Ahhhh, left field. I love left field. Maybe it’s because I played left field so many years ago and feel comfortable there. Maybe it’s because most of the guys who have played left for the Rangers had cute butts. I don’t know what it is, but there’s definitely something special about sitting out there behind the left field scoreboard.
Left field is a different beast when it comes to outfield terms. The ball doesn’t look the same when it jumps off the bat as it does in center or right…and it always seems like the sun is in your eyes no matter what time of day it is.
That being said, let’s take a look at the AL West left fielders. Rangers: Josh (Ham-bone) Hamilton, Angels: Vernon Wells, Mariners: Trayvon Robinson, and Athletics: Seth Smith.
In my opinion, the Rangers pretty much dominate in the left field category. Yes, Hamilton has had some issues staying healthy and that slight issue with drug use (but that was way before the Rangers days I tell you!), but the guy plays with some serious heart. He crashes into walls, dives head first into home (who cares if there’s someone with tons of padding standing there?), and has a tendency to crush the ball in some key situations.
Hamilton’s batting average did fall below .300 in 2011 but not by much (he missed almost 40 games with an injury after he had one of those head-diving plate issues I was speaking of—Example A —–>).
He still finished the season hitting .298 with a .346 OBP.
The Rangers have Hamilton, AND a stud backup in the form of David Murphy. Not only does Murphy wear his socks up (ode to the high socks is coming I swear!) but he’s come up clutch in the field and at the plate for the Rangers in some big games.
I could spend the whole post talking about these two, but I promised myself I would at least try and tell you about *scoffs* ‘those other guys’.
Let’s start with the Halos: I have a Cali friend that thinks the Angels are going to be the best team ever with the addition of Pujols. Yes, friend (you shall remain nameless, I don’t want people to rag on you too much), you will be good…don’t get me wrong. You did get Pujols, and you’re going to have a killer pitching staff, but while you’re focusing on that, I have to look at the outfield.
With the exception of Peter Bourjos, the Halos outfield is looking, well… a little old. Vernon Wells is taking up camp in left, and while he’s had a great career, the guy had a tough year last year. In 131 games, his batting average was at .218 and OBP was only .248. Not his norm, but we’ll see how he adjusts this season.
The A’s seem like they’re playing eeny meeny miny mo (a common theme among all positions) with their players, so we’ll see what happens. They just aquired Seth Smith from the Rockies for pitchers Moscoso and Outman a couple of weeks ago. Smith hit .284 last year and had a .347 OBP, but he also played in the (ugh) National League, so we won’t count him yet.
And lastly, the Mariners. The Mariners have made some ridiculous (and not in a good way) trades the past couple of months. I’m not really sure what they’re doing right now. As far as their left fielder goes, it’s listed as Trayvon Robinson, a rookie who was called up last August. He only played 44 games so there’s not much to base his ability on yet.
What I do know is you’ll find me in left field a lot this season. And no, not looking at these guys’ butts (I’m married people!), but enjoying watching all of these guys play their hearts out. Baseball season are you here yet? I’m getting antsy!