Center field has been an offensive black hole for the Indians since Grady Sizemore. I went back ten years and only twice did I find a center fielder who exceeded .700 in OPS; Austin Jackson in 2017 (.869 in only 280 AB's) and Oscar Mercado in 2019 (.761 in 438 AB's).
The rest of the time it was either Rajai Davis, Brad Zimmer, Leonys Martin, Delino DeShields, Drew Stubbs, or Michael Bourn. So I'm in favor of putting somebody out there who can hit and has speed. He can learn how to play the position as he goes. We will have to tolerate some balls dropping in due to late breaks and badly run routes for a while, but like I said, this team needs offense.
That being said, what about Oscar Mercado? In his first experience in the bigs in 2019 he had an OPS of .761 in 438 AB's. Also in 2019, Amed Rosario had an OPS of .755 in 616 AB's. It was his third year in the bigs but his OPS was actually a little lower than Mercado's. So what makes us think Rosario will be a better hitter or defender in center than Mercado this season or even in the future?
They both have great speed. Mercado is a year older but his offensive production in his first year matched that of Rosario in his third. They both hit 15 home runs in 2019, but Mercado did it in 178 fewer at-bats. Mercado was 15-for-19 in stolen bases while Rosario was 19-for-29.
I don't see how one can justify the case for Rosario over Mercado in center this year, especially since Rosario has never played the position. Mercado is obviously the better defender right now and he hit for more power and was better at stealing bases in the last full season.
This is a solid argument for Mercado.
However, it rests on a very small sample size...Mercado 2019.
Over all, Rosario has been much better...in terms of wRC+... and slightly better in terms of SLG.
And Mercado is older, and even at older ages, did not produce as well as Rosario in the minors...and it wasnt close.
The entire body of work strong favors Rosario.
But in the end, the bottom line is a fans vision of Rosario. Before the trade, Rosario was a player I thought the Indians should target in a Lindor trade.
But once the trade was made, most everybody looked at him as a throw in.
And this original conception bases all the arguments pro and con.
We shall see.
From my point of view, it isn't that I'm not excited about Johnson...I am, although not as much as some.
I just see a lot of possibilities in Rosario that others do not, and that's okay. Its the reason for this forum.