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2012 OPS projections: top 10 right fielders

Feb 13, 2012, 11:00 PM EDT

Jose Bautista Reuters

Saving the best for last, here are the top 10 right fielders:

1.008 – Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) – 547 AB – 1.056 in 2011
.958 – Justin Upton (D-backs) – 574 AB – .898 in 2011
.911 – Mike Stanton (Marlins) – 560 AB – .893 in 2011
.868 – Jason Heyward (Braves) – 513 AB – .708 in 2011
.866 – Shin-Soo Choo (Indians) – 548 AB – .733 in 2011
.861 – Jay Bruce (Reds) – 570 AB – .814 in 2011
.856 – Hunter Pence (Phillies) – 597 AB – .871 in 2011
.853 – Nelson Cruz (Rangers) – 493 AB – .821 in 2011
.839 – Andre Ethier (Dodgers) – 563 AB – .789 in 2011
.833 – Nick Markakis (Orioles) – 612  AB – .756 in 2011

- Technically, the first base list was a little stronger, but that’s because I included Miguel Cabrera there. Put him at third base instead and right field would take the cake. Right field also has plenty of depth, with Nick Swisher, Corey Hart, Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Beltran all projected for OPSs over .820.  In all, I have 18 right fielders projected higher than the No. 9 left fielder.

- Of course, this top 10 list is assuming that there will be some bounce-back seasons, most notably from Heyward, who had an .849 OPS as a rookie in 2010, and Choo, who came in at .883 in 2009 and .885 in 2010. Choo is the safer bet there. Heyward’s talent is undeniable, but he could go in a lot of directions this year, and I may adjust his projection based on how his reworked swing performs this spring.

- As for the bottom of the list, well, it’s another Astro, of course. Brian Bogusevic places last among semi-regular right fielders with a .690 OPS projections. I don’t see anyone else who projects as truly abysmal. Josh Reddick is next on the list with a .712 OPS. Ichiro comes in at .721.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    Wow, predicting a big comeback year for Jason Heyward. Any particular reason why? Also, I like your prediction for Pence although I think he will have an even bigger year than you think.

    • stex52 - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      Personally, I like Pence a lot, but I think the OPS projected is pretty reasonable. The key for him is plate discipline. He looks like he made a step last year from his previous history, and that’s great. But when he gets out of sync, his swing gets a little bit of a loop. And all of a sudden those outside sliders in the dirt on the first and second pitches look too good to resist. He is of an age where he might have matured to the next level; his Philly numbers seem to suggest it. It would be great, but we will have to see how he does. Philly will not have as much hitting around him as people thought a year ago, so he might slip back toward Houston numbers. He will certainly be very good, but he may not be great.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:20 AM

        I am a Phillies phanboy and am incapable or unwilling to see anything that isn’t through red pinstriped colored glasses.

  2. ddjesus - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    Am I missing something? Corey Hart?

    • lyon810 - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:53 AM

      ya….overrated

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:19 AM

        As a singer or as a hitter?

      • paperlions - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:49 AM

        Who’s over-rated?

        OPS in 2010 and 2011:

        Markakis: .805, .756

        Hart: .866, .865

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 14, 2012 at 8:16 AM

        Joey Bats is under – rated!

  3. muckthefets23 - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:26 AM

    Doc I’m thinking the same thing about Pence. I have a gut feeling he’s gonna have a monster year. Also I’d like to point out the obvious that Joey Bats is just filthy, that is all….

  4. lyon810 - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:53 AM

    No way Heyward does that this year.

    • foreverchipper10 - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      Probably not but sweet sassy molassey I hope he does.

  5. brewcrewbombers - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:01 AM

    I root for my guy like anyone else…but hell where IS Hart????

  6. illcomm - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    heyward. lol

  7. paperlions - Feb 14, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    Upton is great and all….but until he learns to hit on the road, I don’t see him putting up those kinds of numbers. So far, he’s been largely a creation of his fantastic home park, where he has a career .389 OBP and .552 SLG. On the road, he hits like a SS, with a career .325 OBP and .424 SLG (.749 OPS).

  8. stex52 - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    And don’t you love those Astros? They may have been terrible last year, but at least they had an outfield of Pence, Bourn and Lee. Now it’s just horrible.

  9. philliesblow - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    I see Brennan Boesch with at least .870 OPS hitting in front of Miggy & Prince.

  10. stairwayto7 - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Heyward and Choo over Pence, Bruce, Cruz and Either?? NO WAY!

  11. ispysomething7 - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    Choo, 5th??????!?!?!?!!?? Matt, your smoking the crizz-ack!!!

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