Mar 20, 2014; Clearwater, FL, USA;Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista (19) chases down a fly ball in the first inning of the spring training exhibition game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
The position of power is right field. Your guy with home run tendencies and middle of the batting order styles is usually found here. Not many right fielders are batting 8th or 9th these days. They are your 3, 4 or maybe 5 hitters. The guy you want up in a pressure situation. They guy that brings you to your feet and is the superstar of your favourite team. When you see the list below you will get the idea. Bring out the right fielders!
Probable Starting Right Fielders
Baltimore Orioles: Nick Markakis
Now here is an example of a good but not great right fielder. Batting Average usually around .300. Double digit homers, around 40 doubles, few stolen bases and for a while an OPS over .800. He has been hampered by injury the last couple seasons and his numbers are a bit depressed because of this. He has the potential to be an all-star and stat leader for his position…if he is healthy.
Defensively he has won a Gold Glove and usually plays a solid right field with a cannon for an arm. He has made two errors over the last three seasons so it will be tough to get another Gold Glove….again if he is healthy. He is having a very robust spring so look for Markakis to put himself back near the top of the heap.
Boston Red Sox: Shane Victorino
Now here is one of those glue guys. Shane Victorino has never been a true power guy. He doesn’t steal many bases and he has never hit .300 for his career. What is does bring are the intangibles like moving the runners along, taking the extra base whenever he can and generally getting on base for those hitting behind him. At this point in his career it would seem a 20/20 season is not possible but he could do a 15/30 if he stays healthy. Injuries play a big part of his career the last few years but if he stays healthy he could still be a productive outfielder…who is kind of miscast in right field.
Defensively he is a star. 4 Gold Gloves will give you that distinction. He has lost a step or two over time but he gets excellent reads on the balls hit to him and he will rarely if ever give teams an extra batter due to error. His arm is still decent but again not big enough for a right fielder. He is never the star but the stars would not be who they are without guys like Shane Victorino.
New York Yankees: Carlos Beltran
Another player some thought was heading on a downswing for his career while he was a Met due to nagging injuries. He resurrected himself quite nicely with the Cardinals and with that short porch in New York his numbers are sure to be all-star worthy. with a ROY, 8 all-star appearances and 3 Gold Gloves he definitely has the pedigree. If he stays on the field then .300 BA, 30 homers, 100 RBI and an OPS close to .900 is within his sight…though he is getting older and sometime he will come back down to earth a bit.
Beltran could get himself another Gold Glove simply because he won’t be having to cover as much ground with Jacoby Ellsbury to his right. He is not as fleet afoot but he will make the plays, some in spectacular fashion and has the arm that a right fielder should have. His transition back to the AL will be interesting enough, especially playing in the advanced competition that is the AL East.
Tampa Bay Rays: Wil Myers
The reigning AL rookie of the year appears to be the superstar-in-waiting that most scouts and baseball lookie loos have tabbed him since being drafted by Kanses City in 2009. He was the main cog in the trade wheel that sent James Shields and his reliable arm to KC. In 88 games the rookie hit 13 homers and hit almost .300. Eventually you are looking at a perennial .300 BA, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 100 runs and an OPS around .900. This kid can rake. It will be curious to see what he posts over this, his first full season in MLB.
He played all over the diamond in the minors as he was one of those get his bat in the line up anywhere type of players. He definitely is not known for his defense and will sort of be learning on the fly in right. Let’s just call his defense a work in progress.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista
Not a work in progress is Jose Bautista. He has the skills to be THE right fielder in all of baseball but injuries the last couple of years have sapped him of that moniker. After the light switch went on when he arrived in Toronto for a marginal catching prospect Bautista has been the pre-eminent threat to hit the ball yard. If healthy it would be reasonable to expect .275 BA, 40 HR, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored with an OPS over .900. He does have a lot to prove this season durability-wise so keep a cock-eye towards his stats. He already has 5 dingers this spring so he seems to be feeling juuuust fine.
Having played 3rd for a vast majority of his career, it should be no surprise that Bautista has a gun for an arm. A little underrated defensively. He will get to most balls and keep runners honest but it does help that he has Colby Rasmus to his right. As a right fielder Bautista is a wee bit above the average for MLB.
And the Medalists Are:
This is a really tough one. Due to track records, performance and injury history I will lay it out as follows: Beltran, Bautista, Victorino, Markakis, Myers. Due to the subjective nature of these findings I feel forehead slapping comments to be strewn all over the comment section below. On Monday I will hash out the starting five comparisons and Tuesday will be the relievers. Then on Wednesday prepare to see my rankings based on numerical values of 1-5 per position and how they add up. If I am right this may be the standings you will see at the end of the 2014 season. If not…well gosh darn it I had fun doing this. Comments please!