The Best Players in Major League Baseball's American League
Every American League baseball team has one or more players who stand out among their peers. It happens every year, and a player that had terrific numbers last year might be slumping this year. That's one of the aspects of the game that makes baseball meaningful; it's very difficult to excel year after year on the field. The best players are those who are able to do so.
The players mentioned in this article are the AL pitchers and hitters who are currently playing very well. Players listed below are grouped in their team's respective division. They are ranked either top tier, second tier, or third tier. Players even in the third tier have had a noteworthy season.
The American League's best players are a mix of veterans and youngsters, of consistent pitchers and hitters and of players just breaking out. The players mentioned here are mentioned because they are actively performing above the norm to help their teams win; it is not meant to be a scouting report, nor does it take into account fine players that have missed considerable playing time lately.
AL East Top Tier Players
New York Yankees
CF Aaron Judge The burly outfielder has absolutely dominated the past two seasons. His numbers over 2021 and 2022 account for about half of the thirty-year old's career power numbers. His sixty-two home runs are an American League all-time record.
Final 2022 stats: .311 (2nd in AL), 62 HR (1st in MLB), 131 RBI (tied for 1st MLB), 133 runs scored (1st MLB), 1.111 OPS (1st in MLB for both OBP and SLG PCT).
SP Nestor Cortes The conversion from reliever to starter last year seems to have worked. The 27-year old from Cuba turned heads in 2022, even though he wasn't called up to the majors until May 30th and spent two short stints on the disabled list.
Final 2022 stats: 12-4, 2.44 ERA, 163 K, 0.92 WHIP.
Toronto Blue Jays
1B Vladimir Guerrero The big slugger has over 500 hits for his career and he doesn't turn 24 years old until March, 2023.
Final 2022 stats: .274, 32 HR, 97 RBI.
SS Bo Bichette Toronto's star shotstop turns 25 in March, 2023. He's a gritty gamer who is only going to get better.
Final 2022 stats: .290, 24 HR, 93 RBI,189 hits (1st in AL), 43 doubles (2nd in AL).
SP Alek Manoah The big right-hander has established himself as one of the American League's top starting pitchers.
Final 2022 stats: 16-7 (16 wins good for 3rd in AL), 2.24 ERA (3rd in AL), 180 SO (2nd in AL), 0.99 WHIP (4th in AL), 196.2 IP (4th in AL).
Tampa Bay Rays
P Shane McLanahan This young left-hander built upon his impressive rookie season in 2021 with an incredible performance in 2022.
Final 2022 stats: 12-8, 2.54 ERA (5th in AL), 194 K, 0.93 WHIP (2nd in AL).
CF Cedric Mulins Baltimore's capable and compact center fielder is one of those rare guys who can do it all on the field. He's 28 years old. He broke out in 2021 with 30 home runs and 30 steals. Though his power numbers were down a bit in 2022, his defense improved and his speed is a rare asset in today's game.
Final 2022 stats:
Boston Red Sox
3B Rafael Devers The 25-year old Dominican third baseman consistently provides power in the Bosox lineup. He plays a nifty third base, too.
Final 2022 stats: .295, 27 HR, 88 RBI, 42 doubles (4th in AL).
SS Xander Bogaerts His power numbers are down a bit, but the talented shortstop from Aruba is a hitting machine. This is his contract's opt-out year if he decides to excercise it.
Final 2022 stats: .307 (3rd in AL), 15 HR, 73 RBI, 171 hits (8th in AL).
AL Central Best Players
3B Jose Ramirez The 30-year old switch-hitter is in his prime and Cleveland wouldn't have won their divison without him.
Final 2022 stats: .280, 29 HR, 126 RBI (2nd in AL).
CL Emmanuel Clase Cleveland's wiry stopper from the Dominican Republic is off to an incredible start for his career. In parts of three seasons, he has stymied American League hitters.
Final 2022 stats: 3-4, 1.36 ERA, 77 Ks, 0.73 WHIP, 42 saves (1st in MLB).
Chicago White Sox
SP Dylan Cease The right-hander from Milton, GA has improved markedly every year since his debut in 2019.
Final 2022 stats: 14-8, 2.20 ERA (2nd in AL), 227 K (2nd in AL), 1.11 WHIP.
1B Luis Arraez The young, sweet-swinging left-handed hitter from Venezuela won the American League's batting title in 2022.
Final 2022 stats: .316, 8 HR, 49 RBI.
AL West Best Players
Los Angeles Angels
CF Mike Trout: The 25th overall draft pick in the 2009 draft went from low level minor leaguer to top prospect to major league star, all before the age of 21 (he turned 21 on Aug. 7, 2012). Over the past two seasons, he's got 372 hits and drawn 177 base on balls. It seems every time you look up, he's on base.
Final 2012 stats: .326, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB in 54 attempts.
Final 2013 stats: .323, 27 HR, 97 RBI, 33 SB in 40 attempts.
Significant injuries past two seasons: None.
SP Jered Weaver: The 31-year old right-handed starter has won nearly twice as many games as he's lost spanning his career (113-60). A freak incident in April, 2013 had Weaver diving away from a line drive and he came down hard on his left elbow, breaking it. He returned, a feat in itself, and provided some impressive starts for the Angels.
Final 2012 stats: 20-5, 2.81 ERA, 142 strikeouts.
Final 2013 stats: 11-8, 3.27 ERA, 117 strikeouts.
3B Adrian Beltre: Through 94 games, the right-handed hitting Beltre posted a .317 batting average with a .519 slugging percentage.
LF Josh Hamilton: The former AL MVP has struggled in the second half of 2012. Still, through 91 games, the left-handed slugger had 28 homers and 83 RBI.
CL Joe Nathan: The veteran right-hander had 20 saves in 21 opportunities through July 25, 2012.
RP Robbie Ross: Through 50 innings pitched, the lefty sported a 1.08 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP. Opposing hitters were batting .213 against him.
SP Felix Hernandez: One of the finest right-handed starters in the game, Hernandez was 9-5 with a 2.80 ERA through 21 starts.
RP Charlie Furbush: The situational lefty has been amazing in 2012. Through 37 1/3 innings pitched, the 26-year old had allowed only 19 hits and 11 walks (0.80 WHIP).
CL Tom Wilhelmsen: In his second season in the Major Leagues, the 6'6" tall right-hander won Seattle's stopper job. Through July 26, 2012, Wilhelmsen had saved 12 of 14 games and had an ERA of 2.26.
RF Josh Reddick: Through 96 games, the right fielder had 10 outfield assists (good for 3rd among right fielders in the American League). The 25-year old with the sweet left-handed swing was hitting .272 with 22 home runs and 50 RBI through 96 games.
CL Ryan Cook: An interesting prospect, Cook's only saved 10 games in 15 opportunities. But his other numbers are intriguing. Through 42 2/3 innings pitched, the 25-year old right-hander had only allowed 19 hits and two home runs. Opposing batters were hitting a paltry .134 against him.
Jason F Marovich (author) from Detroit on August 03, 2012:
Mary Craig from New York on August 02, 2012:
I hate to admit I'm not an avid BB fan though I love to watch the Yankees. This was a very informative hub and I know true fans will love it.
Voted up and interesting.
Jason F Marovich (author) from Detroit on July 29, 2012:
I agree, Cogerson. Quality players don't stay off the mark for long. Gonzalez is an amazing hitter, Santana a proven power hitting catcher, and Young a late-season-to-playoffs asset in a formidable Tigers lineup. Thanks for stopping by!
UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on July 29, 2012:
Very well done....I enjoyed reading this well researched hub.... could not come up with a single player that should be on this list that is not....although I am sure some underachieving players will rebound in the second half of the season....Carlos Santana of the Indians, Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox(had a great Saturday) and Delmon Young of the Tigers(he always tears in up in the second half) come to mind....voted up and awesome.
Jason F Marovich (author) from Detroit on July 28, 2012:
Thank you so much, whonunuwho.
whonunuwho from United States on July 28, 2012:
An excellent hub and most informative for all of us who are so interested in the sport of baseball. You have organized this article very well and is interesting in its content. Well done.