I’m going to start this out by saying, the right field position is absolutely stacked. I mean when JD Martinez is left off the top 5 list, these five guys have to be total studs, and studs they are. This list may be a bit controversial, as two of these guys may not even play right field this season, but all five players on this list could win MVP in their respected leagues, and there is not a lot of gaps between all five.
5. Mookie Betts – BOS Red Sox
Betts just edges out his new teammate JD Martinez solely because he has a much better glove, and that is the reason why he stays in right for the Sox and Martinez will DH. In just three full seasons in the MLB, Betts has already established himself as one of the best all-around players. His numbers did go down a bit last season following a 2016 campaign in which he finished 2nd in the AL MVP race, but they still garnered him a second straight all-star appearance. His defensive play also netted him his second straight Gold Glove Award. Betts will only benefit from having Martinez in the lineup, and he could be a dark horse for the AL MVP, and that is saying something about the talent in the American League.
4. Christian Yelich – MIL Brewers
The newest member of the Brew Crew finally gets a chance to be the face of the franchise. After being overshadowed by Giancarlo Stanton in Miami, Yelich is now the star of the show in Milwaukee. Now some of you may be thinking that Lorenzo Cain or Ryan Braun are the face of the franchise, but Yelich beats them both in my eyes. He is possibly the most consistent hitter in baseball. In his four full seasons in the MLB, Yelich’s slash lines (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) are as follows; 2014 – .284/.362/.402, 2015 – .300/.366/.416, 2016 – .298/.376/.483, 2017 – .282/.369/.439. Those are hall of fame numbers if I’ve ever seen them. There is one interesting thing about Yelich with his new team. He is more than likely going to play right field for the Brewers with Cain in center because of his speed, and Braun settled in left. Yelich has never played right field in the majors, but with the glove and athleticism he has, he should make the adjustment just fine. Side note, for as good as Yelich has been, he has never been named an all-star. My guess is that changes in 2018.
3. Aaron Judge – NY Yankees
Alright listen, I do not like the New York Yankees. If you’re not a fan of them and call yourself a true baseball fan, then I wouldn’t expect you to like them either. The Yankees were supposed to hover around .500 last season. I was happy about that. Then this dude shows up and all hell breaks lose. After a less than stellar September call up in 2016, expectations were lowered for the once promising Judge. Well he gave a big old middle finger to everyone who doubted him in 2017. How did he do this you ask? Well Judge just went on to hit 52 home runs (a rookie record) and drove in 114. He was hitting close to .340 at the all-star break. Despite a fall back to Earth in the second half for The Judge, he still finished 2nd in the AL MVP race, and probably would have won it if he kept his average over .300. Instead, Judge had to settle for a unanimous Rookie of the Year victory. Now I don’t think that Judge can replicate these numbers year in and year out, but the dude is an animal. Expect him to hit at least 35 home runs and drive in 90 runs every season for the next decade, all while wearing those disgusting pinstripes.
2. Giancarlo Stanton* – NY Yankees
Well, well, well, the rich just keep getting richer. After a surprise trip to the ALCS in 2017, expectations were running high for the 2018 Yankees. So what do they do to burn up the stove? Go out and get the best power hitter in the MLB coming off a career year, in probably what will end up being the most lopsided trade in the history of ever. Giancarlo Stanton is a once in a generation type power hitter. Last season, he hit 59 home runs and was named NL MVP. His lowest home run total for a season is 22. Those are some big time numbers. There isn’t much else to say about the guy. He hits bombs and you know what they say: chicks dig the long ball. Stanton and Judge are the new Bash Bros, and if they were on any other team except for maybe the Mets, I would be in love with them. But they play for the New York Yankees, and well you already know my stance on the Yankees. I’m not supposed to be biased here, but I cannot express the pure joy I will have if they Yankees are bad this season. One last thing, I guess it’s just coincidence that the Marlins new owner is Derek Jeter (maybe you’ve heard of him), and he just hands Stanton to the Yankees for Starlin Castro and some new water for the fish tank behind home plate in Marlins Park. Gosh almighty do I hate the Yankees.
*(Stanton will most likely DH this season, but has played his entire career prior to this season in right field.)
1. Bryce Harper – WSH Nationals
Bryce Harper has emerged as the possible face of baseball, and while he may not have that locked up quite yet (thanks to Mike Trout), he does have the best hair. Since bursting onto the scene in 2012 at the age of 19, Harper has become one of the best hitters in the game. After an MVP season in 2015, he had a mediocre 2016 season for his standards. Many of the critics barked about him, saying his incredible MVP season was a fluke. Harper shut the critics down in 2017, hitting for an average of .319 with 29 home runs and 87 runs batted in. While his power numbers were a bit low, he did show that he could hit for contact more efficiently. Harper is in the final year of his contract in 2018, and as if he needed to impress anyone else, I expect him to have a phenomenal year. He is my pick to win NL MVP, and next offseason, he will become the first $400 million man in baseball.