It’s not a coincidence that two of the best players in Major League Baseball, Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, both happen to play the outfield position. Some of the best players in the game man in the outfield positions around the majors and based on the list of incoming star talents there is a good chance that trend continues. Here is a look at the next wave of NL outfield stars.
Hunter Renfroe, San Diego Padres
It will definitely take some time for the Padres to fight their way back in to relevance and a big part of their turnaround will hinge on Renfroe’s arrival as a star. Renfroe’s power is his most incredible tool as he slugged 30 home runs in Triple-A last season before hitting four more with San Diego after he was called up towards the end of the year. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his power hitting is the fact that he doesn’t strike out often as he whiffed only five times in 36 major league at-bats and posted a respectable 20.4-percent strikeout rate in Triple-A. The 25-year-old is ready for the majors and he is expected to be among the next wave of National League outfield stars.
Manny Margot, San Diego Padres
While Renfroe is guaranteed to start the season in San Diego, the Padres could wind up bringing up Margot sooner than later. Margot will have to outperform Travis Jankowski if he is going to win the starting job in centerfield and he will have every opportunity to showcase his unbelievable skill set in spring training. Margot is already considered the best defender out of the incoming outfield prospects with excellent speed, leaping ability and outstanding arm strength and he is good enough at the plate to make a considerable impact as a hitter as well. The 22-year-old isn’t the power hitter than Renfroe is but his overall skill set has him among the next wave of projected NL outfield stars.
Albert Almora, Chicago Cubs
It’s absolutely incredible that the Cubs still have more potential star prospects ready to take the next step and join their defending World Series champion roster but they do. Almora is a step behind Margot in terms of his defensive ability in center field and he isn’t as good as either of the first two names on this list at the plate but he is still an intriguing prospect with the overall potential to become a star in the majors. Chicago is in no rush to bring him along as they are already loaded in the outfield but they can feel that much more confident about their overall team outlook with Almora close to taking the next step.
Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
Bellinger is technically a first basemen but he has spent time in the outfield as well and with Adrian Gonzalez locked in as the Dodgers’ starter at first we could see Bellinger introduced as a starting outfielder as soon as this summer. Bellinger has hit 56 home runs since 2015 and his power has developed to the point that he could be an excellent slugger at the major league level.
Offense was a bit of an issue for the Dodgers last season, so maybe Bellinger gets a look sooner rather than later. The Dodgers were one of the best pitching teams in baseball but in terms of offense, they managed just the 14th most runs in Major League Baseball. In terms of team batting average, the Dodgers were merely 22nd in the big leagues with an average of .249. They need to score more runs if they’re going to be competing with the likes of the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals next season.
The 21-year-old Bellinger is likely to need a little more seasoning in Triple-A before he makes the jump to the majors but Los Angeles has to be thrilled about the potential of having another one of the next wave of NL outfield stars.
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