5 Best Position Players in MLB 2024: Seager Pushing For No. 1?

Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager (5) rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning at Globe Life Field.
Image Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Every baseball diamond boasts nine essential positions. Since we’ve already broken down the top five pitchers in the MLB in 2024, it’s time to take a look at the supporting cast.

We’re now going to dive into the five best position players in the MLB going into 2024 based on their previous success and future expectations.

5. Braves 3B Austin Riley

Riley is one of the few players in the league who performed at an almost identical level in 2022 and 2023. This bodes well for his placement as the clear top candidate for best third basemen in the league, and fifth best positional player overall as the 2024 season approaches.

The breakdown looks like this: 90 runs (2022) and 117 runs (2023), 38 HR (2022) and 37 (2023), .273 AVG (2022) and .281 (2023). .878 OPS (2022) and .861 (2023).

One of the only reasons Riley is not talked about more is because of the historic season his teammate Ronald Acuna Jr. had last season. There is a scenario that could lead to Riley even taking down the NL MVP if he can improve a few parts of his game.

He has improved on hitting the fastball. This is essential. Breaking through this barrier will most likely lead to an uptick in home runs, slugging percentage, and RBIs. If his current slash line placed him in 7th, 6th, and 7th the MVP race the last three seasons, this offensive production coupled with some wishful improvement on defense could be enough for him to take down the elusive award.

4. Astros LF Yordan Alvarez

Alvarez has been putting almost unbelievable numbers at the plate for many years now. The dominance doesn’t end against right-handed pitchers either. He made this list because he has had just as much success against lefties, and showed it in 2023 with a stat line of .293/.407/.583 with 31 home runs and 97 RBIs in just 114 games. The numbers don’t lie as he batted .297 against lefties and .295 against righties.

Other comparable sluggers are Mike Trout and Aaron Judge. But if we take a closer look, Alvarez has hit for a higher average and lower strikeout rate than both of his fellow outfielders since entering the league. Trout has the defense, and Judge may have the home run pop, but Alvarez has the consistency.

Injuries may be the only thing holding Alvarez back from ending up higher on this list. His game total has dropped from 144 to 135 and finally 114 in 2023 over the past three years. If the Astros slugger can eclipse that marker this season, there is no reason why he should not be in the AL MVP conversation.

3. Dodgers 2B Mookie Betts

You could look at any of Betts’ offensive metrics since 2020 and understand why he is number three on this list. Most notably though is his WAR. In his first year on the Dodgers, it was almost unimpressive (3.4). However, since then it increased to 4.2 in 2021, 6.4 in 2022, and an impressive 8.4 in 2023. The only reason he was not the NL MVP was because of the season Ronald Acuna Jr. had.

His wRC+ of 167 in 2023 indicates he was 67% better than an average player last season. This move to second base put him in a position where the average wRC+ is 98. There is no question that Betts immediately jumps to the top of the list in terms of second basemen in the league given that he also played the role for a decent of time in Boston.

This move is a testament to Betts’ athleticism and there is no reason we should not expect a full season from the Dodgers superstar given that his total has increased for each of the last three seasons. If he can match 39 home runs and 96 walks again, it will set him up to maybe even jump one spot higher on any future list.

2. Rangers SS Corey Seager

Seager flies under the radar as one of the top players in the league consistently. It’s time to give credit where credit’s due. Last season was a breakout for the Rangers shortstop, right? Well, in 2022 he matched his home run total and only took a slight dip in WAR.

2023 was an all-around success but many fail to realize that in what will now be a double-digit year career, Seager boasts a career .292 BA, and falls into a similar category of Todd Helton and Scott Rolen when it comes to Hall of Fame contention.

His 1.133 OPS in the World Series win last season secured yet another MVP award, putting him in rare company with Reggie Jackson, bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax as the only other players to have won the honor twice. How could we not put him in this spot to follow that up with an excellent 2024?

1. Braves RF Ronald Acuna Jr.

Simply put, Acuna had no weaknesses in 2022. The numbers truly do speak for themselves as to why he sits at number one on this list.

There wasn’t even a struggle for Acuna as he entered every month of the regular season with a .900 OPS or better. So it was hard to get the guy out, but how hard was it exactly? Well, Acuna cut his strikeout rate from 23.6% in 2022 to 11.9% in 2023. So the pitchers weren’t getting the job done, and to top it all off, the Braves superstar led the majors in exit velocity among all qualified batters.

So it should come as no surprise to see Acuna cement himself in history as the fifth player to steal 40 bases and mash 40 home runs. It was a historical accomplishment that set him up to have another excellent 2024 as long as he can stay healthy.