As the MLB season comes up, a new player takes the crown of the best of the best.

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The MLB season is upon us, which means that some players will live up to expectations, and there will be players that will not. This article lists my top ten MLB players now going into the season.

10. Aaron Judge

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Judge had a great year last year, hitting 39 home runs with a batting average of .287 and putting 158 hits in 550 at-bats. He played the second-most games of his career last season but was sidelined due to lower-body soreness. He was an MLB all-star starter and had career highs in at-bats, hits, and batting average. Last year was great, but I expect Judge to impress with his brute strength and have a career year this year.

9. Max Scherzer

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Scherzer has yet to disappoint, and in his 14th season, he refuses to stop. The 3-time Cy Young winner posted career highs in win-loss percentage, ERA, and runs allowed, with only 17 the entire season, but was also sidelined with a groin injury. I do not expect to see anything less than amazing with his new team, the New York Mets, and their revamped pitching staff.

8. Nolan Arenado

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At the start of a new MLB season, we have to talk about one of the best infielders of the decade, Nolan Arenado. The 6-time all-star, 9-time gold glove winning, 5-time platinum glove winning Arenado had a batting average of .255, which was an increase from the year before, 34 homers, and 653 plate appearances. He was an all-star starter and will not go down in this league. He will continue to impress for a long time.

7. Chris Bassitt

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Chris Bassitt is one word: amazing. He was great last year, putting up career highs in wins, games started, win-loss percentage, innings pitched, strikeouts, and WAR. He was lower than career averages in WAR, ERA, and WHIP. He was 10th in the American League Cy Young voting, and I expect big things from this now-Mets starter.

6. Ronald Acuna Jr.

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Acuna played 82 games, then was out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL suffered in-game. In those 82 games, he had 24 home runs, a 283 batting average, and 360 plate appearances. If he would have kept this up, he would end with almost 50 home runs, around 720 plate appearances, and 168 hits, all being career highs except hits. He will be a surefire all-star this year, and he will be great coming off of a year of rest.

5. Fernando Tatis Jr.

The Padres Truly Commit to Fernando Tatis Jr. - The New York Times
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When Fernando Tatis Jr. steps up to the plate, you have to wonder what he will do this time around. In 2021, at just 22 years old, he played in the all-star game for the first time. He had 42 home runs, had a 282 batting average, a 6.6 WAR, 478 at-bats, and won the silver slugger award. In a regular year, he would probably be number 2 or 3. However, because there are so many up-and-coming stars, he dropped back.

4. Juan Soto

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Juan Soto is one of the best baseball players I have ever seen. His vision, smarts, and energy always make him a joy to watch on the field. At just 23 years old, this young star has racked up many accolades: 1-time all-star, world series champion, 2-time silver slugger, and a batting title. In 2021 he was named to the all-star team with a .313 batting average, 3rd best in the league, 654 plate appearances, 29 home runs, and an outstanding 95 RBIs, 5th in the league in that category. He always makes the most out of his at-bats, so expect to see him rise on this list over the season.

3. Mike Trout

What's Left for Mike Trout to Conquer? - The Ringer
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Before a season-ending injury by way of the right calf, Trout was already putting up big numbers just 36 games in. He had 8 home runs, a .333 batting average, a 1.8 WAR, 39 hits, and 146 at-bats. In 2022, he is projected by to have a batting average of .277, 20 homers, 338 plate appearances, and 51 walks, all great. But I expect Trout to have one of his best seasons up to this point in his career.

2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is truly an amazing player. His strength, power, and consistency have all been defining traits of the 23-year-old slugger. In 2021, he won all-star MVP and silver slugger while playing for a team with over three current or former all-stars. He had an outstanding season, tallying 48 home runs, 123 runs, the highest in the MLB, 161 games, 698 plate appearances, both career highs, and 111 RBIs, also the highest in the MLB. He tweeted out that this year was going to be his best yet, and I expect it to be great.

1. Shohei Ohtani

MVP! MVP! MVP! That is what all fans around the MLB were chanting the entire season, including me. The pitcher side of Ohtani put up a 9 and 2 record, with a 3.18 ERA and 130.1 innings pitched, making the all-star team the starting pitcher. The hitting side of Ohtani is just as amazing, probably even better. In 155 games, he put up 639 plate appearances, with a notable 46 home runs, 26 doubles, 8 triples, and a batting average of .257 on 138 hits. Shohei was the consensus MVP, and I expect no different from him in 2022.