Who Are the Best Players and Pitchers in Each MLB Division?

A full set of top 10 lists ranking both the best position players and the best pitchers in each division in Major League Baseball.

Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves and Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies speak during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park.
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 13: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves and Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies speak during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park on September 13, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

There are a lot of different ways that we can rank the top players in Major League Baseball. Over the past month, we have been ranking the top 10 players by position, looking at all 30 teams to find who the best of the best are at each spot on the diamond.

But how do players compare to their peers, regardless of position?

This is what we aimed to answer in one of our latest series of articles here at Just Baseball, where we ranked the top 10 players and the top 10 pitchers in each division in Major League Baseball.

Star players can swing a divisional race, as the best players in baseball are capable of carrying their teams to another level that allows them to rise above the rest to clinch their division and advance into the playoffs.

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Let’s take a look at each of the six divisions and identify where the top talent resides in the game today.

Best Players in the American League East

The American League East is a loaded division. Outside of the Boston Red Sox, each of the other four teams are entering the season expecting to make the playoffs.

From the Baltimore Orioles, who have the deepest farm system in baseball and are coming off a 101-win season, to the New York Yankees who have maybe the best duo in the sport in Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, this division is loaded with teams that should make the playoffs.

Here was our list of the top 10 players in this division heading into Opening Day.

To no one’s surprise, Judge and Soto headline this list, and Adley Rutschman comes just behind at No. 3 as the face of the Baltimore Orioles. Behind the top three, some might be surprised to see Yandy Diaz so high, but he is coming off a fantastic season where he helped lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 99-win season.

Bo Bichette and Rafael Devers are two of the best young hitters in the game, and Gunnar Henderson is fresh off winning the AL Rookie of the Year.

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Any list that has two of the more exciting sluggers in the game bringing up the rear in Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Randy Arozarena is a very deep list. For a full breakdown of all 10 of these star players, check out our article on the top 10 players in the American League East.

Best Pitchers in the American League East

From the top players in the AL East to the top pitchers, this list might lack the same star power on the back-end, but still features plenty of notable names. Headlined by three of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball, the AL East has some incredible aces representing the best teams.

Try to find a better trio of aces in any division in baseball than Gerrit Cole, Kevin Gausman and Corbin Burnes. You can look throughout the rest of this article and you aren’t going to find one.

This list does take a considerable dip after that top three, but you still will see plenty of quality starting pitchers, as well as some of the nastiest relievers in the game. Check out our top AL East Pitchers article for a full breakdown of the top arms in the game.

Best Players in the American League Central

If there is one thing that is pretty clear about Major League Baseball right now, it is that most of the top talent migrates to the each coast. The divisions on the East and West coast are just flatly better than what we can find in the AL and NL Central divisions.

With that said, you will find four of the five teams in this division represented atop our top 10, with most of the teams in the AL Central featuring at least one standout franchise players that any team would love to have.

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Bobby Witt Jr. and Luis Robert Jr. are each coming off breakout seasons, where they have established themselves as some of the top players in the game today. Yet neither could knock of the perennially excellent Jose Ramirez as the top player in the AL Central.

Carlos Correa has put together one of the best careers in this division and cracks our top five, but is coming off a down season in 2023. Meanwhile his teammate Royce Lewis is on the heels of a breakout that has him featured in the top half our list.

For a full breakdown of our top 10 players in the AL Central check our article here.

Best Pitchers in the American League Central

Pitching is pretty thin this division. While the top pitchers in this division are still very talented, it would be pretty shocking if anyone from this division took home a Cy Young this season.

Pablo Lopez gets the nod as the best pitcher in the AL Central coming off a great first season in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Tarik Skubal enjoyed a breakout with Detroit and finds himself ahead of Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease, who is coming off a down-year. Still, Cease is probably the most likely Cy Young hopeful of the bunch, that is if he remains in Chicago all year.

While the Cleveland Guardians might not be expected to win the World Series this year, they have three of our top six pitchers and one of the best closer in the game with Emmanuel Clase. Cleveland hopes their pitching can carry them in what should be a tightly-contested AL Central.

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Read our full breakdown of the top pitchers in the AL Central here.

Best Players in the American League West

Top-to-bottom, this very well could be the deepest division when it comes to star talent and most of it comes from the top three teams in the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.

With Shohei Ohtani now playing across town with the Dodgers, Mike Trout is the lone member of the Los Angeles Angels on this list and of course no Oakland Athletic sniffed our top 10.

Corey Seager is worthy of the top spot after leading the Rangers to their first World Series title in franchise history. Julio Rodriguez is one arguably the best young superstar in all of baseball, and the Astros still have a collection of four perennial All-Stars with Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker and Alex Bregman.

Speaking of Bregman, any top 10 that ends with him is ridiculously loaded. For a detailed look at how this top 10 list came together, check out the article here.

Best Pitchers in the American League West

Another top 10 list that is a bit top-heavy, the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros feature the best pitching in this division, with the Rangers and Angels trailing pretty far behind.

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The Mariners clearly have the best starting rotation in the AL West, with Luis Castillo, George Kirby and Logan Gilbert. Meanwhile the Houston Astros have a great ace duo with Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez, and feature arguably the best bullpen in baseball, which is headlined by new addition Josh Hader.

For a full breakdown of the top pitchers in the AL West, check out our top 10 piece here.

Best Players in the National League East

Another division on the coast that is absolutely loaded with talent. The NL East is highlighted by a handful of players who could take home the NL MVP this season, including the reigning winner of the award in Ronald Acuña Jr.

Look at the top-seven of this list?!

Acuña, Francisco Lindor, Bryce Harper, Matt Olson, Austin Riley, Pete Alonso and Trea Turner.

That might just be the most talented group of division-wide superstars in all of baseball. Turner being ranked at No. 7, when he could win the MVP this season for the Phillies is just insane.

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We looked into all of the talent in this division in our top 10 piece here.

Best Pitchers in the National League East

If there was a trio that could rival the AL East group mentioned earlier with Gerrit Cole, Kevin Gausman and Corbin Burnes, it might just be Zack Wheeler, Spencer Strider and Max Fried.

Past that trio of Wheeler, Strider and Fried, Kodai Senga and Aaron Nola add in two more bona fide frontline starters who round out the top five. Coming off a lost season, Edwin Diaz could reclaim his title as the nastiest closer in baseball, and the Marlins feature a great rotation that is headlined by Eury Perez and Jesus Luzardo.

Here is our full article breaking down the top 10 pitchers in the NL East.

Best Players in the National League Central

Similar to what we said on the American League side, the top-tier talent has migrated more to each coast and the lists for our central divisions are a bit weaker. With that said, there are still some really good players featured in the NL Central.

One note however, this list was made prior to Cody Bellinger re-signing with the Cubs.

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When you consider that Bellinger likely would have found himself somewhere near our top five, the Chicago Cubs arguably have the most star-power in this division with the St. Louis Cardinals trailing just behind.

With that said, the Milwaukee Brewers have two of the top five, as William Contreras broke out last season and Christian Yelich enjoyed a bounce-back. Check the full top 10 list here.

Best Pitchers in the National League Central

This division certainly had a lot more pitching talent last year when Brandon Woodruff was healthy and Corbin Burnes still headlined the Brewers rotation. Now a look at our top 10 shows a new face atop the list, but a lot more to be desired beyond that.

Sonny Gray had a fantastic season in the AL Central last year with the Minnesota Twins, and now makes the move to pitch for the Cardinals in the NL Central. Justin Steele finished top five in the Cy Young voting last year, and is joined by free agent signing Shota Imanaga atop the Cubs rotation.

For a full breakdown of we came to our top 10 pitchers in the NL Central, click here.

Best Players in the National League West

Three of the top four players in the National League West belong to the Los Angeles Dodgers and seven of the top eight belong to either the Dodgers or the San Diego Padres. The lone exception is Corbin Carroll from the reigning NL Champion Arizona Diamondbacks.

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Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman is one of the best trios of baseball players ever assembled. A dynasty before they even play a game together, the Dodgers are a team that has more star power than any in baseball.

The second-best catcher in baseball, Will Smith, is an afterthought in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile the Padres are being counted out early this season, but still have as much star power as anyone with Fernando Tatis Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Manny Machado.

For a full breakdown of our top 10 players in the NL West, click here.

Best Pitchers in the National League West

We close out our list of top 10s with one of the more fascinating collections of talent in the top pitchers of the National League West. This group is deep and is full of some of the more underrated pitchers in the game today.

Logan Webb is not an ace that gets mentioned in the same conversation as the Burnes’ and Cole’s of the world, but has been remarkably consistent throughout his young career. Zac Gallen fits a similar mold to Webb, as a guy who has been garnering Cy Young votes, without much fanfare.

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The Dodgers have the pitcher that all eyes will be on this year in Japanese sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Tyler Glasnow being their No. 2 provides this team with plenty of upside.

Merrill Kelly made a name for himself in the playoffs last year and adding Eduardo Rodriguez this offseason gave the Diamondbacks arguably the best trio of arms of any rotation in this division.

Check out a full breakdown of all the top arms in this division here.