As a conclusion to the series on the most productive players at each position, I'm going to run down the Top Fifty among all positions. Speaking of those positional articles:
As a reminder, I'm using Justin's Stats, which, in my opinion, are the best publicly available total value player ratings. Better than VORP. Better than Win Shares. Significantly better than WARP. The highlights include:
- BaseRuns-derived offensive linear weights, with park adjustments.
- League-adjusted replacement-level, since AL pitching is stronger than NL pitching.
- Proper position adjustments using the CA - SS - 2B/3B/CF - LF/RF - 1B - DH spectrum.
- Combined STATS and BIS zone ratings converted to runs to measure fielding.
There are some people who have reservations about the fielding ratings. I agree that the current state of fielding metrics is less than ideal, but let's not pretend that they're even close to worthless. However, if you prefer to use your own fielding ratings (personal judgment, Pinto's PMR, Dewan's +/-, or whatever), Justin's stats are still valuable to you. Focus on the offensive values and the positional adjustments, which combine to form a VORP-like number, only better. Why better? Because they include league-adjustments, don't undervalue walks, and make position adjustments based on the defensive spectrum instead of offensive averages. Then you can add in your fielding rating of choice.
Rather than just post a table of the Top Fifty (well, Top Fifty-Two), I've divided the list into tiers and added some commentary.
The Almost All-Stars
These guys had very good seasons, but probably wouldn't make their league's post-season All-Star team without positional scarcity needs. How many of your friends would be surprised that Christian Guzman and BJ Upton were as valuable as Ichiro Suzuki and Carlos Quentin.
|52||Alex I Rios||31||-3||7||35|
|50||Mike A Aviles||25||4||6||35|
|46||Andre E Ethier||45||-6||-3||36|
|44||Carlos J Quentin||52||-6||-9||37|
|42||Joey D Votto||38||-11||10||37|
Two Big Bats and Eight Good Gloves
Seeing Geovany Soto and Aubrey Huff listed right next to each other is a great example of why defense matters. And seeing Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino three spots away from each other is a great reminder of why the Phillies won the World Series.
|36||Ian M Kinsler||45||2||-6||40|
|35||Russell N Martin||30||11||0||41|
With thirty MLB teams, you can think of the top thirty position players as the guys GMs would pick first in the ultimate sandlot game. Notice that we've reached the point where nearly everyone is above average on both offense and defense.
|28||Dan C Uggla||41||2||2||45|
|27||Ryan J Braun||43||-7||9||45|
|23||Kevin E Youkilis||54||-8||4||50|
|22||Brian M McCann||42||10||-1||50|
|20||Josh H Hamilton||51||0||0||51|
|16||Matt T Holliday||52||-6||8||54|
The Down-Ballot MVP Picks
If there was an MVP handed out to all of Major League Baseball, these are the guys who would garner some votes from the BBWAA wackos, but wouldn't actually deserve them. Of course, they deserve pretty much all other praise we can heap upon them.
|11||Dustin L Pedroia||50||2||9||61|
The Modern Baseball Idols
Nobody in this year's top ten was a one-year wonder -- all have multiple All-Star caliber seasons under their belts. These are the players we will eventually debate for entry into the Hall of Fame and the players we will tell our children about. Notice everyone to rate this high had positive defensive value, and most were ten runs above average. On the offensive side, the least productive hitters were still five wins better than replacement with the bat.
|9||David A Wright||62||3||2||67|
The Tier Before The Albert Pujols Tier
The Albert Pujols Tier
Scroll back up to The Cornerstones Tier. Pick two of those players. Together, they were as valuable as one Albert Pujols. To think that he might not win the BBWAA's MVP award and that he didn't win the Hank Aaron award is a travesty. Would Lou Gehrig have received this treatment if he were playing today? A 10 WAR season is worth about $45MM on the current free agent pay scale, by the way.