“Dominating” Left Field
The Kansas City Royals have been slightly active this week. They have signed Kevin Kousmanoff to a minor league contract with a spring training invite. The signing worries me that leaves Yuni out of the backup third base picture and forced into a role a SS. I can only hope the signing is for depth. This afternoon we saw random rumors floating around Twitter regarding Billy Butler being traded to Yankees for Phil Hughes. I am sure this is all Twitter garbage, but this trade is not something I would be interested in. Why not sign Roy Oswalt and not trade Butler? This is just my two cents. This week, I will finish up our look at the American League Central outfielders by reviewing the left fielders of each team. The following statistics will give us a view of each player’s 2011 season.
|Chi||Alejandro De Aza||.329||.400||.520||.920||50||11||3||4||23||12|
The Chicago White Sox will start unproven Alejandro De Aza. De Aza has only played in 140 career MLB games split between the Marlins and White Sox. De Aza has always hit a decent average in his MLB and minor league experience. He has also shown a good ability to get on base. If you have watched Moneyball lately and I recommend you do if you haven’t, it puts into perspective how valuable OBP can be. De Aza is not a sure thing and has a lot to prove. With less than a full season of big league experience, only time will tell what De Aza will provide the White Sox.
The Cleveland Indians will be starting Michael Brantley in left field. 2011 was the first year Brantley got significant playing time in the big leagues. Brantley hit .266 with an OBP of .318, and has shown nothing special to write home about. To give him some credit, last year was his best slugging season. Hitting 24 doubles and 7 home runs, both career highs, but nothing special. Will Brantley ever prove an above average outfielder is still to be seen.
The Detroit Tigers currently list Delmon Young as their starting left fielder on their official depth chart. Young may be the most consistent left fielder in the American League Central. Members of the central know what Young is. He is a hot head that hits for decent average and power, but refuses to get on base. Young has been a consistent .288 hitter over his career has produced roughly the same power numbers in his 5 major league seasons. Young will provide Detroit with a solid stick in the middle of their order and provide protection for the hitters around him.
The Kansas City Royals will start Alex Gordon in left field. Gordon stated last season that he would “dominate” for the Kansas City Royals. Gordon came into Kansas City with ridiculous expectations. Gordon was slated to be the next George Brett, the savior of the Royals franchise. Alex has never been able to live up the overzealous expectations placed on him by fans, media members, and the organization. Last season though, Alex finally broke through and showed Royals fans the player he could be. Gordon’s career year had him hitting .303 with 45 doubles, 23 Home Runs and 87 Rbi’s. This is the kind of production Royals fans have longed for. If Gordon can build on this production he will be far and away the best left fielder and possibly the best outfielder in the American League Central. Oh and let me remind you Alex also won the Gold Glove for left fielders.
The Minnesota Twins will begin the season with Ben Revere as their starting left fielder. Revere played only 117 games in 2011. Revere’s numbers are by no means impressive. Revere hit .267 with 9 doubles and 0 home runs. Revere has absolutely no power, but he does provide the Twins with an element of speed. Revere was able to swipe 34 bases and was caught 9 times. The Twins utilize the stolen base so when Revere does get on base, he will put pressure on the opposing pitching staff. With the stolen base being Revere’s only weapon, he would be a nice pinch runner.
Now that all left fielders have briefly been discussed, I will rank them from 1 to 5 in my point of view as to how their overall production for the 2012 season will stack up.
- Alex Gordon
- Delmon Young
- Michael Brantley
- Alejandro De Aza
- Ben Revere
From my point of view, as scary as it sounds, Alex Gordon is going to build and the 2011 season he had. Gordon will continue to produce at a high level and this year, barring injury, Alex will represent the Royals in the All Star Game. None of the other left fielders are anything special. Baseball fans know what Delmon Young is, and the other current projected starters have shown nothing special. Will Gordon “dominate” again, I definitely think so.