Monday, December 17, 2012

Andruw Jones was Dale Murphy with a rad glove

The offensive similarities between Andruw Jones and Dale Murphy are striking. And since each career encompassed successive generations in the Atlanta Braves' outfield, these similarities are even more fun to consider. Jones had a ten year peak from 1997 to 2006. Murphy had an eight year peak from 1980 to 1987. Both started their careers at a very young age, Jones at nineteen, Murphy at twenty. And both lost their value in their early thirties. The only real difference between the two was defense. And it was this aspect that separated the two players.

Let's look at the offensive numbers:

  • Murphy: 9041 plate appearances, Jones 8664 plate appearances
  • Murphy: 1197 runs scored, 398 homers, 787 extra base hits, 1266 RBI
  • Jones:     1204 runs scored, 434 homers, 853 extra base hits, 1289 RBI
  • Murphy:  .265/.346/.469 = .815 OPS   Jones: .254/.337/.486 =.823 OPS
  • Murphy:  161 stolen bases / 70.3%,  Jones 152 stolen bases / 72%
  • Murphy:  822 non-intentional walks with 1748 strikeouts, Jones: 827 non-intentional walks, 1748 K's.
  • Murphy: 357 career wOBA, Jones: .352 career wOBA
  • Murphy: 121 career OPS+, Jones: 111 career OPS+
  • Murphy: 228 batting runs above average, Jones 163.4
  • Murphy: 10.9% career walk percentage, 19.3% strikeout percentage
  • Jones:     10.3% career walk percentage, 20.2% strikeout percentage
Basically what you see is two similar offensive careers. But Dale Murphy will never get elected to the Hall of Fame and Andruw Jones will be hotly debated. The difference, of course, is defense. Murphy is given -33 runs below average for his career defensively. Andruw Jones is given credit for 236 runs above average for his career and is considered by many to be one of the best center fielders of all time.

And that difference makes up most of the difference as to why Andruw Jones is a 59.5 rWAR career compared to Murphy's 42.6.

They both started young and lost productiveness in their early thirties. Both were iconic during their peaks. And both had eerily similar offensive careers. But Andruw Jones played a pivotal position and he played it better than most who have ever played the game.


William Miller said...

So would you personally vote for either one for the HOF?

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Definitely a no on Murphy. Jones would be a long hard thought, but maybe, mostly because of a distrust for the fielding statistics.

Anthony Rhuggenaath said...

Spot-on William.

Because of AJ I started to watch the game again back in the 90's, definitely my favorite. But, I may be a little biased, since I'm from the same island and he used to practice not far from my home :D.

But, great post man, the similarities between the 2 are indeed staggering...

Thanks for sharing.

~Anthony Rhuggenaath

Robert Kaupang said...

I watched Murphy as a young kid and he was dominant from '82-'87. In fact, over those years you can make a gigantic argument that he was the best player in all of baseball over that span. At no point in the career of Andruw Jones would he have been considered the best player in the game, nor one of the top few players in MLB.

With that being said, you can make a claim that Jones was the better player due to the longer and more productive nature of his career.

Also, on the Hall of Fame argument - if Bill Mazeroski can make it to the Hall of Fame for defensive purposes, then Jones could very well make it too. Both were dominant defenders up the middle of the diamond. Sure, Maz has the HR in the Series, but if one moment can propel one into Cooperstown, then Jack Morris should be there, too.