I recently ranked the starting rotations of the NL Central after Greinke and Garza came over. Now I’m going to take a look at the outfields of the NL Central and provide an unbiased look. I’m excited to see Berkman on a regular basis again this season but he makes a very dangerous outfield downright scary. And any defensive limitations he might have in left are made up for by having one of the better centerfielders next to him. In the same way, a lot of Carlos Lee’s defensive deficincies are masked by Michael Bourn, the best defensive centerfielder in baseball. Carlos Gomez will do the same for Braun as will McCutchen for Jones. Plus, Tabata is easily the best defensive left fielder in the division. However, Gomez can’t hit a lick, Garrett Jones doesn’t get on base enough, and I’m not sure what to expect from Tabata’s sophomore season. The Reds could be too high or too low depending on Stubbs’ sophomore campaign, Chris Heisey’s contributions, and how manager Dusty Baker platoons Jonny Gomes and the newly acquired Fred Lewis. For the most part, I’m looking at offense unless there is a large glaring weakness defensively. Which is exactly the case for the Cubs where a solid but aging centerfielder is pancaked between two defensive liabilities. Soriano’s knees and seeming apathy doesn’t bode well for improvement on the left side but Colvin is young enough and athletic enough to improve. However, Colvin will be battling the same sophomore slump tendencies as Tabata and Stubbs.
1. St. Louis: Lance Berkman, Colby Rasmus, Matt Holliday
2. Houston: Carlos Lee, Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence
3. Milwaukee: Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Corey Hart
4. Pittsburgh: Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones
5. Cincinnati: Jonny Gomes, Drew Stubbs, Jay Bruce
6. Chicago: Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Tyler Colvin
Stay tuned for infield and bullpen ranks.