The Columbus Clippers are currently in the midst of a six-game losing streak. However, with both Bradley Zimmer and Tyler Naquin in the outfield, there’s plenty to be excited about.
The season for the Columbus Clippers began with Bradley Zimmer as the starting center fielder.
Tyler Naquin has returned to the Clippers from the Cleveland Indians after six games with the major-league club this season. With outfielder Michael Brantley healthy this season, it’s changed the complexion of the outfield roster as a whole.
Naquin had a memorable rookie season with the Tribe in 2016, with a batting average of .295 in 116 regular-season games last year.
The current scenario creates one that somewhat spoils Clippers fans due to having two professional-caliber center fielders simultaneously in the outfield, with Naquin playing center field and Zimmer in right field (at least on Tuesday night).
Last night the Clippers lost by a final score of 8-5, but it wasn’t without some notable defensive plays from both Naquin and Zimmer.
If I had to choose, the defensive highlight of the night went to Zimmer for gunning down a runner who was trying to extend a single into a double at second base after playing the ball off the right-center-field wall.
Here’s some of what Columbus Clippers Manager Chris Tremie had to say about the duo after Tuesday’s game:
I think both of ’em are very capable of playing probably all three outfield positions…Both of ’em are really good center fielders, really good right fielders…They can complement each other when they’re out there, cover a lot of ground…Whether they’re in right or center, I mean obviously you saw Naquin make a couple nice plays today and Zimmer with the throw…and tracked the ball well…We’re in a pretty good spot with those two players.
I had a chance to talk to Zimmer before the game last night about playing in right field instead of center. He first gave an in-depth description of the wall and how it affects the position strategically before making some comments that essentially made it apparent that he embraces the opportunity to play any position in the outfield:
It’s good. I’m happy that I can play both (right and center field)…Either way…When the time comes I’ll be ready to play anywhere.
As for Zimmer’s mentality:
Never be satisfied, and be the best baseball player I can be, so that’s really it.
It’ll be interesting to see how Zimmer and Naquin are utilized in Columbus, especially considering it might not be too long before one of them is called up to play in the majors.