Monday, August 24, 2009

Take 5 - Who Are the Top 5 Position Players in Belle?

(thanks to user gumbercules for the "Take 5" format)

Of course, there are a lot of subjective judgments that go into any "best player" ranking. How valuable is slugging versus defense? Is a good-hitting SS "better" than a great-hitting LF? Does base-stealing matter? The fun of baseball, and especially HBD. Herewith, my choices for the top 5 position players in Joey Belle.

1. Wilson Costello, 1B Jackson - simply the preeminent slugger in the history of Belle. Career OPS leader by nearly 100 points among active players (at an amazing 1.140). Season 5 ROY and 3-time MVP, his hitting is so dominant that he edges out the more well-rounded players for #1.

2. (Tie) Rafael Brogna, 2B Hartford, and Victor Morales, 2B Free Agent - 8 seasons into their careers, their numbers are virtually identical. Brogna has 7 All-Star appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers and 1 MVP; Morales has been to 5 All-Star Games and has 6 Silver Sluggers (at 4 positions), and 1 MVP. Brogna gets the nod as a hitter (career OPS of .950 vs. .917); Morales has a slight edge defensively and stealing bases.

4. William Kwon, SS Oakland Surenos - when you factor in the defensive demands at SS, it's hard to keep the league's best SS out of the top 5, and Kwon is the best SS. Once he established himself as the regular in Season 4, he's hit 20+ HR's in all 9 seasons. His .875 career OPS is humongous for a SS. And while he's not the flashiest fielder in the league, he has a solid .978 career fielding percentage and a Gold Glove to his credit (along with 7 All-Star appearances and 3 Silver Sluggers).

5. Charles Perez, CF,Mexico City Desperados - this was probably the toughest pick. Perez gets the nod as a good hitter at a demanding postion, combined with his Mays-like defensive play. Career .870 OPS and 20HR's a year, plus a career .990 fielding percentage and 145/14 +/- plays (6 All-Star Games, 6 Gold Gloves, 1 Silver Slugger).

(Honorable mention: Lon Andrews, Little Rock; Jacque Fitzgerald, Hartford; Wally Reid, Syracuse; Bill Priest, Hartford; Gary Goodwin, Toledo)

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