Network deems Hanley top left fielder in a tight race

Network deems Hanley top left fielder in a tight race

Entering the 2015 season, Major League Baseball is stacked with great left fielders. Some are well known, others are under the radar and one has yet to even play the position.

Who's the top left fielder in baseball right now? MLB Network's response may surprise you.

As part of its annual rankings of the top 10 players at each position, the Network deemed that Hanley Ramirez is the game's best in left field -- even though he's never played the position.

Host Brian Kenny and commentator Eric Byrnes agreed that Ramirez has a definite upside, believing that his numbers at the plate can back it up. Byrnes still called it an "aggressive" choice.

Byrnes believes Ramirez's athletic ability could make the transition seamless.

Close behind was the Nationals' Jayson Werth in the No. 2 spot. Both Kenny and Byrnes mentioned his consistency and clubhouse presence. Werth has the sixth-highest OPS+ among outfielders since the start of the 2012 season (139).

"What gets lost in all of this is that Werth is an all-around awesome player," Byrnes said. "For what he brings to that team and clubhouse, he truly is the leader."

Here's a breakdown of their 2014 numbers:

Ramirez: .283/.369/.448, 13 HRs, 132 OPS+

Werth: .292/.394/.455, 16 HRs, 134 OPS+

While those numbers favor Werth, Ramirez will have the benefit of the Green Monster after signing with the Red Sox this offseason. A right-handed pull hitter, the dimensions of Fenway Park will increase Ramirez's offensive output.

"This is a guy who is going to have a very favorable matchup with the ballpark," said Byrnes, who didn't have Ramirez in his top 10. "At night at Dodger Stadium the ball goes to die. Plenty of fly balls at Dodger Stadium will now be home runs."

While the two agreed on many of the selections, Kenny and Byrnes had different players at No. 1. Kenny went with Kansas City's Alex Gordon, while Byrnes had Cleveland's Michael Brantley in the top spot.

"Gordon over the last four years is eighth overall in WAR," Kenny said. "WAR isn't everything, but it's a good indicator."

Brantley came in at No. 3, Pittsburgh's Starling Marte was at No. 4 and Gordon finished fifth.

Some of the notable names left off the list included Yoenis Cespedes, Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera.

Here's MLB Network's full top 10:

1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Jayson Werth
3. Michael Brantley
4. Starling Marte
5. Alex Gordon
6. Nelson Cruz
7. Matt Holliday
8. Corey Dickerson
9. Justin Upton
10.Christian Yelich

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.