The Outfield Is Cleared for New NL All-Stars

With Betts, Acuña, Soto, and Harper out of the picture, the grass in Arlington is wide open for plenty of new names to make up the NL All-Star outfield.

Jurickson Profar of the San Diego Padres smiles.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 28: Jurickson Profar #10 of the San Diego Padres smiles during the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins at Petco Park on May 28, 2024 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

Between Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Juan Soto and Ronald Acuña Jr., there have been a lot of very talented players roaming the outfield in the National League over the last several years.

Yet, due to changes of position, changes of league and, unfortunately, injury, none of those superstars will play the outfield for the NL All-Star team. This year’s field is the most wide open it has been in a very long time.

All of a sudden, a hodgepodge of wily veterans and young breakout players (with one or two star names still sprinkled in there) are vying for All-Star spots in the NL outfield this season.

With Betts, Acuña, Soto, and Harper out of the picture, the grass in Arlington is wide open for plenty of names to skyrocket into the picture and steal a spot in the Midsummer Classic. So, let’s take a look at the best outfielders in the National League who are vying for an opportunity in Arlington.

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Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres

It shouldn’t surprise many that Tatis is in the conversation to start. His name has been synonymous with the game of baseball since he came up, for better or for worse. And this year is no different.

Tatis is slashing .279/.354/.468 with 14 big flies and 36 RBIs. That’s a solid line for the two-time Silver Slugger winner looking for his second All-Star appearance — and his first as an outfielder.

The big thing for Tatis this year has been his turnaround from an unspectacular 2023 campaign at the plate. Looking past the counting stats, his barrel rate, hard-hit rate, and average exit velocity have all gone up this year, and he has also lowered his K-rate. His wRC+ has risen 20 points from 113 to 139.

So, Tatis deserves the look, even if his name carries a little bit of the load when it comes to votes.

Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers

The 2018 MVP winner is back and better than ever.

Yelich is having his best year since 2019, hitting an outstanding .325 with an OPS of .892. He’s captaining a young Milwaukee team that is capitalizing on an underperforming NL Central and leading the division by 6.5 games.

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His sample size is smaller than most of these other guys, since he missed 23 games due to injury early in the season and has played only 48 games during his 2024 campaign. But his numbers are hard to ignore even with fewer games played.

For me, Yelich is not on my ballot. I think he has been fantastic this year, and the fact he is doing this as a 32-year-old playing the outfield every day is mind-boggling to me.

But, it’s hard for me to get past the lack of games when the rest of these guys have almost doubled his at-bats. Still, I do think he gets the nod, along with Tatis, based on his name and resume. He is a former MVP and MVP runner-up, people don’t forget that.

Teoscar Hernández, Los Angeles Dodgers

If I were to tell you that Teoscar Hernández ranks top five in RBIs, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS among NL outfielders, would you believe me?

Well, if you’ve been watching Dodgers baseball, you would. Teoscar has been a hidden gem among the crazy offseason L.A. had this year.

After an unsuccessful stint in Seattle, Hernández has put himself right back on the map and on pace for a way better season than he had the year before. Like mentioned before, he ranks top five in many categories within the NL outfield sphere and leads in home runs and RBIs with 18 and 55, respectively.

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It’s a career resurgence for Teoscar, who took a prove-it deal and has proven it. His barrel rate is the best it’s been since 2020, and he is walking more than he has since 2019.

Hernández is one of six finalists for three NL outfield spots. For me, he gets in. His power stats overshadow both Yelich’s and Tatis’s numbers, and he plays for the best team in baseball.

He doesn’t have the star power that Tatis and Yelich have, and he sure doesn’t have the resume to compete with the two of them. But for this season, Teoscar might deserve the start over either of them.

Jurickson Profar, San Diego Padres

The former No. 1 overall prospect has finally broken out in his age-31 season. It’s taken 11 years, but man is it pretty.

Profar is top five in almost every single counting stat among NL outfielders and leads a lot of those categories. He’s slashing an astonishing .316/.408/.484 in 83 games. Those are all career highs for Profar, and he’s on pace to break career highs in pretty much every other stat, too.

He’s also got career highs in barrel rate and hard-hit rate and is in the top 10% of MLB players when it comes to walk rate.

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Profar’s stats are already astounding, but if you’re still not convinced, he leads all NL outfielders in fWAR at 2.8. His 160 wRC+ is 21 points higher than second place.

This is the easiest choice to be an NL outfield starter, and the public agrees with me. In addition to leading in so many statistical categories, Profar also leads NL outfielders in All-Star votes after phase one.

The All-Star Underdogs

Jesse Winker of the Washington Nationals rounds the bases on a two-run home run in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Jesse Winker #6 of the Washington Nationals rounds the bases on a two-run home run in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on April 16, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

The following players were not among the six NL outfielders chosen by fans as All-Star finalists (Tatis, Yelich, Hernández, Profar, Brandon Marsh, and Nick Castellanos). However, these guys are creeping up on the favorites and have a chance to make the roster as reserves.

Heliot Ramos, San Francisco Giants

Heliot Ramos has been incredible for San Francisco this year. He’s hitting .287 with an OPS of .871, 10 home runs and 35 RBIs. Those stats are incredible for 45 games and for a relative newcomer to the league.

If Ramos had been in the bigs for the whole year, he might be one of the six finalists to start the game.

Jazz Chisholm Jr., Miami Marlins

Jazz Chisholm’s recognizable name, and the lack of All-Star-caliber players on the Marlins, could help him earn his second All-Star appearance.

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His stats aren’t too bad either. He’s slashing .260/.327/.429 with 10 home runs, 37 RBIs and a sneaky 14 steals. I expect him to get in as a reserve.

Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets

Brandon Nimmo is an interesting name to throw into the conversation. He is tied for first in runs scored among NL outfielders and ranks fourth in RBIs, fifth in home runs, third in OPB and fifth in OPS.

Despite playing in a big market in Queens, Nimmo has, somewhat surprisingly, never been an All-Star before. This could be the year that changes.

Jesse Winker, Washington Nationals

Finally, there’s Jesse Winker. Winker is one of the frosty vets on a young, surging team Nats team that has been strangely competitive so far this year. His calling is being an on-base machine. He’s hitting for a .261 average but has an OBP of .378 and an OPS of .792. He also has 11 steals, which holds some value, especially for a 30-year-old outfielder.

The NL All-Star team will be fun, and plenty of positions will go to the established best players in this league. But, the outfield is still very much wide open, and the selections could come down to just one hot stretch of play in the coming days.