Rick Ankiel or Nate McLouth?

by on March 1, 2009 · 0 comments

I came across a post at Pirate Revolution this week comparing the Cardinals to the Pittsburgh Pirates, position by position.

It’s a pretty fair evaluation, as a cursory look.  Obviously, it doesn’t take into account positions where advantages are disparate, like Albert Pujols versus pretty much anyone on the planet. :)

There is some amount of bias, as I’m sure there would be on a similar Cardinals site (say this one for instance, who wouldn’t trade Yadier Molina’s glove, arm, and management of the pitching staff for Ryan Doumit’s bat) – but it’s a fair comparison.

The one spot I took interest in was at center field.  Rick Ankiel versus Nate McLouth.  I disagree with the premise that the position is a slam dunk for the Pirates, particularly if these are the merits:

I love Ankiel’s arm and defense. I like his bat. I’m not sold that Ankiel is a legit power bat, or that he’ll turn into one. He will strike out, he doesn’t hit for average and he’s not a base stealer. Ankiel still has some upside, and maybe he’ll improve a bit after being a pitcher for so long, but I’m taking McLouth for now — He’s got tools across the board.

Seems contradictory to me, but it’s fun to discuss, isn’t it?

For your reference – you can click the player names above to get their MLB statistics.  Below are their stats from the minor leagues and fielding numbers from the site that carries the most variety of those metrics:

Ankiel’s journey from pitcher to arbitration incomparable

McLouth’s formative years

Ankiel’s fielding stats (from Fangraphs)

McLouth’s fielding stats (from Fangraphs)

Would you rather have Rick Ankiel in CF, or Nate McLouth?

(Kudos to the Pirate Revolution folks, they do a wonderful job – and I love debate like this.)

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Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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