Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Jeff Kent Bump

While it was almost a guarantee that Kent would enter the hall of fame, but is it possible that Kent's candidacy was cemented because he played in the steroid era? Paul Molitor weighs in:
"When you consider what he did in a clean fashion in his era, it will give him a boost," said Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, who came up as a second baseman in the late 1970s. "It kind of separates yourself if you have been able to rise above the controversy over the past 15 years."
It's hard to criticize Molitor's statement. While I never thought of Kent as one of the best players of his generation, there is no doubt in my mind that he was definitely one of the top three second basemen (Biggio, Alomar). His numbers paled in comparison to sluggers like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Alex Rodriguez, all of whom I thought of as the best hitters. Kent was certainly a great hitter in his prime, but he was a notch below all of those guys in my opinion.

But now that the facts have come out and all the illegal drug use has come to light, Kent's numbers, which were good but not great at one point, now seem to be up there with the best of the steroid era simply because Kent did not use steroids.

I imagine that Kent would have been a first ballot hall of famer even if the whole steroid issue never existed. But because of steroids, it would not surprise me if Kent enters the hall of fame not just as a first ballot hall of famer, but as a guy who should receive at least 85% of the vote. In addition, if voters choose not to vote for guys linked to steroids, Kent's candidacy could/should become a whole lot stronger.


Bill said...

Do we actually know that Kent was "clean"?

Devon said...

Kent has the highest OPS+ (123) of any 2nd baseman (3000 PA minimum) during his career except Utley (128), and only Utley's not that far ahead.

AvengingJM said...

We cannot say that anyone was definitively clean...if we could say this about Kent it would boost his candidacy.

But we have no proof about drug use...only proof that he is comfortable with a bad 'stache, rides motorcycles poorly, and is about a big of a dick as Bonds.

Jorge Says No! said...

while we cannot say for sure that Kent was clean, I feel pretty safe saying that he did not use roids.

As for his stache, that thing is quite underrated. Kudos.