FanPost

Why not Sweeney?

Ryan Sweeney should be playing center field for the A's.  I'm dumbstruck as I read arguments to the contrary, and try my best to understand why people want Davis there when an obviously better fielder is right there next to him.  The only possible explanation I see is Rajai's speed, which apparently trumps Sweeney's youth, rocket arm, highlight reel catches, and better routes to the ball (and he's not exactly slow).  But then, people don't seem to be high on Sweeney in general, and as I pour over the posts of statistical analysis logically concluding that he's a fourth outfielder at best, I can't help but think people might be making a mistake in always exalting an amalgam of easily measurable statistics over harder to quantify categories like talent, athleticism, and the emotions evoked when your team's center fielder pulls one back from over the wall.

Granted, most criticism of Sweeney seems to come from looking at his hitting rather than at his glove work.  Admittedly, I'm a rube when it comes to compiling and working with things like BABIP and WAR, though interpreting them conceptually is not beyond me, nor is the importance of reporting and analyzing a player's past performance through them, but using them to predict future performance is not an exact science, particularly when it comes to 24 year old outfielders.  Sweeney is no slouch with the bat when compared to those of similar experience (or anyone, for that matter), he shows good bat control, and there's a good chance he'll only get better and stronger.

Obviously, this is subjective, but I see Ryan Sweeney developing into a very solid major league center fielder.  Rajai Davis can be just as exciting on the bases (assuming he'll continue to reach with regularity) in left, where he should compete directly with Hairston next spring if he's not a sell-high part of a trade package for a right fielder this off-season.

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