Originally posted on The Flagrant Fan  |  Last updated 12/17/12
The offensive similarities between Andruw Jones and Dale Murphy are striking. And since each career encompassed successive generations in the Atlanta Braves' outfield, these similarities are even more fun to consider. Jones had a ten year peak from 1997 to 2006. Murphy had an eight year peak from 1980 to 1987. Both started their careers at a very young age, Jones at nineteen, Murphy at twenty. And both lost their value in their early thirties. The only real difference between the two was defense. And it was this aspect that separated the two players. Let's look at the offensive numbers: Standard: Murphy: 9041 plate appearances, Jones 8664 plate appearances Murphy: 1197 runs scored, 398 homers, 787 extra base hits, 1266 RBI Jones:     1204 runs scored, 434 homers, 853 extra base hits, 1289 RBI Murphy:  .265/.346/.469 = .815 OPS   Jones: .254/.337/.486 =.823 OPS Murphy:  161 stolen bases / 70.3%,  Jones 152 stolen bases / 72% Murphy:  822 non-intentional walks with 1748 strikeouts, Jones: 827 non-intentional walks, 1748 K's. Advanced: Murphy: 357 career wOBA, Jones: .352 career wOBA Murphy: 121 career OPS+, Jones: 111 career OPS+ Murphy: 228 batting runs above average, Jones 163.4 Murphy: 10.9% career walk percentage, 19.3% strikeout percentage Jones:     10.3% career walk percentage, 20.2% strikeout percentage Basically what you see is two similar offensive careers. But Dale Murphy will never get elected to the Hall of Fame and Andruw Jones will be hotly debated. The difference, of course, is defense. Murphy is given -33 runs below average for his career defensively. Andruw Jones is given credit for 236 runs above average for his career and is considered by many to be one of the best center fielders of all time. And that difference makes up most of the difference as to why Andruw Jones is a 59.5 rWAR career compared to Murphy's 42.6. They both started young and lost productiveness in their early thirties. Both were iconic during their peaks. And both had eerily similar offensive careers. But Andruw Jones played a pivotal position and he played it better than most who have ever played the game.
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