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A.L. East midseason review: Right field

How does my preseason prediction look at the All-Star break?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Before the start of the season, I ranked the crowded A.L East RF in the following fashion: Blue Jays, Red Sox, Rays, Yankees, Orioles. Here is how they have performed so far this season (Stats at RF).

Team

K%

BB%

BABIP

ISO

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

UZR

WAR

1

Blue Jays

14.8%

15.5%

0.295

0.179

0.274

0.393

0.452

0.374

136

2.9

3

2

Rays

21.3%

9.3%

0.289

0.175

0.246

0.316

0.421

0.324

110

7.6

2.3

3

Orioles

12.2%

7.6%

0.313

0.126

0.288

0.346

0.414

0.336

111

-0.3

1.5

4

Red Sox

21.5%

6.1%

0.293

0.119

0.238

0.29

0.357

0.286

75

4.8

0.2

5

Yankees

20.6%

5.2%

0.313

0.109

0.257

0.298

0.366

0.292

79

-7

-0.7

Blue Jays (with more than 50 PA at RF)

Name

G

PA

K%

BB%

BABIP

ISO

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

UZR

WAR

Jose Bautista

73

309

13.9%

18.1%

0.318

0.207

0.301

0.435

0.508

0.413

162

1.6

3.2

Bautista has performed exactly as expected. A high walk rate, a low strikeout rate and a lot of power make him the best hitting RF in the American League. He is no slouch in the field either, registering 9-3 putouts two days in a row. Jose Bautista is the only player that has made my pre-season ranking look right.

Rays

Name

G

PA

K%

BB%

BABIP

ISO

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

UZR

WAR

Kevin Kiermaier

33

131

18.3%

5.3%

0.315

0.295

0.295

0.336

0.590

0.397

159

8.9

2.1

Wil Myers

52

219

23.3%

11.0%

0.281

0.129

0.227

0.311

0.356

0.299

92

-0.6

0.3

Kiermaier had a grand total of 1 game and 0 PA before this season. Of course, I did not expect Myers to get hurt and Keirmair to step in and to perform better than Myers. Myers was not hitting well even before his injury, with both his BABIP and ISO dropping off a cliff. No one saw Kiermaier coming. He was on the edge of most of Top Rays Prospects lists, regarded as great fielder who may not have the bat to stay in the lineup. He has only hit 8 HR in 170 PA since then, more than he has in any full season in the minors in the past. His UZR number has matched his scouting report. The combination of surprising power and outstanding defensive ability has made him one of the lone bright spots for the Rays this season.

Orioles

Name

G

PA

K%

BB%

BABIP

ISO

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

UZR

WAR

Nick Markakis

87

401

10.5%

7.7%

0.310

0.115

0.290

0.347

0.404

0.332

109

1.8

1.5

To be honest, Markakis has not exceeded my expectations by much. His bat has rebounded from last season, but not by much. He is still hitting for very little power. He has thrown out a few more baserunners, which has made his UZR positive for the first time in five seasons. Markakis has not overwhelmed the prediction, but the others have underwhelmed by so much that Markakis appears to be having a much better season.

Red Sox

Name

G

PA

K%

BB%

BABIP

ISO

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

UZR

WAR

Brock Holt

18

83

16.9%

6.0%

0.361

0.208

0.312

0.361

0.519

0.383

142

4

1.1

Shane Victorino

21

99

17.2%

4.0%

0.280

0.110

0.242

0.276

0.352

0.275

68

0.2

-0.1

Daniel Nava

26

93

21.5%

5.4%

0.246

0.115

0.207

0.258

0.322

0.256

54

2.7

0

Grady Sizemore

14

58

27.6%

6.9%

0.211

0.056

0.148

0.207

0.204

0.190

9

-1.2

-0.6

Victorino was only healthy for 21 games before going down with hamstring injury. The Red Sox RF position has been a carousel since then, featuring a total of 8 players who have logged time there. Holt is the only one who has hit well, but he has spent more time at 3B for the Red Sox. I was dead wrong about the Red Sox at RF, but anyone would be given that Victorino has missed so much time.

Yankees

Name

G

PA

K%

BB%

BABIP

ISO

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

UZR

WAR

Ichiro Suzuki

49

185

18.9%

5.9%

0.365

0.047

0.292

0.337

0.339

0.302

86

-0.3

0.2

Carlos Beltran

24

101

13.9%

7.9%

0.227

0.165

0.220

0.287

0.385

0.294

81

-3.4

-0.4

Alfonso Soriano

24

86

31.4%

1.2%

0.304

0.153

0.224

0.233

0.376

0.260

57

-3.6

-0.6

I thought Beltran would be the primary RF and occasional DH. It turns out to be the opposite of that. This does not mean that the Yankees would have been better at RF if that was the case. Beltran has been terrible even when he is playing as the DH. Soriano has been released. Ichiro is his usual light hitting self. For the record, these 3 players are combined 115 years old. Maybe I should have seen this coming.

So I was right about the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista, but I was quite wrong about the Red Sox and the Yankees. I have the excuses of injury for the Rays and Red Sox, but I lucked into being right about the Rays anyway. Nothing has been extremely surprising, except for Kevin Kiermaier.