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Period’s finest proper fielders – by G. Scott Thomas

4 min read

Henry Aaron loved the best single second that any proper fielder skilled throughout the Fashionable Period. The Atlanta Braves star achieved immortality by swatting his 715th home run on April 8, 1974, breaking Babe Ruth’s seemingly indestructible profession document.

However that incredible accomplishment didn’t stamp Aaron as the best proper fielder of the period, which encompasses all seasons since 1961. That honor goes to Larry Walker, a fellow Corridor of Famer who performed for the Colorado Rockies, Montreal Expos, and St. Louis Cardinals.

In the present day’s right-field rankings represent the eighth installment in my weekly evaluation of the Fashionable Period’s biggest gamers. Comply with these hyperlinks to learn earlier tales in regards to the high catchers, first basemen, second basemen, shortstops, third basemen, left fielders, and heart fielders.

Walker and Aaron rank first and second, respectively, among the many 163 proper fielders who made at the very least 2,500 plate appearances between 1961 and 2022. Every participant will need to have spent at the very least 40 % of his video games without any consideration fielder to qualify for this listing, although the ranking method took total statistical information under consideration, together with stats attained at different positions. (Click on right here to study extra in regards to the ranking course of.)

It is necessary to do not forget that these rankings are confined to the Fashionable Period. Walker’s total profession (1989-2005) settled comfortably inside that span, however Aaron’s preliminary seven seasons got here previous to the period’s 1961 start line. Meaning his first 1,309 hits and 219 house runs — in addition to his solely Most Priceless Participant Award — are excluded from the calculations.

Walker was the period’s sole proper fielder to submit profession statistics above all three of the next benchmarks — a batting common of .300, a slugging proportion of .500, and a ratio of bases per out (BPO) of 1.000. His numbers had been undoubtedly enhanced by his 10 seasons in Denver’s rarefied air, but the Corridor of Fame’s voters had been nonetheless satisfied of his excellence.

Aaron, even after his first seven seasons had been excised, nonetheless topped the group with a complete of 96.3 wins above alternative (WAR). And he was one in every of solely 4 proper fielders to common greater than 5.0 WAR per 500 plate appearances.

Walker was assigned a rating of 1,000 factors after the 10-part method decided that he was the frontrunner. The scores for all different proper fielders had been based mostly on their relative performances, starting with Aaron at 976 factors.

Rounding out the highest 5 are Roberto Clemente, who performed 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, together with 12 within the Fashionable Period; Vladimir Guerrero, who spent 16 years with 4 golf equipment (notably the Expos and Los Angeles Angels); and Tony Gwynn, who donned the uniform of the San Diego Padres for 20 seasons. All three have been enshrined in Cooperstown.

Statistical breakdowns for the Fashionable Period’s high 5 proper fielders will be discovered beneath, adopted by a listing of the subsequent 15.

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  • Rating: 1,000 factors

  • WAR: 72.7 whole, 4.5 per 500 PA, 2.0 defensive

  • Averages: .313 BA, .565 SLG, 1.041 BPO

  • Scoring: 2,283 R generated, 142 per 500 PA

  • Totals: 1,988 G, 2,160 H

  • Notes: Walker batted .350 or higher in 4 totally different seasons, all with Colorado. That included his finest yr, 1997, when he hit .366, topped the Nationwide League with 49 house runs, and received the Most Priceless Participant Award. He additionally demonstrated a capability to hit at decrease altitudes, as together with his .322 BA and league-leading 44 doubles for Montreal in 1994.

  • Rating: 976 factors

  • WAR: 96.3 whole, 5.1 per 500 PA, -4.3 defensive

  • Averages: .298 BA, .552 SLG, .963 BPO

  • Scoring: 2,478 R generated, 132 per 500 PA

  • Totals: 2,259 G, 2,462 H

  • Notes: Aaron performed solely 68.5 of his video games within the Fashionable Period (2,259 of three,298). His two batting titles and aforementioned MVP trophy got here previous to 1961. However he nonetheless completed among the many high 10 MVP vote-getters in eight elections between ’61 and ’71. He led the NL in slugging percentange and residential runs thrice apiece and RBIs twice throughout that span.

  • Rating: 924 factors

  • WAR: 80.3 whole, 5.7 per 500 PA, 8.4 defensive

  • Averages: .331 BA, .507 SLG, .849 BPO

  • Scoring: 1,818 R generated, 129 per 500 PA

  • Totals: 1,662 G, 2,139 H

  • Notes: Clemente was famend as an all-around participant, an impression confirmed by his statistics. He received 4 batting titles after the Fashionable Period dawned, attaining his highest common (.357) in 1967, a yr that was notably favorable to pitchers. His distinctive ability within the subject was documented by 12 consecutive Gold Gloves from 1961 to 1972.

  • Rating: 859 factors

  • WAR: 59.5 whole, 3.3 per 500 PA, -10.0 defensive

  • Averages: .318 BA, .553 SLG, .932 BPO

  • Scoring: 2,375 R generated, 131 per 500 PA

  • Totals: 2,147 G, 2,590 H

  • Notes: Guerrero received the American League’s MVP trophy in 2004 by hitting 39 house runs, driving in 126 runs, and batting .337 for the Anaheim Angels. He launched at the very least 30 homers in eight totally different years, reached triple digits in RBIs 10 instances, and batted .300 or higher in 13 seasons.

  • Rating: 833 factors

  • WAR: 69.2 whole, 3.4 per 500 PA, -7.6 defensive

  • Averages: .338 BA, .459 SLG, .829 BPO

  • Scoring: 2,386 R generated, 117 per 500 PA

  • Totals: 2,440 G, 3,141 H

  • Notes: Gwynn signaled his impending stardom in his third season, 1984, when he took the Nationwide League’s batting title with a .351 common. He received seven extra crowns over the subsequent 13 years, peaking with an awe-inspiring BA of .394 in 1994. His profession common of .338 ranks as the very best for any Fashionable Period proper fielder, beating runner-up Clemente by seven factors.

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