Colorado Rockies: Is Kris Bryant the best left fielder in MLB?
Late last week, MLB Network released their list of the Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now and it was a remarkably bad list, at least for the “top 10.” Sure, there were issues with the list in numerical rankings or the people on the list but it was remarkably bad because left field is, arguably, the weakest position in MLB right now. However, new Colorado Rockies left fielder Kris Bryant was not on the list because they considered him as a third baseman.
He made the list as their 10th-best third baseman. After all, he played 55 games at third in 2021 with 48 in left field, 39 in right, 18 in center, 12 at first base, and one at shortstop.
So that made us wonder: Now that Kris Bryant is playing left field, is Colorado Rockies left fielder Kris Bryant the best left fielder in baseball now?
If he’s not the best, Colorado Rockies LF Kris Bryant is definitely one of the best
When you look at the numbers, Colorado Rockies Kris Bryant may not be the best left fielder in baseball but he is definitely one of the top few.
Among primary left fielders in 2021 in WAR on FanGraphs, here are the players ahead of Bryant.
- Tyler O’Neill, Cardinals, 5.4 fWAR
- Teoscar Hernández, Blue Jays, 3.9 fWAR
- Yordan Álvarez, Astros, 3.7 fWAR
- Kris Bryant, Cubs/Giants, 3.6 fWAR
Two of the three “left fielders” ahead of him aren’t even left fielders. Hernández played in parts of 110 games in right field and parts of 58 in left field in 2021. That’s not expected to change and, as such, he was on MLBN’s Top 10 Right Fielders list.
Álvarez only played parts of 41 games in left field and was a DH in parts of 98 games, so he’s not a left fielder either and won’t be in 2022.
For MLB Network’s Top 10 list, they consider a player’s stats for the last three seasons. That’s why Christian Yelich made the list, despite having a 1.7 rWAR and a 2.2 fWAR in the last two seasons. For comparison, former Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia had a 1.8 rWAR and a 1.2 fWAR in the last two seasons.
Overall since 2019, Bryant has an 8.7 fWAR. Here are the “left fielders” above him in that span.
- Juan Soto, Nationals, 14.0 fWAR
- Christian Yelich, Brewers, 10.0 fWAR
- Bryan Reynolds, Pirates, 8.7 fWAR
- Kris Bryant, Cubs/Giants, 8.7 fWAR
Since the start of the 2021 season, Juan Soto has been a right fielder so he’s no longer in left. It’s the same story for Reynolds but he moved to center field.
So with a weak position that has had a lot of players move from the position or injuries, like Jesse Winker (who was #1 on MLBN’s list despite never playing more than 113 games in the majors in parts of five seasons), Kris Bryant might actually be the best or second-best left fielder in baseball.
Cardinals left fielder Tyler O’Neill has the edge over him if he can repeat his 2021 offensive performance again as he is younger and is a better defender but Kris Bryant is definitely in the top three left fielders in baseball right now.
Hopefully, for Rockies fans, Bryant will live up to that in 2022 and for the next few years as the Rockies hope to get to the playoffs again in the near future.