ESPN released its annual list of the top 100 players in Major League Baseball heading into the 2020 season on Wednesday and three members of the Philadelphia Phillies made the list.
Star outfielder Bryce Harper, who was ranked 15th last year, dropped 10 spots to No. 25 after his debut campaign in Philadelphia.
The 27-year-old, entering his ninth MLB season, hit 35 home runs — his most since 2015 — while driving in a career-best 114 RBI.
Yet the production was nothing more than a bright spot during a disappointing 2019 in which the Phillies once again failed to make the playoffs.
As the face of the franchise, Harper still wasn’t ranked as the top Phillie on ESPN’s list.
That honor belonged to JT Realmuto, considered the overwhelming top catcher in baseball this year, who came in at No. 23.
In his first year with the organization after coming over from the Miami Marlins, Realmuto slashed .275/.328/.493 with 25 home runs and 83 RBI while being deemed the most consistent bat in the Phillies’ lineup.
The catcher ranked nearest to Realmuto was Chicago White Sox backstop Yasmani Grandal, who was slotted 22 spots below at No. 45.
Philadelphia ace Aaron Nola rounded out the Phillies’ list, though he experienced a hefty drop from last season.
After finishing third in the NL Cy Young Award voting, an inconsistent 2019 saw the righty drop from 24th to 52nd.
If he’s able to get more swings and misses on his fastball while honing in a changeup that is a work in progress this spring, expect that ranking to hop back up next season.
Not that the Phillies needed any more indication that the National League East is going to be a beast in 2020, but the ESPN’s top 100 further confirmed the premier talent that has saturated the division.
In total, there are seven players from NL East teams that are ranked in front of Realmuto.
The New York Mets have ace Jacob deGrom at No. 3 and slugging first baseman Pete Alonso at No. 20.
The defending World Series-champion Washington Nationals see Max Scherzer come in at No. 7, young outfielder Juan Soto at 11th, and World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg at No. 16.
Down south, the defending NL East champion Atlanta Braves boast Ronald Acuna at No. 8 and Freddie Freeman at 17th.