Alex and I will be starting a Hall of Fame series, discussing the HOF chances of active or recently-retired players. As a Braves fan, I had to pick an Atlanta player first, but the Big 3 (Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz) and Chipper seem to be obvious inductees, so I thought I’d revisit the glory years of Andruw Jones.
While some of you may only know him as a platoon corner outfielder and DH, Jones was arguably the best defensive center fielder to ever play the game. From 1997-2007, he accumulated 56.7 WAR (B-R system), the 28th most of any position player from ages 20 to 30 ever. There are a couple names just below him on this list that I would like to call to your attention: Duke Snider and Robin Yount. Both of these players were more offensive-based, and Yount played SS through most of the time period. Each are in the Hall of Fame with little gripes, though it took Snider 11 ballots.
Here are a couple graphs that show Andruw compared to Snider and Yount, in terms of FG WAR. The first one is the “n-th best season,” meaning all of their best seasons are on the far left, then the second-best is just to the right, so on and so forth. The second one is a cumulative WAR count, totaling their career WAR after each age.
As you see, Jones is right there with the two. As I said before, Jones was much more defensively-based, which some people are reluctant to credit as much as offense. I say a run saved is as good as a run scored, so Andruw is just as good as Snider and Yount. At 423 HR and 10 Gold Gloves, he sounds like a sure-fire inductee. However, his complete cliff-dive in LA and steroid whispers will likely keep him out of the HOF, even though I think he’ll stay on all 15 years.