stillman - 2004-08-06 15:43:15
I realize that this post is a couple of days old, and that baseball wasn't the point of it anyway, but I hardly think you can say that Guillen is clearly having the better year than Tejada. In fact, if you look at their projected stats based on what they've done so far this year, Tejada comes out ahead in most categories, and everyone knows he's a second-half player who will likely do much better over the next couple of months than his current stats would predict. And as for Guillen having one of the best offensive seasons for a shortstop ever...well, no. He's having a great season, no doubt, but with luck he might do better than the worst season Alex Rodriguez had in the previous six years (and I know he's not technically a shortstop anymore, but A-Rod would be beating the tar out of him this year, too, in every category except BA, which is relatively meaningless stat compared to something like OPS).
epiph - 2004-08-06 15:53:20
Guillen's OPS is .948. Tejada's OPS is .911. That's 37 points of difference, which is very significant. Tejada is ahead in homeruns, but Guillen is way ahead in triples (on the pace for 14!). Tejada is also a little ahead in RBI, but that's a function of the team and not really the individual batter, anyway. Everything else, Guillen ranks above Tejada, plus he's a better defender. A-Rod is also amongst those great offensive shortstops, and he clearly had seasons on par with Guillen's this year. But Guillen's ranks right up there, historically, if he can keep it up. Garciaparra's 1999-2000 and A-Rod's 2000-2003 are better than Guillen's, but you won't find much else in the history of major league baseball. By the way, A-Rod has a .904 OPS this year, while Guillen's is .948.
stillman - 2004-08-07 01:09:27
You're right about A-Rod's OPS this year, but I still can't agree that Guillen is on the verge of one of the landmark seasons for a shortstop in the history of baseball. In looking at six shortstops from the last 20 years (Larkin, Jeter, Ripken, A-Rod, Tejada, and Garciaparra), I easily found more than 20 seasons that are comparable or better than Guillen's projected season numbers (which, granted, he can still improve upon), and at least ten that are clearly superior (including a few pre-90s seasons where hitting 30 home runs would give you a legimate shot at the HR crown). And that's not even counting many more great seasons from Ernie Banks, Robin Yount, Alan Trammell, etc. Guillen's having a terrific year, and if he stays at this level for a few years, he could become one of those elites, but let's face it: his OPS this year is nearly two hundred points above his career average, and he's at the age where many hitters have their career year. Plus, all the other shortstops I looked at had significantly higher career numbers by the time they had their first stellar season than Guillen has now. It's true that his move to from Seattle to Detroit could have been a catalyst unlocked the great player within him, but at this point it's much more likely that this season is a statistical fluke (remember when Brady Anderson hit 50 home runs?). I guess we'll find out next year. Hope you enjoyed the Orioles game tonight. If I had known you were going, too, maybe we could have gotten a couple of beers and argued about this in person.
epiph - 2004-08-07 03:19:44
I think we're arguing two separate points. I never said Guillen was one of the best shortstops ever. But I still stand by the fact that his season thus far is one of the best in history for shortstops. Trammell's 1987, Yount's 1982, Larkin's 1996, Banks' 1958-1959, Jeter's 1999, and Ripken's 1991 ranks up there. Tejada hasn't had a season nearly as good as Guillen's so far, although he might this year. As aforementioned, three of Nomar's and four of A-Rod's rank up there. But that's about 13 seasons there. I feel okay about calling Guillen's season one of the best for a shortstop all time so far, though. I'm not saying he's going to keep it up, or that he's among the elite. But this season is, so far, and if he can maintain his .950 OPS, this will become one of the best 15 seasons for a shortstop ever. Granted, at the all-star break, this was in the top 5, but his OPS has fallen a bit since then. Who would I rather have on my team - Tejada or Guillen? It's a tough call. Tejada is a great player and has been better, longer than Guillen. But I like how Guillen has taken on the task of mentoring Omar Infante, turning him into one of the best offensive second basemen in the league. And I like that he costs about half as much as Tejada, so that we way can afford Pudge, too.
epiph - 2004-08-07 13:15:42
And, yes, I'd love to continue this argument sometime in person! I also have a CD for you. I've been a fan of your music notes blog for a while now. You should have a comments section, though!
stillman - 2004-08-07 18:31:11
I agree that the discussion sort of diverged and we ended up focusing on two different threads. We're living through what is likely the golden age for shortstops with high-powered offensive capabilities, which is probably why it's harder for me to see Guillen's season in the larger context of baseball history. Even if he continues at his current pace, it will likely rank at best as the sixth or seventh best season by a shortstop over the past six years, and a couple of years ago (say, right after he signed that $252 million contract) we would have considered it subpar for A-Rod. Granted, those seasons that beat Guillen's current efforts are some of the best years ever had by any shortstop in the history of the game, but just because of Guillen's competition, it makes it a little harder to get as excited about the excellent year he's having. Would love to meet up sometime. I'll contact you via email to talk further about the music blog, the CD, etc.

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