Is Yasiel Puig baseball’s best right fielder? Not exactly


(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

All-star balloting is in full swing, which means teams will go to great lengths to pump up “their guy.” And that includes Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly, who wanted to set the record straight on where  Yasiel Puig ranked among outfielders.

“We feel like, right now, Yasiel is the best right fielder in baseball,” Mattingly told reporters on Tuesday. “This guy dominates right field.”

Puig does make tough plays in right field. According to the Inside Edge scouts, who watch every play and grade how easy or difficult it is to successfully field, Puig has made 14.3 percent of the plays they deem “remote” (between one and ten percent chance of making) and 11.1 percent of those that are “unlikely” (between 11 and 40 percent chance). However, the amount of runs above average Puig saves with his arm by preventing runners to advance is seventh best in the league.

But while we are on the subject, who is the best right fielder in baseball? From a hitting perspective it is Puig, whose 0.452 weighted on-base average  and 196 weighted runs created plus lead all right fielders. However, Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton (0.432 and 177) and Toronto’s Jose Bautista (0.410 and 162) are right there with him.

In terms of base running, Bautista is in the top five. His weighted stolen base runs of minus-0.5 is offset by an ultimate base running of plus-1.6, which neither Puig nor Stanton come close to eclipsing.

If you are looking for a right fielder who dominates all aspects of the game — hitting, fielding and running — then Jose Bautista, not Puig, is your man. 

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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