Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Hall of Merit > Discussion
Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Jim Edmonds

Eligible in 2016

DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2015 at 12:47 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2015 at 12:51 PM (#4874266)
WAR says a Cardinals cap by 37.9 to 20.6 as an Angel
   2. Qufini Posted: January 06, 2015 at 02:28 PM (#4874491)
Edmonds will make my ballot next year. Not sure if he'll be top 15 or top 10, but he'll be on there.
   3. rudygamble Posted: January 06, 2015 at 05:35 PM (#4874722)
Seems like a definite HOM guy although it'll be extremely difficult next year with Griffey, Mussina, and Smoltz near locks.

Was there an HOM-worthy CF (as in 10+ years at the position) that debuted in the 60's/70's/80's aside from Griffey (1989 debut)?

The 90's/00's saw a nice CF bumper crop with Griffey, Edmonds, Beltran, A. Jones, Bernie Williams and Lofton
   4. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 06, 2015 at 06:45 PM (#4874782)
Although none are in the top half of the hall of merit, Jimmy Wynn, Reggie Smith, and Andre Dawson all qualify as good to defensible picks from the 60s-80s era for centerfielders.
   5. rudygamble Posted: January 07, 2015 at 10:03 AM (#4874991)
Although none are in the top half of the hall of merit, Jimmy Wynn, Reggie Smith, and Andre Dawson all qualify as good to defensible picks from the 60s-80s era for centerfielders.

Good point on all three - though Smith/Dawson played < 50% of their innings at CF and Wynn is only in the 66% range. Wynn might have been pushed out a year or two early because Houston had Cesar Cedeno...who has a great case for the best under 30 CF of those three decades.
   6. Moeball Posted: January 07, 2015 at 01:25 PM (#4875236)
Per B-Ref, Edmonds is 90th all-time in overall position-players WAA, 8th among CF with at least 1700 games played in CF.

It's a good place to start the discussion.

Of the 7 CF ahead of him, the top 5 are, in order: Mays, Cobb, Speaker, Mantle, Griffey.

All great hitters, plus great defense with some, and all top-rate no doubters.

#6 is Lofton, #7 is Andruw Jones; there may be some questions by some as to whether their defensive rankings are overstated; for both of them the defense is a bigger part of their overall value than for the top 5.

Lofton - BREF has him at +108 runs above average defensively, but I noticed DRA only has him at +29 for CF. That's a big difference, enough to impact his career WAA by about 8 wins.

Jones - BREF has him at +236 runs defensively, DRA has him at +205 for CF. There's a lot more consensus that Andruw was just lights out running down fly balls.

For all Edmonds' reputation defensively and the Gold Gloves, BREF shows him at only +37 defensively whereas DRA has him rated much higher at +112 runs in CF.

I might be inclined to move Edmonds above Lofton in the rankings.

For those here at the Factory who are Small Hall advocates, I would guess they feel that the top 1/2 of 1% are probably about all that should be in the HOF. With over 17,000 MLB players in history that puts the total at about 85 or so players, roughly the top 9 players at each position if you're going to evenly weight positions.

I'm a 1% guy myself - I think the HOF should have 170 or so players at this point in time (that includes pitchers), given the number of players there have been so far.

I would say Edmonds easily clears the bar for my criteria; he's probably in the top 125-150 players ever. For the Small Hall people I would say he's borderline, maybe on the outside looking in, but I don't think he'd be too far out.

How do others here view Jimbo?
   7. DL from MN Posted: January 07, 2015 at 02:06 PM (#4875285)
My CF list is

Griffey Jr

Edmonds v Snider is a pretty apt comparison.

   8. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: January 07, 2015 at 02:39 PM (#4875321)
My top 10 is the same as DL's, other than having Mays and Cobb switched for the top 2 spots.

My next 4 are also Snider, Hines, O'Rourke and Edmonds. I haven't finished my complete analysis of Edmonds yet, but he could be anywhere from 11th-14th, with the other 3 in that order.
   9. Harvest Posted: January 07, 2015 at 03:49 PM (#4875369)
I have Edmonds as the 11th best major league CF as it stands right now, but he could move up a slot if I revise Lofton's defensive numbers down. Other than with Lofton, I seem to agree with Binkley in terms of the top CF, although I also have Dawson in the just-after-top-10 group as I evaluate him as if his career ended after 1992.
   10. Moeball Posted: January 07, 2015 at 03:50 PM (#4875372)
It didn't even occur to me that DiMag didn't play 1700 games in CF so I reduced the games played requirement and of course he pops up on the list. Yeah, of course he'd be in the top 5 as well which drops Jr. to 6th.

As for Oscar, Turkey and Cristobal, yes, I could see them up there as well which could push Edmonds out of the top 10. I'd still say he qualifies if he's in the top 15. That's a pretty select group of players.

Now that I reexamine it, Snider does look like a pretty good comp, although I would rank Edmonds above him due to defense.
   11. bjhanke Posted: January 08, 2015 at 04:38 AM (#4875755)
I live in STL, so I got to see a lot of Jim. He wasn't flashy, so I don't know that anyone thought of him as Hall material until he retired and the numbers showed up. I vaguely remember that the Cards were able to get him for less than his value because he had become a problem child with the Angels. But I don't know what he did, and I have no memories of his being a problem with the Cards. What he did have, at least what I saw, was a long stride that ate up distance without giving the impression that he was running fast. His range numbers are much higher than I would have guessed, but when I think back to that, it makes sense. He also had a good arm, and good fundamentals about such things as throwing to the right cutoff man or base. His reputation in STL is not as good as it should be, because the general STL fan is still hooked on Willie McGee hero worship. If you took a Hall poll in STL, McGee would beat Jim handily. But that is just wrong. McGee was flashy, but had serious holes in his game (K, BB, arm, SB%, power). Except maybe for striking out, Edmonds was better than McGee at just about everything. Willie McGee was a very good ballplayer. Jim Edmonds was better enough that a Hall candidacy does not strike me as wrong at all. - Brock Hanke
   12. OCF Posted: January 08, 2015 at 10:12 PM (#4876526)
From my files of baseball memos, I've got this document. I probably printed it out to give it to a friend - how quaint. It was apparently written in the 1999-2000 offseason. It's pretty long - a 10 page Word document. The largest section is a Keltner list for Tim Raines, who had just retired. But it also has the following. (Note that I live in Southern California, and some of my sources were probably the local papers.)

The Angels traded centerfielder Jim Edmonds to the Cardinals for starting pitcher Kent Bottenfield and second baseman Adam Kennedy. From a Cardinal point of view, I’m reasonably pleased with this trade. From a neutral point of view I can see this as a reasonably fair trade, one that might help both teams. But I’m always wary of pronouncing that kind of immediate judgment - I’ve been wrong many times before. When the Cardinals traded Garry Templeton for Ozzie Smith I understood that the Cardinals had to move the behavior problem but I regretted that they had to take such a talent loss to do so. I thought it was a good trade for the Cardinals to trade Andy Van Slyke for Tony Peña; time proved that one very wrong. When the Dodgers traded Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields I defended the Dodgers’ actions as reasonable even though I thought Martinez would be a good pitcher. [...]

[Long boring discussion of Adam Kennedy and Kent Bottenfield, with side references to Joe McEwing and Fernando Vina and frequent comparisons to Mark Grudzielanek]

So that’s what the Angels got from the Cardinals. In exchange, the Cardinals got Jim Edmonds. Edmonds will turn 30 on June 27, so in baseball terms he could be considered a young 30 or an old 29. He was hurt most of last year, so he only got about 200 at bats and didn’t (by his standards) hit very well. So, were the Angels giving up much when they traded him? Everyone knows that the Angels have “too many outfielders.” There are some fringe players around to complicate the picture, but mostly this is about four players: Edmonds, Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson, and Darin Erstad. To get a quick picture, let’s look at some lifetime percentages:

Tim Salmon: Age 31+, .291/.393/.524
Jim Edmonds: Age 30-, .290/.359/.498
Garret Anderson: Age 28-, .300/.331/.444
Darin Erstad: Age 26-, .282/.339/.433

That chart makes clear that Edmonds is the second best offensive player of the four, quite a bit better than either Anderson or Erstad; better because he draws more walks and hits for more power. He’s also older than Anderson or Erstad, but I don’t expect any of them to significantly improve from what they now are. Of course he’s not as good a hitter as Salmon, but Salmon is an under-appreciated nearly-great player.

What about defense? Edmonds is a great centerfielder. In some seasons he’s had defensive statistics that are simply eye-popping, which serves to confirm his reputation. The others are also good defensive players. Anderson should be quite good in center field. Salmon does awfully well for a slow outfielder. Erstad also had amazingly good defensive stats as a left fielder, but why was it Erstad that moved to first base when that was the open spot? All four are good, but Edmonds is the best of them.

So why, if the Angels want to get rid of an outfielder, should it be Edmonds that has to go? He’s the second best of the four offensively and the best defensively. Why not get rid of Erstad, who seems to rank fourth of four in both categories? I hear that the Angels don’t like Edmonds’s attitude. There seem to be two main pieces of evidence against Edmonds. The first is that, with a shoulder problem that potentially required surgery, he didn’t have the surgery in the fall but put it off until spring, which then ruined his 1999 season. The second problem is that he apparently doesn’t take losing with what his teammates consider sufficient remorse and breast-beating. What do I think of these? With respect to the timing of the surgery, wasn’t it Edmonds’s own career at stake? Edmonds himself stood to suffer the most from any lapse of judgment of his medical needs - why should you call it “selfish” if he decided one way rather than another? Perhaps he thought he could recover without surgery but found in the spring that that was wishful thinking. I’m not going to second-guess him or his doctors. As for the second, his demeanor after losing games - what a crock of a manufactured issue! I also hear Edmonds criticized for going too hard during games, for risking injury in trying for an impossible catch. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t accuse him both of caring too much and not caring enough. A baseball season is 162 games long, and even great teams lose 60. You can’t win baseball games on emotion and effort alone. A team has to steady out the emotions, to keep an even keel. Who cares whether the way a player acts on the bus after the game depends on the score?

As a Cardinal fan, I’m very happy to have Edmonds, and I see the proposed outfield of Ray Lankford, Jim Edmonds, and J. D. Drew as a potentially outstanding grouping. Lankford is an ex-centerfielder and an outstanding, broadly skilled player. Edmonds is the same type of player as Lankford, not quite as good a hitter as Lankford, but a real centerfielder right now. The 24-year-old Drew reminds me of a young Andy Van Slyke - he doesn’t hit for average yet, but he draws some walks, has good power, steals some bases, and might be a future centerfielder.

It's clear in retrospect that Edmonds greatly exceeded the expectations I had for him. He greatly exceeded any reasonable expectations from that point. His best seasonal WAR through age 29 had been 5.6, and that was already several years in the past. Immediately after the trade, starting at age 30, his seasonal WAR went 6.3, 5.8, 6.7, 6.0, 7.2. How may position players have all five of their best seasons at ages 30-34? It's not common.
   13. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2015 at 09:26 AM (#4876635)
If Griffey could have had those numbers ages 30-34 he'd be ahead of DiMaggio
   14. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 10, 2015 at 11:11 PM (#4877939)
Lofton - BREF has him at +108 runs above average defensively, but I noticed DRA only has him at +29 for CF. That's a big difference, enough to impact his career WAA by about 8 wins.

Jones - BREF has him at +236 runs defensively, DRA has him at +205 for CF. There's a lot more consensus that Andruw was just lights out running down fly balls.

For all Edmonds' reputation defensively and the Gold Gloves, BREF shows him at only +37 defensively whereas DRA has him rated much higher at +112 runs in CF.

DRA (Thru 2009)/BREF/FG/BP
-118, -40., 3......, -73., - Griffey
125.., 37..., 73...., 58..., - Edmonds
80...., 58..., 29...., 25..., - Beltran
231.., 236., 281.., 119., - Andruw
30...., 108., 139.., -6..., - Lofton
-61.., -139, -143, -15, - Bernie
   15. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 10, 2015 at 11:45 PM (#4877954)
Your mileage way very on the top 4:

Top 7 same as DL

Griffey Jr


Splitting Hairs:


These are tough placements that I am not 100% sold with:

Bottom Quarter HOM:


Just off consideration set:

The 1890s group of Griffin, Duffy, Van Haltren, Ryan are a conundrum that I have limited confidence in.
   16. 185/456(GGC) Posted: January 21, 2016 at 06:21 AM (#5138961)
I have been thinking about how Edmonds stacks up versus another CFer on the ballot; Kenny Lofton. After giving this some thought and perusing Seamheads, Baseball Reference, Fangraphs, and Baseball Prospectus, I think that Lofton is the superior candidate. But it is closer than I expected. I can see slotting Edmonds higher than Lofton.

If you look at career superstats, only BWar shows Lofton ahead and that's by 8 WAR. FWAR has it as essentially a dead heat. BPro, Gauge WAR, Win Shares and WSAB "like" Edmonds better. When you break it down between offense and defense, Edmonds career numbers come out better; except at bb-ref. I think they value Lofton's baserunning ability more. The defensive systems have less agreement. Fangraphs and bb-ref see Lofton as the better fielder. Win Shares is neutral on the matter. I think you have more faith in BPro's FRaa and DRA. Both see Edmonds as better in CF.

Edmonds played more consistently at an all star level, but I don't think he was better than Lofton at their respective bests. FWIW, I see that JAWS has Lofton ahead of Edmonds, but I think 7 years is too long a period to count as peak, so I didn't factor it into my decision.

I think raw career stats make it harder to see how good Lofton was. His peak was around the strike in 1994 while Edmonds was a later bloomer and peaked about 10 years later. Lofton led the league in WAR in 1994 with 7.2, but it doesn't look as impressive a season as some because he only played 112 games. Assuming he played 154 games (his career high,) that's a 10 WAR season.

There are two ways, I’d change my mind on this.

1.) I’d have to look at peak differently. I’m more concerned with ”how high?” than anything else.
2.) I’d have to be convinced that Edmond’s glove outweighs Lofton’s legs.
   17. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 21, 2016 at 09:34 AM (#5139027)

The 90's/00's saw a nice CF bumper crop with Griffey, Edmonds, Beltran, A. Jones, Bernie Williams and Lofton

At first I thought you were talking about Adam Jones - then I remembered Andruw Jones. Adam Jones does have a chance though - early start to his career, he's up to 27.5 WAR through age 29, the question is does he age like Edmonds (20.4 thru 29/39.9 after) or Andruw (57.9 thru 29/4.9 after).

Adam either needs to pick up the pace (season high for WAR is only 4.8) or play a long time, looks like 12 years in CF does not do wonders to your body and he's already got 8 seasons in the books.
   18. bobm Posted: January 21, 2016 at 09:49 AM (#5139041)
I’d have to be convinced that Edmond’s glove outweighs Lofton’s legs.

Then it is not close IMO. As a CF Edmonds seemed to get bad jumps on the ball and then make overrated diving catches to compensate.

   19. ReggieThomasLives Posted: January 21, 2016 at 10:19 AM (#5139061)
Peak WAA
Edmunds 38
Lofton 38.6

Both worthy for HOF IMO.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF


Thanks to
Phil Birnbaum
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.


Page rendered in 0.3549 seconds
43 querie(s) executed