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) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
11 of 12
Next
(Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images) /

2. Michael Brantley, Houston Astros, $12.142 million value; $16 million salary

The Astros took a chance on Brantley when everybody else shied away from him due to his injury history. Signing him for two seasons at $16 million apiece, they got a vital piece of their American League pennant winning lineup.

Brantley rewarded Houston’s faith in him with a2019 performance that was reminiscent of his prime.  He hit .311 in 637 plate appearances with 22 home runs, 90 RBIs and a .372 on base average, all of those numbers representing personal bests since at least 2015.

His 4.6 WAR was easily the position’s second-best, amounting to $11.211 million in on-field value when compared with the positional averages.

Brantley has never been known for his defense. In 2019 he accepted 1.53 chances per nine innings, only 28th best among his peers and good for just $392,000 in value. His reliability, measured by 1,007 innings of work in the field, added a final $538,000.

As a highly paid veteran at an offensive position, it’s no surprise that Brantley’s $16 million salary far exceeds his actual on-field value. In that respect, he’s typical of the game’s salary structure, which tends to reward seniority as opposed to actual value. Still, there’s nothing wrong with more than $12 million in value.