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Thursday, September 26, 2013
Top 10 Latin American players

With this being Hispanic Heritage Month, we decided this would be a good time to ask our experts to rank the top 10 Latin American players presently in baseball.

Our experts -- Jim Bowden, Jerry Crasnick, Enrique Rojas, David Schoenfield and Jayson Stark -- ranked the players based on the impact they made in the majors this season. Players received 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second-place vote and so on. Overall points are listed in parenthesis.

Miguel Cabrera


Miguel Cabrera (50)

Cabrera, a native of Venezuela, appears to be the favorite to win a second straight American League MVP Award. He's on his way to winning a third consecutive AL batting title, though his bid to win a second straight Triple Crown won't happen because, while he does lead the AL in batting average and and is tied for the lead in RBIs, he's a distant second in home runs behind league leader Chris Davis.

Cabrera, a career .321 hitter, is in his 11th season in the big leagues, the past six of which have come with the Tigers.


Robinson Cano (41)

Cano, a native of the Dominican Republic, has played the first nine seasons of his career with the Yankees. He'll be a free agent at the end of this year, so it's anyone's guess if he'll return to the Bronx in 2014.

A .309 career hitter and a five-time All-Star, Cano has played in 150 or more games for seven straight seasons.

Felix Hernandez


Felix Hernandez (28)

Hernandez, a Venezuelan native, has played eight full seasons in the big leagues and has a career 3.19 ERA. He won the American League Cy Young Award in 2010, a season in which he finished with a 2.27 ERA in 34 starts.

With two more innings pitched this season, "King Felix" will finish with 200 or more innings for six straight seasons.


Jose Fernandez (23)

Fernandez, a Cuban native, completed a sensational rookie season in 2013. His .182 batting average against is tops among all pitchers in the majors, while his 6.4 WAR is fifth-best and 2.19 ERA is second-best.

He pitched 172 2/3 innings before the Marlins shut him down with three weeks left in the season due to an innings limit.

Yadier Molina


Yadier Molina (22)

Molina, a Puerto Rican native, is the youngest of three brothers (Bengie and Jose are the others) who have all played in the majors. Yadier is a five-time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove winner.

Widely considered the best defensive catcher in baseball, he will also finish this season batting over .300 for the third straight year.


Adrian Beltre (20)

Beltre, a Dominican Republic native, is in his 16th season in the majors, the last three of which with the Rangers. His 375 home runs are ninth among active players.

He also finished third in voting for the American League MVP last season. His .921 OPS in 2012 was the second-highest total in his career.

Manny Machado


Manny Machado (19)

Machado, who is of Dominican heritage, played his first full season in the big leagues this year. He leads the American League with 51 doubles, and his 6.6 WAR is third-best among all third baseman in baseball.

Time will tell how much the injury he suffered to his left knee on Monday will affect him in the future.


Evan Longoria (16)

Evan Longoria, who is of Mexican and Ukrainian heritage, is in his sixth season in the majors. He won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2008, and drove in a career-best 113 runs and hit a career high 33 home runs the following season.

The highlight of his career thus far was likely the walk-off home run he hit on the final day of the regular season in 2011 that propelled the Rays into the postseason.

Carlos Gonzalez


Carlos Gonzalez (6)

Gonzalez, a native of Venezuela, is in his sixth season in the big leagues, the past five of which have come with the Rockies. He won the National League batting title in 2010, finishing the season with a .336 batting average and an NL-best 197 hits.

He's a two-time All-Star as well as a career .300 hitter.


Carlos Gomez (5)

Gomez, a native of the Dominican Republic, has established career highs this season in doubles (27), triples (10), home runs (23) and RBIs (71). Having been traded twice in his career, he's in his seventh year in the majors and his fourth with the Brewers.

He made his first All-Star Game appearance this season.

Others receiving votes: David Ortiz (4), Mariano Rivera (4), Andrelton Simmons (4) and Yasiel Puig (1).