Top 5 RF Heading into the 2019 Season By: David Stec

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The right field position is one of the most stacked in all of baseball. Every player on this list has a unique combination of power, speed, and defense. Some of baseballs best and most exciting players are included here and there is a very good chance at least one of these guys will win an MVP in 2019. From the biggest guy in the league, to both of last year’s MVPs, this list is chock full of A-listers. We start this list off with one of the most underrated players in the league.

5. Mitch Haniger – Seattle Mariners

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Mitch Haniger. This guy just finished his first (!!!) full season in the big leagues and lands himself at number five on this list. The 28-year old is coming off a 2018 campaign in which he had a .366 OBP, with 26 home runs and 93 RBIs. Making his first All-Star game, Haniger missed only 5 games due to coach’s decisions and can get it done on both sides of the ball. The California native was first drafted out of high school in 2009 before moving on to college ball and earning himself a first round selection in 2012 by the Milwaukee Brewers. Haniger made his MLB debut in 2015 with the Diamondbacks before finally hitting his stride with the Mariners. Mitch is a straight up, under-the-radar type of guy that you can expect a second consecutive All-Star appearance from in 2019.

4. Bryce Harper – Philadelphia Phillies

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The list of possible MVP candidates begins now and the wait is finally over. Bryce Harper is no longer a free agent. Just a few days ago, Harper signed a mammoth of a contract, equating to 13-years, $330 million dollars with  no-trade clause and no opt out available. The former Rookie of the Year and MVP was looking for a place that he could build his legacy in. A place with no fear of change, and a chance to make a real difference in a franchise that has not seen much success in recent years. Harper has a career .900 OPS and finished 2018 with his first 100 RBI season (I know, right?). Bryce Harper is one of the biggest names, and personalities, in the entire league. The 2018 All-Star break could not have been a better story for Harper or for the game of baseball. However, Harper will now have to face the best pitcher in baseball multiple times every year, and boy will that be a pop-corn eating moment. The newly crowned highest overall paid player in MLB history has excellent exceptionally in odd numbered years and, in a hitter friendly ball park, could easily continue that trend and return to MVP form.

3. Christian Yelich – Milwaukee Brewers

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The reigning NL MVP is coming off a breakout 2018 season in which he was top five in nearly every offensive category in the National League. Yelich finished with a .326 batting average, 36 home runs, and 110 RBIs. Yelich sealed his MVP candidacy with one of the best final months to a season of all time. In the month of September (including the week of October), Yelich had 34 RBIs and an OPS over 1.300. As part of a rebuilding process for the Marlins, the Brewers acquired Yelich via trade and clearly made the correct investment. Yelich was one of those players that everybody knew was coming at some point, but just couldn’t seem to get over the hump in Miami. The 27-year old was a first round selection by the Marlins out of high school in 2010. Since debuting in 2013, he has been one of the most reliable defensive players as well. Yelich has seemed to cement himself as one of the top players in the game and, although I do not think he will repeat his historic season, will continue his success and compete for another MVP in 2019.

2. Aaron Judge – New York Yankees

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Entering at number two on this list is the tallest man in the leauge, Aaron Judge. Even before he entered the leauge, Judge was one of the most intriguing players out there, mainly because we have not seen anything like him before. The Yankee stands at an astounding 6-foot-7 and weighs a rock-solid 282 lbs. In his rookie season in 2017, Judge won Rookie of the Year, a Silver Slugger, was an All-Star, and would have won MVP if it wasn’t for Jose Altuve hitting .346. Last season was tough for Judge, who seemed on his way to being back in the MVP conversation, before being hit with a pitch and fracturing his wrist in July day game that kept him out until the middle of September. Judge seems to be the heart of the Yankees team and really makes a difference when he is in the lineup. The 26-year old is known for his bat, but is also one of the best defensive players out there as well. Judge has had the third most defensive runs saved over the last 2 seasons in right field. Aaron Judge will be an All-Star and MVP candidate for years to come.

1. Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox

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The top right fielder heading into the 2019 season is the reigning AL MVP, Mookie Betts. Betts has been one of the best players in the league over the last few years and was a pivotal piece to the Red Sox success in 2018. Despite the MVP regular season, Betts was nearly non-existent in the playoffs as he has been his entire career thus far, hitting a measly .210 with just one home run and four RBIs. However, if you want your team to get that opportunity, Betts is the guy. He finished the 2018 season hitting .346 with 32 home runs and led the league with 124 runs scored. It was clear to see why Betts and Martinez were the best combo in the league, as for awhile they were fighting each other for the triple crown. The American League East contains many MVP candidates, and Betts is just another on that list. It is crazy to think that the two best players at this position compete against each other in one of the greatest rivalries of all time. Betts will be right in the middle of the action and is poised for another stellar season.

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