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

Monday, December 19, 2016

2018 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

Vladimir Guerrero (267), Sammy Sosa (255), Luis Tiant (189), Jeff Kent (179), Vic Willis (161), Kenny Lofton (151), Bobby Bonds (133), Ben Taylor (130), Buddy Bell (130) and Tommy Bridges (106) will be the top 10 returnees for 2018.

Jorge Posada (95), Bob Johnson (86), Urban Shocker (80), Dick Redding (79), Phil Rizzuto (79), Wally Schang (79) and Sal Bando (68) rounded out the top 20.

2018 - (December 4 - December 18, 2017) - elect 4

Name               HOFm HOFs Yrs WAR  WAR7 JAWS
Chipper Jones       180  70   19 85.0 46.6 65.8
Jim Thome           156  57   22 72.9 41.5 57.2
Scott Rolen          99  40   17 70.0 43.5 56.8
Andruw Jones        109  34   17 62.8 46.4 54.6
Johan Santana        82  35   12 51.4 44.8 48.1
Johnny Damon         90  45   18 56.0 32.8 44.4
Jamie Moyer          56  39   25 50.4 33.2 41.8
Carlos Zambrano      30  23   12 44.6 39.0 41.8
Omar Vizquel        120  42   24 45.3 26.6 36.0
Chris Carpenter      70  26   15 34.5 29.6 32.0
Livan Hernandez      41  16   17 31.1 27.8 29.4
Orlando Hudson       20  18   11 30.9 27.2 29.1
Kevin Millwood       34  20   16 29.4 24.8 27.1
Kerry Wood           24  14   14 27.7 25.0 26.4
Carlos Lee           78  35   14 28.2 23.4 25.8
Ben Sheets           19  11   10 23.4 22.3 22.8
Jack Wilson          12  16   12 23.5 20.9 22.2
Hideki Matsui        36  21   10 21.3 21.2 21.3
Aubrey Huff          30  20   13 20.2 22.5 21.3
Adam Kennedy         12  16   14 21.0 20.4 20.7
Jeff Suppan          11   9   17 17.4 18.3 17.8
Carl Pavano          16   6   14 16.9 18.5 17.7
Francisco Cordero    77   9   14 17.2 14.6 15.9
Miguel Batista       10   3   18 12.7 15.9 14.3
Jason Isringhausen   71   7   16 13.2 12.2 12.7
Brian Fuentes        48   9   12 10.7 11.3 11.0
Brad Lidge           48  10   11  8.2 12.4 10.3
Scott Podsednik      15  15   11  6.9  7.8  7.4
Guillermo Mota       13   7   14  6.3  7.6  7.0
JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 19, 2016 at 09:12 PM | 444 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   401. Rob_Wood Posted: December 16, 2017 at 05:21 PM (#5593826)
flip again
   402. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 16, 2017 at 05:23 PM (#5593828)
Do you adjust for schedule length or war credit?

No... it's my first ballot and methodology is evolving and I hope will get more sophisticated in future years (as it seems a number of long time voters have). Honestly, I gave the most thought to players at the top of the ballot for whom my ballot may directly affect who actually gets into the HOM. The player whose rank I question the most is Lofton, just because there seems to be a wide range of opinions on the quality of his defense and BBRef's WAA happens to use a system that rates him very highly. I was very tempted to move him down a few slots, particularly since everyone else has him much lower. If/when I integrate Kiko's pWOPA into my evaluation, Lofton will almost certainly move several spots down. I don't anticipate that there's any chance that he'll finish in the Top 4, so I'm thinking it's relatively low stakes at this point to cast a flawed ballot.

New information comes to light with the passing of time, so I wouldn't say all deserving players are enshrined, or that any electorate is 100% full proof. A challenge with the 40s/50s guys is how much to discount the 1943-1945 seasons, how much war credit to estimate for players serving in WWII and Korea, integration/negro league credits.

Guys who are intriguing in this mold include: Bus Clarkson, Dolph Camili, Luke Easter, Tommy Henrich, Don Newcombe, Johnny Pesky, Phil Rizzuto, Hilton Smith, Vern Stephens, Dizzy Trout, and others.

Quick off the cuff thoughts on the players you listed:

Clarkson: I'm really not an expert on Negro League Baseball, but my understanding is that he's not considered one of the best Negro League players of his era (e.g., not enshrined in the HOF). That is, it's not WWII that is keeping him out. My general disposition toward Negro Leaguers is that if he's not already honored and there isn't convincing evidence that he should be, then it's probably the case that he isn't worthy.

Camili: No amount of reasonable WWII credit could compensate for his lack of WAA. The late start to his MLB career really hurt him more than WWII.

Easter: Similarly, more of a Negro League player than a guy who lost time to WWII or Korea. He's not considered to be one of the best Negro League players of his era, I don't think, so I don't really know that he's someone that I'd seriously consider.

Herich: This is a guy that I need to give some thought to, since he had some very good seasons on both sides of the break for military service. At the same time, he missed a lot of time in his 20s, to the point where it would have been very difficult for him to accumulate enough career value unless the peak that he missed was near historically great (i.e., something like 10+ WAA over three missing years). I'm skeptical, but will try to keep an open mind. By pWOPA, he's far more deserving than Lofton, so something that I'll have to consider in future ballots.

Newcombe: He's at 8.5 WAA without credit. Even if you give him very generous credit, he's going to finish well under 15 career WAA. I don't think that it's very likely that I'd ever support him.

Pesky: Another guy where even really generous war credit doesn't quite get him over the hump. He was pretty much done after his age 32 season and his peak wasn't sufficient to compensate for his short career unless you assume that he would be as good as he was in 1946 in every season 1943-45. That's too speculative, IMHO.

Rizzuto: A better version of Pesky, you'd still have to make stronger assumptions about what he would have done in 1943-45 to make up the difference than I'm able/willing to make.

Smith: Another Negro Leaguer that I know little about, aside from the fact that he is actually in Cooperstown after many ballots where he was denied. The fact that he isn't in the HOF (and hasn't rated particularly well) suggests to me that he probably isn't deserving. I'll keep an open mind, but I don't see a reason to include him at this point.

Stephens: Even without discounting 1943-45 (which included some of his best seasons), he doesn't quite make it. He was basically done at 30.

Trout: Similarly, even without discounting 1944 at all (far and away his best season), he doesn't quite make it. He's lacking both career and peak value.


As I said in a previous post, the pre-integration players are pretty sparse in terms of candidates worth serious consideration. That's a compliment, not a critique of past voting by the HOM group. If they were obvious, slam-dunk candidates, then they would be enshrined already. That is not to say that future ballots should necessarily be comprised entirely of more recent players as a rule, it's hard to find data-informed justification for those not already in. I'm evolving (as everyone has) and willing to acknowledge oversights or reconsider certain players in light of feedback... but aside from possibly the rank of Lofton, I'm pretty sure that I got the top third of my ballot right and going forward most of the players that I include will be the more recent players. It's not like I'm overlooking the Ted Williams' of baseball history. Guys like Tommy Henrich or Hilton Smith are on the outside looking in at this point for a reason.
   403. Rob_Wood Posted: December 16, 2017 at 05:50 PM (#5593834)
I guess this is obvious, but the split of batter innings between home and away is the flip side of the split of pitcher innings between road and home. And pitcher inning splits are readily available.

If I tallied things properly, I find that from 1960-1980 NL pitchers pitched 171,071 innings at home and 161,861 innings on the road. Of course, the flip is the innings by batter road vs. home.

The figures are telling us that 1960-1980 NL road batters hit in 171,071 innings and home batters hit in 161,861. The ratio says that NL road batters hit in 5.69% more innings than NL home batters.

So, due solely to the rule that home teams don't bat in the ninth inning when leading, we would expect 1960-1980 NL batters to have hit roughly 5.69% more road HR than home HR.

(The fact that the two actual totals are very close to each other indicates that this 5.69% road "advantage" is offset by other factors "favoring" the home batters.)
   404. Mike Webber Posted: December 16, 2017 at 10:11 PM (#5593901)
That's great info Rob! Thanks, I hadn't thought it through like that.
   405. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 17, 2017 at 09:59 AM (#5593955)
Only 16 ballots so far (17 once I vote) ... are there a bunch more coming in? One voter emailed me asking for an extension ... what do you guys think does it make sense to extend it?
   406. bachslunch Posted: December 17, 2017 at 10:57 AM (#5593966)
How much time did the person requesting extension need? It’s okay by me as long as there’s a fixed date and it’s not that long, maybe a week or so.
   407. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 17, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5593971)
Yeah, asked for a week, or more specifically to get to next weekend. Of course that puts us at Christmas Day ... Maybe stretch it to the 27th? Would that help people out? I'd love to get to at least 25 ballots, which I think is the least we've had.
   408. Howie Menckel Posted: December 17, 2017 at 02:23 PM (#5594026)
I agree on the "25" figure, and the next 10 days should provide a number of people with free time somewhere in there.
   409. Rob_Wood Posted: December 17, 2017 at 06:11 PM (#5594082)
Yes, an extension seems like a good idea.
   410. dan b Posted: December 17, 2017 at 08:18 PM (#5594123)
I will be submitting a ballot. An extension would help, but either way I will get something in.
   411. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 17, 2017 at 10:15 PM (#5594167)
Ok, let’s extend it, thanks guys! December 27 it is.
   412. Al Peterson Posted: December 18, 2017 at 10:20 AM (#5594253)
Prelim ballot to discussion thread with this, transfer over to ballot thread next couple days.

2018 ballot thread listing. Four new eligible go balloting. Minor movements elsewhere.

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. Chipper Jones (-). Hit .303 career with 468 HR’s as (mostly) a 3rd basemen with good defensive skills. Yeah I think he qualifies, even shoots to the top of the ballot. Won his World Series at age 23, never again despite almost yearly chances.

2. Jim Thome (-). Slight edge over Rolen, I’m not going to fight those who have another 3rd sacker in line. Those high socks and arms, he was what Paul Bunyan would have looked like if he played baseball.

3. Scott Rolen (-). Good glove on the hot corner, could hit well. Dropped below Thome for durability issues and being Chipper Jones contemporary. Did not like the playoffs at the NLDS level - .158/.273/.228 over 5 of them.

4. Dick Redding (3). 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.

5. Vladimir Guerrero (6). Doesn’t surprise me too much Vlad comes in this high. The long prime candidate tends to do well in my system. Again an adventure in the field and the bases – those things along with the free-swinging ways made him a fan favorite.

6. Tommy Leach (5). 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.

7. Phil Rizzuto (7).
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!

8. Bobby Bonds (4). 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. Dropped a little this time, needs to trail Vlad I feel.

9. Tony Mullane (8). 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 (9). 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. Andruw Jones (-). Locked down Gold Gloves for a decade. A great what if with him: Age 28 he’s 2nd in MVP, leading NL in HR’s and RBI’s. By age 31 hitting .158 in sunny LA.

12. Sammy Sosa (10). 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.

13. Mickey Welch (11). 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.

14. Buddy Bell (13). 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 (14).
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.

Next up, but off ballot:
16. Luis Tiant (15). Just off ballot, good new crop of candidates. Like the cigar smoking Cuban.
17. Jeff Kent. Highest 2nd basemen I’ve got, the glove holds him back just enough to be on the cusp of ballot.
18. Ben Taylor. Growing on me, little more analysis and finally dropped Norm Cash in relation to this NeL star.
19. Vic Willis. A lot like Tiant. Has seen my ballot before, could again. Always the era question with pitchers from this timeframe.
20. Bus Clarkson
21. Sal Bando
22. Fred McGriff
23. Urban Shocker
24. Frank Chance
25. Tommy John

Disclosures:
Newcomers
Johan Santana: Kevin Appier anyone? Got them pegged about the same. This is about 33-50 ballot spot range…
Omar Vizquel: Just kidding. Love me some flashy SS but long career, end of story.

Top 10
Tommy Bridges: Still considering, probably slightly above Appier/Santana. In a similar place that houses the next group of pitchers. Is he much different from Willis/Shocker/John? Splitting hairs but that is what we do…
   413. DL from MN Posted: December 18, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5594283)
I have a hard time sympathizing with needing extra time for yearly ballots but I don't think it hurts to wait another week.
   414. Carl Goetz Posted: December 18, 2017 at 12:59 PM (#5594429)
Ok, quick followup to my defensive conversation with Kiko. Per your suggestion, I ran some numbers on BBRef WAR for the 1358 players who played in the MLB in 2017
This is somewhat quick and dirty, but I ran Offensive WAR (Hitting and Baserunning combined) for the 956 players with a PA, Pitching WAR for 755 players who pitched and Fielding WAR for all 1358 (there's likely to be some 0 dWARs in there from DHs/PHs who didn't play the field, but I didn't have an easy way to remove those).

Offensive WAR: Average: 0.618 St Dev: 1.373
Fielding WAR: Average: 0.0006 St Dev: 0.415
Pitching WAR: Average: 0.542 St Dev: 1.292

If we weight based on the St Dev of each WAR, I get 44.57% oWAR, 13.47% dWAR, 41.96% pWAR.

Not sure how statistically sound my methodology is here. Should I be running oWAR/PA, dWAR/Inn, pWAR/IP? If so, would this dramatically affect the results?

Granted, this is only 1 year worth of data, but this tends to support a roughly 33% regression in dWar on BBRef. This supports Kiko's stated positions on the matter. Assuming people here think my methodology was sound, I'll probably grab a few more random seasons throughout history and see how they turn out as well. Definitely interested in some feedback from people who understand statistical analysis.

   415. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 18, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5594477)
Carl, thanks for running those numbers in #414! I, too, would love to get some feedback on this (and our general conversation earlier on this page) from others.
   416. Carl Goetz Posted: December 19, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5595006)
I ran a few more seasons using the same methodology. I'll just provide the weights I came up with rather than all the data.
1927: oWAR 41.05%, dWAR 9.12%, pWAR 49.84%
1965: oWAR 40.25%, dWAR 12.16%, pWAR 47.58%
1985: oWAR 40.68%, dWAR 11.48%. pWAR 47.84%
2016: oWAR 44.08%, dWAR 13.98%, pWAR 41.94%

2016 gives very similar results to 2017, but the older seasons show a decreased weighting of oWAR and dWAR as compared to pWAR.

Possible Conclusions
1) My methodology is bad for some reason of which I'm unaware.
2) BBRef is inconsistent in how they weight oWAR,dWAR,pWAR between each other because of flawed methodology.
3) BBRef has done studies and found good reasons for weighting the 3 categories differently in different seasons.

As I don't consider myself an expert here, I'd say #1 is most likely. Which means I've reached a roadblock in determining how much if any to regress defensive statistics from WAR.

   417. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: December 19, 2017 at 12:18 PM (#5595019)
Carl-

I don't think your methodology is bad, at least WRT dWAR. IIRC, Total Zone (which BBRef uses for seasons prior to 2003) is regressed by 1/3 already. But I don't believe DRS is regressed, which would account for some of the discrepancy in recent years.

In my system, I use an average of bWAR, fWAR and gWAR. Since bWAR and gWAR use TZ for most of history, and thus are already regressed, I keep them at face value - even for the years PBP metrics (DRS for BBRef/UZR for FG) are used, but I trust the PBP metrics more than solely zone-based ratings. But gWAR, which uses DRA (Michael Humphry's Defensive Regression Analysis, not BP's Deserved Runs Allowed for pitchers). DRA tends to have high standard deviations, so I do regress the defensive portion of gWAR by 1/3 to account for this (I also regress the BP catcher game-calling wins by 1/3 as well).
   418. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 19, 2017 at 12:48 PM (#5595042)
2016 gives very similar results to 2017, but the older seasons show a decreased weighting of oWAR and dWAR as compared to pWAR.

Possible Conclusions
1) My methodology is bad for some reason of which I'm unaware.
2) BBRef is inconsistent in how they weight oWAR,dWAR,pWAR between each other because of flawed methodology.
3) BBRef has done studies and found good reasons for weighting the 3 categories differently in different seasons.

As I don't consider myself an expert here, I'd say #1 is most likely. Which means I've reached a roadblock in determining how much if any to regress defensive statistics from WAR.


I agree with Michael (#417)

At some point later this winter or spring, I hope to do something myself. But as you've described it, your methodology seems solid to me (with respect to oWAR vs. dWAR; I'm less sure about pWAR, although that's mainly a sense that the numbers you show in #416 don't quite "feel" right on the pitching side).

I think that older fielding systems - especially pre-pbp systems - have a narrower range of fielding ratings, because of data limitations. I've never explicitly checked the math, but I'm reasonably sure that this would be true even for my system, which uses a consistent methodology over time. But as you go back in time, there are more and more plays where we don't know the precise fielders - the data we have can't distinguish between singles to left field and singles to right field; in extreme cases, we don't even know exactly how batting outs were made (see my explanation of deduced games earlier on this page). So, all of the fielders will share credit/blame in such circumstances and, in effect, player ratings will converge toward team ratings.

The big exception to this, I would think, would be DRA, which is designed to have a constant spread over time because it's based on the same data pieces over time. So, if - as I believe - we think that current fielding spreads are too wide in WAR, this problem actually at least partially self-corrects as we move back in time with the range of fielding numbers narrowing toward (to?) the "right" spread.
   419. Carl Goetz Posted: December 20, 2017 at 10:57 AM (#5595546)
"10. Hideki Matsui (If we can count Japan Stats, I see no reason why not to vote for him)"
Not criticizing this pick or anything, but does anyone have MLEs for his Japan time? I'd like to at least give him a reasonably fair look.
   420. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 20, 2017 at 12:04 PM (#5595614)
From the Ballot Thread: homerwannabee's ballot

1. Vladimir Guerrero
2. Chipper Jones
3. Jim Thome
4. Curt Shilling
5. Scott Rolen
6. Fred McGriff
7. Luis Tiant
8. Omar Vizquel
9. Bobby Bonds
10. Hideki Matsui (If we can count Japan Stats, I see no reason why not to vote for him)
11. Billy Wagner
12. Jamie Moyer
13. Sal Bando
14. Kenny Lofton
15 Fred McGriff

homerwannabee - Curt Schilling is not eligible for this election, he was already elected in 2013.

Thanks for that. Then I vote for Thurman Munson instead.

1. Vladimir Guerrero
2. Chipper Jones
3. Jim Thome
4. Thurman Munson
5. Scott Rolen
6. Fred McGriff
7. Luis Tiant
8. Omar Vizquel
9. Bobby Bonds
10. Hideki Matsui (If we can count Japan Stats, I see no reason why not to vote for him)
11. Billy Wagner
12. Jamie Moyer
13. Sal Bando
14. Kenny Lofton
15 Fred McGriff


I don't know if this violates a specific rule, but the ballot is supposed to be listed in rank order. If you remove the #4 guy on your ballot, shouldn't #5 - #15 all slide up one and the new guy (Munson) slots in at #15?
   421. Rob_Wood Posted: December 20, 2017 at 12:34 PM (#5595652)
Yes, this ballot violates several rules (or at least appears to).

If this is a new voter, new voters are required to initially post their ballot in the ballot discussion thread. This is spelled out quite clearly by Joe in the introduction of the ballot thread.

The voter (apparently, based upon who appears on the ballot) has not done a sufficient review of the sweep of baseball history. And has not mentioned the top ten returnees at all.

And has given no rationale for his voting (such as anything related to metrics, peak vs. career, etc.).

I would not hesitate to state for the record that this ballot should be ignored in the tallying.
   422. djrelays Posted: December 20, 2017 at 01:02 PM (#5595682)
This is homer's vote from the Mock HoF ballot, post #53, not much different than what was posted to the HoM ballot:

53. homerwannabee Posted: December 20, 2017 at 07:57 AM (#5595429)
This is my, give love to those that don't get love ballot.
1. Vladimir Guerrero
2. Chipper Jones
3. Jim Thome
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Curt Schilling
6. Billy Wagner (While he had a shorter career than Hoffman, he has WAY better numbers)
7. Johan Santana (Surprised that he's doing so well at BBTF) (Triple Crown pitcher, 9 straight 129 ERA+ seasons. For a five year period he was lights out)
8. Jamie Moyer (269 wins, and having a 20 and 6 record during the Mariners 116 win season deserves a vote)
9. Johnny Damon (Pivotal part of the Red Sox 2004 World Series. 56 WAR, 2769 hits, 1668 runs. This deserves a vote by someone)
10. Hideki Matsui (World Series MVP. Yeah, I'm including his Japan time, but oh well)

I suspect the person has not read the rules. In addition to not commenting on returnees, this is hardly fair to all eras. Luis Tiant is the oldest player listed, and most of the people listed are from the current HoF ballot.
   423. DL from MN Posted: December 20, 2017 at 02:24 PM (#5595797)
I don't want to shut the door on homer but I agree that there seems to be a lack of understanding of the rules and this ballot is not yet valid.
   424. Rob_Wood Posted: December 20, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5595862)
Agreed. I hope I didn't give the wrong impression.

The HOM project is open to everybody at all times. New voters are welcome and encouraged to join.

I hope homer decides to join the project!
   425. DL from MN Posted: December 21, 2017 at 10:05 AM (#5596160)
Ben Taylor - I don't know what to say. I don't know what to do when the statistical record is incomplete, when a full season is 200 PAs and it's hard to judge the level of competition. If I voted for Taylor, it would just be because other people seem to think he should rate highly. As far as I am aware, the statistical record amounts to 300 games. I don't know what his case is.


Thought I should address this one. The answer of what to do is to take your best guess. The statistical record for all NgL players is incomplete with inconsistent competition. You can't be certain but you owe it to those players to take your best guess.
   426. kcgard2 Posted: December 21, 2017 at 01:22 PM (#5596315)
DL, thank you for that clarification on Ben Taylor and NeL players. I will have to do more research on NeL players in general then, before I will feel comfortable placing them ahead of players we have more certainty about.
   427. rawagman Posted: December 21, 2017 at 01:23 PM (#5596316)
Thank you all for the extension. Here is my prelim ballot. Barring convincing arguments clarifying the errors of my ways, I will formalize on the ballot page by Saturday
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 flavor 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 2018 newcomers. Chipper Jones tops the ballot. Jim Thome is not far behind, although I prefer Guerrero for his better peak. Rolen should be high up all lists, too, and if not for niggling injuries, his value could have been much higher. Omar Vizquel was good, but not great. Think his fielding was overblown. Very sure-handed, good arm, but not the rangiest. Not on my ballot, but way down the consideration set, near to Luis Aparicio and Rabbit Marrinville. Would not be as bad a Hall of Famer as, say, Jack Morris, but not in the HOM. I don't include Hideki Matsui in my consideration set but am open to an argument that his career, with Japanese league included, put him near Luis Gonzalez. That wouldn't put him near the ballot, so I am not sweating it. As I like Dale Murphy, it only makes sense that Andruw Jones, with a similar career shape, would also be liked. Below Murphy for me, but near the tail end of ballot seems about right. Johnny Damon had a very long career and was near average for the length of it. I'll never forget the one-man double steal, but this note is as close as he gets to my ballot. I like Lefty Gomez and Johan Santana had a career in a similar mold, but likely better. All peak pitcher voters should be balloting him. Would his career have been longer without the no-hitter? Don't know. Jamie Moyer and Carlos Zambrano were nice players, but only around 50 among all eligible starting pitchers.

Entering my PHOM are Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, who I gave a one-year boycott to in light of his late-era PED suspensions, Jim Thome, and Scott Rolen.
1) Chipper Jones - Basically Jim Thome as a third baseman. No Hooters penalty. (PHOM)
2) Vladimir Guerrero - the type of player that can create a fan base. (PHOM)
((2aX) Manny Ramirez - gave him a one-year boycott for his transgressions occuring after the onset of PED sanctions. As a hitter, he was among the greatest ever. He'll get my vote eventually.)) (PHOM)
3) Jim Thome - Defensive value was iffy, and the long prime without the clear standout peak limit how high he can be ranked in my system, but this is still pretty high. There is a lot of value in such a long career. Not too dissimilar (per MLEs) to Ben Taylor. (PHOM)
4) Hugh Duffy - Super peak, wonderful prime. Amazing bat, marvelous glove. The epitomy of reliability. (PHOM)
5) Scott Rolen - Injury issues held back his accumulation of value, but a fantastic all-around 3B. Without the near-constant injuries, would he be looked at similarly to Adrian Beltre? Worthy here and Cooperstown. (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. (PHOM)
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) Johan Santana - Fits the supremely high peak mold I prefer to see in starting pitchers. Best Rule 5 pick of all time?
12) 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)
((12a) 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)
The next 15
16) Billy Wagner
17) Dick Redding (PHOM)
18) Vern Stephens (PHOM)
19) Andruw Jones
20) Bus Clarkson (PHOM)
21) Nomar Garciaparra
22) Fred McGriff (PHOM)
23) Jorge Posada
24) Magglio Ordonez
25) Gavvy Cravath (PHOM)
26) Bob Johnson (PHOM)
27) Tony Oliva (PHOM)
28) Dizzy Dean
((28a)Andre Dawson))
29) Orlando Cepeda (PHOM)
30) Bobby Veach (PHOM)
   428. DL from MN Posted: December 21, 2017 at 02:33 PM (#5596372)
Since we have the extension I'd like to correct an error. I just noticed I had deleted Luis Tiant's relief innings from my spreadsheet. Adding them back in moves him up considerably. Since this could affect the 4th spot I will post an updated ballot.
   429. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 21, 2017 at 10:41 PM (#5596657)
Hey again, I read the comments about 19th century pitchers after my first prelim. I made some adjustments and McCormick fell off the ballot. Here's an updated prelim:

1. Chipper Jones
2. Scott Rolen
3. Andruw Jones
4. Jim Thome
5. Sammy Sosa
6. Kenny Lofton
7. Sal Bando
8. Buddy Bell
9. Bobby Bonds
10. John Olerud
11. Vladimir Guerrero
12. Luis Tiant
13. Dick Redding
14. Johan Santana
15. Ben Taylor
16. Kevin Appier
17. Vic Willis
18. Charlie Buffinton
19. Bus Clarkson
20. Bob Johnson

For fun I ran Mike Trout through my system and he would be second on this ballot.
   430. kcgard2 Posted: December 22, 2017 at 02:13 PM (#5596955)
As I dig into the question of Ben Taylor (which I am continuing), I will post my thoughts here.

The first thing I notice is that 10% of current HOM inductees are players whose case rests entirely or almost entirely on Negro Leagues (plus Mexican league for some) play. So, not including Campanella, Robinson, and Doby who stand on their own essentially, from MLB play, or Paige who is his own entire case to himself. This seems really high to me. NeL existed primarily for about 50 years, with between 3 and 16 teams in various leagues that popped in and out of existence. Rosters were typically 20 or so players, not much smaller than MLB rosters but usually somewhat smaller. As a very rough approximation, NeL players make up probably 4-7% of the eligible player pool for HOM. By rough estimations, NeL players are already very well represented in HOM. This is without taking into account that seasons for NeL players were usually much shorter than MLB as well.

The quality of play in NeL is a very interesting (and difficult) question. One thing I feel very certain about is that the low end talent in NeL play was far lower than the low end talent in MLB. NeL looks largely like leagues with some star players, some solid mid-class players, and a lot of players who probably would be the equivalent of AA quality (and maybe some worse than that) filling out the rosters. The stars clearly were on the level of MLB greats. But the variance in player quality in NeL play looks much wider at the bottom end than in MLB play. This isn't quite as concerning as it might be, because for HOM purposes it's only the stars who are in the consideration set, and there is proven ability among the stars to translate performance to MLB quality competition.

These things said, an MLE type exercise for NeL players is, in my estimation, going to involve some regression of rate stats, though not as big as I originally expected. The difficulty is in trying to quantify this with any kind of precision at all. There are so few players with moderate time spent in both leagues, or even moderate time in NeL and a small amount of time in MLB (say 2-3 mostly full seasons). Doby, Campanella, and Robinson had little NeL time before breaking into MLB, and were also (very) young while in NeL. Paige was in is 40s by the time he broke into MLB. They all performed well or excellently in MLB, as we know.

But I don't believe Ben Taylor was on the level of those kinds of stars. Outside of the 1914 season, he didn't put in "star" level performances though consistently very good. If I make any translation of his stats to account for competition level and length of season, he looks less viable. Looking at contemporary 1B from MLB, he looks in the range of Jack Fournier (better offensively, worse defensively), George Grantham (probably better offensively but decent comp), Jake Daubert, Lu Blue, Ed Konetchy. These were very good players. All had (much) more playing time than Taylor, but that is not the fault of Taylor. Frank Chance is probably better offense and maybe defense as well, and he has supporters for HOM despite the short career (still about double Taylor), though not in now.

Given the players I see as closest comps for Taylor on ability, making only minimal adjustment to Taylor's stats for competition and length of season, as well as the current representation of NeL in HOM already, I wouldn't vote for Taylor in my top 15. I think I'd probably have him around 40 or so.
   431. DL from MN Posted: December 22, 2017 at 02:43 PM (#5596958)
Good analysis. Ben Taylor's defensive reputation is quite good. Fournier isn't a bad comp.
   432. kcgard2 Posted: December 22, 2017 at 03:36 PM (#5596975)
I now find that Seamheads has more complete data for Negro Leagues players, and this makes a material difference for Ben Taylor, whose added games there add almost 50 points of OPS to what BBRef had listed. If you don't do any translations this changes Taylor's list of comparables on a rate basis. Jack Fournier is still there, George Grantham is still OK (if you regress Taylor a bit), Bill Terry on the high end, who is in the HOM.

Joe Harris is a very interesting comp to me. Almost identical on PAs, on OPS, almost perfect overlap of career timeframe, decent 1B defender (Taylor reputed better), Harris should also get notable war credit as well as missed time credit for ramifications of the reserve clause. In the 1920s AL, that kind of profile was good for 4-5 WAR seasons if pro-rated to full playing time. If you add a bit to defense, maybe 6 WAR.

This new info (for me) definitely adds to Taylor's case. His hitting compared to league and on rate basis certainly looks better in the more complete data. He probably moves to about #20-25 range given commendable defensive reputation.

   433. kcgard2 Posted: December 22, 2017 at 03:56 PM (#5596987)
I can see why Taylor's case would resonate with many voters now. I would do a small-to-moderate regression for competition level and playing time, which leaves him off my ballot, but the case is much more interesting and perhaps nuanced than I first thought. A few difficulties remain for me regarding his case: one, there are a lot of 1B contemporaries from MLB who have a pretty broadly similar profile, but more playing time and accrual of stats against MLB competition. To me, this is not a hurdle to be overlooked. Two, NeL players are strongly represented already. And three, *if* you do regress Taylor some, it makes his case more difficult, as I personally think it is a borderline case without regression.

I appreciate that other people are persuaded by his case. Perhaps further refinement of my own thoughts about NeL will move me in the same direction.
   434. Chadwick Posted: December 25, 2017 at 04:18 PM (#5597390)
First of all, merry Christmas, gentlemen.

That said, please let me know if I am not doing this right. My ballot, with thoughts...

1) Chipper Jones - easily the best player not already enshrined and a top-5 guy all-time at his position (the only player on this ballot you can say that about)
2) Scott Rolen - on a per-game basis, he was basically Mike Schmidt; injuries relegated him to top 10 all-time which is a no-brainer for the HoM
3) Jim Thome - a better version of Harmon Killebrew IMO; still underrated by many
4) Kenny Lofton - in his prime, I always thought he was a better all-around player than Junior if you could overlook the lack of power; easier to quantify that now
5) Luis Tiant - the best pitcher outside the HoM and the 2nd-highest scoring one by my system (highest from 1893-present)
6) Andruw Jones - one case where the gold gloves were mostly deserved (unlike another newcomer to this ballot); slightly less overall value as Lofton with less staying power
7) Johan Santana - his generation's "Sandy Koufax" as has been pointed out repeatedly; if Sandy's good enough, so is this two-time Cy winner
8) Sammy Sosa - I'm a big prime guy and that pushes Sosa past the similar value career guys he's lumped with
9) Bobby Bonds - the original power/speed showcase; forgotten star who deserves to keep the HoM in the family
10) Vladimir Guerrero - no denying what a great hitter he was; great arm early offset by poor defense as career progressed
11) Sal Bando - preponderance of his value comes from hitting (plus) and peak (double plus) making me more confident in him over Bell as the best 3B outside the HoM
12) Bob Johnson - perhaps the most overlooked hitter of the Lively Ball Era; I have Indian Bob right there with Bonds/Sosa/Vlad, but this era is already overrepresented
13) Jeff Kent - if not in value, at least as an archetype, Kent seems to me the Larry Doyle of his day; career HR record is trivia, his consistently good performance is not; best 2B outside the HoM
14) Vic Willis - tough call between him and #15, but the late 90s are slightly underrepresented and Willis was a little better - he did, in fact, have a good prime
15) Urban Shocker - very close to Willis in terms of overall value; pitched for better teams

Thoughts on Additional Candidates
Ben Taylor - I'm inclined to rank Taylor as the 2nd or 3rd best player at his position outside the HoM for reasons stated in others' posts (LQ, similarity to other 1B of his general era, etc.). The line starts at the Peerless Leader for me.
Buddy Bell - one of the better 3B left on the board, but he was never remotely the best player at his position in his league (unlike Bando) and his case rests entirely on defense, which is somewhat less reliable while simultaneously not overwhelming
Tommy Bridges - I like Bridges, but he's not even in my top 10 pitchers outside the HoM; nothing to separate him from similarly ranked pitchers to push him up my queue

Omar Vizquel - not sure how many of the 1st-timers I have to comment on and nothing should NEED to be said about Vizquel, but he's essentially a poor man's Rabbit Maranville and I don't see Maranville as within shooting distance of the HoM

Upcoming pitchers that I'll have to sort through include Babe Adams, Kevin Appier, Tommy Bond, Dwight Gooden, Orel Hershiser, Jim McCormick and Tony Mullane. I'm not at all sure how to sort through those 19th century guys. Guess I'll need to read through some of the old threads to see what others have to say. Could use some input for 2019.

My system is essentially a modified version of Wins Above Average, weeding out negative WAA seasons as I am looking to identify GREATNESS. I am a heavy peak voter so this works quite well for me as it appears to me that 95% of the Hall of Merit selections fall #1 thru X at their position in my rankings (absent ineligible players). I found this quite satisfactory in helping me determine who the best players at each position outside the HoM are. Gave me a great starting place as I went through each position.

Please let me know if this doesn't conform to the rules or if I can make it better in any way.
   435. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 26, 2017 at 08:43 PM (#5597630)
Chadwick, welcome to the Hall of Merit! As far as I can tell, your ballot looks solid to me. I mean, I could quibble with some of your choices (you're all missing out on Tommy John!!), but you're obviously being fair to all eras, your explanation of your system looks solid to me, and your ballot seems entirely reasonable given your system.
   436. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 27, 2017 at 09:50 AM (#5597706)
I don't want to shut the door on homer but I agree that there seems to be a lack of understanding of the rules and this ballot is not yet valid.


Definitely agree with this. Thanks for keeping the wheels of the machine greased guys, sorry I haven't been as involved this year. Time just got away from me.
   437. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 27, 2017 at 04:40 PM (#5597901)
#419 Carl Goetz "10. Hideki Matsui (If we can count Japan Stats, I see no reason why not to vote for him)"
Not criticizing this pick or anything, but does anyone have MLEs for his Japan time? I'd like to at least give him a reasonably fair look.


I posted something related in my ballot.

Hideki Matsui 22.6 WAR age 29+. That’s not nothing. A World Series MVP at the end of his career too. He could get 7-9 years of Japan credit. There are 59 players between 21.4 and 24 WAR from age 29-37. Some aren’t similar and get tossed right away, guys like Roy Campanella, Lou Boudreau, etc.

Matsui likely would have been in the majors part-way through his age 21 season. He was a star in Japan from age 22-28, his game took a big leap forward at age 22.

Jim Wynn is one who sort of fits the profile. He finally established himself by age 23 after half-seasons at 21-22. Even if we give Matsui Jimmy Wynn’s career from age 21-28, he ends up with 56.3 WAR. That’s Wynn as a CF, not a RF. Matsui did play 46 games in CF for the Yankees his first season, and he wasn’t terrible there. Perhaps he could have played CF when he was young.

What about Jack Clark? A guy that was athletic as a young player and a 1B/DH by the end. Clark had 30.6 WAR before age 29. At age 19-20 he broke in and was a regular at age 21. He had a couple of great years, especially 1978, where as a 22 year old he was 5th in the MVP voting. That still only gets Matsui into the low 50s.

While we are on the Clark’s, how about Will Clark? A HoMer! He hit the ground running at age 22. 34.0 WAR from age 22-28. Some big years in there. He should have probably been the 1989 NL MVP. That would put Matsui, near Hall of Fame territory, especially if you count that peak. He did win 3 Japan Central League MVPs.

So I think you need to give Matsui Will Clark level Japan credit to make him a member of the Hall of Merit. I’m not necessarily opposed, but I think the burden of proof is on those who want to advocate for him here.

But that’s top end methinks.
   438. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 27, 2017 at 08:06 PM (#5597935)
434. Chadwick Posted: December 25, 2017 at 04:18 PM (#5597390)

That said, please let me know if I am not doing this right. My ballot, with thoughts...


Welcome back Chadwick, as you are an esteemed voter at the Baseball-Fever site, glad to see you here.

You have a sincere and quality ballot, I see no issues.
   439. Carl Goetz Posted: January 01, 2018 at 10:43 AM (#5599215)
Joe, I appreciate your thoughts on #437. Sorry it took a few days to get back to you. For now, I lean more towards the Jack side of the Jack/Will line mostly in interest of being conservative. I certainly could be convinced with more evidence that he was Will.
   440. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 07, 2018 at 04:46 PM (#5602448)
215. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 13, 2017 at 11:00 AM (#5530724)
Follow-up to #214. My book has been published. Player Won-Lost Records in Baseball: Measuring Performance in Context, published by McFarland, should be available wherever fine books are sold.


A great read Kiko and recommended to any sabermetrically inclined baseball mind, although the prose is exciting/can pull in some general baseball fans too.

I will try to come up with some thoughtful questions about topics you covered in the novel not presented here or at your website, but I've been swamped with work, and I'm searching/working on finding my next angel, so baseball is taking a 4th seat (music head too).

Thanks again for the gift of player win-loss records.
   441. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 07, 2018 at 05:02 PM (#5602455)
Thanks for the kind words, Bleed! I really appreciate it.
   442. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 07, 2018 at 09:01 PM (#5602510)
Re #238 (from like a month or so ago), which said: "A ranking of NGL players by your new MLEs would be helpful to me to see players in the context of their peers."

Just FYI that this week's Wednesday post is exactly what you asked for. Appreciate your asking for it because it's a super smart suggestion. The post rounds up all 30-odd MLEs from the HOF/HOM Negro Leaguers and puts them on a single page so you can easily see it all.

I should also add that some of the MLEs have changed a little. The process is a complicated, and enough of it is manual in nature that I either make a transcription error, find a better way to do something, or realize that I've done something, um, ...eccentric... without realizing it. I'm trying to note on the appropriate page every time I make a correction or update.

Also, if anyone spots an error of any sort, please pop it into the comments. I'm glad to recheck and fix things, and it might simply be a typo.

Later in the month we'll start looking at other important candidates who are not honored by the HOF or HOM. Many of them are still missing a lot of data, and the picture we have of their performance is incomplete. Their MLEs, good or meh, should be considered provisional. IOW, don't get too excited about someone or too down on them if there's a lot of missing info. It would probably be better to be cautious about moving them up one's active consideration list until some of the missing info comes in, and we can confirm the performance level of the current MLE...or disconfirm it and revise as necessary. [HINT: One such player's name rhymes with Bave Darnhill.] Many, many of these guys are very much a work in progress.

Thanks!
   443. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 10, 2018 at 08:44 AM (#5603872)
And here is the roundup link for those interested.
   444. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 12, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5605488)
I found a mistake in my calculation of (context-neutral) eWins - basically, I wasn't controlling for ballpark effects. I have corrected this on my website. Apologies for the error. Explanation here; examples of the impact here. My apologies for this.
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