Michael Brantley filled in for Grady Sizemore in 2010, and may be back in center in 2011.
Posts in this series:
|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.
More ugly numbers from UZR, especially for Crowe:
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.
As expected, Cleveland's center fielders finished at the bottom of the league in hitting:
Here's the grisly details:
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:
Part II: Looking Towards 2011
Not Coming Back
Austin Kearns (Traded, 7-30-2010)
Please see the left field review.
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.