2010 in Review: Center Field

Michael Brantley filled in for Grady Sizemore in 2010, and may be back in center in 2011.

Posts in this series:

Team Offense Team Pitching
Team Defense
Catcher First Base Second Base
Shortstop Third Base Designated Hitter
Left Field Center Field Right Field
Starting Pitching Relief Pitching

 

Part I: Review

Grady Sizemore hit .211/.271/.289 in 140 plate appearances before going on the DL with a knee injury that would eventually require major surgery, ending his season. Trevor Crowe and Michael Brantley shared playing time the rest of the season. 

Defense

More ugly numbers from UZR, especially for Crowe:

 

Name Pos Inn ARM DPR RngR ErrR UZR UZR/150
Trevor Crowe CF 567 -2.7 -12 -0.9 -15.6 -34
Michael Brantley CF 562 -1.3 -6.9 0.2 -8.1 -20.1
Grady Sizemore CF 269 -1.3 0.8 0 -0.6 -0.6
Austin Kearns CF 33 0 -1.4 0.1 -1.4 -42.2

 

I've never had any particular opinion on Crowe's defense, so I was rather shocked when I saw these numbers. In 2009, (193 inning) Crowe rated slightly negative, and I didn't see that much of a drop off in range. I would have been comfortable rating Trevor as a below-average center fielder, but not statuesque as these numbers indicate. I'm wondering if somehow the groundball-heavy pitching staff skewed these numbers (reducing the opportunities for outfield outs), the stringer was especially tough on Cleveland outfielders, or both.

Brantley's rating is at least somewhat plausible, as he also fared poorly in his brief time in center field in 2009. 

Offense

As expected, Cleveland's center fielders finished at the bottom of the league in hitting:

 

Rk G 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1 TOR 162 45 3 34 51 96 .276 .333 .519 .852 .278 121 130
2 CHW 162 33 3 24 44 107 .283 .336 .460 .796 .306 111 117
3 NYY 162 21 8 27 75 136 .249 .334 .448 .782 .279 98 113
4 LAA 162 32 4 22 59 118 .265 .335 .442 .777 .294 121 112
5 BAL 162 28 5 20 26 131 .286 .326 .440 .766 .332 117 109
6 OAK 162 33 7 11 50 110 .277 .328 .400 .728 .315 107 99
7 TBR 162 41 3 19 79 174 .230 .321 .403 .724 .290 96 98
8 DET 162 35 10 5 53 179 .284 .336 .385 .721 .373 93 98
9 KCR 162 28 8 11 62 127 .251 .320 .375 .695 .299 91 91
10 TEX 162 20 5 7 32 91 .283 .322 .369 .691 .324 83 90
11 BOS 162 34 5 14 51 148 .234 .301 .381 .682 .289 73 86
12 MIN 162 27 10 5 62 79 .261 .329 .353 .682 .289 80 88
13 SEA 162 25 3 15 53 150 .242 .298 .365 .664 .292 108 82
14 CLE 162 27 7 4 49 103 .239 .292 .316 .609 .275 74 68
TOT 2268 429 81 218 746 1749 .262 .322 .403 .725 .303 98 98
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/12/2010.

 

Here's the grisly details:

 

Rk G PA ▾ AB 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1 Michael Brantley 63 297 273 7 3 3 19 29 .249 .296 .330 .626 .267 101 72
2 Trevor Crowe 67 294 271 14 2 1 19 38 .232 .288 .310 .598 .267 88 65
3 Grady Sizemore 32 139 127 6 2 0 9 34 .213 .273 .291 .565 .287 101 56
4 Austin Kearns 5 17 15 0 0 0 2 2 .400 .471 .400 .871 .462 136 143
Team Total 162 747 686 27 7 4 49 103 .239 .292 .316 .609 .275 74 68
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/12/2010.

 

It's easy to forget that even before the knee injury, Grady was having an awful beginning to the season. It didn't get much better with Crowe or Brantley. Crowe was at his worst offensively when he played in center:

Trevor Crowe

Split G PA AB 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
as LF 47 166 155 9 1 1 8 29 .297 .335 .387 .722 .360 127 89
as CF 67 294 271 14 2 1 19 38 .232 .288 .310 .598 .267 88 65
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/12/2010.

 

Part II: Looking Towards 2011

Not Coming Back

Austin Kearns (Traded, 7-30-2010)

Please see the left field review.

Coming Back

Grady Sizemore (Under Contract through 2011)

Grady Sizemore is now 28 years, and should be coming into the prime of his career. But major injuries, especially the knee, may have cost Grady the prime of what looked to be an outstanding career. He played most of the 2009 season with a bad elbow, and he struggled to regain his hitting stroke before the knee injury. Now it's been two seasons since Sizemore was healthy, an eternity in a sport that demands repetition to be played successfully. And with the knee surgery, it's no longer a given that Sizemore will be able to play center field. 

Michael Brantley (Pre-Arbitration) - 2 Option Years Remaining

Brantley is penciled in as the left fielder, assuming Sizemore is healthy enough to play in center. But there's a good chance that even if Grady is healthy enough to stay on the active roster, he'll see plenty of time in center, as the Indians are going to want to bring Grady back to everyday play slowly.

Trevor Crowe (Pre-Arbitration) - 1 Option Years Remaining

If Crowe was a marginal option as a good defender in left, what kind of option is he as (assuming that the UZR stats were really skewed) as a below-average center fielder? If he's the fourth outfielder in 2011, it'll only be because there were injuries.

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