NL Central Smackdown : Left Fielders

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Before we examine left field, I remind you to check out and vote on center field and right from this weekend if you missed it. As for the left fielders, I think it's an intriguing group and something that should really test the "homer" vote that's been going around in the previous installments. I think Soriano is as good as they get out there in the division, but he seems to be quickly falling out of fans' good graces as of late.

Let's see how it breaks down...

Player 3-Year Warp-3 Average
3 Year Warp-3 Projection
Rob's Ranking
Alfonso Soriano
Ryan Braun
4.6 (1 year)
6.3 4
Chris Duncan
3.45 (2 years)
Carlos Lee 5.2 3.47
Adam Dunn 5.2 4.07 2
Jason Bay 7.8
4.33 5






The Justification: There's some talent there, at least with the bats. Besides Soriano's arm and I guess Jason Bay, it's an absolute disaster in the field. I did put Soriano at the top of the rankings, although I think there's a solid argument for any of the top five. Chris Duncan is clearly the bottom-feeder of this group, but that's less of an indictment on him than the quality he's matched up against.

Soriano has a nice combination of power and speed that should age well, even if he'll never be able to justify his contract. It would be nice if patience and health went along with that power and speed, but I think he just nudges Adam "TTO" Dunn. Sure Dunn's a lumbering oaf out there in the field, but four straight 40+ home run seasons and still just 28 years old. Speaking of lumbering oafs, there's Carlos Lee, who I don't think will age nearly as well as Soriano. I'm probably a little down on Ryan Braun, but I just don't see him even coming close to his rookie campaign, not with a nearly 4-1 K:BB ratio that he's sporting in the majors. Had I done these rankings last year, Bay probably runs away with the top spot, but his dreadful 2007 season has me worried. He's bounced back a bit to start off 2008 and as I mentioned, I think any of the top five can stake a claim for the top spot.

There's another poll for you guys to fill out below this and I'll leave the old polls open until we finish this. Do not forget to vote for any polls you may have missed over the weekend as I do plan on doing something with the results.

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I need to study all the fielders a bit more to rank them, but I'd say Soriano's speed is certainly one thing I don't see aging gracefully. Soon I foresee Soriano doing two things well: throwing the ball hard and hitting fastballs hard. Just from a casual perusing of stats, I'd say Bay and Dunn have a brighter future with Braun possibly thrown in there depending on this year. You just get way too many brain lapses with Soriano, and that simply cannot elevate you to the top spot.

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In reply to by johann

I need to study all the fielders a bit more to rank them, but I'd say Soriano's speed is certainly one thing I don't see aging gracefully.

The point being that even when Soriano loses a step, he won't turn into a lug in the field or on the bases. Yeah, he won't be a 30/30 guy or whatever, but he has a better shot at remaining useful past his "prime years" than players with less "tools". Say what you want about him, but he's the top athlete of the group and I think he'll age well. Of course I really like Dunn too, who will at the very least be a real damn good DH one day.

For fun, top 10 BP comparables for Soriano:

Joe Carter, Andre Dawson, Dusty Baker, Jeff Kent, Don Baylor, Joe Rudi, Roman Meijas, Glenallen Hill, Ernier Banks, Reggie Sanders 

vs Carlos Lee

Kevin McReynolds, Dante Bichette, Eric Karros, Dave Henderson, Scott Rolen, Jim Rice, Willie Horton, Cal Ripken, Gary Ward, Kevin Millar 

vs. Adam Dunn

Calvin Pickering, Troy Glaus,  Mike Epstein, Bob Hamelin, Bob Allison, Sam Horn, Pat Burrell, Mark Johnson, John Mayberry, Mark McGwire


Soriano, Braun, Dunn, Lee, Bay, Duncan. Sad thing is, from a fantasy perspective, Duncan is very useful. Crushes right handers, good OBP, don't have to worry about his Defense. He's just a disaster when you move outside of those considerable strengths. I think Bay's best years are behind him. Lee's soon will be.

I was guilty of this as well, but fun to look at the early returns of 2008. You say Bay is washed up? 2008 VORP Bay 8.1 Lee 5.4 Duncan 3.4 Dunn 2.1 Braun 1.1 Soriano -4.6

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