Posted by italyprof on 6/30/2013 5:31:00 AM (view original):
I consider WAR highly suspect and full of subjective element zubin. Though I do admit a) no one fielded the bunt better than Hernandez, and b) my own sense of certainly is itself partly subjective: I watched them both play in NY pretty much nightly for years and did not remotely think Hernandez in the same league with Mattingly. No one ever thought Keith Hernandez was the best player on his own team, let alone in baseball. And Mattingly played with Rickey and Winfield.
I agree on Will Clark though.
WAR isn't perfect and it does have a subjective element in terms of measuring replacement level and (I think) defense, but it is a far better way to measure things than your (or my) subjective eye. For the record, I saw both men play too and I was never a fan of Hernandez especially when he tried to (dishonestly) implicate his former team mates of drug use. However I have no doubt that Hernandez was better defensively on an absolute basis until the last 3 or 4 years of his career. And on a relative basis it isn't even close.
When you normalize their hitting they actually are equal as batters: Hernandez has a career OPS+ of 128, Mattingly's is 127. Mattingly was of course the better slugger while Mex was better at getting on base. However if you delve deeper into those stats, you will see that Mattingly benefited a lot from Yankee stadium (131/91 career home run split and a 107/94 ops+ split compared to 74/88 102/98 for Hernandez).
I'll give Mattingly credit for being better in the clubhouse then Hernandez who was schizophrenic in his leadership, but that isn't enough to push Mattingly over Mex. Even the Bleacher Report agrees with me