2024 Positional Power Rankings: Left Field

2024 Positional Power Rankings: Left Field

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Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we wrapped up our analysis of the league’s infielders with third base and shortstop. Today, we shift our attention to the outfield, starting in left field.

Left field has been one of the weaker positions in the game for several years, but the outlook for 2024 is especially bleak. For the first time since 2017 (excluding 2020), we don’t have a single team projected to surpass four wins. The Astros’ 3.7 WAR projection is the lowest total for the top team at any non-pitching position on the power rankings this year. In fact, it’s the lowest total for the top team at any non-pitching position since 2019, when we projected Red Sox designated hitters for a mere 3.4 WAR.

To put it bluntly, left field doesn’t have any superstars. This time last year, you would’ve scrolled past a picture of Juan Soto to read 2023’s version of this exercise. We also had Yordan Alvarez and Corbin Carroll getting most of their playing time in left, although we didn’t know the latter would become a superstar so quickly. You’ll see all three of those names on this year’s list, too, but none projects to be his team’s primary left fielder in 2024. Indeed, Randy Arozarena is the only player we have projected to reach three wins in left field this season. At every other defensive position, we have at least two players projected to reach four wins.

While the top tier of players may be lacking, that’s not to say there won’t be talented and entertaining players to watch in left over the next six or seven months. In addition to the ever-delightful Arozarena, left field boasts last year’s postseason hero and early Rookie of the Year favorite, Evan Carter; two of the most exciting young defenders at any outfield position, Steven Kwan and Daulton Varsho; a pair of veteran fan favorites, Christian Yelich and Brandon Nimmo; a couple of unheralded names coming off surprising breakout seasons, Nolan Jones and Chas McCormick; and a slew of exciting prospect who could make their mark in 2024.

Not every team has high hopes in left field, but there’s always a story to follow if you look closely enough. Whether it’s a breakout, a bounce-back, or just another strong performance from a reliable mainstay, left fielders should provide something to watch for all 30 teams on this list.

2024 Positional Power Rankings – LF

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Chas McCormick
392
.251
.330
.430
.329
4.8
-0.5
3.2
1.6

Yordan Alvarez
189
.299
.396
.592
.413
15.4
-0.5
-0.0
1.9

Mauricio Dubón
63
.263
.305
.390
.302
-0.7
-0.1
-0.2
0.0

Corey Julks
35
.240
.307
.394
.305
-0.3
-0.0
-0.1
0.0

Trey Cabbage
14
.223
.283
.413
.299
-0.2
0.0
0.0
0.0

Jake Meyers
7
.241
.308
.391
.305
-0.1
-0.0
0.1
0.0

Total
700
.263
.343
.466
.347
18.9
-1.1
2.9
3.7

You probably weren’t expecting Chas McCormick to be the first name you saw on this power ranking. That’s no dig on McCormick, who had a breakout year in 2023 after a pair of strong seasons in 2021 and ‘22. The outfielder hit 22 home runs, stole 19 bases, and put up a 133 wRC+ in 115 games, all while playing strong defense around the outfield. Still, McCormick is probably more good than great, and his projected WAR falls below that of several more established left fielders on this list.

The real reason the Astros rank no. 1 is the man we expect to get about a quarter of the playing time. Yordan Alvarez could easily provide more value than McCormick in half the plate appearances, and again, that’s no dig on McCormick. Alvarez is arguably the best hitter in the sport, and while he’s better suited for DH duties, he can handle a semi-regular role in left. That gives manager Joe Espada the flexibility to move McCormick over to center when he wants to field his best offensive lineup. Alvarez is also the in-house replacement in case McCormick misses significant time. In other words, if Houston’s primary left fielder is injured, expect the Astros to be even more productive out of left field.

Mauricio Dubón is coming off the best season of his career, and the Astros will use him as a backup all over the field.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Alex Verdugo
469
.268
.327
.418
.322
3.6
-0.6
1.6
1.5

Aaron Judge
105
.271
.385
.569
.397
7.4
-0.1
0.5
1.0

Juan Soto
91
.280
.423
.536
.407
7.1
-0.3
-0.2
0.9

Oswaldo Cabrera
14
.234
.296
.389
.297
-0.2
-0.0
0.1
0.0

Everson Pereira
7
.226
.288
.391
.295
-0.1
-0.0
0.0
0.0

Giancarlo Stanton
7
.230
.314
.462
.331
0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Oscar Gonzalez
7
.254
.285
.418
.300
-0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Total
700
.268
.347
.453
.343
17.8
-1.1
1.8
3.5

Alex Verdugo is a capable all-around player without many standout skills, a solid but unspectacular contributor in each of the past three seasons. Verdugo has more than five years of big league service time under his belt, and at this point, it’s pretty clear that he is who is. At the same time, he’s not yet 28, so there’s no need to worry about age-related decline. He’ll be the primary left fielder in the Bronx (where left field is the more demanding outfield corner), and the Yankees can expect another solid but unspectacular season from him in 2024.

While the Astros only have one Yordan Alvarez, the Yankees have two: Juan Soto and Aaron Judge. Soto and Judge might only see the occasional start in left, but even a sprinkling of those two is enough to earn the Yankees the runner-up spot on this ranking. The fact that left field looks to be the weakest third of their outfield this season tells you everything you need to know about how phenomenal this unit could be.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Randy Arozarena
616
.262
.351
.449
.346
19.0
-1.1
-1.7
3.0

Richie Palacios
42
.249
.337
.381
.317
0.3
-0.1
0.0
0.1

Jonny DeLuca
14
.232
.300
.414
.308
-0.0
0.0
-0.1
0.0

Jonathan Aranda
14
.255
.341
.412
.329
0.2
-0.0
-0.1
0.0

Amed Rosario
7
.267
.306
.392
.302
-0.0
0.0
-0.0
0.0

Harold Ramírez
7
.281
.324
.418
.321
0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Total
700
.260
.348
.442
.343
19.5
-1.1
-1.9
3.3

Randy Arozarena has spent the past three seasons proving that he’s one of the premier left fielders in the game. Dating back to 2021, he ranks 16th among outfielders in WAR. Of those ranked ahead of him, none played more than 35% of his games in left field.

As Arozarena enters his age-29 season, the projections anticipate more of the same from the All-Star outfielder. He had a 126 wRC+ last year, he has a 126 wRC+ over the past three years, and I’m sure you can guess his projected wRC+ for 2024. He’s a safe bet for another season of 20-plus home runs, 20-plus stolen bases, and somewhere around 3.0 WAR.

The Rays have a host of outfielders and utility players who can fill in for Arozarena on occasion, including Richie Palacios, Jonny DeLuca (when healthy), and Amed Rosario. Arozarena has never missed time due to injury in his big league career (his only IL stints have been illness-related), but if this is the year that changes, the Rays could also play Jonathan Aranda and Harold Ramírez in left field to get their bats in the lineup more often.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Ian Happ
651
.250
.345
.433
.337
10.0
-0.4
4.0
2.9

Mike Tauchman
21
.238
.340
.365
.314
-0.1
-0.0
0.1
0.0

Owen Caissie
14
.222
.303
.366
.295
-0.3
-0.0
-0.0
-0.0

Christopher Morel
7
.243
.311
.466
.332
0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Patrick Wisdom
7
.210
.296
.444
.317
-0.0
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Total
700
.248
.343
.430
.336
9.7
-0.4
4.1
3.0

Although he missed time this spring with a hamstring strain, Ian Happ is optimistic he’ll be ready for Opening Day. That’s good news for the Cubs, who are counting on his bat in the middle of the lineup. Since taking on the position full-time in 2022, Happ has been one of the better left fielders in the game. He leads the National League in games played and WAR in left over the last two years. His projected 112 wRC+ is a step down from his 119 wRC+ over the past two seasons and even a tick below his 113 wRC+ from 2017-21. Still, thanks to promising defensive projections, the two-time Gold Glove winner can afford to take a step back at the dish while remaining a top-tier left fielder in 2024.

Happ has been remarkably durable throughout his seven-year big league tenure, but if his hamstring strain turns out to be more serious (or he suffers another injury), the Cubs have a strong backup plan. They can opt for an outfield alignment of Seiya Suzuki, Cody Bellinger, and Mike Tauchman, and it won’t be long before Pete Crow-Armstrong forces his way into the conversation, too. On top of that, Christopher Morel and Patrick Wisdom can handle a corner outfield spot if needed, and top 100 prospect Owen Caissie could earn a cup of coffee if he keeps tearing up the minor leagues.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Brandon Nimmo
427
.267
.362
.436
.349
12.5
-1.2
0.9
2.2

Tyrone Taylor
182
.235
.291
.423
.307
-1.0
0.3
1.8
0.5

DJ Stewart
42
.219
.307
.390
.305
-0.3
-0.1
-0.3
0.0

Jeff McNeil
42
.284
.345
.407
.329
0.5
-0.1
-0.1
0.1

Trayce Thompson
7
.198
.296
.378
.296
-0.1
-0.0
0.0
0.0

Total
700
.256
.339
.427
.334
11.7
-1.1
2.3
2.9

Brandon Nimmo’s résumé is strangely devoid of accomplishments. He has never won a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger, nor has he been named to an All-Star team. He’s never even earned a down-ballot vote for MVP. Nonetheless, Nimmo has quietly spent the past six seasons being one of the most valuable outfielders in the game. Since 2018, only seven outfielders have outproduced his 20.7 WAR, and six of them have won an MVP for their efforts. (The other is Juan Soto, whose trophy case isn’t exactly empty.)

Nimmo will move to left this season to accommodate Harrison Bader in center, and there’s little reason to worry about how his bat will play in a corner spot. He hasn’t posted a wRC+ below 130 since his injury-riddled 2019 campaign. Even better, he hit the ball harder than ever in 2023, posting career highs in hard-hit rate, barrel rate, and maximum exit velocity. His projected 124 wRC+ ranks first among every NL player on this list.

Tyrone Taylor will be the fourth outfielder, and he’ll try to hit more like he did from 2021-22 (104 wRC+) than in 2023 (88 wRC+). If he can’t, at least he plays strong outfield defense. DJ Stewart is a bat-first corner option against right-handed pitching, while Jeff McNeil would probably play more left field if the Mets had a better backup at second base. Drew Gilbert, the team’s no. 1 prospect and no. 52 overall, is a name to keep an eye on for a mid-season call-up.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Steven Kwan
644
.277
.351
.385
.324
6.1
0.6
6.4
2.8

Estevan Florial
21
.226
.308
.391
.304
-0.2
-0.0
0.1
0.0

Tyler Freeman
14
.264
.334
.371
.313
-0.0
0.0
-0.0
0.0

Will Brennan
14
.272
.320
.387
.308
-0.1
-0.0
0.1
0.0

Deyvison De Los Santos
7
.233
.270
.377
.279
-0.2
-0.0
0.0
-0.0

Total
700
.275
.348
.385
.323
5.7
0.5
6.5
2.9

With 19 OAA across his first two seasons, Steven Kwan might already be the greatest left fielder of the Statcast era. That’s a bit of a qualified compliment, since most great outfield defenders play center, but I don’t think Kwan is complaining. He has a pair of Gold Gloves sitting on his mantle, and he is the only player in the sport with more than 7.0 WAR in left field over the past two years.

The projections are conservative when it comes to Kwan’s defense, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t excellent. Even better, the computers are surprisingly optimistic about his offense, forecasting a career-high in isolated power and a 108 wRC+. That wouldn’t be so impressive for a typical left fielder, but it is for one of Kwan’s defensive caliber.

Estevan Florial is likely the Guardians’ fourth outfielder. However, if Kwan misses time (or has to cover center), Tyler Freeman and Will Brennan are potential replacements. Freeman is a former top prospect who has struggled in the majors; Brennan has struggled too, but he has more big league outfield experience. Rule 5 pick Deyvison De Los Santos is an infielder, but he can fake it in the outfield if necessary.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Evan Carter
399
.255
.354
.411
.335
5.3
-0.6
2.4
1.6

Wyatt Langford
203
.265
.339
.479
.350
5.2
-0.2
0.6
1.0

Travis Jankowski
77
.246
.343
.321
.301
-1.1
0.1
0.5
0.1

Josh Smith
14
.238
.336
.378
.317
-0.0
-0.0
0.0
0.0

Dustin Harris
7
.235
.312
.382
.303
-0.1
0.0
-0.0
0.0

Total
700
.256
.348
.420
.335
9.3
-0.7
3.5
2.8

Evan Carter made his mark last fall, posting a 180 wRC+ in 23 regular season contests and following that up with a 155 wRC+ in the playoffs. At 21 years old, he is still on the young side for a top prospect, yet he already looks like an above-average everyday player. Carter can draw walks, run like the wind, and hold his own with the glove. The big questions are if he can get his strikeout rate down and if the prodigious power he displayed last season is anywhere close to the real deal. Our prospect team is high on his hit tool (55/60 grade) but not sold on his game power (40/45 grade). Neither ZiPS nor Steamer was convinced by his fireworks show last season either, projecting him for average isolated power in 2024.

Wyatt Langford, the fourth overall pick in the 2023 draft, is knocking on the big league door after a brief romp through the minor leagues. He’s technically a corner outfielder, but his defense grades out poorly, and we think he’ll get most of his playing time at DH. Still, his offensive projections are ridiculous for a 22-year-old rookie; if he keeps hitting like he did in the minors last year, he could play shortstop for all I care.

Travis Jankowski will back up all three outfield spots after his surprisingly productive 2023 season. Ezequiel Duran can play the outfield too, but he’s a natural infielder, and that’s where Texas needs him right now.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Tyler O’Neill
434
.258
.336
.463
.344
6.8
0.2
1.6
1.9

Masataka Yoshida
140
.294
.359
.459
.352
3.1
-0.4
-0.3
0.6

Jarren Duran
56
.257
.318
.424
.320
-0.2
0.2
-0.2
0.1

Wilyer Abreu
42
.246
.341
.415
.330
0.2
-0.1
0.3
0.1

Rob Refsnyder
21
.262
.355
.399
.333
0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.1

Bobby Dalbec
7
.222
.299
.421
.312
-0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Total
700
.264
.340
.454
.342
10.0
-0.1
1.4
2.8

Tyler O’Neill is coming off a second straight mediocre season at the plate, but the projections remain convinced he’s a talented hitter, with good on-base skills and impact power. Presumably, the Red Sox were similarly convinced when they dealt for him this winter. If O’Neill meets his projected 113 wRC+, he could be the best right-handed hitter in Boston’s lefty-heavy lineup.

As Ceddanne Rafaela continues to make his case to be the Opening Day center fielder, Alex Cora is facing a decision as to how to best divide playing time in the outfield corners. O’Neill can cover all three outfield positions, but he’s a good bet to be Cora’s primary left fielder. That’s where he has most of his big league experience, and it makes more sense for the speedier Jarred Duran to cover the right field expanse at Fenway Park. That doesn’t leave much playing time for Wilyer Abreu, but too much depth is always a good problem to have.

A regular outfield alignment of O’Neill, Rafaela, and Duran will make for a strong defensive unit. Even better, it means Masataka Yoshida can make most of his starts at DH. However, on days when Cora wants to prioritize offense, Yoshida can handle left field instead. His glove may be a problem, but his offensive projections look a lot closer to his strong numbers from the first four months of the 2023 season than his terrible fall-off in August and September.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Lars Nootbaar
455
.249
.352
.439
.343
9.6
0.0
-0.1
2.0

Alec Burleson
105
.272
.322
.434
.326
0.8
-0.3
0.0
0.3

Dylan Carlson
70
.256
.339
.418
.329
0.7
-0.1
0.1
0.2

Brendan Donovan
42
.274
.365
.397
.337
0.7
-0.1
-0.2
0.1

Michael Siani
21
.215
.297
.315
.275
-0.7
-0.0
0.1
-0.0

Jared Young
7
.232
.307
.385
.302
-0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Total
700
.254
.345
.429
.336
11.0
-0.4
-0.0
2.7

Lars Nootbaar is doubtful for Opening Day, but the Cardinals are hoping his rib fracture won’t keep him off the field for long. The young outfielder broke out in 2022, producing 2.6 WAR in just 347 PA. He was even more valuable the following year, putting up 3.2 WAR and qualifying for the batting title with one plate appearance to spare. Still, he could have been even more productive in 2023 if it weren’t for three separate stints on the IL. Now a core piece of the Cardinals lineup, he’ll look to play in more than three-quarters of his team’s games for the first time.

Nootbaar’s defining feature is his plate discipline. Over the last two seasons, only seven hitters (min. 500 PA) have a higher walk rate. Only one of those six, Juan Soto, has a lower strikeout rate than the Cardinals’ left fielder. What’s more, Nootbaar’s chase rate has ranked among the best in the game for the past two years, and he has improved his whiff rate dramatically from each season to the next. His disciplined approach has helped him maintain well-above-average overall numbers despite a dreadfully low BABIP in 2022 and mediocre power output in 2023.

Alec Burleson will handle left field until Nootbaar is ready to play. The Cardinals also have a solid fourth outfielder in Dylan Carlson, who can cover left when he isn’t filling in for Tommy Edman in center. The versatile Brendan Donovan can pitch in as well. Finally, top 100 prospect Victor Scott II could enter the picture as the year goes on, but the Cardinals don’t need to rush him along.

Daulton Varsho can give Steven Kwan a run for his money as the best defensive left fielder in the game. Varsho has terrific range, a valuable arm, and quick reflexes in the outfield. He has great instincts on the basepaths, too, so when he hits just enough, he can be an excellent player.

Unfortunately, Varsho didn’t hit much at all last season. His 85 wRC+ would have been bad if he was still a catcher, and it was downright awful for a corner outfielder. Although he put more balls in the air, he actually hit for less power than usual, and his .256 BABIP was the lowest mark among qualified American League hitters. Thankfully for the Blue Jays outfielder, both Steamer and ZiPS envision him rediscovering his power stroke and getting back to a slightly above-average offensive level in 2024.

There’s a good chance Varsho will get some reps in center this season, in place of the aging and oft-injured Kevin Kiermaier. The Jays no longer have Whit Merrifield to cover left field in Varsho’s place, but they have a glut of other guys who are primarily infielders but who can handle the corner outfield, including Davis Schneider, Cavan Biggio, and Isaiah Kiner-Falefa.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Nolan Jones
490
.271
.361
.477
.360
7.1
-0.1
3.5
2.2

Sean Bouchard
112
.255
.341
.458
.344
0.2
-0.2
0.1
0.3

Sam Hilliard
63
.225
.303
.418
.311
-1.7
0.1
-0.3
-0.0

Hunter Goodman
28
.252
.307
.476
.332
-0.2
-0.0
-0.1
0.0

Kris Bryant
7
.269
.347
.451
.345
0.0
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Total
700
.263
.350
.468
.352
5.3
-0.3
3.3
2.5

Nolan Jones does a little bit of everything. The young outfielder hits, fields, runs, and, most importantly, he gives Rockies fans something to cling to ahead of what will surely be another disappointing season; Colorado ranks among the bottom five at every position except for left field.

Jones put things together in 2023, showing off all the skills that once made him a top 100 prospect and then some. He tapped into his raw power, and not just at Coors Field, putting up a .224 ISO at home and a .266 ISO on the road. He also made his case as more than a platoon player, with a 130 wRC+ against same-handed pitching. His .401 BABIP won’t be sustainable (especially his .434 BABIP on the road), but still, Jones proved he’s a capable big league hitter.

As if that wasn’t enough, Jones stole 20 bases en route to a team-leading 3.0 BsR. On the other side of the ball, he showed off a cannon in the outfield, leading all players with his 98.9-mph average arm strength. It all came together for 3.7 WAR in 106 games.

The Rockies will hope Jones can play as often as possible, but if he misses time, Sean Bouchard could slide over from right to left, with Charlie Blackmon or Kris Bryant taking over in right. Sam Hilliard is back with the Rockies and can cover all three outfield spots, too.

Jack Suwinski was the Pirates’ primary center fielder last season, and he handled the role capably despite limited prior experience. However, he’s no Michael A. Taylor out there. His bat profiles well at a premier defensive position, but his glove is probably better suited to a corner spot. In 2024, he’ll be playing plenty of left field, where his 81st-percentile sprint speed will help him cover a vast plot of land in PNC Park. His bat is still above-average for a left fielder, and our projections foresee a career-best 113 wRC+ this season.

Bryan Reynolds was once a center fielder, but these days, he’s more of a bat-first player. Thus, the Pirates are moving him down the defensive spectrum once again. When Taylor and Suwinski are both in the lineup, you can expect to see Reynolds in right field, the easier corner at PNC. That said, he should still see time in left when Suwinski isn’t playing the position. Ultimately, it shouldn’t matter too much where Reynolds is playing. He projects to lead the team in most offensive categories, including plate appearances, home runs, and all three triple-slash statistics. He may never repeat his MVP-caliber 2021 season, but Reynolds is an all-around offensive contributor. He looks to be well worth the eight-year, $106.75 million extension he signed with Pittsburgh last April.

The Pirates have plenty of outfield depth, and we have both Joshua Palacios and Edward Olivares projected for a handful of games in left. However, the most likely option to step in if Suwinski or Reynolds misses time might be Connor Joe. Despite his impressive performance last season (107 wRC+, 1.9 WAR), Joe doesn’t have a set position for 2024. He should see time at first base, DH, and all three outfield spots, but left field is where he has the most big league experience.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Taylor Ward
546
.264
.346
.450
.345
11.9
-0.9
-0.9
2.3

Aaron Hicks
105
.232
.337
.363
.312
-0.6
-0.0
-0.7
0.1

Jo Adell
28
.225
.289
.434
.309
-0.2
-0.0
-0.1
0.0

Mickey Moniak
14
.236
.277
.424
.297
-0.2
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Willie Calhoun
7
.254
.321
.410
.317
-0.0
-0.0
-0.1
0.0

Total
700
.257
.341
.436
.337
10.8
-1.0
-1.8
2.4

After a terrific breakout campaign in 2022, Taylor Ward fell back down to earth in an injury-shortened 2023 season. He was still an offensive force when he had the platoon advantage (140 wRC+), but as a right-handed batter, he only had that advantage so often. He also looked much better in July, but his turnaround would prove to be short-lived; a nasty sinker to the face ended his year a few days before the trade deadline.

Even in a disappointing season, Ward never lost his plate discipline. He walked more and struck out less than the average hitter while posting a career-best 21.2% whiff rate. If he puts more balls in the air and rediscovers some of the power he lost last season, Ward can be one of the better hitting primary left fielders in the game. The projections are optimistic he’ll bounce back at the plate, envisioning a 118 wRC+ in his age-30 campaign.

Aaron Hicks will be the fourth outfielder in Anaheim, while former top prospect Jo Adell is still around and out of minor league options. Hicks figures to get more playing time, while Adell will have to prove himself in what could be his final chance to stick with the big league club.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Christian Yelich
546
.257
.359
.423
.340
8.6
1.7
-1.6
2.1

Garrett Mitchell
98
.245
.319
.385
.309
-1.0
0.3
0.5
0.2

Jake Bauers
21
.217
.309
.397
.309
-0.2
-0.0
-0.1
0.0

Blake Perkins
14
.218
.310
.354
.295
-0.3
-0.0
0.2
0.0

Brewer Hicklen
14
.210
.297
.381
.297
-0.3
0.0
0.0
0.0

Chris Roller
7
.208
.305
.335
.287
-0.2
-0.0
0.0
-0.0

Total
700
.252
.349
.414
.332
6.7
2.0
-1.0
2.4

The Brewers led the sport in left field WAR last season, thanks to a resurgent performance from Christian Yelich and a ridiculously impressive small sample showing from his teammates; non-Yelich left fielders combined for 1.8 WAR in 179 PA. In the understatement of the century, we’re expecting regression from the backups; more to the point, we’re anticipating regression for Yelich as well. The projections can’t ignore his 108 wRC+ from 2020-22 or the sad realities of the aging curve.

Yelich hit the ball harder last year than he had since 2020, but his launch and spray angles were less than ideal. For the second consecutive season, he led qualified NL batters in topped contact and ranked last in pull rate on fly balls. That doesn’t exactly portend success. He also posted a career-high and league-leading 6.2 UBR. Yelich has always been a good baserunner, but it’s hard to imagine a 32-year-old with 71st-percentile sprint speed keeping that up. Similarly, he was worth 3 OAA last season, his highest total since 2016. However, he exhibited below-average outfielder jump and one of the least effective throwing arms in the game. It’s fair to expect his defensive metrics will regress. Yelich still has the skills to contribute at an above-average level, but he may never be a four-win player again.

The Brewers won’t get MVP-caliber performance from their backup left fielders this year, but Garrett Mitchell can fill in with good defense and a bit of offensive upside.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Austin Hays
574
.261
.316
.435
.323
5.1
-1.2
3.5
2.1

Colton Cowser
70
.236
.338
.378
.317
0.3
-0.1
-0.2
0.2

Kyle Stowers
28
.231
.311
.417
.316
0.1
-0.1
-0.0
0.1

Heston Kjerstad
21
.258
.317
.417
.317
0.1
-0.0
0.1
0.1

Ryan McKenna
7
.218
.293
.354
.285
-0.2
-0.0
0.0
0.0

Total
700
.257
.318
.428
.322
5.3
-1.4
3.4
2.4

Austin Hays heard his name come up in a bit of trade speculation over the winter. He has been less productive than Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander over the past two years, and with more talented young outfielders coming up the pipe for the Orioles, Hays looked like the odd man out. However, it seems as if the O’s will kick off 2024 with the same three primary outfielders they’ve used for the past several seasons.

That’s certainly not a bad thing. While Hays doesn’t have Santander’s bat or Mullins’ glove, he’s good enough at just about everything to be an average regular in a corner outfield spot. He doesn’t hit the ball hard, but he regularly outperforms his expected stats. To that end, he has never had an xwOBA above the 34th percentile, but his batting average, slugging percentage and wRC+ have been above average in all three qualified seasons of his career. His strong arm offsets his unimpressive range, and the 28-year-old outfielder has been worth about two wins in each of the past three years.

Among those talented youngsters I spoke of, Colton Cowser has been hot this spring, and he could be the fourth outfielder on the Opening Day roster. Top 100 prospect Heston Kjerstad is more likely to start the year at Triple-A, where he’ll get regular playing time until he forces his way onto the big league roster.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Mark Canha
350
.262
.362
.411
.341
7.2
-0.5
-2.1
1.3

Matt Vierling
147
.257
.322
.389
.311
-0.7
-0.3
-0.3
0.2

Akil Baddoo
119
.242
.326
.398
.316
-0.0
0.2
0.3
0.3

Kerry Carpenter
63
.256
.316
.443
.325
0.4
-0.2
-0.1
0.2

Justyn-Henry Malloy
14
.237
.345
.382
.323
0.1
-0.0
-0.2
0.0

Wenceel Pérez
7
.244
.311
.364
.297
-0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Total
700
.256
.342
.406
.328
6.9
-0.9
-2.3
2.0

Mark Canha has ranged from an above-average to a well-above-average bat over the past six seasons. Dating back to 2018, he has a 123 wRC+. Although he no longer boasts plus power, the 35-year-old has turned into a better contact hitter in recent years. His career-best 15.6% strikeout rate ranked 20th among qualified hitters last season. As he slots into the middle of a young Tigers lineup, our Depth Charts see him leading the team with a .366 OBP and 117 wRC+.

Canha has qualified for the batting title in each of the past four years, but he has never played more than 141 games in a season. He also tends to move around the diamond, and this year he could see time at first base, DH, and all three outfield spots. When Canha is resting or covering another position, the Tigers can get utilityman Matt Vierling some starts in left field. Akil Baddoo is another option for coverage in case of injury; he’ll likely start the season at Triple-A, but his big league experience should make him a quick call-up in case of injury. Finally, Kerry Carpenter could see the occasional start in left if A.J. Hinch feels like switching things up at DH.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
413
.279
.328
.449
.333
4.3
-1.2
0.8
1.4

Randal Grichuk
147
.249
.297
.404
.302
-2.3
-0.4
-0.0
0.1

Joc Pederson
105
.252
.343
.451
.341
1.7
-0.2
-0.6
0.3

Corbin Carroll
21
.272
.354
.473
.355
0.6
0.2
0.2
0.1

Jake McCarthy
14
.261
.325
.399
.316
-0.1
0.1
0.1
0.0

Total
700
.268
.324
.440
.328
4.3
-1.7
0.5
1.9

Diamondbacks left fielders combined for 5.2 WAR last season, more production than Arizona got from any other offensive position. To make that even more impressive, budding superstar Corbin Carroll only accounted for one-third of the playing time in left.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was excellent in 93 games as a left fielder in 2023. He hit for contact and power, performing much better on days he played the field (120 wRC+) than on days he didn’t (81 wRC+). He was also surprisingly valuable with the glove, producing a positive OAA in left field for the first time in his career, putting his plus arm strength to good use, and finishing in between Steven Kwan and Daulton Varsho in DRS – despite playing significantly fewer games than either of them. That said, his sky-high defensive metrics were probably a little fluky, and we can’t just ignore his poor offensive numbers in 213 PA as a DH/pinch-hitter.

Randal Grichuk shared the outfield with Gurriel for three years in Toronto. He’ll take on a fourth outfielder role with Arizona and should get some starts against left-handed pitching when Joc Pederson sits and Gurriel moves to DH. Pederson could grab some starts in left field, too, especially if Gurriel misses time and Torey Lovullo doesn’t feel comfortable with Grichuk playing an everyday role. While Pederson’s outfield defense has been dreadful recently, he can be a middle-of-the-order bat when he has the platoon advantage.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Spencer Steer
315
.258
.340
.443
.340
3.0
-0.4
0.3
1.0

Jake Fraley
175
.249
.341
.432
.335
1.0
0.1
-0.4
0.5

Jonathan India
105
.254
.348
.419
.336
0.7
-0.1
-0.7
0.2

Stuart Fairchild
70
.229
.313
.397
.310
-1.0
-0.0
0.2
0.1

Will Benson
14
.226
.339
.412
.329
0.0
0.0
-0.0
0.0

Nick Martini
14
.240
.331
.396
.319
-0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Jacob Hurtubise
7
.248
.357
.338
.316
-0.1
0.0
0.0
0.0

Total
700
.251
.339
.430
.334
3.5
-0.4
-0.6
1.9

Noelvi Marte’s suspension relieves the early-season playing time crunch in Cincinnati (though the Reds likely aren’t thrilled with that or Matt McLain’s shoulder issue as a means of doing it), but the Reds still need Spencer Steer to play left field if they’re going to get all of their talented young hitters in the lineup. Steer has far more experience in the infield, but truthfully, he was never going to contribute much with the glove wherever he played.

Last season, Steer was a poor defender at first, second, and third base, as well as in the outfield. On the flip side, his offense was impressive in just about every way. He hit 23 home runs, stole 15 bases, and posted above-average numbers in all three triple-slash categories, en route to a 118 wRC+. That said, Steer didn’t hit the ball particularly hard, and he outperformed his xwOBA by 22 ticks. What’s more, his quality of contact numbers declined in the second half of the season, as did his wRC+. He has work to do if he wants to prove he’s an above-average left fielder.

Jake Fraley was an everyday player when healthy last year, and he should see regular playing time against right-handed pitching. He’ll split his starts between the outfield corners and DH, and he is a safe insurance policy if Steer misses time. Jonathan India has been getting some reps in left field this spring. Expect him to try his hand in the outfield too, although that course of action is less necessary in light of Marte’s suspension. Finally, Stuart Fairchild is out of options and gives manager David Bell a righty bat for the bench.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Matt Wallner
406
.234
.335
.426
.330
5.5
-0.8
-0.5
1.4

Willi Castro
140
.248
.308
.389
.303
-1.2
0.4
0.0
0.2

Trevor Larnach
105
.226
.320
.389
.310
-0.4
-0.2
-0.1
0.2

Manuel Margot
28
.269
.324
.398
.314
0.0
-0.0
-0.2
0.0

Alex Kirilloff
14
.256
.325
.421
.324
0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Austin Martin
7
.230
.330
.320
.296
-0.1
-0.0
-0.1
0.0

Total
700
.238
.327
.410
.321
3.9
-0.7
-0.8
1.9

Matt Wallner’s phenomenal rookie season was overshadowed by those of his teammates Royce Lewis and Edouard Julien. Yet, the 6-foot-5 outfielder hit the ball harder and hit for more power than either of his fellow rookies. Wallner led all Twins batters in xwOBA while trailing only Joey Gallo in isolated power. He also showed off his brute strength on the other side of the ball, leading AL outfielders in both average and maximum arm strength.

Wallner will need to keep hitting over a larger sample size than 76 games to convince the projections he’s a true middle-of-the-order bat, but he should be a valuable contributor in Minnesota’s lineup this year – especially if he cuts down his strikeouts and stops pulling so many groundballs. Meanwhile, if he can make the most of his arm strength (to make up for his subpar range), his defensive metrics will thank him.

Next up on the depth chart in Minnesota is superutilityman Willi Castro, who put up 2.5 WAR playing all over the field last season. Despite his strong performance in 2023, Castro remains without a regular spot in the Twins lineup. Former top prospect Trevor Larnach and recent trade acquisition Manuel Margot are around as additional depth.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Teoscar Hernández
448
.260
.312
.471
.333
6.0
-0.9
-1.2
1.4

Chris Taylor
168
.228
.316
.390
.308
-1.2
0.2
0.2
0.3

Enrique Hernández
56
.235
.300
.384
.297
-0.9
-0.1
-0.2
0.0

Miguel Vargas
21
.248
.331
.412
.324
0.1
-0.0
-0.1
0.0

Ryan Ward
7
.213
.270
.375
.279
-0.2
-0.0
0.0
-0.0

Total
700
.250
.312
.442
.324
3.8
-0.8
-1.2
1.8

There’s a good chance left field will be the Dodgers’ weakest position in 2024. Considering their primary left fielder is a former All-Star and a two-time Silver Slugger on a $23.5 million salary, this is just one more reminder of how fantastic the Dodgers are going to be.

Teoscar Hernández hit 29 doubles and 26 home runs last year, although his 105 wRC+ was a disappointment after three straight seasons with a wRC+ at or above 130. He may no longer be the version of himself that earned down-ballot MVP votes in 2020 and ‘21, but he will bring a capable right-handed bat to the lower half of the order. For their part, the Dodgers can try to help him rediscover some of the power and plate discipline he lost last season. If nothing else, Hernández should benefit from moving out of T-Mobile Park. His outsized home/road splits last year were partially a BABIP-induced fluke, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get a boost from playing in a more neutral offensive environment.

Chris Taylor is more comfortable in left field than right, so Hernández could switch sides when Taylor gets a start. Enrique Hernández is another backup option in left field, while former infield prospect Miguel Vargas is learning to play the outfield, too.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Michael Conforto
441
.248
.340
.408
.326
4.1
-0.7
-2.2
1.2

Austin Slater
133
.245
.331
.391
.317
0.3
0.2
-0.1
0.3

Luis Matos
77
.265
.324
.401
.317
0.1
-0.1
-0.5
0.1

Jorge Soler
42
.237
.328
.456
.336
0.7
-0.1
-0.2
0.1

Heliot Ramos
7
.235
.297
.381
.296
-0.1
-0.0
0.0
0.0

Total
700
.249
.336
.406
.324
5.1
-0.7
-3.1
1.8

Michael Conforto was a good left fielder the last time he played the position regularly, earning 5 OAA over just 84 games in 2018. Six years, three hamstring injuries, and one shoulder surgery later, he’ll need his bat to do most of the talking if he wants to be a significant contributor in left.

While Conforto has lost considerable speed and arm strength since his peak years with the Mets, his hard-hit numbers have remained relatively stable. So has his most important skill: his sense of the strike zone. Since his first full season, Conforto has never walked less than 10% of the time. He’s closer to average in every other offensive area, but if he keeps drawing his walks, he can be an above-average hitter overall. He may be another year older, but he’s also another year removed from his lost season in 2022.

Bob Melvin’s toughest task will be keeping Conforto as far away from same-handed pitching as possible. Fortunately, he has the righty-batting Austin Slater as his fourth outfielder. Unfortunately, Slater can only sub for one player at a time, and both Conforto and Mike Yastrzemski have poor platoon splits. DH Jorge Soler can play left field if necessary, but the Giants would surely prefer if former top 100 prospect Luis Matos earns the opportunity instead.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Luke Raley
266
.232
.315
.413
.318
1.8
0.1
-0.2
0.8

Dominic Canzone
252
.250
.306
.428
.315
1.2
-0.5
-0.5
0.6

Cade Marlowe
77
.216
.282
.360
.280
-1.9
0.1
0.9
0.1

Dylan Moore
49
.213
.313
.383
.306
-0.1
0.0
0.2
0.1

Samad Taylor
28
.230
.316
.354
.297
-0.3
0.1
-0.0
0.0

Sam Haggerty
21
.238
.313
.365
.299
-0.2
0.1
-0.1
0.0

Taylor Trammell
7
.208
.297
.373
.294
-0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Total
700
.235
.308
.406
.310
0.4
-0.1
0.3
1.7

The Mariners will replace Jarred Kelenic in left field using a pair of 20-something lefty batters with intriguing raw power. Hmm, sounds familiar.

Luke Raley posted strong overall numbers in 2023, highlighted by 19 home runs in 118 games. However, 15 of those homers came before the All-Star break. The version of Raley who had a .303 ISO before the break may not return, but the Mariners will hope they’re getting more than the version who had a .151 ISO for the rest of the season. Like many a power-hitting corner outfielder, Raley also boasts a strong arm. What’s more, he’s surprisingly quick on his feet; he stole 14 bases and contributed 3.8 BsR.

Meanwhile, Dominic Canzone struggled in his big league debut last year. However, he demolished Triple-A, posting a 151 wRC+ in 71 games. The 2024 season offers a clean slate, and the Mariners will give him another chance to earn a regular role at the big league level. His power might be his only plus tool, but he should be able to improve upon a 4.4% walk rate from his rookie season. Ultimately, Raley and Canzone both look like half of a solid outfield platoon. The problem, of course, is that the two halves don’t make a whole. It remains to be seen if either one can hold his own against left-handed pitching.

Cade Marlowe won’t be on the Opening Day roster, but he’s likely the first call-up in case of an injury. He’s yet another lefty, but he can offer Scott Servais a better defensive option for the outfield corners. Dylan Moore is the skipper’s best option if he wants to get a right-handed bat into the lineup.

Andrew Benintendi led the White Sox in plate appearances and defensive innings in 2023. Unfortunately, filling space was just about the only thing he did well. After signing the largest free agent contract in franchise history, the left fielder posted an 87 wRC+ and -11 OAA in his first season on the South Side.

However, Benintendi is still just 29 years old, and he came into the 2023 campaign with a career 109 wRC+ and 13.0 WAR. It’s reasonable to think he’ll bounce back into being a semi-productive player for at least a few more years. He has the skills to be a league-average hitter with double-digit homers and double-digit steals. Moreover, it’s hard to imagine his defensive numbers will be quite so lousy going forward.

Kevin Pillar is fighting for a 40-man spot this spring, and he’s a good bet to win Chicago’s fourth outfielder job out of camp. At 35 years old, he’s not the defensive whiz he once was, but he’s coming off of a season with 3 OAA in 81 games for Atlanta.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Esteury Ruiz
315
.249
.316
.369
.302
-1.8
2.5
-1.3
0.7

Brent Rooker
203
.231
.318
.447
.329
3.3
-0.3
-0.3
0.7

JJ Bleday
119
.213
.316
.382
.308
-0.1
-0.2
-1.6
0.1

Lawrence Butler
28
.236
.291
.381
.291
-0.4
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Miguel Andujar
14
.264
.314
.410
.312
0.0
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Seth Brown
14
.232
.298
.437
.314
0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Lazaro Armenteros
7
.201
.287
.341
.279
-0.2
-0.0
0.0
-0.0

Total
700
.237
.315
.396
.311
0.9
2.0
-3.2
1.6

Esteury Ruiz led the AL in stolen bases and BsR last season, using his legs to provide positive offensive value despite poor power and plate discipline. If he can improve just a smidge upon his first-percentile hard-hit rate and second-percentile walk rate, he will remain a positive offensive presence even if his baserunning numbers regress.

If Mark Kotsay wants a bigger bat in left field, Brent Rooker offers a more traditional corner outfield profile. He popped 30 home runs last year in his breakout season. Although he strikes out a ton, the power is real – as long as he puts the bat on the ball. Rooker is likely to get more playing time as the designated hitter, but the A’s can try to beef up their lineup by sliding Ruiz to center, putting Rooker in left, and giving Miguel Andujar or Tyler Soderstrom a chance at DH. Alright, maybe “beef up” is too strong of a term.

JJ Bleday put up 0.1 WAR in 303 PA last season, and the projections don’t envision much improvement. Still, he is arguably a better defender than Ruiz, so he’ll take over as the primary center fielder in 2024. That said, few positions on the A’s are set in stone. If Ruiz figures out how to make the most of his speed to cover more ground in center field, Bleday could return to a corner spot after all.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Jarred Kelenic
420
.242
.318
.422
.318
-1.4
-0.2
-0.4
0.8

Adam Duvall
217
.227
.287
.452
.314
-1.6
-0.4
-0.6
0.2

Marcell Ozuna
42
.254
.325
.475
.342
0.7
-0.1
-0.0
0.1

Forrest Wall
14
.239
.309
.345
.290
-0.4
0.1
0.0
0.0

Eli White
7
.207
.290
.333
.278
-0.3
0.0
0.1
-0.0

Total
700
.238
.308
.432
.317
-3.0
-0.7
-0.9
1.2

At the end of the day, the Braves didn’t have to give up much besides money to add former first-round pick Jarred Kelenic in a trade with the Mariners. Still, they must be hoping for a little more than 0.8 WAR from their primary left fielder in 2024. The Braves may have targeted Kelenic for his long-term potential and pre-arb status, but even if he’s batting eighth in the most dangerous lineup in baseball, you have to think Atlanta is taking the over on his projected 97 wRC+.

That said, the Braves are strong enough that they can afford to have a weak spot in left field if Kelenic hits more like he did in his last 60 games of 2023 (73 wRC+) than his first 45 (152 wRC+). Adam Duvall is back in the fold, and he’ll make plenty of starts against left-handed pitching if Kelenic can’t maintain his reverse platoon splits. The young lefty posted a 115 wRC+ against southpaws last season, but he has a 61 wRC+ against same-handed pitching in his short career.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Brandon Marsh
224
.247
.327
.398
.316
-0.9
0.2
0.5
0.5

Whit Merrifield
210
.255
.303
.371
.293
-4.9
0.3
-0.1
0.0

Kyle Schwarber
126
.221
.347
.481
.354
3.4
-0.4
-1.3
0.5

Cristian Pache
112
.228
.300
.360
.291
-2.8
-0.3
1.1
0.1

Jake Cave
21
.241
.310
.418
.314
-0.1
-0.0
0.1
0.0

Jordan Luplow
7
.219
.312
.406
.312
-0.1
-0.0
0.0
0.0

Total
700
.242
.318
.398
.312
-5.4
-0.1
0.4
1.1

How are the Phillies planning to split up playing time in left field? Your guess is as good as ours. We currently have four different outfielders taking at least 100 PA in left, with none covering the position more than one-third of the time.

The projections haven’t bought in on Brandon Marsh, despite his 125 wRC+ and 3.4 WAR in 2023. Perhaps his .397 BABIP has something to do with that, or the fact that only a couple of players overperformed their xBA by a higher margin. Nonetheless, Marsh will be an everyday player for the Phillies, at least against right-handed pitching. However, the amount of time he spends in left field depends on how often Johan Rojas is starting in center. Neither Whit Merrifield nor Cristian Pache is an everyday player, but they offer a right-handed alternative to Marsh. While Marsh looked capable with a 96 wRC+ in 110 PA against southpaws last season, Rob Thomson preferred to shield him from same-handed pitching down the stretch. Pache has the better glove, while Merrifield offers more offensive upside.

If Thomson really wants to go with his best offense, however, Kyle Schwarber is the way to do it. Philadelphia’s outfield defense will be much improved with Schwarber taking on DH duties in 2024, but he can still play the field as needed.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

MJ Melendez
420
.245
.329
.446
.334
4.1
-1.3
-5.9
0.7

Adam Frazier
70
.266
.326
.381
.310
-0.7
-0.1
-0.0
0.1

Nelson Velázquez
63
.238
.303
.435
.316
-0.3
-0.0
-0.4
0.1

Tyler Gentry
49
.245
.333
.384
.317
-0.2
-0.1
0.3
0.1

Nick Pratto
42
.221
.312
.394
.308
-0.5
-0.1
0.0
0.0

Dairon Blanco
35
.259
.323
.389
.312
-0.3
0.2
0.1
0.1

Drew Waters
21
.243
.313
.406
.313
-0.2
0.0
-0.1
0.0

Total
700
.246
.325
.427
.325
1.9
-1.4
-6.0
1.1

Kansas City already had a fixture behind the dish when MJ Melendez made his big league debut in 2022. To get his bat in the lineup, the Royals began transitioning Melendez to a new position; he played about a third of his games in the outfield corners during his rookie campaign. While his performance in the outfield wasn’t very impressive, his defensive metrics at catcher were so abysmal that the Royals decided to make him a full-time outfielder the following year.

Melendez is still just 25 years old, and it’s far too early to give up on the former top prospect. That said, looking at his past performance and future projections, you almost have to wonder if he should have stuck at catcher. The projections see him tapping into more of his raw power, cutting down his strikeouts, and posting a 108 wRC+. That would be an improvement upon his numbers to date, but it’s hardly notable for a corner outfielder. What’s more, his fielding was dreadful last season, and he has the worst defensive projection of anyone on this list. If his glove is going to be this much of a problem, the Royals might as well play him at a position where his bat would stand out. I’m being dramatic to make a point here, but only mildly so.

Journeyman Adam Frazier can expect a left field appearance here and there, while Nelson Velázquez can fill in if Matt Quatraro wants to run with a righty-heavy lineup.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Eddie Rosario
224
.248
.297
.418
.307
-2.6
-0.5
-1.0
0.1

Jesse Winker
210
.244
.354
.392
.331
1.8
-1.2
-1.5
0.4

Joey Gallo
70
.191
.314
.413
.317
-0.3
-0.1
0.5
0.2

Stone Garrett
70
.237
.291
.421
.305
-0.9
-0.0
0.3
0.1

Dylan Crews
63
.225
.289
.355
.283
-2.0
-0.3
0.7
-0.0

James Wood
35
.226
.296
.406
.304
-0.5
-0.0
-0.1
0.0

Alex Call
14
.236
.334
.378
.315
-0.1
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Ildemaro Vargas
14
.256
.303
.374
.294
-0.3
-0.0
0.1
0.0

Total
700
.237
.315
.402
.313
-4.9
-2.2
-1.0
0.8

With frighteningly little outfield depth on the 40-man roster, the Nationals are likely to go with a couple of veteran NRIs in left field to start the season. Eddie Rosario is coming off of a solid year in 2023 (100 wRC+, 1.3 WAR), but his projections are rough. Conversely, Jesse Winker is coming off the worst season of his career (65 wRC+, -0.8 WAR), but his projections for 2024 are rosier than Rosario’s. Indeed, according to our Depth Charts, his projected 107 wRC+ would be the highest on the team.

Joey Gallo is likely to play more first base and some DH, but he’s got a better glove than Rosario or Winker. He should get to play the outfield on occasion. Stone Garrett could also grab some starts in left field with a southpaw on the mound; Rosario, Winker, and Gallo all bat left-handed. Finally, top prospects Dylan Crews and James Wood won’t be rushed to the majors, but none of the other options will block the way if Crews or Wood is ready for a new challenge.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Bryan De La Cruz
350
.265
.317
.426
.321
-0.2
-0.8
-1.0
0.6

Nick Gordon
203
.257
.301
.407
.305
-2.7
-0.2
-1.4
0.0

Jon Berti
70
.255
.327
.368
.306
-0.9
0.2
-0.1
0.1

Avisaíl García
28
.235
.296
.382
.294
-0.6
-0.1
0.1
0.0

Dane Myers
21
.256
.313
.391
.307
-0.2
-0.0
-0.1
0.0

Jesús Sánchez
14
.252
.323
.445
.330
0.1
-0.0
0.0
0.0

Victor Mesa Jr.
7
.225
.277
.343
.272
-0.3
-0.0
0.0
-0.0

Jonathan Davis
7
.222
.310
.339
.290
-0.2
-0.0
0.0
-0.0

Total
700
.259
.312
.411
.313
-5.0
-0.9
-2.5
0.8

Given his poor performance over the past two seasons, the projections are surprisingly optimistic for Bryan De La Cruz. That said, when we’re talking about the 29th-ranked team, you have to take the words “surprisingly optimistic” with a grain of salt. De La Cruz was a potential breakout candidate heading into 2023 after the way he crushed the ball the year before. Unfortunately, he didn’t make as much hard contact as he did in 2022 and underperformed his expected metrics for the second consecutive year. With his poor defensive numbers, he’s going to need to make some changes at the plate to stick around in the Marlins lineup much longer.

Nick Gordon is coming off of a lost season, but he had a decent year in 2022, hitting for a 111 wRC+ while playing capable defense in left and center field. His BABIP was likely unsustainable, yet he underperformed his expected slugging percentage by a significant margin last year. It’s been a long time since Gordon was a top 100 prospect, but if he can be just a league-average hitter in a part-time role, the Marlins will have opportunities for him in the outfield.

Jon Berti is better suited for the infield, but he’s versatile enough to take some reps in the outfield if necessary. His speed is an asset anywhere he plays.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
Bat
BsR
Fld
WAR

Jurickson Profar
329
.237
.324
.366
.306
-1.7
-0.6
-2.2
0.3

Jackson Merrill
126
.252
.290
.386
.292
-2.1
-0.1
0.0
0.1

Jakob Marsee
77
.226
.328
.348
.303
-0.6
0.0
-0.1
0.1

Graham Pauley
63
.243
.308
.391
.305
-0.4
-0.1
-0.2
0.1

José Azocar
49
.239
.282
.348
.275
-1.5
0.0
0.0
-0.0

Tyler Wade
35
.225
.299
.309
.273
-1.2
0.1
-0.2
-0.0

Cal Mitchell
14
.237
.295
.373
.292
-0.2
-0.0
-0.0
0.0

Matthew Batten
7
.220
.299
.313
.275
-0.2
0.0
0.0
-0.0

Total
700
.239
.312
.366
.299
-8.0
-0.7
-2.7
0.5

The Padres have taken quite a tumble. At this time last year, San Diego sat atop the positional power rankings in left field. Juan Soto suited up for all 162 games, leading the team in home runs, wRC+, and WAR. Now, it’s Jurickson Profar who stands to get most of the playing time in left; his -2.0 WAR ranked last in the majors in 2023.

The Padres were clearly hoping for a bounce back when they signed Profar to a major league deal this winter. For what it’s worth, he had a 111 wRC+ and 2.5 WAR for the team in 2022. He also looked better in a brief stint with San Diego at the tail end of the 2023 season, putting up a 120 wRC+ in 14 games and earning back 0.1 WAR.

After putting Jackson Merrill on the Opening Day roster, the Padres are hoping he takes to his new position just as well as the last highly-touted young shortstop the team moved into an outfield role. Fellow rookie Graham Pauley, primarily a third baseman, also made the roster. He could grab some starts in left if he hits well enough to warrant the extra playing time. Jakob Marsee wasn’t on the Opening Day roster (or even the 40-man), but he gives Mike Shildt a backup plan with significantly more outfield experience than Pauley.

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