Circle of Greats 1977 Run-Off: Beltran vs. Halladay

There was a tie vote in the Circle of Greats 1977 Balloting, so we will have a run-off election between the two tied players, Carlos Beltran and Roy Halladay. More after the jump.

  Seasons G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
Carlos Beltran 1998-2017 2586 11031 9768 1582 2725 565 78 435 1587 312 49 1084 1795 .279 .350 .486 .837 119 4751
  per 162 games 162 691 612 99 171 35 5 27 99 20 3 68 112 .279 .350 .486 .837 119 298
  Seasons W L W-L% ERA G GS CG SHO IP BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
Roy Halladay 1998-2013 203 105 .659 3.38 416 390 67 20 2749.1 592 2117 131 3.39 1.178 8.7 0.8 1.9 6.9 3.58
  per 162 games 17 9 .659 3.38 35 33 6 2 232 50 179 131 3.39 1.178 8.7 0.8 1.9 6.9 3.58
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/7/2022.

Comparing a pitcher to an everyday player is an interesting challenge. Here’s a run down on some of the things that can be compared directly:

BeltranHalladay
Career WAR (B-R/FanGraphs)70.1/67.965.4/65.4
Career WAA (B-R)34.440.4
Career WPA (B-R/FanGraphs)35.8/35.438.0/38.0
RoY AwardYesNo
MVP/CYA Awardsnone2 times
Gold Glove Awards3 timesnone
All-Star Selections9 times8 times
Pennant-winning teams2 timesnone
World Series championships1 timenone
Hall of Fame selectionnot yet eligibleYes

Here’s a look at the their Top 50 career rankings in the live ball era.

Beltran: G 39th, PA 30th, H 45th, R 36th, HR 44th, 2B 23rd, XBH 23rd, RBI 37th, SB 38th
Halladay: WAR 31st, WAA 19th, WPA 15th, ERA+ 12th, BB% 18th, W-L% 7th

So, the choice is yours. However you decide, your ballot in this runoff round, unlike the usual three-name ballot, should identify only the one candidate you prefer (you will also need to add at least a little bit of extra verbiage though, because the WordPress engine that supports the site won’t accept comments of only one or two words).

All votes must be in by 11:59PM EST on Sunday night, February 13th, with vote changes allowed until 11:59PM EST on Friday night, February 11th. If the result of this runoff is still a tie, the last vote cast will be discarded to determine the winner. So, vote early to ensure your vote counts! If you would like to keep track of the vote tally for the runoff, you can check this tally spreadsheet: COG 1977 Runoff Vote Tally.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
49 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mike L
Mike L
6 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Agree with this, Halladay is the better choice, even without Beltran’s issue. I didn’t vote first time out, so I’ll stay out of the run off

opal611
opal611
6 months ago

My vote is for Carlos Beltran.

Thanks!

Voomo
Voomo
6 months ago

Black ink:

Roy, 48
Carlos, 1 (once played 162 games)

Which of these guys was in the discussion as the best player at his position in his era?

I vote for Halladay

(Forgiving his 2000 season)

Paul E
Paul E
6 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

VOOM, “Which of these guys was in the discussion as the best player at his position in his era?” My ‘notes’ from b-ref may be incorrect but, as far as I can tell Beltran ranked among CF’ers: 2001 AL 1st 6.5 WAR 2003 AL 1st 5.8 WAR 2004 MLB 2nd 6.8 WAR (Royals and Astros; Edmonds 1st w/7.2 WAR) 2006 NL 1st 8.2 WAR 2007 NL 1st 5.4 WAR 2008 NL 1st 7.0 WAR 2009 3.6 WAR in 81 games; microfracture surgery. Moved to RF 2011 4.5 WAR is 3rd among NL RF’ers This coupled with the fact that Beltran… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

Sorry, Paul; I didn’t see that you were making the same point! I’m using this as a distraction from a Zoom call, and I was composing slowly over time. Didn’t realize you had already said this!

Paul E
Paul E
6 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Doom, Yes, Beltran was a plus fielder, one of the greatest percentage base-stealers of all-time, switch-it with power, took a walk, and was, at one point well into his career, #1 in OPS amongst post-season hitters. Was he a career 150 OPS+ hitter like Speaker, Cobb, DiMaggio, Griffey, and Snider? No, but that is a pretty short list. I believe he was the superior of Andruw Jones and, when comparing peaks, a pretty similar case can be made: Edmonds 1995-2005 1475G 56.1WAR Beltran 2001-2011 1500G 55.8WAR Certainly, Edmonds couldn’t run and steal bases like Beltran and that might give him… Read more »

Voomo
Voomo
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

Good points. I hadn’t looked at it quite that carefully

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

Just out of curiosity: was there a better centerfielder over the first half of Beltran’s career than Beltran himself? Maybe Andruw Jones… but it’s one of the two – and I don’t think that was unknown at the time. I would say he was firmly in the discussion. Limiting it to his best decade (1999-2008), the only outfielder (regardless of particular position) who was better was Barry Bonds. The discussion would’ve been Andruw Jones and Carlos Beltran. Maybe Vlad Guerrero, in popular media? But WAR certainly doesn’t think he was in these guys’ league. So I think he was in… Read more »

Tom
Tom
6 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Andruw Jones completely collapsed in 2008: .158, 3, 14 in 75 games. 35 OPS+ -1.6 WAR. -2.3 WAA

JEV
JEV
6 months ago

My vote is for Beltran.

Tom
Tom
6 months ago

Halladay. Lest we forget Beltran’s leading role in the 2017 Astro cheating scandal: https://www.si.com/mlb/2020/02/11/carlos-beltran-astros-sign-stealing-scandal-role

One player was named in the report. That player was Carlos Beltran. MLB threw him under the bus to try to quiet it down and get everyone to move on. But Beltran and Cora were named as the ringleaders, and identified by other players as such.

Paul E
Paul E
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom

From the article: “Beltrán, who is the godfather of the whole program, ironically just swings at everything after taking a strike and probably does the worst with the info,” he wrote.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago

My vote is for Roy Halladay. But before I make the case for Halladay, I want to try to understand the case for Beltran. I believe it comes down to a few points. 1.) Beltran was really good at a lot of things – he didn’t have a lot of blank ink, because he wasn’t excellent at one thing. Players with high-level skill, but not elite skill at any one thing – will be hurt by checking league leaders and such. 2.) The things Beltran was excellent at don’t translate to a big, traditional, statistical case. He was a plus… Read more »

Voomo
Voomo
6 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Doom, are you saying the 2011 Phillies had the best staff of all time?

You qualified it by saying the best one year staff. Not sure what the distinction is.

If you’re saying that Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, Worley were the best staff of all time, that’s certainly worthy of an argument against.

Voomo
Voomo
6 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

However, I’m struggling to come up with a staff that was better, either in performance or pedigree.

1906 Cubs, perhaps.

Paul E
Paul E
6 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

FWIW, The 1906 Cubs are the only staff with an ERA+ greater than 150 in the 60’6″ pitching distance era. I can’t seem to figure out team pitching WAR on Stathead 🙁

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

Paul E:You can find team pitching WAR on Fangraphs.com.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

What I meant by “one year staff” was that I’m not trying to compare it to the Maddux-Smoltz-Glavine Braves. Those are much stronger staffs, over a period of years. But I don’t believe they had any one year better than the ’11 Phillies. I would put that Phils staff up against any single year by any single staff in baseball history, but particularly post-integration. They don’t get the credit because of the perception that they underachieved – World champs in ’08, NL champs in ’09, lost NLCS in ’10, lost division series in ’11 is going backward, so it seems… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
6 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

Lemon, Wynn, Feller, Garcia? Palmer, McNally, Cuellar, Dobson?
Cy Young, George xxx Cuppy, and Clarkson? Kid Nichols, Clarkson, and anybody?
Mathewson , McGinity, and Wiltse? 1923 Cincinnati Reds?

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

Not sure those deadball staffs are particularly comparable – most especially the 19th century ones you mention. But we could look at the ’54 Indians and the ’71 O’s, assuming those are the one-year staffs you meant. Now, given that this is a bit of an apples-to-oranges, since starting rotations were managed really differently. But the ’71 O’s had four pitchers start 142 games; the ’54 Indians had five pitchers start 145; and the ’11 Phillies had five pitchers start 139. So while the rotations weren’t the same size, nor were the schedules, the final number of games is pretty… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
6 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Doom, Thanks for the calculations. When I threw out these suggestions, I was only referring to the “talent” on the staffs in question. Like, three Hall of Famers on the ’54 Indians in Feller, Lemon, and Wynn….or, Nichols and Clarkson, who were pitching 80% of the innings for their staffs or Mathewson, McGinnity and whomever. I don’t necessarily believe that we should throw out the pre-integration/dead ball record book either but, that’s another story. I get the ERA comparisons, but what might WAR indicate for these same staffs? As far as the Phila starting five, there’s one Hall of Famer… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

If it’s purely a question of the staff with the most raw talent, I would nominate the 1987 Twins: HOF Steve Carlton, HOF Bert Blyleven, 200-game-winner Joe Niekro, Cy Young-winner Frank Viola, 4-time all-star (and one-time saves leader) Jeff Reardon, plus Juan Berenguer and Allan Anderson. But that, of course, is not exactly what I was talking about, because Carlton and Niekro were worthless, and Blyleven past his prime, by the time it got to be ’87. As for looking at WAR, I have some issues with doing that. Because the baseline is not zero, you can end up with… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
6 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Doom, Thanks again for the further musings. I am not surprised by any of the staffs on your list except for, maybe, the 1926 Phila A’s. I don;t know whether to agree with you or not on the 2011 Phillies as “Hurlers Maximi” but, they certainly could have accomplished more in that ‘era’ as an organization with that kind of talent on the hill. But, I digress….The only ‘nick’ on the superlatives/positives on the current guys has to be the lack of CG’s. It has to be a lot easier to pitch every 5th day for 6-7 innings than every… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

The ’26 A’s were Bill James’ pick as the best rotation of the ’20s. Actually, having done this study, I would now say that the ’23 Reds deserve the nod, though I wouldn’t have known that before you mentioned them. I suspect that the 2nd A’s dynasty (the one that beat the Ruth-Gehrig Yankees) was a flashier pick, and it’s hard to argue against Lefty Grove. Eddie Rommel and Rube Walberg were also on both the ’31 and ’26 teams. So there was a lot of doubling up of names when I was crunching the numbers. As for the desire… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
6 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

You may recall Billy Martin utilizing Langford, Norris, Keough, Kingman,and McCatty till their arms fell off in the early ’80s? We’re only talking substituting one position player for one pitcher, right?…. I guess whoever that manager is, his GM better be on the same page. That 1980 A’s team imporved 29 games over their 54-108 performance in 1979 amd eventually made the playoffs in 1981

Paul E
Paul E
6 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Doom,
1926 A’s, entire staff, had an ERA+ of 139. The 2011 Phightins’ 127…which, on the surface seems fairly significant. Will have to sharpen a few pencils to get the starters sorted out

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

A couple things: first of all, that A’s team used only 11 pitchers all season… and all 11 had an ERA+ of 100 or better. I wonder if that’s unique in baseball history. I suspect it is. (FIP would see Stan Baumgartner as sub-average… but only him, and he only pitched 22.1 innings all year.) For my purposes, in the case of the ’26 A’s, I used the first four players B-Ref designated as their “starters,” then included the two “relief pitchers” who started 18+ games, but ignored the last player designated as a “starter,” since he only started 10… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Doom,
Looks like Fangraphs calls the ’70 Cubs “starters” good for 26 WAR; the 2011 Phillies are at 27

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Doom/Voom, That 2011 Phila staff was, believe it or not, a case of one-year wonders. While compiling the most WAR (per Fangraphs – thank you, Richard Chester !) in the live ball era amongst starters,they never led the ML in starter WAR in any surrounding seasons. As far as I can tell, these are the best “starter” seasons of the live-ball era: 2011 PHI 27.0 1970 CHI 26.0 1971 CWS 25.9 1997 ATL 25.4 1967 MIN 24.7 1996 ATL 24.6 1946 DET 24.5 1998 ATL 24.4 Two shallow observations: 1) If you pro-rate for the strike seasons of 1994 &… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

To your “shallow” observations: 1) I can’t imagine any argument that ANY staff was better than the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz crew, if you take into account a series of years. There’s nothing like them in the history of baseball. 100 years from now, they’ll probably still be anomalous (and they’ll look like one of those old-timey things that would be impossible in “today’s modern game.”) 2) I am at work, unfortunately, and don’t have my books handy. Was that in the original BJHBA, or in the NBJHBA? If it was in the original, that’s a bit of a surprise, seeing as Win… Read more »

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
5 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

While waiting for an appointment, I just did. You were in fine form with your soap boxing, Doom. 🙂

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Yes, I’ll check and verify the NBJHBA for that ‘factoid” on the Cubs starters. As far as one year versus three year averaging on park factors, 1970 was an aberration with a real break-out in run scoring – kind of like 1977 (“Rawlings Rocket baseball) and 1987. With three-year averaging, this staff’s accomplishment will unjustifiably fade. I have a real hard time with WAR from a fielding standpoint. Does someone watch baseball all night and decide, “Beltre made a real nice play there. I’ll bet only he and Scott Rolen can make that play” Then, said viewer subjectively decides that… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

A couple things: First of all, the one-year-versus-three-year park factor thing has nothing to do with an overall bump in scoring. Wrigley played as more of a hitters’ park than usual relative to the other stadiums in question. Whether the league scored more runs or not seems irrelevant to that question. It just played with more offense. But if you smooth it out over three years, you’re supposed to help determine whether what was happening was fortune or skill. Maybe Wrigley just was bouncier that year – perhaps the winds of the lake were more favorable because that’s what the… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Doom,
So based on the thorough evaluation described above, how is it possible they’re evaluatiing players from 50 years ago in the same fashion and to the same extent/standards as they evaluate guys today? Mike Schmidt, Graig Nettles, Brooks Robinson versus Beltre, Rolen, and Arenado….is it the same evaluation? Or are they just using standard stuff like range factor for the old guys?

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

They’re not using the same evaluation methods. DRS, which is the system they use now, only dates back to 2003. They can’t use it for any seasons before then. For the prior seasons, it’s a method called TotalZone. There’s a full explanation here: https://www.baseball-reference.com/about/total_zone.shtml But the short of it is, you have to estimate the hits to each location (using pitcher handedness, information on who fielded the ball (because that often IS known for every play, etc.) and charge them appropriately. You do know how many outs a particular player made; based on groundball/flyball tendencies, handedness of pitchers, and an… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Yes, it appears that if I guy has a reputation as a good fielder (or bad) DRS will emphasis/exaggerate that in its findings. But, a margin of error of 1 WAR seems extreme when your average regular is good for only 2-3 WAR. Also, I would think that most players’ (good and bad) fielding skills diminish more quickly than batting. The NBJHBA comments regarding the 1970 Cubs appear in the evaluation of Jenkins as the 23rd greatest pitcher of all time. He states they were the greatest one year staff of the 1970’s. But, according to Fangraphs WAR, they’re the… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
6 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

I believe Bill James may have cited the ’70 or ’71 Cubs with Jenkins, Hands, Holtzman, and Pappas as “great” per WS? Don’t believe their WAR exceeds 23..

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

Paul, Out of curiosity, I did also try the ’23 Reds. The slotted in between the Braves and Phillies at a 2.72 ERA (using their four primary starters on a 136-game schedule). I have really mixed feelings about that, though. All those starters were used in relief at least 4 times each (22 times total). When it’s just an appearance or two, it doesn’t bother me as much. But when it gets to be this big of a number, I’m not sure how I should balance it. My guess would be that, in real life, you didn’t Dolf Luque’s relief… Read more »

Voomo
Voomo
6 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Here’s an overlooked great staff:

2017 Diamondbacks

163 / 4.7 / Robbie Ray
147 / 5.7 / Greinke
139 / 4.2 / Godley
135 / 2.6 / Taijuan Walker
116 / 2.6 / Corbin

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

Overlooked, indeed! I scored them at a 2.94 rotation ERA… pretty close to the 1969 Cardinals of Gibson and Carlton, who score a 2.90. It’s a very impressive season.

Voomo
Voomo
6 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

1939 Yankees are also an interesting case.

Staff ERA+ of 132

Eight pitchers with at least 11 starts.
Six of whom had at least 2.3 WAR

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

That’s the kind of team where you really start to question who/what to count as part of the starting “rotation.” I mean, they score very well by this metric (2.74) using all eight players who started more than three games… but do we really consider eight guys to be a starting rotation? Additionally, as I said, I regret not using some FIP component. Per ERA+, there are three guys on this staff (Ruffing, Hadley, Hildebrand, Sundra, and Russo) with an ERA+ of 140 or greater. Yet, per FIP, not a one of them has an FIP+ of even 130. Playing… Read more »

Doug
Doug
4 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Those 2013 Tigers actually had 6 pitchers with a start, with Jose Alvarez making 6 starts and 8 relief appearances in his debut season (Tigers traded him to the Angels for Andrew Romine just before the 2014 campaign). Only 5 teams in the modern era have used only 5 starters, the 1901 Sens and Braves and 1904 Americans, followed by the 1966 Dodgers and 2003 Mariners. That Dodger team had a 2.70 ERA in the Starter split, despite an off-season (96 ERA+) from Drysdale. There are 20 teams with 3+ pitchers having 20+ starts and 140 ERA+ (that’s 19 teams… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
6 months ago

I will go with Halladay.

Andy
Andy
6 months ago

I’m voting for Halladay.

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
6 months ago

I’m voting for Halladay.

Doug
Doug
6 months ago

Halladay is the clear winner in the run-off election.

Thanks everyone for your votes and the lively discussion.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
6 months ago
Reply to  Doug

I hadn’t really thought of this, but Roy Halladay was not only still alive, but actively pitching when the Circle of Great began. first post was December 9, 2012; Halladay pitched another season after that. Mariano Rivera is the only other COG-member pitcher from the COG era; Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Ichiro Suzuki are the only position players who were active when our voting began, and who have been inducted into the COG. Halladay is, of course, the only one among them who is deceased. It’s a shame to have lost him so young.