George Springer Ranked As Tenth Best Right Fielder by ESPN
George Springer is only 78 games into his major league career and he’s already started making waves in the national media. ESPN’s Baseball Tonight published the first lists of their best players in baseball, ranking the outfielders, and George Springer made the list as the tenth best right fielder (the left and center field rankings contained no Houston players).
Given that Springer has yet to play a full season, it is a little surprising that he ranks so high, but it is also a testament to the type of talent he possesses – he is a game-changer. Among his right field peers, Springer, 25, is in the middle as far as age goes, with Bryce Harper (ranked fourth) being the youngest player at 22, and Jose Bautista (ranked second) as the oldest at 34. Former Astro, Hunter Pence, 31, also made the list at number eight.
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For Astros fans, this ranking is confirmation for what we felt after last season. George Springer is the one we had been anticipating for a long time, ever since he was drafted by Houston in the first round of 2011. He lived up to his lofty expectations in 2014, smacking 20 HRs in less than half a season, and showing off his speed and defense while patrolling the right field. This spring, the former UConn Husky has fans salivating again, batting .333 with five extra base hits in 33 at bats, with six walks and a stolen base.
For years the Astros have been pretty thin on notable talent, with Jose Altuve and Jason Castro as the exceptions. We had all heard about the Astros’ stellar farm system, but had yet to witness why it was ranked so high until Springer received his call up. This acknowledgment by the national media should pacify fans for a bit, especially those (including myself) who believe that there is a sports-reporting bias that generally ignores Houston sports teams. With more talent, which should translate into more wins, the Astros are starting to rid themselves of being the laughingstock of Major League Baseball.
We shall see over the next week if any other Houston Astros made the ESPN’s Baseball Tonight lists. There should be at least one more player, possibly two. The team’s talent is forcing the league, the analysts, and the fans to take notice.
What do you think about George Springer’s ranking?