Some Baseball Notes

I have written a guest column for Baseball Prospectus today. It’s about the Far West League, a new summer collegiate wood bat league in Northern California.

Mark Ellis got traded to the Rockies today. He definitely will be missed by us A’s fans. He was the longest tenured A’s player by five years. Ellis was not a great hitter, but he held his own at the plate. He was a phenomenal second baseman, and the fact that he has never won a gold glove is a complete misjustice. The remarkable thing about Ellis is something that is very hard to appreciate unless you watch him a lot: he never, ever makes a mental mistake. He always seem to make the right decision, which would make him likely coaching material when his playing days are done. But before that happens, I’ll be tuning into as many Rockies games as I can find. Pairing Ellis with Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado should make for some up-the-middle defense quite worth watching.

Meanwhile, over at Beaneball, Jason Wojciechowski has listed his top 25 favorite A’s position players of all time. Since his list is so different from what mine would be (both because we have different tastes, and because I’m much older), I thought I should figure out what my own top 25 would be. So here goes:

1. Rickey Henderson
2. Mark Ellis
3. Dave Henderson
4. Reggie Jackson
5. Mike Gallego
6. Dwayne Murphy
7. Eric Chavez
8. Gene Tenace
9. Stan Javier
10. Bert Campaneris
11. Marco Scutaro
12. Terry Steinbach
13. Sal Bando
14. Joe Rudi
15. Dave Parker
16. Matt Stairs
17. Miguel Tejada
18. Mark McGwire
19. Frank Thomas
20. John Jaha
21. Mark Kotsay
22. Mike Bordick
23. Milton Bradley
24. Mike Heath
25. Jemile Weeks

Honorable mention: Cliff Johnson, Tony Phillips, Carney Lansford, Bruce Bochte, Geronimo Berroa, Ramon Hernandez, Olmedo Saenz, Adam Melhuse, Kurt Suzuki.

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  • I like that we both have John Jaha at #20. I was afraid to put Weeks on my list because I don’t want to jinx him. He’ll push his way on soon, though.

    More broadly, I think the thing I like best about this exercise is that it shows how much diversity there can be among fans on fan-ly issues even when said fans largely see eye-to-eye on who’s actually *good*, what proper strategy is, etc.

  • Interesting list Ken – Stan Javier and Marco Scutaro but no, say, Jason Giambi and Jose Canseco?

  • Ken Arneson

    Well, if it were a list of 25 ‘best’ position players, Giambi and Canseco would be on it. And if I had been polled during their A’s careers instead of after it, I guess I would have been more positive about them. But at this point, I can’t unknow what I know about them.

    Who knows why we like a player? The interesting thing about doing this list is to first make the list, and then from that, to figure out what that means about the kind of players I like.

    For me, I guess that means there are two categories of players I seem to like: (1) players who may not be the most talented guy, but who do all the little things right (Ellis, Javier, Steinbach, Bordick), and (2) players who seem to actually enjoy playing (Hendu, Scutaro, Miggy, Weeks).

    Oddly, for me, Milton Bradley fell in the 2nd category. I guess many people saw him as surly, but every time he took a walk, he seemed genuinely excited about his accomplishment, and that always tickled me.

  • You make a good point about the irrationality of who you like/dislike. For whatever reason I never liked Miguel Tejada, liked how he did, wanted him to do well of course but when he was gone it wasn’t the same as losing Zito or Mulder or even Giambi. Then there are the guys you always like even though you know full well they are not particularly good, I’m thinking you Lance Blankenship.