Execs pick their top 10 players for 2013

Updated: March 28, 2013, 11:47 AM ET
By Buster Olney

The American League Most Valuable Player debate last summer illuminated the significant difference between the way folks in front offices evaluate players and how uniformed personnel view them. For managers, coaches and players, Miguel Cabrera was a no-brainer selection as he became the first hitter in 45 years to win the Triple Crown.

But for many general managers, assistant general managers and scouts -- baseball's talent evaluators -- the whole question seemed ridiculously simple, summed up neatly by the offensive and defensive metrics of Mike Trout.

"Taking a home run away with your glove means the same thing as hitting a home run," one GM said with incredulity.

It was a debate that execs believed wasn't really debatable.

So the results of a poll of 21 talent evaluators shouldn't be a surprise. In conjunction with the "Baseball Tonight" 500 -- the top 10 of which will be unveiled at 10 tonight on ESPN -- I asked those 21 execs to rank the top 10 players in the majors for 2013, 1 through 10, and the votes reflected the way they feel about overall value. The middle-of-the-diamond guys, including pitchers, fared very well.

In tabulating the votes, I gave the players points according to where they were placed on ballots -- 10 for first place, 9 for second place, etc.) .

1. Mike Trout | OF, Los Angeles Angels
177 (out of 210 possible) points; 13 first-place votes

"Best player in the game, period," said one front office type. "Special, a freak talent."