AL East Positional Rankings: Pre-Season RF Rankings Verdict – Ugly

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 19: Left fielder Joey Rickard
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 19: Left fielder Joey Rickard /
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Right field in the AL East saw two players blossom in 2017, two remain consistent and one struggle mightily.

Right field in the AL East saw two players blossom, two stay consistent, and one struggle mightily in the 2017 season.

Speaking of struggling mightily, in my pre-season rankings, I wrote:

"“In 95 plate appearances in the majors in 2016, (Aaron) Judge struck out a whopping 42 times. He also only hit .179 with a .263 OBP. That’s not okay. Sure, he did hit four home runs, and the power is undeniable. The other issue here is the backups. (Aaron) Hicks is a career .223 hitter better used as a defensive replacement."

By the way, that was my reasoning for ranking the Yankees dead last. All Judge did was win Rookie of the Year and finish second in the MVP race. All Hicks did be prove himself as a capable starting outfielder.

2017 AL East right field pre-season rankings:

5. New York Yankees

4. Tampa Bay Rays

3. Baltimore Orioles

2. Toronto Blue Jays

1. Boston Red Sox

So, without further ado, let’s just get to it, because we know it is going to be ugly. We’ve been through most of the fourth/reserve outfielders already, so write-ups will focus on the starters, unless there are others not previously mentioned.

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5. Toronto Blue Jays – Jose Bautista, Ezequiel Carrera

It was not a pretty season for public enemy number one in Baltimore. And, it almost felt like the Blue Jays reluctantly took Bautista back considering how it played out, and then he performed like he was reluctant to be there.

Bautista hit .203/.308/.366 with 23 home runs, 27 doubles, 92 runs scored, 65 runs batted in and 170 strikeouts in just shy of 700 at-bats. Not many guys play 157 games and have nearly 700 at-bats and hit .203. Now, the power numbers aren’t terrible, they are close to last year’s numbers, only in 40 more games.

Bautista is clearly past his prime, but the surprise was the strikeouts. This is a guy who never struck out more than 115 times in a season, and frequently is near the league lead in walks (he did have 84).

Add in the fact that he isn’t very good in the outfield, and it was ugly. Bautista had an offensive WAR of -0.9, and a defensive WAR of -1.4. Not pretty at all for a guy who is a six-time All-Star and was paid $18 million. Bautista added five errors, third most among right fielders in the American League.

Bautista’s contract is up and it is quite possible his time in the major leagues may be too, as he is certainly declining at this point. Expect the Jays to try to land someone to play right field, otherwise, it may be Carrera’s position, or maybe someone like Anthony Alford.