Top 5 MLB Free Agents Ranked

2024 MLB Offseason Preview: Top 5 Free Agents to Watch

Baseball’s hot stove season is heating up, and all eyes are on a talented pool of free agents. As we slide into the offseason, let’s dive deep into the top five free agents that are set to make headlines.

1. Shohei Ohtani: The Two-Way Sensation
Despite undergoing elbow surgery and the likelihood of being a designated hitter (DH) next season, Shohei Ohtani remains the crown jewel of this free agent class. With an anticipated second MVP title under his belt, he dominated the AL with stellar numbers in home runs, on-base percentage, and slugging. Ohtani’s Cy Young candidacy was cut short by injury, but his universal appeal promises more than just on-field prowess. The world’s most popular baseball player brings a myriad of marketing opportunities. It’s not a stretch to expect Ohtani to ink a jaw-dropping contract, possibly north of $500 million.

2. Blake Snell: The Swing-and-Miss Maestro
The timing couldn’t be better for Blake Snell. Coming off one of his finest seasons reminiscent of his 2018 AL Cy Young days with the Rays, he’s been a nightmare for hitters, boasting a sub-6.0 H/9. However, the journey hasn’t been all roses. Concerns loom regarding his control and the mere two seasons where he crossed the 130-inning mark. Yet, with starting pitchers in high demand and Snell’s elite ability to make bats miss, he’s undoubtedly the cream of the pitching crop.

3. Sonny Gray: Consistency in the Spotlight
After delivering two magnificent seasons in Minnesota, Sonny Gray is poised to be a sought-after name. He silenced critics in 2023, taking the mound for over 30 starts, a feat he’s achieved four times in his career. Potential suitors should exercise caution, given Gray’s unusually low home run rate that might see an uptick. Nevertheless, his track record as a 3.00 ERA hurler outside hitter-friendly parks remains enticing.

4. Aaron Nola: The Durability Dynamo
In a market starved for consistent starters, Aaron Nola stands tall. His streak of 32 starts in the past five full seasons speaks volumes about his resilience. But, the waters are murky when assessing his on-field contributions. Despite showcasing stellar command, Nola’s ERA has been a concern, sliding below the league average twice in the last three seasons. Optimists might blame Philly’s hitter-friendly confines for his woes, and given his two top-five Cy Young finishes, it’s evident the potential is there. Don’t be startled if Nola’s contract trails only Ohtani’s among starting pitchers.

5. Cody Bellinger: A Phoenix Rising
From being the toast of LA with an NL Rookie of the Year title in 2017 and an MVP in 2019, Cody Bellinger’s graph took a nosedive. However, the winds of change favored him in 2023. Donning the Cubs’ blue, Bellinger revived his mojo, hitting a 20/20 with an OPS hovering around .900. As he steps into free agency, his versatility on the field enhances his allure. While he stands out as the premier non-Ohtani batter available, teams should weigh his recent resurgence against prior slumps.

This offseason promises to be a rollercoaster, with teams vying for these game-changers. As deals get inked and jerseys get swapped, one thing’s for sure: the 2024 MLB season will be one for the books.