Top Ten Defensive Outfielders
10) Austin Krum: Krum has good speed, not great. His arm is also solid but not exactly a plus tool. But he does have enough of both to play all three outfield positions and his all-out hustle makes him one of the better defensive outfielders in the organization. He'd run through or over a wall to get to a ball and that's the intangible quality that makes him a winning player.
9) Ray Kruml: Possessing top-flight speed gives Kruml impeccable range in centerfield, enough to cover a lot of terrain. He also has a strong arm for a centerfielder [although not enough to be a plus tool in right field] and that gives him the strong foundation to play all three outfield spots if needed.
8) Abraham Almonte: While Kruml and Krum bring some polish to the defensive side already, Almonte, a former second baseman, is a bit more raw at the current time. What he does bring, however, is great range and a very strong arm in centerfield. He is still learning to take better routes on line-drives and his arm accuracy could also use a little more work, but the basics are there to be an elite defender down the road.
7) Seth Fortenberry: The toolsy outfielder has but just three errors in his last 252 games in the outfield, making him one of the more consistent defenders around. He has great speed and a plus arm, also giving him the ability to play all three outfield positions. His absolute best position is that as a plus-plus defensive left fielder, but he can more than hold his own as an everyday right fielder too.
6) Colin Curtis: Curtis is a more advanced version of Austin Krum - somebody with solid range and a solid arm, an ability to play all three outfield positions, and one who is willing to throw his body around with reckless abandon to make the needed defensive play. He too profiles best as an everyday plus left fielder, but also offers a ton of role flexibility.
5) Carlos Urena: Urena has all of the natural physical tools and the overall know-how to be an elite defensive player in any of the three outfield positions. His arm strength is elite, his range is definitely above average, and he has a knack for making the spectacular plays. His biggest problem, however, in becoming the world-class defensive player he could be is a lackadaisical attitude that plagues him from time to time. A little more consistent focus and he could headline this list.
4) Austin Jackson: There are toolsier outfielders ranked behind Jackson here, some with more range and better arms, but few have become the consistent force that Jackson has become in the last two years. The former high school basketball star has transformed his raw athletic ability into a more polished game. He still profiles best as a plus defensive left fielder, especially in the vast confines of Yankee Stadium, but his newfound consistency is giving him more of the look of a truer centerfielder.
3) Kelvin Duran: One of the newer players in the organization, Duran is quickly becoming one to watch. His great speed gives him plus range in centerfield, he has a plus arm for a centerfielder, and he gives his all on the defensive side. He often gets compared to number two in our rankings here, and that's quite the compliment.
2) Eduardo Sosa: Sosa has consistently drawn comparisons to a young Johnny Damon since he signed in the summer of '07, but that doesn't do his defensive game any justice. Defensively he has the range of current Yankee outfielder Brett Gardner and that puts him in elite company. And even though he isn't a very big guy, he does have one of the stronger arms too. Quite simply, he is a game-changer defensively and even without playing in the United States yet his defensive abilities are big league ready.
1) Tim Battle: Six seasons into his professional career and Battle has yet to make it out of A-ball, but that has nothing to do with his defensive abilities. He is one of the quickest players in minor league baseball and his range is immense. He also has a very strong arm, strong enough to play right field. Battle has also learned to maintain his focus consistently and that has helped become very polished. If his bat comes around, he could be an elite big league defensive player someday.
Tool Time: Top Ten Defensive Outfielders
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