An expert whose analysis I am quite fond of, always suggests that Jim Rice’s Hall of Fame candidacy is ridiculous because of how he played on the road. It is true, very true in fact, that Rice was a heck of a lot better at home in Fenway than on the road vs. the rest of the AL. But that is not the sole reason for an argument for or against a candidate, or any player.
Rice had a decent .277/.330/.459 line on the road during his career. And at home it went a little like this: .320/.374/.546. So although he was incredible at home, and close to mediocre on the road, there is little to suggest that what his road numbers were, was what he actually was. It is not uncommon for a hitter to play better at home, than they do on the road. Now, I am not an advocate for Jim Rice as a Hall of Fame worthy player. I do believe that he was a beneficiary of Fenway’s friendly dimensions, but I do not believe that the road numbers accurately reflect what he was as a player altogether. There is no proof that Rice would have posted the first line of numbers, had he played in an average park his entire career. So while I don’t believe that Rice is Hall worthy, I also am not sure that he was actually the equivalent of Dante Bichette, as the analyst suggested.
Which leads me to some sort of point that I am trying to make…I don’t know how I come off in regards to Matt Holliday, but I do not think that he is what his road numbers are. There are cases when a player simply performs better at home, than on the road. So I don’t think the A’s are getting a player with a career OPS of .800, which is what his career road OPS is. If that is what I thought they were getting, then I would say that they had been ripped off. And a side note: Holliday’s road OPS’ the past two years are better than his career road numbers, naturally, because he is sitting in his prime right now. And those same road numbers are actually closer to his home numbers than in the years previous.
But I am still skeptical, hesitant, disinclined, reluctant, dubious, etc, etc, etc, when I want to admit what exactly I think Matt Holliday is. I think he is good, but I don’t know that he is great, and I am not sure that he is much more than solid. Solid is a pretty flimsy word in this context anyway. I do know that road numbers are not everything though. But I have trouble thinking that Holliday will end up posting an OPS north or .900 playing in that park, and in that league.