7:00 AM ET
Fingers crossed that the 2021 MLB season will begin on time — and that we get to see some live baseball at the ballpark this year.
As we wait, Buster Olney continues his annual ranking of the 10 best players at each position heading into the coming season, based on input from industry evaluators. He begins with pitchers — the top 10 starters and top 10 relievers. He’ll follow that Wednesday with infielders, outfielders on Thursday and teams on Friday.
Trevor Bauer sometime struts off the mound, and Marcus Stroman can be a fist-pumping machine. By their standard, Jacob deGrom is outwardly stoic. But if you look closely, there is extraordinary intensity in deGrom’s work, even when he throws a bullpen session in which the only spectators are New York Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and a bullpen catcher.
If deGrom throws a pitch and it misses by an inch — maybe even less — deGrom will pause and glance toward the sky, the briefest pause as he reassesses what the hell just went wrong and why he just screwed up. This is the best pitcher on the planet challenging himself. “He holds himself