Monday, January 12, 2009

Player of the Day: RICKEY!

Rickey Henderson makes the Hall of Fame on his first try. Let's count the ways that Rickey was great. I'm using the same resources and methodology that I used to compare Brian Downing and fellow new Hall of Famer Jim Rice in this article.

1. Rickey was 584 batting runs above average for his career. His power was a bit above average, with a .419 slugging average compared to a league .401, but his ability to get on base was his main skill. He had over 3000 hits and 2000 walks. He was a very good friend with first base.

2. But he didn't wear out his welcome. Once on first Rickey didn't stay long at all. He adds another 162 runs with his speed. A lot of that is his record of stolen bases, but it also includes advancing on hits, outs, wild pitches, and every other event that a baserunner can take advantage of.

3. Rickey hit into an average number of double plays given his DP opportunities.

4. Rickey put his speed to good use in the outfield with a career +85 TotalZone rating. His arm wasn't very good though, and cost him 19 runs.

5. Add it all up, and Rickey was 812 runs above average. To get value over replacement, add another 432. Subtract 120 because he played mostly left field, where players are expected to hit more than average and the defensive responsibility is not that great. Rickey was 1124 runs better than replacement.

6. That's worth 115.9 wins, Only Bonds, Mays, Aaron, and Mantle have more in the Retrosheet era.