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Old 01-25-2019, 12:36 AM   #41
actionjackson
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Originally Posted by joefromchicago View Post
Nobody is saying that Jones wasn't a valuable player in his prime. But his prime wasn't long enough. Great players tend to be great even into their 30s, something that Jones couldn't do.

As for putting together 10 gold gloves and 400 HRs, that's an interesting trivia question but it doesn't really tell us much. Jim Edmonds came close to both, and he had a better career average than Jones, and still he washed out in his first year of eligibility for the Hall with just 2.5% of the ballots. As I mentioned earlier, the voters aren't as impressed with HR totals accumulated in the 1990s and later, and they're right to discount them. It's like batting averages from the early 1930s - when everybody is hitting .300, then being a .300 hitter isn't all that impressive. Similarly, when you hit as many HRs as Juan Gonzalez, it puts things into a slightly better perspective.
Because of his phenomenal defense, Jones' prime began at age 20, and lasted through his age 30 season. That's eleven straight seasons with jaw dropping defense at an up the middle position, and eight of those eleven seasons with above average offense (The exceptions being 1997, 2001, and 2007). Eleven prime seasons is a ton. Above average offense is much harder to find in CF than the corners, so when you get it, and it comes with all-time elite defense, you have a stud CF. Nobody is arguing that he's in the class of Mays, Cobb, Speaker, Mantle, Griffey, DiMaggio, or even Trout (who's well on his way to that level eight short years into his career). Those are all-timers.

There are however HoF types who are not in that rarefied air, but are still worthy, and Jones is one of them. Duke Snider and Richie Ashburn are also in that second tier in CF. The Duke was tremendous offensively, but had his shortcomings defensively. Ashburn had a completely different offensive profile than Jones did, but their overall offensive production was similar (Ashburn: 115 wRC+, Jones: 111 wRC+), the only difference being that Ashburn had more volume (a little over 1,000 plate appearances more). Jones makes up for the difference on offense with Ashburn with his defense. Snider's offense puts him ahead of both despite his defense at a premium position. Edmonds is in the same area as the above three, so his wash out was a joke. While a notch below Snider offensively (140 wRC+ to 132 wRC+), he was the better defender. Quick and dirty ranking: Snider - Jones - Edmonds - Ashburn.

Juan Gonzalez was a corner outfielder, who spent less than 20% of his defensive time in CF. His offense was better than Jones', but he's supposed to have a big bat. That's what corner outfielders are for. There's absolutely no comparison between the two, so I'm not sure why you threw him out as a comp, other than the dead heat in career HR, which makes Jones' total the more impressive one due to the differences in both defensive responsibilities, and in the players respective defensive abilities.
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Old 01-25-2019, 12:42 AM   #42
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Perhaps so, but then hitting a ball is a lot harder than catching a ball.
Tell that to Gary Sheffield, or Manny Ramirez, or Adam Dunn. Defense was very difficult for those guys, but offense came quite naturally to them, Ramirez, and Sheffield much more so than Dunn.
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- RIP Gord Downie (The Tragically Hip) February 6th, 1964 - October 17th, 2017

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Old 01-25-2019, 12:47 AM   #43
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It's not that an outfielder's bat is the only thing that matters, but it certainly matters more than an outfielder's glove. Let's say there was a rookie draft and you were stocking a team from scratch. You had to pick between four players - a catcher, a shortstop, a second baseman, and a center fielder - all with Andruw Jones's abilities. Each of them was a certified gold glover at his position, each was guaranteed to hit 434 HRs in his career, average .254, and finish with a wRC+ of 111. How would you rank them? Who would you draft first?
I fail to see what this has to do w/the convo. No one is arguing which position is more important. Ohtani could have a 1.00 WHIP and a .900 OPS. I'm not going to ignore his hitting because that's not as important for a pitcher. You look at the totality of the player's career when judging for the HOF. So as far as I'm concerned, C, 2B, SS, CF, utility guy, whatever, 400+ HR's & 10 GG's gets you in the HOF.
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:17 AM   #44
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Then you agree with me. So, I guess, thanks?


You mention his wRC+ number as if it's significant. You realize that a career mark of 111 just means that he was 11% better than an average player, right? According to Fangraphs, that ranks him as the 848th best hitter in baseball history.

It's not that an outfielder's bat is the only thing that matters, but it certainly matters more than an outfielder's glove. Let's say there was a rookie draft and you were stocking a team from scratch. You had to pick between four players - a catcher, a shortstop, a second baseman, and a center fielder - all with Andruw Jones's abilities. Each of them was a certified gold glover at his position, each was guaranteed to hit 434 HRs in his career, average .254, and finish with a wRC+ of 111. How would you rank them? Who would you draft first?
We don't agree at all. Defense was Jones' calling card. There's absolutely no questioning that he was miles better defensively than he was offensively, and yet he was still an above average hitter. What does that say about his defense and therefore his all around play as a CF?

Andruw Jones was born to play CF. Why do you want to put him at the other three positions? I don't get why you would take a guy who's in the conversation for best defensive OF in history, if not the best defensive OF in history and put him at any other position. I will absolutely take a Mark Belanger with a 111 wRC+ at SS (he would've been an absolute superstar at that offensive level), or an Ivan Rodriguez with a 111 wRC+ at C, or a Joe Gordon with a 111 wRC+ at 2B, and I will take an Andruw Jones with a 111 wRC+ in CF. That's the level of defense we're talking about here. When you pair that level of defense with above average offense (regardless of how far above average it is), you have a superb player.
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"Yeah, I know, I know, I know
It's still not enough
Nothing short of everything
Nothing short of everything's enough
No matter how wide or how tough
Nothing short of everything's enough

Yeah, I know, I know, I know
Now for Plan A
I'll stay till the wisteria fades
And falls on L.A.
No matter how high or how rough
Nothing short of everything's enough"

- RIP Gord Downie (The Tragically Hip) February 6th, 1964 - October 17th, 2017
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:28 AM   #45
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I can't possibly respond to everything that you guys posted, so you'll have to excuse me if I neglect some points.

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There are however HoF types who are not in that rarefied air, but are still worthy, and Jones is one of them. Duke Snider and Richie Ashburn are also in that second tier in CF. The Duke was tremendous offensively, but had his shortcomings defensively. Ashburn had a completely different offensive profile than Jones did, but their overall offensive production was similar (Ashburn: 115 wRC+, Jones: 111 wRC+), the only difference being that Ashburn had more volume (a little over 1,000 plate appearances more).
Well, the difference is also that Ashburn, by my count, led the league 16 times in different offensive categories. Jones, in contrast, did it twice. Ashburn's black ink HOF score is 32, well above-average for a HOFer. Jones's score is 10.

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Juan Gonzalez was a corner outfielder, who spent less than 20% of his defensive time in CF. His offense was better than Jones', but he's supposed to have a big bat. That's what corner outfielders are for. There's absolutely no comparison between the two, so I'm not sure why you threw him out as a comp, other than the dead heat in career HR, which makes Jones' total the more impressive one due to the differences in both defensive responsibilities, and in the players respective defensive abilities.
If you go back and read what I wrote, I never said that Gonzalez and Jones were comparable in all respects, just in one: the number of HRs they hit. My point was that Jones's HR total must be viewed in context. If he had accumulated 434 HRs in the 1920s, he'd definitely deserve to be in the HOF. In the time period that he played, though, there were plenty of players who were posting similar HR numbers. Guys like, for example, Juan Gonzalez. That's why HOF voters today are less impressed with big HR totals from players who played in the 1990s to the present. It's just not as big of an achievement as it used to be.

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Tell that to Gary Sheffield, or Manny Ramirez, or Adam Dunn. Defense was very difficult for those guys, but offense came quite naturally to them, Ramirez, and Sheffield much more so than Dunn.
Adam Dunn had a .967 lifetime outfield fielding percentage. Meaning that, of all the balls that he could have caught, he was unsuccessful 3.3% percent of the time. Dunn had a lifetime batting average of .237, meaning that, of all the times he recorded an at-bat, he was unsuccessful 76.3% of the time. 76.3 is bigger than 3.3. I think Sheffield, Ramirez, and even Dunn could figure that out without me having to tell them.

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I fail to see what this has to do w/the convo. No one is arguing which position is more important. Ohtani could have a 1.00 WHIP and a .900 OPS. I'm not going to ignore his hitting because that's not as important for a pitcher. You look at the totality of the player's career when judging for the HOF. So as far as I'm concerned, C, 2B, SS, CF, utility guy, whatever, 400+ HR's & 10 GG's gets you in the HOF.
My point is that having a good-fielding shortstop or catcher or second baseman is more important than having a good-fielding center fielder. And you agree with me, so at least we can find some common ground. It's nice to have a center fielder who is a stellar defensive player, but it's not crucial. It's traditional wisdom to build a team that is "solid up the middle," but even you would agree that, if you had to pick one of those middle positions as the least important defensively, it would be center field. That's why HOF voters have never chosen an outfielder primarily for his defensive skills. On that point, I agree with them. You don't, so we'll just have to be content with our disagreement.

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We don't agree at all. Defense was Jones' calling card. There's absolutely no questioning that he was miles better defensively than he was offensively, and yet he was still an above average hitter. What does that say about his defense and therefore his all around play as a CF?
What does his offense say about his defense? Nothing at all. Unfortunately, though, Jones had to bat every time his spot came up in the order. If he had been a "designated fielder," then the HOF calculus might be different. But he wasn't, so the voters have to look at both his offense and defense in evaluating his merits. You weigh his defensive abilities more heavily than I or the majority of HOF voters do. I'm content to leave it at that.


In the end, a debate about who should go into the HOF is a little like the playground debates over whose father can beat up whose father. I enjoy the back-and-forth, and these sorts of discussions are always interesting because they force me to confront my own positions, but, in the end, it's just a game. Thanks for your contributions, guys. I'm signing off.
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Old 01-25-2019, 12:46 PM   #46
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My point is that having a good-fielding shortstop or catcher or second baseman is more important than having a good-fielding center fielder. And you agree with me, so at least we can find some common ground. It's nice to have a center fielder who is a stellar defensive player, but it's not crucial. It's traditional wisdom to build a team that is "solid up the middle," but even you would agree that, if you had to pick one of those middle positions as the least important defensively, it would be center field. That's why HOF voters have never chosen an outfielder primarily for his defensive skills. On that point, I agree with them. You don't, so we'll just have to be content with our disagreement.

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe no CF has ever been put in mainly for their defense because there has never been one like him who also produced @ the plate as well? Maybe the HOF voters never had to make the choice before. I don't place a lot of emphasis on the next gen stats as you two do. But I do find it interesting that Andruw ranks 21st in career dWAR. Everyone ahead of him is an infielder or catcher. You won't find another primary OF on the list until you reach Paul Blair @60th. The sabermetrics say Andruw is an anomaly that has never come up before.
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