We’re on our last spot in the outfield; rightfield. In Chicago it’s a look at two players with limited experience; while in New York it’s two veterans in the position. We’ll start in Chicago today.
Jorge Soler is the Chicago Cubs rightfielder and in a small sample size last season he proved he could hit. Soler played in just 24 games, but he out up a .292 batting average. Soler had 8 doubles, 5 home runs and had 25 RBI’s last season. Like a lot of the young Cubs Soler will strikeout. Soler averaged 1 strikeout per game last season; which isn’t bad compared to some of his teammates. Soler committed 2 errors in rightfield last season, but did have 2 assists and posted a fielding percentage of .958. Soler is reported to have a strong throwing arm; so we’ll have to see if it pays off on the defensive ends for the Cubs in 2015. Soler may not be the first rookie mentioned when people start to talk about the Cubs, but at the end of the 2015 season don’t be surprised if he’s a frontrunner for National League Rookie of the Year in 2015.
The Chicago White Sox are hoping to get a full season out of Avisail Garcia in rightfield in 2015. Due to injuries Garcia played in just 46 games last season. Garcia struggled at the plate as well; putting up a batting average of .244 much lower than his career batting average of .272. Garcia did hit 7 home runs; added 8 doubles and had 29 R.B.I.’s in 2015. Garcia has never played more than 72 games in a season; so it will be interesting to see what kind of offensive numbers Garcia can out up in a full season. Garcia did have a good fielding percentage of .978; committing just 2 errors and picking up 4 assists in 2014. Garcia is just 23 years old, but did get 23 post season at bats with the Detroit Tigers in 2012 where he put up a respectable .261 batting average. Garcia is another player who will be interesting to watch and see what kind of offensive numbers he might out up in a full 2015 season.
This is another position that is very difficult to pick. It’s two up and coming 23-year-old baseball players. I’m picking Soler at this position. While the players are very even I picked Soler over Garcia based on injury history.
In December of 2013 the New York Mets signed Curtis Granderson to a four year $60 million dollar contract after four season with the New York Yankees. Granderson did play in 155 games last season, but hit just .227. He did hit 20 home runs and had 66 RBI’s adding 27 doubles and 2 triples. In 2007 and 2008 Granderson led the American League in triples with 23 in 2007 and 13 in 2008 he was with the Detroit Tigers then, but in 2011 with the Yankees he led the AL in R.B.I.’s with 119 and runs scored with 136. At 34 I doubt he’ll be leading the N.L. in triples any time soon, but a closer return to form at the plate would be a big plus for the Mets. Granderson is a career .257 and I’m sure the Mets and their fans would take a 30 point improvement in batting average this season. Granderson is a good defender and posted a .994 fielding percentage in 2014 committing just 2 errors in the outfield while picking up 8 assists and being involved in a double play; his career field percentage is exactly what he posted last season .994. Granderson still has power, but he needs to get his batting average closer to his career numbers as the Mets look for a playoff spot in 2015.
Carlos Beltran hit a career low .233 yesterday in 109 games with the New York Yankees. Injuries have limited the number of games Beltran has been able to play in 5 of the last 8 seasons. The Yankees need a full season out of Beltran if they want to contend in the A.L. East. Beltran did hit 15 home runs and had 49 R.B.I.’s adding 23 doubles. Beltran has been an All-Star 8 times, won the R.o.Y. in 1999 and was a candidate for MVP and got votes for the award in 7 seasons. Beltran is a 3 time Gold Glove winner, but posted a career low in fielding percentage last season at .946. Beltran had 3 errors in rightfield last season with 2 assists, but did have a double play last season. Beltran will turn 38 years old a few weeks into the 2015 season and is in the 2nd year of a 3 year $45 million dollar deal. The Yankees need a healthy season and solid numbers out of Beltran to compete, but can a soon to be 38-year-old with a long injury history do that for them.
A tough pick between two veterans, but I’m going with the aging Beltran over the declining Granderson. If Beltran can stay healthy he has a shot to put up numbers, but Granderson’s number have been falling the last few seasons and not because of injury.
The Vs. Series is off tomorrow for the regular Let’s call it Wednesday blog, but it will be back on Thursday to break down the catching position for our four shared city teams.
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