Baseball Primer Newsblog
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Ross Moschitto…you’ve been screwed again!
20. Don Mattingly, 39.8
Not surprised that Mattingly rates in the top 20, even considering his short career, but I am a bit surprised about some of the players that are ahead of him, like Combs, who is generally accepted as one of the weaker center fielders in the Hall of Fame. But, that’s one of the features (or failings, depending on your POV) of WAR – it gives bonus points to players who man important defensive positions. Mattingly was a first baseman and DH for pretty much his entire career. In looking back at Donnie Baseball’s career I am a bit surprised that he only had four seasons in which he was a great ballplayer. The rest of his career was borderline All-Star quality, especially for a first baseman. I watched him play, and I remember thinking that he was very good for a few years, but that he was never scary good like George Brett or Mike Schmidt or even Jim Rice.
17. Roy White, 43.0
It’s fashionable to call White “underrated” – and in fact I can email you 3-4 articles from The Sporting News from the 1970s that mention White and use the word “underrated” a lot. When I did my player rankings he kept coming up ahead of Jim Rice, no matter how I tweaked the formula.* When I emphasized park effects, White would be ahead of Rice. When I de-emphasized career and emphasized peak performance, Rice nudged real close or even surpassed Roy, but White wasn’t far behind at all. It doesn’t seem like Roy White could possibly have had a more valuable career than Jim Rice (44.3 WAR), but it’s quite possible he did when you factor that Jim Ed was a DH for a long time. By the way, White was almost an exact match for Lou Whitaker as an offensive player.
5. Derek Jeter, 69.3
Jeter contributes 4.3 WAR per 162g and he’s still humming along. However, and this is a part of WAR I wonder about – he gets “credit” for being a shortstop even if he’s obviously one of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball. Yes, dWAR “subtracts” WAR from him for his lack of range, but there’s still a positional adjustment. Someone who lives and breathes WAR is invited to explain to me how that makes sense. Seeing as how Jeter is now getting only about 2 WAR per season, if the Yankees move him to another position (say left field), he would be basically a marginal major league player, at least according to this stat. If he somehow keeps getting that 2 WAR per, he could skip past Joltin’ Joe, but he has no chance of getting any higher on this list.
*Used my Super-Umbrakinesis Power to darken.
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