Pairing Mookie Betts with Cody Bellinger puts Dodgers atop list of top 10 outfields

first_imgOnly four position players in the 2010s produced a bWAR of 9.0 or higher, and two of those players will patrol the outfield for the Dodgers in the 2020 season. Both are very much in the primes of their career. That’s pretty incredible.Cody Bellinger hit the 9.0 mark last year, when he won the NL MVP award. He’s joined by Mookie Betts, who produced a 9.7 bWAR in 2016, when he finished second in the AL MVP voting, and a 10.9 in 2018, when he won the award.  10. RedsThe starters: LF Jesse Winker, CF Nick Senzel, RF Nicholas CastellanosWhy they’re here: There’s at least a decent chance the Opening Day outfield looks a bit different. Castellanos, who just signed a four-year deal to join the Reds, is the only guaranteed starter. Senzel or Winker could be moved in deals to help shore up other areas, because the Reds also have Aristides Aquino, who hit 19 home runs in 56 big-league games last year, and Shogo Akiyama, who signed as a free agent from Japan this offseason. However it plays out, though, it’s a solid grouping. RIVERA: Grading the Mookie Betts tradeThe 10.9 bWAR, by the way, is the best mark produced by any player other than Barry Bonds and Cal Ripken Jr. since 1975 (Mike Trout’s career best is 10.5). And Betts did it in just 136 games in 2018. And now Betts, who is just 27, is playing alongside Bellinger (he’s 24!) in the Dodgers outfield, as the franchise embarks on yet another quest for its first World Series title since 1988. That’s one heck of an outfield duo, with Bellinger in center and Betts in right. Both won Gold Glove awards last year, remember? So, yeah. The Dodgers have the best outfield in baseball, and it almost doesn’t matter who plays left field for that to remain true. A.J. Pollock, when he’s healthy, will be the primary player there, but Chris Taylor will see time in left, too, especially if Pollock struggles. Enrique Hernandez and Matt Beaty figure into the mix, as well. What other teams have the best outfield groups? Let’s take a look.2. YankeesThe starters: LF Giancarlo Stanton, CF Brett Gardner, RF Aaron JudgeWhy they’re here: There isn’t a more powerful corner duo in baseball. If Stanton and Judge are still healthy when Aaron Hicks comes back from Tommy John surgery, the Yankees’ trio would be the only team capable of taking the top spot from the Dodgers. 3. AstrosThe starters: LF Michael Brantley, CF George Springer, RF Josh ReddickWhy they’re here: That’s a solid group. All three of those outfielders, though, are set to become free agents after the 2020 season. 4. BrewersThe starters: LF Avisail Garcia, CF Lorenzo Cain, RF Christian YelichWhy they’re here: Yelich was next level in 2019, even compared to his 2018 NL MVP campaign. Garcia was better than you probably realize for Tampa Bay last year, and even though Lorenzo Cain’s offensive numbers dropped, he’s not done yet. 5. NationalsThe starters: LF Juan Soto, CF Victor Robles, RF Adam EatonWhy they’re here: Soto and Robles both posted bWAR numbers above 4.0. Soto’s entering his Age 21 season, Robles his Age 23 season. Eaton, 31, isn’t what he once was, but he was healthy in 2019 and posted a .365 on-base percentage batting mostly first or second in the lineup. MORE: 20 reasons why baseball will be awesome in 20206. AngelsThe starters: LF Justin Upton, CF Mike Trout, RF Brian GoodwinWhy they’re here: If we’re being honest, pairing any two people from the stands with Mike Trout on a game-by-game basis would still keep the Angels in the top 15. He’s that good. Upton’s 32 and was hurt most of 2019, and Goodwin’s a fine, but unspectacular, player.  7. BravesThe starters: LF Marcel Ozuna, CF Ender Inciarte, RF Ronald Acuña, Jr.Why they’re here: Acuna’s a superstar, no doubt about that. But Ozuna, it seems, overestimated his value, which is why he settled for a one-year free-agent deal with the Braves. Inciarte is an outstanding defensive center fielder, but he’s coming off an injury-shortened year that produced just an 89 OPS+. 8. TwinsThe starters: LF Eddie Rosario, CF Byron Buxton, RF Max KeplerWhy they’re here: Kepler and Rosario combined to hit 68 homers, score 189 runs and produce 199 RBIs in 2019, and that ain’t too shabby. Buxton, the perennial would-be superstar, produced the best OPS of his career (.827) but injuries limited him to just 87 games. If he ever stays healthy and becomes the player we know he can be, this is a top-five group. 9. PhilliesThe starters: LF Andrew McCutchen, CF Adam Haseley, RF Bryce HarperWhy they’re here: Bryce Harper was perfectly fine in his first season with the Phillies: 35 homers, 4.2 bWAR, 125 OPS+, 98 runs. McCutchen was cruising along with a .378 on-base percentage and 10 homers before his season ended after 59 games with a torn ACL. If he’s healthy and Haseley develops in his second year in the bigs, this group rises. last_img

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