Shin-Soo Choo (CLE): Wonderful hitter – 20/20 guy with patience, and he happens to play a fine right field. I admit it – I knew very little about him but he’s the most productive right fielder in the AL. (128.5 Runs Created, 10.0 Runs Saved = 138.49 Total Run Production)
Ichiro Suzuki (SEA): Slaps 200 or more hits every year, still runs like the wind and has a cannon for an arm. If you count his days in Japan, Ichiro has a reasonably good chance to have more hits as a professional baseball player than anyone ever. (123.6 Runs Created, 3.1 Runs Saved = 126.72 Total Run Production)
Nelson Cruz (TEX): Remarkably good fielder, amazing power. Had a year that reminds you a bit of Brook Jacoby because he hit 33 homers with just 76 RBI (Jacoby in 1987 went 32 – 69). Part of that is because he hit 25 solo homers and his slugging percentage tailed off considerably with runners on base (.577 vs. .447).
So I checked. The Texas Ranger, as a team, hit 224 homers with 145 occuring with nobody on base and 79 driving home ducks. 75.8 of Cruz’s homers were solo shots. For everyone else on the team, it was 62.8%. Anyway – it might be a one-year thing… Until last year, he had 13 homers with men on base and just 9 solo homers.
The other thing is his fielding numbers, which are stunning. And then you see that he had nearly as many putouts in nearly 367 fewer innings than Nick Markakis. It’s legit. He got to a lot of fly balls. (80.9 Runs Created, 36.4 Runs Saved = 117.30 Total Run Production)
Bobby Abreu (LAA): Another year just like the rest, though with a little less power. Still drives in around 100 runs, still gets 30 stolen bases, still gets on base around 40% of the time, actually looked limber in right field. At what point do we wonder if Abreu is worthy of the Hall of Fame? (102.3 Runs Created, 2.5 Runs Saved = 104.87 Total Run Production.)
Jason Kubel (MIN): Not a horrible outfielder – but a legitimate hitter. He’s not the regular right fielder, but he can play it in a pinch. (98.1 Runs Created, -0.3 Runs Saved = 97.80 Total Run Production)
Nick Swisher (NYY): He may not throw many guys out, but he hits for a little power, gets on base, and can still cover ground. I know he struggled in the post-season, but Swisher kept the offense moving most of the year and the Yankees should be glad he’s still around. (94.6 Runs Created, 2.6 Runs Saved = 97.21 Total Run Production)
Ryan Sweeney (OAK): I need to watch more A’s games to see with my own eyes how good he is. Fast enough to cover centerfield. Seems to throw well enough, Gets on base a little but you’d like to see a little more power. Still – a productive player if his defense is really this good. (71.2 Runs Created, 23.9 Runs Saved = 95.18 Total Run Production)
J.D. Drew (BOS): The new George Brett. Can’t stay in the lineup for 150 games, but when he plays he hits. Still has a great eye at the plate, but his back is affecting his range in the field. I wouldn’t let him cover center anymore, that’s for sure. (89.9 Runs Created, -2.8 Runs Saved = 87.13 Total Run Production)
Alex Rios (TOR/CWS): Hit .199 after arriving in Chicago’s south side – and we hoped the change in scenery would help get him back to where he was a year or two ago. And yet, he’s not really a bad player. Some power, a lot of doubles, good speed, decent defensively. He just gets paid a lot for what seems like mediocrity. (73.9 Runs Created, 10.1 Runs Saved = 84.00 Total Run Production)
Michael Cuddyer (MIN): Good power, fair bat and eye, miserable defender. Based on the stats, maybe Kubel should play in right and Cuddyer become the DH… (100.7 Runs Created, -22.64 Runs Saved = 78.10 Total Run Production)
Nick Markakis (BAL): From what I can tell, he’s overrated. He doesn’t really hit for power – more doubles than homers, not that it’s a problem. He doesn’t have an exceptionally high batting average. He doesn’t run very well. He can throw, but he doesn’t get to many flies. On the other hand, he turns 27 at the end of this season, so he could be one of those guys who is ready to have his career year. If not this year, maybe next year. (101.8 Runs Created, -28.7 Runs Saved = 73.11 Total Run Production)
Jermaine Dye (CWS): Like Alex Rios, he struggled mightily down the stretch. I can still remember when the Royals acquired Dye from Atlanta and the fans were upset about losing Michael Tucker. Um… Which player still has a major league job? It’s a season showing signs of decline, but still productive. (75.4 Runs Created, -3 Runs Saved = 72.41 Total Run Production)
Magglio Ordonez (DET): He rescued a poor batting average after that lousy start, but he’s still just a miserable outfielder. If he doesn’t put 100 – 120 runs on the board offensively (and he’s still not half bad), his lack of range just kills you. Time to move on, wouldn’t you think? Maybe make him a DH? (75.3 Runs Created, -17.85 Runs Saved = 57.47 Total Run Production)
Willie Bloomquist (KC): Played a lot of different positions and that makes him Alfredo Amezega. He’s better than Jose Guillen, but that’s not much. (49.1 Runs Created, 3.8 Runs Saved = 52.97 Total Run Production)
Jose Bautista (TOR): Not really a right fielder, but he got some time here last season. He’s at least a slightly better than replacement level player. (50.4 Runs Created, .8 Runs Saved = 51.27 Total Run Production)
Two Gabes (TB): Gabe Kapler and Gabe Gross split time in right field for Tampa and combined 14 – 68 – .235. Kapler was a slightly better hitter or fielder, but combined weren’t really enough.
Jose Guillen (KC): Now THAT was a good use of limited money. Can’t hit, can’t stay healthy, can’t field. Less production than EITHER Gabe… (30.9 Runs Created, -14.8 Runs Saved = 16.05 Total Run Production.)