AL East Positional Rankings: Young Stars Push Gardner at Left Field

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 13: Trey Mancini
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 13: Trey Mancini /
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4. Tampa Bay Rays – Corey Dickerson, Peter Bourjos, Colby Rasmus, Mallex Smith, Shane Peterson

Dickerson was projected to be the Rays’ designated hitter in 2017. Instead, he started most of the games (more than half) in left field and earned his first All-Star selection. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 33 doubles, 84 runs scored and 62 runs batted in in 150 games played.

Dickerson wrapped up the year with a 2.8 offensive WAR and a -0.9 defensive WAR, but defense has never been his strong suit.

However, his range in left field was above league average, as was his fielding runs above average. Dickerson only made one error in left field. Meanwhile, everyone else who started over 10 games for the Rays in left field did not make an error, so the team got very good defense in left field.

Bourjos was not as strong offensively, as has been the case throughout much of his career. He hit .223/.272/.383 in 100 games and 203 at-bats for the Rays after being signed just before the season started. But, he provided good defense as the fourth outfielder for the team, making 21 starts at the position.

Rasmus only started 19 games at the position but was doing pretty well, hitting .281/.318/.579 with nine home runs, seven doubles, 17 runs and 23 runs batted in before stepping away from the game.

Peterson and Smith, who became the team’s starting center fielder, each made 14 starts at the position, as left field continued to be a place where many people saw playing time for the Rays.

Dickerson will be back with the Rays in 2018 (as will Smith) while Rasmus and Bourjos are both free agents.