LHP | Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
His stats jump off the page, but that's only half of Kershaw's story. The smooth lines of his lefthanded delivery, the high leg kick, the way his curve tumbles down—his game is poetry in motion.
LF | Bryce Harper, Nationals
His play at age 19 put him in a class with greats such as Ott, Cobb and Mantle. Those outfielders became MVP-caliber ballplayers at 20, which is a reasonable expectation for Harper this season. He's the best player on the game's best team.
CF | Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Put him in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago—anyplace where the baseball season doesn't end in August—and he'd be on the cover of video games every year. McCutchen is as complete a player as there is in the NL, and at 26 he hasn't peaked.
RF | Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
His at bats are can't-miss moments in every game—he leads the majors in raw power, rendering him capable of blasting 500-foot bombs. With 93 homers through age 22, he's on the short list of history's best young power hitters.
DH | Billy Butler, Royals
The DH spot isn't just for old guys: The 26-year-old Butler is the best in the game, an iPhone-age replica of Kansas City great Hal McRae. Butler is just learning how to translate his strength into long balls, belting a career-high 29 in 2012.