This is the fourth in a series that looks at the five best players at each position for every Major League team. The focus of this article is all three outfield positions with the Arizona Diamondbacks, a franchise that began play in 1998.
The Best Outfielders in Diamondbacks History
5. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – Players who are in their first seasons with a team usually don’t end up on that team’s all-time greatest players list. However, left field for the Diamondbacks has three long-time starters and several one-year fill-ins. Arizona hopes Gurriel Jr. is not among the latter. He was traded last December along with catcher Gabriel Moreno for another player we will look at in this article, Daulton Varsho. Gurriel Jr. was selected as an All-Star after hitting .263 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in 80 games this season, and the 29-year-old has room to get better.
4. Eric Byrnes – He spent four years with Arizona and started two of them, including the 2007 season in which the team went to the NLCS. Over his two full seasons (2006-07), Byrnes hit 47 home runs, drove in 162 runs and stole 75 bases. He also homered and drove in five runs during the 2007 playoffs.
3. Gerardo Parra – He split his six-year tenure in Arizona between left and right field, so he will actually be featured on both lists. Parra started his career in left field from 2009-11. He hit .282 over 394 games and won a gold glove in the 2011 playoff season.
2. David Peralta – Here is another player who spent time in right field but had much more experience in left. Peralta, a starter on the 2017 playoff team, played 961 games over nine seasons with Arizona (third-most in franchise history), and he also ranks high in many other offensive categories with 434 runs scored (sixth), 960 hits (third), 191 doubles (fourth), 110 home runs (sixth) and 468 runs batted in (fourth). His best season was 2018, when he posted a .293-30-87 stat line and won the silver slugger award. He won his only gold glove the following year.
1. Luis Gonzalez – There are two players you think of when someone says Diamondbacks offensive-minded players, Gonzalez and Paul Goldschmidt. While “Goldy” has had a stellar career, he was never able to catch “Gonzo”, who holds franchise marks in batting average (.298), games played (1,194), runs scored (780), hits (1,337), doubles (310), home runs (224) and runs batted in (774) (with Goldschmidt finishing second in each category). From 1999-2003, he had at least 25 home runs and 100 RBIs, and he set franchise records in both categories with his 57-142 marks in 2001 while finishing third in NL MVP voting behind Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.
Gonzalez’s eight seasons with Arizona included five All-Star appearances, plus a silver slugger award in 2001 and a victory in the midseason home run derby that year. However, the defining moment in Gonzalez’s career will forever be his hit over a drawn-in Yankees infield that gave the Diamondbacks an improbable victory in the 2001 World Series. In 24 postseason games with Arizona, he hit three home runs and drove in seven runs.
5. Devon White – Most Major League teams suffer some growing pains their first season, and the Diamondbacks were no different. One bright spot on that 65-97 team in 1998 was White, who was acquired from the Marlins in a post-Expansion Draft trade. He earned an All-Star selection after hitting .279 with 22 home runs and 85 RBIs in his only season in the desert before signing with the Dodgers as a free agent.
4. Ketel Marte – Although he has spent more time at second base during his seven seasons with Arizona (450 games to 172 in center field), he was a starter in the outfield during his two best seasons. He hit .329 with 32 home runs and 92 RBIs in his All-Star season of 2019 and two years later, when he posted a .318-14-50 stat line.
3. Chris Young – He spent his first seven seasons in Arizona and was a part of two playoff teams. Young’s best season was 2010 when he had 27 home runs and 91 runs batted in while also earning his only All-Star selection. In 885 games with the Diamondbacks, he hit 132 homers and drove in 408 runs. Young also had five home runs and nine RBIs in 12 postseason games.
2. AJ Pollock – He played 637 games over seven seasons with the Diamondbacks, hitting .281 with 264 runs batted in and 103 stolen bases (fourth in franchise history). Pollock best season in Arizona was 2015, when he hit .315 with 20 home runs, 76 RBIs and 39 steals while earning both All-Star and gold glove honors.
1. Steve Finley – A solid starter who played for eight teams in his Major League career, Finley played some of his best baseball with Arizona. He spent six seasons in the desert and ranks in the top 10 in games played (seventh with 849), runs scored (third with 491), hits (fourth with 847), triples (fourth with 34), home runs (third with 153), RBIs (third with 479) and stolen bases (tied for seventh with 70). Finley earned three gold gloves, including one in 2004, when he was sent to the Dodgers at the trade deadline. The other two came in the 1999-2000 stretch when he combined for 69 home runs and 199 RBIs, while also earning his lone All-Star selection with the Diamondbacks in 2000.
5. Daulton Varsho – During his three-year stint with Arizona, Varsho was a catcher and played all three outfield positions. However, he had his best year in right field in 2022, hitting 27 home runs and driving in 74 runs before being traded to the Blue Jays.
4. Shawn Green – He was a grizzled veteran when he was traded to the Diamondbacks from the Dodgers before the 2005 season. Green did not recapture his glory days with Los Angeles and Toronto over the previous decade, but he did post a .285-33-124 stat line in 273 games while playing solid defense.
3. Gerardo Parra – He hit .266 in 393 in his three seasons on the right side before being moved to the Brewers at the 2014 trade deadline (for outfielder Mitch Haniger, who only spent one season in Arizona before being traded to Seattle in the deal for Ketel Marte). Parra showed his versatility by winning another gold glove, along with the Wilson National League Overall Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013.
2. Danny Bautista – He came over in a trade from the Marlins during the 2000 season and proved himself a solid platoon player for his five seasons with the Diamondbacks. Bautista was stellar in the 2001 World Series going 7-for-12 with seven runs batted in. He hit .296 with 197 RBI in 456 games with Arizona.
1. Justin Upton – Upton earned two All-Star selections during his six-year tenure in Arizona, which began with him as a 19-year-old in 2007. He played 731 games for the Diamondbacks and holds high places on the franchise list with 438 runs scored (fifth), 739 hits (ninth), 108 home runs (seventh), 363 RBIs (eighth) and 80 stolen bases (sixth). “J-Up’s” best season was 2011, when he hit .289 with 31 home runs and 88 runs batted in while earning All-Star and silver slugger honors. In the postseason that year, he hit two home runs in a Division Series loss to the Brewers.
Other articles in the Diamondbacks series:
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