When asked who the best center fielders in baseball are, most would immediately jump to Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen. After that, names like Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, and Lorenzo Cain come to mind. What about A.J. Pollock? After an injury-riddled 2014 season that limited him to just 75 games, he is quietly showing that he belongs in that group.
Believe it or not, Pollock currently has the third highest fWAR among Major League center fielders so far in 2015. At 5.0 through 113 games, he's on pace for an outstanding 7.2 fWAR for the season. The Arizona Diamondbacks haven't been a big story team so far this season, and that has caused Pollock to largely be forgotten despite being outstanding in just about every area.
Offensively, Pollock has posted a .312/.366/.477 slash line in 470 PA, a 129 wRC+. He has 26 doubles, four triples, 12 home runs, and is 27 for 33 in stolen base attempts. That puts him third in doubles, third in stolen bases, and fourth in wRC+ among center fielders, but it isn't just his excellent offense that has made him great. On defense, Pollock has also been superb with 12 defensive runs saved, 9.9 UZR, and 15.7 UZR/150. The defensive runs saved are fourth among big league center fielders while the UZR and UZR/150 both rank third.
All of that is a combination for a player who is outstanding, but also largely forgotten by the masses. Some players have one fantastic tool and that's the tool that gets them noticed. Pollock, rather, has several well above-average tools, but none that stand out as being far better than his peers. It may prevent him from getting the recognition he deserves, but it certainly doesn't make him any less of a player. Let's take a look around the rest of the NL West.
Arizona Diamondbacks (56-57, 7½ GB)
The weeks that were: As they've done almost all season, the Diamondbacks continue to hover around the .500 mark after going 7-6 over the past two weeks. Though not completely out of it, they remain a long shot to make the playoffs.
Disabled list: RHP Archie Bradley (15-day, shoulder), RHP Randall Delgado (15-day, ankle), C Tuffy Gosewisch (60-day, knee), 2B Philip Gosselin (60-day, thumb), C Gerald Laird (60-day, back)
Player of the week: David Peralta
Peralta has continued his strong season over the past week with a .476/.500/.690 slash line with three doubles, two home runs, and 13 RBI across 44 PA. He's now hitting an impressive .303/.368/.522 on the season, good for a 140 wRC+.
Colorado Rockies (47-65, 16 GB)
The weeks that were: The Rockies continued to struggle over the past two weeks as they went just 4-9 and are now 16 games back in the division. They appear to be well on their way to a last place finish.
Disabled list: LHP Tyler Anderson (60-day, elbow), RHP Chad Bettis (15-day, elbow), RHP Brooks Brown (15-day, shoulder), RHP Tyler Chatwood (60-day, Tommy John surgery), OF Corey Dickerson (15-day, rib), RHP David Hale (15-day, groin), RHP Kyle Kendrick (15-day, shoulder), RHP Jordan Lyles (60-day, toe), 1B Justin Morneau (60-day, concussion), RHP Adam Ottavino (60-day, Tommy John surgery)
Player of the week: Carlos Gonzalez
CarGo continued his second half tear over the last two weeks, hitting .277/.340/.660 with three doubles, five home runs, and 12 RBI in 53 PA. His wRC+ on the season has spiked all the way up to 120.
Los Angeles Dodgers (64-50, 0 GB)
The weeks that were: It was a solid couple of weeks for the Dodgers. They went 7-5 in 12 games and maintained a solid division lead.
Disabled list: RHP Bronson Arroyo (60-day, Tommy John surgery), RHP Carlos Frias (15-day, back), RHP Chris Hatcher (15-day, oblique), 2B Howie Kendrick (15-day, hamstring), RHP Brandon McCarthy (60-day, Tommy John surgery), RHP Joel Peralta (15-day, neck), LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (60-day, shoulder), 3B Justin Turner (15-day, thigh)
Player of the week: Clayton Kershaw
Believe it or not, Kershaw actually cooled off a bit in the last two weeks. The fact that he's still being discussed here speaks to just how good he is. In his three starts, Kershaw put up a 1.64 ERA in 22 innings. He walked just three, struck out 20, and allowed only 14 hits. He remains (in my opinion) the best pitcher in the game.
San Diego Padres (54-61, 10½ GB)
The weeks that were: After going 6-8 in the last two weeks, the Padres sit firmly in fourth place in the division and continue to look to trade some of their big money players.
Upcoming schedule: Next week, they'll travel to Denver for three with the Rockies, then host the Braves for three.
Disabled list: RHP Josh Johnson (60-day, Tommy John surgery), LHP Cory Luebke (60-day, elbow), RHP Marcos Mateo (15-day, neck), RHP Brandon Maurer (15-day, shoulder), RHP Brandon Morrow (60-day, shoulder), OF Wil Myers (60-day, wrist), IF Cory Spangenberg (15-day, knee)
Player of the week: Yangervis Solarte
It was a good week for Solarte, who posted a .333/.397/.526 slash line with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, and seven RBI in 63 PA, a 162 wRC+. Solarte is in the midst of a solid season with a 108 wRC+ in 388 PA.
San Francisco Giants (60-53, 3½ GB)
The weeks that were: After nearly overtaking the Dodgers for the division lead, the Giants faded a bit the last two weeks as they went just 4-8.
Upcoming schedule: Next week will be a big one for the Giants, as they host the Washington Nationals for four before going out on the road for three with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Disabled list: RHP Tim Hudson (15-day, shoulder), RHP Mike Leake (15-day, hamstring), RHP Tim LIncecum (15-day, forearm/hip), OF Angel Pagan (15-day, patella tendinitis), 2B Joe Panik (15-day, back), 2B Marco Scutaro (60-day, back), C Andrew Susac (15-day, thumb)
Player of the week: Madison Bumgarner
Bumgarner has been outstanding over the last two weeks. In his three starts, he had a 3.09 ERA across 23⅓ innings. He allowed 21 hits, struck out 29, and didn't walk a single batter.