Top 10 Right Now Series: Part 2

On this installment of my top 10 players at each position, I will be revealing my Catcher and Right Fielder lists. Much like the last installment, one of these positions is absolutely star-studded from basically numbers 1 through 10, while the other position has a less “stars”, but nevertheless, some very productive players. The Right Field position in the majors is filled with younger players, who really are 5 tool players (well, a good majority). Right field has historically been known as a position where to be at the top, one must have a strong arm and be a good contact hitter. The ‘new school’ right fielder, while still having a strong arm, also can play the other outfield positions (again, most of them at least), and also has great power with the bat. The catching position, historically, has been known as a major defensive-first, bat-secondary position. While this still holds true for the most part, the top 10 at the position can provide production in a number of different ways.

Top 10 Catchers Right Now (according to Nathan White): 

  1. JT Realmuto, Marlins (well, as of now at least)
  2. Buster Posey, Giants
  3. Willson Contreras, Cubs
  4. Wilson Ramos, Mets
  5. Yasmani Grandal, Brewers
  6. Yadier Molina, Cardinals
  7. Tyler Flowers, Braves
  8. Gary Sanchez, Yankees
  9. Salvador Perez, Royals
  10. Austin Barnes, Dodgers

Just Missed: Tucker Barnhart, Reds; Kurt Suzuki, Nationals; Martin Maldonado, FA; Fransisco Cervelli, Pirates

My top catcher in the game has certainly been in the Hot Stove news a lot. The constant trade talk involving Realmuto is a direct result of the emergence of a very good overall hitter, athletic, and defensively skilled catcher. Well, and the fact that the Marlins new regime has been prone to trading away any sort of talent they have in South Beach. Buster Posey in the 2nd spot was a tough call for me, but coming off of a very strong offensive season, Posey proved that he still has it, and is one of the premier offensively and defensively skilled backstops in the league. Contreras had a breakout year in 2017, but regressed a little in 2018. Nevertheless, even on a “down” year, he showed us that he possesses a special, special throwing arm, with a middle of the order bat. Wilson Ramos and Yasmani Grandal were basically a flip of the coin for the 4th and 5th spots. My reasoning for putting Ramos over Grandal is that Grandal has been known to be very streaky with the bat, and that small advantage of consistency (after the torn ACL) was enough to put Ramos ahead by a slight margin. Next, I put the steady Yadier Molina who has shown signs of offensive improvement with his aging legs, believe it or not. I am not sure how many more years Yadi has left of being an above average defensive catcher, but let’s enjoy one of the all time greats at the position while we still have him (and this is coming from a die hard CUBS fan!). Tyler Flowers really burst onto the scene during his current stint with Atlanta, showing his offensive ability, as well as being one of the best pitch framers in the game. Gary Sanchez had a major, major regression in 2018, but the overall ability is still there, and when he is playing at his best, he is absolutely one of the best bats in all of baseball, he just needs to sure up his defense. A lot. Salvador Perez is another ‘Steady Eddie’ and sometimes gets lost in the fact that he plays in a small market. However, Salvy’s defense is as consistent as it gets from a backstop, and he puts up excellent offensive numbers for a catcher in THAT ballpark. Rounding out the top 10 is someone who might come as a bit of a surprise. Austin Barnes saw his playing time diminished due to the fact that he split time with Grandal while he was in LA. Barnes is a good contact hitter, plays consistent defense, and is very athletic for a catcher. Add to that, the fact that he will most likely be the main man for the position with the Dodgers now, and he projects nicely going into the 2019 season.

Top 10 Right Fielders Right Now (according to Nathan White):

  1. Mookie Betts, Red Sox
  2. Aaron Judge, Yankees
  3. Christian Yelich, Brewers
  4. Bryce Harper, FA
  5. Mitch Haniger, Mariners
  6. Nomar Mazara, Rangers
  7. Kole Calhoun, Angels
  8. Adam Eaton, Nationals
  9. Brandon Nimmo, Mets
  10. Andrew McCutchen, Phillies

The top of this list has a surplus of guys who could be in consideration for the best player in all of baseball. Really, it’s that legit. Mookie Betts is a bonafide superstar, who does everything extremely well. He is a perennial MVP candidate, and will continue to improve as he grows into his prime. The same can be said for big Aaron Judge. Judge does not have the wheels that Betts does, but he makes up for that with his enormous power and very underrated defense. Christian Yelich, after coming over from the Marlins, took full advantage of playing in a much more hitter-friendly Miller Park. His power numbers shot way up, but so did just about every other offensive number. Expect him to put up another great year in 2019. Bryce Harper is very inconsistent, but when he is at his best (or even about 75% of it), he is an absolute star. He will always put up huge power numbers, play good defense (even if the defensive metrics don’t necessarily love him), and get on base at an extremely high clip. Next order of business for him would be to sign with a team, of course. Mitch Haniger is the star that you’ve never heard of. Playing in Seattle, he does not get the publicity that he deserves, but his offensive output speaks for itself, and he is only projecting up as he is still at the front end of his prime. Nomar Mazara might be considered a little high on this list, but pure tools wise, he is second to none. A power lefty bat that doesn’t strike out AS MUCH as some people think, coupled with a serviceable defensive right fielder justifies him being this high. Kole Calhoun struggled mightily with the bat in 2018, but is quite possibly the 2nd best defensive right fielder in the game (behind Jason Heyward) and has shown the ability to be a good hitter in previous years. Adam Eaton came back off a torn ACL part of the way through the 2018 season, and had his presence felt at the top of the Nats’ order. He has always been great defensively, as well as an on base machine, and that spells an incredibly productive right fielder. Brandon Nimmo had a major breakout year in 2018, especially with the bat. At times, he carried the Mets offense almost entirely, along with playing good defense, and being incredibly fun to watch. Andrew McCutchen has taken his lumps in the past couple of years, and he is not the perennial MVP candidate he was for much of his 20’s, but after making the move from center field, he has proven that he can still play defense at a reasonably high level, and still possesses a good bat.

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