AL West: Ranking Each Team's Outfielding Defense

Craig ChapmanCorrespondent IMay 29, 2011

AL West: Ranking Each Team's Outfielding Defense

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 23:  Right fielder Bobby Abreu #53 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim slides back can't reach a single hit by J.D. Drew of the Boston Red Sox on April 23, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.    (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Throughout the regular season and especially the playoffs, good defense can make all the difference in the world. A solid threesome of outfielders that can hit and field their position is every playoff-bound team's dream. The American League West division, while the smallest in number of teams, is the biggest when it comes to potential talent.

    A quarter of the season is about to wrap up so let's look at how each team ranks when it comes to defensive abilities in the outfield. All players involved in the ranking have logged at least 50 innings this season. Read on for more.

4. Seattle Mariners

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    SEATTLE - MAY 06:  Michael Saunders #55 of the Seattle Mariners bats against the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field on May 6, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won 3-2. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The Mariners are having another horrible year and their troubled 2010 season has leaked into this year. The team's ultimate zone rating is -15.5, meaning their outfielder's defensive abilities have given up almost 16 runs this season. Their projected season UZR, which is measured over 150 games, is -121.4.

    Given the fact they have changed managers various times in the last few years, it's clear that talent may be an issue for Seattle. It wouldn't surprise me to see Felix Hernandez dealt in the future to acquire young fresh talent, because the Mariners need it. Badly.

    Best outfielder: Michael Saunders, UZR150 of 12.6

    Worst outfielder: Ryan Langerhans, UZR150 of -60.2**

    **Note: Ryan Langerhans has the worst UZR150 of players with at least 50 innings as an outfielder in the American League.

3. Oakland Athletics

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    OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 29: Conor Jackson #28 of the Oakland Athletics scores on Josh Willingham's double in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers during a MLB baseball game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum April 29, 2011 in Oakland,
    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    While the outfielder acquisitions have done well offensively, their defense certainly took a downgrade this offseason. Josh Willingham and David DeJesus have proven to be the two worst defensive outfielders on the team. Oakland sports a not-so-pretty UZR of -10.9 and their UZR150 is -66.9. While that last stat is bad, at least it's not as bad as Seattle which boasts a UZR150 that is almost double that.

    Best outfielder: Conor Jackson, UZR150 of -0.1

    Worst outfielder: Josh Willingham, UZR150 of -32.6

2. Texas Rangers

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 16: Craig Gentry #23 of the Texas Rangers hits the ball against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on May 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Rangers defeated the White Sox 4-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Now we get to witness some impressive baseball abilities. The reigning American League champs have had issues with injuries this year, as all three of their starting outfielders have had stints on the disabled list. This is probably why their current UZR is -5.5; however, the UZR150 for this outfielding corps is 30.2. This can be attributed to great depth in the Ranger farm system.

    Best outfielder: Craig Gentry, UZR150 of 47.6**

    Worst outfielder: Mitch Moreland, UZR150 of -29.1

    **Note: Craig Gentry has the second best UZR150 of players with at least 50 innings as an outfielder in the American League and is the best in the division.

1. Los Angeles Angels

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 24:  Second baseman Howie Kendrick #47 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws out runner in the game with the Boston Red Sox on April 24, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Red Sox won 7-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Angels can say something that most teams can't: They only have one player with a negative UZR. Their team is defensively sharp and they post a UZR of 6.3 with a UZR150 of 70.9. If they can control injuries and have incredible pitching performances, then they could easily make a case for the AL crown or possibly a wild-card spot.

    Best outfielder: Howie Kendrick, UZR150 of 41.1 as an outfielder

    Worst outfielder: Bobby Abreu, UZR150 of -17.2