Is Chase Utley the Best Player in Baseball?
Excerpt from BP’s Joe Sheehan chat:
Henry (Princeton): Hey Joe, Keith Law in his chat yesterday declared Chase Utley
to be the best player in baseball, better than Pujols. Considering
Pujols out-VORPed Utley 96-62 this year and is a GG defender at first
(screw what the vote says) is it safe to say that KLaw is off his
rocker on this one?
Joe Sheehan: You also have to screw what the vote says on
Utley, who according to at least one metric (+/-, by BIS), was the best
defensive player in baseball this year. I disagree with Keith’s
conclusion, but you know, I think he’s a lot closer to the truth than
the mainstream opinion of Utley, which wouldn’t have him anywhere near
Chat excerpt from ESPN’s Keith Law chat:
Ian (Bellingham, WA): Utley is turning thirty this offseason. You really think he can maintain production long enough to make the Hall?
Keith Law: He’s
a good athlete and a plus-plus defensive player – those guys tend to
age pretty well. Now, this is the part that might make my head explode,
but the voters often look at stuff like Gold Gloves, so he needs to
start winning some to boost his HoF chances. In my opinion, if a guy is
the best player in baseball for a year or so and stays at/near that
peak for a good 4-5 years, he’s a HoF candidate. And Utley is the best
player in baseball right now.
Excerpt from the Statistician Magician’s Mind:
Keith Law is the best analyst that I know of. Law combines a rare blend of the ability to scout, mixed with the ability to analyze the numbers. More importantly, analyzing the “Right” numbers. There is a reason that Law was employed by “Baseball Prospectus” before he began his tenure with ESPN and Scouts, Inc. But on this particular subject, I must mildly disagree.
But is he the greatest among the current crop of players? I say no. Albert Pujols would be my choice. Pujols year in and year out is the best in the game it seems, outside of last year.
So while I agree with Joe Sheehan that Keith is probably closer than one might think, I believe that Pujols is the best.