The Determinator: Right Fielders 2022 (#5-1)
For the last two years, I have been ranking every starting player in the MLB by position in a system I’ve dubbed The Determinator. I don’t worry about projection systems, I look only at how well a player did that last year, analyze the data, and showcase who was and will be the best for the upcoming season.
Welcome back to The Determinator.
Today we continue with the #5-1 Right Fielders!
The Determinator: My General Methodology
The Determinator is a ranking system that is built upon the analyzation of 16 carefully chosen stats through a very simplistic system of comparisons. Some of these stats are more classical (Games Played, Home Runs, etc.), others are more advanced (wRC+, WAR, etc.). From this come 7 offensive stats, 4 defensive, 2 baserunning, and 3 general stats, set to contribute towards the importance of each part of the game.
The Offensive stats are: AVG/OBP/SLG, wRC, wRC+, HR, and Off (Fangraphs)
The Defensive stats are: Fielding, DRS, UZR (or Framing for Catchers), and Def (Fangraphs)
The Baserunning stats are: Stolen Bases and BsR (Fangraphs)
The Overall stats are: Games Played, Innings at Position, and fWAR (Fangraphs)
After determining this list of statistics, I then had to input each into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet I sorted how each player did in each statistic from best-to-worst. If you were top 5 in a category, you got ranked as a ‘Green’. Top 6-10 was a ‘Yellow’. And, Top 11-15 was labelled as a ‘Red’. The number of each ranking was counted- so it was possible to come out with a score of zero- and given values of 5, 3, and 1 respectively.
Key Note: If player/s across a statistic had the same numbers across a border- for example the 5th and 6th players with the most Home Runs- then they would both be counted as the better ranking- in this case both ‘Green’ or 5 points- and replace one spot from the following ranking- in this case a ‘Yellow’ or 3 points. This could also stretch some statistics to include more ‘Red’ players who had equal stats to the 15th best.
Additionally, if no stats were recorded in a counting statistic that could fit into a ranking- as is seen with Catchers and Stolen Bases- then no ranking is given to those players. This would greatly increase the number of points given out, and lessen the value of each point. This is not true for advanced metrics that can produce negative values- as also is seen with Catchers and BsR.
The results were then tallied, sorted from greatest to least, and a ranking was created.
Finally, player age, 2022 salary, and contract status, were all not considered in this experiment. This is entirely statistic-based.
In order to quality for ranking by The Determinator, a player must’ve had at least 250 plate appearances during the 2021 season and at least 500 innings played at the position in question.
Number 5: Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves
Top-5: OBP, SLG, SB, wRC+, BsR, Off, WAR, Def
Top-10: AVG, Fld, UZR
Top-15: HR, DRS
Total Score: 51
Had Ronald Acuna kept the pace he was at last season- 4.2 fWAR/3.6 bWAR over 82 games- he likely would’ve led in the MLB across both WAR metrics. However, on July 10th while attempting to make a play in right field Acuna completely tore his right ACL and was out for the rest of the year. (Acuna is still rehabbing and is not playing in any Spring Training games this year, so when he comes back is still in question.)
Barring any major setbacks from this injury, Acuna is still set to be/stay one of the games elite players in 2022. Acuna is a solid hitter as he hits for a good average and has great power. Acuna is also a top-tier baserunner, which I really hope does not go away from this recent injury.Embed from Getty Images
Number 4: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
Top-5: AVG, OBP, SLG, HR, SB, wRC, wRC+, Off, WAR, Innings
Top-15: Games, Fld, UZR, Def
Total Score: 54
If you know me, you already know what I want to say here about Bryce Harper. (How they let this guy go ANYWHERE ELSE besides the Bronx is a joke. I will never get over it.) We’re looking at the reigning NL MVP in this slot and he has the numbers to back it up: a 6.6 fWAR/5.9 bWAR, along with an MLB-leading .615 SLG, 1.044 OPS, and 170 wRC+/179 OPS+. Combine this with 35 Home Runs and an MLB-leading 42 doubles, and wow oh wow did Bryce Harper showcase his superstar abilities again.
Now, Bryce Harper is also just an average right-field defender. It is important to note that while his offense is so good, he won’t be winning gold gloves any day soon. Nevertheless, Bryce Harper will be a Hall of Famer some day. It is just a shame he won’t be wearing a Yankees hat on his plaque.Embed from Getty Images
Number 2 (Tied): Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
Top-5: Games, AVG, OBP, wRC, wRC+, Off, WAR, Innings
Top-10: SLG, HR, SB, Fld, UZR
Top-15: DRS, Def
Total Score: 57
From one left-handed hitting, perfect bat for Yankee Stadium, Washington National right fielder to another. (Yes, I’ve been getting my hopes up about Juan Soto for a number of years now.) The runner-up for the NL MVP voting, Juan Soto, actually beats out his former teammate by The Determinator due to his better defensive numbers.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Soto is just as good a hitter as Harper was last year, putting up a .313/.465/.534/.999 triple-slash (including an MLB-leading OBP and an MLB-leading 145 walks that included an MLB-leading 23 intentional walks). He’s as patient as a monk and as powerful as the buddha. Some people are saying his future contract will pass $500 Million and considering he’s averaged over 6 WAR in his 4 year career, that may come true. Dang.Embed from Getty Images
Number 2 (Tied): Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Top-5: OBP, SLG, HR, wRC, wRC+, Off, WAR, DRS
Top-10: Games, AVG, Fld, UZR, Def
Top-15: SB, Innings
Total Score: 57
Speaking of contracts (though The Determinator does not worry about matters of financials), we end up on a player that is said to be in current talks with his team on a long-term deal: Aaron Judge.
Make no mistake about it, Aaron Judge is the real deal. He’s a legitimate superstar in the MLB and his playing in New York City for the New York Yankees only boosts that profile. While I will sour on the Yankees and may think a long-term investment into Judge may be counterproductive, I also don’t want the Yankees to lose him. Heck, there’s a reason “All Rise” has become synonymous with hitting a home run in the modern day lexicon.
The only problem with Judge- which didn’t happen in 2021- is that he has had a tendency to get hurt and miss games. However, if he can stay healthy (which is a big ask considering his size) he should continue to be a major force in helping lead the Yankees for the future. Add in a gold glove-caliber glove and you have the complete package here.Embed from Getty Images
Number 1: Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros
Top-5: AVG, SLG, SB, wRC, wRC+, BsR, Off, WAR, Innings, DRS
Top-10: OBP, HR
Top-15: Games, UZR
Total Score: 58
Kyle Tucker may be one of the most underrated players in the MLB. He placed 20th in the AL MVP voting this past season even though he put up a .917 OPS (which was 8th best in the MLB), hit 30 home runs, and put up 4.8 fWAR/5.7 bWAR. Add in the fact that he was a solid defender for a right fielder and you’ll understand why his lack of stature is interesting. Though, it shouldn’t be too surprising.
Such is the way when you’re competing at a position with the darling of New York City (Aaron Judge), one of the greatest pure hitters since Ted Williams (Juan Soto), a $330 Million Man (Bryce Harper), and the greatest bargain in baseball (Ronald Acuna Jr.). Hey, Kyle Tucker may not have any notable presence in the media, but behind the curtain he put up the best overall right field season in 2021 and could very well do so again in 2022.Embed from Getty Images
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.