Hall of Fame Index: Centerfield Update

As we continue through the diamond we find a position that has quite a few players that have reached the ten year mark. That makes them eligible to be on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. I’d surmise that all of these players will be on the ballot some day even though most are probably nowhere near where they need to be to be legitimate candidates. It’s one of the many problems with the Hall of Fame.

As we have done with the other positions, we will take a look at each player’s slash line and their current ratings in BWAR, FWAR, and WS/5. Some players have helped themselves this season and others haven’t. Some have even hurt their Hall of Fame candidacies and we will discuss how that can possibly work.

Lorenzo Cain– Milwaukee Brewers

Slash: .251/.314/.369

BWAR: 1.6

FWAR: 0.8

WS/5: 1.2

Cain has an uphill battle to get any kind of broad support for the Hall of Fame. He likely will play another three or four solid seasons and that certainly will help, but he will not have the counting numbers necessary to get broad based support. Cain is where he is value wise because he is normally a two win player defensively. That’s why he got some darkhorse MVP support a few seasons ago in Kansas City.

Even if you consider defensive value, we know that it wanes as players age. So, Cain will need to improve offensively to add the value necessary to get support from even new age baseball analysts and historians. He still has time this year to have a hot streak, but the early returns aren’t encouraging.

Dexter Fowler–St. Louis Cardinals

Slash: .247/.341/.420

BWAR: 1.3

FWAR: 1.2

WS/5: 2.0

Fowler is probably just trying to get on the ballot at this point in his career. His particular skill set (ability to get on base) is not particularly sexy, but it has been effective in the past in terms of value. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the defensive ability that Cain does and has been moved to right field in the process. He’s playing center again this year, but he hasn’t been particularly good at it.

Curtis Granderson– Miami Marlins

Slash: .183/.270/.361

BWAR: -0.3

FWAR: -1.2

WS/5: 0.6

There is always a delicate point in the tug of war between adding value and adding numbers. We saw this with Craig Biggio locally, but every team has that guy that seems to be hanging on too long. Granderson has said this is his final season and I suppose there is no way to calculate how much he has been able to teach the young Marlins about being a professional. All that being said, he has not added to his Hall of Fame resume this season and you could argue he has actually detracted from it. Even if you ignore the index numbers, you have to think harder to remember a time when Granderson was a good player. That’s part of the Hall of Fame calculus. Six years from now who will be the Granderson you remember?

Adam Jones– Arizona Diamondbacks

Slash: .269/.319/.455

BWAR: 0.3

FWAR: 0.2

WS/5: 1.2

Jones has the exact opposite problem that Cain and Fowler have. He has been consistently productive in terms of runs and RBI. He hasn’t been great, but he consistently hits 20+ home runs and drives in 80+ runs a season. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Anyone that can do that for more than a decade is already a good player. The problem Jones runs into is the fact that he hasn’t been a particularly good defensive outfielder and he hardly ever draws a walk. Add to that a lack of speed and you really don’t have anything outside of the run production. Hall of Famer voters are getting more and more wise to value, so it is difficult to see him getting much traction.

Matt Kemp– Free Agent

Slash: .200/.210/.283

BWAR: -0.9

FWAR: -0.8

WS/5: 0.0

Kemp had a good season last year and it was enough to lead some to think he had a few good seasons left in him. He probably should have been the NL MVP in 2011 and if he had been then we might think of him differently. This season in Cincinnati was a disaster, but they really didn’t give him much of an opportunity. The Mets signed him and then dumped him almost immediately. He is only 34 years old, so it might be over for him. He likely will have to be a DH from this point on.

Andrew McCutchen– Philadelphia Phillies

Slash: .256/.378/.457

BWAR: 1.6

FWAR: 1.6

WS/5: 1.8

The value numbers may not look like a lot, but this was actually a renaissance season for McCutchen before the ACL tear. He definitely isn’t a center fielder anymore and the knee injury probably solidifies that. McCutchen’s game is about good power and good patience, so his knee injury shouldn’t slow him down too much moving forward. Unlike the other guys here, he is young enough and has built up enough value to get over the hump. He also has an MVP in his tool chest.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for thefantatasyfix.com. You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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