I know that Nate McLouth has been discussed ad nauseam since the end of last season and especially over the past few weeks. I'm not trying to beat a dead horse, but just give some perspective on his past performances and how he matches up with the rest of the centerfielders in the major leagues.
I saw a very rational comment under the Series Recap post that was calling for people to stop throwing the word "hater" around when referring to those who don't have much confidence in McLouth. I agree with that. It would be nice if that stuff would just go away, because we're not children here. Anyway, it was also suggested that Nate McLouth is an average baseball player, which his career wOBA of .341 would certainly indicate.
I'm of the belief that he is better than average. Nobody really knows who Nate McLouth is after his horrendous season in 2010, so I'm just going to look at the three seasons prior to 2010 and compare Nate's numbers to the other centerfielders in baseball. Keep in mind that in '07 Nate only had 382 plate appearances, which is 120 fewer than the amount necessary to qualify for the batting title and such. I'll simply show where he would rank among CF if he had the same wOBA and had accumulated 502 at bats.
McLouth's wOBA in:
'07 - .364
'08 - .369
'09 - .350
'10 - .283
The number of CF with a higher wOBA than Nate in:
'07 - 5
'08 - 4
'09 - 5
We know that Nate is not a good defender according to UZR. Which was reflected in his WAR for each season. Still, he ranked 9th in WAR in both '08 and '09. McLouth has shown himself to be a top ten center fielder in the past. Considering his age, 29, I personally expect him to be a top ten CF again in 2011. I don't think average is really a fair assessment of his abilities.
That said, if he doesn't start hitting for power soon, I'm going to look silly. He's taken a decent number of walks so far, but has yet to hit a homerun. I think the power will be there, but probably not until they get out of Petco.