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MLB Best Tools 2019: Managers, Scouts & Executives Vote On Baseball's Best Talent


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Baseball America has tracked Best Tools winners in the American and National leagues continuously since 1988. In that time, no player has medaled—placed in the top three—in balloting for all five of the traditional scouting tools: hit, power, run, field and arm.

In fact, just seven players in 32 years have medaled in four of the five tools, indicating the difficulty of the task. These “four-dimensional” superstars include all-time greats like Ichiro, A-Rod, Griffey and Trout—players so iconic that they are identifiable by one name. Nolan Arenado is also a member of the club and might one day be viewed in a similar light.

But the other two members of the club might surprise you. One is Jose Reyes, who so thoroughly dominated the fastest baserunner, best defensive shortstop and best infield arm categories in the 2000s that he has a top 20 total for career Best Tools “medal” points, using an Olympics’ 5-3-1 scoring system.

The seventh four-dimensional superstar is former Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, our 2011 Major League Player of the Year. While Kemp is not nearly so decorated—he never won a Best Tools category—he picked up stray “silver” and “bronze” medals for four of the five tools at various points during his peak seasons.

The following 2019 Best Tools winners are working on active streaks ranging in length from two seasons to eight.

Eight straight
Mike Trout — Most Exciting Player (AL)

Six straight
Nolan Arenado — Best Defensive 3B (NL)
Billy Hamilton — Fastest Baserunner (AL/NL)

Five straight
DJ LeMahieu — Best Defensive 2B (AL/NL)
Joey Votto — Best Strike-Zone Judgment (NL)

Four straight
Mike Trout — Best Hitter (AL)

Three straight
Chris Sale — Best Slider (AL)
Max Scherzer — Best Slider (NL)

Two straight
Javier Baez — Best Infield Arm (NL)
Matt Chapman — Best Defensive 3B (AL)
Matt Chapman — Best Infield Arm (AL)
Josh Hader — Best Reliever (NL)
Max Scherzer — Best Pitcher (NL)
Mike Trout — Best Strike-Zone Judgment (AL)
Trea Turner — Best Baserunner (NL)

Below are the 2019 winners, followed by voting results for each category.


Annotation 2019-08-06 101826.png

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