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

Monday, December 07, 2015

2016 Hall of Merit Ballot

Welcome to the 2016 Hall of Merit Ballot thread. Balloting is open from now (December 7) through December 17 21, 2015 at 8 p.m. EDT.

I’ve posted this the last several of years, but as a reminder:

“This has been an issue in the past, so I’ll repeat it now for clarification . . . the posting of the ballot to the discussion thread for new voters is not just a formality. With the posting of the ballot you are expected to post a summary of what you take into account - basically, how did you come up with this list? This does not mean that you need to have invented the Holy Grail of uber-stats. You don’t need a numerical rating down to the hundredth decimal point.

You do need to treat all eras of baseball history fairly. You do need to stick to what happened on the field (or your best estimate of what would have happened if wars and strikes and such hadn’t gotten in the way). You may be challenged and ask to defend your position, if someone notices internal inconsistencies, flaws in your logic, etc.. This is all a part of the learning process.

It isn’t an easy thing to submit a ballot, but that’s by design. Not because we don’t want to grow our numbers (though we’ve done just fine there, started with 29 voters in 1898, and passed 50 eventually), not because we want to shut out other voices. It’s because we want informed voters making informed decisions on the entire electorate, not just the players they remember.”

So if you are up for this, we’d love to have you! Even if you aren’t up to voting, we’d still appreciate your thoughts in the discussion. Some of our greatest contributors haven’t or have only rarely voted.

********

Voters should name 15 players, in order. Thanks!

Don’t forget to comment on each of last year’s top ten returnees. As a reminder those guys are:

Mike Mussina, John Smoltz, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Kenny Lofton, Buddy Bell, Jeff Kent, Luis Tiant, Ben Taylor, Vic Willis.

Bobby Bonds and Sal Bando were named on ten ballots each; Phil Rizzuto had similar support.

Newcomers on the 2016 ballot. Note, the WAR numbers below are a bit outdated. Generally they are a bit low.

2016 (December 14, 2015)—elect 4

WS bWAR Name-Pos
403 83.7 Ken Griffey-CF
319 60.3 Jim Edmonds-CF
240 41.5 Jason Kendall-C
188 38.0 Troy Glaus-3B
183 28.4 Trevor Hoffman-RP
176 28.1 Billy Wagner-RP
229 25.8 Garret Anderson-LF
198 28.9 Luis Castillo-2B
137 29.0 Mike Hampton-P
191 24.8 Mike Lowell-3B
174 27.6 Randy Winn-RF/CF
155 24.7 Mike Sweeney-DH/1B
142 20.9 David Eckstein-SS
169 16.4 Brad Ausmus-C
136 20.7 Ronnie Belliard-2B
101 20.3 Chan Ho Park-P
 69 17.1 Gil Meche-P
126 12.5 Cristian Guzman-SS
 82 15.4 Jeff Weaver-P
104 15.4 Jay Payton-OF
131 10.7 Bengie Molina-C
JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 07, 2015 at 06:44 PM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 07, 2015 at 07:33 PM (#5109415)
Hot topics, apologies for getting this posted so late today.
   2. karlmagnus Posted: December 07, 2015 at 08:11 PM (#5109437)
Not a huge new entry, for a change. Griffey at top, but by less than I'd expected. Edmonds just off ballot, Kendall off bottom of consideration set. Otherwise, players move up, with Smoltz/Joss very close indeed.

1. Ken Griffey (N/A) Not as dominant as I'd expected. 2781 hits at 136 OPS+, but bonus for being a CF. TB+BB/PA.582 TB+BB/Outs.890
2. John Smoltz (N/A). A priori would have ranked Schilling ahead of him but his 3473 IP at 125 beats Schilling and he was a better hitter with OPS+ of 16. 213-155 with a bunch of saves, for what that's worth. 121.6PP, or 122 rounded up.

3. (N/A-7-7-6-8-6-6-7-7-6-7-7-7-9-8-7-7-4-5-3-3-3-5-4-4-4-6-4-4-4-5-2-2
-4-4-3-3-5-4-3-2-2-3-5-2-2-1-2-1-2-1-3-1-2-1-2-4-4-4) Addie Joss. I’m now even more convinced I missed him earlier, and that adjusting innings down for dead ball pitchers is illegitimate. 2327 IP at an ERA+ of 142. 160-97 by age 30. If you assume the rest of his career would have been 1800 IP, 120-90 with an ERA+ of 110 (somewhat conservative, assuming you boost his last sick season, though pitchers didn’t last as long as they did later) then 50% credit would put him at 3227IP, 220-142, with ERA+ of 130. 25% credit puts him at 2777 IP, 190-120, with ERA+ of 136. Substantially better than Koufax. OPS+20. Electorate needs to take him more seriously. 121PP.

4. Mike Mussina (N/A-6-6) 270-153 3562 IP@ERA+ 123 117 PP. Just below Schilling but ahead of Cicotte.

5. (N/A-10-8-7-6-4-3-3-5-9-7-8-6-4-4-4-6-4-5-6-5-4-6-7-6-5-5-6-7-5-5-4-
4-5-4-6-4-4-5-4-4-5-4-4-6-5-5-5-6-7-5-5-6-7-6-5-5-7-5-5-5-6-3-4-7-6-4-4-6-5-4-3-3-4-6-3-3-2-3-3-4-2-5-2-3-3-4-6-7-7) Eddie Cicotte. Only 208-149 and an ERA+ of 123, but 3223 IP, more than Waddell and should get about 25% of the bonus for the 300-win career he should have had (he was, after all, a knuckleballer, who tend to peak late.) Much better than the 20s glut – only loses to Welch on longevity – Newhouser a close comp, but Cicotte had a longer career. Successfully cursed Red Sox AND White Sox for over 8 decades! 106PP

6. Jeff Kent (N/A-8-8) 2461 hits @123, but he was a 2B. Hence just ahead of Ernie Lombardi. TB+BB/PA .529 TB+BB/Outs .784.

7. (N/A-10-9-8-10-11-10-13-12-14-N/A-15-14-13-12-11-10-10-11-9-9
-10-11-10-10-10-11-11-10-9-10-7-8-11-10-8-8-10-9-5-4-4-5-7-4-4-3-4-4
-5-3-6-3-4-5-6-8-9-9) Ernie Lombardi. Up a bit more; we’re forgetting him. Berra closely comparable. 2137 hits, normalized to a 130 game season, and an OPS+ of 125 makes him a little better than Schang, but some of it was during the war years and he fielded badly. TB+BB/PA .492, TB+BB/Outs .719., the ratio between the two very low because of strikeouts, I assume. Plus a great nickname!

8. Nomar Garciaparra (N/A) Only 1747 hits, but at 124OPS+ and he was a shortstop mostly. TB+BB/PA .541, TB+BB/Outs .814. Statistically just ahead of Stephens, and will hopefully slip into the HOM in a quiet year.

9. (N/A-14-15-14-13-14-15-14-15-14-15-15-13-12-13-10-11-13-12-10-
11-12-11-6-5-5-6-8-5-5-4-5-5-6-4-7-4-5-7-7-9-10-10) Vern Stephens. Short career – only 1859 hits, but comparing him to Reese he was much better, and not far short of Doerr. TB+BB/PA .508, TB+BB/Outs .756. OPS+ 119 Best season 1944, however.

10. Gary Sheffield (N/A). Didn't like him, but his numbers rank him here, just above McGriff. 2689 hits at 140 OPS+ TB+BB/PA .567 TB+BB/Outs .889.

11. (N/A-8-8-10-11-11) Fred McGriff 2497 hits @134. TB+BB/PA .566 TB+BB/Outs .873 Slightly better than I had expected, and fully ballot-worthy, halfway up as we’ve cleared out the stronger backloggers.

12. (N/A-9-8-8-9-10-8-10-9-8-7-8-11-11-10-10-10-11-11-10-9-11-12-
11-14-13-11-13-13-13-13-12-11-14-13-12-11-11-12-10-10-11-12-11
-11-11-13-13-11-10-11-8-9-12-11-9-10-11-12-8-7-7-9-10-6-7-5-8-7-7-5
-8-6-6-9-7-11-12-12) Wally Schang. When you normalize his career to 130 game seasons for the first 18 years, as I do for catchers, he gets to 1941 hits, more than Groh at an OPS+ of 117, very similar. Furthermore, TB+BB/PA=.455, TB+BB/Outs=.728, also significantly better than Groh, over very close to the same period. And he was a catcher, more difficult than 3B.

13. (15-14-11-12-10-9-6-8-7-7-6-7-6-3-3-3-2-3-2-2-3-2-4-5-4-2-3-2-3-3-
2-3-3-2-2-3-7-5-5-3-2-2-2-4-2-3-3-2-2-4-3-2-2-3-3-4-2-3-2-2-3-2-4-2-2-
3-2-2-3-2-2-4-2-3-2-2-4-2-2-2-4-3-3-3-4-2-2-2-2-N/A-15-N/A-15-N/A-14
-14-13-N/A-14-13-15-11-12-13-13) Mickey Welch. UER were 43.37% of total runs allowed for Mickey, compared to about 40% with all his HOM contemporaries except Galvin (who started earlier, anyway.) Hence his ERA+, his weakness anyway, overstates his value; in spite of 307-210 he was primarily an innings-eater. 4802IP. Will now be on and off ballot. 115PP, which elevates him a bit

14. (N/A-12-11-11-13-14-11-12-11-12-10-10-8-11-9-9-11-12-13-14-14) Tommy John 288-231, 4710IP@111. Infinitesimally below Sutton, better than Kaat. 99PP

15. (N/A-12-10-12-10-11-10-7-7-8-9-7-9-13-11-10-11-12-12-11-11-11-
12-12-11-11-12-13-12-15-14-12-14-11-10-11-11-10-12-11-10-9-9-
10-8-8-9-10-9-8-8-10-10-9-8-9-6-7-10-8-10-8-8-10-13-14-15-15) Sam Leever. Pity he wasn’t able to start at the normal time; 2 more years would have made him a NB. Only 2660 innings at an ERA+ of 123, but was blocked till 27 by the one-league 1890s and having a steady job as a schoolteacher. Believe he needs to be looked at seriously by others, and included in pitcher analysis. Mild plus for high level of moral probity. Only 88PP, which drops him a bit

OFF BALLOT

16. (N/A-11-12-11-11-12-13-14-12-15-15-15-15-N/A-15-N/A-13-14-13-14-11-11-9-12-10-10-12-14-15-N/A) Carl Mays Had slipped down too far. 3021 innings at 119, 207-126 and 83 OPS+ Others should look at him more closely. 88PP

17. (N/A-13-13-11-14-12-11-13-15-N/A) Elmer Smith Deduct 10% from Elmer's Western League 1890 and 1891 batting and slugging percentages we get 301/461 and 284/431 respectively. Comparing against the PL of 1890 gives an OPS+ of about 130, against the NL of 1891 gives an OPS+ of about 139. That gives him 14 years of full-time play; adjust those to 130 game seasons (which I did for 19th century players) gives him about 2140 hits at an OPS+ of 128-129 plus a pitching record of about 1400IP at an ERA+ of 113 and a W/L of about 96-72. Elmer baby, you're on my ballot, albeit towards the bottom of it. Only 97 years late.

18. Sammy Sosa 2408 hits @128OPS+. Not as good a hitter as Piazza, and without the catcher bonus. Doesn't have Elmer Smith's pitching, but a longer career than Frank Howard (though not as good) so goes here, though this may be a few places too high. TB+BB/PA .569, TB+BB/Outs .830.

19. Carlos Delgado 2038 hits@138 OPS+ TB+BB/PA.587 TB+BB/Outs.925. With a longer career he's Sheffield or McGriff.

20. Jim Edmonds (N/A) TB+BB/PA .598, TB+BB/Outs .895. 1949 hits@132 OPS+, and he was a center fielder. Almost exactly as good a player as Griffey, but for 2/3 of the time (actually Griffey much better in the first half of his career.)
   3. karlmagnus Posted: December 07, 2015 at 08:12 PM (#5109439)
21. (N/A-15-N/A-15-N/A-14-13-14-11-12-14-13-11-13-14-13-11-10-10-12-13-10-11-10-11-9-9-12-15-13-12-14-N/A) Frank Howard Very slightly better than Kiner – significantly longer career. Underrated by history, but down a little when I look at Belle. OPS+ 142 for 1774 hits. TB+BB/PA .546, TB+BB/Outs .805 in a pitchers’ park and era.

22. (N/A-6-5-9-8-9-8-7-10-11-8-9-7-7-6-6-9-9-8-6-6-6-5-4-8-7-9-12-
N/A-14-13-15-N/A-14-15-14-15-15-N/A-15-14-N/A) Hugh Duffy. We don’t have enough Beaneaters! However he’s not quite as good as Elmer Smith.

23. (N/A-15-N/A-14-13-15-N/A) Rusty Staub. 2716 hits at OPS+124. TB+BB/PA .484, TB+BB/Outs .724. Not quite as good as Beckley, for not quite as long.

24. (N/A-13-12-13-13-12-14-15-12-13-11-11-N/A-11-9-12-12-N/A-15-15-N/A-14-N/A-15-13-12-14-15-12-13-12-13-N/A) George van Haltren. Had slipped too far at #44; we need more 90s stars, but he was significantly below Elmer Smith, either as hitter or pitcher.

25. (N/A-12-N/A) Fred Lynn. Underrated, considerably better than Rice or Hernandez. 1960 hits at 130, but bonus for playing CF. TB+BB/PA .531, TB+BB/Outs .791. Lovely player to watch, and absolutely top-drawer at his best.

26. (N/A) Bernie Williams 2336 hits @125. Needs either a bit more quality or a bit more length. Just a smidgen less than Fred Lynn, who was also a CF (and who I’d MUCH rather see in!) TB+BB/PA .533 TB+BB/Outs .815, in a harder hitting era than Lynn.

27. Albert Belle 1726 hits @143. Short career, not quite Frank Howard but Frank was a little high. TB+BB/PA .597 TB+BB/Outs .896

28. (N/A-14-N/A-15-13-15-N/A-15-N/A) Luis Tiant 229-172. 3486 IP at 114. ERA+ a little low, but W/L good. He’s not top tier, but just a little better than Pierce. Big psychic plus for Red Sox affiliation. Looking at Reuschel, a little overplaced so have slipped him down. 84PP

29. (N/A-13-15-N/A-15-15-N/A) Vic Willis Had slipped too far, but not better than those above him.

30. Gavvy Cravath 1134 hits@150. Add 50% to career and deduct 5 points for more years in early career makes him 1699 hits @145, still a very short career, but comparable to Hack. TB+BB/PA .527, TB+BB/Outs .835.

31. (N/A-7-13-11-13-14-14-14-N/A-15-15-15-N/A-14-15-15-15-N/A-
14-N/A-15-15-N/A-15-N/A-14-N/A-15-14-N/A) Hack Wilson. TB+BB/PA = .588, TB+BB/Outs = .954, OPS+ 144. (he does appear to have known about BB, unlike some others.) Very short career, but quality too good to ignore.

32. (N/A-14-14-N/A) Chuck Klein. Shortish career but very good one. Similar player to Beckwith, beats Hack on career length, but Hack was better. TB+BB/PA .575, TB+BB/Outs .909, but only 2076 hits. OPS+137.

33. Indian Bob Johnson. Very similar career to Klein but infinitesimally less good. TB+BB/PA .569, TB+BB/Outs .890., only 2051 hits. OPS+138

34. Brian Downing. 2099 hits at 122 plus he caught about 1/3 of his games. TB+BB/PA.487 TB+BB/Outs.741

35. (N/A) Julio Franco. Better hitter than I had remembered and long career, mostly SS/2B. 2586 hits @111 OPS+ TB+BB/PA .466, TB+BB/Outs .686. Just a smidgen better than Perez, I think.

36. Tony Perez. Close to Staub but below him. 2732 hits at 122. TB+BB/PA .502, TB+BB/Outs .731.
37. Bill Madlock.
38. Toby Harrah
39. Ben Taylor. Not all that far below Beckley and better than Van Haltren.
40. Jim Kaat 77PP
41. Orlando Cepeda
42. Norm Cash
43. Jim Rice
44. (N/A-12-12-14-N/A) Tony Lazzeri
45. Cesar Cedeno
46. (N/A-14-N/A-15-N/A) Sam Rice
47. John Olerud With 2239 hits@128 playing 1B he’s somewhere about here.
48. Lou Brock
49. Mickey Vernon
50. Thurmon Munson
51. Sal Maglie.
52. (N/A) Burleigh Grimes.
53. (N/A) Heinie Manush
54. (N/A-9-10-10-13-N/A) Mike Tiernan
55. Bob Elliott
56. (N/A-9-12-11-14-13-14-12-11-12-13-11-11-9-9-13-14-12-14-14-N/A) Levi Meyerle.
57. Chuck Finley Obscure and slightly mediocre 200-173, but 3197 IP @115. Just below Reuschel and Tiant. Down a bit – I think 120ERA+ has got easier since ’90. 80PP
58. Jack Clark. As good as Reggie Smith but not for as long. 1826 hits@137OPS+, TB+BB .529, TB+BB/Outs .845
59. (12-15-N/A-11-10-12-10-10-9-8-11-12-10-10-8-8-14-15-13-15-15-N/A) Harry Wright.
60. Harold Baines 2866 hits @120. TB+BB/PA .511 TB+BB/Outs .757. Lower than Staub and Perez.
61. Dennis Martinez 3999IP@106, 245-193. A lesser Kaat.
62. Jimmy Key
63. Dave Parker.
64. (N/A-10-9-8-7-6-7-8-5-12-10-10-N/A-10-8-11-11-N/A) Jimmy Ryan
65. Gene Tenace
66. Kiki Cuyler
67. Deacon McGuire
68. Jerry Koosman.
69. Boog Powell
70. Ken Singleton.
71. Bucky Walters 198-160, 3104IP at 115 certainly doesn’t make the ballot, but should be on the consideration set, so here he is. Less than Tiant or Reuschel. 78PP
72. Sal Bando. 1790 hits at 119 Very short career, so even with 3B bonus he doesn't make it.
73. Jim Fregosi.
74. Jack Quinn
75. Juan Gonzalez
76. Tony Mullane
77. Ron Cey
78. Jose Canseco.
79. Pie Traynor
80. Jim McCormick
81. Dick Redding. My punt is 3200 innings at 114 ERA+ for a record of 207-159, i.e. same quality as Chris but a little shorter. About here looks right – a little below Grimes (longer career) and Maglie (better quality.)
82. Joe Judge
83. Spotswood Poles.
84. Buddy Bell. Nowhere near a good enough hitter
85. Larry Doyle
86. Kirby Puckett
87. (N/A)Tony Fernandez. Turn him into an outfielder and he’s Kirby, so here he is. 2276 hits @101, TB+BB/PA .438 TB+BB/Outs .634
88. Ellis Burks 2107 hits @126; TB+BB/PA .548 TB+BB/Outs .820. Just within consideration set, rather than just outside it. Not that it matters.
89. Curt Simmons
90. Waite Hoyt.
91. Harry Hooper.
92. Vada Pinson
93. Gil Hodges
94. Jules Thomas.
95. Rico Carty.
96. Wilbur Cooper
97. Bruce Petway.
98. Jack Clements
99. Frank Tanana
100. Don Mattingley.
101. Orel Hershiser 204-150, 3130 IP@112. Not quite enough
102. Bill Monroe
103. Herb Pennock
104. Chief Bender
105. Ed Konetchy
106. Al Oliver
107. Darryl Strawberry.
108. Jesse Tannehill
109. Bobby Veach
110. Chet Lemon.
111. Lave Cross
112. Tommy Leach. Inferior to Childs, even if he’d played 3B his whole career, which he didn’t. Overall, Cross was better, too (2645@100 translates to 2645@ almost 120 with position bonus.) 2143 hits @109, which translates to at most 119 when you add say 50% of a 1900 3B bonus of 20. Not close.
113. Tom York



OFF: Phil Rizzuto. Not close—hugely overrated. OPS+ of 93, and not a particularly long career, even with war credit.

Lee Smith 71-92 +478 saves. 1289IP @132. Only 54PP so drops off consideration set.

Lofton just off the bottom of consideration set (even with a modest CF bonus, not quite there.)

Bobby Bonds very short career, at a level that keeps him just off my consideration set, though he could be ranked as high as #80 or so, but nowhere near top 15.
   4. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 07, 2015 at 10:11 PM (#5109522)
This formerly dedicated Win Shares voter now has a system that spits out docWAR:
• Based in BBREF WAR
• Includes DRA (2/3 strength) + rfield (1/3 strength) except for catchers where it’s 50/50 or anyone before 1893
• Adjusts for schedule, usage patterns for catchers, STDEV of league (WAA/PA or WAA/IP), usage patterns for pitchers, relief appearances pre-PBP, relief value during PBP era (via WPA integration), OF arms (which DRA doesn’t handle as well as BBREF does IMO), fielding in Coors, Old Yankee left field, and Fenway left field, and probably other stuff I’m forgetting, yadda yada yadda

I’ve taken a deep look at the HOM’s balance across eras and positions. It appears that that we could use a couple more guys whose careers centered in the deadball era, and whose careers got under way in the 1970s and 1980s. In addition, we are a tad shy on catchers and third basemen while over on first basemen. This is not information that makes my decisions, but if needed, I’ll find it useful as a guide.

I don’t really care whether there’s a whole mess of 1970s third basemen and no 1970s shortstops, just as I don’t mind that there were a mess of shortstops in the 1890s and 1900s…and almost no third basemen. Sometimes an era just tilts toward or away from a position.

With that said…, here’s my 2016 prelim, which is just full of CFs, Cs, SPs, 3Bs, and deadballists.

1. Ken Griffey, Jr.: Best available player.
2. Mike Mussina: He and Schilling are this close. Both are top 25 pitchers ever.
3. John Smoltz: Smoltz wasn’t consistently dominant like Moose or Schilling. His relief work gets some help from my WPA-reliever adjustments, and he could hit a little to boot. But more of a career-oriented guy.
4. Jim Edmonds: Basically, he's Duke Snider value-wise.
5. Buddy Bell: Very similar career though not hitting style as HOMer Graig Nettles. Easily the best 3B not in the HOM.
6. Gary Sheffield: Absolutely awful defender. Shoulda been a 1B all the way. Great bat, though!
7. Thurman Munson: Brings the D, has a bat, hangs tough with the other 1970s catchers. I like him a bit more than HOMer Brenshan and significantly more than HOMer Freehan.
8. Wally Schang: Not much in the peak department, but tons of career value for a catcher.
9. Luis Tiant: Same exact peak/prime value as Reuschel but with less career value. He and Shocker are pretty close together, both just inside the top 3/4s of pitchers. I moved him up from the placement on my prelim because we need more players from him times.
10. Kenny Lofton: A top-fifteenish CF. DRA actually dislikes him more than rfield, so this is more conservative than a straight WAR vote would deliver.
11. Bobby Veach: New to my ballot. He’s the Jimmy Sheckard of the 1910s AL—a fantastic fielder in a time when LF was a much more important defensive position (more balls hit there, like a second CF in the sense that 3Bs were like second shortstops, see Wizardry for more on this), and his bat is strong as well. A top-15 or so player in LF for me.
12. Urban Shocker: Marichal with less peak…or Saberhagen with a little more.
13. Tommy Leach: DRA loves this guy at both 3B and CF. In fact, all systems rate him as very good to outstanding. At 3B he’d be a top-15 among eligibles, nearly so in centerfield.
14. Vic Willis: Easily within the 3/4s of all pitchers, which makes him an easy vote for me.
15. Art Fletcher: Defensive wunderkind of the deadball era. DRA digs him, rfield digs him, and I dig him.

Rizzuto: I am applying war credit at the player's career average by season. Rizzuto ranks between Vern Stephens and Roger Peckinpaugh for me, which puts him below the line.

Taylor: I have never voted for Taylor even way back when. Just doesn't have enough peak for my tastes, though I respect his career length. First base is an area of un-need in my opinion.

Sammy Sosa: He and Bobby Bonds are extremely close in value and shape. I like Sosa’s peakiness a little more than Bonds’ steadiness. They stack up right on the borderline for me and could go either way, but they are currently behind these other guys in my pecking order.

Jeff Kent: Not as strong as I’d thought he’d be. Defense has something to do with that, but also he was rarely great. I’ve got two fringe-MVP years, 1 All-Star year, and one very-nearly-All-Star year then lots of 3 and 4 win seasons. This is similar actually to Finley and Orel, but we have more 2Bs than SPs.
   5. Chris Fluit Posted: December 08, 2015 at 01:48 PM (#5109953)
2015 Ballot

1. Ken Griffey Jr., CF (new): 136 OPS+ in 11,304 innings. Top ten in OPS+ 9 times. Still a positive defender (+3 fielding runs) despite a lengthy decline.

2. John Smoltz, P (4): 125 ERA+ in 3,473 innings. Top ten in ERA+ 9 times. 1st in innings pitched in ’96 and ’97. 162 ERA+ across four mid-career relief seasons (2001-04).

3. Mike Mussina, P (5): 123 ERA+ in 3,562 innings. Top ten in ERA+ 11 times, including 2nd in 2001 and 3rd in 1992.

4. Gary Sheffield, RF (6): 1st in OPS+ in 1996, 5 times in the top 5, 9 times in the top 10. 140 OPS+ in 10,947 PA. Historically awful defense (-195 fielding runs) keeps him from being one of the all-time greats.

5. Ben Taylor, 1B: (7): Imagine a player with Carlos Delgado’s bat and Mark Grace’s glove. That’s what Taylor’s estimates look like (138 OPS+ in 9091 compared to 138 in 8647 for Delgado and 76.5 fielding runs compared to 77 for Grace).

6. “Cannonball” Dick Redding, P (8): Most career WAR and Win Shares Abbove Bench of Negro League 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, sufficient prime.

7. Sammy Sosa, RF (9): 128 OPS+ in 9896 plate attempts. Five seasons of 150 or better. +86 fielding runs thanks to a great glove when he was a young.

8. Jim Edmonds, CF (new): 132 OPS+ in 7980 plate attempts. +37 fielding runs. Not enough career to catch Sosa but defensive value pushes him ahead of Kent.

9. Jeff Kent, 2B (10): 123 OPS+ in 9537 plate attempts, with 1 season over 160, 3 over 140 and 5 over 130. Minus 42 fielding runs keep him from being an Inner Circle guy.

10. Sal Bando, 3B (11): The best third baseman available. 60.6 career WAR, in 400 fewer games than Buddy Bell (60.8). 119 OPS+ at the plate and +36 fielding runs at the hot corner.

11. Vic Willis, P (12): Best pitcher in the National League in 1899 (1st in ERA+, pitching wins and WAR for pitchers). Second-best in ‘01, ’02, and ’06. Packed a huge career (3996 innings) into only 13 seasons.

12. Don Newcombe, P (13): Minor league credit during integration, military credit during the Korean War and 9.0 WAR at the plate on top of an already very good pitching career.

13. Kenny Lofton, CF (19): 107 OPS+ in 9235 plate attempts. +112 fielding runs. Edmonds’ arrival forces me to reevaluate Lofton. He’s better than Bob Johnson and therefore jumps over him to a ballot spot.

14. Tommy Bridges, P (14): Top ten in ERA+ 10 times in 12 seasons. Top ten in innings pitched 5 straight seasons from 1933 to 1937.

15. Bob Johnson, LF (15): 13 seasons with OPS+ over 125, top ten 10 times in 12 seasons. Top ten in Runs Created 9 times.

Other Newcomers:
Jason Kendall is a first-ballot lock for the Hall of Very Good.
Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner are an interesting study of career vs. peak value, but neither reliever cracks my ballot.

Top Ten Disclosures:
Buddy Bell: see my comments on Bando; I'll take Bando's peak and offensive numbers over Bell's career and defensive numbers
Luis Tiant: in my top 25; could make my ballot before he's elected
Phil Rizzuto: I was a Scooter support for a couple of elections but at this point, I prefer Aparicio's career and Bancroft's prime; all three shortstops sit between #16 and 30 on my extended ballot
Bobby Bonds: adds a lot outside of bat (+43 baserunning and +47 defense) but barely cracks my top 30
   6. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 08, 2015 at 03:11 PM (#5110049)
10. Sal Bando, 3B (11): The best third baseman available. 60.6 career WAR, in 400 fewer games than Buddy Bell (60.8). 119 OPS+ at the plate and +36 fielding runs at the hot corner.


Where are the WAR figures coming from?
Strike season adjusted totals for each:

Baseball Reference, Baseball Gauge, Baseball Prospectus:
BB: 69.3, 67.6, 65.9
SB: 61.6, 48.9, 50.8
   7. DL from MN Posted: December 08, 2015 at 03:20 PM (#5110057)
2016 Ballot

1) John Smoltz - Top 60 player all time. Slots in between Bert Blyleven and Tom Glavine.
2) Ken Griffey Jr - Little value after age 31. Yaz, Raines and Gwynn are comparables. Slots nicely between Turkey Stearns and Billy Hamilton among CF. Top 100 player.
3) Mike Mussina - top 100 player - around even with Gaylord Perry for 30th among pitchers
4) Tommy Bridges - Have been supporting Bridges since the 1970 ballot. Still think he's great.
5) Gary Sheffield - Equivalent to Enos Slaughter, Larry Walker and Roberto Clemente among RF
6) Jim Edmonds - Similar value to Duke Snider.
7) Phil Rizzuto - WWII credit
8) Urban Shocker - gets WWI credit
9) Gavy Cravath - minor league credit
10) Tommy John - I was overdebiting his hitting in previous seasons.
11) Bus Clarkson - NGL and Mexican league credit
12) Bucky Walters - another one who moves up due to pitcher hitting revamp
13) Bob Johnson - on every ballot since I started voting in 1968
14) Bert Campaneris - Not Buddy Bell, Dan R's WAR is giving more credit to SS and less to 3B.
15) Luis Tiant

16) Ben Taylor - how do we induct Palmeiro and Beckley but not Ben Taylor? Taylor has the advantage of being the best 1B in the league and they don't. Great fielder during an era where it mattered quite a bit.


17-20) Dave Bancroft, Brian Giles, Norm Cash, Kevin Appier,
21-25) Hilton Smith, Don Newcombe, Wally Schang, Johnny Pesky, Jeff Kent
26-30) Wilbur Cooper, Sammy Sosa, Babe Adams, Burleigh Grimes, Dave Concepcion

39) Kenny Lofton - I'm not as impressed with CF as the HoM voters are in general. About as good as Andre Dawson and Jim Wynn but they're not PHoM either. Behind Larry Doby and Earl Averill and they're the bottom of my PHoM CF.
61) Bobby Bonds - compares to Kiki Cuyler and Chuck Klein
64) Buddy Bell - BBREF is wrong, those WAR should be going to SS, not 3B. About even with Ron Cey and Robin Ventura. I like Leach, Williamson and Traynor better among 3B.

>150) Jason Kendall
   8. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 08, 2015 at 03:26 PM (#5110062)
3. (N/A-7-7-6-8-6-6-7-7-6-7-7-7-9-8-7-7-4-5-3-3-3-5-4-4-4-6-4-4-4-5-2-2
-4-4-3-3-5-4-3-2-2-3-5-2-2-1-2-1-2-1-3-1-2-1-2-4-4-4) Addie Joss. I’m now even more convinced I missed him earlier, and that adjusting innings down for dead ball pitchers is illegitimate. 2327 IP at an ERA+ of 142. 160-97 by age 30. If you assume the rest of his career would have been 1800 IP, 120-90 with an ERA+ of 110 (somewhat conservative, assuming you boost his last sick season, though pitchers didn’t last as long as they did later) then 50% credit would put him at 3227IP, 220-142, with ERA+ of 130. 25% credit puts him at 2777 IP, 190-120, with ERA+ of 136. Substantially better than Koufax. OPS+20. Electorate needs to take him more seriously. 121PP.


It's extremely unfortunate that Joss passed away before the age of 32, but his arm was failing him his final 2 seasons, I'm not sure you can assume he would have lasted much longer.

Chief Bender, Dizzy Dean, Mel Harder, and Lefty Gomez serve as 4 examples of star pitchers who's health/effectiveness failed them, with almost no value from age 30 onward like Joss.
   9. DL from MN Posted: December 08, 2015 at 03:48 PM (#5110090)
2016 PHOM - Griffey, Biggio, Edmonds, ???. Still sorting out whether I inducted Sheffield already. If so, Tommy John is next on the list.
   10. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 08, 2015 at 04:13 PM (#5110120)
4) Tommy Bridges - Have been supporting Bridges since the 1970 ballot. Still think he's great.

Hey DL, no mention of Vic Willis?

I'll assume you prefer Bridges extended above average/innings eating abilities over the peakier:
Shocker, Tiant, Appier, Bond, Uhle, Willis, Cicotte, and Newcombe.

Adams at #28 is a cool placement.
His numbers on the face aren't overwhelming, but his career was quite unconventional.
Babe didn't get a real start until his age 27 season after excellent minor seasons in 1907 and 1908, does he deserve MLE credit for at least 1908?
He falls apart at age 34 after a 7 year run of consistent success, is he finished in the bigs?
Adams dominates the minors once again in both 1917 and 1918, in today's game, is a guy with his historical accomplishment left in the minors for 2 seasons, seems crazy?
Does Babe deserve at least MLE value for 1918, and maybe 1917?
He's given a chance to return in 1919 and throws a nearly Cy Young type year, then keeps adding value until age 42/43.
Has a dominate 1909 World Series kicker.
   11. Chris Fluit Posted: December 08, 2015 at 04:41 PM (#5110159)
Where are the WAR figures coming from?

They're from baseball-reference but it's likely that they predate the most recent WAR revision. That's what happens when you cut and paste comments for a few elections in a row.
   12. Rob_Wood Posted: December 08, 2015 at 04:50 PM (#5110177)
My 2016 HOM ballot (I am a career voter that can be swayed by a phenomenal peak):

1. Ken Griffey Jr. - did more than enough in his 20's to make top spot
2. Mike Mussina - woefully underrated pitcher by general public
3. John Smoltz - interesting issue of how to value his closer years
4. Gary Sheffield - great hitter, poor defender
5. Tommy Bridges - with WWII credit, please take another look at him

6. Jeff Kent - I saw him every day with Giants and his defense was decent (moved up from last year)
7. Jim Edmonds - in some absolute sense defines the HOM in/out line for me
8. Bobby Bonds - never lived up to potential but had a very good career
9. Buddy Bell - moved up significantly due to my recent re-eval of his defense
10. Kenny Lofton - largely depends upon his defense eval (I say he was very good)

11. Bob Johnson - one year credit for being kept in minors too long (connie mack/al simmons)
12. Sammy Sosa - his early defense and base running were pretty good (bad late)
13. Fred McGriff - solid slugger
14. Sal Bando - the closer you look, the better he looks
15. Bus Clarkson - under appreciated negro leaguer

---

16-20) Tommy John, Bernie Williams, Jack Clark, Tony Perez, Bob Elliott

21-25) John Olerud, George Van Haltren, Luis Tiant, Rusty Staub, Ben Taylor

26-30) Rabbit Maranville, Chuck Klein, Luis Aparcio, Bert Campaneris, Tommy Leach

Last year's top ten returnees not listed above:
Vic Willis - around 50-75th

Other newbies seriously considered:
Billy Wagner - around 50-75th
Trevor Hoffman - around 50-75th
Jason Kendall - around 75-100th
Troy Glaus - around 75-100th
   13. karlmagnus Posted: December 08, 2015 at 05:02 PM (#5110190)
Bleed (10) Joss gets almost the same pitcher points as Smoltz (see last year's ballot for derivation of these) in his actual career, so I don't need extra "dead credit." With "dead credit" (which I believe to be plausible; arguably he was already ill in his last season, like Gehrig) he'd be #1 on my ballot. In terms of ERA+ he's 12th all time, or 8th among non-relievers with reasonable career length (Devlin only 3 years.)
   14. DL from MN Posted: December 08, 2015 at 05:39 PM (#5110230)
I have Vic Willis at #68. Awful batter.
   15. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 08, 2015 at 06:55 PM (#5110283)
While ERA+ is a good metric, considering fielding errors/team defense/official scorers can alter this figure, reviewing RA+ is a good additional check.
I added a few more pitchers that excelled in age 20s but fell apart in 30s from the earlier list, focusing on career portions that were roughly equivalent to Joss:

Name/IP/RA+
Dean: 1967/132,
Hahn: 2029/130
Gooden: 2126/128 - (1984-1993) adds league average or better partial seasons in 1996, 1998, and 2000, plus the 1985 season as an all-time historic season.
Appier: 2349/127 - (1990-2001), 2266/127 if you leave 94/95 unadjusted, adds > league average 2002.
Gomez: 2172/127 (1931-1939), adds league average type 1941 season.
Joss: 2327/125
Harder: 2323/121 (1930-1939), throws in league average performances or slightly better in 1930, 1942, and 1943.
Bender: 2330/116 (1904-1914) - adds league average campaign in 1903 and excellent half season in 1917, supported the war effort in 1918, was paid more to manage/play in the minors and dominated inferior competition in 1919-1922; what type of MLE credit does he deserve?

I wonder what the pitcher points metric you use would look like using RA+ instead of ERA+?

Hitting value during same time frames, approximate WAR:
Dean - 2, Hahn - (1), Gooden - 5, Appier - 0, Gomez - (4), Joss - (2), Harder (2.5), Bender - 4.
   16. karlmagnus Posted: December 08, 2015 at 07:05 PM (#5110287)
Switching to RA+ will always push truly elite pitchers down towards the common herd, dispoportionately so in a high errors, low scoring era like the Deadball. I don't agree with doing that, therefore. Errors etc. are pitcher-independent, and shouldn't be included in the primary assessment of a pitcher's record.

That's my view, anyway. I'm only one voter, of course.
   17. Mike Webber Posted: December 08, 2015 at 09:26 PM (#5110488)
BBRef WAR heavy ballot, with emphasis on career, where a player ranks among his era peers, with big seasons as a boosting factor.

1) KEN GRIFFEY Jr/b> 83.6 WAR 10 times in the top 10 in offensive WAR.
2) <b>MIKE MUSSINA
82.7 Bbref War, 270 Win Shares
3) JOHN SMOLTZ 66.5 Bbref War, 289 Win Shares – Mussina and Smoltz career values being nearly identical, I tried to sort them our by peak.
4) GARY SHEFFIELD 63.3 WAR, 430 Win Shares –His effort level seemed to be more variable than most major league players, especially on defense.
5) JIM EDMONDS 60.3 WAR. 301 Win Shares – 5 times in the top 10 in player position WAR. Four MVP type seasons.
6) JEFF KENT – 55.2 BBref-WAR, 339 Win Shares one MVP type seasons, 9 seasons 20+ Win Shares. We share the exact same birth date, so bonus points for that. 20th round draft choice with the misfortune of being in the same organization as Robbie Alomar, who was exactly the same age. Never drew more than 31 walks in a season until he was 29, which limited him to being a solid player rather than an all-star.
7) LUIS TIANT – 66.1 BBref-WAR, 256 Win Shares – poor timing of his big years, but big years push him to top of pitchers currently on ballot. One spot behind Smoltz on the career WAR list for pitchers.
8) SAL BANDO – 61.6 BBref-WAR, 283 Win Shares, two MVP type seasons, 9 seasons 20+ Win Shares. I believe he was better than Ken Boyer, but his home parks helped disguise it.
9) SAMMY SOSA – 58.4 BBref-WAR, 322 Win Shares – three 30+ Win Share seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares. Value wise very similar to Bobby Bonds.
10) TOMMY LEACH – 46.8 BBref-WAR, 328 Win Shares, only one MVP type season, 8 seasons 20+ Win Shares. Good peak, excellent defensive player at third and in centerfield.
11) BUDDY BELL 66.1 BBref - 301 Win Shares, ZERO MVP type seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares.
12) FRANK CHANCE45.6 WAR 237 Win Shares - I’m a career guy, but this is the peakiest of peak guys.
13) PHIL RIZZUTO – 40.6 BBref-WAR, 231 Win Shares, one MVP type seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares. With a conservative 60 or so win shares or 9 WAR during World War II, I move him to the top of the middle infielder group. Same arguments as Nellie Fox, only with a 3-year hole in his career at ages 25 to 27, plus a bad return to MLB in 1946. (No extra credit for 1946 – just noting it).
14) JOHN OLERUDE– 58 BBref-WAR, 302 Win Shares - 2 MVP type seasons, but only 5 other 20+ win share seasons. Also hurt by the large number of first basemen in his era that were clearly better.
15) BOBBY BONDS57.7 BBref 302 Win Shares – Four 30+ Win Share seasons, at ages 23, 24, 25, and 27. After age 33 Bobby had 7 win shares, Barry had 286. Pete Browning without the fielding problems?


Next group of guys off the ballot grouped by position:
Dick Redding, Kevin Appier, Tommy John, Vic Willis, Gene Tenace, Wally Schang, Fred McGriff, Norm Cash, Orlando Cepeda, Johnny Evers, Larry Doyle, Bobby Elliot, Ron Cey, Joe Tinker, Luis Aparicio, Bancroft, Fregosi, Stephens, Kenny Williams, Bernie Williams, Bob Johnson, Harry Hooper, Sam Rice, Luis Gonzalez, Kenny Lofton.

Other required notes:

Vic Willis is in the just off the ballot group, but probably behind Redding and Appier.

Ben Taylor is behind the group of Olerude, Delgado, McGriff, Cash and Cepeda.

Kenny Lofton 68.1 BBref-WAR, 287 Win Shares – two key problems are lack of MVP type seasons and the concern with how much of his value comes from defensive WAR.

Gavy Cravath – Retrosheet now has home road splits for Gavvy from 1913 through 1920, his last 8 of 9 seasons in Philly. 1913 numbers came out this week.


1913-20 G AB HR RBI AVG OBP SLG OPS
Home 489 1542 86 250 .313 .407 .580 .987
Away 480 1640 20 166 .273 .363 .410 .773


That home OPS would be second behind Babe Ruth for the period, just ahead of Cobb, Speaker and Shoeless Joe.

The 773 OPS as a road player? 20th for the period, which is still very good, nestled in between Zach Wheat, Wally Schang, Happy Felsch and Sam Rice. Very fine company.

As always the truth is somewhere in the middle, but I’d bet he’s closer to Bobby Veach than Shoeless Joe. My opinion on him is moving up with more evidence.
   18. DL from MN Posted: December 08, 2015 at 10:36 PM (#5110531)
Errors etc. are pitcher-independent


Not exactly. Not many errors on strikeouts or popups compared to grounders and line drives.
   19. The Honorable Ardo Posted: December 09, 2015 at 12:42 AM (#5110613)
2016 Hall of Merit ballot
#s 1-2-3 from last year (Randy, Pedro, Curt in that order) were all elected. Last three years in parentheses, beginning with the most recent.

1. Ken Griffey Jr (new) Historic prime, racking up 76 (BB-Ref) WAR through his age-30 season. Easy #1.

2. Mike Mussina (was #4-5). Pitched exclusively in the AL East when it was MLB's strongest division, and thus better than his raw statistics indicate. Ahead of Smoltz even with postseason play factored in. Top 30 pitcher all-time.

3. John Smoltz (was #6). Better at both starting and relieving than Eckersley. Top 40 pitcher all-time.

4. Gary Sheffield (was #5). Most similar comp in my rankings is Harry Heilmann. Sheffield's stats through 2005 (his last healthy season with the Yankees) are a dead ringer for Heilmann's career. Top 120 or so among position players.

5. Wally Schang (was #7-7-7). A glaring Hall of Merit omission that we can still correct! Durability? 3rd all-time in games caught at his retirement (and still in the top 40 today). Career on-base percentage of .393, just above Sheffield and Rod Carew - for a catcher who played half his career in the dead-ball era! Defense? Above the AL average in caught-stealing %, at a time when everyone ran. I outline in his player thread why his poor defensive "letter grades" are deceiving.

6. Jim Edmonds (new). Similar career arc and total player value to Duke Snider, though more of Jim's was on defense/base running and less on batting. A hair behind Sheffield.

-- gap --

7. Adolfo Luque (was #10-6-6) There's vigorous debate about whether his major league career was held back by racism (as I once believed without reservations, even to the point of ranking him #1 once) or he was simply a late bloomer. His Cuban record, though excellent, is inferior to Jose Mendez's.

8. Ben Taylor (was #9-9-off) Looks very similar to John Olerud on paper: smooth glove, consistent line-drive bat, long career. The difference between them is in 1B's relative defensive value in their eras, which puts Taylor here and Olerud at about #30 or so.

9. Sammy Sosa (was #11-12-9) On hitting alone, he's a dead ringer for Chuck Klein, whom we're in no hurry to induct. His candidacy is almost entirely a question of whether his gaudy defensive WAR totals through 1997 can be taken at face value.

10. Hilton Smith (was #12-10-10). Excellent peak value and a good hitter too. I see his contemporary Bucky Walters as the low end of his range. See post #88 in the ballot discussion thread for more info.

11. Jeff Kent (was #14-off). A great hitter for his position, and actually an average defensive 2B with the Mets and Giants. His "sieve" phase didn't begin until his move to Houston (and, of course, his late career is freshest in the electorate's mind).

12. Tommy John (was #8-8-8). His statistics through his age-39 season are superficially similar to the careers of Rick Reuschel and Jim Bunning (and, of course, he pitched deep into his 40s), but he has virtually no peak value. I like his case less than I once did.

13. Nomar Garciaparra (was #15). Played just long enough at a very high level: six 6+ WAR seasons at shortstop in a seven-year span. Very comparable to two high-peak, short-career HoM shortstops: Lou Boudreau [when the latter's 1943-45 are discounted for wartime competition] and Dobie Moore.

14. Kenny Lofton (off, but #15 on my 2014 ballot). Re-appraised and ballot-worthy. I always thought of him as having a flat career, but that's not at all the case: from 1992 to 2000, he had an excellent sustained prime with 50+ BB-Ref WAR. Close to Richie Ashburn in total player value.

15. Luis Tiant (was off, but #13 on my 2014 ballot). Borderline pitcher. His two distinct "good" stretches (his entire Cleveland career and 1972-76, 1978 for Boston) add up to just over 2700 IP at ERA+ 125 - akin to Dave Stieb's career minus comeback attempts - but Tiant's era was much more pitcher-friendly. Has bounced off and on my ballot for many years.

-- off ballot --

16. Buddy Bell (was #13-11-11). I don't buy the argument that he was an otherworldly defender in the same class as Brooks and Nettles; contemporary opinion clearly didn't think so. Still a good player, but squarely on the in/out line for me.

17-20: Frank Chance, Lee Smith, Tommy Leach, Thurman Munson.
21-25: Fred McGriff, Vic Willis, Bernie Williams, Dick Redding, Trevor Hoffman.
   20. bjhanke Posted: December 09, 2015 at 02:18 AM (#5110634)
Aaargh! I'm trying to find a current list of who all is in the Hall of Merit, so I don't make any more embarrassing mistakes like working up Bill Dahlen. I went to the Hall of Merit Link, but could not find it there or in its archives. So, sigh, can someone tell me where to find a current HoM roster? Thanks in advance. - Brock Hanke
   21. bjhanke Posted: December 09, 2015 at 02:38 AM (#5110636)
A couple of notes on dead ball era pitchers. I've been wallowing in these for months, doing the Most Meritorious Player yearlies, which have been going through the DBE. Essentially, DBE real good pitchers come in two types: Guys who threw lots and lots of very hard fastballs (Young, Waddell, Johnson), and guys who threw lots and lots of grounder-inducing curve balls (all the Pittsburgh Six, many others). The fastball guys tend to have seriously longer careers, demonstrating once again that curve balls are bad for the arm (not that everyone who throws them has a short career). You can figure out who was which kind by looking at strikeout totals.

Also, the DBE probably has as great a spread of rotation lengths as any period, maybe the greatest of all time. You had, early in the DBE, teams with 2-man pitching staffs (1903 Boston AL) and another guy for doubleheaders and such, and teams that had five-man rotations (1903 Pittsburgh NL). As a consequence, the number of innings that a star pitcher worked could be more related to his team's rotation length than anything the pitcher himself could control.

On Babe Adams and his mid-career trip to the minors: Several hints and mentions, from here and there, including in the New Historical, suggest, although no one has ever outright claimed, that Adams and Rube Marquard both blew their arms temporarily out by pitching a 21-inning game against each other. The main evidence is that Marquard had an equally severe and equally temporary arm collapse in mid-career. I don't think there are any hard and fast rules as to whether, or how, to adjust for this. - Brock Hanke
   22. Chris Fluit Posted: December 09, 2015 at 09:19 AM (#5110701)
Aaargh! I'm trying to find a current list of who all is in the Hall of Merit, so I don't make any more embarrassing mistakes like working up Bill Dahlen. I went to the Hall of Merit Link, but could not find it there or in its archives. So, sigh, can someone tell me where to find a current HoM roster? Thanks in advance. - Brock Hanke

Important Links will get you to most of the necessary resources, including links to Negro League threads for our new voters
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit/discussion/important_links1

The Plaque Room contains the list of previous inductees.
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit/discussion/the_hall_of_merit_plaque_room

Sorry, I don't know how to hyperlink on thinkfactory.
   23. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2015 at 10:20 AM (#5110760)
Use the "<a>" button to hyperlink
   24. bjhanke Posted: December 09, 2015 at 12:26 PM (#5110901)
Chris - Thanks! It would have taken me forever. After I confirmed that your link worked, and got the roster, I tried to start over and drill down to the discussion area. This involved going to the first post in the Hall of Merit section, which had a "history" link, which I clicked in desperation. That got me to a historical list of previous threads, one of which was the plaque room. Um, DL, would it be possible to make this easier? Drilling down for "discussion", never finding it, and then finding out that you can only get there, as far as I know, by clicking "history" on a thread's header isn't exactly intuitive. An easy-to-find link on the HoM page, a link that says "Hall of Merit Roster", would be significantly easier for the likes of me to find. I couldn't even find "discussion" on my own, because the only options didn't include that one. The "history" scam is not something I would have thought of right away, or perhaps ever. If there IS a direct link trail to the rosters, I missed it completely. - Brock
   25. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2015 at 12:53 PM (#5110932)
The plaque room is out of date and could use a tune-up. I have mostly been neglecting the HoM itself, just running the MMP elections is enough.
   26. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2015 at 01:11 PM (#5110958)
Last year was Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz for me so that makes PHoM Sheffield this year, not Tommy John
   27. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 10, 2015 at 05:06 PM (#5112128)
I will be a first-time voter this year. See comments #110-#112 of the Discussion Thread for an explanation of my system, preliminary ballot, and further discussion of the players here. My final ballot here is identical to the preliminary ballot that I posted in #111 of the Discussion Thread.

My ballot:

1. John Smoltz
2. Ken Griffey, Jr.
3. Mike Mussina
4. Gary Sheffield
5. Jim Edmonds
6. Tommy John
7. Jeff Kent
8. Wally Schang
9. Jim Kaat
10. Vic Willis
11. Toby Harrah
12. Dave Concepcion
13. Luis Tiant
14. Dave Bancroft
15. Ben Taylor

Required disclosures (rankings here are approximate; if I'd had to do a 50-person ballot, I might have judgmentally moved some of these guys up or down a few slots):

Sammy Sosa - #20 in my system
Kenny Lofton - #33 in my system
Buddy Bell - (quoting from the Discussion Thread) My system just isn't that impressed. Fairly average hitter, good (even very good) fielder just doesn't add up to much. He'd look somewhat better if I focused only on his context-neutral stats, but he'd still be well off-ballot.

Other guys mentioned in the intro to this thread, that it wasn't clear to me if they were "required disclosures" or just "guys you should probably consider".

Bobby Bonds - #32 in my system
Sal Bando - #39 in my system
Phil Rizzuto - he's fairly far out my main consideration set - although a clear step above Buddy Bell, but that's without WWII credit. Giving him some of that probably still wouldn't get him much higher than somewhere around #100 or so

I think that's everybody, but if I forgot somebody that I need to mention, let me know, and I'll talk about them.
   28. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: December 10, 2015 at 09:02 PM (#5112245)
I use BBRef WAR as my metric of choice. I lean peak, particularly the five consecutive year variety, though players who exhibit a consistent level of greatness, without too many "hanging on" seasons get their just due in my system as well.

1. Ken Griffey, Jr. - Monster peak, even with the lengthy decline, an easy #1.
2. Mike Mussina - So consistently excellent that it carries the rest of the profile. My system has Mussina as far ahead as the rest of the field as Griffey is from Moose.
3. John Smoltz - The lowest 5 year peak on my ballot. A testament to his consistent value for a long time.
4. Gary Sheffield - Peak is weighed down by his defense, but he had enough career value to rank here in my system.
5. Buddy Bell - Monster peak. I know there are some questions about the replacement level for 3B during his time, but even discounting a bit, he is comfortably here.
6. Kenny Lofton - Not as peaky as the next guy on the list, and its really splitting hairs between he and Edmonds, but this is the order my system spits out.
7. Jim Edmonds - Best non-Griffey peak in my consideration set.
8. Sal Bando - Great peak. Probably hung around too long, but he certainly belongs in. We really need a couple more third basemen.
9. Sammy Sosa - Slow start to his career hurts his case, as did the tail end. There really isn't too much more to Sosa other than the peak.
10. Vic Willis - His down year in 1900 hurts him in my system. If 1900 were say a 3.5 WAR year, he'd move up to #3.
11. Bobby Bonds - Has a bonafide case for selection. Not nearly as good as his son, obviously. Great player in the beginning of his career, before the booze and injuries took their toll.
12. Kevin Appier - Tremendous in Kansas City. Seemed to beat the Yankees anytime I saw him pitch in the Bronx growing up. Hurt a bit by the malaise at the tail end.
13. Luis Tiant - Very close to Appier in my system. Were he a bit more consistent year-to-year, he would fare better.
14. John Olerud - Just a consistent hitter who provided excellent defense at first base. Didn't have tremendous home-run power, but something of a Keith Hernandez-lite. Something of a late peak guy, which didn't jive with my memory.
15. Thurman Munson - We also need more catchers. Catchers require an adjustment to my system, and I might even be a bit conservative with it.

Jeff Kent - Literally #16. Strange career shape hurts him.
Ben Taylor - The seamheads data does him no favors. On reputation, right with Olerud. I'm choosing to split the difference, as he is still in my top 20.
Phil Rizzuto - Deserving of war and malaria credit, but you need to be awfully aggressive with applying it to consider him worthy.
   29. ronw Posted: December 11, 2015 at 11:53 AM (#5112547)
2015 Ballot – Generally using WAR (career, peak, prime) to measure players. I noticed more pitchers have been overlooked than hitters. I think every player in my top 20 should make the HOM some day. After about #3, the ballot is really close, and there are no real front-runners among available candidates.

1. Ken Griffey Jr., CF - Top 5-10 CF lifetime, only Mays, Cobb, Speaker, Mantle, Charleston clearly ahead of Junior.

2. Mike Mussina, SP - Very deserving of a HOM spot. In the Top 30-40 All-time pitchers, not much different from Schilling.

3. Jim McCormick, SP – Top 30-40 all-time among pitchers. Really belongs in the HOM. I frankly don't see too much difference between McCormick and Radbourn.

4. Dick Redding, SP – I’m still high on him. Contemporaries Joe Williams, Jose Mendez, and Bullet Rogan were better, but he seemed above the other teens/early 20s pitchers.

5. Ben Taylor, 1B – Seamheads shows Taylor as a top player for the period they have. I think we missed him because of little statistical support. Now that we have it, Taylor seems like a good choice.

6. Vic Willis, SP - Top 50 picther. More comparable to Coveleski than I originally realized.

7. Kenny Lofton, CF - A top 10-15 CF on the all-time lists. Good prime. A better Richie Asburn? Similar peak and prime to Edmonds, better career.

8. Luis Tiant, SP - Top 50 all-time pitcher. Similar to Drysdale, Reuschel.

9. John Smoltz, SP - Top 50-60 all-time pitcher.Top Not the greatest peak, prime and career comparable to Ruffing, Lyons, Kevin Brown.

10. Thurman Munson, C - Top 15-20 all-time C. Brand new to my ballot, re-evaluation of catcher defense leads him to the ballot. I think he was better than Freehan and Tenace, and is closer another short-career catcher, Mickey Cochrane, than I realized.

11. Sal Bando, 3B – Top 15-20, a little more offense than Bell. Close to Ken Boyer in value, but still below.

12. Buddy Bell, 3B - Top 15-20 3B. Nearly as solid a player as Nettles, top 15-20 all-time 3B. Very close to Graig Nettles in value, but still slightly below.

13. Urban Shocker, SP - Top 50-60 all-time pitcher. Peak/Prime gets him above the others. The David Cone of the late deadball/early liveball period. Also similar to Saberhagen, Stieb.

14. Jim Edmonds, CF - Top 15-20 CF all-time. More fielding value than even Griffey. Kind of similar to Andre Dawson peak and prime.

15. Gary Sheffield, RF - Top 15-20 RF. Another surprisingly low peak, but solid prime and career. Numbers very similar to Dave Winfield, Bobby Bonds, with more offensive value than most unelected players. Offensive value similar to Kaline, Crawford, Heilmann.


ALMOST THERE

16. Sammy Sosa, RF - Top 15-20 all-time. In peak, prime, career, really close to contemporaries Ichiro, Guerrero, Abreu. A little less career than Sheffield.

17. Tommy Bond, SP - Top 50-60. The domination over a period of a few years is very hard to ignore. Gets in on peak/prime alone. If anyone is comparable, it is Ed Walsh.

18. Eddie Cicotte, SP - Another career, peak, prime similar to Stieb, Saberhagen, Shocker. Slightly worse than Urban. Not being marked down for Black Sox shenanigans.

19. Gene Tenace, C - Also top 15-20 all-time C, but played a lot of 1B. I no longer have him better than Munson.

20. Jeff Kent, 2B - Top 15-20 2B all-time. Similar career offense to Sandberg, not fielding. Overall similar to Bobby Doerr, Billy Herman.

LAST YEARS TOP 10, AND OTHERS, WITH COMMENTS

I have all of the top 10 on my ballot or Almost There section. So I have something more to say, here are comments on some other top names on the list.

Manny Ramirez, LF - Top 11-15 all-time LF. Would have been #2 on the ballot if eligible this year, but I agree that we should list him on next year's ballot. Not as high a peak as I thought, but longer career. Similar value to Goose Goslin, Billy Williams, Tim Raines.

Jason Kendall, C - In the Darrell Porter mode as likely just outside the HOM. The peak/prime numbers are comparable to Roger Bresnahan, but Bresnahan was head and shoulders above his contemporaries.

Trevor Hoffman, RP - Hoffman and Wagner are interchangeable in my rankings, with Wagner maybe slightly ahead. Both are in the top 10 all-time relievers, with only Rivera, Wilhelm, and Gossage clearly ahead of them. They are both in the conversation of who is best reliever just outside the Hall of Merit, along with Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Dan Quisenberry, and surprisingly, John Hiller. The others all were multiple inning closers. Hoffman and Wagner, along with Joe Nathan, are the best non-Rivera closers from the one-inning closer era that began in the late 80's. Maybe if we start electing relievers based on specialty, these two can get in.

Billy Wagner, RP - See Hoffman above. Also, I am not sure what to do with older closers like Ellis Kinder, Turk Farrell, Lindy McDaniel, and Stu Miller. Hybrids like Firpo Marberry, Bobby Shantz, Greg Swindell, and Tom Gordon seem below the HOM hybrids Eckersley and soon Smoltz. None of they hybrids or remaining pre-1990 closers really seem HOM-worthy to me. None of them may ever get in unless the closer bar gets lowered significantly. In hindsight, I may not have put Rollie Fingers in the HOM as well.

Bobby Bonds, RF - Very similar in value to Sosa, Suzuki, Abreu, Guerrero, but slightly worse peak/prime than each. Career also slightly less than those four.

Phil Rizzuto, SS - Would his peak have been that much higher? As it is, his peak is similar to stellar fielders Joe Tinker and Luis Aparicio. Existing peak is also comparable to Vern Stephens, Travis Jackson, and Al Dark. Giving him a few more seasons' war credit of career value would boost his career numbers similar to Aparicio and Tinker, which is unfortunately still below several other shortstops. Right now I would have Campaneris, Fregosi, Bancroft, Fletcher, and maybe Garciaparra ahead of the great fielding trio.

Wally Schang, C - I like Schang's career value, but the peak is very low, as it is for most catchers of the time period. Giving him some credit for that fact pushes him to the Freehan level, just below my top 20.
   30. theorioleway Posted: December 11, 2015 at 12:51 PM (#5112593)
This probably encapsulates best the difficulty of Ben Taylor:

Post 28: Ben Taylor - The seamheads data does him no favors.

Post 29: Ben Taylor, 1B – Seamheads shows Taylor as a top player for the period they have. I think we missed him because of little statistical support. Now that we have it, Taylor seems like a good choice.
   31. Adam Schafer Posted: December 13, 2015 at 12:39 AM (#5113429)
1. Ken Griffey Jr. - the Kid

2. John Smoltz

3. Mike Mussina -

4. Gary Sheffield - Didn't care for him as a person, but his talent is HOM worthy

5. Gavvy Cravath - Sad to see him get bumped so low on my ballot. Clearly used his park to his advantage. No doubt about it. However, I do not hold that against him.


6. Jeff Kent - Kent wasn't easy to place. At first glance I thought he was clear cut HOF/HOM. He was good. VERY good and this ranking isn't meant to be an insult to him.

7. Sammy Sosa - although Schilling is my cutoff for what I want in the actual HOF, Sosa wouldn't necassarily hurt my feelings.

8. Bucky Walters - This is an odd player for me to like, as I normally don't go for the short career guys. Bucky just happens to have a really odd blend of career and peak to not only get on my ballot, but to make a strong showing on it. He's not Koufax by any means, but the thought process behind him is along the same lines.

9. Don Newcombe - I am obviously giving NeL and military credit. With that credit his 1948-1956 years are outstanding, and makes a very serious candidate out of him.

10. Bus Clarkson - I am willing to speculate he was better than Vern Stephens, and I really like Vern

11. Vern Stephens - A shortstop that has power, is consistently an All-Star, and in the MVP consideration set is someone I can sure consider voting for.

12. Elston Howard - Much like Newcombe, if you give him proper credit for time he should've been a regular MLB catcher, you can't ignore him.

13. Luis Tiant - Schilling's addition to my ballot made me look harder at Tiant

14. Kenny Lofton - tough luck spot for Lofton on a loaded ballot

15. Buddy Bell - too bad he didn't get to play on any championship caliber teams, or else he would have been a star


Bonds - comparable to Sheffield, but without the career value

I don't hate Rizzuto, I really don't. He's only 4 or 5 spots away from my ballot.

Ben Taylor and Dick Redding are a ways down the ballot, Willis is too.
   32. ronw Posted: December 14, 2015 at 06:26 PM (#5114287)
Hey, I can update the plaque room if you need an updater. For some reason, I can't post to that page right now.
   33. Howie Menckel Posted: December 14, 2015 at 09:27 PM (#5114371)
2016 ballot - our (and my) 120th since we began this version of the journey in 2003 (real time) with an "1898" ballot. Was the colonial Delaware of BBTF voters - hey, that's just how this cartoon character rolls.

props to any other remaining "voting Ripkens" as well.

I had 2015 electees RJohnson-PMartinez-Schilling 1-2-3 on my ballot (can't remember the last time that happened, even as a relatively consensus-tending voter).

The annual fine print: Overall, I think there is a bit too much slavish devotion in some quarters re WARP3, WAR, and even more newfangled stats, which are intriguing tools but which still are not yet sufficiently mature.
So my fondness (but not blind allegiance by any means, especially where durability is an issue) for ERA+ and OPS+ helps, I think, as a reality check even as fielding issues are quite significant for pitchers/team defenses and especially for hitters of course. Increasingly, I've had to adjust for PAs/IP per season - not really an issue in earlier years when nearly all the big stars played almost every day or pitched a ton of innings.
I tend to be mostly prime-oriented with hitters, and prime and career with pitchers. But a huge peak sometimes catches my eye, and a remarkably long, effective hitting career also works for me. Unlike a lot of voters, I've long ago run out of longtime "pet projects" to tout aggressively for the Hall of Merit.

I voted for Joe Jackson on his first try, and Pete Rose, and Mark McGwire - and that pattern will continue re new steroid/PED accusees:

1. KEN GRIFFEY, JR. - Has a dirty dozen best full-time OPS+ of 171 71 65 55 54 50 49 44 39 36 33 24. I can work with that from a corner OF/DH, quite possibly. For a CF like this (most of the peak years are in his 20s)? Did not recall that 144 gem at age 35. Nice if he was unanimous.

2. MIKE MUSSINA - Knew he was underrated, but didn't realize he was THIS close to Glavine and Schilling - and a new kid, too. A slightly different valuation of Mussina's "extra" seasons could reasonably put him ahead here. Should make the real Hall too, but I doubt he will for a long, long time.

3. JOHN SMOLTZ - A half-step behind peak/prime of Schilling and Mussina, but has the most useful "inning-eater" credit on the back end and was a solid closer for 3 years to boot. And a spectacular postseason effort this side of Schilling; against most Mussina would actually gain ground with that stat. Very close behind the other two, and a no-doubt HOMer and HOFer who will get in HOF before Mussina does.

4. JIM EDMONDS - Funny that someone mentioned Duke Snider. best OPS+ comparisons:
DSnider 171 69 65 55 43 40 39 35 23 18
Edmonds 171 60 58 49 47 37 37 29 23 23
And yes, same exact best OPS+ as Griffey. nice. Tough to compare defense a half-century apart, but I like Edmonds to top Duke overall - and that, my furry friends, is a HOMer.

.................................

5. GARY SHEFFIELD - Yeah, tremendous hitter and bad OF who played more games as a 3B than a DH. What do we do with that? Well, Sheffield is a poor man's Frank Thomas (Frank's peak and prime cases just a bit better all the way).

6. FRED MCGRIFF – Liked him by a nose three years ago over Palmeiro, who has a weaker peak but a longer prime. McGriff 134 OPS+ in 10174 PA to Palmeiro’s 132 in 12046 PA to Sheffield's 140 in 10947 PA. I really like the 157-166-153-147-166-143-157 peak from 1998-94, all in 600+ PA or equivalent. Gains a lot of ground on Sheffield for defense, but 1B D can only do so much.

7. JEFF KENT - Quiet start in his first six seasons - OPS+s between 101 and 111 each time, so he reaches age 30 with nary an All-Star Game selection. And then - 142-125-162 (MVP)-131-147-119-123-133-119-123 - with pretty good durability to boot in a "who saw that coming" decade of INF mashing. Yes, please.

8. BOB JOHNSON - I like this sort of consistency over a long span, though I'd hardly say he's a 'must-elect,' ever. Sort of the Joe Gordon of OFs in career shape, or a slightly longer and flatter version of Kiner. Or McGriff without the tail, offensively. I am very concerned by 1944 being his highest OPS+; seems like he took advantage of the weak competition. But has more than a decade's worth of excellent hitting, for a prime that I like better than, say, most holdovers have.

9. BOB ELLIOTT - Good to see him mentioned in discussions starting about 10 'years' back, at least. Six seasons of at least 134 OPS+, ALL of them as a 3B (Ventura never had any that high). Wish he'd played all 3B and not much OF, but c'est le vie - Sewell seemed to get treated as a full SS by some back in the day. Beats out HOMer Boyer and compares remarkably well with HOMer Santo as a hitter. Better than HOMer Hack as well, and better than HOMer DaEvans (see these guys' threads for details).

10. BEN TAYLOR - Had meant to reconsider him for years; finally did so 9-10 “years” ago. Long career, excellent fielder, consistent player. I'm not 100 pct sold on the hitting MLEs, but very good reputation and for sure a quality player. Moves up holdover pecking order slightly.

11. SAMMY SOSA - Here the big prime is 5 yrs, and it's more obvious because there wasn't a ton before or after. This is his case: Very durable with OPS+s of 160-151-161-203-160. Enough to rank, thanks to the 203.

12. TREVOR HOFFMAN - A weird player no matter what your system, as are almost all of the modern closers. Consistency is a real plus, but what was he doing? Mainly allowing the Padres to avoid the part-season hiccups that rivals had when a closer spit the bit - costing those teams a couple of extra games sometimes. Rivera has the insane postseason stats; no such luck here.

13. VIC WILLIS - Won a Howie M SP bakeoff with Grimes and Walters many 'years' ago, with slightly more career than Walters and better peak than Grimes. It's close, but I'll stick with Vic for yet another year.

14. BUCKY WALTERS - Now only the 5th pitcher on my ballot, so that's even more ok. Seemed to get Palmer-like defensive support, without enough super-stats to make that irrelevant. Proved his mettle outside of 'war years.' Lemon-esque, though I wasn't a big fan there.

15. KENNY LOFTON - The year of the CF! 145 OPS in star-crossed 1994 made him an incredibly great player, and anytime he put up 120+ it also would be pretty true. But he never did outside of a 121. He's a very good player in all 10 of these 100 to 119 OPS+ seasons due to defense, and it's difficult to say how many pts he can give up there and still be a better player than a slugger. Gets in with a shallower ballot.

................

AMONG THE TOP 10 RETURNEES, BUT I'M NOT VOTING FOR THEM (YET)

BUDDY BELL - One of a number of 3B guys from this era, and I prefer Sal Bando (heck, I once preferred Ron Cey). Solid all-around player and 1980-84 peak is a very strong offense-defense case. I just don't see enough beyond that, but I appreciate why he gets some love.

LUIS TIANT - Looks like he has the peak at first glance, but notice that the IP just aren't quite there. Plenty good when he did pitch, but with that lack of innings you have to be even more dominant. Maybe he winds up as the era's last P electee, but probably not.

...........

OTHERS OF INTEREST

BILLY WAGNER - Claim to fame is utter dominance - but of what? Instead of saving the vast majority of attempts with fewer Ks and the greater likelihood of a runner, he blew you away. But guess what, if you're down 1-2-3 runs against a well-rested good pitcher, you're usually dead either way. So longevity and consistency of Hoffman easily trumps Wagner's fewer key opportunities. Open to reconsideration on him in future years. Also postseason hiccups here.

BOBBY BONDS - 8090 PA, and best OPS+ is 151. A 130s to 143 six other times, which is nice but the strong is just not long enough.

PHIL RIZZUTO - Have him in my top 20 still. I'll grant a lot of war credit and stipulate to the great, great fielding. But even 3 war credit years gets him only to 13 main years, and the fielding made him above-average overall but not excellent in most seasons. Yet at closer look, similar case to Concepcion when you cancel out the irrelevant parts.

DAVE CONCEPCION - Peak is as good or better than Nellie Fox's; not quite as consistent, but a slick fielder and a very useful offensive weapon many times. Not fully buying the "other teams were stupid enough to play ciphers at the position, so give Davey bonus pts" argument; that helped the Reds win pennants, but Concepcion can't get full credit for that stupidity. But he needs the modest credit in that regard to outlast Rizzuto on my list, as he does.

DON NEWCOMBE – A passionate, detailed Newcombe backer might also get me there someday. I think he had the skills, but he didn’t quite actually produce quite enough. Prove me wrong next year.

BERNIE WILLIAMS - Didn't quite like him enough over this or even last top 15, but a serious low-ballot candidate and might tab him in the future. Feel like he had corner-OF D and CF-star stats, but overrated as a fielder. Lofton seems to -block him.

KEN SINGLETON - Bob Johnson-like, but not quite as good for quite as long. Equally underappreciated in his time.

DALE MURPHY - His modest fan club will be saddened that he fell off my ballot in recent years. A different peak-primieness than polar opposite personality Albert Belle - and a different fade as well.
   34. OCF Posted: December 14, 2015 at 11:15 PM (#5114427)
Opps, please disregard this. Ballot not ready yet.
   35. OCF Posted: December 14, 2015 at 11:29 PM (#5114430)
Am I still an HoM voter? I guess so. I'm paying gradually less attention over the years, but I can still cobble together a ballot. The #1 principle is stare decisis - I'll start with the order from my last ballot, and not revisit any of those relative rankings. That means that for those who have been on the ballot and may now be on the "must comment" list - yes, I've seen them, and I've considered their cases, and I've commented in the past. I'm not moving them up or down.

Numbers with the pitchers are RA+ equivalent record with a big years bonus in brackets. (No new starting pitchers worth considering this year.)

1. Ken Griffey, Jr. Not Mantle or Speaker, but an easy #1 on this ballot.

2. Mike Mussina 236-147 [34]

3. Kenny Lofton OK, I've got a system for aggregating WAR with peak bonuses, and it likes Lofton better than it likes Edmonds. So what's going on? A significant part of it is that Lofton's peak lands right on the 1994-1995 strike seasons, and the system is projecting full seasons for Lofton for those - in particular a monster 1994 for him. Do I really think he should be ahead of Edmonds? I'm a little queasy on that. I'll go with it for now, maybe reconsider in another year.

4. Jim Edmonds I'm also not sure of the right order between Edmonds and Sosa - I see them as very close.

5. Sammy Sosa A peak candidate. Was a wild swinger in the early part of his career, and he declined quickly once his peak was over. But that peak is enough to get him here.

6. Gary Sheffield I hadn't decided what I was going to do about Sheffield until the 2015 ballot. The point of comparison is Sosa. Sheffield, with his much better plate discipline, was a better-balanced offensive player. But Sosa was a better fielder and a better baserunner, and Sosa had a concentrated peak that tops Sheffield's more scattered great-but-not-MVP-quality seasons. I decided to go with Sosa's peak.

7. John Smoltz 211-143 [16] as a starter, plus his three seasons as a closer, even if relief pitching doesn't do that much to impress me. Clearly over the in-out line.

8. Luis Tiant 224-164 [35] Was #1 on my 2012 ballot.

9. Vic Willis 248-196 [44]

10. Frank Chance Betraying my career voter leanings. Didn't play much, but awfully good when he did play, and the best 1B of his own time. My new system gives him as much value above average as Palmiero.

11. Sal Bando

12. Buddy Bell

13. John Olerud

14. Bobby Bonds

15. Fred McGriff

Others close to the ballot.

C: Gene Tenace
1B: Norm Cash, Orlando Cepeda (Note: for many previous years, I have not particularly seen the case for Ben Taylor. And the best 1B of the teens is still probably Sisler.)
2B: Jeff Kent, Larry Doyle
3B: Bob Elliott (a favorite of my old system), Robin Ventura
SS: Johnny Pesky, Phil Rizzuto
Corner OF: Rusty Staub, Jack Clark, Frank Howard, Ken Singleton.
CF: Cesar Cedeno, Hugh Duffy, George Van Haltren, Jimmy Ryan, Dale Murphy I've supported the 1890's guys (particularly Van Haltren) for a long time, but I'm not all that sure any more that I'd take any of them over Cedeno and Murphy.
P: Lefty Gomez, Bucky Walters, Kevin Appier, Lon Warnecki, Jerry Koosman, Tommy Bridges, Ed Cicotte, Wilbur Cooper, Tommy John, Urban Shocker.

Jason Kendall had some good seasons but I have him a tick below Tenace, Munson, and Lombardi.

Troy Glaus had a peak but not much of a career; not close to Bell, Bando, Elliot, or Ventura.

Trevor Hoffman, Billy Wagner: I'd need an awful lot of convincing to be willing to vote for a one inning pitcher. Mariano - he's different. But I don't see the case for these two.
   36. bjhanke Posted: December 15, 2015 at 01:58 AM (#5114480)
Adam - You don't hold Cravath's advantage in the Baker Bowl against him? Do you not, in general, make ballpark adjustments? It's hard to imagine that you don't, so I suspect there's something missing from your quote. - Brock Hanke
   37. rawagman Posted: December 16, 2015 at 09:00 PM (#5115803)
2016 Ballot

*disclaimer* - I know that some of the player comments are woefully out of date. I don't have the time to devote to the minutiae of the project as I once did.

I use a sort of prime>peak>career number with measurements including relative league standing by playing time with a strong preference for players who had good in-season durability (non-exclusive). Combined with rate stats and an admittedly subjective glove measurement, I feel this gives me both context for what the player actually achieved versus what the league around him was able to do. My general baseball philosophy may help in clarifying my rankings. I don't believe in the single stat theory of baseball, meaning I don't use WS or any flavour of WAR in my rankings, although I do lean towards the statistical bent of the BP catalog. Essentially, I follow this concept as I think a significant percentage of what contributes to winning baseball is not necessarily counted in box scores. This includes things like manager's prerogative (elective actions - steal signs, pinch hitters, batting order, pitching changes, etc.), and actions that would require a historical PBP analysis that is currently unavailable.

I also prefer what I consider "total ballplayers", guys who can do it all. I believe in positional representation and abhor the thought process that says that relievers were all failed starters and 2B are all failed SS, etc... A team cannot win without a 2B (Also not an easy position for longevity), nor without someone in LF. When I look at a player's career, I try to ask myself how I would feel about him as his manager/general manager - would his presence require special tactics to protect him, or is he completely reliable? I hope it can be seen by my rankings that the "reliable" players generally rise above the ones with clear holes in their games. There are always exceptions, but this is what I have. The stats I look at to get here tend to be traditional and rate, both offensive and defensive. Contemporary opinion also helps. I find comprehensive ranking systems to be exclusive of much of what I see on the field of play - that is, the narrative of the game. The stats for me represent measurements of aspects of the game, but beyond that, the narrative has to fill out the gaps. i.e. - Why was this number lower than expected and that number higher? Combining the stats with the narrative gives me a baseball world-view that I am happy with and feel qualified to discuss.

I fully credit military and Negro League time, but am very reluctant to provide minor league credit for anyone past the advent of the Live Ball era.

Thoughts on the 2016 newcomers. Ken Griffey Jr. is a no brainer, top of the ballot candidate. Jim Edmonds being in the picture doesn't need much of a brain either. I have him taking the last "elect me" spot. Better durability would have made him that much more solid. Hoffman was one of the all-time greatest closers. That gets him on the ballot, but only the middle of it. Between Sosa and Puckett for me. Finally, Billy Wagner was a dominant fireballer. He just misses my ballot. Not enough innings. The only other guys of any note for me are Troy Glaus and Mike Lowell. They stay on my deep consideration set, but nowehere near the top 100 eligibles. Maybe top 200 for Glaus, top 300 for Lowell. I see a case for Kendall, too, but he wasn't good enough for long enough. The relative paucity of good first time candidates means that Tom Glavine and Craig Biggio leave my personal backlog and enter my PHOM with Griffey and Edmonds.

1) Ken Griffey Jr. - During the height of his peak, I actually lived overseas and missed a lot. But he was one of the few to have lived up to the immense hype that surrounded his debut - and then some. In some ways, he was the pre-cursor to the modern-day prospect hype machine. A five-tool player who demonstrated all of them to a high level on the field. (PHOM)
2) John Smoltz - A worthy candidate, even if his closer years did not add all that much to my estimation of his body of work. Good enough to not be overshadowed by two Hall of Famers/Hall of Meriters. (PHOM)
3) Mike Mussina - As I weight prime more heavily than career, Mussina edges out Tom Glavine. The lack of defense keeps him above Thomas as well. (PHOM)
((3a) Tom Glavine))
((3b) Craig Biggio))
4) Jim Edmonds - A have him as very close - perhaps a modern day equivalent(?) to Hugh Duffy. Some might think that as crazy, but I ding Edmonds a bit for a relative lack of in-season durability. Still, he was a fantastic hitter and a breathtaking fielder. And the BBWAA will **** him. (PHOM)
5) Hugh Duffy - Super peak, wonderful prime. Amazing bat, marvelous glove. The epitomy of reliability. (PHOM)
6) Tommy Bridges - He was really very good. A summary of a reevaluation of some of our unelected pitchers in my high backlog (Bridges, Gomez, Redding, Walters) Of those four, the white guys were all regulars for 10-11 seasons. Bucky and Lefty both had immense peaks, but I think that Lefty's non-peak years hold up better than Bucky's. Also, Lefty does not get any war discount. Dick Redding seems more similar to Walters in that his non-peak was not so impressive. His peak was still enough to leave in him solid backlog country. (I even put him in my PHOM back when I joined the project.) But Tommy Bridges wins out. He had much greater consistency. He is to pitchers what Bob Johnson was to hitters, but more of a winner (No - I'm not giving him extra credit for that). A deserving recipient of WWII credit. We have been especially splintered as to the backlog pitchers, and I urge everyone to give Tommy Bridges a closer look. (PHOM)
7) Ben Taylor - Can't find the peak, but a better prime (through the roof), career and glove than Beckley. I think he may be the player most underrated by the electorate. (PHOM)
8) Sammy Sosa - Overrated by the money stats. Even so, a word-class peak.
9) Trevor Hoffman - One of the greatest relief pitchers in history. That qualifier in front of the word "pitcher" is a black mark. He is best remembered as a soft tosser (outside of Nolan Ryan/Randy Johnson, how many pitchers who pitched into their 40s were still fireballing?), he had great strikeout numbers in his early years.
10) Kirby Puckett - I have read that some HOM voters consider Puckett to be a mistake of the BBWAA. I see where that sentiment may be emanating from, but I do believe that his election was earned. A wonderful ballplayer. (PHOM)
11) Dale Murphy - A player that my system loves. At his best he dominated. That refers to the years between 1979-1988. That's a 10 year prime with a very high peak. Also demonstrated very good fielding ability. Could easily move up my ballot. (PHOM)
12) Gary Sheffield - I will consider moving him up over time, but the bat was not so good that I can overlook his decrepit work in the field.
13) Jeff Kent - Moved up two spots since I posted my preliminary ballot. I can only hope that the BBWAA doesn't "one-and-done" him.
14) Carlos Delgado - A fantastic hitter who probably falls on the all-time in/out line for inclusion here and in Cooperstown.
15) Lefty Gomez - looking at him in any single way hurts him. Looking at him kaleidoscopically has him as the one of the best available pitchers in my eyes (PHOM)
   38. rawagman Posted: December 16, 2015 at 09:07 PM (#5115806)
2016, the Leftovers

16) Billy Wagner - Dominant, but short lived career. Fully in the "3-out save guy" category. Hard to accrue enough value under that usage pattern.
17) Dick Redding - One of the toughest for me to accurately place. I now think his teens peak was all he needed. I want to be sure I am adequately valuating pitching, so Redding has moved up a few spots in my ballot. (PHOM)
18) Vern Stephens - Will we look at Nomar down the road like we look at Vern now? (look down two slots. This questions, asked in the "1970s" was answered for "2015".) Great bat, good glove. (PHOM)
19) Bus Clarkson - A new defensive readjustment moves to the cusp. (PHOM)
20) Nomar Garciaparra - One more healthy year would probably bump him up 6-12 spots, but he didn't have it. Such a shame.
21) Fred McGriff - He did not dominate as a bat to the extent of an Edgar Martinez, but consistent above-average performance and fielding that was moderate (I know that not everyone agrees), place the Crime Dog in the heart of my ballot. A better version of Jake Beckley. Here's hoping that it doesn't take McGriff quite as long to receive his dues. Recently dinged through new look at fielding. (PHOM)
22) Gavvy Cravath - No longer the worst fielder in my top 120 candidates (Frank Howard). Probably still the most dominant hitter (as compared to his peers), though. (PHOM)
23) Bob Johnson - I don't know why it took me this long. Great all-round LF. Very durable. (PHOM)
24) Tony Oliva - Career not as short as I thought. Had solid durability for the seasons he was around for. A world class hitter. (PHOM)
25) Dizzy Dean - Diet Sandy Koufax. 0 calories (career), no sugar (prime).
((25a)Andre Dawson))
26) Orlando Cepeda - Going with my numbers. I support him, but the strength of many of the new guys as well as the recently dregded up arguments for others drops him off ballot.(PHOM)
27) Bobby Veach - He did it all well. As complete a LF as is available today. (PHOM)
28) Al Oliver - I was surprised by the similarities between Oliver and Reggie Smith. Very convincing peak and a glove that scores quite well. Career length is nice as well.
29) Don Mattingly - In the interest of my belief in a big hall for Cooperstown, I support Mattingly's induction. That said, for this project, he looks to be just the wrong side of the door. New look at fielding raises him up a few spots.
30) Albert Belle - Fits in rather nicely with the next three on this list.
31) Rocky Colavito - Good defensive showing moves him way up. I didn't expect that either.
32) Bobby Bonds - I may have been mildly underrating him before (very little gap between 25-150 by this point), but I don't see what truly separates him from a player of the ilk of a Colavito.
33) Jack Clark - Marvelous hitter who had his uses in the field as well.
34) Jim Rice - This is, more or less, where the in-out line can be found for the slightly bigger hall that I dream of.
35) Wally Berger - super-underrated
36) Ernie Lombardi - defense was below average, but not quite horrible
((36a) Jimmy Wynn))
37) Ron Guidry - I love a dominant pitcher. I don't think it's necessarily correct to view pitchers and hitters in the same light and I value a strong peak (I mean really strong) for pitchers more than for hitters (prefer a steady, all round type there). Similar to, but not quite the equal of, Lefty Gomez, one of my inner circle of best friends.
38) Luis Tiant - Undoubtedly a wonderful pitcher, but of the type who don't do that well in my system. I wasn't Billy Pierce's biggest fan, and I consider Tiant to be of a similar mold, so he slots in over here. With relatively few big inning seasons (only three top ten finishes), my system can only give him so much love. I prefer the shorter career with the higher peak in this type of case. (see Guidry, Dean, Gomez)
39) Al Rosen - One more season of prime, and he is top 10
((39a) Jim Bunning))
((39b) Billy Pierce))
((39c) Graig Nettles))
40) Luis Gonzalez - Outside of his mid-career explosion (I do not suspect, nor particularly care about the PED question), Gonzalez' case for the HOM is as a long career, low peak corner outfielder. I may be overrating him.
41) Lee Smith - He didn't have the stellar peak of the closers around him, but his prime outlasted them both. And his peak is really not that far below Sutter's, at least.
42) Lance Parrish - Solid all round catcher. Proud member of the HoVG. Not quite the HOM though.
43) Buddy Bell - Fits in rather nicely in this run of HOVG 3B. New look at his defense gives him big boost.
44) Norm Cash - Too much in one year - and that was not the best year for an everlasting peak, for a number of reasons. Excellent fielder, though.
45) Dan Quisenberry - I suppose I've decided that I value peak in a reliever over career totals. Mind you, if the guy has both...
46) John Franco - What can I say? All those LOOGY-moments...they added up. Not enough to get him in, but to at least be in the discussion.
47) Tony Fernandez - Mr. Blue Jay. Compares favorably to Rizzuto.
48) Bert Campaneris - Stupid me - I had somehow left him off my consideration set for years.
((48a) Dobie Moore))
49) Addie Joss - ERA/+ and WHIP are great, but why so little black ink?
((49a) Cupid Childs))
((49b) Roger Bresnahan))
((49c) Rollie Fingers))
50) Phil Rizzuto - Moves up a few spots with another look at his peak. Not as bad as I once considered.
51) Fred Dunlap - Very short career. Very good, too.
52) Tom Henke - Not a long career, but the Terminator was one of the best closers in the game at his peak. New DERA calculations boost him.
53) Tommy John - I think I like his overall picture just a smidgen more than Sutton's.
((53a) Don Sutton))
54) Don Newcombe - big beneficiary of pitcher's fielding analysis. Further slight bump this year this another look at his extra credit seasons.
55) John Olerud - Olerud playing first base with his batting helmet on was an iconic Blue Jays image in my youth.
((55a) Rick Reuschel))
56) Vic Willis - As a top ten holdover, I re-examined his case and saw fit to move him up over 35 spots. That said, his profile lacks the extended prime I like to see and I would be very surprised if Willis ever makes my top 15.
57) Bucky Walters - Very similar to Pierce in overall picture - but built differently.
58) Kevin Appier - Just ahead of Finley. I prefer the better rate to the longer career, but very, very close.
59) Chuck Finley - I remember being surprised when he didn`t come back for another season. I wonder what one more season of slightly above average performance would have done to his final ranking.
60) Mickey Welch
61) Bruce Sutter - Shorter career than the other modern closer candidates, but when he was at his best, he was the best. That works for me - to a point.
62) Fred Carroll - I give him around 1.5 seasons prime MiL credit. Better than Tenace. And maybe better than Bresnahan given the proper credit.
63) Larry Doyle - If only the glove were just a little better.
64) Cecil Travis - A very worthy extra credit case.
((64a) Jake Beckley))
65) Jimmy Ryan
66) Fred Lynn - Very similar to Duffy and Roush. Loses a lot of ground due to in-season durability concerns for an otherwise very strong candidate. Should be appealing to Browning/Chance/McGraw supporters who overlook that sort of thing.
((66a) Charlie Keller))
67) Bernie Williams - will ballot higher just for being a critical part of a dynasty. Had Williams spent his entire career with nearly any other team in the majors, he would not have made nearly the impact on the national stage.
68) Cy Williams
69) Brett Butler - Some are calling him an equivalent to Kirby. I'm not seeing it. At Kirby's best, he was the best. At Butler's best, he was very good. My system will always take the guy who was the best for a stretch.
70) Amos Otis - The end of the centrefield run.
71) Dolph Camilli - I give him a year of war credit, but he's still two more prime years away from making some noise. An underappreciated stud.
72) Kenny Lofton - I truly thought that he would have ranked higher than this, but with so much of his value tied to his baserunning and defense, I have a hard time putting him above players with similar overall value but more weighted to the offensive side. Hall of Very Good.
73) Fielder Jones - I was missing on him a bit. A very apt first name. Solid bat as well.
((73a) Pete Browning))
74) Mark Grace - It's always fun when a player's name can fit with his on-field ability/persona. A Graceful first-baseman, with the stick and with the glove. Splitting hairs betwen him and Garvey. I think Garvey stuck out just that much more among his 1B peers.
75) Tony Perez - No appreciable peak. As far as 1B go, I have Cepeda up higher because of his very nice peak and his not too short career as a regular. Ben Taylor suffers from a lack of documented stats, but the stats we do have show that he could flat out mash the ball by dead-ball standards. Contemporaries say his glove was the best they had ever seen at 1B. How much was a scoop worth? I think it's worth alot. I maintain that while a below average defensive 1B can cause little measurable harm, an above average glove at 1B will provide a hefty bonus to the team lucky enough to employ one.
76) Steve Garvey
77) Luke Easter
78) Jim Bottomley
79) Frank McCormick
80) Bob Elliott
81) Robin Ventura
82) Sal Bando
83) Ron Cey
84) Pie Traynor
85) Ed Williamson
86) Johnny Evers
87) Elston Howard
88) Joe Wood
89) Bill Mazeroski
90) Tony Lazerri
91) Tommy Leach
92) Thurmon Munson
93) Walker Cooper
94) Johnny Pesky
95) Hippo Vaughn
96) Dave Concepcion
97) Sparky Lyle
98) George Kell
99) Cesar Cedeno
100) Chet Lemon
101) Vada Pinson
102) Luis Aparicio
103) Tip O'Neill
104) Chuck Klein
105) Denny Lyons
((105a) John McGraw))
106) George Van Haltren
107) Rabbit Maranville
108) Matt Williams
109)Ellis Burks
   39. theorioleway Posted: December 16, 2015 at 11:59 PM (#5115870)
This is my fifth year voting for the HOM, and I thank you for letting me take part in this amazing project. I start with the Wins Above Replacement metrics from Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, and Baseball Gauge (which was updated May 2015 to have the same replacement level as BR and FG). I look at these metrics in a variety of ways, but my favorite viewpoint is using the JAWS calculations Jay Jaffe made famous at Baseball Prospectus (career WAR + seven best seasonal WAR divided by 2). I then also factor in the timeframe, position, and any other important circumstances involving the player. The work you have done on players banned from MLB due to their race has been enlightening, although I tend to slightly increase the projections/MLEs you have created. I give war credit and minor league credit when I think it is appropriate. Onto my ballot:

1) Ken Griffey Jr.: The epitome of cool as I grew up watching baseball. Also possessed the sweetest swing I've ever seen. Even with the magic drying up after he left Seattle, still deserves the #1 spot.

2) Mike Mussina: Up 2 spots from last year, and closer than I would have guessed to #1. Mussina was a great pitcher who was a lot of fun to watch (especially his knuckle curve). While I was disappointed that he went to the Yankees from the Orioles, I couldn't blame him the way management treated him and ran the franchise into the ground. I would respectfully disagree with anyone disappointed in Mussina's postseason record. His postseason ERA of 3.42 was better than his regular season ERA of 3.68, which was good for a 123 ERA+. In 1997 he struck out 41 batters in 29 innings with a 1.24 ERA. It's not his fault the Orioles bullpen fell apart against the Indians. In 2001 and 2003 he had a 3.38 postseason ERA which is more than acceptable. He struck out more batters in the postseason than both HOM inductees Maddux and Glavine, even though he didn't have nearly as many postseason opportunities. While Mussina might not deserve extra credit for his postseason play, it certainly isn't a negative.

3) John Smoltz: Up 2 spots from last year. Smoltz cuts down the gap between him and Mussina by his excellent postseason work, but would be deserving of this spot (and the HOM) based solely on his regular season work.

4) Jim Edmonds: A wonderful all-around CF who I loved watch make ridiculous diving catches. I'm not alone in finding him the equal of Duke Snider.

5) Sammy Sosa: Up 4 spots from last year. I decided I'd been too harsh on Sosa before and was de-emphasizing his peak and the impact he had on baseball.

6) Kenny Lofton: Up 5 spots from last year. Moved him over Sheffield as I decided I valued the all-around game more than Sheffield's great one-dimensonal value. The spark plug that got overshadowed by all the Indians sluggers who drove him in, I hope he makes the HOM in the future.

7) Gary Sheffield: Up 3 spots from last year. Very memorable in the way that he waggled the bat and with how hard he hit the ball. Worthy of the HOM even with the awful defense.

8) Hilton Smith: Down 2 spots from last year. I had him as my #1 spot on the 2012 ballot and I still believe he is the top long-term backlogger. Pitcher with a great reputation and stats from Baseball Reference and translated stats by Alex King on this site that back up that reputation. Also worth remembering is that he could also hit. Drops two spots as I've decided to be a little more conservative with Negro League projections and also with changes in how I incorporate pitcher hitting.

9) Vic Willis: Up 6 spots from last year. The new numbers from Baseball Gauge really helped Willis, as well as an appreciation for his peak.

10) Luis Tiant: Up 4 spots from last year. He's hurt by the amount of great pitchers from his era, but I think he still deserves this spot on the ballot.

11) Bobby Bonds: First time on ballot. Found new appreciation for his all-around game. Also doesn't hurt he was one of the best outfielders of the 1970s.

12) Don Newcombe: Down 4 spots from last year. Still think he is worthy of HOM once all factors are considered, but as mentioned with Smith, reevaluation of segregation credit and pitcher hitting drops him down.

13) Buddy Bell: Down a spot from last year. He still seems practically identical to Graig Nettles; Nettles has a career 111 wRC+ in 10,226 PA with excellent defense, while Bell has a career 108 wRC+ in 10,009 PA with superb defense. Bell would be much higher if I didn't have some concern about how the systems rate 70s SS/3B, but the Nettles comp leaves me comfortable that he belongs in the Hall of Merit.

14) Ben Taylor: Down 7 spots due to general reconsideration of Negro League credit, and more specifically the take down of his case by Chris Cobb. I'm now thinking of him as just barely deserving a ballot spot, and he's helped by his reputation as the best 1B of the 1910s.

15) Kevin Appier: First time on my ballot. I'd been under-appreciating his peak, and the fact that he has a career 83 ERA-.

Jeff Kent: Best 2B not in the HOM, and while a defensible pick, is not super-close to my ballot. Brian Giles falls just beneath Kent.

Ned Williamson: Convinced to take him off my ballot by Chris Cobb's arguments over reliability of stats from 1880s. This argument also confirmed my conviction not to put Tony Mullane on the ballot.

Players who were under consideration for the 15th spot on my ballot (not in any ranked order): John Olerud, Thurman Munson, Willie Davis, Bob Johnson, Eddie Cicotte, Tommy John, Gavvy Cravath, Phil Rizzuto, and Joe Tinker.

Hugh Duffy: I like Duffy, but he couldn't crack my ballot. Still thinks he's better than Thompson who is in the HOM.

Sal Bando: He looks ballot-worthy via Baseball Reference's WAR but not via any other system. Falls short for me of being HOM worthy.

Carlos Moran/Bus Clarkson/Bill Monroe/Luke Easter: A full infield's worth of intriguing talent that I can't put on my ballot just because I don't feel like we don't have enough information about them.

Cannonball Dick Redding: He fell off my ballot due to criticisms that the Seamheads stats don't quite match his reputation. He's still very much in consideration though.

Jason Kendall: Better career than I expected but ultimately I don't see the argument for him in the HOM.

Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner: Even with giving them more credit for leveraging than I'm really comfortable with, they still fall well short of making my ballot.
   40. theorioleway Posted: December 17, 2015 at 12:02 AM (#5115871)
Even with proofreading, there's always something...Bert Campaneris should also be included in players under consideration for the 15th spot.
   41. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 17, 2015 at 01:34 AM (#5115891)
Have been a lurker since the early days and a voter since the elections went annual, where is everybody this year, hopefully just a ton of last minute ballots. My system incorporates for hitters: Dan R WAR, DRA/Baseball Gauge WAR, Baseball-Reference WAR, a reality check of Baseball Prospectus WARP, War Credit, MLE credit (mostly for pre-integration players), Negro League/integration credit, CSAA/catcher values from BP where available, and RE24 contextual value. For pitchers, I also review Kiko's ratings, Baseball Prospectus Deserved Run Average (although some of the guys at Tom Tango's blog don't think it's quite refined enough), FG FIP WAR, and a dose of WPA.

1. Ken Griffey Jr. (Clemente/Delahanty/Kaline/Mr. October)
2. Mike Mussina (Blyleven/Schilling/Carlton/Plank)

Flip a coin on these guys, more certain in Griffey's offensive value/had a bit more postseason value.

3. John Smoltz (Plank/Roberts/Jenkins/Walsh) - only clearly behind Rivera in postseason credit, interesting to see him sail ahead of Mussina and Schilling in Hall voting.

4. Jim Edmonds (Burkett/Ramirez/Goslin/Walker) - sitting at 1.7% of the Hall of Fame vote after 58 tallies, fu""in ridiculous! Has a case for Top 125 offensive value all-time, additional high quality defense extra gravy. HOF Voters - well-balanced star who was an ESPN highlight reel, why whiff on him?!

5. Gary Sheffield (Snider/Magee/Gwynn/Wynn) - you need fear HOF voters, I give you Gary, the greatest stance/bat whip I have ever seen. Stone glove with legendary bat, excellent contextual value.

6. Thurman Munson (Bennett/Mauer) - yikes on finding comps, glut of 70s greats, we are potentially short on catchers, I like Schang but not this much, and Scioscia too, but that's a huge leap of faith in CSAA/pitch framing and RE24 contextual placement. With more information, Javy Lopez and Jim Sundberg look pretty intriguing too.

7. Urban Shocker (Waddell/Lyons/Saberhagen/Ford) - remember the World War I credit, and if anyone wanted to give death credit, Urban started showing the effects of heart disease in the 1927 World championship campaign, dying in May of the next year at age 37.

8. Bert Campaneris (Ozzie/Trammell/Tinker/Fletcher) - a nod to Dan R's system, although DRA WAR shows him as worthy now too! The #2 of the dynasty A's ahead of HOF's Fingers and Hunter, quality postseason performer.

9. Sammy Sosa (Minoso/Dw Evans/Lofton/R Smith) - could be #4 if he had combined his early career cannon arm/wheels/raw power with his later career Hulk-a-mania power and discipline, falls here, a bump for contextual value.

10. Kenny Lofton (Dw Evans/Sosa/R Smith/Winfield) - great peak obscured by the 94/95 strike, felt he could have been blackballed from the game like Barry Lamar following the 2007 season (who has ~3 WAR but can't get a job?), defensively/baserunning value elite (was a stud basketballer at Arizona State too). Fine postseason performer.

11. Bobby Veach (Hill/Wynn/Hooper/Bo Johnson) - a fine hitter with CF defensive value playing an awesome LF in the deadball era, could be as high as #5, did he really provide THAT MUCH defensive value, is he getting enough credit for his Assists/arm?

12. Bobby Bonds (R Smith/Winfield/Wheat/Keeler) - good ratings by all my systems, only Dan's shows him as a bit shy. Another high quality contextual guy.

13. Brian Giles (Keeler/Oms/Abreu/Doby) - borderline, easy call if you consider Dan R's analysis of being blocked by the greatest hitting OF of modern times. Excellent contextual value, no post-season value and weak arm, but passable otherwise defensively.

14. Tommy Bond (McGinnity/Koufax) - like him more than 1870s electees Pike and Sutton, no career/prime, but mighty peak depending on how much credit you give to his defense; B-REF has him with 5 consecutive 10+WAR seasons, while Fangraphs FIP shows him well shy.

15. Hilton Smith (?) - like Therioleway mentioned, Alex King shows him quite favorably, the Hall of Fame elected him, the guys at Baseball-Fever see him as worthy, and his narrative historically is pretty good. Have him ahead of HOM Negros: Brown, Bell, Moore.


Buddy Bell - the WAR public systems love him, pulling back on him due to concerns of cohort expressed by many of the electorate, as well as Kiko's system showing him WAY OFF.

Jeff Kent - walks the personal hall line, below Vlad and Berkman from time era, is best 2nd base eligible, but maybe we've elected enough?

Luis Tiant - cohort concerns but a quality pick, I would prefer Kevin Appier at this point from eras heavily populated with arms.

Ben Taylor - leaning toward Chris Cobb's most recent assessment (please rejoin us Chris :))

Vic Willis - in the running for #15 ballot spot, top 70 guy by B-R/B-G, top 90 F-G.

Sal Bando - Dan R runs down the case of overrating replacement level, well short of personal hall.

Phil Rizzuto - I like him, but I'm also excited about the potential defensive value from Tinker/Fletcher in the dead ball era.

Forever tweaking my knowledge and rankings, hopefully I can have an updated PHOM out soon?

Newbies:
Jason Kendall - catcher defensive studies not favorable, but quite strong in Baseball Prospectus, I will keep a close eye on.

Billy Wagner/Trevor Hoffman - I'll take the peakier Wagner over Hoffman, but neither is close enough/I guess I'm not as intrigued as others by relievers, but are in the running for best available RP. Hoffman appears destined to sail in 1st ballot for the HOF or shortly after, Wagner likely to fall off - WTF?

Troy Glaus - had a chance if he could have stayed healthy/long career, high quality for a bit, his rookie cards were valuable (laugh) back in the late 90s.

   42. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: December 17, 2015 at 08:08 AM (#5115908)
“If we could reduce this entire excercise to one absolute exumenical equation considering every possible factor in evaluating each player(egs. parks, timelines, leagues, position, peak value, teammates, career value etc.) this project would be much less interesting.

That doesn't mean we should ever stop trying to create such statistical mechanisms for our own use.”

After lurking around the HoM since around “1930,” and not voting due to never being perfectly happy with whatever analysis system I was tinkering around with at the time, I discovered the above quote by Brian H. in the archives of the 1910 Ballot Discussion thread. Realizing that I would probably end up changing my system every year (and observing that behavior in a number of well-respected long-time voters), I finally decided to start voting five years ago.

For this reason, I also encourage any other lurkers who have considered voting but have so far refrained from doing so to give it a shot, even if you have differing opinions. Such opinions are always welcomed, as long as they are well-reasoned.
On to my ideology/methodology (and yes, I made another change to my system for this year – and already have another revision planned for next year.):
I am a peak voter at heart. I believe that a HoF/HoM should be a Hall of Greatness, not a strict Hall of Value. That said, I do take career into consideration.

For MLB players, I take their average WAR across a number of systems (BBRef, FG, SH, and BP/DanR) and do a really rough normalization of replacement level across the systems.

For Negro League/Minor League players, I use the WS and WAR estimates provided by Chris Cobb, Brent, Dr. Chaleeko, Alex King, DanR and others, making a crude conversion of WS to WAR where needed

I give war credit (average of surrounding seasons if in prime of career, increasing or decreasing values if in early or twilight portion of career, respectively).

After deriving these value for player seasons I rank the players by summing:

1. Career salary estimation using DanR’s peak-rate salary estimator, divided by $100M (50% bonus for catchers for the periods when they caught)
2. Career WAR (zeroing out all negative seasons and 50% catcher bonus)
3. Career WAA (zeroing out all negative seasons and 50% catcher bonus)
4. Peak Rate – Five times the weighted WAR rate in the top three peak seasons (per 650 PA for batters/250 IP for starters/100 IP for relievers)
5. MMP points – For every year since 1871, a player gets 10 points if he was the best player in baseball that year down to 1 point for the 10th best using my MMP voting system. (I have not finished every year yet, for those seasons not yet finished, I use BBRef rankings as an approximation).
6. Postseason bonus – Five times a players postseason WPA (overall negative numbers are zeroed out).

PHoM this year – Ken Griffey Jr., John Smoltz, Jim Edmonds, Gary Sheffield
1. Ken Griffey Jr. – If he had stayed healthy during his 30’s, he’d be an inner-circle guy. As is, he’s a clear #1 for me on this ballot.

2. Mike Mussina – Was a consistently very good/great pitcher.
3. John Smoltz – Just a notch below most 0f his non inner-circle pitching contemporaries (Schilling, Mussina, Glavine), just ahead of Kevin Brown, but still way over the HoM line.

4. Jim Edmonds – As a peak-heavy voter, I love his 2000-2005. A shame he’ll probably be one and done on the HoF ballot.

5. Gary Sheffield – One of the best bat waggles ever, if not the most intimidating. No, the defense was nothing to write home about, but the bat more than made up for it. (why do I feel I’m going to rewrite this phrase next year for Manny?)
(Craig Biggio)

6. Luke Easter - An “integration squeeze” guy. He was the cleanup hitter for a factory team that had other NeL stars on it and was better than the actual NeL team that was located in St. Louis. He lost his war years working in military industry. And by then he was too old to be considered for the start of integration. When he did get his chance, all he did was produce despite injuries throughout almost all of his actual ML career. And his defense didn’t really grade out as worse than average, despite the fact that his knees were shot. Then he spent another few years still mashing in the minors well into his 40’s.

7. Sammy Sosa - He’s short on ton of career value. But it was still a heck of a peak. Clearly ahead of the backlog for me.

8. Kenny Lofton – He may have the greatest amount of defense/baserunning value as a percentage of overall value of anyone over my PHoM not named Ozzie.

9. Buddy Bell – Almost all systems love his defense. And his hitting wasn’t that bad, either. One of the truly underrated players in history.

10. Thurman Munson

11. Gene Tenace – Both Munson and Tenace get overshadowed by their more deserving 19709’s catching counterparts (Bench, Fisk Simmons), and despite being different style players, both are deserving HoMers, with both getting an extra bump on the ballot due to postseason performance bonus. Munson was more of a BA-driven guy with better defense. Tenaced was a part time C (but still played C a majority of the time – a three true outcomes players who still put up a 136 OPS+ in the low standard deviation 1970’s.

12. Gavvy Cravath – Yes, he took advantage of his stadium, but so did a lot of players (looking at you, Boggs). I’m not going to penalize him because others didn’t do the same. Needs minor league credit to place here, but he’s deserving of it in my view.

13. Ben Taylor – Another NeL first baseman, and my best 1b between the ABC boys and Sisler. Had a monster 1914 and put up very good OBP’s with great defense in the deadball era.

14. Vic Willis- One really great year (1899), but then was just solidly above average or better for most of the rest of his career.

15. Ned Williamson – (Bad overused obvious pun alert) Yes, I believe he was better than Ezra. Great peak value and so what if he took advantage of the change in ground rules in 1884 – its not his fault that no one else did to the same extent. And its not like that was his only good season.

Next on Ballot / Required Disclosures / Newcomers

16. Luis Tiant – Above my PHoM line
17. Kevin Appier
18. Eddie Cicotte
19. Don Newcombe
20. Frank Chance
21. Wally Schang
22. Hilton Smith
23. Tommy Leach
24. Dwight Gooden
25. Babe Adams


Jeff Kent – Only had 3 seasons above 5 WAR in my system. Best seasons were in an expansion/high standard deviation era. HoVG.

Bobby Bonds – Close to my projected PHoM line, so I have no issue if anyone votes for him.

Phil Rizzuto – Close to my projected PHoM line, so I have no issue if anyone votes for him.

Dick Redding – Nowhere near my PHoM. I see him as a poor man’s Dwight Gooden (who is PHoM). He had a couple of good peak seasons, which weren’t quite as good as Gooden’s. And whereas Gooden added a number of slightly above average but not great seasons to bulk up his career, I see Redding with a number of average seasons as the majority of the rest of his career.

Trevor Hoffman/Billy Wagner – Even with an added reliever bonus, both aren’t particularly close to the line, which pains me a little because I loved Billy Wagner as a player (only Hoyt/Goose and eventually Mo would be in my PHoM so far).
   43. bjhanke Posted: December 17, 2015 at 09:22 AM (#5115939)
Here's Brock Hanke's final ballot for the 2016 Hall of Merit. A lot of it is unchanged from last year, because this year only produced two serious candidates: Griffey and Edmunds. But please check out the second paragraph of the Big Jim McCormick comment (#13). I think I’m onto something here, and would like to know if anyone else has looked at this phenomenon of the tradeoff between IP and ERA+. I think it’s important, and would be annoyed if I found out, when I finally get done, that someone else figured all this out years ago. Also, I always take help when someone has ideas….

For methodology, I think that the ability to work out a good mathematical method is important, but no more important than the ability to ask the right question. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the right question is. Then I try to balance all the arenas of strength (career length, high rate, good glove, hot bat, peak, prime, postseason, everything I can think of). As I go back in time, I rely more and more on contemporary reputation, and less on statistical methods. This is not because I think sabermetricians are the bunk, but because the available stats from the early times don’t provide enough fuel for the mathematical engines. For example, when you get to Lou Brock, you will find that I have him as the 3rd-most valuable base stealer in history, behind Rickey! and Tim Raines. I strongly suspect that Sliding Billy Hamilton would be somewhere in the top three, but we just don’t have the raw data to work up his SB case. I have faith in Chris Cobb’s analysis of the Negro Leagues, but I still rely a lot on reputation. I rely a lot on Paul Wendt’s work on the VERY early game, although I don’t think we’ve heard from Paul in a while.

My general analysis has come to five conclusions I’m pretty sure of. First, the percentage of the game that is due to pitching has been rising in direct lockstep with Three True Outcomes. Second, the workloads that individual pitchers could handle have been going down throughout all of baseball history since 1879. Third, the extra value of pitching has come at the expense of fielding, not hitting, because fielding and pitching are both part of run prevention. Fourth, the speed at which workloads are dropping is faster than the speed at which pitching is taking more and more value away from fielding. Fifth, the rate at which position players are losing value because their glovework has become less valuable is nothing like the rate at which individual pitchers are losing value because they pitch fewer innings, and also because they don’t have any real hitting value any more.

Therefore, I am much more inclined to trust Win Shares than WAR, particularly when comparing position players to pitchers, because the results are more plausible. I make an effort to apply some balance, but Win Shares gets the larger share of my trust.

What follows is a simple list of my votes, for tabulation purposes, followed by the same list, but with comments. Then there are the carryover guys that the rules require me to comment upon. I agree with the rules about that, BTW.

- Brock Hanke

1. Gary Sheffield
2. Ken Griffey, Jr.
3. Bobby Bonds
4. Babe Adams
5. Jim Edmonds
6. John Smoltz
7. Lou Brock
8. Hugh Duffy
9. Sammy Sosa
10. Tommy Bridges
11. Don Newcombe
12. Ben Taylor
13. Big Jim McCormick
14. Hilton Smith
15. Mike Mussina

1. Gary Sheffield
The headers on the last two discussion threads have Gary with 430 Win Shares, and Griffey with 403. However, it also has Griffey with 83.7 WAR compared to 63.3 for Sheffield. The WAR difference, since a WAR is worth two or three Win Shares, is by far the greater margin. The two players have very different career shapes. Griffey started out as a superstar CF, then got hurt a lot and lost a lot of value; he probably wasn’t close to worth his salary in his 30s.

Sheffield started out as a SS, got injured and lost that job to Chris Spiers (a VERY good SS glove), although he didn’t move to the bench, but to 3B. Then, still fighting lots of small injuries and therefore seldom playing anything like a full season, he was moved to RF, presumably because he just wasn’t an infielder. He was moved to RF, instead of LF, for the same reason he had played SS and 3B: he had an exceptional arm. The move seems to have cured the injury problems; in his 30s, he played full time. He lost the arm to an injury, and moved to LF. Only at age 38 did he become a DH.

The two careers are almost mirrors. Different offense / defense talents, one hurt a lot when young, the other when he was old, one has a great fan reputation and the other a lousy one. My understanding is that Griffey was a lot harder to deal with if you were actually part of his team or the manager or a coach, instead of a fan. Griffey also was not moved to DH until his very late 30s; that’s the main thing he has in common with Sheffield.

What I want to know is, if Sheffield was so lousy a defender, why did people keep putting him out there somewhere other than 1B or DH? Could he REALLY have been as bad as WAR makes him out to be? He played for a lot of teams – did they all have terrible managers and coaches? In the absence of any insider knowledge, I have real troubles thinking that Gary could have been anything close to as bad as WAR makes him out to be. Therefore, I have him just ahead of Griffey.

2. Ken Griffey, Jr.
See comment above.

3. Bobby Bonds
Bobby has a short career for a HoMer (14 years; a “normal” career for an average HoMer is probably about 17) but the ones he seems to have not played apparently were going to be his young ramp-up seasons and the last of his decline phase. Those seasons don't do a lot for you. And those seasons he does have are really impressive. (This is the same comment I wrote last year.)

4. Babe Adams
I've been voting for Babe here for a long time. He pitched many seasons of high quality, and has an identifiable prime and peak, despite having had one big gap in the middle of his career, and he pitched very well in the World Series. And, before anyone asks, yes, I am convinced that Babe was better than John Smoltz or Mike Mussina. (This is the same comment I wrote last year.)

5. Jim Edmonds
You know, I watched Jim play his whole STL career, and it never dawned on me that he might be a Hall candidate, because he didn’t look to me like anything exceptional as a CF glove (not that I underrate a CF glove). It’s actually on this site that I started to see comments that caused me to look at Jim again. I finally figured out what the problem was: I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in a NL city. My idea of a real good CF is Curt Flood, Willie Mays, or Bill Virdon. Almost nobody LOOKS good compared to those guys. But it’s obvious in the analysis: Jim Edmonds was indeed a A+ defensive CF.

6. John Smoltz
With his career split so evenly between starter and closer seasons, he's almost impossible to rank by numbers. I just went with my gut feeling, as much as anything else. He moved up this year because last year’s incoming class was so good that it suppressed all the backlog.

7. Lou Brock
Lou Brock has almost as many oddities in his career as Don Newcombe. Lou played in one of the worst hitting environments since the Dead Ball Era – possibly the worst ever if you factor in unearned runs. He also played in a ballpark that savagely suppressed homers, concealing that Lou actually had decent power, and would have hit 20 homers in at least a few seasons under normal conditions. He was also very durable. From 1964-1974 inclusive, he had one of the ten highest numbers of PA in the league and led it twice (granted that he was a leadoff man). And he played forever, without ever being reduced to DH (granted that, during his last few years, the Cards had no DH and Keith Hernandez at 1B). Even given the caveats, I don’t think anyone is going to ignore his career length and durability.

Fielding systems, almost all of which double-count errors, hit him unfairly hard in his weakest point. He wasn’t a good outfielder, but he was so fast that he could lead the league in OF errors and still have a grey ink Fielding Percentage, because he got to so many balls that other OF could not reach.

Consider 1967, which doesn’t stand out among his better years. Lou led the league in Errors at LF, with 13. But he also led the league in LF Putouts, with 276, and in was second in Assists, with 12. Thirteen errors: 12 Assists. Thirteen errors against 276 POs. His Range Factor and Fielding Percentage were both 4th among LF. How bad can that be, if you stop double-counting errors? Remember, Fielding Percentage and Range Factor are not driven by playing time; that is, those are not Lou’s durability talking. And he’s about in the middle of the pack of starting LF, including Fielding Percentage, which is driven by errors.

Nothing above even mentions stolen bases. Lou played at a time where the break-even point for stolen bases was very low. When scoring in general goes down, the value of one base gains ground on the loss of one out. I don’t know of anyone who uses different break-even points to evaluate anyone’s SB game. But, even as it is, Lou’s baserunning WAR are fourth in history, behind Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines and, just barely, Vince Coleman. With an adjustment for scoring environment, I’m sure Lou did have a better base stealing record than Coleman. Raines is a stretch; the difference in value between Raines and Coleman / Brock is large. Henderson is just out of sight. But it has become fashionable to say that Lou’s SB percentages are so low that his SB value is not serious. This is not true. It’s probably the third-most SB value in history, pending trying to figure out just how to rank people like Sliding Billy Hamilton and Ty Cobb.

Looking at all these adjustments listed together caused me to jump Lou up a few slots. There’s reason he’s in the HoF, and listed as a HoF outfielder by the New Historical. I think we here at the HoM have just swung and missed here. (Much of this is the same comment I wrote last year.)

8. Hugh Duffy
A great hitter, although you have to make some adjustments for the offensive context of the 1890s. An outstanding defensive CF, according to all accounts I've seen. (This is the same comment I wrote last year.)

9. Sammy Sosa
Has about the same compiler value as Bobby Bonds, but took more years to pile it up. I give Sammy a minus for that, compared to Bobby Bonds. After all, if you have a 17-year time period, and Sosa has to play all of it to match Bonds’ 14 years, then Bonds’ team gets three years of someone else to add on. Those three years have to be worth something. (This is the same comment I wrote last year.)

   44. bjhanke Posted: December 17, 2015 at 09:24 AM (#5115940)
10. Tommy Bridges
One of the oddities of this project is that you end up with a lot of the same players in the bottom half of your ballot, year after year. Thinking up a new comment every year gets old, and faces the Law of Diminishing Returns. So, this is, essentially, a repeat of last year’s comment, which was essentially a repeat of the year before that. I still think the chart in this comment is very convincing. For all I know, I have Tommy underrated, even among this group. Although I try to balance everyone’s methods, I’ve started looking at pitchers by 1) taking their career endpoints, 2) adding ten years to the front end and the back end, which will include everyone who can at all be considered the player’s contemporary, and 3) running sorts at BB-Ref, starting with just plain old WAR. What I’m looking for is a BB-Ref sort that mirrors HoM/HoF voting for the time period. Not one that favors or doesn’t favor my own preconceptions, but something that mirrors previous votes. This is just to give me a starting point. I don’t quit analyzing there, but it does give me context, and also points out if I’ve just missed on someone else who ranks higher.

With Tommy Bridges, I struck gold. Here are the first 13 entries on his WAR list, covering from 1920-1956:

Rk Player WAR From To IP ERA+
1 Lefty Grove 98.3 1925 1941 3940.2 148
2 Bob Feller 66.0 1936 1956 3827.0 122
3 Carl Hubbell 64.4 1928 1943 3590.1 130
4 Warren Spahn 61.2 1942 1956 2960.0 127
5 Ted Lyons 58.8 1923 1946 4161.0 118
6 Dazzy Vance 57.1 1922 1935 2933.2 126
7 Hal Newhouser 56.3 1939 1955 2993.0 130
8 Red Ruffing 53.6 1924 1947 4344.0 110
9 Robin Roberts 52.5 1948 1956 2608.1 123
10 Tommy Bridges 50.7 1930 1946 2826.1 126
11 Bobo Newsom 45.9 1929 1953 3759.1 107
12 Waite Hoyt 45.9 1920 1938 3656.0 113
13 Dutch Leonard 45.6 1933 1953 3218.1 119

Out of this list, Roberts has no overlap at all with Bridges’ actual career, so I discarded him as not really a “contemporary.” That leaves Bridges at #9, behind a bunch of Hall guys and ahead, basically, of guys who are not in halls. That is, the sort basically mirrors hall voting.

The big deal here, to me, is the large gap between Bridges’ WAR of 50.7 and the next guy down, Bobo Newsom, at 45.9. That’s rare. It’s also the largest gap on the list except for that between Lefty Grove and everyone else. It’s not rare to find a guy on a WAR list between Hall guys and non-Hall. I mean, those are the guys we’re supposed to look at, right? Those who are on the border. The trick is to decide who is the worst of the “ins” and who is the best of the “outs.” In Tommy’s case, the WAR gap between Tommy and Bobo strongly indicates that Tommy’s the “worst of the ins.” And Tommy is not just an accumulator, with many more IP than the closest guys on the list. His IP are, if anything, a bit low. In short, he is certainly the “worst of the ins.” And there’s a serious WAR drop before the best of the outs.

Extras don’t hurt. He pitched very well in the World Series, and is due somewhere between 1 and 2 years of WWII credit, although they are near the end of his career, so there is doubt as to how much they would help. But overall, I’m left with what strikes me as a discovery and a large one. So I put him here. Thanks to those who have been voting for Tommy for years now. I would not have looked at him except that he kept getting votes. (This is the same comment I wrote last year.)

11. Don Newcombe
I've run the same comment for a couple of years now, and can't improve on it: Again, I have nothing to add to last year's comment. In fact, I don't think I will ever improve on it. So, here it is: I don't have a standard formula to rank players with. Instead, I try to balance among the various ranking methods. What to various WAR systems say? How about IP and ERA+? Win Shares? Where does he rank among his contemporaries? Does he have an identifiable peak and prime? Black and grey ink? And then there are the "extras" that I constantly mention. What are "extras?" Don Newcombe's career. That's what extras are. (This is the same comment I wrote last year.)

12. Ben Taylor
Chris Cobb is responsible for this: THANK YOU, CHRIS! Many months ago, I said that the reason I was hesitant about Taylor was that I didn’t know how good he was at dealing with bunts, which was the defining feature of 1B in his time period. My argument was that Taylor mostly played against teams nowhere near the quality of Taylor’s teams. If you’re going to win the game 17-2, you could put me out there at 1B and only win by 17-8. So, in almost all the games Taylor played, his ability to deal with bunts wasn’t important. Well, Chris got his hands on some more info than he had had, and found out that Taylor was, indeed, by the best metrics we have about Negro players, a very good defensive 1B. That was what I was waiting for. Here he is.

13. Jim McCormick
Jim has a version of the Pedro Martinez / Greg Maddux issue. An example: In 1882 and 1884, he pitched over 500 innings, with ERAs that could be more impressive. But in 1883, he "only" pitched a little fewer than 400 IP, and his ERA+ was 170, a very large jump. The 1880s were a time when MLB was just finding out that the number of innings a solid starter could pitch was going down, instead of remaining where it was in 1879.

The above is my comment from last year. For the last 12 months, I have spent most of my baseball time following up on this. Really. This concept, of trading off IP for ERA+, turns out to be VERY important. I am not done analyzing, and so cannot publish, and the result will be much longer than a HoM comment, so I don’t have details. What I can say, which has developed out of this, is: 1) This phenomenon – that decreasing a starter’s IP leads to what looks like a disproportionate gain in ERA+ - isn’t just one time period. It’s true in the 1880s (McCormick), and it’s true in the 1990s (Greg Maddux). 2) The concept of a pitching rotation, as opposed to one ace starter and a guy stashed in RF for when the starter was getting shelled, occurs in 1885-1886, Bob Caruthers and Dave Foutz, St. Louis, AA, probably the idea of Charles Comiskey because, well, Charles Comiskey.

14. Hilton Smith
Again repeating from last year because I didn’t find anything new this year: “Remains where he is because I still think that he has the best contemporary reputation of any remaining Negro League player, pitcher or position.” I am now thoroughly convinced that he was a better pitcher than Dick Redding was. (This is the same comment I wrote last year.)

15. Mike Mussina
Last year, I wrote, "I may have him overrated. His 'extras' are not good. His best seasons are scattered, so he doesn't really have a serious prime. He pitched poorly in the postseason. He couldn't hit. He did, however, field well." I don't have anything to add to that this year. (This is the same comment I wrote last year.)


Required Disclosures

Kenny Lofton - Was at the bottom of my ballot two years ago. He could easily return if next year’s newcomer crowd isn’t as strong as this year’s.

Jeff Kent - The New Historical Abstract's comment is "One of the best RBI men ever to play second base." I think that about covers it.

Luis Tiant - Will reappear on my ballot as soon as this current crunch of outstanding candidates slows down a little, although he will still be behind Hilton Smith.

Buddy Bell - Sort of Ken Boyer lite. He has 19 more career Win Shares, but his peak, his prime, and his Win Shares per 162 games are lower than Ken's. I'm a Ken Boyer fan, and think Ken's a good bit stronger than the weakest of the HoMers. Bell is really close to the in/out line.

Vic Willis – I’ve commented on Vic before. He’s one of the pitchers I call the Pittsburgh Six, because they passed through the Pirate rotation right about the turn of 1900, when Frank Selee was revolutionizing pitcher usage. I prefer Deacon Phillippe (and Sam Leever) to Vic because Vic didn’t pitch much as an ace, while Deacon and Sam did (in different years). So his level of competition isn’t as strong as theirs were. But he did have a longer career.

I’m adding this note here, copied from last year, because I think the issue is important. I put it at the end so that those of you who have laready read it can skip it without missing anythig else. Does anyone remember the big trouble I got into some years ago trying to extend the curve of catcher percentage of schedules played back to where they start going up instead of down? Several people objected to the whole concept of extending curves, usually citing a lack of “rigor” as the reason. That makes sense, if you took your math classes in a Liberal Arts college. I, however, have a weird math history. I started out as an engineer, decided that I wanted to major in Applied Math (and Computer Science). But Vanderbilt had no such major, so I had to switch in mid-career to the liberal arts college and major in that math. So I’ve seen engineering math as well as theoretical math, about half and half. The disciplines could hardly be any more different, given that they are both addressing math. In Applied Math, extending curves is completely normal. It’s math for engineers. You’re always trying to build something bigger, stronger, faster, lighter. All these things involve extending curves beyond what has already been built. I, personally, think like an Applied Mathematician. I know what rigor is, but I also know that Applied Math doesn’t use it because it can’t. That’s why engineeers are always testing things. They know that curve extension is not rigorous, but it’s the best thing they have.

My opinion is that sabermetrics is a branch of Applied Math, not theoretical math. I’m not worried about rigor, and I do believe in extending curves. Just thought I ought to tell everyone here why it is that I do some math that looks odd, and why I obsess over what seem to be trivial math matters. I think like an engineer. I have no idea what the split here is between HoM voters. My guess, though, is that most of us have backgrounds in theoretical math, becausase everyone talks about rigor. Just a note.

Here’s the note (related to my Big Jim McCormick comment above) from last year that got me started on the last 12 months’ worth of research:

Trying to balance the two credentials (IP and ERA+) with the focus on Pedro (Martinez) vs. his peers, I ran into this run of four Greg Maddux seasons, 1992-1995:

Year IP ERA+
1992 268 166
1993 267 170
1994 202 271
1995 209 260

The last two years, with the low workloads, are due to work stoppages in MLB, but that's not really important. What is important is the size of the tradeoff: The huge gain in ERA+ for what seems to be nothing like a proportionate amount of loss in IP.

- Brock Hanke
   45. Patrick W Posted: December 17, 2015 at 01:09 PM (#5116196)
Compared to the electorate as a whole, I have to be considered a career voter. However, my vote does include an additional 5-year credit for a weighted average of peak seasons (3-Yr, 5-Yr, etc.). Ranking system is based off Davenport WARP components, with modified adjustments in the conversion from W1 to W3. I also review BB-Ref as a check but don’t use those numbers systematically.

I spent a lot of time this year & last on data entry (rather than revising rankings), so I am up to 1012 players total, including 539 players under consideration for this ballot (less the 256 HOM members and actives or recently retired). This is about 30 percent more players than this time last year. The focus was on adding players from the most AB’s / IP’s leaderboards that weren’t previously in the spreadsheet. No revelations or hidden candidates were uncovered here, this exercise was primarily to better define what the top of the bell curve looks like and see if adjustments to the rankings are needed.

I’m still not fully satisfied with the current weightings, based on some P-Hall players who would be left short in a revisionist P-Hall history, so I do expect more tinkering to come. But the backlog is on hold for the next 5 years at least, so there’s time for that. My goal for next year will be to reevaluate reliever rankings in comparison with the other positions.

1. Ken Griffey Jr. (n/a), Sea. (A) – Cinc. (N) CF (’89-’10) (2016) – The numbers don’t show him reaching this level, but the Kid seems like my generation’s Mickey Mantle. He was the most talented player on the field with a chance of reaching Mount Rushmore, but ultimately can’t make it to that height because of injuries (In this scenario, Barry Bonds plays the role of Willie Mays to Griffey’s Mantle). But oh what a joy to watch play. I have Junior ranked just outside of the top 50 all time.
--- Top 25% of HOM Line ---
2. Gary Sheffield (2), Fla. – L.A. (N) RF / LF (’89-’09) (2015) – A significant regression of his (and everyone’s) below average fielding numbers provides a clear separation between Sheffield and Kent/Smoltz. Manny had a better bat (& worse glove), but two seasons worth of AB’s less than Sheff. The comparison has to be Dick Allen with a longer career, right?
3. Jeff Kent (4), S.F. – L.A. (N), 2B (’92-’08) (2016) – Looks to rank comfortably ahead of Sandberg, and close to – but behind – Biggio, Gehringer, and Grich. Really surprised Houston wasn’t the second team listed here, but the DT’s love his 2005 season in Dodgertown.
4. John Smoltz (5), Atl. (N) SP / RP (’88-’09) (2016) – A small amount of extra credit for his relief work in his mid-30s, but surely not enough to make up for his potential starter value in those years. Well, he probably got close to full value off that 2003 season.
--. Manny Ramirez (n/a), Bost. – Clev. (A) LF / RF (’94-’10) – Just a ridiculously talented player. It doesn’t take that much imagination to see a player who could’ve been atop this ballot with a little more discipline. But that’s just Manny being Manny.
5. Mike Mussina (6), Balt. – N.Y. (N), SP (’91-’08) (2016) – Same as last year’s comparisons with Glavine, Mussina falls a little short in comparison to Smoltz – except much closer. He is still fully merited as an above-average HOM player, just waiting for an opening in the ballot to hit election. Edit: Lucky recipient of a P-Hall slot due to the Manny decision.
--- Top 50% of HOM Line ---
6. Jim Edmonds (n/a), St.L. (N) – Calif. (A) CF (’94-’10) – As a fan, I wish my fielding adjustments weren’t helping to elevate the Sheffields and Mannys above one of my favorites. But as an impartial analyst, this current ranking feels right – trust the offense over the defense. A fairly low AB total for someone this high on the ballot, and I would think his FRAA value is a little low compared against other outfielders of the era, based on his highlight reels. All in all, just misses the upper half of the HOM, but solidly into the top 150 players of all time.
--. Curt Schilling, Phila. – Ariz. (N), SP (’90-’07)
7. Sammy Sosa (8), Chic. (N), RF (’90-’07) – These latest adjustments have put McGwire 151st on my list and Sosa 152nd; that just seems appropriate to have these two together on the all-time list. Both worthy of election, just a fluke of timing that Sammy has to wait awhile for election.
8. Trevor Hoffman (n/a), S.D. (N) RP (’93-’10) – Here come the long lasting one-inning closers, trying to break the leverage bonuses that worked pretty well with the 70s generation. Hoffman tops my charts on bonus credit, besting Rivera only because of Mariano’s non-closer dominance in ’96. Looking at raw WARP scores though, I’m not sure these guys need any bonus – 8.2 W3 in 1998 for 73 innings of work?! But how do you give credit to the old guys but not the new? As a fix for now, I’m capping closer bonus credit at 33%. This places Hoffman comfortably below the obvious HOMers, but still higher than the backlog. That sounds reasonable for today.
--. Sandy Koufax, L.A. (N) SP (’56-’66)
9. Orel Hershiser (9), L.A. (N) SP (’84-’99) – I swear, these adjustments have overall reduced pitchers in my rankings. A very odd combination I think, of a peak player (I show Orel as having a top 50% HOM peak score) who would be extremely hurt by a switch to a PRAA system over PRAR.
10. Luis Gonzalez (10), Ariz. – Hou. (N), LF (’91-’07) – A career candidate with a tent pole 2001 season that elevates all his peak scores. I don’t recall thinking of the ’91 Astros as a great collection of talent when I saw them in person at Wrigley, but quite a few of ‘em made careers for themselves, no?
--. Charley Jones, Cinc. (AA/NL) LF / CF (1875-1887) – My adjustments to be fair to all eras (a.k.a. adjustments to keep Lenny Dykstra & Jack Clark in the HOVG) have resulted in significantly tampering out earlier league adjustments between AA & NL. Thus Charley looks more like his 0.320 EQA1 and less like his 0.293 EQA2.
11. Bucky Walters (11), Cinc. – Phila. (N) SP (’35-’47) (1961) – Despite my dropping of pitchers in the overall rankings, I still think the HOM has collectively elected too few pitchers. I believe 30% pitching is an appropriate level to honor in the HOM – about 4 pitchers for every 9.5 players – and the HOM is about 6.5 pitchers short of that mark.
12. Ron Cey (12), L.A. (N), 3B (’73-’87) (2010) – I have found it necessary to give a 10 percent boost to third basemen scores, to keep their representation in the pHOM roughly equal to that of 2B & SS. A 10 percent reduction has been given to shortstops and 7 percent reduction to first basemen in my rankings for the same reason. Previously, only catchers had been the beneficiaries of a positional adjustment. These positional adjustments would have me electing a number of infielders to the pHOM equivalent to the group’s HOM choices (though not necessarily the same people); I am currently about 5 IF’s too light in my selections.
13. Frank Tanana (13), Cal. – Detr. (A) SP (’73-’93) (2000) – No longer seen as having a Koufax peak, but it is still one of the top 175 peaks of all time. Plus the ever- present 10 additional years of average / below avg.
--. Cupid Childs, Clev. (N) 2B (1890-1901)
--. John McGraw, Balt. (N) 3B / SS (1891-1902)
14. Luis Tiant (14), Bost. – Clev. (A) SP (’64-’80) (1988) – The league adjustments having been reduced, Tiant looks a lot better in the rankings.
15. Brian Giles (--), Pitts. – S.D. (N) RF / LF (’96-’09) – The peak score and fielding regression adjustments slot Giles in ahead of Reggie Smith and Bob Johnson in the pecking order.

--- I have 43 players ranked among the top 260 of all time who are eligible for this election, and an additional 11 previously elected HOM players awaiting induction for the pHOM. Hooray for Elect 4 years. ---

Kenny Lofton – Really has no strong argument to speak in his favor, as far as my system can tell. An above average bat, but not elite. A slightly below average glove. His ’93-’94 peak is so short, he’s not really a peak candidate, and his career is not so long to accumulate value that way. Even if I needed to boost CF above the other OF positions, he’s pretty far behind Bernie Williams, Brett Butler, Kirby Puckett, Chet Lemon, and others. In the 40s just amongst ballot-eligible 1B/OF’s.
Buddy Bell (2009) – Has dropped below my pHOM line, primarily due to a regression of the fielding numbers. Bell ranks roughly in the 60s on this ballot.
Ben Taylor (1938) – Just a little behind Bo.Bonds in my rankings, ranked in the low 40s on this ballot. I have him essentially tied with Tony Perez and slightly behind Orlando Cepeda among first basemen.
Vic Willis – Mixed amongst a group of pitchers that I currently consider as just below the HOM line, although a number of this group are elected to the P-Hall. But with my placing a larger emphasis on peak over prime than before, Willis is barely ranked within the top 30 of eligible pitchers in my estimation. Besides those listed on the ballot above, I would suggest others consider Tommy John, Dutch Leonard, Jack Quinn, and Chuck Finley first.

Lofton, Bell, Taylor, and Willis were in last year’s top thirteen, but not in my top 15 this year.
   46. Yardape Posted: December 17, 2015 at 09:21 PM (#5116562)
My HoM ballot for 2016. My ballot comments, and required disclosures, are in the ballot thread at post 107. I used a Win Shares base, with looks to WAR as a sanity check. I am also looking for primes candidates; a good career will help a player, but without a standout prime they're probably not getting far. I also like positional dominance, which may make me vulnerable to glut/drought phenomena.

1. Ken Griffey, Jr.
2. Jim Edmonds
3. Billy Nash
4. Tom York
5. Mike Mussina
6. Jimmy Ryan
7. Dale Murphy
8. Davey Concepcion
9. Vic Willis
10. Bob Elliott
11. Dave Bancroft
12. John Smoltz
13. Frank Viola
14. Ben Taylor
15. Ed Williamson

Gary Sheffield is just off the end of the ballot, with Sosa and Tiant fairly close behind him. Kent has a good peak but did not sustain enough of a prime to merit serious ballot consideration here. Lofton, likewise, has a good career but did not have a high enough prime for my tastes. I am not a fan of Buddy Bell's case at all.
   47. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 20, 2015 at 03:49 PM (#5117623)
118th consecutive ballot since our inaugural election of 1898 for me.

I use Win Shares as the base for my ranking system, though I am now using a modified version (any negative values are converted into zeroes) of BRAR, FRAR and PRAR for the NA.

I am integrating the conclusions made by DERA with Win Shares for all pitchers.

I do place (to a certain degree) domination at one's position during the player's era. That doesn't mean that domination-by-default will necessarily help you though (Gil Hodges may have been the best first baseman of his era, but he wont make my ballot).

1) Ken Griffey-CF/RF/DH (n/a): Didn't really have the numbers you would expect from a inner-circle HOF'er for the second half of his career, but he did enough during the first half to prove he was more than worthy of the honor.

2) Jim Edmonds-CF (n/a): Not nearly as durable as the guy above, but another center fielder who deserves a plaque.

3) Gary Sheffield-RF/LF/3B (3): The numbers are hard to ignore. Might even deserve to be #2 on this ballot. At any rate, he belongs.

4) Jeff Kent-2B (4): Kind of a jerk and not the best fielder in the world, but he could really mash the ball at a key defensive position.

5) John Smoltz-P (5): Not in the Johnson-Martinez league as a pitcher, but that doesn't mean he wasn't great.

6) Mike Mussina-P (6): Like him a little bit better than the Bloody Sock, so he goes here. A bona fide HoMer.

7) Bus Clarkson-SS/3B (8): Looks like the best shortstop of the Forties, which is surprising to me. IMO, Eric would have to be totally off with his projections for Clarkson not to be near the top of everybody's ballot. Shave off 50 WS from his MLE and he still comfortably belongs.

9) Lee Smith-RP (9): Having his career occur during a major rethinking of his position really distorts his true value, IMO. All things equal, Gossage was better, but not that much better. Never the best for any one season, but consistently among the best for many a year.

10) Billy Wagner-RP (n/a): Funny, but I thought I would have Hoffman here instead (and higher than Smith). Yet... that dominance more than makes up for the number of career innings.

10) Bucky Walters-P (10): The guy had a nice peak, fairly long career, and could hit. Even with a defense adjustment, he stands out. Best ML pitcher of 1939 (extremely close in 1940). Best NL pitcher of 1940 and 1944.

11) Mickey Welch-P (11): Like the hurlers of the 1970s, the generation from the 1880s was rich in talent. On that note, Welch deserves a HoM nod. Best major league pitcher for 1885.

12) Vic Willis-P (12): Willis pitched a ton of innings at an above-average rate for a long enough time for his era. Best major league pitcher for 1899. Best NL pitcher for 1901.

13) Gavvy Cravath-RF (13): I'm giving him MLE credit for 1908-11 (not full credit for '08, since he did play some in the majors that year). Possibly would have been the best ML right fielder for 1910. Best NL right fielder for 1913 and 1914. Best ML right fielder for 1915, 1916, and 1917.

14) Bob Elliott-3B/RF (14): Best third baseman of the Forties. The bridge between the Jimmy Collins-Pie Traynor types and the later ones that didn't have the same defensive responsibilities. He could hit, field, and didn't have a short career when compared to other third basemen throughout history. Best ML third baseman for 1943, 1944, 1947, 1948, and close in 1950. Best NL third baseman for 1949 and 1950.

15) Hugh Duffy-CF/LF/RF (15): Been on my ballot forever and haven't regretted it. "Only" the third best center fielder of the '90s, but that position was very strong for that decade. Best major league right fielder for 1890 and 1891. Best major league center fielder for 1892, 1893 and 1894.

As for the other newbies, none of them are HoMers, IMO.

Sammy, Lofton, Tiant, Bell, and Taylor weren't that far away from making my ballot.
   48. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 20, 2015 at 06:25 PM (#5117660)
9) Lee Smith-RP (9): Having his career occur during a major rethinking of his position really distorts his true value, IMO. All things equal, Gossage was better, but not that much better. Never the best for any one season, but consistently among the best for many a year.

10) Billy Wagner-RP (n/a): Funny, but I thought I would have Hoffman here instead (and higher than Smith). Yet... that dominance more than makes up for the number of career innings.


Finally can correct this - Smith is #8, while Wagner is #9. Everything else is correct.
   49. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: December 20, 2015 at 09:12 PM (#5117711)
Getting in my ballot before finals tomorrow.

I'm using RE24 and DRA in my position player WAR, WPA for relief pitchers, and Baseball-Reference WAR for starters. Catcher data includes Max Marchi's game calling runs estimates. Postseason performance considered with the championship WPA data available on Seamheads/Baseball Gauge, multiplying cWPA by 11 to construct a WAR/WAA value to add to regular season WAR. WAR and WAA weighting scheme taken from the Hall of Stats project.

1. Ken Griffey Jr. - Closer between #1 and #2 than I thought, but Junior effectively played for only a decade.
2. Mike Mussina - Outstanding prime/career pitcher. Probably gets screwed a little by the strike. Postseason performance a plus.
3. Jose Cruz - Big surprise. RE24 and DRA bump him up, and a superlative series in a closely-fought 1980 NLCS also helps.
4. Gary Sheffield - DRA is much kinder to his defense, on the order of nearly 100 runs.
5. John Smoltz - Great pitcher. Thought he was done as a starter after 2000. My favorite memory is when he unveiled a knuckleball in an attempt to stay healthy enough to start: tells you all you need to know about the guy.
6. Luke Easter - I've made the case for Easter in years past. If I can ever devote more time to this project during grad school, I'll argue harder. The basic version of it is that he's similar to Palmeiro/Yaz/Murray: a long-career slugger whose body of work meets HOM standards.
7. Jim Edmonds - The BBWAA kills another sabermetric darling.
8. Ben Taylor - Seamheads data shows him in a positive light. Willing to believe he was the best first baseman of the dead ball era.
9. Roy White - Similar profile to Cruz: gap-power corner outfielder who did everything well. Reminds me a lot of Alex Gordon, for some reason—though with the exception of the throwing arm.
10. Buddy Bell - Largely believe he's for real and Bando is not. Solid bat with offensive/defensive peak coinciding and long career. Would have to take a closer look at the player won-lost records next year.
11. Hilton Smith - Analysis on here matches his reputation. A better version of Tiant, Appier, etc.
12. Joe Tinker - DRA shows him a clear HOMer. High number of runs saved a product of very high variance in SS defense.
13. Norm Cash - RE24 gives him a boost.
14. Carlos Moran - Reminds me a lot of John McGraw: high OBP and a terror on the basepaths.
15. Bobby Bonds - Hadn't really thought about him closely before. Solid player (by HOM standards), dense career.

A glut of catchers are just off my ballot: Munson, Tenace, Scioscia, and Pena.

Sosa, Lofton, Tiant, and Willis are all close to my ballot. Rizzuto is probably about 30-50 spots away.
   50. dan b Posted: December 20, 2015 at 09:49 PM (#5117724)
I was here in 1898 when I was the only voter to pass on Ross Barnes and have missed once. I start with a half peak/half career WS system with tendency to favor peak. I have also been influenced by NHBA rankings and would like to see BJ do an update. Whereas James looked at 3 best years and 5 consecutive years, I also look at 8 best years and 10 consecutive years. I look for hitters who would be above the median of already enshrined HoMers and pitchers with strong peaks.

PHoM 2015 – Griffey, Schilling, Mussina, Smoltz


1. Sheffield PHoM 2015. My reliance on WS puts Sheff ahead of Junior.
2. Griffey
3. Dean PHoM 1976. 1975 reevaluation of great pitching peaks put him on my ballot for the first time. 2 WS Cy Youngs, 1 runner up. Pitchers from the period 1934-1947 are under represented. Dean and Walters would help bring balance. NHBA #25 pitcher.
4. Mussina
5. Smoltz
6. Walters PHoM 1968. Nice peak – 3 WS Cy Youngs, 1 runner up. One more big year than Dean, but one of them was a war year.
7. Rizzuto PHoM 1995. 1993 reevaluation moved him up. NHBA #16.
8. Cravath PHoM 1967. With mle credit Gavvy is above the HoM median using 5 consecutive seasons, 10 consecutive seasons, 3 best and 8 best seasons.
9. Murphy PHoM 2002. 4 consecutive seasons with 30+ WS. Above the HoM median for 5 consecutive years.
10. Duffy PHoM 1912. Compared with the median level of already enshrined HoMers using WS, Duffy would be in the top half using 5 consecutive seasons, 10 consecutive seasons, 3 best and 8 best seasons. If WS overrate him, then so do I.
11. Mays, C PHoM 1997. A quality pitcher we are overlooking. WS comparison with 1938 inductee Stan Coveleski shows them to be nearly identical in value. Ten best seasons:
Carl 35-31-30-27-25-22-20-20-17-11;
Stan 35-32-30-29-25-23-22-16-16-12.
Similarity scores agree. NHBA #38.
12. Cooper, W PHoM 1942. 1 WS Cy Young, 3 times runner up
13. Sosa It was quite a peak with just enough more to put him ahead of guys like Albert Belle and Al Rosen.
14. Burns, G. PHoM 1996. Above the HoM median in 5 and 10 consecutive peaks and 3 best years
15. Kent If I had more time, I would probably find a reason to keep him off my ballot.

Of the returning top 10, Sheffield, Mussina, Smoltz, Sosa and Kent are on my ballot. Tiant and Willis are close. Lofton and Bell lack the big WS seasons I am looking for. Taylor might be HoVG. Edmonds just misses.

   51. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 21, 2015 at 10:34 AM (#5117840)
31. Adam Schafer Posted: December 13, 2015 at 12:39 AM (#5113429)


No Jim Edmonds, newbie forgotten or just not worthy?
   52. Al Peterson Posted: December 21, 2015 at 11:15 AM (#5117871)
2016 ballot thread version. One new eligible who was pretty darn good, another who ballots. That means the backloggers move up a spot as well.

Methodology in brief: The system used for my ranking entails a little bit of everything including WS, WAR, OPS+/ERA+. Ratings include positional adjustments, additions to one’s playing record for minor league service, war, and NeL credit and for our real oldtimers some contemporary opinion thrown in. The results of this work tend to favor prime/peak players over career types but that is not 100% tried and true. Last year’s placement is in parenthesis.

1. Ken Griffey Jr (-). The Kid was 1990s American League baseball, the homers and speed and a decent glove. Wear that induction cap backwards all you want.

2. Mike Mussina (3). Most metrics point to a great career. Consistently ranked high in ERA+ and K-to-BB ratio. A grey ink monster for the pitching leaderboards, he probably could have hung around another year or two.

3. John Smoltz (5). Starter, closer, starter, whatever you want he gave. 15-4 in the postseason, remarkable since the Braves didn’t exactly pile up WS trophies during his run.

4. Gary Sheffield (6). Hitting in spades, defense suboptimal. When the mood hit this man could carry a team for long stretches.

5. Bobby Bonds (7). Even with the constant trades, drinking problem and whatnot his combination of speed/power made him a very valuable player. He wasn’t the next Mays, or as good as his son, but we’re talking about a RF who could steal bases and field his position. All five tools on display.

6. Dick Redding (8). Career was long – decent peak along the way. Outstanding fastball in his day according to James/Neyer book. So he didn’t get into the Hall of Fame; maybe the information collected by HOF committee wasn’t pertinent to Redding’s prime years. He deserves some WWI credit, thus patching up a bald spot in his prime years as 1918 and 1919 were affected. The last NeL pitcher I’d deem as worthy of induction.

7. Tommy Leach (9). Combination hot corner/centerfielder could field a little, hit a little. Second all-time in inside-the-park home runs to Wahoo Sam Crawford. Someone else stated he was uniquely valuable in his particular era and I agree he meant more in the particular era he performed in. Useless trivia: Still holds World Series record with 4 triples in a single series.

8. Phil Rizzuto (10). I’ve done my minor league & WWII absence calibration so Scooter scoots to ballot position. Glove first but the offense during prime years was nothing to sneeze at either. Holy Cow!

9. Tony Mullane (11). Old time pitcher who threw plenty well, a good hitter to boot. Had some playing time issues since he missed seasons due to being blacklisted. He’s amongst the best of his era when accounting for the time outside of baseball due to conflicts with different leagues. Goes on the all-Nickname team as well.

10. Kenny Lofton (12). I’ve come around on Lofton some from earlier ballots. The defense and baserunning do add up over a long career and offset batting numbers that looks more mid-ranged. A well-traveled player who helped teams win.

11. Sammy Sosa (13). Peak power that was enough to make people start walking him. This increased his value as it upped his OBP skills, doubling the value added. Early in his career he had base stealing and defense as assets.

12. Mickey Welch (14). 300 game winner in the house. Was it due to luck, run support, bad opponents? Still a feat to accomplish, sometimes I need to remind myself that and not totally overlook Smilin’ Mickey. Seemed to pitch well against the other front line starters of his day.

13. Jim Edmonds (-). Probably him and Lofton should duke it out for pecking order. They are very close but I’ll drop him a couple notches. King of the diving grab.

14. Buddy Bell (15). The bat was sufficient but it was defense where he shone. Not overly praised in his time due to being on non-playoff teams. Sort of a Rick Reuschel type in that his build made you question ability to play. His reflexes were superior when it came to picking it at 3B.

15. Bob Johnson (16). Always a bit underrated in Win Shares due to quality of teams he played on. His career has war years that need discount. But also a couple years at the beginning of his career were in the PCL where he was more than major league quality. The tail of his career is nonexistent since the 1946 avalanche of returning War players pushed him back to the minors.

For me he goes ahead of HOM electees like Medwick, Averill, and Willard Brown from his era.

Next up, but off ballot:
16. Norm Cash
17. Luis Tiant. Been balloted before, he’s always going to be a fringe 10-20 slot player. Workhorses galore in those early to mid 70s.
18. Jeff Kent. Might have a little too low since I’m heavy on outfielders. I’ll stash Mr. Carwash just off ballot for now.
19. Vic Willis. A lot like Tiant. Has seen my ballot before, could again. Think we want to get in the elite pitchers from the 1990s/2000s before the next tier from other eras.
20. Bucky Walters
21. Bus Clarkson
22. Ben Taylor – The numbers seem to indicate top 1B during dead ball era, either MLB or NeL. Not a horrible choice in anyone’s top 15.
23. Fred McGriff
24. Frank Chance
25. Bob Elliott

Disclosures:
Newcomers – Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner – Nice relievers, not enough heft in workloads to get you too high on the ballot.
   53. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 21, 2015 at 04:42 PM (#5118173)
As far as what I consider . . . I try to look at it all. I'm a career voter mostly - not because I have any bias towards it, but just because the numbers (and every study I've ever seen) tell me that peaks are overrated and 5+5 is only about 10-15% less valuable than 10+0. Check out “The Problem with Peak” article in the 2002 Baseball Prospectus, page 470 if you are interested in all the mathy type stuffs.

I give full war credit, and I think it's a major mistake not to when comparing players across eras. My biggest regret on this project is that we didn't require all voters to give war credit like we did with Negro League credit. I see no difference, both were a circumstance of the player's birthday that was beyond his control.

I've systematically worked this in for anyone that is a reasonable candidate, all the way down to guys like Tommy Henrich, Mickey Vernon and Dom DiMaggio. If you want a copy of my Rosenheck access database with these guys added, please let me know.

I think it's a cop out to say we don't know so it's a zero. If a guy was a 25 WS a year player before and after the war, a zero is a much bigger mistake than giving him three 25s. As far as injury risk, you just credit a guy based on his playing time before and after the war. There's no reason to assume he would have been any more (or less) injury prone during those years.

I also follow similar philosophy on strikes. I just prorate the season, since a pennant is a pennant.

I give catchers a 50% career bonus, above and beyond what Pennants Added they accumulate. If you don’t do this, Johnny Bench ends up in the neighborhood of Jimmy Sheckard, Dick Allen, Brooks Robinson and Home Run Baker. If you do give the bonus he ends up with Arky Vaughan, Luke Appling, Eddie Mathews and Jimmy Foxx. Which grouping seems more reasonable?

I'll give minor league credit for players trapped, or players that played in the old PCL and other AAAA leagues before cross-continental travel was relatively easy - once they've had a 'here I am, let me play!' season. There are surprisingly few of these guys after about 1920.

I've been much more hands on in rating the pitchers than the position players, for which I rely on DanR's WARP, though I weigh them based on Pennants Added, not his salary estimator. I'm very confident in my pitcher rankings, and I make a manual adjustment for the extended career length that started in the 1960s (not shown below). My position player rankings are based largely on DanR's numbers. I haven’t updated this in the last couple of years because the new pitchers hitting the ballot have been pretty easy to slot and it’s a lot of work.

After the player I’ll list his Pennants Added and the player above and below him at his position on the lists for the guys I have run the numbers for. I’ll give me educated estimate of similar careers between for the newbies. My general guideline is below .80 PA I consider a mistake election. From .80 to .87, I won’t lose any sleep even though it’s below my line. From .88 up are guys I actively support electing. If you are over about .93 I think it’s a pretty blatant mistake if you aren’t in. .88 is 15 years of 4.0 WAR … but it’s just luck that that’s where the line lands. I didn’t draw it there on purpose. That’s just where the bell curve starts to widen quickly. It’s also 12 years of 4.85 WAR or 10 years of 5.7 WAR. Note that the 15 year scenario adds to 60 WAR. The 12 year adds to 58.2 WAR and the 10 year 57 WAR. So you can see peak value creeping in and that’s about how important I think it is in the grand scheme of things. It’s a little bit more than a tiebreaker, but not much more.

I tried to proof all of the comments - if something seems inconsistent, that’s a carry over from last year (or 5 years ago) that I missed. That means I didn’t try hard enough I guess :-)

1. Mike Mussina SP (3) - (Carl Hubbell, Eddie Plank). I see Mussina pretty easily ahead of Schilling, he should have gone in first. Similar effectiveness, Mussina has 300 more innings and much better years in 1994-95, where both lost a portion of a season to the strike - Mussina gets more strike credit is what I’m trying to say there. I have Hubbell and Plank a little ahead of Newhouser and Drysdale, and I think those guys are great comps for the players listed.

Per baseball-reference.com WAR, Mussina only had two years that were even below *average* WAA - a -0.1 in 1993 when he was injured most of the summer and a -0.5 in 2007 at the age 38. He bounced back and won 20 games with 5.2 WAR the next (and final) season. Mussina never won the Cy Young, but he received votes 9x, top five 6x including a runner-up.

Seems like a lot of people forget that there were plenty of great post-season starts too, including his 1997 ALCS where he gave up 4 hits and 1 run - over two starts combined. For that postseason as a whole he gave up 4 runs and 11 hits over 29 innings, striking out 41 and walking 7. Mike Scott 1986 and Orel Hershiser 1988 don’t have anything on Moose 1997. His 2003 WS start was great too, 7 innings, 9 strikeouts, 1 walk and one run. His team never won the WS, but it wasn’t his fault. Even in 2001 he was bad in game 1 but came back and pitched great in Game 5.

2. Ken Griffey, Jr. CF (n/e) - 1.20 PA (Duke Snider, Joe DiMaggio). I think DiMaggio is a great comp for Griffey, though he was clearly better. Both were mega-stars in their 20s. Brought down by injuries in their 30s. Nothing much to add there. Griffey also clearly better than Snider. So he’s solidly the #6 CF of all time. bWAR has Griffey at 83.6 WAR and Sheffield at 60.3 WAR. But DanR’s WAR, through 2005, has Griffey at 75.7 and Sheffield at 75.2 (and that doesn’t count Sheffield’s solid 2007 (3 bWAR). This warrants some digging into. I am going to assume that Dan values CF a little less defensively, which makes sense in the 90s and 2000s as the small grass outfields returned to the majors. Dan also doesn’t particularly think Griffey was a good CF, he’s got him at -5.9 wins for his fielding, whereas bWAR has Griffey at +34 runs through 2005.

3. Gary Sheffield RF (5) - 1.22 PA, (Sam Crawford, Carl Yaztrzemski). Seems pretty underrated by the mainstream media. He’s a slam dunk candidate in a normal year, I could see him waiting a year or two because of the strength of the ballot, but that’s about it. He’s a typical 1st ballot HoMer in a normal year historically. Huge 1997 postseason, where he hit .320 with 20 walks in 16 games while slugging .540 for the Miracle Marlins. 9x All-Star and could have won a few MVPs (1992, 2003, 2004) if Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols didn’t exist. Seems pretty comparable to Eddie Murray in that respect. Except that he was actually better and more valuable than Murray over his career.

Why such a big discrepancy with bWAR and DanWAR on Sheffield though? Remember, 75.2 vs. 60.3. Dan’s system is *not* particularly friendly to corner OFs. bWAR sees Sheffield as being historically awful in the field: -195 runs for fielding poorly, -184 through 2005 (the years Dan covers). Dan has Sheffield at -9.2 wins for fielding bad. That’s most of the discrepancy.

4. John Smoltz SP (6) - (Jim Palmer, Kevin Brown). Everyone seems to lump Smoltz in with Johnson, Pedro, Mussina and Schilling. He’s clearly a notch below them for me. Great pitcher. Hall of Merit worthy. But definitely not as valuable as Schilling or Mussina.

5. Phil Rizzuto SS (7) - 1.02 PA, (Ernie Banks, Bert Campaneris). Now that I've given him systematic war credit and adjusted his 1946, during which he was recovering from malaria (which also impact his projections for 1943-45, if you use 1946 in those), he shows up with Rafael Palmeiro as the best holdover position player by a substantial margin. The top 4 on this ballot are very close.

6. Jack Quinn SP (8) - 1.10 PA, (Eppa Rixey, Whitey Ford). I'm giving him credit for 1916-18 where he was pitching (quite well) in the PCL after the Federal League went belly-up. He gets a big leverage bonus for his nearly 800 IP of relief work at a LI of 1.26. Without any PCL credit I still have him between Bridges and Grimes.

7. Jim Edmonds CF (n/e) - .94 PA (Andre Dawson, Max Carey). He’s being pretty underrated by the BBWAA apparently, which is a shame. He’s a little better than Bernie Williams, and that’s a pretty terrific player. Dan’s WAR and BWAR agree, he’s about a 60-61 WAR player. That’s right on my bubble. Seems to fit well in this slot.

8. Bert Campaneris SS (9) - .93 PA, (Phil Rizzuto, Joe Sewell). .470 OWP, in an era where the average SS was at .372. Long (9625 PA) career as well, and a good fielder (62 FRAA). System says to rank him ahead of Concepcion pretty clearly.

9. Urban Shocker SP (10) - .94 PA, (Tommy Bridges, Billy Pierce). Vaulted in 1981, with 1918 war credit (he was having a great year), and an adjustment for the AL being much better than the NL during his time. He was a great pitcher, peak guys should really look closer at him. He'd be a no brainer without his illness, which should not impact a peak vote.

10. Brian Giles RF (11) - .92 PA (Will Clark, Sherry Magee, Willie Stargell). Dan R's WAR loves Giles. Through 2005, it has him with .77 Pennants Added, .88 is roughly my in/out line. If you use BB-Ref WAR for 2006-2008 (his 2009 is below replacement level, so I zero it), I get Giles at about .917 Pennants Added.

For perspective, Giles' BB-Ref WAR is 50.9, 52.8 if you zero out his 2009. Carlos Delgado is at 45.7 if you zero out his 1994-95. So Giles has a 16% edge in BB-Ref WAR.

But in Dan R's WAR, converted to Pennants Added, Giles has a much bigger edge, .917 to .675 - that's a 36% edge.

Dan gives Giles 49.9 WAR through 2005, compared with 43.3 for BB-Ref.

Dan gives Delgado 40.6 WAR through 2005, compared with 40.9 for BB-Ref (again zeroing out 1994-95). Just an example to show that Dan doesn't always differ by a lot.

So if anything, it looks to me like BB-Ref WAR may be underrating Giles, not overrating him.

   54. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 21, 2015 at 04:43 PM (#5118175)
11. Sammy Sosa RF (12) - .92 PA (Willie Stargell, Goose Goslin). Sosa has an enormous peak - his 2001 is overshadowed by Bonds, but it was an incredible season - a 203 OPS+. But his peak was short, basically 1998-2002 as his only period as a great player. DanR's WARP is tough on corner outfielders, but not inappropriately so. He deserves to make the Hall of Merit, but he's not a slam dunk like the top 4 on this ballot.

12. Gavy Cravath RF (13) - .90 PA, (Andre Dawson, Goose Goslin). Either he was a freak of nature, or there's a lot missing. I vote for the latter. Check out his thread for deeper discussion of the specifics, including a great analysis from Gadfly. He's the kind of guy we were hoping to catch when we started this project. I'm much more comfortable moving him this high after seeing his latest translations.

13. Ben Taylor 1B (14) - Negro Leaguer, Chris Cobb's MLE from 8/25/2004 suggests 325 WS. Consider me convinced that he was really was a great hitter. The Hall of Fame's Negro League Committee had access to a lot of data, and they chose to include him, in a group that we generally agreed with. That counts for something with me. I would have much preferred his election to that of Oms.

14. Tommy John SP (15) - 1.00 PA, (Bret Saberhagen, Wes Ferrell). Tons of career value. I would probably be sick to my stomach if Jim Kaat (who did very well in the Veteran's Committee balloting this year) got in and John did not. On the surface (career W-L) they appear similar, but when you adjust for everything, they aren't close. I have John as similar to, but better than Burleigh Grimes - about 800 more translated IP, at a 106 rate instead of a 104 rate. That's more than enough to offset Grimes peak edge. I get John somewhere between Eppa Rixey/Red Faber and Grimes on the continuum. He's over the in/out line for me. I also give no extra credit for his pioneering the surgery - someone had to be first.

15. Tommy Bridges SP (16) - .94 PA, (Stan Coveleski, Urban Shocker). Unspectacular peak (although he would have won the 1936 AL Cy Young Award if it had been invented), but a lot of career value. War credit helps nudge him above Trout and Leonard. He could obviously still pitch when he left for the war, and was still good when he returned for a short time. I give him 2 years of credit at his 1941-43 level.

16. Dave Concepcion SS (17) - .88 PA, (Joe Sewell, Dave Bancroft). Better than I realized, and was really hurt by the 1981 strike, which occurred during his best season (and a season where the Reds had the best record in baseball, but missed the playoffs). Still no Trammell or Ozzie, but a very good player indeed. We could do worse than induct him.

17. Tommy Leach 3B/CF (18) - .88 PA (Stan Hack, Buddy Bell; Andre Dawson, Jim Wynn). I was a big fan of his awhile back, then he faded. He's back now, in no small part because of Dan R's work.

18. Bucky Walters SP (19) - .90 PA (Burleigh Grimes, Dwight Gooden). Johnny Pesky, Rabbit Maranville (with credit for a full 1918), Dave Bancroft, Don Newcombe, Burleigh Grimes, Edgar Martinez, Orel Hershister and Kevin Appier were top contenders for the last couple of spots in my top 20. Walters combination of big years, hitting, and playing in what I consider a very tough era (the late 30s, right before war depleted the ranks and after nearly 40 years without expansion) won him my final 6 points.

19. Bernie Williams CF (20) - .83 PA (Jim Wynn, Brett Butler). This number puts him a little below Dave Bancroft and Buddy Bell in the .85 range. He is right there with HoMers like John McGraw, Billy Herman and Hughie Jennings. Some of the guys in this range are in, some aren't. He's clearly in the gray area. I am a Yankee fan. Questions about his defense - I don't think it was quite as bad as the advanced metrics say - keep his value low. I'd love to do more digging on this - but I do feel like there are all sorts of goofy things with the fielding numbers for those Yankee teams. That being said, I'll err on the side of caution still.

Perpetual eligibility helps here - I don't have to worry about him falling off the ballot. Edmonds will end up placing higher. But any bump in Williams' defensive ratings would move him into the low, but clear HoMer range. Based on Mike Emeigh's comment on the ballot thread, I think this is reasonable and could bump Bernie next year. This evaluation gives him credit only as the numbers stand now.

Prominent newcomers:

20. Jason Kendall - .55 PA - .84 with the catcher bonus (Thurman Munson, Bill Freehan). That’s a really good career. He’s probably ahead of Munson as the best catcher not in the Hall of Merit. Anyone else realize Kendall is 5th all time in games caught? And this is no Bob Boone, he’s got a 95 career OPS+, that is OBP heavy. Any else realize he’s also 5th all-time in HBP? I didn’t know that either. He also stole 189 bases in his career, and from 1996-99 he stole 71 bases and was caught just 16 times. From 1996-2000 he had a 124 OPS+. For his career he walked more than he struck out. This guy was one heckuva player. I wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep if he were elected one day.

Billy Wagner and Trevor Hoffman - Here’s my thought on these guys … I would have no problem if they were elected. I’m a big (actual size) Hall guy, and I think there is room for the best relief pitchers ever in there. Even if they only throw one inning a game 60-70x a season.

But here’s the list of RPs with 23 or more WAR, zeroing out negative seasons, according to B-R WAR (I could have missed someone):

WAR0  WAR
56.6   56.6 Mariano Rivera
50.7   50.1 Hoyt Wilhelm 
44.5   41.8 Goose Gossage
——————
31.5   31.2 John Hiller
31.5   28.7 Lindy McDaniel
29.8   29.4 Lee Smith
28.9   28.0 Trevor Hoffman
28.5   27.3 Stu Miller (93 GS)
27.9   27.7 Billy Wagner
27.4   25.0 Rollie Fingers
——————
27.1   26.2 Kent Tekulve
26.6   26.1 Joe Nathan
26.5   24.9 Dan Quisenberry
25.7   24.5 Bruce Sutter
25.7   23.8 Bob Stanley (85 GS)
25.5   22.9 Jesse Orosco
25.4   22.7 Don McMahon
25.2   23.7 John Franco
24.3   21.4 Dave Righetti (89 GS)
24.3   21.0 Tug McGraw
24.1   23.9 Francisco Rodriguez
24.1   22.9 Sparky Lyle
23.7   23.7 Jonathan Papelbon
23.7   23.1 Tom Henke
23.6   21.3 Doug Jones
23.0   21.3 Roy Face


Where do you draw that line? I mean, I could see Wagner and Hoffman in - and you could say it’s a different era, but Rivera shows a true great can still put up a reasonable Hall of Fame type total even in the modern era of closers. Personally I think we should give John Hiller a much longer look, especially with his off the charts 1973 season. For now Wagner and Hoffman sit out, but I’m open to considering them down the line. Should we give Hiller, Smith and McDaniel a better look if we think Wagner and Hoffman deserve to be in? Was Fingers a mistake? I don't have all of the answers, but I think they are important questions.

Troy Glaus - .51 PA (Ken Keltner, Bill Madlock). 4x All-Star. 2002 World Series MVP. One of the top 40-50 3B to play the game. That’s a nice run. Not a HoMer obviously, but still a really good career.
   55. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 21, 2015 at 04:44 PM (#5118176)
Other (including mandatory) comments:

Luis Tiant - .88 PA. Comparing him with Reuschel . . . I've got Tiant 54th amongst post-1893 SPs eligible. I give him credit for 3362.3 tIP, at the equivalent of a 112 ERA+, and he was +5 runs as a hitter. Reuschel I get at 3745.3 tIP, a 115 rate, and the same +5 BRAR.

Looking at their seven best seasons in terms of WARP, I see Reuschel at 8.7, 6.5, 5.3, 5.2, 5.1, 4.9, 4.8; Tiant at 7.7, 6.4, 5.2, 5.1, 4.9, 4.6, 4.5. Reuschel's top 3 consecutive were 18.8; Tiant's 16.4.

Using a Bill James NHBA peaky type system, with my wins, I get Reuschel at #55, Tiant at #100. Using a JAWS type system, I get Reuschel #39, Tiant #60.

I like Tiant. He’s closish to my ballot. I wouldn’t be bothered if we put him in. I just like the guys ahead of him here more.

Buddy Bell - A little below Tommy Leach. A little above Ventura. At .85 PA he’s in the big crowd below about .88 PA which is where my typical in/out line seems to have formed. He’s close. It wouldn’t kill me if he got in.

Bobby Bonds - I see him as comparable to Joe Medwick or Kiki Cuyler, I’ve got Bonds with .82 PA. I wasn’t a big fan of Medwick’s selection. He’s just below my in out line, but it gets crowded just below. Which is why the line is a little above that crowd.

David Wells - I kind of think of him as the Bobo Newsom of the 1985-2005 period. Bounced around and pitched pretty well wherever he went. I am a big fan of long career very good pitchers. I did not have time to run him through my system, but looking at his BB-ref WAR, his ERA+, IP and comparing him with others who I have run through, I think he's most comparable to Newsom and Newcombe.

Kenny Lofton CF - .80 PA (Dom DiMaggio, Larry Doby). DanR's WAR does not like Lofton nearly as much as BB-ref's. Big year in 1994 and a nice run from 1992-96, but he seems to me like a very good, not great player. The big difference here is defense. If I could be convinced his defense was better than DanR thinks, I could move him up a bit.

Jeff Kent Lands around .80 PA . . . this puts him very much in the HOVG for me. There are some HoMers here - Ken Boyer is probably the best comp. Nellie Fox, Bill Terry and Ken Boyer are examples of HoM players from down here, but non-HoMers are far more common. Between Boyer and Fox you have Fregosi, Cey, Bob Johnson, Jose Cruz Sr., Tony Fernandez, Chuck Klein, Harry Hooper, George Sisler, Ralph Kiner, Amos Otis, Chet Lemon, and Bobby Veach. I think Kent is in nice company there. Just not really close to getting on my ballot company.

Luis Gonzalez Similar to Kent, a hair behind at .79 PA. Was surprised that Dan R’s WAR likes him nearly as much as Kent.

Hugh Duffy - .72 WAR. Pretty cool that perpetual eligibility keeps guys like Duffy around. rWAR has him with .4625 from 1893 on, so I need to come up with some estimates for 1888-1892.

What I did was run a regression on Pennants Added using Dan’s WAR against Chone’s WAR. Then I used the resulting function to convert Chone’s WAR to PA for the missing years. The reason I did it this way was because I like Dan’s WAR better and if there were any differences between the two in terms of how they treat Duffy, I wanted to lean towards Dan’s method.

Amongst players that finished their career before 1920, the .72 PA number puts Duffy in the company of guys like Roy Thomas and Fielder Jones. He’s just not good enough for me.

Julio Franco 2B/SS - .68 PA (Joe Tinker, Jay Bell). This does not include any credit for 1998-2001. Even if I gave him credit for 1.0 WAR per year (his age 39-42 seasons) we are talking about him bumping up to the Art Fletcher/Dick Bartell class. He was an all-star caliber player from 1984-1991, but never an MVP candidate or anything like that. But he was a really good player, and a neat story playing as long as he did.

Steve Finley CF - .65 PA (Willie Davis, Bobby Murcer). Really nice career. I drafted him for $3 in an auction league in 1991 during my freshman year of college and he was one of favorite players for ever after . . .

Dick Redding - He was good, but I think we are overrating him. I can't see how he's better than Grimes, who just misses my ballot.

Vic Willis - My system does not love Willis. He is not worse than the worst HoM pitchers we've elected (Bob Lemon and Joe McGinnity), but I have 20-25 pitchers ahead of him, ranging from those on my ballot, down through modern guys like Hershiser, Appier, Gooden, Denny Martinez, older guys like Grimes, Waite Hoyt, Bob Shawkey. This is a short career. This is not a knock, I just think he's in the middle of this glut. He was also a terrible hitter for a pitcher in his era, which costs him 28 runs compared with an average hitting pitcher for his time. Give him those runs back and I'd have him around even with Tiant.

Sal Bando - .67 PA. Using DanR's WAR he winds up in a cohort that includes Harlond Clift, Larry Gardner, Ken Caminiti, Art Devlin. I am not feeling this one at all. It's basically 11 years of very good. He's not close for me.

Non-Mandatory comments:

Robin Ventura is a tier below with .83 PA (yes, there are that many players at this level - which is one thing that suggests HoVG for both Edgar and Ventura). Norm Cash and Bobby Bonds are also here. Buddy Bell is right there, a little actually, at .85 PA.

Since he was discussed during the 2010 election a bit, Thurman Munson is close, but about a full season behind Bill Freehan. I give a 50% career bonus for catchers and with that, I get Munson at .79 PA. I have Freehan at .87. I draw the line at Freehan in, Munson (and now Kendall) out, but I can definitely see support for Munson (or Kendall, who was probably a little better) as a candidate.

Bob Johnson - .80 PA. He's in the mix - but slides down when you deflate his numbers from WWII. I see him in a group with Fregosi, Cey, Cruz and Schang. I don’t think Edgar Martinez was all that better than Bob Johnson.

John Olerud - .75 PA (George Sisler, Fred McGriff). Olerud was a really good player with a very nice split peak (1993/1998). rWAR shows him as deserving the 1993 MVP that most statheads think should have gone to Frank Thomas. But he only had 7 years with 3 or more rWAR. It wouldn’t kill me to see him elected. He was a more valuable player than Fred McGriff, Kirby Puckett, Jake Beckley or Charlie Keller, for example. But he’s doesn’t have quite enough to make my ballot at this point.

Fred McGriff is down there with guys like Roy White, Jack Clark, Dale Murphy and George Burns at .73 PA. Defense and base running count.

Kirby Puckett - .69 PA. Loved to watch him play, but there's just not enough there. DanR's numbers show him similar to Rizzuto - before giving any war credit. I've got him in a group with Ken Singleton, Bob Elliott, Fielder Jones, Joe Tinker, Harlond Clift, etc.. Very good player. A solid all-star in his day. But not a HoMer.

Carlos Delgado - .67 PA. Good solid career. Similar to Rocky Colavito or Mickey Vernon or George Foster.

Nomar Garciaparra - .64 PA. I think Tony Oliva is his best comp, even though they played different positions. Great player, injuries keep him out of the Hall of Merit. Note I said Merit, because Oliva is very close to making the Hall of Fame. There isn’t any shortstop really close to Nomar on the list in terms of career pennants added who was nearly as good as he was at his peak. He needed 3 more years like he had from 1997-2003 (and not like 2001) to have made the bubble. Basically 2/3 of a Hall of Merit career. JAWS shows this. He’s basically got the 7 year peak of an average Hall of Fame SS (with only 6 great seasons BTW - his 6th best season was 6.1 WAR, his 7th was 2.5). I could see peak voters really liking Nomar, he’ll be on the also receiving votes list in perpetuity I’d imagine.
   56. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 21, 2015 at 06:21 PM (#5118226)
Kenny Lofton CF - .80 PA (Dom DiMaggio, Larry Doby). DanR's WAR does not like Lofton nearly as much as BB-ref's. Big year in 1994 and a nice run from 1992-96, but he seems to me like a very good, not great player. The big difference here is defense. If I could be convinced his defense was better than DanR thinks, I could move him up a bit.


Joe, I made comment on this last year, Dan R's WAR without his updated defensive values is the .80 PA, Dan's revised 1987-2005 defensive rankings shows Lofton as an easy choice, please review his case if you are relying on old Dan figures.
   57. Rob_Wood Posted: December 21, 2015 at 07:01 PM (#5118238)
This is Not My Ballot.

It is the ballot of Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks from the Ballot Discussion thread (the site is acting strange and Devin cannot access the ballot thread at the moment). I only copied the first 15 names (his official ballot). Many other names are listed on his discussion thread post.

OK, BBTF is being wonky again. When I go to the ballot page, I don't get the box to enter my comment, even though I'm logged in.
So, I guess I need to post my ballot here.

For various reasons, I didn’t spend as much time on my ballot as I hoped with the extension. But I did spend a little more time, so thanks again.

My ranking system isn’t that specific. It’s based more on BB-ref’s WAR than anything else, but I still have WS and old WARP totals on my spreadsheet. I use Humphrey’s DAR in some cases, but I can’t say I’ve applied it systematically.

I also try to include both peak and career candidates, but tend to lean more towards the career when push comes to shove. When I talk about WS or WAR rate, that’s per PA.

Griffey, Mussina, Smoltz & Sheffield make my PHoM this year.

1. Ken Griffey, Jr. (new) I kinda feel like he’s being a little underrated by the electorate, based on some of the discussion. His 20s were significantly better than Edmonds’ 30s. Makes my PHoM this year.

2. Mike Mussina (4) Got a lot less publicity than Schilling and Glavine (despite all the time with the Yankees), but just about as good. Have to believe that at some point the HoF will notice the obvious. Makes my PHoM this year.

3. John Smoltz (5) Also very close to the Schilling/Glavine/Mussina bunch, but comes out at the end of the list, mostly because of the reliever phase – not that he wasn’t a great one, but it’s still not worth as much. Makes my PHoM this year.

4. Gary Sheffield (6) Extremely close between Sheffield and Edmonds. I don’t want to penalize him too much for being played out of position early in his career. He didn’t have a standout peak, but he maintained a lot of offensive value over a long career. Makes my PHoM this year.

5. Jim Edmonds (new) Yeah, I did not appreciate how good he was. That said, for a HoM candidate he had a relatively short prime. I can’t argue too much with anyone who’d put him ahead of Sheffield.

6. Bus Clarkson (7) Parallels Elliot’s career, but with war credit he comes out ahead, and he presumably had more defensive value. (Quick comparison to Alomar – WS 344 to 376 in 1900 fewer PA, OPS+ 123 to 116, 3B/SS to 2B. Even deflating the MLEs a bit, that looks pretty close to me.) Made my PHoM in 1997.

7. Bobby Bonds (9) While Edmonds is clearly better, especially in the field, I think they are pretty comparable over all. More of a prime candidate than anything else, but his peak and career values aren’t bad either. Even with Smith’s election, I still think 1970’s OF are a bit underrepresented. Made my PHoM in 2008.

8. Luis Tiant (8) He had some outstanding years, and contributed long enough to build up a decent career value. There were a lot of great pitchers in his era, but that happens sometimes. Moved ahead of Redding because they’re very close, and I can’t ignore the argument that MLB info is more certain. Made my PHoM in 2005.

9. Bob Johnson (11) I'm impressed by his consistency, he was an above-average player every year for 13 seasons, plus he got started very late in the bigs, so I will give him at least 1 year of minor league credit. I think the era considerations have been a little overblown, and I still don’t think Joe Medwick was any better than Bob. Made my PHoM in 1992.

10. Dick Redding (10) Seems to have a pretty good peak, and also has somewhat of a career argument. I still tend to think he’s close enough to Mendez that they both should be in or out. Made my PHoM in 1973.

11. Phil Rizzuto (12) Accounting for the malaria as an effect of the war helped him move up a couple of spots. With war credit, it’s pretty clear he’d have more career value than Stephens. Peak is a different issue, but he’s not that far behind Stephens, and he did have a few excellent seasons. Might deserve Minor League credit for 1940 (I’m not counting it at the moment.) Made my PHoM in 1997.

12. Kenny Lofton (13) This is mostly because of his total WAR, but he does generally look better than the other CF candidates. I found it interesting that if you rank their seasonal WAR scores, Lofton beats Edmonds for Years 1-3, then Edmonds is in front for 4-10, and Lofton for the rest. I’d like to get some clarity about his defense.

13. Norm Cash (17) A lot of good years, but I really think he's the Beckley of the 60s, with a shorter career (although that's not really much of a criticism), and the fluke year. Even if you take 1961 out, he’s still clearly ahead of Cepeda and Perez in WS and WARP rate. He really does look pretty similar to Hernandez, and for some reason has 6 Win Shares Gold Gloves to Keith's 1. Made my PHoM in 2003.

14. Ben Taylor (18) A solid candidate who might have been overlooked. 3rd-best 1B in the Negro Leagues, a good hitter with an outstanding defensive rep. (I do think I was giving him credit for his defense already, but a little confirmation certainly doesn’t hurt.) Also did some pitching early on. I have him as the best overall 1B of his era – Sisler was better at his best, but that just didn’t last long enough. Made my PHoM in 2009.

15. Tommy Leach (16) Doesn’t do great by WAR, although a lot of the other 3B candidates are in the hard-to-differentiate 70s clump. Excellent fielder at important positions, OK hitter. One of the most complete players on the ballot. Made my PHoM in 1940.
   58. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 21, 2015 at 07:42 PM (#5118255)
When that happens (login keeps resetting), clear your cookies and cache for baseballthinkfactory.org and that should resolve the issue.
   59. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 21, 2015 at 07:45 PM (#5118258)
I missed that Bleed ... Where do I get updated DanR WAR? I don't think I realized he updated it. I won't matter much for this year anyway, but I definitely should revise.
   60. karlmagnus Posted: December 21, 2015 at 08:20 PM (#5118271)
Is balloting closed?
   61. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: December 21, 2015 at 09:08 PM (#5118280)
Thanks to Joe for the technical help and to Rob for posting my ballot.
   62. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 21, 2015 at 09:17 PM (#5118283)
Hey Joe, at the Hall of Merit group, you can unzip the Rosenheck file, it has Dan's WARP via October 2007, Dan then made a separate analysis for 1987-2005 released November 2008, Lofton goes from .674 to .739 PA (through 2005), Salary estimator from $72 to $149 mil - although I think he mentions that the $ values are inflated for the new file versus the old. Dan also had him rated #12 on his ballot in 2015.
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/HallofMerit/files

Dan has a write up in Lofton's thread also, post 74:
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit/discussion/kenny_lofton
   63. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 21, 2015 at 10:17 PM (#5118294)
Thanks Bleed ... if it bumps Lofton .065 Pennants Added, that's probably not quite enough to get him into my top 15 anyway. But it does put him up there with Bernie and Kendall and close to the ballot. I'll pull it down now so I have it for next year. Appreciate the heads up (again).

Yes, balloting closed at 8 ... I was helping Mrs. D bake cookies for tomorrow. I'll get the results post going now. Big thanks to ronw, OCF and rawagman for counting everything.

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