Top 100 Right Now (#80-71)

Continuing our countdown of the top 100 players in the majors, we hit numbers 80 through 71 today.  You can find the explanation and origin of our list here.  As a quick refresher, here are 100-81:

T100 – Jordan Zimmermann – SP -WAS
T100 – Michael Bourn – CF – ATL
T98 – Gio Gonzalez – SP – WAS
T98 – Nick Swisher – RF – NYY
97 – Nelson Cruz – RF – TEX
96 – B.J. Upton – CF – TBR
95 – Jayson Werth – OF – WAS
94 – Miguel Montero – C – ARI
93 – Lance Berkman – 1B/RF – STL
92 – Ubaldo Jimenez – SP – CLE
91 – Yunel Escobar – SS – TOR
90 – Corey Hart – RF – MIL
89 – Josh Beckett – SP – BOS
88 – Carlos Beltran – RF – STL
T86 – John Danks – SP – CHW
T86 – David Wright – 3B – NYM
85 – Gavin Floyd – SP – CHW
84 – Alexei Ramirez – SS – CHW
83 – Buster Posey – C – SFG
82 – Matt Garza – SP – CHC
81 – Anibal Sanchez – SP – MIA

80 – Joel Hanrahan – RP – PIT – MLB (NR)
Lee (86) – Owning one of the toughest fastball/slider combinations in the league, Hanrahan has shown elite strikeout rates along with good control.  That control has left him this season, leading to a slow start.

Alex (75) – After two solid seasons, Hanrahan is off to a slow start.  He is having trouble with his command, and he needs to get back to being the groundball pitcher that he used to be if he wants to have a successful 2012 season.

79 – Jay Bruce – RF – CIN – MLB (NR)
Lee (78) – Still only 25, Bruce has had an up-and-down career, though it looks like the ups are becoming much more consistent.  Able to hit the ball out of any park, his lack of gap power has prevented him from reaching elite status.

Alex (83) – Bruce has always been a power hitter, and so far this year he’s showing even more, albeit a small sample size.  He’s walking less than his career, but as long as those don’t become strikeouts, he should be in good shape.

78 – Howie Kendrick – 2B – LAA – MLB (85)
Lee (75) – While lacking in plate discipline, Kendrick has a career .338 BABIP to rate average offensively.  It’s his good defense that makes him a very solid player.

Alex (82) – After struggling with injuries early in his career, Kendrick posted a second consecutive healthy season and was rewarded for it.  He’s showing power for a second year, but he’s striking out far too often.

77 – Mat Latos – SP – CIN – MLB (NR)
Lee (79) – After putting up great numbers in pitcher-friendly PETCO Park, Latos moves to HR haven Cincinnati, hoping to prove his K/BB ratio can carry over to another environment.

Alex (77) – Since being a member of the Reds, Latos has struggled with his command.  He has the potential to be a number two starter if he can get his command under control.

76 – Yadier Molina – C – STL – MLB (38)
Lee (71) – The best defensive catcher in the majors since the day he was called up to St. Louis, Molina provided above average offense for the first time last season.  If he continues the good offense, he is easily a top 50 player.

Alex (80) – Molina is coming off of a career year and is on pace for another excellent year.  Offensively it was his best season, he had a huge power outburst and looks to continue that this season.

75 – Alex Gordon – LF – KCR – MLB (69)
Lee (61) – After not panning out at third base, Gordon has found a home in left field.  He’s showing a good all-around offensive game plus great defensive ratings in the outfield.

Alex (84) – Last season Gordon had a breakout year, posting 6.9 WAR.  He’s off to another strong start this season, already posting 1.1 WAR. The power looks like it will stay around, and he’s walking more.

74 – Chris Carpenter – SP -STL – MLB (56)
Lee (77) – Controlling walks and groundballs, Carpenter has provided over 650 great innings the past three seasons.  At age 37, injuries are starting to catch up, after missing most of three seasons earlier in his career.

Alex (68) – Carpenter hasn’t pitched all season, but the Cardinals haven’t missed him.  Their rotation is looking really good going into May, ranking in the top 5 in xFIP and WAR.

73 – Chase Utley – 2B – PHI – MLB (96)
Lee (72) – After posting five straight 7 WAR seasons, Utley has fought through injuries the past two seasons.  Amazingly, he’s still produced at an elite level while losing playing time and knee cartilage, but Utley has no timetable for a return yet.

Alex (67) – The Phillies offense is really struggling, and the sooner Utley comes back, the better.  As a team they have a wRC+ of 77, which ranks in the bottom 5.

72 – Doug Fister – SP – DET – MLB (NR)
Lee (57) – Much like Carpenter, Fister does not allow walks and keeps the ball on the ground, making him a very effective pitcher in the American League.  His lack of strikeouts keep him out of the elite level.

Alex (79) – Fister has been out since his first start of the season with a left side injury. The Tigers could use him back as soon as possible, they rank in the bottom half of their league with a 3.99 xFIP.

71 – Desmond Jennings – OF – TBR – MLB (NR)
Lee (73) – Already showing very good offensive skills with great athleticism, Jennings becomes the next key cog in the Rays system.  He is developing at the rate they thought B.J. Upton would.

Alex (63) – After an impressive 63 game stint in 2011, Jennings is off to a great start in 2012.  He hasn’t shown a lot of power yet, but he’s on a similar WAR pace.

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