Top 10 Right Now Series: Part 3

For the 3rd installment of the Top 10 Right Now series, Left Fielders and Center Fielders will be the topic of discussion. Both of these positions come with a number of disclaimers, and obvious choices, but they are both filled with top-of-the-game talent. The main disclaimer I will throw out about the Left Field portion is that some of the guys listed are primary DH’s. Since there is no DH-specific list, and since most DH’s, when playing in the field, are usually 1st basemen or Left Fielders (two positions not known for all that much defensive specialization), it is a very interesting dynamic to take into consideration when making a list like this. As for Center Field, it is almost a complete flip. Center Fielders are typically KNOWN for their defense (Jim Edmonds and Andruw Jones among others), however, the Center Fielders that are tops at the position in today’s game are mostly great all around players, who are usually right in the MVP conversation in their respective leagues year after year.

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

  1. J.D. Martinez, Red Sox
  2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees
  3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals
  4. Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves
  5. Juan Soto, Nationals
  6. Michael Conforto, Mets
  7. Justin Upton, Angels
  8. Ryan Braun, Brewers
  9. Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox
  10. Tommy Pham, Rays

Just Missed: Khris Davis, Athletics; Michael Brantley, Astros; Eddie Rosario, Twins; David Peralta, Diamondbacks

J.D. Martinez and Giancarlo Stanton are very, very similar players. Almost too similar. Both changed teams to their respective AL East franchises within days of each other last offseason (coincidence?), both CAN play at least a little bit of defense when called upon, but both are incredibly dangerous right handed power hitters, who put up jaw-dropping numbers year after year. Marcell Ozuna was traded from the Marlins last offseason and hit well for average and got on base at a high clip, but the power seemed to be gone for much of the 2018 season. He still provided surplus value with his defense, base running, and bat, however, but he will look to get his power stroke back in 2019. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto both burst onto the scene in 2018 with force. Both are incredibly young, dynamic ballplayers, who have the potential to be at the front of the MVP conversation in the NL for years to come. Michael Conforto has been, seemingly, the one staple in a very inconsistent Mets offense over the past few years. He is a bat-first player with good left handed power, and can also play slightly above league average defense. Although Justin Upton had a bit of a down year with the bat in 2018, he is known to be very streaky, and when he’s hot, he is nearly impossible to get out. Ryan Braun had something of a renaissance season in 2018 as he put up very solid numbers with the bat. Andrew Benintendi is sometimes seen as the forgotten man in that potent Boston lineup, but Benny can hit, and hit, and hit. Oh, and he grades out as an above average defender for Left Field as well. Rounding out the top 10, Tommy Pham, who had seen most of his innings in Center Field before he got traded to Tampa, broke out in a huge way in 2017, then regressed a bit last season. Nonetheless, he is a solid hitter, who runs well and plays great defense.

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

  1. Mike Trout, Angels
  2. George Springer, Astros
  3. Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
  4. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
  5. Lorenzo Cain, Brewers
  6. AJ Pollock, Dodgers
  7. Ender Inciarte, Braves
  8. Aaron Hicks, Yankees
  9. Odubel Herrera
  10. Starling Marte

Just Missed: Albert Almora, Cubs; Kevin Kiermier, Rays; Harrison Bader, Cardinals; Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox

The first name on this list was the easiest decision I have ever made. Mike Trout needs no explanation. He is the best player in our game currently, and before his career is over, he might be one of the best of all time. George Springer and Charlie Blackmon were two very tough names to put over one another. I put Springer over Blackmon, even coming off a down offensive year for his standards, because projecting forward, I personally feel that Springer will be slightly more productive with the bat. Also, I like Springer’s defense a hair better than Charlie’s. Both are excellent offensive players and can carry their respective teams’ offenses for weeks at a time. Cody Bellinger first burst onto the scene in 2017 as a first baseman, but with the emergence of Max Muncy last year, he found himself playing Center more times than not, and he excelled. Although he has a good amount of swing and miss in his bat, he is a middle of the order, power bat that grades out above average defensively. Lorenzo Cain, after breaking out with the Royals, signed a 5 year deal with the Brewers last offseason and did not disappoint. At times, he was considered the league MVP, before Yelich went on the hottest of all hot streaks. Cain is the whole package, as evidence by his top 3 WAR finish last year. AJ Pollock might find himself moving to a corner outfield spot in the near future, as he recently signed with the Dodgers, who as we already know, have this guy by the name of Bellinger. Pollock, when healthy, is a plus hitter, and an above average defender, who much like Cain, can bring the whole package night in and night out. He just has to stay on the field. Ender Inciarte is arguably the best defensive outfielder in our game, and after being traded to Atlanta, has shown that he is very productive with the bat too. Aaron Hicks, much like Inciarte, was known as a special defender with not much of a stick up until his time in the Bronx started. Since joining the Yankees, his offensive numbers have spiked way up, while maintaining his excellent defense. Odubel Herrera is inconsistent. But, when he is playing to his full potential, he is scary with the bat, both from an on base perspective, and from a damage perspective. Oh, and he plays above average defense at one of the most difficult defensive positions in the game. Starling Marte is not the superstar that he was for a few year stretch, but he still has incredible talent. Taking over in Center Field after Cutch left, he has proven to be a special defender, who can get on base at a high clip, and flash some power as well.

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