Survey says: Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel the best at what they do


Joel Sherman of the New York Post polled 18 scouts and executives for a ranking of the five best position players, starting pitchers, relief pitchers, managers and general managers entering the 2014 regular season.

As you can probably guess, Mike Trout won the ballot for best position player, with two-time defending AL MVP Miguel Cabrera finishing as the runner-up. One GM called Trout “basically the real-life version of Robocop”.

Kershaw ran away with the vote for the best starting pitcher, and respondents were effusive about everything he does on and off the field. Justin Verlander and Jose Fernandez tied for second place. Craig Kimbrel received praise as the game’s best reliever, with Aroldis Chapman finishing a close second.

Joe Maddon and Mike Matheny took home the vote for best manager. Billy Beane of the Athletics and Andrew Friedman of the Rays were one and two for best general manager. Nothing shocking there, either.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.