Certain players shine through baseball’s first month

Abel Flessner, Managing Editor

Through the first month of the baseball season, we have seen things that haven’t been seen in years. Teams got off to hot starts, but some could argue that the players are making this more exciting than ever. 

With the new rule changes, we are seeing more hits and stolen bases, boosting players’ stats and making the games very exciting for impatient fans. 

Recently, CBS Sports made an All MLB First Team through the first month. This list is good, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best it can be. Here’s the proper All MLB First Team list. 

Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman deserves the top catcher spot rather than Braves catcher Sean Murphy. Rutschman has more hits, more at bats, more walks and less strikeouts. He is performing just as well as Murphy in only his second season. Murphy is more experienced and Rutschman is keeping up with him better than anyone could have expected. 

On the first base side, I agree Blue Jays star Vladimir Guererro Jr. has been the best. I also agree Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz is the second best. They are both leaders in powerful offenses and deserve the recognition for it, both batting over .300 with at least 25 hits and five home runs.

At second base, it’s hard to argue against Luis Arraez, so I won’t. The Marlins middle infielder is batting .421 through an entire month, and is doing things that we haven’t seen since Ichiro in his prime– getting tons of hits without hitting the ball hard. Arraez is the easy pick. 

At third base I also agree Matt Chapman is the best. The Blue Jays 2021 pickup is hitting .072 higher than any other third baseman, and his OPS is 1.105. He also fields at an elite level, and always has. Chapman had a rough 2022, but is off to a hot start in 2023. 

CBS sports put Padres most recent free agent signee Xander Bogaerts at first. I think he’s third at best. Wander Franco and Bo Bichette are most definitely playing better, and a case can also be made for Trea Turner. Franco is slashing .302 while also having five stolen bases and he leads the league in doubles. He’s also been dazzling in the field, making a bare-handed catch next to the left field bullpen at Tropicana Field this week. He is consistently a top performer on the current best team in baseball. 

Bichette is leading all shortstops in average, but strikes out a good amount while also having average speed, however, what he is doing at the plate is better than any other shortstop. Turner and Bogaerts are pretty even, but Bogaerts has hit better, while Turner is fielding better while also having elite speed. Nonetheless, Franco is the best shortstop right now to me, and the other shortstops certainly have a case. 

In left field, Rays star Randy Arozarena leads the pack. Again, as a Rays fan, I have nothing bad to say. However, the Rays have the best offense in baseball– the best team in baseball– so it’s only right that they would have a number of guys on this list. Arozarena is easily the best hitter on the best offense in baseball. He’s hitting .341, and gets a hit almost every game. He’s truly playing like a superstar. 

In center, there is no really obvious leader. CBS Sports says Brandon Nimmo of the Mets. I think it’s the other Brandon in the NL East, Brandon Marsh. Another arguable player is Dodgers’ James Outman who has an impressive 14 extra base hits, including seven home runs. Marsh, however, leads all center fielders in average with .351, and his OPS is 1.138. Hard to argue against those numbers. He also has 14 extra base hits including a league-leading four triples. 

One thing I love to see is Aaron Judge not on this list.

Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves is the best right fielder right now, and most likely the MVP favorite. Not only is he leading the league in hits, but he also is in stolen bases. Honestly, who’s surprised? Everyone has been waiting for Acuna to have a healthy season, and this could be the one. Hopefully now he can hit more home runs. 

Designated hitters are so fun to talk about, because how do you determine who is and who isn’t a DH? CBS Sports has Harold Ramirez of the Rays– hitting .357, and I won’t argue with that. Shoutout to Shohei Ohtani though, because if he only focused on hitting, he’d be the best. However, he is the best pitcher right now. 

Gerrit Cole. That’s who CBS Sports thinks is the best pitcher right now. I don’t love that. Cole is pitching well, but Ohtani is pitching better. Ohtani has given up eight hits in five starts. Those are crazy numbers. Cole has given up 17. Ohtani has two more strikeouts, and batters facing him are hitting .092. Not only is Ohtani pitching better, but he’s pitching better while also hitting every night. It’s ridiculous to say Cole is better. 

The list wasn’t bad. It also wasn’t good. When giving out recognition, it’s important to overlook home runs, team success and the obvious stats, but instead dive deeply into what the players mean to their teams. The Rays are hot, so they have a lot of great players that deserve the credit. This isn’t about the past and who’s been better, but rather right now and who is currently better. 

The MLB has gotten off to a great start, and it will be fun to see where the next month takes us.