The 2019 MLB season is off to a hot start, and these 30 players will be responsible for carrying their respective teams all year.
Roughly two weeks in, and it has already been an exciting 2019 for MLB fans. We’ve seen stars like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper debut for their new teams. Mike Trout signed the largest contract in professional sports history, and will make nearly $430 million over the next 12 years. The Seattle Mariners are putting up video-game numbers on offense, while the Boston Red Sox pitching staff is giving up video-game numbers to opposing offenses. There has also been a wave of young stars signing team-friendly extensions, none more so than Ozzie Albies’ mind-boggling seven-year, $35 million extension with the Atlanta Braves.
That’s quite a lot squeezed into less than a month of action, and there’s still another six months of MLB fun to look forward to.
Despite the fact that some teams would prefer to lose 100 games than win 75 as they rebuild and look five years down the road, each MLB squad still has one player that can clearly be tabbed as the main attraction. Some teams obviously have more than one star, while some teams’ best player would struggle to find a starting role on a contender. That being said, all 30 players named in this post have a good chance to land on the All-Star team in July.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Zack Greinke
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in a transition phase from contending for a playoff spot in the National League to entering a full-blown rebuild. They pulled the trigger on trading franchise icon and perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt over the offseason, but still have several players left on the roster from the 2017 team that won 93 games and the NL Wild Card Game. Arizona remained in contention last season until September, but fell apart with an 8-19 record down the stretch.
The Diamondbacks went all-in when they signed right-hander Zack Greinke to what was, at the time, the richest contract in MLB history on an annual basis. The 35-year-old’s six-year, $206.5 million deal is an albatross now for Arizona, but he has actually pitched very well in two of his first three seasons with the Diamondbacks.
Greinke is 46-26 with a 3.63 ERA in 93 starts for the Diamondbacks and was an All-Star in 2017 and 2018. He also finished fourth in the 2017 NL Cy Young vote and has added three more Gold Gloves to his growing career total. To top it off, he has hit .224/.258/.306 with two homers, 16 RBI and four stolen bases, which is incredible offensive production for a pitcher in this day and age. Obviously the Diamondbacks would love to find a taker and unload at least some of Greinke’s remaining money, but it’s hard to knock his performance.