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Jan 212011

With the Yanks officially signing Andruw Jones yesterday, I took a look at his numbers and began to wonder if he has date with Cooperstown in his future. He was an elite player with the bat during his prime, and his reputation as a CF is well known. At first glance, his offensive numbers seem to fall a bit short, but his outsized reputation as the games best defender at a premium defensive position made me think the modern defensive metrics and WAR that take defense into account might be more kind to him. Here’s his offensive numbers courtesy of BR:

Year                      Age            Tm            Lg    G   PA   AB    R    H  2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB   SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+   TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB   Pos      Awards
1996                       19           ATL            NL   31  113  106   11   23   7  1   5   13   3  0   7   29 .217 .265 .443 .709   79   47   1   0  0  0   0                98
1997                       20           ATL            NL  153  467  399   60   92  18  1  18   70  20 11  56  107 .231 .329 .416 .745   93  166  11   4  5  3   2 *98/7       RoY-5
1998                       21           ATL            NL  159  631  582   89  158  33  8  31   90  27  4  40  129 .271 .321 .515 .836  116  300  10   4  1  4   8    *8          GG
1999                       22           ATL            NL  162  679  592   97  163  35  5  26   84  24 12  76  103 .275 .365 .483 .848  113  286  12   9  0  2  11    *8          GG
2000                       23           ATL            NL  161  729  656  122  199  36  6  36  104  21  6  59  100 .303 .366 .541 .907  125  355  12   9  0  5   0    *8   ASMVP-8GG
2001                       24           ATL            NL  161  693  625  104  157  25  2  34  104  11  4  56  142 .251 .312 .461 .772   94  288  10   3  0  9   3    *8          GG
2002                       25           ATL            NL  154  659  560   91  148  34  0  35   94   8  3  83  135 .264 .366 .513 .878  127  287  14  10  0  6   4  *8/D  ASMVP-16GG
2003                       26           ATL            NL  156  659  595  101  165  28  2  36  116   4  3  53  125 .277 .338 .513 .851  117  305  18   5  0  6   2    *8  ASMVP-13GG
2004                       27           ATL            NL  154  646  570   85  149  34  4  29   91   6  6  71  147 .261 .345 .488 .833  112  278  24   3  0  2   9    *8          GG
2005                       28           ATL            NL  160  672  586   95  154  24  3  51  128   5  3  64  112 .263 .347 .575 .922  136  337  19  15  0  7  13    *8 ASMVP-2GGSS
2006                       29           ATL            NL  156  669  565  107  148  29  0  41  129   4  1  82  127 .262 .363 .531 .894  126  300  13  13  0  9   9  *8/D  ASMVP-11GG
2007                       30           ATL            NL  154  659  572   83  127  27  2  26   94   5  2  70  138 .222 .311 .413 .724   87  236  16   8  0  9   4    *8          GG
2008                       31           LAD            NL   75  238  209   21   33   8  1   3   14   0  1  27   76 .158 .256 .249 .505   35   52   5   1  0  1   0               8/D
2009                       32           TEX            AL   82  331  281   43   60  18  0  17   43   5  1  45   72 .214 .323 .459 .782  100  129   7   2  0  3   3             D7/39
2010                       33           CHW            AL  107  328  278   41   64  12  1  19   48   9  2  45   73 .230 .341 .486 .827  119  135  15   3  0  2   0              987D
15 Seasons         15 Seasons    15 Seasons    15 Seasons 2025 8173 7176 1150 1840 368 36 407 1222 152 59 834 1615 .256 .338 .488 .826  111 3501 187  89  6 68                    68
162 Game Avg.   162 Game Avg. 162 Game Avg. 162 Game Avg.  162  654  574   92  147  29  3  33   98  12  5  67  129 .256 .338 .488 .826  111  280  15   7  0  5                     5

His career went south at such a young age (30) and his experience in Tinseltown was such a disaster that it’s easy to dismiss him. It’s safe to say the beat writers in Los Angeles won’t be voting for him anytime soon. But it’s important to remember he was playing and producing at an elite level from age 21. For a 9 year period from 1998-2006 he was widely recognized as the best defensive centerfielder in the game and hit 30+ HRs seven times. Had he been called up to the bigs later and done that from ages 24-33, people might view the arc of his career differently. But that shouldn’t matter. The numbers are what they are, and a 9 year stretch of dominance at your position puts you in the conversation for Cooperstown.

But the advanced metrics make the best case for Andruw. In terms of defense, his reputation was well founded.  During the peak of his career he was the best defensive player in Baseball, period. From 1998-2006 he lead all fielders with a 19.8 UZR-150 and 97.2 UZR. The only player in the game that was even remotely close was Adrian Beltre (19.0/90.1) the next closest after him was Scott Rolen (16.9/71.9) both of whom played 3B. He averaged 6.75 WAR each season from 1998-2006 and has 70.5 total for his career (87th all time). To put that in some sort of context, that puts him ahead of HOF Hank Greenberg (68.2) sure fire HOFers  Mike Piazza (68.2) Derek Jeter (70.4) and recent inductee Roberto Alomar (68.2). He is virtually identical to that of Mark McGwire (70.6) who is primarily being excluded for steroid allegations. He’s still just 33, so if he plays a few more years he should finish his career in the neighborhood of greats like Manny Ramirez (72.2) and HOFers Ernie Banks (74.1) Robin Yount (74.1) and ahead of all time greats Duke Snider (71.7) and Yogi Berra (71.4). Though I would be the first to admit there are many other non-HOF names that he is bunched in with once you get past the top 60 WAR players.

BRs black ink/grey ink Hall of Fame Monitor has him falling a bit short, but that measure only looks at batting. When you add his outstanding defense at a premium position, it may put him over the top. Andruw looks like the type of candidate who will have to take time to build a case. He’s not a no-brainer, and voters will have to be comfortable with advanced fielding metrics for his candidacy to build steam. Maybe he’ll be the next Bert Blyleven, and someone like Rich Lederer will take up his cause by promoting UZR-150 data along with his offense. Personally I’m on the fence with Andruw, but he’s close enough where I’m listening intently to any who want to make his case.

7 Responses to “Is Andruw Jones a HOFer?”

  1. The case for Andruw will be unreal glove, enough offense. Similar to that of Ozzie Smith. But Ozzie was an exceptionally popular player, and the BWAA writers just couldn’t wait to elect their buddy Ozzie. Andruw seems to be a more quiet guy, and while stuff like this shouldn’t matter it unfortunately does. If I had to guess, he gets in after a few years of eligibility and guys like Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine are already inducted and beating the drum for his case. Chipper probably makes it as well, in a similar fashion.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  2. I have steroid suspicions on Jones based on how quickly and early his career fell off a cliff and while they may not be warranted I believe if I have questions about it so will the writers and as we saw with Bagwell that is all they need to keep you out.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Steve S. Reply:

    There will need to be something more tangible than speculation to keep him out. In any case, his case is as much about his glove as his bat.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    What is tangible about the speculation surrounding Bagwell? He was friends with a steroid user?  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  3. no way is andru jones a hall of famer. if he has a shot cecil fielder has a shot.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Alex Taffet Reply:

    Cecil Fielder??? Fielder had an .827 OPS and played first base, poorly. Andruw Jones had a better OPS, and played centerfield as well as anybody since Willie Mays. If you are into advanced metrics, Fielder falls about 50 WAR short of Jones. There is absolutely no comparison between the two.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Brent Reply:

    What do you make that thought on?  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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