For the second year in a row, the top of the winter's free-agent class is extremely strong. Last year had two 26-year-old superstars -- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado -- who would end up signing deals of at least 10 years, while this year's group is a bit older with more promise of immediate impact. I think this year's class might be a little bit deeper, especially in starting pitching, although I also see a lot of players who either are or might soon need to be designated hitters, a class of players that has had a hard time finding suitors in recent offseasons.
1. Anthony Rendon, 3B
2020 age: 30 | B/T: R/R
2019 WAR: 6.3 | Career: 27.3
Rendon could have been the No. 1 pick back in the loaded 2011 draft, but he battled a shoulder injury that whole spring and slipped to sixth, where the Nationals were more than happy to select him. The injury bug affected his early career, but his past four seasons have delivered to the Nationals everything they could have hoped for when they drafted him. Rendon has averaged 146 games a year, hit .299/.384/.528 and produced more than 20 WAR, with 2019 his best year yet at 6.3 bWAR/7.0 fWAR. He's an elite hitter across the board, with outstanding plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills as well as plus power, and has a simple swing that I think will hold up better as he ages than many swings would.
The two knocks on him going into free agency are his defense, which has declined from great to merely good over the past two years, and his age, as he's heading into his age-30 season, and any long-term deal will take him to age 35 or beyond. He's very clearly a $30 million-plus-per-year player right now, and should be for several more seasons thanks to his OBP skills, his power and his ability to play a skill position well. The question is how long might he hold serve as an all-around superstar.