Julio Rodriguez

Ranking the 10 Best Center Fielders in MLB Ahead of the 2024 Season

Home » MLB » Ranking the 10 Best Center Fielders in MLB Ahead of the 2024 Season

With the position stacked with talented, two-way players, deciding on MLB’s top center fielders in 2024 is no easy task. Some of the best center fielders in 2024 are also among the best players in baseball right now at any position.

Plus, when all is said and done, some of today’s center fielders will be listed among the greatest center fielders in MLB history.

Ranking the 10 Best MLB Center Fielders for the 2024 Season

For right now, we want to limit our list to the top center fielders for 2024. Who are the center fielders who are poised for a brilliant season ahead regardless of what they’ve done in the past?

As we mentioned, answering that question isn’t easy. Nevertheless, we took a close look at the candidates and created a list of the 10 best center fielders in 2024.

10. Bryan Reynolds

We could have easily put Brandon Marsh or Jarren Duran in this spot, but we’ll close out our list with Bryan Reynolds, who is a trustworthy veteran who figures to be Pittsburgh’s primary center fielder this year.

       

While 2023 wasn’t his best season, Reynolds has a strong track record and has multiple seasons hitting over .300 in the big leagues. That makes him a reliable center fielder who still has the upside to be an all-star again.

9. Byron Buxton

In many ways, Byron Buxton remains an anomaly. He’s dealt with countless injuries and coming off a dreadful season in which he batted just .207. The Twins kept him out of the field last season and the injury bug still got him.

It’s also a bad sign that Minnesota traded for Manuel Margot to give them some coverage in center field. That being said, the 30-year-old Buxton still has the tools to be an elite center fielder if he can just stay healthy and find some consistency.

8. Jung-hoo Lee

Admittedly, we don’t know much about Lee. But the Giants wouldn’t give him a six-year, $113 million deal if he wasn’t ready to be a top-notch center fielder in the big leagues.

Keep in mind he’s only 25 and was a five-time Gold Glove winner in the KBO, not to mention the league’s MVP in 2022. Lee should be an elite defensive center fielder right away while his offensive profile indicates that he could also be a .300 hitter right off the bat as well.

       

7. James Outman

We don’t know how the Dodgers keep doing it, but James Outman is another talented player they’ve plucked from their farm system. In his first full season in the majors, Outman hit .248 with an OPS of .790. With 23 homers and 16 stolen bases, he clearly has 20-20 potential. The 26-year-old also has plenty of room for improvement, which is why we expect him to have a strong 2024 season.

6. Michael Harris II

At age 23, Michael Harris II is only scratching the surface of what he can do. That’s high praise for a player who hit .293 with an OPS of .808 last year, keeping in mind those numbers were down from his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2022.

Harris isn’t far away from being a 20-20 player who hits .300 or better and plays above-average defense. He’s not there just yet, but when he does, he’ll be a top-five center fielder.

5. Cody Bellinger

Following an offseason of uncertainty, Cody Bellinger is back with the Cubs. Equally important, he’s now among the best center fielders in baseball. We know that Bellinger had some poor seasons after winning MVP in 2019. But he started to get back on track last season, joining the 20-20 club for the first time while hitting a career-best .307.

Bellinger isn’t quite back to an MVP level. But he’s still only 28 and has the upside of someone who could potentially win another MVP in the next few years, so we have high hopes for him in 2024.

4. Luis Robert

It’s almost hard to believe that Luis Robert is only 26. That’s why it’s a little easier to forgive and forget a couple of injury-plagued seasons. Until late September, Robert managed to avoid getting hurt last season, allowing him to hit .264 with an OPS of .857 thanks to 38 homers and 36 doubles.

Just for good measure, Robert also stole 20 bases to join the 20-20 club. Don’t forget that he won a Gold Glove back in 2020, so he’s an elite defensive center fielder as well. If he can stay healthy in 2024, he’ll be one of the best outfielders in baseball, no questions asked.

3. Mike Trout

It saddens us to say that Mike Trout is no longer the premier center fielder in baseball. While he remains one of the all-time greats, Trout has struggled with injuries in three straight seasons. Also, his .263 average and .857 OPS in 2023 were both well below his career averages.

In fairness, if he’s healthy, Trout is still among the best big leaguers out there. Unfortunately, it’s hard to believe that Trout will stay healthy for all of 2024 and replicate his MVP form from a few years ago.

2. Aaron Judge

It looks a little unusual, but Aaron Judge is now a bonafide center fielder. That’s where the Yankees plan to play him just about every day in 2024. Naturally, he’s going to be one of the best at that position if he can stay healthy.

Judge is just two years removed from his magnificent 62-homer season. Also, despite missing time with injuries last season, he produced an OPS of 1.019. Finally, Judge can hold his own defensively in center field, so don’t think that he doesn’t have the range for the position.

1. Julio Rodriguez

There has been a changing of the guard with Julio Rodriguez now the best center fielder in MLB. In just two seasons, Rodriguez is a two-time all-star and a two-time Silver Slugger winner. Somehow, he only turned 23 last December.

That was after he had a 30-30 season with 32 homers and 37 stolen bases while posting an OPS of .818. Rodriguez has already accomplished so much, and yet he’s poised to keep getting better, which means the sky is the limit for him in 2024 in what will be just his third season in the majors.

Leave a Reply