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The Determinator: Outfielders #30-26

The Determinator has moved on to the collection of outfielders in the MLB. A position where players move so frequently, we changed the formula to account for time spent across the outfield.

Today I will reveal the #30-#26 Outfielders in the MLB and tomorrow, I will announce the #25-21 outfielders in the MLB. For a background about The Determinator, see my article about my methodology, changes for 2021, and schedule, here.

 

The Determinator: Outfield-Specific Information

To easily work through and cut-down the list of 396 different players who played any amount of time in the outfield (316 in Left, 198 in Center, and 278 in Right) during the past two seasons, I set-up two boundaries to keep it as close to having only starters:

They must’ve had at least 350 PA’s over the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

They must’ve had at least 750 innings combined in the outfield over the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

This limited the number of outfielders down to 96.

However, without further ado, let’s get to the first of six days on the outfield:

If an outfielder led a statistic, it will be bolded.

(Click here see how the methodology changed.)

 

Number 30: Brett Gardner, Free Agent

Top-5: None

Top-10: None

Top-15: None

Top-25: HR, BsR, Off, WAR, Innings

Top-35: Games, SLG, SB, wRC, wRC+, Fld, DRS, UZR

Top-50: OBP

Total Score: 32Embed from Getty Images

Last year’s #10 center fielder, the current free agent outfielder has spent his entire professional career (since 2005!) in the New York Yankees organization. Now 37 years old, there are major questions on whether or not the Yankees will bring him back for a final season to have one last shot to play in front of the fans (if permissable). Gardner had a miraculous 2019 season where he- for the first time in his career- had a SLG over .500 (at .503) while cranking out positive numbers across the game on offense (+15.0), defense (+2.5), and baserunning (+4.6), but it was pretty clearly his last hurrah. Though, as he went negative in defense (-0.2), he was still slightly positive on offense (+2.2) and baserunning (+0.3) in 2020. If he finds a way to play in 2021, it’ll almost definitely be his last, but he still should provide positive fWAR (on pace for 1.6 in 2020), but he’s destined for the bench.

 

Number 29: Manuel Margot, Tampa Bay Rays

Top-5: None

Top-10: SB, BsR

Top-15: Fld, UZR

Top-25: Games, DRS

Top-35: Innings

Top-50: WAR

Total Score: 33Embed from Getty Images

Tied for 11th at Center Field last year, Margot just missed The Determinator and found himself a Tampa Bay Ray going into the 2020 season after being traded for Emilio Pagan. A defensive speed-based outfielder, he did improve upon his continuous negative offensively valued seasons with a better 2020 season (+0.1), even if below average with the bat (wRC+ of 93). A lot of this is due to his high ranking as a base-runner these past two seasons (+6.6 with 32 SB’s) as he also played a very good defense (+8.5). After parts of 5 years in the MLB, Margot is still going into just his age-26 season and his trajectory looks like he could be an average hitter this year. If he can do so, he’ll likely crack the Top-10 center fielders list next year.

 

Number 27 (Tied): Ramon Laureano, Oakland Athletics

Top-5: None

Top-10: None

Top-15: BsR, WAR

Top-25: wRC+, Off, Innings

Top-35: HR, SB, wRC, Fld, UZR

Top-50: Games, AVG, OBP, SLG, DRS

Total Score: 34Embed from Getty Images

After a break-out 2019 season, Laureano found himself as The Determinator’s 6th best center fielder going into 2020. He did take a step back with a poor 2020 that is likely not indicative of what he can do as he is a complete all-around outfielder, as shown by his ranking in all 15 metrics (Def was dropped). Parts of his offensive drop can be explained from his going from a .342 BABIP (2019) to a .270 BABIP (2020) which brought his AVG, SLG, and ISO down. However, Laureano did jump from a 5.6% BB-rate (2019) to a 10.8% BB-rate (2020), which helped him still collected 1.3 fWAR (after 3.9 fWAR in 2019). He’s a solid defensive center fielder, and if he can stay an above-average hitter, there is a good shot Laureano finds himself back near the Top-5 center fielders again in 2021.

 

Number 27 (Tied): Nicholas Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds

Top-5: None

Top-10: Games, Innings

Top-15: wRC

Top-25: SLG, HR, Off

Top-35: AVG, wRC+, WAR

Top-50: None

Total Score: 34Embed from Getty Images

The #11th ranked Right Fielder going into 2020, he declined the opt-out in the first year of his 4-Year/$64M contract he signed last offseason. After back-to-back seasons above 2.5 fWAR in 2018 (+2.9) and 2019 (+2.7), he did have a poor 2020 season going negative on offense (-0.6) for the first time since 2015. Castellanos has never been a good defender (which is why he transitioned to the outfield) so most of his value needs to come from his bat. While 2020 looks like an outlier with a .257 BABIP (career of .329) and a 28.5% K-rate (career 23.4%), Castellanos does gain value in being a very healthy player, being in 96.15% of his teams games since 2017 including all 60 in 2020.

 

Number 26: Kevin Pillar, Free Agent

Top-5: Games, Innings

Top-10: BsR

Top-15: None

Top-25: SB

Top-35: wRC

Top-50: AVG, HR, WAR, Fld, UZR

Total Score: 37Embed from Getty Images

The #11 center fielder from last year (tied with Margot), Pillar has moved between 4 organizations in the last two years: TOR, SFG, BOS, and COL. Currently a free agent and just 32-years old, it is a bit surprising he hasn’t been able to find a team willing to give him a contract for 2021. (Although it did take until February 14th for him to sign last year.) Like Castellanos, he has been a healthy player, making 93.58% of his teams games since 2017. Traditionally a glove-first center fielder, Pillar went positive on offense (+3.5) in 2020 for the first time since 2015 with a 106 wRC+. Even though it should be expected for Pillar to go under again for 2021, he does still have some value if a team can get him on a cheap deal like he signed last year a 1-Year/$4.25 Million.

 

Reminder:

The Determinator is a way I used to determine the best players at each position. Like any metric or formula, I am sure it has flaws. No statistical compilation is perfect. That being said, The Determinator, seems pretty effective at assigning player values. I’m pleased with what I have found using this method and hope this is a conversation starter for many.

#TheDeterminator

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