It’s an AL East-heavy top 10 in the center field projections:
.903 – Matt Kemp (Dodgers) – 597 AB – .986 in 2011
.847 – Curtis Granderson (Yankees) – 574 AB – .916 in 2011
.845 – Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox) – 612 AB – .928 in 2011
.845 – Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) – 560 AB – .820 in 2011
.825 – Colby Rasmus (Blue Jays) – 525 AB – .688 in 2011
.808 – Adam Jones (Orioles) – 571 AB – .785 in 2011
.794 – B.J. Upton (Rays) – 572 AB – .759 in 2011
.790 – Chris Young (D-backs) – 545 AB – .751 in 2011
.787 – Grady Sizemore (Indians) – 471 AB – .706 in 2011
.780 – Shane Victorino (Phillies) – 541 AB – .847 in 2011
– All five AL East teams are represented in the top seven here. I’m guessing people will have reservations about me placing Rasmus so high, but he did come in at .859 in 2010 and he’s in a better environment for offense now. Of course, I’m not applying much weight to the fact that he was terrible after being traded to Toronto last year (.173/.201/.316 in 133 at-bats).
– Melky Cabrera and Dexter Fowler cracked the top 10 in 2011, but I don’t see encores coming up. I have Cabrera dropping from .805 to .738 in San Francisco. Fowler’s fall isn’t quite so severe; I have him at .755, down from .795 last year. I’m not sure he can continue to maintain a .260-.270 average as often as he strikes out.
– The low man among regular center fielders is Houston’s Jordan Schafer at .680. Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez checks in at .653 in 335 at-bats.
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East
Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams. The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.
Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.
On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.