Center field was dominated by one player: Adam Engel. Defensively, he proved to be one of the best in the MLB.
The 26-year-old outfielder played in 1118.1 innings and started in 124 games. Of players with 700 or more innings in center field, only two players had better range factors. Of center fielders with over 1000 innings, Engel’s range of 2.57 was the best. Better than Mike Trout. Better than Lorenzo Cain. And, better than Kevin Pillar.
That’s saying something.
And, there’s no doubt that his kid can jump. Remember these three catches that robbed three home runs in one week?
Now, if he could only get his bat going. His slash was only .235/.279/336, which ranks him 39th. He hit 6 home runs, which ranks him 29th. For comparison, Trout hit 39 dingers with at least one of them flying out over Engel’s head at Guaranteed Rate. If Engel could get his bat going, he could be one of the elite center fielders in the game.
Leury Garcia had the second most appearances in center field, with 164.1 innings roaming that large expanse. His range one out less than Engels and his fielding percentage was slightly lower, despite only having one error. Engel had seven errors in his 367 changes for outs. Of the center fielders with 1000 or more innings, Engel’s fielding percentage was at the lower end of the scale, but was the same as Cain’s. Along with getting that bat going, Engel does need to lower his errors. But when an aggressive outfielder really goes for the outs, more errors will be made.
Garcia did not have enough innings to earn a grade.