Thursday, May 19, 2005


I was trying to come up with a list of the 10 or 20 best position players in baseball the other day. Something interesting about this sort of thing is that very few of the best position players in the game have rings. The best players in the game with rings are Maddux and Clemens. The third and fourth best pitchers also have rings. The best position player with a ring is a little harder to come up with.

Barry Bonds
Alex Rodriguez
Albert Pujols
Bobby Abreu
Todd Helton
Frank Thomas
Jeff Bagwell
Vlad Guerrero
Eric Chavez
Scott Rolen
Mike Piazza
Jeff Kent

None of those players, a mix of the veterans with the best careers and the best young established players have rings. Most of them have been in the postseason at least once. The contestants for best player with a ring are:

Larry Wayne Jones
Manny Ramirez
Ivan Rodriguez
Derek Jeter
Bernie Williams

That's about it. Some people like Garrett Anderson and a lot like David Ortiz. Javy Lopez and Jorge Posada have some claim. Luis Gonzalez had a nice second half to his career. Derek Lee has a great 7 weeks under his belt. Edgar Renteria had a bright future not too long ago. I don't think I'm leaving anyone out, though, and I think that I've identified the five best candidates.

Now, I'm going to use my Wins Added statstic to compare the five of them. It's only an offesnive stat.

Chipper has 53 wins added for his career and 4.8 per 600 PA. He's also the worst defensive third baseman ever to have a long career.

Manny has 52 wins added for his career and 4.8 per 600 PA. He's a worse fielder than Jones at an easier position, so I'm going to eliminate him.

Rodriguez has 44 wins added for his career and 3.7 per 600 PA. He was great at throwing out runners, but overrated defensively. Even with the positional adjustment, I don't think he's ahead of Chipper and their careers are likely to spread further apart.

Williams has 50 wins added for his career and 3.7 per 600 PA. He used to play only below average defense at a key position, but he's done and if Rodriguez is gone, so is he.

Jeter has 44 wins added for his career and 4.3 per 600 PA. If he was a good shortsop, he'd win, but he's as bad as Chipper is.

So, Chipper wins barely over Manny, Ivan and Jeter in that order. He got his ring ten years ago. All four of these guys are probable Hall of Famers.


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