Saturday, January 10, 2015

Brian Giles Deserved Better

First things first, I don't think Brian Giles is a Hall of Famer. I don't think you'd find many people who think he is. He was a really good player for about ten years on a couple of obscure teams, and he was a fantasy STUD in the old Sandbox system that rewarded players for drawing walks. He wasn't an all-time great, which is the designation that someone should have if they're getting named to the Hall of Fame.

That said, Giles was way better than Hall voters apparently think he was.

Earlier this week, the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot results were revealed, and Brian Giles received a whopping zero votes. Among the players who received at least one vote:
  • Tom Gordon, whose claim to fame is having led the league in saves once, and being a pretty good reliever sometimes;
  • Troy Percival, a solid closer who pitched for the champion Angels in 2002; and
  • Aaron Boone, a career .263 hitter who had that one big home run.
I would say that these guys don't sound like Giles' peers, but they're not even; they're all considered deserving of a vote by at least one Hall of Fame voter, and Giles was not.

I will grant certain factors. Giles' power peak only lasted about five years, and he played in an era with inflated power numbers across the board, so his career-high of 39 home runs doesn't play as well as it might in today's game. And he wasn't particularly fast either, notching only 109 steals over a career that spanned more than 1,800 games.

But Giles was a consistent force at the plate. In eight different seasons, his on-base percentage was .396 or higher; Giles ended two out of every five plate appearances with a positive result. His career on-base percentage is .3998, lower than only four players: Joey Votto, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, and Joe Mauer. Those are two likely Hall of Fame caliber players (Manny and Pujols), and two guys who should find themselves at least in the conversation if their next eight years go like their last eight years went. He consistently threatened .300, hitting at least .298 in seven different seasons.

He played in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and San Diego, so his media exposure was limited, as were his postseason opportunities. And the numbers suggest he was a below-average fielder. But in a world where you just know, you just know that Kevin Youkilis is going to get a couple of HoF votes, Giles deserved better than he got.

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