Center field is the premier position in baseball history. There are a few notable exceptions, but when you look at the best of the best they are usually center fielders. Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Ty Cobb are obviously sure fire Hall of Famers. Unfortunately, today’s game doesn’t have the same star power in center. In fact, there are fewer players that qualified with the requisite three seasons or 1000 plate appearances than any other position. It just might be a changing of the guard at the position.
These things happen in the game. Certain positions go through periods of transition at one time or another. We are looking for the same things as we have been looking for the past few weeks. We are looking for players that slipped through the cracks that might be a good bet to fly under the radar. We are also looking to see which studs are mostly likely to take a step backwards.
As we have before, we look at the strikeout and walk numbers, but we focus more on the process data. That includes the percentage of swings on balls outside the zone, the contact rate, and the swinging strike rate. Most of the time, the process data matches the performance data, but occasionally we see some gaps. Those gaps are the key to staying ahead of your competition this year. [Read more…]