Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weekly Cup Of Joe: NL Center Field Edition

I prefer to think of this as more of a tribute to Fire Joe Morgan than a blatant ripoff. But who are we really kidding here?

I can't even begin to describe what a joy it is to listen to Chris Berman and Joe Morgan call the Home Derby. The only thing that could make it any better is if they invite Ken Harrelson next year. Imagine Berman yelling "back, back, back, back" while Harrelson yells "You can put it on the booooard... YES!" Music to my ears. Painful, blood inducing music. It's Tuesday so there was a Joe Chat over a the Four Letter. Let's grab a nugget of wisdom and see if I can add any useful insight...
Tito (Brooklyn)

Joe, who do you think is the best overall CF in the NL?

Joe Morgan (11:22 AM)

Well, I guess the question would be defensively or offensively? CF in the NL, you have Shane Victorino is a good defensive OF. Matt Kemp as well. That's an interesting question, because I don't think there are a lot of great CFs in the NL. Those are two that are exceptional. Drew Stubbs has a chance to be a good CF.
Um actually Joe, the question was overall CF. Which I assume encompasses both offense and defense. A quick glance at WAR tells me Andres Torres (3.5), Marlon Byrd (3.5) and Angel Pagan (3.3) are all worth close to a win more than the rest of the National League center fielders. Victorino (1.7) is in the middle of the pack while Kemp (0.3) and Stubbs (0.8) are towards the bottom.

Maybe Joe was just talking about offensive center fielders. According to wOBA, Colby Rasmus (.390), Andres Torres (.383) and Carlos Gonzalez (.375) are the top guys. Victorino (.342), Kemp (.336) and Stubbs (.321) aren't particularly close.

Perhaps Joe was just talking about defensive center fielders. UZR/150 has Tony Gwynn (49.8) smoking the rest of the pack with Marlon Byrd (15.8) and Michael Bourn (13.2) having really good seasons. At the other end of the spectrum, Matt Kemp has a -29.9 UZR/150. I think that means somewhere around 14 balls have bounced off of his head for home runs. Victorino (-4.1) and Stubbs (-6.5) aren't exactly helping out their pitchers either.

Don't like advanced metrics? You really should look into that. Byrd (.317), Pagan (.315) and Gonzalez (.314) are the only center fielders with a batting average over .300. Vitcorino (.250) and Stubbs (.235) have the worst batting averages for center fielders and I'm starting to wonder why Stubbs is on my fantasy team. Kemp (.261) isn't exactly lighting the league on fire either.

Kemp is third in home runs and RBI for center fielders. That's all I have. I don't know where Joe came up with these answers. They may actually be the only center fielders he could think of.

I think this season the best center fielder in the National League is Marlon Byrd. But guys like Carlos Gonzalez, Colby Rasmus and Andrew McCutchen will probably be vying for that top spot sooner than later.

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