Mike Trout has the highest WAR in baseball, and therefore the Angels outfield has one of the highest WAR in baseball. This does not necessarily translate to the Angels having the best outfield in baseball. Brian Goodwin and Kole Calhoun have performed well the majority of the season while Justin Upton has struggled recovering from a spring training injury. While they are some of the best, they do not form the best overall outfield in MLB.
The title of the best outfield in baseball goes to the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
Mookie Betts won the American League MVP award last year. Jackie Bradley, Jr. is a perennial Gold Glove-caliber center fielder, and Andrew Benintendi is a clutch performer in front of the Green Monster. This trio helped lead the Red Sox to their fourth World Series title in the past 15 years last season. Although the offensive production has dipped a little from last season’s performance, this trio is the best overall outfield of talent in Major League Baseball. Since the beginning of last season, the BoSox outfield has the highest combined WAR in baseball. Since 2016, the Red Sox trio (along with the aforementioned Kole Calhoun) have more outfield assists than any other American League outfielders. In the event any of these three need a day off, the Red Sox have to settle for 2018 Hank Aaron Award winner J.D. Martinez in the corner outfield.
The Next Bests
Houston Astros outfielder George Springer can bat anywhere in the line-up while splitting time between center and right. The acquisition of Michael Brantley from Cleveland this past winter has proven to be one of the best additions of the off-season. Jake Marisnick and Josh Reddick provide some of the best defense in their positions when they are dividing time in the third outfield spot. Houston’s quartet of outfielders will be key to the Astros attempt to capture their second World Series title in three years this October.
The New York Yankees have not benefited this season from the breakthrough performance of Aaron Hicks like they did a year ago. The Yankees have rather seen another star rise in his place. Mike Tauchman was jettisoned from Colorado Rockies to the Yankees in a small trade in March. He has certainly taken advantage of his opportunity in The Bronx. Along with Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner, the Yankees field the only starting outfielders to all have a WAR above 3.0 this season (through the end of August). This makes the Yankees the most well-rounded outfield performers of this season.
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich has risen above all outfielders not playing in Los Angeles the past two seasons. He’s also joined by a talented duo in the Brew Crew’s outfield. Lorenzo Cain in center and Ryan Braun in left provide a trio of sluggers that make up the heart and soul of Milwaukee’s lineup. While Braun is not the dominant slugger he was five to six years ago, his inclusion in this outfield makes them one of the top five in baseball.
I wouldn’t disagree with anybody giving the title of “best outfield in baseball” to any of these four outfields. But while they most likely will not repeat as champions this year, the Red Sox can still boast having the best outfield in the game.