September 3, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Craig Gentry (3) bats during the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at O.co Coliseum. The Mariners defeated the Athletics 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
I mentioned Gentry’s name in my last piece where I expressed my concerns about Coco Crisp’s future. That was before the announcement that Crisp would be moving to left field, which I think benefits everyone involved.
Gentry will probably start the year off in a platoon with Sam Fuld in center field. Maybe, if Josh Reddick’s still out, they’ll both get everyday playing time, but Reddick’s status is still uncertain. Regardless, by the end of the year, I believe that Gentry will have cemented himself as a solid everyday centerfielder.
His well-above average defense and baserunning that he displayed last year should be back in full force, and I’d expect him to improve his production at the plate as well. His BABIP was 19 points lower than his career average, so it’s reasonable for him to raise his average back to the .270-.280 range. Also, he was dealing with various freak injuries (like concussions caused by collisions at first base) so playing fully healthy should benefit him as well.
My prediction for him is an average around .280 with 30 steals, great defense, and more WAR than any other A’s outfielder (he had 2.0 WAR in 94 games last year, 3.3 WAR in 106 games the year before).
Next: Tyler Ladendorf