Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top Ten Center Fielders

10) Peter Bourjos, Angels

2011 was Bourjos first full season in the big leagues. He played great defense and batted .271 with 12 home runs, 43 RBIs, and 22 steals. He also tied for the AL lead in triples with 11. Bourjos also has a cannon for a arm, he had 10 outfield assists in only 51 games in 2010. The American League took notice last year and didn't take as many chances and Bourjos only had 7 assists in 2011.

9) BJ Upton, Rays

Upton has been a classic underachiever much of his career. It seems like he should be better than he actually is considering the talent he has. He's been in the top six in the AL in strikeouts the last five seasons, but he does draw a fair amount of walks. Still, he only batted .243 with a .331 OBP in 2011. His power numbers were up though, he hit 23 home runs and 83 RBIs his highest totals since his breakout 2007 campaign. Upton also had his fourth straight season of 30 plus steals last year.

8) Adam Jones, Orioles

One of the few bright spots in Baltimore, Jones had another solid season last year. He batted .280 with 25 home runs, 94 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases. He also was 2nd in the American League with 16 outfield assists. Jones has won one Gold Glove in his career after the 2009 season.

7) Michael Bourn, Braves

Bourn is one of baseball's best leadoff hitters, and was traded from the Astros to the Braves at the trading deadline last year. Bourn had a .294 average and a .349 on base pct. in 2011 and was third in triples(10), third in hits(193), and ninth in runs scored(94). Bourn also led the National League with 61 steals, his third straight season leading the league. He is also an excellent defender, winning 2 Gold Gloves during his career.

6) Shane Victorino, Phillies

Victorino might have had the best all around year of Phillies regulars last season. He made his second All Star team and finished 13th in MVP voting in 2011. The Flying Hawaiian batted .279, had a OBP of .355, hit 17 home runs, drove in 61 runs, was 7th in the NL with 95 runs, and led the NL with 16 triples. Victorino is a fearless defender and makes all kinds of diving catches. He has won 3 Gold Gloves in his career for his defensive efforts.

5) Andrew McCutchen, Pirates

This is probably the most talented player the Pirates have had since Barry Bonds. McCutchen batted .259, had a .364 OBP, hit 23 home runs, 89 RBIs, and stole 23 bases. However, he did fall into a slump in the second half and had a .216 average after the All Star break. McCutchen is a five tool player and it wouldn't surprise me if he had a 30/30 season this year.

4) Curtis Granderson, Yankees

The Grandy Man had a terrific all around year in 2011. He finished 4th in MVP voting and made his first All Star team as a Yankee last year. Granderson was 5th in the AL in slugging(.552), 1st in runs scored(136), 5th in total bases(322), 3rd in triples(10), 2nd in home runs(41), and 1st in RBIs(119) last year.

3) Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox

After missing almost all of 2010, Ellsbury rebounded with a career year in 2011. He made his first All Star team, won a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and was 2nd in MVP voting. Last year, Ellsbury was 5th in average(.321), 5th in OBP(.376), 6th in slugging pct.(.552), 1st in total bases(364), 3rd in hits(212), 3rd in runs scored(119), 3rd in doubles(46), 5th in home runs(32), 6th in RBIs(105), and 4th in stolen bases(39). Two time stolen base champion Ellsbury has always hit for a good average, but never before shown the kind of power he did last year.

2) Josh Hamilton, Rangers

Hamilton is one of the best players in the game, but has trouble staying healthy. After playing in 156 games in 2008, he has played in 89, 133, and 121 games the following seasons. Last year Hamilton hit .298 with 25 home runs, 94 RBIs, and was 8th in the AL with a .536 slugging pct. Not quite as dominant as he was during his 2010 MVP season, but he did help get the Rangers to their second straight World Series last year.

1) Matt Kemp, Dodgers

Kemp has been one of the better center fielders since becoming a fulltime starter in 2007, but he had his first superstar year last year. He nearly won the NL MVP and won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. Kemp finished 3rd in the NL in average(.324), 4th in OBP(.399), 2nd in slugging pct.(.586), 1st in runs scored(115), 2nd in hits(195), 1st in total bases(353), 1st in home runs(39), 1st in RBIs(126), and 2nd in stolen bases(40). He nearly had the fifth 40/40 season in major league history and won two legs of the Triple Crown in 2011. The Dodgers decided to lock up Kemp to a 8 year deal after the season.


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