The 2017 MLB season will bring us all sorts of delightful surprises and confounding left turns: Almost every prediction will look hilariously wrong in six months. It will be a circuitous, constantly baffling journey. It's going to be great. 

But it is important to remember that it is still just one year, a data point in the grand equation of time, a grain of sand of the endless beach of baseball history. A lot will happen this year, but more will happen over a 20-year span. This has been going on for a long time, and will keep going for a long time after.

Thus, today, we're going to look at the 25 people for whom 2017 is but a data point, another year for them to add to their own legacy and secure their own spot in baseball's history. These are the 25 men who, coming into the 2017 season, have the 25 highest Wins Above Replacement numbers (Baseball Reference version) among active players. All of these men are among the top 425 players of all time, and some of them are much, much higher. But each of them can use 2017 to further cement their name in the record books. One of the best parts of baseball is that history is made every day. These men have made more history than anyone else currently playing … and are still making more.

25. Curtis Granderson, New York Mets

Age: 35
Lifetime WAR total: 44.3
2016 WAR total: 2.5
All-time WAR rank: 403

Next all-time player above him: Carlos Delgado

Granderson took a step back last year after his terrific 2015, but it was still above his '13 and '14 seasons. He'll be a free agent after this season, and it'll be fascinating to see what his market is like. 

24. Matt Holliday, New York Yankees

Age: 36
Lifetime WAR total: 44.4
2016 WAR total: 0.3
All-time WAR tank: 400

Next all-time player above him: Chuck Knoblauch

Injuries have sapped Holliday the past two years, but he can still hit: The Yankees have signed him to the Carlos Beltran role. It's worth noting that the Cardinals showed zero interest in bringing him back: He may be up for a bounce-back season to show them that was a mistake.

23. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

Age: 32
Lifetime WAR total: 44.4
2016 WAR total: 4.4
All-time WAR tank: 400

Next all-time player above him: Chuck Knoblauch

Braun had his best season since 2012 and will surely be one of the hottest trade commodities on the market come July, if not sooner. He's only 32: He might have four good years left, maybe even more.

22. Jimmy Rollins, San Francisco Giants

Age: 37
Lifetime WAR Total: 46.0
2016 WAR Total: -0.1
All-time WAR Rank: 367

Next all-time player above him: Mark Grace

Rollins' WAR total has actually dropped the past two seasons, with negative WARs with both the Dodgers and the White Sox. He's in camp with the Giants, but this is just about it.

21. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays

Age: 30
Lifetime WAR total: 46.4
2016 WAR total: 3.8
All-time WAR rank: 359

Next all-time player above him: Matt Williams

Longoria might be sad about the Logan Forsythe trade -- and apparently is growing a beard to express his grief -- but he has settled into a solid, if unspectacular player. The problem, such as it is, is that the Rays needed him to be a superstar. Longoria is easily the best player in Rays history and, if they don't trade him, will be around until his contract expires in 2022.

20. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

Age: 32
Lifetime WAR total: 47.3
2016 WAR total: 4.0
All-time WAR rank: 344

Next all-time player above him: Jim Rice

Votto keeps toiling away in Cincinnati, putting together fantastic seasons -- particularly in the second half -- with almost nobody noticing. It's funny having him about to pass Rice in WAR: They're essentially opposite players.

19. Bartolo Colon, Atlanta Braves

Age: 43
Lifetime WAR total: 48.0
2016 WAR total: 3.4
All-time WAR rank: 332

Next all-time player above him: Ron Guidry

Honestly, at this point, you have to just assume Colon will be in the league as long as Julio Urias.

18. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Age: 24
Lifetime WAR total: 48.5
2016 WAR total: 10.6
All-time WAR rank: 327

Next all-time player above him: Sandy Koufax

Trout has done this in five years. He's going to pass Koufax by Tax Day. Just watch and enjoy.

17. David Wright, New York Mets 

Age: 33
Lifetime WAR total: 49.9
2016 WAR total: -0.2
All-time WAR rank: 309

Next all-time player above him: Tony Lazzeri

Injuries have devastated Wright, and he's trying, once again, to get back out there this year. Any games at all would feel like a victory at this point. It's a bummer.

16. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

Age: 33
Lifetime WAR total: 50.0
2016 WAR total: 2.2.
All-time WAR rank: 306

Next all-time player above him: Fred Lynn

Mauer is what he is at this point, an aging first baseman who can still hit, but not for any power. It makes one feel very old to see this one-time phenom as the elderly guy on this team.

15. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

Age: 33
Lifetime WAR total: 50.2
2016 WAR total: 6.6.
All-time WAR rank: 299

Next all-time player above him: Roy Oswalt

That was quite the bounce-back year. It was the third-best year of Verlander's career, and he was one of the American League Cy Young Award finalists. (You might remember some social media discussion about this.) 

14. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox

Age: 32
Lifetime WAR total: 50.7
2016 WAR total: 5.6.
All-time WAR rank: 291

Next all-time player above him: Mark Langston

Pedroia had his best season since 2013 and, well, I dunno … is it time to start floating Hall of Fame talk for him? If he has three more years like he just had, it'll be impossible not to.

13. Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers

Age: 32
Lifetime WAR total: 51.1
2016 WAR total: 5.0.
All-time WAR rank: 285

Next all-time player above him: Johan Santana

Is Hamels the most unappreciated pitcher of his generation? He's only 32 and has put up one of the best five active pitching careers. 

12. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

Age: 30
Lifetime WAR total: 51.6
2016 WAR total: 1.6.
All-time WAR rank: 275

Next all-time player above him: Lance Berkman

2016 was unquestionably the worst of Hernandez's career, but he's still King Felix. His career postseason WAR is still 0.0. Sad face.

11. Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers

Age: 34
Lifetime WAR total: 52.9
2016 WAR total: 6.1.
All-time WAR rank: 259

Next all-time player above him: Bert Campaneris

Speaking of unappreciated players … Kinsler keeps putting up fantastic seasons, every year, and hardly anyone notices.

10. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 28
Lifetime WAR total: 54.4
2016 WAR total: 5.6.
All-time WAR rank: 236

Next all-time player above him: Enos Slaughter

You think this is fun, check out who Kershaw is essentially tied with below.

9. Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks

Age: 32
Lifetime WAR total: 54.4
2016 WAR total: 2.3.
All-time WAR rank: 236

Next all-time player above him: Slaughter

Even if Greinke bounces back from last year, suffice it to say, Kershaw is likely to break this tie awfully soon.

8. CC Sabathia, New York Yankees

Age: 35
Lifetime WAR total: 58.7
2016 WAR total: 3.0
All-time WAR Rank: 192

Next all-time player above him: Tim Hudson

Here is your highest-rated WAR active pitcher. Sabathia was a useful part for the Yankees last year and should be again this year.

7. Ichiro Suzuki, Miami Marlins

Age: 42
Lifetime WAR total: 59.9
2016 WAR total: 1.5
All-time WAR rank: 182

Next all-time player above him: Keith Hernandez

After a negative WAR in 2015, Ichiro recovered last year to help out the Marlins. He can probably just keep doing that forever if he wants.

6. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners

Age: 33
Lifetime WAR total: 62.4
2016 WAR total: 7.3
All-time WAR rank: 158

Next all-time player above him: David Cone

Didn't realize Cano was this high, did you? How long until we start asking which hat he'll wear in the Hall of Fame?

5. Chase Utley, Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 37
Lifetime WAR total: 64.4
2016 WAR total: 2.0
All-time WAR rank: 139

Next all-time player above him: Willie McCovey

Utley is tied with McCovey and Andre Dawson, for perspective. He is also on the "went gray and started looking old overnight" all-time list.

4. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Age: 33
Lifetime WAR total: 69.6
2016 WAR total: 4.9
All-time WAR rank: 102

Next all-time player above him: Gary Carter

Considering Cabrera will still be under contract to the Tigers long after the earth crashes into the sun, as long as he's upright, he'll keep adding to this.

3. Carlos Beltran, Houston Astros 

Age: 39
Lifetime WAR total: 70.4
2016 WAR total: 2.0.
All-time WAR rank: 93

Next all-time player above him: Johnny Mize

Remember when there was a debate about Beltran making the Hall of Fame? This might be his last best chance at that elusive ring.

2. Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers

Age: 37
Lifetime WAR total: 90.2
2016 WAR total: 6.4
All-time WAR rank: 45

Next all-time player above him: Steve Carlton

Beltre was better last year than he was in 2015 (and he was excellent in the '15 season). He'll get his 3,000th hit this year, too. Is he the second-best third baseman in baseball history?

1. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Age: 36
Lifetime WAR total: 101.1
2016 WAR total: 1.9
All-time WAR rank: 30

Next all-time player above him: Christy Mathewson

According to OPS-plus, last year was the worst hitting year of Pujols' career. It's not going great for him. But still: In the next two seasons, Pujols is going to notch both his 600th homer and his 3,000th hit. There's a remote but still possible chance he'll end up the all-time home run leader. Despite what Pujols is now … he's still one of the best players of all time.

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Email me at leitch@sportsonearth.com; follow me @williamfleitch; or just shout out your window real loud, I'll hear you. Point is, let's talk.