• MLB’s All-Time Best “All-Around” Position Players – Ever

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2013 · Comments (0)

    The goal here is to identify baseball’s all-time best “all-around” non-pitchers with respect to batting, running and fielding.  To that end, I used the following career cut-offs on this sort:  300+ Batting Runs, 75+ Fielding Runs and 30+ Runs from Base Running.  And, here is the final result:

    Rk Player WAR/pos Rbat Rfield Rbaser From To Age G R H HR RBI BB SB BA OBP SLG
    1 Barry Bonds 158.1 1128 175 44 1986 2007 21-42 2986 2227 2935 762 1996 2558 514 .298 .444 .607
    2 Willie Mays 150.8 808 183 75 1951 1973 20-42 2992 2062 3283 660 1903 1464 338 .302 .384 .557
    3 Hank Aaron 137.3 876 98 42 1954 1976 20-42 3298 2174 3771 755 2297 1402 240 .305 .374 .555
    4 Honus Wagner 110.0 532 75 31 1901 1917 27-43 2298 1414 2766 78 1375 836 601 .325 .392 .462
    5 Al Kaline 87.4 473 153 38 1953 1974 18-39 2834 1622 3007 399 1583 1277 137 .297 .376 .480
    6 Larry Walker 69.7 420 95 39 1989 2005 22-38 1988 1355 2160 383 1311 913 230 .313 .400 .565
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 2/23/2013.

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    Without seeing the result, I could have guessed at the first four here. But, I am not sure, at first blush, if I would have named Kaline without seeing the data. And, for sure, I would have been hard pressed to name Walker – but, the data supports his inclusion. As good as Walker was as a player, perhaps, in a sense, one could suggest that he is under-rated (and would have been considered an all-time elite great if he had more playing time)?

    Lastly, I think that Rickey Henderson and Roberto Clemente deserve some honorable mention here. See the following:

    Player WAR/pos Rbat Rfield Rbaser From To Age G R H HR RBI BB SB BA OBP SLG
    Rickey Henderson 106.8 556 66 144 1979 2003 20-44 3081 2295 3055 297 1115 2190 1406 .279 .401 .419
    Roberto Clemente 89.8 377 204 21 1955 1972 20-37 2433 1416 3000 240 1305 621 83 .317 .359 .475
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 2/23/2013.

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    These two just sorta/kinda missed the cut here – so close that a good case could be made for their inclusion and expanding this group from six to eight.

    Oh, and, if you want to make it a “Prime Nine” then I would throw in this guy as well:

    Player WAR/pos Rbat Rfield Rbaser From To Age G R H HR RBI BB SB BA OBP SLG
    Jackie Robinson 58.7 262 81 30 1947 1956 28-37 1382 947 1518 137 734 740 197 .311 .409 .474
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 2/23/2013.

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    And, a great case can be made, if not for the courage of Jackie, then most of the guys on the above lists would not have been able to play down the line. And, we’d probably be talking about guys like this here, below, instead (in terms of baseball’s best “all-around” players):

    Player WAR/pos Rbat Rfield Rbaser From To Age G R H HR RBI BB SB BA OBP SLG
    Honus Wagner 110.0 532 75 31 1901 1917 27-43 2298 1414 2766 78 1375 836 601 .325 .392 .462
    Al Kaline 87.4 473 153 38 1953 1974 18-39 2834 1622 3007 399 1583 1277 137 .297 .376 .480
    Jeff Bagwell 76.7 590 55 30 1991 2005 23-37 2150 1517 2314 449 1529 1401 202 .297 .408 .540
    Larry Walker 69.7 420 95 39 1989 2005 22-38 1988 1355 2160 383 1311 913 230 .313 .400 .565
    Frankie Frisch 68.0 158 140 30 1919 1937 20-38 2311 1532 2880 105 1244 728 419 .316 .369 .432
    Scott Rolen 66.6 233 175 12 1996 2012 21-37 2038 1211 2077 316 1287 899 118 .281 .364 .490
    Ryne Sandberg 64.9 191 60 33 1981 1997 21-37 2164 1318 2386 282 1061 761 344 .285 .344 .452
    Goose Goslin 61.0 364 50 12 1921 1938 20-37 2287 1483 2735 248 1609 949 176 .316 .387 .500
    Ken Boyer 58.7 185 74 15 1955 1969 24-38 2034 1104 2143 282 1141 713 105 .287 .349 .462
    Chase Utley 53.3 177 145 32 2003 2012 24-33 1192 779 1275 199 739 505 121 .288 .376 .500
    Sam Rice 48.0 186 56 13 1915 1934 25-44 2404 1514 2987 34 1078 708 351 .322 .374 .427
    J.D. Drew 42.4 207 69 10 1998 2011 22-35 1566 944 1437 242 795 862 87 .278 .384 .489
    Frank Chance 40.9 199 51 28 1901 1914 24-37 1115 703 1134 18 547 519 378 .298 .397 .396
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 2/23/2013.

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    With no disrespect to any of the above, I am glad that Robinson did make it possible for guys like Bonds, Mays, Aaron, Henderson, et al, to play and the major leagues – and for us to be able to witness their greatness.

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