Revisiting AL East Position Rankings: Outfield - Page 2 of 6 -

Paul Folkemer

Revisiting AL East Position Rankings: Outfield

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Left Field

April rankings:

  1. Brett Gardner, Yankees
  2. Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox
  3. Hyun Soo Kim, Orioles
  4. Colby Rasmus (injured)/Mallex Smith, Rays
  5. Ezequiel Carrera, Blue Jays

Hey, occasionally I get one right. I ranked Gardner as the best left fielder in the division in April, and he indeed ended up being the best this year. Gardner provided a little bit of everything: on-base skills (.350 OBP), speed (23 steals in 28 attempts) and even power (a career-high 21 homers). He also played his usual strong defense.

Benintendi was my preseason pick for AL Rookie of the Year. He won’t win that award (because of a fellow AL East outfielder you’ve probably heard of), but he had a productive rookie season with 20 homers, 90 RBIs and a .776 OPS.

The other three teams all had a revolving door in left field, with nobody starting more than 87 games there. The expected Rays’ duo of Rasmus and Smith combined for just 33 starts, while Corey Dickerson — their expected DH — got the bulk of the playing time in left, providing a quality bat but iffy defense.

For the Orioles, Trey Mancini settled in at left in the second half after Kim flamed out, but only 10 of Mancini’s 24 homers came as a left fielder. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays used eight starting left fielders, led by Carrera and ex-Oriole Steve Pearce, with unremarkable results.

End-of-season rankings:

  1. Gardner, Yankees
  2. Benintendi, Red Sox
  3. Dickerson and company, Rays
  4. Mancini and company, Orioles
  5. Pearce/Carrera, Blue Jays



  1. OsFanStuckInNY

    October 18, 2017 at 8:08 am

    I had to skim a lot of this. So depressing to revisit the train wreck of 2017. (Apologies to anyone related to an actual train wreck.)

    Dreading your next installment.
    That said, I’m guessing the Astros might come shopping for bullpen help this winter. Do they have starters to spare?

    • Bancells Moustache

      October 18, 2017 at 10:30 am

      This winter? I wouldn’t be surprised if they called Dan Duquette and had an Uber sitting outside of Zach Britton’s house during the eighth inning last night. “Listen Dan, I know its a little late, but you remember that conversation we had in July…”

  2. Orial

    October 18, 2017 at 9:03 am

    This proves there’s a lot more to address than the pitching.

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      October 18, 2017 at 11:51 am

      I think what is most frustrating is the amount of talent on this team that consistently underperforms. I know it is a long season and it must be a challenge to be “up” every moment of the game, but with all the multi-millionaires on the team, I’d hope for more consistency and a “put the ball in play” and “at least pitch it where they *might* swing” approach.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 18, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      More to address than our pitching? I respectfully but totally disagree. Our lineup and bench are solid and deep.

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      October 18, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      The abominable starting pitching was a given. That wasn’t frustrating, that was horrifying — and embarrass.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 18, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Mr. Folkemer, I have but one bone to chew with you. I believe it was a bit unfair of you to use the term “flame out” when describing what happened with the Hitting Machine this year. “Phased out” would be more appropriate in my opinion, considering Mr. Kim was never really given a fighting chance by our management in 2017. Hyun Soo was never anything but a professional considering his overall treatment by the organization, especially this past season. For whatever reason, I believe Buck screwed the pooch in this case.

    • Paul Folkemer

      October 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      I can’t argue too much with that. I was definitely surprised by how little of an opportunity Kim got this year.

      Although I will say that when he did get his chances, he didn’t do much with them. I just thought he would have a longer leash after leading the team in OBP in 2016.

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