Top 5 MLB hitting trios of 2024: Dodgers, Braves or Astros No. 1?

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I recently dissected the entire league to determine who I think are the 50 best MLB players heading into 2024. But as Mike Trout and Shoehi Ohtani can tell you (sorry, Angels fans), it takes more than two great players to turn a team into a contender.

With spring training upon us and most rosters relatively set, I’ve decided to examine which are the best hitting trios heading into the 2024 season. This was not an easy exercise. With apologies to the Rangers and Padres, and perhaps a couple other clubs, I narrowed this list down to five.

[Ben Verlander’s top 50 MLB players for the 2024 season: Who made the top 5?]

This offseason has been slow at times, but it gave us two new incredible trios, including one on each coast. 

Here are baseball’s five best big threes at the plate.

5. New York Yankees: Aaron Judge, Juan Soto and Anthony Rizzo

2023 combined stats: .264 batting average, 147 extra-base hits, 84 home runs, 225 runs batted in, .892 OPS

Judge and Soto are the big two here. Judge won 2022 American League MVP after his historic 62-homer season, and I believe Soto is a sneaky good candidate to win AL MVP this coming season. 

Expect these numbers to go way, way up this year for all three players. Judge missed to months in 2023 with a serious toe injury yet still slugged .613. Soto, for whatever reason, struggled to hit for power at Petco Park yet still hit a career-high 35 homers. Rizzo was in the midst of having a big season before suffering (and then playing through) an undiagnosed concussion. 

It’s pretty easy to forecast all three of these guys having better seasons, both individually and together, in 2024 — which is a big reason why they made this list.

4. Philadelphia Phillies: Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos

2023 combined stats: .275 batting average, 185 XBHs, 76 HRs, 254 RBIs, .816 OPS

This should not come as a surprise to those who saw my top 50 list, where I had Turner listed No. 6. I believe he’ll have a massive bounce-back year that more closely resembles how he played following Phillies fans’ famous standing ovation in early August. I truly believe he will be a National League MVP candidate in 2024. 

All baseball fans know what Harper is capable of at this point in his career, and the two-time MVP is now well over a year removed from Tommy John surgery, which probably explains the power outage (by his standards) he experienced during the 2023 regular season. Remember, he didn’t even take the field until May — a remarkably quick return from his surgery as it was.

Nobody would consider Castellanos a superstar, but he is a potent slugger in this lineup, hitting 29 home runs last year with a really impressive second half and another stellar postseason. The Phillies will be more than happy to get another year of Castellanos hitting around .280 with about 30 home runs.

Top 50 MLB Players for 2024: 10-6

3. Houston Astros: José Altuve, Yordan Álvarez and Kyle Tucker

2023 combined stats: .294 batting average, 167 XBHs, 77 HRs, 260 RBIs, .926 OPS

This group needs no introduction. Álvarez has a claim as the best hitter in the game of baseball, Altuve remains the reliable spark plug at the top of the lineup, and Tucker is somehow still underrated. 

For a guy who was once a top prospect and has now received MVP votes each of the past three years, I don’t know what more Tucker has to do to get more recognition. He’s a major reason the Astros were as successful as they were last year, despite both Altuve and Álvarez missing significant time with injuries. 

Tucker only raised his game when pressure mounted in the regular season, and I think he’ll continue to ascend just two years out from free agency.

José Altuve extension makes him an Astro for life

2. Atlanta Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson, Austin Riley

2023 combined stats: .301 batting average, 236 XBHs, 132 HRs, 342 RBIs, .955 OPS

There is a very clear top two here, and the second-best trio is propelled by the defending NL MVP. I think Acuña has an excellent chance of going back-to-back with that award this year. Remember, he became the only player in MLB history last year to record 40 home runs and 70 steals (or 60 steals, or 50 steals) in a season. He’s the best all-around offensive player in the game of baseball right now.

But don’t sleep on Matt Olson, one of the most feared power hitters in baseball and coming off a season in which he led MLB with 54 home runs. Austin Riley, meanwhile, continues to get better every year — both offensively and defensively at third base, where he’s quickly becoming one of the best at his position.

Is Dodgers’ Ohtani-Betts-Freeman trio MLB’s best?

1. Los Angeles Dodgers: Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman

2023 combined stats: .315 batting average, 248 XBHs, 112 HRs, 304 RBIs, 1.006 OPS

You know it’s a no-brainer No. 1 when the thought of all three of these guys on the same team still feels unbelievable. Not only have they all won MVPs but they were all MVP finalists just last year. It’s just remarkable. 

The Dodgers had already assembled a superteam by signing Freeman two years ago. Now, they’ve added the best baseball player of this era to their lineup. I expect that whenever I do a “best trios in the history of baseball” list, these three will be on that one, as well.

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Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.

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