A bit ago we took a look at how the Jays bullpen would look if the season started now, let's look at the outfield. Not that it matters if we have the best outfield in the division in December is about as important as having the best NHL team this year, but we have a long off-season to get through, we have to talk about something.
Jose Bautista: If he's healthy he's the best there is. Last year he hit .241/.358/.527 with 27 home runs in just 92 games. He did have a very slow start, he was still hitting under .200 May 16. After that he was great, he hit .271/.408/1.158 in June, the unfortunate part is that there wasn't enough 'after that'. He was injured July 16, then came back for 2 games in August, and missed the rest of the season. I don't know how Gibbons will handle things, but if I was him, I'd be phoning up Jose saying 'One day a week you are going to DH, it will be Wednesdays, that will be your day to DH.' Give him a day off from the outfield each week, let Rajai Davis or Emilio Bonifacio play right once a week. Hopefully that way he can stay healthy. I really don't want him to miss 60 games this year.
Colby Rasmus: He had a pretty rough season, hitting just .233/.289/.400 with 23 home runs, while battling a number of minor injuries, that we really didn't have the personnel to allow him to rest and recover. He had one really good month, June, where he hit .291/.331/.547. The nice part about how this season looks to be shaping up is that we will have players that can give Colby a day off here and there. He's another one that, if I was Gibbons, I'd be telling 'you are getting scheduled days off', maybe not once a week, like Jose, but I'd want him to DH 10 or so times in the season to help keep him healthy. Bonifacio would be good enough to play some games in CF.
Melky Cabrera: Melky was having a terrific season, before the suspension, hitting .346/.390/.516 with 10 triples and 11 home runs , in 113 games. Of course the batting average was powered by a .379 BABIP and maybe other stuff. I guess we'll find out. If he could keep up a .350 OBP and a .450 SA I'd be happy. Grant Brisbee gave us a scouting report on Melky back here.
Rajai Davis: I like Rajai a lot better as a 4th outfielder than as an everyday player. He's a great choice as a pinch runner, he's good enough defensively to play any of the three spots and he's a pretty good hitter against lefties. He hit .257/.309/.378 last year, with 8 home runs and 46 stolen bases in 142 games. A .309 OBP doesn't scream everyday player to me. This year, oh I hope, he'll play less, but he give us could a couple of games a week in the outfield, hopefully mainly against LH pitching and get into a couple in more games as a pinch runner.
Emilio Bonifacio: Another guy with a ton of speed, who could play any of the outfield spots (as well as 2B, 3B and SS). He hit .258/.330/.316 last year, with 30 stolen bases in 33 attempts, in just 64 games. He hit .296/.360/.393 in 2011.
Anthony Gose: Hopefully gets to start the season in Buffalo. He had a pretty good month of September with the Jays, hitting .262/.347/.393 with 5 stolen bases for the month. Before August, he hit much like a guy that is a few years away from before ready. If Rasmus is as bad this year as last, I wouldn't mind seeing Gose get his shot at some point.
Moises Sierra: Hit good in August (.284/.312/.432), lousy in September (.157/.234/.314). It seemed like teams figured him out. Another season in Triple-A could be a good thing, but I'm not hopeful that he is a future everyday player.
What do you think, do we have the best outfield in the AL East at the moment? Let's look at the others:
Yankees: Right now it is Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and somebody. Likely Ichiro. That would be a really good defensive outfield, and maybe Granderson will bounce back from his .232/.319/.492 line, Gardner will come back strong after missing most of 2012 and Ichiro will Ichiro will be younger than his 39 years. I'd have to think the Yankees will do something to improve their outfield.
Orioles: Nate McLouth/Nolan Reimold, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. McLouth hit .268/.342/.435 in 55 games with the O's but just .140/.210/.175 as a Pirate last year. Adam Jones .287/.334/.505, playing in all 162 games. Markakis .298/.363/.471 in 104 games.
Rays: I have no idea, but some combination of Desmond Jennings (246/.314/.388, 13 home runs, 132 games), Sam Fuld (.255/.318/.327, in 44 games), Matt Joyce (.241/.341/.429, 17 home runs in 124 games), Ben Zobrist (.270/.377/.471) and Wil Myers.
Red Sox: Some combination of Jonny Gomes (.262/.377/.491, 18 home runs, in 99 games as an A), Jacoby Ellsbury (.271/.313/.370, 4 home runs, 14 stolen bases in 74 games), Ryan Kalish (.229/.272/.260, in 36 games) and Daniel Nava (.243/.352/.390, 6 home runs, in 88 games). Again, I figure they'll add someone before spring training, but we are talking about now.
So, not that it matters much on December 12th, but who has the best outfield in the AL East at the moment?