CAWS Career Gauge – Part 3

Michael Hoban closes out his series on the CAWS Career Gauge with this last installment identifying the players, both those who achieved Hall-worthy career performance as measured by CAWS and those who did not. More after the jump.

There are one hundred four (104) position players and forty-eight (48) pitchers in the live ball era (since 1920) who have Hall of Fame numbers according to the CAWS Career Gauge. Here is the distribution by position.

  • First Base – 16
  • Second Base – 14
  • Third Base – 10
  • Shortstop – 13
  • Left Field – 14
  • Center Field – 11
  • Right Field – 12
  • Catcher – 12
  • Designated Hitter – 2
  • Pitcher – 48

The rest of this post identifies those players who achieved, or came close to achieving, Hall of Fame-worthy careers as measured by the CAWS Career Gauge. For an introduction to CAWS, please see Part 1. For an explanation of Hall of Fame standards as measured by CAWS, please see Part 2.

The following lists will show the career totals for those players who had HOF numbers at each position. All numbers include the 2018 season, and will show:

  • Bold print = Hall of Famer
  • Italic = active player in 2019
  • Career Win Shares from Bill James’ Win Shares formulae
  • Core Value = sum of Win Shares for 10 best seasons
  • CAWS = Core Value + .25 x (Career Win Shares – Core Value)
  • CAWS+ = normalized CAWS where 100 = CAWS positional HOF-qualifying standard

Right Field (CAWS = 280)

Note that all of these players have been elected to the Hall of Fame.

Left Field (CAWS = 280)

Note that of the players not elected to the Hall of Fame, one (Rose) is ineligible (banned) and the three others have been suspected of PED usage.

Center Field (CAWS = 270)

Of the two players not elected to the Hall of Fame, one (Beltran) is not yet eligible.

First Base (CAWS = 280)

Two of the players not elected to the Hall of Fame are still active, one (McGwire) has admitted PED use, and a fourth (Palmeiro) is suspected of PED use.

Second Base (CAWS = 260)

Of the players not elected to the Hall of Fame, one is not yet eligible (Utley), and one is active but has been suspended for PED usage.

Third Base (CAWS = 270)

One of the players not elected to the Hall of Fame is not yet eligible (Beltre). Two other third basemen compiled HOF-qualifying great, shorter careers of 250 CAWS in a career of 1800 or fewer games: Heinie Groh (272 career Win Shares/243 core value/250 CAWS); and David Wright (267/247/252).

Shortstop (CAWS = 250)

Both of the players not elected to the Hall of Fame are not yet eligible, though one (Rodriguez) has been suspended for PED usage.

Catcher (CAWS = 250)

One of the players not elected to the Hall of Fame is not yet eligible (Mauer).

Designated Hitter (CAWS = 280)

Both of these players are in the Hall of Fame with solid credentials.

Pitcher (CAWS = 220)

Only four of these players are not the Hall, one of whom (Clemens) is suspected of PED usage.

In addition to the players above, the following pitchers have Hall of Fame numbers according to the CAWS Career Guage, despite not reaching 220 CAWS.

Only one retired and and one active player are not in the Hall among this supplementary list of CAWS-qualifying pitchers.

The Very Good

With any ranking system, there will be very good players who fall just short of the mark. Here are some of those players, by position.

Only a handful of corner infielders not qualified by CAWS are Hall of Fame selections. Note that Joey Votto has, this season (2019), reached Hall of Fame qualifying levels for CAWS.

In contrast to the corner infielders, there is a larger proportion of middle infielders not qualified by CAWS who have been honored with Hall enshrinement. Most of them, though, are “in the conversation” with CAWS+ scores of 90 or more.

A couple of almost qualifiers (Martinez and Medwick) are among the non-qualifying HOFers for these positions. But there are several quite dubious Hall picks among the rest, with some allowance given for Roy Campanella‘s unique circumstances. Yadier Molina will likely pass Posada, and possibly Freehan, but most likely will not reach the 250 HOF qualifier.

A sizable number of players here at the more demanding of the outfield positions, with a smattering of non-qualifying HOFers, half with CAWS+ of 90 or more, but the other half below that mark. Note that Andrew McCutchen has, this season (2019), reached Hall of Fame qualifying levels for CAWS.

Similar story with starting pitchers, with only a couple of handfuls of Hall inductees among the non-qualifiers, half with better CAWS+ (on the left) and lesser lights on the right. Note the active pitchers on this list, one (Verlander) seemingly with a good chance of reaching 220 CAWS, the others much less likely. Note also the asterisked players, who achieved the CAWS qualification which admitted Roy Halladay (including Lon Warneke who also achieved the 200 Core Value qualification), but whom Michael has elected not to include among those pitchers with HOF-caliber credentials.

Finally, the relief pitchers with, perhaps surprisingly, only one active pitcher making the list. But, that pitcher (Kimbrel) easily outclasses all of the others in the CAWS per 100 IP metric.

For those who may be interested, I’ve prepared a spreadsheet of Career CAWS scores for all of the players in the Baseball Gauge database. The data presented are based on Win Shares as calculated by Baseball Gauge, which may not always match the Win Shares as shown on Bill James’ website. There are two calculations for Career Win Shares (CWS), Core Value (CV) and CAWS, one with no rounding of seasonal Win Shares totals, and one with rounding of each season’s Win Shares to a whole number. You can also download seasonal data for each player from this link.

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43 Comments on "CAWS Career Gauge – Part 3"

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Mike H
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Doug,

Nice job. I do not know how I completely missed Lon Warneke.

Doug
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Mike. Wasn’t meaning to show you up with the apparent, additional CAWS qualifiers, but thought it needed to be acknowledged since this had come up in the discussion of Part 2. Hope you weren’t offended. The surprising Win Shares for Warneke and Trout (and Newsom, Harder, Bridges and Derringer) has me wondering whether the talent disparity between the best and worst wartime players may have resulted in overly generous WS allocations for those better players. But, would have to study this further to say more than that. As to the Halladay qualifier of 180/2400 to start a career, was playing… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
It’s great to see Mike’s specific lists presented here, and I think the CAWS+ feature makes the figures very simple to understand – it could be used for a unified list as well, since the positional distinctions are all accounted for in that metric, like the Hall of Stats list rather than the JAWS lists. I’d like to talk a little bit about ways we might conceptualize what a truly ideal Hall monitor would look like, and what realistic features we might actually be able to implement if we were, somehow, to design such a monitor for practical use. I… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

I looked at this again and I see I wrote: “Here is a short list of some issues I’m thinking of.” Instead I wrote the long list. I should learn that while my intentions may seem strong, brevity is pretty much beyond me.

mosc
Guest
I feel like Dr. Doom and I had pretty similar takes on this and the systems we were proposing did not have arbitrary “peak” definitions. We had some differences about consecutive vs non-consecutive season performance but I felt like that approach accomplished a lot of what Mike, the HOS, JAWS, and similar are trying to point out without being quite so arbitrary. Another thing we both embraced was using WAA+ when talking about the hall of fame. Although durability and longevity at a near-league average pace are somewhat discounted by this approach, it better balances out the excellence from the… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

I just posted this for Voomo on the Part 2 string. Since we’ve moved on to Part 3 I’ll repeat it here; it’s the link to Mike’s book, Defining Greatness.

https://www.amazon.com/DEFINING-GREATNESS-Hall-Fame-Handbook/dp/1621412369.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I thought it might be a good exercise to observe the difference between a WS-based system like CAWS and a bWAR-based equivalent. So using a WAR formula precisely parallel to CAWS that I’m calling “CWAR”, I’ve prepared the rankings of Second Basemen below, using CAWS+ as an index. “CWAR” is produced by the formula: Best10 + (.25*(bWAR-Best10)), and I’ve created a “CWAR+” proxy for CAWS+ by setting Lou Whitaker as the baseline of 100. (In CAWS, Chase Utley is 100 and Whitaker 101, but Utley is well above Whitaker in CWAR, so choosing Whitaker seemed a better intuitive threshold/cutoff point.… Read more »
Doug
Guest
Nice comparison, Bob. I guess I’m as much surprised at how close the numbers are for most of the players, as I am at how different they are for a few. 12 of the 16 are within 10 points, and only Biggio and Hornsby are more than 25 points apart, For their top 10 WAR seasons, Hornsby had 98.6 WAR compared to only 45.3 for Kent, more than a 2:1 advantage for Rajah. But their top 10 WS seasons were much closer, 381 to 252, only slightly better than 1.5:1 advantage. I presume that disparity is partly, or maybe mostly,… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

That’s an interesting point, Doug. You’re right: most of the players hold close to the same quality level across systems, while a few change dramatically. I’d add Kent to Hornsby and Biggio.

Looking at Kent, there are some interesting disparities that seem to go beyond the differences in baselines, e.g., looking at the start of his career:

Year……WS……WAR
1992…..10………1.7
1993…..13………0.3
1994…..18………2.7
1995…..11………3.2
1996…..11………2.4

It’s a small sample, but the lack of correlation between the two systems seems a lot more profound than we might expect.

Mike L
Guest
Bob, this is fascinating that some players seem to have wide divergences. Leads you to an interesting side discussion: We rely (whether we admit it or not) on things like WAR to help us rank players but, in theory, if we were properly valuing worth, all systems should, within a fairly small tolerance, end up in the same place, particularly in rating players in relation to each other. We’ve spent years talking about the COG, and, exclusive of the real greats, selecting one player over another when the differentials on WAR are maybe a total of 4 (about a 1./4… Read more »
Doug
Guest

My hunch as to why WAR and CAWS may end up in the same place in many cases is that, while CAWS gives players a leg up for their core value with its lower baseline than WAR, that “lead” goes away with WAR giving credit for 100% of a career while CAWS gives only 25% credit for the rest of the career outside of the core seasons.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Actually, though, my comparison of second basemen was between CAWS and “CWAR”, not CAWS and WAR, and the comparison in Jeff Kent’s case is between WS and bWAR.

Doug
Guest

Sorry if that was confusing. I was talking about WAR generally, not your CWAR stat.

I think you’re bang on in your remark below about defense; it does figure much more prominently in WAR than WS, and probably with good reason.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
In the Jeff Kent example, I think we may be glimpsing two effects of WS vs. WAR, rather than a single underlying cause. We know that 1) WS weights fielding vastly less than WAR. We also know that 2) WAR measures the quality of a player’s statistical record: the number of runs/wins it could be predicted to generate, while WS measures the share individual players deserve for actual wins, not predicted wins, and in doing so it pits each player against his teammates in assessing who on the team deserves what share of a limited number of wins. In other… Read more »
mosc
Guest

I think it’s good to separate Mike’s work from the WS vs WAR debate (of which my opinions are well expressed already on here). It’s still an interesting division and relates better to what we’ve typically been working with on here. Nice job Bob, as always.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Sorry that I post random statistical things that have nothing to do with the topic, but frankly, this CAWS business is over my head.

I’m fascinated, and horrified by, this trend of home runs and low OBP.

Here is what Yasiel Puig is projected to do by the end of the year:
37 HR
99 RBI
24 SB
.282 OBP
… and the now normal 159 SO

Only season that looks like that, without the SB, is Dave Kingman in 1982.
https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kingmda01.shtml

Paul E
Guest
Voomo, ……and teammate Joey Votto has 20 RBI in 78 team games. He’s on pace for 42 in 162 team games. Here are 1B, fewest RBI, 1920-present, 600+ PA, 75% of games played at 1B: ………………………………RBI…..PA….YR……..AGE….TEAM 1 Gene Paulette 36 608 1920 29 PHI NL 2 Elbie Fletcher 38 606 1937 21 BSN NL 3 Mike Hargrove 40 616 1978 28 TEX AL 4 Eddie Waitkus 44 614 1948 28 CHC NL 5 Eddie Waitkus 44 702 1950 30 PHI NL 6 Rod Carew 44 612 1982 36 CAL AL 7 Lu Blue 45 681 1922 25 DET AL 8… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Votto is starting to look like a 35 year-old. 97 OPS+ this year, after never being under 125 previously. Pitchers have noticed; he was intentionally walked 50 times from 2015 to 2017, but only 8 times since then. But, don’t count him out just yet; historically, he’s been considerably better in the second half.

Paul E
Guest
Doug, He’s .299/.411/.508 historically for the 1st half which isn’t exactly, oy vey, chopped liver. About .920 vs. .993 1st vs 2nd halves….. It can’t be easy for anyone, except the Cooperstown inner sanctum guys, to perform at a previous career level at age 35. And even those greats (Aaron comes to mind) weren’t playing 162 of 162 and taking days off on a once/week basis. Maybe these GM’s will hold off on the 10 year contracts? I have to believe Pujols (3rd greatest 1B of all-time?) would have been platooned or retired for a few years by now if… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Point taken. Somewhat better in second half may be closer to the mark.

Actually, it may just be a slow start. Votto was .208/.323/.340 thru May 19, but himself (.330/.400/.519) since then.

Paul E
Guest

Someone, somewhere, maybe Baseball Prospectus, pointed out that, two years ago, Votto had really sold himself out, gotten even more selective and was trying to hit everything in the air- and hit it hard. But, I kind of believe his approach wasn’t all that much different prior to that with him never popping up in the infield with something like 5 years between foul pops to the 1B ? Pretty incredible hitter; a total on-base machine

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Votto just reached safely 5 times and stole a base. Perhaps he reads this website and it lit a fire.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
A few observations at the halfway point of the season… Minnesota is on pace to hit 300 homeruns. Five teams are on pace to break a homerun record set by the Yankees last year. Pete Alonso is on pace to hit 54 homeruns as a rookie. Gary Sanchez has 23 home runs in 60 games. The record for homeruns by a catcher is 45, by Johnny bench. Hunter Renfroe, Franmil Reyes, Eddie Rosario, and Jay Bruce are all on pace for more than 40 homeruns with more homeruns than walks. That has only been done 20 times previously. There are… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Those Dodgers should read Buehler and Kershaw.

Ryne Stanek is on pace for 46 games started and 91 innings pitched.

Mike Leake and J.A. Happ are both on pace to give up more than 40 homeruns with more HR allowed than BB.
That has only been done twice before. Robin Roberts and Bronson Arroyo.

Josh Hader, 2.9 H/9, 17.2 SO/9.

Justin Verlander, 5.00 H/9. On pace to break the record.

Doug
Guest

Today’s London game was the first between New York and Boston with both teams scoring more than 12 runs. The total of 30 runs scored is second only to the Yankees’ 20-11 win on 8/21/2009.

It was also the 3rd longest 9-inning game at 4 hours 42 minutes. The two longer games (4:45 and 4:43) were also Yankee/Red Sox affairs. This is the 235th regular or post-season 9-inning game lasting 4 hours or more; 16 of them have matched the Yankees and Red Sox.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Early in this string I wrote a longish comment on the issues I thought needed to be considered in devising as good a Hall monitor as possible. The only comment that comment generated was my own, to the effect that it was too long. Someone, however, gave the comment an encouraging thumbs down so I thought I’d follow up. I’ve been trying to devise a formula that responded to some, at least, of my own criteria. For example, I chose a base system (bWAR; Surprise!), and tried a new way of balancing quality and longevity. The formula includes four separate… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
So far this orning the world has not ended, so, following up on last night’s comment, here is how a “WARQ” calculation that included Total bWAR (50%), Best 10 (16.7%), Peak 5 (16.7%), and WAR/502PA (16.7%) would play out for some second basemen. To get a raw WARQ score for Craig Biggio, we take: WAR: 65.5 Best10: 53.7 Peak5: 32.8 Rate: 2.63 WAR/502PA . . . x 20 = 52.6 Apply the formula: (WAR + (Best10 / 3) + (Best5 / 3) + ((WAR/502PA*20) / 3)) / 2 and the result is a raw score of 55.9. Biggio spent 15%… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
On reflection, I think that I should eliminate the 5% boost to Total WAR for pre-1961 players, who played a 5% shorter schedule. In theory, while the shorter seasons may have limited annual WAR, it may have prolonged longevity. I think the boost is still appropriate for Best10 and Peak5 figures. — As the politicians say, I want to make one thing perfectly clear (but I don’t plan to follow that statement with gobbledygook, as they generally do): I’m posting comments of this semi-baked WARQ idea because in this preliminary state, I’m hoping it will invite ideas for making it… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Dinelson Lamet is about to return from TJ surgery.
He had an inspiring but odd rookie season in 2017.

4.57 ERA while allowing only 6.9 H/9.

Highest ERA in a season of 100+ IP, and a H/9 under 7:

5.31 … Eric Plunk
4.71 … Herb Score
4.57 … Lamet
4.41 … Rex Barney
4.10 … Sam Jones
4.08 … Juan Nieves
3.98 … Randy Johnson

That was also a rookie season for Plunk, and one of 18 seasons of 100+ IP with more Walks allowed than Hits.
And it was done twice in 1986, by Plunk and fellow rookie Bobby Witt.

Kazzy
Guest

Unless I totally missed it, I’ve seen no mention of Mike Trout. According to Baseball Gauge, he’s compiled 289 Win Share, all in his first (only) 9 years. So that’d put his CAWS score at…289. Correct? That’d seem to slot him in right in the middle of the Hall of Fame CFers. Which is insane. Am I looking at that correctly?

Mike H
Guest

Why is that insane? Mike Trout has already posted HOF numbers and there is no telling (if he remains healthy) where he will eventually rank among the greatest players ever. Albert Pujols, for example, is among the top 12 position players since 1920.

Kazzy
Guest

Sorry… insane in a “Holy moley he’s insanely good!” Obviously he is going to rank high in rate stats but this is a (modified) counting stat and he’s already in elite territory with what amounts to half a career. Surprised he wasn’t mentioned.

Mike H
Guest

Mike Trout was not mentioned in the CAWS rankings because a player must have completed 10 major league seasons to be considered.

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