Thursday, December 31, 2009

All Time Team: Third Base

COOLY: Just like Usher, it feels so good to be back.

Okay, now that I've gotten that music video link out of my system, I feel better.

Zach and I decided that we probably shouldn't leave you all hanging regarding our All Time Team. Especially after my brilliant nomination of Jim Edmonds, I'm sure that many of you are completely on board with what we have to say.

And in the same light as the Edmonds defense argument, my first nomination for third base is Brooks Robinson. I will get about the subject of his defense after you take a look at his mediocre-ish hitting stats: 2848 H/ 268 HR/ .267 AVG/ .322 OBP/ .401 SLG/ and a gaudy 28 SB in 23 seasons while facing the great pitchers of the 50's and 60's. Not too shabby, but those are barely even Hall of Fame numbers, let alone ones being worthy of mention in the debate as the greatest third baseman.

(Zach's Note: There is no way you can compare Brooks Robinson to Jim Edmonds. Jim Edmonds sucks. Stop trying to validate your depressing stance on a slightly above average defender.)

However, no one remembers Brooks "The Human Vacuum Cleaner" Robinson for his bat. Of course, no one really tracked UZR and shit like that back in Robinson's days, but I think the 16 straight Gold Gloves and machine-like nickname speak for themselves. Also tack on one MVP and 15 All Star selections to Robinson's resume as the greatest fielding third baseman of all time, which should not be discounted considering that third is considered to be one of the most difficult fielding positions.

ZACH: The next point of the argument needs to be, do we consider Ripken and Stray-Rod? This argument isn't even about number; both clearly have the hitting and fielding chops to be in the argument for Top 5. W really need to analyze what the cutoff was to make them a third baseman. Ripken had 5 full seasons at third, and 15 seasons at short. Well, I guess that answers that argument (Note: I had no idea that Ripken played that many seasons at short. I only remember him at third. I guess that shows my age.) Stray-Rod's transformation is a little more recent. His totals are 6 seasons at third and 9 seasons at short. While this may be a great argument by the end of his career, I don't this Rodriguez qualifies yet.

Now we've narrowed it down to two clear finalists, Mike Schmidt and George Brett.

George Brett

Does this go into our evaluations of the third baseman? Of course. Although, the things we really need to look at are numbers. Brett had 20 season/ 3,154 H/ 317 HR/ 1,595 RBI/ .305 AVG/ .369 OBP/ .487 SLUG/ .857 OPS. Those are pretty solid numbers, and they tell a lot about who George Brett was. Brett was a good hitter, with a little pop. If we play out Rodriguez' career, do his numbers dominate Brett's? Absolutely.

Some other George Brett stats that stick out: 13 All Star Appearances, 1 Gold Glove, 1 MVP, 1.21 BB/K, and a semi lucky .311 BAIBP. Did Brett benefit from a light hitting position for most of baseball history? Absolutely. You will not see that light of power hitting number anywhere else on this list. Did Brett benefit from one great home run freak out? Absolutely. He made himself relevant for generations of baseball enthusiasts for one play.

Mike Schmidt

This is a fairly easy argument because Schmidt and Brett played at basically the same time. What do we need to do to compare the two? Compare MVP, Silver Sluggers, and unfortunately, Gold Gloves. Schmidt: 3, 6, and 10 , respectively. Brett: 1, 3, and 1. This is hands down a Mike Schmidt victory.

Let's explore the numbers: 17 seasons, 2,234 H/ 548 HR/ 1,506 R/ 1,595 RBI/ .267 AVG/ .380 OBP/ .527 SLUG/ .908 OPS. With 13 All Star Appearances, 3 MVP's, 6 Silver Sluggers, 10 Gold Gloves, a paltry .80 BB/K, and an unlucky .285 BAIBP.

While Mike Schmidt may frustrate me during his color analyst stints, his numbers speak for themselves. He beat George Brett head to head in MVP's, Gold Gloves, and Silver Sluggers. People of that time period clearly felt that Mike Schmidt was far and away better than George Brett. It's a shame that there weren't more power hitters at this position early on in baseball; however, that stat is surely to change.

Zach's Best: Mike Schmidt
Zach's Worst: Is there any chance that I would not pick Nick Punto as the WORST EVER THIRD BASEMAN???? If you didn't know I was going to say that, you clearly have not been reading close enough.

Cooly's Best: Mike Schmidt
Cooly's Worst: David Bell

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