2016 Positional Power Rankings: Right Field


Whatever choices you’ve made in life, they’ve been poor enough to bring you here, a nearly interminable weblog post dedicated to the relative strengths and weaknesses of the league’s assorted right-field units. This, in case you’re unaware, is part of a larger position-by-position investigation being conducted by this site’s authors.

As basically everyone knows, the typical exchange rate between words and pictures is about 1,000 to 1. Due to advanced work being conducted by top scientists, the following image has actually been valued at roughly 6,000 words. Or, at least that’s how many words follow it.

Right Fielders

Right fielders: are they more than just left fielders on the opposite side of the diamond? It’s the question of our time. Let us go then, you and I, and consider it at exhaustive length.

#1 Nationals


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Bryce Harper 651 .306 .421 .577 .420 52.8 0.8 1.9 7.3
Clint Robinson 28 .249 .324 .383 .310 -0.2 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Matt den Dekker 21 .252 .309 .394 .306 -0.2 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Total 700 .301 .414 .562 .413 52.4 0.8 1.7 7.3

Whether it’s true or not in every case, accepted wisdom nevertheless suggests that wildly talented ballplayers rarely possess the appropriate temperament to become, later in their careers, wildly talented coaches. The reasoning goes like this: a player who contends with considerably little failure during his active career is unlikely to understand the trials of those who are forced to contend with failure at a much higher rate. Or something along those lines.

It wouldn’t be surprising to find such a phenomenon applying to Bryce Harper, who’s been (to varying degrees) one of Earth’s best hitters since he was 17 or 18 years old and who — at the age of 22 — just produced the top batting line of this young and frightening century among all players who aren’t Barry Bonds. One can imagine a 55-year-old Harper, taking control of club that’s just finished in last place, and wondering why all his players just don’t decide to be the best in the league at hitting.

Because projections are, at the most basic level, regression machines, Harper isn’t forecast to approach the 10-win threshold in 2016 like he did last season. But given his youth and talent and constantly improving approach, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did that. And it would certainly be even less of a surprise if he recorded the top season among major-league right fielders.

#2 Marlins


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Giancarlo Stanton 630 .273 .370 .572 .394 37.9 0.0 3.8 5.8
Ichiro Suzuki 63 .251 .294 .313 .268 -2.5 0.0 0.1 -0.1
Justin Maxwell 7 .220 .283 .360 .282 -0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .270 .362 .545 .381 35.2 0.1 3.9 5.7

People — and specifcally Depression-era presidents — seem attached to this notion that the only thing to fear is fear itself. A brief examination of the world reveals an entirely different reality, however. Indeed, there’s quite a lot to fear. Like being audited by the IRS, for example. And like the tarantula hawk, too, which is neither a tarantula nor a hawk but is terrifying.

As a ballplayer, Giancarlo Stanton really does only have one thing to fear, however, and that’s the prospect of injury. Since becoming a regular in 2011, Stanton has produced excellent rate stats as a hitter, recording the highest isolated-power figure among qualifiers during that stretch and the sixth-best overall batting line. He’s also averaged only abou 500 plate appearances per season, though, owing to injury. That hasn’t prevented him from general excellence, but it has limited his ability to post a real signature season.

Stanton’s most recent ailment was a broken hamate bone that cost him the second half of the 2015 season. That’s not a chronic ailment, so there’s no specific threat of recurrence. Unfortunately, the options after Stanton aren’t particularly strong. Ichiro Suzuki, for all his virtues, is no longer a true asset in terms of wins.

#3 Dodgers


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Yasiel Puig 581 .282 .356 .483 .361 22.4 -0.5 2.7 3.9
Scott Van Slyke   70 .249 .333 .422 .329 0.9 -0.1 0.8 0.3
Trayce Thompson 35 .230 .282 .403 .297 -0.4 0.0 0.1 0.0
Andre Ethier   14 .265 .337 .416 .327 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .275 .349 .471 .354 23.1 -0.6 3.6 4.3

At some point during one of his appearances last year on FanGraphs Audio, erstwhile prospect analyst and human reggaeton horn Kiley McDaniel — addressing what scouts do and don’t value within a player’s “makeup” — discussed the difference between those characteristics which might allow an individual to become a successful ballplayer and those which allow him to become a well-adjusted adult person. In certain cases, the two circles which compose that Venn diagram don’t entirely overlap. It seems pretty clear, for example — thanks both to the anecdotes in which he appears throughout Moneyball and then his subsequent legal troubles — that Lenny Dykstra is an example of one who might possess qualities which serve as a virtue in baseball but are less helpful in life. Yasiel Puig serves as another possibly rich case study to which one might apply this line of inquiry.

This line of inquiry is also quite speculative, of course, but it’s also difficult to meditate on Yasiel Puig’s performance on the field without also acknowledging the mounting reports regarding his life off of it. As for the on-field version of Puig, it’s difficult to find very many flaws with it. Despite certain cases where he’s received criticism for missing the cut-off man or chasing pitches, he’s still managed both an above-average fielding mark in right field and roughly average strikeout rate.

#4 Cubs


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jason Heyward 560 .277 .354 .437 .344 11.6 2.4 9.6 3.7
Jorge Soler 105 .259 .325 .447 .331 1.0 0.1 -0.8 0.3
Shane Victorino   21 .244 .303 .365 .294 -0.4 0.1 0.3 0.0
Matt Szczur 14 .247 .297 .342 .282 -0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .272 .347 .435 .340 11.9 2.6 9.0 4.0

The fact that, until the signing of Dexter Fowler, Heyward was expected to receive the majority of the Cubs’ center-field (as opposed to right-field) starts, ought immediately to illustrate a true truth regarding Heyward — namely, that he’s likely to provide considerable value as a defender. Indeed, one finds that Heyward’s projected fielding-runs total is the highest among all the players who appear here. He represents the rare case of a corner outfielder who’s likely to “beat” his positional adjustment and provide a positive net return on defense.

The question regarding Heyward, in the short term, is how he’ll mature as a hitter. Once noted for his raw power, Heyward has eclipsed the 20-homer threshold just once in his six major-league seasons. That’s not to say he lacks offensive value — he’s routinely recorded batting lines between 10% and 20% better than league average — but he also lacks the sort of power one typically associates with a corner outfielder. That the Cubs were willing to pay him $184 million suggests that at least one front office is optimistic things will work out well.

The re-signing of Fowler has rendered a semi-crowded Chicago outfield even more crowded. The good news: the clubs possesses admirable depth. Notably, they possess Jorge Soler, who would have likely started for the team had it not been for Fowler’s return. While there are certainly question marks regarding Soler, he also offers enticing upside.

#5 Red Sox


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Mookie Betts 553 .298 .357 .472 .358 14.8 2.9 5.9 3.8
Brock Holt 77 .275 .333 .368 .309 -0.9 0.2 -0.5 0.0
Chris Young 28 .239 .310 .418 .315 -0.2 0.0 0.1 0.1
Rusney Castillo 21 .264 .310 .382 .303 -0.4 0.0 0.3 0.0
David Murphy 14 .264 .314 .398 .309 -0.2 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Bryce Brentz 7 .242 .295 .407 .304 -0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Total 700 .291 .350 .453 .347 13.0 3.1 5.6 3.9

Occasionally, broadcasters — particularly those who were employed as major leaguers themselves at one point — will say of a ballplayer, “That guy, he’s what you call a ‘ballplayer.'” Among the sane, statements like these represent an instance of what’s known as tautology. Or perhaps even just simple observation. There’s a connotation that’s specific to the game there, however. To describe a ballplayer (sans emphasis) as a ballplayer (with emphasis) is to suggest that he possesses some combination of praiseworthy attributes like toughness, intelligence, adaptability, etc.

By almost every denotation and connotation, Mookie Betts is a ballplayer. Selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft and then absent from all notable top-100 prospects lists until just before his rookie season (when he appeared in the second half of Baseball America and MLB.com’s lists), Betts has developed pretty quickly into one of the top players in the league through a combination of above-average skills, if not any one elite tool. He’s also rendered himself invaluable to the Red Sox by switching from second base (as a minor leaguer) to center field (in 2014/15) to right field (in 2016).

None of Boston’s other right-field options rival Betts in terms of production, although that’s basically always the case when discussing any team’s best player. Super-utility guy Brock Holt is a useful replacement basically everywhere, though, while David Murphy (if he doesn’t retire) could also offer a left-handed bat to assume the larger portion of a platoon.

#6 Blue Jays


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jose Bautista   560 .259 .374 .510 .379 26.4 0.0 -2.6 3.8
Ezequiel Carrera 70 .255 .305 .351 .289 -1.7 0.3 -0.5 0.0
Michael Saunders 35 .246 .324 .415 .321 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.1
Darrell Ceciliani 21 .245 .290 .365 .285 -0.6 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Junior Lake 14 .239 .293 .374 .292 -0.3 0.0 0.1 0.0
Total 700 .257 .361 .480 .362 23.8 0.4 -3.0 3.9

It’s pretty unusual, the degree to which Bautista is able both to control the plate while also hitting for so much power. Consider: in 2015, only five qualified batters — Bautista, Michael Brantley, Buster Posey, Joey Votto, and Ben Zobrist — produced a positive walk- and strikeout-rate differential. Of that group, Bautista recorded the highest isolated-slugging figure (.285) by a pretty substantial amount. Only Votto produced a figure within 100 points of Bautista’s. So he’s exception in this way, is Bautista.

Despite the rarity with which this combination of skills occurs within a single player, it also makes total sense in the case of Bautista. The foundation of his appoach is to attack pitches that skew up and in and then ignore most others. When he makes solid contact, he produces long fly balls to the pull side. Otherwise, he takes his walks.

After Bautista probably the most compelling piece for the Jays in right field is Michael Saunders, who profiles as roughly an average player when healthy. Health has been the issue, however. He’s been available this spring, however, and could allow manager John Gibbons rest Bautista without safrificing much production.

#7 Astros


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
George Springer 616 .253 .343 .463 .349 15.3 2.3 1.4 3.5
Jake Marisnick 35 .242 .288 .378 .290 -0.8 0.1 0.4 0.1
Colby Rasmus 35 .232 .303 .434 .318 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.1
Preston Tucker 14 .248 .302 .420 .312 -0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .251 .337 .456 .344 14.5 2.5 1.8 3.6

Had he recorded about 50 more plate appearances in 2015, Springer’s contact rate of 69.5% would have represented the fifth-worst mark among over 140 qualified batters. The three players at the top of that list (or the bottom of it, depending on one’s perspective) reveal the sort of skills required to compensate for that degree of swing and miss. They are, in alphabetical order, Kris Bryant, Chris Davis, and Joc Pederson. (Washington’s Michael Taylor, the fourth player, is inconvenient for the present narrative and will be ignored.) That triumvirate produced a collective .240 ISO. While Springer failed to reach that precise mark in 2015, power is very much a part of his skill set. Between that and above-average speed that plays both on the base paths and in right field, Springer profiles as one of the league’s better right fielders.

As for depth, the Astros find themselves in a fortuitous position. Between last year’s deadline acquisition of Carlos Gomez and the retention, by way of the qualifying offer, of Colby Rasmus, they now have the luxury of deploying Jake Marisnick as a fourth outfielder. That’s not ideal for Marisnick himself, probably, but of considerable benefit to the Astros. While his offensive ceiling is limited by his lack of contact, the numbers suggest he’s an above-average fielder even in center.

#8 Tigers


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
J.D. Martinez 602 .277 .335 .509 .358 18.7 -1.0 -0.4 3.3
Tyler Collins 63 .243 .299 .380 .296 -1.1 0.0 -0.3 0.0
Steven Moya 28 .235 .268 .429 .298 -0.5 0.0 -0.1 0.0
John Mayberry 7 .223 .286 .375 .288 -0.2 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Total 700 .272 .328 .493 .349 16.9 -0.9 -0.8 3.3

The similarities between Martinez and offseason acquisition Justin Upton are striking. Both are projected to hit about 30 home runs. Both are expected to produce about 3.5 wins. And indeed, the two of them were born literally within four days of each other in 1987. Here’s a thing that’s different about them, however: their respective salaries. While Upton is expected to earn at least $22 million per annum through 2020, Martinez will have to content himself with just an average $9.5 million per season over the next two years after avoiding arbitration with the Tigers this offseason. That’s the difference between a player (Upton) selected first overall and promoted quickly through the minors and another (Martinez) given $30,000 in the 20th round before altering his mechanics and becoming an All-Star.

Behind Martinez, the Tigers possess no fewer than two compelling options. The first, Tyler Collins, also lacks pedigree, but has nevertheless produced a league-average batting line in 200-plus plate appearances. The other, Steven Moya, possesses raw power to rival Martinez’s. What he lacks is control of the plate. If the Tigers turn to Moya in right, it’s because either (a) they’ve decided to rebuild or (b) Moya himself has taken a big step forward.

#9 Athletics


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Josh Reddick 581 .260 .323 .440 .330 7.6 1.9 5.8 3.0
Chris Coghlan 70 .242 .320 .379 .306 -0.4 0.1 -0.1 0.1
Sam Fuld   35 .221 .295 .320 .274 -1.1 0.1 0.2 0.0
Jake Smolinski 7 .246 .316 .400 .313 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Andrew Lambo 7 .240 .296 .425 .310 0.0 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Total 700 .256 .321 .427 .324 6.0 2.0 5.8 3.1

It’s probably occurred before — the author possesses little interest in conducting an exhaustive search, nor the means by which to conduct it — but Reddick’s transformation into a high-contact hitter from merely a league-average one is unusual. Every season since 2011, the outfielder has recorded at least 200 plate appearances. Here are his “strikeout-rate minus” marks — that is, personal strikeout rate divided by league strikeout rate, converted to an index stat where a lower figure is better — over those five seasons: 97, 113, 98, 78, 55. Reddick has basically halved the plate appearances which end without a ball in play — while also preserving basically the same power on contact. Provided he remains healthy, his 2016 campaign — during which he’ll remain on the better side of 30 — could be special.

Health hasn’t always been a given for Reddick, however. In the event of injury, he’ll be most immediately — and ably — replaced by Chris Coghlan. That is, provided Coghlan hasn’t already been summoned to replace even more injury-prone Jed Lowrie at second base.

#10 Twins


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Miguel Sano   511 .253 .341 .501 .360 16.9 -1.0 -2.9 2.6
Oswaldo Arcia 119 .247 .305 .450 .323 0.4 -0.1 -1.1 0.2
Max Kepler   56 .252 .311 .389 .304 -0.7 0.0 -0.1 0.1
Adam Brett Walker 14 .218 .262 .407 .288 -0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .251 .331 .481 .348 16.3 -1.1 -4.2 2.8

Not unlike the great scientists of our past and also the less great scientists of our past, the Minnesota Twins will be conducting an experiment of their own this year. It won’t lead to the discovery of gravity nor a vaccination for polio, however — or, at least, it probably won’t do those things — but rather to better determining whether giant young man Miguel Sano is capable of playing right field as a major leaguer. If the answer is “Yes, definitely” or even “Yes, mostly” then Sano is likely to provide his club roughly three or four wins from their right-field position. If the answer is “No, not really” or “No, not at all” then… well, then the outcome is less certain. Oswaldo Arcia is the club’s most immediate alternative. He isn’t the most interesting one, however. Rather, that distinction belongs to German Max Kepler, who produced a very promising season in 2015.

#11 Angels


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Kole Calhoun 616 .259 .315 .428 .322 6.0 0.8 5.5 2.8
Craig Gentry 56 .234 .291 .306 .266 -2.0 0.3 0.8 0.0
Rafael Ortega 14 .237 .299 .318 .275 -0.4 0.0 0.3 0.0
Todd Cunningham 14 .248 .298 .334 .279 -0.3 0.0 0.1 0.0
Total 700 .257 .312 .415 .316 3.3 1.1 6.6 2.8

For a number of reasons, Calhoun doesn’t fit the typical profile of a plus defender, even one who’s merely plus for a corner-outfield spot. For one, he’s isted at 5-foot-10, 200 pounds and possesses a frame usually reserved for abusive older brothers. For two, none of the other metrics which act as a somehwat reliable proxy for speed — stolen bases, triples, speed score itself — none of them point to a player one might expect to possess above-average range. Nor was Calhoun even a center fielder in college, as is frequently the case for major-league outfield tweeners. Indeed, he occupied right field for Arizona State, as well (deferring, in that case to Astros prospect Andrew Aplin, who does admittedly receive praise for his defense).

For all that, Calhoun has been very well acquitted by the fielding metrics, producing a nearly +20 UZR in right field over the last two seasons — and receiving the fifth-best fielding projection among 2016’s right fielders, a class which includes at least one player (Mookie Betts) who played center in 2015. That, combined with a slightly above-average offensive profile, conspire to produce an above-average player. The same can’t be said for the players behind Calhoun on the Angels’ depth chart, of whom the defensively able Craig Gentry is most useful, but who is also likely to participate in a platoon with left fielder Daniel Nava.

#12 Mets


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Curtis Granderson 637 .236 .332 .421 .329 9.5 1.4 0.4 2.6
Alejandro De Aza 49 .249 .311 .384 .303 -0.3 0.0 -0.1 0.1
Brandon Nimmo 14 .229 .309 .335 .286 -0.3 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Total 700 .236 .330 .417 .326 8.9 1.4 0.3 2.6

Granderson’s intentions at the plate are pretty clear. He finished the 2015 season as part of a group of four players — Chris Davis, Brian Dozier, and Brandon Moss representing the others — to produce simultaneously one of the league’s 10 lowest ground-ball rates and 10 highest pull rates. At the plate, in other words, he intends to hit the ball in the air to his pull side. And like those other three players, Granderson recorded strong power numbers last year. Building further on such an extreme approach is unlikely, however. And, at 35, Granderson is a candidate to suffer the baleful effects of age. That said, the projections suggest that he’s capable of doing enough to provide at least a couple wins.

Should Granderson miss time, Juan Lagares would be the most immediate beneficiary. Displaced from his starting role in center by the return of Yoenis Cespedes, Lagares will serve as the club’s fourth outfielder, perhaps working in an occasional platoon capacity with Michael Conforto. The possible lingering effects of a right elbow injury create some doubt, however, that he’ll retain the elite defense he’s exhibited in previous seasons.

#13 Giants


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Hunter Pence 581 .265 .321 .432 .326 8.4 0.9 0.1 2.3
Gregor Blanco 49 .261 .336 .364 .307 0.0 0.0 -0.2 0.1
Mac Williamson 35 .240 .307 .369 .296 -0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Jarrett Parker 21 .223 .300 .375 .296 -0.2 0.0 0.1 0.0
Kyle Blanks   14 .244 .313 .404 .313 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .262 .320 .422 .322 7.9 1.0 0.0 2.5

Pence missed all of April, most of June, and also all of September last year to a combination of forearm, wrist, and oblique injuries. None of them (i.e. those injuries) were expressly related to each other, but it’s quite possible that they were all related to how Hunter Pence is on the verge of completing his 33rd year as a human being (or whatever human-like species it is to which Hunter Pence belongs). Growing old is the dumbest. The author of this post, in his 37th year, has had a swollen ankle for the better part of the last decade. Not, like, balloon-sized swollen, mind you — but definitely, perceptibly swollen. And why? Because of the waking nightmare that is mortality.

In the event that Pence does shuffle off this mortal coil during the 2016 season, perpetual backup and perpetual asset Gregor Blanco is available to record his fifth consecutive two-win season.

#14 Diamondbacks


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
David Peralta 595 .287 .341 .469 .348 11.2 0.4 -1.7 2.3
Yasmany Tomas 70 .262 .297 .422 .310 -0.8 -0.1 -0.7 0.0
Brandon Drury 35 .254 .292 .378 .291 -0.9 -0.1 0.1 0.0
Total 700 .283 .334 .460 .341 9.5 0.2 -2.2 2.3

In his 2011 special Hilarious, comedian Louis CK meditates on the idea of optimisim and the conditions necessary to possess it, as follows:

You’ve got to be optimistic to be single. Stupid. You have to be stupid. That’s what optimistic means, you know? It means stupid. An optimist is somebody who goes, ‘Hey, maybe something nice will happen.’ Why the fuck would anything nice ever happen? What are you, stupid?

It’s a compelling argument CK presents — to which David Peralta presents a reasonably compelling counter-argument. After failing to advance in the Cardinals system as a pitcher, he reinvented himself as a hitter and outfielder in the independent leagues — to such a point where he’s now become the third-best field player on a major-league club. After recording the majority of his starts last season as a left fielder, he’ll shift over to right in order to make room for whatever combination of Socrates Brito, Yasmany Tomas, etc. is expected to take over there. Peralta might not approach last season’s BABIP-heavy batting line, but he doesn’t need to, really. He has the profile of an average corner outfielder without it.

Less likely to possess the profile of an average corner outfielder is anyone who’d replace Peralta in case of injury or ineffectiveness. Brito and Tomas appear to be replacement-level types. The prospect of Brandon Drury receiving time in the outfield is more interesting. While possessing probably only average power, Drury nevertheless has exhibited an understanding of the strike zone and capacity to make contact.

#15 Pirates


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Gregory Polanco 616 .258 .321 .394 .311 -0.6 2.1 6.6 2.2
Matt Joyce 56 .227 .317 .370 .303 -0.4 0.0 -0.3 0.0
Sean Rodriguez 14 .236 .281 .374 .285 -0.3 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Antoan Richardson 7 .239 .317 .311 .284 -0.2 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Willy Garcia 7 .239 .272 .400 .289 -0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .254 .320 .391 .310 -1.7 2.1 6.2 2.2

Based on his success at basically every minor-league level through the middle of 2014 (when he debuted in the majors and proceeded to remain there), it might be regarded as a disappointment to find Polanco situated here, halfway down the list of the league’s right fielders. That prospect version of Polanco possessed a compelling collection of skills: contact skills, power skills, speed skills. A bunch of other ones. He appeared destined for instant stardom. Instead, the result was instant competence. Upon closer examination, however, the major-league version of Polanco offers basically the same exact profile. And, indeed, players who produce at Polanco’s level during their age-22 and -23 seasons, often do approach stardom at ages 24 and 25 and 26.

Matt Joyce is the Pirates’ outfield insurance policy against replacement-level performance. Despite his miserable 2015 campaign, Joyce hasn’t really changed perceptibly from the player who produced a bunch of average seasons for the Rays between 2010 and -14.

#16 Rockies


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Carlos Gonzalez 525 .276 .335 .519 .362 7.9 0.9 -0.8 2.0
Gerardo Parra 77 .293 .337 .430 .331 -0.7 0.0 0.4 0.1
Ryan Raburn 70 .258 .331 .441 .334 -0.5 0.0 -0.7 0.0
Brandon Barnes 28 .255 .304 .384 .300 -1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .275 .333 .496 .353 5.7 0.8 -1.0 2.1

Carlos Gonzalez recorded 40 home runs in 2015, is a fact the author of this sentence learned roughly 30 seconds before composing it. But after examining the situation for another five or so minutes before composing this sentence, it’s not entirely clear what are the consequences of Gonzalez’s great display of power (however aided by his home park). It was a career-high mark, that’s for sure. But it also didn’t lead to a career-high WAR figure — or even a second- or third-best career WAR figure — nor does it appear to have influenced positively the computer math of either Steamer or ZiPS. Gonzalez appears simply to have traded some athleticism and defensive skill for power, and the result is a wildly average player. As is the case with average things, that’s neither expressly good nor bad.

More bad than good is Ryan Raburn’s outfield defense. That said, the experience of watching him defend in the outfield as Gonzalez’s injury replacement/occasional platoon partner will be mitigated by observing him utilize his very real power (against left-handers, at least) in Coors Field.

#17 Cardinals


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Stephen Piscotty 420 .270 .330 .417 .325 3.1 -0.6 1.8 1.4
Brandon Moss 175 .239 .320 .444 .329 1.9 0.0 -1.0 0.5
Tommy Pham 70 .260 .322 .409 .318 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.2
Anthony Garcia 28 .236 .304 .387 .303 -0.3 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Randal Grichuk 7 .251 .297 .453 .321 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .260 .325 .422 .324 4.8 -0.5 1.1 2.1

“Seventeenth,” is the answer to a question no one was explicitly asking. The question itself: “At what rank, among all right fields in the majors, can one find the first platoon?” And, in fact, even that is probably a mispresentation. The combination of Piscotty and Moss is likely to resemble less a strict platoon and more a periodic timeshare. Piscotty, the right-handed batter, is expected to receive the majority of playing time — which, that’s not really how platoons work. And Moss, for his part, is expected to receive a fair number of starts at first base, as well. The result is some positional flexibility for manager Mike Matheny, featuring the more mobile, contact-oriented Piscotty and more powerful, patient Moss. In the case of injury to Piscotty, a platoon between Moss and Pham is also great and would suffice.

#18 Brewers


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Domingo Santana 455 .251 .332 .450 .339 5.8 0.2 -0.2 1.6
Rymer Liriano   105 .238 .305 .382 .301 -1.9 0.0 0.9 0.1
Ramon Flores 70 .262 .331 .419 .326 0.2 -0.1 0.1 0.2
Michael Reed 49 .231 .314 .350 .295 -1.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Brett Phillips 21 .255 .304 .404 .307 -0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .249 .326 .428 .328 2.7 0.1 0.9 1.9

August Fagerstrom made the point in greater depth earlier this month while also utilizing rhetorical devices such as “evidence” and “verbs,” but the author will plagiarize here Fagerstrom’s main conclusion. Which, here is that conclusion: when attempting to identify the player most similar to George Springer, it’s almost impossible not to find oneself immediately discussing Domingo Santana. Similar results? Check. Similar approaches? Also, that. Both right fielders with so much athleticism inside of them? Fagerstrom doesn’t expressly state it like that, but it’s certainly what he means. Of course, Domingo Santana has only recorded 200 plate appearances and struck out in a third of them, so one can’t leap to any conclusions, really — let alone conclusions which equate Santana with one of the most promising young players in the game. But there’s a conversation to be had, is the point

Another conversation to be had concerns how Rymer Liriano suffered multiple fractures in his face recently as the result of a stray spring-training fastball. That sounds horrible. When healthy, Liriano — along with Ramon Flores and Brett Phillips and Michael Reed — represents one of the Brewers’ legion of promising and untested outfield prospects.

#19 Rangers


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Shin-Soo Choo   616 .263 .368 .417 .346 10.0 0.1 -6.9 1.8
Justin Ruggiano 49 .247 .318 .423 .322 -0.1 -0.1 -0.2 0.1
Ian Desmond 21 .245 .301 .410 .309 -0.3 0.0 0.1 0.0
Ryan Rua 7 .232 .289 .382 .293 -0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0
Nomar Mazara 7 .258 .314 .407 .313 -0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .261 .362 .416 .343 9.3 0.0 -7.1 1.9

There are two main sorts of deed by which a title is typically conveyed in the purchase of real estate. The first is known as a warranty deed; the second, a quitclaim deed. By way of a warranty deed, the current owner basically states to the future owner, “I assure (warrant) that I am the sole propietor of this property and that no liens or claims exist to the title besides those I possess.” In the case of a quitclaim deed, on the other hand, the current owner merely states to the new one, “Whatever interest I, the current owner, have in this property — I concede (quit) it to you. As for previous claims or liens, I make no promises.” A warranty deed is much more common in the exchange of property between strangers, while quitclaim deeds are typically utilized in cases such as divorce or marriage or maybe inheritance, where the parties involved are acquainted intimately.

This concludes a brief summary of what the author has learned over the last five or so days on the topic of warranty versus quitclaim deeds — and is of much greater use to the world than what that same author has to say about Shin-Soo Choo, which is that he’s likely to produce above-average batting and below-average fielding numbers for a nearly average (overall) profile.

#20 Rays


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Steven Souza 441 .236 .316 .408 .316 1.4 0.8 -0.6 1.2
Brandon Guyer 154 .258 .330 .377 .313 0.1 0.4 0.4 0.5
Mikie Mahtook 105 .236 .286 .360 .282 -2.5 0.1 0.2 0.0
Total 700 .241 .315 .393 .311 -1.0 1.3 0.0 1.7

The plate-appearance estimates offered here for Rays’ right fielders are intended for entertainment purposes only. While the clubs possesses a number of useful options, how precisely Rays manager Kevin Cash utilizes his talent at the position remains obscure. Corey Dickerson could play some right field, but he appears to be a candidate for the majority of the club’s DH at-bats. Brandon Guyer might refuse to be ignored once again and play his way into another two-win season as the club’s right-field starter. Those are both possibilities. The most likely one, however, finds Souza inheriting the majority of starts there. So, not unlike last year, in other words. Souza retains the compelling profile that attracted Tampa Bay in the first place; however, if he fails once again to produce a strikeout rate under 30%, it’ll be difficult for him to supply the necessary offense required of a corner-outfield spot.

#21 Mariners


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Seth Smith 294 .245 .331 .409 .321 2.2 -0.2 -0.4 0.9
Franklin Gutierrez   280 .237 .291 .410 .303 -2.0 -0.3 0.0 0.4
Nelson Cruz 70 .258 .323 .482 .343 1.7 -0.3 -0.3 0.3
Nori Aoki 56 .269 .332 .356 .306 -0.3 -0.1 0.1 0.1
Total 700 .245 .314 .412 .315 1.6 -0.9 -0.6 1.7

While the arrival of Jerry Dipoto et al. has created some turnover among Seattle’s on-field personnel, it doesn’t appear as though it’ll much influence Seth Smith’s life. Last year, he recorded 91 starts in an outfield corner for the Mariners, plus another 16 more at designated hitter. It wouldn’t be anything like a surprise were Smith to approximate those same figures in 2016. The precise nature of his deployment might change: as suggested here, Smith is likely to receive more time in right than left, while the opposite was the case last year. Still, the basic circumstances remain: he’ll play the strong side of a corner-outfield platoon for the Mariners.

When Smith isn’t playing, Guiterrez likely will be. Here’s a fact about Franklin Gutierrez that’s likely to help win friends and influence people: in just 189 plate appearances last year, he produced more batting runs (+14.8) than at any other point of his entire major-league career. Even more than his six-win season in 2009. Fortunately, that sort of thing isn’t necessary for him to help the club. Even a league-average situation would work nicely.

#22 Orioles


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Mark Trumbo 420 .257 .311 .475 .336 4.9 -0.8 -1.4 1.3
Dariel Alvarez 105 .273 .299 .425 .312 -0.8 0.0 0.0 0.2
Joey Rickard 70 .244 .316 .332 .290 -1.8 0.0 -0.2 0.0
Nolan Reimold 70 .233 .307 .360 .293 -1.5 0.0 0.0 0.0
Henry Urrutia 21 .268 .306 .382 .300 -0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0
Jimmy Paredes   14 .252 .286 .382 .290 -0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .256 .308 .437 .321 0.1 -0.9 -1.8 1.4

It’s not difficult to find instances on the internet of anonymous voices cravenly highlighting the conspicuous failures of those who are more talented — or at least more publicly available — than themselves. The reader should note immediately: that is not why the present author has reproduced here perpetually looping video of Mark Trumbo flailing about in right field. No. Rather, this video has been embedded here as a perpetually looping illustration of the human condition. If the reader isn’t Mark Trumbo today, he or she will be Mark Trumbo at some point. That is the frightening warranty attached to our miserable lives.

Following the acquisition by Baltimore of Pedro Alvarez, it’s quite possible that Trumbo will illustrate the human condition in greater detail during the 2016 baseball season. When he’s not available, the Orioles have a number of candidates who’ll attempt to separate themselves from replacement-level. Like 27-year-old rookie Dariel Alvarez, for example. And Rule 5 selection Joey Rickard.

#23 Royals


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jarrod Dyson   252 .249 .308 .344 .288 -6.1 3.2 4.6 0.8
Paulo Orlando 238 .250 .283 .356 .278 -7.8 0.4 2.3 0.0
Travis Snider 105 .250 .322 .398 .314 -0.4 0.0 -0.2 0.2
Lorenzo Cain 49 .284 .333 .417 .324 0.2 0.2 0.8 0.2
Reymond Fuentes 35 .263 .317 .368 .301 -0.5 0.1 0.4 0.1
Jorge Bonifacio 14 .224 .273 .344 .271 -0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0
Jose Martinez 7 .283 .334 .394 .319 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .252 .303 .363 .292 -15.3 3.9 7.9 1.3

Kansas City’s right-field situation became slightly less clear at the beginning of March, when Jarrod Dyson suffered a strained right oblique which, after further review, is likely to keep him sidelined through at least the first two weeks of the regular season. In itself, that’s not significant, obviously, but oblique injuries have a tendency to be pernicious, also. Whether Dyson is healthy or not, Paulo Orlando is almost certain to receive the majority of Kansas City’s right-field at-bats against left-handed pitchers. The question will be who faces right-handers. In Dyson’s absence, the solution might simply be more Paulo Orlando. Alternatively, Ned Yost could elect to hand the strong half of the platoon either to Reymond Fuentes or Travis Snider. The latter is a known quantity with power upside while the former is probably a better defender and contact hitter. Failing all those options, there’s also the presence of giant Jose Martinez, denoted as Cistulli’s Guy in this year’s Royals prospect list.

#24 Indians


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Lonnie Chisenhall 420 .261 .313 .411 .313 -1.2 0.5 0.2 0.9
Marlon Byrd 182 .246 .290 .402 .298 -2.8 -0.2 -0.1 0.1
Rajai Davis 42 .252 .297 .383 .296 -0.7 0.2 -0.1 0.0
Collin Cowgill 35 .238 .297 .352 .287 -0.8 0.0 0.4 0.0
Joey Butler 14 .259 .327 .400 .319 0.0 0.0 -0.1 0.0
James Ramsey 7 .223 .293 .354 .285 -0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .255 .305 .404 .306 -5.7 0.5 0.3 1.1

Sometimes, in this life, you find yourself participating in what late psychologist Abraham Maslow characterized as “self-actualizing” behavior. Other times, however, you’re compelled to laboriously produce something like 150-250 words about Lonnie Chisenhall, Marlon Byrd, and the Cleveland Indians’ right-field depth chart. But what if — just what if — you could somehow manage to engage in both acts simulaneously, like by composing an entirely self-aware paragraph that includes a brief reference to Maslow while also, at least superficially, addressing Cleveland’s prospective right fielders and their likely contributions to the club in terms of wins? It’d be like a magic trick, wouldn’t it? Except a kind of magic trick performed not by a socially distressed nephew but rather by your own self, and you could harness that same kind of magic to good effect in other areas of your life. Will Lonnie Chisenhall produce about a win for Cleveland this year while occupying the strong side of a platoon? Or will he pull a thousand colorful handkerchiefs from the sleeve of his cape? The answer, conclusively, is “yes.”

#25 Reds


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jay Bruce 560 .240 .309 .438 .318 -1.4 0.2 -0.2 1.1
Scott Schebler 70 .230 .291 .403 .299 -1.3 0.1 -0.1 0.0
Yorman Rodriguez 35 .242 .285 .391 .294 -0.8 0.0 0.0 0.0
Jesse Winker 28 .257 .329 .410 .322 0.0 0.0 -0.1 0.1
Juan Duran 7 .209 .252 .368 .269 -0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .239 .306 .431 .315 -3.7 0.2 -0.4 1.1

Between 2008 and -13, Jay Bruce produced a .225 isolated-slugging mark while also recording over 17 wins in roughly 3,400 plate appearnces — which is to say, almost precisely three wins for every 600 PAs. That accounted for his age-21 through age-26 seasons, and players who post those sorts of numbers between ages 21 and 26 tend also to post excellent numbers at ages 27 and 28. Only, Bruce hasn’t. Over the last two years, he’s actually produced negative wins in roughly 1,200 plate appearances. The cause, in no small part, appears due to a lack of opposite-field power — itself very possibly the result of lingering difficulties with a knee injury suffered in 2014. Or, at least, August Fagerstrom presents a compelling case to that effect. What seems clear is both that (a) Bruce has natural talent and strength, and also that (b) both those qualities have been obscured, or partially obscured, in some way. Bruce could return to his old form. What’s more likely, though, is he continues this newer, less excellent form.

Given that the Reds aren’t likely to compete much this year, Bruce is a candidate to leave by trade. Such a move would help facilitate a rebuiling process in Cincinnati and likely facilitate starts for some combination of Scott Schebler or Jesse Winker in right.

#26 Padres


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Matt Kemp 525 .265 .321 .437 .327 6.6 -0.2 -9.3 0.8
Hunter Renfroe 112 .228 .275 .383 .285 -2.4 0.0 0.5 0.0
Jabari Blash 35 .223 .299 .418 .312 0.0 0.0 -0.2 0.1
Alex Dickerson 28 .248 .298 .392 .299 -0.3 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Total 700 .256 .312 .425 .318 4.0 -0.2 -9.0 1.0

“Oh, how the mighty have fallen” is an utterance — not unlike “It was touch-and-go for a moment there” and “Whew! It feels like a sauna in here” — is an utterance only ever utilized by people over 50 years old, science proves. And yet, it’s quite relevant for the purposes of composing this brief entry concerning the Padres’ right-field depth chart. Because Matt Kemp is a fixture within that depth chart, is why, and because Kemp was once mighty but is now less mighty. The bat hasn’t changed too much: Kemp still possesses good power and appears likely to continually produce above-average BABIPs. What he lacks, however, is the remainder of that profile which rendered him so dynamic at an earlier age. Now 31, Kemp hasn’t been a real asset on the base paths since his age-26 season. And a combination of lost athleticism and a lack of feel/interest have conspired to make him one of the league’s greatest outfield liabilities. Because of his contract, which pays him $21.5 million per annum through 2019, he isn’t really a candidate to be traded this year — and is thus likely to record the majority of the Padres’ starts in right. In case of injury, however, Hunter Renfroe represents a compelling alternative.

#27 Yankees


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Carlos Beltran 420 .257 .316 .430 .322 0.9 -0.8 -5.6 0.4
Aaron Hicks 140 .242 .318 .390 .310 -1.1 0.2 0.6 0.3
Aaron Judge 42 .235 .300 .440 .319 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1
Chris Denorfia 42 .252 .306 .365 .294 -0.9 0.0 0.4 0.0
Chris Parmelee   35 .248 .311 .416 .315 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 0.1
Slade Heathcott 21 .243 .289 .371 .288 -0.5 0.0 0.2 0.0
Total 700 .252 .314 .416 .316 -1.7 -0.8 -4.5 0.9

Provided the author has performed his due diligence duly, it would appear as though the Yankees — with the exception of an option exercised by shortstop Brendan Ryan — were the only club this offseason not to sign a free agent to a major-league contract. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that this is unexpected — which is fortunate, that, in light of how the present author is decidedly not a genius. Despite the scarcity of notable signings, that’s not to say the Yankees were entirely inactive. They did make some notable offseason trades, one of which figures directly in the construction of the club’s right-field depth chart — namely, the acquisition of Aaron Hicks from Minnesota in exchange for catcher JR Murphy. While Beltran is the nominal starter, it’s not improbable that Hicks is actually the better player, possessing superior (present) defensive tools to the 39-year-old Beltran plus an offensive profile that appears finally to have matured into something usable. The Yankees’ right-field ranking would likely sit higher than 27th were Hicks, and not Beltran, expected to receive the bulk of the starts.

#28 Braves


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Nick Markakis 623 .272 .341 .367 .310 -2.9 -0.9 -3.4 0.6
Nick Swisher 42 .224 .313 .367 .301 -0.5 -0.1 -0.1 0.0
Ender Inciarte 35 .277 .318 .372 .303 -0.4 0.1 0.3 0.1
Total 700 .270 .338 .367 .309 -3.8 -0.9 -3.2 0.7

Atlanta’s right-field unit is ranked 28th by the methodology utilized here but receives the distinction of having been the last club about which the author elected to write. Why? Because, not unlike that moment after which a stranger has accidentally opened the door to your public bathroom stall, there’s nothing to say that’ll make a difference. They’re a rebuilding club employing a mediocre veteran in right field. Albert Camus himself couldn’t have concocted of a richer, more absurd scheme.

#29 White Sox


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Melky Cabrera 280 .282 .329 .410 .321 0.2 -0.3 -2.1 0.4
Avisail Garcia 210 .264 .313 .400 .310 -1.6 -0.4 -1.5 0.1
J.B. Shuck 126 .257 .311 .335 .286 -3.4 -0.1 -0.2 -0.1
Adam Eaton 70 .274 .347 .395 .327 0.4 0.2 -0.4 0.2
Jerry Sands 14 .233 .312 .411 .316 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .270 .322 .392 .312 -4.5 -0.7 -4.1 0.7

Deploying the 29th-best right field in the majors isn’t a terrible proposition in itself. One must consider context, as well. Because look: neither Atlanta (just above) nor Philadelphia (just below) appear likely to field particularly strong right-field contingents this year. That said, neither of those team have designs on competing for a spot in the postseason, either. And this is the problem with Chicago’s presence here — because the club does appear interested in contending.

As Neil Weinberg noted earlier today while examining the league’s left-field rankings, the players listed here might not be the actual ones who appear in right field for the White Sox — or, at least not to the precise degree suggested by the plate-appearance numbers presented in the table above. That doesn’t change much, however, as the White Sox’ left-field depth chart is also uninspiring.

That said, there’s the silver lining: if the White Sox remain in conention until July and their outfield remains as distressingly mediocre as the projections suggest, the possibility for upgrading is that much more available to them.

#30 Phillies


Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Darin Ruf 245 .241 .308 .406 .311 -1.5 -0.3 -1.7 0.2
Tyler Goeddel 280 .242 .294 .370 .290 -6.4 0.2 0.0 -0.1
Nick Williams 105 .222 .282 .343 .275 -3.7 0.0 0.0 -0.2
Aaron Altherr   35 .237 .296 .402 .302 -0.5 0.0 0.4 0.1
David Lough 35 .244 .284 .362 .282 -1.0 0.0 0.4 0.0
Total 700 .239 .297 .380 .295 -13.2 -0.1 -0.9 0.0

Given the current state of their club, the Phillies are almost certain to dedicate the 2016 and -17 seasons largely to the end of identifying which of their younger players is likely to play a role in the next good edition of the team. So while Darin Ruf is certainly a candidate to receive a fair number of starts in right field this season, the future of the club is more strongly tied to the development of Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel and last year’s deadline acquisition Nick Williams. Pins and needles, are the things upon which all of Philadelphia is sitting, in anticipation of Goeddel’s and Williams’ development into majors leaguers.





Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Jeff Sullivan Salmon Feast
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Saving Trout for last, I see.