Every team hopes to have a franchise player to help build a championship team. Finding a superstar that can carry a team is easier said than done.
At a time when MLB players are joining squads with other superstars, it can be hard to find these cornerstones for every ball club. Only a select group of players help build a championship contender or have been around the league long enough to have success to see their names in Cooperstown.
These players range from young upstarts to perennial All-Stars to legendary players winding down their careers. They play for teams in the middle of a rebuild, trying to break into the playoffs or contending for the World Series each year.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Madison Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner is a proven winner on the mound with three World Series championships. He was named World Series Most Valuable Player and National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player in 2014. He’s also a four-time All-Star and a two-time Silver Slugger. Bumgarner joined the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2020.
Atlanta Braves – Ronald Acuna Jr.
Ronald Acuna Jr., at just 25 years old, has already made a name for himself in the MLB. He won the National League Rookie of the Year in 2018 and has been a four-time All-Star. Acuna Jr. also has a World Series Championship with the Braves from 2021.
Baltimore Orioles – Adley Rutschman
Adley Rutschman is a promising young talent for the Baltimore Orioles. He made his Major League debut in 2022 and quickly made an impact. Rutschman was named an All-Star in 2023, demonstrating his potential as a future Hall of Famer.
Boston Red Sox – Kenley Jansen
Kenley Jansen has been a dominant relief pitcher throughout his career. He played for the Los Angeles Dodgers before joining the Boston Red Sox. Jansen is a four-time All-Star and a two-time winner of the National League Reliever of the Year award. He’s been a key part of championship-winning teams and has over 400 career saves.
Chicago Cubs – Cody Bellinger
Cody Bellinger achieved a lot of success as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year, the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player, and a two-time All-Star. Bellinger has also won a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove. He was part of the Dodgers team that won the World Series in 2020.
Chicago White Sox – Tim Anderson
Shortstop Tim Anderson is one of the standout players on the Chicago White Sox roster. He has achieved All-Star status twice in his career. In 2019, he won the American League batting title, and in 2020, he was named a Silver Slugger. Anderson has also been a part of the White Sox playoff runs in 2020 and 2021.
Cincinnati Reds – Joey Votto
Joey Votto has been a key player for the Cincinnati Reds since his debut in 2007. He was named the National League Most Valuable Player in 2010 and has been selected to six All-Star teams. Votto is known for his hitting prowess, with a career batting average of .296 and 355 home runs. He has also won a Gold Glove and has appeared in multiple postseasons.
Cleveland Guardians – Jose Ramirez
Jose Ramirez has become a consistent performer for the Cleveland Guardians. He has been selected to five All-Star teams and has collected four Silver Slugger Awards. In 2018, Ramirez achieved the rare feat of hitting 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases in a season. He has been a valuable asset to the team and has the potential to be a future Hall of Famer.
Colorado Rockies – Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant had a successful career as a member of the Chicago Cubs, winning the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2015 and the National League Most Valuable Player award in 2016. He has been selected to four All-Star teams and was part of the Cubs’ World Series-winning team in 2016. Bryant’s accomplishments make him a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame.
Detroit Tigers – Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera is a player with a strong case for the Hall of Fame. He has had a successful career with both the Florida Marlins and the Detroit Tigers. Cabrera has won two Most Valuable Player awards and has been named to 12 All-Star teams. He has achieved multiple batting titles and has led the league in home runs and RBIs. Cabrera’s accomplishments make him a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Houston Astros – Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander is a highly accomplished pitcher who has achieved multiple individual awards and has been a key part of championship-winning teams. He won the Most Valuable Player award in 2011 and has three Cy Young awards. Verlander has also been selected to nine All-Star teams and has led the league in strikeouts and ERA. His contributions to the game make him a likely Hall of Famer.
Kansas City Royals – Zach Greinke
Zach Greinke has had a successful career as a pitcher. He has achieved numerous individual awards, including a Cy Young award in 2009. Greinke has been selected to six All-Star teams and has won six Gold Glove awards. He has also appeared in two World Series, making him a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame.
Los Angeles Angels – Mike Trout
Mike Trout is widely regarded as one of the best players in the MLB. He has achieved numerous individual awards, including three Most Valuable Player awards and a Rookie of the Year award. Trout has been selected to 11 All-Star teams and has won nine Silver Slugger awards. His consistent excellence on the field makes him a likely future Hall of Famer.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw has been a dominant force on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has achieved multiple individual awards, including three Cy Young awards and a Most Valuable Player award. Kershaw has been selected to 10 All-Star teams and was part of the Dodgers’ World Series-winning team in 2020. His impressive career statistics and postseason success make him a likely Hall of Famer.
Miami Marlins – Sandy Alcantara
Sandy Alcantara has emerged as a cornerstone player for the Miami Marlins. He won a Cy Young award in 2022 and has been named an All-Star twice. Alcantara’s contributions on the mound make him a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame.
Milwaukee Brewers – Corbin Burnes
Corbin Burnes has emerged as a top player for the Milwaukee Brewers. He won a Cy Young award in 2021 and has been named an All-Star three times. Burnes’ impressive performances on the mound, including leading the league in ERA and strikeouts, make him a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame.
Minnesota Twins – Carlos Correa
Carlos Correa has had a successful career, primarily with the Houston Astros. He won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2017 and has been named to two All-Star teams. Correa was part of the Astros’ World Series-winning team in 2017. His contributions on both sides of the game make him a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame.
New York Mets – Pete Alonso
Pete Alonso has quickly made a name for himself as a power hitter for the New York Mets. He won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2019 and has been named an All-Star three times. Alonso has also won two Home Run Derbies, showcasing his impressive power at the plate. His accomplishments make him a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame.
New York Yankees – Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge is one of the brightest stars in baseball. He won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2017 and the American League Most Valuable Player award in 2022. Judge has been selected to five All-Star teams and has consistently been a power hitter, leading the American League in home runs. He has also been a key contributor to the New York Yankees’ postseason appearances. Judge’s accomplishments make him a likely Hall of Famer.
Oakland Athletics – Brent Rooker
Brent Rooker is a rising star for the Oakland Athletics. He has already made an impact as a designated hitter and was named an All-Star in 2023. Rooker’s power hitting and promising potential make him a player to watch for in the future, and he could become a Hall of Famer if he continues to excel.
Philadelphia Phillies – Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper is a well-known player in the MLB and has achieved numerous individual awards. He has won two Most Valuable Player awards and has been named to seven All-Star teams. Harper has also won multiple Silver Slugger awards and was named the National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player in 2022. His exciting playing style and impressive accomplishments make him a likely candidate for the Hall of Fame.</p