Some of the greatest players in the history of baseball have played the outfield. Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and many others once had the privilege to stand in the last hope of flat grass between home plate and the outfield wall. There are still plenty of great outfielders in baseball currently suiting up around the league. Younger players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Giancarlo Stanton all play the position. Veterans Nelson Cruz, Ryan Braun, and Jose Bautista are there too. While we are familiar with those names, there are still some the average baseball fan may not. These are the most underrated outfielders in baseball today.
Take a look at the league leaders in the 2014 MLB season and you will wonder where this Michael Brantley guy came from. Since becoming a regular in the lineup for the Cleveland Indians in 2011, Brantley has continuously gotten better each season. He has already set career highs in multiple categories in 2014 and if he continues at this pace we may need to add him to the discussion of best overall players in the game. With very limited talent around him Brantley has somehow not let it get him down.
A former first round draft pick taken second overall in 2005, Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals has never gotten much credit. The first half of his career started off a little slow, particularly when it came to getting hits. Ever since the 2011 season when he hit 23 home runs with a .303 batting average and won a Gold Glove, Gordon has been pretty consistent. Gordon is not someone who will probably ever win an MVP yet he remains a solid player who can hit anywhere in the lineup.
Just about every team he had played for gave up on Brandon Moss or didn’t give him the chance he deserved at the major league level. Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics took a low-risk/high-reward chance on him in 2012 and it has paid off more than they could have hoped. Moss has become a true power hitter. In 2013 he managed to knock 30 home runs with 87 RBIs. He’s playing just as well, maybe even better, in 2014. As the Athletics progress in the season and prove they are a team destined for great things, Moss will be one of the players finally mentioned as to why this team of “nobodies” has done so good.
Speed, power, and the ability to hit for average are three parts of Alex Rios’s game. For more than a decade now he has manned the outfield for an American League team without ever receiving much mention among the best in baseball. In fact Rios hasn’t even made an All-Star team since 2007 when he was still with the Toronto Blue Jays. Now a member of the Texas Rangers, Rios continues to impress. His power numbers have been down 2014 although everything else has been at average or better. Primarily a guy who hits in the middle of the lineup, Rios still managed to swipe 42 bases in 2013. Maybe if he were to ever play for a good team he could finally get some national attention that he deserves.
More from this contributor:
The Most Underrated Second Basemen and Shortstops in Baseball
The Best Young Pitching Staffs in Baseball
The Most Gold Gloves Won Each Decade in the MLB