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MLB’s Top Players at every position in 2022: Center Field

Center field
Bob Levey/Getty Images

MLB’s Top Players at every position in 2022: Center Field

Center field always contains some of the most elite hitters and defenders in baseball. This year, the position features the potential AL MVP. Let’s look at all 10 top players who play center field.

1. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

I think this goes without question. Besides Shohei Ohtani, Judge is the only one capable of winning MVP in the AL this year. He leads the AL in home runs (62) RBIs (131) runs (133) OBP (.425) SLG (.686) OPS (1.111) and of course, walks (111.) Oh yeah, and those 62 home runs are the new AL record for most home runs in a single season. His WAR was 10.6, there really isn’t much to say about Judge except it was beyond next level.

2. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Don’t forget about Trout. Yes, he unfortunately dealt with injuries again this season, only playing 119 games. That was enough for Trout to hit 40 home runs for just the third time in his career. His OPS fell just short of 1.000, ending with a .999. The OPS+ was still able to reach 178, and his WAR was 6.3. His career overall WAR is 82.4, and regardless of injury, Trout is still one of the best in the game.

3. Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners

The J-Rod show did not disappoint in its first year in Seattle. The rookie is pretty much a lock to win AL ROY, and for very good reason. Rodriguez is leading just about every stat among rookies, along with his .284/.345/.509 slash line. 28 home runs, 25 doubles/stolen bases, and an incredible 6.0 WAR. He did lead center fielders in most errors with six, but he collected three DRS and I’m sure no one is going to pay attention to the errors. Expect J-Rod to not only win the Rookie of the Year, but to earn some MVP votes as well.

4. Michael Harris, Atlanta Braves

We seem to have a lot of Brave players in this series, don’t we? Well, they’re the 2021 champs for a reason. Harris is another rookie who like J-Rod, is most likely going to win the ROY for the NL. The 21-year-old has it all, with a 5.3 WAR, a .297 batting average, and 19 homers in 114 games. He saw lots of twos, with 27 doubles, 20 stolen bases, and 21 walks. His OAA was 7, being top-three among center fielders in 2022. Harris is the definition of five-tool, and just 21 years old, he has such a bright future.

5. Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets

Nimmo has been such an amazing and important player for this Mets team. He always has a high average, gets on base, and is just so valuable in the Mets lineup. In 2022, Nimmo batted .274/.367/.433 and was just one homer short of his career-high 17. He hit an NL-leading seven triples, along with a career-high 30 doubles. The 5.0 WAR is also the highest for Nimmo and didn’t make a single error in 151 games played in center field.

6. George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays

In his second year as a Blue Jay, Springer played 113 games which were better than the 78 he played in 2021. He’s still proving he’s a good hitter outside of Houston, hitting over 25 home runs for the second straight year. Springer also made the All-Star team for the first time since 2019, and the 32-year-old still has all his tools. For the first time since 2015, Springer had double-digit steals with 14 in 16 attempts. A career 34.2 WAR player, Springer doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He provides an excellent veteran presence for a Blue Jays team that is quite young.

7. Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

Buxton is unfortunately one of those players made of glass. He’s only played in over 100 games once, back in 2017. In only 92 games this season, Buxton was able to wake up his bat after being known as a defensive player. 28 home runs and 51 RBIs, career-highs for the 28-year-old who also made his first All-Star appearance. While only 57 out of his 92 games were played in the outfield, Buxton still managed to flash his defense. Eight DRS and no errors made in 445 innings.

8. Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles

Many thought that Mullins would’ve been traded from the Orioles. However, with the team falling just short of the playoffs in a magical season, it looks like Mullins is here to stay. While he regressed from his 2021 season where he was ninth in MVP voting, Mullins still put up a 3.8 WAR in 156 games for the O’s. He beat his career-high in stolen bases, swiping 34 of them in 44 attempts this season. Of course, Mullins was great on the defensive side as well. He finished second among center fielders in assists (9) and putouts (358.) He was also second in OAA with eight.

9. Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates received a lot of calls for Reynolds in 2021, but their asking price was too high for teams to take. It’s understandable, especially since his 2022 season wasn’t much different. In 14 fewer games this year, Reynolds hit three more home runs (27) and two more stolen bases (7) than in 2021. The former All-Star continues to rack up his trade value, and soon his money value. He was a below-average defender this season but still pushed that WAR up to 3.0.

10. Myles Straw, Cleveland Guardians

Straw has usually been a player with a good balance of offense and defense. This year, his offensive stats plummeted. But we can’t ignore good defense, no matter how bad an offense is. In 151 games, Straw leads center fielders in assists (12) putouts (371) DRS (17), and OAA (13.) There’s a reason he’s a Gold Glove finalist, and he’ll probably win it too. While he didn’t hit any home runs, Straw still stole 21 bases and hit 22 doubles. A 2.7 WAR is not bad, especially when most of it comes from defense.


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