2017 AL East Positional Rankings: Outfielders, designated hitters and benches - Page 3 of 6 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Paul Folkemer

2017 AL East Positional Rankings: Outfielders, designated hitters and benches

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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Center Field

1. Kevin Kiermaier, Rays
2. Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
3. Adam Jones, Orioles
4. Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays
5. Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees

AL East center fielders are a stellar group as a whole. The only one who’s clearly not on the same tier as the others is the declining Ellsbury, who seems as if he’s aged 10 years since joining the Yankees three seasons ago.

Ranking the other four is no easy task. Ultimately, Kiermaier’s otherworldly defensive prowess earns him the No. 1 spot, just as it recently earned him a six-year, $53 million extension with Tampa Bay. Oh, and he’s a pretty decent hitter, too. Bradley is also well known for his slick leather, but he was actually the best offensive center fielder in the division in 2016, posting an .835 OPS with 26 homers and 87 RBIs.

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There’s no denying Jones’ track record — five All-Star  appearances, four Gold Gloves — but he’s coming off a bit of a down year, as his .746 OPS was his worst since 2008. A return to full health for Jones, who was banged up for much of 2016, could be just what the doctor ordered. As for Pillar, he’s another wizard with the glove, but his poor bat dampens his overall value.

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