If you follow Major League Baseball even casually, you have undoubtedly heard the term Five-Tool Player used by a play-by-play announcer or color commentator to describe a well-rounded player. The term has even become so ubiquitous that it has its own Wikipedia page. If it is not a term that you are aware of though, it is a very simple concept: It is used to describe a player who is above average at hitting for both average and power, at running the bases, and at both fielding the ball as well as throwing it. Now that we’ve established what the tools are, let’s look at one man’s (my) opinion as to who cracks the top ten best five-tool players in MLB history.
Vlad the Impaler was best known for two unique attributes; his free-swinging style at the plate and his rocket arm from the outfield. Though it is almost hard to remember now, Guerrero was a very good defensive outfielder when he was younger. He committed too many errors, but also regularly led baseball in outfield assists. Historically speaking, his fairly early move to DH due to injuries and lack of Gold Gloves hold him back a bit on this list, but at his peak, he was far from a slouch with the glove.
Where he really shined though was at the dish. Vlad finished his career with a .318 average and 449 homers. For a man who swung at almost anything, his average was incredible. When his athleticism started to leave him, his steal totals left along with his glove. Still, he was in the top ten in steals in both 2001 and 2002. The relative short length of his prime compared to other players gave me a little pause but I still feel like his peak was long enough to deserve a spot here.