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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, January 16, 2012

2013 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

2013 (November 26, 2012)—elect 3*
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos

705 186.2 1986 Barry Bonds-LF
437 146.4 1984 Roger Clemens-P
428 73.8 1989 Craig Biggio-2B
325 68.7 1993 Mike Piazza-C
322 61.0 1989 Sammy Sosa-RF
252 75.4 1990 Curt Schilling-P
288 51.7 1992 Kenny Lofton-CF
297 41.3 1989 Steve Finley-CF
280 45.0 1983 Julio Franco-SS/2B
210 55.2 1988 David Wells-P
237 41.8 1995 Shawn Green-RF
209 36.7 1992 Reggie Sanders-RF
230 28.9 1994 Ryan Klesko-LF/1B
185 33.7 1994 Jose Valentin-SS
169 33.1 1995 Jeff Cirillo-3B
144 38.6 1992 Roberto Hernandez-RP
193 23.7 1993 Jeff Conine-1B/LF
159 24.4 1992 Royce Clayton-SS
151 23.7 1994 Rondell White-LF/CF
121 32.4 1992 Bob Wickman-RP
118 31.9 1993 Woody Williams-P
125 27.7 1990 Jose Mesa-RP
122 27.4 1995 Mike Lieberthal-C
120 27.4 1996 Jason Schmidt-P*
109 30.8 1997 Kelvim Escobar-P*
111 21.9 1993 Aaron Sele-P
122 12.5 1997 Todd Walker-2B

* Might be an elect-4 election this year.

Thanks to Dan for the list.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 16, 2012 at 05:08 PM | 231 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 16, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4038253)
I'll be posting a new player discussion thread every Monday for the next couple of months. If I fail to post one, e-mail me first instead of "complaining" about it here.

I'll also be cleaning up the Plaque Room a little bit at a time for the next couple of weeks, so don't think I have forgotten about that. I have just been incredibly busy and that stuff will always have to come first (and Joe is even more busy, so he has less time than myself :-)

Thank you for your patience.

   2. Howie Menckel Posted: January 16, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4038284)

Wild prediction of 2013 results - not easy because of the one-year boycott option:

1. Bonds
2. Clemens
3. Piazza
4. Biggio
5. Schilling
6. Sosa
7. fustercluck between top of leftover heap and many newcomers. maybe Wells here?

I'd imagine that even the boycotts won't keep Bonds and Clemens out of top 2, but who knows what happens a year from now.

   3. OCF Posted: January 16, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4038285)
When it comes to it, my own ballot will have no boycotts. No backlogger will be higher than 7th, if even that.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: January 16, 2012 at 06:53 PM (#4038292)

I don't boycott, either...

   5. DL from MN Posted: January 16, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4038295)
Prelim

1) Bonds
2) Clemens
3) Piazza
4) Schilling
5) Tommy Bridges
6) Biggio
remainder from this year's ballot

~20th Sosa - he's pretty even with Norm Cash
~40th Lofton
   6. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 17, 2012 at 05:17 AM (#4038453)
Bonds had 705 WS? Holy crap.
   7. Rusty Priske Posted: January 17, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4038502)
1. Bonds (Barry)
2. Clemens
3. Biggio
4. Leach
5. McGriff
6. Piazza
7. Perez
8. Sosa
9. Bonds (Bobby)
10. Duffy
11. Welch
12. Willis
13. Williams
14. Bell
15. Monroe

I tend to give extra weight to players that I think have been unfairly passed over, which is why you will see Piazza only in at 7. Schilling is not worthy of induction, in my opinion. (feel free to mock...)

Having said all of that, if we are only inducting 3 and they are anyone other than Bonds, Clemens and Biggio, something has gone terribly wrong.
   8. Mike Webber Posted: January 17, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4038509)
Having said all of that, if we are only inducting 3 and they are anyone other than Bonds, Clemens and Biggio, something has gone terribly wrong.


C'mon Rusty, the third player could be Piazza as easily as Biggio. I don't think Backne is going to be a major election fall back.

And as far as the first non-newly eligible, I think it will be the top back-logger with less popular support and more devoted fans. Say maybe Hugh Duffy, Cannonball Dick while Luis Tiant and Phil Rizzuto fall back.
   9. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 17, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4038515)
I tend to think Piazza should go in before Biggio, because I think most of our metrics skew against catchers, and relative to their comparative greatness Piazza was better. Biggio is for a variety of obvious reasons an interesting comparison point though so I admit this is just my hunch, without having crunched any numbers.
   10. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: January 17, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4038529)
I'm not a voter, only a long time follower of the process, but the following:

I tend to give extra weight to players that I think have been unfairly passed over


(ranking someone higher than you think they really belong because you think other people have historically voted them too low) seems an awful lot like unconstitutional strategic voting to me.

In addition, voters pledge to refrain from “strategic” voting; that is, manipulating one’s ballot (i.e., so it does not reflect one’s own beliefs regarding the relative merits of the players) in an attempt to achieve a more desirable group ranking. Voters should simply vote for the 15 best eligible players, ranking them from 1 to 15. Even if it appears a player won’t be elected, you should still vote for him if you feel he is worthy.
   11. DL from MN Posted: January 17, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4038530)
I have Piazza as one of the top 5 most valuable catchers of all-time. Biggio is outside of my top 10 for 2B.
   12. DL from MN Posted: January 17, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4038536)
5. McGriff
6. Piazza


I don't know how you could classify McGriff as "unfairly passed over". He's only been on the ballot for a few years now.

Piazza was the better hitter and he played catcher.
   13. DL from MN Posted: January 17, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4038699)
Full prelim

1) Barry Bonds - 2nd to Williams in LF due to war credit. Top 5 player in baseball history.
2) Roger Clemens - 2nd to Walter Johnson among pitchers. Top 10 player in baseball history.
3) Mike Piazza - 4th among C behind Gibson, Bench and Berra. He is close enough to Dickey, Hartnett and Carter that a case could be made that he's 7th due to all the unknowns regarding catcher defense. Top 60 player in baseball history.
4) Curt Schilling - 18th among pitchers. Ignoring early pitchers he's behind Blyleven and Robin Roberts but ahead of Carl Hubbell, Gaylord Perry and Dazzy Vance. Top 65 player in baseball history.
5) Tommy Bridges - Have been supporting Bridges since the 1970 ballot. Still think he's great.
6) Craig Biggio - 13th among second basemen ahead of Gordon and Doerr, essentially tied with Billy Herman and behind Ryne Sandberg. Top 180 player in baseball history.
7) Urban Shocker
8) Bus Clarkson
9) Phil Rizzuto
10) Gavy Cravath - four guys in a row that require credit
11) Luis Tiant
12) Bob Johnson - on every ballot since I started voting in 1968
13) Ben Taylor - how do we induct Palmeiro and Beckley but not Ben Taylor?
14) Bert Campaneris
15) Tony Mullane - didn't realize he was blackballed until now

16-20) Bucky Walters, Dave Bancroft, Hilton Smith, Norm Cash, Johnny Pesky
21-25) Dick Redding, Wally Schang, SAMMY SOSA, Don Newcombe, Dave Concepcion
26-30) Babe Adams, Tommy Leach, Dizzy Dean, Jack Fournier, Wilbur Cooper

Sosa and Norm Cash are not far apart. Both are good bat, high peak, short prime, better than expected glove players and they both used corked bats. Cash actually has higher raw BWAA2 and FWAA2 according to Dan R. Their run scoring environments couldn't be much more different.

34) Kenny Lofton - but ranked as high as Earl Averill and higher than Andre Dawson, Jimmy Wynn, Edd Roush, Willard Brown and Pete Browning. I think we overrate CF as a voting group.

79) David Wells - pretty decent showing
   14. TomH Posted: January 17, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4038734)
can you get Bill James to weigh in on Biggio ? :)
   15. OCF Posted: January 17, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4038922)
Curt Schilling - 18th among pitchers. Ignoring early pitchers he's behind Blyleven and Robin Roberts but ahead of Carl Hubbell, Gaylord Perry and Dazzy Vance.

I'd probably put Hubbell and Perry ahead of Schilling. That said, Schilling is still a clear "frontlog" candidate - someone who doesn't need to mix in with the backloggers, and who can be elected as soon as the opportunity arises. There was a Schilling thread recently on the BBTF "mainland" that I participated in.
   16. DanG Posted: January 24, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4044004)
El Duque

While researching for an upcoming article arguing for the elimination of the Hall's 10-years-played rule, I realized that I had failed to include the article's centerpiece, Orlando Hernandez, on the list of HoM eligibles for the 2013 election.

"El Duque" has a wonderful narrative. He was the postseason pitcher that some imagine Jack Morris to be. But he is not a hall of famer. Ninety major league wins does not get you in the conversation; and nine seasons played bans him from even being on the ballot.

However, the HoM looks deeper. Orlando Hernandez was trapped in Cuba for most of his prime. He defected and signed with the Yankees at age 32. He was an immediate hit, winning 21 games minors/majors/postseason that first year. He went on to post 21.1 pitching WAR in his career. There are 52 starting pitchers in the HOF who debuted in 1889 or later; 27 had more WAR age 32+, 25 had fewer. It isn't hard to imagine El Duque posting 35+ pitching WAR before age 32. Say, a 3-year peak averaging 6 WAR and 7 or 8 more years averaging 2 to 3 WAR.

It's probably a tough argument to justify. He probably wasn't as good as David Wells. But he deserves our consideration and our best attempts to translate his value.

Orlando Hernandez at the BR Bullpen.
   17. djrelays Posted: January 24, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4044035)
DanG, #16:

Why we lurkers love the HoM!
   18. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 24, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4044058)
It's probably a tough argument to justify.

Is it? I would imagine that El Duque threw a LOT of pitches in his Cuba prime - knowing nothing about Cuban ball, I still doubt they are as pathological about pitcher injuries as US leagues. I definitely am intrigued by a theory that El Duque left 40 WAR on the island and is an easy HOMer.

I could be convinced with El Duque, especially if we get some stats. Contemporary opinion is not inconsistent with an HoM caliber career . . .
   19. DanG Posted: January 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4044094)
Easy to imagine, tough to justify. That link I included has some stats. Probably much more can be found in Peter Bjarkman's A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006.

As for the Hall of Fame: Can we get Orlando Hernandez a spot on the 2013 BBWAA ballot? There is no longer any practical reason for requiring candidates to have played ten years. The rule didn't even exist during the Hall's first two decades. It was instituted for the 1958 election, as a quick and dirty method to limit the ballot to a manageable size.

In judging players we care about quality over quantity, right? El Duque had a better career than many players who show up on the ballot (Tony Womack?!? Terry Mulholland?!?) And many players have packed enough into their first nine seasons to be elected to the Hall even if they had never played again. So why is Orlando Hernandez summarily dismissed from HOF consideration based on a short-sighted archaic rule?
   20. sunnyday2 Posted: January 25, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4045693)
2013 Prelim

1. Bonds
2. Clemens
3. Piazza
4. Biggio--quite the cohort
5. Duffy

6. McCormick
7. Belle
8. Bond
9. Welch
10. Rizzuto

11. Stephens
12. Newcombe
13. Pesky
14. Dean
15. Williamson

Schilling is very close. If #16, e.g., he would be behind Welch and Newcombe and ahead of Bucky Walters, which seems reasonable.
Sosa is also very close and probably should be on the list. Is he better than Belle? I need to look at that. I think probably not. How about the next "sluggers" behind him? That would be Gavy Cravath, Dave Parker, Jim Rice and George Foster. Dunno yet.
Lofton and Finley. What's with the WS vs. WARP on that? I prefer Finley but they're both probably below #25.
Wells? I cannot imagine him ahead of the backlog. He makes Jim Kaat look pretty good IMO.
   21. Mark Donelson Posted: January 26, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4046256)
2013 prelim

1. Barry Bonds
2. Clemens...closer to #1 than I'd expected, actually. I have him 3rd all-time among Ps, and so close to Pete Alexander that he may as well be tied for 2nd with him.
3. Piazza...around 5th all time among Cs, depending on what exactly I do to compare him with the 19th-century stars White and Ewing.
4. Biggio...I have him 5th among 2Bs as well, above Gehringer, Alomar, Sandberg, etc., somewhat to my surprise. If that holds up, I could end up swapping him and Piazza here, but for now at least the catcher candidate gets the edge.
5. Williamson
6. Newcombe
7. Schilling...easily over the line, but near the bottom of the "in" cohort, just ahead of most of my peaky ballot favorites like Appier and Dean. For me, Hubbell and Vance are well ahead of him, and Perry a bit ahead (peak voter), but I'm with the growing consensus that Schilling goes in quickly once the inner-circle types get out of the way.
8. E. Howard
9. Pesky
10. Appier
11. Rizzuto
12. Rosen
13. Cravath
14. Dean
15. Bando

Sosa would have comfortably made the bottom half of my 2012 ballot had he been eligible a year sooner; I have him a notch below Cravath, myself, but also clearly over the in-out line for corner OFs. In this year's madness, he'll end up something like 17th, and just off-ballot for now.

Lofton places well below Bernie Williams on offense, but makes up the distance on defense and baserunning to get just ahead of him, near the bottom of my top 50.

Finley is outside the top 50, right around Brett Butler, which seems about right. Better than his brother-in-law, though.

Julio Franco...I'd forgotten his nifty little middle-infielder peak, all those years ago! It's not enough, of course, but he's also in that just-outside-top-50 cluster, somewhere around Tony Lazzeri.

David Wells...not close, just no peak to speak of. Ends up close to Chief Bender, and well outside the top 50.

Roberto Hernandez joins the very-good-but-no-chance group of closer candidates; I have him right around folks like John Wetteland and Ron Perranoski. That's not remotely good enough for a reliever; still, he was an excellent closer for longer than most.

No one else is even that close, though I'd love to be able to evaluate El Duque's Cuban years.
   22. Ardo Posted: January 26, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4046821)
First take (no boycotts from me):

1) Bonds
2) Clemens
3) Piazza
4) Biggio

Piazza over Biggio is hard to evaluate. Biggio began as a (plus defensive) catcher and deserves the appropriate credit; he wasn't a whole-career 2B. Piazza's peak offensive seasons outweigh Biggio's longer prime - for now.

5) Schilling
6) Luque (was #1 last year)

Also a tough one. Schilling was a better rate pitcher. Luque, if not held back, would have had more volume. Both had more relief appearances than usual for Merit-level SP. Schilling "wins" on his stellar postseason record.

7) Schang
8) Sammy Sosa

I didn't like Sosa at first; I thought he was valueless outside his six-year peak. But through 1997 (BB Reference figures) he has almost as many dWAR (10.4) as oWAR (10.8). Then, in 1998-2003, his defensive value zeroes out, but he's mashing. This placement is tentative and depends on the firsthand commentary of those who saw young Sosa play. DL's comment that his value is similar to Cash, whom I consistently vote for, is interesting.

9) Tommy John
10) Hilton Smith
11) Buddy Bell
12) Norm Cash
13) Luis Tiant
14) Lee Smith
15) Tommy Leach

16) Kenny Lofton. Literally. A speed-and-defense player caught in an extreme power era. It's revealing that Jimmy Ryan and George van Haltren are both among his top 4 Similarity Scores. Lofton was more valuable than either as a position player heads-up, even without timeline effects.

Also near ballot: Bando, Rizzuto, Bobby Bonds, Albert Belle, Vic Willis, Bucky Walters.

I second the request for fuller treatment of El Duque's pre-Yankee career.
   23. DL from MN Posted: January 27, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4047505)
Mark Donelson - Good point on Biggio's catching. I added my catcher bonus to those first few years and he moves up to just ahead of Sandberg. That's still only good for 12th at 2B.

Collins, Eddie
Hornsby, Rogers
Lajoie, Nap
Morgan, Joe
Gehringer, Charlie
Robinson, Jackie
Grich, Bobby
Frisch, Frankie
Carew, Rodney
Whitaker, Lou
Barnes, Ross
BIGGIO, CRAIG
Sandberg, Ryne
   24. DL from MN Posted: January 27, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4047552)
Part of my ranking of Biggio is that Dan R says 2B replacement was really high during his career. There are also a _lot_ of good 2B so Biggio isn't exactly dominating the position. Just looking at Dan R WAR, here's the best 2B year by year while Biggio was playing 2B.

1992 - 9th top 4 are Sandberg, Baerga, Knoblauch and Alomar
1993 - 2nd top 4 are Robby Thompson, Biggio, Alomar, Whitaker
1994 - 1st top 4 are Biggio, Kent, Whitaker, Baerga
1995 - 1st top 4 are Biggio, Knoblauch, DeShields, Baerga
1996 - 3rd top 4 are Knoblauch, Alomar, Biggio, Ray Durham
1997 - 1st top 4 are Biggio, Knoblauch, Mike Lansing, John Valentin
1998 - 1st top 4 are Biggio, Kent, Jose Offerman, Ray Durham
1999 - 4th top 4 are Alomar, Randy Velarde, Edgardo Alfonzo, Biggio
2000 - 16th top 4 are Kent, Alfonzo, Luis Castillo, Alomar
2001 - 5th top 4 are Bret Boone, Alomar, Kent, Durham
2002 - 22nd top 4 are Kent, Soriano, Adam Kennedy, Jose Vidro
2003 - moves to CF top 4 2B are Marcus Giles, Bret Boone, Soriano, Mark Loretta
2004 - plays OF top 4 2B are Mark Loretta, Kent, Juan Uribe, Orlando Hudson
2005 - 14th top 4 are Utley, Brian Roberts, Polanco and Kent

That's a 6 year run where he's probably the "best 2B in baseball" but Alomar and Knoblauch are not that far behind. There are 3 HoM caliber 2B (Biggio, Alomar and Kent) plus the end of Whitaker and Sandberg's careers and a ton of "very good" 2B during this time - Ray Durham, Chuck Knoblauch, Carlos Baerga, Jose Vidro, Edgardo Alfonzo, Bret Boone. Replacement level 2B in 1994/95 are guys like Joey Cora, Brent Gates, Mark Lemke and Nelson Liriano.
   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4047601)
As for the top-four this election, the top-three are on the short lists for best players at their positions (in Piazza's case, we have to put our NeL blinders on, of course :-). As good as Biggio was (and he's a very, very solid HoM candidate), nobody would argue he was the best at any of the positions he played at. Therefore, fourth in 2013 is still a real honor, IMO.
   26. Mark Donelson Posted: January 27, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4047629)
Mark Donelson - Good point on Biggio's catching.

Would love to take credit (and I did count his catching in my evaluation of him), but that was Ardo. :)

Also, completely forgot to note above that I group old 2Bs with new 3Bs for comparison-by-position purposes, and vice versa. So Biggio is competing with Home Run Baker in my list, but not with Collins or Hornsby or Lajoie. Kind of an important omission; sorry about that.
   27. DL from MN Posted: January 27, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4047640)
Murphy - nobody except Mark Donelson who stated that he had Biggio 5th at 2B ahead of Gehringer.
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4047713)
Murphy - nobody except Mark Donelson who stated that he had Biggio 5th at 2B ahead of Gehringer.


My post wasn't a rebuttal to anybody's post here, DL. I was just adding my two cents to the discussion, that's all.
   29. Mark Donelson Posted: January 27, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4047724)
Murphy - nobody except Mark Donelson who stated that he had Biggio 5th at 2B ahead of Gehringer.

Well, 5th is a pretty far cry from "best at."
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 27, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4047822)
Murphy - nobody except Mark Donelson who stated that he had Biggio 5th at 2B ahead of Gehringer.

Well, 5th is a pretty far cry from "best at."


Besides, second at shortstop doesn't mean you're in Wagner territory either. :-)
   31. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 27, 2012 at 09:36 PM (#4047870)
Hi, person who doesn't vote, but follows the process very closely here (I love these discussions!). Just wanted to comment:

Easy to imagine, tough to justify. That link I included has some stats. Probably much more can be found in Peter Bjarkman's A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006.

The stats in the appendix D ("statistical records") of Bjarkman's book are the same as in the BR Bullpen article cited:

Overall, he had gone 126-47 in Cuba with a 3.05 ERA and 1,211 strikeouts in 1,514 1/3 IP. His .728 winning percentage was best all-time through 2003-2004, 17 points ahead of #2 Norge Vera and 27 points over #3 Jose Contreras.

In addition, it's noted that he pitched in 246 games, had 75 complete games (according to earlier in the book, 23 shutouts) and walked 455 (that's a K/BB of approximately 2.66). I can't seem to find league context or league ERA anywhere (this appendix is primarily leaders in each category per year), but I'll look a little more closely (the BR bullpen article cites some totals for individual seasons based on this book, so I'm sure they're here somewhere).

Looking at the year-by-year breakdowns in section II chapter 8 ("cuba's revolutionary baseball (1962-2005)"), Bjarkman only lists leaders of each section, so here's El Duque's stats when he led things (i.e., best in the league in each category):
1988 Selective Series XIV (Super-Provincial) (first place I can find his name): 3.18 ERA (does not say how many games, but the CG leader had 10 and the leader in wins had 10).
1988-1989 National Series XVIII (Provincial): 7-0 record
1990 Selective Series XVI (Super-Provincial): 10-1 record, threw a no-hitter in an 11-0 mercy rule victory. Apparently this was a wins record at the time.
1992 Selective Series XVIII (Super-Provincial): 10-2 record, 2.23 ERA
1993-1994 National Series XXXIII (Provincial): 11 wins
Soon after this time he was suspended after his half-brother, Livan, defects to the United States and then later suspended for life after receiving some kind of cash gift from an MLB scout. Regardless, that's all I can find right now, but it seems reasonable to say that he was one of the best, if not the best, pitcher in Cuba for this six year stretch (just eyeballing it, Osvaldo Fernandez seems to have been very good).

I'm very sure I missed stuff, but that's all I can see right now. Sorry for it not being much more in depth.

For what it's worth, Bjarkman lists El Duque as one of his "twenty-one greatest league pitchers" - ranked by ERA, he comes in at twelve, with only two current pitchers (as of 2004) still on the list. Jose Contreras is directly above him, interestingly.

Directly above him in the stats at the back is the interestingly-named Ernesto Guevara, who had an ERA of 3.75, a record of 133-108 in 345 games played, and a K/BB of 1238/541. I figured this might be interesting based on his name.
   32. Josh1 Posted: January 27, 2012 at 11:26 PM (#4047936)
A lurker opinion: I think the prelims thus far seem a little harsh on Lofton -- I think he's better than the entire backlog. He was a tremendous defensive CF with a 107 career OPS+ and the best base runner of his time. He had a very strong consecutive prime from 1992-1999 and was victimized by the strike that cost him a 10 WAR season -- WAR in general loves him. I don't see much of a difference between Lofton and Ashburn.
   33. Mark Donelson Posted: January 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM (#4047959)
I don't see much of a difference between Lofton and Ashburn.

Wouldn't disagree with that, but I'm not as high on Ashburn as the rest of the electorate either.
   34. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 28, 2012 at 12:14 AM (#4047967)
(since I'm currently reading Wizardry, which is really good thusfar)
To be fair, CHONE WAR ranks him as +115 runs on defense, but DRA has him at +30 (. Humphreys states that the primary difference between the two systems is +15 runs/season in Cleveland when batted-ball data was available (1992-96 and 1998-99) and notes that "Smith's two other systems, Smith(pgor,bod) (2000-02) and Smith(R(t),f,bh,ph) (2003 onward) rate him as basically average, including the first two years in Cleveland when the batted ball data ran out, when he was stealing bases at the same clip he had been in 1999. Given some of the massive coding problems we're discovering in outfielder batted ball data, I strongly suspect some coding bias in Cleveland for those seasons. For the time being, I would pencil in the average between Smith's estimates and DRA, which would be about +75 defensive runs, a good but not great total" (Humphreys, p278). Regardless of how you much you accept DRA, seeing Lofton as a fantastic, better-than-the-backlog player requires a strong defensive rating and if he loses even half that rating, his placement would seem to be well in line with where most HoM voters seem to be placing him. (as a note for comparison, DRA basically agrees with dWAR for 2000+, but has his fielding from 1992-1999 as +13 run, a far cry from TZ's +109 runs, at least as far as I can tell from eyeballing the book and BRef).

I really hope that no one minds my posting in this thread - I know I'm not a member of this project, but I've always been fascinated by it and, given that Humphreys addresses this very issue and I just finished reading his chapter on center fielders, it came to mind immediately. :)
   35. Josh1 Posted: January 28, 2012 at 12:37 AM (#4047981)
To be fair, CHONE WAR ranks him as +115 runs on defense, but DRA has him at +30


The error bars are too wide for me to deny that Lofton could easily be a few wins worse than Total Zone generates, but I'm skeptical of anything saying Lofton was average in his youth. It seems unlikely that a guy who was an adequate CF in his upper 30s wouldn't have been great when he was probably the fastest man in the game in his 20s. His old-fashioned stats like RF are good. With an unadjusted career WAR (and similar season-by-season totals) just above Tim Raines, you can be conservative, take away a few defensive wins, and still have a guy who deserves a 6-10 spot on the ballot.
   36. lieiam Posted: January 28, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4048172)
Josh1 wrote in the above comment about Lofton
"With an unadjusted career WAR (and similar season-by-season totals) just above Tim Raines".
I wanted to mention that IS true for Baseball Reference WAR (65.3-64.6) if you look at other "Uber-Stat" systems Raines tends to be on top.
fangraphsWAR= 70.9-66.3 (advantage Raines)
baseballgaugeWAR= 70.9-48.6 (advantage Raines)
baseballgaugeWinShares= 382.1-293 (advantage Raines)
baseballgaugeWSAB= 196.9-116.8 (advantage Raines)
danrosencheckWARP1= 80.7-60.3 (advantage Raines; the Lofton total here is an estimate. I've only got these numbers through 2005 so I plugged in brWAR to cover 2006-2007).
I was going to also dig up baseballprospectusWARP1 but I've got to get going.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that baseballreferenceWAR is in the minority showing Lofton with a better number than Raines. I do think Lofton should certainly be considered for the ballot... But I think a 6-10 spot as a conservative placement seems pretty damn high. Mind you, I don't have a ballot and haven't voted in HOM elections before.
   37. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4048201)
FWIW, this is how post #30 should have read:

Murphy - nobody except Mark Donelson who stated that he had Biggio 5th at 2B ahead of Gehringer.

Well, 5th is a pretty far cry from "best at."


Besides, second at shortstop doesn't mean you're in Wagner territory either. :-)
   38. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4048248)
> I really hope that no one minds my posting in this thread

Nobody minds a good comment. Thanks for the contribution to the discussion.

> I don't have a ballot

It's not like ballots are all that exclusive. Just rank the players and try to defend it. The crowd is getting less wise every year, we could use a bump up in numbers.
   39. theorioleway Posted: January 28, 2012 at 08:08 PM (#4048394)
lieiam: excellent post (#36). It also leads to interesting results when you do the same thing for Lofton and Sosa (I don't have BP or Dan R info handy):

Baseball-Reference: Lofton (65.3) over Sosa (59.7)
FanGraphs: Lofton (66.3) over Sosa (64.1)
Baseball Gauge WAR: Lofton (48.6) over Sosa (48.4)
Baseball Gauge WS: Sosa (324.3) over Lofton (293)
Baseball Gauge WSAB: Sosa (143.9) over Lofton (116.8)

While this is hardly definitive (this is really just a starting point) I think we can conclude that Lofton is a pretty serious candidate and it is pretty conceivable to have him in the 6-10 range on the ballot (I say this not being sure where I will place him). Also, there's no shame in being a slightly lesser player than Raines, no matter what HOF voters think.
   40. Howie Menckel Posted: January 28, 2012 at 09:14 PM (#4048433)

Yes, comments welcomed, Arnett - and do consider submitting a ballot next time around. Sounds like you know your way around these sort of discussions, and plenty of longtime voters have pretty divergent opinions on players. We all can learn from new viewpoints about players....

   41. lieiam Posted: January 29, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4048716)
@theorioleway: Thanks for the compliment!
And I just looked up Sosa in Dan Rosencheck's WARP1 (and using BaseballReferenceWAR for anything after 2005) and he's at 62.3 (and remember RAines is at 80.7 and Lofton at 60.3.
And I agree that Lofton very well may deserve a spot around 6-10... I just don't think it's clear that he does. However, if I were to get a serious ballot created he very well may fall in there... Then again, I've got a soft spot for Luke Easter, Gavvy Cravath, Jim McCormick, and George Van Haltren so who knows!
One of the things that intrigues me the most in these uber-stat comparisons (such as looking at Raines, Lofton, and Sosa) is the variety in the numbers (less so with WS and WSAB because they are constructed so differently than WAR(P)s but with the others... although I see that (using the 4 we've referenced) Lofton and Sosa are close in all 4 (remember, excluding WS and WSAB) while Raines is more all over the place (when directly compared to Lofton and Sosa).
I'm hoping to add in baseball prospectus WARP1 to the fray here but I don't have the info (yet).
   42. lieiam Posted: January 29, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4048740)
Okay, I just fished around for the baseballprospectusWARP1 numbers for Raines, Lofton, and Sosa:
Tim Raines 71.7
Sammy Sosa 61.9
Kenny Lofton 46.2
And this system has all 3 pretty separated...

Ignoring Raines (since he's not even relevant to this discussion since he's already in the Hall of Merit) and looking at Lofton and Sosa only:
Lofton does better in brWAR (65.3-59.7), fgWAR (66.3-64.1), bgWAR (48.6-48.4)
Sosa does better in drWARP1 (62.3-60.3), bpWARP1 (61.9-46.2), bgWS (324.3-293), bgWSAB (143.9-116.8)

Of course neither is going to get in this election as we already have 4 newbies fighting for the 3 spots...
   43. Josh1 Posted: January 30, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4049954)
Looking at Baseball Prospectus WARP (listed on player cards), Lofton shows up at 53.6 career WARP including a defensive rating of -7 runs above average for his career. They have him -28 defensive runs from 1993-1999 (ages 26-32) and then well above average (+26) in the years until 2006 (age 39). B-ref has Lofton as great through 1999 when he then becomes above average for the next 8 years and finally below average to get to his 65 career WAR. I don't think BP's numbers seem plausible: I don't believe he was a poor defender in his 20s when he was leading the league in steals every year and winning the Gold Glove and then became much better in his 30s when he was stealing only 25 bases a year. I think any reasonable adjustment to his defense puts him well above 60 wins and probably close to bref WAR's total.

Sosa is at 57.7 WARP with a generous +86 fielding runs above average. Raines is at 67.9 with slightly below average defense. Raines was probably better than Lofton, but I don't think the difference is all that massive as long as you believe Lofton was a good to great defender in his 20s.

I don't put any weight on win shares; they were nice to look at 10 years ago, but they have been surpassed by better systems.
   44. lieiam Posted: January 31, 2012 at 12:26 AM (#4050095)
@Josh1:
Do you know which version of Baseball Prospectus WARP you are referencing?
I'm pretty sure the numbers I listed above are correct for WARP1 but was wondering because your numbers are different...
   45. sunnyday2 Posted: February 02, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4052077)
The thing you're forgetting about Lofton is, to vote for him you've got to believe (and hopefully show the rest of us) that he's better than Edmonds.
   46. theorioleway Posted: February 02, 2012 at 08:44 PM (#4052350)
Why can't you vote for both?
   47. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 02, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4052396)
because Edmonds isn't on the ballot
   48. Josh1 Posted: February 02, 2012 at 11:12 PM (#4052440)
Lieiam, I pulled the WARP numbers from the player pages (such as http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=LOFTON19670531A). I'm not sure which version of WARP they're using.
   49. Chris Fluit Posted: February 03, 2012 at 01:12 AM (#4052510)
because Edmonds isn't on the ballot


Correct. Edmonds isn't eligible until 2017. The comparison between Lofton and Edmonds is essentially irrelevant for another 4 years.
   50. theorioleway Posted: February 03, 2012 at 01:55 AM (#4052531)
Right. I meant that odds are good Lofton will be on the ballot still when Edmonds gets on--hence, why can't you vote for both?
   51. DanG Posted: February 03, 2012 at 03:44 AM (#4052571)
Edmonds isn't eligible until 2017
Actually 2016. Edmonds did not play in 2011.
   52. Chris Fluit Posted: February 04, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4053396)
Actually 2016. Edmonds did not play in 2011.


Oops. DanG is correct.
   53. lieiam Posted: February 04, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4053452)
@Josh1- Thanks for the response! I'm not sure which WARP those are but I know they're not WARP1 so that would explain the difference between our numbers...
   54. bjhanke Posted: February 25, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4068493)
My ballot will start, almost certainly, with Bonds, Clemens, Biggio and Piassa. I'll be looking at Sosa, Schilling and Lofton, and will likely vote for one or two, further down the ballot. But that's at least six votes out of 15 from the new guys. Palmeiro and Cone are just going to be drowned by this. Kevin Brown scored one election early. Part of why I didn't vote for Brown was that my system sees a hot wave like tis coming and factors it into Brown's context. Jim Edmonds is a different case. I don't think he's through playing, especially if the Cards come up short in the CF department because Jay has a Sophomore Slump and Beltran is too hurt to play center any more. Edmonds and Roy Oswalt may well find themselves finished if they can't get on the Cards' roster. Both players have expressed a desire to finish up with STL. (nice to hear,when we just lost Albert from the support base). Oswalt is waiting for one of the Cards' starters to go down, while Edmonds is waiting for John Jay to have another slump or for Berkman to get hurt. I'm, personally, going to be interested when Edmonds finally returns. He didn't have to finish up as a DH, because he didn't lose all his speed. But he can play right, too, and also first base at a good level, and he has experience at all three spots. I'd sign him if I got to the point where I didn't have a kid who was ready to help with a division run. The Cards' staff can be brittle, and are working with a new pitching coach, so an Oswalt slot may open faster than even I think it will.
   55. DanG Posted: February 25, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4068507)
Palmeiro and Cone are just going to be drowned by this. Kevin Brown scored one election early. Part of why I didn't vote for Brown was that my system sees a hot wave like tis coming and factors it into Brown's context. Jim Edmonds is a different case. I don't think he's through playing
Brock, you seem to be lagging a year behind. Refer to this thread: 2012 Results: Palmeiro… Reuschel… Cone… for the Hall of Merit!

Also, Edmonds turns 42 in June and didn't play at all in 2011. Much as I'd love to see him get those 7 HR and 51 hits to reach 400 and 2000, I don't find anything hinting at a comeback in 2012.
   56. Mark Donelson Posted: February 25, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4068517)
Brock, you seem to be lagging a year behind. Refer to this thread: 2012 Results: Palmeiro… Reuschel… Cone… for the Hall of Merit!

Yes, it's the Scooter who's about to get drowned.
   57. DL from MN Posted: February 25, 2012 at 10:14 PM (#4068851)
The frontloggers were all elected. Anyone left at the top comes out of the backlog. Rizzuto has had 50 chances to get elected.
   58. Mark Donelson Posted: February 26, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4069037)
Oh, I wasn't complaining or anything. Just noting who was the top vote-getter last time around not to get in before the crush.
   59. theorioleway Posted: February 26, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4069155)
As a complement to DanG's thread in terms of who is and is not in the HOM, John "Grandma" Murphy has been working on the plaque room and so all the players are listed positionally as well as via team and city I believe. Thanks John for doing that!
   60. Chris Fluit Posted: March 02, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4072708)
2013 prelim

1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
Wasn't sure how the top two would come out until I looked at the numbers. Bonds, arguably the best player ever, is comfortably ahead of Clemens, arguably the best pitcher ever.

3. Craig Biggio
4. Mike Piazza
Again, wasn't sure who would be 3rd and who would be 4th until I ran the numbers. Biggio's career length and durability nudge him ahead of Piazza. BB ref career WAR agrees with me (66.2 to 59.6)

5. Curt Schilling
Doesn't need any postseason credit to come out ahead of the backlog.

6. "Cannonball" Dick Redding
I’ll keep making the case even though others are jumping off the bandwagon. Currently trails only HoFers Torriente, Hill, Charleston and Mendez on Seamheads career Win Shares. Most career WAR and Wins above Bench of players not in the Hall of Fame. #1 pitcher in 1914/15 (Cuban League), ‘17 and ’19. #1 player in 1917 (25.9 Win Shares). Top three in ‘12/’13, 1915, and ‘15/’16. Top ten in ’12, ’16 and ’21. Great peak, long prime.

7. Sal Bando
8. Vic Willis
9. Ben Taylor
10. Don Newcombe
The best third baseman and the best first baseman available plus two pitchers with solid peak/prime numbers.

11. Luis Aparicio
My hobby horse as I think I'm the only one who voted for him last year. His 49.9 WAR is no illusion. +95 baserunning, +28 reaching base by error or avoiding double plays, +149 fielding. Did everything well that isn't included in OPS+.

12. Tommy Bridges
13. Fred McGriff
14. Sammy Sosa
15. Bob Johnson
I'm surprised Sosa did this poorly but after looking at the numbers, I decided he's better than Johnson but not as good as McGriff.

Kenny Lofton came in at 17.

   61. Alex King Posted: March 02, 2012 at 06:53 PM (#4073035)
Chris, remember that Redding has nearly his full career on Seamheads now, whereas many of the guys ahead of him (Hill and Mendez excepted) don't. While Redding does lead the database in innings pitched, this is only partially a function of durability: numbers 2 and 3 are Estaquio Pedroso and Dicta Johnson, who won't be confused with HOMers anytime soon. Also, Redding's #1 ranking in 1914/1915 is kind of dubious, since his team played twice as many games as the other two teams (though the opposite effect hurts Redding in 1916, when his team played a third as many games as others).

That said, while I probably wouldn't put Redding on my ballot now, it's not out of the question to rank him as the top backlogger. However, I see that you have him 3 spots ahead of Taylor. Redding and Taylor are essentially tied in Seamheads' uberstats, and while Redding seems to have been pretty undistinguished in the part of his career missing from Seamheads (1911 is a possible exception), Taylor, according to the HOF data, had 2-4 more solid years not included in Seamheads' database. What is your thinking on the difference between Taylor and Redding?
   62. Chris Fluit Posted: March 02, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4073064)
I had Redding as my top backlogger last year so the Seamheads data didn't sway me so much as confirm what I already thought. I included the Seamheads references as a change to my annual boilerplate. In previous years, I've referred to i9s or other available sources but it's boring to include the same paragraph year after year. And yes, I know that the Seamheads database is incomplete hence the inclusion of the world "currently." Finally, my appreciation of Taylor has grown over the past couple of years. I used to have him 3rd among eligible Negro Leaguers after Redding and Monroe. Now he's up to second and not that far behind. And finally, finally, don't forget that Redding deserves war credit for the 1918 season, right between his amazing years in '17 and '19.
   63. Alex King Posted: March 04, 2012 at 03:42 AM (#4073526)
That's certainly defensible; I was just interested in your thoughts on Taylor, given the publication of the Seamheads data. Also, approximately where do you have Monroe? For me, the Seamheads data has made its biggest impact on my ranking of Monroe, due to his lousy 1912-1914: before I felt he was somewhere just below my ballot, whereas now I feel he's pretty far from being ballot-worthy (maybe not even top 50). Of course it's still possible that Monroe will look significantly better once we get data from 1908-1911, which should be out soon.
   64. Chris Fluit Posted: March 04, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4073569)
I still have Monroe just off-ballot, around #20. But I agree with you that his numbers from '12-'14 are troubling. If he had already been in a significant decline for several years before his death, that definitely affects my perception of him. Since he isn't on my ballot right now- and won't be for some time considering the number of top-flight candidates that are coming up- I haven't yet adjusted him downward.
   65. theorioleway Posted: March 31, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4093794)
I'm not exactly sure where this should go, but Seamheads/Baseball Gauge just changed how they calculate their WAR. They are now using DRA for fielding evaluation, and because of this they are not using strictly DIPS theory for pitching WAR. I have yet to do a detailed look into the effects, but a cursory overview makes it seem like it is pretty significant, so if you are relying on bgWAR as a tool in evaluating players, you need to look at the new data. Here is the link for the announcement: http://seamheads.com/baseballgauge/blog/?p=216
   66. theorioleway Posted: May 05, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4124118)
Baseball-Reference has also changed how they calculate WAR: http://www.sports-reference.com/blog/2012/05/war-upgraded-on-baseball-reference-com/
   67. sunnyday2 Posted: May 06, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4124553)
Just noticed the El Duque discussion. My understanding is that he IS ELIGIBLE in our election. We never did have a 10 year rule, did we? But in his case, he played 10 years+++ at the highest level that was available to him. Stuck in Cuba, you said. Well, there it is. He may very well have been a ML player during that period but he was stuck in Cuba due to non-baseball considerations beyond his own control. I say he is eligible without any special considerations.
   68. Chris Fluit Posted: May 08, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4126767)
Nobody else has responded, sunnyday, but I'd say you're right. There is no 10-year rule for the Hall of Merit so El Duque is eligible and you are permitted to consider his entire career, including play in Cuba.
   69. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: May 10, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4128364)
@66: Sean Forman has also included a chart that compares Baseball Reference, Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs WAR(P)s to list all of the assumptions in each system.

Link: http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/war_explained_comparison.shtml
   70. Carl Goetz Posted: July 31, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4197336)
Has any work been done on MLEs for El Duque's Cuban play?

Has it been determined whether this will be a 3 or 4 electee year?
   71. Chris Fluit Posted: July 31, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4197493)
I second the request for El Duque MLEs.
   72. Chris Fluit Posted: August 06, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4201422)
I ran my own MLEs for Orlando Hernandez, comparing his Cuban stats to his MLB numbers. I came up with 29.2 WAR for 10 seasons which would bring him to a total of 50.7 for his career. Among contemporaries, that drops him between Orel Hershiser (48.0) and David Wells (49.4) on the one end and Chuck Finley (54.3) and Kevin Appier (51.9) on the other. That's not quite HoM territory though a ballot spot could be defensible.
   73. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4220282)
So, if Clemens pitches for the Astros, I would assume that counts as a token appearance and he would still appear on the 2013 ballot. Or do we have to wait and make sure he doesn't pitch in 2013?
   74. DL from MN Posted: August 28, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4220442)
I say he goes on unless he has a contract for next year.
   75. DanG Posted: August 29, 2012 at 08:46 AM (#4220947)
A scenario where Clemens pitches long enough and well enough in 2012 to delay his HoM eligibility is almost inconceivable.
   76. TomH Posted: August 29, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4221033)
that word...
   77. theorioleway Posted: August 30, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4222189)
For those who care, FanGraphs now has historical pitching WAR and metrics that are not only fielding independent.
   78. Crosleys Ghost Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4253792)
Really looking forward to this. Since the incoming freshmen on this ballot pretty well rise to the the top of the pile, it's a good year for sorting out the backlog. I'm always open to persuasion, but my top 3 seem to fall within the consensus here, and for the same reasons:

(1) Barry Bonds - The best position player of his generation and one of the top five all-time.

(2) Roger Clemens - The best pitcher of his generation and top 2-3 all-time.

The two men above can be tossed into a "top 10 all-time" discussion and taken seriously. That's heads-and-shoulders above your run-of-the-mill HOMer. And it creates an enormous gap between the top two and everyone else this year.

(3) Mike Piazza - Somewhere in the 5th-7th range of catchers. Agreed that the contributions of catchers are somewhat underrated by statistics. Greatest HITTER at his position in MLB history.

After this a slight drop-off and I'm bookmarking this for later, but I don't see my top 3 changing between now and then.

A few additional thoughts...

* Curt Schilling is not a top 20 all-time pitcher, but is almost certainly the best available pitcher in this election.

* Craig Biggio is a top 10 all-time second baseman, but he is (a) further from #1 at his respective position than Piazza is at his and (b) at a position which is less difficult to play

* Surprised that I didn't catch any comments about blacklisting Bonds and/or Clemens in 2013. Anyone planning to do so? For those planning it, does Clemens' aquittal of perjury charges make any difference to your perception of his guilt or innocence?

* At this point really stumped on where Lofton falls betwixt the glut of CF candidates.
   79. DL from MN Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4253838)
Curt Schilling is the best available pitcher - after Clemens
   80. Crosleys Ghost Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4254070)
Correct. I misspoke, though I would hope that was self-evident by my earlier cmoment re: Clemens.

What I meant was that Schilling is..."the best available pitcher AMONG MERE MORTALS in this election."

Sorry.
   81. DL from MN Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4254104)
There aren't many "mere mortals" in our elections. These are the best of the best. I kinda figured out what you meant.
   82. Chris Fluit Posted: October 05, 2012 at 07:50 AM (#4254865)
* Surprised that I didn't catch any comments about blacklisting Bonds and/or Clemens in 2013. Anyone planning to do so? For those planning it, does Clemens' aquittal of perjury charges make any difference to your perception of his guilt or innocence?


I suppose the voters to ask would be the handful (3 or 4) who blacklisted McGwire and Palmeiro in their first elections. We may see a couple more this time due to actual court cases or a couple less due to the sense that they were HoMers anyway. I'd guess we're looking at a range of 2-6 boycotts, but probably not enough to drop either one below Biggio or Piazza.
   83. Howie Menckel Posted: October 07, 2012 at 08:35 AM (#4257599)

No blacklist here
I put in JJackson and Rose right away, too (the latter just behind Grich on "merit," though)
   84. alilisd Posted: October 09, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4260859)
Sosa is also very close and probably should be on the list. Is he better than Belle? I need to look at that. I think probably not.


On a peak basis, maybe not, but he does have significantly more career. He appears to have an edge defensively as well.
   85. theorioleway Posted: October 14, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4269482)
I figure there are seven worthy HOMers in this new class: Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Schilling, Biggio, Sosa, and Lofton with the possibility that there could be an eighth in El Duque, who I admit I have to look more into, but seems best case to be borderline. Chris, I appreciate your running MLEs for Hernandez--do you think you could post a season-by-season breakdown, as I think that might help voters also? Now, the 7 listed above might not be my top 7 spots, as I haven't really looked at them compared to the top of my backlog, although I am pretty confident in saying that my top 4 will be Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, and Schilling (although its possible I could reverse the order of Piazza and Schilling). Crosley's ghost, I'm not sure it is super obvious that Schilling ISN'T a top-20 pitcher, nor that Biggio IS a top-10 2B. Schilling has an ERA- of 80; Tom Seaver has an ERA- of 79, Bob Gibson, 78. Schilling's FIP- is 74; Seaver's is 85, Gibson's is 81, and Greg Maddux's is 77. Schilling has a higher K% than Roger Clemens. Now this is not to say that he is better than any of these pitchers that I've compared him with, but he's not that far off either. He probably doesn't make my top-20 when including Negro Leaguers (as one should), but I think you could argue it fairly convincingly. As for Biggio, if you look at his HOM page, you'll see a discussion (which I'll update after posting this) on how you can argue that Biggio is barely a top-10 2B, if he is at all. Depending on how you view his fielding and lesser peak than other candidates, you could argue he groups in closer to Sosa and Lofton than the other four. Finally, I won't be blacklisting anyone, and are we electing three or four players?
   86. OCF Posted: October 14, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4269513)
I'm not sure it is super obvious that Schilling ISN'T a top-20 pitcher. Schilling has an ERA- of 80; Tom Seaver has an ERA- of 79, Bob Gibson, 78. Schilling's FIP- is 74; Seaver's is 85, Gibson's is 81, and Greg Maddux's is 77. Schilling has a higher K% than Roger Clemens.

A word of caution on the evaluation of all post-1990 pitchers. As IP/game and IP/season went down for top pitchers after 1990, the rate statistics of those pitchers decentralized (and perhaps became more FIP-driven). Schilling had between 3200 and 3300 career IP; there was a time when we were considering 3000-inning pitchers for the HoM as low-usage peak cases. Schilling had only two seasons as an RA+ virtual 20-game winner (although his virtual losses are quite low.) All of the stats you cite there are rate stats. If you start arguing almost entirely by rate stats, then you wind up arguing that Pedro Martinez was the greatest pitcher who ever lived. Maybe that is where you want to wind up anyway, but I'm just pointing it out.

My own version of that career rate stat: year-by-year RA+ equivalent record, added up to be a career record, turned into a career W/L percentage, with that W/L percentage back-formed into a pseudo RA+:

Schilling 130, Seaver 128, Gibson 126, Maddux 127, Clemens 138, Martinez 151. (Of course, the last three are also post-1990.)

Of course, for all of this note of caution about IP, I probably am willing to accept Schilling as a top-30 pitcher. (Maybe not top 20.)
   87. theorioleway Posted: October 14, 2012 at 10:35 PM (#4270479)
That is a good point about innings pitched, which is why I wasn't asserting Schilling was better than those other guys. Of all MLB pitchers in the HOM plus Clemens and Schilling, Schilling ranks 41st in innings pitched (out of 60). However, there are only 13 pitchers with more innings and a better ERA- (Johnson, Grove, Clemens, Alexander, Nichols, Mathewson, Clarkson, Young, Hubbell, Rusie, Keefe, Gibson, and Seaver). If you want to say 14 since Palmer has the same ERA- and more innings, that's fine. So while you can dock Schilling a bit for "only" throwing 3261 innings, I don't think it is a big concern.
   88. OCF Posted: October 14, 2012 at 11:50 PM (#4270644)
And as is mentioned in the Schilling thread, he's a little better than his ERA anyway because he allowed a low number of unearned runs. And that's part of who he was - a natural consequence of being a fly ball pitcher.
   89. bjhanke Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:33 AM (#4270700)
I'm basically tossing this out for discussion, because I'm not certain how to approach the issue and would welcome some help. The issue is this: way back in June, working on something completely else, I ran a Wins Above Replacement sort on BB-Ref for corner outfielders. To my stunned astonishment, Bobby Bonds (not Barry) ranked two spots (and .9 WAR) higher than Sammy Sosa. I just now checked, and it's still true. I've been a big Bobby supporter (I think I voted him second last year), but it had never dawned on me that he might actually end up higher than one of the New Kids on the Ballot. Trying to cross-check, just in case this was some sort of WAR system glitch, I looked at the New Historical Abstract. It has Bonds ranked 15th and Sosa 45th among Right Fielders. Of course, this is only through 1999. Bill does have a Last MInute Notes section in which he notes that Sosa's very fine 2000 season would pull him up to about 30th. The question is whether the rest of his career, which has two more very good seasons, would pull him up to above 15th. The higher you get in the rankings, the harder it is to pass many people. The idea that Sammy took two more years to move up another 15 spots is very plausible. So, the Historical Abstract Ranking System (based on Win Shares) seems to see it about the same as WAR - the two players are very close, and Bobby might actually be the better player.

This was a shock. I had no idea. So, I'm asking: Does anyone out there who has a ranking system have any opinion and/or any systemic approach? I realize that I haven't factored in peak or prime, and Sammy has a great run of big-homer seasons, with 2000 right in the middle, so his peak may blow Bobby out of the water. But what I'm asking about right now is whether anyone else's analysis has Bobby anywhere near Sammy in terms of gross career value. I'd also appreciate peak and prime comments, but I mostly want to know whether WAR has led me down a completely indefensible path, or whether Bobby Bonds, in fact, might rank among the New Kids, rather than beneath all of them. Basically, I'm trying to be cautious. I'm aware that my consensus scores have not been good recently, but most of that is that I didn't vote for Palmeiro, Brown, or Cone. This year, that doesn't matter, so I'm trying to get closer to consensus. That doesn't mean that I'll just take everyone else's word for things (not that everyone agrees anyway), but I'd like my consensus score to improve, now that the Big Three problems are gone. What I don't want is to rank Bobby Bonds in a place that everyone else thinks is just insane. I get enough of that out of Babe Adams and Deacon Phillippe. So, thanks in advance for any help you can give, - Brock Hanke
   90. DL from MN Posted: October 15, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4270791)
I have Sosa pretty clearly above Bobby Bonds. More standard deviation adjusted batting wins, more wins above position. Neither player was an outstanding defender or a poor defender.
   91. bjhanke Posted: October 15, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4270972)
DL - Thanks. I can see why Sammy would have more standard deviation wins - his big years get REALLY big. I am surprised by the defensive ranking. By reputation and old analysis, Bobby was, like his son, Stan Musial, and a few others, about as good a corner outfielder as you can be and not end up in center. You must be getting good numbers out of Sammy's glove, especially when he was young. Good grist for the mill. - Thanks, Brock
   92. DL from MN Posted: October 15, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4271025)
My numbers have Bonds as very good from 69-73, above average 74-77 and below average 78-81.

Sosa is above average 89-92, very good 93-97 and below average 98-05.

That seems to match reputation for both players.
   93. theorioleway Posted: October 15, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4271686)
Brock, I would agree with DL from MN that Sosa would rank higher than the elder Bonds. Besides what DL from MN stated, I'd add that you might see Bond's slight lead in cumulative career WAR disappear if you decided to give credit to Sosa based on the fact that 1994 and 1995 were shorter than normal seasons. I didn't vote for Bonds last election, but he is looking better as I tweak my system, and it's possible I'll consider him for a down-ballot spot. Based on the results last year, where he finished 12th, including 8 top-6 placements, I think it's not unreasonable for you to at least consider him for a middle-of-the-pack ballot spot.
   94. lieiam Posted: October 16, 2012 at 12:03 AM (#4272175)
Regarding Sosa v. Bobby Bonds, Here's some numbers I ran that were through 2011 season and combined various uber-stat systems. {Granted some of them have gone through changes since then}. This listing is for RF. I know some of the players could be (and perhaps should be) counted as a different position... But this is what I did. I think the list consists of anyone who played at least one season since 1980.

RF JACKSON, REGGIE 47.73 HOF HOM
RF SHEFFIELD, GARY 44.36
RF GWYNN, TONY 41.50 HOF HOM
RF WINFIELD, DAVE 38.97 HOF HOM
RF WALKER, LARRY 38.66 HOM
RF SMITH, REGGIE 37.98 HOM
RF EVANS, DWIGHT 37.98 HOM
RF ABREU, BOBBY 35.52
RF BONDS, BOBBY 34.79
RF GUERRERO, VLADIMIR 34.76
RF SOSA, SAMMY 34.72
RF DAWSON, ANDRE 33.22 HOF HOM
RF CLARK, JACK 32.45
RF GILES, BRIAN 31.19
RF STAUB, RUSTY 31.18
RF SINGLETON, KEN 29.19
RF SUZUKI, ICHIRO 28.46
RF STRAWBERRY, DARRYL 26.59
RF CANSECO, JOSE 26.55
RF PARKER, DAVE 25.47
RF BAINES, HAROLD 25.40
RF O'NEILL, PAUL 25.22

I'm not claiming this as a true ranking of value... But I think it's a good starting point.
And Bobby Bonds and Sammy Sosa are practically tied (with Bonds slightly ahead). This consists of 3 WARs (fangraphs, baseball reference, baseball gauge), 2 WARPs (baseball prospectus and dan rosenheck (i think i just lazily used baseball reference WAR to add in seasons I didn't have for rosenheck's system) and WSAB from baseball gauge.
   95. bjhanke Posted: October 16, 2012 at 05:29 AM (#4272218)
Iieiam - Thanks! Your results are VERY much like what BB-Ref's WAR generates, at least when it comes to Bonds vs. Sosa. And they look very plausible to me, looking at who is in the HoM and who is out (THANKS for including that!!!). I have had Bobby high on my ballot for some time because he kept coming up about where you have him, with or without Sosa. For HoM purposes, he is right in between Dawson (not my favorite HoM guy) and Evans (who I think clearly belongs), along with Sosa, and also Abreu and Vlad, who I don't think are eligible yet. I have Gary Sheffield where you have him, too, obviously higher than the bulk of HoMers, so that's comforting, too. I just hadn't thought to compare Bobby to Sosa at all until last June, because I thought it was an obvious one. Apparently, it is not, although DL does make a good point that may lead to a big disparity in peak and prime, and theorioleway makes a good point about partial seasons. It is, I must admit, gratifying to find out that someone I have had high on my ballot isn't a complete joke in everyone else's opinion. My opinion of early pitchers vs. 1980s pitchers, and my massive DH deductions have gotten me in trouble with the consensus before. - Brock
   96. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: October 16, 2012 at 07:34 AM (#4272231)
If one of the mods of the Yahoo Group would be so kind to accept my membership to the group, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

And ballot related, I voted last year for the first time under the handle Archimedez Pozo Principle. I've been revising my system towards more of a DanR salary estimator system, but using most of the uberstat systems (like lieiam) instead of just DanR's WARP. My top five will definitely be Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Schilling and Biggio in that order. Sosa will probably fall somewhere in the top ten, if not #6, when I finish with the backlog. And Lofton may be on the ballot.
   97. Chris Cobb Posted: October 16, 2012 at 09:43 PM (#4273165)
Hi all. I'm checking back in after a 2ish year absence. Hoping to have a preliminary ballot ready to show soon.

As it happens, I've been working on the outfield group of Sosa/Bonds/Lofton/Be Williams, using Dan R's WAR, BBRef WAR, Fangraphs, and BP. Right now I have them in that order, with Sosa coming in mid-ballot (behind Ba. Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Schilling, Biggio, Cravath, and Buddy Bell, in that order). Bonds is very close in value and probably will come in 10-13. Lofton may or may not make the bottom of the ballot, and Bernie Williams is definitely not especially near the ballot. BBref does offer a case for Bobby Bonds over Sosa, but if one adjusts for the strike years Sosa inches ahead (of course, if you want to vote for Bo. Bonds, BPRO is VERY high on him. Who knows why?)

Has there been much discussion of the multiple flavors of WAR now available? When I stepped away, Dan R's WAR was clearly the best thing going, with WS and BP WARP having serious problems. What are the takes on the various comprehensive metrics?

Also, who is making the case for Buddy Bell? All the WARs support him as being very high quality. Of course, you have to accept that he was an outstanding defender, but all the systems agree that he was, so that seems as little subject to doubt as a fielding evaluation can get. I haven't reexamined pitchers yet, but Bell jumps out at me as the best of the backlog, yet he's down below Fred McGriff, and fellow third baseman Sal Bando made the top 10. What's up with Bell's case?
   98. DL from MN Posted: October 16, 2012 at 10:20 PM (#4273262)
I still like Dan R's WAR for HoM purposes but he hasn't brought it up to date and he still hasn't "finished" pitchers. I like his replacement level method, his defensive numbers make sense, standard deviation adjusting and adjusting for season length are musts for HoM purposes.
   99. theorioleway Posted: October 17, 2012 at 12:30 AM (#4273662)
Welcome back Chris Cobb! I wasn't part of this yet when you were last here, but I just wanted to thank you for all your work on the Negro League players--I loved reading through all those threads when I first learned about the HOM. As for Bell, he is another player I am reconsidering like Bobby Bonds. My thoughts about the lack of support for Bell (and some more support for Bando): a) some voters might like Bando's hitting compared to Bell's (career 121 wRC+ vs. 108 wRC+) and are more comfortable evaluating them that way; b) peak voters prefer Bando over Bell; c) before recent changes to some of the WAR systems since the last election, Bando looked better than Bell; d) as Dan R and others have pointed out, evaluating left-sided infielders from the 1960s/1970s can be difficult for a whole host of reasons, but it seems that WAR tends to rate 3B too high and SS too low. I would agree with you though that Bell is a better candidate than Bando.
   100. OCF Posted: October 17, 2012 at 01:49 AM (#4273712)
Flip.
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