Nine pitchers, 3 Red Sox in ESPN's top 25 MLB players of 2019

The 2019 MLB season technically kicked off in Japan on Wednesday, but all 30 teams will be returning to action in just over a week on March 28. 

Over the offseason, ESPN released its ranking of the top 100 MLB players of 2019. A panel of writers, experts and analysts voted from a list of 300 players to select the best of the best in the league entering the new season. 

Some major names, like the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, saw their stock drop from 2018. In fact, five players from last year's top 50 weren't even ranked this time around. Others, like pitchers Aaron Nola and Gerrit Cole, moved way up on the list after impressive campaigns last season. 

The World Series champion Boston Red Sox were well-represented in the top quarter of the list. American League MVP and Boston outfielder Mookie Betts made a significant jump up in the rankings, but was it enough to topple last year's No. 1 (and soon-to-be highest-paid player) Mike Trout?

Click through below to see the top 25 MLB players of 2019, as ranked by ESPN: 

25 PHOTOS
ESPN ranks the top MLB players of 2019
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ESPN ranks the top MLB players of 2019

25. Noah Syndergaard, SP, New York Mets

2018 rank: 34

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

24. Aaron Nola, SP, Philadelphia Phillies

2018 rank: 100

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

23. Luis Severino, SP, New York Yankees

2018 rank: 31

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

22. Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers

2018 rank: 29

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

21. Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs

2018 rank: 12

(John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

20. Ronald Acuña Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves

2018 rank: Not ranked

(Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

19. Manny Machado, 3B, San Diego Padres

2018 rank: 15

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

18. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves

2018 rank: 25

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

17. J.D. Martinez, DH, Boston Red Sox

2018 rank: 27

((Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

16. Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians

2018 rank: 6

(Photo by Loren Elliott/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

15. Bryce Harper, RF, Philadelphia Phillies

2018 rank: 5

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

14. Jose Ramirez, 3B, Cleveland Indians

2018 rank: 30

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

13. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

2018 rank: 11

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

12. Blake Snell, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

2018 rank: Not ranked

(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

11. Aaron Judge, RF, New York Yankees

2018 rank: 16

(Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

10. Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros

2018 rank: 3

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

9. Chris Sale, SP, Boston Red Sox

2018 rank: 8

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

8. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

2018 rank: 14

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

7. Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

2018 rank: 41

(AP Photo/Gary A. Vasquez, Pool)

6. Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros

2018 rank: 57

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

5. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies

2018 rank: 7

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

4. Jacob deGrom, SP, New York Mets

2018 rank: 32

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

3. Max Scherzer, SP, Washington Nationals

2018 rank: 4

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

2. Mookie Betts, OF, Boston Red Sox

2018 rank: 17

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

1. Mike Trout, CF, Los Angeles Angels

2018 rank: 1

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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