Top 10 at Each Position: RF

With 9 days till Opening Day, today we will focus on the top 10 at position number 9, Right Field. This is one of the most star studded positions in all of baseball with a lot of the best players playing Right Field, making it hard to choose a Top 10.

  1. Aaron Judge – New York Yankees

I know what you are thinking, Aaron Judge is the number 1 Right Fielder over both of last year’s MVPs? Yes, when you look at both Judge’s and Betts’ stats from the last two years, Judge has hit 23 more Home Runs then Betts and is also an amazing defensive outfielder, even though people might not see him as such when they first look at him due to his mammoth size. Out of Judge’s 12 hits so far in Spring Training, he has hit 6 yes 6 Home Runs and has 4 Doubles and even a Triple. That leaves Judge with only one single this whole spring. Expect Judge to continue to dominate throughout the summer.

2. Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox

Don’t get me wrong, Mookie Betts is one of the best players in baseball and is a close second to Judge for the best Right Fielder as Judge has more power and I believe he is a slightly better defender than Betts. Last Year’s AL MVP had a hell of a year with a huge output both offensively and defensively, clearly playing a huge part in Boston’s World Series Championship run last year and don’t expect his production to slow down anytime soon.

3. Christian Yelich – Milwaukee Brewers

If you read my article last season on my case for why Christian Yelich deserved to win NL MVP, you know how much I love Yelich. I think that Yelich will be able to repeat his production from last season although some doubt that he will be able to. However, Yelich will always be a safe bet defensively and I predict that he will yet again play a huge role in Milwaukee making the playoffs yet again.

4. Mitch Haniger – Seattle Mariners

After dealing with a sore back midway through Spring Training, Haniger has caught fire of late, as he launched his second homer in two days with a seventh-inning smash against the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Baseball League in Japan in preparation for tomorrow’s season opener against Oakland in Japan. Although Haniger might be a surprise for some to see him over Harper, Haniger had a great season last year hitting .286 with 26 Home Runs and 95 RBIs

5. Bryce Harper – Philadelphia Phillies

One of the biggest offseason signings this year came from Bryce Harper signing a 13-year, $330 Million Dollar contract with the Philadelphia Phillies after annoying every fan by waiting so long to sign. Injuries have limited Harper to an average of 131 games in his six full seasons in the majors. His batting average history alone illustrates his year-over-year inconsistency hitting .330, .243, .319 and .249 in the past four seasons, with the most recent (.249) driven by his facing a greater number of defensive shifts. Although he is a great player, he falls down on my list due to his inconsistency and as he isn’t as good of a defender as those above him on this list.

6. Michael Conforto – New York Mets

To think, one year ago at this time, there was serious concern that Conforto’s career could be permanently altered by the September 2017 surgery to repair a torn posterior capsule in his left shoulder. Predictably, he struggled in the early weeks of 2018 as he worked back to full strength, but it was his finish that predicts so well for Conforto in 2019: He batted .273/.356/.539 with 17 home runs and 52 RBIs in 68 second-half games, resulting in his finishing the year with more homers (28) than he had in his breakthrough 2017 season (27).

7. Yasiel Puig – Cincinnati Reds

Puig maintained most of the skills he displayed in his bounce-back 2017 campaign last season, hitting .267/.327/.494 while topping 20 homers and 15 steals for the second season in a row. Two stints on the disabled list due to hip and oblique injuries limited Puig to 444 plate appearances, and it’s not unreasonable to think that he might have reached 30 homers and 20 steals if he had stayed healthy. Hopefully, Puig’s move to Cincinnati will reignite his career and go back to the Puig we all love to watch.

8. Nick Markakis – Atlanta Braves

Throughout his 13-year career, Markakis has been the typical player whose primary skills are putting the ball in play and durability. Last season, the combination of improved contact and batting in the heart of a productive lineup netted Markakis his first ever All-Star berth with numbers reminiscent of his younger years with the Orioles. That being said, it was a tale of two halves, as the veteran posted an .877 OPS before the mid-summer classic but just a .701 mark after. Hopefully Markakis will be able to replicate his numbers from last season, but father time always takes his toll on everyone.

9. Nicholas Castellanos – Detroit Tigers

Castellanos’ underlying numbers look like those of a star: 33.8 percent fly ball rate and 27.4 percent line-drive rate for his career, .200-plus isolated power in each of the past three seasons and a better than a 40 percent hard-contact rate from 2016 to ’18 combined. Remarkably, though, he has never batted as high as .300 or hit as many as 30 home runs in any of his six big league seasons, nor has he ever been a top-50 fantasy player in a full season. Castellanos sure looks like a player who belongs in that valuation tier, but the rebuilding Detroit Tigers team around him will prove a hindrance to his counting numbers. Maybe this will be the year when Castellanos finally breaks out into a star.

10. Stephen Piscotty – Oakland Athletics

Piscotty enjoyed an amazing comeback season in 2018, capped by finishing the season slashing .281/341/.568 with 20 home runs and 55 RBIs in 76 games played from July 1 forward. Career-best numbers in contact rate (79.1 percent) and line-drive rate (23.3 percent) had a lot to do with it, but a return of the hard-contact rate he exhibited during his breakthrough 2016 was perhaps most important. The year-over-year inconsistency is understandable and explainable, considering the personal difficulties he endured in 2016-17, so it’s not unreasonable to simply take his 2017 statistics and discard them from a projections standpoint.

Just Missed: Charlie Blackmon – Colorado Rockies, Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers, Josh Reddick – Houston Astros

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