Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Brewer Breakdown - Center Field

On to center field where Billy Hall figures to be patrolling Miller Park for a very long time after last year’s Gross/Nix/Gwynn/Clark mess.
2006 stats: .270, 35 HRs, 85 ribbies, 8 SB.

Before I start, I wanted to answer the question of “why not just move Hall to 3B? We have a plethora of outfielders already and Graffy/Craiggers at 3B isn’t very good.” Here’s what I’ve gathered:

-Ryan Braun is on the fast track to 3B. Moving Hall to 3B and then moving him to CF when Braun is ready would result in learning two new positions in 2 years.
-Melvin likes to put highly productive guys in traditionally weak positions (SS, 2B, CF). It’s harder to find a big bat to play center than it is 3B or a corner OF spot. How many CF's can bat cleanup?
-Putting Hall at 3B would again result in a daily Gross/Clark/Gwynn/Nix mess in CF. That’s probably worse than having Graffy/Craiggers at the hot corner every day.
-He might be too athletic for 3B…if that’s possible. Use his talents as much as possible, I say.

The Good: Hall is a huge part the Brewers future. His work-ethic, unselfishness (Jenks/Mench, you hear that?), and talent is top-notch…top-notch! If needed, he could probably play any position except catcher. His 35 dingers would have been a club record for centerfielders, giving the Crew some serious punch in a traditionally punchless position. Remember the days of slappys Devo White, Alex Sanchez or James Mouton in CF? Those days are over...for a long time. A guy with this much ability shouldn’t have too much trouble transitioning defensively to center….he played a pretty good SS last year, a very demanding position. Also, who would you rather have at bat with the game on the line…especially with Cirillo gone? Billy is money in pressure situations.

The Bad: Hall strikes out a ton (162, 3rd in the NL). Despite his talent and good wheels, Billy had a tough time stealing bases in 2006 as he was gunned out (9) more often than he was successful (8). His defense could initially struggle as he gets his feet wet.

2007 Prediction: .283, 34 dingers, 106 Ribbies

Grade: B+/A-. Billy isn’t quite in the CF pantheon with Carlos Beltran, Vern Wells, Andruw Jones, or Al Soriano…but he’s getting close.

No comments: