I tend to always refer to fangraphs for my stats since I prefer how they compute their pitcher WAR (FIP over runs allowed) and that UZR > DRS. However, B-R has Heyward 6th in WAR among OFs and 2 of those guys above him you didn't even have listed yourself (Bourn, Alex Gordon). And I'm not just hiding behind the WAR shield either. Of the 3 guys you listed that I disagreed with, 2 were awfully similar offensively (Jones, Rios) while not even accounting for Heywards superior defense and baserunning. And Hamilton I'd be iffy on as well, but that wouldn't matter since Heyward would still be in the top 5.
How not? Your argument is that Heyward is "good". PP said top 5, according to you. You listed 6 TOP OF'ers in your opinion. I think that's incorrect. Not really a big deal, we can go at this all day, but I want to know where I'm missing your point. How is my context irrelevant or out-of-bounds?
My assessments of the 3 guys I disagreed with + heyward:
Jones: Had a hot two months where he looked like an MVP player then turned back into Adam Jones. Solid player, of course, even boarderline all star, but not someone who would've been one of my first 5 picks for OF. Defense was overrated where some highlight plays offset his poor route taking. Didn't deserve the GG for CF over Trout or Jackson. A definite lol when he won that award.
Rios: Really wouldn't have been in my top 10 for top OFs last year. Decent speed and had a good year on offense, but definitely benefited from his home park. Really surprised you didn't list someone like Jackson instead here. Not because I'm a Tigers homer, but he was as good (if not better) on offense and much better on D.
Hamilton: Best offensively of the 4, but worst defensively. It really all depends on what you value and how much offense you can trade off for better defense. I would put him slightly above Heyward, but it's definitely an argument.
Heyward: Hurt by his own home park, but still has a good swing and better eye than both Rios and Jones. Like I've been saying, a lot of his value comes from his baserunning and defense. He's pretty much Michael Bourn with a bit better bat (in terms of power). Due to some injuries to notable OFs (Kemp, Bautista) he creeps up to a top 5 OF for 2012.
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I would say that it speaks volumes about Heyward's defensive worth as a right fielder that even in his poor offensive "sophomore slump" year of 2011, he was still woth 2.4 WAR, primarily because of his outstanding defense. When he puts together strong offensive years, he's worth 6.3 WAR in 2010 and 5.5 WAR in 2012.
It seems largely forgotten that Heyward missed some time in 2011--especially around May-June--because of a bad right shoulder. Watching some tape on him a few weeks back, it seemed evident to me that the pain he was experiencing in his right shoulder remained a problem throughout most of 2011, and even when he may have recovered from that problem, his swing was largely compromised because of it (wouldn't be the first or last case of a hitter getting himself into a bad habit because of an injury), not getting fully around on most of his swings like he ought to.
But as a 23-year-old right fielder with the kind of unreal potential he possesses, he'd be a guy I would keep an eye on in 2013. Also, it'll probably be refreshing for Justin Upton to be on a club that apparently wants him, so a fully motivated Upton helping to protect Heyward could be huge for him. B.J. is a bit more of a question mark to me, partly because he seems more prone to not really fulfilling his potential completely, but just as his brother may feel more motivated because of the change in scenery, he may feel more motivation because his little brother is standing next to him in the outfield. It'll be an interesting storyline this season, in any case.
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Rios did a lot better last year, because the people around him were actually hitting. Konerko was getting on base consistently, Dunn was getting walked (and K'd), then Rios would be up to bat with 1 or 2 people on. You have to pitch to him, unless you want the bases to be loaded for the next batter or two.