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Tuesday, March 03, 2009
As the Celerino Sanchez Fan Club in El Guayabal, Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, Mexico rises as one (and one only) and quickly sends off a note…but it didn’t fit on the letterhead so he just sat back down and fumed.
Did you know, Evan Longoria’s season was the third best by a rookie third baseman who played at least 100 games in history? Well, it’s true. The filtering statistic of choice is OPS+ since raw numbers would leave us with the offensive eras rather than the players who truly stood out from their peers.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun is the leader with an OPS+ of 153(!) and Cincinnati Red Grady Hatton (128 OPS) from 1946 are the top two. Braun is a contemporary, but now plays the outfield. Easily one of the better offensive players in the game, Braun saw quite the improvement moving to left field this season. Pretty close to average.
...Now I certainly was not around to see Hatton play - and I doubt many - if any - of you were, and while I don’t want to take away from the highlight of his career, well…we all know Braun was quite poor defensively. We all also know that Evan was pretty damn fine with the leather. FanGraphs’ UZR has Braun worth -25 runs(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in exclamation marks) and Longoria worth 15 runs. Even if those numbers are not exact, Braun only had about an 18-run advantage in offensive production. Was Evan at least 18 runs better defensively? The numbers certainly suggest it.
That means there’s a realistic chance that Evan Longoria is the owner of the best rookie season by a third baseman in league history.
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