Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Kent’

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Kent Retires

January 23, 2009

Growing up around the American League, we never realized how truly great Jeff Kent was. Kent, the 40 year-old second baseman, announced his retirement today, ending a career that spanned 17 years, playing for six teams. Kent will almost certainly get into the Hall of Fame, as his 377 career home runs are more than any second baseman ever. Upon hearing that number, one might think, “OK, he was a productive hitter at a traditionally weak position. Is that really Hall of Fame-worthy?”

The answer should be a resounding “yes”. According to Baseball Prospectus, Kent generated about 110 wins over replacement (second basemen) over his 17 years in the majors, including a three year span with the Giants where he produced over ten wins a year. To put that in context, the recently elected Jim Rice never had a single season where he produced ten wins (his only season above eight was a 9.6 in 1978), and averaged barely two thirds the position-adjusted production per year that Kent put up.

Kent isn’t a Hall of Fame candidate because the current members who played second base are weak. Kent should be a Hall of Famer because he was an exceptionally productive player across the span of his career.

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