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Defense Matters: The Case of Two Left-Fielders

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I think it was Rob Neyer who popularized the following way of making a point:

 

Batting Runs Fielding Runs WAR
Player A 17.8 -7.8 1.8
Player B -4.6 12.4 1.5

 

Both guys play left field in the American League.

Player A is Jason Bay, the beloved replacement for Manny Ramirez who supposedly brings an entirely different package to the Red Sox. A more well-rounded game, we heard. He also seems to be shown hitting a homer or a double off the Monster every time I happen to have ESPN on.

Player B is the increasingly maligned David DeJesus, the guy who doesn't hit enough, isn't enough of a fighter out there, and seems to get picked off every other game.

When you consider the likelihood that DeJesus will return to form at the plate -- he's hitting .293/.346/.463 in his last 133 plate appearances -- over the rest of the season, making up for a miserable start, it isn't hard to imagine that he emerges as one of the top left fielders in the AL for 2009 when it's all said and done. Not bad for a guy making $3.5 million and under team control for both 2010 and 2011.