The OF Conundrum

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CATS44

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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.
 

LL3

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Some say Zimmer is back to being not just a serviceable CF, but perhaps even a plus. It is reported that DJ is getting work as a CF, and is competent or better. Some of you may have more first hand info than do I (I have none)...and I have no idea what is going on on practice, B-Games, etc, but have read with great interest the reports from Bimbo, et al. All that said, Mercado is the only guy I have seen perform well with a glove in the last year, so unless they have deemed him to be fatally flawed with the bat (not ruling that out, though he is not that far removed from a pretty good 2019), I still believe he is your guy to start the season. Boring take -- yeah, I know, but we are a pitching based team, and we should give a nod to defense up the middle when possible. If somebody can take it from him -- great, but I've not yet seen it.

I hope Amed gets reps out there to make him more versatile in the short term, but I would be ecstatic if he evolves to the point where he just takes the job, as his upside is very pleasant to consider.
 
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Kiddo

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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.

Mercado's WAR in 2019 was 2.2 compared to 1.8 for Rosario. If you equalize the number of at-bats Mercado's WAR goes up to 3.1.
If Mercado can hit then the position could be his but that .128 average from last year is pretty hard to overlook. I just don't see him as being any better offensively than Zimmer. Rosario clearly has more offensive potential and if he adapts well on defense there is no reason to even consider Mercado over him.
 

CDAV45

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Based on what do you state that Johnson is a more dynamic player?

Or that he would make a better CF?

Or that you might prefer Chang as the util?

Because Rosario is younger? He is.

Because Rosario has spent four years in MLB while they could build up stats in the minors? He has.

Rosario wasn't just a highly ranked recruit with 'some' athletic ability. He was ranked higher than any prospect weve had since Sandy Alomar...higher than Grady, higher than Lindor.

If Chang and Johnson had been forced to play in MLB from age 21 on, what do you think they would look like now? Or if Rosario would be emerging today as a candidate, which one do you think everyone would be drooling over now?

Right now the org is betting on Bradley and to do so they are trying to fit two round pegs...Naylor and maybe Johnson...into two square holes...to make it work. Moving a fast and athletic SS with a plus arm to center field is not a round peg into a square hole type of thing.

And look at it this way....if they truly thought that Johnson was the answer in CF, why would they move Rosario there...and why isn't Johnson getting a long look there now?

And if Johnson was such a super prospect at nearly 26 yrs old, why hasn't he been playing at the MLB level for a team that has had one of the worst outfield in all baseball for several seasons.

We have watched Naquin, Kip, and Deshields butcher center field over the last several years. Rosario is likely to be a huge improvement over them in a very short time.

There has to be someone, but I can't think of one MLB SS who failed defensively when he moved to CF. But I can think of plenty who did quite well.
Johnson is just as fast or faster, stronger, better arm, more power. Anything else? Pay attention CATS, have you not watched him or listened to what Tito and everyone else is saying about him?

Don't try to insinuate anything when it comes to reasoning why certain choices are made. You just don't know.

Clearly you think Reyes is just waiting to blossom into some fantastic CFer. I don't share that sentiment. I see Rosario's offensive potential as a good #2 hitter if he puts it all together. Defensively, I think he's a 2B or maybe a CF in time, but he doesn't have Johnson's physical abilities. He just don't, and anyone that has watched them both will tell you the same.

Amed Rosario in 1775 minor league AB slashed 291/336/405/741 with 17 HR
Daniel Johnson in 1601 minor league AB slashed 284/344/460/804 with 49 HR

I realize that Rosario was younger at many stops, but he was drafted out of DR and groomed since he was a child to play baseball while Johnson committed to baseball much much later in life. There's a big gap in development and the advantage defiantly is Rosario's so don't give me this BS that he was rushed. He had 5 minor league seasons under his belt before he was called up at 21 yrs old.

Funny thing is I wouldn't be disappointed in the slightest if Rosario could win CF which would allow Johnson to play RF. Johnson's arm is the only one that profiles in RF which is why they moved him from CF to play RF, not because he couldn't play CF. There were no other corner OF arms in the system. However, I also feel that Naylor will out hit A. Rosario and that Johnson brings dynamics(power and arm) to CF that Amed simply doesn't possess.

Very few if any converted from a shitty SS to a good CF without a good stretch of time. Amed has the speed to play CF, but he hasn't played it yet so if you're asking yourself why they didn't play Johnson over Naquin last season then you should be asking yourself why a shitty defensive SS wasn't converted earlier.
 

CDAV45

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Some say Zimmer is back to being not just a serviceable CF, but perhaps even a plus. It is reported that DJ is getting work as a CF, and is competent or better. Some of you may have more first hand info than do I (I have none)...and I have no idea what is going on on practice, B-Games, etc, but have read with great interest the reports from Bimbo, et al. All that said, Mercado is the only guy I have seen perform well with a glove in the last year, so unless they have deemed him to be fatally flawed with the bat (not ruling that out, though he is not that far removed from a pretty good 2019), I still believe he is your guy to start the season. Boring take -- yeah, I know, but we are a pitching based team, and we should give a nod to defense up the middle when possible. If somebody can take it from him -- great, but I've not yet seen it.

I hope Amed gets reps out there to make him more versatile in the short term, but I would be ecstatic if he evolves to the point where he just takes the job, as his upside is very pleasant to consider.
Good take LL3. I was surprised with the Hernandez signing because I thought Amed would be our 2B. Now we're stuck wondering if and how he's going to help this team. Going forward he's not going to take the SS job away from Gimenez, and I seriously doubt he can hold off the bats of Freeman or Miller at 2B. If he can develop into a good defensive CF, then that may be the best chance of him fitting in on this roster. I still prefer the arm and power that Johnson can offer as a CF. He may not ever reach his potential, but I'd damn sure find out before it's too late. It should have been done last season.

I think Mercado is flawed with the bat, but that's just my take. He damn sure can run balls down in CF though.

What is Amed's "upside"? I see his offensive upside similar to Cesar's 2020 season, which is pretty damn good, but not what I consider "impactful". I don't think Amed can get on base as frequently as Cesar, but I think he has a bit more power. Anyway, I can see Amed slashing similar to Cesar's 283/355/408/763 with Amed's OBP closer to 325 while his slugging closer to 430 which would have his OPS close to Cesar's 763. Not bad, but not a middle of the order or run producing bat. Actually, a better comparison might be Mercado's 2019 season and I do think that Amed is more likely to consistently perform at that level than Mercado.
 

mopete12

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If Mercado can hit then the position could be his but that .128 average from last year is pretty hard to overlook. I just don't see him as being any better offensively than Zimmer. Rosario clearly has more offensive potential and if he adapts well on defense there is no reason to even consider Mercado over him.
My biggest concern about Mercado is that even though he had a successful season in 2019, the 2020 projections for him were pretty dreadful, and the Indians went out and got freakin Delino Deshields Jr to compete with him. It makes me think that smart baseball people don’t believe Mercado will repeat 2019 in the future. So I’m concerned about him even discounting his awful 2020 (seems impossible to tell how “real” the 2020 season is for most players, especially hitters without a lot of at bats).
 

Criznit

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Amed Rosario.

So if he isn't our starting SS or OF/CF... i guess that makes him the utility guy... Oh by the way, how many pro games has he played at 2B or 3B? If he can just step into those positions without much/any experience why can't he do it in regards to the OF/CF? Especially when he can get reps during ST?
 

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Johnson is just as fast or faster, stronger, better arm, more power. Anything else? Pay attention CATS, have you not watched him or listened to what Tito and everyone else is saying about him?

Don't try to insinuate anything when it comes to reasoning why certain choices are made. You just don't know.

Clearly you think Reyes is just waiting to blossom into some fantastic CFer. I don't share that sentiment. I see Rosario's offensive potential as a good #2 hitter if he puts it all together. Defensively, I think he's a 2B or maybe a CF in time, but he doesn't have Johnson's physical abilities. He just don't, and anyone that has watched them both will tell you the same.

Amed Rosario in 1775 minor league AB slashed 291/336/405/741 with 17 HR
Daniel Johnson in 1601 minor league AB slashed 284/344/460/804 with 49 HR

I realize that Rosario was younger at many stops, but he was drafted out of DR and groomed since he was a child to play baseball while Johnson committed to baseball much much later in life. There's a big gap in development and the advantage defiantly is Rosario's so don't give me this BS that he was rushed. He had 5 minor league seasons under his belt before he was called up at 21 yrs old.

Funny thing is I wouldn't be disappointed in the slightest if Rosario could win CF which would allow Johnson to play RF. Johnson's arm is the only one that profiles in RF which is why they moved him from CF to play RF, not because he couldn't play CF. There were no other corner OF arms in the system. However, I also feel that Naylor will out hit A. Rosario and that Johnson brings dynamics(power and arm) to CF that Amed simply doesn't possess.

Very few if any converted from a shitty SS to a good CF without a good stretch of time. Amed has the speed to play CF, but he hasn't played it yet so if you're asking yourself why they didn't play Johnson over Naquin last season then you should be asking yourself why a shitty defensive SS wasn't converted earlier.
I think it’s a little unfair to compare Daniel Johnson’s minor league numbers to Amed Rosario’s. Johnson played 3 years of college ball and was playing A ball as a 21 year old, while Rosario was a major leaguer at 21.
 

CDAV45

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I think it’s a little unfair to compare Daniel Johnson’s minor league numbers to Amed Rosario’s. Johnson played 3 years of college ball and was playing A ball as a 21 year old, while Rosario was a major leaguer at 21.
Did you read my post? Rosario was groomed as a baseball player from an early age and was getting professional tutelage from the age of 16. Johnson committed to baseball much later in life so the difference isn't as you wish to portray it IMO. Rosario and Johnson's offensive profiles are different. Should each reach their potential I'll take Johnson's because it's more impactful without sacrificing base running ability. Both have some potential, but Johnson's physical abilities just stand out and Cleveland's personnel will, and have said the same thing.
 

NEOLeo

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Did you read my post? Rosario was groomed as a baseball player from an early age and was getting professional tutelage from the age of 16. Johnson committed to baseball much later in life so the difference isn't as you wish to portray it IMO. Rosario and Johnson's offensive profiles are different. Should each reach their potential I'll take Johnson's because it's more impactful without sacrificing base running ability. Both have some potential, but Johnson's physical abilities just stand out and Cleveland's personnel will, and have said the same thing.
I read the post. It’s still an unfair comparison.

I really like Daniel Johnson btw.
 

CDAV45

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I read the post. It’s still an unfair comparison.

I really like Daniel Johnson btw.
Unfair or not it's true. It's also unfair to discredit a good player just because he wasn't promoted first or chose to play college ball. All we have is past performance and physical attributes. Considering those 2 things, Johnson's upside it bigger, but that doesn't mean he'll end up the better player of the 2. The same line of thought says that just because Rosario was a higher ranked prospect doesn't mean he'll be the better player.
 

Criznit

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Amed Rosario.

So if he isn't our starting SS or OF/CF... i guess that makes him the utility guy... Oh by the way, how many pro games has he played at 2B or 3B? If he can just step into those positions without much/any experience why can't he do it in regards to the OF/CF? Especially when he can get reps during ST?

Amed Rosario has played:

0 games at 2B in the minors/MLB
7 games at 3B - with the 6 most recent games coming at AAA ball in 2017, and he made 2 errors in those 6.

Utility guy? Not happening....
 
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AZ_

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Amed Rosario has played:

0 games at 2B in the minors/MLB
7 games at 3B - with the 6 most recent games coming in 2017, where he made 2 errors in those 6.

Utility guy? Not happening....

I'm not discounting the possibility based on this alone...

There are various other examples of guys playing other positions as their careers advance.
 

NEOLeo

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Unfair or not it's true. It's also unfair to discredit a good player just because he wasn't promoted first or chose to play college ball. All we have is past performance and physical attributes. Considering those 2 things, Johnson's upside it bigger, but that doesn't mean he'll end up the better player of the 2. The same line of thought says that just because Rosario was a higher ranked prospect doesn't mean he'll be the better player.
You’re reading way too much into what I’m saying, or just putting words in my mouth.

No argument here on Johnson vs. Rosario.

I’m simply saying it’s not apples to apples to compare the numbers of a college bat playing A ball at 21 to a guy who was 17 when playing at the same level.
 

Criznit

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I'm not discounting the possibility based on this alone...

There are various other examples of guys playing other positions as their careers advance.

Agreed. But history tends to show us, poor defensive/offensively minded infielders who can hit tend to end up in the OF or at 1B, not the utility spot. Basically if he has a real/long term home here it will be somewhere in the OF... Otherwise someone else can try to plug him into SS or ?? at their discretion
 
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