Who has the most talent locked in? Ranking all 30 MLB cores

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Last year I started what will probably be a yearly tradition of ranking MLB teams by their core of talent. The idea is to include only players under contractual control through at least 2025. Age isn't a factor, but I'll round up on projecting young players (and vice versa on older players) as I'm projecting/ranking teams for this two-plus-year time frame.

To make it easier to see which team has more talent when comparing them, I split players into three tiers: elite (5+ WAR talent, or MVP candidates), above average (3-5 WAR types) and solid (1.5-3 WAR, or lower-end starters and valuable role players). I opted to include players who have easy-to-hit vesting options or club/player options that are likely to be picked up, but I left out players with likely-to-be-exercised opt-outs. There's some subjectivity in this area; I call out any star players who don't qualify below. The top nine prospects in the sport qualified as the only "above average" tier players with no major league service time (see that whole updated list here).

Players are listed in order of my preference within each tier, so you can easily argue for a player who's on the top/bottom of a tier to move up or down. And the overall ranking isn't coming from an algorithm judging the teams or their numbers of players in each tier -- I'm still comparing each list one by one.