If you've checked out the blog on your mobile device recently (perhaps while perusing our B-R Mobile Site), you may have noticed some issues with the mobile version (specifically the option to view the full version of the blog on a mobile device). So we want to know, would anyone mind if we disabled the mobile version of the blog? Vote below to let us know how you view the B-R Blog:
Todd Helton has played his entire career for the Colorado Rockies, first filling in the outfield in 1997 and eventually taking over at 1B for Andres Galarraga. That makes him only the second full-time first-baseman in Rockies history, and he's held down that position for 14 years.
Helton was overshadowed for a number of years by Larry Walker, another Rockie with an interesting resume worthy of HOF debate. But Helton put up a ton of good numbers in his own right, and his career is definitely worth a long look too.
Some career highlights:
Five-time All-Star (in 5 straight years from 2000 to 2004)
3 top-10 MVP finishes
Won a batting title in 2000 with a .372 mark
Won 3 gold gloves at first base
Jumping in, I want to try to list some pros and cons of Helton's Hall of Fame case, but I'd like to try to avoid numbers that inflated by Coors Field. Here's why:
There's no doubt that Helton's raw numbers have benefited tremendously from playing for the Rockies. Look at the last column above, tOPS, which is a breakout of his overall offensive performance split by home vs. away. That number of 120 has got to be one of the highest all-time for a long-time player like Helton. It's incredible. It's led to 58% more home runs, 52% more RBI, and a whopping 63% more runs scored.
I didn't include the data in the above chart, but here's another interesting thing about Helton's H/A splits. At home, he has 640 walks and 420 strikeouts, a fantastic margin. On the road? He has exactly 566 walks AND strikeouts each (through Saturday's games.) So his big advantage at home in walking over striking out disappears on the road.
On another thread, we debated a bit about Nolan Ryan's career and legacy. I have long felt that some people give Ryan too much credit, but I'm not as sure that he doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame anyway.
When it comes to Ryan's career, there are 3 things that most people think of in terms of his accomplishments:
5,714 career strikeouts, which is first all-time
300+ career wins (324 actually, which is 14th all-time)
Any minute now, Andy Pettitte will be officially announcing his retirement. About a year and a half ago, Pettitte was the subject of one of my very first Hall of Fame polls. Let's see if anything has changed.
Pettitte, originally drafted by the Yankees in 1990, finishes as a member of 5 championship teams (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009, all with the Yankees) and 3 other World Series teams (2001 and 2003 with the Yankees and 2005 with the Astros.)
He was a 3-time All-Star and had 5 top-6 finishes for the Cy Young award.
Pettitte was also named in the Mitchell Report and later admitted to using HGH. I'm still finding it very tough to assess how this sort of thing affects a guy's HOF chances. I tend to doubt that Pettitte used HGH for just the two times he admitted to, but on the other hand I believe that hundreds of other players are guilty of using banned substances but haven't been caught.
Anyway, let's take a look at some basic arguments for and against Pettitte going in the Hall of Fame.
He finishes as the all-time leader in saves and games finished as well as his run as the active leader in appearances as a pitcher.
Few people know that the Padres were actually Hoffman's third team. He was originally drafted by the Reds in 1989 (a few spots behind Kelly Stinnett in the year that Ben McDonald was taken first overall), and was then plucked off the vine by the Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft. In the middle of his first big league season, he was one of the youngsters shipped to the Padres in a trade that sent Gary Sheffield to Florida. Then, 16 years later, he signed with the Brewers as a free agent, spending his final 2 seasons in Milwaukee.
There is no doubt that Hoffman is one of the best closers of all time. The question of his candidacy for the Hall of Fame has, I think, more to do with how closers are valued overall.
Let's take a look at some of the numbers and have a vote.
Assuming the winner is 1 of these 10 guys, which is a pretty good bet, let's take a quick look at each player and the arguments for and against. These arguments are a mix of stat-based and the possible perceptions of the actual voters, if different.
I think this is going to be a pretty close MVP vote. The title of this post asks who "deserves" to win the 2010 NL MVP, but just as interesting is who we think will actually win, in other words who we think the real voters will choose.
We see that several pitchers make the top 10. I am sure that Halladay and Jimenez will both get some MVP votes but I doubt that their performances were good enough to get them much in the way of 1st-place votes.
Looking at the above list, Pujols looks like the clear winner. He has a few things working against him, though:
His WAR of 7.2 is his lowest since the 2002 season:
I've heard plenty of chatter that this was Pujols' worst season in a long time. I guess that's true in terms of overall WAR, but in reality I think his offensive numbers look worse than the rest of his career because of the overall lower levels of league-wide offense this season. Plus, looking at the table above, his oWAR was just fine--in the 7s as with most of his best seasons. It's his dWAR that went negative for the first time since 2002 that hurt his overall WAR total. I'm not saying that this isn't a real detriment to his overall value, but let's face it--MVP voters don't consider defense all that much, and the bottom line is that his offensive performance hasn't slipped.
The overall lower levels of offense rob Pujols a bit on the guady-number front. He hit 42 HR with 118 RBI, both good for first in the NL and yet not as large as the league-leading totals we're used to. Often times, if a guy leads his league in HR and RBI, he's going to win the MVP pretty easily, but in recent years that might have been with 50 HR and 125 RBI--so Pujols' performance at first glance seems less impressive.
The Cardinals didn't make the playoffs, despite being a pretty good team. This hasn't prevented Pujols from winning the MVP in some years past, but I think it has to cost him a few votes.
Joey Votto led the league in OPS+ at 174 (just a tick ahead of Pujols) and also led in both OBP and SLG (wow!). Plus, he improved a lot over his first two full seasons, which were good to begin with, and the Reds made the playoffs for the first time since 1995.
In my mind, Pujols and Votto are just about tied in terms of who deserves it. I think Votto is going to have a slight edge in the minds of the voters thanks to the first-glance assessment that Votto had a better season than Pujols compared to each guy's own past performance and because the Reds made the playoffs.
I suspect that Adrian Gonzalez and Carlos Gonzalez will finish 3rd and 4th.
Trammell never led the league in a single major statistical category (zero black ink) but probably deserved the 1987 AL MVP. He finished second to George Bell, who had 47 HR and 134 RBI but an oWAR of just 5.0 as compared to Trammell's league-leading total of 8.4. Trammel's .343 batting average that season was, remarkably, good for just 3rd in the AL behind Wade Boggs' .363 and Paul Molitor's .353.
Let's discuss Trammell's career and vote in the poll below.
Willie Stargell is already in the Hall of Fame, but that doesn't mean we can't debate his credentials.
Stargell played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Pirates and helped them win two World Series (1971, 1979). He had a monster year in 1973, leading baseball in doubles, homers, RBI, SLG, and OPS. He shared the 1979 NL MVP award with Keith Hernandez and had 3 other top-3 finishes.
He was a 7-time All-Star and winner of numerous other awards, including the 1974 Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente Awards, the 1978 Hutch Award, and the 1979 Babe Ruth award. In 1979, in addition to the regular-season MVP, he was the NLCS and World Series MVP as well.
Let's take a look at his career, discuss, and vote.