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MLB player rankings ahead of 2023 season: Center fielders

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The competition among the best center fielders in 2023 is nothing short of fierce. Naturally, center field is a position that attracts great athletes and exceptional players.

It’s only natural for the top center fielders in MLB to also be among the best players in the league regardless of position. With that said, who belongs among the best CFs in MLB right now?

Best center fielders 2023

Well, we crunched some of the numbers on past seasons and tried to project what players will do in 2023 to create a list of the 10 best center fielders for 2023.

As we said, the competition is fierce, so some quality players had to be left out. Therefore, we put together a list of the best of the best when ranking the top center fielders in MLB heading into the 2023 season.

10. Chas McCormick

Playing for the world-champion Astros has surely helped get Chas McCormick some positive attention. He may not be an all-star, but he’s provided steady contributions to Houston’s lineup over the past two seasons.


He came on strong during the second half of last season and then contributed two homers in the ALCS. Now that he’s had a chance to settle into an everyday role with the Astros, 2023 could be his best season.

9. Mike Yastrzemski

He might never be as good as his grandfather, but Mike Yastrzemski is still a quality center fielder. It’s true that his numbers dropped some last year, indicating that he might be a little past his prime.

But Yastrzemski is still capable of hitting 20-plus homers, a few dozen doubles, and legging out some triples. He also has the speed, even at age 32, to cover plenty of ground in the San Francisco outfield, making him a valuable player for the Giants.

8. Byron Buxton

It’s been a long journey for Byron Buxton, who has had a lot of injuries derail him along the way. But there’s no denying the talent is there. Buxton was an all-star for the first time last year before a hip injury hindered him down the stretch.

He’s just two years removed from hitting .306 with an OPS of 1.005 in 2021 and is also a top-flight defensive center fielder. Obviously, he’s far from a sure thing. But if Buxton can stay healthy and play at least 100 games for just the second time in his career, he’ll be among MLB’s best center fielders in 2023.


7. Luis Robert

The White Sox are still waiting for Luis Robert to reach his full potential. The Cuban slugger had 32 home runs and 36 stolen bases in 2019 while working his way through the minors, and it’s not that far-fetched to think he can do something similar in the majors. Injuries have been his biggest hindrance early in his career. But the 25-year-old has hit .289 with an OPS of .808 over his first three seasons in the big leagues.

If he can stay healthy and produce those types of numbers over 162 games, he’ll quickly turn into an elite center fielder, especially since he proved in 2020 that he’s capable of playing Gold Glove-caliber defense.

6. Cedric Mullins

One of the biggest questions facing the Orioles heading into 2023 is what version of Cedric Mullins they’ll get. Will they get the guy who hit .291 with 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in 2021 or the guy who came back down to earth in 2022, batting .258 with an OPS of .721?

Granted, Mullins still had 52 extra-base hits last season despite a drop in his numbers. He also stole 34 bases in 2022, so his speed is still a valuable asset and he still had a good year.

However, he was an all-star and a Silver Slugger winner in 2021 in addition to joining the 30-30 club. We don’t know for sure if he can regain his form from two years ago, but if he does, Mullins will be much higher on this list.

5. Bryan Reynolds

Whether the Pirates trade him or not, Bryan Reynolds is among the top center fielders in baseball right now. He had a breakout season in 2021, batting .302 with an OPS of .912, and didn’t fade too much last season, despite not being able to match those numbers.

In fairness, it’s not always easy playing hard every day for a rebuilding team that’s going nowhere. It appears that Reynolds will have that challenge again in 2023, as Pittsburgh looks keen to hold onto him for now.

But no matter who he plays for, Reynolds has a career .842 and is 28 years old, so he’s very much in his prime right now and should have another productive season ahead of him.

4. Brandon Nimmo

Brandon Nimmo is in line to be one of MLB’s best center fielders in 2023, and he has the eight-year, $162 million contract to prove it. He provides endless energy and enthusiasm, which is not to be overlooked.

But Nimmo has also produced an OPS of .800 or better in four of the last five seasons, thanks largely to incredible plate discipline and a little bit of power.

Despite not being a great base-stealer, Nimmo has underrated speed, leading the majors in triples last season. Equally important, Nimmo has turned himself from a fringe defensive player into one of the better defensive center fielders in baseball. He’s become the whole package, and as he turns 30, Nimmo could be about to enjoy one of the best seasons of his career.

3. Michael Harris II

After not even starting last season in the majors, Michael Harris is now the reigning Rookie of the Year and poised to be a star center fielder for a long time to come. He came one home run short of joining the 20-20 club as a rookie, and that’s largely because he didn’t get called up for his debut until late May.

In addition to 19 homers, three triples, and 27 doubles, Harris also hit .297 and looked comfortable defensively in center field, especially since he came straight from double-A to the big leagues. Needless to say, the Braves must be excited about what Harris can potentially do for an encore in 2023.

2. Julio Rodriguez

A year ago, nobody knew Julio Rodriguez, but now he’s among the elite center fielders in baseball and one of the best players on a team that expects to get back to the postseason in 2023.

The combination of power and speed that Rodriguez has is almost unreal. Last year’s Rookie of the Year and Silver Slugger winner totaled 28 homers and 25 stolen bases in 2022.

Of course, there is a little bit of fear that Rodriguez will endure a sophomore slump. After all, he’s still just 22 and the league will no doubt adjust to him this year. However, Rodriguez still has the upside of a bonafide superstar.

1. Mike Trout

There is still nobody who can take Mike Trout’s spot as the best center fielder in baseball. He’s going to end up being one of the greatest outfielders of all time, and the 31-year-old is still close to the top of his game.

He didn’t even play a full season last year, and Trout was still able to hit 40 homers. There is bound to be some concern about his health, but Trout also hit .301 with an OPS of 1.075 last September, so there’s no need to worry too much. He’s still very much in his prime and very much one of the biggest stars in baseball.

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