Wainwright, Craig, Beltran Among MLB’s Top 100 Right Now

MLB Network began its 2013 edition of the Top 100 Players Right Now last night with the unveiling of numbers 100 through 81. Their ranking criteria: stats from the last three seasons, with an emphasis on 2012; projected 2013 performance; defensive position; individual accolades; and intangibles such as health.

Seven St. Louis Cardinals are on the list overall, it was mentioned, and the first three were revealed: Adam Wainwright at No. 89, Allen Craig at No. 84 and Carlos Beltran at 82.

The details mentioned on Wainwright were brief, likely given that he is looking to improve on — as they said during the broadcast — the worst statistical season of his big-league career.

Craig’s 22 home runs and 92 RBI in only 114 games were cited, as well as his .532 slugging percentage over the last two seasons.

Beltran received the most attention of the three Cardinals on the broadcast, with his October success mentioned — his .782 postseason slugging percentage in 34 games is the best of all time. Also mentioned were that he’s a seven-time All-Star, has nine seasons of .500-plus slugging percentage and a career .496 percentage, seven seasons of 25-plus home runs (including 2012) and eight seasons of 100-plus RBI.

“Eighty-second on the list? This is a tough list when Carlos Beltran is showing up as a switch-hitter and putting up the production he’s been able to do, and bounce back off the injury the year before,” Harold Reynolds said.

“Can’t wait to see the first 80,” Al Leiter said.

As for the the four Cardinals to come? Yadier Molina, obviously, and Matt Holliday, plus Jon Jay was in MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now for center fielders. Jason Motte seems a likely choice too, although I know some of you will say David Freese.

Next Friday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. Central on MLB Network is the next installment of Top 100 Players Right Now, with numbers 80-61 revealed.

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