Best Center Fielder
I'll continue with the AL prediction next week.
For now, I've been pondering who are the best center fielders, defensively, that I've ever seen. The cutoff point is 1980, I don't remember too much before that. I'm thinking about how good the player was at his best, so I'll include Andruw Jones. I'm thinking of how good he was the first 2-3 years he played, instead of the so-so fielder he's been since then.
In no particular order:
I have defensive metrics for these guys. Zone rating from 1989 and 92 on, though the earlier years are less reliable. I have a somewhat decent estimation for years prior to that, sort of an adjusted zone rating that factors in a team's estimate flyball propensity and how many balls in play allowed. The error range of these methods are bigger the farther back in time I go, and are bigger than the measured differences in the players.
I'll say this, Devon White has the best ZR seasons, 1989, and the best estimated seasons, 1988 - which has only been matched by Gary Pettis 1986 of the guys I've calculated.
Going by numbers alone, White has the slight edge, but my opinion has him at #2. I don't think anyone can match Eric Davis, for the few times he was healthy in the mid to late 80's. White had more defensive value - he was an everyday defensive superstar from 1987 to 1993 before he lost a small step - and then was merely very good until the last day of his career. Davis, though, was superhuman for a few brief moments. He can't be matched for being spectacular.