Top 5: 2015 Center Fielders In AL East

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Sep 29, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts (50) rounds the bases on his solo home run to left during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Boston Red Sox won 10-4. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

1) Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox

Bio: 22 y/o, 5’9″, 180 lbs, bats right, & throws right

MLB Years: 2

Games Played in 2015: 144 (132 as CF)


  • .294 batting average
  • .344 on-base percentage
  • .483 slugging percentage
  • 18 home runs & 77 RBIs
  • 46 walks to 81 strikeouts
  • 21 stolen bases in 27 attempts


  • 2.61 range factor
  • .989 fielding percentage
  • 4 errors, 10 assists, & 334 putouts in 348 opportunities

‘It’ Factor: The smile that sank a thousand opposing pitchers’ ships.

Being the youngest of all of the men in this list, is it any wonder that Betts’ future can only go up? Not only is his slash line the best of all of the A.L. East center fielders, but his walks are far and beyond the rest. That keen eye, which vastly improved since the beginning of the regular season, put him on base a great deal and put pressure on the opposition’s defense to keep him in check. He was third on the Boston Red Sox for most RBIs, which is saying something for an entire team that struggled to get hits, let alone win games.

Some nights would be quiet for the team as a whole, but one could bet that Betts would do something, either at the plate or in the field, to amaze the baseball world. Like Pillar, Betts’ diving catches made him the center of attention on game recaps in the media across North America, not just in Boston.

Here’s where being a Gold Glove center fielder may not help. It’s true that Betts does not have the best range or fielding percentage on this list, but the fact that they are not the weakest either makes a huge difference.

In close games, Betts’ batting average was .297. With two outs, it was .303. With runners in scoring position, it was .333. Those numbers are coming from the leadoff man on the team, not the heart of the order. To put that into perspective, Jones’ averages are .227, .267, and .281 respectively. Kiermaier’s averages are .250, .271, and .297. Pillar’s numbers stand at .197, .230, and .268. As for Ellsbury, a pitiful .113, .220, and .262 when the heat is on is not going to muster much in terms of wins.

Even though Betts is a good three years younger than the next youngest on this list, he’s shown better patience at the plate than the wily veterans and better power than the other prospects-turned-starters. Betts has another few years before he will be where Pillar and Kiermaier are at now, with more experience and maturity under his belt, and yet his numbers are either on par or above them, especially offensively. He’s already doing well defensively, considering he started as a second baseman who made a change to right field before becoming the Red Sox full-time center fielder, this season. With more work, he can only grow better from here.

Betts is the total package already far beyond his years. Imagine what will happen when he spends more time in the majors at the center field position. The phrase the sky’s the limit doesn’t quite define what this future MLB All-Star’s potential will be.

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