Positioned in right field, the right fielder's main role is similar to the left fielder's. They catch fly balls hit in their direction, prevent extra-base hits, and make accurate throws to the infield. They also contribute to defensive strategies and cover the right side of the outfield.
Key Responsibilities of a Right Fielder
Fielding Fly Balls
The right fielder is responsible for catching fly balls hit to their area of the outfield. They must have good judgment, speed, and agility to track the trajectory of the ball and make the catch. This includes running towards the ball, adjusting their position, and making accurate catches.
Right fielders are often required to make strong and accurate throws to various bases. They need a strong throwing arm to make quick and precise throws to cut off runners and prevent them from advancing or scoring. This is particularly important when there are runners on base or when the ball is hit to right field with the intention of advancing or scoring.
Preventing Extra-Base Hits
The right fielder must position themselves strategically to prevent extra-base hits, especially doubles and triples. They need to have good range and be able to cover a significant portion of the outfield. By cutting off balls hit to right field and quickly getting the ball back to the infield, they can limit the number of bases a batter can advance.
Communication and Coordination
Right fielders need to communicate effectively with the center fielder and the infielders. This is crucial for relaying information about the number of outs, positioning, and potential cutoff plays. Clear communication helps coordinate defensive strategies and ensures everyone is on the same page during plays.
Awareness of the Game Situation
A right fielder must have a keen sense of the game situation at all times. They need to understand the score, the number of outs, and the base-running situation. This awareness helps them position themselves optimally, make quick decisions, and react appropriately to different game scenarios.
Backing up Plays
Right fielders play a role in backing up plays made by other fielders. They need to be ready to move to different areas of the outfield to support their teammates and prevent extra bases. By being in the right position, they can retrieve balls that get past other outfielders or make a quick throw if needed.
Right fielders should study opposing hitters and their tendencies to anticipate where the ball might be hit. This allows them to position themselves more effectively and react quickly when the ball is put into play.
Best MLB Right Fielders of All Time
- Babe Ruth: Babe Ruth is an iconic figure in baseball history and is often regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. While primarily known for his incredible power as a hitter, Ruth also spent a significant portion of his career playing right field. He played for the Boston Red Sox and later the New York Yankees, achieving numerous records and setting new standards for the game. Ruth was a seven-time World Series champion, a 12-time American League home run leader, and held the career home run record for many years.
- Hank Aaron: Hank Aaron is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished players in MLB history. He spent the majority of his career as a right fielder, primarily with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves. Aaron's consistency, power, and excellent hitting ability led him to become the all-time leader in career home runs for over three decades. He was a 25-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, and achieved the prestigious honor of being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Roberto Clemente: Roberto Clemente is remembered not only for his exceptional skills as a right fielder but also for his humanitarian efforts. He played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Pirates and became the first Latin American player to win a World Series MVP award. Clemente's remarkable arm strength and defensive prowess earned him 12 consecutive Gold Glove Awards. He was also an exceptional hitter, boasting a career batting average of .317. Tragically, Clemente's life was cut short in a plane crash while delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, but his legacy both on and off the field remains influential.
- Reggie Jackson: Reggie Jackson, often referred to as "Mr. October," was a prominent right fielder known for his power hitting and clutch performances in the postseason. He played for several teams during his career, including the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees. Jackson's impressive power hitting resulted in 563 career home runs, and he helped lead his teams to five World Series championships. His memorable three-homer game during the 1977 World Series solidified his place in baseball lore.
- Ichiro Suzuki: Ichiro Suzuki is a legendary figure in both Japanese and American baseball. Known for his exceptional hitting, speed, and defensive skills, he played the majority of his MLB career as a right fielder for the Seattle Mariners. Ichiro combined his time in the MLB with his earlier career in the Japanese league to achieve an incredible total of over 4,300 hits across both leagues, breaking records along the way. He was a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner, a 10-time All-Star, and the 2001 American League MVP.