September 23, 2011; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce (32) in the on-deck circle against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. (Image: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE)

Ranking the NLC Right Fielders: Jay Bruce Leads List


I know what you might be thinking. He’s pulling his Reds bias. I’m sure I’ll read or hear at least one voice in that camp. I can add a little fuel to that fire if you wish. It took me all of a second to put Bruce in the top spot. It was the next two that gave me some issue.

In reality, this was the easiest in which to formulate any ranking. While the right field position isn’t strong from top to bottom, it does have a trio of All-Stars within it.

Where will your team’s right fielder land? Got to read on to find out.

1. Jay Bruce, Cincinnati
Bruce had another “season of all seasons” in 2011. First time All-Star, May NL Player of the Month, 30+ home runs. And I sincerely believe we have yet to see his best baseball.

Barring any injuries, Bruce will have a similar 2012 to that of 2011, maybe even add a few points on the batting average.

Estimated WAR: 4.3

2. Corey Hart, Milwaukee
Will have to step up a little more with his bat in 2012. Like the other bats, the departure of Prince Fielder will almost demand an increase from 2011 production for the Brewers to fend off the Cards and Reds for the division title.

The Bowling Green, Kentucky native is steady in all facets of the game. A complete player.

Estimated WAR: 2.5

3. Carlos Beltran, St. Louis
Nice 2011 for Beltran. Only issues will be health and age. He will be 35 in late April. This may lead to less playing time.

I’m wondering what will happen once Allen Craig recovers from his knee surgery.

Estimated WAR: 2.9

4. Jose Tabata, Pittsburgh
Another nuance of using team sites for depth charts, but I checked a couple of other sites and they have Tabata here as well. A little pop to mix in with some nice speed. Having a healthy Tabata will make things easier for the Bucs.

Like this kid a lot. Wouldn’t be shocked if he blossomed in 2012.

Estimated WAR: 1.8

5. David DeJesus, Chicago
Didn’t have his best of years as a member of the A’s. In checking his Baseball Reference page, he similar to new teammate Marlon Byrd. If he can offer production a little better than Byrd, the signing will be deemed a steal.

DeJesus will either impress or regress. No middle ground and I take door #2.

Estimated WAR: 1.0

6. Brian Bogusevic, Houston
Oddest thing. The Bill James projections over on Fangraphs have Bogusevic playing in a whole 64 games this season. Got curious thinking maybe James has Jason Bourgeios playing in a lot more games. Only 79. Platoon? Maybe, maybe not.

Got a feeling he’s holding down the fort until Austin Wates or George Springer are ready.

Estimated WAR: 0.2 (Same as Bourgeios in case you’re wondering)

Recap

1. Bruce
2. Hart
3. Beltran
4. Tabata
5. DeJesus
6. Bogusevic

All have at least a small question about their respective games, but at this point, Bruce’s current game does outweigh the others. I had no question there.

It was #2 and #3 that did give me slight fits. I like the 2011 season Beltran constructed, but I am curious if he can carry that over to 2012. I mentioned his age for good reason as he has a history of nagging bumps, but Hart’s have been minimal compared to Beltran.

And I know what I will get from Hart: consistent and solid.

Tabata is the guy I want to see play in 2012 outside of Bruce obviously. He will have an impact on how the Prates season will go as he will more than likely sit atop their batting order. No pressure there. If one player can leap up a spot or two, it’s this guy.

The last two fell into place…easily.

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Tags: Baseball Brian Bogusevic Carlos Beltran Chicago Cubs Cincinnati Reds Corey Hart David DeJesus Houston Astros Jay Bruce Jose Tabata Milwaukee Brewers National League Central National League Central Division NL Central Pittsburgh Pirates St Louis Cardinals