Left field is probably the least talented crop of players in the MLB. Not because there is a lack of talent, but simply that you don’t see as many everyday left fielders as you do with the other two outfield positions. With that being said, there are still some very good ball players at the position. There is a pretty obvious top 3, then a bit of a drop off, but the number 5 player on our list could jump to number 1 sooner rather than later.
5. Andrew Benintendi – BOS Red Sox
This may come as a shock to some people, but if you’ve seen this kid play, you know why he’s on this list. The man known as “Benny Biceps”, Benintendi had a superb rookie season last year in Bean Town. He hit .271 with 20 home runs and drove in 90 runs. Those numbers normally lock you in as Rookie of the Year, but there was this guy named Aaron Judge who, well you’ll see him on another list. Still, Benintendi enjoyed himself a fine first year in the bigs, and should only see his numbers improve in the hitter friendly confines of Fenway. Benintendi is part of one of the best outfields in baseball in Boston, and could see his name in the record books right next to Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski before he calls it quits.
4. Khris Davis – OAK Athletics
Let’s just put this out there. The Oakland Athletics stink. Since making the playoffs in 2014, they have been one of the worst teams in baseball. While as a whole they’ve been bad, they do have one bright spot in Khris Davis. “Crush” Davis, as he has been called, has established himself as one of the premier power hitters in the game. In the past two seasons, he has hit 42 and 43 home runs. That kind of power doesn’t come around too often, and it’s a shame that he is stuck on such a bad team. He’s not the best fielder, but a man with his type of power is tough to keep off this list. Watch for teams to try and trade for him before the deadline this year, as he would be a fantastic addition to almost any team.
3. Justin Upton – LA Angels
Being the number one overall pick in the MLB Draft can be daunting for some players. The expectations can sometimes be too high, as you have to live up to your potential almost every single game. Justin Upton has shown he was worthy of that number one selection back in 2005, as he has been a top player at his position for nearly a decade. Since spending his first six seasons in the desert with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Upton has bounced around lately, playing for four different teams in five years. I think he has finally found a new home in Los Angeles, and the Angels backed that up by giving him a huge contract extension in the offseason. Power wise, Upton had his best season last year, hitting 35 home runs while driving in 109, all that to go along with a .901 OPS, good enough for 8th in the American League. Upton and the revamped Angels could sneak into the playoffs and make some noise this season.
2. Yoenis Cespedes – NY Mets
I was tampering a lot with whether to put Cespedes or Upton at number two, but stuck with the Cuban born slugger as my runner up for best left fielder. A nagging hamstring injury cut his season in half last year, but Cespedes still managed to hit for a .292 average to go along with 17 home runs. His two seasons prior to last year are ones that some guys can only dream of. In 2016, he had .280 average, 31 home runs and 86 runs batted in. The year prior, he smashed 35 home runs and drove in 106 runs, all while hitting for a .291 average. Cespedes also has a hell of a glove out in left field, and one of if not the best arm in the game. The Mets have postseason aspirations, and it starts with Cespedes offensively. If he and the Mets pitching staff can stay healthy, look for them to be in contention for a wild card spot come late September.
1. Marcell Ozuna – STL Cardinals
This guy might not have even cracked the top ten coming into last season, but boy what a season he had last year. Ozuna busted out in Miami, hitting for a .312 average, slugging 37 homers and driving in 124 runs. Batting behind Christian Yelich for most of the season has its benefits, and it paid off for Ozuna tremendously. Unfortunately, the Marlins blew up this offseason, as probably the best outfield in the league in Ozuna, Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton each went their separate ways. Ozuna heads north to St. Louis, where he joins an already not so bad outfield in Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham. Ozuna may not replicate the numbers he put up last year, but for a guy just entering his prime, he gives the Cardinals a formidable power bat that they haven’t had since Albert Pujols. We should see him consistently hitting 30 home runs and driving in 90 for years to come.