The Chicago Cubs are likely going to have to scratch and claw their way through a tough National League Central to get into the playoffs for the fifth straight season, and the tough road is perfectly illustrated by how many top-tier players their divisional rivals have.
A new ranking, which was unveiled Wednesday by Sports Illustrated, evaluates the top 100 players in Major League Baseball, and while the Cubs are well represented with four players on the list, the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals both have more.
According to the baseball scribes at SI, the Brewers and Cardinals both have six of the top 100 players in the game. Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, who won the National League MVP award last season over Cubs infielder Javier Baez, checks in as the highest-ranked Brewer at number 14, and Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is ranked number 16, the highest among the St. Louis contingent.
The Cubs do have three players in the top-40, however. Third baseman Kris Bryant clocks in at number 17, as the publication professes its belief that the former NL MVP will bounce back from an injury-plagued 2018 campaign.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo, ranked at number 33, is praised for his consistency as a steadying force in the Cubs’ lineup, and Baez checks in at number 39, as SI says he could have “another gear” above what he was able to showcase in 2018.
Starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks rounds out the Cubs’ contingent at number 53, as the magazine lauds his consistency and his ability to put his pitches on the corners of the plate.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the top-ranked player on the list, following by Boston’s Mookie Betts, Washington’s Max Scherzer, and Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.