• From Ages 22 To 30, Chuck Knoblauch Was Just As Good As Robinson Cano

    Posted by on December 7th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Via B-R.com Play Index, spanning multiple seasons or entire careers, from 1901 to 2013, players younger than 30, who played 75%+ of their games at 2B, (requiring PA between 5500 and 6000), sorted by greatest WAR:

    Rk Player WAR/pos PA From To Age G R H BB SO BA OBP SLG Tm
    1 Joe Morgan 54.2 5939 1963 1974 19-30 1346 876 1338 931 542 .273 .389 .422 HOU-CIN
    2 Rod Carew 49.1 5635 1967 1976 21-30 1328 737 1658 466 599 .328 .384 .434 MIN
    3 Robinson Cano 45.1 5791 2005 2013 22-30 1374 799 1649 350 689 .309 .355 .504 NYY
    4 Chuck Knoblauch 44.1 5994 1991 1999 22-30 1313 950 1533 672 580 .298 .388 .419 MIN-NYY
    5 Willie Randolph 42.6 5916 1975 1985 20-30 1353 821 1375 781 405 .274 .371 .355 PIT-NYY
    6 Red Schoendienst 25.1 5693 1945 1953 22-30 1286 807 1513 355 213 .288 .334 .386 STL
    7 Luis Castillo 24.7 5618 1996 2006 20-30 1270 759 1446 589 687 .293 .369 .358 FLA-MIN
    8 Bobby Richardson 8.3 5780 1955 1966 19-30 1412 643 1432 262 243 .266 .299 .335 NYY
    9 Bill Wambsganss 4.1 5607 1914 1924 20-30 1328 649 1257 430 328 .260 .327 .328 CLE-BOS
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 12/7/2013.

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    Now, just lock down on Knobby and Robby:

    Player WAR/pos PA From To Age G R H BB SO BA OBP SLG Tm
    Robinson Cano 45.1 5791 2005 2013 22-30 1374 799 1649 350 689 .309 .355 .504 NYY
    Chuck Knoblauch 44.1 5994 1991 1999 22-30 1313 950 1533 672 580 .298 .388 .419 MIN-NYY
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 12/7/2013.

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    Same position, same ages, same amount of games and plate appearances (give or take) and the same WAR (thereabouts).  Of course, Chuck was more of a speed player and Cano is more of a power hitter.  But, in terms of value, if you believe in WAR, they had the same relative value to their teams from ages 22 to 30, coming to the plate and playing games at about the same rate.

    Yes, Knoblauch later got the yips and toast soon thereafter.  So, what’s the point?

    Other than it’s interesting that these two second basemen had about the same start to their careers, in terms of how much better they were than the average player at their position, there’s nothing else to see here…for now.

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