Ranking the Top 30 Outfielders for 2023: Part 1 (30-21)

Bryant

Welcome to Part VI of ranking the best players at each position. 

This list is strictly predicting how these players will perform in 2023. Does that mean last year doesn’t matter? Absolutely not. Last season matters the most. However, this list also factors in how the players have performed since 2020, how much they progressed or regressed, and if 2022 was just an outlier.

Rather than ranking each outfield position, I decided to mix them all in one list. So this will be three parts, 30 players in total.

Without further ado, here are numbers 30-21.

Honorable Mentions: Teoscar Hernandez, Randy Arozarena, Jake McCarthy, Mark Canha, Kyle Schwarber, Lars Nootbaar

30. Adolis Garcia

After a slow start to his career from 2018-2020, Garcia has turned himself into a really good player in the past two seasons. Last year he hit 27 Home Runs, drove in 101 runs, had a .300 OBP, .766 OPS, and a 112 WRC+. In the field, he had 4 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 1 OAA (Outs Above Average). The Rangers have a bunch of talented guys on their team, and they have the potential to be very good. There is a very solid chance that Garcia will be an X factor for this team.

29. Michael Conforto

There is a very high chance that this will age horribly. Conforto is coming off an injury where he did not play all of last season, and he was underwhelming in 2021. With this being said, he has too much talent to just not have anything left in him. From 2019-2020, his 162-game average is 33 Home Runs, 97 RBIs, a .274 Batting Average, .376 OBP, .875 OPS, and 135 WRC+. He certainly underachieved in 2021, but with this being said, many believe part of the reason is that he tested positive for Covid the beginning of the season. Though there are good reasons to be pessimistic about his recovery, the fact he took his time coming back could lead him to be well-rested and have a solid 2023.

28. Andrew Benintendi

Benintendi is coming off a relatively good 2022, in which he made his first All-Star Game. He spent a majority of the season with the Royals and then got traded to the Yankees before the trade deadline. Benintendi was better with the Royals but still solid with both. For the whole season, he batted .304, had a .373 OBP, 772 OPS, and 122 WRC+. However, he was below average in the field, with 2 DRS and 0 OAA. Over the offseason, Benintendi signed with the White Sox. It will sure be interesting seeing how he does in his new home.

27. Masataka Yoshida

The 5′ 9 29 year old from Japan will make his major league debut this year and will likely be the starting left fielder for the Red Sox. In the last three years in Japan, he has had .966, .983, and 1.007 OPS seasons. Yoshida accomplished a lot outside of the MLB, and the league is undoubtedly looking forward to seeing how he plays.

26. Seiya Suzuki

Suzuki’s rookie season was one of the only positives of the Cub’s 2022 season. Suzuki had a 336 OBP, .769 OPS, and 116 WRC+. He was a negative in the field, with a -4 DRS and OOA. The Cubs spent a lot of money this offseason on a bunch of good but not great players. I would not expect anything too big from the Cubs as a team. However, if I were to guess anything to be positive for the Cubs this year, it would be Suzuki taking a big leap.

25. Daulton Varsho

Varsho will have a new home in 2023. After spending all his career with the Diamondbacks, he signed with the Blue Jays over the offseason. Last year he hit 27 Home Runs, had a .302 OBP, .745 OPS, and a 106 WRC+. Though these numbers certainly are not great, he has improved yearly. What puts him higher on this list is his defense. He is debatably the best defensive player in the league. Last year he had 19 DRS (2nd among outfielders) and 17 OAA (1st among outfielders). People might think someone with a career 101 WRC+ ranked at 25 might be too high. With this being said, he is well on his way up, and if he continues his elite defense, he will for sure be Top 20 one day.

24. Steven Kwan

Kwan had one of the best rookie seasons in the league with the Guardians in 2022. He batted .298, had a .373 OBP, a .772 OPS, and a 124 WRC+. He was also fantastic in the field, with 15 DRS and 8 OAA. The Guardians are going to be one of the more exciting teams to watch in the league this year, and Kwan will be the main reason for that.

23. Harrison Bader

Bader was undoubtedly disappointing in the first half of 2022 with the Cardinals, and it only got worse when he got traded to the Yankees at the trade deadline. Part of this was because of his foot injury in June, but it honestly might have been mental problems in his new home. His WRC+ fell 24 points (from 110 to 86) from 2021 to 2022. In addition to this, both his DRS and OAA fell 16 and 7 points. There are reasons to be pessimistic about Bader this season, and most of them are valid, but most guys tend to be better in the second year with a team. This is especially when that new team is the Yankees.

22. Kris Bryant

In his first season in Colorado, Bryant only played 42 games. He hurt his back twice and his foot three times. The last game he played was on July 31st. Even though these injuries are concerns, I would expect a great season from him. Though it was a small sample size, when Bryant was playing, he was pretty good. He batted .306, had a .376 OBP, .851 OPS, and a 125 WRC+. He was a negative in the field with -5 DRS and -2 OAA. I would expect him to improve in this area since this was his first year in Colorado and his first year in the outfield primarily.

21. Taylor Ward

Ward had a career year last year. He hit 23 Home Runs, batted .281, had a .360 OBP, .833 OPS, and a 137 WRC+. He was a slight negative in the field, where he had -3 DRS and 1 OAA. The Angels are going to be one of the bigger stories in the league this year. Obviously, you should be contenders when your team has probably the two best players in the league. This has not been the case for the Angels. With this being said, this is perhaps the best team they have had in years. If the Angels make a playoff run this year, Ward will be a main reason for it.

Conclusion:

A good amount of these guys have a ton to prove this upcoming season. It will be fascinating to see which of these guys end up in the Top 20 after this season.


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