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George Sisler vs. John Olerud

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  • George Sisler vs. John Olerud

    I think this is a pretty interesting comparison. Both were excellent defensively and provided a lot of value offsenively despite not being big power hitters.

    So, who was better and why?
    27
    John Olerud
    18.52%
    5
    George Sisler
    81.48%
    22
    My top 10 players:

    1. Babe Ruth
    2. Barry Bonds
    3. Ty Cobb
    4. Ted Williams
    5. Willie Mays
    6. Alex Rodriguez
    7. Hank Aaron
    8. Honus Wagner
    9. Lou Gehrig
    10. Mickey Mantle

  • #2
    I'd have to go with Olerud.

    A solid case could be made for both, but Olerud played in about 100 more games and had a career OPS+ of 129 compared to Sisler's 125. I'd also give Olerud a slight edge defensively.

    It's hard to ignore Sisler's monster peak from 1917-1922 as well as his plus-plus speed. However, I stuck with Olerud because of his consistency and plate discipline.
    Rest in Peace Jose Fernandez (1992-2016)

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    • #3
      Good match-up. Good fielding, stylish high average medium power 1B. Olerud had the bonus of drawing walks, as much as such a skill is anathema to some. In my 1B rankings I have Sisler one spot ahead of Olerud based on the peak and that it was consecutive. Olerud had some monster seasons but they were spread out (93, 99). I could just take the easy way out and go league quality and give it to the more recent fellow but I'll pass and give it to the man who stood out more in his day. (Typing that made me wonder if Olerud is a another steroid screwee)

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      • #4
        Too much peak for Sisler for Olerud to overcome.
        1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

        1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

        1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


        The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
        The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

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        • #5
          This is a great comp for me. I definitely take league "quality" or depth into consideration and also player longevity but freak injuries are something different altogether. Aside from his injury there is really not a reason to believe that Sisler would have declined poorly. I have to give Olerud some credit for actually producing value in a deep league but I am more concerned with the innate value "potential" that a player would have in a typical setting and Sisler wins this handily for me. Just looking at war through age 29, Sisler produced 7.1 WAR per 162 games and Olerud 4.6 per 162 games.

          In addition to value, and ability to produce value (which may be interrupted by a freak injury or something like a unique ballpark), I like to look at a player's ability to do things that were thought to be valuable, even if they were overrated in their time. Sisler had a .361 average through age 29 and already nearly 1500 hits. He had a .361/.404/.510 line. He did things defensively that were considered to be valuable. Sisler was a good baserunner for a first baseman and as a 4 time leader in steals was also doing something perceived to be valuable in his time even if the raw steals totals were not producing that much in actual value. First base was a more valuable position at the time. In fact WAR only gives first base about 80% of the deduction for position as today, but Sisler threw lefty. There is a good possibility that with his speed and arm he would have been an outfielder and possibly a centerfielder today at least part of the time. Clearly good speed, (lead league in triples and steals last 2 years before injury) and as for his arm he pitched over 100 innings, 126 ERA+ and 5.1 Ks per 9 innings in a league that produced fewer than 3 Ks per 9 innings so he pretty clearly had an arm. He played 12 games in CF and 37 total in the outfield and even a little at second and third.

          Sisler is in my hall of fame any way I do it, even using advanced metrics. Without the injury he probably goes for 75 WAR and I wouldn't cut more than about 15 for league depth. (keep in mind that in total wins that would be like dropping him from 125 to 110 or rather dropping a replacement guy from about 4 to 2.8 per 162.

          Olerud was a truly good fielder. His .295/.398/.465 line is quite good and for 2200+ games but its not as good for a firstbaseman of his era and there is really nowhere that he could play besides first. He was a solid but not spectacular post season performer.

          I would put Sisler clearly in the hall of fame and Olerud clearly out (there are quite a few first basemen around his value level and low 50s war without something else in the mix doesn't cut it for me. Helton would probably be my top first baseman NOT in and he's solidly above Olerud. Hernandez, Clark, others are between him and being in. Sisler's peak would probably have him around top 10 first basemen for me.
          Last edited by brett; 12-26-2012, 08:28 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Matthew C. View Post
            Too much peak for Sisler for Olerud to overcome.
            Yeah, I'm sort of leaning that way too. Though Olerud has A LOT more competition at 1st base during his era. Sisler wasn't competiting with any all-time greats at the position (besides Gehrig at the end of Sisler's career) . Olerud was up against Bagwell, Thomas, McGwire, Palmeiro, Thome, Delgado, Helton etc...Much harder to stand out at 1st base during the 90's and early 2000s than it was during the 20's.
            My top 10 players:

            1. Babe Ruth
            2. Barry Bonds
            3. Ty Cobb
            4. Ted Williams
            5. Willie Mays
            6. Alex Rodriguez
            7. Hank Aaron
            8. Honus Wagner
            9. Lou Gehrig
            10. Mickey Mantle

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Matthew C. View Post
              Too much peak for Sisler for Olerud to overcome.
              Sisler had peak, but I don't think peak alone should necessarily raise a guy. Consistency is as important as peak for me. If a guy puts up a natural 50 war in 10 years and another guy puts up 50 in 15, I don't believe that the first guy is necessarily ANY better. Why is an 8 war season better than 2 4 war seasons? For me, is it only better because of the likelyhood that the first guy might have done more if healthy, but some guys just decline faster and that is part of their skill set and make-up. If Sisler's peak had not been interrupted by a freak injury that might not have happened today I would rate him lower than Olerud.

              By the way, pitching peak is different because a pitchers peak is packed into a few games so there is a greater interaction of runs saved.
              Last edited by brett; 12-26-2012, 08:36 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by GiambiJuice View Post
                Yeah, I'm sort of leaning that way too. Though Olerud has A LOT more competition at 1st base during his era. Sisler wasn't competiting with any all-time greats at the position (besides Gehrig at the end of Sisler's career) . Olerud was up against Bagwell, Thomas, McGwire, Palmeiro, Thome, Delgado, Helton etc...Much harder to stand out at 1st base during the 90's and early 2000s than it was during the 20's.
                I think managers over-avoided poor fielding first baseman with better bats at the time. They would rather try to hide them in the outfield.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Went with Gorgeus Jorge here. Has too big a peak, don't care whatever the Borgs current spin on him is. Olerud was solid and did more than he gets credit for.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TomBodet View Post
                    Went with Gorgeus Jorge here. Has too big a peak, don't care whatever the Borgs current spin on him is. Olerud was solid and did more than he gets credit for.
                    Tom, who are the Borgs? (I'm not sure I want to know.)
                    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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sisler wins this one easily, mainly because he had 5 seasons that can be classified as 'great', and Olerud really only had 2. it's clear that Sisler's 'normal' level of play was superior to Olerud.

                      I really don't get how someone can consider Olerud HOF worthy. He is basically Norm Cash, because his one amazing early season set high standards that he could not come close to for the remainder of his career. if you take out 1993, he is Mark Grace.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jackaroo you don't wanna know.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TomBodet View Post
                          Jackaroo you don't wanna know.
                          I think you have broken the record for most uses of the term "borgs" on one form of media in a 24 hour period. Overly-clever cliche alert!
                          1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                          1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                          1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                          The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                          The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by brett View Post
                            Sisler had peak, but I don't think peak alone should necessarily raise a guy.
                            I never said that was the only reason I had him ahead - I just didn't list all of them.
                            1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                            1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                            1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                            The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                            The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TomBodet View Post
                              Went with Gorgeus Jorge here. Has too big a peak, don't care whatever the Borgs current spin on him is. Olerud was solid and did more than he gets credit for.
                              He seems a bit Manush if you ask me.

                              Comment

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