Friday, August 26, 2005

AL Central Team Comparisons: Outfielders

Here's the last of the 4 position breakdowns.

AL Central Outfielders' OPS Rank:

1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Chicago White Sox
-OPS wasn't particularly useful here

Detroit Tigers

Magglio Ordonez-RF (2009, 2010/2011 options), Curtis Granderson (under control thru 2011), Craig Monroe-CF (under control thru 2008)

The Tigers have Ordonez and Monroe locked up for a while. Ordonez has been a disappointment for the Tigers. But, if he returns to his .300-30-100 form, that could provide a big boost to the Tigers' offense. Monroe has been productive for the Tigers, hitting about 20 HRs/year. Curtis Granderson is the Tigers' future in centerfield. He doesn't project as a future star, but is off to a nice start .277/.320/.553 after 47 ML at-bats.

Prospects: RF Jeff Frazier is having a good first full season, hitting .289/.353/.457. OF Brent Clevlen's stock has risen this year after hitting .300/.382/.483 in High A ball. Tigers' depth isn't particularly good here.

Cleveland Indians

Coco Crisp-LF (under control thru 2009), Grady Sizemore (under control thru 2010), Casey Blake-RF (2006, 2007 option)

Grady Sizemore has lived up to expectations, hitting 53 extra base hits so far in his major league debut. Coco Crisp is a solid producer in LF. Casey Blake's production has fallen off considerably from last year.

Prospects: Aside from good pitching depth, the Indians' have a strong group of OF prospects. Franklin Gutierrez is an excellent defensive outfielder who projects to hit for plus-power and could take Casey Blake's job. Brad Snyder has hit 16 HRs in 269 ABs at AA. Snyder gives the Indians' a second potential CF near the majors.

Minnesota Twins

Shannon Stewart-LF (2006), Torii Hunter-CF (2006, 2007 option), Jacque Jones-RF (2005)

Torii Hunter has been the guy in the Twins' offense and is a good all-around player. Jacque Jones has been a steady producer as well. Shannon Stewart has been alright in LF. The Twins have a good prospect almost ready for the majors, but not much else on the way.

Prospects: Jason Kubel has had some injury problems. He has a good quick swing and should hit 20-25 HRs.

Kansas City Royals

Terrence Long (2005-can't wait to get him out of here), David DeJesus (under control thru 2010), Emil Brown (arbitration eligible, service time unknown)

The Royals outfield features David DeJesus, who has become a steady producer and a fan favorite in CF. DeJesus has good on-base skills, solid gap power (31 doubles), and plays good defense. Terrence Long is out of the picture after this year. If a better option is found in free agency, Emil Brown will likely have the job in RF. Chip Ambres or Shane Costa will likely compete for the LF spot.

Prospects: The Royals are fairly deep at the outfield position in the minors, assuming Billy Butler remains an OF and especially deep if Gordon becomes an OF. Billy Butler is one of the best hitters in the minors. Shane Costa, Mitch Maier, and Chris Lubanski will give the Royals some options over the next couple of years, but none of them appear to be impact players.

Chicago White Sox

Scott Podsednik-LF (2006), Aaron Rowand-CF (2006, 2007 option), Jermaine Dye-RF (2006, 2007 option)

The White Sox have their outfield locked in through 2006. Podsednik has excellent speed and sets up the White Sox offense well. Aaron Rowand's production dropped considerably this year. Jermaine Dye has been a productive bat for the White Sox, hitting .260 with 22 HRs. The White Sox should have some good options once those contracts expire.

Prospects: Brian Anderson is hitting .295/.360/.470 at AAA. Anderson should hit for power and could play CF. OF Ryan Sweeney is the White Sox other top prospect. Sweeney has high potential as a hitter, considered to be a very natural hitter. But, Sweeney hasn't shown much power so far. OF Chris Young has an excellent combination of power and speed. Young has hit 24 HRs and stolen 26 bases at AA this year. Young may end up being the best of the 3 outfielders.

Future Outfield Rankings:

1. Chicago White Sox (steady performers with good prospects to replace them)
2. Cleveland Indians (Sizemore has had a great debut; Indians have a solid OF with 2 near-ready OF prospects)
3. Detroit Tigers (Ordonez, Monroe, and Granderson should be a productive group)
4. Kansas City Royals (Butler and possibly Gordon give the Royals good upside; however, both most complete the conversion process first)
5. Minnesota Twins (Hunter gives the Twins a solid CF; Twins don't have good OF depth and have to resign or replace Jacque Jones)


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