Monday, May 7, 2012

HOF Watch: Andruw Jones

Alex and I will be starting a Hall of Fame series, discussing the HOF chances of active or recently-retired players.  As a Braves fan, I had to pick an Atlanta player first, but the Big 3 (Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz) and Chipper seem to be obvious inductees, so I thought I'd revisit the glory years of Andruw Jones.

While some of you may only know him as a platoon corner outfielder and DH, Jones was arguably the best defensive center fielder to ever play the game.  From 1997-2007, he accumulated 56.7 WAR (B-R system), the 28th most of any position player from ages 20 to 30 ever.   There are a couple names just below him on this list that I would like to call to your attention: Duke Snider and Robin Yount.  Both of these players were more offensive-based, and Yount played SS through most of the time period.  Each are in the Hall of Fame with little gripes, though it took Snider 11 ballots.

Here are a couple graphs that show Andruw compared to Snider and Yount, in terms of FG WAR.  The first one is the "n-th best season," meaning all of their best seasons are on the far left, then the second-best is just to the right, so on and so forth.  The second one is a cumulative WAR count, totaling their career WAR after each age.

As you see, Jones is right there with the two.  As I said before, Jones was much more defensively-based, which some people are reluctant to credit as much as offense.  I say a run saved is as good as a run scored, so Andruw is just as good as Snider and Yount.  At 423 HR and 10 Gold Gloves, he sounds like a sure-fire inductee.  However, his complete cliff-dive in LA and steroid whispers will likely keep him out of the HOF, even though I think he'll stay on all 15 years.

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