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2,975+ Hits Since 1919 By BABIP

Posted by Steve Lombardi on May 25, 2011

What would it look like if you took all the players to have 2,975+ career hits since 1919 and ordered them by their BA on Balls in Play?

Here's the list -

Rk Player BAbip H From To Age G PA AB R 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Rod Carew .359 3053 1967 1985 21-39 2469 10550 9315 1424 445 112 92 1015 1018 144 1028 25 128 64 216 353 187 .328 .393 .429 .822 34/D657 MIN-CAL
2 Derek Jeter .354 2975 1995 2011 21-37 2340 10759 9515 1712 472 62 236 1150 961 37 1599 154 79 50 239 326 87 .313 .383 .450 .833 *6/D NYY
3 Wade Boggs .344 3010 1982 1999 24-41 2440 10740 9180 1513 578 61 118 1014 1412 180 745 23 29 96 236 24 35 .328 .415 .443 .858 *5D/317 BOS-NYY-TBD
4 Roberto Clemente .343 3000 1955 1972 20-37 2433 10212 9454 1416 440 166 240 1305 621 167 1230 35 36 66 275 83 46 .317 .359 .475 .834 *9/8745 PIT
5 Tony Gwynn .341 3141 1982 2001 22-41 2440 10232 9288 1383 543 85 135 1138 790 203 434 24 45 85 259 319 125 .338 .388 .459 .847 *98/7D SDP
6 Paul Waner .339 3152 1926 1945 23-42 2550 10762 9459 1627 605 191 113 1309 1091 0 376 38 174 0 127 104 0 .333 .404 .473 .878 *9/378 PIT-TOT-BSN-BRO-NYY
7 Lou Brock .338 3023 1961 1979 22-40 2616 11235 10332 1610 486 141 149 900 761 124 1730 49 47 46 114 938 307 .293 .343 .410 .753 *798 CHC-TOT-STL
8 Paul Molitor .326 3319 1978 1998 21-41 2683 12160 10835 1782 605 114 234 1307 1094 100 1244 47 75 109 209 504 131 .306 .369 .448 .817 D543/6879 MIL-TOR-MIN
9 Stan Musial .320 3630 1941 1963 20-42 3026 12712 10972 1949 725 177 475 1951 1599 127 696 53 35 53 243 78 31 .331 .417 .559 .976 3798/1 STL
10 Pete Rose .319 4256 1963 1986 22-45 3562 15861 14053 2165 746 135 160 1314 1566 167 1143 107 56 79 247 198 149 .303 .375 .409 .784 37549/8 CIN-PHI-TOT
11 Craig Biggio .311 3060 1988 2007 22-41 2850 12503 10876 1844 668 55 291 1175 1160 68 1753 285 101 81 150 414 124 .281 .363 .433 .796 *4287/D9 HOU
12 George Brett .307 3154 1973 1993 20-40 2707 11624 10349 1583 665 137 317 1596 1096 229 908 33 26 120 235 201 97 .305 .369 .487 .857 *5D3/796 KCR
13 Rickey Henderson .305 3055 1979 2003 20-44 3081 13346 10961 2295 510 66 297 1115 2190 61 1694 98 30 67 172 1406 335 .279 .401 .419 .820 *78D/9 OAK-NYY-TOT-SDP-NYM-BOS-LAD
14 Robin Yount .303 3142 1974 1993 18-37 2856 12249 11008 1632 583 126 251 1406 966 95 1350 48 104 123 217 271 105 .285 .342 .430 .772 *68D/73 MIL
15 Willie Mays .299 3283 1951 1973 20-42 2992 12493 10881 2062 523 140 660 1903 1464 192 1526 44 13 91 251 338 103 .302 .384 .557 .941 *8/39675 NYG-SFG-TOT-NYM
16 Dave Winfield .296 3110 1973 1995 21-43 2973 12358 11003 1669 540 88 465 1833 1216 172 1686 25 19 95 319 223 96 .283 .353 .475 .827 *97D8/35 SDP-NYY-TOT-CAL-TOR-MIN-CLE
17 Al Kaline .296 3007 1953 1974 18-39 2834 11597 10116 1622 498 75 399 1583 1277 131 1020 55 45 104 271 137 65 .297 .376 .480 .855 *98D3/75 DET
18 Eddie Murray .291 3255 1977 1997 21-41 3026 12817 11336 1627 560 35 504 1917 1333 222 1516 18 2 128 315 110 43 .287 .359 .476 .836 *3D/57 BAL-LAD-NYM-CLE-TOT
19 Hank Aaron .291 3771 1954 1976 20-42 3298 13940 12364 2174 624 98 755 2297 1402 293 1383 32 21 121 328 240 73 .305 .374 .555 .928 *9783D/45 MLN-ATL-MIL
20 Carl Yastrzemski .290 3419 1961 1983 21-43 3308 13991 11988 1816 646 59 452 1844 1845 190 1393 40 13 105 323 168 116 .285 .379 .462 .841 *73D8/59 BOS
21 Rafael Palmeiro .283 3020 1986 2005 21-40 2831 12046 10472 1663 585 38 569 1835 1353 172 1348 87 15 119 232 97 40 .288 .371 .515 .885 *3D7/98 CHC-TEX-BAL
22 Cal Ripken .277 3184 1981 2001 20-40 3001 12883 11551 1647 603 44 431 1695 1129 107 1305 66 10 127 350 36 39 .276 .340 .447 .788 *65/D BAL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/25/2011.

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Funny, I never would have thought of Derek Jeter as being "a magician with the bat" in the class of Carew and Boggs.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 at 11:47 am and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

62 Responses to “2,975+ Hits Since 1919 By BABIP”

  1. All those "Jeterian" hits to right field make him a BABIP magician, I guess.

  2. John Autin Says:

    Steve, re: "I never would have thought of Derek Jeter as being "a magician with the bat" in the class of Carew and Boggs."

    -- There has to be some reason Jeter has a .313 BA while striking out over 100 times a year, right?

    P.S. Compare the batted-ball ratios of Jeter and another high-average contemporary who's not on the list: Ichiro Suzuki.
    -- Line drive %: 21% for both.
    -- GB/FB ratio: 1.26 Jeter, 1.28 Ichiro.

  3. The BABIP stat is overrated, really. While it's interesting, all it shows me about Jeter is that his lifetime BA is a bit higher than it REALLY is - because we all know that a strikeout is the worst out you can make in baseball with runners on base, except for a DP. Moreover, the criteria of "number of hits" is far too high. I'd like to be able to see Brock and Henderson against Tim Raines, Williams and DiMaggio against Clemente, Mays and Aaron. The more I look at stats, the more I realize that the 3,000 hit milestone, while commendable, shouldn't be a free ticket to the Hall of Fame. Nagging injuries and the wartime era have shortened (but not devalued) many great careers and the "career hits" stat needs to be reduced somewhat as a guiding criteria.

  4. @3

    Whom in the 3000 hit club would you not include in the HOF then? More than Palmeiro?

  5. Trying to understand whether this is 'impressive' or not given his K rate.
    Jeter and Boggs have similar # of PA and GDP. And Boggs has less than half the strikeouts.

    I think I would take Boggs' 800+ outs on balls in play over Derek's inside-out whiffs.

  6. I was wondering why the 1919 cutoff for BABIP, that doesn't require box scores or play-by-play... but then I remembered there are a few years in the early 1900s where batter strikeouts weren't counted.

    Even so, Ty Cobb's .379 is pretty impressive. Finding a few more strikeouts for him would raise that value, no? Maybe there's other issues with SF/SH data?

    Is there a BABIP leaderboard around here? Here has to be other guys like Jeter who have a fair amount of K's and only a moderate amount of HR power. Ray Lankford is at .330. I'd be curious to see the other names on the list.

  7. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Why did you limit this search since 1919? 1920 is a more traditional dividing line. And it's not subject to the boxscore era which currently goes to '19.

    A few other notables:
    Cobb - .379
    Speaker - .347
    Wagner - .346
    Lajoie - .343
    Anson - .339
    S. Rice - .330

  8. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I remembered there are a few years in the early 1900s where batter strikeouts weren't counted.

    Ahh, good point. And I believe B-R has filled in some of those years with estimated strikeouts based on team totals or something (I forgot the details), and I REALLY wish that would be made clear on the stat pages.

  9. Also, for the most part, HR hitters on the bottom of the list. More hits leave the yard, so not in BABip, plus more fly balls = more outs.

    @3 I don't think BABip is "overrated," inasmuch as nobody really evaluates/ranks players as better or worse based on BABip. BABip is underrated if anything, because not enough people consider it when looking at a player's batting average. It's a very useful stat in player evaluation.

    Also, I don't believe the list presented is supposed to be anything other than trivia. Nobody is saying that Carew, Jeter and Boggs are the best 2,975+ hit batters since 1919.

  10. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Here it is: http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/10690
    They are prorating season strikeouts based on the limited boxscores available. Good information to have, but it really should be clearly denoted as an estimate until confirmed.

  11. @5
    I don't think we're supposed to assign any value to BABIP in isolation. Strikeouts and Home Runs obviously count... the latter quite a bit. In small samples, I've seen people compare a players BABIP to his historical norms to see if he has run into a patch of good or bad luck. For full careers, its just interesting to see a player's production broken down into components.

  12. Interesting, but I don't know that it proves anything. After all, all at-bats count, not just the ones in play.

  13. @ #3 John M:

    >>>The more I look at stats, the more I realize that the 3,000 hit milestone, while commendable, shouldn't be a free ticket to the Hall of Fame.<<<

    If what you mean is that there are plenty of sub-3,000 hit players who are worthy of the HOF, I agree with you.

    And it seems that 3,000 hits is not the magic number, but 2,873--Ruth's number of hits. Every eligible player with more than 2,873 hits is in, with the exception of Palmerio, and we know why he isn't yet.

    Who is over 3,000 hits, even over 2,900 hits, who is in the HOF and isn't worthy?

  14. Is anybody else fascinated by how similar Jeter and Carew are stats-wise? Incredibly similar slash lines, walks+IBB+HBP, GDP, 2B, SB, and even identical AB. The only big difference is that Jeter has hit a lot more HR. I just found that interesting.

  15. It makes sense that the "good contact" guys were high on this list and the "power" guys were in the second half. With the exception of Musial. All o fthe players with more than 300 homers were under .300 - other than Brett (317 HRs) and the Man (475 HRs and a .320 BABIP). I envy people who got to watch this guy hit every day.

  16. @13

    I'd argue that Lou Brock doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. He got a lot of singles and stole a lot of bases and that's it. He was poor defensively, had no power, and never walked. Of the guys on that list, he has the third lowest OBP (ahead of Ripken and Yount), second lowest SLG (ahead of Rose), and lowest OPS. Only Clemente had fewer walks. His career WAR was 39.1. In comparison, Yount, the player on the list with the next lowest OPS, had 76.9 WAR. Brock was a good player, but definitely the worst of the 3000 hit club and likely a poor HoF choice.

  17. John Autin Says:

    The similarities between Jeter and Carew are superficial. When you look at them in the context of their times, Carew was a far better hitter. This is not a gratuitous dig at Jeter, who's going to the HOF on merit; it's just a fact:

    -- OPS+: Carew 131, Jeter 118
    -- Offensive winning percentage: Carew .670, Jeter .605.
    -- BA relative to league avg. -- Carew +68 points, Jeter +43 points.
    -- OBP relative to league avg. -- Carew + 67 pts., Jeter +44 pts.
    -- SLG relative to league avg. -- Carew + 43 pts., Jeter +20 pts.
    -- ISO relative to league avg. -- Carew -25 pts., Jeter -23 pts.

    Even Jeter's edge in extra bases virtually vanishes once you put both players into context.

    Note that I said "better hitter." It's hard to compare their overall value, since Carew was moved to 1B in mid-career, where his offensive production wasn't nearly as impressive relative to others at the position.

  18. John Autin Says:

    @16, Josh -- You should reexamine your view of Lou Brock's power. You may find that you have a false impression.

  19. Jeter inside-out swing, allowing him to consistently line balls to right field certainly plays a big part. Line drives have a much better chance of being a hit than any other batter ball (well, not including a ball over the wall which is alway a hit!). Beginning last season, age, I'm guessing, seems to be robbing him of this skill. His BABIP last year dropped from the .360-.390 range to .307 last year, and is down to .281 this year. His line-drive percentage, reguarly around 20%, and at times approaching 25%, dropped to 16% last year and is now about 11%. Yikes. Age is not kind.

    Amazingly, he's still showing a plus fWAR. His defense has stabalized, and hitting overall had decreased, let alone at SS, where it's collapsed.

  20. John Autin Says:

    Re: Brock's power:

    (1) He had 7 seasons with at least 12 HRs, with a high of 21.

    (2) Brock's career SLG was +20 points compared to the league average (.410 to .390). For comparison, Rick Henderson's SLG was +18 pts. compared to the league (.419-.401).

    (3) Per 162 games, Brock averaged 30 doubles, 9 triples and 9 HRs, 262 total bases. Rickey averaged 27 doubles, 3 triples and 16 HRs, 241 total bases.

    Note that I am not arguing that Brock was Henderson's equal. I'm just saying that Brock's power, in terms of extra-base hits and relative to the league average, was comparable to Rickey's.

    I'm not sure why the view of Brock as a singles hitter is so common. He slugged .655 in 21 WS games, with 4 HRs, 7 doubles, 2 triples.

  21. John Autin Says:

    On a sad note ... Paul Splittorff, the winningest pitcher in Royals history, has died at age 64 from cancer. He was the Royals' first 20-game winner in '73, also earned their first postseason win in '76 with 5+ scoreless innings of relief of Dennis Leonard.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6586589

  22. I probably should clarify my own post @19, which has some typo and tense "issues" in the last line.

    What I meant to write was that despite Jeter's collapse in hitting, the past two season, he's still showing a plus fWAR because his defense has stabalized enough to offset part of the hitting decline. Helping him is the overall hitting in the league has decreased, meanwhile it's collapsed at SS, so his compares are pretty weak. We are a long way from the days of the "Holy Trinity" peak, of A-Rod, Jeter and Nomar, with also-rans (I'm joking) like Tejada and Vizquel coming up behind. What's happened here in the AL? Maybe baseball fans in the 1960s felt the same way after Willie, Mickey and the Duke faded away. Cyclical.

  23. topper009 Says:

    Why isnt BAbip park adjusted, clearly the size of the outfield has a huge impact right?

    NL rank of COL in BAbip:
    2010: 3rd
    2009: 4th
    2008: 4th
    2007: 1st
    2006: 1st
    2005: 1st
    2004: 1st
    2003: 2nd
    2002: 1st
    2001: 1st

  24. @21,

    Those late 1970's Royals pitching staffs were pretty solid. If they could have gotten a few bounces their way - they could have been in the WS in 1976-78 (ALCS with a couple game 5's) and 1980 (WS loss)

    RIP.

  25. Wow....so the big difference between Carew or Boggs from Jeter, is the amount of strikeouts. That's an eye opener to me.

  26. How's Barry Bonds Babip? He just misses this list with 2930 hits?

    I guess it won't be good since Babip doesn't count home runs as balls put in play.

  27. Actually this is why all the power hitters rank low in the list I guess. I think it's silly that home runs aren't considered balls put in play.

  28. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Jimbo, you can get BABIP on the batting pages. Bonds was .285.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bondsba01-bat.shtml#batting_advanced::none

    If you want to include HR, go for it. Now you have BA on contact. It's measuring something different.

  29. topper009 Says:

    BAbip does not correlate with greatness. When Bonds hits the ball as hard as he can its a HR, when Wade Boggs does its a liner in the gap. So Bonds best PA are not included in BAbip but Boggs are

  30. You guys are reading too much into this. I don't think anyone says BABIP correlates with greatness. It is what it is.

    When people use BABIP to calculate defense-independent pitching metrics (e.g. DIPS), they do park adjust it. Yes, some parks with big outfields inflate BABIP. Parks with large foul territories will deflate it, etc, etc.

    Where people like to *use* it is for analyzing small samples because its a large part of the "noise" in a players numbers. Here, this is just interesting trivia. Nobody thinks Lou Brock is better than Willie Mays.

  31. #20 John,

    Your (4) could be that Brock was one of only 3 players to ever homer over the centerfield wall at the Polo Grounds in an MLB game.

  32. Jeter's got a great shot at leading the 3K hit club in strikeouts.

    With regards to BABiP, I've been thinking that reaching-on-error ought to count. In reality, I think we should do away with the error. But the idea of BABiP is really to get at what percentage of the times did the guy hit the ball without it going over the fence and NOT record an out. We don't give him an "unearned out" if a defender makes an absurd play on what would otherwise be a hit; why give him what essentially equated to an "unearned hit" because a defender goofed it? Add in the fact that errors are subjective and I think we should do away with them altogether. Then again, I also argued that we should include foul outs (since the ball has zero chance of landing as a hit, just like a ball hit over the fence has an almost-zero chance of landing as an out), so either my understanding of BABiP is highly flawed OR I'm thinking of an every-so-slightly-different, yet-to-be-invented stat.

  33. He is also likely to be last (excluding Waner, whom for I assume they were not counted) in IBBs. Interesting to see how he rates in these two areas.

  34. I'm floored by Gwynn's K stats. Unbelievable. 20 years translates to an average of under 22 K's per year. Even George Brett, as somewhat more of a power hitter averaging roughly 45. That's about where Placido Polanco was with the Tigers (and keeping it up in Philly), and I thought that was stellar.

    BABIP does give a little different look at how successful guys are at getting on base when they make contact, and Austin Jackson drew some attention for a high figure last year while leading the league (or close to it) in K's.

  35. Joe Garrison Says:

    Jeter is last among those players in games played.

    Can we please wait for the decline phase of his career?

    Which has already begun, right?

  36. Johnny Twisto, four posts in a thread.

    I sit up and take notice when a blog brings engages you in a constructive way.

  37. @36

    Delete "brings".

  38. Kingturtle Says:

    IMHO BABIP tells us nothing of importance. i hope it is a fad that dies out soon. it lauds punch-and-judy hitters and unfairly penalizes home run hitters. lovers of BABIP go on and on about LUCK. i'm of the branch rickey school of 'luck is the residue of design'...and if you understand what that quote means, then you may understand why I don't buy into the hoo-ha of BABIP. Indeed, there is a great deal of skill to hitting. Steve Slowinski recently posted in a blog that "hitters have little control on if they hit a ball right at a fielder or slightly in the gap". Balls don't simply fall where they may.

  39. @38
    Kingturtle, I agree with you that BABIP is a bit of a fraud What component of offensive productivity does it correlate with? Is somebody's WAR going to be increased by a high BABIP?

    I would think speed as well as being a Punch 'N Judy hitter would contribute to BABIP

  40. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Was this site down for anyone else just now? Don't remember that ever happening before. Anyhoo....

    my understanding of BABiP is highly flawed

    Not at all. You are asking good questions and probing the issue from different angles. You always do. I've always thought the real greatness of Bill James is not so much in the various stats he came up with or conclusions he drew, but in knowing what questions to ask and never being reluctant to ask them, rather than accepting the "truth" (run-on alert).

    I was thinking about your foul ball comment before. It's a fair point that it's different from other BIP in that it can never result in a hit. I suppose one could argue that if no fielder is able to reach and catch it, it wasn't "in play." Of course, there's tons of fair balls lined into a gap that could never be caught unless the defense was in some crazy alignment, but we do count them. I'm just not sure.

    As for ROE. First, I'll note that this is the main thing which keeps Defensive Efficiency from being a pure inverse of BABIP. Neither one counts errors as a success. Should BABIP? Maybe. The stat is "batting average" so it intends to count safe hits. I do believe ROE are a skill, and when I calculate runs created for hitters I do count their ROE as a positive event. As I often say, it depends on what you are trying to measure. But in general, since I do think individual batters have a notable impact on how often they can reach on errors, it would make sense to include them in BABIP. Or at least, it wouldn't be wrong to do so.

  41. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I sit up and take notice when a blog engages you in a constructive way.

    Not sure if you're making fun, but I'll take it as a compliment.
    =========================
    IMHO BABIP tells us nothing of importance. it lauds punch-and-judy hitters and unfairly penalizes home run hitters. lovers of BABIP go on and on about LUCK.

    What component of offensive productivity does it correlate with? Is somebody's WAR going to be increased by a high BABIP?

    Last things first. Does every stat have to relate to "value"? Can't some simply be descriptive? All else equal, does it really matter if Pitcher X strikes out twice as many batters as Pitcher Y? Maybe not, but it still tells us something about the type of pitchers they are. And, maybe, it tells us something about the pitchers they will be.

    Some people do go on about "luck." As I wrote in another thread recently, I don't like that term. Some people also go on about players being "penalized," and I don't like that term either. BABIP is simply describing something which is very clearly defined. You can take it or leave it, it is what it is. Cal Ripken's BABIP of .277 doesn't make him the worst of the 3000-hit club. It simply means what it means -- when he hit the ball in the field of play, he got a safe basehit less often than the others. That's due partly to his own particular abilities and partly to infinite environmental factors.

    What use does BABIP have? Dan mentioned Austin Jackson in #34 and that's a great example. Last season Jackson struck out 170 times. He hit 4 homers. And he batted .293. On their own, none of these stats are especially notable. In combination, they are. Because Jackson's BABIP was .396, exceeded only twice in the last decade. He may well be able to bat .293 again, or hit 4 HR again, but it's very unlikely he'll be able to BABIP .396 again. Jackson does have a talent in BABIP -- in the minors it was in the .360s -- but it's almost certain he isn't truly a .396 bipper. So assuming his BABIP falls, he'd have to add power and/or cut down on his strikeouts to remain a productive hitter. And sure enough, so far this season his BABIP is down to .310 and his OPS is down to .618. (And people were saying this before the season started, so I'm not just picking on him for a slow couple months.)

  42. 35, Joe Garrison -- ... Can we please wait for the decline phase of his career? Which has already begun, right?
    -----------------

    Oh, yeah. The decline phase has begun. If he's not in decline, then he suddenly forgot how to hit! Seriously, Jeter had a metronome-like approach to hitting and hitting results for basically 15 MLB seasons, and then last year he started to lose it. His BABIP dropped from .360 to .300, and now it's down to .280. His line-drive rate has collapsed. He simply has lost some bat speed. The man is 37 in a few weeks.

    I left open the possibility for a rebound of some degree in 2011, even though I was sure 2010 results were age related. Players can make adjustments to hold off the decline phase for a season or two, but the odds are against it, and that seems to be the case with Jeter.

    Jeter is in the first year of a three-year contract that has a player option for the fourth year, taking him through 2014. I'm telling you right now, at the rate of Jeter's hitting decline, I expect the Yankees and Jeter to cut a side deal, and Jeter will retire after 2012. I just don't see him sitting on the bench for the final two years just to stay in uniform.

  43. Joseph and Pat:

    You both picked up on how I worded that, and I apologize.

    My point is this. Compare - closely - Tim Raines and Lou Brock. If you really dig deep, you'll find that in just about every category, Raines really is superior in every way. He stole 130 fewer bases, but was caught 170 times fewer too. They have similar lifetime batting averages, but Raines walked much more. Raines was a significantly better fielder. Ultimately, the difference in the two is that Brock has 3000 hits; Raines does not. Brock was a slam-dunk HOF'er, and Raines is well down the list of potential candidates. He's certainly not the only case of this; just the one with which I'm most familiar.

  44. And Josh:

    Even though I'm campaigning for Raines, I'm not thinking Brock should not be in the Hall. I saw him play, and he was formidable, and a game changer. He was also a pioneer at base stealing and was a key part of a team that in the 1960's regularly competed for championships. My only point is that we elevate a player based on the 3000 hit number to a new plateau, much like 300 wins. Tommy John and Phil Niekro are 30 career wins apart, but had relatively similar stats (almost identical ERAs and shutouts); yet Phil got in fairly easily, and John's not even considered a serious candidate right now. Why? 318 wins for Phil, 288 for Tommy. Should Phil be in? I believe so. But should Tommy? Probably. The stigma is that magic number...

  45. I am SO weary of the "Jeter is a demi-god" point of view.

    If he'd had the same career in KC or Pittsburgh, he'd be a HOFer for sure, and revered on about the same level as Paul Molitor, whose numbers he'll just about match.

  46. I find it at least somewhat interesting that the top seven guys on this list are the seven with the fewest career AB's. Admittedly having done no research, I would assume a number of players on the bottom saw their BABIP drop over the last one or two thousand at bats of their careers.

  47. "This stat sucks! I don't understand what it measures so I will complain loudly that it is useless!"

    BABIP is what it is. It's a stat that at its most useful absolutely tells you that a player like Austin Jackson is almost certainly getting "lucky" because too many of the balls he puts in play are falling for hits. People that understand BABIP were talking about his BABIP after the first month last season when it was, if I recall correctly, .500 or so. It tells the informed fan that if he doesn't cut down on the Ks or increase his HR production, he has a minuscule chance of maintaining a high average and decent OBA.

  48. ML Stille Says:

    I totally concur with Lou Brock being the poorest 3,000 hit player in the HOF. Raines was far superior defensively and offensively and probably won't get a sniff of the HOF. To gather that many hits they have to 1) stay healthy and 2) given the opportunity to play. Brock "may" be the worst defensive left fielder to play the game. The Cubs traded him because he wasn't going to replace B. Williams and he proved he couldn't play center or right. Without his WS heroics, a superior centerfielder in Flood to help him out...I question IF anyother team would've put up with his defensive inability....he sold tickets to the park...thus...the OPPORTUNITY!

  49. JT-

    Thanks for weighing in on my thoughts.

    I've also thought a lot about whether the current defensive structure is "ideal". From time to time, we see teams play with it, going with an extreme shift or bringing an OF in to play as a 5th infielder. But I wonder if we've really ideally positioned defenders to minimize BABiP or maximize Defensive Effeciency. Really, we'd have to look at something more than that, since you may be able to minimize singles while giving up tons of doubles and triples, but I hope you get the point. Would hugging the lines prevent enough doubles that the increase in singles would be offset? Would a "short fielder" of sorts taken from the regular outfield create enough outs to justify sending two outfielders all over the diamond? I don't know the history of fielding positions and whether the current setup was arrived at through organic trial-and-error (likely increasing the chances it is ideal or approaching ideal) or whether it has always sort have been and will always continue to be because of a refusal to move away from it. And, if we did have a different system (say 4 OFs and no SS) would the great hitters adjust and remain great hitters? Or would we see a very different leaderboard across the league? I'd love to see a historical view of how defensive positions have evolved and hopefully use Field F/X (which I hear is coming if not already arrived) to determine whether we should have a wholesale shift in defensive alignment or at the very least a player-by-player evaluation of ideal defensive alighment. Thoughts?!?!

  50. ML Stille Says:

    A few more things I'd like to add about Brock. An outfielder doesn't have to make errors to be a poor outfielder (although Brock had plenty of those). I watched him his entire career, he routinely made poor decisions hitting the cut-off man and a many a hit fell because his inability to judge a ball. Rico Carty had nothing on this man! His base stealing was around a 75% clip and routinely lead the league in caught stealing..Raines never lead the league in that catagory (85 % success rate). After Flood was traded...the WS appearances made an abrupt halt! Brock was a Cardinal icon and always will be...BUT...to me he will always be the man given an opportunity!

  51. @41
    JT, absolutely a compliment. I look at you and JA as the "deans" of BRef, at least among posters.

    Am at work right now. Will reply to your thoughts @41 later.

  52. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    "The more I look at stats, the more I realize that the 3,000 hit milestone, while commendable, shouldn't be a free ticket to the Hall of Fame."

    Agreed. The reason it basically works in practice is because it's almost impossible to have the longevity necessary to reach it without being at least a borderliner.

    But the fact is, you can use this trick to suggest that guys with the most of *any* stat should be in the hall.

    Look at the list of guys with 1500+ strikeouts. Lots of hall of famers, future hall of famers, HOF but for PEDs and hall of merit guys. And with only a few exceptions, the rest of the list contains people who, if they had 3000hits or 500Hrs, with the exact same WAR as they have now, would have been voted into or at least talked about for the hall.

    In general, it's a good rule that if you amass 1500 strikeouts in your career (maybe the threshold should be 2k now), you are almost always deserving of at least some consideration for the hall. Just like getting 3000 hits, or 500 HR. That said, if you are that perfect storm guy who manages to play long enough to get 3000 hits or 500 HR or whatever, without actually every having a good enough peak to distinguish you from typical everyday players, I don't think it should be automatic.

  53. kingturtle Says:

    I'm still not sure what this measures. A guy with 600 AB, 200 H, 50 HR and 100 K has a .333 BABIP. A guy with 600 AB, 200 H, 10 HR and 50 K has a .352 BABIP. Wouldn't you rather have the guy with 200 H and 50 HR?

    So Carew, Boggs and Jeter are higher on the list, and Aaron's 755 dingers drops him way down. What exactly does this list tell us?

  54. @45 franco Says: I am SO weary of the "Jeter is a demi-god" point of view.
    ----------------------

    I have seen little, if any, of that here. This is generally an area for thoughtful analysis of players, although there are trolls and out-of-leftfield comments even here. Perhaps you don't like Jeter because he's been the face of the Yankees, but he can now, give or take, be ranked as one of the top-ten shortstops of all time in the approximate 140-year history of MLB. He is what he is. A HOFer. Some can say they are weary of the hype, but there are others who are weary of the knee-jerk reactions against Jeter. Your comment sound very typical of that crowd. No insight. No thought.

  55. I got a lot of mileage out of my 3000 hit comment!!

    I think to rephrase...it's not so much that I think the players with 3000 hits shouldn't be in the Hall, but it seems that several players with overall credentials as good as some 3000 hit performers have a much harder road. I mentioned Brock/Raines, but you could also state a case for Yount/Trammell too. How about Fred McGriff/Eddie Murray? Both were the steady, reliable power hitting first baseman, but Murray simply played more years and got to both 3000 hits and 500 homers; but McGriff had BOTH a higher OBP and slugging percentage.

    I'm not complaining about any of Brock, Yount or Murray being in the Hall, and while I'm a big believer Raines should be in, I'm not necessarily advocating Trammell or McGriff either. But my real point - is that when it comes to voting for a HOFer, the chasm between players seems widened by the 3000 hit margin. Yount and Murray made the Hall based on great skill, great performance AND longevity. Trammell and McGriff were the equal of Yount and Murray, save for the longevity. Trammell and McGriff should be near misses in the voting, and they're not close right now.

  56. RobM - I would have to agree with you. I'm no Yankee fan, but I do believe that he's definitely among the top shortstops ever. In fact, when I glance at the Top 5 in Bill James Baseball Abstract - I think you could easily make a case for him making the top spot. I think he's easily the equal of the #2 man (Arky Vaughan) and I think his postseason resume ranks him - overall - above Ripken too. It's hard to compare him with Honus Wagner, because the game looked totally different a hundred years ago. Defensively, Jeter's no Ozzie, but he's been quite capable overall and "the flip" remains the most heads-up play I've ever seen. He's top 5 for sure, to me. Whether he gets to 3000 hits or not :)

  57. ML Stille Says:

    Well said John M. I would like to add another comment regarding "milestones". Baseball is NOT a stagnant game, records and "milestones" will be broke and changed. Every HOF voter has the responsibilty to assure only the best of the best gets into the HOF. Ruth, Gherig, Musial, Mays,Aaron,Cobb,T. Williams,ect accomplishments will stand the test of time for their overall contributions. I'm not sure Brock,Killebrew,McCovey,Murray, ect accomplishments will however. Just one mans opinion!

  58. John M-

    Are you not counting ARod as a SS? To this point, he has played 10938 innings at SS and 8866.2 innings at 3B. Assuming he remains an everyday 3B, he'll equal out probably by the end of next year or early 2013. Even if he moves to being a part-time DH, he'll still likely end up with more 3B time than SS. How did James approach other guys who split their time almost equally between two positions? If ARod doesn't currently belong on the SS list, he certainly doesn't belong on the 3B list, which seems silly.

  59. Johnny Twisto Says:

    BSK/49, I'm not that familiar with the history of baseball positioning. I'm sure there was a period of evolution but certainly the positions we know today have been in place for a very long time. I'm sure they are pretty close to optimal. In the last decade or so, I think we are seeing a lot more dramatic shifting for various batters. This is probably because of increased data about where individuals actually hit the ball, so defenses are adapting.

  60. JT-

    Thanks for weighing in. I'd be curious to see the efficiencies of different alignments, though they'd obviously have to be done in the theoretical. I applaud those managers who are daring enough to rethink convention, especially if they are doing it based on hard data. Baseball is unlike other sports with regards to positioning. Basketball and hockey have positions but, except for the goalie, they are all very fluid. LeBron James might be your SF, but he might also bring the ball up, guard the other teams 2-guard, or crash the boards, jobs typically associated with other positions (LeBron is obviously a bit of a freak, but still). This would be akin to the SS and CF switching positions randomly for a batter or two. Football is somewhere in between the two. They actually have rules limiting the movement and use of certain players (linemen), but everything else is pretty fluid and we often see new variations (or old variations brought back) on certain positions (scatback; wildcat QB). Defense is entirely fluid and we see teams like the Steelers take advantage of this with what some call the "Times Square defense", where everyone just mills around randomly before the snap.

    Baseball has seemingly static and rigid positions, though realistically, anything is possible. Outside of the pitcher and catcher, I don't know of any limitations on positioning (do you even need to position guys in fair territory?); you could put 7 OFs out there. The question would be, what would their positions be? How would you number them? Does the rulebook actually stipulate how you list guys on a lineup card? Outside of the DH and P, it'd seem like you wouldn't really have to, as long as one guy lined up behind the plate with the gear on.

    Fascinating stuff. I'll see if I can dig up some info on the history of positioning. It seems like it could make for an awesome research project/book.

  61. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Yes, everyone except the catcher must start in fair territory.

    As for noting positions, when a guy moves to another area for a particular batter (e.g. the third baseman moving to shallow right for a left pull hitter), his officially denoted position does not change. If a team were to play with 4 outfielders or something throughout the entire game, that's a good question as to how they would be marked.

  62. @41

    Carlos Gonzalez is also another example of this, although he had a lot more home runs then Gardner. His BABIP last year was .384, he had a .336 .376 .598 slash line and 135 SO's and a 23% k rate. This year so far his BABIP is down to .286, his slash line has fallen considerably to .262 .336 .440 and hes got 39 ks for a 20.4% k rate. Hes on pace for about 10HRs less from last year to.