BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com senior blogger
Some may think of left field as that position where a youth baseball coach would hide his worst player. In Major League Baseball, it’s quite the contrary, In fact, many former center fielders, who had a younger player with a tad more defensive skills bump them out of their former positions, will usually move just one spot left. It also seems like a lot of the games top power hitters call left field their home. We’ll look at both cases in today’s blog of the top 10 left fielders in the game today:
10. Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins (.260 BA, 35 HR, 110 RBI, 2.9 WAR) – One of the most underrated power hitters in baseball.
9. David Murphy, Texas Rangers (.304 BA, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 10 SB, 3.2 WAR) – One of the most underrated players in baseball.
8. Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics (.292 BA, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 16 SB, 3.4 WAR) – Great rookie season from the defected Cuban, expect more in 2013.
7. Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies (.303 BA, 22 HR, 85 RBI, 20 SB, 1.3 WAR) – Big platoon split due to Coors Field.
6. Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals (.294 BA, 14 HR, 72 RBI, 10 SB, 6.2 WAR) – Excellent defensive fielder with an improved bat.
5. Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals (.295 BA, 27 HR, 102 RBI, 3.8 WAR)
Holliday is one of the great sure things in baseball. Consistently reliable slugger who drives in runs and generally does things well. One of the things he doesn’t do well is defend, or really have great range, at least not anymore. Regardless, he’ll be a big factor the Cardinals yet again.
After spending just 129 games in the minor leagues since 2011, the highly touted prospect was called up late last week and will look to make a splash in front of his home crowd for the first time Tuesday night when the Nats host the Arizona Diamondbacks. So how excited will Washington fans be? I’m guessing ecstatic, especially after how thrilled they were when starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg made his debut with the club in 2010.
But will all the hype be warranted? Strasburg certainly proved that he could live up to very high expectations. Now the ball is in Harper’s court to do the same. Will he take the ball and run with it or be a project in the making?
It’s obvious that the Nationals think he is ready to produce now. And one really can’t argue with Washington after Harper hit .290 with 18 home runs, 61 RBIs and 27 stolen bases in his 129 games in the minor leagues. Not too shabby for a player who put up those numbers as a teenager. (more…)