Discussion

Who's No. 1 ... in 2017?

Updated: March 27, 2012, 4:50 PM ET
By Keith Law

As part of ESPN's Top 500 Players project, I've been asked to predict who the top 10 players will be five years from now, heading into the 2017 season. It's just for fun, although I based the names on my own scouting and on some basic looks at their pro performances to date.

This list skews young. Adrian Beltre ranked 20th in FanGraphs' version of wins above replacement at age 32 last year; no one with a seasonal age over 30 ranked ahead of him. In 2010, Beltre was joined in the top 20 by two members of the San Francisco Giants with fluky numbers who both collapsed in 2011 (Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres), along with 17 players at 30 or younger.

I think Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Kemp will still be valuable players in 2017, but they will both be on the wrong side of 30 by then, and the odds are they'll be supplanted at the top of the list by younger players. Position players peak in their late 20s, and while we see the occasional outlier, you aren't likely to see many guys in their mid-30s atop a rational ranking of hitters by value.

Without further ado, here's how I see the top 10 breaking down five years from now.

MORE MLB HEADLINES