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Good glove, good power, poor on-base skills

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  • Good glove, good power, poor on-base skills

    A player who fields well and hits a lot of home runs at least superficially appears to be a very good, well-rounded player. However, a player who doesn't get on base frequently enough can be less-than-great despite those strengths. Who are some guys whose reputations as good two-way players were hampered only by their weakness in the on-base department? Here are some I can think of:

    Matt Williams (career .317 OBP)
    Graig Nettles (.329 OBP, he actually had a borderline Hall of Fame career despite being around the league average in OBP most of the time)
    Lance Parrish (.313 OBP, this Gold Glove catcher with over 300 homers dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot after one year)
    Gary Gaetti (.308)

    Some current players:

    Brandon Phillips (.321)
    Adrian Beltre (.329, though he may end up in the Nettles zone)

    Odd that most of these guys are third basemen. Can anybody think of some others?
    Baseball Junk Drawer

  • #2
    Tony Armas? I don't know if you could call him a defensive wizard, but he did have the arm. A couple of home run titles and a .287 OB average.
    Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Jackaroo Dave View Post
      Tony Armas? I don't know if you could call him a defensive wizard, but he did have the arm. A couple of home run titles and a .287 OB average.
      I actually thought about him. I know that when he shared an outfield with Rickey Henderson and Dwayne Murphy they were considered a strong defensive unit. His dWAR numbers on Baseball-Reference seem to back up that assertion, giving him +4 dWAR from 1980-82. For his overall career though, he was below average, apparently because he went to the Red Sox and they put him in center field, where he was ill-suited.
      Baseball Junk Drawer

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      • #4
        Ivan Rodriguez, OBP of only .334.

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        • #5
          Andrew Jones

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          • #6
            Tim Wallach, maybe? - 260 HR, 3 Gold Gloves, .316 OBP

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            • #7
              The thread title made me immediately think of Andre Dawson. 438 HR, 8 Gold Gloves, .323 OBP

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              • #8
                Andruw Jones

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ian2813 View Post
                  I actually thought about him. I know that when he shared an outfield with Rickey Henderson and Dwayne Murphy they were considered a strong defensive unit. His dWAR numbers on Baseball-Reference seem to back up that assertion, giving him +4 dWAR from 1980-82. For his overall career though, he was below average, apparently because he went to the Red Sox and they put him in center field, where he was ill-suited.
                  One way of looking at it is that he was a good enough corner outfielder to play center. Or someone who played a premier defensive position but didn't excel. And as you noted, he had that good rep, maybe like Parrish, who did lead his league in passed balls four times. Plus you have Tony's hyper-qualifying .287 OBA and a lot of RBI, which also seems to come with the territory. I think he makes the cut.
                  Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

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                  • #10
                    Players with HR > 1000*OBP, minimum 25 WAR fielding runs and OBP < .345
                    Code:
                    Rk          Player  ISO Rfield  OBP  HR    PA From   To
                    1       Sammy Sosa .261     85 .344 609  9896 1989 2007
                    2     Johnny Bench .209     75 .342 389  8674 1967 1983
                    3     Carlton Fisk .188     27 .341 376  9853 1969 1993
                    4       Cal Ripken .171    179 .340 431 12883 1981 2001
                    5     Andruw Jones .232    234 .338 424  8463 1996 2012
                    6    George Foster .206     38 .338 348  7812 1969 1986
                    7      Ernie Banks .226     54 .330 512 10394 1953 1971
                    8    Graig Nettles .173    141 .329 390 10228 1967 1988
                    9     Andre Dawson .203     70 .323 438 10769 1976 1996
                    10   Matt Williams .221     91 .317 378  7595 1987 2003
                    11   Lance Parrish .188     39 .313 324  7797 1977 1995
                    12     Gary Gaetti .179    127 .308 360  9817 1981 2000
                    Lowering the limits to HR > 800*OBP and OBP < .337 adds these guys
                    Code:
                    Rk            Player  ISO Rfield  OBP  HR    PA From   To
                    1        Gary Carter .177    112 .335 324  9019 1974 1992
                    2     Ivan Rodriguez .168    146 .334 311 10270 1991 2011
                    3       George Scott .167     84 .333 271  8269 1966 1979
                    4       Torii Hunter .193     58 .332 286  7437 1997 2012
                    5      Adrian Beltre .193    172 .329 318  8201 1998 2012
                    6      Tom Brunansky .189     44 .327 271  7169 1981 1994
                    7    Brooks Robinson .134    292 .322 268 11782 1955 1977
                    8     Vinny Castilla .200     28 .321 320  7384 1991 2006
                    9        Tim Wallach .159     66 .316 260  8908 1980 1996
                    10        Tony Armas .201     30 .287 251  5502 1976 1989
                    Last edited by Freakshow; 05-22-2012, 05:28 AM.
                    Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

                    Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

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                    • #11
                      Wow, thanks for the lists, Freakshow! It looks like all the guys we thought of were among the best examples.

                      I think most of us would agree though, that some of these guys were legitimate greats despite their OBP flaws. Some of them were hurt by playing in low-scoring eras, and others were helped so much by their defense, positional adjustment, and/or peak value that they belong in the Hall of Fame. The types I find interesting are the ones who'd perhaps be all-time elite players if they were only better at getting on base.
                      Baseball Junk Drawer

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                      • #12
                        Here I was thinking that by "poor on-base skills" the OP meant terrible base-runners.
                        "(Van) Mungo and I get along fine. I just tell him I won't stand for no nonsense, and then I duck."
                        Casey Stengel

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                        • #13
                          Rob Deer was a pretty good RF.

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                          • #14
                            Rob Deer actually had solid on-base skills. He had a career .220 BA but a career .324 OBP. That 104-point difference between his BA and OBP is excellent.
                            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                              Rob Deer actually had solid on-base skills. He had a career .220 BA but a career .324 OBP. That 104-point difference between his BA and OBP is excellent.
                              Well, getting on base can be done through a walk or a hit, so on-base skills aren't just about the ability to draw bases on balls.

                              A .324 OBP just isn't good. A guy who bats .330 but doesn't draw many walks has better "on-base skills" than a guy with a low BA who draws enough walks to get his OBP up to .324.
                              Baseball Junk Drawer

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