the respected backstop played 13 seasons despite a light bat.

5. Ron Karkovice
Category wins (4x): 1988, 1991, 94, 95

The outstanding defender never got his due because he was a direct AL contemporary of Ivan Rodriguez.

Best Defensive First Baseman



1. Don Mattingly
Category wins (9x): 1985, 88, 89, 1990, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95

Mattingly won nine Gold Gloves at first base; only Keith Hernandez won more, with 11. Both starred in New York in the 1980s, making the Big Apple synonymous with slick-fielding, team-leading first basemen. Mattingly remained sharp defensively into his early 30s, before a balky back forced his retirement at age 34.

2. J.T. Snow
Category wins (6x): 1996, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 03

Snow won six straight Gold Gloves during his peak from 1995 to 2000. He was an average hitter in an era of big first base boppers.

3. Mark Teixeira
Category wins (6x): 2006, 07, 09, 2010, 11, 12

Teixeira was an accomplished slugger (409 home runs) and defender who won five Gold Gloves at first base.

4. Mark Grace
Category wins (5x): 1994, 95, 96, 97, 98

The four-time Gold Glover appeared in 2,162 games at first base, the sixth highest total ever.

5. Paul Goldschmidt
Category wins (4x): 2015, 16, 17, 18

A sneaky athlete who at his peak, Goldschmidt was the rare five-tool first baseman who could field (three Gold Gloves) and run.

Best Defensive Second Baseman



1. Roberto Alomar
Category wins (12x): 1991, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02

Alomar won a record 10 Gold Gloves at second base, showing uncommon durability at a position that typically has a shorter shelf life. Alomar  ranks top 10 all time for games (third), assists (seventh) and double plays (eighth) at second base, while serving as a catalyst for great Blue Jays, Orioles and Indians teams of the 1990s.

2. Dustin Pedroia
Category wins (4x): 2009, 2013, 14, 15

Pedroia’s career was curtailed by a knee injury, but he won four Gold Gloves and an MVP and was the catalyst for two World Series champions.

3. Ryne Sandberg
Category wins (6x): 1985, 88, 89, 1990, 91, 93

Sandberg set a new standard for power at second base, while also nabbing nine Gold Gloves and nine All-Star Game starts.

4. Brandon Phillips
Category wins (5x): 2010, 11, 12, 13, 14

The productive hitter and smooth defender at the keystone won four Gold Gloves while topping 200 homers and 200 steals.

5. Bret Boone
Category wins (4x): 1999, 2002, 03, 04

Boone’s epic 2001 season with the Mariners (.331, 37 HR, 141 RBIs) overshadows his strong defensive reputation and four Gold Gloves.

Best Defensive Third Baseman



1. Scott Rolen
Category wins (10x): 1998, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07

Rolen won eight Gold Gloves and was the most accomplished defensive third baseman since Brooks Robinson (16 Gold Gloves) or Mike Schmidt (10). Active stars Nolan Arenado (seven Gold Gloves) and Matt Chapman (two) have a chance to equal or better Rolen’s domination of this Best Tools category, but they still have a long way to go.

2. Matt Williams
Category wins (7x): 1990, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 97

A powerful hitter (378 homers), Williams’ reflexes and arm strength remained sharp into his late 30s.

3. Adrian Beltre
Category wins (4x): 2011, 12, 13, 14

The ageless wonder won five Gold Gloves and ranks among the all-time leaders at third base for games, assists and double plays.

4. Nolan Arenado
Category wins (6x): 2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Arenado has won a Gold Glove in each of his seven big league seasons, on top of five all-star nods and three NL home runs titles.

5. Ryan Zimmerman
Category wins (4x): 2009, 2010, 11, 12

A shoulder injury cut short Zimmerman’s time at the hot corner, but he won a Gold Glove before moving to first base at age 30.

Best Defensive Shortstop



1. Omar Vizquel
Category wins (10x): 1993, 94, 95, 96, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 06

Vizquel led his league six times in fielding percentage by a shortstop (the record is eight times) thanks to incredibly quick, soft hands and a strong, accurate arm. Vizquel won 11 Gold Gloves, trailing only Ozzie Smith’s record of 13, and is the all-time leader among shortstops with 2,709 games and 1,734 double plays.

2. Barry Larkin
Category wins (7x): 1992, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 2000

The preeminent NL shortstop of the 1990s won three Gold Gloves and started five All-Star Games.

3. Ozzie Smith
Category wins (4x): 1985, 88, 89, 1991

The Wizard of Oz Won a record 13 Gold Gloves at shortstop, every year from 1980 to 1992. He would rank higher here if given full credit for his ’80s excellence.

4. Andrelton Simmons
Category wins (5x): 2014, 15, 16, 17, 18

Simmons is the active standard for shortstop defense and has four Gold Gloves thanks to incredible range and an elite arm.

5. Derek Jeter
Category wins (3x): 2004, 05, 07

Only Omar Vizquel appeared in more games at shortstop than Jeter, who won five Gold Gloves. His defensive instincts helped the Yankees win five World Series titles.

Best Defensive Outfielder



1. Andruw Jones
Category wins (9x): 1999, 2000, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07

Jones made playing center field look easy—perhaps too easy to receive full credit for his greatness. Jones won 10 straight Gold Gloves from 1998 to 2007 and excelled at going back on the ball. Jones led his league’s outfielders in putouts six times, while everybody who ranks ahead of him on that list played at a time when there were fewer strikeouts and more outs in play.

2. Ken Griffey Jr.
Category wins (6x): 1990, 91, 96, 97, 98, 99

Griffey made everything look easy. He won 10 straight Gold Gloves in his 20s and stayed in center field into his mid 30s.

3. Ichiro Suzuki
Category wins (7x): 2003, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 2010

Ichiro won 10 straight Gold Gloves through age 36, highlighted by his strong, accurate arm in right field. He was the rare corner outfielder to receive Best Tools notice.

4. Torii Hunter
Category wins (3x): 2001, 02, 09

Hunter won nine straight Gold Gloves, and his reputation for robbing home runs in center field earned him the “Spider-Man” nickname.

5. Devon White
Category wins (4x): 1989, 1992, 93, 94

The unsung defensive center fielder won seven Gold Gloves and was a steady contributor for three World Series champions (1992 and ’93 Blue Jays and 1997 Marlins).

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone