The Sporting News picks the top 50 players — and does a terrible job of it

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This is less the Sporting News’ mistake as it is their panel of “125 experts, including 18 Hall of Famers” who pick the Top 50 current ballplayers in the game this time each year. They get number 1 OK: Pujols.  Not many would argue with that.

But how about Chase Utley at number 9 behind Ichiro and Derek Jeter of all people?  How about Jayson Werth at 49, only 16 slots behind Derrick Lee and five behind Bobby Abreu!  I love to make fun of defensive Phillies fans more than life itself, but they have my total permission to go apes— over this one.  Not that they are the only ones with beefs here.  Go down the list and you’ll find all manner or weirdness.

As Adam Morris at Lone Star Ball notes, the panel of experts includes guys like convicted multiple felon and all-around dummy Denny McClain, Peter Ueberroth, the architect of 1980s-collusion, and Darren Daulton, a fine former catcher but a man who currently believes that the universe is created and sustained by numerical synchronicities, and that all matter is charged with vibrational energy, which has escaped human perception because it is extradimensional in origin. Really.

So obviously good judgment and sober reasoning is not a qualification for the Sporting News’ expert panel.  As such, I think we should take this poll’s results about as seriously as McClain and Ueberroth take the law and Daulten takes the scientific method.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.