MLB: The most valuable left fielders of 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 15: Fans and Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) await the ball during a MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves, on September 15, 2019, at Nationals Park, in Washington, D.C.(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 15: Fans and Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) await the ball during a MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves, on September 15, 2019, at Nationals Park, in Washington, D.C.(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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(John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
(John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images) /

3. Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates, $10.564 million value; $569,000 salary

Since he began 2019 in the minors, it’s an accomplishment that Reynolds finishes as the third most valuable left fielder in the game. In an absolutely desultory Pirate season, he was a revelation.

For much of his rookie season, Reynolds made a serious run at the National League batting title, carrying a .335 average into September before finishing at .314, equaling the league’s sixth best.

His .377 on base average and .503 slugging percentage showed he was more than a singles hitter, translating to a 3.9 WAR. The only drawback on his freshman resume was 121 strikeouts, but that was a drawback on almost everybody’s resume in 2019.

His offense totaled $9.905 million in on-field value in 2019. Reynolds was also more than competent defensively, with 1.93 chances per nine innings, good for another $495,000. At 1,055 innings played, he earned a final $564,000 for showing up.

On a team featuring players of the reputation of Josh Bell and Starling Marte, it is a measure of Reynolds’ performance than he was Pittsburgh’s most valuable player in 2019, that value amounting to about $3 million more than Bell at first base. Bell, by the way, plays a far-better paying position, a fact that should have inflated his value relative to Reynolds. It didn’t matter.