11/15/2004: Over at all-baseball.com....
While A-Rod has certainly received his due throughout his career, Edmonds is generally viewed as a good player rather than a great player. Edmonds’ offensive productivity has essentially been the same as Rodriguez’ over the past four years during a period in which the latter has won an MVP and led the league in home runs three times, runs and total bases twice, plus slugging average, extra-base hits, runs batted in, and runs created once each.Interesting article, and probably a "must-read" for stathead wannabes (like me)....
I’m not trying to take away anything from A-Rod. He deservedly is considered one of the two best players in all of baseball and the finest in his league. Rodriguez was also on pace to become one of the two best shortstops in the history of the game before shifting to third base last year in an attempt to win his first World Series championship. When A-Rod retires, he will be remembered as an inner circle Hall of Famer—perhaps one of the top 20 players ever.
Why then is Edmonds so overlooked? It’s my contention that he unfairly gets grouped among all outfielders rather than just center fielders when discussing and comparing players. Comparing CF to LF and RF is almost like viewing SS in the same light as 1B and 3B. Just as not any infielder can play short, most corner outfielders are incapable of playing center. Saying that Edmonds “plays center” is an understatement. He has won seven Gold Gloves, including five in a row.
Although Edmonds ranks among the best outfielders as detailed in the table above, he has unquestionably been the best center fielder in the game over the past four years.Center Fielders[RCAA = "Runs Created Above Average", a measure of offensive excellence --LRC]
1 Jim Edmonds 216
2 Carlos Beltran 121
3 Bernie Williams 91
4 Lance Berkman 55
5 Mark Kotsay 51
Edmonds, in fact, has shown a similar superiority over his fellow center fielders as Bonds has over the entire field. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not suggesting that Edmonds compares favorably to Bonds. I’m only making the case that he has outdistanced his peers in CF by almost the same margin as Bonds versus all of baseball. In other words, if you think that there should be no argument about Bonds being the best player over the past four years, then there should be no debate that Edmonds has been the best center fielder during the same period.
Len on 11.15.04 @ 07:17 AM CST