Roundtable: Who Starts in Center?

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff on some of the hot button topics of the offseason? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Who will (and should) win the centerfield job?

Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
I find it funny that this is the lone camp "battle" for an everyday position, as it really isn't even much of a battle. Granderson is a better hitter, hits for more power, takes more walks, has a stronger arm, and has better instincts in centerfield. Nook Logan is arguably the fastest player in baseball and there's no question that his speed can be a valuable tool as a player off the bench in either a pinch running situation or as a defensive replacement. But Curtis Granderson has the potential to be a very good everyday big leaguer, Logan just has the potential to be fast. In an ideal world, Nook Logan would learn some patience at the plate and his .260 average would translate to a .360 OBP, but if it hasn't happened in five years, it's not likely to come around now. I'm not sold on Granderson in the leadoff slot, but I'm sold on him in center, no questions asked.

Mark Anderson, Minor League Editor
This question really bothers me; simply because there really shouldn't be a discussion or any kind of issue surrounding this. At no point in his career has Nook Logan performed better than Curtis Granderson. At no point in his career has Nook Logan demonstrated the ability to improve as he faced stiffer competition. At absolutely no point in his career has Nook Logan actually proven capable of being a Major League regular. Yet we're stuck watching a "battle" for the centerfield job. How has Curtis Granderson not closed the book on this issue? How is there any doubt in the mind of the coaching staff? The point is, there shouldn't be, and I'm hoping they are soon smart enough to realize the error of their ways. Curtis Granderson should (and likely will) be the Opening Day starter in centerfield, and he should not be supplanted there unless catastrophic injury occurs and he can't even walk. Granderson has superior defensive instincts, a stronger arm, better strike zone judgment, better contact ability, and more power; not to mention just more potential and skill period. Nook Logan may win a race in the 60-yard dash, but that doesn't get him to first base, and that doesn't always compensate for mis-reading a drive to the gap. Granderson is, always has been, and will continue to be a superior baseball talent. Nook Logan should see plenty of time on the bench until the 7th or 8th inning when we need a pinch runner or defensive replacement for either Monroe or Ordonez. The Tigers offense has the potential to be outstanding in 2006, but that potential takes a drastic hit if Logan is considered a regular part of the offensive picture. Curtis Granderson should be the centerfielder, hands down.

Jason Avery, Amateur Baseball Editor
Curtis Granderson will win the job as the Tigers center fielder. Why? The worst numbers he has put up with a decent number of at-bats was his stint in the big leagues last year where he hit .272 with eight homers and 20 RBIs in 162 at-bats. Conversely, Nook Logan has hit 10 homers in his entire professional career and the best average he has posted was the .279 mark he had in his pro debut in 2000. Lets also look at patience at the plate. Logan's career best is drawing walks is 53, which he did at West Michigan in 2001. Granderson has drawn 83 and 58 walks in 2004 and 2005. Granderson's lowest total for the record was 49 in 2003. Both players strike out too much, but with Logan not drawing nearly enough walks and not having the power Granderson has, Granderson has a clear advantage with the bat. Defensively, Granderson doesn't have the speed Logan has, but his instincts are far better and Granderson runs well enough to cover Comerica Park. Logan makes a fine reserve and his speed is an asset, especially as a pinch runner, but Logan doesn't hit enough to merit the starting job.

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