• Who missed out on our final list? Some players who are in the twilight in their careers, others who just need to regain their form, and some that should make it by next year.
By SI.com Staff
February 16, 2018

Now that we've concluded our Top 100, it's time to discuss the players who didn't quite make it. Some of you were surprised to see Shohei Ohtani excluded, others Yadier Molina. Tinkering with the list was a long, sometimes arduous process, all is which to say that there were a whole lot of players in contention for the top 100 spots. Today, we address those who were left off and why. The entire list can be found in the links below. 

100–51 | 50–21 | 20–11 | 10–1 

Just Missed the Cut

Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Ryan Braun, Brewers
Michael Conforto, Mets
Adam Eaton, Nationals
Travis Shaw, Brewers
Danny Duffy, Free Agent
Alex Wood, Dodgers
Addison Russell, Cubs

Gabriel Baumgaertner: We didn't include Ohtani because no rookies were included on the list, but we have no doubt that he could shoot up the rankings by the time next year's list is available. He's, without question, the most exciting reason to watch baseball at the beginning of this season. Shaw was a bit of a cruel exclusion after compiling one of the year's most unlikely 31-homer/101-RBI seasons in recent memory. If Wood compiles anywhere near the year he did in 2017, he could be a top-50 player next year. For now, though, his All-Star 2017 season exists as an outlier. Braun can still swing the bat just fine, but his defense remains a huge liability, and he's not quite the hitter he used to be.


Jon Gray, Rockies
James Paxton, Mariners
Joey Gallo, Rangers
Paul DeJong, Cardinals
Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox
Matt Chapman, A's
Aaron Nola, Phillies
Jose Berrios, Twins

Gabriel Baumgaertner​: If Paxton can complete an entire season, he'll definitely be a top-100 player next season. The problem right now is that he's never completed more than 24 starts in a season. Even though he battled injuries last year, he still finished with a 2.98 ERA and a 3.9 WAR in 2017. He'll likely be joined by Nola, who has some of the most explosive stuff of any young starter and will anchor the Phillies' rotation this season. Benintendi, who most expected to win Rookie of the Year at the beginning of last season, was overshadowed by Aaron Judge's incredible campaign, but remains one of the most valuable young pieces in baseball. Gallo is a potential breakout that we considered putting on the list, but he lacked the track record for inclusion. If he improves his plate discipline, however, he has the highest ceiling of any player on this list.

“Dude, you should be on here”

Gerrit Cole, Astros
Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees
Julio Teheran, Braves
Chris Archer, Rays

Connor Grossman: This would be a prominently featured group of players had we constructed a Top 100 list in the past two seasons. Instead, they’re left on the outside looking in, as each player experienced varying setbacks in 2017. None appeared more abruptly than Tanaka’s, who experienced steep increases from the previous season in ERA (3.07 to 4.74), home runs allowed (22 to 35) and WHIP (1.08 to 1.24), to name a few categories. He did, however, harness his talent in the postseason by allowing just two runs across three starts (25 IP). It’s worth remembering that each of these players is being punished by their own greatness. Bogaerts very clearly entered last season as a top-100 player but didn’t come out as one. At only 25, he could easily reestablish himself in 2018, as can the rest of his peers on this short list.

The Sun is Setting

Yadier Molina, Cardinals
Andrew McCutchen, Giants
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Joe Mauer, Twins
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

Jay Jaffe: Some of these players are Cooperstown bound, and all of them would have had much stronger cases for inclusion in our top 100 in years past, but right now, age and injuries have their trend arrows pointing in the wrong direction. Perhaps factors such as McCutchen’s change of scenery, Pedroia’s surgery and Cabrera’s rest and rehab will make their omissions look like aberrations in careers that hopefully last much longer.

Gabriel Baumgaertner: It feels strange excluding Cabrera, one of the game's all-time great righthanded hitters, but his decline is accelerating. From 2009 to '16, Cabrera never hit under .313 or had an OPS+ lower than 144. In 2017, he hit .249 and logged an OPS+ of 92. Now, he's surrounded by a host of nobodies on the rebuilding Tigers. Molina remains one of the great team leaders in the game and is still an excellent defender, but he's logged so many innings that it's starting to take a toll on his offense. In a division that has a player like Willson Contreras, Molina just doesn't measure up the way he used to.

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