Eric Karabell and Mark Simon talked about B.J. Upton on Monday's Baseball Today podcast, which led to Eric and I discussing Upton at dinner Monday and where he would rank among center fielders, which led to my promising on Tuesday's podcast that I'd rank all the center fielders.
So, as promised, here it goes, 30 center fielders, one guy per team.
2. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates. Awesome breakout season. Clear National League MVP right now.
3. Matt Kemp, Dodgers. Could argue him as No. 1 if he hadn't been injured.
4. Josh Hamilton, Rangers. Overly aggressive approach has led to second-half issues at the plate.
5. Austin Jackson, Tigers. I believe his offensive growth is for real.
6. Michael Bourn, Braves. Lacks power, but gets on base and can track them down as well as anybody.
7. Adam Jones, Orioles. Would like to see more walks, but he should hit 30 home runs.
8. Curtis Granderson, Yankees. The defensive metrics don't like his range, but he might hit 40 homers again.
9. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox. Hard to figure out where to place the 2011 American League MVP runner-up.
10. Yoenis Cespedes, A's. Has been playing left field of late and might end up as a corner outfielder long term.
11. Denard Span, Twins. Flies under the radar, but gets on base and could win a Gold Glove this season.
12. Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays. Hot and cold at the plate, but on pace for 29 home runs.
13. Michael Brantley, Indians. Just 25, he has improved for the third straight season and turned into a doubles machine (33).
14. Dexter Fowler, Rockies. Slugging .500 and leads the NL in triples, but some of that is a Coors Field effect.
15. Bryce Harper, Nationals. He'll be higher on this list next season.
16. Chris Young, Diamondbacks. Injury-marred season and the strikeouts are aggravating, but he has power and D.
17. Jon Jay, Cardinals. Love the way he glides after balls in the outfield.
19. Drew Stubbs, Reds. Frustrating and inconsistent, but still has power and speed.
20. Alejandro De Aza, White Sox. Labeled a Four-A player, but has a .351 OBP this season.
21. Shane Victorino, Phillies (now with Dodgers). Is it just a bad season or a drop in ability?
22. Cameron Maybin, Padres. Nobody questions his fly chasing skills, but he might never put it together at the plate.
23. B.J. Upton, Rays. Hard to believe this is the same player who hit .300 as a 22-year-old in 2007.
24. Angel Pagan, Giants. Having a solid season with a .746 OPS.
25. Carlos Gomez, Brewers. Excellent defense and speed, but career OBP of less than .300.
26. Justin Ruggiano, Marlins. Unlikely to slug .625 the rest of the season.
27. Justin Maxwell, Astros. Minor league vet has played well in 200 plate appearances, slugging better than .500.
28. Brett Jackson, Cubs. Center fielder of the future has arrived, but he also struck out 158 times in Triple-A. Hmm.
29. Jarrod Dyson, Royals. A poor man's Michael Bourn.
30. Andres Torres, Mets. Sorry, Mark!