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The best MLB player at each position in 2018

If you could put together a starting lineup full of baseball’s best players, who would be included?
The answer to that question will vary depending on who is asked, and there’s no right or wrong here. There are tons of terrific players in today’s game, and there are a countless number of permutations that could lead to a dominant squad.
Although fWAR is far from perfect, it’s the only stat that considers all of a player’s contributions while packing it neatly into one number. Who accumulated the most fWAR at their respective positions in 2018? To be considered for this list, players had to be qualified for the batting title, along with playing the majority of their games at the specific position in question.
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins
2018 fWAR: 4.8
He didn’t want to be playing for Miami in 2018, but Realmuto did a good job of not letting those desires impact his actual performance. The 27-year-old set new single-season career highs in home runs (21), runs scored (74), RBI (74), walk rate (7.2%), OPS (.825), wRC+ (126), and fWAR (4.8).
Outside of wRC+, this is the third consecutive year in which his numbers in each of the other categories improved. Realmuto’s batted-ball profile underwent a change, too. Entering 2018, his ground-ball rate had never been lower than 47.0%, but it dropped all the way down to 39.8% this past year. His line-drive rate (22.8%) and fly-ball rate (37.4%) both increased as a result.
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Justin Verlander's domination in October shows no signs of stopping

Where would the Houston Astros be without Justin Verlander leading the pitching staff? They’d probably still be pretty good, but not nearly as good as they have been since acquiring him just over a year ago.
Houston took a 1-0 series lead Saturday night in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park with their ace taking the reigns like usual. It wasn’t your typical dominant start from the right-hander — he did walk four hitters and recorded two wild pitches — but he allowed just two runs on two hits and six strikeouts in six innings.
Thanks to his earlier days with the Detroit Tigers and now the last two Octobers with the Astros, Verlander has accumulated 24 appearances (23 starts) in postseason play, leading to 146.1 innings. That’s basically a season’s worth of work, and he’s taken advantage of all the opportunity by posting a 13-6 record with a 3.08 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 28.1% strikeout rate, and 7.8% walk rate.
That’s not too shabby on the surface, but it gets more impressive when realizing the historical significance.

[email protected] gets his 13th #postseason win.
That is the 2nd most EVER by an AL pitcher (Andy Pettitte, 19). pic.twitter.com/JJ6KHa83Zu
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) October 14, 2018

Is this mostly because he’s playing in an era with plenty of chances to register wins during the postseason? Well, yes, but this is also the seventh year of playoff baseball in his career.
Of those 13 career wins, though, six have come with Houston. While he’s only 2-1 in his last four postseason starts, Verlander has allowed just nine hits in 23.1 frames. This particular streak has him being mentioned in the same breath as Don Larsen, so that’s pretty cool.

The @astros' Justin Verlander has now allowed a total of 9 hits over his last 4 postseason starts. That ties the fewest hits ever allowed over a span of 4 postseason starts; the other to do it was Don Larsen from 1955-57 – a stretch that included his perfect game. #NeverSettle
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) October 14, 2018

As mentioned earlier, Saturday’s start was far from Verlander’s best work. He still found a way to limit base hits, which has been the theme of his playoff career.

The Astros win Game 1 of the #ALCS, 7-2, behind Justin Verlander’s strong start.
After tonight, Verlander has a .195 career opp BA in postseason play. That's the lowest in MLB postseason history by any pitcher with at least 10 postseason starts. pic.twitter.com/6XFKYAQCAF
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 14, 2018

It’s safe to say that Houston has gotten everything they were hoping from Verlander, and then some. Not only has he gone 21-9 with a 2.32 ERA and 0.87 WHIP through his first 248 regular-season innings, but he’s been as close to automatic as you can get when it counts the most.

About Matt Musico

Matt currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book about how to become a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.
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