Now that Mel Ju is out for at least two months due to inflammation of a bone in his left foot, the CF job is up for grabs and the competition doesn’t exactly inspire.
Of the quartet of candidates, only two are natural center fielders: Eury Perez, signed off waivers from the Yankees, and Todd Cunningham, a favorite among Braves bloggers, though I’m not sure why.
The numbers favor Perez, 24, who has a career .360 OBP and .305 BA compared to Cunningham’s .349 OBP and .278 BA. Cunningham, a second round pick in 2010, hits the occasional home run but Perez, signed when he was just 17 by Washington, actually has a higher lifetime slugging percentage. The longtime Braves farmhand has decent speed but has never stolen more than 24 bases in a season; the ex-Nat stole 26 last year in just 67 games.
Zoilo Almonte and Eric Young Jr. are the other candidates but they’re better suited to the corners and generally suck.
It won’t be a riveting competition but maybe the Braves will get lucky. I’d opt for upside, and Perez, deemed the front-runner by DOB and Bowman, seems to have the most.