Comments on: Andruw Jones, Carlos Pena, and OPS+ over 100 with a low batting average This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Soundbounder Wed, 05 Jan 2011 09:54:04 +0000 @40 Duke of Flatbush,

Nearly everything you said about Andruw Jones could also be said about Dale Murphy. He had two MVPs; was considered one of the best; gold gloves etc. His career nosedived after age 31. And you can't blame it on some tabloid story about sex in a club, or having HIV, or being called the stupidest player by both Torre and LaRussa.

You also wrote:
"Andruw Jones had a shot at being one of the best who ever played."
If you frame something in that context you can make anyone look like a complete failure. Lots of players have shots, and some succeed for longer periods than others.

By: Mike Felber Wed, 05 Jan 2011 08:59:56 +0000 Those last 3 sentences are very incisive Johnny. And whether they have the nuanced skills to adjust, or by how much, is the question. Still, I think staying in excellent shape compared to "civilian", or adequate, shape often makes a large difference. One reason many more players tended to decline earlier, even though there was not the overall average talent, athleticism, full integration...Is that they did not have very effective training to maintain muscle, balance, agility, etc...

Mantle both mistreated himself with carousing/alcohol, & had continual debilitating injuries. It is a wonder he could be so good with these issues, from childhood 1st, & then "drainpipe-gate" ending his 1st campaign. His power & speed were unprecedented, let alone his switch hitting.

By: Johnny Twisto Wed, 05 Jan 2011 05:52:33 +0000 Well, no, Griffey was never the same player after he turned 30. Mantle wasn't the same after 32 or so. And the reason the elites are the elites is both because of how well they played and how long they lasted at that level. Jones wasn't Mays...well, no kidding.

I'm not saying playing CF is automatically going to wear a player down after a certain amount of time, but it will have an impact. How it affects each individual player will vary, based on numerous factors. Jones played 160 games a year, probably had the type of body predisposed to getting thick, was never an elite hitter, and perhaps didn't work out as hard as he could. And other factors we can never know for certain. Add it up and he is where he is. If he was a workout maniac, maybe he would still be an All-Star. Or maybe he would have only staved off the decline for another year. Who knows? Dale Murphy also played CF 160 games a year and as far as I know didn't have any bad habits. Yet he suddenly collapsed. It happens. I don't think anyone can know exactly why it happens. All these guys are so talented, it doesn't necessarily take that much actual decline to manifest itself as a collapse. If all MLBers are in the 99th percentile of baseball ability, a little hiccup in ability is magnified in comparison to one's peers. Some players are able to adjust, some aren't.

By: dukeofflatbush Wed, 05 Jan 2011 03:10:05 +0000 God Forbid, but Roberto Alomar is purported to have Aids. Two woman are suing him for knowingly infecting them with the HIV virus. That might come into play in why he tailed off.
Rueben Sierra was said by two very good managers (Torre & LaRussa) to be the stupidest player they had ever come across (village idiot!). I think his baseball IQ was hidden by his raw talent and once that began to slip, he was just average.
Corey Snider? Larry Hisle?
Andruw Jones had a shot at being one of the best who ever played.
Johnny Callison?
Jones was hitting post season HRs as a teenager.

@ JT
I meant that a CF and 1B have a reasonable amount of comparable wear and tear, all things considered. It is a non contact sport. Of course one is more taxing than another, but playing Centerfield does not end your career after 1600 Games, especially not your bat.
Its not like in football, where a half back carrying the ball 30 times a game should be mentioned in the same breath as a 3rd down wide out.
I know a CF has more ground to cover etc, but to say that is enough to derail his career at his prime is foolish. What about Mays? Mantle?
Did playing CF at an elite level shorten Griffey's #'s and games?
I'm sure.
Was he virtually done at thirty? NO!
Andruw Jones doesn't even look like the same guy he was in his 20's.
And the Andruw Jones' quip about his late night shenanigans was just a counter point to an earlier comment about a player's responsibility to honor his contract by staying in shape.

By: Soundbounder Wed, 05 Jan 2011 01:49:43 +0000 @37 DukeFlatbush

Not every player has a bellcurve type career that gradually tapers off in their late 30's. Some players are done or decline hard at a much earlier age. And it isn't because of a character flaw or injuries.

Mike Marshall- not a great player, but solid through much of his 20's. He declined sharply at 30-31 and was done.
Roberto Alomar hit a brick wall at 33
Corey Snider was washed up at 30.
Larry Hisle was done at 30
Ruben Sierra stayed in the game till age 40, but he was not the same player after age 30.
Johnny Callison was washed up at age 31
Dale Murphy was having a HOF career that declined sharply after age 31.

The list goes on an on. There are plenty of players who were All Stars at age 27-28 then declined hard and were sometimes out of the game, or bench players by age 31-32.

By: Johnny Twisto Wed, 05 Jan 2011 01:21:30 +0000 There's a lot more running in CF than corner OF. That's why CFs play CF. It's ridiculous to think it wouldn't be more taxing. You think 2Bmen turning the pivot have similar wear to 1Bmen? That doesn't make any sense.

I won't argue that Jones couldn't have done more to keep in shape. I have no idea what he did. But I think he has the type of body which is prone to get heavy. It would be a lot harder for him to stay in shape, let alone slim.

And honestly, who cares about him banging some girl on the dance floor? What the hell does that have to do with anything? I'm sure 95% of MLB players stay out until the wee hours on occasion. Jones played 160 games a year so it seems to me he was ready to go by game time regardless how lucky he got the previous night.

By: dukeofflatbush Tue, 04 Jan 2011 23:35:10 +0000 @704Brave,

To say Jones aged naturally is just plain silly.
Jeter, turning 37 and having a down year, is aging.
Saying the guy fell off a cliff because he started playing young, is ridiculous. Saying he ran himself down because he played a hard CF is even more ridiculous.
Saying CF is that much more taxing on the body than a corner outfield position, is silly.
Outside of catching, all positions have different skill sets, but comparable wear and tear. COMPARABLE.
And to say Andruw Jones' fall off was natural is hogwash. He was 30. He had access to the greatest fitness, diet, trainers, coaches etc.
Does everyone forget the Atlanta based Golds Gentlemen's Club and the athletes caught up in that scandal.
In sworn affidavits, sources placed Jones having intercourse with a dancer on the dance floor of the club, in full view of the public. And it was the wee hours of game night. I'm sure that wasn't the only instance of bad behavior and bad decision making on Jones' part.

By: 704_Brave Tue, 04 Jan 2011 18:07:25 +0000 John Autin -
As a Braves fan, I completely agree with your assessment. Andruw came up as a 19 year old, peaked early and then his body became worn down by the constant pounding it took in CF and then of course, he put on weight and let himself go.

PEDs could have been in play, but then again I suspect 70% or more took some sort of PED back in the Steroid Era.

In Andruw's last year with the Braves, I remember him looking so bad on pitches and just hacking at whatever was thrown (like Francoeur) and then it would almost be like he didn't care when you looked at his expressions. He hit .222 with 26 HR and 94 RBI that year I believe, and he could have easily driven 194 if he hadn't GIDP so often. Really sad to see him regress like that.

Then inexplicably the Dodgers gave him that gaudy contract...still trying to figure that one out...

As far as wasting talent is concerned, I'm not so sure about that...people just forget that he was so young when he came up that by the time he was 30 the downhill slide was inevitable...

By: Mike Felber Tue, 04 Jan 2011 08:16:57 +0000 Alright thanks for your input guys. i agree in general about the distribution of talent. My only possible quibble is to remind you that the hypothesis involves someone groomed from birth for baseball. Though yes, there is only so much you can do with average hand eye coordination & reflexes. Aguirre had a -38 OPS for his career.

Anybody think our average man, trained by the best, whose life's mission was hitting-could have a + OPS + for a few or any years?

By: Jared Mon, 03 Jan 2011 22:08:40 +0000 Dodgerdave,

Dave Kingman isn't on this list, because he only has one season like this in the last 30 years, which was the time cut-off for the search. However, Kingman is likely the "King" of this distinction in recent memory. Although Rob Deer did it 4 times, two of those times were cheap, in that he only had 32 and 50 plate appearances. Although, you have to hand it to Deer, in that over the course of his career, he fits the category - .220 BA with OPS+ of 109.

Kingman accomplished this feat in 4 seasons with at least 400 PA. What's even more interesting is that if you expand the criteria slightly to .240 BA with OPS+ of 90 and above, Kingman's totals balloon to 10 seasons, which is why he is probably without parallel in recent history. As a final note, none of these seasons were cheap either, as he had at least 351 PA in each of them.