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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Juan Gonzalez

Eligible in 2010.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 10, 2009 at 06:25 PM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 10, 2009 at 06:29 PM (#3173172)
Any peak-love for him among HoM voters?
   2. mulder & scully Posted: May 10, 2009 at 09:41 PM (#3173347)
While I definitely recognizes his weaknesses, I loved seeing those rbi to games. 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2001. 561 games, 572 RBI. How many men were on base when he came to bat?!

Wasn't he the one who turned down the giant 7 year deal then got hurt?

Fun for the stat lines at least.

Haven't run DanR WARP numbers through my system yet, but I don't think he's close.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 10, 2009 at 09:48 PM (#3173352)
While I definitely recognizes his weaknesses, I loved seeing those rbi to games. 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2001. 561 games, 572 RBI. How many men were on base when he came to bat?!


The man was a legitimate RBI threat, regardless of how many opportunities he had to drive in runs. The big problem he had was getting on base, of course. However, if he had played to age 40 instead of 34 and had been more durable, he would have had a HOF career even with his his ordinary OBP.
   4. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: May 10, 2009 at 10:47 PM (#3173370)
He won't be 40 till October 20, 2009 so he still has a chance to do that.
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 10, 2009 at 11:11 PM (#3173377)
He won't be 40 till October 20, 2009 so he still has a chance to do that.


Heh.
   6. AROM Posted: May 10, 2009 at 11:33 PM (#3173396)
A Jim Rice type candidate. Not good enough for my hall.
   7. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 10, 2009 at 11:56 PM (#3173407)
A Jim Rice type candidate. Not good enough for my hall.


He won't be on my HoM ballot, either.
   8. Obama Bomaye Posted: May 11, 2009 at 03:43 AM (#3173973)
I'm surprised to see that his tOPS+ with RISP (essentially, the ratio of his OPS with RISP to his overall OPS) is just 101. Basically that means he hit about the same with RISP as he did overall. The league-wide mark is usually around 107 -- overall, players hit a little better with RISP. I figured with those huge RBI totals he must have been amazing with RISP but it seems that was not the case.
   9. RJ in TO Posted: May 11, 2009 at 03:47 AM (#3173979)
Wasn't he the one who turned down the giant 7 year deal then got hurt?


He did turn down that huge deal with Detroit, although I thought it was 8 years in length. If I remember correctly, it would have expired at the end of last season.

Detroit should send him a Thank You note every year, on the anniversary of his decision to decline their offer.
   10. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 04:01 AM (#3173984)
I really should phase out the charts I've been doing all these years, but I couldn't resist doing just one more:

J.Gone  72 41 40 37 34 29 22 18 12  9  8  0  0 ----3
J
.Rice  64 49 42 38 28 23 20 13 11 11  8  0 ----8
Edgar 
86 57 52 52 50 47 43 43 30 22 21 17 14  5  4  1 --4
McGriff 60 52 50 45 44 44 42 38 37 28 21 20 16 15 11 10  3  0 
-


A lot of that is quite inexact (related to the reasons I should phase it out), but it is clear that Gonzalez has nothing anywhere close to Edgar's offensive peak or prime, and nothing anywhere close to McGriff's offensive career. Rice does seem like a fair comparison, but even there, Rice had effectively a longer career - just count the PA.
   11. AROM Posted: May 11, 2009 at 04:05 AM (#3173987)
I take it back. Juan Gone doesn't even stack up to Rice.

WAR: Rice 42.9 Gone 33.5

Best 5 seasons:

Rice 7.2, 6.0, 5.7, 5.3, 4.4

Gone: 6.7, 5.3, 4.9, 3.8, 2.9

In fewer games Gonzalez cracked the 400 homer mark and slugged 60 points better, but he played in an even more extreme hitter's environment than Rice. His two MVP trophies are stolen property, 1996 obviously should have been A-Rod's. 1998 is a tougher call. Griffey hit 11 more homers than Juan and had the advantage of being a gold glove centerfielder instead of a ordinary at best corner guy. Albert Belle was better in every single offensive category except he had 5 fewer RBI. Bernie Williams or any of the 3 shortstops would have been better picks.
   12. OCF Posted: May 11, 2009 at 04:13 AM (#3173991)
I found a memo I wrote in 1998. In it, my AL MVP vote was:

1. Belle
2. Vaughn
3. Ivan Rodriguez
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Griffey
6. Garciaparra
7. Gonzalez

For 1996, I had it:

1. A. Rodriguez
2. McGwire
3. Thome
4. R. Alomar
5. Knoblauch
6. I. Rodgriguez

I wrote up post-season all-star teams (25-man rosters) for each of those years. He was in the starting lineup, in RF, in 1998, but in 1996 he was a bat off the bench, with the starting outfield being Belle, Griffey, and Brady Anderson. (And Frank Thomas at DH with McGwire at 1B).
   13. baudib Posted: May 11, 2009 at 04:25 AM (#3173995)
I remember Bill James wrote about Juan Gonzalez in 1991: His upside is scary, figures to peak around 48 homers a year. This was when 48 homers a year was still an ZOMG total. The thing is James was right, but he essentially peaked at age 23.

I think Juan was a fun player. The way he could turn on a fastball was amazing. Hilarious to think that he played some center field early in his career; you get an idea of why those Rangers staffs were so bad.
   14. CraigK Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:17 AM (#3174052)
Good lord, I'm starting to see players I vividly remember up for HoM induction. Scary.

Got a 132 career OPS+ and some really good peak years, like '93, '96, '98, and '01; what dings him? The bad D and the lack of longevity?
   15. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2009 at 03:09 PM (#3174205)
I have Ellis Burks above Juan Gonzalez. There's just not enough career value at the plate unless he's a catcher.
   16. Soul Man Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:05 PM (#3174569)
Got a 132 career OPS+ and some really good peak years, like '93, '96, '98, and '01; what dings him? The bad D and the lack of longevity?


The bad D and the lack of longevity, yes, but also the lack of in-season durability, and the extreme SLG-heaviness of his OPS, which makes his OPS+ look quite a bit more valuable than it actually was (OBP+ of 100.6, SLG+ of 131.7). Not only that, he spent the majority of his career in RF, and RFs as a group are above-average hitters, which further reduces the value of his already-empty OPS+.

Basically, he's a lesser version of Canseco (who isn't really anyone's idea of a HOM/HOFer): more power, but much worse with the glove, not as good at getting on base, not as good a baserunner, not as durable (which is saying a lot), and with a shorter career. In terms of peak, I'm inclined to give Gonzalez the edge, but I haven't run the numbers so I'm not standing behind that opinion. Either way, Canseco's 1988 is better than any year of Gonzalez's career.

His best years are legitimately great, and if he had anything else going for him - a longer career, a better glove, a more balanced OPS...then he'd at least be borderline. As it is, I'd say he's borderline at best.
   17. RJ in TO Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:14 PM (#3174585)
Basically, he's a lesser version of Canseco (who isn't really anyone's idea of a HOM/HOFer):


Obviously, you haven't asked Canseco for his opinion on the matter.

but much worse with the glove


While I don't doubt that you've got the numbers to back this up, I have a hard time believing that Gonzalez is a much worse fielder than Canseco. I know he didn't have the greatest reputation, but he did manage to play 250 games in CF early in his career, whereas I can only remember Canseco as being an absolute trainwreck out there - he was absolutely abysmal during his time in the OF with the Jays.
   18. AROM Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:15 PM (#3174590)
Either way, Canseco's 1988 is better than any year of Gonzalez's career.


Part of that is Canseco had more of an all around game (at least at that time), part is that Juan's big years all came during the offensive explosion. Canseco in 1988 dominated a pitcher's league in a pitcher's park.
   19. AROM Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:18 PM (#3174594)
One player I noticed my WAR list had dead-even with Gonzalez: Brady Anderson. It makes erfect sense too, in the 1990's I did not view Gonzalez as a significantly better all around player than Anderson. Aside from the year where Brady hit for JuanGone power, he made up for 30 fewer homers by taking an extra 40 walks, stealing 30 more bases, hitting a few more triples, avoiding the double play, and playing much better defense.
   20. JPWF13 Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:21 PM (#3174598)
Basically Jim Rice imho. Rice had a few more PAs and a slightly lower career OPS+ , because Juan Gone was gone a bit too soon. Actually Rice probably had a bit more defensive value to go along with the PAs, so Juan Gone doesn't actually reach Rice. Like Rice he was a good player who the MSM mistakenly thought was great...

Did you know if you go to BBREF and neutralize Dave Kingman's career to 1998 Texas, you get 506 Homers, 1493 ribbies, a single season high in Homers of 50 one year, and 150 ribbies another...
Even if he had done that he'd still be no rational person's idea of a HOfer, but you know some MSM lugnuts would have voted for him.

Conversely if you neutralize Juan Gone to 1975 Shea, you fall to 397 homers, 1228 ribbies, and a .270 average. Look at Gil Hodges' BBREF top ten comp list, guys with those numbers do NOT get into the HOF. Basically, only if your name is Gil Hodges and you managed one of the most famous "Miracle" world series winners of all time do you get discussed as a serious candidate.
   21. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: May 11, 2009 at 07:44 PM (#3174633)
Hilarious to think that he played some center field early in his career; you get an idea of why those Rangers staffs were so bad.

TRUE FACT: Pete Incaviglia was 2nd on the 1990 Rangers in games started in center field.

The full list:
Gary Pettis, 119
Pete Incaviglia, 15
Cecil Espy, 14
Juan Gonzalez, 11
Kevin Belcher, 3

Keep in mind this was after Incaviglia had already been in the majors for four full seasons and had a well-established rep as one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game.
   22. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 11, 2009 at 08:16 PM (#3174690)
Amazingly, I have González as the third-best position player on his own team in 1996, and 27th in the league. Here is the list:

1996 AL MVP (position players only)

Player       SFrac BWAA BRWAA FWAA Replc WARP
A
Rodríguez  0.95  5.0   0.3  0.0  -3.7  9.1
Griffey       0.90  4.6   0.2  1.0  
-1.9  7.7
Knoblauch     0.99  4.2   0.6  0.4  
-2.3  7.4
B
Anderson   0.96  4.5   0.2  0.1  -2.1  6.9
F
Thomas     0.92  6.1   0.1 -0.5  -0.9  6.6
Thome         0.90  5.2  
-0.5  0.0  -1.8  6.5
McGwire       0.77  5.9  
-0.1 -0.1  -0.6  6.4
Alomar        0.98  3.2   0.0  0.7  
-2.2  6.2
Belle         1.01  4.8  
-0.2 -0.8  -1.7  5.5
M
Ramírez    0.91  3.5  -0.5  0.7  -1.6  5.4
Valentin      0.88  0.0   0.4  1.6  
-3.4  5.4
O
'Neill       0.93  2.0   0.2  1.5  -1.6  5.3
Vaughn        1.06  4.7  -0.2 -0.1  -0.9  5.2
Phillips      1.01  1.7   0.4  1.1  -1.8  5.0
Brosius       0.71  1.7   0.1  1.8  -1.4  4.9
Edmonds       0.68  2.3   0.3  0.7  -1.5  4.8
Greer         0.87  2.6   0.3  0.4  -1.5  4.8
E. Martínez   0.90  5.1  -0.3 -0.1  -0.0  4.7
Palmeiro      1.03  2.9   0.4  0.3  -1.0  4.6
I. Rodríguez  0.97 -0.4   0.5  1.9  -2.7  4.6
D. Martínez   0.70  1.9   0.2  1.1  -1.3  4.4
Higginson     0.72  3.0  -0.2  0.2  -1.3  4.3
Salmon        0.96  2.5   0.0  0.0  -1.7  4.3
Ventura       0.95  2.0  -0.1  0.5  -1.9  4.3
Lofton        1.03  0.8   0.7  0.2  -2.3  4.1
J. González   0.84  3.1   0.1 -0.4  -1.2  4.0 


Yes, that's right, you would have been better off with Dave Martínez than MVP winner Juan González that year.

1998 was only sllightly better: a three-way tie for 17th in the league and second on the Rangers.

Player       SFrac BWAA BRWAA FWAA Replc WARP
A
Rodríguez  1.07  3.7   0.1  0.8  -3.8  8.3
Belle         1.02  6.2   0.1 
-0.8  -1.5  7.0
Jeter         0.99  2.7   0.5  0.1  
-3.6  6.9
Garciaparra   0.94  3.0   0.2  0.3  
-3.4  6.8
Griffey       1.04  4.2   0.2  0.1  
-2.3  6.8
B
Williams   0.83  4.2   0.0  0.0  -1.8  6.1
O
'Neill       0.97  2.5   0.3  1.6  -1.5  5.8
M. Ramírez    0.95  3.5   0.1  0.7  -1.5  5.8
Brosius       0.86  2.3  -0.3  1.9  -1.8  5.7
I. Rodríguez  0.89  1.2   0.2  1.8  -2.5  5.7
Palmeiro      1.02  4.0  -0.2  0.9  -0.8  5.4
Delgado       0.89  3.5   0.0  1.0  -0.7  5.2
Vaughn        0.98  4.5  -0.2  0.3  -0.7  5.2
Ventura       0.97  0.5  -0.3  3.0  -2.1  5.2
Offerman      1.02  2.6   0.5 -0.4  -2.1  4.8
Lofton        1.00  0.6   0.6  1.2  -2.2  4.7
Durham        1.03  1.5   1.1 -0.3  -2.3  4.6
E. Martínez   0.97  4.8  -0.3  0.0  -0.0  4.6
J. González   0.96  3.6   0.2 -0.4  -1.1  4.6 
   23. Soul Man Posted: May 11, 2009 at 08:27 PM (#3174722)
While I don't doubt that you've got the numbers to back this up, I have a hard time believing that Gonzalez is a much worse fielder than Canseco.


Actually, I don't really have numbers to back that one up, and I realized that pretty soon after I posted it (but for some reason, I can't edit my comments on the computer that I'm currently on). It's one of those situations where I took a cursory look at their defensive numbers and, in the midst of my otherwise legitimate analysis, got a little carried away and posted a statement that I don't even necessarily agree with.

"Much worse" is maybe a little excessive, but I think that we can agree that both of them belonged at DH.
   24. AROM Posted: May 11, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3174738)
No wonder nobody takes sabermetrics seriously. You're trying to tell me Juan Gonzalez was inferior to BobbyHigginson, Rusty Greer, and Dave Martinez based on some stats you made up in your mother's basement? If you ever actually watched a game you would have seen the fear Juan Gonzalez put into pitchers.
   25. RJ in TO Posted: May 11, 2009 at 08:36 PM (#3174745)
"Much worse" is maybe a little excessive, but I think that we can agree that both of them belonged at DH.


I do believe that we can agree on that. I never saw too much of Juan Gone, but Canseco's outfield performance in Toronto was awful (just dreadful to watch). If Juan Gone was anywhere near as bad, then he should have spent the time he wasn't hitting on the bench.

but for some reason, I can't edit my comments on the computer that I'm currently on


There's no support for the edit function in the Hall of Merit.
   26. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 11, 2009 at 09:02 PM (#3174793)
There's no support for the edit function in the Hall of Merit.


Actually, there is, but for some reason we weren't given the option. Don't know why.
   27. bpasinko Posted: May 11, 2009 at 09:03 PM (#3174795)
He has a lot of things going against him here. His best attributes (Hr and RBI) are things everyone here likely puts into correct context right away, really hurting his chances. I wouldn't put him in, but damn he could really hit.
   28. JPWF13 Posted: May 11, 2009 at 09:16 PM (#3174819)
but damn he could really hit.


so could Frank Howard
   29. AROM Posted: May 11, 2009 at 09:36 PM (#3174842)
"Much worse" is maybe a little excessive, but I think that we can agree that both of them belonged at DH.


My first step in comparing two players defensively, at least those I've seen play, is ask myself what defensive impression each left before looking at the stats. Then when you add in the numbers you see if they quantify what we believe or not. If they do, great, but if they don't, then you have to ask if perhaps we misrate the player, and the stats illuminate some strength and weakness he had, or if the stats are flawed. Both situations are fairly common. In this case, neither player was paid for his glove, but probably weren't regarded as completely awful like Greg Luzinski. Canseco was faster but Juan never headbutted a homerun ball.

Checking my defensive numbers, I have Canseco at -27 career TZ, and Juan Gone at -76. At first glance that seems like Gone was a lot worse than Canseco. The numbers have some magnitude. As in, You don't want to just groove a 3-0 pitch to Aubrey Huff. He hit 27 homers last year. Compare that to Matt Wieters, who mashed 76 homers to erase Barry Bonds from the record book after a late September callup. In his first at bat, no less!

But that really is an illusion. Gonzalez's worst year was -19 in 1992. Canseco had no TZ years that bad. But Gonzalez was doing that in center field. He proved he wasn't really a center fielder, but then moved to right and was just a tick below average for the next 3 years. Canseco never put up such a terrible number, because nobody was ever dumb enough to put him in center.

Canseco also moved to DH earlier in his career, while Juan got some stretches at DH here and there but mostly played the outfield his whole career. You can't put up negative fielding numbers as a DH. Add in TotalZone, outfield arm, and position adjustment, and you do a better job of expressing a players' defensive value. In this case it's:

Canseco: -27, -4, -130 = -161
Gone: -76, 0, -85 = -161

And no, I didn't realize when I started this post they would be a dead match, just a lot closer than at first glance.
   30. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: May 11, 2009 at 09:43 PM (#3174854)
González was also the juiciest player that ever did juice. He was my fave growing up--my room in my parents' house is still full of Juan Gone memorabilia. Thank God we didn't find out what a cheat he was until I stopped caring about him.
   31. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 14, 2009 at 01:25 AM (#3178589)
WHAT EVIDENCE DO YOU HAVE FOR THAT? ARE THERE ANY POSITIVE TESTS? ANY PHOTOGRAPHS? TESTIMONY FROM PEOPLE I PERSONALLY TRUST? I PUT THE ODDS OF HIM JUICING AT MAYBE 15%. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
   32. deputydrew Posted: May 21, 2009 at 11:47 AM (#3187485)
He did turn down that huge deal with Detroit, although I thought it was 8 years in length. If I remember correctly, it would have expired at the end of last season.

Detroit should send him a Thank You note every year, on the anniversary of his decision to decline their offer.


Wow. That is truly scary. It seems like, well, more than eight years ago he turned down that deal.

How might that have been structured? Maybe something like this?


2001 $12m.....140 games
2002 $14m......70
2003 $17m......82
2004 $17m......33
2005 $20m......1
2006 $20m......0
2007 $20m......0
2008 $20m......0
........$140m.....326 games

That would be $430,000 per game played, had he signed the deal and followed the same career path.

Yikes.

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