With the Nyjer Morgan trade, and Roger Bernadina‘s .245/.310/.340 spring, Rick Ankiel has won the CF job outright. So far he has hit slightly better than Bernadina, hitting .218/.271/.455 so far. The OPS is higher, so are the runs created and other similar offensive value stats. But since OBP is more important that SLG, those other offensive stats aren’t as far apart as OPS is. Regardless, Ankiel is hitting the best of the two.
Bernadina will still get his shots at the position. He’s
probably going to be considered a 4th outfielder been assigned to the minors, although being a lefty as well, he isn’t automatically going in when Ankiel gets a convenient rest against left handed starters. The thing he has going against him, as mentioned, is that he hits from the same side of the plate as Ankiel, unlike…
Being a righty, Hairston is immediately in the mix. Against tough lefties, Ankiel should probably sit down, and Bernadina doesn’t give any reason why he should be the next guy in. So Hairston likely gets the call. The problem with Hairston is twofold. First of all, we know what we’re getting – he’s a .695 career OPS hitter, who won’t hit for any power. But he could settle in to a serviceable OBP, and alot of those chances will come against lefties. Here comes the second problem – his OPS is almost identical vs lefties or righties. So he isn’t a guy with ho hum numbers who has a platoon appeal. He’s just a guy with ho hum numbers. Still, at this point, he might be the best option vs LHP.
Van Every really fits the “journeyman” label. He’s 31 years old, spent some of the last 3 years on the Red Sox and hit .255/.327/.447 in 52 PAs in the majors. He’s kind of a mini-me version of Rick Ankiel in that he’s able to play all 3 outfield positions and has some power. He doesn’t have the power of Ankiel, although if Ankiel simply can’t reach base, Van Every could get his chance. Of course, Van Every is another lefty, so his chances are likely dependent on a combination of his own success and a good helping of others’ failures. He’ll be in AAA unless there’s a need for another lefty outfielder.
Brown was acquired in the Josh Willingham trade last year, and he’s seen plenty of time at CF, while young enough (25 this year) to be considered a bit of a prospect. He didn’t get much time to showcase his skill this spring thanks to an ankle sprain, but he’s on the mend and should be good to play at the beginning of AAA. He spent most of last year at AA, where he hit .320/.415/.502, but had a terrible time in AAA after being promoted, compiling a .631 OPS there. He’ll have a chance to prove himself in Syracuse, and if he does well, he could get a promotion even if there isn’t a complete disaster at the major league level.
Perez is fast, young and talented. He could end up being what people thought Nyjer Morgan could be – a OBP machine leadoff CF with strong defense and little power. The potential leadoff hitter, though, is only going to be 21 years old and just finished a decent but not great year in low-A. But he had a strong finish, hitting .339/.384/.451 after the All Star break. He’ll need to work on walking more, but he’s a strong possibility down the road, just not this season.