As a follow-up to PECOTA’s take on the best infields that we ran yesterday, we can perform the analysis for the best long-term outfields in the majors.
As outfields tend to be a bit more interchangeable, we’re going to change the rules slightly: the best outfield consists of the center fielder in the organization with the highest Upside score, and then the next two outfielders with the highest scores thereafter, regardless of whether they’re listed in left, center, or right.
5. Braves: Andruw Jones (119.7), Jeff Francoeur (119.4), and Kelly Johnson (96.9).
Geometric Mean: 111.46
Kelly Johnson is one of PECOTA’s bigger sleepers, but including him might be cheating as the Braves look committed to trying him at second base. Replacing Johnson with Gregor Blanco (46.1) or Matt Diaz (45.1) would drop the Braves down to the middle of the pack.
4. Cubs: Felix Pie (158.5), Alfonso Soriano (128.4) and Matt Murton (69.0).
Geometric Mean: 111.96
No reservations about this group, which stands a good chance of playing together as a unit for five or six years once the Cubs find a way to dispose of Jacque Jones and Cliff Floyd.
Hernandez will be unknown to most of you, but he’s a bright and very young prospect who might be described as Jose Tabata lite. All three players are listed as center fielders, but considering that Comerica Park features one of the larger outfields in the majors, that could be a real asset for this club.
2. Devil Rays: Rocco Baldelli (153.3), Delmon Young (135.2) and Carl Crawford (133.4).
Geometric Mean: 140.35
The Devil Rays are just stacked. You could replace Crawford with Elijah Dukes (92.5) and they’d still rank #2 on this list.
1. Mets: Carlos Beltran (235.3), Lastings Milledge (140.9) and Fernando Martinez (130.0).
Geometric Mean: 162.76
On a talent basis, the Mets are runaway winners. Yes, Beltran might be 32 or 33 by the time that Martinez is ready to play in the big leagues, but all indications are that he should have a skill set that will age relatively well. And considering that the Mets’ two biggest assets are not in the outfield, they perhaps have as good a chance as anyone in baseball of building a mini-dynasty.