Thursday, February 14, 2008
Who Needs a Center Fielder?
The White Sox had a problem with adequate fielders in 2007, and they did their best to fix it in 2008. Well, sometimes your best is a little too much, actually. Heading into Spring Training, the Sox have already guaranteed outfield spots for Swisher and Dye, leaving either CF or LF open (depending on where Swisher winds up playing).
That leaves Jerry Owens, Carlos Quentin, and Brian Anderson all competing for that last spot -- and I'd say all of them are worthy of a spot on the team.
First, let's get this out of the way: I really REALLY like Brian Anderson. I think his bat could really come around this year to match his exemplary defense (if he hits .260 or better, he immediately becomes better than the rest of the crop). I think Brian wasted his first year in the bigs, and spend the second year dominating in AAA when he wasn't hurt. This is his last year to shine, and I hope it's in a Sox uni (instead of the impending trade to the NL for a prospect and cash).
I think you could honestly go with any of these guys in the field. You can actually dumb this down into four categories: Fielding, Contact, Power and Speed. If you give each one of these a numerical value (1-3) with three being the highest, you get the following:
Fielding: Anderson (3), Quentin (2), Owens (1). Quentin has an absolute cannon of an arm, and he would probably be second only to Anderson in CF. Owens, on the other hand, lacks the throwing arm to truly be dangerous (never fully healed).
Contact: Owens (3), Quentin (2), Anderson (1). Owens wins here because of the monster second half performance he put together. If he can learn to slap-hit his way on-base like Ichiro and other speedsters, he could actually turn into the lead-off hitter Ozzie wants. Quentin barely beats out Anderson here -- Anderson was always a high-average hitter in the minors, but didn't make the transition until the second half of 2006. Can't have a 3 month slump, Brian.
Power: Anderson (3), Quentin (2), Owens (1). Anderson just barely edges out Quentin based on Quentin's surgery and Brian's ability to drive the ball (if/when) he makes contact. Owens comes in dead last here, with numbers that make Podsednik look like a juicer.
Speed: Owens (3), Quentin (2), Anderson (1). Owens is the clear-cut winner here, as he could easily swipe 50-60 bags in a season with a low average. Anderson comes in third here for the same reason that Quentin came in 2nd in power -- Anderson had foot surgery that may hamper his speed. Otherwise, they would be about dead even.
Total: Owens (8), Anderson (8), Quentin (8)
Lookie that! A tie. Looks like I'm going to have to throw in a tiebreaker category to settle this. In honor of black history month:
Blackness: Owens (3), Quentin (2), Anderson (1). No explanation needed.
Odds are, the Sox will go to camp with Quentin and Owens fighting for LF and Anderson being shipped off to the great beyond. I can't say I like it, but after that last category, how can I argue? That would make me a racist.