“Cause I’m here in right field just watching the dandelions grow.” — Peter, Paul, and Mary
I spent many a game in right field in my youth. I could postulate that it was about my strong throwing arm, but it was really about the same thing as the song above. Little Leagues rarely had lefties that pulled the ball. When you grow up, right field becomes one of the more important spots on the diamond. It may not have the glitz and glamour of center field, but you have to have the strongest arm on the team to succeed out there. Nearly all of the most iconic outfield assists have come from right fielders.
If you followed us this far you know what these articles are about. We are comparing the top 24 right fielders against the median in five major statistical categories. The median is defined as the average between the 12th and 13th ranked right fielder in each category. Players that meet or exceed the median will be labeled in green font. Players that fail to meet the median will be labeled in red font.
Right Field: .263/21 HR/68 Runs/74 RBI/7 SB
Left Field: .261/20 HR/71 Runs/70 RBI/12 SB
Center Field: .268/16 HR/78 Runs/62 RBI/21 SB
Jose Bautista— Toronto Blue Jays
PECOTA: .255/27/75/81/4 (+3)
3 Year: .257/32/92/95/5
It was recently revealed that Bautista turned down a three year 50+ million dollar deal to return to the Blue Jays on a one year deal. That’s a bit of a gamble for an aging outfielder, but his career broke open in Toronto and he wants to stay where he is comfortable. Like most aging players, his ability to stay healthy is questionable. His on base skills will make these numbers play up. If he can get 600 plate appearances he should be a top ten overall outfielder.
Carlos Beltran— Houston Astros
PECOTA: .252/19/57/69/1 (+0)
3 Year: .268/21/59/70/1
It seems odd for a player that doesn’t project to meet the median in any category to get 16 million dollars to play. It is even more odd when that player is projected to DH most of the time. Beltran was nearly cut from the top 24. He is included because these numbers seem a little conservative based on the three year average and the fact that he seems motivated to finish his career in strong fashion on a winner.
Mookie Betts— Boston Red Sox
PECOTA: .308/20/80/80/23 (+4)
3 Year: .300/18/83/69/18
Betts was a finalists for the MVP last season. Much of that was due to the fact that he was the best two-way player in the game. Like most young players, it is impossible to know what his ceiling will be when it is all said and done. 2016 may be the ceiling or he could achieve more down the road. Either way, he will be one of the first few outfielders off the board.
Jay Bruce— New York Mets
PECOTA: .231/24/67/76/7 (+3)
3 Year: .231/26/72/84/8
Last season’s deal to the Mets made little sense for the Mets. Now, they don’t have a spot for Michael Conforto to play. They spent the offseason trying to deal him away. Bruce is a somewhat limited player in that he has a lot of swing and miss in his game, but he does have above average patience at the plate. Overall, he could slide into a fourth or fifth outfielder slot.
Kole Calhoun— Los Angeles Angels
PECOTA: .261/22/84/75/4 (+3)
3 Year: .266/20/86/72/4
Calhoun is a throwback to the good old days. It’s more about the ways teams used to be built before free agency. The idea was that each individual got a little bit better until they were good enough to get the team all the way. Calhoun has improved a little each season and PECOTA is predicting another baby step up. He could be one of the bigger sleepers in the draft.
Shin-soo Choo— Texas Rangers
PECOTA: .262/15/75/58/8 (+2)
3 Years: .253/14/60/43/4
When healthy, Choo is one of the more underrated outfielders in the league. He is particularly valuable in six category leagues where an on base element is included. He is projected to have nearly 70 walks on the season. Add that to a nearly median batting average and he could be an on base machine. The only obstacle has been his ability to remain healthy.
Nelson Cruz— Seattle Mariners
PECOTA: .264/35/84/101/2 (+4)
3 Years: .287/42/91/102/3
Few of the moves for the Mariners have worked out in recent years, but you have to make an exception in the case of Cruz. He has had back to back 40 plus home run seasons with the club. Add him with Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano and you have a very dangerous heart of the order. The supporting cast has always been the issue. Hopefully, their additions will help him have more run producing opportunities.
Carlos Gonzalez— Colorado Rockies
PECOTA: .276/29/77/91/5 (+4)
3 Years: .269/25/70/78/2
It’s amazing what a couple of healthy seasons or two will do. Cargo used to be more hype than substance as he struggled to play more than 120 games in a season. As long as he remains in Denver, he will continue to be a starting quality fantasy player. In fact, he has hit 40 home runs in the past and is always a threat to do so again.
Bryce Harper— Washington Nationals
PECOTA: .270/27/82/85/11 (+5)
3 Years: .282/26/81/72/10
Harper has one magical season to his name. If he does nothing else in his career, he will always have that MVP season to his name. So much more is expected though as few players have ever come into professional baseball with more fanfare than him. Like many others, health has always been the key. If he can play 150 games he could be that MVP guy again.
Jason Heyward— Chicago Cubs
PECOTA: .257/17/74/66/15 (+2)
3 Year: .265/10/71/56/18
World Series titles cover up a whole multitude of sins. One of the biggest ones was Heyward’s disappearing act at the plate. Fortunately, he has consistently been a two win player with the glove, so he wasn’t a complete zero. Of course, they won more than 100 games with him doing nothing at the plate. Imagine what happens if he approaches career norms.
Aaron Judge— New York Yankees
PECOTA: .235/23/67/70/3 (+1)
3 Year: N/A
Judge may not begin the season in New York, but the long-term plans have him taking over in right field. Ironically, the Yankees have always been about free agents and high impact trades. Now, their fortunes rest with the young players on the team. Everyone knows about Gary Sanchez, but it could be Judge that determines whether they are playoff contenders or not.
Max Kepler— Minnesota Twins
PECOTA: .256/17/65/71/8 (+1)
In every dark cloud there is a silver lining. Kepler didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but few expected him to be as successful as he was in his first go around. Obviously, he wasn’t all-star material, but when you put him with their other young players you get a decent nuclues of young talent. He isn’t starting material in standard fantasy leagues, but he could be a decent bench bat.