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

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.



  1. Bancells Moustache

    April 1, 2017 at 9:44 am

    I don’t know Paul, while I can agree the O’s bench isn’t top notch, calling it completely worthless is a bit over the top. Mancini is a wild card, and any team that had to stick a former All-Star down on the farm just to give him a paycheck can’t be that desperate.

    • Paul Folkemer

      April 1, 2017 at 10:52 am

      It’s not completely worthless, and in fact the bench could play a much more important role this year with platoons in both LF and RF. But in recent years it’s seemed as if the Orioles’ regulars get very few days off because Buck isn’t comfortable with his backup options, particularly in the infield.

      It’s true that the addition of Mancini gives the Orioles a pinch-hitting option — he hadn’t been announced to the roster when I wrote that, so that changes things a bit. But even still, I’m not sure how long he’ll be around. He could be squeezed off the roster once the team needs a fifth starter on April 15.

  2. Stacey

    April 1, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I wish Kevin Kiermaier was an Oriole. That would be swell.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 2, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Well, the Rays just locked him up for a while. So that will have to wait.

  3. Eldersburg Enigma

    April 2, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Didn’t realize just how poor overall the corner outfield spots are in this division (outside of Beantown). Yikes!

    • Dan Connolly

      April 2, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Yeah. And Boston might have the best overall outfield in baseball cuz those guys are all young.

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