Andruw Jones he is in his sixth year on the Hall of Fame ballot. Here, we present the arguments of the Curaçao to be elected.
Jones’ defensive prowess in center field and his power at bat during his heyday put him in the same conversation with some of the best we’ve ever seen. His defense resulted in 10 Gold Gloves and with the bat he hit 434 home runs, leading the Major Leagues in the latter department in 2005 with 51. From 1998 to 2006, Jones hit 319 of those home runs, while slugging .513. . From 2008 to 2012 with the Dodgers, Rangers, White Sox and Yankees, he had a sharp decline, which could explain his discreet progress in the voting. In those later years, he slugged .424 and hit .210 with 66 home runs in 435 games.
After receiving 7.3% of the Baseball Writers Association of North America votes in 2018 and 7.5% in 2019, they have risen to 19.4% in 2020, 33.9% in 2021 and 41.4% in 2022. .
Here are four arguments in favor of Jones’ candidacy:
1. A showcase full of Golden Gloves
As we mentioned earlier, Jones won 10 Gold Gloves in his career. Here we present the list of the outfielders who earned the most: Puerto Rican Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays and nobody else. We are talking about two Hall of Famers in their first opportunities.
Jones is one of four rangers to win exactly 10 Gold Gloves, joining Ken Griffey Jr., Al Kaline and Ichiro Suzuki. We are talking about two more Hall of Famers in their first opportunities and another that surely will be.
Let’s address more. Overall, there have been 15 players (other than pitchers) who have won at least 10 Gold Gloves. Only four of them hit at least 400 home runs: Mays, Griffey, Mike Schmidt and Jones. Another Hall of Famer in his early opportunities, plus Jones.
In other words, the other outfielders with the defensive level of Jones and the other defensemen on his level with his thunder at bat are in the Hall of Fame.
2. Other quantifiable defensive qualities
The Gold Gloves are a great way to recognize the best defenders, but they are awards voted on by individuals. Here, we can demonstrate Jones’ defensive dominance with statistics.
The Curacao native racked up 24.4 defensive WAR (Baseball-Reference). He is the most of any outfielder in Major League history, with a 5.6 lead over second place.
During his entire seasons in Atlanta from 1997-2007, he had a defensive WAR of 26.7, 10.2 more than any other defender in that stretch (Iván Rodríguez was second).
During Jones’ career, there were no above-average defensive runs saved or putouts, but Baseball-Reference has a statistic called total zone runs, which is essentially the precursor to defensive runs saved. Jones racked up 230 total zone runs, the most by any center fielder since the metric appeared in 1953—well above Mays’ 176.
So there’s no question that Jones is one of the best center fielders ever.
3. High value during its heyday
As the 400 home runs to go along with the Gold Gloves demonstrate, Jones wasn’t just providing defense. During the aforementioned 1998-06 stretch, Jones had a total WAR of 54.5, third-most among position players behind Alex Rodriguez (70.6) and Barry Bonds (67.6).
Rodriguez won two AL MVP awards in that span, while Bonds was the National League MVP four straight years. But Jones was third in total quality.
Sure, defense is an integral part of WAR—a key component he helped his team with. But he didn’t just do it with the glove. His 319 homers in that stretch were eighth most in the majors and his 940 RBIs were ninth.
4. Favorable ranking in your position
Jones’ peak WAR over his best seven years—meaning his best seven seasons, not necessarily in chronological order—was 46.4. That’s more than the average for the 19 Hall of Fame center fielders, which is 44.7. In fact, only eight center rangers have posted better WAR among their best seven seasons: Mays, Ty Cobb, Mike Trout, Mickey Mantle, Tris Speaker, Griffey, Joe DiMaggio and Duke Snider. We’re talking about seven Hall of Famers and another one who will be elected one day, Trout.
This makes sense, based on Jones’ WAR from 1998-2006, as noted above. The height of him, whether he is a seven-year-old or a nine-year-old, looks quite favorable among others on his position in the story.
Therein lies the question regarding Jones and his candidacy. There’s a lot of data in favor of Jones having his plaque in Cooperstown, as far as the numbers of him in his heyday. Will that result in a Hall of Fame election at some point?
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Four arguments in favor of Andruw Jones for the Hall of Fame