Next up in our debate is Jeff Kent, as per orders from the boss.
Kent was one of the best second-basemen of all time, in terms of offensive production. He also played in a high-run scoring era, so we'll need to determine how much that helped his raw numbers.
He was a 5-time All-Star, 4-time Silver Slugger winner, and he won the 2000 NL MVP. He also benefited from batting behind Barry Bonds for most of his years in San Francisco.
Kent didn't start hitting really well until about age 30 and was considered a top prospect for a long time, even while in the majors. Evidence to this fact includes the list of players he was involved in trades for: David Cone, Carlos Baerga, and Matt Williams.
Click through to read more about Kent's career and vote in the poll.
Let's get right to it.
For Jeff Kent in the Hall of Fame:
- All-time, Kent is in the top 10 for OPS+ for 2nd baseman (minimum 1000 career games):
Rk Player OPS+ G From To Age PA R HR RBI BA OPS Tm 1 Rogers Hornsby 175 2259 1915 1937 19-41 9475 1579 301 1584 .358 1.010 STL-NYG-BSN-CHC-TOT-SLB 2 Nap Lajoie 150 2480 1896 1916 21-41 10460 1504 82 1599 .338 .846 PHI-PHA-TOT-CLE 3 Eddie Collins 141 2826 1906 1930 19-43 12037 1821 47 1300 .333 .853 PHA-CHW 4 Joe Morgan 132 2649 1963 1984 19-40 11329 1650 268 1133 .271 .819 HOU-CIN-SFG-PHI-OAK 5 Jackie Robinson 132 1382 1947 1956 28-37 5802 947 137 734 .311 .883 BRO 6 Larry Doyle 126 1766 1907 1920 20-33 7382 960 74 793 .290 .765 NYG-TOT-CHC 7 Bobby Grich 125 2008 1970 1986 21-37 8220 1033 224 864 .266 .794 BAL-CAL 8 Charlie Gehringer 124 2323 1924 1942 21-39 10237 1774 184 1427 .320 .884 DET 9 Danny Murphy 124 1496 1900 1915 23-38 5978 705 44 702 .289 .742 NYG-PHA-BTT 10 Jeff Kent 123 2298 1992 2008 24-40 9537 1320 377 1518 .290 .855 TOT-NYM-SFG-HOU-LAD
- Notice a few names NOT on the list above: Roberto Alomar, Ryne Sandberg, Lou Whitaker, Craig Biggio, and Alfonso Soriano.
- Jeff Kent is 111th all-time in WAR with 59.6, but 14th among 2nd basemen. For batting runs only, he's 6th all-time among 2nd basemen.
- From 1998 to 2002, Kent experienced a great peak with the 22nd-best OPS+ in baseball (142) and highest among all major-league 2nd basemen.
- Kent had 4 top-10 MVP finishes (and one win) despite playing his peak in the large shadow cast by Barry Bonds.
- He hit well in numerous playoff appearances, including 3 HR and 7 RBI in two different series (2002 WS and 2004 NLCS) including one memorable walk-off homer (pictured above.)
The bottom line, no matter how you look at it, is that Kent was one of the best offensive second basemen in baseball history and was, for a time, the very best playing the game.
Against Jeff Kent in the Hall of Fame:
- Despite his good rankings among 2nd basemen, Kent's overall career ranks are not particular impressive: WAR (111th), WPA (145th),hits (101st), runs (112th), his only top 50 finished are RBI (48th) and doubles (22nd).
- Kent's peak came when Barry Bonds was hitting ahead of him, getting on base a ton. I don't have the numbers, but I would have to think that Kent hit with runners on a lot more than many other players. That means he saw better pitches and had more RBI opportunities. Here's one quick look: Kent had 4,819 of his 9,537 PAs with runners on. That's 50.5%. Chase Utley, part of a powerful lineup and today's equivalent to Kent, has a percentage of just 46.9%. Imagine how much lower it is for 2Bs not hitting in the middle of the order.
- He was nothing special as a fielder (near 0 career fielding runs.)
- He never won a World Series and tanked in a couple of series (2008 NLCS and 1996 ALDS, although it's hard to argue against the rest of his playoff record.)
This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 at 7:30 am and is filed under Hall of Fame, Polls. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.