2017 AL East Positional Rankings: Outfielders, designated hitters and benches - Page 4 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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Right Field

1. Mookie Betts, Red Sox
2. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
3. Seth Smith, Orioles
4. Aaron Judge, Yankees
5. Steven Souza Jr., Rays

Betts, the runner-up for 2016 AL MVP, is the unquestioned star of the division, and he’s only 24. He’ll be a thorn in the side of his AL East opponents for a long time to come. As for thorns in the side, Bautista fits that description in an entirely different way, considering how many Orioles he has irritated with his on-field antics over the years. (Just ask Dan Duquette, who said the club wouldn’t pursue Bautista in free agency because Baltimore fans don’t like him.) Even coming off a down year, it’s hard to count out Bautista — who has 249 home runs since 2010.

The Orioles acquired the veteran Smith to help their on-base ability, although he was out of commission for most of the spring with a right hamstring strain. Weak against lefties, he’ll need a platoon partner such as Gentry or Rickard. Judge fared poorly in a 27-game tryout with the Yankees last season, but the verdict isn’t in yet. He has light-tower power and plenty of potential. Souza, on the other hand, hasn’t fulfilled the potential the Rays once thought he had.

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