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Game 128 Open Thread: August 25, 2005

mattmo williams
13-5, 3.80 10-9, 4.06

fungoes has posted the results of its all-busch centerfielder analysis, and jim edmonds finished first -- no great surprise there. but i was mildly surprised that willie mcgee finished second, pleasantly surprised that curt flood finished third, and stupefied that ray lankford only came in fourth. i had thought lankford would finish a close second behind jed; instead he lagged badly, mainly because of a disastrous fielding score of -29 RAA, or runs above average -- i.e., in his career ray cost the cardinals 29 runs with his glove. at the other end of the defensive spectrum lies curt flood, who posted a stellar +47 RAA score. and since he only played four years at busch, by this metric curt saved the cards 12 runs per season -- ie, his glove alone was worth about a win and a half per year. pretty amazing for an outfielder.

one thing i don't get about fungoes' ranking system: mcgee finishes second even though he scored just below average both as a hitter (95.1 OPS+) and as a fielder (-6 RAA). apparently he gains credit for his long tenure -- he patrolled busch's centerfield for most of nine seasons, or nearly a quarter of the stadium's life span, and amassed over 1,500 hits during those years. moreover, this system seems to add weight to the player's peak values -- for example, mcgee's MVP award and two batting titles appear to bolster his score. as much as i loved mcgee, i'd rate him fourth on this list -- i make it 1) edmonds 2) lankford 3) flood 4) mcgee. (don't forget, we're only considering the busch years; if we could include curt flood's whole career i'd rate him ahead of lankford.) but my rating willie 4th says less about mcgee (who was a GREAT player) than it does about the incredibly high quality of play we've had in centerfield over the last 40 years.