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 Left 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: Adam Duvall
When researching for a list like this, it isn’t easy to pinpoint what stats matter most. And especially accounting for such a small sample size like the 2020 season. So looking back over the last two seasons for reference makes Adam Duvall’s case for inclusion. Over the last could of seasons, Duvall has played well for the Atlanta Braves. Injuries hampered the 2019 season, but Duvall played near all of 2020. And over the two-year span (98 games), Duvall produced 26 homeruns and 52 RBIs. Adam Duvall has also been a surprisingly decent left fielder defensively throughout his career. Thus his inclusion is merited on the Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now.
#9: Dominic Smith
So this is a name I did not think would be on my list, but his play forced his way onto it. Dominic Smith was supposed to be the first baseman of the future for the New York Mets. However, it was not meant to be as Pete Alonso ousted him from that position. But that didn’t stop Smith from taking advantage of the opportunities given to him. And that was never more evident than across the 139 between 2019-2020. Dom Smith would hit 21 homeruns and drive in 67 RBIs. According to BaseballReference.com, Dom Smith has produced OPS+ scores of 132 and 169 in 2019 and 2020, respectively. As the 2021 season approaches, Dominic Smith’s role should be much more defined with the Mets, producing a breakout full season in Queens.
#8: David Peralta
David Peralta is a name that found his way on my Top 10 Left Fielders list for 2020 and now 2021. Because Peralta plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks, he doesn’t receive much national attention or recognition. However, the DBacks left fielder is among the best left fielders in the game. David Peralta is a solid player. While he’s been slightly better than the average player in the last two seasons, Peralta also adds in surprisingly strong defensive skills as well. In 2019, Peralta dealt with injuries that hamstrung his ability to stay on the field. But in 2020, that was no such issue. And going into the 2021 season, it’s a reasonable assumption that Peralta will be on the field essentially every day. This a strong 2021 campaign can be easily expected from the Diamondbacks left fielder.
#7: Eddie Rosario
As these kinds of lists go, personal bias always factors into each decision. And for my money, one of the most underrated left fielders in the game is Eddie Rosario. Eddie Rosario has been a consistent performance for the Minnesota Twins since 2017. As a major part of the middle of the Twins order, Eddie was responsible for driving in runs. And Eddie would drive in 306 RBIs over the last four seasons while also hitting 96 homeruns. Like Peralta, Rosario doesn’t get much notoriety because his (former) team doesn’t get featured much on Nationally Televised games. But there’s no questioning that Eddie Rosario is one of the most consistent left fielders in the game today and thus makes my list.
#6: Eloy Jimenez
Appearing for the second time on my Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now list is Eloy Jimenez. During our piece prior to the 2020 season, Jimenez was the number ten entrant. His youth and inexperience but raw talent and ability would push him onto the countdown. However, that belief was paid forward in spades during the 2020 campaign. And thus merits his climbing up the ranks.
#5: Clint Frazier
There were a lot of questions going into the 2020 season surrounding Clint Frazier. Most notably, was he going to remain a Yankee all season long. And despite all of the trade rumors, Frazier played excellent baseball for the New York Yankees. As the 2021 season approaches, Frazier will look to continue his progress and become the everyday left fielder for the Yankees. Frazier’s play in a somewhat platoon situation in the shortened 2020 campaign truly displayed Clint’s ability. And 2021 should be the breakout season everyone has been expecting.
#4: Lourdes Gurriel Jr
One of the second generation baseball stars that resides North of the border comes in at number four on my list of the Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now. Gurriel, who played infield his entire life, was moved to the Blue Jays’ outfield to make room for Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio. And Lourdes has not disappointed since the move was made. Gurriel has played like a team MVP and the best of the four second-gen stars over the past two seasons. Now 2019 would see Lourdes deal with injuries, but the shortened 2020 season was injury-free. So as 2021 approaches, a big season out of Toronto is likely to be expected. And part of that will rest on the play of one of the Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now.
#3: Michael Brantley
Michael Brantley has been the picture and model of consistency. And when analyzing his stats over the last two years, he’s ended at the same OPS+ (126), according to BaseballReference.com. Brantley provides a grinding approach at the plate. He has a gameplan and tries to execute that plan each time he steps into the box. Michael’s all fields approach makes him a difficult out for pitchers. And Brantley also improved his defense over the last two seasons. So going into the 2021 season, if you are looking for a consistent left fielder, Michael Brantley is your player.
#2: Christian Yelich
Now, this spot I debated with before making this list. Because Christian Yelich has been phenomenal over the previous few seasons. However, a down year in 2020 hurt his candidacy for the top spot among left fielders. But I say that with hesitation as I feel that Yelich can easily return to form over the course of a standard 162 game campaign. Even in a down season, Yelich posted an OPS+ of 111, which still places him better than league average. So anticipating a bounce-back season from Yelich isn’t really a bold prediction.
#1: Marcell Ozuna
Without a doubt, the shortened 2020 season benefitted one left fielder the most, and that’s Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna would have a monstrous campaign in 2020. Ozuna would home the Major League homerun crown with 18 bombs as well as topping the RBI charts with 56. Ozuna would slash .338/.431/.636. These are absolutely insane number and worth of reaching the top spot on this countdown of the Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now. Marcell also played league average defense in left field, which isn’t a knock on him defensively, although it’s sometimes seen that way. Heading into the 2021 season, Ozuna is likely going to be a major presence in the middle of the order for whatever team signs him. And after the breakout season in 2020, big things should be expected from Marcell Ozuna.