Had Edgar recorded the exact career that he did--in a Yankees uniform, rather than a Mariner's one--would he be in the Hall of Fame now?
Bat 571 sez,
Bat571: So with apologies, let me bring up another comparison. Which pair would you rather have - Josh Willingham at DH and Jeter at SS, or Edgar at DH and Brad Miller or Chris Taylor at SS. Jeter was a VERY good player for many years and I wholeheartedly agree he set a standard along with Ripken on how to play. But teams found him annoying rather than fearing him at the plate, and he was not a good SS. If Edgar is not a HoFer, Jeter is certainly not an inner-circle HoFer as many are trying to portray him. Pujols, Trout, Joey Bats, Miggy, and others today are more impactful game in, game out. Worth the money, yes, but how much was the style in NY a factor?
Jeter has what, 10% or 20% more career WAR than Edgar; he was All-Star level for quite a few more seasons than Edgar was.
Also, from a roster-construction point of view, Dr. D puts a VERY heavy thumb on the scale for position scarcity. Gimme a cleanup-hitting catcher or 2B over Albert Pujols any day. I'll then be able to improve the rest of the roster more dynamically and fluidly. The question goes beyond the 2B's stats vs the DH's stats. Even if the DH gives you a few more runs overall, the second- and third-order roster options change.
On the other hand, I'd take Edgar in his very peak years. In 1995, with Griffey injured, Edgar produced a jaw-dropping 12.4 runs per 27 outs -- nine Edgars would have scored you 2,008 runs that season! It's kind of hard to argue that Derek Jeter is worth 2,000 runs a year ... ;- )
From 1995 to 2001, Edgar's RC/27 was over 10 runs per game. For the entire period. This leaves us with these player-pairs:
|Chris Taylor||4.0 to 4.5||SS|
|Total||14.0 to 14.5 / 2|
|Total||13.5 / 2|
First, Jeter's actual RC/27 is 6.2 for his career. Willingham's is 6.0. We moved those two hitters up towards their peaks, without doing that for Taylor.
Second, when was the last time the Mariners got 6.5 RC/27 from a DH?! This player-pair assumes a minor star at DH, not an average DH. By contrast, Chris Taylor is not a minor star at SS.
Third, the Edgar-Taylor combo improves the ballclub defensively.
Without any doubt, I take the peak Edgar and a league-average SS over Derek Jeter and a league-average DH. Edgar Martinez, for the 12 years between 1992 and 2003, was an OBP/PWR machine that single-handedly bestowed a powerful offense on the city. The day Edgar stopped being Edgar, the Seattle Mariners stopped scoring runs.
I like position scarcity, but nothing's an absolute. If you are talking about a 10 runs per game monster, I'll figure my shortstop out later, dunk you very much.
Frank Thomas, by the way, was the most-comparable player to Edgar in that era. The Big Hurt had a few more WAR than Jeter did. WAR's evaluation of defensive 1B's vs DH's blows chunks, and Thomas had a few more good years than Edgar did. The point is, a worthless defensive 1B / DH could be worth more than Jeter was, despite the position.
Of course, Jeter had 20 years as a star, not 12. Also, we should concede the point that Jeter was a ballplayer, as opposed to a hitter. In my opinion, he's legitimately had a slightly better career than Edgar did.
But: "Please send more Edgars. The first one hit perfect." Given my own choice of drafting Derek Jeter's son or Edgar Martinez', I will draft the Son of Edgar. I literally wouldn't trade you one Edgar for two Jeters.
The attributes of a good defensive corner outfielder would be "decent range on balls in the air (speedy enough to get to them when there's time to move), decent enough arm, good body control (able to adjust while the ball is in flight creatively). That's Jeter. The problem is that Jeter played SS...where you need good range when there ISN'T time to get up to speed and move. There's a difference between athletic speed (Jeter was a great baserunner and obviously had this skill) and fast-twitch speed (Jeter was a high percentage base stealer, but not a prolific one, and he had extremely bad range on grounders because he did not have fast-twitch speed).
I think the "positional advantage" you get from having his bat at short is cancelled entirely by the bad defense. WAR agrees - his typical position adjustment is like +13 runs...his typical defensive score is like -13 runs. QED. :) (I'm oversimplifying, but I think this makes my point). So...to me...Jeter is a left fielder. Would I rather have the greatest DH who ever lived and a mediocre SS who could actually play SS...or would I rather have an above average but not historically great left fielder and a solid DH?
I'll take the historically great player thanks kindly. Edgar >>>>>> Jeter
Edgar didn't have the billboard fame but I cannot think of anyone, at least for me and that includes when Edgar was wasting away in stuck with Calgary in AAA, that was more fun to watch AB after AB.
Dibs on Edgar's Grandson!
I'm surprised there isn't a New York movement to get TINO Martinez into the Hall of Fame :- )
The unpleasant flavor of the "vicious" debate over the DH is, sadly, another debate that is symptomatic in society today. ... of course, it's nothing new in baseball. Elitist debates -- who is in the club, who is worthy of worship, what qualities and attributes will be met with hushed reverence, that's been going on in baseball for 100 years.
There aren't many ways, any more, for a "journalist" to make a statement that he "gets" the game better than bloggers do. Mock irritability over the DH is one of the few ways in which he still can.
He looked cool when he managed to make a jump throw ... which many other SS's would have made much more easily ... but that served to create a perception that he was "heroic" with plays that should have been routine. New York writers weren't about to straighten the misunderstanding out ...
Personally, I think the ramifications of bat-first SS's, 2B's, C's, and CF go beyond the fact that their defense cancels the fraction on their position adjustment. It goes back to your proliferating options on player-pairs.
But yeah. If it is open to question whether a player should BE out there, that's a different issue.
Funny, as you bring this up, the parallels to Dustin Ackley. Jeter was the rare bird whose bat was not affected by his being a dubious defender up the middle ....