You can’t teach speed. Speedy Blue Jays Roemon Fields is dominating with the Bisons but is still being overlooked as a 4th outfielder
With all the chatter this summer surrounding the poor Blue Jays outfield defense or Toronto’s inability to manufacture runs because of the lack of overall team speed, it blows my mind that Buffalo Bisons’ Roemon Fields continues to be overlooked.
Quite simply, Roemon Fields is fast.
Not only is he fast, but he is smart fast. Fields is a good base stealer and base runner. He utilizes his speed in the outfield, often playing a shallower center field than most CF in the game would feel comfortable playing.
While Fields possesses game changing speed and plays a mean outfield, it’s been his offensive game which held him back from entering the upper class of prospects. Prior to this season, .269 was Fields’ high water mark for batting average, which he accomplished as a member of the Vancouver Canadians in his rookie season of 2014 and repeated in 2015 as a member of the Dunedin Blue Jays.
The Bethany College alum struggled in 2016, batting just .227 in 130 games at Double-A. These struggles prompted many to wonder if his .257 batting average in 49 games as a member of the 2015 New Hampshire Fisher Cats was simply a product of a ‘career year’ and his low 2016 batting average, a better representation of what we could expect for Fields.
Prior to being promoted to Buffalo on April 29th, the 26-yr-old did nothing to dissuade those doubts. In 16 games Roemon hit .237 with the Cats.
The month of May gave Fields new life as a prospect. In 24 games, Fields batted .416 with 8 doubles, 2 triples and went 10-for-15 in stolen bases.
June had us guessing once again, as he fell back to earth with a .217 batting in 21 games in June. He didn’t hit any doubles but collected 3 triples and went 6-for-8 in stolen bases.
July saw the Bisons CF hit .272 with very little power. Fields collected 25 hit with just one being a double; however, he scored 11 runs and went 13-for-17 in stolen bases.
Fields batting average continues to hover around .300. His next stolen base will mark the 4th time he has stolen 40 or more bases in a season.
Roemon Fields has developed into a good slap hitter who can play small ball. He can actually lay down a bunt to advance the runner or for a base hit. Fields has a decent two-strike approach.
In 2017, Fields has produced 5 bunt groundouts, 3 sac bunts, and 20 singles that didn’t leave the infield dirt.
Roemon Fields will never post a high SLUG% but is holding down a career high .373, a decent .072 ISO….for a slap hitter, and a career high .369 BABIP. He has produced above league average with a .332 wOBA and 106 wRC+.
Roemon has his work cut out for him when it comes to claiming a spot on the 40-man roster.
Fields is not high on the depth chart. Anthony Alford has recovered nicely and continues his development in Double-A. Dwight Smith Jr. and Ian Parmley appear next in line after Alford. If Dalton Pompey can kick the bad luck he’s had recently with the injury bug, he’ll jump to the front pack.
Then there is newly acquired Teoscar Hernandez who will likely see Major League at-bats before all of them.
This is going to be a longer closing thought than most, but stay with me.
In 2018, the Blue Jays have a chance to get younger and faster in the outfield. They have a chance to play better outfield defense which will support a pitching staff with a few question marks. They have a chance to field an outfield in 2018 with Anthony Alford, Kevin Pillar, and Hernandez.
This is where a player like Roemon Fields can find value.
I am not saying that Roemon Fields is an everyday outfielder. I am not saying that he is any better a 4th OF option than Ezequiel Carrera currently represents.
I am saying that Roemon Fields has the speed and glove to help the Blue Jays now and into the future as 4th outfielder/defensive replacement/pinch runner. He gives you options. He gives you speed late in games and at the bottom of the order when giving a regular the day off.
He gives you options.
Fields will likely find himself back in Buffalo in 2018 but if he replicates his 2017 numbers….he will surely see Toronto in 2018.
*Featured Image Credit:- Roy Widrig JFtC
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.