Top 200 Baseball Players Ever, #177-176, REGGIE SMITH and BOBBY ABREU

Friday, June 20, 2008

edit - you can find the updated rankings under the label - best baseball players ever
#177 REGGIE SMITH RF Red Sox/Dodgers
OPS+ 136
BFW 31.5
WARP3 92.4

Not on the list - the Dodger infield from the 70s. Cey was very, very close. Garvey was not.

#176 BOBBY ABREU RF Phillies/Yankees
OPS+ 136
BFW 30.1
WARP3 88.6

Note that he and Smith have the same bat, adjusted for era. Abreu right now, this second, would be lower, he benefits from a nudge upward that active players are getting. It's a small nudge for Abreu. He and Andruw Jones, who has already appeared, are good examples of guys who have been in sharp decline since the heightened steroid scrutiny, but who haven't been tarred at all with the "cheater" brush. Abreu's power disappeared seemingly overnight, and Jones is in total freefall. This isn't to say they (1) used steroids or (2) gave up steroids or (3) that steroids are a significant factor in their declines even given (1) or (2). It's to say that even within baseball, the tarnishing of guy X as opposed to guy Y has been capricious. And considering the entire sports landscape - I heard Terry Bradshaw just this week talk about using steroids under a Dr. care - and why is it that Evander Holyfield gets to keep his reputation as a good guy; look at the evidence connecting him with steroids. One of the tests of any system, be it legal or ethical, is its ability to be applied consistently. The scarlet letters we've thrown onto certain baseball players of this era as opposed to other athletes serve as examples of how wrongheaded our approach to steroids has been; and while I'm largely wishcasting with this next part - I think history will not be kind to this period of sports commentary regarding PED use.

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