The right fielder is the 9th defensive position player (specifically, an outfielder) who is in charge of fielding baseballs that are hit into right field. He covers everything from shallow right field to the outfield fence, and from right-center field to outside the right foul line. Since his coverage is so large, right fielders must be relatively fast runners as do all outfielders, but typically not as fast as a center fielder.
Right fielders usually have the strongest throwing arms out of all the outfielders. By the time the baseball reaches the outfield, the base runner has usually made it past first base. Since right field is the farthest away from second base and third base, the right fielder has to make a very long throw from right field all the way to those bases. Even though less baseballs are hit to right field (since more batters are right handed and pull to the left), the throwing aspect is still an important part of the position.
Defensively the right fielder is the 9th position player according to the official scorecard, and needs to defend the right side of the field. This involves being able to field any balls hit into the air which are usually described as pop ups or line drives. They also need to be able to field any ground balls (balls that hit the ground and are in play) that are hit at them.
However, right fielders do not usually have the same amount of speed and range as center fielders typically have. Center fielders are essentially the captain of the outfield and typically will call off either the left or right fielder if both of them are going for a ball in the air.
Right fielders do need to have one of the best arms on the field and the best in the outfield as they are responsible for throwing the ball to third base from right field if a runner tries to advance there on a hit to right. This typically happens if the ball is hit into the right centerfield gap or down the right field foul line. They also still have to make the throw to home, but throwing to home is also required of left fielders and centerfielders too.
Overall, though the right field sees the least amount of balls hit to it, as the majority of batters are right handed and so will pull the ball to left field if the hit goes to the outfield. Because less balls are hit to right field it is considered a position that you typically put your worst fielders, which is commonly the case at the little league level as very few balls will be hit there.
Offensively is where typically right fielders are really good as many of the game's best sluggers are typically put in the corner outfield spots as they are easier defensively. For a right fielder, their job offensively is the same as any of the other position players as they aim to put the ball in place and advance any of their team's baserunners. If they also have good speed the right fielder should also steal bases, which is when you advance to the next base without being tagged without the ball being hit into play. Because of their typically great hitting, right fielders in their later years may transition to either first base or DH, (designated hitter position only in the American League) as first base involves not much speed or movement for fielding, and DH is just hitting.
In baseball there are a few different types of right fielders who you will see play the position.
While defense is undoubtedly an important part of baseball as far as right field goes it's not a priority for players to be as good defensively as it is offensively. A defensive right fielder is typically used if the manager wants to put in a good defender towards the end of the game if the team is up. This outfielder is typically referred to as the "Fourth Outfielder" who can be called upon defensively in those late game situations. The defensive outfielders are also typically faster with good dexterity and may even play other defensive positions on the field when called upon for being a good utility player.
As right field has been home to some of the greatest sluggers to ever play the game, there are many of them in today's game who are great hitters. Many of these hitters are great offensive players but aren't as good defensively, as typically their large stature and lack of dexterity limits them. However, their offense generally makes up for their defensive lapses which is why offensive only minded right fielders will get more playing time over there only defensive counterparts. An example of this is Albert Pujols who played outfield in his early career and was almost always a net negative defensively, yet still won MVP multiple times.
This is a right fielder that is great both defensively and offensively for their team. They not only can have big hits, but also have the speed and dexterity to make great defensive plays in right field. Obviously, these players are less common to see, but they are typically among the best players. A great example of this is Mookie Betts who has won both a silver slugger (best hitter at his position) and gold glove (best defensive player at the position) multiple times.
As far as equipment goes, for right fielders the two most important pieces of equipment is the glove and bat that the player uses. There are specific types of gloves designed for the outfield positions. These "outfield gloves" are larger than infield gloves and have a deeper pocket along with a H-web. This allows a player to have more range and reach to cover their part of the outfield. Besides this, you need a bat, but bats don't differ typically by position but are usually based on personal preference of a player. However, something that outfielders typically need more are sunglasses as when trying to catch a pop up on a sunny day it can be difficult to see the ball and have it get lost in the sun.
Right field has a rich history as so many great players have played the position and some of the top players today also play there. This includes two of the greatest players of all time in both Babe Ruth who many still consider today the greatest to ever play, and Hank Aaron who was the man to break his all time home run record. Today, the position still has its own new stars in players like Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge who are two of the top players and among the most recognizable figures in the game today.
Right fielders statically are better offensively than defensively with stats like their batting average, home runs, and RBI's (runs batted in) being high. Stats like DRS (defensive runs saved) and steals are typically lower as right fielders are more inclined to be better offensively. However, for an all-around right fielder you would hope to see great numbers in all of those statistical categories.
As far as strategy goes for right field there are many things to keep in mind as you are playing the position. First, when you are going for a pop up you need to keep in mind who has priority when calling for the ball and when to stop going for it. For right field this typically happens when going for a ball in right center field as the center fielder has priority and so the right fielder needs to back off if the centerfielder says he's got it.
One of the next most important things is knowing where you are supposed to back up another player. For a right fielder this can involve backing up the centerfielder for a ball hit to center or backing up the first baseman if he moves his position during a play. Finally, a right fielder needs to know where to throw the ball, which typically involves the "cutoff man," which is the infielder you throw the ball to. You need to know however which infielder to hit as it is based on where the runners are on the bases, with you typically wanting to throw ahead of the runners.
As far as skills are concerned for right fielders it is pretty similar to that of the other two outfield positions. You need to make sure that your technique for throwing is good with good grip on the ball and good foot placement to get the best possible throw.
Another largely important skill is that of tracking fly balls and not losing them in the sun, one tip is to always have your first move be backwards as it is always easier to run forward towards the ball then run backward.
Finally one of the best tools/skills of outfielders is the use of the crow hop and long hop. The crow hop is a hop that outfielders use to get more momentum and power to their throw. Meanwhile the long hop is throwing the ball as more of a line drive with it bouncing about 10-15 feet in front of the person making the catch. Which allows the ball to get in quicker and more accurately than that of an arcing rainbow throw.
The following lists some of the most famous right fielders of all time in baseball that are in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
|Hank Aaron||Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers|
|Roberto Clemente||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Frank Robinson||Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles|
|Reggie Jackson||Oakland A's, New York Yankees|
The following lists some of the top right fielders in Major League Baseball by team:
|Christian Yelich||Milwaukee Brewers|
|Ronald Acuna||Atlanta Braves|
|Cody Bellinger||Los Angeles Dodgers|
In baseball there are typically three types of right fielders: Defensive Right Fielders, Offensive Right Fielders, and All Around Right Fielders who are great both offensively and defensively.