Chat with Rob Neyer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com MLB Insider Rob Neyer will drop by to chat some baseball. His list of the top 100 players of the decade hits the site Monday.
Neyer's book, "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends," can be ordered now!
Send your questions now and join Neyer on Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ok Rob, I was looking over your "100 best" column. I just wanted to let you know that you have no idea what you are doing and clearly don't watch baseball. Just kidding. I'm sure you will get plenty of complaints so I thought I'd get the ball rolling...good work as always Rob.
Chris (Fullerton, CA)
If Lackey signs with Boston is it more proof that this offseason is about the length of the contract? Also, would the Angels have to trade for Halladay to have a chance at the AL West?
Rob Neyer (2:04 PM)
I'm not sure what you mean about Lackey. Regarding the Angels and Halladay, I'm not a big believer in "have to"s ... Let's see how things shake out, huh? The Angels would have won last season even without Lackey.
Mike (New Zealand)
What a job to make a top 100 - you didn't really want to challenge yourself did you? One gripe I have is Ortiz. 2004 alone (as you mentioned for Beltran) should have pushed him way higher than 53rd.
Rob Neyer (2:09 PM)
Honestly? The one thing I meant to do before finishing the list was look at Ortiz very, very closely ... and then I didn't. I suspect that if I did, I would move Ortiz up at least a few spots, because of his clutch hitting. I'm sure that wasn't my only mistake, but if I get one mulligan, I'll take it here.
Jesse (Harrisburg PA)
NO RYAN HOWARD Uhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rob Neyer (2:11 PM)
I know. I was surprised, too. Just couldn't quite get him in there. Sorry. But Jamie Moyer made it, and I did it just for you!
To what do we owe the honor of this surprise chat, Neyritz?
Rob Neyer (2:13 PM)
An honor, huh? I'm chatting today instead of tomorrow, since my Top 100 list was just published a few minutes ago.
mike in MN (MN)
Corey Koskie? One of the great human beings of all time (he raises money for the homeless by sleeping in a tent during part of the winter). But, one of the top 100 players of the decade? That's a real surprise to me.
Rob Neyer (2:16 PM)
There are plenty of surprises as you get toward the bottom of the list. Maybe this goes without saying, but there's almost no qualitative difference between (say) No. 80 on the list and No. 120. We're talking about low tenths of wins per season, which of course are distinctions without real differences.
Since you are a "numbers guy", did you crunch through the list more than once? How do Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau not make it?
Rob Neyer (2:17 PM)
They're both first basemen who didn't get started until the middle of the decade. For appearance's sake, maybe I should have wedged them into the bottom of the list anyway.
Was there any thought of lowering guys who are accused of PED's? I personally put Bonds 25th, and would have gone to 100th if you gave me that option.
Rob Neyer (2:18 PM)
Not really. I figured that wasn't really the assignment.
Andrew W (Newport Beach, CA)
Considering he was a Top 10 player for the decade, has a WS appearance, and is in the top 3 in all those good #'s - OBP, OPS, etc. does Todd Helton sniff the Hall?
Rob Neyer (2:19 PM)
Sure. I do think he could use another two or three big seasons, and his contract will afford him the chance.
Bill (New York)
Rob, thanks so much for the chat! I hope you're right, but your list made it explicit that Mussina gets the call from Cooperstown. Do you think it's that likely?
Rob Neyer (2:21 PM)
Absolutely. He really did punch his ticket with that 20th win.
Eric (St. Louis)
How close was Jim Edmonds to being a HOFer?
Rob Neyer (2:23 PM)
I think he's actually got a pretty decent case, but he won't fare at all well in the voting. Might clear the 5 percent bar and stay on the ballot. Might not.
Andy (Farmington, MI)
Were you surprised that John Smoltz didn't make your list?
Rob Neyer (2:24 PM)
Yeah, I was. It's tempting to just make stuff up, and a close look at Smoltz's postseason performance might have been enough to bump him into the top 100. I just didn't do it.
List is very interesting. I didn't think you were all that into Ichiro. It s possible he's grown on you?
Rob Neyer (2:25 PM)
I think the weight of accomplishments over the course of nine seasons is overwhelming.
You say Clemens didn't deserve either Cy Young award, but if you liked Grienke for this year, then Clemens should have won in 2005 with his sub-2.00 ERA and ZERO run support.
Rob Neyer (2:27 PM)
Clemens pitched long enough that his Cy Young luck essentially evened out; he won some he shouldn't have, and didn't win some he should have.
Mike (San Francisco)
Rob how come no Trevor Hoffmann? He was one of the more dominant closers of the decade. Did you not place the value of a closer that high, other than the obvious choice of Mariano Rivera?
Rob Neyer (2:31 PM)
It's a good question, Mike. For whatever reason, Hoffman didn't even hit my radar screen. I'll have to look at my master list and figure out why.
Brian (Long Beach, CA)
Manny seems low to me. You valued defense pretty strongly, yes?
Rob Neyer (2:33 PM)
Well, sure. But it's not my value; it's the method's value. I actually bumped Ramirez up a few spots because of his postseason performance and also because the Green Monster can play tricks with a left fielder's defensive metrics.
What player surprised you the most making the top 50 - Mike Cameron?
Rob Neyer (2:36 PM)
He didn't really surprise me so much, 'cause I know how good he's been. But yeah, I'm sure that he's surprising to a lot of people.
Rob Neyer (2:39 PM)
Aside from the guys already mentioned? Joe Nathan, probably. Or Luis Castillo.
Michael (Longmont, CO)
Todd Helton so high? is it because he finally made the WS or because after seeing him play in post season people realize he is real good with the glove as well, and not a product of Home ball park
Rob Neyer (2:42 PM)
It was just based on numbers, Michael. And I did knock him back a couple of spots for his ballpark and his league. Now that I think about it, I probably should have knocked him back a couple of more.
You realized you put J.D. Drew ahead of Mariano Rivera, And aniother 10-15 future hall of famers right?
Rob Neyer (2:45 PM)
Yeah, I realize it. And if Drew plays another 1,000 games, maybe he's got a future in Cooperstown, too.
So a guy with an MVP award, a ROY award, & 4 top-five MVP finishes in 5 years isna??t better than a guy who A) never even made an all-star game, B) had lower avg. and OPS, etc. and C) even had lower counted numbers (half the HRs, way less RBIs and only slightly more hits and runs) despite playing 2 extra seasons. Player A is Ryan Howard and Player B is Corey Koskie. I dona??t care if Koskie played 7 seasons in the decade, Howard was far more productive in 5. That is ludicrous.
Rob Neyer (2:47 PM)
Surprising, huh? Is it possible that Howard's not as good as the MVP voters think? Just throwing that out there, in the spirit of the holidays...
Yellow Fever (Jersey City, NJ)
Rob, not to criticize because I love your work, but it seems like the vast majority of your answers today are consisting of, "Yeah, I should have probably done a little more research," or, "I should have moved him up." So what I'm thinking is, maybe you should stick to your guns or have done this research or moving around before releasing the list.
Rob Neyer (2:50 PM)
I choose a third way, my friend. I choose to spend as much time as I've got, and later acknowledge that I'm less than perfect.
Wow, I must have missed part of the last decade. I think of Drew as a completely replaceable player. If Drew makes the Hall, Lee, Walker, Hunter Crawford, etc. (all lower in the list) should walk in.
Rob Neyer (2:51 PM)
Bob, I'm afraid you've fallen into the same trap that far, far too many baseball writers fall into: essentially ignoring fielding, running, and (too often) on-base percentage.
Rob, I dont understand how Javier Vazquez could be higher on this list than Wainwright and Carpenter. When will the madness end.
Rob Neyer (2:54 PM)
You know it's considering the whole decade, right? Otherwise I'd have found a place for Zack Attack Greinke.
Is it possible that your stats always downgrade the Phillies (possibly in large part because of Howard being perceived as WORSE THAN COREY FREAKING KOSKIE) and that's why you never pick them and are subsequently always wrong?
Rob Neyer (2:56 PM)
I'm not sure how Wins Above Replacement could systematically "downgrade" Phillies. What always amuses me when I get reactions like yours is what you choose to ignore. Chase Utley, for example. Just saying.
Mike (New Jersey)
How can you have a Mariano Rivera so low on this list? He is not just the best player to play his position this decade. He is the best player to play his position ever! I think it is time to rethink this list.
Rob Neyer (2:57 PM)
Ray Guy was the best punter. And yet somehow he's not in the Football Hall of Fame. Sometimes life just isn't fair.
But you put Youk in there...WHY NOT EXPLAIN THIS. His entry seems to be nullified by every single one of your responses to people criticizing you. It's befuddling at best. Your answers are quite pithy.
Rob Neyer (3:01 PM)
There's not a great deal to explain, Joel. Youkilis finished the decade with 21.1 Wins Above Replacement, and that put him solidly in the top 105 of my master list. Then I bumped him a few slots because of his versatility and the quality of his competition. And again, recognizing that there's no real qualitative difference between 90 and 105.
Douglas (Atlanta, GA)
How in the world in Greg Maddux not higher? Were talking about one of the best control pitchers of all time, if not one of the greatest pitchers of all time
Rob Neyer (3:05 PM)
You're right, Douglas. Maddux definitely should have been higher, and I also shouldn't have left Willie Mays off the list.With that out of the way, I shall bid you all a fond farewell. Until next time, don't forget, "History books that contain no lies are extremely dull."