Every offseason, MLB Network runs through a series of programming. One such show is about the Top 10 Right Now at each position. And as we have done in both 2018, 2019, and 2020, we will go over our Top 10 Center Fielders Right Now.
Just a quick note about this list, it is a personal list, and everyone will value different things from each position. So I encourage you to make your own list and see who makes the cut on your list.
#10: Aaron Hicks
Much like my Top 10 Catchers Right Now list, I begin my Top 10 Center Fielders Right Now with a New York Yankee, Aaron Hicks. When looking at merely a player’s abilities, Aaron Hicks would rank much higher on this list. However, when it comes to Aaron Hicks, injuries derail much of every season for him. The New York Yankees were hoping to have a consistent presence in their lineup and the field in the Bronx. Thus far, that hasn’t been the case, but when healthy, Hicks is easily among the Top 10 Center Fielders in MLB right now.
#9: Byron Buxton
Much like Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton has found himself on the injury list more often than he’d like to be and more often than the Twins can afford. But when on the field, Buxton’s defensive ability among center fielders is unparalleled. Byron has a dynamic arm and gazelle-like speed in tracking balls. And offensively, Buxton has started developing that aspect of his game as well. If Byron can stay healthy and continue progressing on the offensive side, he will climb much higher on this list in 2022.
#8: Alex Verdugo
Recently on the Laracuente Ledger Podcast, I spoke about Alex Verdugo in the context of the Mookie Betts deal. And I stated that it was an utterly lopsided deal in the Dodgers’ favor. That being said, I made it very clear my thoughts on Alex Verdugo ascending the MLB ranks. (To hear the entire section of the Mookie Betts deal and the full comments on Alex Verdugo, click here.) Alex Verdugo is poised to have a breakout campaign. And the Red Sox seemingly unsure of their direction. Thus they can give Verdugo the time and space needed to grow as a ballplayer. Look for a big season and potentially watch as Verdugo climbs this list next year.
#7: Luis Robert
The Chicago White Sox center fielder is among the most dynamic and entertaining young players in the game. And the talent is off the charts, as evidence by the fact that the White Sox signed him to an extension before ever playing in a Major League game; as the maturation process continues, so too the development for one of the game’s best center fielders.
#6: Brandon Nimmo
Brandon Nimmo comes in at number six on my list. Nimmo is among the new crop of center fielders in MLB. Over the last three seasons, among centerfielders with at least 475 plate appearances, Nimmo ranks fifth in terms of FanGraphs wRC+ with 131. Brandon Nimmo falls just behind incredible center fielders like Mike Trout and George Springer. So Nimmo finds himself in increasing worth competition.
#5: Kyle Lewis
Without sounding blasphemous, but Seattle has found the “New Kid.” Ken Griffey Jr will never be replaced, especially in Seattle. However, the exuberance of the young and dynamic Kyle Lewis can remind Mariner’s fans of the legendary center fielder. Lewis still has a long way to go to distinguish his own career. But the strides made since his debut in 2019 make this one of the top 10 center fielders in MLB.
#4: George Springer
Over the last few seasons, George Springer has been among the very best center fielders in the game. And as Springer is currently going through free-agency (and unsigned as of this writing), he remains a hot commodity. Springer is a guy who spent much of his Houston Astros career leading off. But George could easily drop down in the order and drive in more runs. No matter where Springer ends up, he is, without a doubt, one of the best center fielders in MLB right now.
#3: Ramon Laureano
Ramon Laureano was a man who was relatively unknown before a couple of insane defensive highlights. After those plays, people truly began paying more attention to the Oakland A’s center fielder. Laureano would also begin advancing his offensive ability to match up with his defense. As going into 2021, I believe a big season for Laureano is about to happen. And thus, he makes my list at number three
#2: Cody Bellinger
As we get to the final two, Cody Bellinger is the type of talent that elevates himself and his team. A young man with the capability to be not just one of the best offensive players in MLB but also one of the better defensive center fielders in MLB. Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers will head into 2021 as the reigning and defending World Series champions. And Cody will look to continue pushing his team forward towards back-to-back titles.
#1: Mike Trout
And last but certainly not least, the best player in all of MLB, Mike Trout, is the number one on this list. The best center fielders in history could be a debated list. However, Mike Trout’s name must be apart of the conversation. Trout is arguably going to go down as one of the best players in MLB history and not just as a centerfielder. So there’s little question that Mike Trout is number one on the Top 10 Center Fielders Right Now.