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2012 OPS projections: top 10 center fielders

Feb 12, 2012, 9:00 PM EDT

Matt Kemp Getty Images

It’s an AL East-heavy top 10 in the center field projections:

.903 – Matt Kemp (Dodgers) – 597 AB – .986 in 2011
.847 – Curtis Granderson (Yankees) – 574 AB – .916 in 2011
.845 – Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox) – 612 AB – .928 in 2011
.845 – Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) – 560 AB – .820 in 2011
.825 – Colby Rasmus (Blue Jays) – 525 AB – .688 in 2011
.808 – Adam Jones (Orioles) – 571 AB – .785 in 2011
.794 – B.J. Upton (Rays) – 572 AB – .759 in 2011
.790 – Chris Young (D-backs) – 545 AB – .751 in 2011
.787 – Grady Sizemore (Indians) – 471 AB – .706 in 2011
.780 – Shane Victorino (Phillies) – 541 AB –  .847 in 2011

- All five AL East teams are represented in the top seven here. I’m guessing people will have reservations about me placing Rasmus so high, but he did come in at .859 in 2010 and he’s in a better environment for offense now. Of course, I’m not applying much weight to the fact that he was terrible after being traded to Toronto last year (.173/.201/.316 in 133 at-bats).

- Melky Cabrera and Dexter Fowler cracked the top 10 in 2011, but I don’t see encores coming up. I have Cabrera dropping from .805 to .738 in San Francisco. Fowler’s fall isn’t quite so severe;  I have him at .755, down from .795 last year. I’m not sure he can continue to maintain a .260-.270 average as often as he strikes out.

- The low man among regular center fielders is Houston’s Jordan Schafer at .680. Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez checks in at .653 in 335 at-bats.

  1. dondada10 - Feb 12, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    I think this might be the year the B.J. Upton elevates his game. I can see him coming in at something like .275/.350/.470.

    • hittfamily - Feb 12, 2012 at 11:23 PM

      He had an OPS over 1 out of the 2 hole last year. With Jennings batting leadoff, and Longoria hitting 3rd, Upton is unlikely to hit 2nd, which would make 3 RHB in a row. Maybe Longo bats 4th and Pena, Zobrist, Luke Scott or Matt Joyce hit 3rd.

    • baseballisboring - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:29 AM

      I mean, maybe…but we’ve al been waiting for that for a while. His OPS’s for the last 3 years: .686, .744, .760…there’s been slight increases but his rookie season is still by far his best. I think it’s very possible he just is who he is.

      • baseballisboring - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:38 AM

        all*

  2. lostsok - Feb 12, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who still thinks Rasmus was just in a deep funk.

  3. cordellgc - Feb 12, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    guessing that grady is a typo, a joke or someone is Indians fan.

  4. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    .825 for rasmus? not even close!!

  5. cup0pizza - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    Kemp rules!

  6. protius - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    I just don’t see Upton having a better season than Melky Cabrera. I think Upton has hit a plateau, where as Cabrera’s career, IMHO, is on the up-swing, especially in Candlestick(?).

    Or am I totally full of bologna?

    • baseballisboring - Feb 13, 2012 at 8:34 AM

      Cabrera plateaued like 5 years ago.

  7. b7p19 - Feb 13, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    I don’t know if you’ve hit every position or not (a place to find all of them at the end would be cool), but I haven’t seen a single Padre in the top ten at any position. Thats sobering and probably a little unlikely. Headly probably gets traded mid season to make way for Gyrko, but if I remember correctly he was in the top five among NL 3B last year right (maybe even top 3?) Could Maybin maybe warrant a mention in the article?

  8. stairwayto7 - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Grady Sizemore? He will miss half the season!

  9. judahbenhur - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Where is Peter Bourjos on this list? Sizemore hasn’t been effective for several years. Colby Rasmus lives on potential. Bourjos is the best defensive outfielder in the game, he’s ridiculous. The guy will hit at least .280 and steal 25-30 bases. And Upton is so good that he is perpetually on the trading block. Low average and lack of hustle. Again, potential rap is not the same as producing.

    • b7p19 - Feb 13, 2012 at 6:22 PM

      The was based completely on OPS which doesn’t take defense or stolen bases into account. Since bourjos won’t hit for much power, he’ll have to have a .400 OBP to come close to the rest of the list. I may have just answered my Maybin question too. Their WAR will be much more impressive than their OPS.

  10. judahbenhur - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Can’t help notice there is only west coast player on the list. No Josh Hamilton? No Bourjos? Good to see there is no east coast bias.

  11. judahbenhur - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Can’t help notice there is only west coast player on the list. No Josh Hamilton? Good to see there is no east coast bias.

  12. stex52 - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Stunning news. Another Astro who can’t hit. Between that and the drug busts, I predict a short and unpopular reign in center for Schafer.

  13. ispysomething7 - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Matt, is this a 2-3 year OPS projection? You penciled in Sizemore for 471 at bats. You can “pen” that total in for over a course of 3 years. Thank you for your generosity.

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