Top 10 Right Now – Left Fielders

Edited 12/4/18: Between this list coming out yesterday morning and today, Carlos Santana was traded to Seattle which opened up first base for Rhys Hoskins in Philadelphia.  With that, he’ll appear on the first baseman list (coming 12/10) with this left fielders list being updated.

There’s a high chance that a few of the players mentioned below find themselves in a different defensive position when the season opens (stateside) on March 28.  David Dahl, who currently finds himself as the starting left and right fielder according the Rockies’ depth chart, may be one.  But since it’s time to get the list out, we do the best we can with the information we have today.

A new list will be published each Monday leading up to pitchers and catchers reporting in February. The lists will highlight the Top 10 players at each position, managers and executives, finishing up with the Ultimate Top 10 list, a ranking of each of the position’s number one player.

Here’s a list of what’s to come and already been published:
Nov. 12 – Executives
Nov. 19 – Managers
Nov. 26 – Catchers
Dec. 3 – Left Fielders
Dec. 10 – First Basemen
Dec. 17 – Starting Pitchers
Dec. 24 – Designated Hitters
Dec. 31 – Third Basemen
Jan. 7 – Right Fielders
Jan. 14 – Relief Pitchers
Jan. 21 – Second Basemen
Jan. 28 – Center Fielders
Feb. 4 – Shortstops
Feb. 11 – Ultimate Top 10

Below are two lists, one (“Statistical”) shows players ranked per a combination of their 2018 stats and where they ranked in those stats per their respective position. Offensive, defensive, baserunning and all-inclusive stats are included in the calculations.  The second (“Adjusted”) list is based on stats but then given adjustments based on track record, injuries and projections and reflects our ranking of the players as they head into 2019.

The list in which the players appear depends mostly on where they played the most games (or innings) in 2018 but also where they project to play this coming year if substantially different than last (i.e. role player getting a more permanent position).

2018 Statistical Top 10
10. Brett Gardner, New York Yankees
9. Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins
8. Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies
7. Corey Dickerson, Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
5. Michael Brantley, Free Agent
4. Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves
3. David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox
1. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers

Adjusted Top 10
10. Tommy Pham, Tampa Bay Rays
9. Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins
8. David Dahl, Colorado Rockies
7. Marcel Ozuna, St. Louis Cardinals
6. Michael Brantley, Free Agent
5. David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
3. Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox
2. Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves
1. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers

In consideration (with their rank from last year’s list): Justin Upton (2), Yoenis Cespedes (4), Marwin Gonzalez (9), Dickerson, Gardner, Kyle Schwarber, Joc Pederson, Joey Gallo, Adam Duvall, Trey Mancini, Teoscar Hernandez

Notes: After the year Yelich had, it’s difficult to dethrone him from the one-seed, although it’s easy to see a few guys with the ability to do it… speaking of, I’d be good with either Acuna Jr. or Soto in the two spot but I feel the former may be more likely to approach the top spot this season… Peralta’s placement isn’t about him doing anything wrong, but rather projecting both Acuna Jr. and Soto over a full campaign… despite the defense, Hoskins moves ahead of Brantley slightly… banking on a bounce back from Ozuna… considering the ballpark he plays in and hopefully being healthy enough to play a full season, I like Dahl to surprise some people… not a huge fan of Rosario because of his lack of on-base skills, but he has been a top-10 guy overall at the position for the past two seasons… you don’t have to look any further than the “In consideration” list to know that if things fall right for a few guys, this could become a position of strength in baseball… Cespedes would have been on the list, however, it’s far from a guarantee that he’ll even see the field this year coming off a recent surgery let alone be productive… Dickerson was close to making the back-end of the top 10… it’s tough to not question defensive analytics when the more “hulking” left fielders such as Dickerson, Duvall and Schwarber grade out better (in 2018, at least) than arguably their more athletic counterparts like Yelich, Benintendi, Acuna Jr. and Peralta.

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