Roundtable: Answering the biggest questions for Nos. 50-1

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We're finishing off our top 100 rankings. Who will drop out of the top 10? What will the top five look like next year? We asked our experts to give their thoughts on some of the biggest questions that came out of the top 50.

Which ranking in the top 20 do you think is the most polarizing?

You can nitpick the order a little bit, but I'm guessing not all fans would agree that Joey Votto should be ranked above Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant and Francisco Lindor, younger and more dynamic players. Of course, Votto nearly won the NL MVP award last season (finishing just two points behind Giancarlo Stanton), as he led the NL in OBP for the sixth time in his career. He's also 34 now, doesn't play a premium defensive position and his WAR was boosted by a career-best rating in defensive runs saved. He's also off to a slow start at the plate. -- David Schoenfield

As crazy as it is to say about a guy who just led the league in ERA, finished second in Cy Young voting and has finished in the top five for seven straight seasons, I'm not sure Clayton Kershaw is such a lock for "best pitcher" status. He has been getting (relatively) punished by the home run era, his velocity has dropped a couple years in a row, he had another weird postseason, and he's a good bet to miss starts each season. I feel almost guilty admitting it, but for the first time, I'm picking Sale, Scherzer and Kluber over him in this exercise. -- Sam Miller

Player in top 10 most likely to drop out and who is most likely to replace them?

Probably Votto or one of the pitchers (since they get injured). I'd go with Kris Bryant, moving up from 12th, so this isn't exactly going out on a limb. He should improve on the 29 home runs he hit last year, and after two years of struggling with runners in scoring position, he should improve in that area. He has been durable and plays solid defense, and at 26, he's in the middle of his peak. -- Schoenfield

Every pitcher is the most likely to drop out; one twinge and we're talking about a season off and an ambiguous ranking next year. Most likely to replace them? Stephen Strasburg and Noah Syndergaard could both be the best pitchers in baseball right now and we just don't know it yet. Gary Sanchez and Trea Turner look like climbers to me, though Kris Bryant and Paul Goldschmidt -- both top 10 last year and 11 and 12 this year -- are the obvious best bets based on their ranking. -- Miller

Corey Kluber, and not just because of some sort of Plexiglas principle among voters since he was the lowest-ranked player from the year before to crack this year's top 10. Just look at the things that got him there and ask if they're sustainable -- a career-best 2.25 ERA in 2017, plus career-best strikeout and walk rates. His ERA+ of 202 last season was just the 17th time that a pitcher had an ERA+ that good among ERA qualifiers since 1969. Just two contemporaries have done that -- Zack Greinke twice (2009, 2015) and Jake Arrieta once (2015). Kluber can simultaneously be awesome and come nowhere near what he did last year, which is why he'll slide into the teens or 20s if he's healthy. But take heart, Indians fans, the guy I think is most likely to take his place is shortstop Francisco Lindor, and it won't be for a one-year visit. -- Christina Kahrl

Give us your way-too-early top five for next year?

1. Mike Trout; 2. Carlos Correa; 3. Bryce Harper; 4. Kris Bryant; 5. Clayton Kershaw. The hitters are safer picks than the pitchers, but Kershaw's track record is so strong it's hard to leave him out of the top five. Correa looks poised for a monster season at age 23, capable of hitting .320 with 35 home runs. For Harper, it's all about staying healthy and playing 150 games. Bryant hit 39 home runs in 2016; he could top 40 and win another MVP award. -- Schoenfield

1. Trout; 2. Harper; 3. Correa; 4. Manny Machado; 5. Bryant. Sorry if that's predictable, but barring injuries, it's hard to see why any of those young superstars would fall off the top tier. -- Bradford Doolittle

1. Trout; 2. Max Scherzer; 3. Aaron Judge; 4. Harper, 5. Bryant. Judge is going to prove last year was legit. At that point, how is he not in the top-five conversation? What nudges him ahead of Harper is playing a full season while doing it. Kris Bryant slips in because he just keeps on keeping on, and here again, I'll say durability and consistency get recognized. -- Kahrl