May 12, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) hits a ground rule double during the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
And, so we get to the last field position in my year-end recap of my projections, and how players did.
I said in the preseason rankings that Jose Bautista was head and shoulders above everyone else.
Nothing changed there, as expected. In general, the more players you have at a position, the worse it was for the team. And RF is no exception. To see the Yankees and Beltran as second on this list means a lot went wrong for the other teams, sans Toronto, on this list.
Again, list includes players who started at least 10 games at the position.
- Toronto Blue Jays – Jose Bautista, Chris Dickerson, Chris Colabello
- Boston Red Sox – Shane Victorino, Mookie Betts, Allen Craig, Daniel Nava
- Tampa Bay Rays – Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza Jr.
- Baltimore Orioles – Travis Snider, Steve Pearce, David Lough
- New York Yankees – Carlos Beltran, Chris Young, Garrett Jones, Tyler Austin
End of Season Rankings
End of Season Rankings
1. Toronto Blue Jays – Jose Bautista, Ezequiel Carrera, Chris Colabello
This was a no-brainer, maybe the easiest of any position. And it isn’t only how good Bautista was, but also just how bad the competition was. However, Jose was an All-Star for the sixth consecutive year.
He led the majors in walks with 110, more than his 106 strikeouts. He hit 40 HRs, good for fifth in the AL. He also had 114 RBIs (3rd), 108 runs scored, 29 doubles and 291 total bases. A very, very good season.
Bautista also led the non-Yordano Ventura category of getting under people’s skin, including some teams in his own division. He will never rank as a great defender, but if you look at this list, there isn’t anyone better.
We have been over how good Colabello was in his appearances at various spots, and Carrera filled in as well while Bautista was on the DL after hurting his shoulder trying to throw behind Delmon Young — in the same game he got into a shouting match with Adam Jones.
2. New York Yankees – Carlos Beltran, Chris Young, Garrett Jones
The 38-year-old Beltran played his 18th year in the majors, and in all respects, had a good season. Especially in the second half while other players were injured (Texieira) or slumping (Rodriguez). He finished with a .276 average, 19 HRs, 67 RBIs, 34 doubles, 57 runs.
Beltran is not going to be a running threat anymore, and his defense is at this point a liability, as evidenced by his defensive WAR of -2.0. But the Yankees wanted him for his offense, and he did a very good job at that. He also was able to stay healthy in 2015, allowing Young to fill in across the outfield for the Yankees.
I should preface by saying this isn’t a reflection on the year Souza had. When he was playing every day at the beginning of the year, he was on pace to be the league leader in strikeouts. In the end he finished with 144 strikeouts to go with only 46 walks.
Souza added 16 HR, 40 RBIs, 12 SBs, and a negative 0.8 dWAR. We discussed Guyer and his successful year already. Nava and Sizemore both were acquired by the Rays in midseason, but neither played much more than 10 games at the position. Nor did Mahtook, another young player.
So, if there is nothing particularly good to write about the Rays, and they are third, it says a lot about the struggles of the two teams below.
When you have seven different players starting over 10 games at a position, you know things went wrong. Victorino was the projected starter, but he was injured and then traded. Bradley couldn’t hit to stay in the majors at first. Castillo was injured and also didn’t take advantage of his opportunities. Nava was picked up by the Rays. De Aza went from the Orioles to the Red Sox to the San Francisco Giants. Holt and Betts both saw a lot more starts at other positions.
Castillo hit .253 in a total of 80 games, with 5 HRs, 29 RBIs, 10 doubles, and 69 hits. He had a negative offensive WAR of -0.8, but a positive dWAR of 1.4. The Red Sox are paying Castillo $11 million plus a year; he needs to be able to be in the majors.
So, the Baltimore Orioles come in last. Delmon Young struggled as an everyday player and was cut. Chris Davis played well in RF, but let’s be honest, he only played it out of necessity before Gerardo Parra was acquired.
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Travis Snider was supposed to be the starter, but he ended up cut, another failed Dan Duquette project in 2015. Alvarez showed his defensive prowess, but demonstrated his bat isn’t quite ready for the majors.
Then there is Parra. Gerardo came from Milwaukee for Zach Davies and was hitting .326 for the Brewers. He then came to the Orioles and proceeded to hit .237. No, it doesn’t make any sense at all.
The one thing Parra did provide was really nice outfield play, but it didn’t help his WAR stats. For the Brewers, Parra had a WAR of 2.1. For the O’s, -1.1.
Uncertain. They don’t have a right fielder on the roster, unless you think Dariel Alvarez is ready to be an everyday starter offensively (I don’t.) Parra wants to come back to Baltimore, and it is clear he was pressing a bit. Davis could play right field, but he has to be re-signed. Or maybe Davis walks and the team signs a corner outfielder.
Right field is one of many positions in which the intrigue is growing for the fans as the baseball postseason comes closer to an end.