Player Poll: Lindsay Guentzel
This week's MLB Player Poll: Who is the best defensive outfielder in the game? That’s not even a fair question. As a Minnesota Twins fan, I have to give a shout-out to Denard Span and Ben Revere, who constantly amaze me with their Superman antics at Target Field. Do I think they are the best defensive outfielders in baseball? Not yet, but I have faith that, if they stay healthy, they’ll both have plenty of opportunities to be ranked up with the best.
Luckily for me, I get to stay in the Twins family when talking about one of the best defensive outfielders – Torii Hunter. Watching him cover real estate and rob home runs at the Metrodome was a major part of my childhood, and I’m fairly certain there are a few players who are still bitter over stolen bombs. Nine consecutive Gold Gloves combined with record-setting assists and a nice appearance in the 2002 All-Star Game give him an edge in this contest.
But. You knew there was going to be a but, didn’t you?
Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is on fire. While my mind immediately goes to Hunter when the topic of defensive outfielders comes up, I’ve got to give mad props to Jones, who didn’t even come up in the big leagues as an outfielder. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners as a shortstop/right-hand pitcher, but he was asked to move to the outfield after Seattle acquired Yuniesky Betancourt. He agreed and his career took off, fueled after he was traded to the Orioles in 2008. A Gold Glove and an All-Star appearance in 2009 seem to have given him confidence in center field, and I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon.
Comparing Jones to Hunter (or even Curtis Granderson and Josh Hamilton) is unfair, simply because fans look past Jones when the discussion of defense comes up. He hasn’t lived up to the high expectations that were set when he was drafted and because of that, his profile is underrated. But his statistics speak for themselves. As a center fielder, he has 46 career assists and a zone rating of 6.293, and if you look at his career year by year, he’s making major improvements. Jumping on the Adam Jones bandwagon isn’t about focusing on what he’s done, it’s about being hopeful for what he can do. Take away his offense and he’s a stellar defensive center fielder who will help out the Orioles when the game is on the line. His future is bright, to say the least.
Who do you think is the best defensive outfielder in the game? Tweet @MLBFanCave using #PlayerPoll and tune in to FOX this Saturday at 3:00 ET to see how your favorite MLB players answer the question.