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Assembling the Perfect Reds Right Fielder

Say Jay Bruce three times into a mirror and he'll rescue you from whatever follows him out of it.

Well, we know who won the "biceps" category
Well, we know who won the "biceps" category
Chris Pondy

The perfect right fielder, in my mind, is a sly and swaggering beast meant to hit home runs and throw foolish men out at home. I'm picturing a mix of Shaft, John Wayne, and the Predator.

None of those gentlemen suited up for the Reds, so let's look through those who did to create the perfect Red RF. I used a 1000 PA limit because I think that this fella will have to have earned his stripes, wishbone, and/or dropshadows:

Contact: Ken Griffey, Sr. is probably most peoples' first pick in this category. And he did leave the Reds with a .303 average. Frank Robinson (who I will count as an RF) held the same avg. Alex Ochoa was right up there as well, amusingly enough. But we'll instead look towards Sam Crawford, who was a stud for the fin de siecle Reds, and Babe Herman, who warmed Depression-era Redsland with a .315 career average. He was also notably the second baseballer you think of with the names "Babe" and "Herman." I woulda stuck with Floyd, myself.

Power: I was surprised to see Jay Bruce's .482 SLG mark closer to Wily Mo Pena and Reggie Sanders (both admittedly era-assisted) than the leader of the category. We are all just forgetting how incredible Frank Robinson was, as his .554 SLG and .251 ISO (SLG-AVG) are both clearly way out in front. Props given to Wally Post for being pretty good himself, and Ken Griffey for being the bridesmaid of RFs. It's incredible thinking that he was the 7th-best of the Great Eight. Art Shamsky's .226/.309/.432 line made him a power hitter in a "well he ain't any OTHER kind of hitter" sort of sense.

Plate Discipline: I'm going to judge this both by BB% and low-K% to give some earlier fellas a chance. It's not like it's their fault that the strategy of the game, if not the rules, were different. It's otherwise some weird Guns of the South "Well why didn't General Lee give Pickett a division of tanks?" sort of alternate history.

Griffey leads the BB% leaderboard at 12.2%, though our buddy Austin Kearns ain't too far back at 11.1%. Ears is just ahead of Robinson (10.9), but if there's anywhere you don't want Frank Robinson, it's "right behind you."

Curt Walker had a 10.3% BB and 4% K, the ALS. George Burns, though, went 5.8% and 11.4%, respectively. Walker, however, is going to win this award because he had much better power than Burns (~.050 in ISO) and was a great baserunner over double the plate appearances. Also, his name is Walker. A guy named Walker is going to get the plate discipline award.

Aside: Wily Mo's 32% K-rate is astounding. I just wanted to add that.

Speed: Ah yes. Hugh Nicol was born in Stirling, Scotland and came to this grand land with 145 pounds gracing his 5'4" body. He slugged .282 over his career. He played for St. Louis (albeit the Browns) for four years before coming to Losantiville from 1887-1889. Hugh "mongous" set the all-time Major League stolen base record with 138 in 125 games in 1887, to go with 86 walks and only 47 strikeouts. He has 40 Base Runs as a Red, which is kind of incredible (the next-closest is 19.1).

Arm: Well, Dave Parker is nicknamed "Cobra" for one. Reggie Sanders' arms are the size of my legs, for two. Austin Kearns was also massively underrated, but even underrated was not the best arm the Reds' had. This one is Reggie Sanders' for sure.

Foot: Paul O'Neill

Glove: Reggie Sanders, again, put up 22.8 Defensive fWAR. He was clearly very good at this. For sheer amusement's sake, though, let's note that Pop Corkhill put up 24.8 DdWAR. That metric is completely useless in the 19th century, but considering that he played all around the infield (including first base in pre-glove days) and pitched, he was clearly quite the athlete. But again, pre-glove days. So Pop wins the award less for glove than for Hand.

Durability: Maybe because these guys are such prime athletes, they seem to fall apart quite quickly. Jay Bruce has actually put together four very dependable years in a row since shattering his wrist Queens, so how about he gets the nod here?

Intangibles: It's pretty clear that the only one who would not choose Frank Robinson out of the whole caboodle of Reds right fielders is Bill DeWitt.

Tigermetrics: Depends what you're looking for, really. Jay Bruce definitely has the best hair. Pop Corkhill would be the choice for people who like either Corky Miller or Brendanukkah. For what it's worth, Ken Griffey Sr. is my vote. And it's my Frankenstein's monster, so my vote is worth a lot.

Final Tally: Frank Robinson is the only one with two (power and intangibles). We'll also have Babe Herman (contact), Hugh Nicol (speed), Reggie Sanders (arm), Paul O'Neill (foot, acting), Pop Corkhill (bare freakin' hand), Jay Bruce (constitution), and Ken Griffey Sr.'s face. Boy, he's gonna need Griffey's face.