Let’s start by looking at how many games each player was in right field, broken down by year. To add another dimension, total bWAR for the seasons with games in right field is shown for the best six players. The last row represents the 26 players who briefly visited right field for a figurative cup of coffee.
How were the candidates decided?
Of the 42 Diamondback right fielders in the decade, only 16 players exceeded 11 games in right field. Of the 16 players, only 4 players had a season that exceeded 80 games in right field. Of those 4 players, only 2 players’ bWAR was positive – Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra. Interestingly, Upton excelled in offense and Parra excelled in defense. Upton and Parra are the first two candidates.
The Diamondback player with the highest bWAR total from all Diamondback seasons with games in right field was David Peralta (12.2 total bWAR from 2014 through 2018). Peralta is the third candidate.
The players who had the best single seasons were Parra (5.7 bWAR in 2013), Upton (5.5 bWAR in 2011), and Ender Inciarte (5.2 bWAR in 2015). By having the third best single season, Inciarte is the fourth candidate.
A Diamondback player was acquired mid-season. He played in right field, and he made a big impact. That was the year the Diamondbacks unexpectedly made the playoffs. JD Martinez made the cut for the fifth and last candidate.
Honorable mention goes to four players with games in right field: Tim Locastro (25 games in 2019), Jarrod Dyson (39 games in 2018-2019), Chris Owings (68 games in 2017-2018), and Cody Ross (64 games in 2013-2014).
Let’s look at our five candidates.
Justin Upton. He started the decade as the primary and full-time right fielder. That situation continued three years. In the 2011 playoffs against the Brewers, he had 4 hits, including 2 homers. When Upton was traded away, Jim McLennan wrote, “I don’t actually have many specific memories of Upton’s time in Arizona: what comes to mind are some great plays in right-field, and utterly dominating plate-appearances, but also frustrating moments with both glove and bat, where it seemed like he was mentally checked out. I guess, if there was one word to sum up his time in Arizona, it would be “mercurial”. Three reasons to vote for him:
- Most games in right field (436). That was 50% more than Parra (292 games), and double any other player.
- Dominating offense in 2011. Of the players with games in right field, Upton had the best single season batting runs (32.8 in 2011). In 2011, he won the Silver Slugger award, and his 5.1 offensive bWAR ranked 9th in the NL.
- A Remarkable Statistic. In 2011, he was hit-by-pitch 19 times in 674 PAs (.369 OBP). That stood out as remarkable until 2019. That’s when Tim Locastro broke that mark with 22 HBP in less than half the plate appearances (250 PAs, .357 OBP).
Gerardo Parra. After Upton was traded away, Parra moved from left field, where he won a Gold Glove in 2011, to become the primary right fielder. In 2013, he won a second Gold Glove award, this time for right field. He tied with Dustin Pedroia for Wilson Overall Defensive Player of the Year (all positions). In July of 2014, he was traded to the Brewers for Anthony Banda and Mitch Haniger. When Parra was traded away, JimMcLennan wrote, “Parra’s defense reached unprecedented heights. He put up 4.0 dWAR, the second-highest figure by any outfielder since the stat has been calculated.” Three reasons to vote for him:
- Second most games in right field (292).
- Dominating Defense in 2013. He won two gold gloves, Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in right field, and Wilson Overall Defensive Player of the Year. Of the players with games in right field, Parra had the best single season fielding runs (+37 in 2013). Gerardo Parra’s 3.6 defensive bWAR ranked fourth best in baseball (all positions).
- A Remarkable Statistic. For the decade, Parra’s 37 fielding runs was the third best single-season defender in baseball (all positions). The best two were Kevin Kiermaier (+42 in 2015), and Andrelton Simmons (+41 in 2013).
Starting in 2015, who played in right field became amorphous. The primary right-fielder changed every season. Based on games played in right field, the primaries were: Inciarte in 2015, Tomas in 2016, Peralta in 2017, Souza in 2018, and Jones in 2019. Peralta’s primary position changed from left field in 2015, to right field in 2016-2017, and back to left field in 2018-2019.
David Peralta has excellent offense and excellent defense, making him a well-rounded candidate. In 2018 he won a Silver Slugger award and in 2019 he won a Gold Glove award (albeit for his play in left field). In 2019, he won the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in left field. His total bWAR (12.2) for years in which he played games in right field was the highest of all the candidates.
Although he is now one of the top-10 left fielders in baseball, and although he is unlikely to return to right field, his time in right field from 2014 through 2018 earned him a place in the voting.
Three reasons to vote for him:
- Dominating Offense and Defense. Won a silver slugger award, a gold glove, and Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in left field.
- His total bWAR (12.2) for years in which he played games in right field was the highest of all the candidates.
- A Remarkable Statistic. In 2014, his 2 double plays turned as right-fielder ranked third in the NL.
Ender Inciarte. In 2015, he was the primary right fielder. In the following three seasons he played center field and won three gold gloves. His single season in right field earned him a place in the voting. Three reasons to vote for him.
- Dominating Defense. In 2015, Ender Inciarte’s 2.7 defensive bWAR ranked sixth in baseball (all positions). He won three Gold Gloves.
- Dominating Baserunning. Best single season baserunning (3.8 BSR in 2011). He’s one of two RF to have reached twenty SB, the other being Justin Upton in 2011.
- Two Remarkable Statistics. In 2016, he earned 19 outs above average (OAA) and Statcast rated his jump as 3.1 feet above average. In 2016, each of those statistics ranked second in baseball (all positions).
JD Martinez. In July of 2017, the D-backs acquired JD Martinez. His half season with the D-backs earned him a place in the voting. Three reasons to vote for him.
- Most Impact. His 4-homer game against the Dodgers is leading the vote for the best single game performance of the decade. Acquiring him helped the D-backs reach the playoffs. In the playoffs against the Dodgers, he had 4 hits including a homer.
- Dominating Offense. Jim McLennan wrote, “J.D. Martinez accumulated a startling 22.4 Batting Runs in just 62 games of the 2017 season, ninety-seven fewer than Upton needed. Pro-rated to a full season, Martinez would probably have surpassed even Goldy’s tally.” He won three Silver Slugger awards in the AL (for outfield and DH).
- A Remarkable Statistic. In 2017, his 19.5% barrels was in the top 1% of the league.
If previously chosen for the all-decade team, a vote leader will be recognized as a 2-position winner, and the next highest vote leader will be chosen for starting in right field. I’m curious to read how you decided who got your vote, and who would have been your second choice. As ever, that’s what the comments section is for...
Who is the Diamondback right fielder of the decade?
This poll is closed