Ranking baseball’s best defensive outfielders

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Last week, I ranked the top 10 defensive infielders in baseball. This week it’s time to hit the cheap jersey outfield. Interestingly, the outfield has generated more disagreements between the Gold Glove voters and modern defensive statistics such as Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) than the infield has. Only four of my top 10 ranked outfielders has a Gold Glove award to his name.

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Editor’s PicksWho are baseball’s best defensive infielders?Ian Kinsler jersey has been consistently excellent at second. Javier Baez jersey’s versatility puts him in his own class. Andrelton Simmons jersey put up one of the best defensive seasons of all time. But only one can be No. 1.

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Projecting the playoff chances for all 30 teamsThe Cubs and Indians have performed below expectations, but the Astros and Rockies have exceeded them so far this season. But who among them still has the best shot at the postseason?
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cheap jerseys authentic This is my attempt to rank the best defensive outfielders based on my synthesis of various defensive metrics, my observations and the research we have done into the relative value of the three outfield positions. And for that last reason, no full-time left fielders made the list. In previous seasons, left fielders such as Alex Gordon jersey and Starling Marte jersey would have had a chance, but by and large teams still try to hide hitters in left field, and even the best defensive left fielders rarely excel when they try to play the more difficult outfield positions.
baseball hats cheap custom 10. Lorenzo Cain jersey, CF, Kansas City Royals jersey: The Royals’ outfield isn’t what it was at its peak in 2013-15 when it saved more than 40 runs per year and helped propel a defense- and bullpen-skewed team to consecutive World Series appearances, but at least Cain still serves as its anchor. Cain’s success in center field is all about range. He makes his fair share of misplays and actually has a worse arm than an average center fielder, but he continues to save 10 or more runs per season by getting to balls that other center fielders can’t reach.
It will be interesting to see what the Royals decide to do when Cain becomes a free agent this offseason, assuming they don’t trade him beforehand. On one hand, defensive production has typically been underpaid in free agency relative to offensive production, so Cain might be more affordable for a team that has traditionally been conservative with its free-agent dollars. But on the other hand, the Royals might be reluctant to hand out a long-term deal to a 31-year-old player whose skill set relies heavily on speed.

Edinson Volquez the surprise author of 2017’s first no-hitter

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Was this no-hitter Edinson Volquez jersey’s biggest game ever? It might be hard to call it that when his start in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series helped the Royals win the title at Citi Field that night, and he did that in the shadow of having just buried his father, who died on the day Volquez started Game 1.

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Everyone is going to point out that Volquez doing this is directly related to his connection to two tragic deaths. Today would have been Yordano Ventura jersey’s 26th birthday. Volquez was close to the Kansas City Royals jersey flame-thrower, a teammate on those World Series champion Royals. Volquez left that team this offseason to sign with the Miami Marlins jersey, a franchise haunted by Jose Fernandez jersey’s death in a boating accident just before the end of the 2016 season. After the game, Volquez pointedly dedicated the game to both men.

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The closest Volquez has ever come to doing something like this before wasn’t even close — he one-hit the Astros over eight cheap jersey innings back in 2009. But the timing of that hit, a first-inning double allowed to Miguel Tejada, pretty much makes that line score nothing more than a nice memory, or an excuse to mention how long ago that game was, considering that Tejada played in it. For Volquez, that was five teams, eight years, 209 starts and a Tommy John surgery ago.
new mlb uniforms for 2014 and after Even more remarkably, he collided with Diamondbacks leadoff hitter Reymond Fuentes jersey on a play at first base to start the game and stumbled to the ground, twisting his ankle. After the game, he said he thought he “broke his ankle.” After a visit from the trainer, he remained in the game and later taped up the ankle.
cheap jerseys from china He also said he almost came out in the fourth inning. “In the fourth, [I said] ‘I don’t feel too good right now,'” Volquez said. A quick 11-pitch inning helped. “I told [the manager], ‘Just let me go. I’m feeling better now,'” he said. Almost as remarkably, the pitcher who has battled control issues all season — he entered with 31 walks in 52 2/3 innings — was efficient with his pitches and finished with a flourish, striking out Nick Ahmed jersey, Daniel Descalso jersey and Chris Owings jersey, all on changeups. He fanned 10 but threw just 98 pitches, a rare feat for a no-hitter. Volquez’s no-hitter was the 46th since David Cone’s perfect game in 1999 — but just the fourth with fewer than 100 pitches:
baseball team shirts cheap Edinson Volquez jersey, Marlins, June 3, 2017: 98 pitches (two walks, 10 K’s)Henderson Alvarez jersey, Marlins, Sept. 29, 2013: 99 pitches (one walks, four K’s)Philip Humber, Chicago White Sox jersey, April 21, 2012: 96 pitches (no walks, nine Ks, perfect game)Derek Lowe, Boston Red Sox jersey, April 27, 2002: 97 pitches (one walk, six K’s)David Cone, New York Yankees jersey, July 19, 1999: 88 pitches (no walks, 10 K’s, perfect game)Volquez hadn’t pitched more than six innings all season and becomes the seventh pitcher from the Dominican Republic to throw a no-hitter, the first since Ervin Santana jersey in 2011. Since joining the majors in 1993, the Marlins have also thrown the most no-hitters, with six (the Phillies and Giants have five).
It’s been a frustrating season for Volquez and the Marlins. Even though a lot has gone right — Giancarlo Stanton jersey has remained healthy and played well, Marcell Ozuna jersey is having an All-Star season, Justin Bour jersey entered Saturday tied for the NL lead with 16 home runs — a lot more has gone wrong, as this win pushed the team’s record to just 23-31. And it’s only that good due to a recent surge; the Marlins have now won six of their past eight games.
Without Fernandez, they knew the rotation was going to be a big question mark. It has been, with a 4.73 ERA that ranks 23rd in the majors. So the front office loaded up on relievers, but the bullpen has been mediocre rather than dominant, with a 4.02 ERA that ranks 15th in the majors.
To turn it around, the Marlins will need better starting pitching and the bullpen to be lights out. Their playoff hopes are slim — FanGraphs estimated them at 8 percent heading into Saturday — although one advantage they have is a weak division other than the Washington Nationals jersey. They’ve played the New York Mets jersey 10 times already, but still have 14 games each remaining against the Atlanta Braves jersey and Philadelphia Phillies jersey (also 16 against the Nationals).
If they can clean up on the weaklings of the NL East, you never know. As Volquez showed on Saturday, there’s enough talent to suggest the Marlins can play better.

The sommelier of swat: Corey Dickerson is an unapologetic ‘bat freak’

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Before Corey Dickerson jersey became a budding All-Star with the Tampa Bay Rays jersey, he was recognizable for the company he kept. Upon arrival at the ballpark, he rarely went anywhere without a bat in his hand.

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When Dickerson wasn’t spraying line drives in the cage during his time with the Colorado cheap jersey Rockies jersey, he was roaming the clubhouse with a Tucci model TL-271 in his grip. Or sitting at his locker, holding the barrel with two fingers and lightly pinging at the top to locate the sweet spot. Or cleaning it with alcohol or tape remover to detect precisely where he made contact the previous game. Or weighing it. Or taping the handle, depending on how sore his hands were on a given day.

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Editor’s PicksStill-too-early All-Star rosters: Which NL first baseman gets snubbed?The Midsummer Classic is more than a month away. But here’s who can plan a trip to Miami — and the stars who might get left out.
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baseball glove wholesalers Amid the daily maintenance, Dickerson was perpetually on the lookout for good wood. Since his days in youth ball, he had developed a Tony Gwynn-like obsession with bats and an appreciation for the damage he could inflict with the right model in his hands. Bats didn’t arrive in big boxes en masse from the manufacturer when he played in the minor leagues, so they were a precious commodity to be alternately hoarded or mooched.
“He’s definitely a bat freak,” says Nolan Arenado jersey, Dickerson’s teammate from Double-A ball to the majors. “If I hit a couple of homers, he would come to my locker and say, ‘Can I get one of these?’ So I’d give him one and he’d hit a couple of homers and I’d be like, ‘Hey, can I see one of your bats?’ And he’d say, ‘I don’t have enough.’ I’d be like, ‘What the heck? Come on, Dickey.’ He loves bats and he loves hitting.”
Based on the numbers, Dickerson is quite proficient at selecting the right weapon and knowing how to use it. At age 28, he’s that rare hitter who has taken his game to a different level after leaving Coors Field. After the Rays ranked 14th in the American League in runs in 2016, they are a surprising third behind the Houston Astros jersey and New York Yankees jersey this season. Dickerson, who arrived from Colorado in a four-player trade 16 months ago, is a big reason why. He leads the AL with a .342 batting average and 75 hits, ranks third behind Mike Trout jersey and Aaron Judge with a .603 slugging percentage, and just set a Rays club record with 44 hits in May.
Cliff Welch/Icon SportswireDickerson’s road to success has come with some adjustments. He’s had to experiment to find productive ways to fill the downtime between plate appearances as a designated hitter, and he’s grappled with the challenges of batting leadoff while staying true to his naturally aggressive approach.
In a world of hitters who eyeball pitches on the black and revel in deep counts, Dickerson is succeeding as the anti-Joey Votto jersey. Dickerson has swung at a major league-high 46.9 percent of pitches outside the strike zone this season. That’s more than 2 percentage points higher than the notoriously free-swinging Salvador Perez jersey, who has drawn 105 walks in 2,891 career plate appearance with the Kansas City Royals jersey.
Dickerson is thriving thanks to quick hands and a Vladimir Guerrero-like ability to crush balls that most hitters can barely reach. He recently doubled on a pitch from Texas starter Nick Martinez jersey that bounced before it reached home plate.
“He’s definitely a throwback, bad-ball hitter,” says Rays hitting coach Chad Mottola. “There’s nothing he can’t cover, even out of the strike zone.” Dickerson, a Mississippi native, played junior college ball at Meridian Community College before passing on a scholarship from Mississippi State to sign as an eighth-round pick with Colorado in 2010. His potential was readily apparent when he logged a .321/.379/.596 slash line in the minors and hit .299 with 39 home runs over three seasons in Colorado, but the Rockies eventually determined he was more valuable as a trade chip to fortify their pitching.
When general manager Jeff Bridich sent Dickerson and minor league infielder Kevin Padlo to Tampa Bay for reliever Jacob McGee and starter German Marquez jersey, it was almost an afterthought for fans and media members who thought Carlos Gonzalez jersey might be on the block.
Now both sides are benefiting. McGee is averaging 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings and Marquez has stepped in nicely to help the Rockies overcome some big pitching injuries. Dickerson, meanwhile, has rebounded nicely from a disappointing first season to become a focal point of the Tampa Bay lineup. Dickerson appeared in only 65 games with the Rockies in 2015 because of plantar fasciitis and a broken rib, and his abridged offseason workout regimen spilled over to 2016. He struggled with the transition to a new league, new pitchers and an unfamiliar clubhouse dynamic before posting an .855 OPS in September to salvage his season. He struck up an instant bond with Mottola, who replaced Derek Shelton as the Rays’ hitting coach in early September.
“Your teammates don’t know who you are, so you feel like you’ve got to prove yourself and show why they traded for you,” Dickerson says. “When I was struggling, I felt like, ‘Do these guys want me up here hitting (in this situation)?’ In Colorado, if I went through a little struggle, those guys knew what I was capable of, and they had seen me every day for the last couple of years. I know they trusted me and believed in me. I think that was the biggest hurdle for me.
“In the second half, I kind of let it all go. Chad came in and said, ‘Hey, I don’t want you to change your stance or be afraid to try different stuff. I want you to be you.’ That freed my mind up and I took off.”
“If I get 12 bats, I’m going to choose the best one to go up to the plate every single time. It’s about quality and the way it feels. This is how I make a living for my family. So why wouldn’t I pick the best piece of wood when I go up to plate?”
Corey Dickerson jersey on the art of choosing a batDickerson spent the winter making changes to his body to maintain the momentum from his late-season surge. He cut back on pizza, sweets and other guilty pleasures. He read books on fitness and exercise physiology and adopted a new training regimen en route to losing 25 pounds. He did Pilates in Tampa, and worked on his core and lower back with personal trainer Matt Espy. Dickerson even took a spinning class in his hometown of Meridian at the Jeff Anderson Health & Fitness Center, where he churned away to the accompaniment of AC/DC and other classic rock tunes.
“It was mostly girls in the class,” Dickerson says. Few of them knew or cared that a 2017 batting title contender was sweating buckets in their midst. The left-handed hitter has continued to make subtle changes to his approach, reducing his leg kick and shortening his swing to become less vulnerable against lefties and a bigger threat to do damage with two strikes. He’s hit 31 percent of his balls to left field, 37 percent to center and 32 percent to right, a breakdown that makes him difficult to defend. His .388 batting average against fastballs and .409 mark against breaking balls are testament to his ability to keep his hands back and still catch up to the heat.
His old Rockies teammates see the box scores each day without a trace of surprise over his gaudy stats. “Not at all,” says shortstop Trevor Story jersey. “He’s been one of the more special hitters I’ve watched. He’s one of those guys who seems like he was born to hit.”
Dickerson got plenty of mileage out of that Tucci 271 — a bat model he used for the entire 2014 season at the suggestion of former Colorado teammate Troy Tulowitzki jersey. Dickerson has since alternated between different Tucci and Marucci models and recently began favoring a Marucci DD10 in the 34-inch, 32-ounce range. Whenever a new shipment arrives, it’s like Christmas morning all over again.
“I’ve always loved hitting, since I was really little,” Dickerson says. “If I get 12 bats, I’m going to choose the best one to go up to the plate every single time. It’s about quality and the way it feels. This is how I make a living for my family. So why wouldn’t I pick the best piece of wood when I go up to plate?”
Time and almost 3,500 professional plate appearances have drummed home the most enduring lesson in the relationship: It’s less about the quality of the bat than the aptitude of the man who’s wielding it.