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Positional Power Rankings- Center Field | Forum

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Abbey Pendleton

For an explanation of the series, please read Dave Camerons introduction from Monday.All the posts in the series could be foundhere.

Center field is a glamour position. Think Willie Mays. Mickey Mantle. Joe DiMaggio. Ken Griffey, Jr. For some teams in 2012, center field will feature strong, glamorous players. Think Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, and Phillies. For other teams this year, center field will feature not-quite-there and been-there-done-that guys. Think Astros, Indians, Blue Jays, and Nationals. Another teams feature players or platoons that fall somewhere on the lackluster-to-glamorous spectrum.

As my colleagues have noted within their positional power rankings, it is really an art, not a science. We do good using the information we've, to which we add our analysis and judgment. I haven't projected one to convey more than 600 plate appearances as a center fielder, despite the fact that a number of players have experienced 650-plus plate appearances for many Mike Thomas Jersey seasons. Things happen. Injuries happen. It just made sense to me to become conservative, particularly with a position that needs a great deal of athleticism.

And now, to the show.

30. Houston Astros

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterJordan SchaferL350.224.291.320-20.5ReserveJason BourgeoisR300.273.311.35121ProspectJ.B. ShuckL50.259.328.326

Jordan Schafer appears to be the Astros option for starting center fielder, but its unclear why. After coming over from the Braves in the Michael Bourn trade, Schafer did almost nothing with either his bat or his glove. ZIPS projects Schafer because the least productive center fielder within the majors this season.

Understudy Jason Bourgeois hits better, fields better and is just as fast, otherwise faster, than Schafer and could soon replace him as the starting center fielder. Prospect J.B. Shuck could get some playing amount of time in center because the Astros continue to evaluate their young talent.

29. Cleveland Indians

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterGrady SizemoreL200.243.319.434-41ReserveMichael BrantleyL350.270.330.367-21ReserveEzequiel CarreraL75.263.329.327

Grady Sizemores back injury is anticipated to help keep him from action until mid-summer. Thats thrown a monkey wrench within the Indians plans in center field. Michael Brantley, who was slated because the starting left fielder, will require over for Sizemore in center. While Brantley doesnt po se s the power potential expected from Sizemore, hes projected to obtain on base at a slightly higher rate, and rove center field having a slightly more secure glove.

Although Brantley will get most of the playing time while Sizemore rehabs his back, we can expect to see some of Ezequiel Carrera in center, too. Carrera doesnt have much power, but is fast and a good defender.

28. Toronto Blue Jays

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterColby RasmusL500.250.322.4541.5ReserveRajai DavisR100.259.299.365-2ReserveTravis SniderL100.247.304.40740.5

Another season, another number of questions regarding Colby Rasmus. He was dreadful after coming over in the Cardinals within the multi-player trade last season, batting just.173/.201/.316 in 140 plate appearances for the Blue Jays. ZIPS sees a recover to his career slash, which portends good power and league-average on-base skills. Im being conservative with Rasmus expected playing amount of time in line together with his career numbers.

I expect Rajai Davis and Travis Snider to fill in the rest of the time in center field for the Blue Jays. Even with his injury-riddled and poor-performing 2011, Snider still projects to have a decent bat with a few pop, especially if hes healthy. His above-average defense will also prove useful late in games. Davis doesnt add much over Snider, apart from speed, but he does bat right-handed, providing a change from Snider and Rasmus, who both bat from the left side.

27. Washington Nationals

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterRoger BernadinaL150.240.302.374ReserveJayson WerthR300.245.342.41821.5ReserveRick AnkielL250.231.293.3860.5

Center field is in flux for that Nationals. Area of the problem is the incumbent, Roger Bernadina, who's average at defense and substandard while at bat. Another i sue is whether or not so when Bryce Harper helps make the 25-man roster. When that occurs and manager Davey Johnson seems to want that at some point Jayson Werth will move to center field and Harper will have right. ZIPS expects a much better season from Werth than 2011, but still away from the amount he produced using the Phillies.The Nationals also signed Rick Ankiel to some minor-league deal, but he seems sure to make the team from spring training. Ankiel adds value on defense but not much while at bat. None of these players are perfect fit for the Nationals in center, and can likely share the time there until a more permanent solution is found.

26. Seattle Mariners

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterFranklin GutierrezR450.248.299.358152.5ReserveCasper WellsR100.219.293.40350.5ReserveMichael SaundersL75.220.298.3393ReserveChone FigginsB25.242.303.3051

The Mariners finish up in somewhat exactly the same position as the Indians, having lost their starting center fielder Franklin Guitierrez for an injury. Gutierrez has a strained pectoral muscle and is expected in May. If he returns fully healthy and plays center for the rest of the growing season, hell bring value to the Mariners, largely with his glove. Casper Wells, Michael Saunders and Chone Figgins are likely to rove center at Safeco Field while Guitierrez is out. Wells has some power and it is solid on defense, so he should get the majority of the playing time.

25. Kansas City Royals

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterLorenzo CainR500.259.314.37052.5ReserveJarrod DysonL100.237.290.302ReserveMitch MaierL100.246.324.3530.5

Everyones saying the only thing mi sing from the Royals is nice pitching. Id give a good center fielder. Lorenzo Cain is expected to obtain most of the playing time, even though Cain has a good glove, he doesnt bring much value at the plate. Mitch Maier and Jarrod Dyson are expected to vie for many playing time in center. Both are lefties who can fill in for the righty-batting Cain against a right-handed pitcher. Dyson may be the superior defender but Maier has more pop in his bat. None will add much value towards the Royals this season.

24. Miami Marlins

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterEmilio BonifacioB600.263.326.347-23ReserveChris CoghlanL50.264.335.392-5ReserveAaron RowandR50.236.290.370

The Marlins, along with the Reds, Giants and Cardinals, can get above-average value in center field, putting them ahead of the teams ranked 25-30. The Marlins depth chart shows Emilio Bonifacio because the expected starter with support the aid of Chris Coghlan. Bonifacio hasnt played much center, but hes versatile along with a good defender. Bonifacio were built with a career year this year offensively, but despite some regre sion, will be a nice Cooper Kupp Jersey compliment towards the Marlins lineup.

Coghlan is really a former Rookie of the Year who had been demoted towards the minors last season and today will fight for playing time. Veteran Aaron Rowand signed a small league hire the Marlins, but appears like a good bet to help make the team out of spring training.

23. Cincinnati Reds

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterDrew StubbsR600.240.317.38842.5ReserveChris HeiseyR100.258.317.44620.5

Drew Stubbs played nearly every game in center field for the Reds in 2011 and appears to complete exactly the same in 2012. Stubbs doesnt hit for average but has decent power and good speed. Hes also an above-average defender in center. Chris Heisey, the Reds starting left fielder, will back up Stubbs in center. If he plays 100 innings there, hell add value to what Stubbs already brings to the table.

22. San Francisco Giants

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterAngel PaganB600.270.322.40522.5ReserveMelky CabreraB100.284.330.435-50.5

I was surprised to obtain the Giants ranked below the Mets. Those teams traded center fielders in the off-season, with Angel Pagan going to San Francisco and Andres Torres likely to New York. Pagan is an upgrade over Torres offensively, but Torres is definitely the better defender. Pagan will probably get most of the playing amount of time in center field, bringing 2.5 WAR to his new team. New Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera will back up Pagan, as the Giants convey more fill-in options for left field (Brandon Belt, Aubrey Huff) than in center.

21. St. Louis Cardinals

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterJon JayL550.282.335.4022.5ReserveCarlos BeltranB75.279.366.467-40.5ReserveSkip SchumakerL75.272.328.352-6

Jon Jay did a pleasant job in center field for that defending World Series Champions in 2011 and ZIPS projects a repeat performance. Good on-base average, some pop and decent defense from Jay gives the Cardinals solid value in center. Carlos Beltran may play a little for Jay against tough left-handers, adding more value towards the mix. Skip Schumaker will get some innings as well.

20. Detroit Tigers

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterAustin JacksonR600.259.321.37593ReserveAndy DirksL50.261.305.383ReserveDon KellyL50.256.302.378

As this year, Austin Jackson will be the Tigers main center fielder. So that as in 2011, much of his value will be a consequence of his superior defense. Andy Dirks and Don Kelly will take some at bats Damian Williams Jersey from the left side although not enough to make much of a difference in value for that Tigers.

19. Chicago White Sox

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterAlejandro De AzaL500.271.308.40673.5ReserveBrent LillibridgeR75.230.299.378ReserveAlex RiosR50.259.301.404-1ReserveKoskume FukudomeL75.241.343.376-4

Alejandro De Aza played only 54 games within the majors this year but ZIPS likes what it really saw. No, De Aza isnt likely to slug over .500 this year, but a slash of .271/.308/.406 will give the White Sox good offensive value in center field. De Aza is also an excellent defender, which pushes his expected WAR production to 3.5.

De Azas never played a complete season in the majors, so I anticipate seeing some reserves roving center for the White Sox occasionally. Ive penciled in plate appearances for Alex Rios, Brent Lillibridge and Koskume Fukudome, but none of them will add much value to the position.

18. Texas Rangers

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterCraig GentryR250.247.309.33481ReserveJosh HamiltonL150.289.392.48741ReserveJulio BorbonL250.276.319.3631.5

Dont look now but Craig Gentry looks to stay in this mixture for starting center fielder for that Rangers. Gentry doesnt have much when it comes to on-base skills or power however when he gets on he is able to make unexpected things happen with is legs. He would be a perfect 18-for18 in stolen bases in 2011. His speed also makes Gentry a plus-plus defender. Julio Borbon will likely take as many plate appearances in center as Gentry, hitting in the other part from the plate. I expect Josh Hamilton to get significant amount of time in center too, specifically if the Rangers conclude hes prone to sign elsewhere in 2013 and that leads the team to consider fewer precautions with Hamilton.

17. Ny Mets

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterAndres TorresB450.234.313.391102.5ReserveScott HairstonR250.246.308.4231

As noted above within the discu sion around the Giants, I was surprised to obtain the Mets rated greater than the Giants, when i view Pagan an upgrade over Torres. But Ive projected Torres for only 450 innings, because he has a difficult time staying healthy for a full season. His support, Scott Hairston, should see some decent playing time in center. ZIPS projects decent pop from Hairston, giving the Mets an offensive boost as he plays over Torres.

16. Baltimore Orioles

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterAdam JonesR600.278.322.447-53ReserveEndy ChavezL100.270.301.36130.5

There would be a lot of trade chatter about Adam Jones in the offseason but nothing materialized. Great for the Orioles, as Jones is one of Baltimores top offensive players, together with Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy. Jones takes a hit to his value with below-average defense. Endy Chavez will get some at bats, too, and can then add value together with his above-average defense.

15. Chicago Cubs

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterMarlon ByrdR550.273.324.41223ReserveTony CampagnaL100.273.317.32871ReserveReed JohnsonR50.261.310.385-1

Marlon Byrd is a good center fielder. Hits for average, has power and flashes the leather. A general solid value for that Cubs. Reserve outfielder Tony Campagna is much more glove than bat, however a excellent glove at that. Adds a lot of value with his defense.

14. Oakland As

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterYoenis Cespedes*R400.270.331.4353ReserveCoco CrispB225.264.320.39121ProspectCollin CowgillR75.243.312.360

I desired to rank the As higher, given all of the hoopla over Yoenis Cespedes but there is a great deal we dont know. The ZIPS projection for Cespedes, for instance, dont consider park factors, as they were calculated before he signed using the As. O.co, the current reputation for the Oakland Coliseum, tough on all batters, but especially right-handed ones. So these projections might be optimistic for Cespedes. Or not. Its also unclear how much Cespedes will play in center vs. Coco Crisp, who brings le s offense however a better glove. Prospect Collin Cowgill can get a while later within the season, but not enough to create a difference.

13. Colorado Rockies

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterDexter FowlerB550.264.360.418-23ReserveCarlos GonzalezL100.294.352.52111ReserveEric Young Jr.B50.258.339.358-1

After fits and starts last season, it appears as though Dexter Fowler now firmly has a grip on center field for the Rockies. And thats the best thing for Colorado, based on ZIPS. Fowler looks to improve his on-base skills (mostly be decreasing strikeouts) and keep the flashes of power he showed late in the 2011 season. The Rockies go for a lift in center for any time Carlos Gonzalez plays there, shifting over from ususal spot in left. Even 100 plate appearances for CarGo while playing center will prove to add 1 WAR for that Rockies for the reason that position.

12. Milwaukee Brewers

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterNyjer MorganL450.266.324.35383ReserveCarlos GomezR200.243.296.37491ProspectLogan SchaferL50.262.318.357

Nyjer Morgan will get the lions share of the playing time in center for that Brewers, but Carlos Gomez will discover a lot of at bats against left-handed pitchers, who just kill Morgan. Both are very good defensively, adding value to Milwaukee no matter which plays on a day. Prospect Logan Schafer looks to obtain some playing time toward the end of the growing season.

11. North park Padres

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterCameron MaybinR600.255.324.38364ReserveWill VenableL100.239.308.39630.5

For the Padres, its about Cameron Maybin, who just signed a a five-year/$25 million contract extension with San Diego. His offensive numbers take a hit, of course, while he plays half his games in Petco Park, but his defense is stellar and brings considerable value to the position.

10. Minnesota Twins

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterDenard SpanL550.273.342.36784ReserveBen RevereL100.276.322.325100.5ReserveJoe BensonR50.227.308.378

Denard Span gives the Twins what Cameron Maybin provides the Padres: decent offensive production and exceptional defense. Span did suffer a concu sion at the end of last season, but all reports suggest hes Cory Littleton Jersey clear of symptoms and able to play a full season. Neverthele s, Ive penciled Ben Revere in for 100 plate appearance, just in case. Its a stop by offense from Span, although not by much, and defense remains stellar. Prospect Joe Benson should see a bit of playing time in September.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterChris YoungR500.242.332.43573.5ReserveGeraldo ParraL200.279.336.41181

Chris Young declined offensively last season, with drops in on-base percentage and power. But his exceptional defense more than composed for this. ZIPS projects a season somewhere between his 2010 and 2011 numbers. If his defense remains tops, he'll still bring very good value to the DBacks. Ive penciled Gerardo Parra in for 200 plate appearances because Parra lost his starting job in left field to Jason Kubel, and I just cant imagine Parra sitting on the bench for very long. Nice trouble for Arizona manager Kirk Gibson to po se s.

8. Atlanta Braves

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterMichael BournL600.270.331.35464ReserveJose ContanzaL100.263.310.3220.5

A full season of Michael Bourn will benefit the Braves in additional ways than a single. What Bourn lacks in power he creates with speed once he gets on base, that they does at a fairly good clip. His legs also propel his very good defense. Just a solid, all-around center fielder. Jose Constanza wont add much when hes filling in for Bourn.

7. La Angels of Anaheim

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterPeter BourjosR600.261.309.412104.5ReserveVernon WellsR50.255.298.422ProspectMike TroutR50.267.338.4146

The Angels have a lot happening using their outfield this season, but Peter Bourjos is lock for the bulk of playing time in center. If Bourjos could improve his on-base skills, hed be an elite center fielder, with his plus-plus speed and defense. Out of the box, he brings lots of value to the Angels, leaving little room for uber-prospect Mike Trout to make any headway in center.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterAndrew McCutchenR600.274.361.45535ReserveNate McLouthL50.243.340.391-6ReserveAlex PresleyL50.275.324.426

Its all about Andrew McCutchen for that Pirates in center field. For 2012 and many years after that, because of a shiny new contract. And when McCutchen continues to improve his power like he did last season it will likely be a large win for Pittsburgh. He is doing everything well, while at bat as well as in the field. Just an all-around excellent center fielder.

5. Tampa Bay Rays

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterB.J. UptonR600.240.329.41144ReserveSam FuldL50.245.322.34870.5ReserveMatt JoyceL50.254.342.45321

McCutchen is preferable to Rays center fielder B.J. Upton, a minimum of while at bat. But Upton has better reserves backing him up, and that's why I ranked the Rays higher. Upton has never hit Quinton Coples Jersey for average, and ZIPS doesnt see much change for this season. But Upton has some power and steals bases. Oh, and he plays excellent defense. Copying Upton will be the always-diving Sam Fuld and perhaps some innings by Matt Joyce, both of whom add value for the Rays in center field.

4. Philadelphia Phillies

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterShane VictorinoB600.274.342.45025ReserveJohn MayberryR100.246.300.42720.5

Now were into the elite of the elite. Yeah, its hard to think of Shane Victornio in the same league as Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Ellsbury, but hes getting there. Well, at least he got close in 2012 with career-bests in walk rate and residential run rate. ZIPS sees another big year for Victorino. If he stays healthy, that leaves little playing time for John Mayberry in center, just the way Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel likes it.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterMatt KempR600.280.348.503-46ReserveTony GwynnL100.258.319.350

Matt Kemp had a break out year this year and it was, in lots of observers eyes, the best player within the National League. Hes promising better things this year, like getting into the 50/50 club 50 home runs and 50 stolen bases. Thats unlikely, as is matching his production from last season, but ZIPS doesnt see a drop whatsoever. Kemps defense has additionally improved, and theres no reason to think that bump in value wont be sustained.

2. Ny Yankees

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterCurtis GrandersonL600.256.346.495-15.5ReserveBrett GardnerL100.260.352.370181

Why Yankees over Dodgers in the ranking? Because Brett Gardner is the perfect center fielder than Tony Gwynn. So while Curtis Granderson falls just short of Kemps value, Gardner makes up for this, a suming he sees about 100 plate appearances-worth of your time in center.

Granderson put it altogether in 2011, dramatically improving his hitting against lefties, which made all the difference to his overall offensive production. And while ZIPS sees some drop off in power, Granderson looks to be one of the best of the greatest in center in 2012.

1. Boston Red Sox

RolePlayerBatsPAZIPS BAZIPS OBPZIPS SLGFieldingWARStarterJacoby EllsburyL600.290.345.457107ReserveCody Ro sR50.254.319.426-1ReserveDarnell McDonaldR50.250.305.411

Jacoby Ellsbury. The entire package. Hits for average. Doesnt strike out much. Has power. Steals bases. Plays every-superlative-you-can-think-of defense. A superstar that anchors the very best center field combination in the majors. Cody Ro s and Darnell McDonald are each penciled in for 50 plate appearances, but if Ellsbury stays healthy, hell take those away. An exciting and productive player to look at.