Originally posted by PGStaff:
If your name means what I think it means... What makes you a fan of things like great defense or stolen bases? Just kidding!!!"
LOL.... Yes, the name means what you think it means. I dunno. In the years Edgar actually played third base regularly (and better than Miguel Cabrera, I might add), there was a kid to his left who could pick it a little bit, and I definitely enjoyed watching him. In fact, that kid just retired...I think. Turned out he could hit a bit better than we thought, too (if he *does* retire, he'll finish 123 hits short of 3000).
But since you brought him up, and because Edgar is one of those 55 guys in the last 50 years who lead MLB in offensive WAR (6.9 oWAR in the strike-shortened 1995 season), I'll shamelessly take the opportunity to talk about Edgar, because there are some parallels between his 1995 year (which was much better than Cabrera's 2012) and Cabrera's 2012.
Going into those two seasons - 1995 for Edgar and 2012 for Cabrera - both were thought to be sub-par defensive players, though with Edgar this was more a function of injury than ability (Martinez was actually +23 fielding from 1989-1994 when he was more or less a full-time 3B, but had struggled when injured) whereas Cabrera has never been considered a good fielder (-61 career, never has had a season where he has not been a negative contributor defensively; had been a whopping -29 fielding at 3B the last two seasons he played there, in 06-07, and hadn't fared much better after moving to 1B over the course of the next four seasons, going -19 there). Both were considered slow, though perhaps Cabrera more so (Martinez's 162-game average for baserunning through 1994 was a dead-even "0" or neutral/average, as he was for double plays (total of -2 runs in each category over 8 seasons), while Cabrera's 162 game average through 2011 for baserunning (-1) and double plays (-1) were slightly worse, though his totals in each category (-14 baserunning, -16 double plays) were quite a bit worse). Both had teammates who were thought to be better options defensively at the two positions they might reasonably play - Mike Blowers at 3B and a young Tino Martinez at 1B for Edgar, and an in-his-prime Prince Fielder at 1B and an aging Brandon Inge at 3B. Inge was slipping offensively (and had never been particularly *good* offensively), but as recently as 2010 had hit a league average-ish .247/.321//.397, good for +0.9 oWAR, and was a very good, +10 fielder at 3B.
So both teams had probably better defensive options at both 1B and 3B. Edgar was, going into that year, a better defender (by a not-insignificant margin) and a better baserunner (also by a not-insignificant margin), though nobody was going to really call either man a great defender or baserunner any time soon. Cabrera makes it known he doesn't want to DH, while Edgar grudgingly but willingly accepts the role. To this day, Edgar is routinely knocked for taking that role (both in the 1995 MVP discussion, and now in HoF discussions), while some in baseball circles want to give Cabrera *credit* for "unselfishly" moving back to 3B (where he had previously been, and would continue to be, horrible) as part of his 2012 MVP case. I don't get that, but anyway, tuck that away for a second, because I want to make a point about Cabrera's offensive case by comparing the two players' offensive campaigns.
Which of these seasons is the better offensive season?1995 Edgar Martinez:
145 games (led the league in a strike-shortened year), 639 PA, 182 hits, 81 XBH, 116 BB, 87 K, 11 GIDP. 121 runs scored, AND 103 RBI. Was on base 306 times, compared to 347 outs made,
and had 161 runs created. .356/.479/.628 BA/OBP/SLG,
good for a MLB-leading 185 OPS+,
as well as leading the AL in BA and OBP (3rd in SLG behind Belle & McGwire). Lead MLB in virtually every advanced offensive metric, including oWAR (6.9 over 145 games, which projects to 7.7 over 161 games). Led all of MLB in the RE24 statistic I described above, with a ridiculous +80.33 (14.3 better than the next best guy). But he didn't lead in two of the three Triple Crown categories - finishing 4th in RBI (13 off the pace), and 13th in HR (21 off the pace, 11 behind 2nd).
-OR-2012 Miguel Cabrera:
161 games, 697 PA. 205 hits, 84 XBH, 66 BB, 98 K, 28 GIDP. 109 runs scored, 139 RBI. Was on base 274 times, compared to 452 outs made,
and had 139 runs created. 330/.393/.606
, good for a 166 OPS+ (3rd in MLB).
Was no better than 2nd, and often as far down as 4th or 5th in the league in virtually every advanced offensive metric, including oWAR (7.5, 2nd), and the afore-mentioned RE24 (+45.18, 5th). But managed the historically fortuitous feat of finishing first in each of the three Triple Crown categories.
There's no question which season I would "choose" if I could do so. Edgar Martinez in 1995 was quite a bit better offensively than Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Yet, Edgar Martinez in 1995 was never given serious MVP consideration. He finished a distant 3rd in the voting behind those noted defensive whizzes Mo Vaughn (3.6 oWAR, -0.2 dWAR) and Albert Belle (6.8 oWAR, -0.6 dWAR). An afterthought, largely because of "defense" he was not asked to play, and his main competitors played poorly at worst (and neutral at best). Tell Edgar Martinez "defense doesn't matter" in MVP voting. Sure it does.
Yet somehow this year, a guy put in the same position
Edgar found himself in in 1995 but who instead forced his team to play him in the field rather than DH and cost his team runs as a result
now needs *credit* for his "unselfishness" and wants to dismiss the defensive side of the candidacy of a player (Mike Trout) who was not only BETTER offensively but also a legitimate, Gold Glove caliber defender at a premimum position, and the best base runner in the league? How does that work?
Offensively, 1995 Edgar Martinez > 2012 Miguel Cabrera (and defense shouldn't be a consideration because Cabrera cost his team runs defensively). Offensively, 2012 Mike Trout > 1995 Edgar Martinez, though that's a much closer call (see RE24). Defensively, 2012 Mike Trout blows away
Edgar Martinez or Miguel Cabrera even if they could somehow replicate their best day defensively for 162 games.
I have yet to see anybody offer a reason why the historical but ultimately fortuitous (since it so depends on the performance of others, as well as yourself) achievement of leading the Triple Crown categories changes any of the analysis of their "value" to their team. To me, it is enough that Miguel Cabrera's achievement will be noted in the Hall of Fame, and he will be long-remembered as one of only 16 (so far) players to win the Triple Crown. That's a terrific achievement, but it does NOT necessarily mean he was the "best" or "most valuable" player in his league this year.
"I've really enjoyed reading your posts in this thread. More importantly, I've learned a lot from your participation."
Thank you very much, PG. I'm flattered...but I have to say, I am positive
I have learned far more from your participation here than you will ever learn from mine. That you (and to be fair - the many wise and experienced "old-timers around here, as well) continue to give so generously of your time here is one of the things that makes this place special and valuable to those of us right in the thick of HS Baseball.
"Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks! Thanks!"
You're welcome! Thanks for providing me the opening to indulge a little Edgar-pushing!