In over 400 PAs, Jim Edmonds is hitting 272/400/260 (AVG/OBP/ISO) batting cleanup behind some on-base machines. He's had 81 chances to ground into a twin killing according to Baseball Prospectus, and guess how many double plays he has grounded into? ZERO. His groundball-flyball ratio is 0.68, the lowest of his career. Bill James makes an interesting argument in his Historical Abstract that Craig Biggio's ability to stay out of the double play (among other things) helped make his 1998 campaign comparable to Junior Griffey's 56 home run season. Jim Edmonds is increasing his value to his team in the same way.
Edmonds never struck me to be the type. The numbers don't show someone with great speed (56% career SB%, 20 career triple), and THT shows him to be on the low end for line drive %. But it's not just this year. Edmonds has done a remarkable job of avoiding the 6-4-3 (or 4-6-3 or 3-6-3 or whatever) over the last several seasons, with fewer than 10 GIDP every year since 1999 (2003 excepted). While I am not entirely sold on the the effects of lineup construction, having a cleanup hitter who makes one out at a time is never a bad thing.
Besides his neat hidden ability of not making extra outs, Jim Edmonds is an awesome baseball player. Is it too soon to start wondering if Jim Edmonds is building a Hall-of-Fame resume? Power? 250 career ISO. On-base ability? 385 career OBP. Defense? 107 career Rate2 in centerfield. Maybe Marc can use the JAWS ranking system to see if Edmonds will have what it takes.
By the way, if you haven't checked out fangraphs, you should. Everyone has an inner geek, and most of us have outer geeks, too: satisfy them with visual displays of information. Just make sure you have a couple of hours to kill.