MLB.com vs. A Sip of Sports: Outfielders

Discussing the differences between MLB.com and A Sip of Sports choices in the outfield shows many structural differences between the two lists. Just to be clear, we agreed on 62 percent of the players, but we had certain ones at different outfield positions. Most of our other disagreements stem from A Sip of Sports trying to create the best team, while MLB.com usually, but not always, rated players at the position they played the most. 

Atlanta Braves:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Andruw Jones CF-Dale Murphy     RF-Henry Aaron

MLB.com                    Rico Carty             Andruw Jones         Henry Aaron

Right field is easy. The choice between Murphy and Jones in center is close. Both were Gold Glove center fielders. Carty obviously was not as good as either of those two. We chose to put both Gold Glove outfielders on their team, Carty was more of a left fielder.

Miami Marlins:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Miguel Cabrera CF-Christian Yelich RF-Giancarlo Stanton

MLB.com:                   Cliff Floyd                Juan Pierre             Giancarlo Stanton

The decision to exclude Cabrera in the outfield by MLB.com is confusing to us. He played more games out there than third base for the Marlins (347-310). Floyd spent six years in Miami, to Cabrera’s five, but Cabrera had a higher WAR (18.3-16.9) and more Win Shares (120-99). We’re confident we got that one right. Juan Pierre was only in Miami four years with a combined WAR of 7.6! Yelich was there five years with a WAR of 17.5. Yelich played left field most of the time, but did play some center. Just think the team as a whole is better with Yelich in the outfield and not Pierre.

New York Mets:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Howard Johnson CF-Carlos Beltran RF-Darryl Strawberry

MLB.com:                   Cleon Jones              Carlos Beltran       Darryl Strawberry

The only disagreement we have is in left field. Howard Johnson played all over, but he has to make the team somewhere. His competition at third base is David Wright, then Jose Reyes at short. Wright and Reyes were more valuable to the Mets than Johnson, but Jones wasn’t.

Washington Nationals:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Tim Raines CF-Andre Dawson RF-Vlad Guerrero

MLB.com:                   Tim Raines       Andre Dawson       Vlad Guerrero

We both left Bryce Harper off the team. How about that!

Milwaukee Brewers:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Ryan Braun CF-Gorman Thomas RF-Geoff Jenkins

MLB.com:                   Ryan Braun        Gorman Thomas       Christian Yelich

If Yelich comes back from his injury he’ll be the choice in a couple of years. As good as his two seasons have been, they’re not as valuable as Jenkins’ ten.

Philadelphia Phillies:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Ed Delahanty CF-Richie Ashburn RF-Bobby Abreu

MLB.com:                   Sherry Magee      Richie Ashburn       Bobby Abreu

Sherry Magee is a very underrated player from the past. That said, Ed Delahanty was a true superstar in the 1890s and was better. 

St. Louis Cardinals:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Stan Musial CF-Curt Flood       RF-Enos Slaughter

MLB.com:                    Lou Brock         Jim Edmonds        Stan Musial

We had Musial in left, Curt Flood in center and Enos Slaughter in right. They had Lou Brock in left, Jim Edmonds in center and Musial in right.

First we will examine Edmonds vs Flood. Edmonds was very good, a Gold Glove outfielder who hit as many as 42 home runs. Flood was also a Gold Glove center fielder, probably better than Edmonds. His overall defensive WAR with St. Louis was 11.0, while Edmonds was only 3.9. Edmonds was a better hitter, putting up an OBP/SA/OBPS of .393/.555/.947, which is excellent, but he played in an era that was much more hitter friendly than Flood’s era. Flood’s OBP/SA/OBPS was .343/.390/.732, which to be quite frank, wasn’t very good even in the run starved 1960s. The main reason we took Flood was that he spent 12 years in St. Louis, while Edmond was only there for 8. Flood led Edmonds in WAR while in St. Louis 42.3-37.9 and Win Shares 221-198. Edmonds’ best years were better, but Flood was a very good player for 8 seasons, while Edmond was only as productive for 6. This is a close call, and Edmonds is a reasonable choice. We have no huge qualms with their decision, we just took the other.

As far as Brock vs Slaughter, we agree that Brock was a more productive player than “Country” Slaughter, he just wasn’t nearly as good as Stan Musial, so it comes down to where we play Musial. “Stan the Man” did play 27% (32% in left) of his games in right, and won two MVPs while out there. Brock was not a good outfielder, so putting him in right is not a solution. We seriously considered putting Musial in center (he played there 11% of the time), Joe Medwick or Brock in left and Slaughter in right, but decided the defense was too weak. We put a lot of time on how to rate the Cardinals’ outfield. We might have gotten this one wrong. Again, this shows our desire to make the best team and not just name the best players at various positions.

Chicago Cubs:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Billy Williams CF-Jimmy Ryan RF-Sammy Sosa

MLB.com:                   Billy Williams       Hack Wilson       Sammy Sosa

Wilson holds one of the most important records in baseball (191 RBI in 1930), and occupied the position 35 years after Ryan. That said, Ryan had more good years in a longer stay in Chicago.  Wilson was only in Chicago six seasons, while Ryan was in the “Windy City” for 15. Wilson had one monster year (1931), and several other good ones, but Ryan’s overall value was quite a bit higher. This choice depends on what kind of time-line penalty you give Ryan for playing in the 1880s and 1890s. Baseball in the 1920s and 1930s was quite a bit better than it was in Ryan’s time. Either one is a reasonable pick. It’s close, but we still like Ryan.

Pittsburgh Pirates:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Paul Waner CF-Max Carey                 RF-Roberto Clemente

MLB.com:                   Ralph Kiner       Andrew McCuthchen       Roberto Clemente

We wanted to take McCutchen in center field, we just couldn’t justify it. Every metric we used had Carey ahead. Waner, of course, was a right fielder, so we figured he could handle left. We assume that if MLB.com had considered Waner in left they would have gone this way also.

Cincinnati Reds:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Edd Roush      CF-Vada Pinson RF-Frank Robinson

MLB.com:                   George Foster       Vada Pinson       Frank Robinson

Roush spent twelve seasons with the Reds, while Foster had eleven. Their WARs were pretty even, Roush leads 40.3 to 39.5. Foster had one monster year (1977) and two other really good ones. Roush won two batting titles and was the best player on their 1919 World Champion team. Roush had more good seasons and is in the Hall of Fame. Foster played 50 years after Edd. It’s close. 

Arizona Diamondbacks:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Luis Gonzalez CF-Steve Finley RF- Chris Young

MLB.com:                   Luis Gonzalez       Steve Finley        Justin Upton

Another one we covered in an earlier article. This is another pick-em between two evenly matched candidates.

Los Angeles Dodgers:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Zack Wheat CF-Willie Davis   RF-Duke Snider

MLB.com:                   Zack Wheat       Duke Snider        Dixie Walker

MLB.com’s choice of Dixie Walker is very interesting. Walker is not very highly thought of in today’s woke world. He was so cool toward Jackie Robinson that Branch Rickey got rid of him in 1948. Not only do we think Davis was more valuable to the team than Walker, but we would also take Carl Furillo and Pedro Gurrero ahead of Dixie. 

San Francisco Giants:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Barry Bonds CF-Willie Mays RF-Mel Ott

MLB.com:                   Barry Bonds       Willie Mays       Mel Ott

Probably the best outfield for any franchise, with only the Yankees even in the discussion. If we use the MLB.com Yankee outfield (Keller,Mantle,Ruth) , then that’s no contest either. A Sip of Sports moved Mantle to left field and inserted DiMaggio in center. That’s a tough call. Mays was better than DiMaggio and Ruth was better than Ott. Bonds and Mantle are a push. We would probably still give the nod to the Giants because Mantle loses most of his defensive value with his move to left field. Bonds was a more productive offensive player than Mickey.

San Diego Padres:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Ryan Klesko     CF-Dave Winfield RF-Tony Gwynn

MLB.com:                   Gene Richards       Steve Finley          Tony Gwynn

As we mentioned in our Padres’ Article, the choice between Klesko and Richards in left was a pick-em. The one we have the big problem with was Steve Finley over Dave Winfield in center field. This one’s not close. Winfield is in the Hall of Fame, he spent eight seasons in San Diego to Finley’s four, his WAR as a Padre was 32.0 to Finley’s 8.7. There is no justification for their choice.

Colorado Rockies:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Carlos Gonzalez CF-Charlie Blackmon RF-Larry Walker

MLB.com:                    Matt Holliday            Charlie Blackmon       Larry Walker

Gonzalez spent ten full seasons in Denver, Holliday only five. They are one and two at the position, but it’s not all that close.

Toronto Blue Jays:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Loyd Moseby CF-Vernon Wells RF-Jose Bautista 

MLB.com:                   George Bell          Devon White       Jose Bautista

Our choices for the Toronto Blue Jays in left and center were Loyd Moseby and Vernon Wells. MLB.com took George Bell and Devon White. Moseby and Bell were longtime teammates, and Moseby was primarily a center fielder. We think he was more valuable overall than Bell. We discussed the Wells/White comparison in our Toronto Blue Jays’ article. It’s close, but we stand by our pick. 

Baltimore Orioles:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Boog Powell       CF-Brady Anderson RF-Frank Robinson

MLB.com:                   Brady Anderson        Adam Jones            Frank Robinson

Since we both have Anderson on the team, the comparison that counts is between Powell and Jones. Adam Jones’ WAR while in Baltimore was 32.2, Powell’s was 34.5. Jones’ Win Shares is 180 to Powell’s 254. Powell was much the better hitter with an OPS/SA/OBPS of.362/.465/.826 to Jones’ .319/.459/.777. Powell did most of his damage in the run starved 1960s while Jones’ were in the much more run friendly 2000s and 2010s. Jones was clearly the better defensive player, winning four Gold Gloves in center field. Powell only spent 34% of his time in the outfield, being so weak in left that he moved to first base after five seasons. We’ll stick with the 1970 American League Most Valuable Player.

Tampa Bay Rays:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Carl Crawford CF-Kevin Kiermaier RF-B.J.Upton

MLB.com:                   Carl Crawford       Kevin Kiermaier       Steven Souza

Upton was a center fielder, but certainly could have handled right. Souza’s a strange choice even if we exclude B.J.

Boston Red Sox:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Ted Williams CF-Tris Speaker RF-Carl Yastrzemski

MLB.com:                   Ted Williams       Tris Speaker        Dwight Evans

Obviously Yaz was a left fielder, but he was a really good one. He had the arm and the range to handle right. Dwight Evans was very good (Our Hall of Fame article recommended him for induction), but he was not as good as Carl Yastrzemski.

New York Yankees:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Mickey Mantle CF-Joe DiMaggio   RF-Babe Ruth

MLB.com:                   Charlie Keller         Mickey Mantle       Babe Ruth  

We’ve got Mantle in left and Joe DiMaggio in center. They have Charlie Keller in left and Mickey Mantle in center and Joe DiMaggio on the bench. Yes, DiMaggio was a center fielder, and we agree that Mantle was better than “Joltin’ Joe”, but DiMaggio was much better than Keller. Trading Keller for DiMaggio makes A Sip of Sports’ outfield much stronger. The best outfield for an American League franchise, and maybe in all of baseball (see San Francisco Giants’ comment). 

Cleveland Indians:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Larry Doby CF-Tris Speaker RF-Earl Averill

MLB.com:                   Albert Belle       Tris Speaker      Manny Ramirez

The most extreme example of our decision to pick the best outfielders, is our choices rating the Cleveland Indians. We have the trio of Larry Doby, Tris Speaker, and Earl Averill, all Hall of Fame center fielders. MLB.com puts Albert Belle in left and Manny Ramirez in right. We think our outfield is better.

Kansas City Royals:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Willie Wilson CF-Amos Otis RF-Alex Gordon

MLB.com:                    Alex Gordon       Amos Otis       Danny Tartabull

Another instance where we moved positions to allow the inclusion of the team’s three best outfielders. We think MLB.com would agree that Gordon was a more valuable player than Tartabull. He just wasn’t a right fielder.

Detroit Tigers:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Sam Crawford CF-Ty Cobb RF-Al Kaline

MLB.com:                   Willie Horton          Ty Cobb       Al Kaline

Our choices in the outfield for the Detroit Tigers was Sam Crawford in left, Ty Cobb in center and Al Kaline in right. MLB.com had Cobb and Kaline in center and right, but Willie Horton in left. Our assumption is they excluded Crawford because he was primarily a right fielder.That’s true, but he obviously could handle left field on defense. “Wahoo Sam” was a significantly better offensive player than Horton, so the team is better with Crawford in left instead of Horton. Another swipe at the legacy of Cobb’s longtime teammate. Bill James rates Crawford as the 10th best right fielder of all time, despite that he had to wait until he was 77 years old to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Minnesota Twins:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Goose Goslin CF-Kirby Puckett RF-Sam Rice

MLB.com:                    Shane Mack        Kirby Puckett       Tony Oliva

For some reason MLB.com did not include the original Washington Senators in their franchise selections. If they had, Goslin would be a no-brainer in left. The pick in right we covered in our franchise article. It’s close, with Rice slightly ahead in all our metrics. It all depends on how steep of a time-line penalty we give for the era he played in. 

Chicago White Sox:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Joe Jackson     CF-Fielder Jones RF-Minnie Minosa

MLB.com:           Minnie Minosa        Johnny Mostil       Magglio Ordonez  

This was desperate work. For being such an old franchise the White Sox just didn’t have many outstanding outfielders. Minosa is the only sure thing.   

Los Angeles Angels:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Garret Anderson CF-Mike Trout RF-Tim Salmon

MLB.com:                   Garret Anderson       Mike Trout       Tim Salmon

Wow, we agree on all three

Houston Astros:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Jose Cruz          CF-Cesar Cedeno RF-Lance Berkman

MLB.com:             Lance Berkman       Cesar Cedeno       George Springer

MLB.com bias towards active players is the only justification for picking Springer. The choice for the third outfield spot was between Cruz and Jimmy Wynn. Springer’s still several years from being in that discussion.

Oakland Athletics:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Rickey Henderson CF-Al Simmons        RF-Reggie Jackson

MLB.com:               Rickey Henderson       Dwayne Murphy       Reggie Jackson

Only explanation for MLB.com’s choice of Murphy is they rated Simmons as a left fielder. “Bucketfoot Al’ occupied center 642 times while in Philadelphia and left field 610 times. He could handle the position.

Seattle Mariners:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Jay Buhner   CF-Ken Griffey RF-Ichiro Suzuki

MLB.com:                   Raul Ibanez         Ken Griffey      Ichiro Suzuki

Another example of A Sip of Sports making room for the third best outfielder at a spot he didn’t primarily play. Buhner was an excellent defensive outfielder and could easily handle the move to left. 

Texas Rangers:

A Sip of Sports: LF-Frank Howard CF-Juan Gonzalez RF-Ruben Sierra

MLB.com:           Rusty Greer          Josh Hamilton        Juan Gonzalez

The exclusion of Howard can only be explained by the fact he was only with the franchise for one season in Texas. It’s easy to forget the team’s time in the Nation’s Capital. “Hondo” Howard was the second best player in franchise history, and the most valuable outfielder. We covered the Hamilton/Sierra comparison in our Texas Ranger Article. It’s close.

Want to read more?

You can check out our Greatest Baseball Team and our greatest American and National League Teams.

Here is the link to MLB’s best left fielders, center fields and right fielders.

Or check out all of our baseball articles here.

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