Monday, June 7, 2010

Ken Griffey Jr.

With the retirement of Ken Griffey Jr. last week baseball lost one of it's best and most liked players, one who even made it through the steroid era unscathed. But just how good was he, and when was he best? Sounds like a perfect time to debut my new baseball simulator program! The program plays a full nine innings with up to 9 batters using singles, doubles, triples, and home runs (it has yet to include speed things like stolen bases and advancing an extra base, and it counts walks as singles). Putting in a player's stats for a year then having them bat over and over repeatedly for a game gives a good indication of how good a player is at swinging away. So, how good was Griffey? Here's the results by year ("runs" being the program calculated category):
YEAR TEAM OPS RUNS
GRIFFEY JR 1989 Sea 0.74896 3.862
GRIFFEY JR 1990 Sea 0.84987 5.274
GRIFFEY JR 1991 Sea 0.93168 6.8
GRIFFEY JR 1992 Sea 0.89248 5.661
GRIFFEY JR 1993 Sea 1.02355 8.356
GRIFFEY JR 1994 Sea 1.07558 8.828
GRIFFEY JR 1995 Sea 0.85999 6.146
GRIFFEY JR 1996 Sea 1.01857 8.006
GRIFFEY JR 1997 Sea 1.02992 8.006
GRIFFEY JR 1998 Sea 0.97242 7.037
GRIFFEY JR 1999 Sea 0.95552 7.117
GRIFFEY JR 2000 Cin 0.93908 7.081
GRIFFEY JR 2001 Cin 0.89663 6.045
GRIFFEY JR 2002 Cin 0.78522 4.621
GRIFFEY JR 2003 Cin 0.91595 6.458
GRIFFEY JR 2004 Cin 0.86276 5.713
GRIFFEY JR 2005 Cin 0.95036 6.746
GRIFFEY JR 2006 Cin 0.8019 4.682
GRIFFEY JR 2007 Cin 0.8741 6.029
GRIFFEY JR 2008 Cin/CWS 0.7761 4.583
GRIFFEY JR 2009 Sea 0.7333 4.183
GRIFFEY JR 2010 Sea 0.45506 0.712
GRIFFEY JR Total -- 0.90428 6.264





It turns out that Griffey's strike shortened 1994 season was his best, even better than his 56 home run performances in 97 and 98. How does this compare to other players? The average for the MLB so far this year is 3.68 runs (meaning this program is about half a run too low, most runners go second to home on a single) so even Griffey's worst years were better than average. Amongst other Seattle greats Griffey's '94 (8.83) is better than both A-Roid's '96 (8.41) and Ichiro's '04 (5.39). Still, Junior's not quite on Pujols's level (10.93 in 2008) and a long was behind former greats like the Babe (a whopping 17.63 in 1920). Nevertheless, with his 10 Gold Gloves, 184 stolen bases, and 630 home runs I'd take Ken Griffey Jr. on my team anyways.
Good suggestion Woozle.
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