Player of the Day: Jim Edmonds
Watching the MLB network's Prime 9, they have Jim Edmonds as the 8th greatest center fielder since the year 1900. All of the others on the list, including #9 Kirby Puckett, are in the Hall of Fame or else still playing.
Edmonds, despite playing well for the Cubs last year, does not project very well for 2009. I don't think teams are still considering him as a starting centerfield option. To keep playing he may have to accept a bench role. There is also a chance he gets Loftoned.
But I'm not here to talk about the future. Unlike McGwire, I'm here to talk about the past. One thing that strikes me from the Prime 9 special is how similar Jim was to Duke Snider. They even look alike, Jim could be Duke Snider Jr., for all I know.
Edmonds has not passed the 400 homer mark yet, Snider finished with 407. For their careers, 162 games of Edmonds looks like .284, 32 HR, 99 RBI, and 82 walks. For Snider it's .295, 31, 101, and 73. Snider comes out ahead on OPS+, 140 to 132.
Both played centerfield despite not being big basestealing threats. We've all seen that Edmonds covered plenty of ground in the outfield. It seems like Snider was regarded as a good defender, though nobody would confuse him with Willie Mays. TotalZone rates Snider as above average in Brooklyn, but a bit below average when they went to LA, with a below average arm as well. I don't have the data for his 1949-1952 seasons, and those are when he should have been at his fastest and defensive best. TotalZone has rated Edmonds as generally above average until 2006, and with a tremendous arm. If we had complete data to compare them, I think Edmonds would rate higher defensively than the Duke, and edge a bit into the Duke's offensive advantage.
I think MLB got the order right, and I hope in time it means that Edmonds' HOF plaque rests in the same Hall as Snider's and Puckett's.