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MLB The Show 21 player ratings: the top five players in every position

MLB The Show 21
(Image credit: Sony)

A truncated 2020 season means that MLB The Show 21 player ratings are more debatable than in any previous series’ entry – but that actually helps freshen up this year’s big bopper. Particularly as MLB The Show 21 is the first ever Sony game also available on Xbox. Below we run down the top five players at every position, with third base especially crowded when it comes to elite names. All stats pertain to the default roster on PS4, and are correct as of Thursday, April 22, 2021.

MLB The Show 21 starting pitcher ratings (SP)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Jacob deGrom (New York Mets) - 99
2=. Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers) - 95
2=. Shane Bieber (Cleveland Indians) - 95
4=. Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees) - 94
4=. Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) - 94

Longstanding members of the 90+ ratings club, DeGrom, Kershaw, Cole and Scherzer are all well known to annual readers of this guide. Bieber (no relation to Justin) is the outlier – leaping from an overall rating of 88 to 95, after 112 strikeouts delivered him the 2020 AL Cy Young award.

MLB The Show 21 relief pitcher ratings (RP)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Nick Anderson (Tampa Bay Rays) - 91
2=. Chad Green (New York Yankees) - 85
2=. Seth Lugo (New York Mets) - 85
4=. Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins) - 84
4=. Devin Williams (Milwaukee Brewers) - 84
4=. Giovanny Gallegos (St Louis Cardinals) - 84

The best middle reliever in MLB 21 The Show won’t see any real-life action until mid-summer: at the end of March, Tampa’s Nick Anderson was shut down with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow. In contrast, joint-second Chad Green has established himself as a season-long contender for the New York Yankees closer’s job.

MLB The Show 21 closer ratings (CL)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Liam Hendriks (Chicago White Sox) - 93
2. Kirby Yates (Toronto Blue Jays) - 88
3. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees) - 87
4=. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers) - 86
4=. Brad Hand (Washington Nationals) - 86

The reason Chad Green didn’t nab that closer’s job in New York to kick off the 2021 season? Aroldis Chapman’s lightning left arm. Even he can’t nab the top spot here though, with Hendriks and Yates nabbing lights-out ratings after impressive 2020 campaigns.

MLB The Show 21 catcher ratings (C)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1. JT Realmuto (Philadelphia Phillies) - 92
2. Yasmani Grandal (Chicago White Sox) - 91
3=. Roberto Perez (Cleveland Indians) - 86
3=. Willson Contreras (Chicago Cubs) - 86
3=. Will Smith (Los Angeles Dodgers) - 86

Solid stoppers across the board right here, with Realmuto and Grandal clinging onto the spots they held in MLB The Show 20. Smith is a new face among the top-ranked catchers – and deservedly so, after setting a post-season Dodgers record with five hits in a single post-season game (vs San Diego).

MLB The Show 21 first base ratings (1B)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves) - 95
2. Paul Goldschmidt (St Louis Cardinals) - 89
3. Jose Abreu (Chicago White Sox) - 88
4. Luke Voit (New York Yankees) - 86
5=. Pete Alonso (New York Mets) - 85
5=. Max Muncy (Los Angeles Dodgers) - 85

Freeman holds firm on top with a huge 90 overall, while Voit gatecrashes the first-base party after creaming 22 homers in just 56 games last year. That stats is even more staggering when you learn that he crashed 21 homers the year beforehand - in more than double the time, at 118 games.

MLB The Show 21 second base ratings (2B)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1=. Ozzie Albies (Atlanta Braves) - 93
1=. DJ LeMahieu (New York Yankees) - 93
3. Brandon Lowe (Tampa Bay Rays) - 91
4. Jeff McNeil (New York Mets) - 89
5=. Whit Merrifield (Kansas City Royals) - 88
5=. Jose Altuve (Houston Astros) - 88

After leading the pack in the 2019 and 2020 editions of MLB The Show, Altuve suffers a huge drop this time out – enabling Albies to leap from fourth to joint first. All six of these names also made last year’s top ten, making it a position that rewards consistency.

MLB The Show 21 third base ratings (3B)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Nolan Arenado (St Louis Cardinals) - 98
2. Manny Machado (St Diego Padres) - 95
3. Anthony Rendon (Los Angeles Angels) - 93
4=. Jose Ramirez (Cleveland Indians) - 92
4=. Alex Bregman (Houston Astros) - 92

A tough top five to break into here – both Matt Chapman (Oakland Athletics) and Josh Donaldson (Minnesota Twins) miss out despite having overall ratings of 91 and 90 respectively. Arenado is the joint-third best player in the entire game, alongside Mookie Betts,

MLB The Show 21 shortstop ratings (SS)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Fernando Tatis Jr (San Diego Padres) - 95
2. Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies) - 91
3. Francisco Lindor (New York Mets) - 88
4=. Carlos Correa (Houston Astros) - 87
4=. Trea Turner (Washington Nationals) - 87
4=. Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs) - 87

Fourth-placed last year, the explosive Tatis ascends to the top spot at his position after being named the MLB The Show 21 cover star. It looked like he’d been jinxed Madden curse style after picking up an April shoulder injury, but mercifully the knock only required ten days out.

MLB The Show 21 left field ratings (LF)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Christian Yelich (Minnesota Brewers) - 96
2. Juan Soto (Washington Nationals) - 95
3. Giancarlo Stanton (New York Yankees) - 92
4. Marcell Ozuna (Atlanta Braves) - 90
5=. Yordan Alvarez (Houston Astros) - 87
5=. JD Martinez (Boston Red Sox) - 87
5=. Lourdes Gurriel Jr (Toronto Blue Jays) - 87

Whereas most fantasy baseball leagues group outfielders into a single category, MLB The Show has always split them into three separate positions. So, unlike in previous guides, we’re now doing the same. Yelich maintains top spot despite his shocking .205 batting average last season.

MLB The Show 21 center field ratings (CF)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) - 99
2. Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles Dodgers) - 93
3. Ronald Acuna Jr (Atlanta Braves) - 94
4. Bryon Buxton (Minnesota Twins) - 88
5. Ramon Laureano (Oakland Athletics) - 86

Doubts were cast over Mike Trout’s fantasy draft placing ahead of this season, with some managers choosing to select Fernando Tatis Jr or Mookie Betts ahead of him. MLB The Show 21 dev Sony San Diego has no such doubts, naming him their game’s best outfielder for what feels like the 28th year running.

MLB The Show 21 right field ratings (RF)

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers) - 98
2. Aaron Judge (New York Yankees) - 97
3. Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies) - 90
4. Joey Gallo (Texas Rangers) - 89
5. Michael Conforto (New York Mets) - 87

Betts joins Arenado in being one point short of perfection – bettered only by DeGrom on the pitching side, and Trout on the batting front. Conforto had a fabulous 2020 campaign, hitting at a .322 clip, but started this season disastrously - collapsing to a .171 average in his first 12 games.

I'm GamesRadar's sports editor, and obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB, AEW, and occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym – such as Chvrches, Bill Bryson, and Streets Of Rage 4. (All the Streets Of Rage games, actually.) Even after three decades I still have a soft spot for Euro Boss on the Amstrad CPC 464+.