MVP Elections – 2017 AL

Dr. Doom here (via Doug) with our final 2017 awards-voting post.  I decided to “save the best for last,” as it were, so we could talk about what may be the most interesting and competitive race in the league.

The American League in 2017 was interesting in that there were only five winning teams in the league.  There was one good pennant race (the East) and two dominant, 100-win teams.  Oh, and the Twins scheduled their (formerly annual) playoff loss to the Yankees.

Before moving on to the other candidates, let’s all just bask in the glory of Mike Trout.  No, he didn’t play a full season.  But he mashed 33 HR and swiped 22 bags, one of only three 20-20 players (Altuve and Betts were the others).  Somehow, Trout scored 92 R in only 114 G, managed to walk 94 times – third in the league, and paced the junior circuit in OBP. SLG. OPS and OPS+.

Let’s look next to one of the most fun players in baseball today – Francisco Lindor. Lindor led the AL in plate appearances, banged out 44 doubles (tied for fourth in the league) and hit 33 HR… all while playing just about the best SS in the AL.  He also had the fourth-most TB in the AL with 329, only 14 behind league leader Jose Abreu.

Lindor’s partner on the left side of the infield was Jose Ramirez. Ramirez led the league with 56 doubles, while scoring 107 runs.  His 341 TB were second in the league, and he had the third-highest batting average (.318) AND slugging percentage (.583) in the league, the only player to finish in the top three in both categories.

Mookie Betts followed up last year’s MVP runner-up season with a second All-Star campaign, this one featuring totals of 46 doubles, 29 HR, 102 RBI and 77 walks. Besides being one of only three players with a 20-20 season, Betts was also one of only three players to both score and knock in 100 runs (Justin Upton and Aaron Judge were the others). Betts rounded out those offensive credentials with a second straight gold glove selection for the repeat division-winning Red Sox.

Remember this generation’s Mark Belanger, the great all-field, no-hit Andrelton Simmons?  Well… what do you have when he learns to hit?  Simmons set career highs in R, H, 2B, RBI, SB, BB  OBP, SLG and WAR in his first full season of a 100 OPS+. Simmons’ 7.1 WAR pushed his career total to 28.6, the 5th highest total by a shortstop over the first 6 seasons of a career (the top four are named Vaughan, Hornsby, Ripken and Banks).

World Series hero George Springer finished seventh in the league with 144 OPS+, slashed .283/.367/.522, blasted 34 HR, and scored 112 runs, the last ranking second in the league and tied with teammate Jose Altuve. For the second year in a row, 9 of Springer’s home runs came in the first inning as the leadoff batter, just the second player since 1950 with two such seasons – Quiz: who was the first player to do this?

Jose Altuve, of course, won the 2017 AL MVP as the league batting champion with a .346 average from 204 hits (1st), third place marks in OBP (.410), OPS (.957) and OPS+ (164), and a 6th best .547 SLG to join Mike Trout as the AL’s only .300/.400/.500 hitters. Oh, and he added 32 stolen bases (3rd, two behind leader Whit Merrifield). For the fourth straight year, Altuve logged 200 hits, 35 doubles and 30 stolen bases; no other player has as many such seasons in a career, consecutively or otherwise.

The last person we should discuss is rookie sensation, Aaron Judge.  Although the same age as Mike Trout, Judge just made it to the bigs full time this season, but did so about as well as anyone ever has.  Judge was second in OBP, SLG, OPS, and OPS+.  He led the league in R with 128, and his 127 walks were 23 more than anyone else.  Judge’s 114 RBI were second to Nelson Cruz.  And, of course, there have only been 11 seasons of 52+ HR by AL players from 1962 to the present; the most recent, and first ever by a rookie, belongs to Judge.

There were plenty of other interesting hitters in 2017; Lorenzo Cain (a personal favorite) was again excellent; Nelson Cruz was mashing all over the place; Jose Abreu keeps hitting like a boss; Marwin Gonzalez might have an MVP case… you know, if he weren’t the fourth-best player on his own team; and who knew that Justin Upton still had some pop left in that bat of his?  Plus, Byron Buxton took a really big step forward.

Now, since we already did the Cy Young, I’m not going to belabor the pitchers; please refer to that earlier post and read my nonsense and the insightful comments of our wonderful community to decide if and where they belong on your ballot.  Now get voting, so we can see who the HHS AL MVP for 2017 is!

DIRECTIONS:  Please list 10 players on your MVP ballot in a NEW comment below (ballots with fewer than 10 candidates will be thrown out; I ask for a new comment because it’s easy to lose one if it’s in a reply, especially since we got rid of numbered comments).  Ballots will be scored as per BBWAA scoring (14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1).  Strategic voting is discouraged, though that’s unenforceable, so please just don’t do it, as the goal here is to (somewhat) mimic the BBWAA process.  The post will be live for about a week; I will comment shortly after the post goes live to tell you when ballots are due.  Please discuss and vote whenever you’d like, but there will be NO vote changes, so don’t vote until you’re sure you’re ready!

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
326 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
AJB
AJB
4 years ago

Jose Altuve
Mike Trout
George Springer
Jose Ramirez
Carlos Correa
Aaron Judge
Corey Kluber
Marwin Gonzalez
Chris Sale
Mookie Betts

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago

Quiz:
Just a guess but I’d say Ricky Henderson

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

I’m going to guess Alfonso Soriano, just in case Hartvig is wrong.

Doug
Doug
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

It is Alfonso, who has done it 3 times.

Rickey holds the record for most career first inning homers from the leadoff spot.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago

Let’s give a full six days on this one. We’ll close the voting at 11:59:59 on Tuesday the 12th. Happy voting!

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

Qualifying injury gap seasons: Mantle 1962, Brett 1980, Trout 2017 PAs: M—502, B—515, T—505 oWAR: M— 7.6 (1st in AL); B—8.5 (1st); T—7.4 (2nd) BA: M—.321 (2nd); B—.390 (1st); T—.306 (6th) OBP: .M—486 (1st); B—.454 (1st); T—.442 (1st) SLG: M—.605 (1st); B—.664 (1st); T—.629 (1st) OPS: M—1.091 (1st); B—1.118 (1st); T—1.071 (1st) OPS+: M—195 (1st); B—203 (1st); T—187 (1st) Runs: M—96 (7th); B—87; T—92 RBIs: M—89; B—118 (2nd); T—72 HRs: M—30 (7th); B—24 (9th); T—33 (12th) BBs: M—122 (1st); B—58; T—94 (3rd) Runs Created: M—126 (2nd); B—135 (1st); T—121 (4th) Adj. Bat Runs: M—60 (1st); B—66 (1st); T—56 (2nd) Adj.… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Nice work, nsb. I’ve been looking for ground on which to get a clear fix on Trout’s season and this helps.

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

nsb, I certainly remember Brett’s 1980 and all the attention he drew chasing .400 How about 24 HR’s and only 22 strikeouts that year and the first to homer (20 or more) as much as strikeout since Berra in 1957? Since then, Bonds in 2004 hit 45 HRs with only 41 K’s but, then again, i guess we all know how. If you neutralize these three to 4.25 R/G environment, their RC totals are: 138 Brett 111 Trout 108 Mantle However, due to all those walks for Mantle, their RC/27 looks like: 12.9 Mantle AIR 101 12.2 Brett AIR 99… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

200 hits, 35 doubles, 30 steals?
Certianly, Ty Cobb did that at least 4 times.
Nope.
Just thrice.
He was too busy hitting triples.

Altuve’s seasons actually all had at least 39 doubles.
And a minimum of 43 combined 2x and 3x.
So, looking at 200 H, 30 SB, and 40+ dub/trip:

4 … Altuve
7 … Cobb

Doug
Doug
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

But, if you make it 200 hits, 55 XBH and 30 steals, it’s back to Altuve 4, Cobb 3.

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

To make an obvious point, we are lucky to be watching baseball at a time of so many younger stars. One thing that the Steroid Era did, possibly to baseball’s detriment, is to extend the effective playing careers of some of big names of the 1980’s into even the early 21st Century.

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

Mike L
Among players with 2,000 or more PA’s from age 34 till retirement, 9 of the top 20 in OPS+ played those seasons after 1994. So, yeah, steroids enhance athletic performance

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Buxton was amazing at baserunning and defense.
(+35 Rbaser, Rdp, Rfield)
-6 Rbat on the season, however.
Though, he certainly figured something out…

First 78 games:
.195 / .272 / .280 / .552 (.280 babip)
Team 40-38

Final 62 games:
.314 / .359 / .553 / .912 (.399 babip)
Team 37-25

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Trout had 507 PA and 53 Rbat
Rbat leaders in seasons with fewer than 527 PA:

71.4 … Frank Thomas (juiced ball / strike)
66.5 … Bagwell (juiced ball / strike)
61.4 … Ted Williams ’54
60.5 … Brett ’80
59.4 … Albert Belle (juiced ball / strike)

59.1 … DiMaggio ’39
58.0 … Mantle ’62
54.1 … Hornsby ’23
53.3 … Manny ’02
53.1 … Speaker ’22

53.0 … Trout
51.5 … Ted WIlliams ’55 (416 PA)
51.3 … McGwire ’95 (422 PA)
49.9 … Ted Williams ’56
49.4 … Speaker ’25

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

Don’t know if the death of Dick Gernert is comment worthy on its own, but—Gernert was a big, lumbering first baseman for the Red Sox in the 1950s with some power. After starting in 1952-3 he lost the job to local favorite and former All-American footballer Harry Agganis and spent much of the next two years in the minors. Meanwhile Agganis, after a good but not spectacular rookie season, had to battle another rookie phenom, Norm Zauchin, for the starting position in the spring of 1955. Agganis’s tragic death from a heart embolism opened the door for Zauchin who belted… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

In his 30th ML game on 5-27-55 Zauchin drove in 10 runs. That’s the soonest in a career that a player drove in 10+ runs.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Some points on Richard’s post: 1) One of the great rewards of HHS is learning a guy whom I mostly remember as a face on a baseball card — one I noticed particularly when I’d arrange them all on the rug in alphabetical stacks — was actually special; 2) Zauchin collected his 10 RBI by the 5th inning; 3) A greater feat than Zauchin’s is Richard’s ability to toss us these tidbits on a moment’s notice. One point on nsb’s post: 1) It may not be the glamor role most Americans aspire to, but I think we should recognize nsb… Read more »

Doug
Doug
4 years ago

Zauchin is also notable as the player Boston traded (together with Albie Pearson) to acquire Pete Runnels (also born around the same time, in Jan 1928) from the Senators. Runnels played 5 seasons in Boston, all of them batting .310 or better with at least .395 OBP. With his two batting titles, the Red Sox featured the AL’s top batter 5 times in 7 years (1957-63). Runnels posted 125 OPS+ for the Red Sox, but only 95 for Washington and 84 for Houston. Among left-handed batters, Runnels’ OPS difference in Fenway vs. his overall mark is fourth highest among 15… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Pearson’s worth a mention too. He was traded with Zauchin before his first MLB PA, and initially he probably made the Senators think they’d got the best of the deal, since he was an instant RoY. He tanked after that, but revived his career as an expansion draft pick of the Angels, and was a 5.5 WAR All-Star in ’63 (5.5 was Runnels’ WAR peak as well). I was a fan of both Runnels and Pearson: Runnels because I loved obscure batting champs, but Pearson for a special reason: he was as short on an MLB field as I was… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS198006200.shtml

e p m,
….you must have been doing cartwheels when the little guy went yard 3 x in this one at Fenway

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Nice find, Paul. My athletic abilities being what they were and are, if I’d knocked myself out celebrating with cartwheels I’d have landed on my head and knocked myself out — and maybe I did, since all recollection of that game seems to have been knocked out of my head.

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Doug, I hate to paraphrase James (Bill, not Henry or William), but, in one of his abstracts (mid-80’s ?) he made mention of the fact that despite the green monster providing cheap homers for RH batters, left-handed batters benefited even more from lazy, opposite-field fly balls that provided cheap doubles in lieu of outs. I imagine, that is one way to win a batting title. 🙁 IIRC, it had to be in one of his Wade Boggs breakdowns/analyses. He also thought the Red Sox should have called up Boggs a year or two earlier….. and Mike Stenhouse was going to… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

I remember that as well. He was calling Boggs the best player in the league. BTW, recently I found a letter I got from Bill James in the 1980s, after I wrote him to question one of his calculations (in hindsight, I can see I was wrong). He wasn’t subtle.

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Doug

When checking out Runnels B-R page I noticed he was 0 for 10 in stolen base attempts in 1952 after going 0 for 3 in 1951.
I wonder what the record is for the greatest futility in stolen bases in a season and in a row?

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Runnels’ 10 CS and 0 SB in 1952 is the seasonal record. And I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one still looking at this article.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Richard, If you check out my comment below (at the end of the string at the moment) concerning Hartvig’s question, you’d probably be the best guy to solve the problem noted there.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

A word of consideration for Gary Sanchez. Part of the consderation of “valuable” should involve a direct comparison to colleagues. Sanchez was far and away the Catcher who produced the most runs with the bat: Rbat, Catchers: 19.2 .. Gary Sanchez 11.2 .. Mike Zunino 9.6 … Alex Avila 9.4 … Robinson Chirinos 8.3 … Wellington Castillo 5.8 … Brian McCann 3.0 … Evan Gattis -0.4 .. Omar Navarez -0.5 .. Chris Giminez -1.3 .. James McCann -1.4 .. Wilson Ramos -1.9 .. Sal Perez -2.3 .. Russel Martin He was also one of only 5 Catchers to have 400… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Lindor’s defensive numbers were likely deflated by playing behind the pitching staff that led the league in SO:
Total chances, AL Shortstops:
755 … Elvis
685 … Simmons
685 … Escobar
611 … Lindor
588 … Tim Anderson
552 … Bogearts
538 … Iglesias
513 … Didi
507 … Polanco
475 … Beckham

Yet he still got to a plenty of balls, and led the league in DP.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

A note of support for Marwin Gonzalez. The Super-Utility player is a guy, who, when he produces above-replacement-level value, is actually earning every drop of that WAR. Because most 5th INF/OF types aren’t approaching anything that looks like a 149 ops+. … The Yanx all raved about the contribution that Ronald Torreyes made last year, filling in capably for Didi and Starlin when they were injured. Indeed. Good work. And he slashed this: .292 / .314 / .375 / .689 / 81 … It is a short list of utility players who are not zero-ish-WAR guys. Marwin played 5 positions,… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Trout? I feel like there’s an argument for a guy who played 114 games if he made a demonstrable difference in his team’s fortunes. Sure, it is hard to make the case that a player with a 1.071 OPS did not make his team better (Maybin hit to a .702 during his month in center) But here’s the Anaheimen’s records: 57-57 with Trout 23-25 without Trout … In comparison, 1980 George Brett: 74-43 with Brett 23-22 without Brett … 1962 Mickey Mantle: 74-43 with 22-23 without … 2002 Manny Ram: 70-48 with 23-21 without … 1939 Joe DiMaggio 78-38 with… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Yeah, this has got me stumped. How can a player of Trout’s terrific quality make no difference to a .500 team? Makes no sense, especially since the Angels went 19-20 while Trout was injured, and faced .500+ teams in 23 of those 39 games, including 16 against teams that won 90+ games — the Angels went 10-6 in those games! (When Trout played in games against 90+-win teams, their record was 6-17, though the mix of teams was somewhat different.) And look at Pujols, with his -1.8 WAR: the Angels were 75-73 when he started, and 5-9 when he didn’t,… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

I think you’re both forgetting the NL MVP vote, in which the top two finishers, both here and in the official tally, were players on teams with far worse records than the Angels. What impact did Stanton and Votto have beyond keeping a bad team from being worse? Some interesting stats, at least to me: Marlins went 77-85 and matched their Pyth. The Reds were 68-94, down 2. The Angels were 80-82, down 1. The Marlins had 27.7 total WAR, the Reds 21.6, the Angels 30.9. Stanton had 7.6 WAR, Votto 7.5, Trout 6.7. The difference among the three teams,… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

You’re certainly right about the NL vote, nsb, but I’m not sure it bears on the issue of the mysterious way the Angels performed with/without Trout. Voomo is a “Most Valuable for the Pennant” type voter, so I like to argue that issue with him in principle. For me, it never gets old, like so many hobby horses I ride round and round here. But in terms of what the BBWAA voters believe, clearly many see the award as a “best player” designation, as was the case with the NL vote this year. This was true even in the initial… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

I’m not necessarily a Most Valuable for the Pennant Voter, at all.
Just throwing things out there for conversation, as there is no set definition of how to determine MVP.
In this case I’m saying that if we are going to consider a player who missed 50 games, team-performance-without-him exists as a contextual consideration.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

My apologies, Voomo. I thought we’d had this same type of exchange in the past.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Vote: 1. Altuve 2. Aaron Judge 3. Marwin Gonzalez 4. Jose Ramirez 5. Andrelton Simmons 6. Lorenzo Cain 7. Mookie Betts 8. Francisco Lindor 9. Mike Trout 10. Gary Sanchez This was hard to limit to 10 players. Had to cut several guys whose names I wanted to type. And there was no room for any Pitchers. For MVP, I assign strong value to the up-the-middle defensive players, and a DH like Nelson Cruz has very little chance of making my ballot. I will also look hard at the easy-to-overlook skills of baserunning and defense. Hard to rate defense with… Read more »

ThickieDon
ThickieDon
4 years ago

1. Altuve
2. Judge
3. Trout
4. Ramirez
5. Kluber
6. Sale
7. Betts
8. Correa
9. Simmons
10. Donaldson

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

Altuve Judge Ramirez Springer Trout Lindor Verlander Kluber Sale Andrus I’ve got Springer 4th because the Astros were on fire and he was on pace for about 130 runs scored before getting hurt. I’ve got Verlander above the other pitchers since the Astros had slowed down and he helped pick them back up with some great starts at the end of the year. Lindor? I thought this guy was going to become Tony Fernandez. Looks more like Cal Ripken (30+ homers/70+ EBH/50 BBs)) Andrus? Him or Simmons…..take your pick. I took Elvino No Correa because there’s no room left at… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Lindor, Ripken, and Fernandez through their first 3 full seasons.
(this omits TF’s first half season, and takes him through age 25. It’s 23 for the other guys)

L … .293 / .349 / .474 / .823 / 114 / 12.4 oWAR / 15.8 WAR
R … .297 / .355 / .502 / .857 / 136 / 18.7 oWAR / 22.8 WAR
F … .307 / .352 / .416 / .768 / 105 / 11.7 oWAR / 13.9 WAR

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Voom, at 6’4″ and 200+ #, Ripken was a wee bit more physically mature than Lindor at this point in their careers. However, over the next 6 seasons, Ripken averaged only .265 / .344 / .436 and an OPS+ of 117. This is kind of shocking since you’d think these would be his best years. He had an unbelievably brilliant season at 30 (168 OPS+ / 11.5 WAR) – maybe the greatest SS season of all-time …. and then hit for an OPS+ of only 98 while not missing a game over the next 7 seasons. I thought Ripken was… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

It has become somewhat unfair to compare Shortstops of different eras, as it is only in the last 20 years that big dudes with offensive potential have been consistently groomed for the position. … OPS+ Leaders among SS, 1980-1989, min 1000 PA: 123 … Ripken 118 … Trammell 111 … Jody Reed 106 … Larkin 106 … Franco 103 … Thon 101 … Tony Fernandez 93 …. Ernie Riles 92 …. Rick Burleson 90 …. Ozzie … OPS+ Leaders among SS, 2008-2017, min 1000 PA: 138 … Correa 133 … Seager 124 … Hanley Ramirez 121 … Tulowitski 114 …… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

A short, speculative ramble: Players 5’6” in height or less: Albie Pearson has been mentioned and Freddie Patek, but these guys weren’t the best. In the HOF are Wee Willie Keeler, Rabbit Maranville, Joe Sewell, Hack Wilson, and Phil Rizzuto. None, of course, are among the all-time greats, although at one time Keeler was viewed that way. Rizzuto in the Hall? I’m one who doesn’t think he quite makes it, but when I see that he lost a year being held back because Crosetti had the Yankee SS position in a lock, and then lost three more prime years to… Read more »

Doug
Doug
4 years ago

Top 10 in career HR, players 5’6″ or shorter.
244 – Hack Wilson
84 – Jose Altuve
63 – Tommy Leach
49 – Joe Sewell
44 – Andy High
43 – Roy Weatherly
41 – Fred Patek
40 – Dummy Hoy, Billy Hamilton
38 – Phil Rizzuto

Doug
Doug
4 years ago

Tallest HOF position player is Dave Winfield at 6’6″.

Shortest HOF pitchers
– Pud Galvin and Mickey Welch at 5’8″
– modern era – Jack Chesbro at 5’9″
– live ball era – Burleigh Grimes and Whitey Ford at 5’10”

Shortest pitcher (min. 1000 IP)
– Larry Corcoran at 5’3″
– modern era – Bobby Shantz at 5’6″

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Billy Wagner was listed at 5’10”, though he always looked smaller to me. Depending on how one values relievers, he’s a viable Hall candidate.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

Here’s my list: Judge Altuve Trout Cruz Correa Gonzalez Ramirez Kluber Donaldson Sanchez I have mentioned on another post that I like to also judge the players by percentage of runners driven in (RDI). My first method was to calculate this percentage after subtracting out all PA in which the batter received a BB or HBPwith runners on except for the bases loaded situation. For my second method I was prompted by a commenter, perhaps epm or nsb, to also count the batter himself to be a base runner. That is helpful to batters with a high number of HR.… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

OK. Here’s my unscientific ballot, except for the winner: 1) ALTUVE—like Kluber in the CY he outclasses the competition enough to deserve his name in caps. 2) Judge—by default, actually. Couldn’t think up an argument for someone else. 3) Ramirez—the Tribe 20 game winning streak corresponds to his pulling out of a slump. 4) Betts—Heart of the surprisingly weak BoSox offense that still won the division. 5) Trout. 6) Hosmer—overlooked man on an overlooked team. 7) Correa—Overlooked somehow in the official voting, probably because Altuve outshone him. 8) Cruz—when a DH leads the team in WAR there’s a reason. 9)… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

1. Jose Altuve 2. Mike Trout 3. Aaron Judge 4. Jose Ramirez 5. Corey Kluber 6. Mookie Betts 7. Francisco Lindor 8. Andrelton Simmons 9. Carlos Correa 10. Jonathan Schoop To my mind, Altuve has a lock on #1: most of my effort was devoted to juggling the next three slots. Correa inched onto the list, despite being a non-qualifier, through a version of arguments similar to some I’d use for Trout, and after looking at a range of borderline #10s, I chose Schoop because he has a good case and seems to have received too little attention. In these… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

Hot stove league news over the weekend: Stanton to Yanks? I wish they’d gotten some pitching instead of or in addition. Trammell and Morris in the HOF? A schizophrenic outcome according to stats guys, I’d guess. At the risk of seeming an idiot, I’ll admit that personally I don’t mind Morris getting the nod, because I think he was a pitcher for a different era who managed to succeed in an environment unfriendly to his talents and approach. His record resembles those of other, earlier, workhorse pitchers with long careers, only his ERA is higher than theirs and invariably unimpressive… Read more »

oneblankspace
4 years ago

The Veteran’s Committee Modern Era Subcommittee put a couple of the ’84 Tigers in the Hall — Alan Tram-m-mell and Jack Morris. I suspect we’ll see a post on them here soon.

Doug
Doug
4 years ago
Reply to  oneblankspace

Thumbs up on Alan, I kind of want to say thumbs down on Morris, but he had more value than his 105 ERA+ might suggest, completing one-third of his starts, logging 235+ innings eleven times, and winning 250+ games with a creditable .577 winning percentage. Bottom line – you could rely on him to go out there every fifth day, probably get you into the late innings and, more often than not, help you get a win. Morris posted 12 seasons with 14 wins and a winning record, something only 17 other modern era pitchers have done; if not for… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago
Reply to  Doug

I plan to gripe about Marvin Miller. A Hall with room enough for Bowie Kuhn….

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago
Reply to  Doug

What modern stats tend to do is to posit a norm of excellence, and even—or especially—positive performance that doesn’t lie within the parameters of the norm creates a conundrum that has people scrambling for explanations, mostly belittling ones. The nearest pitcher I can find to Morris in a short search is Early Wynn. Frankly, I’d take Jack four starts out of five.

Tom
Tom
4 years ago

The HOF has turned into the Rock N Roll HOF.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

I’m ok with Morris’s membership in the Hall (Trammell should have been there long ago), but I’d have been ok if Morris hadn’t been elected, too. He’s a great example of a borderline case, and I think you have to be a Big Hall sort of person to feel entirely happy about his election. To my mind, the best discussion of the Morris case I’ve encountered is a blog post by Chris Bodig that is both detailed and impressively balanced (although it was, in the end, an advocacy piece). Bodig raises an issue that nsb points towards as well: the… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Next up for HOF consideration: Dennis Martinez and Bartolo Colon.

They got this wrong. Trammell and Whitaker should have gone in together.

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Most wins (1876-present) ages 40-43
68 Young
68 Spahn
62 Bartolo C.
60 P. Niekro

Dennis Martinez
1st 1873 IP
111-99 4.18 92 ERA+
Next 1874 IP
120-77 3.02 130 ERA+

I’m not feeling it for either one of them…..but, I’m surprised by Morris getting elected. So, who knows?

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Can’t disagree with Voomo on Whitaker. As for Martinez and Colon (I’ve enjoyed Colon’s career), I wonder whether Voomo’s point is that the HoF is descending a ladder.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Those guys are 1 and 2 as Morris’ similarity scores. Dennis played in the same era, and measures up favorably, other than World Series wins. And yes, my point was that: if this guy, then these guys.

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Voomo: To say that Martinez and Morris are similar is like saying that Mantle and Musial are similar. In other words, there might be some similarities, but the one thing they definitely have in common is that their last names begin with the letter M. Here are some of the things in their 162 game averages that aren’t similar, Morris first: W: 16, 13 L: 12, 10 GS: 33, 30 CG: 11, 7 IP: 242, 217 BB: 88, 63 SO: 157, 117 Notice that the closest similarity among these items is Games Started, where there’s a 9% difference. Otherwise the… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago

nsb, I have to completely disagree vis-a-vis Martinez and Morris. They are very similar players. The W-L record is similar, the innings pitched are similar. True, Martinez pitched more seasons… but by averaging their stats as you did in your post, you make that a BAD thing, and I don’t think that’s fair to the fact that Martinez was a little more durable over time. Martinez led his league in complete games twice (Morris once). Martinez won an ERA title. They each led the league in innings pitched once. Martinez has a lower ERA, pitched more innings, has a marginally… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Interesting “pitching to the score” stat…
Morris and Martinez:

With 3-5 runs of support:
97-64, 3.54
94-59, 3.36

With 6+ runs of support:
137-9, 4.24
117-8, 4.26

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

OK, Doom, let’s say we pick a player named Stan and a player named Willie, both of whom played mostly left field and first base in long careers. Both end up with 475 career HRs. These are some similarities that can’t be denied, but are they similar players? Or take a pair of right fielders, Chuck and Tim. Chuck hit 300 HRs, Tim 299. Chuck played in more games, so his Runs and RBIs are proportionally higher, but his oWAR was 47.9 while Tim’s was 44.3, pretty close, and get this: dWAR-wise Chuck registered -11.9 and Tim -11.6. Does this… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

WAR, age 22-32
36.1 … Morris
10.1 … Martinez

WAR, age 33-:
7.8 …. Morris
39.4 .. Martinez
________________

When Martinez ripped off a 5.7 WAR season in 1995, that was, at the time, the 2nd highest WAR season age 41+ (of course, WAR didn’t exist in 1995, but you know what I mean):

9.6 … Cy Young
5.7 … Dennis Martinez
5.6 … Spahn
5.2 … Nolan Ryan
5.1 … Nolan Ryan
5.0 … Jack Quinn
4.7 … Ted Lyons
4.6 … Phil Neikro
4.0 … Spahn

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Still tied for 3rd all-time:

7.8 … Clemens
5.7 … Randy Johnson

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago

The thing is, I don’t think anyone was suggesting they were IDENTICAL. What people are suggesting is that they’re SIMILAR. I think it would be difficult to find two pitchers with 3000+ innings who are MORE similar than those two, who played in the same era and wound up with ludicrously similar totals. I mean, you’re not wrong that there are differences, and many of them. But if Morris and Martinez aren’t similar, is your contention that NO two players in the history of baseball can be described as “similar” to one another? I think you’d have to be using… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Responding to Doom’s challenge to nsb, I want to express my ideal of what constitutes “similarity.” Although B-R does not list either as similar to the other, I believe Eddie Joost and Eddie Yost actually should be credited with a Similarity Score of 1001 (after deductions). Joost was a shortstop and Yost a third baseman — not the same, but not that different. Joost had seasons of 100 PA or more over the years 1939-1955, Yost: 1947-62, so they are rough contemporaries. Joost played the bulk of his career for the Philadelphia A’s in their twilight years; Yost for the… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

Joost got a boost (couldn’t resist that) in 1947 when he started to wear eyeglasses upon joining the A’s. From 1937-1945 (he did not play in the ML in 1946) his OPS+ was 74 and never got more than 80 BB in a season. From 1947-1955 his OPS+ jumped to 113 and received 100+ BB for 6 consecutive seasons. Unimportant factoid: when he died on 4-12-2011 he was the last living player to have played in the Baker Bowl.

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

I might be a little late with this and sorry I didn’t catch this thread sooner but, supposedly, at one point relatively late in their careers, Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell were the two of the most similar players ever per the James similarity score. And, these guys were born on the same day, no less. They both played 1B, hit for average, hit with power, and took a walk. Bagwell had a better glove and ran better, however, Thomas was a much better hitter. Thomas was a much better player from the start of his career and was doing… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

Bravo, epm.

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Similarity scores: Dennis Martinez/Jack Morris 903. BUT Martinez/Jerry Reuss 917. And Morris and Reuss don’t make each other’s top tens. Besides that, Jerry Reuss/ Mickey Lolich 933. Lolich and Martinez don’t make each other’s top tens. Mickey Lolich/Jim Bunning 942. Aha! Now we seem to have a pair of truly similar pitchers, Bunning listed first: W: 224/ 217 L: 184/191 G: 591/586 GS:519/496 ShO: 40/41 IP: 3760/3638 H: 3433/3366 R: 1527/1537 ER: 1366/1390 HR: 372/347 BB: 1000/1099 SO: 2855/ 2832 FIP: 3.22/3.20 But wait a minute: Bunning ERA+ 115, pWAR 60.3 Lolich EAR+ 104, pWAR 48.8 What pitching similarity scores… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

NSB, Doom, and Voomo, I love this argument Just wanted to throw in. 1. Martinez’ ‘pathetic years” probably came from his drinking, which came to a head in early 1984 after a drunk driving arrest and rehab. 2. Martinez lasted parts of two more seasons with Baltimore, then, still lousy, was traded to Montreal mid season. The following year Martinez was substantially a new man and he stayed that way.Maybe it was the new team and stadium–I looked at his home and away stats and he stunk up the joint at home–you wonder if it wasn’t easier drinking there, or… Read more »

Doug
Doug
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Here are some other comps for Morris: 3000+ IP, 5.5+ SO/9, BB/9 under 3.5, ERA+ of 100-110. The most similar are probably the two flanking Morris on the list, especially Welch since he is basically an exact contemporary.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

I’m advocating here that Judge and Stanton bat at the top the lineup next year. Common wisdom to put your sluggers in the 3-4 hole, yes. But how about those extra plate appearances the leadoff and 2-hole guys get, eh? Most PA in a 50-homer season: 732 … Alex Rod (tied for 114th most PA in a season) 728 … Luis Gonzalez 725 … Alex Rod 722 … Sosa 720 … Griffey … Most PA in a season: 778 … Jimmy Rollins 773 … Lenny Dykstra 771 … Pete Rose 766 … Dave Cash 765 … Jose Reyes … Last… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

It’s probably best to place your HR hitters in the number 3 and 4 spots because those are the spots with the most runners on base. Here’s an old post of mine which shows the number of ROB per batting order position for the 2015 season.

BOP…….ROB
1……….331
2……….392
3……….431
4……….468
5……….440
6……….402
7……….389
8……….382
9……….373

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago

Bill James once wrote that virtually all of the “best” leadoff hitters- measured, I believe, in terms of getting on-base and on-base in scoring position- were middle-of-the-order types like Teddy Ballgame, Mantle, Ruth, Cobb, et. al.
Of course, that often either leaves you with a singles-hitter or someone highly proficient in 2 of the three-true-outcomes to drive them in so there is that.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

If you put power hitters in the 1 and 2 slots, you’re making a trade-off between increased PA and decreased ROB for them (as Richard’s post illustrates). One response to that would be to put your ordinary 1-2 hitters in the 8-9 slots, since some of the low ROB counts for current 1-2 hitters is not due to their batting order position per se, but to the low OBP of typical 8-9 hitters. But if you were to move the 1-2 hitters to the end of the order, you would be sacrificing their PA counts, while boosting the PA counts… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

I see the value of every side of the argument. The reason I’m advocating trying big bats at the top is for those 40+ games when the lineup turns around and it never gets to the 3-4 hitters. How many of those games are close? Down by 1? A long ball makes the difference? I don’t know. A few, maybe. Perhaps it makes a difference of a win or two. And what about at the other end, at the beginning of the game? Pitcher has got those first batter butterflies, and all he wants to do is establish his fastball… Read more »

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

“The reason I’m advocating trying big bats at the top is for those 40+ games when the lineup turns around and it never gets to the 3-4 hitters.”

Cap Anson used to get around that by waiting until he saw if one of the first two batters got on base before he decided if he was going to bat 3rd or 4th that particular day.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

Just for fun I did an analysis switching around the #1 and #4 batters for a particular team to see the effect on RBIs. I looked for a recent first-baseman with all of his PA in the #4 position, played in all of his team’s games and had a high number of RBIs. And such a player was Prince Fielder on the 2009 Brewers. He played in all 162 games and had 719 of the 720 PA for the #4 hitter. His 141 RBI and 46 HR left him with 95 runners driven in (RDI). He came to bat with… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

I love this. Not sure I’m smart enough at the moment to juggle all the math in my head, but I do have a question…
Prince clocked in at a .412 OBP
The Crew’s leadoff hitters were .357
Certianly flipping their batting order positons would change something.
____
(and, I wouldn’t advocate the bashers-at-the-top approach for the ’09 Brewers, by the way. For one, Fielder was a slow runner. And Wisconsin had a black hole at the bottom of their lineup of Kendall, Hardy, and the Pitcher. The 2018 NYA team should have no such weakness)

Doug
Doug
4 years ago

The Braves of Mathews and Aaron had those two batting 2nd and 3rd, which might be the way to go for the Yankees. Unfortunately, the Yankees’ big bats are all righties – would be nice for them to break up Judge, Sanchez and Stanton with a power lefty batter. Casey always said never bat two righty power hitters back to back because the double plays will kill you; but, that is much less a problem today with all the strikeouts and the power hitters grooving their swings to hit everything in the air.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago

Not to bring all the discussion to a grinding halt, but… it’s our last day of voting; don’t forget to get your ballots in! And here’s mine: 1. Jose Altuve – What else do you say? He was the best. 2. Mike Trout – If you look at some of the advanced numbers (RE24, WPA, WPA/LI, REW), Trout was the best hitter in the AL, and those are counting stats. He had the best slash line in the AL. Plus, I don’t know… it feels weird to leave him OUT of the top-two, so here he is. 3. Aaron Judge… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Earlier in this thread, Voomo made an interesting comment in the course of a discussion with Paul about Francisco Lindor: It has become somewhat unfair to compare Shortstops of different eras, as it is only in the last 20 years that big dudes with offensive potential have been consistently groomed for the position. I’m picking Voomo’s comment back up here because it resonates with the discussion we’ve had about Jack Morris and the criteria by which he should be judged. I’m going to start with Morris and get back to Lindor, after I’m pretty sure everyone’s asleep. . . .… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

e p m, Yes, I imagine 3B and SS have ‘evolved’ more than the other positions. From age 25-28, Mugsy McGraw had the 2nd or 3rd highest OPS+, all-time, among 3B. At 5’7″ and 155# , I don’t think he could carry Scott Rolen’s jock, but he was, what he was, when he was. And, there’s nothing we can do to change that. All the debate about this guy versus that guy from differing eras, is what this site is about; however, who really knows? I think it’s safe to say that Albert Pujols would probably put up stats equal… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago

Your 2017 AL MVP results: Much like the BBWAA vote, I was expecting a tight one , and we wound up with a landslide. After the player’s name are his vote points, then his first-place votes in parentheses. Tiebreakers are as such: 1st, number of ballots named; 2nd, highest placement on a single ballot; 3rd, remove most recent ballot(s) until the tie(s) are broken. 1. Jose Altuve, 107 (7) 2. Aaron Judge, 71 (1) 3. Mike Trout, 57 4. Jose Ramirez, 55 5. Corey Kluber, 28 6. Mookie Betts, 26 7. Carlos Correa, 23 8. Marwin Gonzalez, 20 9. George… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Thanks for devising these posts, Doc! They’ve been a great success and a good warmup for the annual CoG frenzy soon to follow.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago

I’m VERY excited for COG voting, especially since in anticipating at least 5, and maybe 6, rounds of voting!

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

You’re more optimistic than I. I’m extremely confident in 3 (Hoffman, Guerrero, C. Jones) & think that Thome has maybe a slightly less than 50:50 chance of being #4. I wouldn’t be stunned if Edgar made it #5 but I think his best chance is next year, his final year of eligibility and that even then he’ll still probably come up short. I can’t even think of who #6 would be unless there’s been a big shift on Bonds & Clemens. And sorry about missing the vote. I somehow got it in my head that the deadline was Friday &… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

The thing likeliest too change in this election (other than some WAY down-ballot stuff) was the Trout-Ramirez battle for third.

By five rounds, I’m expecting four new electees, and I believe we’re due for a redemption round, which makes five. Six would mean getting lucky with a run-off or a shocking fifth elected player. I’m not confident in that, just hopeful!

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

I think that the redemption rounds have to fit the available slots, meaning that if the BBWAA select 4 we would have at least 1 for our newest eligible birth year (anyone remember what we’re up to now? 1973?) with the remaining 3 divvied up in some fashion. Most likely at least 2 of them would be redemption rounds and possibly all 3.

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

I think the doors are opening for the PED Era players, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were high totals on Bonds and Clemens, even if they don’t make 75%. That’s going to draw some votes from other players who might qualify. There were seven players last year who made it to at least 45%. Add Chipper and Thome that makes for 9. Rolen is new, he will get some votes, that’s 10 viable candidates. I’ll bet Andruw gets votes, and some of the other holdovers who haven’t drawn huge numbers–Walker,Manny, McGriff, Wagner.
Very crowded ballot.

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

I’ve been somewhat heartened by the recent tendency of the BBWAA to at least occasionally recognize the glaringly obvious. As crowded as the ballot is now it’s not near as bad as it was just a few years ago when you had Maddux, Glavine, F Thomas, Biggio, Piazza, Bagwell, Raines, Clemens, Bonds, E Martinez, Schilling, Trammell, Mussina, Walker plus Kent, McGriff, Palmeiro, McGwire, Sosa & Mattingly and Jack Morris and Lee Smith picking up significant numbers of votes. By my count that’s 14 no-brainers plus another 4 or 5 that you could at least make a reasonable case for. It’s… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

If I had a vote I wouldn’t have voted for the most notorious of the juicers, or at least the juicers who spent the majority of their careers using when there were hard rules on this (not just a wink). So, I would have contributed to the backlog. But I also don’t understand the “first ballot” bull either. If you are conflicted on someone, don’t vote for him. But someone who clearly meets any objective criteria should be in, period. Finally, I think it’s wrong to have shout-out votes. Last couple of years, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Edgar Renteria, David… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

Mike L “….Finally, I think it’s wrong to have shout-out votes. Last couple of years, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein, and Mike Sweeney got votes. That’s just intellectually dishonest.” AGREED ! It’s, no kidding, probably some sportswriters just giving “good guys” a nod and a thank you for being gentleman and submitting themselves for interviews when they were staring at deadlines. Now Sweeney and Eckstein can tell their grand kids they got HoF votes. Then again, I there are some guys who see a ballot and they are allowed to vote for 10 and they fill the… Read more »

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

Under normal circumstances- meaning a ballot that isn’t overflowing with obviously deserving candidates- I don’t really have a big issue with “shout out” votes. While there are worse players in the HOF than almost everyone you listed, there’s very little chance that any of those guys are going to get enough votes to even stay on the ballot for a 2nd year much less be elected so I don’t really see any harm in someone making a small statement that acknowledges a players particular contribution. Maybe they hustled and worked hard to get every bit of use of what talents… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

I’m missing out on something obviously, since I didn’t realize how close Hoffman came to enshrinement last year, But could someone explain why he is such a hot number? His save total, of course, but otherwise, his stats don’t overwhelm, and Rivera, the guy with more saves, also had twice the WAR. I’m not suggesting he doesn’t belong in the Hall; I just don’t get the early enthusiasm.

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

I’m not sure I get it either. How much different is Hoffman from John Franco?

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago

I’m not understanding all the love for Hoffman either. I mean I’m fine with Mariano and even Wilhelm & Eckersley. Hell, even Gossage. But a 1-inning wonder like Hoffman? I don’t get it.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

I just went back to check the last COG post to see who was returning to the next round. Coming back will be:
Luis Tiant, Dick Allen, Kevin Brown, Dave Winfield, Bill Dahlen, Manny Ramirez, Richie Ashburn, Graig Nettles, and Bobby Wallace. They will be joined by the 1973 birth-year crop, which includes Todd Helton, Johnny Damon, Mike Cameron, Nomar Garciaparra, and, in a first for the COG, not one but TWO active players: Bartolo Colon and Ichiro Suzuki. Looking forward to it!

Hub Kid
Hub Kid
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Hmm…shouldn’t Andy Pettitte still be on the ballot when it comes up, too? 3 votes out of 26 voters, I think…

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago
Reply to  Hub Kid

Right you are, Hub Kid.

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago

I know the voting is over but someone- unfortunately I don’t remember who it was- brought up an article that Bill James had written regarding some of his perceived problems with how WAR is calculated. To the best of my recollection, how I understood it was that WAR is essentially calculated based on a teams Pythagorean W-L% or at least makes no adjustments based on a teams actual W-L record. As someone (sorry, again I’m not certain who it was- nsb maybe?) already pointed out, Judge did no perform particularly well in many high leverage situations. Does this mean that… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

I think I’m your forgettable poster, Hartvig, and, as I understand it, the answer to your question would be yes.

I think James’ reasoning would be that the “wins” in Judge’s WAR were partly imaginary, since WAR calculations, unlike “Win Share” calculations, basically gave Yankee players 100 wins to divvy up when there were, in real life, only 91. The phantomic nature of the missing nine runs, he seems to argue, is, upon analysis, disproportionately attributable to Judge’s pattern of productivity/failure in the context of situational leverage.

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago

I know that a 10% swing in W-L% vs. the expected W-L% CAN simply be explained by chance but it does appear in this case that there’s at least an argument to be made that it’s partly- or even largely- due to underperformance by Judge in high-leverage/impact situations. Which itself could be explained by chance/luck as well. But I do think it brings into question the valuation WAR places on at least some players during particular seasons and possibly, in extreme cases, for their entire careers. A few years ago I looked at the managerial career of Gene Mauch and… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Here’s a few examples. The 1949-1957 White Sox under-performed their Pythagorean W-L% every year from 1949-1957 with players such as Minoso, Fox, and Pierce. There was also the 1988-1996 Brewers with Greg Vaughn and B. J. Surhoff, and also the 1973-1983 Mets with John Stearns and Ron Hodges. I have named the players who were with those teams for most of the years in the streak.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

Minoso had 11 qualifying years in the ML, 9 with the White Sox and 2 with the Indians. His teams under-performed in 9 of those years.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Actually, the post whose author you forgot also included a long diatribe challenging the appropriateness of explaining batting outcomes by invoking the concept of chance, rather than viewing the outcomes as the product of the skill-performances of the pitcher, batter, and fielders. Most likely, it was the tedium of that rant that erased your memory of the author. To avoid any risk of broad spectrum memory loss, I won’t reiterate.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

As with lots of stats, I think with the pythagorean calculation it pays to explore in detail individual cases. While the trends that the pythagorean approach identifies may tend to correspond to real-world situations, sometimes they may be distortions. Blow-out wins and losses, when they are not balanced over the course of a season, are a source of that kind of distortion. For example, the 2007 Rangers underperformed their pythagorean expectation by four games: they were 75-87, but would have been expected to be 79-83 on the basis runs scored/runs allowed. But you’ll remember that on August 22, the Rangers… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

I’m writing a reply to my own reply because the more I think about it, the more whole pythagorean praise/blame business seems irrational to me. The purpose of the pythagorean calculation is based on a factual observation: a formula close to this: Runs Scored^1.83/(Runs Scored^1.83 + Runs Allowed^1.83) is in fact the optimum predictor of W-L percentage. It will not invariably be right, but it will be quite close for most teams, and no other formula will get closer. I have no problem with that: I understand it to be true. However, it says nothing about whether a team should… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

e p m, I guess it’s relatively simple: players create runs in an effort to help their teams reach their goal of winning games. So, i guess James has a real point in using team victories in lieu of Pythagorean. I am kind of biased toward Win Shares since I don’t believe it over values defense while WAR, I believe, has some serious flaws in the defensive calculations. I agree some defensive positions are more important than others and, certainly, some fielders superior to their peers at those positions. However, if Andrelton Simmons makes a ridiculous play with one out… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

I like Win Shares, Paul. But it has certain limits even in calculating offense. To illustrate with a theoretical extreme: supernaturally good rookie Kid X plays for Team Z, which has sold every good player and other good prospect to bail its owner out of bankruptcy. The Kid homers at every at bat except for one line drive caught at the wall, but he only homers once a game because opposing manager catch on, so he is walked every other PA. None of his teammates can get on or drive him in, and the team finishes 0-162. Kid’s traditional line… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

E p m,
If it gets to that point, it literally becomes, “I can’t believe my eyes”. But, yeah, I get your point. In the interim, isn’t it a judgmental call whether that was a superlative play or not? You know, bad positioning, etc….making the routine appear difficult? I. E. That jump throw in the hole Jeter makes that Tulo and Ripken made flat-footed with ease?

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Yes, I agree, Paul . . . in the interim. But I think the interim is almost past. Statcast would now track the speed Jeter moves and distance he covers, and with the ball speed/angle information, generate a degree of difficulty measure. All we’re missing in that regard, I think, is available aggregated data (and, naturally, we can expect the assumptions on which Statcast in based to be modified as experience is added). As for good/poor positioning, I’m not sure that will be something that can be evaluated in the near term . . . it would depend on the… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

So all those Chuckie Carr and Jim Edmonds circus catches will be re-evaluated in due time?
So, theoretically, a Golden Glove can be quantified as easy as a Silver Slugger award?

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

I don’t expect Statcast technology can work from video, but perhaps I’m wrong, or will be wrong in the future. Is there a quantitative standard for Silver Slugger Awards? I thought voters could interpret slash data flexibly. I do think fielding data will become comparable in specificity to batting data now that we have new tools (and that batting data will change, with greater emphasis on batted ball characteristics and less on base-hit/out outcomes), but I expect it will be a long time before there’s agreement on the parameters on which data interpretations are based. I don’t know how transparent… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

What you talk like, epm, is someone who wants to quantify the mystery and uncertainty of life out of existence. Be careful what you wish for. The future for baseball you seem to be projecting with so much anticipation is a statistician’s dream, but it may be a death knell for players or fans who just want to enjoy the game, meaning a severe drop in its popularity. Arthur Conan Doyle via Sherlock Holmes points out in several of the stories that once Holmes’s skills at observation and interpretation are explained, people are inclined to say, “Oh, so that’s all… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Wise words, nsb. The nerd in me (he’s a big one!) looks forward to those big data sets and to watching games for the stat-adorned replays. But my residual self, which you may have glimpsed here from time to time, looks at games as character dramas, full of “clutch” performers and others — too often on the team I root for — who play the role of goats. Somehow, I have generally found that the two facets, so different in spirit, complement one another in experience. Don’t forget that, your examples aside, Conan Doyle also has Watson exclaim on several… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

I love the Sherlock Holmes argument, because maybe there is something in all this advanced stats vs. traditional/gut reaction. Holmes says to Watson “you see, but you do not observe..”. EPM, what you are also describing in terms of fan experience is akin to what musicologists call mimetic participation. Conan Doyle draws you in and let’s you be along side Watson, to see the same things he does, but with perhaps a clearer eye. We are never going to get it all, every nuance. And maybe we don’t really want it all. Even Holmes loses occasionally. just as we have… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

i tend to agree with NSB: “I go to a baseball game, not because Stanton has a high slugging percentage; no, I go to the game because Stanton is a slugger and I want to see him slug the ball…. Yeah, exit velocity is all well and good – and probably a great tool for GM’s , but I’d rather go to a ballgame than the winter meetings and I’d rather watch Stanton hit than see the analysis of his hitting. I will admit though, all the statistical analysis makes for great debate https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI197604250.shtml I saw Dick Allen hit some… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

I got to see the terrible Wayne Tolleson dribble one up the middle for the game-winner here, still one of the best hits I’ve ever seen:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA198706260.shtml

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Replying to Voomo and his Tolleson dribbler here . . . What an absurd game! And my question is, once he was unmasked, who turned out to be the Roger Clemens impersonator?

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Now, that was a baseball game.

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Voom,
That is one ugly game. As for Clemens, I saw him pitch twice. And he “wasn’t himself” in 1991 versus the Mariners in June and later at Ralph Cramden Yards while pitching for Toronto

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

I think mimetic participation is certainly part of sports spectatorship (especially since most everyone has synapse-circuit muscle memory of their own baseball games available to create unrealized motor empathy), Mike, but not, I think, the nerdy part — and I’m now going to unleash my inner nerd yet again to illustrate. (Actually, my inner nerd isn’t really very inner, is it?) Basically, I think appreciating game events and statistics tend to work on different planes, and while they may complement one another in real time, I don’t think they often conflict. I have a personal example to offer, just as… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

I get the gut feeling. I was in Yankee Stadium for Righetti’s no hitter, and I can still feel the vibe of the place 30+ years later. Baseball allows you to participate at just about any level you want, from observer to stat-nerd. What made me laugh about this thread was I wrote about Sherlock this past September for 3Quarks, and what the two of you have written could have just unspooled from my head. http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2017/09/in-the-lumber-room-of-my-library.html

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

OK. Had a few minutes free, so here’s an unsolicited and unacceptable 2018 HOF ballot from someone with no biases except his own:

Guerrero
Martinez
Schilling
Ramirez
Walker
C. Jones

Mussina I took a pass on for now, simply because the six listed are, to my mind, all on an approximate par, given their various strengths and weaknesses, and Mussina falls somewhat below that.

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago

Ya know, this might be a good idea for a post over the holidays while we’re waiting for the BBWAA vote to come in. Here’s mine. E. Martinez Clemens Bonds Mussina Schilling Walker C. Jones Thome Rolen A Jones There are 2 others I might vote for in another year. I’d most likely vote for Guerrero but I want to be sure that Andrew Jones and especially Rolen stick around for further consideration. I might consider Manny Ramirez. My philosophy on PEDS has been that if I think they would have made it without them they get my vote and… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

If anyone is interested in one of the more bizarre explanations for a HOF ballot, here’s David Borges in The New Haven Register
http://www.nhregister.com/sports/article/David-Borges-Hall-of-Fame-ballot-comes-with-12439764.php#photo-14721929

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

Not bizarre to me, Mike. I’m not in full agreement, but Borges’s criteria seem well within bounds. Thanks for the interesting link. By way of links, I mentioned in connection with the Morris discussion the commentary of a blogger named Chris Bodig. Everyone else on HHS may be familiar with his site, “Cooperstown Cred,” but it was new to me, and reading more of his comments I’m impressed with his analyses, although, as with Mr. Borges, I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions. So I’ve embedded the link, in case there are other HHS readers as out of it as… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

I should have explained that better. I think his end choices are defensible. It’s his reasoning that irritates me, and I realize my irritation may be personal. He’s a professed “small Hall” guy, so only six on his ballot–Chipper, Bonds, Clemens, Manny, Vlad, Schilling. He’s all in on PED use (primarily, it seems, because he has favorites who were users, and he doesn’t want to keep them out.) He uses a variation on the Jim Rice “feared” and Jack Morris “big game” arguments, which have always struck me as largely subjective excuses to pick your favorites and exclude the others.… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

I read Borges differently, Mike. (Of course, Borges is famous for how differently he can be read, but perhaps now is not the time . . .) He’s an actual HoF voter, and he reports that he’s always voted for Clemens and Bonds in the past, because while he is unhappy about steroids, he sees them as having infected the era, leaving a line between those identified as users and those who are only suspected that is a poor one to use for Hall judgments, an argument we’ve seen multiple times here on HHS. Nowhere does he say anything nice… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

I can see your point. I think I was cranky reading it, and, to an extent, I think he was lazy writing it. There are roughly 400 votes, and a guy like Hoffman was at 74% last year, so if you are going to vote, take it seriously, and think about it seriously. BTW, about Sosa: I checked on Borges first HOF vote (in 2014 for the 15 inductions). It had this interesting quote in it: “So why no Sosa? Here’s where I get a little hypocritical. I see Sosa as solely a product of PED use. Practically a steroid… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

Good research, Mike — kind of undercuts Borges’s self-presentation on Sosa in this year’s explanation.

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

Borges could go into politics….

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

epm: Having read the article-length, repetitive, and sometimes circumlocutionary screed by Chris Bodig on Morris, I feel a little the way Mike L feels about the Borges piece: How do I love Jack Morris? Let me count the ways. Nothing wrong with this approach, but you could do the same kind of special pleading for any number of players with good but not great credentials, noting superlatives, statistical and otherwise, and implying that they carry more weight than lesser virtues. As I’ve said above, I don’t mind the elevation of Morris to the Hall, and I don’t think it’s necessary… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

nsb, What I like about Bodig isn’t his conclusions, it’s the data juggling he does. I don’t even recall what his position on Walker is, but I thought his “13 Ways of Looking At Coors Stats” exercise was great — lots of it was new to me. On Morris, if I recall, he announced up front that he was a partisan advocate, but gave an excellent account of the arguments against Morris, acknowledging that they would be compelling for many. What more can you ask in a personal blog? But if his blog isn’t to your taste, there’s certainly no… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

Suggestion for a future post. Track HOF votes by the regional background of the writer. I wonder if there actually are biases (other than a “shout out”) and if there are, how prevalent they are. I’d be looking at along several axes. Most obvious would be home preferences, team on team rivalries, and regional familiarity.

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

Frank Lary passed away on December 13, according to the B-R site. Some interesting facts about Lary, most having to do with his career-long domination of the New York Yankees: Record against the Yankees: 28-13, 3.32. In Yankee Stadium, 12-6, 3.11. Record against everybody else: 100-103. Away from Detroit: 44-50. 1958 record against NYY: 7-1, 1.86. Against all others: 9-14, 3.27. Against 7th place KC 0-4, 5.80. Record against winning teams other than NYY: 40-49. Record in Fenway: 4-10, 5.50. No, Lary was right handed. Record April-July: 78-85; record Aug-Sept: 50-29; First half: 56-71 3.75; 2nd half: 72-45 3.23. Lary… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

1958 was the year I had to start going to the Stadium to see baseball, since my team (and also the Polo Grounds crew) had moved away. Given my Weltanschauung, I naturally went to root, root, root for the visiting team, and I quickly learned that if I wanted to go home happy, I should get to the Stadium on days the Tigers were in town and pitching Lary. I have no idea how many of his Stadium wins I saw, but I never saw him lose. I had players I liked better, but they seemed to prefer spending their… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

Most wins in a season versus the Yankees since 1913:
Frank Lary , 7 in 1958
Eddie Cicotte, 7 in1916

oneblankspace
4 years ago

I had the 1961 Tigers old-time set with my 1981 Strat-O-Matic baseball. I remember Lary was rated as a 4 hitter, meaning he hit a homerun that season.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

A couple of days ago, Hartvig snuck in a comment that was hard to spot because it was in reply to nsb’s earlier post about his HoF choices, and so appeared well up this string, more or less out of sight. Hartvig, in addition to providing his own HoF ballot, suggested that there be a post to allow us to discuss the candidates and cast our own ballots before the vote is tallied on January 24. I don’t know whether Doug has the time or inclination to do that, and right now we’re probably all pretty busy (house guests are… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Still hoping we’ll turn to a HoF pre-vote discussion, perhaps after the new year, but I want to pick up on another post that Hartvig slipped in way up the string in the middle of the night . . . Here’s his post: When checking out [Pete] Runnels’ B-R page I noticed he was 0 for 10 in stolen base attempts in 1952 after going 0 for 3 in 1951. I wonder what the record is for the greatest futility in stolen bases in a season and in a row? I think this is a great catch and an interesting… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

With limited searching I found that Joe DeMaestri was CS in his first 10 stealing attempts. It’s a long slow process to accomplish the search.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Nice catch with DeMaesri, Richard. I didn’t find him via the B-R list. Interestingly, after his 0 for 10 start, DeMaestri went 15 for 24 during the rest his career.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Not the answer, but a bit o’ trivia… Most CS without a SB, career: 8 … Oscar Robles 7 … Russ Nixon 7 … Dave Meier Nixon’s is particularly (un)impressive, in that his career was 907 games. Most games played without a SB, career (pitchers excluded): 907 … Russ Nixon 733 … Jose Morales 715 … Chris Snyder 649 … Wilson Ramos (active) 631 … Javier Valentin 612 … Johhny Estrada 610 … Aaron Robinson 574 … Al Ferrara (most for a non-catcher) 483 … Jack Hiatt 476 … Matt LeCroy 465 … Jason Phillips 463 … Ryan Garko 462… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

And the other end of it… Most SB, pure Pitchers (since 1901): … In researching this, I had to specify at least 90 percent of games at Pitcher, to weed out all the position players who’d taken the mound (as well as two-way guys like Jimmy Callahan and G.H. Ruth and Hal Jeffcoat). Saw that Ben Chapman, while managing the Phillies during WWII, turned himself into a Pitcher, two years after retirement, with fair success. 22 … Bill Dinneen 20 … Christy Mathewson 20 … Chief Bender 18 … Joe McGinnity 15 … Burleigh Grimes … Since 1920: 12 …… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

in the “good ole days”, when pitchers and managers had no fear of career -threatening injury, pitchers, on their ‘off-days’, frequently pinch ran for catchers in the late innings of close games. Some, like Grant Jackson of the Phillies, were as fast as most everyday players.
Don’t know if we see much of that today

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Bill James once mentioned that Pedro Ramos tried to get Mickey Mantle to race against him so I checked out his B-R page. He regularly appeared in 10 to 20 more games than he pitched. Since he wasn’t much of a hitter he only had 1 pinch hitting appearance in his career. And he apparently never played a position other than pitcher. The don’t specifically list how many times he was used as a pinch runner but it was often enough to account for 28 of the 76 runs that he scored in the 770 plate appearances he had in… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

The BR Game Finder shows that Ramos was used as a pinch runner 120 times in his career, tied for 13th all-time, believe it or not..

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Voomo and Paul E:

I remember Greg Maddux being used as a pinch runner for the Cubs several times early in his career, plus he won several gold gloves, and swung a fair bat. More reasons to consider him an icon of admirability in a disreputable era.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

I awoke in the middle of the night with the most obvious Chris-Berman-y nickname for the no-steals leader… Russ ‘I Am Not A Crook’ Nixon.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
4 years ago

Richard,

Could you use the Streak Finder in the PI? I’m thinking of setting it as CS > = 1 and SB < = 1, and checking the "to start a career" box. Then, once the table loads, you could sort by CS, instead of sorting by consecutive games in the streak. Would that work?

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

My result with that (except SB=0) was a Runnels-free list with the anomaly I noted for Nieman. When it comes to the PI, though, Richard is The Man.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

I guess my earlier response to Dr. Doom’s request did not post. You can use the Streak Finder, set it up for SB = 0 and when you get the results sort the Result sheet by CS. It also helps to do it for position players only as I seriously doubt that a pitcher would have such a streak. You can’t just sort for the first Result sheet page, you have to do it for several subsequent pages. Also you may have to do it by x number of years at a time, otherwise the PI will time out. You… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

I should have added that you have to enter CS >= 0, not =1. I had completely missed the need to keep sorting, page by page, which Richard points out. The reason is that the formula yields answers in terms of number of games, rather than in terms of number of CS without SB. There are lots of players (including pitchers) who went many, many games without an SB, while having a few or no CS. In addition, the PI sorts only the first 1100 names, and in a case like this that means there may be some I’ve missed,… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

epm: I found the same players that you did plus the following:

Juan Rivera 13
Mark Brouhard 11
Tom Veryzer 10
Bobby Doerr 10

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

You are more thorough than I, Richard, which is characteristic. Thanks for filling the gaps I left. I believe Brouhard’s streak must be the longest of its kind ever to close an MLB career (though he was stealing bases in the minors during the streak, and in Japan afterwards). Here, then, is the Top Ten Caught-Stealing-Streak list, never before revealed: 16 Runnels 14 Cannizzaro 13 Terry 13 Jamieson 13 Yost 13 Rivera 12 Gardner 12 Tate 12 Buhner 11 Brouhard Let’s retire from the Caught-Stealing-Streak-Finder profession: the work is rather dull, the hours long, or seem so, and the pay… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

But I did find it a bit interesting, it was somewhat of a learning experience. And where else would one find such a list.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

True enough — so hats off to Hartvig, whose sharp eye and curiosity were the impetus of an HHS first!

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

A footnote, perhaps more interesting than the longwinded message itself.

In 1993, Craig Biggio set a record for a CS streak by being caught stealing in five consecutive games, without successfully stealing a base. The following season (1994, a short one), Biggio was caught stealing only four times all year, while leading the league in SB with 39.

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

Forget the numbers, Bob Boone was absolutely the worst base runner I ever saw. This, of course, is by the ‘eye test’. Boone must have believed himself to be the reincarnation of Jackie Robinson or Ty Cobb. To his credit, whenever he got thrown out advancing to the next base, it was by at least 30 feet – so, at least he was trying to advance to the next base.

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

I was surprised to find that Ernie Lombardi stole 8 bases in his career, including 1 in each of his 33, 34 & 35 year old seasons. Unfortunately it appears that the National League does have caught stealing numbers during the years that he played. I don’t think that he harbored any illusions as to his prowess on the basepaths but I’d be curious to see how often he tried to steal. And speaking of prowess on the basepaths, I never saw Cecil Fielder try to steal a base, successfully or otherwise, but I did see him advance to 3rd… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Hartvig–I wonder whether any of those Lombardi attempts were parts of double steals?

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

Lombardi’s first SB, as a Brooklyn Robin in his 15th career game, was the tail end of a double steal. His last, as a Giant in 1943, can’t be determined, because there is no play-by-play record. The other six were all straight steals of second. In 1933, an errant throw sent him to third after the steal, but he was thrown out there. In 1942, two errant throws allowed him to score all the way from first.

Although there are no league CS figures for Lombardi’s career, game logs indicate he was thrown out nine times.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

Lombardi’s 1943 steal as a Giant on 7-10 was the only stolen base of that game, so it was a straight steal.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Why didn’t I think of that? Nice!

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Hartvig,
No idea, but, Ernie was probably just slow. Same for Fielder. Boone? He just routinely made bad decisions on the base paths. Once again, just the eye test…..

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

I’d like to see this, especially for the group’s reasoning. I’m currently drafting a piece for 3Quarks that should be up Monday January 7th which looks at voting trends and rationales. Y’all are the most thoughtful bunch I can find.

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago

“Many expert mathematicians have adopted the theory: 16 > 14.”

I laughed so loud at this that I woke up my dog

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Having advocated for nsb and Hartvig’s call for a HoF discussion here, I feel I should contribute something other than caught-stealing arcana to the bottom of this string. I’m not ready with a ballot, but Mike L is interested in our reasoning, so I thought I’d list a few criteria (and prejudices) that this HoF ballot seems to call on. 1. What to do with PED users? In the past I’ve tended to adhere to the viewpoint that while all PED users are significantly flawed, there’s a difference between the all-synthetic stars, like Sosa, and those whose PED use exaggerated… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

I’m not sure why an embedded link to Bodig’s discussion of Hoffman didn’t show up in the comment above, I’ll try to remedy that Here.

Chris Bodig
4 years ago

Thanks for sharing my site, e pluribus munu. Much appreciated.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Chris Bodig

You’re very welcome, Chris. I appreciate your work, and I’m glad to see that you’ve checked out HHS.

If you haven’t already done so under a screen name in the past, you might consider participating in our HoF-related Circle of Greats project, which will recommence right after the Hall vote is announced in January. The project is explained in its original December 2012 proposal, and has been running ever since, 124 rounds so far, generating the current CoG membership.

Chris Bodig
4 years ago

sounds like fun, though seems actually harder than voting for the real Hall. Happy New Year!

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Chris Bodig

Yeah, but you tend to get a LOT less snarky criticism about your vote.

We’re generally a pretty civil bunch around here.

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

This is very good, and definitely part of what I’m looking to cover. BTW I’ve been looking at the reported vote data coming in and there are some really interesting trends

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

More thoughts on the HoF ballot, and the intersection of principles and the real world. In an earlier post, I wrote about how my deep-seated reluctance, on principle, to vote for a closer like Trevor Hoffman had been challenged by some specific arguments concerning the quality of his performance and his clear superiority to already-enshrined closers like Sutter and Fingers. I’d still be a reluctant vote for Hoffman, but in the meantime I’m having a problem in the other direction with Fred McGriff. I want to vote for McGriff. I don’t believe HoF voting should be strategic, so I would… Read more »

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago

McGriff has been on my radar since he became eligible as well. And as someone who thinks it appropriate to penalize players who did use PED’s- I would vote for Bonds & Clemens because I think they did enough to qualify without them but not for someone like McGwire or Sosa- I’ve always struggled with how to adjust for someone from whom there is no evidence of having used PED’s but comes close to qualifying like Crime Dog. You’ve laid out some pretty compelling reasons as to why he still falls short. Another argument against his candidacy is John Olerud… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Hartvig, If I recall, you’ve told us live out in the northern plains, where it’s about 20 below now, and it must have been about 4am when you wrote, but you’ve nevertheless provided the first HHS post of 2018 and our first project: McGriff and Olerud: compare and contrast. . . . Stay warm, and Happy New Year!

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

John Olerud. It strikes me that while Olerud and McGriff were approximate contemporaries, they weren’t very similar in terms of their attributes or the patterns of their careers. Olerud’s career stats are boosted by his two best seasons, widely spaced, and his apparent defensive prowess. McGriff had a run of four or five good seasons early and afterwards was a lesser player, with a huge negative hit on his WAR for his poor fielding. A player whose career similarity to Olerud’s isn’t noted in the similarity ratings for either player is Mickey Vernon, an admitted favorite of mine, but all… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

What a sharp comparison! Like you, nsb, I liked Vernon as a player, but this never would have occurred to me and it works very well. The parallel between Olerud and Vernon isn’t exact, but in the real world their profiles are remarkably close. There are some counter-intuitive aspects to Vernon’s record in Griffith Stadium. For one, although Griffith severely depressed offense, the effect should have been much more profound for right-handed hitters than for a lefty like Vernon, since the left field line distance was in most years over 400′, while in right it was in the 320s. Moreover,… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

epm: I googled dWAR, it’s really complicated.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

It certainly is, Richard. I’ve actually spent more time looking at Fangraphs’ fdWAR, which is based on UZR. I assume I’m the last to know all this, but since I haven’t posted a longwinded comment since last year . . . The concept of UZR, which covers all fielding positions, is pretty close to what Statcast does with outfield plays, but the data seems to be proprietary, aggregated and made available to Fangraphs by Baseball Info Solutions (BIS), which also is the source of key B-R defensive data (Rdrs and Rtot). I think it’s not possible to assess how well… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

Actually, speaking of overstating things, I made trips to Canada in 1992 and 1994 and the exchange rate was, as I recall, never lower than $.70. I’d gladly take 70% of $1,560,000 over $72,000 myself.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Ahah — so you’re a statistician after all!

Hub Kid
Hub Kid
4 years ago

NSB & EPM, I don’t know any of the nuts and bolts of how the advanced defensive stats came to the conclusion but what they say is that Olerud is a good fielder at an easy position and Vernon is a borderline average fielder at the same position. If you took out the position bonus/penalty, their dWAR’s would track near the 9.9 for Olerud and -2 for Vernon that you both mention. So in overall WAR they are both getting docked for a nearly identical position penalty (from similar amounts of time at first), but adding in extra WAR for… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Hub Kid

The link’s excellent, Kid. Thanks! It explains logically what I knew only by rote from B-R’s statement: that adding oWAR and dWAR to figure WAR would double count the positional adjustment, and helps make the dWAR figure more transparent. The comment section includes some good material as well (not to mention a short, atypically dyspeptic contribution from John Autin, whose comments here were always top quality, regardless of pepticity). By the way, I have an embarrassing general query. Every reference to WAR, oWAR, dWAR, etc. I’ve encountered has been in text. I’ve never heard anyone pronounce these terms in speech.… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

e p m, It’s pronounced, “Wins Above Replacement”…… Forgive my skepticism, I mean, to some extent, we’re all stat geeks here; but, what did we ever do before WAR? And, really, shouldn’t we all be suspicious of any statistic that reduces 650 plate appearances, 300+ fielding chances, and ~225 trips on the base paths to one stinking number? We sure seem to be all too willing to court, propose, and marry this woman. I would not be surprised if something else comes along – just like Palmer and Thorne and, eventually, James were over ridden. By the same token, let… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Thanks for the clarification, Paul. The pirate in me is crestfallen, a little. I certainly didn’t mean to promote WAR, oWAR, or dWAR as more than one set of approaches to player evaluation. I don’t know that it will be necessary to replace WAR in the future, but I feel certain that if we don’t, WAR a decade from now will represent something different and more acceptable than what it does today. I haven’t attended at all to RC/27/AIR, and I don’t know what AIR stands for (assuming we don’t breathe it). A quick look at B-R hasn’t shed light… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

E p m,
Sorry, wasn’t being critical of you…just the animal kingdom’s obsession with WAR.

AIR? Basically, “100” is a par/average run environment calculated over many (all?) seasons. Like, the Toy Cannon got hosed playing in both the 1960’s AND the Astrodome/Dodger Stadium. He has a lower AIR number versus, say, another CF like Hack Wilson (1920’s , Wrigley, Ebbets). Dividing their RC per 27 outs by their AIR sort of levels their accomplishments-kind of like wRC. More leveling than OPS+ which, I believe, gives an equal weight to oba and slug pct.

I hope this helps

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

I get the general concept of using linear weights instead of OPS, Paul, and it makes sense. But can you tell me where I can find the stats themselves on B-R? I just haven’t spotted them.

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

If you go to any position player on B-R, there is a tab, “Finders and Advanced Stats”. Hover over that tab; far left will appear, “Batting Advanced Stats”. Click on “Advanced Stats”. Scroll down to “Advanced Batting” and there you will find a treasure of valuable information. The Toy Cannon’s AIR is 91; Hack Wilson is at 108 – roughly 20% higher. Helton is at 122; Larry Walker is at 116….these differences in AIR can be eliminated by dividing RC/27 by AIR.
There is some mention of par being roughly .335 OBA and .400 slugging

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Thanks, Paul. I’ve used those tables scores of times and never attended to the AIR column. (I was looking for RC/27/AIR after your earlier post.) Am I right to assume you use RC/G and perform the AIR calculation yourself, player by player?

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

yes…..no spreadsheets. I would suspect the final number (/AIR) is probably equivalent to differences in wRC between players. Still, the “favorite toy” on B-R has to be the “neutralzied Run Environment simulator. That also can be found in the “Advanced Stats” page by scrolling further down. You can actually estimate a player’s career scenario (i.e. if you put Dick Allen on the 1965 Phillies for his entire career, you’ll approach his career slash line), and then apply other players to the 1965 Phillies, environment as a means of comparison to Allen. Or, Larry Walker on the 1997 Rockies and put… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Mike Trout’s career/per 162 G – playing his entire career in a run environment similar to ’97 COLO:
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO HBP SF BA OBP SLG OPS RC

162 791 645 176 232 44 9 45 145 36 127 153 12 7 .359 .469 .665 1.134 199

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

yes…..no spreadsheets. I would suspect the final number (/AIR) is probably equivalent to differences in wRC between players. Still, the “favorite toy” on B-R has to be the “neutralzied Run Environment simulator. That also can be found in the “Advanced Stats” page by scrolling further down. You can actually estimate a player’s career scenario (i.e. if you put Dick Allen on the 1965 Phillies for his entire career, you’ll approach his career slash line), and then apply other players to the 1965 Phillies, environment as a means of comparison to Allen. Or, Larry Walker on the 1997 Rockies and put… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

A thought before we enter into the next round of COG voting
At this site’s peak, we had over 60 people voting.
Last year it was, what, about 25-30.
Lately there seems to be about 10 people regularly contributing (maybe more than that silently observing, dunno.)

The COG is, in my oipinion, HHS’s most valuable body of work.
Would the site administrators be willing to put an email out to all the contributors from 3 years ago, letting them know that the COG is gearing up for a new round?

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

Terrific idea!

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

The more voices and viewpoints the better.

I can’t help but think that if people were aware that not only was the project still ongoing but that the problems that arose before the changeover had largely been addressed that many would be only too happy to return to the fold.

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

I like that idea, too, Voomo. My thanks to those of you who contribute frequently. I usually don’t have much to say, but I check in regularly to follow along, and I suspect there are many others who do, too. I’m looking forward to the upcoming COG voting.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Here’s a quiz.
Can anyone get this without looking it up?

On Base Percentage Leaders, minimum 4000 PA, 1946-2017:

.482 … Ted Williams
.444 … Barry Bonds
.428 … Joey Votto
.424 … ??????????????????
.421 … Mickey Mantle
.419 … Frank Thomas
.418 … Edgar Martinez
.415 … Stan Musial
.415 … Wade Boggs
.414 … Todd Helton
.411 … Manny Ramirez
.410 … Mike Trout
.409 … Jackie Robinson
.408 … Jeff Bagwell

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

I’ll guess Ferris Fain.

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

from 1946-2017, there are only 20 players with 4,000 PA’s who managed a BB/SO ratio of >/= 1.85. However, Fain is one of only two players with a ratio > 3.40 ….. don’t have a subscription for the other guy. Valo? Williams? Musial? Ashburn?

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

It’s Valo and also Johnny Pesky. (For that one I had to use the PI).

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Pesky, yes. Valo just a shade under.

3.46 … Fain
3.41 … Pesky
3.35 … Valo
3.33 … Nellie Fox
3.13 … Musial
2.97 … Ted Williams
2.90 … Dale Mitchell
2.54 … Jackie Robinson
2.10 … Richie Ashburn

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Yes. Ferris Fain.

.406 … Elmer Valo
.406 … Lance Berkman
.403 … Joe Cunningham
.402 … Jim Thome
.401 … Rickey
.401 … Chipper
.400 … Larry Walker
.400 … Brian Giles

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

The record for fewest Walks Allowed by a league leader has been set and matched three years in a row, with the 2015-2017 leaders all tallying 79. This detail led me to the opposite, and Nolan Ryan’s 200+ BB efforts. Here’s a fun bit of errata… Most IP in a season with more BB than Hits allowed: 299 … Ryan 247 … Bob Turley 247 … Bob Turley (back-to-back years) 242 … Sam Jones 201 … Randy Johnson 196 … Tommy Byrne 158 … Bobby Witt 149 … Roy Golden 144 … Tommy Byrne 143 … Bobby Witt 134 …… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Doug has given us a terrific new post on the HR explosion of 2017, but I’m going to hope that this string may stay alive to continue discussion of the 2018 HoF candidates (or that a dedicated post on the topic shifts that discussion to a clearer location). Following up on the idea of discussing the candidates in terms of general issues raised by particular cases, I’d like to comment on the case of Andruw Jones. Jones would not be on my ballot — and it’s now clear that the question isn’t whether he’ll be elected this year, but whether… Read more »

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago

To your last point, in my earlier comment where I listed my ballot for the HOF, I included Jones. And my internal reasoning was pretty much spot on with yours: I wanted to see the arguments both pro and con that people made for him. And if I felt that there was a 10th undeniably qualified candidate he wouldn’t have been on my ballot at all. But while I’m leaning towards Guerrero and have serious doubts about Jones neither is a firm yeah or nay at this point and there’s zero chance of Guerrero falling off the ballot. So I… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Well, my HoF “ballot” has ten slots, but I’m not going to fill them all, because there aren’t ten candidates I feel belong in the Hall, partly since I’ve ruled out PED users so summarily for reasons I noted earlier (which eliminates, for me, Bonds, Rocket, Manny, Sammy, and Sheffield). So I’d vote for the following six players: Chipper Guerrero Mussina Schilling Thome Walker I’ve explained why I passed on Hoffman, McGriff, Andruw, and Martinez. I’d love to help drive Santana’s candidacy — I thought he was terrific — but the mileage just isn’t there. I liked Wagner too, but… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

No rules have been instituted saying otherwise, so I’m changing my ballot, on reflection, to drop Ramirez. I’d made my original ballot in a rush during a brain cramp when I’d somehow forgotten his PED use.

Still can’t quite see Mussina for this year. The arguments for A. Jones are interesting, but I’ll pass on him, too, for now.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

I’d be interested in knowing why you passed by Thome, nsb. I paused when it came to him, because a third of his record was as a DH, but I felt he’d banked enough as a position player and his totals reached Hall levels after just a couple of DH seasons. Given your vote for Edgar, the DH issue wouldn’t have been a concern for you in the first place, so I’ve been wondering what issue you’ve focused on. Perhaps too many Ks?

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

My opinion of Thome is clouded by the era, I suppose, in that his batting skills are aligned almost exactly with those that to me are watered down to the point of becoming automatically suspect. Further he played in almost 500 more games than Martinez, but managed just 4.7 more WAR; in spite of his huge number of walks his OBP is .016 below Edgar’s; and yeah, the Ks bother me. Your question made me look at splits for the two, which I hadn’t done, and Martinez was much better with men on and in clutch situations, and against winning… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Very thoughtful reasoning, nsb. Thanks for replying.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

Just thought I’d chip in my two cents. As epm and nsb already know, I like to know what percentage of base runners a player drives home. From the PI player comparison it shows that, career wise, Martinez drove in 17% of base runners compared to Thome’s 16%. But I like my method whereby I discount all PA in which a batter receives a BB except for the bases loaded situation. In addition I also factor in the batter as a base runner, otherwise HR hitters are punished. Doing that switches around the results. Thome shows up with 12.0% of… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

I very much enjoy thinking about all these different ways of approaching player evaluation.

I’ve appreciated your work and extensive tables on base runners driven in, Richard. But I have a question about the figures in your note here. Wouldn’t the percentages rise when PA that result in non-RBI BB are eliminated and the batter is considered a base runner? Your message has them dropping for the two players by substantial margins.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

If I did not count the batter as a base runner the percentages would increase. Counting the batter as a base runner turns things around because of all the outs he makes with nobody on. Does that make sense?

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Ah. Yes. Of course. Thanks, Richard.

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

Basically what you’re saying, R.C., is that Thome hit a lot more HRs.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
4 years ago

That’s right. By the way, nsb, I believe it was either you or epm who originally suggested that I count the batter as a base runner.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

I suggested it, Richard, but the thought wasn’t original to me. I read something many years ago — perhaps a Bill James abstract, perhaps by someone else — where the writer was challenging the old idea that for a true measure of a batter’s worth, HR should be subtracted from RBI, because it was double counting. I’d always done that, but the writer changed my mind: Why penalize the guy who drives himself in? What he’s done is, in fact, more valuable than driving in an ordinary baserunner, which advances a runner only 1, 2, or 3 bases, rather than… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago

NSB, to an extent, your feeling about Thome is exactly one of the things that Morgan was worried about–that the clean player’s un-juiced accomplishments would be diminished by those of took PEDS. Growing up, when there were only a relative handful of 500 HR hitters, and only 3 above 600, 612 would have been considered outstanding. Now, we’ve got 9 over 600, at least 3 of which are associated with PEDs, and it doesn’t seem that extraordinary. Voting was different 30 years ago–I don’t think Thome would have been first ballot

Hartvig
Hartvig
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike L

I think you’re right about Thome probably not being first ballot 30- or at least 35- years ago. I see a lot of similarities between Thome & Harmon Killebrew. And while I think that Thome is the better hitter of the two at least part of the .020 point difference in their respective batting averages is due to era & park effects and Killers .256 batting average was a HUGE sticking point when he became eligible just as Eddie Mathews .271 had been a few years before and Ralph Kiner’s .279 a few years before that. It took Killebrew 4… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
4 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Agree, Hartvig. I think peak Thome was probably a little better than peak Killer, but they were very close. Thome had the higher BA and significantly more doubles. Killer was able to stay on a position (not terribly well) longer, and the DH definitely extended Thome’s career. His last few years he had back problems and really couldn’t take a glove.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
4 years ago

Hooray. We get to argue about Larry Walker again.
Players with 400+ Rbat, 40+ Rbaser, and 90+ Rfield:

Bonds
Mays
Aaron
Larry Walker
_____________

Add to the equation 9+ Rdp and Booger stands alone.
He could do it all.

And here are his career splits at the Denver ballpark, to acknowledge the most significant reason to consider not voting for him:
.381 / .462 / .710 / 1.172

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

On Voomo’s last point, that is indeed the reason why, until this year, I haven’t felt Walker was a good Hall candidate. But the analysis that Chris Bodig did of Walker’s Coors numbers changed my mind (it starts about midway down his post, with the section called “The Coors Effect”), and I’m now a strong proponent (maybe stronger than Bodig). What Bodig shows is that Walker, far from benefiting from Coors like every other member of the Rockies during his era, benefited far, far more: Walker’s prodigious performance at Coors Field, the way he took advantage of his home ballpark,… Read more »

no statistician but
no statistician but
4 years ago

Actually, as I pointed out here some years ago, there’s another player with a similar relationship to a home field, Chuck Klein and the Baker Bowl: Klein first, then Walker: Games: 581, 597 PAs: 2600, 2501 Runs: 550, 555 Hits: 931, 814 2B: 179, 178 3B: 29, 31 HR: 164, 154 RBI: 595, 521 BA: .395, .381 OBP: .448, .462 SLG: .705, .710 tOPS+: 148, 141 The fiction is that neither Walker nor Klein played well in other parks. Klein had hard times at Crosley and Braves Fields and the Polo Grounds, but at Forbes, Ebbets, Sportsman, and Wrigley he… Read more »

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
4 years ago

Klein’s an excellent comparator, nsb; very well chosen! I do recall your mentioning this in the past. (Bodig makes the comparison as well in his post, even including a diagram of the Baker Bowl.) I’ve never seen the claim that Klein played poorly in other parks, though I can imagine that a sloppy writer could make it. What I have seen is the claim that Klein’s amazing numbers in his first five seasons as a regular (with a near-Troutian off-the-mark OPS+ of 161 for those first five full seasons), 1929-33, were largely the product of the “Baker Bowl Effect.” This… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
4 years ago

E P M, Regarding Klein, 1929: +.063 … +.070 1930: +.058 … +.105 1931: +.047 … +.132 1932: +.083 … +.157 1933: +.048 … +.187 “So we see a steadily growing effect of Klein doing what Walker did: on top of the “Baker Bowl Effect” he built his own “Klein-at-the-Baker-Bowl” super-effect.” Or, perhaps, the Phillies’ lineup just got less left-handed and their production shrunk? Here are some pretty