The Top 5 Right Fielders Heading into 2024
The right fielder’s position has arguably the best players under 30 years old in the game. It is also one of the most competitive positions in baseball, with an MVP and all-stars. The players are some of the game’s elite-tier hitters and true five-tool players. Now, who are the top 5 right fielders going into 2024?
Fernando Tatis Jr.
2023 was a year in which Fernando Tatis Jr. had to silence the naysayers following his steroid-suspended 2022 season. In 2023, he did just that, hitting 25 home runs and batting 257, with a WAR of 5.5. He also played exceptional defense at the position, finishing the year with a 2.3 defensive WAR, winning the gold and platinum glove. 2023 was only Tatis’ second season playing in the outfield, where he initially struggled after moving from Shortstop. Now, he has become an exceptional defender in the position to go along with his already impressive arm strength.
Tatis has to stay on the field in 2024 and continue to be the highly touted talent he was back in 2021, where he hit 42 home runs, batting 282, with an OPS of 975 and a WAR of 6.6. If Tatis can play regularly for the San Diego Padres, there is a strong chance of them recovering from a down 2023 season.
The 2023 NL Rookie of the Year, Corbin Carroll, burst on the scene, leading the league in triples with 10. This goes along well with his 54 stolen bases, 25 home runs, a 285 batting average, and a WAR of 5.4. Those are very impressive numbers for a rookie, and Carroll’s performance significantly helped the Arizona Diamondbacks defy all expectations and win the NL Pennant. The only flaw in Carroll’s game was his defense, where he finished with a -0.7 defensive WAR. If he can improve his defensive performance, which shouldn’t be too tricky considering his incredible athleticism, he could spearhead another great season for the Diamondbacks.
Kyle Tucker is one of the game’s less-heard household names. Over the past three seasons, Tucker has been one of baseball’s best players, and 2023 was no exception. He finished the year with a 284 batting average, 29 home runs, 30 stolen bases, an 886 OPS, and a WAR of 5.4. Tucker is also one of the best defenders in the game, winning the gold glove back in 2022, where he finished the season with a 0.9 defensive WAR. Along with his incredible range, he also has an elite throwing arm, averaging around 90 mph on his throws. However, what makes him such a dangerous bat in the Astros lineup is that you forget he is there. When you play with Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez, pitchers will be more concerned about them than you.
Henceforth, this is why Tucker has succeeded in Houston and is always a sneaky pick to win an MVP. If Tucker can continue to grow as a player and pair well with the other great hitters in the Astros lineup, he could finally win an MVP.
Regarded as the best left-handed hitter in the game, Juan Soto had an exceptional 2023 season. He hit a career-high 37 home runs, batted 275, with an OPS of 930, and finished with a WAR of 5.5. Soto is one of the best hitters in baseball for various reasons, such as his production at the plate by driving in runs and consistently getting on base. Over his six full major league seasons, Soto has led the league in walk in half of them. In fact, in those three seasons where he led the league in walks, he also struck out less than he walked. Soto’s ability to get on base and hit for power and high average makes him an elite hitter and the best on this list.
However, his defense has a glaring weakness, as he has never had a positive defensive WAR in any entire Major League season. If Soto is going to challenge for the number one spot in the future, he has to improve his defensive capabilities, as he is already the best hitter at the position. Soto should also have a big year in pinstripes as he will be teaming up with Aaron Judge in a ballpark that will favor his swing.
Ronald Acuna Jr.
The best right fielder is Ronald Acuna Jr. following a historic 2023 season where he won the NL MVP. Acuna led baseball in almost every major category, batting 337, with 41 home runs, an immense 73 stolen bases, and a WAR of 8.2. He was a force to be reckoned with in 2023, and what further helped Acuna was the incredible lineup around him. Pitchers couldn’t simply walk him to pitch to another batter because his teammates also had historic years. It wouldn’t have been wise to walk him since he stole more bases than any other player. Pitchers were left in a dilemma which Acuna exploited to his advantage.
If Acuna and his teammates can keep up what they accomplished in 2023, he can undoubtedly win a second consecutive MVP in 2024.
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