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Outfielder is a collective term including left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder, the three positions in baseball farthest from the batter. Outfielders are primarily engaged in attempting to catch long fly balls.
The outfield positions can be divided into the corner outfielders and the center fielder. Corner outfielder are often slower and have less defensive value than the center fielder. However, there are some important differences between left fielders and right fielders. Right fielders tend to have better throwing arms, but are not as fast as left fielders. But left fielders get more plays as right handed pull hitters will often hit the ball into left field. Center fielders, meanwhile, often have the best throwing arms of all outfielders and are the fastest.
Most of the biggest power hitters in baseball played in the outfield, where they do not have as constant involvement in fielding plays as other positions, especially before the institution of the designated hitter. For example, Babe Ruth was moved from pitcher to the outfield (playing left field most of the time except when the Yankees put him in right field in home games in Yankee Stadium). However, though left fielders and right fielders are often slow power hitters, center fielders are usually fast baserunners and good defensive players, as centerfield is by far the hardest outfield position, requiring both a good throwing arm and speed. In fact, center fielders on many teams often bat leadoff.
Sometimes there will be an outfielder who does not have the power to play the corner positions but who does not have the defense to play center field. These players will often become fourth outfielders or even fifth outfielders, back up outfielders who can sub at all three outfield positions. Many outfielders switch to first base in the latter part of their careers. Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Tris Speaker are generally rated as the top 3 outfielders of All-time.
|Outfielders:||Left field | Center field | Right field|
|Infielders:||3rd base | Shortstop | 2nd base | 1st base|