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Saturday, April 21, 2018

ESPN’s top 50 players

You won’t believe #9!!

Walt Davis Posted: April 21, 2018 at 02:31 PM | 81 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mike trout, time killer

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   1. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: April 21, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5657567)
Let's see...assuming a lineup of

1B: Votto (projected WAR 5.3)
2B: Altuve (5.7)
3B: Arenado (5.2)
SS: Correa (5.7)
LF: Stanton (6.4)
CF: Trout (7.9)
RF: Harper (4.9)
C : Posey (4.9)
DH: Goldschmidt (4.1)

...and average pitching/defense, how many games does this team win? (I mean, it adds up to 50.1, but I know WAR doesn't work that way...)
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: April 21, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5657568)
Only Cardinal to make the list, Ozuna.... Only other Cardinal that I thought had a chance was Carlos Martinez, although Pham might have an argument, but would need to establish at least another season like last to legitimately make a list like this.
   3. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2018 at 03:36 PM (#5657583)
Let's see...assuming a lineup of

1B: Votto (projected WAR 5.3)
2B: Altuve (5.7)
3B: Arenado (5.2)
SS: Correa (5.7)
LF: Stanton (6.4)
CF: Trout (7.9)
RF: Harper (4.9)
C : Posey (4.9)
DH: Goldschmidt (4.1)

...and average pitching/defense, how many games does this team win? (I mean, it adds up to 50.1, but I know WAR doesn't work that way...)


Well, that's 50 wins above replacement, which is ~45-50 wins. And average pitching staff is about another 15 WAR. Assume a replacement level bench, and you've got 110-115 wins.

edit: Looked at another way, 50 WAR from 9 players is ~32 WAA. That's 32 wins above 81 (average), and that's 113 wins.
   4. Ziggy's screen name Posted: April 21, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5657589)
To determine this, ESPN formed a panel of MLB writers, analysts, contributors and Insiders to rank the top 100. We polled almost 40 experts, who voted from a list of just fewer than 300 players. We unveiled Nos. 100-51 on Tuesday, and now it's time for the top 50.

We've included Dan Szymborski's preseason ZiPS projected WAR for every player.


So they did it the wrong way, and then they did it the right way. The top players for a season should really just be those with the best projection from out best projection system. (Averaging, or something, the predictions of a bunch of MLB writers would be a projection system of a sort, but probably not a very good one.)
   5. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5657596)
Looking at it a 3rd way, the 2001 Mariners had 50 WAR from their position players, and a slightly above average pitching staff (2.4 WAA), and they won 116.
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 21, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5657616)
Harper over Judge? #### that.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: April 21, 2018 at 04:26 PM (#5657622)
Harper over Judge? #### that.


Judge has the edge as a better fielder, Harper is younger and has more of a career.
   8. The Duke Posted: April 21, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5657658)
Shows why the Cards went hard after stanton and then Ozuna. No star power. I’m afraid they still need another top 25 player to make a run. Joey Votto anyone ?
   9. Walt Davis Posted: April 21, 2018 at 05:16 PM (#5657666)
The timing is odd in that you'd think this would be released just before the season started.

Looking through the list more fully ...

Hard to see what EE (#48) did to move up from #69 last year to #48 this year. Yelich (#41) has established himself as pretty clearly superior to Ozuna (#42) so either Yelich is under-ranked or Ozuna over-ranked. The presence of Cruz and Abreu in the 40s suggests this panel values offense much more than defense (which might be right). But of course, as with any ranking, the actual ordering between, say, 30 to 70 is pretty arbitrary.

The 30s is a bunch of the not-quite-elite SPs -- probably some of these guys should be about 10 higher. Verlander (#29) seems a bit high given the quality of the SPs just behind him but the guy is still delivering.

JDM way too high, Donaldson seems too low. Bellinger doesn't "deserve" to be this high yet.

Then we're back into a section where choices are very close and the ordering is pretty arbitrary. Goldschmidt and Stanton seem maybe a bit too high but that's quibbling. Correa is almost certainly too low ... and I find a 6-WAR projection for Sale being a bit tough to justify. By bWAR, Sale is projected to his 2nd best season.

   10. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 21, 2018 at 05:40 PM (#5657676)
Harper over Judge? #### that.

Judge has the edge as a better fielder, Harper is younger and has more of a career.


Judge is less than six months older than Harper, he's been markedly less injury prone, and at this point he's a better all-around player.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: April 21, 2018 at 06:08 PM (#5657684)
Yelich (#41) has established himself as pretty clearly superior to Ozuna (#42)


How is that? Ozuna had the much better season last year, so how did Yelich surpass Ozuna? I mean it can't be the 41 pa he has so far in 9 games played this season. If you are arguing he should have been ahead of Ozuna and that last year wasn't enough evidence to move Ozuna ahead of Yelich, that is different, but if we are assuming Ozuna was better going into last season, there is zero evidence that Yelich has surpassed him.

   12. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: April 21, 2018 at 06:12 PM (#5657687)
Rhys Hoskins should probably be on this list.
   13. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: April 21, 2018 at 07:43 PM (#5657709)
this point he's a better all-around player.


At this point he's had one better all-around season. It's not the same thing.
   14. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2018 at 08:48 PM (#5657744)
At this point he's had one better all-around season. It's not the same thing.


Exactly.

At age 19, Harper had 5.2 WAR in 139 games, Judge was presumably in college.

At Age 20, Harper had 3.7 WAR in 118 games, Judge was presumably in college.

At age 21, Harper had 1.1 WAR in 100 games, Judge was presumably in college.

At age 22, Harper had 10.0 WAR in 153 games, Judge had a .905 OPS in A and A+

At age 23 Harper had 1.5 WAR in 147 games, Judge had a .777 OPS in AA and AAA

At age 24, Harper had 4.7 WAR in 111 games, Judge had a .854 OPS in AAA and -0.4 WAR in MLB.

At age 25, Harper has 0.7 WAR in 19 games so far this year, Judge had 8.1 last year.

So, by all means, ignore the previous 6 years.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: April 21, 2018 at 09:08 PM (#5657757)
Note...I don't disagree with post 14, but comparing ages doesn't really work for this type of exercise, it needs to be comparing years(other words in 2017 Harper had 4.7 war, Judge an 8.1...) These types of list don't care about age, they aren't projecting going forward beyond this season.
   16. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2018 at 09:22 PM (#5657767)
Note...I don't disagree with post 14, but comparing ages doesn't really work for this type of exercise, it needs to be comparing years(other words in 2017 Harper had 4.7 war, Judge an 8.1...) These types of list don't care about age, they aren't projecting going forward beyond this season.


Right, but the point being that the projection is for a 25 YO with a longish history of inconsistent excellence, vs a 26 YO with one MLB season (albeit, an excellent one).
   17. BDC Posted: April 21, 2018 at 09:31 PM (#5657775)
Harper is projected to 4.9 by ZiPS, Judge to 4.4. Presumably this is in large part because of Harper's track record. You can eyeball them and say that Judge is no fluke, you can say with some reason that Harper's durability is uncertain; but if the question is who you'd bet on to have a better season in 2018, you'd bet on Harper, though not at any kind of extreme odds.

Dang, Coke to Misirlou :)
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: April 21, 2018 at 09:52 PM (#5657795)
Right, but the point being that the projection is for a 25 YO with a longish history of inconsistent excellence, vs a 26 YO with one MLB season (albeit, an excellent one).


Agree, which is why I was the first one to object to Andy's comment. But yes I have to agree with 16 and 17 completely.
   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 22, 2018 at 12:06 AM (#5657875)
Harper is projected to 4.9 by ZiPS, Judge to 4.4. Presumably this is in large part because of Harper's track record. You can eyeball them and say that Judge is no fluke, you can say with some reason that Harper's durability is uncertain; but if the question is who you'd bet on to have a better season in 2018, you'd bet on Harper, though not at any kind of extreme odds.

I'll be glad to take Judge at even money (or BB-Reference contributions or just bragging rights) with an 0.5 spot, based on little more than my having seen Judge exhibit better strike zone discipline, which is really his only major weak point. When I wrote that Judge is a better player at this point, I thought it was clear that I was talking about now going forward. Obviously if I were talking about pre-2017 performance there isn't even a conversation to be had.
   20. Leroy Kincaid Posted: April 22, 2018 at 06:22 AM (#5657905)
Judge is a better player at this point


I'd bet that on the same day that Mike Trout struck out, [insert not so good player here] got a hit and was therefore a better player at that point.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: April 22, 2018 at 07:18 AM (#5657911)
Harper is at 27 BB and 13 Ks right now. Holy smokes.
   22. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 22, 2018 at 07:49 AM (#5657912)
Pfft. Harper, Judge....pfft.

Mookie Betts-22 WAR, last 3 years. You want to discuss strike zone management? Go right ahead, this cat rarely K's and is off to another great season. Played much of last year with an injury and still had a great year, oh and he's also only 25.

Best RF in MLB is Betts.
   23. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 22, 2018 at 08:55 AM (#5657916)

Best RF in MLB is Betts.


Agreed. He is clearly the best defensive RF in baseball. He is also the best RF when it comes to baserunning. Add in the ability to stay healthy, and Harper and Judge need to be much better with the bat to pull ahead. Except Betts is leading baseball in OPS+ right now.
   24. Blastin Posted: April 22, 2018 at 09:03 AM (#5657917)
The April WAR leaderboard is always fun.

1 Mike Trout Angels (yep)
2 Mookie Betts Red Sox (yep)
3 Didi Gregorius Yankees (I love Didi, but this isn't going to last)
4 Jed Lowrie Athletics (April!)
5 Matt Chapman Athletics (April!)
6 Aaron Judge Yankees (seems last year was not a mirage)
7 Manny Machado Orioles (DWAR superstar)
8 Asdrubal Cabrera Mets (April!)
9 Bryce Harper Nationals (yep)
10 Rhys Hoskins Phillies (Carried on from last year)

But, as far as the BEST RF right now thing... all three of them are playing really well.

   25. dejarouehg Posted: April 22, 2018 at 09:10 AM (#5657918)
Hard to argue against Betts, certainly being an equal of Harper and Judge, although I don't get the sense that pitchers pitch around Betts like they do with Judge and much moreso, Harper. Of course, it's a reflection of the surrounding line-up. Regardless, Betts is terrific. Of course, if defense were ever truly appreciated, I don't think either of the other two are in Mookie's class.

I'm just not completely convinced about Harper - though I admit I'm probably wrong - and that probably has to do with the fact that he's been considered Trout's equal and I don't see it.

Last year, I had thought in spite of the gaudy numbers, Judge was a little over-rated. Watching him now, including in person yesterday, I'm almost coming around to thinking he might deserve to be in the 6-8 group.

Even though I don't like the Yankees, I find this guy to be Jeter-like, just without the stick up his ass. I can't help but like him, which pisses me off.
He's not so guarded, seems to be genuinely friendly (watch him interact with regular Yankees staff), even saw him run over to the stands 3x yesterday to give people baseballs. (Only other player I've seen be this outwardly gregarious is Steven Souza.) Took my daughter to the game and she told me that Judge lives in her Manhattan neighborhood and that her friends who see him regularly around town told her that he's a great guy and interacts with everyone. Must be the California in him.

Would love to see the Yankees tie him up for a nice long time.

   26. dejarouehg Posted: April 22, 2018 at 09:12 AM (#5657920)
Doesn't Machado deserve to be higher than 15?

Didi Gregorius Yankees (I love Didi, but this isn't going to last)
If by "last," you mean remain 3rd, you're probably right. But he is the real deal and deserves to be considered in the top of the SS class with Correa, Machado and the others.
   27. Blastin Posted: April 22, 2018 at 09:17 AM (#5657922)
I hope he can stick in that class, too!
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5657926)
If by "last," you mean remain 3rd, you're probably right. But he is the real deal and deserves to be considered in the top of the SS class with Correa, Machado and the others.


I'm not seeing it. Roughly an average fielder who is a 100 ops+ hitter, doesn't really scream elite shortstop. I'll take Correa, Andrelton, Seager, Lindor,all ahead of him, and there doesn't seem to be much difference between him, Andrus , Cozart, and Bogaerts and you have Dejong and Trea Turner looking to also be in that same level (no mention of Machado, but I'll also take him ahead of Didi). So he's more like top half of shortstops, not anywhere near top of the class though. (and it's not like he has really separated himself from the glove first guys like Addison Russell, Orlando Arcia or Brandon Crawford.---Trevor Story is an interesting case going forward)
   29. Blastin Posted: April 22, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5657930)
who is a 100 ops+ hitter


Well that's kind of the thing. If he's NOT a middling hitter anymore, then his placement changes.
   30. eric Posted: April 22, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5657938)
7 Manny Machado Orioles (DWAR superstar)


Not to get too picky, but Machado has -0.3 dWAR right now.
   31. Blastin Posted: April 22, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5657945)
That's surprising to me.
   32. dejarouehg Posted: April 22, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5657957)
I'm not seeing it. Roughly an average fielder


Again, not a NYY fan or DiDi promoter, but living in NY, I see him all the time. Any stat that says he's an average fielder is a crap stat. That said, he's certainly not the fielder that Andrelton is but the distinction between his all-around game and the others you mentioned I don't think is that great.
   33. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 22, 2018 at 12:17 PM (#5657961)
Pfft. Harper, Judge....pfft.

Mookie Betts-22 WAR, last 3 years. You want to discuss strike zone management? Go right ahead, this cat rarely K's and is off to another great season. Played much of last year with an injury and still had a great year, oh and he's also only 25.

Best RF in MLB is Betts.


I'd have a hard time arguing against that proposition. Since I almost look upon contact ability as a sixth essential tool, he might win a tiebreaker in any overall comparison. As a Yankee fan, he's scary scary on nearly the level of Big Papi or George Brett.



   34. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 22, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5657972)

Not to get too picky, but Machado has -0.3 dWAR right now.


Moved to SS just in time for his skills to decline enough to move back to 3B
   35. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 22, 2018 at 12:51 PM (#5657978)
This debate is likely to go on for years. The projection systems downgrade Judge because last season was only 1 year, and they still consider those heavily strikeout ABs from his 2016 cup-of-coffee debut. On the other hand, what he did in his rookie season puts him in with just a handful of Hall of Famers, and this year's start and the eye test suggest that was no fluke. The other guys are pretty good, too, and it's a mistake to downgrade Harper over his 2016 season when he played hurt. When healthy, he'll put up a MVP-caliber season until he hits his decline years, but he's only 25. You might be able to say the same for Betts, but mentioning any of these guys before Trout is probably a bit of a slight.

It's a Golden Age for baseball, and we aren't limited to seeing these guys maybe once a season on the Game of the Week.
   36. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 22, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5657980)
mentioning any of these guys before Trout is probably a bit of a slight.

I don't think anyone would place any of them over Trout, but the comparison here was among right fielders.
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2018 at 02:40 PM (#5658017)
Well that's kind of the thing. If he's NOT a middling hitter anymore, then his placement changes.


True, but why would anyone think he wasn't a middling hitter anymore? He hit 107 ops+ last year, that is about the ceiling to expect him, not this 215 that he is at right now, he had a 28 game stretch last season where he put up a 1.026 ops with 7 homeruns over 117 pa. He's having a hot streak to start the season, that doesn't really mean he's discovered a new level.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 22, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5658023)
From this morning:
Buster Olney, @Buster_ESPN

On his current pace, Aaron Judge would finish the season with:
205 hits
145 walks
153 runs
51 homers
128 RBI
He's got a .472 on-base percentage, and a .634 slugging percentage.

That's silly, he'll undoubtedly do better once he gets past the lousy early-season weather.
   39. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 22, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5658074)
True, but why would anyone think he wasn't a middling hitter anymore? He hit 107 ops+ last year, that is about the ceiling to expect him, not this 215 that he is at right now, he had a 28 game stretch last season where he put up a 1.026 ops with 7 homeruns over 117 pa. He's having a hot streak to start the season, that doesn't really mean he's discovered a new level.

Let's give Didi a little time. He's raised his OPS & OPS+ every season since 2014. He could legitimately be a late bloomer who responds well to MLB coaching, with his increased walk rate this [early] season possibly the final piece of the puzzle for him. He doesn't have to maintain his current pace to contribute hugely. Last year was pretty good, and even a little better will keep everyone happy.
   40. . . . . . . Posted: April 22, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5658118)
Two thoughts on Didi:

(1) He’s not an elite hitter away from NYS, but his swing is tailor made for the park. It’s almost like a Pedroia thing where he’s above average generally but a star at home.

(2) He’s 6’3, which suggests more power potential than a typical SS.

If he’s a 110 OPS+ going forward with above average SS defense, that’s a very valuable player (and another feather in the cap of the Yankee MLB scouting staff, though notwithstanding their general success over the last decade they still need to answer for Sonny “89 mph” Gray.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2018 at 05:34 PM (#5658135)

Let's give Didi a little time. He's raised his OPS & OPS+ every season since 2014. He could legitimately be a late bloomer who responds well to MLB coaching, with his increased walk rate this [early] season possibly the final piece of the puzzle for him. He doesn't have to maintain his current pace to contribute hugely. Last year was pretty good, and even a little better will keep everyone happy.


I don't disagree with that at all. I'm a fan of a team with Pham and Jose Martinez both on it, who are 29-30 year olds that not many have ever heard of, but who appear to be all star type of players right now. My point is just that he isn't "elite" right now without wearing fan covered glasses, by any statistical way of looking at it, he might be one of the 15 best at his position in the game, but clearly not top five. The original post implied that he was in the top tier, and that was something that can only be claimed by someone wearing yankee tinted glasses.
   42. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2018 at 05:59 PM (#5658151)
Again, not a NYY fan or DiDi promoter, but living in NY, I see him all the time. Any stat that says he's an average fielder is a crap stat. That said, he's certainly not the fielder that Andrelton is but the distinction between his all-around game and the others you mentioned I don't think is that great.


Not sure if you are a NY fan, but for a city that thought Rey Ordonez was an elite defender and that thinks Jeter is a gold glover, I'm not going to take the opinion of people from that city seriously when it comes to evaluating defensive shortstops. (and yes I get that Ordonez did have three good defensive years and actually made one of the greatest plays I've ever seen, but the reality was he routinely got bad first moves on balls and when he lost any flexibility he just wasn't that good)
   43. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 22, 2018 at 06:16 PM (#5658156)
I'm not going to take the opinion of people from that city . . .

Guilt by association, how does that work again?
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2018 at 06:17 PM (#5658158)
Shows why the Cards went hard after stanton and then Ozuna. No star power. I’m afraid they still need another top 25 player to make a run. Joey Votto anyone ?


Ridiculous statement, Pham was fourth in the NL in war last year and is playing as if that wasn't a fluke this year. He didn't make this list because nobody should make a list like this in the top fifty based upon one great season at age 29. Dejong has hit 32 homeuns has 124 career ops+, and 3.4 war after 128 games played in the majors. Again he just doesn't have the track record to make a list, but to say he doesn't have star power is ridiculous, a guy on pace for a 5 war 160 games to start his career, is a guy looking to be a star...but this list isn't about anything other than "who is the best player in the game today, with evidence to back up right now?" Dejong doesn't have that. Jose Martinez is in the same boat as Dejong, with the added dimension that he's a lot older. Him not making this list makes perfect sense, but to say he doesn't have star power(potential) is a ridiculous comment.

In reality the Cardinals look to have 3 5 war position players(Ozuna, Pham, and Dejong.... and Jose Martinez who might not be a war stud because of his defense and position, but will be an offensive force) and that isn't even including Carlos Martinez who is looking every bit like the ace he's projected to be. Add in that the team has above average players at every other position, and I'm not seeing how they are "not making a run for it."
   45. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2018 at 06:19 PM (#5658160)
Guilt by association, how does that work again?


Just pointing out that between using the metrics and the eye test of a population base that thinks there was a time when Derek Jeter wasn't a crappy defender, I'll take the metrics.
   46. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 22, 2018 at 06:21 PM (#5658164)
If he’s a 110 OPS+ going forward with above average SS defense, that’s a very valuable player


Gregorious has never had an 110 OPS+ in any season, and he's already 28. But yeah, if he's better than he's ever been before, he's a very valuable player.
   47. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2018 at 06:24 PM (#5658167)
Gregorious has never had an 110 OPS+ in any season, and he's already 28. But yeah, if he's better than he's ever been before, he's a very valuable player.


he's also not really an above average defender either.... by uzr in 5501 innings he's been + 2.3 per 150 games as a defender, by rField he's -1 as a defender.
   48. CrosbyBird Posted: April 22, 2018 at 11:13 PM (#5658276)
Not sure if you are a NY fan, but for a city that thought Rey Ordonez was an elite defender and that thinks Jeter is a gold glover, I'm not going to take the opinion of people from that city seriously when it comes to evaluating defensive shortstops. (and yes I get that Ordonez did have three good defensive years and actually made one of the greatest plays I've ever seen, but the reality was he routinely got bad first moves on balls and when he lost any flexibility he just wasn't that good)

Ordonez really was that good for a short while. His 1999 season is one of the greatest defensive seasons at the position of all time. After his broken arm in 2000, he was never the same, but before that, the defensive hype was merited.

I hated the Ordonez love because he was so atrocious with the bat that he was below-average in every season but 1999 (and he was a terrible offensive player in that year too). But it is not reasonable to compare the defensive evaluation of Mets fans re: Ordonez (a legitimately great glove until injured) and Yankees fans re: Jeter (who is arguably the worst accumulated defensive SS in baseball history).
   49. Blastin Posted: April 23, 2018 at 05:34 AM (#5658301)
Is it even really Yankee fans who think Jeter is an amazing defender? I think it's the national media.
   50. TomH Posted: April 23, 2018 at 08:20 AM (#5658320)
49: if we put out a poll of USA baseball fans to name the greatest shortstop ever, popular vote sadly would probably choose Jeter. It would be a highly fractured vote, with Banks, Ripken, Wagner, Ozzie, A-Rod, all getting >10%, and Yount maybe close to that. Bill Dahlen and Cool Papa Bell and Luke Appling and Joe Cronin would get nuthin. Which would say a lot about Yankee fans opinions of Derek's defense.
   51. TomH Posted: April 23, 2018 at 08:25 AM (#5658321)
But your point about the national media is valid; it has influenced fans everywhere by showing one dive into the stands in some July game over and over as if it defined greatness (while not even being the best dive-into-the-stands play IN THAT GAME!), along with many other examples we could all cite.
   52. Ithaca2323 Posted: April 23, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5658387)
Re: Jeter- I think it's more a symptom of the fact that, at the end of the day, most fans care a lot more about how good a player is offensively than defensively, and a portion of those who do care about defense don't really think about it the "right" way. They see a ground ball hit past Jeter for a hit and don't think "If Jeter had better range, that would be an out."

(1) He’s not an elite hitter away from NYS, but his swing is tailor made for the park. It’s almost like a Pedroia thing where he’s above average generally but a star at home.


Gregorius splits

2017
Home: .251/.281/.426
Road: .321/.354/.528

2016
Home: .276/.310/.478
Road: .276/.298/.417

2015:
Home: .225/.283/.326
Away: .306/.355/.399

His HR splits over that time are 29 home, 25 road
   53. CrosbyBird Posted: April 23, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5658395)
if we put out a poll of USA baseball fans to name the greatest shortstop ever, popular vote sadly would probably choose Jeter.

That's in large part because so many of them don't really care about the history of the sport. Ripken last played a game at SS over twenty years ago, and he is more famous for the streak than for his playing ability.

A-Rod is sort of a special case. He played a lot of his career in places that don't get a ton of national attention, he has the scarlet S, and he played more games as a 3B/DH than he did SS.

The correct answer is Honus Wagner, but it's somewhat understandable given that there may not be a single living person who ever saw him play.
   54. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 23, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5658416)
if we put out a poll of USA baseball fans to name the greatest shortstop ever, popular vote sadly would probably choose Jeter.

That's in large part because so many of them don't really care about the history of the sport
, period.

FIFY. They're the same types who would consider either JFK, Reagan, or Obama as the greatest president of all time, depending on their party preferences. Way too many people think the world began on sometime between their 8th and 18th birthdays.
   55. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 23, 2018 at 03:24 PM (#5658617)
# 53:
The correct answer is Honus Wagner, but it's somewhat understandable given that there may not be a single living person who ever saw him play.

See #54.
   56. Walt Davis Posted: April 23, 2018 at 05:51 PM (#5658690)
Late but ...

Yelich vs Ozuna: Yes, I thought my use of the word "established" would make it clear I meant that Yelich's career establishes him as superior to Ozuna, not 2017. Ozuna is a fine player but it is 13 WAR for 2014-17 and, eventually, the Marlins moved him to LF and Yelich to CF. Yelich meanwhile has been a clockwork 4-WAR player and has 17 for 2014-17. He's established himself as 1 WAR better per year, not a trivial distinction. ZiPS projected Ozuna to 3.7 and Yelich to 4.4 -- a pretty big gap on a list like this.

(2) He’s 6’3, which suggests more power potential than a typical SS.

Typical SS aren't "typical" SS anymore.

Seager 6-4
Correa 6-4
Machado 6-3
Simmons 6-2
Turner 6-2
Crawford 6-2

In 2017, there were 9 SS who played at least 100 games and had a listed height of 6-0 or less. Lindor hit 33 HR, Cozart 24 and Andrus 20. 8 of the 9 hit at least 11 (poor Jose Iglesias). There were 12 that were 6-1 or taller with Didi leading the way with 25 HR, Story and Correa 24, Beckham and Seager 22.

Didi is still taller but your "typical" SS these days is listed at 6-1. And about 210 lbs.

It's the latter that has probably changed the most. Sure we don't see many Pateks anymore but we never saw that many of them. In 1977, there were 5 SS listed at 6-1 or taller but Ripken was the only listed above 185 lbs with Tony Fernandez and Rafael Santana listed at 165. If you go back to 1977, you have 9 guys listed at 6-1 or taller -- I have my doubts about some -- and none is listed above 185 ... and none hit more than 8 HR.

So your "typical" SS of the past was listed at 5-11 or 6-0 and weighed maybe 170-175. Ripken at 6-4, 200 (listed) was questioned about being too big for SS. Banks was listed at 6-1, 180. The "typical" SS of today is 6-1, 210. Based on size, there's no particular reason we shouldn't expect them to hit 15-25 HR a year and, if they start early enough and last long enough, make a run at 400-500 HR as Ripken and Banks did.

   57. cardsfanboy Posted: April 23, 2018 at 06:51 PM (#5658706)
Typical SS aren't "typical" SS anymore.


That is what was always weird about the guys who made it to the majors as shortstops. Throughout most of the levels of baseball, your best athletes are the shortstops, almost every major league player was a shortstop at some point in time during their youth, and a vast percentage of them are drafted as shortstops, yet once they make it to the minors, it's been the little athletes that keep the position and everyone else is moved off into other positions. For years there seemed to be bias against great imposing athletes as shortstops. I think that they are realizing (or maybe started to realize with Ripken) that size isn't necessarily a detriment to a player at the shortstop position.


Yelich vs Ozuna: Yes, I thought my use of the word "established" would make it clear I meant that Yelich's career establishes him as superior to Ozuna, not 2017. Ozuna is a fine player but it is 13 WAR for 2014-17 and, eventually, the Marlins moved him to LF and Yelich to CF. Yelich meanwhile has been a clockwork 4-WAR player and has 17 for 2014-17. He's established himself as 1 WAR better per year, not a trivial distinction. ZiPS projected Ozuna to 3.7 and Yelich to 4.4 -- a pretty big gap on a list like this.


Yep, I read that wrong, I read it more like you were saying he established it last year, and I couldn't figure how that was possible since Ozuna had the clearly better year last year. My bad.
   58. BDC Posted: April 23, 2018 at 07:33 PM (#5658731)
For years there seemed to be bias against great imposing athletes as shortstops. I think that they are realizing (or maybe started to realize with Ripken) that size isn't necessarily a detriment to a player at the shortstop position

It’s very interesting - as if for a long time the idea was you could surrender offense at SS, not nearly to the extent you could at P, but at least to Ray Oyler extremes. Then, since the DH rule, a move toward SS who can hit (some playing strong defense as a bonus).

This is a significant trend, I think, in terms of the contention that baseball would become a two-platoon sport if it could. The DH gave the AL a chance to completely surrender offense at SS, but the opposite happened.
   59. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: April 23, 2018 at 07:49 PM (#5658735)
Plenty to argue about here, but I'll take issue with this: Kenley Jansen is one spot higher on the list than Justin Verlander (28 and 29 respectively).
   60. Walt Davis Posted: April 24, 2018 at 03:23 AM (#5658857)
Yep, I read that wrong

No worries, I could have been clearer the first time.

Plenty to argue about here, but I'll take issue with this: Kenley Jansen is one spot higher on the list than Justin Verlander (28 and 29 respectively).

Yeah, closer are too highly ranked (Kimbrel is there at least, somewhere behind Jansen which is also questionable). But we've been having the debate for a long time and they are paid pretty darn good money so teams seem to think they're pretty valuable too.

It’s very interesting - as if for a long time the idea was you could surrender offense at SS, not nearly to the extent you could at P, but at least to Ray Oyler extremes.

One question would be whether, in an _absolute_ sense, teams have surrendered defense at SS. At best we can say that Addison Russell (6-0, 200) is a lot better defensively than the average SS of today ... but no idea how he compares to Tim Foli (better TZ at the same ages, 6-0 180). If he played in Foli's day, maybe he'd be closer to average defensively. All else equal, the heavier guy is the slower guy ... but maybe Russell generates more power due to more muscles (i.e. all else is not equal).

Anyway, as I've noted, Seager is listed at 6-4 220 ... and even if it's his rookie weight, Dave Winfield was listed at 6-6 220. This is the young Dave Winfield -- he was a giant then.

As contact and G/F rates go down, it makes sense not to put as much emphasis on IF defense. Further to the extent that a 250/300/330 bat is doubly dreadful in today's game, the glove vs. bat tradeoff shifts. So it's certainly not easy to say how much is that today's athletes are bigger, bulkier and more muscular (they certainly are in baseball) and how much is a shift in philosophy/value towards offense away from defense.

And we have seen some similar declines at other positions. LF has been a mess for most of a decade -- below-average overall, not really hitting that impressively. In 2016, LF were outhit by 2B by 32 points of OPS; in 2017 they were equal; so far this year 2B are out-hitting them by 23 points of OPS. So far this year, LF are being out-hit by SS by 26 points of OPS. Who knows how long that will last but we must be approaching the point where it starts to make sense to play a more defense-oriented player at SS and move everybody down a notch on the defensive spectrum (thereby improving defense at 3-4 spots). Or play a real flycatcher in CF and move your CF to LF. (CF have outhit them the last 3 years before this and haven't been seriously outhit by LF since 2010.)

That suggests it's partly philosophy. The slightly sluggish, big, young SS isn't moved until later in his career.

Maybe there's something similar in basketball. Calvin Murphy might have been able to dribble circles around Ben Simmons but who cares?
   61. Walt Davis Posted: April 24, 2018 at 03:49 AM (#5658858)
2017 by position. Find everybody with 100+ games played at a position, take the median height and median weight (same player if possible, closest player otherwise) ... as listed obviously

1B: 6-3, 225 (Goldschmidt) ... smallest Gurriel 6-0, 190; biggest Bour, Abreu or Joseph (6-1 to 6-3, 255-265) ... 24 players total

2B: 6-0, 200 (Kinsler) ... smallest (not shortest) probably Hernandez at 5-10, 160; biggest Castro 6-2, 230 ... 17 players

SS: 6-1, 200 (Andrus or Beckham are closest) ... smallest Arcia 6-0, 165; biggest Crawford 6-2, 227 ... 21 players

3B: 6-1, 210 (Donaldson) ... smallest Bregman 6-0, 180 (I bet that's his SS weight); biggest Shaw/Bryant 6-4 and 6-5, 230 ... 19 players

LF: 6-1, 210 (Duvall) ... only 11 players with 100+ games. Benintendi 5-10, 170; Schwarber 6-0, 235

CF: 6-2, 195-200 (none exact, Cain or Yelich close) ... smallest Margot 5-11, 180; biggest Gomez 6-3, 220 ... 20 players

RF: 6-3, 220 (JDM, Harper) ... smallest Betts 5-9, 180; biggest Judge 7-0, 600 ... 21 players

DH: 6-2, 225-230 (Cruz, Kendrys) ... 8 players

This also shows that LF has become a pretty part-time position.

Comparisons from 1987, make your own adjustments for dishonesty:

1B: 6-2, 190 (Murray)
2B: 5-11, 170 (Samuel or Johnny Ray)
SS: 5-11, 170 (Scott Fletcher)
3B: 6-1, 185 (Ray Knight)
LF: 6-0, 185 (Phil Bradley ... or Bonds :-)
CF: 6-1, 175 (Willie McGee!! ... something don't seem right there, he was skinny as) ... Ellis Burks at 6-2, 175 is more believable
RF: 6-1, 185 (Danny Tartabull ha ha ... Mitch Webster is listed at the same size and more believable)

So we've picked up an inch at most positions ... and if anything, I would expect the older guys to be more guilty of rounding up to 6-0 but maybe not. And while I'm sure there was a lot of lying on weight, there'd have to be across-the-board under-reporting of 25-30 pounds per position. (I know, that's possible, many of these are rookie weights.) Even if older weights were a lot closer to today's, I bet today's players have a lot more muscle in those 210 pound bodies.
   62. dejarouehg Posted: April 24, 2018 at 05:48 AM (#5658859)
smallest Bregman 6-0, 180 (I bet that's his SS weight)
I bet that's his fantasy height as well; maybe standing on the Manhattan Yellow Pages. (Do they still exist???) Schwarber as well. Now Judge you completely nailed.
   63. PreservedFish Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:09 AM (#5658864)
Why didn't you do catcher? I have a difficult time visualizing the average catcher. In my youth I somehow became convinced that most catchers were large lumbering types, Gary Carters and Lance Parrishes, and then some point later I read somebody else characterize catchers as small wiry types, Tony Penas I suppose, and now I'm not really sure which is accurate or if it's changed over the years.
   64. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:30 AM (#5658867)
Yeah, closer are too highly ranked (Kimbrel is there at least, somewhere behind Jansen which is also questionable). But we've been having the debate for a long time and they are paid pretty darn good money so teams seem to think they're pretty valuable too.


Closers' value is skewed depending on the team. They are a lot more valuable to a good team than a similar performance on a bad team would be. A 5 WAR infielder is a 5 WAR infielder but because of leverage a reliable closer (e.g. Kimbrel) can be the difference between winning a division and not.
   65. TomH Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:58 AM (#5658870)
re 53 & 54:
Yeah, but.... baseball fans DO care about history. You can see it when they name Lou Gehrig and Christy Mathewson as two of the best ever. Why they pick Babe Ruth as the best player ever. Why Joe DiMaggio is still thought of in the same breath as Willie Mays (still alive, and many of us can remember him playing). If you asked a typical fan to pick his all-time MLB team, he might choose half of them from guys who played ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO. Yes, some would also pick the modern (1990-now) guys and sadly diss the 50s-80s, but baseball has a better long-term history assessment than most any sport.
   66. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5658972)
re 53 & 54:
Yeah, but.... baseball fans DO care about history. You can see it when they name Lou Gehrig and Christy Mathewson as two of the best ever. Why they pick Babe Ruth as the best player ever. Why Joe DiMaggio is still thought of in the same breath as Willie Mays (still alive, and many of us can remember him playing). If you asked a typical fan to pick his all-time MLB team, he might choose half of them from guys who played ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO. Yes, some would also pick the modern (1990-now) guys and sadly diss the 50s-80s, but baseball has a better long-term history assessment than most any sport.


What you're describing is a variant of the winner-take-all mentality, applied to baseball history. Ruth is Ruth, and Gehrig's remembered because of The Streak (with an assist from Cal Ripken), Lou Gehrig disease (and his farewell speech), and being Ruth's teammate on the 1927 Yankees. Have Gehrig play for the Boston Braves during that same period, take off a few days a year, die of cancer around 1959, and not be able to play in any World Series, and he'd be about as well remembered as Harry Heilmann.

Ditto Dimaggio. He had The Streak, Marilyn Monroe, 10 World Series in 13 years, Mickey Mantle as a tag-team partner, Mr. Coffee, and the overall good fortune of playing for the New York glamor team at a time when New York was at its historical apex in baseball and everything else. Give Dimaggio a few unsympathetic scoring decisions, have him stay married to Dorothy Arnold and retire to Arizona in his declining years, and play for the A's or the Phillies instead of the Yankees, and he'd be more of a cult figure among sabermetricians than he'd be the "Joe Dimaggio" we remember today.

Point is that the average fan knows about historic figures who for whatever reason have managed to stay (more or less) in the spotlight over the years for reasons which in many cases have little to do with their actual baseball achievements, and more to do with random chance. It's the same way that most politically half-literate people will remember Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and the Roosevelts, while knowing little or nothing about them other than their 2 or 3 highlight moments. It's true that there are (far) more people seriously interested in baseball history than are interested in the history of any other major sport, but as a percentage of the overall fan base I doubt if it's more than maybe 5%.
   67. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5658993)
Have Gehrig play for the Boston Braves during that same period, take off a few days a year, die of cancer around 1959, and not be able to play in any World Series, and he'd be about as well remembered as Harry Heilmann.


No, he'd be Jimmie Foxx, and Jimmie Foxx is very well remembered.

Gehrig was significantly better than Harry Heilmann. He even had a longer career.
   68. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5658995)
Plenty to argue about here, but I'll take issue with this: Kenley Jansen is one spot higher on the list than Justin Verlander (28 and 29 respectively).

Bryant 12, Arenado 7.
   69. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 24, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5659053)
Ditto Dimaggio. He had The Streak, Marilyn Monroe, 10 World Series in 13 years, Mickey Mantle as a tag-team partner, Mr. Coffee, and the overall good fortune of playing for the New York glamor team at a time when New York was at its historical apex in baseball and everything else.

Not to mention the contractual requirement that he be introduced as "The Greatest Living Ballplayer" at all of his public appearances after his playing career.
   70. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 24, 2018 at 12:40 PM (#5659068)
Have Gehrig play for the Boston Braves during that same period, take off a few days a year, die of cancer around 1959, and not be able to play in any World Series, and he'd be about as well remembered as Harry Heilmann.

No, he'd be Jimmie Foxx, and Jimmie Foxx is very well remembered.


Right, among the 5% who actually care about baseball history. You ask the average fan who Jimmie Foxx is and you're going to get little more than a blank stare and a "Who? Did you mean Jamie Foxx?"

Not to mention that Foxx played on another historically great team that many consider the equal of Ruth's Yankees. That's not how most people view the Boston Braves of the 20's and 30's.

Gehrig was significantly better than Harry Heilmann. He even had a longer career.

Sure, but Gehrig's current fame / name recognition is 95% dependent on those factors I mentioned above: The Streak, The Disease, a single line from The Speech, and being Babe Ruth's teammate during the first run of Yankees' championships. His endurance was real, but The Streak was artificially held together on several occasions. The Disease was perfectly in line with the time honored story of Great and Noble Man Struck Down By Tragic Misfortune in the Prime of Life, immortalized by Gary Cooper in a film that still has legs today, though God knows why. And the Yankees were but one of sixteen teams Gehrig could have landed on, many of which were in flyover country and mired in mediocrity between 1923 and 1939, an era with no nightly video highlights to publicize great players on overlooked teams. Bottom line is his talent was real, but his current fame is only marginally connected to his talent.
   71. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 24, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5659077)
Ditto Dimaggio. He had The Streak, Marilyn Monroe, 10 World Series in 13 years, Mickey Mantle as a tag-team partner, Mr. Coffee, and the overall good fortune of playing for the New York glamor team at a time when New York was at its historical apex in baseball and everything else.

Not to mention the contractual requirement that he be introduced as "The Greatest Living Ballplayer" at all of his public appearances after his playing career.


It also didn't hurt that he was the first real Italian-American sports hero, which took his idolization to a level in New York that a similar WASPish player might not have reached. In that respect he was to sports what Sinatra was to popular music.

(I always wondered which of those two icons' deaths would've gotten the most coverage if they'd happened to have died on the same day. Sinatra would've probably won out in most places, but in New York and the Bay area, and possibly in Florida, I think it might've been Dimaggio.)
   72. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 24, 2018 at 01:00 PM (#5659086)
The Streak, The Disease, a single line from The Speech, and being Babe Ruth's teammate during the first run of Yankees' championships. His endurance was real, but The Streak was artificially held together on several occasions.


I think you are overstating the fame of Gehrig's playing streak. It's been 20 years since Ripken finished his streak and at this point, with nobody even close, and no one going to get close, no one talks about consecutive games played. Disease, being a Yankee that won a lot, and being good, would come up way before consecutive games played.
   73. Walt Davis Posted: April 24, 2018 at 06:06 PM (#5659403)
Much of the blame for historical blindness goes on the announcing teams. They still reference Gehrig and Ruth and it obviously doesn't hurt to have a Cy Young Award but they don't talk a lot about Foxx or Eddie Collins. But then that was all nearly 100 years ago and I'm not particularly concerned that millenials may not know who Eddie Collins was.

I'm more "concerned" about my suspicions that, say, Nolan Ryan is better known than Tom Seaver, that Sammy Sosa is probably going to be nearly completely forgotten (esp in any positive sense), that excellent but not quite great players (Vida Blue say, Nomar) aren't going to be remembered the way that good but not great players were when I was a kid. Nostalgia I suppose but I was never a major baseball history buff but still, as a kid, it seems I heard about not just Gehrig and Ruth but Wally Moon, Herb Score, Jim Gilliam and of course all of those marginal Cubs and Sox stars. Dusty Rhodes was still kinda famous 15-20 years after his flukey performance (and the good nickname) and I and everyone of my friends could have told you that Don Larsen pitched that perfect game. There was still a strong NY/Brooklyn flavor to all of that and I don't know that I could have told you a single member of the Boston Braves other than the aged Ruth but the announcers were often waxing nostalgic about these "memorable" players and plays of the past.

Also "Rain Delay Theater" ... which also probably ran between games of DHs ... WGN would always show those WS highlight films so I got to see bits of those 50s-60s stars.
   74. BDC Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:08 PM (#5659454)
Give Dimaggio a few unsympathetic scoring decisions, have him stay married to Dorothy Arnold and retire to Arizona in his declining years, and play for the A's or the Phillies instead of the Yankees, and he'd be more of a cult figure among sabermetricians than he'd be the "Joe Dimaggio" we remember today

I know this is somewhat cast for rhetorical effect, but … Joe DiMaggio was about as good a hitter as Miguel Cabrera. (DiMaggio: 155 OPS+ ages 21-36; Cabrera 151 OPS+ ages 20-35; Cabrera with more playing time because no war service). Plus Cabrera is admittedly a weak defensive player, and DiMaggio, even if overrated, was a pretty strong one. DiMaggio would have won Gold Gloves if they'd had them in his day, unless his own brother had beaten him out for them.

Cabrera is a two-time MVP and a lock for the Hall of Fame. I don't know who the 1930s-50s analogue would be, because such players are so rare; but Cabrera has achieved that status while playing in Miami and Detroit and not being married to anybody I would recognize, I suppose. Not really "cult" territory. Joe DiMaggio was going to be a big star no matter where you'd have put him, especially in a day when baseball garnered so much more attention.
   75. TomH Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:35 PM (#5659480)
..unless Both of his brothers had beaten him out :) But VIncent couldn't hit enough to justify playing him full time to win a GG.
   76. TomH Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:37 PM (#5659482)
Gehrig aslo has the eye-popping ##s that go with (a) playing in the 30s and (b) hitting right behind a guy with a .470 OBP. Gehrig's RBI look superhuman for a 154-game schedule: how can anyone AVERAGE exactly ONE RBI PER GAME for 11 years is stunning.
   77. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 24, 2018 at 10:42 PM (#5659610)
Much of the blame for historical blindness goes on the announcing teams. They still reference Gehrig and Ruth and it obviously doesn't hurt to have a Cy Young Award but they don't talk a lot about Foxx or Eddie Collins. But then that was all nearly 100 years ago and I'm not particularly concerned that millenials may not know who Eddie Collins was.

Good point about the announcing teams, especially those on the national broadcasts.

I'm more "concerned" about my suspicions that, say, Nolan Ryan is better known than Tom Seaver, that Sammy Sosa is probably going to be nearly completely forgotten (esp in any positive sense), that excellent but not quite great players (Vida Blue say, Nomar) aren't going to be remembered the way that good but not great players were when I was a kid. Nostalgia I suppose but I was never a major baseball history buff but still, as a kid, it seems I heard about not just Gehrig and Ruth but Wally Moon, Herb Score, Jim Gilliam and of course all of those marginal Cubs and Sox stars. Dusty Rhodes was still kinda famous 15-20 years after his flukey performance (and the good nickname) and I and everyone of my friends could have told you that Don Larsen pitched that perfect game. There was still a strong NY/Brooklyn flavor to all of that and I don't know that I could have told you a single member of the Boston Braves other than the aged Ruth but the announcers were often waxing nostalgic about these "memorable" players and plays of the past.

This is pretty much the same point I was trying to get at. Another factor BITD was the presence of The Sporting News, which all the way up through at least the early 1960's (and maybe later) used to run one long feature article after another on some player or manager or event from as far back as the 19th century, at a time when TSN fulfilled the same role as ESPN does today.

One minor example: Every year they'd run a special All-Star game issue, and every year there would be accompanying articles about the history of the stadium where the game was being played, and bio stories of famous and not-so-famous players and executives from the host team's past. It provided even casual fans with a sense of institutional history that's mostly lacking today. Of course it was a lot easier to do this with only 16 teams in 10 cities, with no franchise movement for 50 years, and relatively little competition from football and basketball.

And one more factor: Baseball cards. I can still name the starting lineups of many or most teams from 65 years ago because of those cards, even though the only time I saw any National League non-All Stars play was in the World Series. Kids back then collected cards for fun and knowledge, not investments, and how many kids today even collect them at all, when they cost several bucks a pack instead of 6 packs for a quarter?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Give Dimaggio a few unsympathetic scoring decisions, have him stay married to Dorothy Arnold and retire to Arizona in his declining years, and play for the A's or the Phillies instead of the Yankees, and he'd be more of a cult figure among sabermetricians than he'd be the "Joe Dimaggio" we remember today

I know this is somewhat cast for rhetorical effect, but … Joe DiMaggio was about as good a hitter as Miguel Cabrera. (DiMaggio: 155 OPS+ ages 21-36; Cabrera 151 OPS+ ages 20-35; Cabrera with more playing time because no war service). Plus Cabrera is admittedly a weak defensive player, and DiMaggio, even if overrated, was a pretty strong one. DiMaggio would have won Gold Gloves if they'd had them in his day, unless his own brother had beaten him out for them.

Cabrera is a two-time MVP and a lock for the Hall of Fame. I don't know who the 1930s-50s analogue would be, because such players are so rare; but Cabrera has achieved that status while playing in Miami and Detroit and not being married to anybody I would recognize, I suppose. Not really "cult" territory. Joe DiMaggio was going to be a big star no matter where you'd have put him, especially in a day when baseball garnered so much more attention.


Put Cabrera back in the pre-TV and pre-internet era, and he'd be as unknown to casual fans today as Jimmie Foxx. The point isn't how famous Cabrera is and Foxx was during their playing careers and shortly thereafter. It's how lasting their name recognition will be (or is, in Foxx's case) among casual fans who never saw them play.
   78. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 24, 2018 at 10:46 PM (#5659614)
Gehrig also has the eye-popping ##s that go with (a) playing in the 30s and (b) hitting right behind a guy with a .470 OBP. Gehrig's RBI look superhuman for a 154-game schedule: how can anyone AVERAGE exactly ONE RBI PER GAME for 11 years is stunning.

How many casual fans today have ever heard of Hack Wilson, who still holds the record for RBI in a season? And if Hank Greenberg had been a WASP who played on religious holidays and didn't spend four years in uniform during World War II, how many biographies and documentary movies would have been written or made about him?
   79. BDC Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:05 PM (#5659621)
It's how lasting their name recognition will be

True. But as I think someone said upthread, this phenomenon is universal. You see it with artists and writers whose work you still can easily experience, let alone ballplayers that few people alive can remember.

Having written that, it’s kinda sobering to realize that the only people with much true memory of Babe Ruth playing ball are pushing 100.
   80. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:37 PM (#5659637)
I was going to (and now will) mention Hank Greenberg as a comp for Miguel Cabrera in terms of accomplishment and historical fame quotient.
   81. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 25, 2018 at 08:27 AM (#5659725)
It's how lasting their name recognition will be

True. But as I think someone said upthread, this phenomenon is universal. You see it with artists and writers whose work you still can easily experience, let alone ballplayers that few people alive can remember.


Very true. For most people, the world begins somewhere between when they turn 8 to 18. Everything before that is "before my time", and there's zero curiosity about it.

Having written that, it’s kinda sobering to realize that the only people with much true memory of Babe Ruth playing ball are pushing 100.

Long live Roger Angell!

I've mentioned this before, but in a pair of pool rooms in the 60's and 70's I knew an ex-Highlander named Johnny Priest, who had a few sips of coffee with them in 1911 and 1912. I kick myself for not trying to get to know him a lot better and getting him to talk about his experiences, not just in the Majors but in the minors, but 90% of the time I was near him I was usually either gambling or watching others doing the same. I guess I just took it for granted that he'd always be there, even though at the time he was in his late 70's and 80's. And then one day he wasn't.

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