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Rand: The Mauer versus Puckett comparison

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#21 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:20 PM

Well let's do some math, he ended his career 696 hits short. In his age 33-35 seasons he hit .307. Say he regressed down to .300 after that, if he got the average amount of AB's each season after that based on those years (which is 533), he'd average 160 hits a season. 696/160 = 4.35 seasons. Considering he averaged 134 games played in those seasons (before that he never played less than 146 except his rookie season), I'd wager that's a conservative estimate. He was still a great hitter when his career was abruptly stopped, so yes, I'd say he easily got there considering players routinely played to age 40 and beyond in that era. Hell, Puckett was a better career hitter than Paul Molitor, and Molitor posted .330+ averages more often than not after age 35. By OPS, Puckett's age 35 season was his 5th best ever and trailed his top mark by only .026 points. He wasn't turning into some scrub as a hitter like you seem to be suggesting. Was he a great fielder anymore? No, but that wasn't affecting his batting.


On the left, you see Kirby Puckett in his age 35 season. On the right, you see Paul Molitor in his age 35 season.
kirby-paul.jpg

It's not hard to see why one doesn't believe that Puckett was going to age gracefully into his age 40 season and why Molitor did just that.

Oh, and Puckett wasn't a better hitter than Molitor. Their career OPS+ are 122 and 124. They were basically the same hitter (though as an overall player, Molitor was far more valuable over the course of his career than Puckett, sporting a WAR of 72.5 to Puckett's 48.5).

#22 ashburyjohn

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:24 PM

2 rings vs. zero playoff wins? Not much of a contest imo.


Al Newman has two rings as well. Newmie >> Mauersie

#23 The Greatest Poster Alive

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:27 PM



Well let's do some math, he ended his career 696 hits short. In his age 33-35 seasons he hit .307. Say he regressed down to .300 after that, if he got the average amount of AB's each season after that based on those years (which is 533), he'd average 160 hits a season. 696/160 = 4.35 seasons. Considering he averaged 134 games played in those seasons (before that he never played less than 146 except his rookie season), I'd wager that's a conservative estimate. He was still a great hitter when his career was abruptly stopped, so yes, I'd say he easily got there considering players routinely played to age 40 and beyond in that era. Hell, Puckett was a better career hitter than Paul Molitor, and Molitor posted .330+ averages more often than not after age 35. By OPS, Puckett's age 35 season was his 5th best ever and trailed his top mark by only .026 points. He wasn't turning into some scrub as a hitter like you seem to be suggesting. Was he a great fielder anymore? No, but that wasn't affecting his batting.


On the left, you see Kirby Puckett in his age 35 season. On the right, you see Paul Molitor in his age 35 season.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]2282[/ATTACH]
It's not hard to see why one doesn't believe that Puckett was going to age gracefully into his age 40 season and why Molitor did just that.

Oh, and Puckett wasn't a better hitter than Molitor. Their career OPS+ are 122 and 124. They were basically the same hitter (though as an overall player, Molitor was far more valuable over the course of his career than Puckett, sporting a WAR of 72.5 to Puckett's 48.5).


puckett had just developed a layer of padding that worked like bubble wrap to keep him protected from injuries. He could have played to 50 with that physique.

#24 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:28 PM

2 rings vs. zero playoff wins? Not much of a contest imo.


Al Newman has two rings as well. Newmie >> Mauersie


Al Newman > Ted Williams

#25 Steve Lein

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:40 PM

On the left, you see Kirby Puckett in his age 35 season. On the right, you see Paul Molitor in his age 35 season.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]2282[/ATTACH]
It's not hard to see why one doesn't believe that Puckett was going to age gracefully into his age 40 season and why Molitor did just that.

Oh, and Puckett wasn't a better hitter than Molitor. Their career OPS+ are 122 and 124. They were basically the same hitter (though as an overall player, Molitor was far more valuable over the course of his career than Puckett, sporting a WAR of 72.5 to Puckett's 48.5).


Brock, I advise you to look at photo's of Puckett from 1991, they're not any different...

As for the hits argument, yes a poor stat, but basic indicator of differences as hitters. It's almost apples to oranges despite similar OPS's, which you prove here:

Lofton had 70 more HR, 450 more BB, 20 less 2B, 500 (!) more stolen bases, and 50 more 3B than Puckett. The comp isn't 100% accurate but they were both centerfielders who were well above average during the peak of their careers (and had overlapping careers). Lofton just lasted a little longer than Puckett. Kenny spent the bulk of his career posting an OPS+ of around 10-15 points lower than Puckett and ended his career with an OPS+ 20 points lower, while Lofton posted a career 64.9 WAR against Puckett's 48.2.


...And Lofton is the one 70's HR behind. Fact is, despite his place on WAR lists, Kenny isn't close to a slam dunk to make the HoF, yet we've already agreed Kirby is unquestionably worthy. I'd say that means they're not as comparable as you're saying outside being CF's.

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#26 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:04 PM

Hope this doesn't sound weird, but Puckett was the best. He was a clear Hall of Famer, and unfortunately, part of the reason for that was because his career was cut short due to injury. He didn't have to go through the imminent career slow-down like Murphy did. Koufax's career was short. You can't compare his stats to guys like Seaver and Palmer and Blyleven that had extended careers. Puckett was a great player. Puckett's numbers are most like Don Mattingly, who unfortunately for him, kept playing through back injuries.

#27 jokin

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:07 PM

[quote name='Brock Beauchamp'][quote name='Steve Lein']Lofton began his MLB career at age 24, just like Puckett did, but unlike Puckett, he got to play until he was 40.

Lofton's career hit total? 2428. less than a season's worth of more hits than Puckett.

They aren't comparable players to me as hitters, Puckett was far more durable and routinely put up 200+ hit seasons (5/12) as a #3 hitter, Lofton did it once in his career (1/17) as a leadoff man.

Very poor comp, in my opinion.[/QUOTE]

You're going to use hits as the sole indicator of a player's worth? I think it's pretty apparent I was comparing the entire player, not just his hitting style. Lofton had 70 more HR, 450 more BB, 20 less 2B, 500 (!) more stolen bases, and 50 more 3B than Puckett. The comp isn't 100% accurate but they were both centerfielders who were well above average during the peak of their careers (and had overlapping careers). Lofton just lasted a little longer than Puckett. Kenny spent the bulk of his career posting an OPS+ of around 10-15 points lower than Puckett and ended his career with an OPS+ 20 points lower, while Lofton posted a career 64.9 WAR against Puckett's 48.2.

They're not as different as you'd like to think. Puckett was a better player but not by much and "someone" could make a damned good case that Kenny was the better overall player. I wouldn't buy it but the argument could easily be made.[/QUOTE]

Whiplash Effect. "Someone" just did in your previous post:

[quote name='Brock Beauchamp']"Puckett's best comp might be Kenny Lofton. That doesn't exactly light the world on fire." [/QUOTE]

I agree with your statistical assessment, but the HOF voters give special credit to key players from multiple World Series Champs, and also those whose careers are cut short tragically and project to levels of greatness like Puckett did. In addition, they love hits- while you are to Kirby Puckett what Buddy Ryan was to Chris Carter ("all he does is score touchdowns"). Also, if you're going to make a health argument, you can't gloss over or ignore Puckett's incredible durability and penchant for grinding out 150+ games played, season after season- Lofton hit that mark all of once- The HOF voters love "gamers", too.

Finally, you are absolutely wrong about HRs--- Puckett 207 career HR. Lofton 130. Also, "Lofton lasted just a little bit longer than Puckett"??? In Lofton's case, that extra 5 years is extending a career by 42% over Puckett, significantly more, not just a little bit longer.

#28 darin617

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:13 PM

Puckett: 2

Mauer: 0

That is all.


That is All that really needs to be said.

#29 darin617

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:19 PM

I know I'll get ripped for saying this, but...

Kirby Puckett was an overrated player. He's a borderline HOFer who got in more on personality than performance.

I'd take Kirby on my team any day of the week, but when Rand breaks down statistics comparing Puckett to Mauer, it's really not about the statistics. It's about perception and popularity.


Yeah whatever. Joe Mauer will never measure up to Puckett anyway possible.
Like Joe Mauer would ever tell his teammates what Puckett did for Game 6. " You guys should jump on my back tonight. I'm going to carry us.'" Mauer would draw the walk and put all the pressure on Willingham and Morneau to do all the work.

#30 jokin

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:20 PM

[quote name='Steve Lein'][quote name='Brock Beauchamp']

On the left, you see Kirby Puckett in his age 35 season. On the right, you see Paul Molitor in his age 35 season.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]2282[/ATTACH]
It's not hard to see why one doesn't believe that Puckett was going to age gracefully into his age 40 season and why Molitor did just that.

Oh, and Puckett wasn't a better hitter than Molitor. Their career OPS+ are 122 and 124. They were basically the same hitter (though as an overall player, Molitor was far more valuable over the course of his career than Puckett, sporting a WAR of 72.5 to Puckett's 48.5).[/QUOTE]

Brock, I advise you to look at photo's of Puckett from 1991, they're not any different...



As for the hits argument, yes a poor stat, but basic indicator of differences as hitters. It's almost apples to oranges despite similar OPS's, which you prove here:

[quote name='Brock Beauchamp']

Lofton had 70 more HR, 450 more BB, 20 less 2B, 500 (!) more stolen bases, and 50 more 3B than Puckett. The comp isn't 100% accurate but they were both centerfielders who were well above average during the peak of their careers (and had overlapping careers). Lofton just lasted a little longer than Puckett. Kenny spent the bulk of his career posting an OPS+ of around 10-15 points lower than Puckett and ended his career with an OPS+ 20 points lower, while Lofton posted a career 64.9 WAR against Puckett's 48.2.

[/QUOTE]

...And Lofton is the one 70's HR behind. Fact is, despite his place on WAR lists, Kenny isn't close to a slam dunk to make the HoF, yet we've already agreed Kirby is unquestionably worthy. I'd say that means they're not as comparable as you're saying outside being CF's.[/QUOTE]

Since Ted Williams name has been invoked, I proffer his oft-cited quote_ "Hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports"

http://www.axonpoten...o-do-in-sports/

#31 darin617

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:23 PM

Is it just me or did Kirby turn down bigger money to stay in MN? We all know how this ends now with a $23M contract on a team not willing to spend much more than $100M. Kind of like jumping out of an airplane with an anvil strapped to your back instead of a parachute.

Too bad Joe never heard of a home town discount.

#32 darin617

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:30 PM

So is Joe Mauer going to make it to the HOF? Not much of a chance when he won't be catching much after 2013-14(take your pick).

#33 snepp

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:39 PM

Is it just me or did Kirby turn down bigger money to stay in MN?


He signed the largest contract in all of baseball once, then nearly did it again a few years later (only the 3rd highest in all of baseball). He didn't leave much money on the table.

#34 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:45 PM

I would rather pay money to watch Kirby Puckett play baseball than pay money to watch Joe Mauer play baseball.

Any. Friggin. Day.

The rest is details.

#35 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:46 PM

They're not as different as you'd like to think. I belie Puckett was the better player (but not by much) and someone could make a damned good case that Kenny was the better overall player. I wouldn't buy it but the argument could easily be made.


Well let's see.

All-Star selections: Puckett 10, Lofton 6
Top-10 MVP votes: Puckett 10, Lofton 1
Gold Gloves: Puckett 7, Lofton 4
Silver Sluggers: Puckett 6, Lofton 0

So while I suppose such an argument could be made, I would find it exceedingly difficult to take seriously.

#36 kydoty

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:48 PM

As I mentioned in the Strib comments, Pucket's $5.6 million in 1993 was among the highest salaries in baseball at the time. And those idiots complaining about Mauer's contract seem to not understand that a player of Puckett's calibur in 2012 wouldn't in hell agree to a $5.6 million salary in the free agent market.

"Mediocre breaking balls are a gift from God." - Kirby Puckett


#37 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:51 PM

I don't know how you compare 2 such different players from different eras, but it makes for fun debate.

But one thing I never buy into is the "2-0" argument. By that rationale Chuck Knoblauch should be considered a better player than Rod Carew.

This isn't tennis. It makes no sense to judge individual players solely by team accomplishments.

#38 Pius Jefferson

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:54 PM

That comments section made me despair for the human race.



Reading the comment section in the Star Tribune is like looking directly at an eclipse.

#39 kydoty

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:56 PM

Puckett: 2

Mauer: 0

That is all.


If only Mauer could pitch like Puckett could.

"Mediocre breaking balls are a gift from God." - Kirby Puckett


#40 JB_Iowa

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 07:03 PM

Apart from his accomplishments, Kirby Puckett's fame grew thanks to Bob Casey. An entire generation of kids saying:

"Kir-beeeeeeeeeee Puck-it"