Recently, ESPN’s Buster Olney called the Arizona Diamondbacks outfield the best in baseball. Although I can see where he is coming from, I would wait to judge on that. Each Dbacks outfielder does do something well, but none of them are the complete package, yet. Together, I would say they are maybe one of the best, but not the best. Then you have the Dbacks who haven’t even decided how their outfield will shape out this season after the recent acquisition of Jason Kubel.
Here’s how I break it down:
Justin Upton – Upton as we know has the bat. He has the power and can hit for average. He did slide a little at the end of the 2011 season as he saw a decline in his production. His defense is getting better, but far from the best.
Chris Young – He is speedster in center field and can run them down with the best of them. Defensively he is one of the best in the game. Offensively he does have the power, but no consistency with the average. I can still see the Dbacks trading him at some point. Reality is they may not get a lot in return given his lack of offensive production.
Gerardo Parra – Parra should be the starter in my mind, but will most likely be squeezed out and be a bench player in 2012. I don’t know how you do this to a Gold Glove winner who still hits for average. Most people point to his lack of production in the post season. Really though, are we so narrow-minded to judge him on five games rather than 162? He could be a starter in center field though if the Dbacks decide to move Young.
Jason Kubel – He is amongst the unknown. His career stats say he will do just fine in Arizona. Last year should be excluded from that. If he gets the starting nod in left field, then the Dbacks do lose a lot defensively. Can his offense come back to the level it was once at? That’s what the Dbacks are counting on.
Overall, I think the pickup of Kubel just confuses things because if they don’t trade Parra or Young, you are going to have one great defensive player on the bench. The Dbacks are definitely not the best outfield then if one of the best is on the bench.