Ranking the top 10 outfields in MLB
Today, in Part 4 of this week's series -- a look ahead to the best of 2012 -- it's all about the outfields.
Justin Upton hovered on the edges of the National League MVP race last season, eventually finishing fourth in the voting, yet there is a sense among the Arizona talent evaluators that Upton, now 24, has barely scratched the surface of what he could be. And this is a slugger who racked up 75 extra-base hits last season and had an OPS-plus of 141, while playing in 159 games; the D-backs believe that as he reduces the emotional peaks and valleys of his at-bats, as he gains more consistency, he'll win an MVP award.
But Upton is just part of why the Arizona outfield is so good. Chris Young ranked second among center fielders in UZR/150, and had 20 homers and 22 stolen bases. Jason Kubel was signed to play left field and to balance a D-backs' lineup that has generally been right-handed-heavy, and while the addition of Kubel would seem to nudge Gerardo Parra out of a regular spot in left field, where he won a Gold Glove last season, Parra figures to get a lot of playing time as a strong No. 4 outfielder for Arizona. He'll finish some games for Kubel in left and get a decent amount of starts, sometimes filling in for Young against right-handers with good breaking balls. It's a great group, with offensive production, speed, defense, balance and depth.
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