2013 TigsTools: Best Outfield Defense

The best outfield defenders make things look so easy that they go unnoticed unless special attention is paid to watching their efforts. Instinctive reads and jumps, combined with proper routes and good speed can make for an electrifying defender capable of chasing balls down in the gap and preventing runs. The Tigers have several capable defenders on the farm and all the details are inside!

Best Outfield Defense
1. Daniel Fields (CF)
2. Jason Krizan (LF)
3. Connor Harrell (CF)
4. Kasey Coffman (OF)
5. Jake Stewart (OF)

After taking a step back in 2012, Fields regained his top form in center field in 2013. The 2012 regression was never really explained in a meaningful way, other than to say Fields had an off year, but his ability to rebound in 2013 was very promising. Fields is an instinctual defender with solid-average speed and the ability to track balls down in both gaps while making the entire process look relatively easy. Fields has an up-the-middle defensive profile that enhances his prospect stock.
Krizan jumps into the list after an impressive defensive showing with High-A Lakeland. Scouts around the Florida State League were impressed with Krizan's overall ability on an outfield corner and most believe he could be an above-average defender.
The addition of Coffman and Harrell in the 2013 draft bolsters the outfield defense at lower levels. Coffman is a quality defender and can handle center field in a pinch, but he rates a step behind Harrell because of the latter's ability to handle center field at a very high level. Jake Stewart is another quality defender, though the continued stagnation in his overall athleticism has impacted his ability to stay up the middle.

Honorable Mention
Rashad Brown (OF)
Austin Schotts (CF)

The first thing you notice with both Brown and Schotts is their blazing speed. With both players rating as at least 70-grade runners on the 20-80 scouting scale, they have the ability to overcome their relative inexperience and make plays in the outfield. Both players remain quite raw and need to improve their reads, jumps and routes, but both could become plus defenders if things click.

Projection Kings
Hector Hernandez (CF)
Ben Verlander (RF)

A recent international signing, Hernandez's defensive profile is similar to that of Rashad Brown and Austin Schotts. He is a 70-grade runner with good closing speed and surprising instincts for his age/experience. As he continues to develop, Hernandez could be a serious asset in center field.

Another recent addition to the farm system, Ben Verlander showed good instincts and a feel for right field in his first full season as an outfield (he split time between pitching and the outfield for his first three years in college). With surprising athleticism, solid speed and quality instincts, Verlander has a classic right field defensive profile.

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