Posted By Jeff Fletcher on January 21, 2009 3:19 pm
Now that he has retired, this is certain to be a hot topic on the baseball airwaves and blogs over the next couple days. Without delving too deeply into his numbers — I have five years to figure it out — I’d say that Kent is close, but no sure thing.
One thing I’m sure of is that any decision on his Hall of Fame status ought be determined solely by what he did at the plate, without the phrase “for a second baseman.”
Because he wasn’t a second baseman. He was a guy who played second base.
The whole reason that defensive positions come into play when analyzing a player’s offense is that it says something about a guy who puts up good offensive numbers at a traditionally defensive position. Thing is, that really should only apply to players who are actually, you know, good defensively. Kent was never much of a second baseman. He was a miscast first baseman or third baseman. As a first baseman, he’d look a lot like Steve Garvey, a borderline HOF candidate.
(Baseball-reference compares Kent mostly to some of the best offensive catchers of all time. Those guys are in the Hall of Fame because they were good defensively, too.)