most underrated players

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prompted by a recent perusal of the statistics of active leaders in WAR, in which 19 and 20 stood out:

1. Alex Rodriguez (34) 101.50 R
2. Albert Pujols (30) 81.40 R
3. Chipper Jones (38) 80.00 B
4. Ken Griffey (40) 78.40 L
5. Derek Jeter (36) 70.00 R
6. Jim Thome (39) 69.00 L
7. Jim Edmonds (40) 68.00 L
8. Manny Ramirez (38) 67.30 R
Ivan Rodriguez (38) 67.30 R
10. Scott Rolen (35) 65.70 R
11. Andruw Jones (33) 59.10 R
12. Vladimir Guerrero (35) 58.40 R
13. Bobby Abreu (36) 57.70 L
14. Todd Helton (36) 57.50 L
15. Carlos Beltran (33) 55.40 B
16. Ichiro Suzuki (36) 53.10 L
17. Jason Giambi (39) 52.90 L
18. Johnny Damon (36) 48.10 L
19. Mike Cameron (37) 47.40 R
20. J.D. Drew (34) 46.80 L

also pondering a guy like Paul Konerko, who has been hiding away on the south side of chicago for a decade+ now and whose stats are definitely not on the same level w/other guys of his era, but who probably doesn't deserve to be forgotten come HOF voting time (by "not forgotten" i mean he deserves to stick around on the ballot for away before dropping away.)

favorite all time underrated/illest batting stance: mickey tettleton

('_') (omar little), Wednesday, 18 August 2010 23:22 (ten years ago) link

Dang, Alex has a big lead on Pujols there.

no gut busting joke can change history (polyphonic), Wednesday, 18 August 2010 23:23 (ten years ago) link

if you consider that a-rod has had 15 full seasons at the end of '10 to pujols' 10 full seasons, it's a surmountable one imo

('_') (omar little), Wednesday, 18 August 2010 23:25 (ten years ago) link

Is WAR a cumulative stat?

no gut busting joke can change history (polyphonic), Wednesday, 18 August 2010 23:25 (ten years ago) link

i think Griffey can come off that list - which would leave Posada at 20.

oreo speed wiggum (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Wednesday, 18 August 2010 23:26 (ten years ago) link

oops, he sure can

also, leaders in adjusted OPS+, which has a-rod at #4 just behind jim tho-

('_') (omar little), Wednesday, 18 August 2010 23:30 (ten years ago) link

jim thome

('_') (omar little), Wednesday, 18 August 2010 23:30 (ten years ago) link

50. Matt Stairs (42)

0_o

oreo speed wiggum (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Wednesday, 18 August 2010 23:32 (ten years ago) link

Well, if you take WAR as gospel, the two guys who jump out at me are Scott Rolen and Andruw Jones. Jones was a big deal five years ago, but you don't hear much about him anymore; Rolen bounces around from team to team. Yet they're right there with a bunch of Hall of Famers, and ahead of much more publicized players like Helton, Beltran, Damon, etc.

clemenza, Thursday, 19 August 2010 02:34 (ten years ago) link

My favourite underrated player ever is Tom Henke. He was as good year-in and year-out as other relievers who got far more attention.

clemenza, Thursday, 19 August 2010 02:38 (ten years ago) link

hey speaking of WAR, i read a blog entry today that noted that dante bichette's career WAR was a robust 2.0 because of his horrendous fielding.

('_') (omar little), Thursday, 19 August 2010 21:13 (ten years ago) link

there was a blog post on baseball reference a couple of weeks ago about how is WAR was, i believe, -0.2 in the year that he finished second in MVP voting, because of his horrendous fielding

be my anchor baby (J0rdan S.), Thursday, 19 August 2010 21:17 (ten years ago) link

we read the very same entry in that case. i love the comments on that w/people rhapsodizing about his epic offensive numbers that year. people still don't quite get the whole notion of how such offensive contributions can be wiped out in other areas of the same player's game.

('_') (omar little), Thursday, 19 August 2010 21:19 (ten years ago) link

billy wagner

almost 12k per 9 innings for his career and has a shot at getting his career WHIP below 1.00 by the end of his season (supposedly his final one)

('_') (omar little), Friday, 20 August 2010 00:15 (ten years ago) link

i realize he's not really underrated by those who know what he's done but i feel like he doesn't get enough credit for his career sometimes.

('_') (omar little), Friday, 20 August 2010 00:16 (ten years ago) link

special credit for:

Wagner was a natural-born right-handed person, but after breaking his right arm twice in accidents, he taught himself to throw baseballs using his left arm by throwing thousands of balls against the wall of a barn, and then fielding the rebounds, and repeating.

('_') (omar little), Friday, 20 August 2010 00:17 (ten years ago) link

he's on both my fantasy teams for a reason!

oreo speed wiggum (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 20 August 2010 00:20 (ten years ago) link

I was just looking at Wagner's career stats yesterday and thinking, "Wow--he's a serious HOF candidate." One bad year (2000), and good-to-great-to-brilliant the whole rest of the way. The career batting average against him is 0.188. You never know where the HOF line is with relievers, but he's got to be third in line after Rivera and Hoffman, and you probably wouldn't have to work too hard to make a case that he's a better pitcher than Hoffman. (Only real negative is that he's been awful in postseason, which based on 11 innings is hardly a big deal.)

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 01:42 (ten years ago) link

Wagner is 100+ IP short to qualify for this:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/whip_career.shtml

Look at Pedro!

Andy K, Friday, 20 August 2010 10:43 (ten years ago) link

All-time WHIP leader Addie Joss' K/9 was 3.6.

Andy K, Friday, 20 August 2010 10:47 (ten years ago) link

Wagner was a natural-born right-handed person, but after breaking his right arm twice in accidents, he taught himself to throw baseballs using his left arm by throwing thousands of balls against the wall of a barn, and then fielding the rebounds, and repeating.

Holy $***! I had no idea.

Wagner is definitely underrated -- I remember it being a really big deal when he imploded in 2000 and he never seemed to regain his aura after that (I mean, 124 K's in 74 IP in 1999? That's insane) even though he was still a great pitcher. A huge strike against his HOF case is that he never played for a "winner". Are there any closers in the HOF who weren't considered cornerstone players on WS-winning teams? (besides Bruce Sutter, who's mainly in because he got the credit for inventing a pitch)

He not only didn't win, but he closed for a bunch of teams who are perceived as underachievers and chokers -- the B&B Astros, mid-2000's Phillies, late-2000's Mets. And he was a disaster in the postseason when his teams did manage to make the playoffs.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 20 August 2010 11:12 (ten years ago) link

And BTW, I think it's U&K to rely on postseason numbers to make a HOF case for a closer. A closer's job is a lot more important in the postseason (not just the importance of the games, but the fact that closers need to pitch a higher %age of their team's innings compared with the regular season).

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 20 August 2010 11:23 (ten years ago) link

most underrated '70s/80s player: Bobby Grich

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Friday, 20 August 2010 11:24 (ten years ago) link

Ken Singleton's also name gets mentioned for the same time period

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 20 August 2010 13:00 (ten years ago) link

I agree that a closer's role is magnified in the postseason (everyone's is, to a degree), but I just have a hard time giving great weight to an 11-inning sample in a guy's HOF resume. I made the same point with regards to Dawson on another thread. And with Wagner, it comes down to about half of those 11.2 innings; in 5.2 of them, he gave up 11 runs. So you're looking at 5.2 innings in a 16-year career.

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 13:16 (ten years ago) link

Let me put it another way: I'm a lot more in favour of using a great post-season career to make a case for somebody (again, based on a decent sample) than I am the reverse.

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 13:19 (ten years ago) link

Well, if you take WAR as gospel, the two guys who jump out at me are Scott Rolen and Andruw Jones. Jones was a big deal five years ago, but you don't hear much about him anymore; Rolen bounces around from team to team. Yet they're right there with a bunch of Hall of Famers, and ahead of much more publicized players like Helton, Beltran, Damon, etc.

both these guys played all-time-great defense at their positions, especially jones, which is why their numbers are so high

ciderpress, Friday, 20 August 2010 13:23 (ten years ago) link

Brian Roberts seemed hugely underrated for a long time

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Friday, 20 August 2010 13:34 (ten years ago) link

That's what happens when you're competing with David Eckstein!

Andy K, Friday, 20 August 2010 13:48 (ten years ago) link

In the age of WAR and VORP and all that stuff, I wonder if the whole idea of an underrated baseball player is becoming antiquated. I can't see players flying under the radar anymore to the degree they might have 30 years ago. I suppose "underpublicized" will always be a fact of life, depending upon where you play, but underrated, I'm not so sure.

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 13:54 (ten years ago) link

I agree that a closer's role is magnified in the postseason (everyone's is, to a degree)

Not really though ... I think the average closer pitches about 5% of his team's innings in the regular season. In the playoffs it's 10-11%. No other type of player gets twice as much PT in the playoffs.

Let me put it another way: I'm a lot more in favour of using a great post-season career to make a case for somebody (again, based on a decent sample) than I am the reverse.

For the most part I agree, but the outcome of a season hinges a lot more on what the closer does. The team is hurt a lot more by a blown save than by a star hitter going 0-4. And your math on Wagner's career is seriously shady ... he was brutal in more than half of his postseason appearances, that's a huge failure rate for a closer. You can't just focus on the other appearances when he didn't suck, any more than you can say that, I don't know, if you eliminate Ryan Howard's strikeouts then he'd be a .420 hitter.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 20 August 2010 14:14 (ten years ago) link

Well, we disagree. I don't think I'm misrepresenting his numbers, though. In 5.2 of his 11.1 postseason innings--exactly half--Wagner gave up 4 hits, 0 walks, 2 earned runs, struck out 8, saved 3, and had an E.R.A. of 3.18. Not spectactular, but pretty solid. In the other 5.2 innings, he was an absolute nightmare: 16 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, 11 earned runs, no saves, and an E.R.A. of 17.47. It's not an exact parallel, because there's no postseason in the education business, but when I retire in about 12 years, I hope I'm not judged by my five worst days as a teacher--I'd have been out of a job long ago.

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 14:34 (ten years ago) link

In the age of WAR and VORP and all that stuff, I wonder if the whole idea of an underrated baseball player is becoming antiquated. I can't see players flying under the radar anymore to the degree they might have 30 years ago. I suppose "underpublicized" will always be a fact of life, depending upon where you play, but underrated, I'm not so sure.

in terms of quantified, context-neutral baseball value you might be right, but there's plenty of other ways to 'rate' a player imo

ciderpress, Friday, 20 August 2010 14:50 (ten years ago) link

xpost it's not just his five worst days, it's *half* of his postseason record. You can't pick and choose the half that happens to support your case, the bad half counted just as much.

And ten appearances aren't a huge sample size, but it's spread over a number of years. He had a bad year every year!

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 20 August 2010 15:20 (ten years ago) link

Ciderpress: We're probably coming from the same place here. I'm not especially hung up on WAR/VORP; I'm a stats guy, but more traditional OBP/SA stuff. (Hah--now OBP and SA are "traditional.") And I hope you're right; not being able to argue about over/underrated players would be a big loss to what it means to be a fan. But I think it's much more unlikely that a Bobby Grich would happen today. Anyone who keeps reasonably well informed would know all about him; Neyer and Posnanski and Baseball Prospectus would make sure of that. More casual fans would miss him, so maybe you're right--maybe things haven't changed that much after all. (I've gotta be honest: I'm looking at Grich's lifetime stats, and Bill James and Morbius notwithstanding, I'm not clear on why Bobby Grich was so underrated. He was excellent in '79 and '81. The rest of time, agreeing that he drew a lot of walks for a second baseman, I'm not seeing what makes him so noteworthy--not as a hitter, anyway.)

NoTime: I've conceded that Wagner was brutal for half his postseason innings. No argument whatsoever. I just don't see that that's reason to keep him out of the Hall of Fame--not if you believe he deserves to be there based on his in-season play. (If you don't, then sure, the postseason becomes one more argument against him.) When Winfield was up for induction, I don't think the voters gave much weight to his postseason performance, which basically amounted to one huge hit in the '92 Series and not a whole lot else.

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 15:35 (ten years ago) link

i don't see any reason to keep wagner out of the hall of fame based on 11 innings out of almost 900 pitched. whether his entire peformance record is good enough is a separate question, but that's the one that should be discussed.

ciderpress, Friday, 20 August 2010 15:48 (ten years ago) link

Just to be totally honest, and argue against myself, one of the reasons Wagner's IP total is so low for the postseason is that half the time, he couldn't get anybody out. You've got to get some people out to pile up innings. Apparently, they just kept running guys up to the plate who'd hit safely.

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 15:52 (ten years ago) link

First, I'll reiterate that Wagner probably doesn't have much chance of getting voted in because he didn't pitch for "winning" teams (fairly or unfairly). In the three-tiered playoff system, guys play a lot more postseason games than they used to, so postseason performance is going to figure more strongly into HOF voting (which to me seems fair). Also, nobody really has any idea what the HOF standard is for closers because their role is constantly changing. But it's safe to say that everyone from this era will measured against Rivera and Hoffman, and Wagner looks set to be the Tim Raines to their Rickey Henderson.

I also think that there will always be underrated players ... Neyer and Posnanski and BP are a really small piece of the pie. Chase Utley hit five homers in last year's WS and was STILL underrated -- everyone talked about ARod becoming a "true Yankee" and the "Yankee Four" and Pedro and by the last game, Matsui.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 20 August 2010 16:06 (ten years ago) link

Cart way before horse: a Braves WS win this year would cinch Wagner for the HoF, y/n?

My totem animal is a hamburger. (WmC), Friday, 20 August 2010 16:09 (ten years ago) link

The fate of bordlerline cases like Wagner may be affected by how the whole steroids issue resolves itself with regards to the HOF. If, as seems to be the case right now, PED-associated players are locked out, then I think the Wagners and Damons and Smoltzes will inevitably benefit. Enough to push some of them over the line, I don't know.

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 16:30 (ten years ago) link

not necessarily, at all

xp

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Friday, 20 August 2010 16:31 (ten years ago) link

Not necessarily, no. As a practical matter, though, I think that keeping PEDs out will do two things: one, it will free up space, and I think the voters will instinctively want to fill that space; and two, psychologically, "clean" players may start to be over-valued. You've indicated this yourself, right, in connection to the deification of Griffey?

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 16:41 (ten years ago) link

Oops--you were responding to WmC!

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 16:43 (ten years ago) link

can't wait until the 2012 HoF voting when the writers inevitably lock out the 2nd best hitter of all time and the 2nd best pitcher of all time by WAR

ciderpress, Friday, 20 August 2010 16:46 (ten years ago) link

the upcoming ballots are pretty loaded though so unless they start letting in more than 2-3 guys a year i think a lot of the borderline cases are gonna slip away

ciderpress, Friday, 20 August 2010 16:48 (ten years ago) link

for '13 you've got biggio, bonds, clemens, piazza, and sosa. two of them will get in right away, right? or maybe only one?

('_') (omar little), Friday, 20 August 2010 16:50 (ten years ago) link

I think there'll be four tiers: 1) the Bonds/Clemens/A-Rod tier, where the writers (grudgingly) decide they were HOF-clear pre-PED and put them in; 2) the McGwire/Palmeiro/Ramirez tier, the guys who are punished; 3) the Bagwell/I-Rod/Thome tier, players who've never been named and who never failed a test but who seem suspicious anyway (this is a tier completely of my own making; I have doubts about all three)--not sure what happens with them; 4) everybody else.

clemenza, Friday, 20 August 2010 16:53 (ten years ago) link

i think Wagner's HOF case will be made in the coming years. if he can move up on the all time saves list (he's - um, 6th right now?) he could make it in as long as he stays productive for a few more years. the only person ahead of him still pitching well is Rivera (as Hoff seems to have lost it this year).

xpost

oreo speed wiggum (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 20 August 2010 16:54 (ten years ago) link

somebody wrote a column abt this today, will link later

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Friday, 20 August 2010 17:01 (ten years ago) link

back to the thread topic, i think the prototype 'underrated players' in terms of WAR are the guys who are consistently worth 3-5 WAR each year but aren't flashy enough to build a reputation as great players

david dejesus and nick markakis are the first two that come to mind

ciderpress, Friday, 20 August 2010 17:13 (ten years ago) link

another year under the radar i might put Rendon on that list

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 20 August 2014 20:55 (six years ago) link

yeesh i'm not sure anyone's missed the klubes train this year, which is his first full year as a good baseball pitcher

gordon should've been somewhere

linda cardellini (zachlyon), Wednesday, 20 August 2014 22:06 (six years ago) link

Hiroki Kuroda deserves a prize for being underrated even though he's played with the Yankees and Dodgers for his entire career.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Wednesday, 20 August 2014 22:35 (six years ago) link

ya, i have no idea how he pulled that off.

Porto for Pyros (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Thursday, 21 August 2014 01:15 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

Ian Kinsler. I was looking at this career box the other day:

-- his career WAR is 46.7 after his age-33 season (didn't get started till he was 24); his per-season WAR is 4.7, per-650 PA 5.4
-- only twice (1.9, 2.4) in 10 seasons has he been under 4.0
-- 184 HR, may end up in the 250 range
-- 100+ runs five times, between 70-90 RBI seven times
-- excellent defense, pretty good speed
-- MVP votes four out of 10 seasons
-- JAWS has him as the 23rd best second baseman ever

Real longshot, but--coming off WARs of 5.0/5.7/6.0--four or five more seasons like that and he'd be in the HOF gray area. Is he generally regarded as one of the most underrated players in the game? He doesn't show up in this thread.

clemenza, Thursday, 10 December 2015 01:36 (five years ago) link

one year passes...

^^^ian kinsler is i think turning into the new Beltre, as far as consistency and that creeping possibility of a good HOF case. not sure he can have another four or five seasons like his last few but if he does he'll be approaching a career WAR of 80. that's probably a real stretch, though.

nomar, Wednesday, 18 January 2017 18:15 (four years ago) link

he'll probably pass jeff 'most homers by a second baseman' kent in WAR this year but i think kinsler will be hurt by a) never getting anywhere near an MVP b) maybe never being the best hitter on his own team

mookieproof, Wednesday, 18 January 2017 18:31 (four years ago) link

Similar Batters
Hanley Ramirez (910)
Chase Utley (910)
Brandon Phillips (903)
Travis Fryman (888)
Rich Aurilia (888)
Bret Boone (884)
Bobby Grich (879)
Jhonny Peralta (875)
Joe Gordon (875) *
Dustin Pedroia (868)

Andy K, Wednesday, 18 January 2017 19:30 (four years ago) link

As I wrote on some other thread, I think Adrian Gonzalez's home parks (Dodgers and Padres for the bulk of his career) have ensured that he'll never get any HOF consideration. He's basically the opposite of Troy Tulowitzki:

(close to the same number of games)

Home: .280/.354/.459/.813, 127 HR, 513 RBI
Away: .300/.369/.524/.893, 181 HR, 633 RBI

If you simply double his road stats, he still falls short. But if you take his road stats and add them onto a favorable home park(s), who knows.

clemenza, Thursday, 19 January 2017 01:50 (four years ago) link

until writers learn to look beyond unadjusted dinosaur slash stats -- hey, there are already some! it's not 1997! wowza!

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 19 January 2017 01:57 (four years ago) link

five months pass...

was surprised to not see Beltre on the above list, but that list wasn't including the 2010. since the beginning of that season, he's accumulated 46.2 WAR and passed everyone on that list except Pujols and A-Rod. also 17 of those guys have retired (except Beltre, Pujols, and Suzuki.) the current active top 20:

1. Albert Pujols (17, 37) 100.2 R
2. Adrian Beltre (20, 38) 90.7 R
3. Carlos Beltran (20, 40) 70.4 B
4. Miguel Cabrera (15, 34) 69.7 R
5. Chase Utley (15, 38) 64.8 L
6. Robinson Cano (13, 34) 64.3 L
7. Ichiro Suzuki (17, 43) 59.2 L
8. Ian Kinsler (12, 35) 54.8 R
9. Mike Trout (7, 25) 51.9 R
10. Joe Mauer (14, 34) 51.1 L
11. Dustin Pedroia (12, 33) 51.0 R
12. Joey Votto (11, 33) 50.3 L
13. David Wright (13, 34) 49.9 R
14. Evan Longoria (10, 31) 48.5 R
15. Matt Holliday (14, 37) 45.6 R
16. Curtis Granderson (14, 36) 45.4 L
17. Ryan Braun (11, 33) 44.4 R
18. Troy Tulowitzki (12, 32) 43.7 R
19. Adrian Gonzalez (14, 35) 43.2 L
20. Ben Zobrist (12, 36) 43.1 B

nomar, Monday, 26 June 2017 16:39 (three years ago) link

oops, Beltran also hasn't retired. anyway, Beltre is also the only one still playing at a high level.

nomar, Monday, 26 June 2017 16:40 (three years ago) link

i guess from that list, in keeping w/the spirit of this thread, I think Evan Longoria is super underrated. playing in Tampa doesn't help, and maybe neither does the fact that he was a massively hyped prospect who was maybe overshadowed and has simply had a vv quietly outstanding career to date.

nomar, Monday, 26 June 2017 16:42 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

was a lil surprised that Nellie cruz only has 28.1 career war tho I guess a product of not being a regular til he was 28 yrs old & prob having negative defensive ratings factored in

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 16:49 (three years ago) link

nick markakis being a decent two week stretch away from 2,000 career hits is blowing my mind.

nomar, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 17:01 (three years ago) link

for some reason i often find myself navigating to cruz's stat pages and being surprised by his WAR, as well.

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 17:29 (three years ago) link

personally, i always underrate ian kinsler. it's totally arbitrary, but he's 12th in fWAR since 2010

i guess it's just because he's in the AL so i rarely watch him play, and he accumulated a lot of his value through solid defense, which lends itself to underratededereradfdsf

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 17:32 (three years ago) link

I was thinking about Cruz the other day, that he might be on a list of highest percentage of career WAR accumulated during a player's 30s.

clemenza, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 17:41 (three years ago) link

Comparison to three guys I associate with this:

Cruz - 20.5 WAR during 30s/28.1 career WAR = 73%
Bautista - 27.7/34.7 = 80%
Jeff Kent - 40.6/55.2 = 74%
Luis Gonzalez - 32.5/51.5 = 63%

Bautista was 29 when he hit 54 HR, otherwise he'd be up near 100%. I think it's much more common for this to happen with pitchers.

clemenza, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 18:00 (three years ago) link

also
edgar martinez - 49.6 of 68.3 = 73%
ozzie smith - 52 of 76.5 = 68%

i should subscribe to the B-R play index so i can see the top ten and past twenty

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 18:16 (three years ago) link

The Jays had two of them--Edwin just crossed 60%, and I wouldn't be surprised if he works his way up to 75% by the time he retires.

clemenza, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 20:19 (three years ago) link

The flip side:

Albert Belle - 68% before he turns 30
Juan Gonzalez - 78%
Ken Griffey Jr. - 84%
Andruw Jones - 92%
Nomar Garciaparra - 93%

clemenza, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 20:59 (three years ago) link

mark fidrych - %100

mookieproof, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 23:16 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Elvis Andrus? Crossed 30 WAR last season, most years in the 4.0-4.5 range, off to a great start in 2019. Jays fans will always remember him for his role (two crushing errors) in the bat-flip inning.

clemenza, Sunday, 14 April 2019 21:53 (one year ago) link

six months pass...

In James's piece on the greatest center fielders ever:

"I guess that what I am saying is that even among underrated players, (Jimmy Wynn) is underrated. We have a kind of list of historically underrated players, in our field; Bobby Grich, Darrell and Dwight Evans, Gene Tenace, Rick Reuschel. I’m not sure that Wynn gets the references that he deserves on that list."

James has him 14th, a little higher than Jaffe (17th).

clemenza, Saturday, 19 October 2019 12:19 (one year ago) link

five months pass...

brian giles

Karl Malone, Monday, 30 March 2020 23:55 (ten months ago) link

OBP
1998: .396
1999: .418
2000: .432
2001: .404
2002: .450
2003: .427
2004: .374
2005: .423

Karl Malone, Monday, 30 March 2020 23:58 (ten months ago) link

five months pass...

Conceding some recency bias here, José Abreu? He's really putting together a steady, solid career, with a possible MVP this year. His career OPS+ is 136. Haven't really heard a lot about him since his rookie year.

clemenza, Saturday, 19 September 2020 00:29 (five months ago) link

really good player; tough that he arrived so late and that we are no longer impressed with first basemen

we'll have to settle for stories about how his veteran leadership helped tim anderson/luis robert win other awards

mookieproof, Saturday, 19 September 2020 07:03 (five months ago) link

Abreu got a fair amount of press his rookie year as hit power was so impressive, but the White Sox have been in the doldrums until now.

Add Abreu onto Konerko and then Big Hurt before being a primary DH and the Sox have had a really long run of good hitting first basemen.

earlnash, Saturday, 19 September 2020 11:13 (five months ago) link

"I think a question on Dunn is whether he will hit the wall like Richie Sexton did, who is probably one player that is somewhat similar to Dunn (although he didn't draw as many walks). Sexton was pretty consistently decent, losing only one season to injury and he hit age 32 and he was finished. Don't know if this will be the fate of the Big Donkey or not, but it could be."

Poor Big Donkey, he hit the wall.

earlnash, Saturday, 19 September 2020 11:18 (five months ago) link

Ray Durham is a player who was solid, never really a star, but you could do worse having him at second for a decade.

2000+ hits - .277/.352/.436

Durham did not have as much power, but probably similar career to Ian Kinsler. Hall of Very good at least.

earlnash, Saturday, 19 September 2020 11:24 (five months ago) link

two months pass...

A list of the worst base-stealers ever (based on success rate over 300+ attempts) showed up on my FB wall today. Don Buford was on there at 65.6%.

He was a name when I first started following baseball, so I remember him well. Looked him up, and, in a very short career, definitely underrated.

Only played 10 years, age 26-35, including a 12-game call-up in 1963. Over that time: yearly WAR from 2.3 - 4.9, except for that call-up and a poor final season (4.5 per 650 PA); MVP votes in four out of nine full-time seasons; one of the best position players on the Orioles' historic '69-71 run (about even with Boog Powell after Frank Robinson and Paul Blair; a bit ahead of Brooks Robinson).

Still alive at 83.

clemenza, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 21:48 (two months ago) link

contrary to my statement above, we *are* still impressed by first basemen

mookieproof, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 21:57 (two months ago) link

I was mistakenly looking at Buford's oWAR for those years, not total. Corrected range: 2.5 - 6.9, minus his first and last season.

clemenza, Wednesday, 16 December 2020 00:06 (two months ago) link

The old timers at the Orioles Hangout forums never game him the same respect they gave Boog, Belanger or Blair, probably cause he didn't have a standout traditional skill. He was sort of a Zobrist type before anyone knew how valuable that was. Or a worse fielding Bobby Grich.

Lotta B names on those Orioles teams

, Wednesday, 16 December 2020 01:13 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

James tries to quantify underrated and overrated (not behind the paywall):

https://www.billjamesonline.com/the_perception_deficit_score/

clemenza, Monday, 4 January 2021 07:25 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

Salvador Perez? Very consistent, coming off what likely would have been a career season at 30 if played out. He got some attention when the Royals were in the WS, but I don't hear a lot about him otherwise.

clemenza, Wednesday, 20 January 2021 14:22 (one month ago) link

he's a victim of playing in KC, in terms of exposure. if he was in NY he would be a legend

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 20 January 2021 18:36 (one month ago) link

actually, ok, i overstated that, glancing at his stats. i always thought of him as a defensive wunderkind but at least on fangraphs, the defensive stats don't seem to reflect that. that's probably just fangraphs-specific: they added catcher pitch-framing to WAR a while back, as we all probably remember, and there were some HUGE repercussions on career WAR numbers. perhaps Perez was one of those that lost some "value"?

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 20 January 2021 18:38 (one month ago) link

he was pretty middling there for a couple years before missing 2019. good power, absolutely refuses to take a walk.

offhand i can't remember seeing a bigger split between bWAR (24.2) and fWAR (11.9)?

mookieproof, Wednesday, 20 January 2021 19:00 (one month ago) link

Yeah, I was going by bWAR, where he does decently offensively but really well defensively.

clemenza, Wednesday, 20 January 2021 19:34 (one month ago) link

Anyone else find it really odd when a catcher can’t walk to save his life? Like you’d think being a fucking catcher, they’d have a good idea where a ball might be going.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Wednesday, 20 January 2021 21:03 (one month ago) link

yeah, yadier molina very much cannot take a walk either

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 20 January 2021 21:10 (one month ago) link

It’s weird, right?

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Wednesday, 20 January 2021 21:11 (one month ago) link

it is, and it's excruciating to watch sometimes. but i wonder if that comes down to different styles of hitting. some players are "guess hitters", picking a certain kind of pitch or location, or walking up thinking "i'm going to swing full strength on the first pitch", or taking all the way. other guys are more about insanely fast judgments, pitch recognition, figuring it out in the moment.

yadi seems very much like the former, a guess hitter who is frequently betting on himself to swing first and figure it out

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 20 January 2021 21:20 (one month ago) link

i think i remember yelich saying that he didn't "guess", and that it was all just quick reactions and pitch recognition for him

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 20 January 2021 21:21 (one month ago) link

I suppose when you’re catching, pitch recognition is meaningless when you know whats coming.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Wednesday, 20 January 2021 22:25 (one month ago) link

New Rule for 2021: Catchers get to call their own pitches while at bat.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 20 January 2021 22:39 (one month ago) link


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