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2012 OPS projections: top 10 left fielders

Feb 10, 2012, 11:30 PM EDT

braun tall getty Getty Images

A couple of names I’m sure no one expected to see make the top 10 for left field:

.957 – Ryan Braun (Brewers) – 419 AB – .994 in 2011
.914 – Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) – 585 AB – .889 in 2011
.910 – Matt Holliday (Cardinals) – 582 AB – .912 in 2011
.868 – Josh Hamilton (Rangers) – 508 AB – .882 in 2011
.844 – Logan Morrison (Marlins) – 532 AB – .797 in 2011
.834 – Jason Kubel (D-backs) – 472 AB – .766 in 2011
.827 – Michael Morse (Nationals) – 571 AB – .910 in 2011
.812 – Alex Gordon (Royals) – 572 AB – .879 in 2011
.801 – Jason Bay (Mets) – 510 AB – .703 in 2011
.796 – Delmon Young (Tigers) – 573 AB – .695 in 2011
.796 – Carl Crawford (Red Sox) – 548 AB – .694 in 2011

– It’s a shallow list, but that shouldn’t come as any big surprise. Left fielders finished with a .728 OPS on the whole last season, compared to .782 for right fielders. Even center fielders were better, coming in at .735. 12 teams got a sub-.700 OPS from left fielders, with the Twins faring worst at .622. As terrible as Crawford was, the Red Sox still finished 13th in MLB with a .723 OPS from their left fielders.

– Even though it is so shallow, I had to go to 11 to account for the virtual tie. I had Crawford around .810 (and over 600 at-bats) before his wrist surgery last month. His projection could take a larger hit this spring based on how he’s recovering.

– I’m sure many will be skeptical about Bay, but he did rebound to .758 after the All-Star break last year and he should benefit more than anyone on the team from the Mets’ decision to bring in the fences a bit.

– When it comes to the worst, I’m sticking with the Twins: Ben Revere‘s .683 is the lowest projected mark among regular left fielders. Rene Tosoni, one of last year’s preferred fallbacks, is worse at .677.

  1. Walk - Feb 10, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    So 419 at bats for braun. I take it you feel he is going to remain relatively healthy after the 50 game suspension. The braun situation is bad. Appeal wins and mlb policy loses and mlb loses face. Appeal is upheld and someone who may be innocent is victim of no tolerance. Btw thank you for the projections, I know they are for fantasy baseball which i do not take part in but i love them because they are the first glimpses of what may be next season. Just wanted to tweak your nose on braun.

    • Ben - Feb 11, 2012 at 12:04 AM

      No, if he wins the appeal that means the system works as it’s supposed to, and weeds out the true aberrations.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Feb 11, 2012 at 12:13 AM

        Because you were there for the appeal hearing or have any educated opinion on what actually happened? Because unless you’re Ryan Braun I don’t think you have any idea if it were an aberration or not.

      • braddavery - Feb 11, 2012 at 3:54 AM

        So how do you know that if it’s upheld that he is innocent? I’m more apt to believe he did wrong if it’s upheld than to believe he’s being wrongfully punished. Just because he’s one of baseball’s “golden boys” doesn’t mean he can do no wrong.

      • paperlions - Feb 11, 2012 at 10:45 AM

        The same why you know that if the appeal is denied that he’s guilty.

      • braddavery - Feb 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM

        So are you saying to never punish any players for breaking rules, because they COULD be innocent even if found guilty? lol Okay.

  2. hardjudge - Feb 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    I thought Josh Hamilton was playing left field now!

  3. racksie - Feb 11, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Here’s where acronym baseball falls flat: Delmon Youngs DFP, or however they rank defense now, is about -8.6 (made up number). He is so bad in the outfield, the kid from Parenthood would run in front of HIM to catch a fly ball.

  4. Ben - Feb 11, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    That’s quite the leap forward for LoMo!

    • JBerardi - Feb 11, 2012 at 8:33 AM

      Not really. Morrison had back luck on balls in play last year. If you just regress that number towards the league average, he’s an .850 OPS guy.

  5. natsattack - Feb 11, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    I know Chase field is a hitter’s park, but but why is Kubel > Morse?

    • JBerardi - Feb 11, 2012 at 8:39 AM

      The reverse of Morrison, Morse had overly GOOD luck on balls in play last year. That’s like 75% of what these projections are (rightly so; any projection system that doesn’t ignores luck on balls in play isn’t worth jack diddly bullcrap).

  6. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 11, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    He’s not exactly a power hitter, but are you forgetting Brett Gardner? Last three years he’s had an OPS higher than the 8-9-10 guys listed. His SLG has remained essentially the same, so are you predicting a larger OBP drop off from last year?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 11, 2012 at 8:12 AM

      Err nevermind, I’m an idiot and misread the chart. Was looking at last year’s OPS instead of predicted OPS.

  7. visnovsky - Feb 11, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    No way Delmon finishes in the top 10.

  8. Matthew Pouliot - Feb 11, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    I’m far from a Young fan, but he had an .826 OPS playing half of the time in Target Field in 2010 and Comerica Park is quite a bit more favorable to right-handed hitters.

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