Best Blue Jays Ever: Rightfield


It’s time for another edition of Best Blue Jays Ever. This is the one I’ve been looking forward to since I started this series. We’re going to be finishing up our tour of the outfield today by taking a look at right field. Having been a Blue Jays fan for over 30 years, I know that the Jays have had some pretty good players play in right over the years, so I was sure this wasn’t going to make me sad like some of the other positions (I’m looking at you catcher). This time around I even had more than five players to choose from! That’s reason for celebration right there. So, without any further preamble here are the rules:

  • We are looking at only the player’s career with the Jays
  • Must have played at least 3 full seasons in Toronto (no one-year wonders here)
  • Must have been a fairly regular player (we’ll say average of 81 games/season)
  • Historical impact with the club will be considered as well as overall statistics (it can’t just be about numbers can it?)
  • WAR will not be considered (otherwise what’s the point? I could just list them in order of WAR, and that’s no fun

5.) Alex Rios

Career with the Jays: .285/.335/.451, 2B: 195, HR: 81, RBI: 381, OPS+: 105

As has happened on a number of occasions during this series, I get

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surprised by the fact that my recollection of a player does not match up with actual performance. Case in point, Alex Rios. I was not a big Rios fan when he played for the Jays. I though he was a lackadaisical player who never really gave full effort. As you can see, though his numbers were pretty…ok. He could take the walk when you needed to and could hit the occasional bomb (24 HRs was his high with the Jays), and he could run a little bit. He even had a couple of All-Star appearances while in Toronto. He was also a very competent defender in right. That’s pretty much the story with Alex. He wasn’t outstanding in any one category, but he was decent in all of them. That’s why he gets the #5 slot on our list.

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4.) Joe Carter

Career with the Jays: .257/.308/.473, 2B: 218, HR: 203, RBI: 736, OPS+: 104

This pains me a bit. Carter is my all time favorite Blue Jay, so it saddens me that I have to put him so far down the list. Joe was the heart of the order during the world Series years. He was never a high-average type of hitter, he never hit 40 homeruns, but one thing he could do is drive in runs. Yes, I know that the RBI is as much a reflection on the team as it is the player, so all you Sabrmetricians out there can just simmer down. There are players out there, though that exhibit a, for lack of a better term, talent for driving in runs. If there was a runner on 3rd with less than 2 out, it always seemed like Joe was able to drive him home, whether that was by a hit or by an out. He was an unselfish player who always put the team first. He also had an impressive list of accolade during his tenure in Toronto which included 4 All-Star Games, and 2 Silver Sluggers. Of course there was also the matter of a little homerun he hit in October of 1993, but you wouldn’t want to here about that would you?

3.) Jesse Barfield

Career with the Jays: .256/.335/.483, 2B: 162, HR: 179, RBI: 527, OPS+: 118

Jesse was the righfielder during those teams of the early to mid-eighties while the team was rising to prominence. He formed a formidable middle of the order with leftfielder George Bell. Barfield had a solid if not spectacular career with the Jays. A lot of people like to talk about the power that Jesse possessed, and he did have a lot of it. But I was also surprised to see how often he would take the walk. Especially considering that the Jays of that era were not know for their patience. Another little-discussed trait of Barfield’s was the fact that he was a very good defender and had an absolute howitzer for an arm. I went back and forth as to whether he should be #2 or #3 on this list. In the end I decided that he was #3. He was narrowly beat out by…

2.) Shawn Green

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Career with the Jays: .286/.344/.505, 2B: 164, HR: 119, RBI: 376, OPS+: 117

Again, I might suffer a few complaints due to this selection. I had to put Green ahead of Barfield, while offensively they were very similar, I think Green has the slight edge, plus he had more speed which basically pushed him over the top. Green was a true five-tool player. He was even a 30-30 player one year. I think Green’s accomplishments are somewhat glossed over, due to the manner in which he left. Like many disgruntled Blue Jays before him, he had asked for a trade during the offseason of 1999-2000, which left many Blue Jays fans bitter towards the outfielder. Despite that bitterness I think his statistics merit his spot at #2. Which leaves us with…

1.) Jose Bautista

Career with the Jays: .266/.385/538, 2B: 139, HR: 203, RBI: 518, OPS+: 149

It’s nice that I have the opportunity to put a current Blue Jay at the top of one of these lists. Let’s be honest Joey Bats is probably the best all around player the Blue Jays have had since Carlos Delgado.  In the seven years since he joined the Jays Bautista has been to 5 All-Star Games, won 3 Silver Sluggers and finished in the top 10 of MVP voting three times. He is not only the Blue Jays most feared hitter, but he is also one of the most feared hitters in the league, twice leading the league in HRs. That number could have been more, but over the past few years he has succumbed to injury which have hurt his numbers a bit. He played a full year last year, without any major injuries, so there’s hope for the future. Here’s hoping that Jose will be hitting in the #3 spot for the Jays come October this year. Who knows? Anything is possible.

So that’s rightfield. It certainly was the most uplifting list so far. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments.

Next: Next Jays Nest guest: Dalton Pompey