Over the weekend we lost another MLBbro from the major league ranks, as the Milwaukee Brewers decided to part ways with centerfielder Lorenzo Cain. Cain has yet to officially announce his retirement, but there are many around the game who believe this is it for LoCain.
With one less MLBbro manning the outfield and in memory of Willie Mays and Rickey Henderson — two of the greatest players to grace the diamond — let’s take a look at a few players who are still doing big things in centerfield. The position has always been one of supreme excellence and prestige and impact for Black and brown ballers.
The Heavy Hitters
The first two MLBbros on our list are the cream of the crop when it comes to Black centerfielders in today’s game. Elite centerfielders are not only the captain of the defense, but they are also elite at the plate. Names like the aforementioned Mays, Ken Griffey Jr. and the OG Curt Flood are the standard when we speak on Black centerfielders who did it all, and these two young bros are working to carry that torch within this generation of ballplayers.
Now if you’re a regular here at MLBbro.com, you know exactly where I’m going with this. When healthy, Buxton is the only centerfielder who consistently puts up numbers that mirror Los Angeles Angels centerfielder Mike Trout. Unfortunately, Buxton has played less than 100 games for three straight seasons. If he can stay on the field, Buxton can compete with any of the MLB’s elite.
Mullins put the league on notice last season. CM Storm stopped switch-hitting, taking all his AB’s exclusively from the left side of the plate and developing a more disciplined approach. His walk rate increased from 5.2 to 8.7 percent while his strikeout rate dropped from 24.2 to 18.5 percent. Mullins recorded the first 30-30 season in the 67-year history of Orioles baseball.
While the bros mentioned above have the ability to affect the game in multiple ways, the next two centerfielders on my list are known specifically for their defense. They won’t blow you away with their offensive numbers, but if you’re a fan of intelligent defenders who make highlight reel catches, then you will love these next two MLBbros. Think Otis Nixon and Devon White.
The 2021 Gold glove winner, Michael A. Taylor used his elite speed to record an Outs Above Average of +15, which was second amongst all outfielders. As elite as he’s been defensively, his lack of impact at the plate will make it difficult for Taylor to move from defensive specialist to elite centerfielder.
Grisham won the Gold Glove in the pandemic shortened 2020 season and has been a leader in advanced defensive metrics like Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average. The injury to Fernando Tatis Jr. has given Grisham an opportunity in the leadoff spot but he has struggled to find his rhythm at the plate. Grisham flashed 20/20 potential during his 2020 campaign, and a return to that form would make him an elite centerfielder.
Following his 2020 ROTY campaign, Seattle Mariners Kyle Lewis was labeled by many as the next big thing in the Pacific Northwest. But unfortunately for Lewis and the Mariners, lower leg injuries and a recent concussion have turned excitement into indifference. If his fortunes turn, look for Lewis to reenter the conversation for best young centerfielder in the game.