The Hall of Peak Value

Soon after I posted my piece about the Hall of Could’ve Been, commenters started naming players who fit the title of the Hall better than most of the players I included.  Herb Score, Tony Conigliaro, Dickie Thon, J.R. Richard, Pete Reiser, and many other players had practically unlimited potential, only to see their careers derailed, usually by injury.  The two sets of criteria I established put the spotlight on a few players who could have been much more than they were and a few who actually did achieve greatness, but who just happened to have the right mix of single-season and career WAR to make the cut.

The players I listed may fit better in the Hall of Peak Value than in the Hall of Could’ve Been.

What if the Hall of Fame didn’t care about longevity?  Janis Joplin was dead at 27, but is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the strength of one great solo album and a few prior efforts with different bands.  Bob Beamon is in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame for one very long jump- he never won another medal.  Baseball is somewhat rare in its refusal to immortalize players who were the best in the world for a short time.

If we repopulated the Hall of Fame- Hall of Stats style- with players who were the best in the game for a short period, we would add a few Noodles Hahn types, but the majority of the Hall would stay the same, right?  Let’s give it a try, based on these criteria:

1) Players with at least one season of 9 or more WAR since 1901 (per fangraphs; ranked by # 9-win seasons; * denotes a player not in the Hall of Fame)

Babe Ruth 11
*Barry Bonds 9
Rogers Hornsby 9
Willie Mays 9
Honus Wagner 8
Lou Gehrig 8
Ted Williams 7
*Alex Rodriguez 6
Stan Musial 6
Tris Speaker 6
Ty Cobb 6
Eddie Collins 5
Jimmie Foxx 5
Joe Morgan 5
Mickey Mantle 5
*Randy Johnson 5
Walter Johnson 5
Nap Lajoie 4
*Roger Clemens 4
*Albert Pujols 3
Bob Gibson 3
Carl Yastrzemski 3
Fergie Jenkins 3
Joe DiMaggio 3
*Ken Griffey, Jr. 3
Mike Schmidt 3
Ron Santo 3
Sandy Koufax 3
Steve Carlton 3
Wade Boggs 3
*Benny Kauff 2
Cal Ripken 2
Christy Mathewson 2
Cy Young 2
Duke Snider 2
Ed Walsh 2
Eddie Mathews 2
Ernie Banks 2
Hank Aaron 2
Jackie Robinson 2
*Joe Jackson 2
*Pedro Martinez 2
Pete Alexander 2
Rickey Henderson 2
Tom Seaver 2
*Adrian Beltre 1
*Al Rosen 1
Arky Vaughan 1
Bert Blyleven 1
Bob Feller 1
Brooks Robinson 1
Charlie Gehringer 1
*Craig Biggio 1
*Curt Schilling 1
*Cy Falkenberg 1
*Cy Seymour 1
*Darrell Evans 1
*Dave Davenport 1
*Dwight Gooden 1
Frank Baker 1
Frank Robinson 1
Frankie Frisch 1
*Fred Lynn 1
George Brett 1
*George Foster 1
George Sisler 1
*George Stone 1
Hal Newhouser 1
Hank Greenberg 1
Harry Heilmann 1
Jack Chesbro 1
*Jack Quinn 1
*Jacoby Ellsbury 1
*Jason Giambi 1
Joe Gordon 1
Johnny Bench 1
*Kevin Brown 1
*Larry Walker 1
*Lenny Dykstra 1
Lou Boudreau 1
*Luis Gonzalez 1
*Mike Piazza 1
*Mike Trout 1
Nolan Ryan 1
*Norm Cash 1
Phil Niekro 1
Ralph Kiner 1
Reggie Jackson 1
*Rico Petrocelli 1
Robin Roberts 1
Robin Yount 1
*Ron Guidry 1
Rube Waddell 1
*Sam McDowell 1
*Sammy Sosa 1
*Scott Rolen 1
*Snuffy Stirnweiss 1
*Terry Turner 1
*Tommy Holmes 1
Tony Perez 1
*Zack Greinke 1

 

2) Players with at least two seasons of 8 or more WAR, but no seasons of 9 or more WAR, since 1901:

*Dick Allen 3
Mel Ott 3
Al Simmons 2
*Chase Utley 2
*Graig Nettles 2
*Greg Maddux 2
Harmon Killebrew 2
*Jeff Bagwell 2
Joe Cronin 2
*John Olerud 2
Luke Appling 2
Roberto Clemente 2
*Roy Halladay 2
Willie Stargell 2

 

3) Players with at least three seasons of 7 or more WAR since 1901 who meet neither of the first two criteria:

Juan Marichal 6
Lefty Grove 6
*Andruw Jones 5
Al Kaline 4
*Charlie Keller 4
*Chipper Jones 4
*Frank Thomas 4
Gaylord Perry 4
Goose Goslin 4
Harry Heilmann 4
*Noodles Hahn 4
*Todd Helton 4
*Bobby Grich 3
*CC Sabathia 3
Chuck Klein 3
Eddie Plank 3
Gary Carter 3
Jim Bunning 3
*Jimmy Wynn 3
*Johan Santana 3
Johnny Mize 3
*Pete Rose 3
Richie Asbhurn 3
*Rocky Colavito 3
Willie McCovey 3

 

That gives us 140 players, far short of the 208 MLB players in the Hall of Fame.  I’m ignoring players whose big years came before 1901, since I don’t trust WAR figures before then, particularly for pitchers, who earned huge WAR totals by pitching almost all of their teams’ innings.  My inclusion of active players, right up through Mike Trout, essentially rolls the Hall forward 20 years, so that should offset the loss of the 19th century guys.

Ideally, this hall would be of a similar size to the Hall of Fame , but I’m not going to add any more players for a few reasons.  First, reducing the criteria for eligibility feels contrary to the point of the Hall of Peak value.  We could include players with several six-win seasons, but then we’re looking at Eddie Murray-types who compiled huge numbers without ever playing at a transcendent level.  We could include players with one eight-win season, but then we run into some real flukes like Jimmy Sheckard and Magglio Ordonez.  I could start mincing WAR and including guys with two 7.5-win seasons, but WAR is already uncertain enough, with questionable fielding metrics and defense removed from pitchers’ records (because I’m using fangraphs).  Let’s steer clear of decimal points and accept a smaller Hall.

 

Of the 140 players in the Hall of Peak Value, 82 are in the Hall of Fame.  The other 58 seem to fall into one of three groups:

Active or otherwise-ineligible players

Adrian Beltre
Albert Pujols
Alex Rodriguez
Andruw Jones
CC Sabathia
Chase Utley
Chipper Jones
Frank Thomas
Greg Maddux
Jacoby Ellsbury
Jason Giambi
Joe Jackson
Johan Santana
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Mike Trout
Pedro Martinez
Pete Rose
Randy Johnson
Roy Halladay
Scott Rolen
Todd Helton
Zack Greinke

Jackson and Rose, of course, are a group of their own, the only two players on this list who are permanently ineligible.  Maddux, Thomas, Johnson, Pujols, Griffey, Martinez, Chipper Jones, and Halladay are all locks for the Hall of Fame someday, with CC Sabathia approaching that territory as well.  Rodriguez is clearly qualified, but will fight an uphill battle for obvious reasons.  Rolen (HoS Hall Rating 141), Andruw Jones (126), Beltre (123), Utley (120), Helton (120), and Santana (108) have all done enough from an objective standpoint, and some of them will get to Cooperstown someday, but none fits the traditional mold of a BBWAA inductee.  That leaves Giambi, who probably didn’t do enough and has skeletons of his own, Greinke, who’s still building credentials, Ellsbury, who could easily end up on the fluke list, and Trout, about whom I won’t embarrass myself with a prediction here.

Eligible players with reasonable Hall cases

Barry Bonds
Bobby Grich
Craig Biggio
Darrell Evans
Dick Allen
Graig Nettles
Jeff Bagwell
Jimmy Wynn
John Olerud
Kevin Brown
Larry Walker
Mike Piazza
Rocky Colavito
Roger Clemens
Sammy Sosa

Bonds and Clemens are two of the best players ever, but both will have to wait a while, while Sosa is more of a borderline case who will likely never make the Hall.  Bagwell, Biggio, and Piazza are on their way in.  Walker should be as well, once the writers start to feel more comfortable adjusting for park effects.  Wynn (Hall Rating 110), Grich (141), and Brown (137) are three of the more famous one-and-done guys and may get some love from a Veterans Committee someday.  Nettles (124) and Evans (106) are living in third base purgatory.  Dick Allen (115) is one of the game’s more underrated sluggers, and should probably be in the Hall of Fame, while John Olerud (101) is only on the borderline if you think the Hall of Fame should have 208 players in it.  Colavito (82) doesn’t have a particularly strong case, but after writing about him in the Hall of Could’ve Been, I don’t want to call him a fluke.

One- or two-year flukes

Al Rosen
Benny Kauff
Charlie Keller
Cy Falkenberg
Cy Seymour
Dave Davenport
Dwight Gooden
Fred Lynn
George Foster
George Stone
Jack Quinn
Lenny Dykstra
Luis Gonzalez
Noodles Hahn
Norm Cash
Rico Petrocelli
Ron Guidry
Sam McDowell
Snuffy Stirnweiss
Terry Turner
Tommy Holmes

If there’s a Hall of Famer on this list, it’s either Hahn, who pitched brilliantly for six years of an eight-year career, or Gooden, who was the best pitcher in the world for two years before succumbing to drugs, overuse, and injuries.  Rosen, Keller, Stirnweiss, and McDowell all sustained their excellence for a few years, but not long enough to be Hall of Famers.  Jack Quinn’s inclusion here is somewhat ironic, as he pitched until he was 50 and won 247 games, but was only truly excellent in the Federal League in 1914 (and baseball-reference disagrees).  Luis Gonzalez isn’t eligible yet, but I think it’s safe to call his 2001 a one-year fluke.  I’d never heard of Terry Turner, a shortstop whom fangraphs credits with 34 Fielding Runs Above Average for the 1906 Cleveland Naps, or Falkenberg, who, like Kauff, did his damage in the inferior Federal League.  There are three times as many Cys in the Hall of Peak Value as there are in the Hall of Fame.

 

A challenge for the readers: Of the 126 players in the Hall of Fame who aren’t in the Hall of Peak Value, who were the best players?  Were they great because they played solidly, but not spectacularly, for many years, or were they as dominant at their peaks as these players, but held back because fWAR doesn’t appreciate their contributions?

38 thoughts on “The Hall of Peak Value

  1. 1
    Artie Z. says:

    Yogi Berra? Catchers seem underrepresented in this group. You have Bench, Piazza, and Carter and I think that is it. Yogi is close (7.1, 6.7, 6.5, 6.2). Campanella has an 8.5, a 7.5, and a 6.4. Cochrane has a 7.1, 6.3, and a 6.0. I-Rod has a 6.9, 6.7, and a 6.4. Fisk has a 7.7, 7.1, and 6.1. There may need to be an adjustment for catchers just because they play a position in which they get banged up.

    I just can’t see any version of the Hall of Fame without Yogi.

    • 3
      Hartvig says:

      Apparently great minds think alike!

      • 27

        I think the first two comments nailed it with Berra and Spahn. WAR is brutal on catchers, and Berra is one of the best ever. Fangraphs doesn’t treat Spahn kindly, as he was a low-strikeout guy, but b-r gives him a 9.1-win season and another with 8.5. Interesting that in 2957, when he won his only Cy Young, Spahn was worth just 4.4 rWAR and 3.1 fWAR. But he won 21 games for a good team.

        Re: Ed at 4, Carew always seemed like more of a compiler to me than a peak value guy, but fangraphs gives him 8.7 WAR in ’77, when he hit .388 and won the MVP, and b-r pushes that up to 9.5.

        Carl Hubbell is another guy I’d expect to see in the HoPV, but he never even reached 6 fWAR. b-r disagrees vehemently.

        • 32
          RJ says:

          With regards to Hubbell, obviously no measurement is going to be perfect, but when a pitcher leads the league in wins, ERA, ERA+, IP, shutouts, WHIP and SO/BB and he still can’t crack 6 WAR for the year, I have difficulty believing in that measurement.

          • 33

            Wow. It looks like you’re talking about 1933, when Hubbell did everything you mention above and gave up just six homers, or 0.17/9 IP, in a hitter-friendly environment. Fangraphs credits Dizzy Dean, who had a FIP .10 points higher (and almost double the ERA) in 10 fewer innings, with 6.1 WAR, presumably because he pitched more in hitters’ parks.

            No other pitcher had six WAR that year, while ten hitters did, paced by Jimmie Foxx’s 11.0. B-R gives Hubbell (8.5), Grove, Hadley, and Warnecke 6+ wins, while nine hitters had 6+, led by Foxx at 9.0.

            If I wasn’t convinced by Ed’s and Adam’s comments below that I shouldn’t use fangraphs for historical comparisons, I think I am now. I’m a FIP believer, but it’s not fair to pitchers in low-K eras.

          • 34
            Hartvig says:

            Which makes me wonder if we might also be overstating the value of some modern era pitchers a bit. JAWS has Kevin Brown ahead of Hubbell & Dazzy Vance. So does Adam’s Hall of Stats. The Hall of Stats has 7 pitchers who’s careers were centered between 1985 and 2005 among it’s top 27. JAWS doesn’t but they also don’t adjust any for pre-1900 pitchers so they take up 10 of the top 28 spots.

            Certainly something to consider, anyways.

          • 35

            1885-1905
            Cy Young
            Kid Nichols
            Tim Keefe

            1905-1925
            Walter Johnson
            Pete Alexander
            Christy Mathewson
            Eddie Plank

            1925-1945
            Lefty Grove

            1945-1965
            Warren Spahn
            Robin Roberts

            1965-1985
            Tom Seaver
            Bert Blyleven
            Phil Niekro
            Bob Gibson
            Gaylord Perry
            Steve Carlton
            Fergie Jenkins
            Nolan Ryan

            1985-2005
            Roger Clemens
            Greg Maddux
            Randy Johnson
            Pedro Martinez
            Curt Schilling
            Mike Mussina
            Tom Glavine
            Kevin Brown

            2005-2025
            Roy Halladay

            Welp, the 1985-2005 group has the same representation as the group before it.

            Those are the two groups who were helped by Tommy John surgery and other medical advances.

            Plus, the league was twice as big. I don’t see any issue here.

          • 36

            Actually, if you go out to the top 50, it’s interesting:

            1885-1905 (7)
            1905-1925 (7)
            1925-1945 (5)
            1945-1965 (6)
            1965-1985 (11)
            1985-2005 (12)
            2005-2025 (1)

            There’s a dip for WWII and an increase with expansion and Tommy John surgery. If I had to draw a curve, this is what I would have predicted.

          • 37

            Hartvig, it’s important to note that both Hall of Stats and JAWS exclusively use baseball-reference WAR, which means the issue of Hubbell’s low strikeout totals (relative to today’s environment) didn’t hurt him. It’s playing time that hurt both Hubbell and Dizzy Dean, probably the next best pitcher between ’25 and ’45.

            If we put baseballs in Hubbell’s and Vance’s hands right out of high school, give Dean Tommy John surgery in 1937, don’t send Billy Pierce to WWII or Whitey Ford to Korea, extend Drysdale’s career a few years, and let Satchell Paige pitch in the majors in his prime, those two periods look a lot like the others. It isn’t strikeout rates that are keeping those guys from the leaderboards you referenced.

  2. 2
    Hartvig says:

    Among pitchers I’d probably go with Warren Spahn, at least off the top of my head.

    Position players is harder- Luke Appling is one name that springs to mind. Or maybe a catcher like Mickey Cochrane or Yogi Berra or Roy Campanella. Brooks Robinson perhaps. In the outfield Billy Williams & Sam Crawford are possibilities.

    Unless I’m missing someone, I’m going with Yogi among position players.

  3. 4
    Ed says:

    Position player with the most WAR who’s not on any of the lists is Rod Carew with 76.6. Carew would make it using BR WAR as he has a 9.5 season, plus two others about 7.0. Fangraphs shows Carew with a peak of 8.7, followed by 7.3 and 6.8. So under Fangraph’s, Carew just misses Bryan’s first and third criteria.

    • 6
      Ed says:

      In comparing Carews’ B-R WAR and his Fangraphs WAR, I noticed something odd. I’m hoping someone can shed some light on this. Apparently, Fangraphs only incorporates baserunning data (going from 1st to 3rd on a single for example) into their WAR beginning in 2002. For example, if you look at Rod Carews’ page you’ll see that his UBR (Ultimate Baserunning) column under the Advanced table is empty.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1001942&position=1B/2B

      I checked out a couple of other players (Grich, DiMaggio) and they’re also missing UBR data.

      Now f you look at Sammy Sosa, for example, you’ll see that his UBR data begins in 2002.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=302&position=OF

      I don’t want to look through a lot of players but I’m assuming this is when fangraphs starts using the baserunning data in their WAR.

      Now check out B-R’s explanation of how they calculate WAR. Here’s the key sentence:

      “This explanation describes the techniques used to estimate non-SB/CS baserunning contributions during the play-by-play era, 1953 to the present.” (you can find this sentence a little bit from the top of the page under “Rbr, Baserunning Runs”.

      So B-R is incorporating baserunning data into their WAR beginning in 1953, 50 years before Fangraphs. Obviously we know there are differences in how Fangraphs and B-R calculate WAR; but when one of them is using 50 years worth of data that the other isn’t, that raises some definite questions in my mind.

      Anyone know what’s going on????

  4. 5

    This is an interesting idea, Bryan. I took a different approach. I grabbed my Hall of Stats spreadsheet (freely downloadable now, btw) and sorted eligible players by the peak component (adjWAA). Of the top 208, here are the players who are not in the Hall of Fame.

    Barry Bonds 159.6
    Roger Clemens 136.4
    Curt Schilling 77.5
    Jeff Bagwell 78.6
    Larry Walker 70.6
    Mike Piazza 68.3
    Alan Trammell 68
    Pete Rose 77.2
    Bobby Grich 68.6
    Lou Whitaker 72.8
    Kevin Brown 65.4
    Edgar Martinez 65.4
    Bill Dahlen 75.5
    Shoeless Joe Jackson 61.5
    Rick Reuschel 68.2
    Kenny Lofton 66.5
    David Cone 62.4
    Jack Glasscock 70
    Mark McGwire 59.3
    Luis Tiant 64.2
    Reggie Smith 60.8
    Craig Biggio 65.5
    Bret Saberhagen 58.6
    Tim Raines 67.4
    Willie Randolph 63.6
    Graig Nettles 63.5
    Buddy Bell 63
    Sammy Sosa 55.8
    Dick Allen 55.8
    Sal Bando 57.2
    Dave Stieb 55.6
    Dwight Evans 64.3
    Babe Adams 53
    Keith Hernandez 58
    Jim Wynn 53.2
    Tommy Bond 48.3
    Kevin Appier 53.9
    Bobby Bonds 55.8
    Rafael Palmeiro 67.2
    Ken Boyer 59.7
    Ted Simmons 55.7
    Chet Lemon 52.9
    Clark Griffith 59.3
    Charlie Buffinton 46.9
    Gene Tenace 50
    Nap Rucker 47.4
    Sherry Magee 57.5
    Wilbur Wood 49.8
    Joe Torre 59.8
    Bob Johnson 54.2
    Noodles Hahn 43
    Chuck Finley 55.3
    Minnie Minoso 48.7
    Urban Shocker 58.2
    Jack Quinn 56.3
    Cesar Cedeno 49.9
    Tony Mullane 53.1
    Thurman Munson 51.2
    Wes Ferrell 58.7
    Darrell Evans 55.8
    John McGraw 47.5
    Eddie Cicotte 58.8
    Art Fletcher 47
    Billy Pierce 52
    Bob Caruthers 52.6
    Tommy Bridges 47.4
    Will Clark 54
    Bobby Mathews 41.7
    Charlie Keller 41.7
    Ron Cey 51.2
    Robin Ventura 52.9
    Charlie Bennett 54.7
    Ted Breitenstein 48.6

    • 15

      I was hoping you’d post something like this, Adam. I think Whitaker’s appearance near the top of your list reflects how different adjWAA is from peak value, as defined by value provided in a player’s best few seasons. With no seasons over 6.5 rWAR, Whitaker put together 42.8 WAA with remarkable consistency, playing at least a win above average in 16 of the 17 seasons between 1978 and 1994. This is not an argument against Sweet Lou’s Hall of Fame case, but he never had a wOBA over .390, and got MVP votes in one season. I don’t think he belongs in the Hall of Peak Value.

      Similar lists, otherwise. Nice to see Reuschel in there.

      • 22
        birtelcom says:

        After Adam generously made his download available on the HOS site, I’ve also realized more clearly how the adjWAA that HOS uses as a measure of “peak” doesn’t really seem to reflect what I think that term tends to mean in common parlance. The lowest percentage “peak” (as the HOS site defines the term) among members of Adam’s HOS are who you might expect: Sutton, Rose, Tommy John. The longevity guys. But the highest “peak” percentage guys are Ted Williams, Hornsby, Bonds, Ruth, Mantle…. It’s pretty much a list of the greatest players rather than extreme peak guys as we ordinarily think of them. Not really anything wrong with that, it’s just not what I normally think of as high percentage of peak guys.

        • 23

          Well, it all depends on how we define peak. I think people tend to think of it as peak compared to SELF. I display it as peak according to the league average. So, the greats of the game essentially had an entire career of peak. Make sense?

          • 24
            birtelcom says:

            Yes, I think that expresses your finding precisely — that the greatest players were consistently above league average their whole careers, and thus had essentially an entire career of “peak” performance. Where many people think of “peak” as the top point, or top few points, on a graph showing the player’s own performance, you draw a line at what would be the peak on a graph of most players’ performance and everything above that is your “peak”.

          • 25

            Right. And one of the main complaints of the Hall of wWAR was the arbitrary cutoffs used for WAE and WAM (3 WAR & 6 WAR). I find that also exists with WAR7, the peak component of JAWS. So, I tried to find a way to measure peak that was not arbitrary, and this was the one. Average is not arbitrary.

          • 26

            I also like it because peak shape is different for every player. This was the best catch-all I could find.

  5. 8
    Brooklyn Mick says:

    Still don’t know how I feel about Tony Gwynn not being on any of the above lists. Career BA of .338, OBP .388, 8 batting titles, pretty good fielder, stole a lot of bases, 132 OPS+, etc.

    Sure, the OBP isn’t comparatively much higher than his BA. He didn’t walk much, but he hardly ever struck out — 790 BB’s/434 SO’s.

    Also, I was surprised to see his career BAbip is only 3 points higher than his career BA — .341/.338

    So, is WAR unkind to Tony Gwynn?

    • 31
      RJ says:

      I think missing a lot of games has something to do with it. Gwynn only played more than 135 games once after his age 30 season, despite playing until 41. His unspectacular defence seems to hurt him as well. In fact his dWar and oWAR always seems to match up really badly in individual seasons. His 2nd, 3rd and 4th BEST years by oWAR are also his 3rd, 1st and 5th WORST years by dWAR (per b-ref). I’d say the combination of the above prevented him from racking up high seasonal WAR totals. (Gwynn’s best three years are 8.7, 6.4 and 6.1 WAR.)

  6. 9
    Doug says:

    Re: Brooklyn Mick @8

    Is WAR unfair to Tony Gwynn?

    Interesting question. I thought of Lou Whitaker as a point of compariso since both were so consistent year in and year out. Looking at their WAR scores, aside from Gwynn’s one 8 WAR season, their scores look pretty much like the same player. Yet, Whitaker manages to out-WAR Gwynn by 5+ points. This despite the 8-WAR season, despite having 20+ point edges in OBP and SLG, a huge edge in BA, and despite playing in a pitcher-friendly park vs. Whitaker’s hitter-friendly home. Seems a lot to be explained just by position adjustment.

    • 10

      As Marky Mark may have said once or twice, let’s break it down…

      Let’s get it out there—WAR says that Gwynn is TWICE the hitter that Whitaker was. That actually surprises me a bit. Gwynn’s OBP was a whopping 25 points better than Gwynn despite the batting average difference. Meanwhile, Whitaker’s ISO is 30 points higher than Gwynn’s. Whitaker also played in a offensive-depressed era. To be honest, I would have thought they would have been closer. But Whitaker’s at 209 runs and Gwynn’s at 403.

      Both could run, with Gwynn at +23 runs and Whitaker at +32.

      Defensively, Gwynn won five Gold Gloves and WAR does not dispute that. Through age 32, it has him as a +76 defender, very deserving of his honors. Whitaker is a +77 defender for his entire career. The big difference? After 32, Gwynn tanked. He was a –70 fielder after that, basically bringing him back to average. I think this brings up a good point when people are like “WAR says that Gwynn was only an average defender—it must be wrong”. No—it says he was elite, and then played a corner outfield spot like a chubby DH.

      Who looks more mobile?
      1987 Gwynn? http://bapple2286.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/gwynn-88t.jpg
      1995 Gwynn? http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uZYKCTA2MYA/UAYQe3obgYI/AAAAAAAAAyc/dJYua0YXVjY/s1600/1996+Donruss+Elite+%2372+Tony+Gwynn.jpg

      In his defense, same thing has happened to me over the last 8 years.

      Last, position. Second base is obviously a lot more important than second base. Gwynn is docked 99 runs while Whitaker is given 50. That seems totally acceptable to me.

      Add it all up and I can see why they’re similar.

      • 11
        Doug says:

        Thanks for the breakdown, Adam.

        Somehow, though, I may prefer to have Gwynn on my team rather than Whitaker. That almost 200 run offensive advantage is hard to pass up, no matter how good a second baseman Whitaker may be.

        Nevertheless, an interesting debate when you have two players similar in WAR (and also similar in how it was compiled – really good year after year but seldom or never spectacular), yet, when you break it down, they really compiled that WAR in completely different ways.

      • 28
        Brooklyn Mick says:

        Thanks for the feedback Adam and Doug. After reading, I decided to compare Whitaker and Barry Larkin because they were both middle infielders who had power, speed, and excellent defense. And why not also look at Alan Trammell for the obvious reasons.

        Larkin: 67.1 WAR, 42.4 WAA, 200 Rbat, 13.8 dWAR, 116 OPS+
        Whitaker: 71.4 WAR, 42.8 WAA, 209 Rbat, 15.4 dWAR, 117 OPS+
        Trammell: 67.1 WAR, 40.4 WAA, 132 Rbat, 22.0 dWAR, 110 OPS+

        • 29
          Doug says:

          FWIW, you can add:

          Sandberg: 64.9 WAR, 38.4 WAA, 192 Rbat, 12.8 dWAR, 114 OPS+
          Ozzie: 73.0 WAR, 42.0 WAA, -117 Rbat, 43.4 dWAR, 87 OPS+

          If there has to be only one HoF second basemean from this generation, it would seem the BBWAA picked the wrong one.

          But Larkin over Trammell seems like the right call for the “offensive” SS, with Ozzie in as the “defensive SS”.

          I guess that leaves Ripken as the “SS who hits like (and becomes) a 3rd baseman”, creating the mold for A-Rod.

          • 30
            Brooklyn Mick says:

            Agree Larkin over Trammell by a slim margin, and definitely Whitaker over Sandberg.

            On another tangent, Bobby Grich is on Bryan’s list for having three 7+ WAR seasons. That aside, I bring him up because both he and Whitaker got less than 3% of the vote in their first years of HOF eligibility, which is a joke. Yet Robbie Alomar got in on his second year with 90% of the vote.

            Ozzie: 73.0 WAR, 42.0 WAA, -117 Rbat, 43.4 dWAR, 87 OPS+
            Whitaker: 71.4 WAR, 42.8 WAA, 209 Rbat, 15.4 dWAR, 117 OPS+
            Grich: 67.3 WAR, 43.6 WAA, 256 Rbat, 16.2 dWAR, 124 OPS+
            Larkin: 67.1 WAR, 42.4 WAA, 200 Rbat, 13.8 dWAR, 116 OPS+
            Trammell: 67.1 WAR, 40.4 WAA, 132 Rbat, 22.0 dWAR, 110 OPS+
            Sandberg: 64.9 WAR, 38.4 WAA, 192 Rbat, 12.8 dWAR, 114 OPS+
            Alomar: 62.9 WAR, 32.6 WAA, 242 Rbat, 2.4 dWAR, 116 OPS+

            Adam’s Hall of Stats ratings:

            Ozzie – 147
            Larkin – 144
            Whitaker – 144
            Trammell – 143
            Grich – 141
            Sandberg – 130
            Alomar – 126

  7. 38

    […] in tiers and advocating for players on the outside to be inducted, and despite my work on the Hall of Peak Value and Hall of Could’ve Been over at High Heat, the idea of a personal Hall seemed a little […]

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