Big Pimpin wrote:
I think a player's offense would only count for more if he was a relatively better or worse (on average) with the bat. If you take Pujols, he's simply an above average fielder but the best hitter on the planet, so it stands to reason that his offensive contribution would be weighted more heavily. That's going to be true of most players that aren't exceptional (or exceptionally terrible) fielders. But there's still value to be found in defense, and in certain cases I think a player's merits can stand on his defensive prowess.
So I agree that in general offense contributes more to a player's eventual contribution, I just don't think it's any more important than what he does with the glove.
It's hard for me to conceive of very many players who would be so outstanding in the field that they would rack up enough defense to offset an average or below average offensive contribution. Fangraphs data only goes back to 2002 and you can only currently sort based on the last three years. But, even using a three year sample, there are only three players among the top 35 in total runs above replacement who have fielding runs that are more than 50% of their batting runs--Zimmerman (39 Batting, 38 fielding), Rollins, (31 and 22) and Figgins (32 and 21). Even Ichiro, an outstanding fielder, had more than twice as many batting as fielding runs. Even if you look at Ichiro since 2002, he's got almost twice as many batting as fielding runs (154 to 86). (I should say I'm ignoring catchers here, because we don't really have good defensive metrics for them yet)
To think about a case for him to be a Hall of Famer based primarily on his fielding, suppose we maintained that 86 fielding, but cut his hitting contribution to 40. That would mean he averaged a batting contribution of 5 runs above replacement during the 8 years from 2002-2009. That's not a Hall of Famer, even at that level of excellent fielding.
Alternatively, suppose you reversed those two, and he had 150+ fielding runs. That's almost 20 fielding runs every year for all 8 of those years, a number he's only reached once in real life. He'd have to be a super-human fielder to do that over a career.
So, theoretically, sure, it could happen. But, we should only expect it to happen very rarely, because offense is a much more important part of a position player's contribution. But, I guess I could agree to drop the "important" and just say it's more of his contribution
"I don't want to play golf. When I hit a ball, I want someone else to chase it."