Believe it or not, Major League Baseball's regular season has less than two months to go. We're not too far away from the beginning of the postseason. We're also, then, not too far away from the start of free agency.
CBS Sports has checked in on the upcoming free-agent class a few times already this season. Below, we've offered one more look-in ahead of the stretch run. In other words, the next time you'll see us ranking free agents will come after the conclusion of the World Series, when we roll out the top 50 list.
As always, these rankings are based on a combination of expected impact and average annual value.
Let's get to it.
1. Shohei Ohtani, two-way player, Los Angeles Angels
Have you heard about this guy? Might be the game's best-kept secret. Hits and pitches, and does them both better than most do either. OK, we'll drop the shtick. Everyone knows about Ohtani, and everyone knows that he's going to get paid this offseason. Various front-office sources recently predicted to CBS Sports that his upcoming contract will top the $500 million mark. That may end up being conservative if the league's high rollers get into a bidding war.
2. Matt Chapman, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
Third basemen with this kind of power and defensive ability are hard to find. Chapman is on pace to clear the .200 ISO threshold for the sixth time in seven tries, and he could well win his fourth career Gold Glove Award. We'll grant that his swing-and-miss tendencies are concerning, and he's already on the wrong side of his 30th birthday. Some team is going to pony up anyway.
3. Blake Snell, LHP, San Diego Padres
Snell isn't for everyone. He's wild, he's prone to extreme performance swings, and even at his best he's usually departing in or before the sixth inning. When he's on, though, few other starting pitchers can match him when it comes to missing bats and suppressing quality of contact. There's probably a non-zero chance he goes full Oliver Pérez during his next contract. That's not going to prevent a team from deeming the reward to be worth that risk.
4. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Detroit Tigers
Rodriguez is enjoying a career season. He has a lengthy track record of being an above-average starter. He's a lefty. Oh, and he's only going to turn 31 next April. There's no doubt in our minds that he's going to exercise his opt-out clause this winter and land a lengthier and more lucrative contract than the three years, $49 million remaining on his current deal.
5. Cody Bellinger, CF, Chicago Cubs
Bellinger is going to experience a fascinating free agency if he does indeed find himself on the open market. (He has a $25 million mutual option for next year.) His statistics this season have been phenomenal despite some puzzling ball-tracking metrics. Modern front offices fancy themselves as process-first evaluators. They might have no choice but to go with the results here.
6. Julio Urías, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Urías has a couple things working against him. He missed more than a month with a hamstring issue, meaning he won't get that third consecutive 30-plus start season. He's also showing slightly reduced velocity, and is sporting a higher ERA than he usually does. He still does a great job of evading barrels and walks, but we suspect his price will be a little lower than we anticipated.
7. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Even with some recent turbulence, Giolito has done well to course-correct after last year's underperformance by upping his reliance upon his slider. We'll note that the fact he was traded at the deadline means he won't be burdened by a qualifying offer this winter. That could artificially improve his market since teams are reluctant to surrender draft picks.
8. Aaron Nola, RHP Philadelphia Phillies
We understand any skepticism folks may have about Nola entering the winter. His strikeout rate is down, his walk rate is up, and he's allowing harder contact on average than at nearly any other point in his career. We still think some team will look at Nola's track record and roll the dice -- especially if they can convince themselves that his bloated home-run rate is certain to regress.
9. Sonny Gray, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Gray is going to be a difficult pitcher to place this winter. He's compiled some quality seasons throughout his career, but he doesn't stand out in any particular way. His strikeout rate has declined from the days when he'd punch out 10-plus per nine innings. He almost never allows a home run, yet he's not an extreme ground-ball pitcher and his quality-of-contact metrics are otherwise just OK. Oh, and if he tops 150 innings, it'll mark just the second time he's done so since leaving Oakland. Add in how Gray is nearing his 34th birthday, and we would guess that he's going to be looking for a Chris Bassitt-like contract.
10. Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Candelario is en route to notching a well-above-average offensive season for the third time in four tries. That counts for something, even if he doesn't excel in any one area. He's not going to threaten .300 or 30 home runs, and your opinion on his defensive work may vary. There are only so many skilled infielders available this winter, however, and we think that he's proven he's capable enough with the stick to merit a multi-year contract.