Power Ranking Every Starting Outfield in MLB

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIAugust 14, 2013

Power Ranking Every Starting Outfield in MLB

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    Every Major League Baseball team that wants to make it to the playoffs and win a World Series needs a solid outfield.

    Because the one-third of a team that plays in the outfield has so much impact on the game, having a good outfield can help lead a team's offense to victory.

    Look at how Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra helped the 1961 New York Yankees. Or how Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton and Manny Ramirez affected the 1995 Cleveland Indians.

    There's no doubt that having a good outfield can help a team be great, but which outfields are the best in baseball this season? Find out.

30. San Diego Padres

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    Starting Left Fielder: Jaff Decker

    Starting Center Fielder: Alexi Amarista

    Starting Right Fielder: Will Venable

    Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin are both on the DL, and without them the team doesn't have an outfielder batting higher than .254 this season.

    Will Venable is the best of the three, batting .252 but hitting 15 home runs. He has 15 of the 21 combined home runs among these three players.

    Venable's average power has him light years ahead of Alexi Amarista (.254 BA, 5 HR) and Jeff Decker (.143 BA, 1 HR).

    The Padres are not getting much help from their outfield, which is what hurt them enough to end the team's playoff chances.

29. Houston Astros

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    Starting Left Fielder: Robbie Grossman

    Starting Center Fielder: Brandon Barnes

    Starting Right Fielder: L.J. Hoes

    The Houston Astros have some great defense in their outfield. That's what I'm starting with, because it's about the only nice thing I can say about it.

    Brandon Barnes is one of the best defensive center fielders in the MLB. Just check out this catch if you don't believe me. That's just one of his half dozen highlight-reel catches this year.

    Now, for the ugly part of this slide.

    The Astros can't hit for their lives. Some days I think I could do better, and I recently compared them to a minor league team on the radio.

    I told you it was ugly.

    Grossman bats .244 and leads the bunch, as Barnes comes in at .238 and Hoes at .231.

    Need I go on?

28. Minnesota Twins

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    Starting Left Fielder: Josh Willingham

    Starting Center Fielder: Clete Thomas

    Starting Right Fielder: Oswaldo Arcia

    Sadly, Oswaldo Arcia is the best outfielder in Minnesota by a mile, and he's only batting .265 with 10 home runs.

    Clete Thomas and Josh Willingham are both batting .215 this season, and the Twins just can't rely on anyone in the outfield.

    The aggregate batting average for these guys is .232, and they've hit a total of 25 home runs in 710 at-bats. That's two fewer home runs than Jose Bautista in almost 300 more at-bats.

27. Miami Marlins

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    Starting Left Fielder: Christian Yelich

    Starting Center Fielder: Jake Marisnick

    Starting Right Fielder: Giancarlo Stanton

    The Miami Marlins have a bright future in terms of their outfield, but for now the team is struggling.

    Christian Yelich is going to be an All-Star one day. He has all the tools to be a star at this level, but right now he's batting .277 and hasn't quite shown off his incredibly powerful bat just yet.

    Apart from the 21-year-old Yelich, the team has 23-year-old Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 71 home runs in 2011 and 2012. However, this year he is batting a career-low .236 with just 13 home runs.

    The outfield closes with center fielder Jake Marisnick, whose .179 batting average is just appalling.

    While the team is built for success, it is struggling right now, hence its low spot.

26. Chicago White Sox

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    Starting Left Fielder: Dayan Viciedo

    Starting Center Fielder: Alejandro De Aza

    Starting Right Fielder: Avisail Garcia

    Alex Rios is now a Texas Ranger, so the Chicago White Sox no longer have their best outfielder.

    Alejandro De Aza is still holding his own in center field, batting .275 with 13 home runs. He has emerged as a very solid outfielder with a nice mix of contact and power, but he is practically all alone out there.

    Dayan Viciedo bats just .244, whereas Avisail Garcia was acquired from the Detroit Tigers but is batting just .222 as a member of the White Sox.

    De Aza looks like a ray of hope in an otherwise-bleak outfield for the White Sox, and the team is hoping that he will continue to produce in his 30s.

25. San Francisco Giants

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    Starting Left Fielder: Roger Kieschnick

    Starting Center Fielder: Gregor Blanco

    Starting Right Fielder: Hunter Pence

    Hunter Pence leads the way for the San Francisco Giants outfield with his .281 average and 14 of the 15 home runs hit by these three players.

    Outside of Pence, the team has defensive-oriented center fielder Gregor Blanco (.251 BA, 1 HR) and Roger Kieschnick (.265 BA, 0 HR).

    Pence is the be-all end-all in San Fran, and without him this would be the worst outfield in the league.

24. New York Mets

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    Starting Left Fielder: Eric Young Jr.

    Starting Center Fielder: Juan Lagares

    Starting Right Fielder: Marlon Byrd

    Marlon Byrd is the only productive outfielder playing for the New York Mets right now. He's batting .279 with 17 home runs and 60 RBI and could've been great trade bait for the team.

    The Mets decided to keep Byrd, and he is joined by Eric Young Jr. and Juan Lagares, who bat .256 and .266, respectively.

    Byrd has 17 of the 21 combined home runs hit by these three, and he's getting next to no help this season.

23. Chicago Cubs

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    Starting Left Fielder: Junior Lake

    Starting Center Fielder: David DeJesus

    Starting Right Fielder: Nate Schierholtz

    After Alfonso Soriano was traded to the New York Yankees, the Chicago Cubs were left with a depleted outfield.

    Nate Schierholtz has been solid all year and appeared to be solid trade bait, but the Cubs held on to him.

    David DeJesus has struggled, batting just .254 with just six home runs.

    Junior Lake has been a solid replacement for Soriano, batting .314 in 25 games. However, he remains unproven and will likely cool off soon.

    The Cubs don't have the worst outfielders, but without Soriano they don't look too good, either.

22. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Starting Left Fielder: Jason Kubel

    Starting Center Fielder: Adam Eaton

    Starting Right Fielder: Gerardo Parra

    Having Cody Ross on the DL hurts this bunch, and the Arizona Diamondbacks still have a poor outfield because of it.

    Even with Ross, the outfield wouldn't be great, but as it stands no one has a batting average of .270 or higher, and they have combined for 13 home runs among the three of them.

    The D-Backs had a good chance to win the NL West, but the team's outfield didn't help, and now it will likely finish behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

21. Seattle Mariners

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    Starting Left Fielder: Raul Ibanez

    Starting Center Fielder: Dustin Ackley

    Starting Right Fielder: Michael Morse

    With Franklin Gutierrez playing just 15 games this season, the Seattle Mariners are relying even more on Raul Ibanez in the outfield.

    Batting .246 with 24 home runs and 58 RBI, Ibanez leads the team's outfielders in all three categories. He isn't getting much help, though.

    Michael Morse has solid power with 12 home runs and 26 RBI, but he bats .239. Dustin Ackley is even worse, batting .224 with just one home runs all year.

    If Gutierrez were healthy, this could be a respectable outfield, but right now it's being carried by a 41-year-old veteran.

20. New York Yankees

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    Starting Left Fielder: Curtis Granderson

    Starting Center Fielder: Brett Gardner

    Starting Right Fielder: Ichiro Suzuki

    The addition of Alfonso Soriano and return of Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees makes the team's outfield much stronger than it's been all season.

    Brett Gardner and Ichiro have been solid options to start things off for the team, but neither is even hitting .280 this year.

    However, the addition of Granderson gives this starting group a bit of power. He isn't quite the slugger who hit 84 home runs over the last two seasons, since he is still working his way back from injury, but he's already the best power hitter of the bunch.

    None of these guys are stars anymore, and they haven't exactly helped the second-worst offense in the AL.

19. Atlanta Braves

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    Starting Left Fielder: Justin Upton

    Starting Center Fielder: B.J. Upton

    Starting Right Fielder: Jason Heyward

    The Atlanta Braves could've had the best outfield in the NL this year if B.J. Upton had panned out, but batting .191 doesn't exactly help.

    B.J.'s brother, Justin, has put together a nice season, batting .267 with 22 home runs and 61 RBI. He is joined by Jason Heyward, who was considered one of the best young outfielders in MLB a few years ago, but is now batting .250 with 10 home runs.

    Heyward hasn't lived up to the hype yet, and B.J. Upton has been among the worst outfielders in the league this season.

    Still, the Braves don't exactly have a bad outfield, and this group has helped the team to the best record in baseball.

18. Kansas City Royals

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    Starting Left Fielder: Alex Gordon

    Starting Center Fielder: Jarrod Dyson

    Starting Right Fielder: David Lough

    Alex Gordon is the big name in the outfield for the Kansas City Royals, and he hasn't disappointed this season. Gordon is batting .271 and has clubbed 13 home runs in 2013, and he has been a key contributor for a team that is making a surprising amount of noise in the AL Central.

    Gordon is not alone, however, as David Lough has been on fire this season. He is batting .303 in his 66 games and has the highest batting average on the team of anyone with at least 25 at-bats.

    The team also has Jarrod Dyson cleaning things up in center field with his defense, but he too is batting .250 and consistently getting on base.

    The Royals have been overlooked all season, and after passing the Cleveland Indians for second in the division, the team should be getting some respect.

    These guys have played a key role in that turnaround.

17. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Starting Left Fielder: Matt Joyce

    Starting Center Fielder: Sam Fuld

    Starting Right Fielder: Wil Myers

    Losing Desmond Jennings to injury hurts, but Wil Myers is a stud and Matt Joyce still has some pop in his bat.

    Myers was finally called up this year, and he's been impressive. He's batting .331 with eight dingers and 30 RBI in just 43 games. He has a great combination of power and contact, and the Rays couldn't be happier with their young slugger.

    Joyce might not bat as well as Myers in terms of contact, but his 14 home runs rank third on the team, and he is a great run producer.

    Jennings has been replaced by Sam Fuld, whose .203 batting average and just two home runs in 83 games show why he is relied upon more for defense than offense.

    If Jennings were still healthy, the Rays would be much higher on this list, but as it stands, Fuld is weighing them down.

16. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Starting Left Fielder: Emilio Bonifacio

    Starting Center Fielder: Colby Rasmus

    Starting Right Fielder: Jose Bautista

    Jose Bautista is one of the top hitting outfielders in baseball, but he's not getting much help from his counterparts since Melky Cabrera hit the DL.

    Bautista's 27 home runs and 71 RBI make him a true power hitter, but his dingers aren't always bringing in runners.

    Colby Rasmus is batting .273, while Emilio Bonifacio is batting .220. Neither has exactly been able to get on base consistently, and they have combined for just 21 home runs this season.

    Rasmus is a solid player, and Bautista is a stud, but without Cabrera this group is lacking a key piece.

15. Cleveland Indians

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    Starting Left Fielder: Michael Brantley

    Starting Center Fielder: Michael Bourn

    Starting Right Fielder: Drew Stubbs

    The Cleveland Indians boast a top-five offense this season, driving in 540 runs. Part of the reason the team's offense has been so deadly is that the team's outfield gets things going early.

    Michael Bourn leads things off with his reliable bat and ridiculous speed. He's batting .277 and forces infielders to stay on their toes because he can drop a bunt at any time.

    Michael Brantley has been just as good as Bourn this season, if not better. He's batting .282 with eight home runs and 54 RBI, showing off a more powerful bat than that of Bourn.

    Drew Stubbs closes things out with his solid power. His numbers are down this season, but he's a good option in the outfield, along with Ryan Raburn, who has rebounded nicely after a disappointing 2012 campaign.

    These three together make up a solid outfield from top to bottom. None of these guys is a superstar, but they all get the job done.

14. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Starting Left Fielder: Domonic Brown

    Starting Center Fielder: John Mayberry Jr.

    Starting Right Fielder: Darin Ruf

    With Ben Revere on the DL, Darin Ruf has moved from first to right field, giving the Philadelphia Phillies two power-hitting corner outfielders.

    Domonic Brown has made a name for himself this season, clubbing 26 home runs, including 10 in a 12-game stretch. He has been the best bat in Philadelphia's lineup all year long, and he appears to be a cornerstone for the team moving forward.

    Ruf has been almost as impressive, slugging six home runs in 30 games after being called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He could also be a key piece moving forward.

    The outfield ends with John Mayberry Jr., who is batting .246 with eight home runs this season. He's not of the same quality as the first two members, but he's been a solid option to replace Revere.

13. Texas Rangers

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    Starting Left Fielder: David Murphy

    Starting Center Fielder: Leonys Martin

    Starting Right Fielder: Alex Rios

    Alex Rios received a warm welcome when he was introduced for the first time as a Texas Ranger, and he didn't disappoint, going 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk and an RBI.

    Rios was brought in to replace Nelson Cruz, who is serving a 50-game suspension for his part in the Biogenesis scandal. He doesn't have Cruz's power, but he was still the best bat moved at the trade deadline.

    Alongside Rios, the Rangers play David Murphy and Leonys Martin. Martin bats .278, and Murphy has solid power with his 12 home runs.

    If Cruz comes back for the postseason, this group will be feared, but for now it is simply a top-half outfield.

12. Oakland Athletics

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    Starting Left Fielder: Yoenis Cespedes

    Starting Center Fielder: Coco Crisp

    Starting Right Fielder: Josh Reddick

    The Oakland Athletics have a surprising amount of power in their outfield.

    It's rare to find an outfield that has power across the board these days, but all three outfielders for the Athletics have at least 10 home runs.

    Yoenis Cespedes leads the way with 18 home runs and 54 RBI in just 97 games, averaging fewer than 5.5 games between home runs.

    Josh Reddick has also been having a power surge, hitting five home runs in two games earlier this week, while Coco Crisp leads the group in batting average and has smacked 10 home runs as well.

    Cespedes is going to be a star, and Oakland should feel lucky to have him. However, its other two outfielders aren't too shabby, either.

11. Cincinnati Reds

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    Starting Left Fielder: Ryan Ludwick

    Starting Center Fielder: Shin-Soo Choo

    Starting Right Fielder: Jay Bruce

    The Cincinnati Reds have one of the few outfields in the league without a weak link.

    Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo have been playing well this year, batting .272 and .274, respectively. The two have also combined for 39 home runs.

    The two are now joined by Ryan Ludwick, who has only played two games this year but hit .275 with 26 home runs last season.

    These three will mesh very quickly, and in a few days we'll see that the Reds have a complete outfield.

10. Detroit Tigers

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    Starting Left Fielder: Andy Dirks

    Starting Center Fielder: Austin Jackson

    Starting Right Fielder: Torii Hunter

    The Detroit Tigers have two-thirds of a great outfield.

    Torii Hunter is playing like a star this year, batting .311 with 13 home runs, while Austin Jackson's speed and .272 average make him a dangerous weapon.

    The weak link in this outfield is Andy Dirks, who is batting .245 with seven home runs and 27 RBI. He is an average player who weighs down the other two, but this is still a good outfield for a playoff team.

9. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Starting Left Fielder: Caleb Gindl

    Starting Center Fielder: Carlos Gomez

    Starting Right Fielder: Norichika Aoki

    After Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season, this outfield became Carlos Gomez's.

    Gomez's .286 average and 18 home runs both lead the team's outfielders, and he remains a great player.

    After Gomez comes Norichika Aoki, whose .281 average makes him a productive player near the top of the lineup, although he has very little power.

    Finally, Caleb Gindl is batting .282 but has played just 32 games and has one home run.

    The Brewers still have a solid outfield without Braun, but coupling him with Gomez was supposed to make up a fantastic group.

8. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Starting Left Fielder: Starling Marte

    Starting Center Fielder: Andrew McCutchen

    Starting Right Fielder: Jose Tabata

    Andrew McCutchen is a demigod in Pittsburgh, and with Starling Marte to his right, he finally has some help.

    McCutchen has been his usual stellar self, bating .313 with 16 home runs. He is joined by Marte, who is hitting .282 with 10 dingers.

    These two are the top batters for Pittsburgh in terms of average, but they are joined by Jose Tabata, who has .256 batting average and three home runs.

    Tabata weighs down the group, but McCutchen ensures this is still a top outfield.

7. Colorado Rockies

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    Starting Left Fielder: Charlie Blackmon

    Starting Center Fielder: Dexter Fowler

    Starting Right Fielder: Michael Cuddyer

    Carlos Gonzalez is one of the best outfielders in MLB, but there's just one problem...he's still on the DL.

    The Colorado Rockies would have one of the top outfields in baseball if CarGo were healthy, but as it stands the team relies heavily on Michael Cuddyer and Dexter Fowler.

    Cuddyer was an All-Star this year and bats .328 with 17 home runs. Fowler, on the other hand, is batting .266 with a dozen dingers.

    Right now the team also plays Charlie Blackmon (.245 BA, 2 HR), but he is a weak link. If CarGo were still playing, we could see the Rockies compete for the top spot on this list, but without him they are not even in the conversation.

6. Boston Red Sox

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    Starting Left Fielder: Daniel Nava

    Starting Center Fielder: Jacoby Ellsbury

    Starting Right Fielder: Shane Victorino

    With the emergence of Daniel Nava as more than a bench player this season, the Boston Red Sox have one of the deeper outfields in baseball.

    Nava's .282 batting average and 10 home runs in 100 games make him a solid bat after the cleanup trio. He is also joined in the starting outfield by .300 hitter Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino, whose mix of speed and power makes him a deadly weapon near the top of the lineup.

    These guys get on base and start big innings for the Red Sox, so it should come as no surprise that they are all among the team's top run scorers.

    They are the backbone of the best offense in MLB, which is why they rank so high.

5. Washington Nationals

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    Starting Left Fielder: Bryce Harper

    Starting Center Fielder: Denard Span

    Starting Right Fielder: Jayson Werth

    The Washington Nationals have arguably the best young outfielder in the world in Bryce Harper, and pairing him with Jayson Werth makes a dangerous combination.

    Harper's .262 batting average doesn't seem to make him worthy of starting in the All-Star Game, but his 17 home runs make him a solid player. Werth has been killing it this year, batting .328 with 17 home runs in 86 games.

    Denard Span is the weak link of this bunch, batting .263 with two home runs.

    Still, with Werth and Harper, this is a terrific outfield.

4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    Starting Left Fielder: Josh Hamilton

    Starting Center Fielder: Mike Trout

    Starting Right Fielder: Kole Calhoun

    Remember that time when Josh Hamilton had a career year in a contract year and signed a megadeal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before having the worst season of his life? You should, it was eight months ago.

    Even with Hamilton's struggles, the Angels have Mike Trout, who is arguably the best franchise player in the league. He is having another great season, batting .330 with 20 home runs and 73 RBI.

    Finally, the Angels have Kole Calhoun in right, who has become an everyday player as of late, batting .283 with three dingers and seven RBI in just 15 games.

    If Hamilton had another year with 40 home runs and 120 RBI, this would be the best outfield in baseball, but he's been a huge disappointment.

3. Baltimore Orioles

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    Starting Left Fielder: Nate McLouth

    Starting Center Fielder: Adam Jones

    Starting Right Fielder: Nick Markakis

    The Baltimore Orioles have an outfield that consists of three good hitters who get on base often enough to get things rolling for the team offensively.

    Nate McLouth and Nick Markakis hit .284 and .282, respectively. They are both good contact hitters with solid power, combining for 15 home runs this year.

    They are joined by the star of the bunch, Adam Jones. Jones is batting over .300 with 24 home runs and 85 RBI. He has been a force in the team's lineup and leads the outfielders.

    With a good mix of power and some seriously good contact, this outfield is the best in the competitive AL East.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Starting Left Fielder: Carl Crawford

    Starting Center Fielder: Andre Ethier

    Starting Right Fielder: Yasiel Puig

    Yasiel Puig has become one of the best players in the MLB, and if Matt Kemp were healthy and playing up to his usual standards, this would be the best outfield in baseball.

    However, Andre Ethier has taken over for him, and Ethier is having a down year with a .267 average and seven home runs.

    Yasiel Puig is carrying this bunch with his .371 average and 11 home runs despite being a midseason call-up.

    Carl Crawford has also returned and played well, hitting .295 and using his incredible speed on the basepaths to make things happen.

    With Puig still hitting at an ungodly rate, this is a great outfield.

1. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Starting Left Fielder: Matt Holliday

    Starting Center Fielder: Jon Jay

    Starting Right Fielder: Carlos Beltran

    Does it come as a surprise to anyone that an outfield with Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday is the best in baseball?

    With Beltran batting .305 with 20 home runs and Holliday batting .290 with 15 dingers, these two already make up a top outfield.

    Add in Jon Jay with his .265 average and above average defense, and you have yourself the best outfield in the MLB right now.