It’s Andruw Jones’ fifth time on the ballot. He got 33.9% of the vote last year, a jump from the 19.4% the year before and the 7.5% before that. That’s a nice gain, but he still needs a big push to get to 75%.
Jones came up, with the Braves, at the same time as Vladimir Guerrero did for the Expos. Back then, they were the top prospects in baseball. But Jones wouldn’t become the offensive star that Guerrero was.
Jones would play 17 seasons, hit .254/.337/.486 with 434 home runs. Not poor numbers at all, but they pale next to Guerrero’s.
But Jones makes up for some of that difference in value in his ability to play center field. Jones won ten Gold Glove awards. He was terrific in the outfield.
Jones made five All-Star teams. He received MVP votes five times, finishing as high as second (in 2005, when he hit .263/.347/.575 with 51 homers and had 128 RBI, his best season in the majors). And he finished 5th in Rookie of the Year voting, in 1996, Vlad was 6th).
He played in 76 playoff games but was never on a World Series winner. It wasn’t his fault. He hit .273/.363/.433 with 10 home runs in those games.
Jones played 12 seasons for the Braves, then had a season with the Dodgers, a season with the Rangers, a season with the White Sox and finished his career with two seasons with the Yankees.
He has a 62.8 bWAR.
It seemed, back at the time, you had to choose if you were a fan of Jones or Guerrero and I, of course, choose Guerrero, but Jones has a pretty good case for the Hall as well.
To me, his case hinges on how much you value defense. Obviously, offensively, he doesn’t reach the level of a Hall of Fame player, but if you add in that he was the best defensive center fielder of his generation? I have a tough time with these balancing acts, as a long time player of board and computer baseball games, I tend to lean towards the offensive guys, because offense is easier to quantify for those games. In the real world, defense is valuable.
You can check out his numbers here.