Garret Anderson vs. Tim Salmon


     Recently, ESPN has been doing their “SportsNation” polling of the five best players for each franchise, which is going to be slanted if one listens to the ESPN batch of readers.  Baseball Tonight lets us know each night, as well, as to whom they choose for each team.  However, I for one do not watch Baseball Tonight each night, but only sometimes.  Which is why I wish I had a DVR/Tivo so each night I could record BBTN, and watch it the next morning, rather than watching Sportscenter, which as far as I am concerned just isn’t what it once was.  But anyway, for the Anaheim Angels, “SportsNation” came up with Nolan Ryan first, followed by Garret Anderson, and then Tim Salmon.  But was Garret Anderson really a better player than Tim Salmon?


     Counting stats go to Garret Anderson on this one, so I understand why fans voted him over Salmon.  After all, Anderson has 2,329 hits, while Salmon only had 1,674.  Anderson wins the RBI battle by 250 Ribbies…and counting, although not counting too much longer as Anderson is 36, and pretty replaceable at this point.  Home Runs is actually won by Salmon by 29, but Anderson may surpass that. 


     But counting numbers aside, Tim Salmon, in my opinion was the better player, at least when he was on the field.  Salmon had roughly 7,000 plate appearences, to Anderson’s 8,300.  But Salmon’s rate stats blow away Anderson’s.  His career line:  .282/.385/.498.  Anderson’s was: .296/.327/.469.  So basically, their averages were close enough that it doesn’t make much of a difference.  But Salmon reached base well more than Anderson, by about 60 percentage points.  And he hit for more power, by 29 percentage points.  But the key there is the fact that Salmon made far fewer outs than Garret Anderson, and Salmon was actually very good at getting on base, while Anderson has been “on base” near the league average. 


     Salmon: OPS+ 128.  Anderson: OPS+ 105.  Again, Garret Anderson trails by a lot, 23% to be exact.  And then there is “Runs Created,” in which Salmon actually wins by roughly 50 runs (created).  That is a counting stat, and a much better one than RBI’s, or Runs scored, or at least Bill James thinks so.  To explain how much better Salmon has been when he actually played:  Salmon’s RC/G (Runs Created per game) 7.2; Anderson’s 5.3.  Anderson has just been on the field more, and yes I understand that is part of the game.  And for good measure; Salmon had 7 seasons in which he played more than 135 games, with an OPS+ that was 125 or greater.   Anderson had two of those seasons. 


     Now I am not going to act like I watched Tim Salmon play a bunch, because although I know I have seen him, definitely in the 2002 World Series, I cannot place any of his actual AB’s.  But while they were on the field Salmon was clearly a better hitter, and most likely a better player.  I actually wish I had their cumulative “Win Shares” so I could compare what they have done in Salmon’s case, and what they are doing, in Anderson’s case.  But even if Anderson came out ahead of Salmon because he contributed more often, not at a higher rate, but more often based on playing more often, Salmon is the underrated of the pair, while Anderson is overrated.  Yes, I said it, Garret Anderson is overrated, and always has been.  But I don’t dislike him, he just makes more outs than a “star” player should make.



  1. mikeeff

    i have NO idea why i am now called “pinched” and i can’t figure out how to change it…seems a glitch of some kind…

  2. joefromnewhampshire

    I am now “joeagles,” and I don’t remember changing it to that. But I have used that name before registering for a few websites. So maybe I did it on accident somehow…or something like that. Oh well

  3. joefromnewhampshire

    Sorry, my computer broke and I have to send it in. I am actually at the public library using their computer. I haven’t been able to watch any games, outside of the games on tv, and I haven’t been able to blog either. I don’t know that I will get my computer back during the regular season.

  4. mikeeff

    damn, that’s a shame–well-good luck with getting it back quickly and i hope to read something of yours when you get the chance

    BTW my vote for MVP Pedroia—

    what do you think?

  5. joefromnewhampshire

    My brother and I were talking about this yesterday actually. And everyone on ESPN has been too, as you have probably seen. But this is where the discussion of how one values the “MVP” to be comes into play. We cannot ignore that every game means exactly the same in the standings. Pedroia is red hot at the perfect time in the eyes of the fans, and that has pushed him into serious MVP status amongst a lot of people. And of course there is the argument that a players team has to be in contention for them to have “value.” But I think that Grady Sizemore is very much in the discussion. And others are too. I don’t know that Pedroia is the MVP, but he is playing awesome lately. But I try not to let myself get to caught up in what happens in the final month of the season, because I want to treat all months equally. Or more accurately, the entire season as a whole, rather than just a month or two at the end. I also do not like to exclude players from winning the award because they are on teams that aren’t in contention. Because it is not Sizemore’s fault that the team that surrounds him didn’t show up this year. He is still having a great year. There is no award for “best player.” So I include everyone in the discussion for MVP.

    I may actually be getting my computer back a little sooner than I thought if everything goes right. Next time I purchase a computer I will definitely be buying the Best Buy warranty, seems worth it after my past 2 notebooks have needed repair within the first year.

  6. mikeeff

    go mac–you wont regret it

    as far as pedroia goes–he’s been solid all year with perhaps one minor slump and he’s picked up the team when they needed it most. maybe i like him and the way he plays so much because i contrast him to cano- a huge disappointment in every facet of his play this season


    Being a Yankee fan and living in Eastern Mass, I cannot help but see the Sox games and highlights. I have to hand it to them. The changes they made since the All Star break have made a positive impact on the team. Each aquisittion has paid off for them unlike the Yankees.

    If not MVP either Pedroia or Lowrie I feel deserve a look to for the 10th?? Player Award.

    Oh and Manny Who??

  8. Raoul

    Tonight’s the night.
    Rays have been in 1st place since June 29th.
    Even if Boston moves ahead, it will be hard to hold the way the Jays have been playing, not to mention the yankees making a statement to close out the season.

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