Saturday, December 23, 2017

A cool card of a guy who didn't deserve the vote in 1993

There weren't a lot of defenders of Deivi Cruz, and probably rightfully so.  This next guy will definitely have some backers though, as he was definitely a fan favorite in his time and only really belongs on this list because of his defense.

Today's player: Cecil Fielder

In 1990, Cecil Fielder came back to MLB from Japan and hit a league leading 51 homeruns.  He finished 2nd in MVP voting that year, and ended up receiving MVP votes over his next four years (Actually the only four years where he received votes).  Here were his homers and WAR numbers over those four years:

1990 - 51 homers, 6.5 WAR
1991 - 44 homers, 3.7 WAR
1992 - 35 homers, 2.7 WAR
1993 - 30 homers, 0.6 WAR

Now those are just two numbers, and if you look at the deeper stats, Fielder was actually a better overall hitter in 1993 than in 1992.  But his defense was a career worst in 1993, which absolutely sunk his WAR.  It wasn't until 1995 that teams finally started playing him at DH to maximize his ability.  So in 1993, even though he had a great offensive season, his value was minimized by what he gave back in the field.

All that said, as will happen with some of these posts, Cecil Fielder was not a bad player in 1993, and there's certainly an argument there for him to get the one vote he did, even if just based on homer total and his previous success.  But there were more deserving guys out there in 1993, as you'll see below.

The card:

I used to collect 1995 Topps (And it's Cyberstats parallel where they projected 1994 as if it was a finished season), and Cecil Fielder's card was always one of my favorites.  I can't put a finger on exactly why...but I definitely think it's pretty neat.  I'm pretty sure he just swung a bat and is waiting to see what happens, but it also looks like maybe he's leading off a base or something as well.  I would love to know what happened immediately after this photo was taken.

A random rookie more deserving of the award: David Hulse.  Yet another guy I've never heard of.  Hulse finished 8th/last in AL Rookie of the Year voting with 2.8 WAR as a Rangers centerfielder.  He didn't hit for power, but he had a good average, good speed, and decent defense, which all combined for a pretty valuable 1993.  Interestingly, Hulse's career WAR on Baseball Reference is 1.5.  After combining for 3.4 WAR in an abbreviated 1992 and full 1993, he went -1.9 for the rest of his career, as his batting average and OBP plummeted.  So not the best finish to a career for Mr. Hulse.

A second guy who deserved it because I found those 1993 Blue Jays fascinating: Juan Guzman.  Guzman finished 7th/last in the AL Cy Young voting with one vote despite a 14-3 record and 3.99 ERA in 33 starts.  While that's pretty good (Good enough for a 3.4 WAR), he was beaten out for MVP votes by five other Jays (Paul Molitor, John Olerud, Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, and Duane Ward).  Man that team was stacked.

1 comment:

  1. I remember buying up Juan Guzman rookie cards. I thought that guy was going to be the next big thing. He had a few solid seasons, but never lived up to expectations. Well... at least my expectations.