Is there a position in the MLB today as deep as right field? Probably not. Today’s top 10 right fielders have plus power, elite defense, and are among their teams’ top overall players. It’s tough to limit this list to just 10, but in the spirit of MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now series, here’s Overtime’s Top 10 MLB Right Fielders.
10. Curtis Granderson, New York Mets
“The Grandy Man” roared back in a big way in 2015 with the Mets. A permanent move to right field boosted his defense immensely, and being reunited with former New York Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long in Queens helped Granderson rediscover his stroke.
Granderson improved his OPS by 107 points last year to .821, popped 26 dingers, and became a leader for the Mets. He is entering his age-35 season, but Granderson seems to be locked in for the Mets this year.
9. David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks
Peralta crashes this list after a surprising 2015 in which he hit 17 home runs, compiled an .893 OPS, led the league in triples, and posted a .371 OBP. The converted pitcher will be leaned on heavily in Arizona for years to come.
The pressure’s on for Peralta to come through once again. His sample size is quite small in both the majors and the minors, but what we’ve seen so far constitutes his ranking. He got hotter as the season heated up, and batting behind Paul Goldschmidt at Chase Field certainly doesn’t hurt.
8. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
Puig endured a tough 2015 season from start to finish. He only played in 79 games and wasn’t particularly good in them, posting a career-low .758 OPS and 11 home runs. His OBP dipped from the .380-range to .322, and his work ethic wasn’t present for much of the season.
Puig is a polarizing player. He is so talented with the bat and in the field, but just can’t put it all together. If Puig puts his head down and works, he could be the best in the game.
7. George Springer, Houston Astros
26-year-old George Springer still hasn’t played a full season in the MLB, but we can already tell that he is a special talent. Springer plays excellent right field defense and is a powerful batter. His career .817 OPS, 36 home runs, 21 steals come in just 180 games.
If Springer can stay off of the DL, the Astros will be very happy. He is a consummate 3-hole hitter, a potential Gold Glover and Silver Slugger, and an overall winning ballplayer. Springer will be a part of the core in Houston for a long time to come.
6. J.D. Martinez, Detroit Tigers
Martinez came out of nowhere in 2014 to become the Tigers’ slugging right fielder, and he posted an even better season in 2015. The former Houston Astro found himself in the box thanks to some tutoring from Miguel Cabrera, and has hit .299 with 61 home runs and a .896 OPS over the last two seasons.
Martinez has a good right field arm and fits the stereotypical right fielder’s mold: middle-of-the-order masher, plus defender, and the guy you want at the plate down by 1 in the ninth inning. Martinez has the chance to climb even higher on the list of he continues this production.
5. Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
Betts was the Red Sox’s best player in 2015, and they’ll depend on more of the same this year. He hit .291 for the second straight year, but added more power, hitting 18 homers and accumulating a strong .820 OPS. But Betts is also a world-class defensive outfielder, one of the best in all of baseball.
Betts will move to right field this year to accommodate Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, but that shouldn’t hurt his value at all. In fact, his bat profiles even better in right. Betts has the look of a pesky spark plug in the Dustin Pedroia form,which isn’t a bad thing for the Sox.
4. Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners
Technically Cruz played enough games in the field to qualify as a right fielder for these rankings, but he does spend a lot of time as the Mariners’ designated hitter. Cruz can fend for himself in right, and his arm is one to be feared. But Cruz’s main damage comes with his bat, hence his Twitter handle of “NCBoomstick”. Cruz’s 44 homers in 2015 bested his 2014 total in a tougher ballpark.
Cruz is one of the MLB’s top power hitters. He is a lock for at least 35 home runs and won’t kill you with his average or OBP. Cruz is a key player for the M’s in 2016. If he stays healthy, they may have a chance to contend sooner than you think.
3. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
It feels wrong to have a player who hit 40 home runs in 2015 third on any list, but right field is such a deep position that Bautista falls. There are few more fear-inducing batters than Bautista. Ever since his breakout 2010, he has averaged 38 homers per season and is part of a Canadian “Murderer’s Row” with Josh Donaldson hitting before him and Edwin Encarnacion after.
Bautista is a fine defender with a cannon of an arm, and he looks to have a huge walk year in 2016 to jack up his price tag to ridiculous levels.
2. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
Giancarlo Stanton is a freak of nature. The 6’6″, 240 lb specimen is baseball’s preeminent slugger. Stanton hits baseballs over 400 feet quite routinely, and his average exit velocity is 99.1 mph, about 4 mph faster than second place! In a little less than half a season, Stanton clubbed 27 homers, had an absurd .606 SLG, and was on his way to an MVP before injury struck.
Stanton has been unable to shake the injury bug in his MLB career, but his numbers still blow away the competition even with his DL time. Stanton is a solid defender and as clutch as they come, as well as the best power hitter in the game.
1. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Harper finally cashed in on his potential in 2015 with a crazy-good season. Harper’s legendary 2015 saw him blast 42 homers at age 23, reach an OPS of 1.109, and cruise to a unanimous MVP selection. Harper absolutely took the National League by storm last year with his amazing on-field play and can’t-look-away antics.
Harper is the game’s best right fielder because he is the quintessential 5-tool player. He hits for average (.330), power (.649 SLG), is a Gold Glove-caliber fielder, has a rocket of an arm, and has blazing speed. There’s no better choice to lead the MLB’s superlative crop of right fielders than Harper.