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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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

6. Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers, $8.883 million value; $5.0 million salary

The similarities between Pederson and Schwarber, two spots behind him in this ranking, are noticeable. Both batted around .250 and both hit more than 35 home runs last season. Pederson struck out and walked less and also got fewer hits than Schwarber, but that was in large measure due to the fact that the Dodgers platooned him.

He did manage to generate a 3.3 WAR, about 1 WAR higher than Schwarber, and worth $8.043 million in on-field value. That alone justified his ranking among the position’s top 5.

Defensively, Pederson was nothing special. His  1.63 range per nine innings only valued out to $418,000, 24th best at the position. It’s a good thing for Pederson that left fielders are primarily paid to hit. The platooning manager Dave Roberts did with him reduced his innings to 790, just 21st best and worth only $422,000.

Like Schwarber and Ozuna, then, Pederson is a left fielder in the John McGraw stripe: a guy who’s paid to hit while spending his leisure time as uneventfully as possible in the outfield.

Pederson will become a free agent after 2020, but as long as he delivers 30 homers a season – and unless somebody discovers a vital defensive responsibility in left field – he has a reasonable chance of producing at a level that’s worth what he’s being paid.