Replacing Dexter Fowler in Center Field and Other Bullets

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Replacing Dexter Fowler in Center Field and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

I’ve already said a lot about the Super Bowl, so I’ll leave that alone for now – but I do want to say that Lady Gaga’s performance at halftime sure was impressive. Whether it’s your music or not (and, hey, “Bad Romance” just a flat-out good song, and I will dance to it with you RIGHT now), there’s just a whole lot of talent right there. Needed more Left Shark, but it was still really engaging.

  • It’s been a while since we talked about new Cubs outfielder Jon Jay, specifically, but it’s probably worth reminding ourselves how important he could be to the team in 2017. Although the longer-term hope is that Albert Almora will take the job and run with it in center field, the ability to platoon with a veteran lefty bat – one who can play all over the outfield, if necessary – is probably going to be very helpful to Almora’s development. Still, in terms of 2017 production, it’s unlikely that the Jay-Almora combo will match what the Cubs lost in Dexter Fowler, especially given that he was slightly above average defensively in 2016. Offensively, you’re just looking for Jay-Almora to be around league average (realistically; obviously you hope for more than that), while combining for above average defense (Jay around average overall, Almora well above average). If the duo can pull that off, you’re looking at a 3.0-ish WAR “player,” not too far down from Fowler’s 4.7 mark in 2016, and just about in line with the 3.3 he put up in 2015.
  • ZiPS, for what it’s worth, pegs Almora for 1.8 WAR in just under 500 PAs, and Jon Jay for 0.9 WAR in just under 400 PAs. Obviously there aren’t that many PAs to go around in center field, but neither player will be exclusively playing center field next year, if healthy. So, again: they’re probably not going to “replace” Fowler’s production out there, but they could be close enough that there isn’t a significant sting. (You’ll also see Jason Heyward occasionally playing center field, allowing another bat to play in a corner outfield spot.)
  • And on Jay, much of the early talk was about his presence in the clubhouse, and the impact he can have on young players – Jason Heyward adds to that (CSN), noting that the loss of David Ross in the clubhouse could be softened by the addition of Jay, with whom he played in St. Louis in 2015.
  • Jed Hoyer participated in a draft prospect event at Sloan Park in Mesa. Nice to get an extra look and some extra familiarity in advance of June’s draft.
  • looks at the all-time top five players from Chicago, and the list looks a lot different than I would have expected – mostly because I never really thought about great baseball players from Chicago, as opposed to great players who happened to play at some point in Chicago. You might be surprised to learn that Curtis Granderson is one of the top five players from Chicago (even if you knew he was from Chicago), but over his long and steady career, the soon-to-be 36-year-old Met has been worth 43.9 fWAR. It’s highly unlikely he gets up to where he’d need to be for Hall of Fame consideration (typically you see guys over 60.0 WAR get into that discussion), but he’s just 1.0 fWAR behind Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett, another Chicago-native outfielder on the list.
  • Earlier, I wrote about Game Seven of the World Series, and do you really need any more explanation or description?
  • If you missed anything this weekend, catch yourself up here.
  • Luis has your TYL Bullets right here, with a lot more from the Super Bowl, including those two unbelievable catches.
  • I get positive feedback from everyone (so far) who has gotten one of these, and, since I love mine so much, I feel good about recommending it each time I see it on a huge sale at Amazon: it’s simply a great backpack. Very sturdy, tons of compartments – when I travel for 1 to 3-ish days, it’s the only bag I take for clothes, computer, etc.
  • And here we go …


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.