Ranking the NL East: Outfielders

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May 21, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna (left) reacts after right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (right) makes a diving catch during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

1. Miami Marlins

No matter which position you look at in the Marlins outfield, you run into a star. Giancarlo Stanton, stitched up face, $325 million contract and all, is obviously the biggest name, but the other two outfielders are no slouches.

Marcell Ozuna posted the lowest WAR of the three outfielders in 2014. What was his WAR, you ask? A whopping 3.7, which is more than the vast majority of outfielders from the NL East. He crushed 23 homers in 2014 with an OPS of .772. In a way, he’s Giancarlo Stanton-Lite, with a little less power and a little more range. At age 24, the only thing the Marlins should expect from Ozuna is improvement.

Left fielder Christian Yelich, 23, on the other hand, doesn’t post the power numbers that Stanton and Ozuna do (just nine home runs last year), but his .764 OPS was just off Ozuna’s and he managed to steal 21 bases and get on at a .362 clip. Pair that with a fantastic defensive season (10.2 UZR/150 according to FanGraphs), and you’ve got an outfielder with a WAR of 4.3.

There’s little to add here about Stanton. The guy is a physical freak. He’s already hit 154 career home runs (that’s 39 per 162 games!) and he’s posted an OPS+ over 130 for all except his rookie season which was at age 20. He’s easily one of the greatest players currently in professional baseball.

It may be a bit of a concern with Stanton coming back into the batter’s box, though. Anyone who took a pitch to the face like that shouldn’t apologize for being a little nervous about facing a fastball again. Nevertheless, it’s hard to see that completely ruining Stanton. Even if it takes a few games, he should revert to form eventually.

To be blunt, the Marlins’ outfield is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the NL East and they’re arguably the best in baseball. Ranking them number one on this list was an easy decision.

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