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Thursday, March 27, 2014

YES Network: Ken Singleton says Ellsbury + Gardner = a nearly impenetrable defense

Or as this Yankee fan told me in the bar the other day…“This Pillsbury kid is spossed to be really good”.

When you talk about the best defensive outfields in baseball, the Yankees certainly have to go into that conversation. Right now, it seems as if Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Beltran will rotate through that spot, but whether it’s one of them, Ichiro, or a literal statue out in right, former MLB outfielder Ken Singleton agrees that the left/center combo of Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury should make the outfield look a lot like a game of Pac-Man come opening day.

“I think it’s very comforting to the pitchers, knowing that pretty much any ball hit in the air will be caught, within reason. Anybody who is going to displace Brett Gardner from center really has to have some game,” Singleton says, “But when you put someone like Jacoby Ellsbury out there, who is a former Gold Glove winner in center, and move Gardner to left, where a couple years ago he was rated as the best defensive left fielder in the game, it’s very comforting.”

Gardner’s offensive body of work doesn’t scream the profile of a prototypical corner outfielder, but he did hit a career-high eight homers last year, and as Singleton notes, left field in the Bronx isn’t a typical corner outfield.

“Left field in Yankee Stadium, as we know, is quite expansive, and you need someone to cover the territory out there,” Singleton said. “It’s a tough field to play with the sun, too, but he has a great arm, and he and Ellsbury alone can cover a lot of ground.”

That speed in the outfield will translate, hopefully, into havoc on the base paths, too, as the Yankees now have, and likely hitting right next to each other, two guys who have led or tied for the league lead in steals in four of the last six seasons.

“Ellsbury led the league again last year, and from Gardner’s standpoint, I look for an improvement from him in terms of numbers in stealing bases,” Singleton said. “I think having Ellsbury gives him somebody to chase or somebody to chase him, depending on where they hit; together, they can push each other towards the league lead in stolen bases, and there could be a lot of scoring from first base on doubles behind them, so they have high run-scoring potential.”

That duo, along with Beltran, will be together for a few seasons at least; Ellsbury got a seven-year deal this winter and Beltran a three-year pact, and combined with Gardner’s four-year extension that kicks in next season, you’re looking at the Yankees’ starting outfield through at least 2016.

Repoz Posted: March 27, 2014 at 07:11 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. Sean Forman Posted: March 27, 2014 at 09:04 AM (#4677701)
Ground balls on the other hand.
   2. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4677717)
I'm sure Ellsbury and Gardner will do a terrific job of picking up ground balls that get through the infield...probably due to plenty of practice.
   3. Textbook Editor Posted: March 27, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4677719)
A two-man outfield would allow for a 5th infielder to roam around 2nd base and prevent Jeter from ever having to go to his left.
   4. Hal Chase School of Professionalism Posted: March 27, 2014 at 10:05 AM (#4677725)
That duo, along with Beltran, will be together for a few seasons at least; Ellsbury got a seven-year deal this winter and Beltran a three-year pact, and combined with Gardner’s four-year extension that kicks in next season, you’re looking at the Yankees’ starting outfield through at least 2016.


Or, at least how long the Yanks are on the hook for those contracts.
   5. SG Posted: March 27, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4677726)
2013 Yankee RZR balls in zone
==============================
CF+LF: 594
All other positions: 1576

   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4677788)
The best news for the Yanks so far this Spring has been the way Pineda and Sabathia and the pitching in general have been looking, with the exception of Kuroda. The other side of the story is that there isn't a single member of the projected everyday lineup who's been hitting at the level he'll need to be hitting if the Yanks are ever going to contend.
   7. dr. scott Posted: March 27, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4677802)
So Yanks may have the better center/left combo (assuming gardner plays left like he did in 2011) but I assume Oakland has the best center/right with crisp and Reddick (assuming he bats well enough to play every day). The question is whether Cespedes is better than the Beltran/Soriano/Ichiro! combo. Cespedes seems about average so I'm guessing it may be an edge to the A's.
   8. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 27, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4677813)
the left/center combo of Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury should make the outfield look a lot like a game of Pac-Man come opening day
I can't wait to see them chased by the ghosts of all the Yankee legends buried in Monument Park.
   9. cardsfanboy Posted: March 27, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4677882)
So Yanks may have the better center/left combo (assuming gardner plays left like he did in 2011) but I assume Oakland has the best center/right with crisp and Reddick (assuming he bats well enough to play every day). The question is whether Cespedes is better than the Beltran/Soriano/Ichiro! combo. Cespedes seems about average so I'm guessing it may be an edge to the A's.


Is Crisp anything special? he hasn't had a defensive year(By rfield) better than 7 runs in 6 seasons.... Not sure how that combo could be considered better than Milwaukee's Gomez/Braun and if Schafer is playing, doubt there is a better defensive outfield in baseball.

Nationals have good center/left(Span/Harper) Pittsburgh has an elite center/left (McCutchen/Marte)...finding a team with three plus defenders in the outfield is tough... I imagine that some of the teams like the Astros or Cubs with a young outfield might be better than thought, but the good teams, it's tough to find three plus fielders.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: March 27, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4677884)
I think the Pirates will be winning this debate once they call up Polanco.
   11. formerly dp Posted: March 27, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4677887)
Defensively, Granderson/Lagares/CYoung should be able to hold their own against any OF alignment, right? If only Collins can avoid the temptation to go with Eric Young in LF...
   12. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: March 27, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4677925)
Given the number of times the last few Yankees teams have punted on OF defense in favor of hitting (mostly pretty successfully), this is nothing more than a late-ST optimistic take. I really, really thought that Gardner would not be a Yankee for the whole 2014 season and was very surprised that they extended him.
   13. donlock Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4678057)
So leading the league in stolen bases means you are a good centerfielder? in the AL East last summer the Orioles sent out two former GG in Markakis and Nate McClouth and the current GG in CF- Adam Jones. Would that be a impenetrable defense or do you have to play in NY?
   14. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:25 AM (#4678059)
Jose Bautista has been getting appearances in CF for the Jays, and if Rasmus takes another ball to the eye they'd have to run out a Melky Cabrera / Bautista / Moises Sierra outfield for at least one game. That defense would be very penetrable.
   15. Dan Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:31 AM (#4678061)
So leading the league in stolen bases means you are a good centerfielder? in the AL East last summer the Orioles sent out two former GG in Markakis and Nate McClouth and the current GG in CF- Adam Jones. Would that be a impenetrable defense or do you have to play in NY?


Considering that both Jones and Markakis have below average range for their positions, no I would not classify that as an impenetrable outfield defense. They do both have fantastic throwing arms though.
   16. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:33 AM (#4678062)
Jose Bautista has been getting appearances in CF for the Jays, and if Rasmus takes another ball to the eye they'd have to run out a Melky Cabrera / Bautista / Moises Sierra outfield for at least one game. That defense would be very penetrable.

Come to think of it, John Gibbons was the manager when the Jays had Troy Glaus play shortstop during interleague games. This is a much less extreme move, but it's interesting that he's twice been able to talk the team's slugger into moving up the defensive spectrum during emergency situations.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: March 28, 2014 at 01:06 AM (#4678064)
So leading the league in stolen bases means you are a good centerfielder? in the AL East last summer the Orioles sent out two former GG in Markakis and Nate McClouth and the current GG in CF- Adam Jones. Would that be a impenetrable defense or do you have to play in NY?


Adam Jones is a pretty crappy defensive centerfielder... the gold glove was widely considered a travesty. McClouth was also considered kinda a joke gold glove.

but Ellsbury 13 rfield rating is pretty indicative of good defense.

When talking about defense...please join the discussion with factually defendable arguments...
   18. donlock Posted: March 28, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4678289)
Factually defendable? Like "crappy", "travesty", "kinda joke"? Got it, Professor Baseball.
   19. cardsfanboy Posted: March 28, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4678346)
Factually defendable? Like "crappy", "travesty", "kinda joke"? Got it, Professor Baseball.


Markakis rField last three years... -7, -7, 3,.
McClouth rField last three years . 0, -1, 1
Adam Jones rField last three years -2, -16, -4....

Not a fan of rField...let's go by UZR.
mcClouth 4.6, -2, -9.7
Markakis -6.6, -8.6, -5.6
Jones -6.8, -6.5, -8.6

You have basically an average fielding centerfielder, and two poor corner fielders. I figured that this was such a well known fact that there was no reason for me to bring in the numbers. My mistake, I'm sorry.

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