Lorenzo Cain has not had the best luck in the world as the center fielder for the Kansas City Royals. In his first two full seasons with the Royals, Cain played in only 176 games. This season, he has missed 22 games already.
When he has played, Cain has been terrific. He has a career high .310 batting average thus far, with 10 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, and 28 RBI. As good as he is hitting, it is his fielding that has been magnificent. Not only can he make incredible plays, and cover acres of outfield, but he has 5 assists on the season as well.
Check out this incredible catch against the Detroit Tigers on Monday night, compliments of MLB.com.
In his 46 games in 2014, Lorenzo Cain has earned a Wins Above Replacement of 1.7, according to baseball-reference.com. As nice as his hitting is though, it is his glove that makes him so valuable.
According to Fangraphs.com, Cain has already accumulated an Ultimate Zone Rating of 8.0 this season, after racking up an elite 20.0 in 115 games in 2013. Anything above 15 for a full season is considered elite, Gold Glove caliber defense.
If Cain can stay healthy, he could approach a UZR of 25 before the season is over. That is just unheard of.
With Cain’s ascension as a top flight fielder, the Royals have two of the best. Alex Gordon‘s UZR was 12.2 in 2011, 14.6 in 2012, and 8.6 in 2013, all of which were Gold Glove campaigns. This season, Gordon’s UZR is an incredible 19.0 already.
If both can stay on the field, Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon may put up some of the best defensive metric stats as teammates, as we have ever seen.
For now, what that catch again! If he can stay on the field, he may win his first, overdue Gold Glove this season.
For a complete explanation of Ultimate Zone Rating, check out this from Fangraphs.