What if we lived in a world where Andruw Jones was better than Carlos Quentin?


As someone who watches baseball pretty much every day, this question is pretty much as absurd as it gets.  Quentin is a young slugger with a tremendous penchant for driving balls low in the zone and the ability to take it out to all fields.  He's certainly had a year that has achieved around 60% of everyone's expectations, but he's also only 28 years old, still represents the organization's greatest hope for a new dominant power hitter, and has the luxurious flowing hair and sad eyes that brings the ladies and the men in the middle of the Kinsey scale to the ballpark.

Andruw on the other hand, hacks at just about every pitch like a spinning top, and is so susceptible to sweeping breaking balls down and outside that one has to wonder how he doesn't strikeout every at-bat.  And goodness gracious, how on Earth does someone ground into 15 double plays in under 270 at-bats!?  It's like there are bookies who have pledged to kill him if he eclipses 60 RBI.

But in the shady, confusing world of statistically calculated win values, Jones is not only better than Carlos Quentin, but significantly
better.  Jones has accounted for 18 runs above a replacement level
player (or 1.8 WAR), whereas Quentin has been worth only 3 (0.3 WAR). 
Remember also that these numbers are affected by playing time, so Jones
has lapped CQ repeatedly with less opportunities.


Andruw's value in his new role as 'the guy who actually talks to Manny Ramirez' can't be overstated

Of course the primary culprit in this equation is Quentin's fielding,
which is credited for being 16 runs worse than the Alejandro de Azas and
Brian Simmons (old White Sox reference!) of the worlds could provide.  I
won't offer much more to the "How much is Carlos in right field
completely murdering us?" debate than I already have, but I will say this; 7 errors is a titanic amount for a right fielder.

But the secret element in his decent value is that Andruw Jones hasn't been nearly as bad at
the plate as perception would indicate.  Sure, the double plays have piled up
and a game where he makes it through 4 at-bats without a K merits a
ticker-tape parade, but Jones has had consistent power throughout the
season, posting a higher ISO than Quentin, a higher wOBA than Quentin,
and an at-bat per HR ratio that's only one-tenth behind Konerko.  Jones is 15 for his last 44 with 7 extra-base hits, and seems a lot more to be doomed by one awful, Old-Yeller-after-multiple-gunshot-wounds month of June than benefiting solely on the basis of a monster April.  In straight OPS, Jones sits on .817 whereas Quentin has dropped to .820.

What kind of conventional, old-school baseball wisdom can be used to argue for the guy who is worlds worse defensively to start over someone he's a dead heat with on offense?  Uh...I'll think of something. 

First there's durability; Jones was never picked up with the intention of playing every day at age 33 and has missed time for old-man aches like back stiffness and neck strains.  On the other hand, every time CQ touches the ground he cracks his pelvis in a new place...this is not an argument he necessarily wins.


The art of sliding was taught to Carlos at an....um....alright, maybe he doesn't know how

Second, Jones' flaws as a hitter seem obvious to the point that they might get more viciously exploited over more at-bats.  He chases pitches down and away, or simply just really far away, like they just ran off with the Lindbergh baby.  But uh...Carlos does the same thing too.  The other day Hawk called the advanced scouting on Quentin's tendency to chase breaking balls away "the most reliable and easiest to follow in the league".  These guys are mirror images in all the bad ways.

Finally, and I believe this is the most important, is that Quentin represents youth, hope, and higher potential, whereas turning to Jones would represent throwing in the towel on one of the most talented and frankly still-maturing players on the team.  Back in '08, Quentin's hot streaks powered the team for multi-game stretches, and this year has featured a lot of waiting around for one of those streaks to happen.  That's all well and good, and I certainly wouldn't want the organization to shift out someone who almost won the '08 MVP in favor of a has-been without exhausting all patience first.  But with the season coming to a close and the deficit mounting, some defense in right field would seem pretty good right now.

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  • This article is both hilarious and very heart-breaking. I like the jokes about the Kinsey scale in regards to CQ, and the bookie threat to Jones.

  • In reply to Anarchistangela:

    Referencing the Kinsey scale on a White Sox blog typically is a decision that can be second-guessed

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