Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Hall of Merit > Discussion
Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

2019 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

2019 - (December 2018) - elect 3

Top 10 Returning Players

Luis Tiant (240), Sammy Sosa (238), Kenny Lofton (236), Andruw Jones (220), Jeff Kent (207), Ben Taylor (197), Johan Santana (186), Buddy Bell (139), Bobby Bonds (124), Jorge Posada (105)

Newly eligible players

Player Name	bWAR 	WS	WAR7	JAWS	HOFm	HOFs
Roy Halladay	64.7	225.5	50.6	57.6	127	45
Todd Helton	61.2	316.5	46.4	53.8	175	59
Andy Pettitte	60.8	228.7	34.1	47.5	128	44
Mariano Rivera	57.1	272.5	28.9	43	214	30
Lance Berkman	51.7	310.7	38.9	45.3	98	44
Roy Oswalt	50.2	175.3	40.1	45.1	59	34
Miguel Tejada	46.9	278.6	36.5	41.7	149	44
Placido Polanco	41.3	215.4	32.2	36.8	42	26
Freddy Garcia	35.7	136.4	28.3	32	38	23
Derek Lowe	34.5	175.6	28.4	31.4	51	19
Kevin Youkilis	32.7	144.3	31.2	31.9	29	23
Vernon Wells	28.7	186.6	26.2	27.4	52	19
Ted Lilly	27	114.3	24.8	25.9	12	16
Travis Hafner	24.8	142.5	24.6	24.7	31	19
Jason Bay	24.3	162.5	24.5	24.4	47	21
Michael Young	24.2	231.2	21.1	22.7	112	36
Darren Oliver	22.6	119.3	17	19.8	20	9
Jon Garland	22.4	117.5	19.5	21	17	9
Ramon Hernandez	21.6	156.7	18.7	20.2	43	26
Ryan Dempster	19.3	133.7	23.8	21.5	26	12
Juan Pierre	16.9	178.2	16.4	16.7	63	23
Octavio Dotel	15.4	95.5	14	14.7	25	13
Jake Westbrook	13.3	78.4	14.6	13.9	14	3
Jose Contreras	13.2	67.8	13.3	13.3	17	7
DL from MN Posted: January 23, 2018 at 12:35 PM | 540 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 6 of 6 pages ‹ First  < 4 5 6
   501. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 09, 2019 at 02:43 PM (#5803795)
Does bWAR take framing into account for catchers?
   502. Rob_Wood Posted: January 09, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5803800)
I appreciate the points being made above. They are all good and valid points. I question how large an effect they have.

Consider the following hypothetical. Suppose you have 9 identical players at the beginning of the season (truly identical, clones if you want). Each is assigned a defensive position at the beginning of the season. At the end of the season, there is little doubt that the catcher will have provided the least amount of offensive value to the team simply due to the physical demands of catching (squats, foul tips, etc.). I imagine we all agree on this.

This value decrement has absolutely nothing to do with whatever defensive value the catcher provides his team. It would be pure coincidence for those two values (the decrement and the increment) to exactly offset. I could imagine a world in which there is no doubt that the decrement would be significantly larger than the increment. Think of Little League, for example. As the inherent value of having a good defensive catcher moves up (e.g., in the major leagues), I could imagine that the gap between the decrement and increment could close. But I don't think they are equal (or close to equal).
   503. Esteban Rivera Posted: January 09, 2019 at 03:39 PM (#5803818)
501. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 09, 2019 at 02:43 PM (#5803795)
Does bWAR take framing into account for catchers?


If the page explaining WAR calculations isn't out of date, then it apparently depends on the defensive metric used. This means it's important to keep in mind that catcher defense values are not apples to apples across eras due to missing information (important parts of which will likely never be fully known).

Rdef. Fielding Runs

Fielding measures obviously have a lot of controversy surrounding them. Previously, Baseball-Reference used Sean Smith's Total Zone Rating for all seasons. With our 2012 update, we have switched to using Baseball Info Solutions Defensive Runs Saved for seasons since its introduction in 2003, and TZR for previous seasons.
Fielding Runs: Defensive Runs Saved

Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) is the most sophisticated public system available. It includes 8 factors:

Fielding Range Plus/Minus Runs Saved based on BIS-trained scorer observations and batted ball timing to determine the velocity of each batted ball.
Outfield arm runs saved based on exact counts of baserunner advancements and kills and the velocity of the hit ball.
Infielder double plays based on opportunities and rates they were turned based also on batted ball velocity.
Good play-bad play values which include 28 positive play types. For example: HR-saving catches, backing up a play, blocking a pitch in the dirt, and 54 misplays like missing the cutoff man, failing to
anticipate the wall and allowing extra bases, not covering a base, pulling a foot off the bag, etc...
Bunt Fielding
Catcher SB/CS data (which is tweaked by the pitchers caught)
Pitcher SB/CS data (which is tweaked by the catchers behind the plate)
Catcher handling of the pitching staff via things like pitch framing and pitch calling


Fielding Runs: Total Zone Rating

Total Zone Rating is a fielding measure developed by Sean Smith and is used in WAR for all seasons prior to 2003. Total Zone Rating (TZR) is a non-observational fielding system that relies on various forms based on the level of data available ranging from basic fielding and pitching stats to play-by-play including batted ball types and hit location. As much data as is available is used for each season.

When play-by-play is available, TZR will use information like ground balls fielded by infielders and outfielders to estimate hits allowed by infielders. It uses baserunner advancement and out information to determine arm ratings for outfielders, double play acumen by infielders and arm ratings for catchers.

From 1953-2002, Runs Saved or Cost are calculated for:

Fielder fielding range
Outfield arms
Turning the Double Play for infielders
Catcher Throwing

For seasons we lack play-by-play data (pre-1953), we use information on opposition hitting, pitcher and batter handedness, fielding stats and more to estimate fielder opportunites and outs produced.

For seasons where observational data is not available (pre-2003), we believe TZR is the best system for estimating player defense.

   504. Esteban Rivera Posted: January 09, 2019 at 04:03 PM (#5803834)
My view on catchers is similar to DL's in terms of the responsibility catchers have compared to other position players. I'll add more thoughts once next year's ballot discussion thread is posted just to make sure the discussion doesn't end on this thread. With this upcoming election being a backlog one, its a good time to go through these position valuation discussions.
   505. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 09, 2019 at 05:39 PM (#5803880)
The reason for a catcher bonus, IMO, is not to boost the value of a catcher, it's a means for ranking them within the great population of position players. As was noted upthread, if Johnny Bench more like Ozzie or Schmidt? If you have Bench as the best catcher ever, doesn't that seem more vote-worthy than the 16th best SS ever? Our constitution asks us (but does not demand) that take positional balance into account as part of our deliberations. If I am attempting to be fair to all positions, then I need to find a way to prevent the 12th best catcher in history to be outpolled by the 22nd best LF.

What Rob Wood argues is absolutely true and obvious: Catchers do not accrue the same level of value as their non-catcher peers. On the other hand, it also seems (painfully, if you will) obvious that catchers do so not because catchers are as a class bad ballplayers but because the physical demands of the position make it impossible to accrue as much value. And, as noted above, we don't necessarily have a frame of reference for the value of durability among catchers. Here's an argument one could construct around this idea:
1) Catchers are, as a class, worse hitters than other positions
2) Catchers are less durable as a class
3) Back-up catchers are usually even worse hitters than regulars
4) So whenever the regular catcher misses a game, the backup catcher must take his place, reducing the offensive output of the team overall.
5) Therefore, broadly speaking (there are exceptions to nearly everything in baseball) the value of the regular catcher who is durable may be greater than we currently measure due to this kind of chaining effect.

Then you add to it the lack of soft-skills analytics we have for more than half of baseball history: framing, handling, game-calling (if that's separate from handling), plate blocking. Max Marchi's work only goes from 1948 to 2011. Most of history is a defensive mystery to us at catcher.

So my personal perspective is that there's so much unknown (though not necessarily unknowable) value out there for catchers that only relying on the value estimates we currently have probably doesn't represent the entire value of catchers as well as those same estimates represent other defensive positions. The best non-catchers reach 100 WAR. The best catchers around 60. Does that mean that I think there's 40 WAR of career value out there for the best catchers? Actually, I can't answer that because we don't have a lot of analytics on it yet. But what I can tell you is that Marchi's figures suggest that some catchers could pick up 15 to 20 wins of value over the course of a career versus average, and that the spread between the best and worst is around 300 runs. That's a lot of wins. I use Marchi's stat at half value. Why? Because we don't have a ton of studies that duplicate or improve his findings. Catcher defense remains strangely unresearched. So it seems wise to me to take it at half value. I don't include framing. Why? Because the work to discern who gets how much credit for framing (pitcher, catcher, or both?) isn't out there yet. At least I don't know about it.... So I'm not willing to apply framing willy nilly.

All of those unknowns and slightly knowns suggest to me that we should try to boost catchers _in our rankings_ to have some level of parity with other positions. I'm not saying it has to even be 1:1 parity, but maybe 1.25:1 is better than 1.5:1.

But that's just old man Chaleeko's take.
   506. kwarren Posted: January 09, 2019 at 06:00 PM (#5803886)
If I am attempting to be fair to all positions, then I need to find a way to prevent the 12th best catcher in history to be outpolled by the 22nd best LF.
Not if reflects reality. we don't have an issue with the 12th best relief pitcher being "outpolled" by the 22nd best starting pitcher. It's quite possible that the 22nd best LF actually has contributed more to this team than the 12th best catcher.
   507. Rob_Wood Posted: January 09, 2019 at 06:03 PM (#5803887)
I really don't think the Constitution ever mentions positional balance. As I have said previously, I drafted the constitution and have always been (mildly) opposed to positional balance so am pretty confident that it is not in there.

To be fair, the idea of positional balance was part of Joe's original document that launched the Hall of Merit, and I know we discussed positional balance at some length in our preliminary discussions. Many people then and now subscribe to the idea in various forms.

Over the years I have come to begrudgingly accept the positional adjustment in the bWAR calculations (giving a position a value boost based upon how poor the players who play the position hit). But I am not in favor of any additional boost on top of that. A strict adherence to positional balance would, in my opinion, be little more than interweaving one's collection of position rankings (CF, LF, RF, SS, C, etc.) which I have little interest in.
   508. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2019 at 06:09 PM (#5803890)
we don't have an issue with the 12th best relief pitcher being "outpolled" by the 22nd best starting pitcher


Mostly because they play the same position - pitcher. I wouldn't want the 22nd best LF ahead of the 22nd best starting pitcher. That would be ridiculous.
   509. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: January 09, 2019 at 09:34 PM (#5803925)
@ Post 492 -

I am torn between Eric’s MLE’s, and the story the Seamheads data tells. Seamheads tells me he is a long career, slightly above league average pitcher, which would not fare well in my system. Eric says he should be in the top 3 on my ballot. Quite honestly, I didn’t really know what to do with Dick. I am happy to see him get in, and intend to educate myself further as soon as I have the opportunity.
   510. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 09, 2019 at 09:50 PM (#5803929)
That's pretty fair Willie Mays Hayes. I finally went with it, because he's received enough support over the years - and Dr. C's MLEs leave a lot of leeway. I was always lukewarm on him. Not sure if I've ever voted for him before. But it was a backlog spot anyway, and I deferred to the crowd on this one. I do see your point though and hope we got this one correct.
   511. Howie Menckel Posted: January 09, 2019 at 10:04 PM (#5803933)
ok, so voters now have 12 months to start making decisions on 2020. no need to wait til the last second, no kidding. and all voting can always be revised right up until deadline week.

you are NOT required to begin your deliberations in late December - usually a busy time for most of us - in case that wasn't clear. imagine getting all the heavy lifting done long before ballot week, then having no anxiety or scrambling to get done.
:)
   512. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 09, 2019 at 10:31 PM (#5803940)
That really does sound great Howie!

I will try!
   513. Howie Menckel Posted: January 09, 2019 at 10:31 PM (#5803941)
All-time 'Votes Points' thru 2019 - those still eligible in 2020 election are in CAPS

[ronw or RickA likely will fix the occasional mistakes - and there surely are some - and thanks for that as always. these used to be 100 pct accurate but I suspect I lose a point or two every year they don't get corrected. so a fix is needed. but til then, you get the idea]

Redding "retires" as pitching points champ - but Mickey Welch lingers like a bad cold!
Schang moves up one spot to 45th

25-man roster of most points, but not elected - might be a good group to take another look at

P (10) - MWelch, Walters, Grimes, Willis, Dean, Bridges, Joss, Tiant, CMays, McCormick (sorry, Cicotte!)
H (15) - Duffy, Van Haltren, Leach, Cravath, Ryan, BJohnson, Doyle, Monroe, Schang, Williamson, BTaylor, Rizzuto, Elliott, TPerez, FChance (sorry, Traynor!)

TOP 50, ALL-TIME, unofficial (pts this year)
DUFFY...... 28053.5 (x)
VAN HALTREN 26923.5 (x)
Beckley.... 25856
Browning... 24502.5
Redding.... 19283
MWELCH..... 18945 (24)
Childs..... 18484
Griffith... 17924
Waddell.... 17596
Jennings... 16976

LEACH...... 16192 (50)
ChaJones....15875
Bresnahan.. 14965
Sisler..... 13892
Pike....... 13399
CRAVATH.....12805 (53)
Sewell..... 12769
RYAN....... 12678.5 (x)
Mendez..... 1255.5
Thompson... 12349

WALTERS.....12240 (46)
Roush...... 12005
Bennett.... 11503
Moore...... 10904
Rixey...... 10789
Caruthers.. 10704
BJOHNSON....10106 (99)
Beckwith.... 9896
GRIMES.......9876 (x)
DOYLE....... 9816 (x)

HStovey......9576
Mackey.......8930
AOms.........8385
Start........8378.5
McGinnity....8232
McGraw.......8145
DPearce......8073
McVey........7985.5
FGrant.......7969.5
BMONROE......7947 (x)

Kiner........7746
Suttles......7690
NFox.........7587
Trouppe......7494
SCHANG.......7322 (153)
WFerrell.....7259
WILLIS.......7229 (104)
WILLIAMSON...7035 (x)
CPBell.......6968
Galvin.......6585

Others in active top 50 (X if no votes this year):

DDean 6072, BTaylor 5712, Rizzuto 5608, Bridges 5545, Elliott 5382, Joss 5088, Tiant 5014, TPerez 4385x, FChance 4110, Traynor 3848x, NCash 3810x, CMays 3803x, BoBonds 3726, McCormick 3563, OCepeda 3465x, Cicotte 3420, SRice 3301x, LBrock 3284x, EHoward 2947x, BClarkson 2908, VStephens 2766, Singleton 2723x, Tiernan 2709x, FJones 2636x, Puckett 2613x, Klein 2601x, Veach 2506x, Mullane 2461, Staub 2396x, GJBurns 2388x, Lombardi 2335, Dunlap 2315, Newcombe 2215, Concepcion 2189x, Bancroft 2160
   514. progrockfan Posted: January 09, 2019 at 11:28 PM (#5803952)
@kwarrren:
It's quite possible that the 22nd best LF actually has contributed more to this team than the 12th best catcher.
Agreed.

You point out an interesting paradox in HoM voting: the necessity of rewarding actual performance vs. the necessity of making sure that all positions are represented at least fairly, if not strictly equally. I for one do not pretend to have a magic solution to this conundrum.

Still, Bill James estimates the number of games a catcher can play at the position before starting to decline precipitously at around 1400. That's a pretty low number. Catchers would seem to require some sort of adjustment to achieve substantive representation in the HoM. And again, I don't claim to have the answer.

I suspect it's probably best left to each voter's interpretation of the meaning of the term 'value' as it applies to Hall-worthiness. For example, I have every intention of voting for Joe Mauer, who caught 921 games, and expect to see him quite high on my ballot; further, Buck Ewing, with 636 games caught, would have topped my ballot against an outright majority of current Hall enshrinees. At the other end of the spectrum, Rusty Staub played 2951 total games, and while a fine player, would never sniff a ballot placement from me. I'm therefore personally not comfortable with setting absolute or comparative benchmarks for the level of performance, or number of appearances, necessary to attain HoM enshrinement at any position.
   515. kwarren Posted: January 10, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5804087)
Bill James estimates the number of games a catcher can play at the position before starting to decline precipitously at around 1400. That's a pretty low number. Catchers would seem to require some sort of adjustment to achieve substantive representation in the HoM. And again, I don't claim to have the answer.
I'm not sure why so many people continually see the need to make adjustments. Let's take a look at two players from the 2018 season (we could also do the same thing on a career basis):

Paul Goldschmidt 690 PA 5.4 WAR

J.T. Realmuto 531 PA 4.3 WAR

According to people advocating for catcher adjustments they would like to rank these two seasons as approximately equal, and are looking for ways to to this and defend this logic. Not sure why they want to make these contributions equal. They are probably just feeling a little sorry for catchers because they routinely miss 30 o 40 games a year, to eat sun flower seeds, and chill out. This is not a "good thing" or a "bad thing". It's just a thing, and it explains why the best catchers in baseball don't have the same value or make equivalent contributions to best players at every other position.

To make a determination that "all positions are created equal" and the 15th best catcher all-time was as valuable to his team as the 15th best shortstop is simply a little ludicrous. If you believe that then you need to believe that Bill Freeham is equivalent in value to Lou Boudreau and Jim Edmonds. I know that Jeter's Marlins are trying to deal JT Realmuto (best catcher in baseball), but are unable to get even the 4th or 5th best player an another position.

If we knew in advance how Goldschmidt & Realmuto were going to perform for 2018, nobody in a simulated league or a GM drafting a team for one-year would ever think of taking Goldschmidt ahead of Realmuto. No team would make this trade. No team would pay them an equivalent salary.

One thing that I would like to make clear, is that catching as a position is just as important as any other position as part of the game's strategy. But since a starting catcher only plays 2/3 to 3/4 of the games the value of "a particular individual catcher, even a great one" is simply not the same as a great player who plays virtually every game at other positions.

There has been some talk that WAR does not properly value a catcher's defense, and therefore all catchers should have higher WAR and all other positions (partcicularly pitchers) should have lower WAR. Total WAR should never change. This of course assumes that the people who are making this argument are more knowledgeable than the person/people/systems the current iteration WAR. If there is any evidence that this indeed the case, I'm sure that the required changes would be make. I'm also sure that they would not be significant. Kind of like the "leverage" boost that WAR now gives relief pitchers. By looking at history there is no indication that a top catcher's WAR/game is any different than the top players at other positions. Maybe WAR/game WAR/500 PA should be a measure of a players performance. It would make it possible to show that a catcher's contribution on a game to game basis is the equivalent to players at other positions. It is this type of argument that people have used to build the case for relievers being as good or better that starting pitchers WAR/100 IP or some such thing. Of course for both of these situations the elephant in the room, continues to be the the volume of playing time needs to be accumulated to be Hall of Merit worthy.

Saying that the 124th best pitcher of all-time (Rivera) should be rated ahead of 65% of those ahead of him is like saying a high school sprinter should be in the world track & field Hall of Fame because his metres/10 sec is much better than the top milers in the world. In any endeavour that we tackle in life it is so much easier to look good when only short spurts of energy are required. Success in the long haul where endurance & skill are required is so much more meaningful and valuable to those forking the bill. Yes, I'm looking at you Trevor Hoffman

In the post-season individual catchers do become equal to all other positions, because there are so many off days, and they can play every game. In the same way, top notch starting pitchers & elite relievers become far more important than in the regular season because they can pitch a much higher percentage of their teams IP that they do in the regular season. An eight or nine man pitching staff with one catcher can easily carry a team in the post-season.



   516. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 10, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5804132)
Again, even when we say “the value is the value,” I think we are overstating our confidence in our current ability to model catcher defense and durability. From an intra-positional perspective it makes little difference. From an inter-positional perspective it makes a larger difference. So I think a major point of difference in this discussion boils down to how one prefers to deal with uncertainty. Reductively speaking, one perspective is that we don’t/can’t know, so we should do nothing or very little and let the chips fall as they may. Another perspective is that because there is a pretty high degree of uncertainty about catchers’ value relative to other positions, we should avoid making a judgment that a catchers’ value is his value when doing so creates barriers to an entire class of players. I choose the second, but that’s just my thing. I enjoy the multiplicity of approaches and perspectives.

One thing I do wonder about is, completely tangentially, is whether one’s disposition on this issue and ones like it in baseball reflects fundamental personality traits. I mean no negative associations here at all, but I wonder if people who believe one way or the other skew toward a conservative or liberal world view? This question has a lot in common with social policy discussions, and it encapsulates the dichotomy of tolerance for more absolute versus more messy thinking. Obviously in specific cases there’s unlikely to be uniformity, but if we posed this problem to a significant sample of the population, I wonder if the answers would fall along nearer ideological lines?

Again, I am just thinking aloud about broad based groups not about individuals, so please don’t think I’m responding to any specific person’s thinking. I just think these sociological questions are interesting.
   517. progrockfan Posted: January 10, 2019 at 12:42 PM (#5804136)
@kawarren:

Good debate.

If we knew in advance how Goldschmidt & Realmuto were going to perform for 2018, nobody in a simulated league or a GM drafting a team for one-year would ever think of taking Goldschmidt ahead of Realmuto. No team would make this trade. No team would pay them an equivalent salary.
This can’t be said with certainty. In fact, just today, Yasmani Grandal, a career .240/.341/.441 hitter, signed with the Brewers for one year at $18.25 million. Grandal and Realmuto play a position where a basically guaranteed 4+ WAR performance is exceptionally hard to find right now. Goldschmidt does not.

Raw WAR comparisons fail to acknowledge the true value of certain types of players to certain teams. Whether Goldschmidt is a ‘better’ player than Realmuto is less germane than positional scarcity in determining either player’s trade or contract value.

If your generally solid team has two or three boppers who can play first and a catcher who hits .192 with indifferent defense, you might well be tempted to trade whatever it took to get a Grandal or Realmuto to fill that gap and chase a pennant. Real life needs often trump theoretical advantages.

@CBS Sports on Realmuto: “With each win on the open market going for about $9 million, and Realmuto projecting to stick around four Wins Above Replacement in his age-28 and -29 seasons, he'd be worth north of $35 million a year, if teams truly paid players exactly as many dollars as they're worth.”

There has been some talk that WAR does not properly value a catcher's defense, and therefore all catchers should have higher WAR and all other positions (partcicularly pitchers) should have lower WAR. Total WAR should never change. This of course assumes that the people who are making this argument are more knowledgeable than the person/people/systems the current iteration WAR.
But your position assumes in turn that WAR is perfect. WAR was formulated quite recently, and can likely be perfected over time.

It also assumes that the people who formulated WAR are by definition more capable than the electorate here. That may of course be true, but I wouldn’t bet on it. For example, I personally see @Kiko Sakata’s Player Won-Loss Records as substantively superior to WPA.

It’s also possible that WAR simply isn’t the appropriate vehicle by which to evaluate catcher’s defense. I for one have less confidence in contemporary evaluations of defense at catcher and third base than I do at other positions.

Maybe WAR/game WAR/500 PA should be a measure of a players performance. It would make it possible to show that a catcher's contribution on a game to game basis is the equivalent to players at other positions.
That’s not a bad idea. I still feel you’d need an additional mechanism to address positional scarcity. (But then, as I’ve stated here before, I avoid reliance on any single metric in measuring player value.)

Saying that the 124th best pitcher of all-time (Rivera) should be rated ahead of 65% of those ahead of him is like saying a high school sprinter should be in the world track & field Hall of Fame because his metres/10 sec is much better than the top milers in the world.
I acknowledge the point you're making – but I think the recent election here shows that not all voters agree with your placement (or, should I say, the placement of whichever metric you are employing to derive that ranking) of Rivera as the 124th best pitcher of all time. (I realize that’s an appeal to authority fallacy in most contexts; I say it here only because you’re making your argument within a forum that has just decided collectively that Rivera did in fact have meritorious game-winning value.) I personally see Rivera as ranking below a large number of starters, but undoubtedly in my top 50 pitchers all time. That assessment obviously does not rely on any single metric, as yours sees him at #124 among all pitchers but WPA sees him at #5. I do not regard either metric as providing a realistic assessment of such a unique player.

The sum issue I see with your approach is that it does not address the very real issue of positional scarcity. Irrespective of any perception of value, it’s indisputable that Mariano Rivera, as a package, was a vastly scarcer commodity than an Andy Pettitte-type starter – a fact that WAR, which has Pettitte ahead 60.7 to 56.3, fails utterly to take into account. Fortunately the voters here, who placed Rivera 2nd and Pettitte 24th, are capable of making fine distinctions.
   518. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 10, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5804155)
it’s indisputable that Mariano Rivera, as a package, was a vastly scarcer commodity than an Andy Pettitte-type starter – a fact that WAR, which has Pettitte ahead 60.7 to 56.3, fails utterly to take into account.


One thing that I think this discussion highlights is that wins above average (WAA, or what in my system I call WOPA) may be a more appropriate starting point for evaluating HOM cases, especially across positions. For players at the same position, the difference between WAR and WAA is mostly just a measure of playing time - highlighting guys with either short careers or guys who tended to miss a lot of time in-season (Barry Larkin and Larry Walker strike me as examples of this). But for players at different positions - with different expectations regarding playing time (both in-season and across careers) - using a single replacement level (as, I think, BB-Ref does - and, to be fair, as I do for position players) may not be fair to catchers (and, much more arguably, relief pitchers).

For example, BB-Ref shows Rivera with more career WAA than Pettitte - 32.5 to 29.9.

You see something similar if you compare Goldschmidt (5.4 WAR, 3.3 WAA) to Realmuto (4.3 WAR, 2.6 WAA). It doesn't make up the entire difference, but gets them closer. [My system actually has Realmuto ahead in WOPA and the two of them similar in WORL. This relates to my empirical calculation of positional averages by year, which we discussed quite a bit a page or two ago here. Basically, Realmuto benefits from there having been no other really good catchers last season, while there were more pretty good to great first basemen (Votto, Rizzo, Freeman, et al.).]

Using average as your baseline instead of replacement requires you to think about the value of "hang-around" seasons as players' career WAA/WOPA will frequently be lower than the same player's WAA/WOPA in their peak/prime. But I think it leads to a less aggressive adjustment to get the number of catchers in one's personal HOM similar to - but probably still fewer than - other positions. Personally, I use a mix of wins over average and replacement level (zeroing out negative seasons in both cases) where I try to give both about equal weight with a 20% bonus for catchers, but I'm always re-evaluating that and may well end up doing something different for next year's ballot. But that's a personal decision that I'm willing to defend but certainly wouldn't try to convince anybody else to use.
   519. Rob_Wood Posted: January 10, 2019 at 01:48 PM (#5804184)
While I understand the "positional scarcity" value argument, I do not subscribe to that approach. You know, the notion that a player's "value" is how he performs/contributes relative to the other players in the league at his position. If your center fielder is 10% better than the other center fielders in the league (average, median, second-best?) and your second baseman is 20% better than the other second basemen in the league, then your second baseman is more "valuable" to your team.

Thinking back to the 1962 World Series, I suppose you could say that Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle cancel each other out, but Bobby Richardson is better than Chuck Hiller, so the Yankees should be favored over the Giants. Even if you believe that, it seems to me that saying the Bobby Richardson is more valuable than Mickey Mantle borders on the absurd.



   520. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 10, 2019 at 02:13 PM (#5804212)
If your center fielder is 10% better than the other center fielders in the league (average, median, second-best?) and your second baseman is 20% better than the other second basemen in the league, then your second baseman is more "valuable" to your team.


Yes. I really think it's just mathematically true.

We already had this discussion and I don't want to re-hash it, but I'll just repeat the example I used a page or two ago. If every team in a Strat league got a 1980 Mike Schmidt card for their team, having 1980 Mike Schmidt on your team would be of no advantage relative to any other team. I mean, different teams may do different things with him - draft 1980 George Brett and platoon them, play him at SS, play him at 1B. And by the fluke of the dice rolls, maybe my Mike Schmidt creates 115 runs and yours only creates 92. But basically, yeah, MLB ain't Lake Woebegone; all of the players at a position can't be above average.

I mean, you get into a lot of fuzzy areas, because a lot of positions are interchangeable. But if you just ignore position entirely, you end up downgrading every pitcher in the NL because all of them are below-average hitters. And of the eight non-pitcher positions, I think catcher is the least interchangeable. As Casey Stengel said, you need a catcher or you'll have a lot of passed balls. And if there's only one guy in the league who can play catcher at a major-league level and hit above league-average, having him at catcher gives you a huge leg up on your opposition (which, if you're the Marlins, you immediately cough up by having a starting outfield of Derek Dietrich, Lewis Brinson, and Brian Anderson, and a "#1" starting pitcher of Jose Urena).
   521. progrockfan Posted: January 10, 2019 at 02:33 PM (#5804223)
@Rob_Wood:
If your center fielder is 10% better than the other center fielders in the league (average, median, second-best?) and your second baseman is 20% better than the other second basemen in the league, then your second baseman is more "valuable" to your team.
Your construction overlooks too many potential variables. What if your center fielder is, say, the only switch-hitter in your lineup, or your only base-stealing threat with a decent OBP, or a defender with great range on a team with a pitching staff loaded with pitchers with fly-ball tenencies, while your second baseman is yet another right-handed low-OBP slugger and there's a similar player riding the bench? (I could cite a limitless number of like scenarios, all of which have occurred to actual teams.) In such situations an injury to your center fielder is more damaging to your team than an injury to your second baseman. Once again, reliance on any single metric or measure of 'value' leaves out too much real-world information to enable a fully informed conclusion.

I suppose you could say that Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle cancel each other out, but Bobby Richardson is better than Chuck Hiller, so the Yankees should be favored over the Giants.
Fallacy of incomplete evidence. Your premise takes into account only two of the numerous player vs. player comparisons that can be made between the two teams.

(Besides, everyone knows that Willie was better than Mickey! ;) )

Even if you believe that, it seems to me that saying the Bobby Richardson is more valuable than Mickey Mantle borders on the absurd.
Oh, I agree - but only because your argument is framed in absolute terms. Mine is framed in relative terms. Player A can be more valuable to a particular team than Player B, even if Player B accumulates twice as much WAR, so long as Player A fills a specialized skills gap – and even more so if Player A is one of only a handful of decent players available at his position in a given year, and thus cannot be readily replaced. Any number of teams with great individual performers have missed out on a title because they lacked that one final piece of the puzzle.
   522. DL from MN Posted: January 10, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5804229)
Going back to discretionary plays - plays where the fielder makes a difference and you can't just put out any high school all-star and make the play - for corner outfielders that might be a handful a week. The credit for the out for the non-discretionary plays should go to the pitcher AND catcher (and perhaps even the coaching staff). In WAR (depending on the flavor) I believe all of that credit goes to the pitcher.

WAR is an accounting system that mainly revolves around offense because it provides easy to count discrete events that are easily assignable to a particular player (the batter). Defense is a team effort and the accounting needs to reflect that team effort. When the defense accounting says it is more important to have the best fielding LF in baseball than the best fielding C I tend to doubt the accounting.
   523. Rob_Wood Posted: January 10, 2019 at 03:38 PM (#5804268)
Yes, I completely agree with that. Defensive stats, especially catcher stats, are very imprecise and uncertain.

Maybe I am not making myself clear with my hypotheticals. Suppose there is a sport that resembles baseball which requires each team to play a person from each of 9 different countries with a vast diversity of baseball playing. Suppose that in one small country there is exactly one person who is a decent baseball player and everyone else is an automatic out in every at bat. Then if you derive your value metrics by country, you will likely find that this person from the tiny country is the most "valuable" player in the league.

But nobody would ever say that this person should be the league MVP or make the Hall of Fame or anything like that. Of course, that would be ludicrous. It is only when defensive position enters the discussion that this value approach is considered valid, correct, and appropriate. I fear that we may not realize that there is a bunch of hidden assumptions underlying that approach that I, for one, do not fully subscribe to.

   524. Esteban Rivera Posted: January 10, 2019 at 04:44 PM (#5804300)
The discussion about catchers and their value or lack of value compared to other positions has been a great read so far. In the past couple of years, I’ve come around to the idea that the way catchers are being viewed is not entirely the correct approach. I don’t think they should be lumped in with other position players, they are a bit of a unique animal.

Think about what each player is required to do during a baseball game. Each player in a team’s lineup is required to perform on offense and defense for their team (with the notable exceptions of DH and specialists). Offense can be broken down into the two major responsibilities of hitter and runner.

Defense is typically divided into the responsibilities of pitching and fielding. But if you really think about it, the defensive responsibilities should be viewed and studied as hitter deterrence and runner advancement deterrence. The only two positions on defense that have an active role in hitter deterrence are pitchers and catchers. They are the only two positions that interact with the hitter and can stop a hitter before he becomes a runner. All the other seven positions can only act to prevent the advancement of runners. They never face a hitter per se because the moment the bat makes contact with the ball, the role of hitter ceases to exist and instead the player is now a runner that needs to head to first.

When you think about it in those terms, we most likely are short changing catchers to some degree when you only ascribe the value in hitter deterrence to just the pitchers. Every ball thrown to a hitter has both the pitcher and the catcher involved and both have their responsibilities in this part of the game. No pitcher does their job in hitter determent without the catcher being there (and vice versa). I think we should start viewing catchers as part of hitter determent instead of as a regular fielding position. If you view it that way, then the reality is that some of the value designated as the pitching part of defense should be shared with or belongs to the catcher. How much that should be is the big mystery.

What’s also interesting is how everybody usually comments about how pitching takes a toll, ‘so many innings in an arm’, and makes allowances and adjustments for the number of innings pitched and how pitchers should be valued in the metrics because of the demands of their position. Yet, catchers also have a taxing role that has specific and unique demands to play that obviously impair how much the catcher can take the field (just like pitchers in that regard) and probably should have certain adjustments or allowances that are to be considered when evaluating them in the metrics.

One other interesting quirk of the hitter deterrent positions (pitcher and catcher) is that they are the only ones that can simultaneously also serve as runner advancement deterrents when there are runners on (in this case it would be pick-off attempts and throws on steal attempts). Also, most of their plays as fielders would likely fall under discretionary plays (pop-ups, bunt attempts), with the most notable exception being plays at the plate with runners going for home. It’s really interesting when you think about the responsibilities that are required of a catcher.
   525. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 10, 2019 at 04:56 PM (#5804301)
Suppose there is a sport that resembles baseball which requires each team to play a person from each of 9 different countries with a vast diversity of baseball playing. Suppose that in one small country there is exactly one person who is a decent baseball player and everyone else is an automatic out in every at bat. Then if you derive your value metrics by country, you will likely find that this person from the tiny country is the most "valuable" player in the league.

But nobody would ever say that this person should be the league MVP or make the Hall of Fame or anything like that. Of course, that would be ludicrous.


I think it depends on exactly what you're suggesting here. Suppose there is a sport that resembles baseball which requires each team to play exactly one person from each of nine specific countries. Suppose that in one of these nine specific countries, there is exactly one person who is a decent baseball player and everyone else is an automatic out in every at bat.

Then, yes, absolutely, the team which gets the one non-automatic out would have a huge advantage over the teams who had to play an automatic out in their lineup. I mean, I guess you could debate how to credit that "value", but, all other things being equal, the team with the guy from country X who can actually play baseball would absolutely be expected to win more baseball games than the teams who had a lineup of eight hitters and one automatic out.

And again, I get that this is much fuzzier for, say, outfielders. Mickey Mantle would have obviously been of tremendous advantage to the 1962 Giants, because they could have just played him in left field. In my opinion, catcher is a bit of a different animal here, though.
   526. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: January 10, 2019 at 05:49 PM (#5804316)
One thing that I think this discussion highlights is that wins above average (WAA, or what in my system I call WOPA) may be a more appropriate starting point for evaluating HOM cases, especially across positions. For players at the same position, the difference between WAR and WAA is mostly just a measure of playing time - highlighting guys with either short careers or guys who tended to miss a lot of time in-season (Barry Larkin and Larry Walker strike me as examples of this). But for players at different positions - with different expectations regarding playing time (both in-season and across careers) - using a single replacement level (as, I think, BB-Ref does - and, to be fair, as I do for position players) may not be fair to catchers (and, much more arguably, relief pitchers).

For example, BB-Ref shows Rivera with more career WAA than Pettitte - 32.5 to 29.9.


I don't mind using WAA - if and only if, you zero out the negative seasons. It's still not my cup of tea, but I can see how it makes sense there.

Do this and you get:

Andy Pettitte 29.7
Mariano Rivera 32.0

Those two don't have much of a difference. I am amazed that Pettitte only had one season that was even slightly below average (-0.2). Pettitte really holds up much better than I ever expected him to. I knew he was consistent, but that's kind of incredible. I would have no issue electing him at some point. He almost made my ballot this year.

Rivera didn't go negative either obviously, outside of 1995 (-0.5). But in general I think it's really important to zero out the negatives.

That being said, I am becoming a bit of a fan of WPA+/WPA- record. It doesn't tell the whole story, but it's very interesting from a closer/leverage perspective.

For example:

Andy Pettitte 257-233
Mariano Rivera 186-129

So Pettitte is Rivera plus 71-104.

Then you throw in the postseason, where Rivera was amazing, with super high game and championship leverage.

I also really like this comparison:

Sandy Koufax 183-149
Mariano Rivera 186-129

I think that's about right. I'd take Rivera's career over Koufax's.
   527. DL from MN Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:34 PM (#5804653)
https://tht.fangraphs.com/using-called-strikes-to-find-sleeper-prospects-catchers/

This seems relevant to the discussion
   528. DL from MN Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5804703)
Ben Taylor is behind the group of Olerude, Delgado, McGriff, Cash and Cepeda.


Based on the MLE's he's clearly ahead of that group. He's McGriff with great defense or Olerud plus more good seasons. He's Rafael Palmeiro with even a little more defensive value.

HoM first basemen not as good as Ben Taylor's MLE

R Palmeiro
Mule Suttles (compare the MLEs, it's no contest)
K Hernandez
W Clark
B Terry
G Sisler

He's in the McCovey, Murray, Killebrew group after the latest slight adjustment upwards.
   529. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 11, 2019 at 05:16 PM (#5804814)
I don't have Suttles or Clark quite that high myself. And Killebrew is not a HOMer to me. But the Mccovery, Murray, Palmeiro, Hernandez thing makes sense.
   530. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 11, 2019 at 05:21 PM (#5804815)
And Killebrew is not a HOMer to me.


This is completely irrelevant to anything of course, given that the man is in both Halls and dead. But I'd be curious to hear your rationale for this. I promise not to argue against it or criticize it. I'm just genuinely curious; Killebrew seems like a kind of obvious mid-tier Hall guy given the size of the Hall of Merit.
   531. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 11, 2019 at 05:54 PM (#5804822)
Killer is a good illustration of differences between your win loss records and other used WAR metrics.

Harmon is at 60 career war with a meh peak, and his best and some of his best year's surround expansion, so the 60 war might be a little puffy.

Killers contextual measures are mixed, +6 wins in re24, -5 in clutch.

Win loss records place less emphasis on his bad defense and more on his power hitting, amongst other things you can speak much more eloquently too.
   532. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 11, 2019 at 06:00 PM (#5804826)
Harmon is at 60 career war with a meh peak, and his best and some of his best year's surround expansion, so the 60 war might be a little puffy.


Honestly, I jumped over to BB-Ref after asking the question and was surprised how low he was. In addition to the fielding thing you mention, I think Killebrew looks better in WAA than WAR, as long as you zero out the negatives at the beginning and end of his career - especially the beginning: I think he was a "bonus baby" so he hung around on major-league benches for several years before he belonged in the majors. Anyway, yeah, I guess I can see where an analysis based on BB-Ref WAR could put him just on the wrong side of the in/out line. Fangraphs has his career WAR 10% higher than BB-Ref (66.1, 66.7 from 1959 - 73). But, as I said, no real point to this discussion, so I'm not going to belabor it.
   533. progrockfan Posted: January 11, 2019 at 06:28 PM (#5804832)
@DL from MN:
[Ben Taylor]'s in the McCovey, Murray, Killebrew group after the latest slight adjustment upwards.
That's about where I've got him also - not Inner Circle, but roughly comparable to McCovey & Murray, somewhere in the upper tier of HoM first basemen.
   534. bachslunch Posted: January 11, 2019 at 07:25 PM (#5804846)
When would a 2020 Ballot Discussion thread likely be started? Just curious, especially since it looks like a relevant is getting under way at the Derek Jeter thread.
   535. kwarren Posted: January 22, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5807719)
I'd take Rivera's career over Koufax's.
Would love to play against your team in a simulated league :)
   536. progrockfan Posted: January 23, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5808111)
I'd take Rivera's career over Koufax's.

Would love to play against your team in a simulated league :)

Koufax's team would definitely have the advantage for that insane '62-'66 run; add in a high-quality '61, that's six years, which is nothing to sneeze at. But the next decade would belong to whichever team had Mariano. I'll take sixteen years of excellence over six any day.

Then again, I already said I'm a Mays over Mantle guy - so if peak is your thing, then Koufax, absolutely.
   537. Howie Menckel Posted: January 23, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5808113)
"But the next decade would belong to whichever team had Mariano. I'll take sixteen years of excellence over six any day."

can anyone spot the logical fallacy here?
   538. bachslunch Posted: January 23, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5808117)
So -- guess that's a "no" on a discussion thread for the 2020 ballot?
   539. progrockfan Posted: January 23, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5808123)
"But the next decade would belong to whichever team had Mariano. I'll take sixteen years of excellence over six any day."
can anyone spot the logical fallacy here?
Do tell! Do tell! I don't mind being called out, especially when I deserve it. It's called learning. School me!
   540. DL from MN Posted: January 23, 2019 at 11:13 AM (#5808129)
guess that's a "no" on a discussion thread for the 2020 ballot?


More of a not yet. Just back from a vacation.
Page 6 of 6 pages ‹ First  < 4 5 6

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.5229 seconds
41 querie(s) executed