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2013 Fantasy Baseball, Total Run Series: Centerfielders

“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today. Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today. Look at me, I can be centerfield. ” — John Fogerty

Outfield is the virtual wildcard for all fantasy baseball players. Just as many leagues treat them all the same as divide them into different positions. I personally prefer the challenge of specific outfield positions, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. When we look at centerfielders we see the very best that baseball has to offer. Some of the top players are surprises, but most are predictable. With so many top performers, the teams without them are often pressured into acquiring one. This is especially true if that team happens to be in the playoff hunt.

In late May and early June, very few teams are out of the playoff hunt. If they happen to have one of the top centerfielders on their team then they can practically name their price. Of course, most teams are not in business to throw in the towel in early June. That leaves the clubs dancing around each other in a kind of waltz. Add in the spectre of potential minor league studs and you have a unique situation indeed.

Team

RC

BR

Total

Shin Soo Choo Reds

41

2

43

Carlos Gomez Brewers

31

1

32

Adam Jones Orioles

27

1

28

Dexter Fowler Rockies

24

1

25

David Dejesus Cubs

23

2

25

Andrew McCutchen Pirates

22

2

24

Austin Jackson Tigers

20

2

22

Coco Crisp Athletics

21

0

21

Brett Gardner Yankees

19

1

20

Lorenzo Cain Royals

20

0

20

Alejandro De Aza White Sox

20

0

20

Desmond Jennings Rays

18

2

20

Jacoby Ellsbury Red Sox

21

-2

19

Denard Span Nationals

18

1

19

Jon Jay Cardinals

19

0

19

Matt Kemp Dodgers

17

2

19

Angel Pagan Giants

18

0

18

Chris Denorfia Padres

16

2

18

Michael Saunders Mariners

15

2

17

Justin Ruggiano Marlins

17

0

17

Shin Shoo Choo– Cincinnati Reds

Admittedly, the odds of a deal being done here are minimal. Choo is highly productive and the Reds are in the middle of a battle to get into the playoffs. That being said, the pressure is there because he will be a free agent after the season. Also, Billy Hamilton is waiting in the wings to potentially take over in centerfield. The question will come whether the Reds want to roll the dice and attempt to sign Choo long-term. He can easily shift to left as he is completely out of position in center anyway. That being said, he could fetch a ton on the trade market, so that option has to be very tempting.

David Dejesus– Chicago Cubs

The odds are much better that Dejesus will be dealt at some point this summer. He can competently play all three outfield positions and he is reasonably productive offensively. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will simply wait for his value to reach its zenith. It may be close now, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a deal done sooner rather than later. The question is which team will roll the dice and give up the prospects needed to bring him in.

Alejandro De Aza– Chicago White Sox

The White Sox should be in the business of getting as much for their marketable players as possible. De Aza came to the White Sox as a bit player with little experience at the big league level. That makes him the ultimate buy low and sell high kind of guy. Naturally, sell high doesn’t mean a bevy of prospects, but if they play their cards right they should be able to get a couple of second tier prospects for their system. If you add that to some of the other deals they can make you could see the White Sox virtually restock their farm system in one summer.

Jacoby Ellsbury– Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are in a quandary. Ellsbury is not playing well at the moment, so he isn’t going to bring in the return he would have even in the offseason. So, you can dump him for about fifty cents on the dollar and still bring in quite a haul or you can roll the dice and hope he gets hot between now and July. If he doesn’t then you can either negotiate a long-term extension based on lower levels of production or simply offer a one year tender and claim the compensation pick should he sign in free agency. It’s not a great position to be in.

Team

RC

BR

Total

A.J. Pollock Diamondbacks

16

1

17

Colby Rasmus Blue Jays

17

-1

16

Marlon Byrd Mets

13

1

14

Peter Bourjos Angels

13

0

13

Michael Bourn Indians

10

1

11

Leonys Martin Rangers

10

1

11

Aaron Hicks Twins

7

2

9

Ben Revere Phillies

7

0

7

Robbie Grossman Astros

6

0

6

B.J. Upton Braves

5

0

5

Some of these guys are here because they are involved in a platoon or have suffered early season injuries that have limited their effectiveness. However, some are seriously underperforming, so that puts their team in a difficult situation as we approach the deadline. Here are their stories.

B.J. Upton– Atlanta Braves

The Braves are not a candidate to trade for outfield help for two primary reasons. First, they have a ton of money tied up into Upton, so he isn’t going anywhere. Jordan Schafer sits at +17 runs overall despite the fact that he is not the regular centerfielder. With Jason Heyward on the shelf they can afford to play Schafer along with the Uptons. When Heyward comes back they will have a difficult decision to make. Do they play the guy that has been performing or do they play the guy that’s making the big bucks?

Ben Revere– Philadelphia Phillies

Like the Braves, the Phillies are not in a position to make a trade for an outfielder. In this case, they have both Domonic Brown and John Mayberry that are battling for time. Assuming Delmon Young remains healthy, that means one of them will have to sit when Revere plays in center. Few are as good as Revere defensively, so this is really a tough call for Charlie Manuel. So far, Mayberry and Brown have been better offensively, so he really wants to get both of those guys into the lineup as often as possible.

Peter Bourjos– Los Angeles Angels

In limited duty, J.B Shuck sits at +12 runs. All Shuck does is get on base. You might call him the John Cangelosi of the 21st century. One of my beefs with the scouting world is that they sometimes try to tell you why someone that is succeeding shouldn’t all while telling you why someone that isn’t should be. That’s why Terry Collins played Brian L. Hunter for several years in Houston despite his inability to get to first base safely. Meanwhile, the slower Cangelosi lived on first base. Mike Scoscia faces the same dilemma with Bourjos and Shuck.

Colby Rasmus– Toronto Blue Jays

Speaking of unrealized talent, there will come a time when the Blue Jays grow tired of Rasmus’ act. Anthony Gose is waiting in the wings and can at least offer superior defense and base running. Rasmus tantalizes with random bursts of pure athletic talent. He’ll crush a home run here and swipe a bag there, but there never seems to be any level of consistency. I’d look for Gose to get an opportunity after the all-star break.

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