Franklin Gutierrez Is Really, Really Good At Defense
The trade’s not official yet, but I wanted to get this out there before the instant reactions come in and people think we screwed the pooch by trading for a RH outfielder who posted a sub .700 OPS last year.
Franklin Gutierrez is something like one of the top 5-10 defensive outfielders in baseball. Not corner outfielders – outfielders.
In 1,773 innings in RF/LF, he’s racked up a UZR of +29.6. Those are crazy, Carl Crawford, “why aren’t you playing center field?” kind of numbers. Not surprisingly, in the 159 innings he has played CF (the Indians have this Sizemore kid you may have heard of), Gutierrez was +2.6, which translates to +17 runs over a full season.
Now, he’s probably not that good. The only guys who have really, truly been +20 or better in full time center field action are the early decade versions of Mike Cameron and Darin Erstad. So maybe he’s really more like a +10 CF or a +20 RF/LF (the average CF is 10 runs better than the average corner OF, so Gutierrez’s numbers are right in line with what we’d expect).
That puts him up there with the best of the best in terms of defensive outfielders. He’s better than Ichiro, better than guys like Torii Hunter or Vernon Wells, better than Jacoby Ellsbury. Franklin Gutierrez can run down fly balls in the outfield with the best of him.
The bat has question marks, there’s no doubt about it. And we’ll talk about all that when the trade becomes official. But don’t get caught up in thinking that Gutierrez is just a decent glove like Reed was. Gutierrez is a defensive monster.