Oct 6, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielderAndrew McCutchen
(22) reacts after scoring a run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning in game three of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Veteran outfielder Matt Holiday of the Cardinals was a unanimous choice as the division’s best left fielder, followed by Starling Marte of Pittsburgh and Ryan Ludwick of Cincinnati. Appearing in 141 games for the NL pennant winner last year, Holliday posted an .879 OPS, hitting 22 home runs and driving in 94 runs. His veteran leadership was a key aspect of the Cardinals’ deep postseason run and at age 34, he’ll look to help St. Louis finish the job in 2014.
Was there really any doubt? Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen ran away with the title of best center fielder in the National League Central, just one year after breaking a two decade-plus losing streak in the Steel City, leading the Bucs to a playoff series that brought the city to life. McCutchen hit .317 with 21 home runs and 87 RBIs last season, adding 27 steals a Silver Slugger and a National League MVP Award to boot. There is no better all-around center fielder in the game. But does he have the support to carry the Pirates back to the promised land?
PED suspension or no PED suspension, we at Call to the Pen still say that the Brewers’ Ryan Braun is the best left fielder in the division. The next-closest vote getter, Jay Bruce, was within striking distance, but until the Brewers’ star proves otherwise, he’s the best this division has to offer. He hit .298 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs in just 61 games last season, but he heads into 2014 a career.312 hitter who’s averaged 36 homers and 117 RBIs in his professional career. It’s hard to doubt those numbers, even if the power wanes a bit in 2014.
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