Top 10 mlb all time outfielders
Major League Baseball has gotten more athletic since the Prospect Revolution hit nearly five years ago. As a result, high-upside outfielders are getting the chance to showcase their ability on the diamond.
You can see the results. Some of the best prospects are athletic outfielders with four or five tools and superstar potential.
While the depth in the outfield isn’t quite as high as it was two years ago, there are at least two future MVP candidates at the top of the list and a lot of low-risk, high-reward players.
10. Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins
Yelich is the class of the Marlins’ system. His tools continue to impress, particularly his hitting. His patience is still developing, but he was still able to post a .388 on-base percentage in his first full season in professional baseball.
Despite playing center field in the minors, Baseball America wrote in the Prospect Handbook that Yelich is likely going to end up playing in left field because he doesn’t cover enough ground up the middle.
That does affect his stock some, just because he doesn’t have enough power in his bat for a corner outfielder. Given his youth and relative inexperience, he can develop more of a power-hitting approach at the plate, though that could take away from his ability to make consistent contact.
9. Gary Brown, San Francisco Giants
The Giants have been very patient with Brown in the minors. They kept him in high Class A all of last season, even though it was painfully obvious he was ready to move up.
Brown is the center fielder and leadoff man of the future for the Giants. He is a burner on the base paths and his hitting continues to impress.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus loves Brown’s power potential, believing that he can hit 15-20 home runs thanks to his bat speed and “tremendous wrists.”
While I wouldn’t go that far, Brown is certainly one of the most dynamic athletes in all of minor league baseball. The Giants could potentially bring him up later this year if they need another bat.
8. Anthony Gose, Toronto Blue Jays
Of all the players on this list, Gose is the hardest one to get a good feel for. You can see the talent when he is on the field. He has four above-average or better tools that could make this ranking look like a mistake.
However, the biggest knock against Gose throughout his minor league career is his ability, or lack thereof, to make contact. He has struck out at least 110 times every year since 2009.
That inability to make consistent contact could prevent Gose from tapping into that mountain of talent he has.
7. Mason Williams, New York Yankees
An aggressive spot for Williams, who is now getting his first taste of full-season ball after dominating the New York-Penn league in 2011, but that is how good his present and future tools look.
In the 2012 Prospect Handbook, Baseball America wrote that Williams has the best all-around tools in the Yankees’ system.
Speed and an above-average throwing arm make him a natural fit in center field. He may never be a big power hitter, but he is strong enough to hit double figures in homers.
6. Jake Marisnick, Toronto Blue Jays
Marisnick is poised to jump up all the prospect rankings if he is able to build upon his breakout 2011 season. The tools have always been there; now he is starting to tap into his immense potential.
The biggest reason for Marisnick’s success last year was, as Keith Law pointed out in his Top 100 Prospect Rankings list, a cleaned up swing that helped him get through the zone quicker and hit the ball more consistently.
In a loaded Blue Jays system, Marisnick could end up being the best of the bunch before the end of the season.
5. Rymer Liriano, San Diego Padres
After an inconsistent 2010 season that saw him bounce around to three different leagues, Liriano finally tapped into all of his potential with a .319/.383/.499 line at low Class A Fort Wayne.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus wrote that, while his tools look good now, Liriano could end up getting too big to keep his electric speed thanks to a thick body.
Even if Liriano ends up as a four-tool player, those skills are so good that it would be difficult to imagine him not turning into a star.
He just has to prove that he can handle high Class A this time around.
4. Bubba Starling, Kansas City Royals
Without a doubt the most exciting all-around player in the 2011 Draft, Starling has started his career at low Class A this season.
The only thing holding Starling back from the No. 3 spot at this point is inexperience. He has five-tool potential, in the same vein as Mike Trout, but he has to show it against professional pitching before we crown him the next big superstar in the Royals’ system.
3. Wil Myers, Kansas City Royals
Myers is working his way back from an injury-plagued 2011 season, but he could join Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas in the soon-to-be loaded Royals lineup.
The Royals knew what they had in Myers’ bat, so they moved him away from catching to accelerate his path to the big leagues.
He is going to hit for average and power. Even if his defense ends up being sub-par, which it probably will, the bat will play anywhere.
2. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
I’m not sure if you have heard of this Harper guy, but he is pretty good.
Obviously, the first thing that anyone notices when they watch Harper play is his power, but he can do so much more than that. His bat speed and wrists are as quick as anyone that I have ever seen.
Harper also has one of the best throwing arms of any minor leaguer. He is athletic enough to play all three outfield positions if needed.
If there is one weakness in Harper’s game right now, and he is still just 19, it is his ability to hit off-speed pitches. He looked uncomfortable at times last year in Double-A and this spring.
Given his natural ability, Harper should have little problem adjusting to advanced pitching. Even if he doesn’t make enough consistent contact to keep his average around .300, he will be a superstar with over 40 home runs and great defense from center field.
1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
The best prospect in baseball right now, Mike Trout, should be on the Angels’ roster right now. He is just being blocked by the irreplaceable Vernon Wells.
Simply put, there is nothing Trout can’t do on a baseball field. At just 20 years old, he has already shown an advanced approach at the plate, with power and the ability to work counts in his favor.
Trout’s defense in center field is outstanding. He has the speed to cover a ton of ground, while at the same time reading the ball off the bat.
Keith Law has said that, at 3.94 seconds, Trout is the fastest time from home to first that he has ever seen from a right-handed hitter.
Five-tool stars are hard enough to find but to have one ready to contribute in the big leagues at age 20 is something special.
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