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POLL: Vladimir Guerrero and the Hall of Fame

Posted by Andy on July 27, 2010

The readers have spoken, and a poll for Vladimir Guerrero is up next. Please read through, vote in the poll below, and add your own comment on Guerrero's Hall of Fame credentials.

Let's look at the arguments for and against Guerrero in the Hall of Fame:

For the Hall of Fame:

  • His OPS+ of 144 is 47th all time. As with all rate stats, that number is likely to drop a little before Guerrero retires. Over the last 50 years, Guerrero slots into the top 25. He's probably likely to stay in the top 25, too, as a few guys ahead of him will likely drop a little too as their careers end (Miguel Cabrera, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Lance Berkman, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez...).
  • One MVP award and votes in 10 other seasons
  • His Win Probability Added is a huge 45.2, 41st all-time. That's quite impressive. (As an aside, I wonder whether he's helped here by virtue of being the best player on the Expos for a number of years.)
  • He has a remarkably low strikeout rate, especially for his high HR rate. Check out the top 10 guys all time, ranked by HR, where their HR total is at least 47% of their strikeout total:
    Rk Player HR SO
    1 Barry Bonds 762 1539
    2 Hank Aaron 755 1383
    3 Babe Ruth 714 1330
    4 Ted Williams 521 709
    5 Mel Ott 511 896
    6 Lou Gehrig 493 790
    7 Stan Musial 475 696
    8 Vladimir Guerrero 427 904
    9 Albert Pujols 388 618
    10 Ralph Kiner 369 749
    Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 7/24/2010.
  • He's led the league in intentional walks 5 times and is the active career leader and 4th overall. This isn't because he was the only good hitter on the Expos as most of his IBBs came with the Angels.
  • He's never hit below .300 in any season with more than 100 games played and his .321 batting average is 5th among current players.
  • His defensive numbers are really good. His Total Zone Fielding Runs is +44 for his career (top 25 all-time for RF) and he racked up 128 assists in right field.
  • This guy means a lot to the Expos and would be an ideal representative for the team in the Hall of Fame. He's the franchise career leader in BA, SLG, and HR and single-season leaders in BA, SLG, H, total bases, RBI, times on base, and numerous other categories.  Franchise leader includes team years in Washington. If we limited it to just Montreal, he'd lead in even more categories.
  • 9-time All-Star (helped by poor Montreal teams)

Against the Hall of Fame:

  • His Wins Against Replacement are 58.9, just 159th on the career list. That's not terrible but doesn't support the argument that he's one of the best players in history.
  • He has an extremely low walk rate. Minimum 7000 PA's he has one of the worst OBP for a guy with a career batting average of at least .320. That list is Guerrero, Ichiro, Gwynn, Carew, and a bunch of old-timers. Weird to say that comparing well to 3 modern-day Hall of Famers is a negative for Guerrero, but it's unusual for a guy with as much power as him not to have more walks and a bigger bump on his OBP over his BA.
  • He's hit pretty well in the playoffs but his team lost 5 out of 7 playoff series and he's never won a World Series.
  • His stolen base total is overrated, given that his career success rate  is 66%, low enough that it would probably have been better if he hadn't run at all. However, his career XBT% (extra base taken %) is 48%. Eyeballing it, it looks like the league average over the course of his career his about 41%, so that suggest he is, in fact, an above-average baserunner.
  • His career rate of pitches seen per plate appearance is 3.24, as compared to a league average over his career of 3.75. Although the results of those plate appearances have been great, it's also important to think about how he helped the rest of his team. By rarely walking and not drawing many pitches from the starter, he's not on base as much for his teammates, nor is he helping to wear out the starter and get him out of the game. (Obviously I'm exaggerating a bit there--it's not that Guerrero is NOT helping at all, just less than a lot of other players.)

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 7:00 am and is filed under Hall of Fame, Polls. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

152 Responses to “POLL: Vladimir Guerrero and the Hall of Fame”

  1. Matt Young Says:

    He could stop now and he'd go in in my book. He's a freak of nature with his ability to hit anything and hit it well. A couple more years and/or a championship and he'll go in with no problem. I don't think he's a "roider", but who knows for sure. Seems to be really liked wherever he's played too.

  2. Not my blog of course, but why are we doing a guy that is still arguably in his prime. Guerrero has atleast 4-5 more effective years left to pad his stats or have a huge downfall. Why not just have a vote on Stephen Strasburg already? I'm joking of course, but I'd really like to see the likes of Larkin, Trammel, and Lofton on here.

  3. He is a first ballot HOF'er right now. My only concern with him is that he may have been a PED user as there have been whispers about him.

    Jim, Vlad has been around for 14 years now, I think anyone 10+ years is a good case to discuss about the HOF.

  4. Matt Young Says:

    Maybe we should let most of these "roiders" in and just ban Selig forever from the Hall.

  5. Honestly, its wait and see with guys like Vlad. The ballots are going to be crowded with OF/1B/DH ten years from now. Its going to be a matter of inducting the best of the lot each year and seeing how it plays out.

  6. Curly Gruff Says:

    I doubt Guerrero has 4 or 5 effective years left. He looked all but finished when I saw him last season, barely able to move, athleticism evaporated. To his credit he's having a fine season this year. I didn't think he had it in him. But I wouldn't be surprised if this is his last gasp. All the back problems are going to catch up to him. We shall see.

  7. I think Vlad is in for sure but he doesn't have 4-5 years left. I say 2 years tops.

  8. I like the post - I believe Vlad is a HOF right now.

    I do have one problem with the post, however...I don't think it is fair to say his 9 All-Star appearance total was "helped by poor Montreal teams".

    While in Montral, he was named to 4 ASG's (2000 and 2002 he started - I don't remember the specifics, but he was either voted in or the manager thought he deserved to start if it was an injury replacement), so those appearances were definitely earned. Also, he was added to the NL squad in 1999 (42/134/.316/140+ OPS), which is a line that I believe definitely deserves inclusion as an All-Star.

    Finally, that leaves 2001 (34/108/.307/139 OPS), which although his stats line up with the numbers of 2 ex-Expo OF that also made the all-star team (Alou & Floyd), you could make a case that he got to this game by benefit of being on the Expos (but it would be far from the first time that an HOF caliber player got the benefit of an extra ASG. BUT, if you make that case, then you need to also look at his 1998 season where he probably ran into the other end of an ASG team cliche (namely a young guy being overlooked in his first great season because he is on a weaker team). So to me, the 2001 incusion (if you have a problem with it) is erased by the 1998 exclusion.

    I know in the scheme of everything, it is not important, but I thought it was an intersting/unfair adendum to a bullet point that was supposedly in the "For HOF" column.

  9. As of right now he's a borderline candidate. In terms of career WAR, he's in Winfield/Dawson territory (though that territory includes many non-HoFers as well, such as Darrell Evans and Keith Hernandez). Among his contemporaries, his WAR is in the neighborhood of Andruw Jones and Bobby Abreu, and I think a lot of people have mixed feelings about those players. So he's not a slam dunk.

    But as we discussed in the other thread devoted to him, Vlad is a unique player and a lot of fun to watch. I think that will help him get in, and that's fine by me. I'd vote for him. It's true that he didn't draw a lot of unintentional walks, but he was such a great hitter that it didn't really matter. He still rates extremely well by advanced offensive metrics such as OPS+, wOBA, and TAv (aka EqA).

  10. Tmckelv, I stand by my comments as I think they are appropriate. However, I'm willing to add that all All-Star selection process is riddled with inequities and ridiculousness and nobody's inclusion or exclusion from the All-Star roster should be taken too seriously in the absence of other considerations. My point was just that it tends to help if you're the only good player on an otherwise poor or unknown team. Montreal, while not always poor, was always unknown to American fans at large, and that helped Vlad, along with lots of All-Star-related factors that helped or hurt hundreds of other players.

  11. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    "That list is Guerrero, Ichiro, Gwynn, Carew, and a bunch of old-timers. Weird to say that comparing well to 3 modern-day Hall of Famers is a negative for Guerrero, but it's unusual for a guy with as much power as him not to have more walks and a bigger bump on his OBP over his BA."

    Well to some extent this points up the extent to which those three guy's bats are somewhat overrated due to most fans looking at batting average rather than OBP. Ichiro doesn't really have a hall resume yet, although putting up 52 WAR in 9.5 seasons is pretty damn good, he probably gets in even if he is injured and retires tomorrow based on coming from japan in the middle of his prime.

    But look at his WAR stats. If he were an average or even slightly above average fielder and baserunner, he really wouldn't belong in the hall on his bat alone. Even if he played 20 years, he wouldn't end up with as good a resume as Gwynn or Carew because he is even more free swinging and with less power (relative to his contemporaries) But I wonder if it would affect his chances at all? A lot of voters see those gaudy BAs and bam, you're in.

    Similarly, Carew was never a spectacular fielder, but for the first half of his career he was a slightly above average second base. That's worth a lot. Also all three of these guys had good speed and made some runs on the bases. Plus 20 year career for Tony Gwynn. Cut him off at 15 years and he has 58.9 WAR which makes him kinda borderline, and about even with Geurrero.

    I predict that Vlad has 3-4 more good years at around major league average or better, and that will put him very clearly in.

    Even if he ends up on the borderline -- because he has both high BA and decent power, I think he will have an easier time of it than others with similar or even somewhat better WAR resumes. He could go in before Thome for instance, even if their careers both ended today, and even though I think JT clearly should go in ahead of him.

    I took a look at your career batting average leaderboard. Vlad is 52nd. There is only one guy ahead of him with more than 6000 PA who is not either in the hall or still active. That would be Babe Herman with only 6200 PAs. Of the active players, Todd Helton is borderline, and the rest are locks (Mauer probably will be a lock by the time he has 6k PAs). This suggest to me that Vlad will be in with the voters even if he ends up retiring a hair short of a baseball-reference commentariat approved Hall Career, assuming his BA doesn't go down much.

  12. Michael, thanks, that was the point I was trying to make but didn't know how to explain.

  13. I think he falls just short of HOF but I'm surprised no one has compared him to another former Expo just elected to the HOF, Andre Dawson. If you take away Vladimir's intentional walks his OBP would be much closer. He would be far from the worst pick ever but I think that there are several more deserving candidates (Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Barry Larkin, Roberto Alomar) still waiting.

  14. I think the Expos are already represented by Gary Carter and Andre Dawson (and Tim Raines who, IMO, ought to be in). Guerrero is a guy who puts up solid numbers but who lacks the big number or the big moment that some voters need to conclude he is a Hall-of-Famer. He hasn't reached 500 homers or 3,000 hits. He hasn't had that "wow" moment that everybody remembers as that big hit or great play that defined his career.

    If he retired today, he'd be a tougher sell than this poll is reflecting. If he hangs around long enough to hit some milestone numbers or if he leads the Rangers on some miracle playoff run the way Pudge Rodriguez did with the Marlins and Tigers, then I think his ticket to Cooperstown will be punched. But if his career fell off a cliff tomorrow, I'm not sure he'd make it in.

  15. 3% actually said he doesn't belong in the Hall. I'm betting these are the same people who think juicers like Arod and Bonds do belong. Mind Boggling.

  16. Just a fast comment re: Vlad's intentional walks. Do you think its possible that his high IBB total is because it is impossible to pitch around this guy? I have seen him hit balls that are an inch or two off the ground. He is our generation's ultimate bad ball hitter.

  17. #14: "He hasn't had that "wow" moment that everybody remembers as that big hit or great play that defined his career."

    I don't know, every time Vlad hits a home run off a pitch that's down at his shoelaces is a "wow" moment. For some guys, the "wow factor" comes from the way that they play the game, even if they don't have that single, famous, career-defining play. I think Vlad is one of those guys. Ozzie Smith was another.

    (Actually, that's not entirely true. Ozzie did have a "wow" moment that everyone remembers, although ironically it was a home run--"Go crazy, folks, go crazy!" But really, the "wow factor" that made Ozzie a HoFer was his defensive wizardry.)

  18. 18. "Do you think its possible that his high IBB total is because it is impossible to pitch around this guy? I have seen him hit balls that are an inch or two off the ground. He is our generation's ultimate bad ball hitter."

    That's absolutely why. Vlad is the true embodiment of the "feared" hitter, because you can't pitch around him. He's difficult to strike out, and he really can hit anything out of the park. His IBB total is well-deserved.

  19. I don't see why Vlad's walk rate should have anything to do with the conversation. He has a lifetime .385 OBP. If he was a career .250 hitter who walked 100+ times every year, I think a lot of the same people complaining now would be gushing about his patience at the plate, even though it is far more valuable to have a .385 OBP with a .320 batting average than a .385 OBP with a .250 batting average. I think Stephen makes a good point--anyone who was an NL East fan when Vlad was coming up or is an AL West fan now knows that it is almost impossible to pitch around that guy... he truly is a great Major League hitter. You don't have a career .321 batting average because you got lucky on balls in play. and the .385 OBP is very good also, so I really don't see what the problem is.

  20. If he retired right now he'd probably get in rather quickly because he has two things the voters like: High Batting Average + Home Runs. It's going to be interesting to see who the voters are and what they look for in 10 years and if Batting Average + Home Runs still hold as much weight.

    Vlad has been a terrific player but a tad overrated. His defense is good in Right Field but never as great as many fans/media members make it out to be. It's also kind of telling that he never won a gold glove. Larry Walker by comparison was a much better right fielder who won 7!! gold gloves and never received the accolades that Guerrero receives.

    Vlad's on-base ability is also not that great. He's 52nd all time in Batting Average but only 140th all time in on-base percentage. J.D. Drew, Abreu, Wright, and Youkalis are just some of the current players that have a higher career on base percentage than Vlad.

    If Vlad stopped right now I'd rank him with Dw. Evans, R. Smith, Winfield, Dawson, E. Slaughter, Bobby Bonds, Ichiro, and Abreu among Right Fielders. Winfield, Dawson, and Slaughter are the HOF in that group although realistically they're all about the same.

    He was better than Cuyler, Kelly, Hooper, Thompson and Rice among HOF right fielders. And he's better than Klein and Youngs who were just two terrible choices for HOF right fielders, that would be like electing Roger Maris and David Justice as HOF right fielders.

    Vlad still has a some more to go to pass Walker, Sosa and Sheffield. In the end he'll probably finish about 12-13th all time at Right, tied with Larry Walker.

  21. Our own Sean Forman will be a voter one day.

  22. Matt Young Says:

    Given the number of PA's, I see his OBP of 385% a good positive. There is no problem here Malcolm. I wonder if his 140 OBP ranking (minimum of 3000 PA) would be more like 70-90th if you made the cut-off 7000 PA's? Can anyone run this one? Yes, he has a low OBP for someone hitting 320, but, that's just it, he's hit 321 in 7400 PA's. We're digging a little too deep here.

  23. If Andre Dawson is allowed in,,then Vlad is a first ballot

  24. "He hasn't had that "wow" moment that everybody remembers"

    This is his "wow" moment, every time he got a hit on a pitch a foot out of the strike zone.

  25. @22 Matt Young - good points and I agree with you all the way. Vlad currently has 7363 AB' let's use 7000 plate appearances as you mention.

    Vlad's OBP of .385% is 55th all time for players with at least 7000 PA's.
    He's 27th all time in Batting Average using the same criteria.
    ...47th in RBI
    ...26th in HR's
    ...16th in OPS%
    ...10th in SLG%

    I think Vlad is a slam-dunk Hall of Famer. I think it would be embarassing if he didn't make it into the HOF.

    Also, I've seen Abreu's name mentioned a couple times in this thread. I know Abreu is much-loved by sabermetric-oriented fans. And by no means do I think sabermetrics are a bad thing. I personally think there should be a balance of "old school" stats and measurments and "new school" sabermetrics and analysis. I think a lot of people are heavily geared towards one or the other and that's a shame. So with that said, I would completely disagree with anyone who would value Abreu to be greater than or on relatively equal terms with Vlad. I would take Vlad without hesitation. I know they've both played 15 seasons and Vlad's WAR is only slightly higher than Abreu's (58.8 for Vlad and 57.0 for Abreu). But come on, Abreu is no Vlad Guerrero. Some people might look at that statement as a compliment towards Abreu but in no ways is that intended that way, as I think Vlad blows Abreu out of the water.

  26. By the way, meant to mention above that there are 359 players with at least 7000 Plate Appearances (the number of PA's used in the above rankings that Vlad falls under).

  27. Johnny Twisto Says:

    A little more info to Dave's post. I ran it since 1893 (I assume he did 1901). There have been 375 players with at least 7000 PA. Guerrero is 62nd in OBP. Obviously anyone who reaches 7000 PA had a pretty decent career. There appear to be only 45 players with a higher OBP and more PA.

  28. Johnny Twisto - yup, I did run it since 1901 :)

  29. Johnny Twisto Says:

    And now my post 27 is somewhat irrelevant as Dave already added how many guys qualified. So I will redeem myself by digging up some other exciting factoid...

    Guerrero is one of five players whose IBBs made up at least 34.7% of their BB total. The others were #8 hitters: Garry Templeton, Doug Flynn, John Bateman, as well as Manny Sanguillen who didn't primarily hit 8th but was usually in the bottom half of the order.

  30. Matt Young Says:

    Amen Dave V.! I have said before that Hall voting should be done on a 35% sabermetrics, 35% raw numbers, 20% signature moments/Wow moments like playoff performance, Cy Youngs, MVP's, no-hitters etc, and 10% how good of a relationship you had with the media and teammates. Looking at the the sabermetrics only is like losing the forest through the trees. As for steroids I'd include this under signature moments to be somewhat determined by how you dealt with the issue. I don't like the fact any of these guys used, but I hold Selig even more responsible. He knew it, he liked what it was doing for the game, and he accepted it with NO hesitation. I find it a little hard to completely hold the players 100% responsible when the boss was basically condoning it. It's a tough issue for sure. I think you'll find players that have admitted to it and said they were sorry forgiven over time. Just my two cents.

  31. That's an interesting factoid, Johnny Twisto. A group of guys walked so that the pitcher would have to hit...& Vlad!

    As I was looking at stats related to Vlad, one thing that caught my eye was...Jim Edmonds. Why Edmonds? Well, I was looking up WAR for guys who have played from 1996-2010 (1996 being the year that both Vlad & Abreu debuted in the bigs). And Edmonds was 4th on the list, a couple nothches ahead of Vlad who stands at #6. I also noticed Ichiro was at #11 in that category.

    Ichiro is another guy who has been mentioned in this thread...and I hadn't ever realized it before, but Edmonds is above Ichiro in OBP for his career (.381% to .377%). I never would have guessed that. We know that Ichiro doesn't walk much but man, I didn't think a guy like Edmonds would outrank him in that category. I consider Ichiro to be HOF material myself...but in looking over stats, I'm wondering if Edmonds could be worthy as well. Edmonds has been a fairly average-to-mediocre player since 2006 but I forgot how good he was before that. From 1995-2005, he had quite a run (excluding 1999, when he only played 55 games). Both Ichiro and Edmonds were/are outstanding defenders. I wonder if Edmonds will get any significant HOF support...has there ever been a Poll about him here?

    For me, my initial thought is to rank the 4 outfielders I've mentioned as follows:

    1. Vlad
    2. Ichiro
    3. Abreu
    4. Edmonds (despite being the best at WAR amongst all these guys)

    But I'm going to think about things some more to see if anything could change my mind.

  32. Fireworks Says:

    Vlad is a clear Hall of Famer to me. The whole issue of him not walking much is perfectly explained by Malcolm, in mentioning that anyone would rather have a .320 hitter with a .385 OBP than a .250 hitter with a .385 OBP. Vlad's had a great career, has truly been a feared hitter, unlike last year's inductee, and if he got injured tomorrow and didn't play another game I'd give him my vote if I had one. I did wonder if he was done after last year but obviously that wasn't the case and I'm not going to glibly assume this season is his last hurrah.

    The Abreu talk is interesting because even before the blog here began to talk about Abreu I looked at his career totals during 2009 and had a few conversations with other baseball fans marveling at Abreu's consistency over his career, and the raw totals he could possibly amass in so many categories. I don't know what I think of Abreu's career quite yet, this is only his 13th full season, but he seems to have a hitting approach that can age well, since he doesn't try to pull anything, and his plate discipline is still very good, even in this down year. I find wondering about whether Abreu can be an everyday player for another 3-4 years, and whether he can amass 300+ HR, 450+ SB, 2800+ hits, 1600+ R, 1500+ RBI, 550+ 2B, and 1600+ BB to be a very interesting question for when he is eligible for the Hall. He's more interesting to me than other players because I never considered him to be a Hall-worthy player, yet if he can bounce back from this weak 2010 and hang on for a few more years, he will have totals that will be hard to ignore.

    Of course, to placate those out there who use sabermetrics as a bludgeon in every discussion of player evaluation, with a few more seasons of everyday player-worthy WAR from both Guerrero and Abreu, they could both reach 65.

    In before someone pulls Ted Simmons or Tommy John out of their butt.

    Unfortunately no one pulls Dick Allen out of their butt often enough. Pun not intended.

  33. @30 Matt Young - Amen as well in regards to player analysis. I don't have a specific percentage I'd attach to the areas you mentioned, but in general, I agree there needs to be a mix (except I'd maybe exclude relationship with the media...obviously that is a factor but I wish it wasn't quite the factor that is). As for steroids, I agree as well. When the whole steroids issue blew up, I was so anti-Barry Bonds and to steroids in general. But in now knowing what we know, I am more anti-Selig and the MLB establishment more than anything else, as they dropped the ball. That doesn't excuse what many players did and I don't like the fact they used of course.

    And I still despise Barry Bonds :)

  34. Matt Young Says:

    I would rank them:

    1. Vlad (In already)
    2. Ichiro (Will be in with one more year at most; he likely would get my vote right now))
    3. Edmonds (truly a boderliner right now)
    4. Abreu (not quite a borderliner, but he could certainly get there with another couple years)

    Good point on Dick Allen!! In fact, I'd take Dick Allen over John or Simmons. I remember Ted Simmons quite well, and I'd have to agree with Rico Petrocelli from a few days ago, Simmons wasn't looked at as one of the best of the best in his day. He did however make 8 all-star teams and he was a catcher, which I think catchers are undervalued. He apparently had quite the power struggle with Whitey and Whitey shipped him out and brought in "his guy", Porter. I think Simmons is hurt a bit by being seen as a bit too much of a compiler. Hanging on 2-3 more years at well below average can certainly hurt you more than retiring earlier with lesser numbers. John is also hurt by being a compiler.

  35. @32 Fireworks: "Of course, to placate those out there who use sabermetrics as a bludgeon in every discussion of player evaluation, with a few more seasons of everyday player-worthy WAR from both Guerrero and Abreu, they could both reach 65."

    I smiled when I read that sentence! :)

  36. I think I'm going to revise and place Edmonds above Abreu (so he'll be #3 for me, as he is for you, Matt Young).

    At his best, Edmonds provided some strong OBP totals like Abreu did (though Abreu has 8 seasons of .400+ OBP's to Edmonds' 4 seasons). However, Edmonds had much better power (849 extra-base hits in 7926 AB's to Abreu's 830 extra-base hits in 8850 AB's). And then when you throw defense into the mix, Edmonds destroys Abreu.

  37. Matt Young Says:

    What an ugly list this is --voters will have their hands-full.

    Bagwell WAR 79.90
    Thomas 75.90
    Edmonds 68.40
    Thome 68.40
    Manny Ramirez 67.30
    Larry Walker 67.30
    Edgar Martinez 67.20
    Palmeiro 66.00
    Loften 65.30
    Brown 64.60
    Rolen 64.60
    Sheffield 63.30
    McGrwire 63.10
    Sosa 59.70
    Andrew Jones 58.90
    Helton 57.40
    Abreu 57.00
    Pettitte 50.20
    Damon 48.00
    Moyer 47.00 (no chance unless he hits 300 and even then......)

    Out of this list I think only Bagwell and Thome are, or should be slamdunks. I would vote for Manny as well and perhaps (maybe not) Sheffield, Rolen and Martinez. The rest either have more work to do or are very hard to decide one way or another because of various reasons. Of course Sosa, Ramirez, Thomas, McGwire, Palmeiro and perhaps Sheffield should be slamdunks but they aren't. I'd probably decide to vote them in b/c Selig is the bigger bum-- The finger wave will be hard to swallow though. Walker and Helton are tough to vote for b/c of Coors field. I know the stats are suppose to correct for this some, but I still have a hard time with them, especially Helton. Martinez isn't easy b/c he was a lifer DH. I wouldn't vote for Jones (he's been washed up for 3 years now) or Moyer (the ultimate compiler) , and Edmonds, Kevin Brown, Rolen, Martinez, Pettitte, and Loften are truly borderline......and Edmonds, Rolen, Abreu, Pettitte, and Damon are still adding needed numbers. I'd say Edmond, Pettitte and Rolen are knocking on the door but not there yet, and Damon and Abreu need at least 3 more years each. Either way, this is a very messy list to filter through. I would vote Bonds, Clemens, and A-rod in b/c I think they would have been HoFer's either way, but Bonds is downright hated, Clemens is a jerk, and Arod isn't all that likable either --however, he's clearly more likable than Bonds and Clemens. :-)

  38. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Guerrero is one of five players whose IBBs made up at least 34.7% of their BB total. The others [include] Manny Sanguillen, who didn't primarily hit 8th but was usually in the bottom half of the order.

    It's true that Sanguillen most often batted sixth, fifth or seventh in the order, but the reason he walked so seldom is that he swung at almost everything and nearly always made some kind of contact. There was almost no way to walk Manny except intentionally. I've long thought of Sanguillen as Vlad's most similar comp in not only their willingness to swing at, but their ability to hit, pitches in almost any location.

  39. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Dave #31, Ichiro is one of a couple guys who join the list if I searched for players whose IBBs were at least 1/3 of all walks. I inched the percentage up so I had just Vlad and the 4 dwarfs.

  40. @37 Matt Young: quick mention Thomas in the same group as Sosa, Ramirez, McGwire, Palmeiro and Sheffield; just curious as to why? I've never heard of Thomas being under any serious steroids suspicion (though that's not to say he hasn't been accused, as I may have missed such allegations).

  41. Matt, I, too, am curious why you're including Frank Thomas with those guys. Hasn't Thomas been advocating for drug testing for a long time? And wasn't he the only player who volunteered to be interviewed for the Mitchell Report? If anything, he'll get extra points with HoF voters for being an anti-PED crusader.

  42. Matt Young Says:

    You guys are right, take Thomas out of that group -- he goes in with no problem. I think i was mixing him up with someone else.

  43. Fireworks Says:

    I love me some Big Hurt. I was all set to lambaste you Matt Young. I'm gonna be pissed when he doesn't get in on the first ballot.

  44. Bobby Abreu is a really tough call if he amasses the raw totals for consideration. On the one hand, he is extremely consistent, gets on base, hits for average and (at least earlier in his career) hit for power, steals bases well, and can bat basically anywhere 1-6 in an order. I am a Phillies fan and I was about 8 or 9 years old when he first became an everyday player for them, and for awhile he was my favorite player.

    But I can also see why a lot of other Philly fans (and Yankees fans) aren't too impressed with him. I don't know what his UZR or anything like that is, but from watching him play for 8 or 9 years I must say he was always a pretty terrible right fielder. He misjudged fly balls. He bobbled singles and had trouble pulling the ball out of the corner, turning doubles into triples. He seemed afraid of the wall, and virtually never made diving or jumping catches (or even tried to). He did have a pretty strong and accurate arm. I don't know how much of this stuff is still true now in Anaheim but I imagine it probably is.

    He also was really kind of a hard player to get behind. I don't know that he was a bad guy in the clubhouse, so I won't say that he was, but you just didn't really get a sense that he cared all that much about the team. He didn't really talk to the media much. Teammates never really seemed to be hanging out with him or talking to him, and (most heartbrakingly for 9 year old Malcolm), he never came out the ramp at the Vet where all the kids hung around fishing for autographs. For all the greif (much of it undeserved) that Scott Rolen got in Philadelphia, you could at least get him to sign a few baseballs as he was leaving the park.

    Ichiro, however, must be a shoe in. He is the best of his era at amassing hits, which regardless of how you evaluate statistics are extremely important. It's no easy task to get 200 or more base hits year after year after year. And on top of that, he has the all time single season hits record, plays an outstanding right field, and can manufacture runs on base (very important for the power-less Mariners).

  45. Matt Young Says:

    I think i was mixing him up with Juan Gonzalez. The one on this list that interests me the most is Rolen. How about a POLL? Nice WAR, nice offensive numbers but not eye-popping, nice glove, has a WSC, always seemed to play the game the right way despite his spats with La Russa (I'm not a big La Russa's fan) but will he get buried and forgotten about? He probably still needs 2 more years as well. Every time you think he's done he comes back with another good year.

  46. @44 Malcom - as a Yankees fan, I have to agree with your Abreu comments and the point you make the rings the truest for me is when you state "you just didn't really get a sense that he cared all that much about the team". Unfortunately, I 100% agree.

  47. As an Angels fan I'm familiar with Abreu of late. I would say many of those statements are true but I'm amazed at the numbers he's amassed for someone who's never been a superstar. I think he will have a shot by the time he finishes. One thing I will say re the team player comments are that when he arrived in Anaheim last year he got a lot of credit for guys like Figgins and Aybar having career years which is perhaps why he got a career best MVP placing despite not having his best year offensively.

    As for Vlad, again I've had the privelege of watching him every day for six years. To start with he was really something and could do things nobody else could. THe last couple of years he was playing a bit banged up and I thought his best years were behind him. Great to see him bounce back this year (shame it's for Texas). He's got some great numbers under his belt and I don't see how people can talk him down for his low walk rate when Dawson's just been inducted with a .323 OBP!

    Did you know Vlad and Lou Gehrig are the only players with 11 straight years of hitting .300 with at least 25 home runs?

  48. Matt Young Says:

    You can also add Vizquel to the list at 43.4 WAR. I'd say he goes in and all others left off original list from above go in --that would be Schilling, Maddux, Johnson, Griffey, Biggio, Mussina, Smoltz, Glavine, Chipper Jones, Pedro, Hoffman, Jeter, Pujols, and Mo -- Posada would be another borderliner.

  49. This is in reference to just using "Raw Numbers". Baseball doesn't exist in a vacuum. The National League started in 1876 and since then we've seen incredible changes in the way the game has been played from Dead Ball eras to Live ball eras to changes in the rules from mound heights to strike zones. So unfortunately the same numbers don't mean the same thing from year to year. Just like $10 doesn't mean the same thing in 2010 as it did in 1913, the same thing applies to raw baseball stats.

    The entire National League batted .303 in 1930 and batted .243 in 1968. So obviously hitting .300 was a far greater accomplishment in '68 than it was in '30.

    The National League averaged 5.00 runs per game in 2000 and 3.45 runs per game in 1916 so obviously scoring runs was far easier in 2000 than it was in 1916.

    Then baseball is an odd sport that doesn't have uniform set of rules as far as the field of play goes which greatly affects hitting/pitching and run scoring. It was much harder to hit in the Astrome than it was at Fenway Park. So that's going to affect the Jose Cruz and Jim Rice are perceived.

    Then you have the problem of stats like RBI, Wins, and Saves, which severely flawed and are overrated. Then there's a stat like Batting Average that's also overrated. Also, "Raw Numbers" don't take defense into account so Raw Numbers would just tell you that Ozzie Smith wasn't a great player because he only hit .262 for his career.

    Here's some more real life examples of the problems of using Raw Numbers:

    Dante Bichette has a higher lifetime batting average than Mickey Mantle.
    Mark Derosa has a higher lifetime batting average than Eddie Mathews.
    Ronnie Beliard has a higher lifetime batting average than Joe Morgan.
    Julio Lugo has a higher lifetime batting average than Willie McCovey.
    Placido Polanco has a higher lifetime average than Willie Mays and Pete Rose.

    Dante Bichette has a higher lifetime slugging percentage than Reggie Jackson, George Brett, Roberto Clemente and Honus Wagner.
    Carlos Delgado has a higher lifetime slugging percentage than F. Robinson, Mel Ott and Mike Schmidt.

    Andres Galarraga has more career Home Runs than Joe Dimaggio, Ty Cobb, and Rogers Hornsby.

    Harold Baines has more lifetime RBI than Mike Schmidt, Rogers Hornsby, and Mickey Mantle.
    Rueben Sierra has more lifetime RBI than Paul Waner, Roberto Clemente and Eddie Collins

    Harold Baines has more lifetime hits than Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle.

  50. Matt Young Says:

    Sorry guys, Rice was a borderliner and Dawson was above borderline and clearly in. Both were on the right side of the line IMO. Dawson has a WAR of 57, Win Shares of 341 and a WSAB of 135. Also, Rice was a feared hitter for those that didn't see him play. Some of his numbers were put up during the tailend of the second deadball era as well. One of his problems is he's sort of a peak guy and sort of a career guy. He doesn't fit into either that nicely --I still think he did enough. His peak wasn't quite long enough and his career wasn't quite long enough, but when added together, he did just enough. Rice has a WAR of 42, Win Shares of 278 and WSAB of 128. These numbers put Dawson's in the low end of the middle third of HoFers and Rice's numbers, except WAR, in the high end of the bottom third. In fact, Rice's Win Shares puts him in the low end of the middle third of HoFers. Again, Rice was borderline, but there are far worse picks than him.

  51. Matt Young Says:

    John Q -- when assessing a HoFer few at this point would advocate for the use of raw numbers in a vacuum, but I think there's also a large group (smart ones too) that would like to see the sabermetricians not use their numbers in a vacuum too. Again, I've run plenty of stats in my life, and I've come up with correlation coefficients of .81 and you know it's just not right....then years later, the light bulb goes on, and you realize it wasn't right. Stats give you estimates, but there will always be nuances/anomalies to players that add or subtract legitimate value.

    For every example you outline above, you can also come up with plenty of Abreu vs Guerrero's where you know the difference is more than 1 WAR and is something more like 10+.

  52. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Rice was a feared hitter

    Hmmm...I think I've heard that before.

  53. Matt Young,

    You can't be serious with that "feared" comment..and the late 70's-late 80's wasn't the tail end of the Second Dead Ball Era. He also played in the best hitter's park in baseball during the 70's-80's which inflated his batting average. Jim Rice was an extremely overrated player not even close to being a borderline selection. He's basically the same player as George Foster.

    There might be a perception that Abreu is worth 10+WAR than Guerrero but the reality is they're about even. Maybe it's because Phillie fans didn't like him and can be a vindictive lot or maybe it's because he was seen as a spare part of those Yankee teams but he was a great player. Maybe it's because Vlad was a more flashy player than Abreu. On base percentage is still not accepted fully by the mainstream fans/media so that hurts Abreu a little.

    Even without WAR he looks like a great player. He has a career 130ops+, He has a .401 on base percentage a .297 career batting average, a .488 career slugging percentage. He already has 500 career doubles and 300+steals. He's had 11 seasons with 98+ runs scored, he's had 8 seasons 100+ rbi, he's 71st all time in runs created, he's 44th all time in WPA, He's 39th all time in BB, He has 3545 times on base which is 89th all time.

    He hasn't been a good defensive player in awhile but he was pretty good when he was a young player.

  54. Matt Young Says:

    You have this backwards --"There might be a perception that Abreu (insert Vlad) is worth 10+WAR than Guerrero (insert Abreu) but the reality is they're about even" . Actually, in reality, not a vacuum, Abreu is barely a borderliner and Vlad is already in in all likelihood....and it's not b/c he's flashy. The WAR overrates Abreu and I don't care how you want to slice it, dice or add it up, Vlad is much better. Sabermetricians stating that Abreu and Vlad are about equal is the same maddening nonsense from writers treated Morris and Bly the same. Just ridiculous. There will be little progress on these two fronts until people realize there are different, yet valid ways to value players. There's a midpoint. Please.

    As for Rice, yes, he's a true borderliner, but he's not as bad a pick as some want to make him out to be.

    Black Ink Batting - 6 (339), Average HOFer ≈ 27
    Gray Ink Batting - 166 (65), Average HOFer ≈ 144
    Hall of Fame Monitor Batting - 190 (49), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Batting - 57 (44), Average HOFer ≈ 50

  55. Matt Young Says:

    Rice OPS+ 128

  56. Matt Young Says:

    Sorry that was Vlad's stats above, here's Rice.

    ops+ 128
    Black Ink Batting - 33 (50), Average HOFer ≈ 27
    Gray Ink Batting - 176 (58), Average HOFer ≈ 144
    Hall of Fame Monitor Batting - 144 (92), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Batting - 43 (124), Average HOFer ≈ 50

  57. Johnny Twisto Says:

    The WAR overrates Abreu and I don't care how you want to slice it, dice or add it up

    I have no problem with people making comments like this but they should be explained somehow. The methodology for WAR is not a secret and the components are published. So in what way is it overrating him? "He's obviously not that good" is not an answer. What part of his game has it measured incorrectly?

    I'll say that I think it overrates his defense. Total Zone shows him with a few seasons early in his career which are on the level of the all-time elite. I certainly never saw him enough to proffer an educated opinion, but I have never heard a single observer consider him a brilliant defender at any time in his career. (I realize he won one Gold Glove in mid-career; that could have been something like three managers choosing him in a splintered vote after he had made a couple nice plays against their teams.) Anyway, even if his career defensive value was 30 runs below average rather than 30 above, he's still over 50 WAR.

  58. Matt Young Says:

    I think Abreu is a good player (never said not that good), I just don't think he's anymore than just edging into the borderline category --to get to the borderline level you have to be pretty darn good. Yes, defense is always a problem with the WAR. Depending on what WAR you're looking at, it can vary by as much as 10-15 points --yes, I need to look at why this is which I haven't done. As for what else might be wrong, I'll have to look into it in more detail as well. As an aside, I do think the perception of him being lazy and not caring all that much is legitimate and a problem --I've seen few in the history of the game treat the wall like the black plague like he does --in fact, he treats the warning track like the black plague.

    I also don't think all numbers are created equal and that no formula can make things 100% accurate or even. I've just seen too many statistical tests to know better and I really do love the numbers.

    All I'm saying is evaluate the player on everything and not just the WAR --I know some think the WAR is a reflection of almost everything. I disagree with that. Does the WAR take into consideration how a pitcher does the night after his team loses? Maybe it does, maybe I'm wrong here. Would you rather have Pitcher A that went 5-3 ERA of 3.18 (ERA+ 120) down the stretch for his team that's 16 games out or would you rather have pitcher B that went 8-1 with ERA 3.56 (ERA+ 111) that's in the pennant race --a closer look also yields that Pitcher B went went 5-0 in games after his team lost and Pitcher A went 2-3. Some will argue that this doesn't matter and that it's just a reflection of the different teams they are on --do we know for sure that Pitcher A would have done the same thing in the pennant race? No, we don't.

    To the Philly fan above, I think the assessment was spot on --I watched a lot of Abreu in both Philly and NY too --he was good, but he was far from great even during his Philly days. Despite the differences in WAR of nearly 10 points, I see Abreu as being just a tad better than Damon. Yes, different players for sure, but I see Abreu as being a bit closer to Damon than I see him to Vlad.

  59. Matt Young Says:

    John Q --1975-76 was the tail end of the second deadball era according to some estimates and I've even seen this stretched out to 1978 (I disagree and think it should be marked by 1976)). Additionally, i have seen others mark the end of the second deadball era as 1972 as well. Admittedly, this doesn't really strengthen any argument for Rice (2 years of good numbers in 75-76) --so, wipe that from the ledger. Rice was right on the line for me, but I know he's been a rallying point for many sabermetricians. Some treat him like the worst pick ever. He was not and it isn't even close-- Yes, there are others that are definitely more deserving like Bly, Tiant, and Santo. Shoot, Dewey Evans is my all-time favorite Red Sox and I think he definitely should have had more Hall play. A crime he fell off ballot so fast.

    Also to above, I know some WAR's don't factor in defense.

  60. Johnny Twisto Says:

    There's probably a correlation between Abreu's treatment of the wall and his playing more games than anyone since 1998.

    As a Yankee fan, I never got the sense Abreu was lazy. And I'd never try guess how much someone cares based on their demeanor. Not every player or every person exhibits their emotions in the same way. Actually, I don't even care if he cares -- I just care how he plays. If his attitude affected his teammates, that would be a problem, but I don't remember a peep about such things. (I do remember his being credited for positively influencing his Angels teammates last season.) If I didn't think a particular player cared, it would probably affect how much I root for him, but I don't think it should affect an objective assessment of his career.

  61. "For me, my initial thought is to rank the 4 outfielders I've mentioned as follows: 1. Vlad 2. Ichiro 3. Abreu 4. Edmonds (despite being the best at WAR amongst all these guys)"

    Wow, Edmonds to me is pretty clearly the best of the lot. You guys do realize Edmonds plays center field, a defensive position, and the other players are corner outfielders, right? Vlad is the best hitter of the group, but he is still under 100 batting runs above Edmonds, and Abreu is only slightly above Edmonds in batting runs (due to more PA, not more quality). Ichiro is well in the rear, but he has other sources of value. The offensive differences within the group are not all that big (except for Ichiro). Meanwhile, Abreu has been a pretty good corner outfielder, Vlad a good one, Ichiro a great one, and Edmonds has been a great center fielder. I thought traditional fans cared about defense. There is a reason Edmonds leads this pack in WAR by a large amount, and that is positional value and defense. You don't compare 2nd basemen to 1st basemen in offensive expectations, and you don't compare corner outfielders to center fielders. Edmonds also had the best peak by far.

    Overall, while Edmonds may struggle to get in (if voters don't care about defense), he is an easily deserving HOFer. Vlad so far is probably deserving and in the Dawson class of borderliners but with good peak value, and he still adding career value so could really cement his case. Abreu is also in the Dawson class but with a lesser peak so may be just on the wrong side of the line. Ichiro is a special case -- his career value is still on the low end (but getting close to borderline), but he has racked up a near-HOF career in less than 10 years, which speaks to a very strong prime. I would also credit him with Japan time, since he seemed to be the same player over there, and with Japan credit he is an easy pick.

  62. Matt Young Says:

    I will say this, I'm definitely more on the side of Edmonds going in now --his numbers are hard to ignore for a centerfielder --he still needs to hit a few numbers though --400 Hr's, 2000 hits and 1000 walks, all of which could happen this year. I would basically value him as almost the same as Ichiro b/c he's a centerfielder with a longer career. I do see Abreu as being a pretty distant 4th in this group though.

    As for this statement --it doesn't carry much weight. "There's probably a correlation between Abreu's treatment of the wall and his playing more games than anyone since 1998". Go back and at least try to catch the ball, don't hold up 15 ft before.

    As for him positively affecting the Angels--I also remember that, and it was probably a counterbalance to Vlad being such a free swinger.....especially since Vlad looked almost done last year.

  63. "he WAR overrates Abreu and I don't care how you want to slice it, dice or add it up, Vlad is much better."

    I agree Vlad is better, but you can't just say things without reasoning and convince people. WAR pretty clearly shows where the differences lie, and you should argue some of the differences are wrong if you disagree with what the stat says. WAR says Vlad is about 7 wins better as a hitter: .385/.566 for Vlad vs .401/.489 for Bob with Bob also having 600 more PA. This makes sense. Bob makes back a little under 2 wins through base running, which also makes sense, since Bob was a very good base thief. Vlad hits into a lot of DPs, and Bob is good at avoiding them -- this difference is worth 3.5 wins for Bob. WAR gives Vlad ~1.5 win advantage in defensive, which can be argued but sounds reasonable enough to me: Vlad has been a good but not great defender, and Bob was great when young/fast and subpar in his 30s. Add it up, and Vlad is better, but he's not better by a lot. I like Vlad better because of this small career edge and his better peak (and I think Vlad will add more value before he's done), but let's not pretend like these guys are night and day in a different class.

  64. @61 Josh - I amended my rankings from what you quoted shortly after within this thread, as I wrote "I think I'm going to revise and place Edmonds above Abreu" (@36).

    I also wrote that Edmonds could be HOF worthy and yes, I do indeed realize he plays centerfield. And I'm not someone who is anti-sabermetrics (you wrote "I thought traditional fans cared about defense", so it seems like you think I/others commenting on this topic may be strictly 'old-school'). As I noted throughout the thread, I think there should be a balance between 'old-school' and 'new-school' stats and anaysis.

    As far as your comments about positional value, I agree that comparing 2nd basemen to 1st basemen in offensive expectations wouldn't be valid...but then saying that you also can't compare a LF'er or RF'er to a CF'er in terms of offense, well, I disagree with that analogy. A team that doesn't expect all of its outfielders to produce well offensively is often going to be a team in trouble.

  65. "I'm definitely more on the side of Edmonds going in now --his numbers are hard to ignore for a centerfielder --he still needs to hit a few numbers though --400 Hr's, 2000 hits and 1000 walks, all of which could happen this year."

    Matt, I'm glad you're on my side on Edmonds, but why does his making a few round numbers matter? Who cares if he gets another 62 hits, 10 home runs, or 7 walks as an old (but still effective) man? Edmonds deserves to be in because he hit .298/.410/.593 (OPS over 1.000) for 5 years from 2000-2004 as an excellent defensive center fielder!

  66. Matt Young Says:

    Because I think raw numbers still add value to a career. I know that's a crazy concept for some here. We just disagree on that. Sabermetrics remove too much context as I stated above in my Pitcher examples. Not all numbers are equal no matter what formula you come up with. Until there's more of a midpoint on these philosophies, you'll always have a large gulf between writers and sabermetricians. I believe in compromise, not that one side is the right one and the other side is the wrong one. This is really a microcosm of today's society.

  67. @63 Josh - "I agree Vlad is better, but you can't just say things without reasoning and convince people."

    I guess this will make me sound totally 'old-school' (which again, I'M NOT) and I know the sabermetricians of the world will pounce on this but I'll say it anyway in response to your above sentence...

    Sometimes you don't have to go into in-depth reasoning to convince people about something which you KNOW to be true. I don't need to write an essay stating why I believe the sky to be blue. I know that's true because I have eyes and I've looked at the sky every day. And the same is true for Vlad vs. Abreu. I know Vlad is much better because I have eyes and I've followed their careers.

    Go ahead, blast away! I know the hard-core sabermetricians will roll their eyes and say that my comments prove that baseball fans who don't think exactly like them are not as knowledgeable as they are. But I don't care...IMO, Vlad. vs. Abreu with Vlad having a definite advantage is just one of those things that is completely obvious to me. I am aware of the numbers, I try to look at things in context and I have been a baseball fan my entire life. And that's just my opinion on this matter.

  68. I've seen Sabermetricians argue for Saberhagen or Coney for the Hall. I love Coney, I think he should have received more play than one year on ballot. I don't see him being that different than Schilling or Smoltz. However, Coney ended up with 194 wins and I understand why he didn't get more play --Being 6 wins shy of 200 is too much of a shortcoming to overcome --I get that and I agree with that. Same goes for Saberhangen and yes I'd vote for both Schilling and Smoltz. I believe assessing player should be a mix of philosophies of 35-40% sabermetrics, 30-35% raw numbers, 20% signature/wow moments like playoffs, championships, cy youngs, no hitters, mvp's and 10% relationships with teammates and media/how you played the game.

  69. Ditto @67.

  70. Johnny Twisto Says:

    As for this statement --it doesn't carry much weight. "There's probably a correlation between Abreu's treatment of the wall and his playing more games than anyone since 1998". Go back and at least try to catch the ball, don't hold up 15 ft before.

    Why doesn't it carry weight? He has preserved his body and he plays 155 games every year. It may not be fun to root for, it may be infuriating to watch, but it's quite likely that the added value in catching a few more of those balls is outweighed by the added value in not missing long stretches on the DL. Would you rather have Abreu's career or Pete Reiser's? Obviously those are both extreme examples, but balls-out play isn't always the smartest play. (No one will talk about Abreu in 60 years like they talk about Reiser, but Reiser will never get to the HOF, whereas Abreu has some small chance.)

  71. Dave V says: "...but then saying that you also can't compare a LF'er or RF'er to a CF'er in terms of offense, well, I disagree with that analogy. A team that doesn't expect all of its outfielders to produce well offensively is often going to be a team in trouble."

    MLB CF 2009:.332/.411
    MLB RF 2009:.339/.432
    MLB LF 2009:.339/.434

    It is a fact that center fielders are not good hitters compared to corner outfielders. There is no arguing it.

  72. "I don't need to write an essay stating why I believe the sky to be blue. I know that's true because I have eyes and I've looked at the sky every day. "

    What if you were color blind, thought the sky was green, but someone else said it was blue and had evidence to support it? People make instinctual decision all the time and are generally right, but sometimes people are not right based on their impressions. In these cases, it makes sense to examine the evidence and determine if the original impression is logical or not. Vlad looks great out there with his wild athletic swings and high batting average; Abreu provides more subtle value like walks, avoiding the DP, and base running. The first impression of the difference in quality is a lot greater than the actual difference in quality.

  73. Stats can be wrong too.

  74. It does matter, it doesn't carry weight. You're assuming he does get hurt. He could make an honest play and in all likelihood he doesn't get hurt and end his career. Go back on the ball and make an honest smart play --he does neither by backing off of anything within 15 ft.

  75. I think the Vlad/Abreu comparison is just fascinating debate on our biases in regards to our perceptions. I think what Josh alluded to in #72 is very valid. I must admit from a fan point of view Vlad was a much more entertaining and interesting player to watch compared to Abreu. I think it all comes down to their respective skill sets. It's much more fun and entertaining to watch a free swinger with a great throwing arm in right field than a guy whose skill is much more subtle. So our natural biases would assume that the free swinger with the wild throwing arm and the dread-locks and the messy uniform is doing much more than the clean-cut quiet guy that walks a lot.

    I remember Abreu playing the Mets during the late 90's early 2000's and he was just an incredible pain in the ass. He was always in the middle of some scoring play whether getting a walk, home run, stealing a base, getting a double, driving in a run, scoring a run. etc. I also remember that he was always considered one of the 10 best players in the N.L. during the early-mid part of the decade.

    As far as his defense goes he was considered a very good defensive player during the early part of his career while playing in Veteran's stadium. I think the big problem was when the Phillies opened Citizen's Bank Park in 2004. There's a chicken wire fence in right field in front of the out of town scoreboard and I'm pretty sure that Abreu was injured and he never seemed to be the same type of defender after that.

    And if you look the drop in his defensive numbers coincide with the opening of Citizen's Bank Park.

  76. "Stats can be wrong too."

    The underlying stats (hits, home runs, OBP, SLG etc.) are just a record of what happened -- they are not wrong in any factual sense (other than Mantle/Maris totals!). The saber stats like WAR or win shares or batting runs try to put a value toward winning games from these underlying stats; you are certainly free to argue here that the method of going from component underlying stats to overall value may not work, but it sure helps to explain why you don't think it works rather than just saying it doesn't. Smart people put in a lot of work and came up with reasons for why these stats generally work (within a range of error). If you want to disagree, fine, but if the only reason you can provide is "I just think so, and that's that" it makes for really poor discussion and really poor debating.

    The fact of the matter is that Vlad is a better hitter than Abreu, but Abreu is better in other ways which narrow the difference significantly. I don't know if you guys disagree with the meat of the argument (it's pretty obvious Abreu was a better OBP guy, a better base runner, and hit into fewer DPs) or are just being stubborn.

  77. Johnny Twisto Says:

    What is smart about banging into the wall and watching the ball carom 30 feet away? Most attempts to catch a ball up against the wall are not successful. I'm not assuming Abreu would get hurt if he played differently, but I know that he never has gotten seriously hurt playing the way he does.

  78. This is in reference using Black Ink/Gray Ink or the HOF monitor.

    First off, the HOF monitor was set up by Bill James during the early 80's and was always used to consider the "likelihood" of a player being elected rather than if he deserved it or not. Also, he set those standard up during the early 80's and by his own admission, they're way out of date.

    Similarity Scores are incredibly flawed because there is no positional adjustments or league or era adjustments. So you might see a Catcher from the 60's being compared to a LF/DH of the 00's.

    And the Black Ink/Gray Ink scores are flawed because they're skewed towards players from hitter's parks, players from early time periods when there were only 8,10,12 teams in a league, it gives too much credit for leading the league in overrated stats like Steals, RBi, Wins, Saves, and it skews against Career Value players, defensive players or players who play more demanding defensive positions i.e, C,SS,2B,CF. Here's some examples:

    George Foster scored a 26 in black ink, an average HOF is 27. So what does that mean that George Foster is an average HOF. This is essentially the Jim Rice Argument. Rice's ops+ is 128, Foster's is 126.

    Howard Johnson was 11/27 in black while Derek Jeter is 7/27. So what does that mean that Howard Johnson has a better HOF case than Jeter?

    Here's some HOF and where they stand on Black Ink. An average HOF is 27:

    Yogi Berra: 0/27
    Carlton Fisk: 1/27
    Ozzie Smith: 2/27
    Derek Jeter: 7/27
    Pee Wee Reese: 7/27
    Jackie Robinson: 8/27
    Brooks Robinson: 10/27
    Al Kaline: 12/27
    Robin Yount: 14/27
    Joe Morgan: 15/27
    Eddie Mathews: 16/27
    Cal Ripken: 19/27
    Johnny Bench: 20/27
    R. Clemente: 23/27

    Here's the flip side:

    Lip Pike: 26/27
    George Foster: 26/27
    Stuffy Sternweiss: 26/27
    Cecil Fielder: 24/27
    Ginger Buaumont: 22/27
    Bobby Veach: 22/27
    Dave Orr: 22/27
    Cal McVey: 22/27
    Andres Galarraga: 21/27
    Juan Pierre: 21/27
    Dante Bichette: 19/27

    So Andres Galarraga and Juan Pierre have a better HOF argument than Mathews, Morgan, Bench, Kaline and Ripken???

  79. "However, Coney ended up with 194 wins and I understand why he didn't get more play --Being 6 wins shy of 200 is too much of a shortcoming to overcome --I get that and I agree with that. "

    What I don't like about this reasoning is that if Cone came back for one year and went 6-10 5.50ERA and got to 200 wins, you would think he has a better case? There is no real difference between 194 wins and 200 wins, and wins aren't what's Cone's (borderline) case is about anyway. Cone's case is that he had a good peak with 6 seasons as a top-5 pitcher in the league, another 4 very good seasons, plus some above average ones. His career is short and not an asset to his cause, but it's not so short as to be a total disqualifier either. Saberhagen has the same case only with an even better peak -- sort of a poor man's Koufax (career-wise, obviously not style-wise). If Sandy is an easy HOFer, then some lesser but still very good version can have a good argument.

    These round numbers are just silly if you can limp along to them as a replacement player and somehow be considered a much better player for making the round number.

  80. Valid points Josh. Formulas give great estimates for sure, and there is a margin of error and that can differ some when getting to the subtleties. I would say that Abreu is better in ways that narrow the difference b/w the two some, but not significantly.

    Yes, the stats are the stats, but formulas and t-tests etc don't necessarily catch everything at equal value. You can run different formulas and different tests that can give differing, sometimes very significantly differing results. Again, I love the sabermetrics, I just don't think assessing players on nearly that alone is any better than writers judging Morris on Game 7 alone.

    As for Abreu banging into the wall and ball bouncing away, that's an oversimplification. I said "smart honest attempt". His assessment sometimes has certainly led to him not trying for balls that he likely could have caught without getting injured..

  81. Here's a few more things that might explain how Abreu closed the gap in the Vlad/Abreu comparison:

    Vlad is 179/270 in stolen bases, a 66% rate.
    Abreu is 364/483 in stolen bases, a 75% rate.

    Vald has grounded into 244 Double Plays in 8230 plate appearances, 31st all time.
    Abreu has grounded into 144 Double Plays in 8854 plate appearances.

    Also, as someone alluded to earlier, Vlad has an over-whelming number of his walks come by intentional walk. An intentional walk is Less valuable than a regular walk because the pitcher/defense is dictating the terms of when the walk will occur and under what circumstances.

  82. Josh,

    Valid points on Cone but what also hurts Cone greatly in the mainstream sports media is the strike of 94-95 which essentially cost Cone two 20 win seasons. Also 1993 is one of his best seasons but he only received 2.9 runs per game (the lowest in the A.L.) in run support. So one of his best seasons is viewed as one of his worst because of the over-reliance of the crappy stat W/L.

  83. I don't think 200 wins would have been enough for Coney either, regardless of milestone, especially if he ended with a 6-10. I don't look at raw numbers in a vacuum either! Coney needed his 8-10 wins back from work stoppages and another 14-8 season given the short career. I'm not going to argue that a specific milestone should get you in or not in, but all I'm saying is it does add some value --sometimes sticking around to just get those 6 wins adds bad value (or deletes value), especially if you hung around for a 6-10 season just to hit a mark. Context matters. It wasn't worth it for John to stick around and go from 264 to 288. I think it hurt him more --same goes for Simmons sticking around at a negative WAR for 5 years. Personally I don't think Moyer hitting 300 wins should get him in. There's a tipping point. As long as you can stay near average (1-2 WAR) it's OK to compile for 1-3 years, but if you put up a WAR 0 for 3,4,5 years your done as a borderliner. The last taste will be too hard to overcome. I think that makes sense. Very few, if any, borderliners have reached a milestone that made "the" difference. If you're still adding a near 2 WAR to hit a milestone I see that as OK and quite valuable. Some say Glavine became too much of a compiler, or that Perry was too much of a compiler --hogwash, they were HoFer's before at 270 wins, just as Mussina is too. I don't consider Baines a Hofer, and I think of the work stoppages as sort of divine intervention in a sense.

    As for the Black Ink, yes, it's not of much value today, however, looking at Rice's resume across spectrums and philosophies on what makes a HoFer, his numbers show he was fairly balanced and not a ridiculous choice. He's a borderliner that you could flip a coin on. That's what I was presenting when I put his numbers up. Yes, you can always pull a stat or two or even three out and compare to someone else to make an argument.

  84. For example, if Damon can put up three more seasons at a 2+ WAR rate to get to 3000 hits and a WAR of 55 then i think he should be given strong consideration. I sort of hope Damon doesn't reach this plateau, but as someone stated before, it would make for an interesting argument. I don't see two players with a WAR of 60 and 2500 hits and someone with a WAR of 55 and 3000 hits as the same. I personally would give the nod to the guy with the 3000 hits. Yes, I value the guy with the 500 more hits slightly better than the guy with a WAR 5 points better. I think that's logical. Of course I'd also want to look at playoff numbers, wow moments, awards, and relationships to make a decision. There is a method to my madness. :-)

  85. Matt,
    I generally agree with you on your Cone comments. If you're adding 2 WAR/yr, you are about average and certainly helping your team. I typically write off seasons around or below replacement (don't help or hurt) and put a lot of focus on peak and prime performance as opposed to just counting career totals.

    Regarding Rice, I just don't even see him as borderline. He was a crappier version of Albert Belle with 2400 extra plate appearances tacked on at barely above replacement level. Joey was certainly "feared" too. Rice was sort of a better fielding version of Juan Gonzalez, who was also feared and had 2x MVP hardware. Rice was no better than feared contemporary George Foster. Teammates Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans were better. Dale Murphy was almost as good of a hitter, played center, and won multiple MVPs/GGs. Rice was a good player, no doubt, but he doesn't stand out from dozens of other guys who have no support.

  86. "Yes, I value the guy with the 500 more hits slightly better than the guy with a WAR 5 points better. I think that's logical"

    For the guy with fewer hits to have more WAR would require him to do something else more valuable than having an extra 500 hits such as having more walks, home runs, or better defense. A perfect example is if Tim Raines turned 800 walks into 400 singles and 400 outs, he'd be a much worse player but would have 3000 hits and a .312 batting average. Does that make him more worthy of the HOF?

    Damon's problem is that even if he gets to 55 WAR, a borderline total, he will have done so with a very poor peak/prime for a HOFer. Guys with borderline career value who deserve the HOF tend to have been dominant at their best.

  87. And I'm sure his WAR is what does that to you? His resume isn't as bad as Statheads want to make him out to be. Same with Morris. Fred Lynn wasn't better IMO, but Murphy was a bit better and has a decent argument for the Hall himself. I also said there are others that are more deserving, but Rice was on his last Ballot and I wouldn't go as far as dozens of players more deserving. Maybe a dozen, but not dozens. Albert Belle was feared, and he had a really nice peak, but he comes from the steroid era (I was always suspicious of him) and context matters. Rice was a coin flip to me. Dewey Evans certainly should have had more play than he did.

  88. For the guy with fewer hits to have more WAR would require him to do something else more valuable than having an extra 500 hits such as having more walks, home runs, or better defense.

    "More Valuable" perhaps, but not necessarily the case. That's somewhat dependent on definition of more valuable and whether one thinks their way of assessing things is the right way and the other person's is the wrong way. As for Raines, I think he should go in.

    A swing in WAR of 5 points isn't that uncommn depending who's formula you're using as well.

  89. Poor way of putting it --sorry --And I'm sure his WAR is what does that to you? Should be something like his WAR is what influences you so you think he's not deserving of even the "borderline" status.

  90. On the great majority (probably something like 98%) of the Hall candidates I agree with sabermetricians. However, all I'm saying is for every Rice in the Hall there's a Saberhagen in the Hall of Merit. Would I be upset that Saberhangen got in --no, would I vote for him, no. There's different perspectives and most have value. That's all I'm saying.

  91. "And I'm sure his WAR is what does that to you? "
    AROM published WAR less than 2 years ago on, and I've been opposed to Rice since he was first on the ballot. Mediocre defensive corner outfielders with no base running skills who hit for good but not great power with slightly above average OBP skills and hit into record amounts of double plays are pretty obviously not all that outstanding ballplayers. You don't need WAR for that, just an understanding of how baseball works.

    Even if you don't buy WAR in many cases, there are almost 380 players with more career WAR than Jim Rice. Surely you can find more than a dozen you think are better than Jim who are not in the HOF if you look carefully at the list.

  92. "A swing in WAR of 5 points isn't that uncommn depending who's formula you're using as well."

    Usually from defense, positional adjustment, era adjustment (adjusting for eras when the variation of offensive output is smaller), or from formulas that do not consider all forms of base running or reaching on error. The hitting numbers are usually very close. If you want to say, "I believe Rice was a great defensive outfielder (WAR on this site rates him above average, which is generous)" or give me some reason that he should be higher, have at it. But you and I know Rice's case is that he was supposedly a great hitter, and he really wasn't a great hitter. Let's also admit that Rice's case isn't over some within the margin of error 5 WAR, it's about making up 20 WAR.

  93. Good points. Well, there are nearly 240 players already in the Hall and only about 50-65 or so have a WAR lower than Rice. Baseball Guage has Rice's WAR at 47 and if you used both WARs(42 and 47) Rice would Rank 166 with WAR of 47 and 180 with a WAR of 42. Of course different WAR's would yield slightly different lists. I'll indeed look at the list. So, you can assume that roughly 180 of the 380 you mention above are already in the Hall. So, I'll look at the list of 200 remaining candidates.

  94. "Fred Lynn wasn't better IMO"

    Lynn .283/.360/.484 129 OPS+ 149 GDP played key defensive position of center field
    Rice .298/.352/.502 128 OPS+ 315 GDP played left field and 30% of the time as DH

    At his peak in 1975 and 1979, Lynn was better than Rice ever was. Rice's only advantages were another 1000 PA at below replacement value and more durability (which does matter).

  95. @71 Josh - I'm not CF'ers overall hit as well as LF'ers or RF'ers. I'm saying I don't agree with the analogy that was made for 1st basemen and 2nd basemen. And that CF'ers still have to be productive hitters. What are the numbers in OBP% and SLG% for 1B and 2B in 2009, posted in the same manner as done for LF/CF/RF?

  96. And Lynn's last 5 years were either barely above peak to 2 WAR. His last 9 weren't all that good except one. Yes, looking at what you list above, they are comparable players --neither one stands out above the other that much. As for him playing center, isn't that already reflected in his WAR which is 5 points better than Rice's. I suppose to give him double credit? As I said before he's a coin toss. I checked the list of 200+ that have higher WARs than Rice --I deleted all HoFers, deleted ones I consider locks and I deleted PED users b/c I just don't know what to do with them. You are right, I can come up with a list ranging from about 15-30 more deserving than Rice. With that said, I don't think I have all the answers, and so I give merit to others' ways of assessing HoFers. There are clearly better Hall candidates, but Rice also isn't even close to the worse picks already in the Hall.

  97. @72 Josh - "What if you were color blind, thought the sky was green, but someone else said it was blue and had evidence to support it? People make instinctual decision all the time and are generally right, but sometimes people are not right based on their impressions. In these cases, it makes sense to examine the evidence and determine if the original impression is logical or not. Vlad looks great out there with his wild athletic swings and high batting average; Abreu provides more subtle value like walks, avoiding the DP, and base running. The first impression of the difference in quality is a lot greater than the actual difference in quality."

    Well, if someone is color blind, thinks the sky is green and is told by someone else that it was blue, it would make sense for the color blind person to believe the blue-skyer, because the color blind person has no ability to judge that on their own. That along with the fact that literally every sane person the color blind person speaks to on the subject of sky color would also say the sky is blue.

    I understand what you are saying overall in your post. I'm not saying research and evidence should not be used in baseball analysis overall. But some things don't need to be over-analyzed. I know bacon tastes better than dog food. I know a HR is better than a walk. I know Vlad is better than Abreu...and not because he looks better playing the game or is "more exciting" of a player. I know because I can look at many numbers across the board, I've watched both players play many, many games and its as obvious to me as it is anything. But hey, you gotta love baseball as what's obvious to one can be viewed totally differently by someone else...and we can have fun baseball discussions and compare bacon to dog food :)

  98. Should have read: And Lynn's last 5 years were either barely above replacement to 2 WAR. His last 9 weren't all that good except one. Yes, looking at what you list above, they are comparable players --neither one stands out above the other that much. As for him playing center, isn't that already reflected in his WAR which is 5 points better than Rice's. I'm suppose to give him double credit?

  99. Are all positions created equal when it comes to points toward the WAR?

  100. Lynn was a regular every day player, and for that you certainly have a point. Defense is underrated, but I don't trust the WAR when it comes to defense. I also don't like Neutralized numbers --I would use Pythagoras instead. Overall, Rice was borderline and perhaps should have been on wrong side of line. With that said, there are also plenty of worse picks for the Hall --perhaps dozens.

    As for this statement above at #98: "But some things don't need to be over-analyzed". Yes, for sure, I laugh when I read things like Vlad only had a .385 OBP while hitting 321 or when I see Ripken is one of the worst hitters in the Hall or he's the second worst hitter in the Hall with 3000 hits.

  101. "As for him playing center, isn't that already reflected in his WAR which is 5 points better than Rice's. I'm suppose to give him double credit?"

    I thought you said Lynn was worse than Rice, and I was trying to prove they were similar quality hitters, and Lynn had more defensive value because he played center (which is why he shows up with ~5 more WAR). With Lynn's better peak and defensive value, I think he was the better player and more deserving of the HOF (though I think Lynn is below the borderline himself due to having too short of a productive career).

  102. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    "Stats can be wrong too."

    Of course, there wouldn't be a field of sabermetrics if we already could pinpoint in exact numbers everything we wanted to know about the play of a baseball game -- it would be finished and dead.

    On the other hand, the whole *point* of sabermetrics is to have *better* numbers than we used to have.

    If your critique is that WAR doesn't cover this that or the other particular way in which player A excels or is subpar, well that's very important, if your argument makes sense. But if you think it's wrong because you "just know", well that doesn't shed any light, and doesn't give me much confidence that your intuitions are meaningful. It doesn't help anyone make a better version of WAR, and it doesn't help anyone to know what the current WAR probably/possibly gets wrong and how we should adjust for it.

    One of the key things sabermetricians have discovered is that our intuitions are sometimes *wrong*. Given similar SLG, the guy with a .275 BA and a .400 OBP is actually a fair bit more valuable than the guy with a .300 BA and a .350 OBP. Many people had absolutely no clue that this was the case before sabermetricians started trying to determine the real value of a walk vs. a hit vs. an out. They would have picked the .300 hitter every time, assuming that reaching base without a hit was either mostly luck, or not worth anywhere near as much as we now believe.

    Now, nearly all professional baseball people, and a fair number of writers and serious fans have begun to recognize the skill and value in not making outs.

    Here's the problem with saying "WAR is just a number and it can't capture everything". It's absolutely true. But our intuitions are often affected by *other* numbers which we constantly hear, see and read, which are *far* more misleading than WAR, like pitching wins or batting average.

    It's pretty common in threads here to have somebody is talking all about how numbers don't capture everything, but when it comes right down to it, their argument for a guy who's WAR or whatever doesn't look great is primarily reliant on some other number, for which not only can we say the same thing (it doesn't capture everything, and is affected by random factors), but there is a moutain of data suggesting that it is wholly misleading.

    The idea that HoF should be judged by X% sabermetric stats and Y% traditional stats, and Z% various other things, is ridiculous. The sabermetric stats are simply better than the traditional stats. The only value traditional stats have is to be a part of the wow/fame factor, because guys who accumulate certain traditional numbers will get a certain amount of play in the media for doing it, and that does affect their fame perception value, if you believe that should be factored in to hall decisions. But don't go and double count it, by then factoring in some "traditional stat" part of the equation. The whole point of WAR is the look at *all* the traditional stats, along with a bunch of non-traditional ones and get a number that represents total on the field value. It isn't perfect, but the corrections to it won't be made by traditional stats, because all of those stats are already accounted for in the number you get with WAR.

    If you can talk about a specific thing that you think WAR doesn't measure or measures inaccurately, then you are adding to the understanding of baseball by the numbers. When you just wave your hands and say "numbers aren't everything", you really are saying nothing. Of course they aren't everything. There will probably never be a number that can define a player's value completely, but the point is that some numbers say a whole lot more than others. WAR says enough that it makes for a pretty good first order approximation of who belongs in the hall (or on a roster, or starting, or on the all star teams or MVP/Cy ballots).

  103. Still do. They are comparable, Rice is a borderliner IMO, Lynn is just shy of that. Lynn had two great years, a few good years, and was nearly washed up by 30 years old. At least Rice was a bit more consistent. There's worst picks than Rice in Hall.

  104. @DaveV
    MLB CF 2009:.332/.411
    MLB 2B 2009:.330/.405
    MLB 1B 2009:.356/.470

    My point is that CF is a defensive position and not on par with corner outfield, which are the #2 and #3 offensive positions (I hope you didn't take my meaning to be that corner OF hit as well as 1B, the #1 hitting position). Typically second basemen hit very similarly to center fielders, and both are below league average hitters as a whole. You do not "need" to get offensive production out of center -- such performance is a luxury.

  105. "There's worst picks than Rice in Hall."

    This is a true statement (High Pockets Kelly and several others are truly ridiculous) but hardly a ringing endorsement. Rice is not the worst pick, but he's among them. I like dozens of guys better, including Lynn. You say Lynn was washed up at age 30, but Jim Rice had only one good year after age 30, and Lynn had two above average.

    Here are their WAR season totals over 2 for their careers:
    Lynn 8.4,7.1,4.8,4.2,4.1,4.1,3.8,2.6,2.0
    Rice 7.0,5.9,5.7,5.1,4.3,3.0,2.9,2.3,2.0

    Jim was no more consistent and had a worse peak (which actually matters if you care about greatness).

  106. The WAR Gods have spoken. :-) Three best WAR years from Rice and Lynn 30 years of age and higher: Rice -- 12.7; Lynn--11.2 . Players certainly were in good decline by 32 back then, whereas today it doesn't seem to hit until 35-36 for many.

  107. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    "On the great majority (probably something like 98%) of the Hall candidates I agree with sabermetricians. However, all I'm saying is for every Rice in the Hall there's a Saberhagen in the Hall of Merit. Would I be upset that Saberhangen got in --no, would I vote for him, no. There's different perspectives and most have value. That's all I'm saying."

    How many sabermetrics guys would put Saberhagen into the hall? Not me, surely. What I recognize is that he's close to a hall candidate, better than a number of guys who are in the hall now, and better than some guys who are talked up as belonging like Jack Morris. I don't think he qualifies. Maybe you are confusing him with Bert Blyleven, who really does belong. In the case of Bly, IMO, the people who are too ruled by numbers, are the people who don't think he belongs, and they are sticking on stats that are much worse than WAR as a measure of a career, like W-L% and wins.

  108. No, I've advocated for Bly plenty of times. I think the sabermetrics are very important, they just don't capture everything though. Sabermetrics in a vacuum is no good either. I like a hybrid system where there's some merit to differing philosophies.

  109. I can't see how Rice is a "boderline" selection. Even if you take his slash stats and his ops+, there very similar to Moises Alou who was a left fielder and who's never brought up as a HOF candidate:

    .298/.352/.502 ops+128

    .303/.369/.516 ops+ 128

    As far as HOF as career WAR and HOF players and where Rice ranks...There are 148 position players in the HOF with at least 5000 plate appearances. Jim Rice Ranks 123/148, And it should be noted that some of the players lower than Rice were elected because they were also coaches/managers, lost time from WW2, or came to the majors late because black. So I can't see how that's a borderline pick in this day an age with all the information that's available.

    The Median position players with a minimum of 5000 plate appearances are Willie Stargell 57.5WAR and Billy Williams57.2. Basically I think once your over 57.2 WAR for your career, you should be a HOF seeing that you were better than half of the players already elected.

    There are about 50 position players with more than 57.2 career WAR not in the HOF, though it should be noted that 1/2 aren't eligible:

    Bonds, A-Rod, Pujols, Bagwell, C. Jones, Griffey jr., Dahlen, Thomas, Rose, Jeter, Whitaker, Larkin, Edmonds, Thome, Grich, Manny, Walker, Edgar, Trammell, Santo, Biggio, Palmeiro, Lofton, Raines, Rolen, Alomar, R. Smith, Sheffield, McGwire, Shoeless Joe, Dw. Evans, Nettles, D. Allen, K. Hernandez, B. Bell, Bando, Randolph, Wynn, Sosa, Kent, S. Magee, Piazza, Vlad, A. Jones, Glasscock, Boyer, W. Clark, T. Helton, Da Evans, W. Davis.

  110. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Fine post, Michael #102.

  111. Agreed. Michael has been on my short list of best commenters for a while.

  112. Matt Young Says:

    Agreed on nice post above-- I just disagree to a point. As far as above list, I agreed as well, I came up with 15-30 that would have been more deserving than Rice.

    Interesting, median for position players for Hall is 57.2 and for pitchers it's 54.9.

  113. For those interested, Rice wound up 80th on the 2010 Hall of Merit Ballot (was listed in the top 15 ballot slots on only 2 of the 40 ballots cast). To be fair, there's not a big difference between 80th and 40th, since really only about 20-30 people have support on a reasonably large number of ballots.

  114. Matt Young Says:

    Actually, median WAR for pitchers would be Mickey Welch at 56.50.

  115. Matt Young Says:

    As for Hall of Merit, Vic Willis has a WAR of 57.2, which is above the median, and a ERA+ of 118 over 4000 IP. He's not in.

  116. John Q: Alou is definitely another very good Rice comp, though to be fair, Rice had much better in-season durability, so I think Rice was more useful to teams. Ellis Burks is also similar (126 OPS+) though probably better due to his center field time. Bob Johnson and Reggie Smith (in particular) were outfielders who were much better.

  117. One fact about Vic Willis is that he was a really bad hitter, even for a pitcher, with -6.8 hitting WAR. Nevertheless, maybe Willis deserves a little more support.

  118. Josh, I still think Foster is the perfect comp for Rice, same time period same position, similar skill set, basically the same WAR, OPS+. Foster went to a pitcher's park and his traditional numbers went down and he didn't have Evans and Boggs hitting in front of him to rack up all those RBI's.

  119. I went back and I checked and there were 8 men elected as managers with at least 5000 plate appearances so I took them off the list. So there are 140 position players with at least 5000 plate appearances elected as "Players" in the HOF.

    Rice finished 122/140

    So the Median Career WAR for a position player is actually higher. The median would be Dave Winfield at 59.7 and Ritchie Ashburn at 58WAR. It's pretty interesting, on that list above, Sosa-Boyer all fall in between Winfield and Ashburn. Dawson falls a bit short of the median.

    The median HOF is around 59WAR and Rice had 41.5 so he was nowhere near a HOF. There's probably about 150-170 position players that were were better than Rice not in the HOF.

    The median player when factoring Peak+Career WAR (Career + Best 7WAR seasons)/2 was Lou Boudreau with a 56 career WAR, his best 7 seasons totaled to 44.2WAR, divide that by 2 and you get a 50.1 Peak+Career. Dawson and Winfield fall a bit short.

  120. John Q: Interesting stuff on the median HOF. Could you easily pull out percentiles for career and career+peak/2? Interesting percentiles might be: 10th percentile, 20th, 33rd, 67th, 80th, and 90th? I'd guess most of the guys above the 33rd percentile in the hall belong there, and the guys below the 33rd will be mostly "mistakes," and there will be enough eligible-not-in guys available to replace the "mistakes."

    I agree Foster is a perfect comp for Rice in style, value, and even in having one defining round number season (400-total bases and 50 home runs when both were very rare).

  121. In a general sense the difference between medians for HoF pitchers and position players seems to be about right --position players it's between 56-60 depending on formula used and pitchers it would be 54-56. A rough cut off would be 58 for position players and 55 for pitchers. I know I've seen 55 used for pitchers by others. I know Bill James always kind of used 300 Win Shares for position players and 250-275 for pitchers. Totals for catchers would seem to match better with pitchers than other position players given only 6 catchers have achieved a WAR over 58. It be interesting to see the two medians presented for each position right on through relievers.

  122. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    There are a certain number of guys who belong in the hall (IMO) based on accomplishments that didn't happen on the field in MLB so won't show up in WAR.

    You can't not put Satchel Paige and other NL greats who proved themselves in MLB in the latter parts of their careers in the hall, even though many of them didn't play MLB long enough to accumulate 50+ WAR. Similarly, if Ichiro retired today, he'd belong, because there is little reason to think if his first 3-5 years had been in MLB that he wouldn't have compiled a hall-worthy resume by now.

    You've also got guys who are in because or partly because of non-playing careers they had after playing, generally as managers. Curt Flood was a good player, but everybody knows he's primarily in the hall for his role in changing the economics of the game. I don't think these guys should be out, as it's the baseball hall of fame and not the hall of MLB player value.

    That said, I think you have to find a way to filter these guys out, when you look at the group of who is in the hall to establish standards for new inductions based on playing careers. We should be looking only at players who were inducted solely on the strength of their playing careers in MLB to establish the standards.

    I also think we should be looking by position for standards also, in order to catch things like catchers simply not being able (in general) to have as long careers as other players.

  123. The median HoF Catcher (not using Peak formula above) would be: Cochrane, Mickey 51.2 *

    As one can see Simmons would have the next highest WAR on the list. Catchers obviously are a different beast than other position players and my guess is they have lowest HoF median of any of the position players. Perhaps SS and 2B 's would the next lowest. Only 6 catchers have a WAR higher or at the median for all position players (56-60 median depending on approach).

    * =Hall

    WAR WAR/yr
    1 C Bench, Johnny 71.3 *
    2 C Fisk, Carlton 67.3 *
    3 C Rodriguez, Ivan 67.1 (will be Hall likely barring steroids))
    4 C Carter, Gary 66.3 *
    5 C Berra, Yogi 61.9*
    6 C Piazza, Mike 59.1 (will be Hall)
    7 C Torre, Joe 55.6 (only 900 games caught --too few games at catcher)
    8 C Dickey, Bill 54.8 *
    9 C Ewing, Buck 51.8 *
    10 C Cochrane, Mickey 51.2 *
    11 C Simmons, Ted 50.4
    12 C Hartnett, Gabby 50.3 *
    13 C Tenace, Gene 48.7 (not a "career" catcher either caught 900 games)
    14 C Posada, Jorge 46.1 (borderliner)
    15 C Schang, Wally 43.8
    16 C Munson, Thurman 43.4
    17 C Freehan, Bill 43.3
    18 C Bresnahan, Roger 41.6 *
    19 C Porter, Darrell 40.6
    20 C Lombardi, Ernie 39.0 *
    21 C Bennett, Charlie 38.0
    22 C Kendall, Jason 38.0
    23 C Campanella, Roy 36.0 *(classic peak guy)
    24 C Parrish, Lance 35.7
    25 C Sundberg, Jim 35.1

    Ray Schalk 22.6 *
    Rick Ferrell 22.9 *

    As one can see Simmons would have the next highest WAR.

  124. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Michael, Curt Flood is not in the HOF, but your point stands.

  125. Matt,

    I'm just guessing but it seems like the HOF skews a little bit more for peak with pitchers than it does for position players. Off the top of my head Koufax, Dean, Drysdale, Gomez, Walsh, Vance, Chesbro, Haines, Waddell, Ford were all elected on Peak performance. Plus you have relief pitchers which lower the career WAR median. Although it would seem that this has changed in the last 20 years and now they skew towards career value. Other than Koufax, Cone & Saberhagen were better pitchers than the 8 players I named.

    The HOF used to skew towards Peak performance with position players but that doesn't seem to the case since the mid 80's. There's dozens of guys like Earl Averill, Hack Wilson, Edd Roush, Ross Young who were very good/great players for 4-5 years but have little career value. You also find a lot of players with only 5000-7000 plate appearances getting elected. Ross Young was essentially Roger Maris which would just seem impossible to elect someone like that today. Even great peak guys like Nomar or Dale Murphy have little to no shot.

    It seems like now they skew completely to career value. I was trying to think in the last 20 years the've only elected Gordon, Lazzerri and Puckett as far as peak guys go. And Puckett is probably the last peak guy the writers elected since Duke Snider in 1980. Drysdale is probably the last Peak Starter the writers elected in 1984.

    Another point that's rarely brought up is that the league has 14 more teams than it had pre-1961, so logically there are going to be more HOF candidates today than before, yet less players are getting elected today which doesn't make any sense.

  126. Great points John Q and all points I had pondered myself. It's very hard now to get elected as being just a peak guy. As much as surely Koufax was a good pick you wonder how he would have done in today's voting/assessment climate. I still think he would have gone in with little problem. You'd think peak pitchers would always have a bit of an easier time getting elected than peak position players given pitchers pitch once every 5 days and each start is more magnified than a position guy playing 6 games a week--you could certainly argue the opposite of this as well. I'd consider Pedro more a peak guy, and perhaps even Schilling and Smoltz a peak guy --more Schilling than Smoltz for sure. This gets to my point about a balanced resume-- You can be more a peak guy as long as your career wasn't too short. To be just a peak guy you're sort of doomed, but to be just career, you have a better shot if that makes sense.

    I looked at the new Vet Committee changes and I'm hopeful they'll start making some wrongs right.

  127. "Off the top of my head Koufax, Dean, Drysdale, Gomez, Walsh, Vance, Chesbro, Haines, Waddell, Ford were all elected on Peak performance. Other than Koufax, Cone & Saberhagen were better pitchers than the 8 players I named".

    I'd still give the nod to Ford, Drysdale, Vance and perhaps even Walsh over Saberhagen and Cone. Even in the "WAR" only world they are better. Yes, in a "Peak WAR World" perhaps not, but to say that unequivocally is a bit of a stretch IMO.

  128. Catching is such a brutal position that it really needs to be looked at separately. And then it was even more brutal in early days of the game because the lack of protection available.

    I think Catching also needs to be looked at with peak performance because of the limited careers of catchers, especially pre-60's.

    Campanella also lost time in the majors because of segregation. He wasn't a full time player until he was 27 years old so that has to factor in the process, which Michael E. talked about.

    Simmons and Torre to me should have been HOF years ago. Even a 54 WAR for Torre at 1b/3b is pretty damn good and then you factor that 40% of his career was a catcher...should be a no-brainer. Simmons got hurt by perception because he spent all those years as a fat over the hill DH/1B in Milwaukee/Atlanta.

    Schalk and Ferrell are two of the worst mistakes/selections in the HOF. That would be like electing Bob Boone.

    Lombardi was a mistake, kind of overrated and feasted on ww2 pitching.

    I don't really have a problem with Bresnahan when you factor the era he played (1897-1915). It just must have been a brutal job. It seems like he was very good/great player during his peak, 31WAR best 7 seasons.

    Freehan is one of most underrated players of the last 50 years. Munson's career was cut short because of his death which I'm pretty sure if it didn't happen, would have been elected to the HOF.

    Tenace is also one of the most underrated players of the last 50 years but only spent about 50% of his career at catcher, so I don't think he makes it.

    Schang has good career value but was never a great player in his peak, only 24.9WAR best 7 seasons. Interesting character though, played mostly at catcher for 19 seasons before the ww2.

    Porter was a very underrated player. One of the all time bad trades was when the Brewers traded him to K.C.

    Cocharane, Carter, Bresnahan, Dickey, Piazza score higher when you factor in peak, but essentially the same list overall. Schang drops from borderline status when you factor peak.

    If I had to vote for HOF catchers I would go: Simmons, Torre, Munson, and Freehan.

  129. Josh,

    The Median HOF for Peak+Career (career+best 7 war seasons)/2 is Lou Boudreau at 50.1.

    There are 70 position players in the HOF with a 50.1 or better WAR Peak+Career.

    There are 111 position players who have accomplished a 50.1 or better WAR Peak+Career.

    70 are in the HOF.

    16 are eligible but not in the HOF: Boyer, R. Smith, K. Hernandez, Alomar, Raines, McGwire, Bando, Whitaker, Wynn, D. Allen, Larkin, Trammell, Grich, Dahlen, and Santo.

    25 are not eligible for th HOF: Vlad, Piazza, Helton, Sheffield, Palmeiro, Sosa, A. Jones, Manny, Rolen, I'Rod, Lofton, Biggio, Walker, Thome, Jeter, Shoeless Joe, Edmonds, Rose, Thomas, Bagwell, C. Jones, Griffey jr., Pujols, A-Rod, and Bonds.

    A Peak+Career score of 54 seems to be a lock HOF.

    There have been 78 players to achieve a "54" WAR 7peak+Career:

    57 are in the HOF

    14 are not eligible: Biggio, Walker, Thome, Jeter, Shoeless Joe, Edmonds, Rose, Thomas, Bagwell, C. Jones, Griffey jr., Pujols, A-Rod, and Bonds.

    7 are eligible but not in the HOF: D. Allen, Larkin, Trammell, Grich, Dahlen, and Santo.

    Those 7 players are the most glaring omissions in the HOF. About 93% of the players who have achieved this are in the HOF so there is just a gross mis-conception about these players worth.

    Rolen, Edmonds, and Lofton are the most underrated players of the last 20 years. And I would say that people put too much of Larry Walker's success on Coors Field and not on his talent.

  130. Johnny Twisto Says:

    The HOF used to skew towards Peak performance with position players but that doesn't seem to the case since the mid 80's. There's dozens of guys like Earl Averill, Hack Wilson, Edd Roush, Ross Young who were very good/great players for 4-5 years but have little career value. You also find a lot of players with only 5000-7000 plate appearances getting elected. Ross Young was essentially Roger Maris which would just seem impossible to elect someone like that today.

    This may be because careers have been getting longer. If the great players used to have 15-year careers, someone with bit shorter career but a great peak stood out more. Now if great players tend to have 20-year careers, that short career looks less impressive, relatively.

    Another point that's rarely brought up is that the league has 14 more teams than it had pre-1961, so logically there are going to be more HOF candidates today than before, yet less players are getting elected today which doesn't make any sense.

    I'm not sure if it's right or wrong, but it makes sense in a way. Even if the major leagues expand, fans don't necessarily expand the number of players they think of as legendary or iconic. If 50 years ago people thought there were, say, 10 superstars in baseball, do they now think there are 20 superstars? I'm not so sure that the number of players who seem to stand out will change in direct proportion to the total number of players, just because of how our minds work. That could be an explanation for why fewer guys who might seem qualified by certain measures have been left out so far.


    For those debating potential HOF catchers, I think you should consider Elston Howard. For a number of reasons his MLB playing record doesn't capture how good he was. I'm not sure if he's deserving or not but he's just the type of guy made for the Vets Committee to think about.

  131. Walker's Expos years are not as impressive as his Colorado years --they were good, but not as good. Larkin just came up on ballot and will go in soon. Trammell will likely have to wait until Vet Committee, which is a big crime.

  132. Twisto,

    I was thinking about sportswriters and media people who are for the most part Baby Boomers and grew up watching baseball in the 50's-60's when there were only 8-10 teams per league with no DH. So they are comfortable with the notion that there are about 8-10 superstar position players in each league which kind of fits perfectly into the concept of N.L./A.L. All Star Teams. It just stands to reason that once you start expanding the league you're creating more and more jobs, more replacement level players, more bench players, more starters, and more super-stars. And because there are more jobs, players are able to start earlier and play longer.

    I went back and checked players in MLB with 5+WAR from the 50's when there were only 16 teams and players in MLB with 5+WAR from the 2000's:

    1950-15 players with 5+WAR
    1951-14 players with 5+WAR
    1952-11 players with 5+WAR
    1953-15 players with 5+WAR
    1954-17 players with 5+WAR
    1955-16 players with 5+WAR
    1956-20 players with 5+WAR
    1957-16 players with 5+WAR
    1958-15 players with 5+WAR
    1959-18 players with 5+WAR

    So that's 15-16 player median per season in the 50's. Which figures in nicely with the concept of all star teams.

    Here's the 2000's, position players with 5+ WAR

    2000-31 players with 5+ WAR
    2001-32 players with 5+ WAR
    2002-27 players with 5+ WAR
    2003-28 players with 5+ WAR
    2004-20 players with 5+ WAR
    2005-18 players with 5+ WAR
    2006-21 players with 5+ WAR
    2007-26 players with 5+ WAR
    2008-22 players with 5+ WAR
    2009-31 players with 5+ WAR

    So the median for the 2000's is 24 super star player per season, which doesn't fit nicely into the concept of all star teams.

    So basically there were roughly 8 more super-star players per season in the 2000's than there were in the 50's. So I would guess, There's were probably 5-7 more in the 90's, 4-5 more in the 70-80's, and 2-3 more in the 60's. So that makes about 30 HOF caliber players that aren't in the HOF since the 50's which sounds about right.

  133. John, I am surprised the number of superstar seasons went up by ~50%, but the number of teams went up by 88%.

  134. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I'd guess that could be the result of fewer innings thrown by SP resulting in less value resulting in fewer 5 WAR pitcher-seasons. Would be interesting to see the respective breakdowns by hitters and pitchers.

  135. @15 Joe: "3% actually said he doesn't belong in the Hall. I'm betting these are the same people who think juicers like Arod and Bonds do belong. Mind Boggling."

    So how do you know Vlad wasn't juicing as well? In the post-1990 era offensive numbers are slightly inflated because A.) Ballparks decreased in size making it easier to hit homeruns, B.) double expansion occurred (four teams in five years) which diluted the talent pool-especially for pitchers and C.) Widespread abuse of PEDs by the players.

    Vlad's numbers are decent even for his era, but his WAR is only 115th for position players, which does make him a borderline case for induction. The BBWAA also will have to consider players in this era may have used enhancers, they know some did, and some may not have, however the fact that some did use PEDs casts a cloud of suspicion over the others.

  136. Twisto,

    The list above is just for position players, not pitchers. I decided to just make it position players because the role of starting pitching has changed so much like you alluded to.


    Yeah, I thought the 2000's were very odd the way they balanced out. You actually start out with around 27-32 position players with 5+WAR and then it drops drastically in 2004-2006 to about 20 WAR and then it shoots back up to 31 in 2009. 2009 is also strange when you think that consistent 5+WAR players like A-rod, Wright, Beltran, and Reyes were all injured in 2009 and didn't reach 5+WAR.

    I would think steroids and steroid testing has a lot to do with the fluctuations in the 2000's.

    The 1950's stay pretty consistent except for 1952 which I would guess has something to do with the Korean WAR and the amount of players in the Army.

  137. Whether one believes Vlad is worthy of HoF induction really depends on what one thinks reasonable Hall of Fame standards are. If you think that Jim Rice is the standard, then clearly Vlad meets and exceeds that standard, and should be inducted. But it's not that simple.

    Vlad has been a good hitter, to be sure: career .950 OPS, 144 OPS+, and you have to respect the fact that he hits for average and power, doesn't strike out all that much, and is always looking to hit the ball, rather than take a walk.

    But...he's never once led the league in either batting average, on-base percentage, or slugging percentage. Never once led the league in home runs, never once in RBI. I'm not trying to say that you *have* to have led the league in one of those categories to be a HoFer, but I would say that it's pretty unusual for a power-hitting outfielder of HoF caliber *not* to have ever done that.

    His intentional walk totals are likely, as others have pointed out, a function of his time on bad teams, combined with a recent baffling resurgence in the tactical use of IBB among modern day managers (see: Bonds, Barry). Vlad ranks 4th all time in career IBB, but I don't think any sensible person would say that that in any way correlates to his stature as a hitter, in historic context. Nor does it make him more "feared" than Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, George Brett, or many other superior hitters who trail him on that list.

    As with the aforementioned Jim Rice, Vlad's GIDP totals have to be seen to be believed, and cannot simply be ignored when evaluating him. To put them in perspective, Stan Musial grounded into two fewer double plays (243 to 245) than has Vlad (so far), despite having 4500 more career plate appearances. Musial was also slower than Vlad, and played on much better teams. Only injury and Father Time, it seems, will keep Vlad from hitting the 300 GIDP plateau for his career.

    Defense? Sure, Vlad's always had the cannon arm, though his accuracy was/is wildly inconsistent. His many assists are neatly balanced out by his many errors. As an outfielder, his defense is a wash: 44 runs saved above average over 1600 games. Ichiro by comparison in roughly the same number of defensive innings, has saved 130 runs above average.

    Right now, Vlad is in the low 300s in career Win Shares, a marginal total for a would-be HoF outfielder. I can't see that he's really going to add to that too much, as his peak seasons are in the rear-view mirror. He's about comparable in career value with Dave Parker, Andre Dawson, Ken Singleton and Dwight Evans, among Right Fielders. Dawson's in the Hall, and that's OK I guess, though I wouldn't have voted for him.

    Unless he surprises us all and has another monster season or two, I think Vlad should have to buy a ticket for Cooperstown like the rest of us.

  138. Matt Young Says:

    Vlad did win an MVP and even Bill James for position players used a win shares of ~300 to be Hall Worthy --he saw 250-275 win shares to be Hall worthy for pitchers.

    As for not leading the league:

    Black Ink Batting - 6 (338), Average HOFer ≈ 27
    Gray Ink Batting - 166 (65), Average HOFer ≈ 144

    Yes, low blank Ink but great gray ink! Black Ink is almost irrelevant today given there are now 14-16 teams instead of 6-8 teams. It's a lot harder to lead the league in anything now--100% harder than it was 50 years ago!

  139. Matt Young Says:

    Vlad is also having another great year and is adding to his Win Shares and WAR totals. He's not a no-brainer but does seem to be safely on the right side of the line.

  140. @Matt Young:

    I agree. My real motivation for posting was really in reaction to the results of this Vlad poll. I think that there is a case to be made for Vlad's induction, but he is by no means a no-brainer. To my way of thinking, if you're not a no-brainer, then you probably shouldn't go in.

    I know that the Hall is already filled with a lot of players who are clearly inferior to Vlad--Jim Rice, Rabbit Maranville, Tony Lazzeri, George Sisler, those kind of guys. On the other hand, Vlad is inferior to some guys who are probably never going to get in, like Dwight Evans, Darrell Evans, Dick Allen, and Tim Raines.

    Or to put things about Vlad in a bit more perspective: his career value is very similar to Bobby Abreu's. Like Vlad, Abreu has never led the league in any of the following: HR, RBI, Avg, OBP, SLG. Not even once. It *is* harder to dominate than it was 50 years ago, but still, it is very unusual for a HoF-type outfielder to have never once led his league in one of those 5 in a career of at least 10 years (Hof min.)

    Vlad has 1531 Runs Created, using 5409 outs; Abreu has 1558 RC, using 5578 outs. Vlad has about 500 more Total Bases for his career, but Abreu's advantage in walks (+498), stolen bases (+185), and GIDP (-99) more than makes up for that. To simplify it, Vlad has a 24-point edge in career Batting Average, but Abreu has a 48-point edge in the more important category of career Secondary Average.

    No one seems to be banging the drum for Abreu's HoF candidacy, perhaps because he doesn't have the MVP, Vlad's memorable name, or the buzz, but value-wise, they are essentially even. I'm not making the case for Abreu to go into the Hall, mind you, at least not yet, but I think this once again illustrates how we become fixated on batting averages and home runs. Vlad's a very good player, and has had some great seasons. He needs one or two more very good seasons to get my vote.

    Fortunately for him, I don't have one.

  141. Matt Young Says:

    Sorry, still no reason to be banging the drum yet about Abreu!! And in fact, there are some already starting to bang the drum a bit about Abreu. Vlad is clearly better. No reason to debate that, it already has happened in this thread. We just disagree. As for your Darrell and Dwight Evans being better than Vlad, I also disagree. You interestingly use the fact that Vlad hasn't led the league in the stats you mention above, but minus Allen, neither have any of the others....and Allen did his in the 60's when it was easier to do. Looking at the Gray Ink, it's obvious that Vlad has come closer to leading the league in these categories than any of the others. Even in this WAR dominated forum he's already passed Darrell Evans, is 2.5-3 point from Dwight and Dick and is still adding. I remember both Evans' and I'd still give the nod to Vlad even though Dwight's my all-time favorite Red sox and clearly deserved more Hall play.

  142. Johnny Twisto Says:

    if you're not a no-brainer, then you probably shouldn't go in.

    That doesn't make any sense. The guys that seem like no-brainers are only no-brainers because Rice, Maranville, etc are in too. If you shrink your HOF to only the so-called no-brainers, you've just moved your borderline and now you have to decide if Al Kaline or Roberto Clemente really deserve to be enshrined with Ruth and Aaron.

  143. Matt Young Says:

    Vlad's also passed Darrell Evans in WAR in 6 less seasons and Dwight in 5 less seasons. I agree, Dick Allen should be in.

  144. Matt Young Says:

    I see Darrell Evans' somewhat consistently being brought up as underrated, and was he more valuable than a lifetime .248 hitter, yes he was underrated, but even with his 57.7 WAR, please, lets remember he still was a .248 hitter!!

  145. I wasn't making the case that the Evanses should be in, just that they are of comparable (or superior) value to Vlad. Dwight Evans has 347 career Win Shares, Darrell Evans has 367: both higher totals than Vlad. The Hall is just fine without them, and, as with Vlad, it's not the end of the world if they get in, either.

    It seems to me that what Guerrero has to sell is offense, specifically batting average and power. His offense is mitigated by the fact that a) he's played in the big-hitting 90s & 00s b) 1/3 of his career walks have been IBBs issued by stupid managers, c) he's grounded into a ridiculous number of double plays. His defense is just average. Both of the Evanses, while not the impact hitters per 162 that Vlad is, were a) still both very good hitters, and b) unlike Vlad, were very good glove men.

    As to my "no-brainer" standard...I think it makes perfect sense. There are plenty of players in the Hall of Fame who are no-brainers, even though they do not rise to the Ruth-Wagner-Mays standard of excellence--the Robin Younts, Tony Gwynns, Paul Molitors, etc. They aren't no-brainers because of the inferior players already in the Hall; they are no-brainers when compared against all of the other players from their eras, and the other players in baseball history.

    Most of the mediocre Hall of Fame selections were the result of a) publicity from "The Glory of Their Times" and the like b) Veteran's Committee members inducting their old teammates and cronies, or c) the culmination of long-term PR campaigns/agitation (Jim Rice, Phil Rizzuto, etc). Take those guys away, and that does nothing to the "no-brainer" standard. If all of the Maranvilles, Lazzeris, et al were removed from the Hall, would that cease to make Albert Pujols a no-brainer? Of course not. Why? Because Pujols has led the league in Runs four times, HR once, Batting Average once, OBP once, SLG four times, OPS three times, Total Bases four times, Runs Created three times...should I go on? His career OPS+ is 7th All Time. He has about the same career Win Shares as Vlad, but with 1700 fewer plate appearances. He is dominating the game in a way that Vlad, the Evanses, etc have not, and that is why Pujols is a no-brainer, while reasonable arguments can be made for *and* against Guerrero's HoF candidacy.

  146. Matt Young Says:

    Pujols has about the same career Win Shares as Vlad, but with 1700 fewer plate appearances. He is dominating the game in a way that Vlad, the Evanses, etc have not, and that is why Pujols is a no-brainer, while reasonable arguments can be made for *and* against Guerrero's HoF candidacy".

    And Vlad has gotten his 330 Win Shares in 3000+ less AB's than the Evanses.

  147. @Matt Young:

    Very true. I don't dispute that Vlad is a better hitter, per 162, than the Evanses. Of course, I wasn't making the case that either of the Evanses should be in the Hall, simply pointing out that in career value, they are comparable players to Vlad, and are not getting in the Hall anytime soon. If we're choosing Right Fielders, it comes down to personal preference, I suppose: Would you rather have the better hitter who is essentially washed up as a defensive player at age 32, or would you rather have the very good hitter who was also a perennial Gold Glove fielder? You couldn't go wrong with either guy, really, but I think I'd take Dwight Evans.

    A further note on the Vlad/Abreu comparison I made earlier. Vlad and Bobby have played in about the same # of career games (Vlad: 1949, Abreu: 2048). Abreu has 600 more career PAs, but that is because he is more durable and fit than Vlad, which should be registered as a modest advantage for Bobby. FanGraphs shows that, since 2002, Abreu has seen 26,010 pitches, while Vlad has seen about 17,000. This is a comparative advantage for Abreu, certainly in the current era of tightly-monitored pitch counts. Abreu is causing opposing pitchers to throw him 1,000 more pitches per season than Guerrero; to put it another way, Abreu is causing opposing teams to use the equivalent of 10 extra 100-pitch starts per season. I don't know exactly what the run value of that is, and I wouldn't want to overstate it, but still, it is there.

    Again, I'm not making the case for Abreu for the HoF, just that he's of comparable value to Vlad. There are arguments to be made for and against both players; neither is a no-brainer, and I'd say that their value is probably too close to reasonably call.

  148. Let's remember that Batting Average is very overrated and that Darrell Evans has a lifetime .361 on base percentage. That's higher than HOF Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, Roberto Clemente, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Robin Yount, Ryne Sandberg, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Kirby Puckett, Willie Stargell, Eddie Murray, Tony Perez, Lou Brock, Cal Ripken and Ernie Banks by the way. And also remember that Evans spent his prime at Candlestick Park, one of the worst hitter's parks in the N.L. during the 70's-80's. Evans also was a very good defensive third basemen.

  149. Matt Young Says:

    Gee, .361, and Damon's is .357 and Vlad's is "only" .385.

  150. Matt Young Says:

    While OBP is better, I still don't subscribe to such nonsense of batting average is "very" overrated. Yes, a bit overrated fore sure, but I still value someone putting the ball in play.

  151. I never said Vlad doesn't deserve to go into the HOF or that Evans was a better player. Actually I think I said somewhere that if you put Vlad's peak with his career WAR that it averages out to 50 which is past the median which is a no-doubt HOF for me.

    I was just pointing out that you shouldn't just look at something like Batting Average to show the value of a player.

    And 3b is the most underrated position in baseball. They just don't vote for 3b. The HOF only has 6 of the top 15 third basemen in major league history in the HOF. There's no other position like that.

  152. There is value to a batting average, but nowhere near the level of attention it receives/received that's why it's overrated. On base percentage is the key stat.

    There is no clock in baseball so the 27 outs become the most valuable items in a game. The player with the ability to not make outs is the better player.