MLB Players

10 Best Defensive Center Fielders Of All Time

By Biraj Khanal / 2 May 2023 10:49 AM

Mike (right) and Julio (left) are among the top defensive center fielder in 2023.
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Best defensive center fielders of All time include Tris Speaker, Andruw Jones, and Bill Lange. Mike Trout and Julio Rodriguez are top center fielders in 2023.

Defense is a typical form of art in MLB and one of the most challenging positions to handle. Yet, some players are doing their best to make it a culture.

The center fielder is also an outfield player positioned to stop baseball hits into the center field. The players occupying that position must have better reflexes and should be high-sprint runners. 

They are provided a large coverage area from shallow center field to the outfield and from left center to right.

Among the center fielder, Willie Mays is the most all-rounder player having a .302 batting average, 660 home runs, and 338 stolen bases in his 22 years of career.

Top 10 Defensive Center Fielders

Greatest center fielders of All time include Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Mickey Mantle. Willie is considered a five-tool player and ranks only behind Babe Ruth in MLB history.

10. Andruw Jones

Andruw Jones is a retired MLB player who played for 17 years in MLB and two years in NPB. He played for Atlanta Braves for ten years and more and was inducted into their Hall of Fames.

Andruw was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2016.
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He was a defensive player with a .254 batting average, 434 home runs in MLB, and a .232 batting average and 50 home runs in NPB. He led all center fielders in putouts and total zone runs for five consecutive years.

Jones appeared five times in All-Star games and won Gold Glove Awards for ten consecutive years from 1998 to 2007. He won Silver Slugger Award in 2005 and was the Japan Series champion in 2013 while on NPB. 

9. Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett was a center fielder playing for the Minnesota Twins in his 12 years of MLB career. He was the Twins' leader in hits and runs of all time.

He made his MLB debut for the same team in 1984 and played till 1995. In his 12 seasons journey, he had a .318 batting average, 2,304 hits, with 207 home runs.

Puckett had appeared ten times in All-Star games from 1986 to 1995 and was a two-time World Series champion. He had won Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award six-six times and was honored with Roberto Clemente Award.

He was forced to retire in 1996 because of vision loss in one eye at 36. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001 on his first ballot after receiving 82.14% votes.

8. Bernie Williams

Bernie Williams is a former baseball player for New York Yankees who played for 16 years in the same team. He started playing in MiLB and later signed into MLB in 1991.

Bernie at the Yankees stadium on May 1, 2023 during the Monumental Monday.
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Bernie had a .297 batting average with 2,336 hits and 287 home runs in his baseball journey and retired in 2006. He appeared in All-Star games five times and was a group member for four times World Series Championships.

In 1996 he won AL Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award for four consecutive years and the Gold Glove Award. He won Silver Slugger Award in 2002 for his best performance that year.

7. Duke Snider

Duke Snider debuted in MLB for Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and played most of his career for them. He made his team win the World Series in 1955 and 1959.

Duke had a .295 batting average with 2116 hits and 407 home runs in his entire MLB career. He appeared in the All-Star games eight times and was the National League home run leader in 1956.

He retired in 1964, playing for San Francisco Giants after playing for 16 years in major leagues. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980 with 86.49% on his 11th ballot.

6. Tris Speaker

Tris Speaker, a.k.a. 'the Gray Eagle'" was considered the greatest for his defensive ability holding the records for assists, double plays, and unassisted double plays by an outfielder. He debuted in MLB in 1907 for the Boston Americans.

He has the sixth all-time highest batting average of .345 and had the fifth all-time highest 3,514 hits.

Tris is the 5th MLB player to reach 3,000 career hits
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With all this, he had only 117 home runs and had 792 doubles. He also served as the manager for the Cleveland Indians from 1919 to 1926.

Tris was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937 with 82.1% on his second ballot.

He was three times World Series Champion in 1912, 1915, and 1920 for two various teams such as Cleaveland Indians, Washinton Senators, and Philadelphia Athletics.

5. Ty Cobb

Tyrus Raymond Cobb debuted in MLB for the Detroit Tigers in 1905 and played as the center fielder and holds 90 MLB records in his lifetime. He played for 22 seasons of the major league for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Athletics.

Ty holds the record for a combined total score of 4,065 with a .366 batting average and is the highest in MLB history. He has made 117 home runs and has 897 stolen bases. 

He was American League Stolen Base Leader six times and four times the league's RBI leader. He was twelve times AL batting champion with a Triple Crown in 1909. He also became the AL MPV in 1911.

He still holds the record for most stolen home bases in the history, 54 times. He retired in 1928 while playing for the Athletics.

4. Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio holds the record for the longest hitting streak in baseball, which remains still in place. He had played for thirteen years in the New York Yankees, starting his major league career in 1936.

Joe had a .325 batting average with 2214 hits and 361 home runs and had nine career World Series rings, second after his teammate Yogi Berra's ten. He appeared in 13 All-Star games and was American League MVP for three years.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955 with an 88.84% vote on his third ballot. He was the AL batting champion for two years in 1939 and 1940 and became the AL home run leader in 1937 and 1940.

3. Ken Griffey Jr.

George Kenneth Griffey Jr. played for 22 years in MLB for the Seattle Mariners and two other teams. He holds the record for most Gold Glove Awards won in consecutive years by a center fielder, ten.

Griffey Jr. sharing the moment at an All-Star Homerun Derby years ago with his son.
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Ken has appeared in All-Star games thirteen times and has won seven Silver Slugger Awards and American League home run leader four times. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016 in his first year of eligibility.

Griffey had a batting average of .284 with 2,781 hits and 630 home runs in his entire career. He holds the record for most consecutive games with home runs, which is eight, and tied with Don Mattingly and Dale Long.

He played on the Mariners for ten years and on the Cincinnati Reds for eight years, went to Chicago White Sox, and then returned to Mariners while retiring in 2010. 

2. Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle played as a center fielder, right fielder, and first baseman and was a switch hitter for the New York Yankees for seventeen years of his entire professional baseball career. He had the highest stolen-base percentage and highest World Series on-base and slugging percentage.

He had a batting average of .298 with 2,415 hits and 536 home runs and got listed in Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. He appeared in 20 All-Star games and was seven times World Series Champion. 

Mickey received Triple Clown in 1956 and Gold Glove Award in 1962. He also became AL MVP in three years in 1956, 1957, and 1962.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 in his first year of eligibility, receiving 88.2% votes from the BBWAA election. He also has the third-highest career On-base plus slugging in the history of major leagues.

1. Willie Mays

Willie Mays debuted in major leagues for the New York Giants in 1951 and played in the NAL for Birmingham Black Barons in 1948. He ranks second behind only Babe Ruth on the all-time list of MLB players.

Mays hits four homers against the Milwaukee Braves in 1961.
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Willie had a batting average of a .302 with 3,282 hits, 338 stolen bases, and 660 home runs. He has appeared in 24 All-Star games that happened between 1954 to 1973 in the MLB. He was nominated for the National League MVP in 1954 and 1965.

He was the World Series champion and NL batting champion in 1954. He is twelve times Gold Glove Award from 1957 to 1968. Honored by Roberto Clemente Award in 1971, Willie became NL home run leader and stolen base leader four times while playing for the Giants.

Mays holds the record for four home runs in one game in 1961. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979 class and is the oldest living member of the Hall of Fame.

Best Center Fielders 2023

Best center fielders 2023 include Mike Trout, Brandon Nimmo, and Bryan Reynolds. Mike Trout plays as a center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels with a batting average of .303.

The top 10 greatest center fielders in 2023 are listed below:

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Julio Rodriguez
  3. Michael Harris II
  4. Brandon Nimmo
  5. Byron Buxton
  6. Bryan Reynolds
  7. Cedric Mullins II
  8. Luis Robert Jr.
  9. Corbin Carroll
  10. Harrison Bader

Top Right Fielders In MLB

Right fielders in MLB 2023 include Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts, and Bryce Harper. Mookie Betts rises in the rankings with his second consecutive All-Star season performance in the 2022 season.

Aaron is the key right fielder to watch out for in the MLB 2023 season.
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The Yankees slugger Aaron was in fifth position before the 2022 season. Still, he later climbed up to the top of the leaderboard from his outstanding 2022 season performance, gaining the top position in different statistical leaderboards.

The top 10 right fielders in MLB as of 2023 are mentioned below: 

  1. Aaron Judge, NYY
  2. Mookie Betts, LAD
  3.  Bryce Harper, PHI
  4. Kyle Tucker, HOU
  5. Ronald Acuña Jr., ATL
  6. George Springer, TOR
  7. Starling Marte, NYM
  8. Teoscar Hernández, SEA
  9. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
  10. Hunter Renfroe, LAA

Best MLB Left Fielders

Best MLB left fielders of all time include Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, and Rickey Henderson. Ted was the greatest hitter and had 521 home runs in his career.

ESPN produced a list of the 10 greatest left fielders of all time in the MLB ranking. Williams leads the ranking, followed by the legendary Barry Bonds and Rickey Henderson.

The top 10 greatest left fielders of all time in the history of MLB are listed below:

  1. Ted Williams
  2. Barry Bonds
  3. Rickey Henderson
  4. Pete Rose
  5. Carl Yastrzemski
  6. Manny Ramirez
  7. Shoeless Joe Jackson
  8. Tim Raines
  9. Willie Stargell
  10. Al Simmons

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