MLB Midseason Position Power Rankings: B/R's Top 30 Outfielders

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2017

MLB Midseason Position Power Rankings: B/R's Top 30 Outfielders

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    The MLB landscape is overflowing with young, superstar-caliber talent, and nowhere is that more evident than in the outfield.

    Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Mookie Betts were the gold standard heading into the season, and they've since been joined by a breakout star in George Springer as well as rookie phenoms Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger.

    So how will they all stack up in our midseason update of the top 30 outfielders?

    A few things to consider before we get started:

    • League averages: For the sake of reference, the league-average triple-slash line is .256/.327/.424 for a left fielder, .264/.332/.434 for a center fielder and .265/.342/.458 for a right fielder.
    • Eligibility: To be considered for inclusion, a player must have played at least 51 percent of his innings in the outfield this season.
    • Preseason rank: Included is a look at where each player stood in our preseason rankings, which were broken down into corner outfielders and center fielders. This time around, we're lumping all the outfielders together.

    The goal was to identify the 30 best outfielders for the 2017 season alone.

    Is someone like Lorenzo Cain a better bet to produce going forward than Tommy Pham?

    Probably, but that's not what this is about—it's about ranking players based on their performance so far this year.


    Previous top 30 series entries: Catchers, First Basemen, Second Basemen, Shortstops, Third Basemen

30. Scott Schebler, Cincinnati Reds (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .254 BA, .856 OPS, 75 H, 37 XBH (22 HR), 44 RBI, 40 R

    2017 Defense: 4 DRS, 0.6 UZR/150

    WAR: 1.5


    Player Summary

    The Cincinnati Reds acquired Scott Schebler from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the three-team deal that sent Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox, and last year's subsequent trade of Jay Bruce opened up a starting spot for him in the outfield.

    The 26-year-old tallied nine home runs and 40 RBI in 282 plate appearances in his Cincinnati debut, and that plus pop has continued to drive his value.

    An increase in his flyball rate (29.1 to 37.9 percent) and hard-contract rate (33.3 to 40.6 percent) are to thank for his impressive power numbers, and he's been another pleasant surprise for the Reds on the heels of last year's Adam Duvall breakout.


    Honorable Mentions: Andrew Benintendi (BOS), Byron Buxton (MIN), Khris Davis (OAK), Ben Gamel (SEA), Mitch Haniger (SEA), Max Kepler (MIN), Kevin Kiermaier (TB), J.D. Martinez (DET), Cameron Maybin (LAA), Gerardo Parra (COL), David Peralta (ARI), Bradley Zimmer (CLE)

29. Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians (Preseason Rank: 18-LF/RF)

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .304 BA, .807 OPS, 76 H, 23 XBH (5 HR), 37 RBI, 31 R

    2017 Defense: 1 DRS, -11.3 UZR/150

    WAR: 1.3

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    Michael Brantley was limited to just 11 games last season after undergoing right shoulder surgery and suffering a series of setbacks—relegating him to the role of spectator during the Cleveland Indians' run to the World Series.

    The 30-year-old is still not showing the same power he did pre-injury (45 2B, 20 HR in 2014), and his defense in left field has been mediocre at best, but he's one of the game's best pure hitters.

    His .304 average is good for 13th in the AL, and his 37.3 percent hard-contract rate is tied for 14th among all qualified outfielders.

    A power resurgence is still not out of the question as he puts those shoulder issues further in the rearview.

28. Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .285 BA, .844 OPS, 70 H, 28 XBH (10 HR), 38 RBI, 43 R

    2017 Defense: 2 DRS, 7.0 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.5


    Player Summary

    Chris Taylor entered the season with a .234/.289/.309 line over 318 plate appearances and 0.6 WAR in parts of three big league seasons with the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Despite a strong spring, he didn't earn a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he was recalled from the minors shortly after the start of the season when Logan Forsythe went down with a broken toe.

    Strictly a middle infielder in past seasons, the 26-year-old has added the outfield to his defensive repertoire, and that's given the Dodgers a way to keep his hot bat in the lineup.

    With stellar offensive numbers and invaluable defensive versatility, he's been the unsung hero of one of baseball's best teams.

27. Aaron Altherr, Philadelphia Phillies (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .284 BA, .886 OPS, 76 H, 35 XBH (14 HR), 44 RBI, 39 R

    2017 Defense: -4 DRS, -8.0 UZR/150

    WAR: 1.4


    Player Summary

    The Philadelphia Phillies entered the season with a starting outfield of Howie Kendrick, Odubel Herrera and Michael Saunders, and it looked like Aaron Altherr would have to make the most of limited playing time.

    The 26-year-old showed flashes as a rookie during the 2015 season, but he hit a meager .197/.300/.288 with 10 extra-base hits in 227 plate appearances last year to lose his grasp on a starting gig.

    It didn't take him long to regain it this season, though, as he leads the team in batting average (.284), OPS (.886) and total bases (142).

    Major gains in flyball rate (22.5 to 38.4 percent) and hard-contract rate (29.5 to 40.0 percent) speak to a sustainable breakout.

26. Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Aaron Josefczyk/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .305 BA, .953 OPS, 57 H, 26 XBH (12 HR), 51 RBI, 29 R

    2017 Defense: 0 DRS, -6.8 UZR/150

    WAR: 1.6


    Player Summary

    In a lineup that includes the likes of Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor, it's unheralded Lonnie Chisenhall who leads the Cleveland Indians with 51 RBI.

    Used mostly in a platoon role last season when he hit .217 with a .642 OPS against left-handed pitching, Chisenhall has made significant strides in that area this season with a .368 average and 1.042 OPS over 50 plate appearances.

    Chisenhall has already dealt with a shoulder sprain and a concussion this year, and he is now headed for a disabled list stint with a hamstring strain. Those injuries and the resulting time missed keep him from ranking higher, at least for the time being.

25. Jarrod Dyson, Seattle Mariners (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .258 BA, .731 OPS, 66 H, 21 XBH (5 HR), 22 RBI, 48 R

    2017 Defense: 11 DRS, 12.5 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.4


    Player Summary

    Jarrod Dyson was a valuable player in a semi-regular role with the Kansas City Royals, and he's finally been afforded an opportunity to show what he can do as an everyday player in his first season with the Seattle Mariners.

    After starting the season in left field, he's shifted over to center field to replace Leonys Martin and open the door for rookie standout Ben Gamel.

    The bulk of his value has come from his speed and defense.

    He's tied for fifth in the majors in steals (20), and among qualified outfielders he's tied for fourth in DRS (11) and ranks eighth in UZR/150 (12.5).

24. Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston Red Sox (Preseason Rank: 6-CF)

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .280 BA, .853 OPS, 72 H, 28 XBH (12 HR), 38 RBI, 34 R

    2017 Defense: 3 DRS, 1.0 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.4


    Player Summary

    There's been no 29-game hitting streak or All-Star Game start for Jackie Bradley Jr. this season, but he's continued to settle in nicely as one of the league's best all-around center fielders.

    After he hit just .233/.315/.412 in the second half last season, there were some questions about the legitimacy of his big first-half numbers, but he's quieted those concerns with another strong start.

    The 27-year-old has also taken positive steps with both his walk rate (9.9 to 10.6 percent) and strikeout rate (22.5 to 19.9 percent), and he remains a standout defender in what might be the best defensive outfield in baseball.

23. Brett Gardner, New York Yankees (Preseason Rank: 15-LF/RF)

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .256 BA, .800 OPS, 80 H, 31 XBH (15 HR), 40 RBI, 58 R

    2017 Defense: 6 DRS, 7.0 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.4


    Player Summary

    Brett Gardner, power hitter?

    The 33-year-old is well on his way to smashing his career-high in home runs (17) and RBI (66) this season, and his .800 OPS would also be the best full-season mark of his career.

    Like a number of other players around the league, he's adopted more of a flyball approach, with his flyball rate climbing from 27.0 to 37.9 percent. That strategy plays as well at Yankee Stadium as anywhere in the league.

    Gardner also remains a standout defender, and his 19 DRS in left field since the beginning of last season trail only Colby Rasmus (20) for glove work at the position.

22. Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals (Preseason Rank: 10-CF)

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .274 BA, .782 OPS, 87 H, 27 XBH (11 HR), 30 RBI, 49 R

    2017 Defense: 5 DRS, 8.1 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.7


    Player Summary

    Lorenzo Cain was a legitimate AL MVP candidate while helping lead the Kansas City Royals to a World Series title in 2015, eventually finishing third in the voting.

    However, the 2016 season was a trying one as he was banged up for most of the year and watched his OPS drop from .838 to .747 as a result, with his WAR plummeting from 7.2 to 2.9.

    Healthy once again, the 31-year-old has landed somewhere in between this season, which still puts him on pace to be a 5-WAR player.

    Free agency awaits this offseason, and with his mix of defense, speed and run production ability—albeit with middling power—he figures to be a hot commodity on the open market.

21. Steven Souza, Tampa Bay Rays (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Mike Carlson/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .271 BA, .869 OPS, 84 H, 35 XBH (17 HR), 56 RBI, 49 R

    2017 Defense: 2 DRS, 0.9 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.7


    Player Summary

    Steven Souza joined the Tampa Bay Rays as one of the headliners in the three-team, 11-player deal that also sent Wil Myers to the San Diego Padres and Trea Turner to the Washington Nationals.

    It's taken him a few years to develop into the type of impact player the Rays were hoping for when they first acquired him, but he's quietly enjoying a breakout season.

    His 17 home runs have already tied his career-highwhich he set last season in 107 more plate appearancesand his .869 OPS represents a 154-point increase over the .715 mark he posted in his first two seasons in Tampa.

    The 28-year-old has also nearly doubled his walk rate (6.6 to 12.7 percent) while trimming his strikeout rate (34.0 to 28.5 percent), and he's continued to grade out as an above-average defender in right field as well.

20. Jay Bruce, New York Mets (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .266 BA, .872 OPS, 85 H, 41 XBH (23 HR), 59 RBI, 48 R

    2017 Defense: 4 DRS, 2.0 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.1


    Player Summary

    The New York Mets were unable to find anyone willing to take Jay Bruce off their hands during the offseason, and that's turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

    With a $13 million salary and fresh off a 50-game stint with the Mets that saw him hit .219 with a .685 OPS, he simply didn't have much in the way of trade value, but he's rebuilt his stock with a strong first half.

    The 30-year-old leads the Mets in home runs (23) and RBI (59), and defensive metrics have been much kinder to his work after a rough showing (-11 DRS, -8.8 UZR/150last season.

    Bruce again looks like a prime candidate to be moved at the deadline ahead of his upcoming free agency.

19. Adam Duvall, Cincinnati Reds (Preseason Rank: 29-LF/RF)

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .278 BA, .878 OPS, 91 H, 49 XBH (20 HR), 61 RBI, 47 R

    2017 Defense: 3 DRS, 3.5 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.1


    Player Summary

    Despite a second-half swoon, Adam Duvall still wrapped up the 2016 season with stellar numbers, posting a .795 OPS with 33 home runs and 103 RBI in his first full season in the majors.

    While some may be quick to peg the 28-year-old as a late-bloomer, it was more a simple case of his finally getting a chance with the Cincinnati Reds after being buried in the minors in San Francisco.

    His batting average (.241 to .278) and OPS (.795 to .878) are both up significantly this season, and he's continued to swing a powerful bat in the process as he's one of three players on the Reds with 20 homers at the break.

    Originally a third baseman, Duvall has also been much better than expected with the glove since moving to the outfield.

18. Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .310 BA, .850 OPS, 93 H, 32 XBH (11 HR), 51 RBI, 40 R

    2017 Defense: 3 DRS, 3.8 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.6

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    It's no small task living up to a nickname like "Little Miggy," and prior to this season, it looked like Avisail Garcia would never come close to reaching those lofty expectations.

    The 26-year-old hit a disappointing .252/.308/.374 as an everyday player the past two seasons while averaging 18 doubles, 12 home runs and 55 RBI in 527 plate appearances.

    He was a legitimate non-tender candidate this past offseason, but the rebuilding White Sox brought him back for $3 million in what was by all accounts a make-or-break season.

    He's rewarded that faith with a long-awaited breakout, and while his .371 BABIP could mean some second-half regression, he's at least put himself in position to be a long-term piece on the South Side.

17. Domingo Santana, Milwaukee Brewers (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Tom Lynn/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .291 BA, .881 OPS, 86 H, 31 XBH (15 HR), 50 RBI, 54 R

    2017 Defense: 0 DRS, -6.3 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.0


    Player Summary

    Alex Chamberlain of FanGraphs wrote an article last month titled: "Domingo Santana and the Juggernaut Lurking Within."

    The piece was written specifically around his fantasy baseball value, but that headline still paints a rather vivid picture of a player who may just be scratching the surface of his vast offensive potential.

    However, he hit just .246/.345/.447 while striking out at a 32.4 percent clip in a semi-regular role last season, and his long-term place with the team was up in the air. Heading into 2017, Keon Broxton looked like a breakout candidate, Ryan Braun was no longer a lock to be traded, and top prospect Lewis Brinson was knocking on the door.

    Instead, it's Santana who has broken out, and while a .372 BABIP could mean his average dips in the second half, the power production is for real.

16. Tommy Pham, St. Louis Cardinals (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Tim Spyers/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .299 BA, .895 OPS, 61 H, 20 XBH (11 HR), 34 RBI, 42 R

    2017 Defense: 10 DRS, 14.3 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.8


    Player Summary

    In what's been an up-and-down season for the St. Louis Cardinals, it's only fitting that Tommy Pham—a player who didn't even make the Opening Day roster—would be one of the team's most productive players during the first half.

    The 29-year-old entered the season with a .245/.333/.455 line and 14 home runs in 358 career plate appearances, but he lost out on the fourth outfielder job to spring standout Jose Martinez.

    However, with the starting outfield of Randal Grichuk, Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty all falling short of expectations, he's played his way into a regular role and turned in stellar numbers on both sides of the ball. 

    His power production probably isn't sustainable with a 22.1 percent flyball rate, and his .370 BABIP is also a red flag, but he's a big reason why the Cardinals are still within striking distance in the NL Central.

15. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates (Preseason Rank: 19-LF/RF)

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .294 BA, .909 OPS, 93 H, 38 XBH (17 HR), 50 RBI, 55 R

    2017 Defense: -13 DRS, -9.5 UZR/150

    WAR: 1.5


    Player Summary

    Rumors of Andrew McCutchen's demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated.

    After the worst season of his career in 2016, the longtime face of the Pittsburgh Pirates endured a trying offseason that included a strong push to trade him followed by a move from center field to right field without his blessing.

    With a .223/.301/.404 line at the end of May, it had been more of the same from the former NL MVP, but he's caught fire since and effectively changed the narrative.

    McCutchen is hitting .407/.497/.724 with 10 doubles, nine home runs and 26 RBI in 147 plate appearances since the beginning of June, and his potential trade value has soared as a result.

    While he remains a borderline liability in the outfield, he's once again swinging an MVP-caliber bat.

14. Josh Reddick, Houston Astros (Preseason Rank: 27-LF/RF)

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .313 BA, .880 OPS, 82 H, 32 XBH (9 HR), 41 RBI, 55 R

    2017 Defense: 1 DRS, 3.0 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.6


    Player Summary

    Despite a tough market for outfielders this past offseason, Josh Reddick managed to walk away with a four-year, $52 million deal from the Houston Astros.

    Reddick has always possessed sneaky power (32 HR in 2012), and his glove has always provided surplus value beyond what he does at the plate, but he's never quite made the leap from role player to star.

    The 30-year-old might be doing just that this season, though.

    A .255 career hitter heading into 2017, he's currently batting .313good for seventh in the AL. His .880 OPS is nearly 100 points higher than his best full-season total, and his 82 hits and 55 runs both put him on pace for new personal bests in those categories as well.

13. Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .290 BA, .913 OPS, 58 H, 25 XBH (10 HR), 37 RBI, 40 R

    2017 Defense: 7 DRS, 13.5 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.8


    Player Summary

    A former top prospect in the Minnesota Twins system, Aaron Hicks entered the season with a .223/.299/.346 line over a rather large 1,289 plate-appearance sample at the big league level.

    With a good glove and decent wheels, it looked like he'd be able to carve out a role as a fourth outfielder, but any thoughts of his developing into a standout everyday player were quickly fading.

    Once again, a player's age-27 season has proven to be the turning point.

    The .290 average and 10 home runs are great, but it's his .398 on-base percentagegood for 14th among players with at least 200 plate appearances—that really stand out.

12. Michael Conforto, New York Mets (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .284 BA, .945 OPS, 64 H, 29 XBH (14 HR), 41 RBI, 47 R

    2017 Defense: 0 DRS, -2.8 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.4

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    Michael Conforto burst onto the scene in 2015 with an .841 OPS that included 14 doubles and nine home runs in 194 plate appearances to help lead the New York Mets to the World Series.

    However, his sophomore season didn't go quite as smoothly, as his batting line dropped to .220/.310/.414 over 348 plate appearances and he spent a good chunk of the year back in Triple-A.

    The 24-year-old looked like the odd-man out in an outfield that included Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares, but he made the Opening Day roster with a strong spring and quickly forced his way into the everyday lineup.

    The 2017 season has largely been a disaster for the Mets, but the re-emergence of Conforto as one of the game's best young hitters has been a huge positive.

11. Ender Inciarte, Atlanta Braves (Preseason Rank: 15-CF)

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .302 BA, .757 OPS, 112 H, 24 XBH (7 HR), 36 RBI, 58 R

    2017 Defense: 9 DRS, 15.8 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.0

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    The Atlanta Braves committed to Ender Inciarte as a core piece of their rebuilding efforts with a five-year, $30.525 million extension during the offseason that includes a $9 million option for 2022.

    The 26-year-old won his first Gold Glove last season, and he's been one of the league's elite defensive outfielders since breaking into the league in 2014. His 73 DRS during that span trail only Kevin Kiermaier (91) and Jason Heyward (80) among all outfielders.

    He also leads the Braves in hits (112), runs scored (58), total bases (151) and stolen bases (11), and his seven home runs are already a career high.

10. Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers (Preseason Rank: 12-LF/RF)

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .265 BA, .841 OPS, 77 H, 36 XBH (15 HR), 54 RBI, 51 R

    2017 Defense: 11 DRS, 11.1 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.9

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    On the surface, it was a disappointing first season in Detroit for Justin Upton after he signed a hefty six-year, $132.75 million contract as he batted .246/.310/.465 on his way to 2.0 WAR.

    However, he caught fire over the season's final month (1.132 OPS, 13 HR), and that's carried over into a terrific first half as he leads the Tigers in home runs (15), RBI (54), runs scored (51) and WAR (2.9).

    Still just 29 years old, Upton is also enjoying the best defensive season of his career as he ranks among the outfield leaders in DRS (11, tied for fourth) and UZR/150 (11.1, 10th), and he could be in position for his first Gold Glove Award.

    Will he exercise his opt-out at the end of the season?

9. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins (Preseason Rank: 5-LF/RF)

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .277 BA, .933 OPS, 90 H, 44 XBH (26 HR), 58 RBI, 60 R

    2017 Defense: -1 DRS, 0.5 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.7

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    Will this be the year that prolific slugger Giancarlo Stanton finally tops the 40-homer mark?

    After hitting 27 long balls each of the past two seasons amid a bevy of injuries, he's already slugged 26 this year to pace the NL heading into the break.

    Below the surface numbers, the 27-year-old has also become a better all-around hitter this season, trimming his strikeout rate to a career-low 23.8 percent without sacrificing in any other areas.

    As long as the injury bug doesn't rear its ugly head once again, Stanton could be looking at the best offensive numbers of his career before 2017 is over.

8. Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .261 BA, .961 OPS, 67 H, 41 XBH (25 HR), 58 RBI, 50 R

    2017 Defense: 5 DRS, -11.4 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.4

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    Let's take a quick look at the Los Angeles Dodgers before and after rookie phenom Cody Bellinger was called up on April 25:

    • Before: 9-11 (.450), 4.3 runs per game
    • After: 52-18 (.743), 5.4 runs per game

    Obviously, there have been other factors at play in the team's stellar run since the season's first month, but there's no denying that the arrival of Bellinger provided a huge spark.

    The 22-year-old has also been as good as anyone could have hoped in the outfield, considering he's played first base for the bulk of his pro career.

    He's the unanimous NL Rookie of the Year right now and a legitimate NL MVP candidate if he keeps things rolling in the second half.

7. Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies (Preseason Rank: 7-CF)

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .319 BA, .955 OPS, 117 H, 47 XBH (20 HR), 61 RBI, 72 R

    2017 Defense: -8 DRS, -8.8 UZR/150

    WAR: 2.3

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    Charlie Blackmon put together as complete a stat line as you'll see last season when he hit .324/.381/.552 with 187 hits, 35 doubles, 29 home runs, 82 RBI, 111 runs scored and 17 stolen bases for a 4.5 WAR.

    His transition from a speedy 30-steal threat into a legitimate power hitter has continued this year as he slugged 20 home runs in the first half and should sail past his career-best total from a year ago.

    The 31-year-old also currently leads the NL in hits (117), and he's on pace to tally just the ninth 200-hit season in Colorado Rockies history and the first since Matt Holliday (216) in 2007.

    Mediocre defense in center field and dramatic home (.390 BA, 1.247 OPS) and road (.261 BA, .718 OPS) splits this season keep him from ranking any higher, but he still belongs comfortably inside the top 10.

6. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (Preseason Rank: 1-CF)

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .337 BA, 1.203 OPS, 55 H, 32 XBH (16 HR), 36 RBI, 36 R

    2017 Defense: 0 DRS, -11.6 UZR/150

    WAR: 3.4

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    Blasphemy, right?

    Just remember for a moment that these rankings are based solely on 2017 performance, and we're talking about a player who missed his team's last 39 games following thumb surgery.

    A spot right outside the top five seems like the perfect way to take into account the time he's missed while still acknowledging just how good he was prior to getting hurt.

    His season pace at the time of the injury: .337 BA, 1.203 OPS, 49 HR, 110 RBI, 110 R.

    The 25-year-old is expected to rejoin the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, and there's a good chance he'll climb his way back into that No. 1 spot before the season is over.

5. Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins (Preseason Rank: 23-LF/RF)

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .316 BA, .940 OPS, 107 H, 39 XBH (23 HR), 70 RBI, 52 R

    2017 Defense: 7 DRS, 7.5 UZR/150

    WAR: 3.4

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    Remember when Marcell Ozuna was demoted to the minors and seemingly on the outs in Miami just two years ago?

    He's come a long way since then:

    • 2015 (total): .259 BA, .691 OPS, 10 HR, 44 RBI
    • 2016 (total): .266 BA, .773 OPS, 23 HR, 76 RBI
    • 2017 (pace): .316 BA, .940 OPS, 43 HR, 130 RBI

    The 26-year-old could see his average drop a bit as his .362 BABIP levels off, but his overall approach has improved this season as he's taken the next step in his development.

    Moving from center field where he posted minus-11 DRS last season to left field has also served him well defensively.

4. Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox (Preseason Rank: 1-LF/RF)

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .272 BA, .841 OPS, 96 H, 45 XBH (16 HR), 53 RBI, 61 R

    2017 Defense: 20 DRS, 28.2 UZR/150

    WAR: 4.3

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    On defensive ability alone, Mookie Betts would have a place on this list.

    His 20 DRS and 28.2 UZR/150 are both tops among all qualified players, regardless of position.

    In fact, only four players reached the 20 DRS mark all of last season—one of which was Betts, who paced the majors with 32.

    The 24-year-old can also hit a little bit.

    While his numbers are down from a year ago when he finished second in AL MVP voting, he still leads the Boston Red Sox in home runs (16), RBI (53) and runs scored (61), and his 29 doubles are tied with Daniel Murphy for the MLB lead.

3. George Springer, Houston Astros (Preseason Rank: 5-CF)

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .310 BA, .993 OPS, 104 H, 48 XBH (27 HR), 61 RBI, 76 R

    2017 Defense: 0 DRS, -0.4 UZR/150

    WAR: 4.1

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    It's hard to say George Springer had been a disappointment prior to this season.

    After all, he posted stellar numbers last year with an .815 OPS that included 29 home runs, 82 RBI and 116 runs scored for a 5.0 WAR as the catalyst of the Houston Astros lineup.

    It just seemed like we still hadn't seen him at his very best.

    The age-27 season strikes again.

    Springer has simply taken his game to another level as he ranks among the AL leaders in OPS (.993, second); hits (104, fifth); home runs (27, second); RBI (61, fifth); runs scored (76, first); and total bases (206, second).

    If the season ended today, he might finish second to Aaron Judge in AL MVP voting, even with teammates Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa enjoying stellar seasons of their own.

2. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals (Preseason Rank: 2-LF/RF)

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .325 BA, 1.021 OPS, 99 H, 41 XBH (20 HR), 65 RBI, 69 R

    2017 Defense: 0 DRS, 6.6 UZR/150

    WAR: 3.5

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    Here's what I wrote about Bryce Harper in our preseason rankings:

    "Obviously, Harper failed to live up to the high bar he set with his 2015 MVP performance.

    That wasn't entirely his fault, though, as his .264 BABIP represented a 105-point decline over the previous season. Some of that is hitting into shifts and pitchers being more careful, but a lot of that is bad luck...

    If his huge spring numbers (1.186 OPS, 6 HR) are any indication, Harper is poised to return to elite status in 2017."

    OK, so it wasn't the toughest prediction of all time, but there were plenty of detractors writing Harper's MVP season off as a fluke while he struggled last season.

    It's easy to forget this guy is still only 24 years old.

    Put another way, he's five months and 20 days younger than Aaron Judge.

1. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .329 BA, 1.139 OPS, 99 H, 46 XBH (30 HR), 66 RBI, 75 R

    2017 Defense: 5 DRS, 7.2 UZR/150

    WAR: 5.3

    2017 All-Star


    Player Summary

    Aaron Judge has been the biggest story in baseball, and he's earned every bit of the attention he's receiving.

    The 25-year-old rookie wasn't even assured of a starting spot heading into the season after he struck out a dizzying 42 times in 95 plate appearances down the stretch last year.

    However, the huge strides he's made in both his walk rate (9.5 to 16.7 percent) and strikeout rate (44.2 to 29.8 percent) from last year's small sample size have allowed him to fully tap into his otherworldly raw power and the results speak for themselves.

    The league will adjust and a .426 BABIP isn't sustainable, even with how hard he hits the ball, so some level of regression is unavoidable.

    There's little doubt the Yankees have a bona fide superstar on their hands here, though.


    Standard stats and WAR totals courtesy of Baseball Reference and current through the All-Star break. Other advanced stats (DRS, UZR/150, BABIP, etc.) courtesy of FanGraphs.