Who are the best players in the league?

It’s a debate that will persist for as long as there is professional baseball.

But it’s one thing to argue it during the season—predicting who the best players will be is a horse of an entirely different color that eats oranges instead of apples.

In this slideshow are my picks for the best players in the American League for 2011—one for each position, plus a DH, five starting pitchers and three relievers—along with explanations for why I snubbed the closest competitors.

In addition, I’ve included my best guesstimate, completely unscientific projections for how each player will fare in the coming season.

Please do not hold me accountable for the accuracy of my predictions, especially for the pitchers (unless I’m right, in which case feel free to make me into some sort of demigod).

Be sure to tell me who I got wrong!

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