The top three left fielders in the NL Central produce in big ways. Compare their RBI totals from last season to the players manning the other corner outfield spot in the NL Central. Do you think it would be a close? Nope. Ryan Braun, Carlos Lee and Matt Holliday all drove in at least 100 runs in 2009.
Take a look at the last three years of RBI production from Braun and you find an average of 106 per year. Lee averaged 107. Holliday pounded in 111 runs. Sick.
So we see the Pirate outfield as a strength in 2010. And it appears a key to success in the NL Central is to have a LF that can drive in runs. Do the Bucs have that in 2010? One big question will be how well Lastings Milledge produces at the plate. Of course, Milledge isn’t going to be in the basher spot in the order that the big three NL Central left fielders will occupy, so that will reduce the pressure on the flashy Milledge. He will relax and rake.
Oh, I’m getting ahead of myself. Sorry, spring training fever.
Sure most of the NL Central left fielders are bashers. But listen, Milledge will blend his improved defensive skills, which are a must in PNC Park, with the biggest major league production of his career.
Sure you are skeptical. A number of media in New York and Washington are too. All of those things motivate Milledge. So much so that we wrote a tongue-in-cheek article about it. RumBunter wanted to motivate Thrilledge. Heh, we do what we can. [ click here for it]
When you look at the three Pirate outfielders last year, Milledge, McCutchen, and Jones, Milledge stands out as the weak link. It’s a fact.
The Pirates need Milledge. But Milledge needs the Pirates more. That will show in 2010. He will be running through walls once again.
RUMBUNTER RANKS THE NL CENTRAL LEFT FIELDERS:
1. Ryan Braun, Brewers. We have been told Braun is pretty good. No further comment.
Braun had 13 hits in 50 at-bats against the Pirates pitching staff in 2009. Ten runs, four doubles, four HR, 14 RBI, 29 total bases, seven walks, and nine K’s.
2. Carlos Lee of the Astros produces. Constantly. How nice is it to see 25+ HR every year? Lee generates 100RBI. Constantly. However, a number of us at RumBunter including ‘Third Boss,’ noticed that Lees’ slugging fell 80 points last season.
At Minute Maid against Pirate pitching, Lee was a machine with 13 hits, two 2B, three HR and 13 RBI. He had a .371 batting average. But at PNC, Lee had just four hits, three doubles, four RBI and a .182 batting average which was consistent with his OPS on the road falling last season by 164 points over 2008.
But remember, his overall OPS was still .831
In this video, Carlos shows that he doesn’t have first pitch phobia. It was June 5, 2009 versus the Bucs:
3. Matt Holliday is back with the Cardinals. The guy is always on base. We see that trend continuing, but don’t expect the monster 2007 season from Holliday. We can see 25HR, but at least ten digit reductions in his 2009 production: .300/.380/.505
Holliday destroyed the Bucs in 2009 with 10 hits, a double, two HR, and five RBI. He had a 773 SLG.
The Matt Holliday Tribute Video. NO, he didn’t die:
Milledge picked up for questioning.
Washington Nationals playa Lastings Milledge was picked up by Melbourne police for questioning in a case of impersonating an outfielder. Milledge, was later released on bond and advised by Judge Richard Fitzwell to remain in Brevard County until a trial date could be set.
5. Alfonso Soriano is still owed $72 million dollars after 2010. Cubs fans trust he gets it turned around. The owner does too.
This year Soriano will not be batting leadoff. He would always struggle when moved down in the order in the past, here is hoping that continues as it appears he has the sixth spot in the order locked up.
Pirate pitchers owned Soriano last year. He had just three hits in 25 at bats. Here is one of them during the Cubs massacre.
Alfonso Soriano 2009 stats
6. Chris Dickerson is a name we feel could be the starting LF for the Reds. Also, he is listed on the Cincinatti Reds 2010 depth chart at reds.com as the left fielder so we are going with it. He is speedy, but strikes out a ton. He can get the free pass and had strong OPS numbers early in 2009, but it faded and he eventually ended on the DL.
There are a pile of players in the mix for the Reds LF spot. In 2009, Laynce Nix played 72 games in LF and had 309 at bats hitting 26 doubles, a triple, 15 HR and 46 RBI. He was signed to a minor league deal.
Also, Todd Frazier, Chris Heisey and Juan Francisco are in the mix. They are all in the top five on Baseball America’s list. None had an OPS lower than .832, in the minors that is, so at least it appears these players could steal a job.
So until the Reds figure out who is playing LF, we bring you the best thing to ever come out of Cincinatti. WKRP.
Enjoy. Favorite line: ‘As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.’
[By the way, do you agree with Mr. Carlson's decision on the Boston tee shirt giveaway vs going with Foreigner?]
Chris Dickerson 2009 stats