Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top five center fielders for 2013
Like shortstops are to the infield, center fielders are the captains of the outfield. Players in the middle of the deep grass have a special skill set like no other spot in baseball. Usually, they have the best wheels, an uncanny defensive ability and an above average arm. Centerfield calls for some of the best players in the game.
This season there is no lack of talent in the middle of the outfield. While some of the older players have moved to corner outfield positions, it seems like a new generation is trying to make its name in centerfield. Mike Trout was a prime example last season and trust me, he’ll be high on this rankings list. But there still is a few unknowns, so here is Couch Side’s official top 10 center fielder of 2013:
10. Chris Young, Oakland Athletics (.231 BA, 14 HR, 41 RBI, 1.9 WAR): This could be the worst pick I’ve made while doing these fantasy baseball rankings, but Chris Young still shows some serious potential. The new change of atmosphere could benefit the 29-year-old as he should see a lot of at bats. Although Coco Crisp will be in this lineup, Oakland likes to shake things up a lot and I think Young will find a promising role this year.
9. Denard Span, Washington Nationals (.283 BA, 4 HR, 41 RBI, 17 SB, 4.8 WAR): I was extremely surprised that Span wound up with the Washington Nationals. However, it just may produce a career year for the 29-year-old as he still proves to be one of the best center fielders in the game. He is a perfect lead off hitter and the bottom of the Nats’ lineup is so good that he could score a lot of runs.
8. B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves (.246 BA, 28 HR, 78 RBI, 31 SB, 17, 2.6 WAR): There’s a huge reason Upton earned an enormous contract with the Braves this offseason. Although he stikes out a lot, Upton is one of the best center fielders in the game because of his uncanny power, incredible defense and surprising speed.
7. Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies (.300 BA, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 2.6 WAR): It’s weird that Fowler isn’t a speedster, but he definately makes up for it in plenty of other areas. Last season, the 26-year-old set career highs in RBIs and home runs. If he cant repeat that performance this season, Fowler may make next year’s top five. Obviously, Colorado believes in that after giving Fowler a contract extentison in one of their very few moves this offseason.
6. Adam Jones, Colorado Rockies (.287 BA, 32 HR, 82 RBI, 3.4 WAR): By far, Jones had a career year last season. Don’t let that cloud judgements, though. One-year-wonders usually don’t last when it comes to fantasy baseball. Sure, he was a great player last season, but it was probably the first time he was more than a waiver wire pickup.
5. Michael Bourn, Cleveland Indians (.274 BA, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 42 SB, 6.0 WAR)
Many might think Bourn is the fastest center fielder in the game, but then came along Mike Trout. This 30-year-old is showing signs of his age. Yet, he set a career high in homeruns last year. Bourn’s power seems to be improving. He also always seems to get better on new teams. The Indians will be his fourth, so the potential for more career seasons could be waiting for Bourn. Plus, that speed is definitely still there.
4. Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers (.300 BA, 16 HR, 66 RBI, 5.3 WAR)
Jackson is usually a mid-20s steals guy, but he faced injuries last season. Although he saw some time on the disabled list, the four-year pro is entering what might be the first year of his prime. Considering he put up the numbers noted above, Jackson just might have his best year in the MLB since he entered the league just three short years ago. The pop of his bat keeps improving and he is known for getting on base. Jackson is always a safe pick in your fantasy leagues.
3. Matt Kemp, Los Angles Dodgers (.303 BA, 23 HR, 69 RBI, 2.9 WAR)
Kemp probably got screwed out of the 2011 NL MVP award, considering Ryan Braun was most likely on steroids. So the question reamins, can he return to that form? He didn’t exactly show those sort of numbers last year, but a drastic injury cost him a lot of at bats. For some unexplainable reason, Kemp’s speed is way down. However, his power and contact numbers still speak for themselves. It’s not farfetched whatsoever to believe Kemp could win that NL MVP award in 2013 if he can stay healthy.
2. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates (.327 BA, 31 HR, 86 RBI, 20 SB, 7.0 WAR)
If it wasn’t for a bad second half in the 2012 season, McCutchen may have been last year’s NL MVP. It’s weird to think a Pittsburgh Pirate would win such an award, but McCutchen could still do so in 2013. He set career highs in every single offensive category except steals, so it really looks like this kid will be in the MVP runnings for years to come. Some may say McCutchen’s 2012 season was a one-year-wonder. I’m telling you to believe in some of this Pirate black magic.
1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (.326 BA, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB, 10.7 WAR)
Trout’s numbers simply speak for themselves, even more so because he accomplished those statistics while playing in 23 games less than the 162 MLB contests scheduled. The 21-year-old can run. He can flat out hit and I’ve literally called him the next Mickey Mantle. There’s no doubt Trout was the best fantasy baseball player in the game during the 2012 season. It would be an absolute mistake if you didn’t draft him with the No. 1 pick overall. Given, there’s other players worthy of that pick this season, but simply put, they don’t steal 49 bases a year.