SL 2001 Outfield Preview

Because of sheer volume, it is going to be difficult enough to evaluate the outfield prospects for SL 2001 without getting really tricky with the statistical analysis. As such, I would like to return to our old friend OPS. Although not an exact measure of offensive performance, if it is good enough for Rob Neyer, it is good enough for me.

There were nine major league outfielders who finished above or just slightly below the 1.000 level for OPS in 2000. Those outfielders were:

Manny Ramirez    1.154
Barry Bonds      1.127
Garry Sheffield  1.081
Vlad Guerrero    1.074
Sammy Sosa       1.040
Moises Alou      1.039
Richard Hidalgo  1.028
Brian Giles      1.026
Jim Edmonds       .994

Sorting among these candidates requires a look at a number of different factors. Ramirez was limited to 118 games last year and Alou only played in 126 games. Bonds and Sheffield were at 143 and 141 games, respectively. Everyone else on the list has plenty of games, but there are other distinguishing factors as well. Hidalgo can play 125 games in CF, Edmonds 146, and Giles only 72. According to the APBA chat, Sosa and Sheffield will be 1s in the outfield. Hidalgo, Bonds, and Edmonds are all 3s. Manny Ramirez will be a two, as will Giles and Vlad Guerrero.

Now let's look at the next ten or so candidates, again ranked by OPS:

Bob Abreu       .970
David Justice   .961
Carl Everett    .959
Bern Williams   .957
Jermaine Dye    .951
Darin Erstad    .951
Geoff Jenkins   .948
Tim Salmon      .945
K. Griffey, Jr. .942
Luis Gonzalez   .935

I suppose I should first comment that I am glad the Cubs got rid of that bum Luis Gonzalez. 19th in OPS? I guess on the bright side I should note that he dragged his sorry bum out on the field for all 162 games last year. Everett (137), Williams (141), Justice (146) and Jenkins (135) all missed a significant number of games. Justice can play 3 games in CF, however, and Everett is even better at 126. Erstad has 30 games in CF, Griffey has 141.

Erstad, Griffey, Everett, Williams and Dye are all 3s in the outfield, Jenkins, Abreu, Justice and Gonzalez are 2s. No info on Tim Salmon was available at press time. Of the top 19 players listed so far, only Abreu had a significant number of steals (28) in MLB 2000.

Which brings us to the next handful of outfielders:

Jeffrey Hammonds   .924
Mags Ordonez       .917
Bobby Higginson    .915
Ryan Klesko        .909

I don't like any of these guys, especially the White Sock. So I'm not going to talk about them.

Next up are the following:

Andruw Jones    .907
Steve Finley    .904 
David Segui     .898 
Shannon Stewart .882 
Johnny Damon    .877 
Matt Lawton     .863 

Stewart was limited to 136 games last year, everyone else here had plenty. Jones had 161 games in CF, Finley 148, Stewart 1, Damon 69, and Lawton 3. Jones and Stewart are 3s in the outfield, Damon and Lawton are 2s. Damon stole 46 out of 55 bases last year, Lawton was 23/30, Jones 21/27, and Stewart 20/25.

I realize that more outfielders than this are going to be drafted, but those listed above should give a good start in scouting. In order that Steve doesn't have to waste his time, I will note that Tom Goodwin (55/65) , Damon and Tony Womack (45/56) had the most steals among outfielders last year. For Ken and I, the top OBP men not already mentioned are Brady Anderson and Kenny Lofton. If anyone needs a center fielder, the top guy not already mentioned is probably Garrett Anderson (.827 OPS).

Which brings us to our super subs. Former Cub Terrell Lowery had an OPS of 1.195 in 24 games for the Giants last year. Alex Ochoa is limited to 413 SL PAs but had an OPS of .964 in 118 games. Ochoa can also play 3 games in CF. Lance Berkman had an OPS of .949 in 114 games. Mullethead Larry Walker will be a 3 in the outfield again this year, and brings an OPS of .915 for 87 games.