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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

2020 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

2020 (December 2019)—elect 4

Top 10 Returning Players
Luis Tiant (263), Todd Helton (251), Kenny Lofton (217), Andruw Jones (201), Ben Taylor (196), Jeff Kent (188), Johan Santana (176), Wally Schang (153), Sammy Sosa (148), Lance Berkman (135)

Newly eligible players

Player Name	HOFm	HOFs	WAR	WAR7	JAWS	Jpos
Derek Jeter	337	67	72.4	42.4	57.4	55
Bobby Abreu	95	54	60	41.6	50.8	56.8
Jason Giambi	108	44	50.5	42.2	46.4	54.7
Cliff Lee	72	30	43.5	39.8	41.7	61.7
Rafael Furcal	54	32	39.4	30.7	35.1	55
Eric Chavez	29	25	37.5	31.1	34.3	55.7
Josh Beckett	43	23	35.7	31.2	33.4	61.7
Brian Roberts	34	24	30.4	28.1	29.2	56.9
Alfonso Soriano	105	31	28.2	27.3	27.8	53.6
Paul Konerko	80	36	27.7	21.5	24.6	54.7
Carlos Pena	25	18	25.1	24.1	24.6	54.7
Chone Figgins	18	19	22.2	22.5	22.3	55.7
Marco Scutaro	11	19	22.1	20.9	21.5	55
Raul Ibanez	38	27	20.4	20.1	20.2	53.6
Brad Penny	23	11	19.1	21.5	20.3	61.7
Jason Bartlett	15	5	18.3	19.6	18.9	55
Adam Dunn	75	32	17.4	17.7	17.6	53.6
Lyle Overbay	12	13	16.8	16.7	16.7	54.7
J.J. Putz	25	17	13.1	12.9	13	32.7
Jose Valverde	51	13	11.5	12	11.7	32.7
Ryan Ludwick	13	14	11.2	13.5	12.4	56.8
Alex Gonzalez	11	19	9.2	12.8	11	55
Jamey Wright	10	2	9.1	10.1	9.6	32.7
Joe Saunders	10	3	8.6	10.1	9.3	61.7
Heath Bell	31	13	7.1	8.9	8	32.7
Nate McLouth	10	12	6.4	10.2	8.3	57.8
Kyle Farnsworth	22	4	6.2	9.3	7.8	32.7

we’re alternating “elect 3” and “elect 4” years

2020, 2022, 2024, 2026, 2028, 2030, 2032, 2034, 2036-37, 2039, 2041 are elect 4

DL from MN Posted: January 23, 2019 at 01:21 PM | 184 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: January 23, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5808222)
2020 Prelim

1) Derek Jeter - Not in first after just his regular season stats but I haven't put in his postseason value. PHOM 2020.
2) Tommy Bridges - PHoM 1958
3) Luis Tiant - PHoM 1991
4) Ben Taylor - PHoM 1973, moves up after latest MLE adjustments. He's Eddie Murray of the deadball era and the last obvious Negro League candidate
5) Johan Santana - PHoM 2018
6) Roy Oswalt - PHoM 2019
7) Gavy Cravath - best available OF, 154 game seasons, low run scoring environment (low STDEV), several seasons minor league credit, PHoM 1927
8) Urban Shocker - WWI credit, good hitter for a pitcher, PHoM 1968
9) Tommy John - PHoM 1995
10) Phil Rizzuto - top backlog infielder available, gets WWII credit, PHoM 1967
11) Bucky Walters - PHoM 1972
12) Bob Johnson - PCL credit, PHoM 1986
13) Bert Campaneris - PHoM 1991
14) Wally Schang - best C available, PHoM 1987
15) Brian Giles - PHOM 2020

16) Dave Bancroft - PHoM 1976
17) Norm Cash - PHoM 1997
18) Kevin Appier - PHoM 2009
19) Don Newcombe - PHoM 2004
20) Bobby Abreu - PHOM 2020?
21) Johnny Pesky - PHoM 2004
22) Bus Clarkson - Mexican League, Minor League and Negro League credit, PHoM 1967
23) Andy Pettitte - PHOM 2020?
24) Jeff Kent - PHOM 2020?
25) Jorge Posada - PHOM 2020?

26-30) Wilbur Cooper, Sammy Sosa, Babe Adams, Burleigh Grimes, Dave Concepcion
31-35) Tommy Leach PHoM, Dizzy Trout, Dwight Gooden, Kenny Lofton, Gene Tenace

52) Hilton Smith - PHoM 1987, new numbers do not help his case. Falls as far as Redding rises.
60) Bobby Bonds
66) Buddy Bell
69) Cliff Lee
71) Todd Helton - similar to...
72) Jason Giambi - also similar to Jack Clark and John Olerud
78) Lance Berkman
87) Andruw Jones
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: January 23, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5808226)
we each will have 15 ballot slots to fill
#oof
   3. bachslunch Posted: January 23, 2019 at 02:09 PM (#5808247)
Thanks, DL!

Preliminary ballot.

Disclosures: am going with Seamheads for Negro Leaguers, with some influence of the 2019 ballot discussion thread. Otherwise, strong preference for BBRef WAR with some influence of OPS+ and ERA+ for the rest. Am valuing hitting prowess at C, SS, 2B, CF a bit extra. Being best available candidate at your position helps also. Still trying to sort out peak vs. longevity, but often favoring the latter. Fine with giving Negro League credit, not presently giving credit or debit for war, injury, illness, postseason play, or minor league service. Not systematically adjusting for season length, but am giving minimal non-systematic extra emphasis for pre-1961 players. Am currently treating 19th century pitchers pretty much equally as post-1900, but for now tending to discount AA, NA, and UA stats as possibly suspect. Not taken with giving relievers a lot of emphasis. Will dock 1st year candidates who bet on games, threw games, impeded players of color, were caught using PEDs post-2005 (Manny, ARod), and likely used pre-2005 if it looks like they'll get an immediate free pass by BBWAA HoF voters (IRod, Ortiz, Pettitte).

1. Derek Jeter. Excellent WAR and hit well at a premium position. Yeah, he was darned near Dick Stuart at SS and overrated by many. Still doesn't change things for me.
2. Jim McCormick. Best WAR for starters not in by a mile; even removing all his UA-earned WAR leaves him a point up on Tiant. Short career, but played in NL except for one UA season.
3. Luis Tiant. Best WAR for non-19th century starters.
4. Buddy Bell. Best WAR at 3B. Currently inclined to trust the metric for him.
5. Andruw Jones. Best CF WAR. Close between him and Bell for me.
6. Jeff Kent. Was best WAR at a middle infield position before Jeter came on the ballot and hit well, can't in good conscience rank him below Helton, Sosa, or Johnson.
7. Todd Helton. Excellent WAR and the best qualified non-NGL 1B.
8. Ben Taylor. Best NGL position player per Seamheads.
9. Bobby Abreu. Best WAR among available RFs, definitely better than Sosa.
10. Wally Schang. Among best C WAR, also hit well.
11. Bob Johnson. Best WAR among available LFs.
12. Vic Willis. Good WAR.
13. Sammy Sosa. Better WAR than I remembered. Happy to give him some benefit of the doubt given his treatment by the BBWAA.
14. Vern Stephens. I value hitting at a premium position highly, so I'm ranking him here.
15. Kenny Lofton. Not as much hitting as I'd like, but lots of WAR at a premium position.

16-40. Tommy John, Sal Bando, Ernie Lombardi, Thurman Munson, Mickey Welch, Urban Shocker, Andy Pettitte, Tommy Bridges, Joe Tinker, Jim Fregosi, Bobby Bonds, John Olerud, Luis Aparicio, Bert Campaneris, Johan Santana, Gavvy Cravath, Jorge Posada, Ron Cey, Tony Lazzeri, Jose Cruz, Fred McGriff, Jack Quinn, Harry Hooper, Lance Berkman, Willie Davis.

Various comments. Have moved Taylor up a slot based on the 2019 ballot discussion thread. Have also moved the catchers up a position or two as a position adjustment. Phil Rizzuto doesn't do much for me (low OPS+, low WAR, short career). Am still struggling with where to place Santana and Cravath, but for now have them 30th and 31st. Lance Berkman is also off ballot for me (39th), just making it into my top 40. Jason Giambi is a little bit outside my top 40.

Ranking by position:

1B. Helton, Taylor, Olerud, McGriff, Cash, Giambi
2B. Kent, Lazzeri, Evers, Phillips, Myer, Pratt
SS. Jeter, Stephens, Tinker, Fregosi, Aparicio, Campaneris
3B. Bell, Bando, Cey, Ventura, Elliott, Harrah
LF. B. Johnson, J. Cruz, Berkman, Downing, J. Gonzalez, Veach
CF. A. Jones, Lofton, W. Davis, Lemon, Damon, Pinson
RF. Abreu, Sosa, Bonds, Cravath, Hooper, J. Clark
C. Schang, Lombardi, Munson, Posada, Tenace, Kendall
P. McCormick, Tiant, Willis, John, M. Welch, Shocker, Rivera, Pettitte, Bridges, Santana, Quinn, Cicotte, Finley, Tanana, Powell.
   4. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 23, 2019 at 03:48 PM (#5808298)
72) Jason Giambi - also similar to Jack Clark and John Olerud

1B. Helton, Taylor, Olerud, McGriff, Cash, Giambi


Giambi deep in the backlog to start here, he needs his own page to discuss his merits, he did well in Dan R's WAR back in the day, and Kiko will have to chime in as he's quite good in Player W-L records:

Running the default key stat, top 15 eligible players:
244.8 - Derek Jeter
184.7 - Vern Stephens
180.4 - Jorge Posada
172.3 - Tommy John
169.8 - Dizzy Dean
165.0 - Jason Giambi
163.0 - Jeff Kent
160.8 - Dwight Gooden
158.7 - Lefty Gomez
157.0 - David Concepcion
155.9 - Darryl Strawberry
149.5 - Gil Hodges
148.9 - Lance Berkman
147.5 - Schoolboy Rowe
147.3 - Johan Santana

Other ranking returnees:
146.6 - Luis Tiant
146.0 - Andy Pettitte
144.9 - Andruw Jones
138.6 - Bert Campaneris
136.0 - Bucky Walters

129.8 - Tommy Bridges - no extra credit/missing data
125.3 - Sal Bando
121.3 - Urban Shocker - no extra credit/missing data
120.7 - Sammy Sosa

112.6 - Bob Johnson
110.2 - Kenny Lofton
107.4 - Don Newcombe - no extra credit in this
107.3 - Todd Helton
106.0 - Thurman Munson

99.90 - Bobby Bonds
96.30 - Phil Rizzuto - no extra credit in this
82.80 - Buddy Bell
   5. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 23, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5808306)
Giambi is a peaky candidate that excels in the contextual areas also.

Raw batting wins 44.4, RE24 52.1, for +7.7 wins; clutch score of +3.3.
   6. Jaack Posted: January 23, 2019 at 07:19 PM (#5808350)
I have 12 players reutrning from last years ballot: Lance Berkman, Tommy John, Babe Adams, Kenny Lofton, Jeff Kent, Mickey Lolich, Bob Johnson, Kiki Cuyler, Bert Campaneris, Ben Taylor, Roy Oswalt, and Robin Ventura. The top ten are players I feel very confident in my rating of them, and they are all but certain remain on my ballot in the coming year. With newcomer Jeter incoming, that makes 11 slots set pretty much in stone, although I could fiddle with the order some. Oswalt and Ventura I feel a little less comfortable with, and come out as more borderline in my system. They will likely end up on my ballot, but it's possible I might prefer someone else come ballot time.

As far as the other newcomers go, I don't see any making my ballot. The highest rated for me is Cliff Lee actually, which seems to be an unpopular opinion. He'll probably slot in in the mid 30s, a few spots below Johan Santana for me. Abreu is a little further down, and Giambi should make my top 100, but I'm not 100% sure he will once I finish evaluating him. Eric Chavez just makes it over the threshold where I take a second look at a guy, so I guess I'll devote 15 minutes of the coming year to think about Eric Chavez's career meaningfully for what is likely the last time.

For the final two spots on my ballot (or three or four in the event Oswalt or Ventura move down), I plan to look closely at Todd Helton, Trevor Hoffman (my two-runners up from last time), Bobby Bonds, Andy Pettitte, Jim Kaat, Dwight Gooden, and Luis Tiant. And while I doubt they would make my ballot, I do want to give longer looks to Johnny Evers, Jerry Koosman, and Steve Rogers as well.
   7. DL from MN Posted: January 23, 2019 at 07:59 PM (#5808360)
Phil Rizzuto doesn't do much for me (low OPS+, low WAR, short career).


not presently giving credit or debit for war


The latter explains the former. Rizzuto missed 3 of his best seasons and had another impacted by malaria. He played in the majors from ages 23 to 38. That is NOT a short career.

I should have mentioned that Johnny Pesky also gets WWII credit.
   8. bachslunch Posted: January 23, 2019 at 08:53 PM (#5808381)
@7: I probably will just leave the Rizzuto observation off since he’s not a top 10 returnee. But he still is nowhere near my top 40. I realize he’s a favorite around here. YMMV.

Also realized I still have Rivera 7th among pitchers when he’s elected. Meant to drop him from the pitcher list as a result. Add Coke Hamels at the no. 15 slot for available pitchers.
   9. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 23, 2019 at 10:32 PM (#5808404)
Hamels is still active :)
   10. Rob_Wood Posted: January 23, 2019 at 10:37 PM (#5808405)
Copying over from the Abreu thread.

My current starting point in these discussions is CPASR (career pennant-added using a sliding replacement level). Here is Abreu and some other players:

.907 Tim Raines
.886 Reggie Smith
.857 Dwight Evans
.828 Andre Dawson
.827 Bobby Bonds
.824 Billy Williams
.807 Jimmy Wynn
.801 Bobby Abreu
.794 Vlad Guerrero
.790 Sammy Sosa
.715 Dave Winfield
.708 Brian Giles
.705 Cesar Cedeno
.669 Johnny Damon
.660 Bernie Williams
.649 Vada Pinson
.629 Jason Giambi
   11. bachslunch Posted: January 24, 2019 at 04:29 AM (#5808424)
@9: You’re right about Hamels. My bad. Make that Orel Hershiser instead.

Darned autocorrect made it “Coke” Hamels, too. Aargh.
   12. cookiedabookie Posted: January 24, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5808604)
Early, early ballot:

1. Todd Helton
2. Derek Jeter
3. Andy Pettitte
4. Andruw Jones
5. Kenny Lofton
6. Luis Tiant
7. Roy Oswalt
8. Bobby Abreu
9. Thurman Munson
10. Kevin Appier
11. Johan Santana
12. Buddy Bell
13. Bobby Bonds
14. Sal Bando
15. Chuck Finley
16. Sammy Sosa
17. Ben Taylor
18. Bob Johnson
19. Lance Berkman
20. Urban Shocker
21. Robin Ventura
22. Jeff Kent
23. Ernie Lombardi
24. Joe Tinker
25. Dwight Gooden


Jeter is actually tied with Lofton in my system, but gave him a boost for postseason. He may end up at #1, but not sure I want to penalize Helton for not getting the chance to play on a dynasty. Pettitte is pretty clearly my top ranked arm. Tiant and Oswalt are basically tied, it just depends on peak vs. career valuation. Same with Johan vs. Appier vs. Finley.
   13. bachslunch Posted: January 24, 2019 at 06:25 PM (#5808666)
How many are being elected this time? Just curious.

Also have Ben Taylor on my preliminary ballot. Any suggestions on other Negro League or Cuban League players I should be giving serious consideration to? Have seen Hilton Smith, Don Newcombe, Bus Clarkson, Luke Easter, Dolf Luque, Carlos Moran, Heavy Johnson, Hurley McNair, Silvio García, Sam Bankhead, and Ray Dandridge on recent ballots. Plus there’s always folks like Eustaquio Pedroso and Jose Mendez. Given what little I can figure out, Taylor is likely the best option by a good margin.
   14. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 24, 2019 at 07:19 PM (#5808676)
Some great names bachslunch, though Jose Mendez has been elected, so you can scratch him off.

You can throw Bill Byrd, Lazaro Salazar, Marvin Williams, and Burnis Wright in that mix too.

   15. DL from MN Posted: January 25, 2019 at 08:11 AM (#5808731)
How many are being elected this time? Just curious.


Elect 4 - right at the top
   16. kcgard2 Posted: January 25, 2019 at 06:14 PM (#5809018)
Preliminary - not gonna calculate wWAR until closer to ballot time so this list will probably change somewhat at the middle and bottom.

1. Derek Jeter
2. Andruw Jones
3. Kenny Lofton
4. Kevin Appier
5. Sal Bando
6. Tommy John
7. Lance Berkman
8. Bobby Abreu
9. Luis Tiant
10. Eddie Cicotte
11. Vic Willis
12. Bob Johnson
13. Todd Helton
14. Johan Santana
15. Roy Oswalt

I think Berkman is going to move up my ballot from last year, and I have him and Abreu really close. I slot Berkman ahead for being a better hitter and a better defender, IMO, but very close having not calculated wWAR for Abreu. Bando is moving down a spot. I go back and forth on it, depending on how I weigh WAR v WAA v wWAR they could all reasonably move a handful of spots. If I use this ballot then Joe Tinker drops off, but I have to give Tinker some extra credit to get him on my ballot last time. I like him, but he's on the borderline of the ballot (there are a TON of players who bunch up I would say right after the top 10 or dozen or so, the cluster might go from #10 to the 30s or 40s on rank of players who are being differentiated by hairs' breadths).
   17. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 26, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5809129)
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.
:)


Taking from Howie in the 2019 ballot discussion thread, I wholeheartedly agree here.

2020 is an elect 4 year with only Jeter as a presumed electee, we have a chance to elect 3 back/front loggers.
If the results play out like 2019, Tiant, Helton, and Lofton would be enshrined.
I'd be cheering Tiant getting in, while having mixed feelings on Helton and Lofton.
Can we get Ben Taylor and Johan Santana in instead?
Or maybe some other discussion can surface this year to convince us on other candidates :)

Would be cool if some long-time HOM voters throw some weight in that still post around here, ala Dan G or Tom H, particularly with it being a major backlog year.
   18. DanG Posted: January 26, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5809144)
For now, just an observation, a caution and a suggestion.

These are the top ten returning candidates for the next election:

Luis Tiant
Todd Helton
Kenny Lofton
Andruw Jones
Ben Taylor
Jeff Kent
Johan Santana
Wally Schang
Sammy Sosa
Lance Berkman

Only three of these retired in the 20th century. It may be possible that recent contributors to this project are not familiar with the reasons why certain old time players were once heavily supported. My suggestion is that they spend some time in the wealth of the HoM archives and read some of the old threads and the arguments therein.

Fairness to all eras is a foundational principle of the HoM.
   19. DL from MN Posted: January 26, 2019 at 02:29 PM (#5809145)
Jeter, Tiant and Taylor clearly meet the standards at the HoM at their respective positions. Ambivalent about most of the others in the top 10 returnees except Helton lowers the bar at 1B and Berkman does the same in the outfield. Kenny Lofton is clearly as good as some other CF we have elected previously, I just don't like CF as a position as much as other voters. If the election is Jeter, Tiant, Taylor and a frontlogger I'm fine with it.
   20. Carl Goetz Posted: January 26, 2019 at 05:22 PM (#5809192)
Post #18
Fair enough DanG, but I'll also observe that of the 11-30 returners, only Pettitte and Appier played in the 21st Century. The top 10 list will usually skew to recency since the recent well qualified players haven't had as many ballots in which to get elected. If its up to me, I'd put in everyone in the top 10 except Berkman and he's reasonably close in my mind.
   21. progrockfan Posted: January 27, 2019 at 08:25 AM (#5809231)
--> Lofton vs. Abreu:

I get the impression that voters are taking Lofton much more seriously as a candidate than Abreu. Could be mistaken there. But in case I’m right, here’s a very quick comparison of credentials. No deep analysis attempted or intended, there's plenty of time for that; just making a basic point.

Lofton was a top-notch center fielder with excellent range and a great arm, Abreu a slightly below average right fielder with excellent range and a very good arm. Huge points to Lofton.

Abreu was one of the most durable players of his time, playing 150+ games in 13 consecutive seasons. Lofton reached 150+ games once in his career. Huge points to Abreu.

Lofton has 621 steals at a 79.5% clip with five SB titles. Big advantage for Lofton there. But the difference isn’t as big as it might appear at first blush: Abreu did steal 400 bases as a 75.8% clip, so basepath speed is actually a substantial plus for Abreu.

The thing is, I think basepath speed is Lofton’s #1 argument on offense. And it kind of has to be enough, because otherwise, Abreu blows him away:

* OPS: Abreu, .870 to .794
* OPS+: Abreu, 128 to 107
* Extra-base hits: Abreu, 921 to 629
* 100-run seasons: Abreu, 8 to 5
* 100-RBI seasons: Abreu, 8 to 0
* 100-walk seasons: Abreu, 8 to 0
* Playoff OPS: Abreu, .810 to .667

The one that startled me, when I compiled this quick list, was 100-run seasons. As a career leadoff hitter, getting into scoring position and scoring runs was more or less Lofton’s job description. 100 runs has always been a kind of shorthand for high-impact run-scoring seasons, and Abreu has 8 such seasons to Lofton’s 5.

It strikes me that you’d have to make a pretty mighty positional adjustment to overcome this yawning offensive gap, which Lofton’s steals don’t come close to bridging (imho). The degree to which a voter would favor Lofton over Abreu would have to hinge more or less entirely on their view of his CF defense. And fair enough.

Now I’ve always loved well-rounded players; it’s why I’d take Musial over Williams, and why, in the context of the upcoming ballot, Bob Johnson appeals so strongly to me. And when I look at Abreu I see it all: extra-base power, times on base, speed, durability, and very good range and arm on defense. When I look at Lofton, I see some of that.

Which almost certainly means Abreu well above Lofton on my ballot. I’d very much like to hear your thoughts / agreements / refutations on this.

Again, just a quick head-to-head. There are obviously many more layers to this particular onion.

--> @DanG:
It may be possible that recent contributors to this project are not familiar with the reasons why certain old time players were once heavily supported. My suggestion is that they spend some time in the wealth of the HoM archives and read some of the old threads and the arguments therein. Fairness to all eras is a foundational principle of the HoM.
+1 to this. From a personal standpoint, I strongly encourage voters to look very closely at Ben Taylor, Wally Schang, and (especially) Luke Easter for 2020.
   22. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 27, 2019 at 09:19 AM (#5809237)
+1 to this. From a personal standpoint, I strongly encourage voters to look very closely at Ben Taylor, Wally Schang, and (especially) Luke Easter for 2020.


And careful consideration for any other Negro League candidates, we might have enough in besides Taylor, but Eric's MLEs are pretty damn promising for some that remain.
   23. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 27, 2019 at 12:37 PM (#5809309)
I think that everyone should examine the MLEs and form their own opinions about whether I’ve begun/ended a career at the age they think is appropriate. And to see whether they find anything worth querying before making up their minds. In addition, I believe it is worth reckoning with the question of whether we have annointed enough Negro Leaguers. I count 31, with no Doby, Minnie, or Campy. Thats two more than the Coop. We might ask ourselves whether the eras they reside in have enough guys.

And a reminder that the MLEs are best consumed by looking first at the career line. Heavy regression (of sorts) is applied at the seasonal level which flattens the shape of one’s career.

   24. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 27, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5809321)
Also, I’d like to strenuously disagree with with DanG #18.

I’m strongly of the belief that we have PLENTY of 1800s guys. Several too many. That’s true of basically every generation through about 1910. We are probably also over in the prewar era. These groups have had 80-100 years of active, often super-granular examination. The fellows since expansion have had only 10-50 years, and their number is smaller compared to their era than the epochs previous.

I don’t advocate ignoring the elder backloggers, of course, but I see little reason to rally around Jim McCormick, say, when we have a frontlog of recent candidates to begin filling in our last 50 years with. DanG presenter a list of frontloggers, concerned about the fact that only three retired in the 20th century. Right list, and, IMO, wrong conclusion. For it to be correct, one needs assume that:
A) We are short on old timers—-which we are not.
B) We have plenty of players from the last 15-50 years—-which we don’t.
C) That our various systems are all appropriately accounting for the degree of difficulty required to stand out from the league during a given moment in MLB history.

As to that last item. There’s two people to cite for this. One is David Schoenfield. He did a project that showed that it was easier to stand out in MLB the further back you look. This makes sense intuitively, unless you believe players were inherently better in the good old days. They weren’t, of course, there was merely a wider spread of talent. That’s where Dan R comes in. IMO, the big breakthrough he gave us was actually the importance of Standard Deviation in understanding players relative to league. Combining Schoenfield and Dan R, the obvious conclusion is a reckoning question for each of us: Do I adjust for STDEV in any way? If not, McCormick looks like a great candidate. (Picking on him since he’s mentioned upthread.) Once you start looking at STDEV (and workload), he starts looking more like he’s in the Jimmy Key class of pitchers. Or maybe Steve Rogers.

We didn’t realize as a group that STDEV was so important until DanR started to pound on it, and that was about 50 elections into our existence. But when we know better, we do better.

So I categorically oppose the general point DanG is making. Instead, let’s get our frontlog moving. 2024 is a year when Beltre, Wright, Mauer, and possibly Ichiro land on the ballot. In between, we will likely elect only a three-five newbies in their first go at it (Jeter, Beltran, A-Rod at a minimum). So there’s like ten slots out there for weaker newbs like Hudson/Buehrle and fromtloggers like Tiant, Lofton, Bell, Sosa, whomever to make their moves.
   25. progrockfan Posted: January 27, 2019 at 02:53 PM (#5809357)
I categorically oppose the general point DanG is making.
With respect, Doctor, the point I drew from #18 was that it is incumbent upon voters, and new voters in particular, to consider all eras in constructing their ballots - and not that the HoM is short of inductees from any specific era. If my interpretation is correct, then I subscribe to that opinion.

I would add that I think Negro Leagues players likely need advocates to elucidate their arguments, as even quite knowledgable fans are not necessarily familiar with the nuances of the arguments in favor of some of these players.
   26. Mike Webber Posted: January 27, 2019 at 06:28 PM (#5809388)
20. John DiFool2 Posted: January 26, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5809140)
Can anyone tell me why Kenny Lofton is still waiting, while Jim Edmonds got elected pretty quickly? Kenny isn't dealing with the huge logjam that Cooperstown finally worked itself through (?), he doesn't have the numerous comparable contemporaries at the same position that many people have mentioned w.r.t. Helton, nor the issues with the various conflicting defensive metrics that have dogged Andruw (as in D makes up more of the latter's case, so a small deduction probably moves him below a lot of people's lines--tho again maybe Lofton has the same issues). JAWS seems to give Lofton small but across the board edges there.

[edit: Lofton also has some talented CF competition: Griffey, Edmonds, Beltran, A. Jones, & Bernie Williams, perhaps even Johnny Damon if you like.]


Moving this from last year's results thread.

On SABR-L toady Mike Emeigh did an excellent job summing up the reservations I have with WAR/WAA fielding numbers -

"I think that James actually gets closer to balancing run prevention between pitchers and fielders than any of the other methods. In my judgment most other methods overvalue the fielding impact (the spread between best and worst) and undervalue the pitchers. By limiting the number of Win Shares fielders can get James constrains the range at a position in a way that makes sense conceptually.

Mike Emeigh"

This is where I am too, but have never been able to sum it up as succinctly as Emeigh did here. This is why I had Andruw and Lofton 12 and 13 on my ballot. Which is a lot of respect of course. Plus for Lofton you can't give him any peak bonus really.

These two centerfielders are 7 and 13 WAR ahead of their contemporary Jeff Kent, but about 60 win shares behind Kent. If their defensive value is just slightly overstated, then Kent is the much better choice.

And Bobby Abreu with 356 Win Shares is the same argument, though his 60 WAR is very close to Lofton (63) and Andruw (68). That makes it likely he'll be on my ballot above the two centerfielders.
   27. eskimo38 Posted: January 29, 2019 at 11:12 AM (#5809912)
Perhaps not the correct place to "place" this - but if one were to desire to toil through the process *as if* starting from the HoM beginnings, is there a general guide of where to do that? I've perused the archives, but the early discussions seemed to be an interesting debate about procedures without clear answers. I assume my searching is just not on par today. I'd like to jump in with the 2020 ballot, and given the ample time to do so, want to do it "right", especially in terms of really evaluating players of all eras who are still eligible to be inducted.

It would also be fun to watch my own PHoM evolve over time rather than be entirely retrospective from 2020, and give me the satisfaction of "voting" for many already in the HoM, even if only in my mind (and spreadsheets).
Thanks
   28. DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5809948)
I can e-mail the election schedule as a spreadsheet or put my PHoM elections on the yahoo site.
   29. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 29, 2019 at 12:39 PM (#5809963)
It would also be fun to watch my own PHoM evolve over time rather than be entirely retrospective from 2020, and give me the satisfaction of "voting" for many already in the HoM, even if only in my mind (and spreadsheets).
Thanks


Like DL mentioned, I encourage you to join the Yahoo Hall of Merit group.

Patrick W had a fabulous spreadsheet showing HOM voting history...you could use this as a spring board for your analysis.
   30. DanG Posted: January 29, 2019 at 12:51 PM (#5809973)
especially in terms of really evaluating players of all eras who are still eligible to be inducted
You can start by looking at recent voting results and seeing which oldtime candidates still have support. Here are players eligible before 1950 who finished highest in the 2019 balloting:

Ben Taylor - eligible 1934
Wally Schang - 1937
Vic Willis - 1916
Art Fletcher - 1928
Tommy Bridges - 1949
Gavvy Cravath - 1926
Tommy Leach - 1921
Urban Shocker - 1933
Joe Tinker - 1921

Another thing to consider is players who received strong support but never got elected. I just updated an old chart: for the first 50 HoM elections, here are the top 4 finishers who remain unelected (I had to replace the newly elected Redding). Players marked with * are in their first-year eligible.

1898 Williamson O'Neill Welch Dunlap
1899 Williamson O'
Neill Dunlap Welch
1900 Williamson Mullane
Welch Dunlap
1901 Williamson Welch McCormick Dunlap
1902 Williamson Welch McCormick Dunlap
1903 Williamson Welch McCormick Dunlap
1904 Griffin
Williamson Welch McCormick
1905 Tiernan
Griffin McCormick Williamson
1906 Tiernan McCormick Williamson Griffin
1907 Duffy
Tiernan Griffin Williamson
1908 Duffy Tiernan Williamson Griffin
1909 Ryan
Duffy Van HaltrenMcCormick
1910 Duffy Ryan Van Haltren Tiernan
1911 Duffy Ryan Van Haltren Tiernan
1912 Duffy Ryan Van Haltren Tiernan
1913 Duffy Ryan Van Haltren Tiernan
1914 Duffy Ryan Van Haltren McCormick
1915 Duffy Ryan Van Haltren McCormick
1916 Duffy Ryan Van Haltren Joss
*
1917 Duffy Van Haltren Ryan Joss
1918 Van Haltren Ryan Duffy Joss
1919 Van Haltren Ryan Duffy Chance
1920 Duffy Van Haltren Ryan Monroe
*
1921 Duffy Ryan Van Haltren Monroe
1922 Duffy Van Haltren Ryan Monroe
1923 Ryan Van Haltren Duffy Monroe
1924 Ryan Duffy Van Haltren Monroe
1925 Van Haltren Ryan Duffy Monroe
1926 Van Haltren Ryan Duffy Monroe
1927 Van Haltren Ryan Monroe Duffy
1928 Van Haltren Ryan Welch Duffy
1929 Van Haltren Ryan Welch Duffy
1930 Van Haltren Ryan Welch Duffy
1931 Van Haltren Ryan Duffy Welch
1932 Van Haltren Duffy Welch Ryan
1933 Van Haltren Welch Duffy Ryan
1934 Van Haltren Welch Ryan Duffy
1935 Van Haltren Welch Duffy Ryan
1936 Van Haltren Welch Duffy Ryan
1937 Welch Van Haltren Duffy Leach
1938 Welch Van Haltren Duffy Leach
1939 Van Haltren Leach Welch Duffy
1940 Leach Van Haltren Duffy Welch
1941 Leach Van Haltren Duffy Welch
1942 Van Haltren Leach Duffy Welch
1943 Van Haltren Duffy Leach Welch
1944 Van Haltren Duffy Leach Welch
1945 Van Haltren Duffy Leach Welch
1946 Duffy Van Haltren Welch Leach
1947 Van Haltren Duffy Welch Leach 
   31. progrockfan Posted: January 29, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5809978)
@DanG: That's invaluable information. Every one of these players will get a serious look from me before I construct my prelim. Many thanks!
   32. DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2019 at 02:01 PM (#5810064)
Looking at Ben Taylor, just my re-evaluation moves him from 5th to 4th, assuming all else is static. He was left off 11 other ballots (I had him at 16th last year).

Here is the list of voters who didn't vote for Taylor and their ranking

karlmagnus
44. Ben Taylor. Not all that far below Beckley and better than Van Haltren.


The MLEs show Taylor as clearly preferable to Jake Beckley

Dr Chaleeko
BEN TAYLOR: I could pull the trigger on him at some point. We have an awful lot of 1Bs, and faced with the additional tiebreaker of half his career being in a heavily populated era, I decided to look elsewhere. But I am far from done with him.


Maybe he looks in Taylor's direction this year. Having Lofton off ballot and Taylor on instead would have made a big difference.

cookiedabookie

Ben Taylor - I see a lot of love, I'm not sure we need more first basemen from the early days. But I have him as my second-best first baseman and at #24 overall. I could be swayed to move him up with further study next year


17th on this year's prelim, moved up but not on ballot

Patrick W

Ben Taylor (1938) – Just a little behind Bo.Bonds in my rankings, ranked in the low 50s on this ballot. I have him essentially tied with Tony Perez and slightly behind Orlando Cepeda among first basemen.


The 1938 I believe means Taylor is in his PHoM. Taylor has more offense than Perez and Cepeda.

Al Peterson

18. Ben Taylor. Holding steady here, little more analysis happens each year as we get more NeL data. He lingers on ballot fringe.


Encouraging, could make this year's ballot with only Jeter as an obvious choice.

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


I see Taylor as clearly ahead of that group unless you really discount the MLEs. He's McGriff on offense plus a lot of glove value.

kcgard2
Ben Taylor - Probably ranks somewhere in the 40s-60s for me. Too many MLB first basement with the same or superior statistical records/profiles accumulated entirely in MLB, even assuming NeL stats for Taylor translate to MLB 100% while doubling or tripling his playing time. Mentioned Jack Fournier as one example of a near perfect contemporary who fits this bill, and I don't think anybody has Jack Fournier on their remotely potential consideration lists.


The MLEs have Taylor as clearly superior to Fournier offensively.

Willie Mays Hayes

Ben Taylor - On reputation, right with Olerud. I'm choosing to split the difference, and give Olerud the benefit of the doubt. Taylor could be on my ballot just as well.


Voted for Olerud. Taylor is Olerud plus more career value. Another encouraging possible ballot pickup.

Michael Binkley
33. Ben Taylor - in my PHoM


Not sure if he can move up 20 spots but in PHoM is encouraging

kwarren

Ben Taylor - Don't see him as being as good as Helton or some other 1B not in the HOF


kwarren seems to favor newer candidates
   33. Rob_Wood Posted: January 29, 2019 at 02:02 PM (#5810068)
It seems as if I voted for George Van Haltren at least 100 times!
   34. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 29, 2019 at 04:53 PM (#5810173)
DL, neat move in that post. I see what you're doing there.

You wrote, "Having Lofton off ballot and Taylor on instead would have made a big difference."

<snark>Well, sure, a big difference to Taylor. And having Tony Cuccinello instead of Lofton would have made a big difference to this non-Sox Tony. </snark>

Lofton is in borderline elect-me territory right now. Bobby Abreu is the only possible person standing in his way. As a Lofton supporter and Taylor meh-er, I'm fine with not including Taylor last year and with Lofton making good progress toward election. Go Kenny!
   35. Jaack Posted: January 29, 2019 at 08:07 PM (#5810234)
Of the frontloggers, Lofton seems to be the overall strongest candidate.

Compared directly to Andruw Jones, he has a number of advantages. Lofton was a bit stronger of a hitter and a much stronger baserunner, he played longer, and typically in the stronger AL, and if you are willing to give extra credit for the 1994-95 strike, there's no one who deserves it more. Jones had substantially better defense, but even if I take his defense entirely at face value, he still would be a smidgen behind Lofton.

On a broader scale, I think we are likely shortchanging more recent center fielders. Since ~1970 We've elected Ken Griffey Jr. and Jim Edmonds as pure CFs and Andre Dawson, Robin Yount, and Reggie Smith as half-breeds. That seems pretty low. While we have inducted a lot of center fielders, a good chunk of those are Negro Leaguers or pre-1890s guys, and some would have likely been moved to a corner outfield position had they played in more developed leagues.
   36. Jaack Posted: January 29, 2019 at 09:24 PM (#5810258)
So, I'm pretty sure that baseball-reference's WAR model is systematically underrating pitchers. Or I guess Fangraphs could be systematticaly overrating them, but the former seems more likely.

Fangraphs has two WAR models for pitchers - one is FIP-Based, so it only considers strikeouts, walks, and home runs, as well as pop flies, I believe, for years where they have that data. The other model is RA9-WAR, which only considers runs allowed. The idea is that a pitchers true value should be somewhere between the two. BBRef has one WAR model, which starts from something like fangraphs RA9 model, but adjusts based on the quality of the defense behind the pitcher. Now hypothetically, BBRef WAR should usually fall between the two models - there will be fringe cases both directions, but for most pitchers, their value should be somewhere between the two fangraphs models, if they are generally accurate. In practices, there are some other issues - Fangraphs and bbref use different park factors for example. But even considering that, bbref should generally fall between the two models from fangraphs.

To test this, I took 60 pitchers who are not in the Hall of Merit, but are reasonibly close. They span all eras except for the 19th century pitchers, for whom WAR is not the best model. Of those, 28 had their bbref WAR fall between the two fangraphs models. Of the other 32, only 2, Chuck Finley and Mark Langston, had a bbref-WAR that outpaced both fWARs - the other 30 (half the sample!) had lower bbref WAR than either of the fangraphs models. Now in some cases, like Larry Jackson and Ron Guidry, the three models all generally agree and the differences are miniscule. But in some cases, like Jim Kaat or Jack Morris, the bbref number is 10 WAR or more lower than either of the Fangraphs models. On the contrary, I have been unable to locate any high quality pitcher whose bbref-WAR is substantially higher than either of their Fangraphs WARs.

I only use bbref-WAR to fill in the gaps for earlier players for whom there is less data, but I would definitely suggest that anyone who relies on it to evaluate pitchers to consider this.
   37. progrockfan Posted: January 30, 2019 at 05:19 AM (#5810310)
In response to #30, it's All Players Considered. Many thanks, @DanG, for your extremely helpful list.

* * *

Tommy Bridges: Can't see the peak or career numbers to justify a vote for a pitcher with < 3000 IP and > 1.3 WHIP.

Frank Chance: Nice OBP, but in just over 5000 plate appearances. No power to speak of. Plenty of steals, but just one 100-run season, because he played 100+ games only six times with a high of just 136. With more durability I'd take him quite seriously as a candidate; as it stands, his career numbers just aren't there.

Gavvy Cravath: Enjoyed a respectable window (1912-1919) as a monster power hitter in pre-live ball terms, with 1913-15 being truly outstanding years, but basically has no career outside that window. Quite a lot like Tony Oliva in that respect. I could certainly see a case for him in the eyes of extreme peak voters, but that's not me.

Hugh Duffy: I need to know more, simple as that. Nice peak, good defense, good power, good speed, good plate selectivity... level of competition concerns me a lot: he hit .300+ in four different leagues, which is sort of intrinsically amazing, but not necessarily a plus in this era... would some kind soul be willing to summarize their argument for/against this very interesting player? My initial inclination is No.

Fred Dunlap: His best calling card is a one-year domination of the Union Association, and that ain't much.

Art Fletcher: Good glove, limited durability, no bat, no speed, no vote.

Alfredo Griffin: Just can't see what the fuss is about.

Addie Joss: Terrific in his time, but that time was a) very short, and b) pre-1910, when competition levels were simply not comparable to today. His ERA and WHIP are truly outstanding though, and I could possibly see him towards the bottom of a ballot. My interpretation of the timeline has Johan Santana, who is superficially similar, far ahead of Joss.

Tommy Leach: I'm impressed by his ability to field center and third at very high levels. Decent speed, but not much bat to speak of. I'd be willing to listen to arguments re: any unique value he might have as a two-position defensive stud a la Robin Yount - but I'm guessing that his lack of offense would still hold him back. Not on my ballot at present.

Jim McCormick: Lots of WAR, but @Bleed the Freak has convinved me that the man was nothing special, and I'll stick with that assessment.

Bill Monroe: Can't see the offense or career longevity to justfily a ballot place.

Tony Mullane: I can see why voters might get excited over him. He's got a little bit of peak and plenty of innings pitched. But his strikeout ratio is < 4.0, with no ERA or WHIP titles. Without doing any in-depth resarch, it looks to me like losing all of 1885 for league jumping probably cost him the Hall of Fame, as his rate stats were nowhere near as good when he returned. I'm looking at him as a sort of 19th century Jim Kaat: a career that goes on and on with an occasional nice high point, but no real compelling reason to vote for him.

Tip O'Neill: A very bright flash in a very small pan. Fascinating, though, that he won the 1888 batting title while hitting exactly 100 points under his previous season; you've gotta assume that's the only time that anything like that has ever happened. A better trivia question than HoM candidate.

Jimmy Ryan: Another player with limited dominanace in very early league play.

Wally Schang: With 1435 games caught, good defense, and a .393 OBP - second all-time among all MLB catchers - I see him as the easily the best receiver not in the HoM, at least until Mauer becomes eligible. He'll be in my top 5 for certain.

Urban Shocker: Good control, but otherwise I can't see any reason to favor him over a couple of dozen similar sub-200 win pitchers. No titles in ERA, WHIP, or H/9.

Ben Taylor: Gotta love that 146 OPS+. Top 5 on my upcoming ballot. @DL says, "He's McGriff on offense plus a lot of glove value" - which is a reasonable evaulation - but I see him as comfortably superior to McGriff offensively, with, as DL observes, a much superior glove. Apart from Luke Easter, for whom I intend to advocate tirelessly, I see Taylor as the HoM's #1 omission at present.

Mike Tiernan: Very limited dominance in a very short career.

Joe Tinker: He's in a famous poem - he must be great! The defense is definitely there, but that .308 OBP and 96 OPS+ are non-starters for me.

George Van Haltren: I've spoken about him at length before. A most interesting combination of above-average and highly consistent offense, a great outfield arm, OK pitching (and not token appearances - he earned 71 decisions), and - especially - blistering basepath speed, reflected by 583 steals and 11 100+-run seasons, many coming in sub-154 game seasons. He'll probably always be somewhere on my ballot, every year: the man simply fascinates me.

Bob Welch: One big season in wins, which I don't see as a terrifically important stat, and otherwise just an innings-eater. Not that there's anythng wrong with that, I'd gladly have him on my team, just not in the HoM.

Ned Williamson: Great defense at third, but in only 716 games - and third base ain't catcher. One fluke season with big power, but his career OPS is, curiously, the same as his games at third - .716 - and respresents just as poor a qualiication.

Vic Willis: I don't see anything special to distinguish him from a bunch of other pre-1910 pitchers.

* * *

So that's Taylor and Schang as top-5s for me, with Van Haltren receiving a ballot place, and Joss possibly so (though it's not likely - Santana would definitely come first).

Other definite returnees for me: Johnson, Rizzuto, Helton, Bonds, Lofton, and Jones. Luque and Tiant too, through I'm not sold on either of them as an all-time great pitcher. I suspect Santana will be an add for me.

Right now I'm thinking a top 5 of Jeter - Taylor - Abreu - Schang - Easter in this or a similar order, with the only certainty being Jeter at #1, and Taylor a high-probability #2.

I can see a potential consensus forming around Taylor, and think his prospects are bright in this elect-4 year.

I think Abreu gets in; I'm not sure if it'll be this year. I see him as a complete player and therefore well above Lofton.

I'd place Easter quite high if I saw a consensus forming; I still regard him as the HoM's #1 omission, and can't see a situation (other than his being elected) in which he'd be out of my top 5 for the forseeable future.
   38. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 30, 2019 at 07:52 AM (#5810316)
Alfredo Griffin: Just can't see what the fuss is about.


Bob Welch: One big season in wins, which I don't see as a terrifically important stat, and otherwise just an innings-eater. Not that there's anythng wrong with that, I'd gladly have him on my team, just not in the HoM.


These are 1880/1890s old-timers Mike Griffin and Mickey Welch.
   39. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 30, 2019 at 07:56 AM (#5810317)
35. Jaack Posted: January 29, 2019 at 08:07 PM (#5810234)
Of the frontloggers, Lofton seems to be the overall strongest candidate.

Compared directly to Andruw Jones, he has a number of advantages. Lofton was a bit stronger of a hitter and a much stronger baserunner, he played longer, and typically in the stronger AL, and if you are willing to give extra credit for the 1994-95 strike, there's no one who deserves it more. Jones had substantially better defense, but even if I take his defense entirely at face value, he still would be a smidgen behind Lofton.


This runs diametrically opposed to my comment in the 2019 results thread:

If your trim Lofton's low level filler seasons, adjust for strike seasons, and lopping off Andruw's below replacement Dodger campaign and first and last filler seasons, you get ~8000 PA per player:

KL: 114 wRC+ career, 142, 125, 125*, 118*, 115*, 109, 108, 108, 108, 107.
AJ: 114 wRC+ career, 134, 130, 127, 124, 118, 113, 112, 112, 97, 96.

Kikos, Baseball Gauge, and Baseball Reference assessment of defense in wins, plus an average.
KL: 6.0, 2.7, 10.5, 6.4
AJ: 15.4, 20.0, 23.0, 19.5

So general question for those with Lofton > Andruw, if Jones is ~10 or more wins better on defense and quite similar on offense, can Lofton make this up in league strength or baserunning value?
   40. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 30, 2019 at 08:29 AM (#5810324)
Art Fletcher: Good glove, limited durability, no bat, no speed, no vote.


+17 wins by Baseball-Reference and +33 by Baseball Gauge, that is arguably an all-time great glove, not merely good.

He's a 100 wRC+ player, for a shortstop, that's a solid bat.

Tony Mullane: I can see why voters might get excited over him. He's got a little bit of peak and plenty of innings pitched. But his strikeout ratio is < 4.0, with no ERA or WHIP titles. Without doing any in-depth resarch, it looks to me like losing all of 1885 for league jumping probably cost him the Hall of Fame, as his rate stats were nowhere near as good when he returned. I'm looking at him as a sort of 19th century Jim Kaat: a career that goes on and on with an occasional nice high point, but no real compelling reason to vote for him.


Regarding losing the 1885 season, that wouldn't happen in today's game, so he's a potential blacklist credit guy, giving him another prime season could be a large difference maker...a question for him is all of the time in inferior AA leagues.


Tip O'Neill: A very bright flash in a very small pan. Fascinating, though, that he won the 1888 batting title while hitting exactly 100 points under his previous season; you've gotta assume that's the only time that anything like that has ever happened. A better trivia question than HoM candidate.


The league rules from 1887 were quirky, allowing him the huge 1887 average, but agreed.

Urban Shocker: Good control, but otherwise I can't see any reason to favor him over a couple of dozen similar sub-200 win pitchers. No titles in ERA, WHIP, or H/9.


Interested in a larger take from you here, as Shocker has had decent support for a long-time and still does.
Are you adjusting his 1918 war shortened year, on pace for another ~8+ WAR season when he went into service.
His case isn't too much different than Stan Coveleski's for a contemporary comp?

Joe Tinker: He's in a famous poem - he must be great! The defense is definitely there, but that .308 OBP and 96 OPS+ are non-starters for me.


I think it's dangerous to work in absolutes, regarding the quote on OBP and OPS, if a guy provided wins to his team, what does some raw stat really mean. Is Ozzie Smith .328 SLG and 90 wRC+ drop him out of HOM worthiness?

He's +21 wins at Baseball Reference and +36 at Baseball Gauge.

Ned Williamson: Great defense at third, but in only 716 games - and third base ain't catcher. One fluke season with big power, but his career OPS is, curiously, the same as his games at third - .716 - and respresents just as poor a qualiication.


The limited quantity of games is a function of the shorter schedules of the 1870s, earlier 1880s where he did some of his finest work. Good call on the fluke power season, that was a ballpark quirk that allowed doubles to be ruled as home runs in his home in Chicago. His 1879 was of similiar hitting quality though to his 1884 fluky year. Tough guy to peg, worthy of a close review.

Vic Willis: I don't see anything special to distinguish him from a bunch of other pre-1910 pitchers.

His splits between Baseball-Reference or Baseball Gauge RA-9 type of WAR and Fangraphs FIP are huge, even for that time era. How much credit should go to the fielders, and how much was Willis inducing weak contact to make the defense's job easy? B-R and B-G argue for his placement in the top 65-70 pitchers of all-time, Fangraphs maybe not even top 150.

I'd place Easter quite high if I saw a consensus forming; I still regard him as the HoM's #1 omission, and can't see a situation (other than his being elected) in which he'd be out of my top 5 for the forseeable future.


Strategic voting isn't allowed, if Easter is the best guy available to you, he should be #1 on your 2020 ballot. I'm intrigued by Easter, can you share your recap on why he's this level of worthy. The evidence from Dr. C's MLEs don't push him above the line, but his career path is quite unique, so keeping an open mind on him is essential.


And as an aside, wanted to complement you on the progrock handle, I'm a heavy/progressive kind of listener, so this is refreshing to see.
   41. Jaack Posted: January 30, 2019 at 09:07 AM (#5810338)
This runs diametrically opposed to my comment in the 2019 results thread:

If your trim Lofton's low level filler seasons, adjust for strike seasons, and lopping off Andruw's below replacement Dodger campaign and first and last filler seasons, you get ~8000 PA per player:

KL: 114 wRC+ career, 142, 125, 125*, 118*, 115*, 109, 108, 108, 108, 107.
AJ: 114 wRC+ career, 134, 130, 127, 124, 118, 113, 112, 112, 97, 96.

Kikos, Baseball Gauge, and Baseball Reference assessment of defense in wins, plus an average.
KL: 6.0, 2.7, 10.5, 6.4
AJ: 15.4, 20.0, 23.0, 19.5

So general question for those with Lofton > Andruw, if Jones is ~10 or more wins better on defense and quite similar on offense, can Lofton make this up in league strength or baserunning value?

I don't see how you are getting Lofton to 8000 PAs without trimming off seasons where he had some value - sure, you can ignore his 79 PAs in 1991, but every other season he was a positive contributor. There's no sense in cutting off the tail of his career as he was still a quality player at the end - a 108 wRC+ with still solid baerunning isn't a season that can be ignored.

And furthermore, Lofton nearly bridges the 100 run gap with baserunning alone - by bbref he has 101 rbaser+rdp compared to Jones' 8. The numbers are practically identical by baseball prospectus - 100.6 to 7.2.

So if I assume Jones was 10 wins better on defense, Lofton gets 8-9 on base running alone. That leaves a 1-2 win gap for Lofton to make up for between strike credit, extra PAs, and league adjustments. If you are conservative with those things, they are about tied. But I definitely feel more confident in those things than I do in Jones' defensive record.

If you feel confident in Jones' defense being historically unparalleled, then I can see how he's neck and neck with Lofton, perhaps even slightly ahead. But Lofton's advantages feel more concrete to me.
   42. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 30, 2019 at 09:39 AM (#5810350)
Good stuff Jaack, so it comes down to if Kiko's W-L records can also shed some light...Andruw easily handles Lofton here, and that's with a ~9.5 win defensive gap:

https://baseball.tomthress.com/StatTables/PlayerComps.php?id1=jonea002&id2=loftk001

The baserunning metrics match what you have quoted, Lofton ~12 wins, Jones ~1.5.

Please weigh in Kiko, but the studies you have show power being underweighted by other WAR metrics, by contact is being overrated, you wrote about this phenomenon I believe in a comparison of Juan Pierre and Adam Dunn...Andruw is showing as a much more valuable hitter.

Is Kiko on to something, or have the other systems better measured offense?

Could be coincidental, but Baseball Prospectus new DRC+ has Jones as ~117, Lofton ~106. As another aside, work done studying ballparks at the Baseball-Fever shows Andruw as one that is hurt the most, losing ~7 wins of value: https://www.baseball-fever.com/forum/general-baseball/statistics-analysis-sabermetrics/83320-progressing-toward-better-stats-thread, and DRC does attempt to incorporate ballpark, weather, and other factors that aren't in classic OPS+ or wRC+.
   43. Carl Goetz Posted: January 30, 2019 at 09:47 AM (#5810352)
"As a Lofton supporter and Taylor meh-er, I'm fine with not including Taylor last year and with Lofton making good progress toward election."
As a Taylor supporter (though probably mid-to-late ballot and not an elect-me slot) based on your MLEs, this comment interested me. Why only "meh"?
   44. progrockfan Posted: January 30, 2019 at 10:12 AM (#5810358)
These are 1880/1890s old-timers Mike Griffin and Mickey Welch.
<wipes egg off face>

Mike Griffin: excellent CF range with soft hands, probably a better defender than Van Haltren, who debuted the same year; some offensive similarities with Van H, including superb basepath speed, but in 5 less years and 477 fewer games, which leads to just 1755 hits vs. 2544 for Van H – also, Griffin lacks George’s extra pitching credit; with greater longevity he might make the lower rungs of my ballot, but as it stands, probably not.

Mickey Welch: one of the lesser 300-game winners; a couple of gaudy ERA totals that are superficially impressive, but less so in context – that 1.93 in 1888 ranks only 4th in the NL, which has a league ERA of 2.83; I see his contemporary Tim Keefe as a vastly superior pitcher; Welch was solid, but he strikes me as a mistake by the HoF, which was hung up on his being the third pitcher to 300 wins, and on his 17 consecutive wins in 1885; I place a lot less emphasis on wins than they did, and don’t advocate the HoM making the same mistake.

Further:

Many thanks, Bleed, for your detailed analysis of my comments, which were researched in a relatively brief period of time.
Art Fletcher: Good glove, limited durability, no bat, no speed, no vote.
+17 wins by Baseball-Reference and +33 by Baseball Gauge, that is arguably an all-time great glove, not merely good.

He's a 100 wRC+ player, for a shortstop, that's a solid bat.
I’ll agree with you on the glove – I shouldn’t have said ”good”, I was being flippant for the sake of a well-parsed sentence – but I don’t see the offense or longevity to justify a ballot place. A 99 OPS+ with no offensive titles in anything apart from HBP, and 52.6% base stealing in seasons with recorded CS data, isn’t much of an argument starter for me. I’ll gladly make adjustments for his great defense, but Ozzie, say, has 1063 more games at short, which is a bunch, and was a 79.6% base stealer with a deft hand at bunting and a penchant for avoiding double plays, so he does have some positives on offense. Some of that information is missing for Fletcher of course. I just can’t see the career value. (But please note: As with all eligible players, I’ve got an eye on the discussions here & am always amenable to logic-based persuasion.)

Tony Mullane […] It looks to me like losing all of 1885 for league jumping probably cost him the Hall of Fame, as his rate stats were nowhere near as good when he returned.
Regarding losing the 1885 season, that wouldn't happen in today's game, so he's a potential blacklist credit guy, giving him another prime season could be a large difference maker...
It could be, I agree, but for me the central point is the precipitous drop in his rate stats from 1886 on. That’s not his fault of course, but nonetheless represents the reality of the numbers we have to work with. It’s a shame, because I don’t see a way in which a player like Mullane could be realistically compensated for loss of skills due to unjustly-inflicted missed playing time.

Urban Shocker: Good control, but otherwise I can't see any reason to favor him over a couple of dozen similar sub-200 win pitchers. No titles in ERA, WHIP, or H/9.
Interested in a larger take from you here, as Shocker has had decent support for a long-time and still does.
Are you adjusting his 1918 war shortened year, on pace for another ~8+ WAR season when he went into service.
Well, even if I do, I still can’t see his case…
His case isn't too much different than Stan Coveleski's for a contemporary comp?
Coveleski’s got ever so slightly better rate stars (which isn't a huge deal) with an ERA 28 points lower (ERA+ narrows the separation, but it’s still there) in 401 more innings (basically an extra one and a half seasons – call it just one to compensate for 1918, but it’s another small edge), and two ERA and ERA+ titles (which, for me, is a very big deal, and gives Coveleski the peak that Shocker lacks).

Joe Tinker: He's in a famous poem - he must be great! The defense is definitely there, but that .308 OBP and 96 OPS+ are non-starters for me.
I think it's dangerous to work in absolutes.
So do I, so do I. The comment about the poem was simply intended to reference the silly way in which the famous trio’s public perception was magnified via rhyme. Even the man’s Hall of Fame plaque quotes it!
Regarding the quote on OBP and OPS, if a guy provided wins to his team, what does some raw stat really mean. Is Ozzie Smith .328 SLG and 90 wRC+ drop him out of HOM worthiness? He's +21 wins at Baseball Reference and +36 at Baseball Gauge.
See above for some words on Ozzie. I try to judge each player on their own merits. Given that their top single-season total was 58, I don’t see Tinker-Evers-Chance as a historically great double play combination. As an individual, Tinker was a great defensive shortstop with a truly lousy bat. No offensive titles, 10/22 on steals in the one available season with CS data, never scored more than 80 runs in a season… I just can’t see the argument.

Ned Williamson: Great defense at third, but in only 716 games - and third base ain't catcher. …
The limited quantity of games is a function of the shorter schedules of the 1870s, earlier 1880s where he did some of his finest work.
I must concede this point. From 1878-1888 Williamson played in 1081 of 1097 possible games, which is rock-solid in any era. He also split his time between third and short.
Tough guy to peg, worthy of a close review.
Revising my view of his games played definitely improves his profile for me – but I still can’t see the offense to justify a ballot placement.

Vic Willis: I don't see anything special to distinguish him from a bunch of other pre-1910 pitchers.
His splits between Baseball-Reference or Baseball Gauge RA-9 type of WAR and Fangraphs FIP are huge, even for that time era.
I’d be interested to hear more on this subject.
B-R and B-G argue for his placement in the top 65-70 pitchers of all-time, Fangraphs maybe not even top 150.
The timeline really mauls his candidacy in my view. Imho, it’s hard to take pre-1910 numbers at face value when comparing quality of performance with later eras.

I'd place Easter quite high if I saw a consensus forming.
Strategic voting isn't allowed, if Easter is the best guy available to you, he should be #1 on your 2020 ballot.
Poorly phrased by me… please read on.
I still regard him as the HoM's #1 omission, and can't see a situation (other than his being elected) in which he'd be out of my top 5 for the forseeable future.
I'm intrigued by Easter, can you share your recap on why he's this level of worthy. The evidence from Dr. C's MLEs don't push him above the line, but his career path is quite unique, so keeping an open mind on him is essential.
When/if I get a chance, I plan to do a Campanella-style writeup on Easter. That’s a big ask for me in terms of my present schedule.

I’m glad to know that you have an open mind on the subject. (Me too, on all subjects I hope.) Let me put it this way: On the one hand, there’s nothing that I can see in his record and in the anecdotal evidence – literally nothing – to indicate that he wasn’t a truly great power hitter. On the other, the lack of certainty and precision on his actual record makes it impossible for me to rank him #1 in a given year against players for whom I have a stable data set.

This leads me to a paradoxical situation: I regard him as the HoM’s greatest omission, but until I have time to do the spadework (and perhaps even then), I cannot construct a linear, numbers-based argument on why I should place him ahead of Ben Taylor, say, or Wally Schang.

In all cases where segregation interfered with a player’s career path, I believe in giving the player all reasonable benefits of the doubt. Easter stretches that maxim to the limit. All I can say is that I’m a believer, and everything I read about the man (which I’m doing now, when I can spare the time) confirms my belief. Hopefully I’ll have something more substantial for you in future.

And as an aside, wanted to complement you on the progrock handle, I'm a heavy/progressive kind of listener, so this is refreshing to see.
Bleed on, my brother.

   45. Howie Menckel Posted: January 30, 2019 at 10:40 AM (#5810365)
per Post 30 - if only we had a list of those with the most "voting points" over the years
   46. DL from MN Posted: January 30, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5810377)

Tommy Bridges: Can't see the peak or career numbers to justify a vote for a pitcher with < 3000 IP and > 1.3 WHIP.

Gavvy Cravath: Enjoyed a respectable window (1912-1919) as a monster power hitter in pre-live ball terms, with 1913-15 being truly outstanding years, but basically has no career outside that window. Quite a lot like Tony Oliva in that respect. I could certainly see a case for him in the eyes of extreme peak voters, but that's not me.


Tommy Bridges is over 3000 IP if he doesn't fight in WWII and that's with a 126 ERA+.

On Gavy Cravath - he was a monster power hitter in 1910-11 also but was doing it with the Minneapolis Millers. Nobody had a 29 HR season anywhere until Cravath did it in 1911. His case pretty much requires MLE credit for his 1907-1911 when he was stuck in the PCL and AA.

Cravath couldn't escape the minors, a victim of the Deadball Era's draft rules. It took a clerical error -- the Millers inadvertently left out the word "not" in a telegram to Pittsburgh -- to get Gavvy back to the big leagues. In a controversial decision, the National Commission ruled that Minneapolis could not retain Cravath because of the mistake. The 31-year old slugger received his second chance at the majors in 1912 with the Philadelphia Phillies, who purchased his rights for $9,000
   47. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 30, 2019 at 11:14 AM (#5810384)
Thanks for the exchange prog, I look forward to the deep dive on Luke Easter when you get a chance.
   48. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 30, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5810418)
Please weigh in Kiko, but the studies you have show power being underweighted by other WAR metrics, by contact is being overrated, you wrote about this phenomenon I believe in a comparison of Juan Pierre and Adam Dunn...Andruw is showing as a much more valuable hitter.

Is Kiko on to something, or have the other systems better measured offense?


Here's an article I wrote up that looks at the net win values of various offensive events which makes the point Bleed is referencing here (this is an excerpt from my first book - Chapter 5, pp. 150-156): Net Win Values. I'm working on a fairly significant overhaul of how my site handles positional averages - basically, I'm going to let you pick your own positional averages. I think I have the math basically worked out, but I need to update various pages on the website and write an article explaining it - which will probably take at least a couple of weeks. That doesn't really affect a comparison of Kenny Lofton vs. Andruw Jones, who were both center fielders for whom 80% of their careers overlapped. But I'm leaning toward waiting until I finish that before getting into too many detailed player comparisons. Anyway, Bleed has basically identified why my system likes Jones more than Lofton.

Also, as a follow-up to #36, I would recommend that people who use WAR as their primary analytical tool look at both Baseball-Reference as well as Fangraphs for not only pitchers but also position players. BB-Ref gives Lofton an edge over Jones in career WAR, 68.3 - 62.8, but Fangraphs essentially reverses those numbers, giving Jones the edge, 66.9 - 62.4. Fangraphs also shows Jones as the superior batter over his career, 121.6 to 112.8 versus BB-Ref's 140 - 119.8 edge to Lofton (excluding DP's; BB-Ref has Lofton ahead 163 - 118 if you include DP's - I'm not sure which is the apples-to-apples comp).
   49. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 30, 2019 at 12:44 PM (#5810420)
I look forward to the deep dive on Luke Easter when you get a chance.


Ditto. Luke Easter is a guy that I really want to vote for. I very strongly suspect that if Luke Easter had been born in the 1950s or 1960s he would currently be in the Hall of Fame (and Hall of Merit). But I don't necessarily have a good feel for how much credit he deserves for what he actually did - at both ends of his career, he was a minor-league star into his 40's - versus what he could have done with better luck.
   50. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 30, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5810434)
One of the reasons I’m not a fWAR user is that I have found their WAR explanations less helpful and informative than BBREF’s. GIDP runs is one such area. That said, I’ve always wondered whether there should be a handedness adjustment for GIDP runs. Being a lefty is a massive advantage there.

As regards a Taylor, I was a little too cute in my wording. We have plenty of 1Bs, enough that I’m comfortable that Taylor isn’t a high priority candidate. To me Lofton is simply a higher priority.

Easter.... My grandmother, true story, went to her doctor because she couldn’t stop hearing “The Easter Parade” in her head. She’s 95, and she’s never had an ear worm until now. The biggest irony is that she’s Jewish. That all said, I’m not going to lead our Easter Parade. Kiko summarizes the situation well. Born a decade too late, had lots of leg injuries that sapped ability afield and abasepath. Plus we kno know dang near nothing about his play from 1937-1946. There’s too much unknown to draw solid conclusions. Particularly because we would be basing them in his play in AAA as like a 41-48 y/o. But we do know that he was slower than molasses due to various foot and leg injuries, and he wasn’t an outstanding 1B, and his stats dint translate as well as I thought they would.
   51. Jaack Posted: January 30, 2019 at 01:30 PM (#5810435)
Also, as a follow-up to #36, I would recommend that people who use WAR as their primary analytical tool look at both Baseball-Reference as well as Fangraphs for not only pitchers but also position players. BB-Ref gives Lofton an edge over Jones in career WAR, 68.3 - 62.8, but Fangraphs essentially reverses those numbers, giving Jones the edge, 66.9 - 62.4. Fangraphs also shows Jones as the superior batter over his career, 121.6 to 112.8 versus BB-Ref's 140 - 119.8 edge to Lofton (excluding DP's; BB-Ref has Lofton ahead 163 - 118 if you include DP's - I'm not sure which is the apples-to-apples comp).


I'll see if I can find it, but I recall a fangraphs chat, I think with either Jeff Sullivan or Dave Cameron where they recommended not to rely on their baserunning numbers prior to ~2003 and that bbref's were strictly superior. I don't believe fangraphs incorporate's DP numbers prior to that or something - hopefully I can find that chat to confirm what it is, but as is, I don't use fangraphs baserunning metrics.

I think the batting differences aside from that are mainly park factors - both use linear weights and they have a unified replacement level.
   52. Jaack Posted: January 30, 2019 at 01:49 PM (#5810436)
According to this page, fang raps baserunning numbers prior to 2002 are just based on stolen bases and caught stealing, so it's largely outclassed by everyone else's metrics.
   53. Mike Webber Posted: January 30, 2019 at 02:21 PM (#5810444)
On Gavy Cravath - he was a monster power hitter in 1910-11 also but was doing it with the Minneapolis Millers. Nobody had a 29 HR season anywhere until Cravath did it in 1911. His case pretty much requires MLE credit for his 1907-1911 when he was stuck in the PCL and AA.

Cravath couldn't escape the minors, a victim of the Deadball Era's draft rules. It took a clerical error -- the Millers inadvertently left out the word "not" in a telegram to Pittsburgh -- to get Gavvy back to the big leagues. In a controversial decision, the National Commission ruled that Minneapolis could not retain Cravath because of the mistake. The 31-year old slugger received his second chance at the majors in 1912 with the Philadelphia Phillies, who purchased his rights for $9,000


One BIG additional issue for Cravath is what to do with the Baker Bowl. For "years" in this project we knew he had a large home/road split (93 homers at home, 26 on the road) but we didn't have a complete breakdown.

Gavy Cravath – Retrosheet now has home road splits for Gavvy for his entire career!
1908-20 G AB  HR RBI  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS
Home 616 1898 93 331 .304 .398 .545 .943 
Away 610 2057 26 247 .273 .366 .419 .785 


That home 943 OPS would be fourth behind Ruth, Cobb and Hornsby for the period, just ahead of Speaker and Shoeless Joe.

The 785 OPS as a road player? Tied for 23rd for the period with Sam Rice, which is still very good. Nestled in between Zach Wheat, Jack Tobin, Braggo Roth and Steve Evans.

As always the truth is somewhere in the middle, but I’d bet he’s closer to Zach Wheat than Shoeless Joe. If he’s “only” Zach Wheat his lack of bulk probably means he is not a HOM candidate for me.
   54. DL from MN Posted: January 30, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5810461)
Cravath has large splits but his hitting helped his team win games at home. You can't throw out half of his career because it was spent at a hitters park. That's what park adjustments are for.

Another example

Todd Helton
Home .345/.441/.607 1.048
Away .287/.386/.469 .855

An 855 OPS is pretty pedestrian and certainly not HoM worthy for a modern first baseman. Do we judge Helton just by his road stats?
   55. DanG Posted: January 30, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5810467)
Nobody had a 29 HR season anywhere until Cravath did it in 1911.
From Perry Werden's bio:

"Playing for Minneapolis in the Western League, Perry Werden slugged 43 homers in 1894 and 45 homers the following year, totals unprecedented in Organized Baseball and unsurpassed until Babe Ruth clouted 54 home runs in 1920."

Regardless of this, I think Gavvy Cravath is a serious candidate when correctly viewed. With consideration of his five years in the PCL and three years in the AA, his career has the necessary bulk.
   56. Mike Webber Posted: January 30, 2019 at 05:14 PM (#5810508)
Do we have a good MLE for Cravath?

Also, how much do you discount his minor league career for schedule length? His 5 seasons in the PCL he averaged 196 games a year. In his 2 of his seasons in Minneapolis he played 164 and 167.

I also wanted to point out with the Retrosheet data was that we honestly didn't know how much was the Baker Bowl. We knew the home run totals. We knew that Helton for instance had an OPS about 22% higher at home, with Cravath we didn't know if it was 20% higher (which it was) or 25% higher or 15% higher.
   57. The Honorable Ardo Posted: January 30, 2019 at 08:24 PM (#5810541)
2020 prelim

1. Jeter - about the median player in the Hall of Merit. Not in my all-time top 100, but #1 in a weak year.
2. Schang - the bandwagon is rolling! The only pre-integration white player who I strongly believe "should be in".
3. Abreu - superficially similar to Sosa (in WARP, JAWS, etc.) but a more well-rounded contributor with a longer prime.
4. Taylor - bumped up. Agree with DL that he's "the last obvious Negro Leagues candidate."
5. Luque
6. Helton - Arguably the best non-Bonds position player between 2000 and 2004. Played every day, 160 OPS+ (adjusted for Coors), above-average 1B defense. Then a long tail. A Banks/Sisler HoM case - not as brilliant at its peak, but more valuable in the decline phase.
7. Hilton Smith - Was the top NeL player on my ballot for several years, but I've been persuaded that Redding and Taylor were better.
8. Posada
9. Tiant
10. Kent - The similarities to Lazzeri and Larry Doyle are apt on a rate basis, but Kent has four more full seasons of production than those two: the Hall of Merit in/out line in a nutshell. Of all our inductees, he most closely resembles Cupid Childs.
11. Sosa
12. Evers - of Tinker/Evers/Chance, the most worthy of induction.
13. Santana
14. Easter - I'm a "Friend of Easter", but not to excess. Comparable to Fred McGriff on the limited evidence we have.
15. Tommy John

16-20: Munson, Bell, Garciaparra (in between HoM Boudreau and not-HoM Fregosi), Rizzuto, Lofton
21-25: Lee Smith, Andruw Jones, Willis, McGriff, Brock
   58. bachslunch Posted: January 31, 2019 at 08:01 AM (#5810586)
Strategic voting isn't allowed, if Easter is the best guy available to you, he should be #1 on your 2020 ballot.


Yup, saw this. Given how the other voters think, I'd probably abandon my votes for Jim McCormick because he doesn't have a chance to get in. But given how I look at things, he's a no-brainer top area of the ballot guy. Unless I plan to fudge things on my approach or totally change my thinking basis, that's the way it is. For me, my thinking seems reasonable and fair and based on something clear and quantifiable. Otherwise, I'd probably engage in some strategic voting to push up guys that are close to the top of the ballot and get them in.

If I had a real BBHoF ballot, I'd probably do strategic voting, along the lines of leaving off the no-brainer who I know is getting in anyway and supporting down ballot types I want to continue along. It's not well thought of at this site generally, but so be it. As long as the real BBHoF limits you to ten choices, I wouldn't be comfortable doing otherwise.

I'm curious -- how do others rank the NGL players not in the HoM? I'm finding the quantification issues hard to interpret. Best I can tell, Ben Taylor, Hilton Smith, and Heavy Johnson might be the top three, with Taylor well ahead of the pack. Thoughts are welcome.

The question of minor league credit is an interesting one. The more I think about it, the harder it is for me not to equate it to an extent with NGL credit in that:

1. The player was barred through no fault of their own from the majors.

2. They actually did play somewhere and put up quantifiable statistics.

Best I can tell, the only player likely be affected by this is Gavvy Cravath, though.
   59. DanG Posted: January 31, 2019 at 09:35 AM (#5810606)
Best I can tell, the only player likely be affected by this is Gavvy Cravath, though.
Some others that come immediately to mind are Jack Quinn, Jack Fournier, Bob Johnson, Don Newcombe, Ray Dandridge and Dolph Camilli.
   60. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 31, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5810611)
Others could include: Babe Adams, Buzz Arlett, Chief Bender, Wally Berger, Tommy Bridges, Kiki Cuyler, Brian Giles, Orlando Hernandez, Tony Lazzeri, Dolf Luque, Claude Passeau, Luis Tiant?, and Ken Williams.
   61. DL from MN Posted: January 31, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5810653)
Lefty Grove (though he didn't need the help) and Bus Clarkson also fit that description. Bobby Estallella and Sal Maglie played in the Mexican League.
   62. Esteban Rivera Posted: January 31, 2019 at 12:21 PM (#5810654)
You could also add Dom DiMaggio, Max Bishop, Ernie Lombardi, maybe Tommy Holmes, Johnny Bassler and Ferris Fain.
   63. DL from MN Posted: January 31, 2019 at 12:23 PM (#5810656)
Brent will do a much better job with Cravath's MLEs than I ever could, but I attempted some back-of-the-envelope math to get a basic and conservative sense of what Cravath's MLEs might have looked like for each of his PCL and AA seasons.

I melded the very most basic portions of Brent's and Chris Cobb's approaches, using Brent's conversion ratios for R, AVG, and SLG, then trying to locate season-by-season WS comps for Cravath among MLBs in each year I was MLEing.

I also made some small assumptions
1) That Cravath would play 85% of his team's games each season, so 131 games in a 154 schedule. During his MLB prime, Cravath played in about 90% of his teams' games, but I wanted to be conservative.

2) That his walk rate would be the same as his walk rate in the majors (about one walk for every 7 or so ABs).

3) That his AA parks (described as good hitting parks earlier in the thread) would have a PF of 105. This could be too low, surely, but 105 seemed like a good starting point.

I didn't do anything to contextualize him within his league's or team's run-scoring environment, nor do I have any idea of the PF for his PCL years, so take these with a grain of salt and for only what they are meant to be: a conservative, unshaped notion of what Cravath's PCL and AA stats might look like in translation:

YEAR_AGE_ABs_R___H___2B_3B_HR_BB_RC__AVG/OBP/SLG
1903_22__504_62__127_28_7__3__66_60__252/339/353
1904_23__477_62__119_27_1__7__63_57__249/337/354
1905_24__451_48__108_17_4__5__60_49__239/328/328
1906_25__468_69__116_23_5__4__61_54__248/335/344
1907_26__442_70__123_28_2__6__58_63__278/362/391
1909_28__433_57__113_20_6__3__56_53__261/345/356
1910_29__489_75__141_27_8__9__62_78__288/368/431
1911_30__477_103_155_34_8__19_61_105_325/401/549

TOTALS
AB__3742
R___547
H___1002
2B__204
3B__41
HR__56
BB__487
AVG_268
OBP_352
SLG_389

Notice that these MLE total rate stats look almost identical to Cravath's 1908 AL season line: 256/354/383.

In a moment, WS estimates.
44. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 04, 2005 at 01:36 PM (#1231098)
To give a rough estimation of Cravath's WS based on the above translation, I located players who had similar rate stats to Cravath's in the same season he had them. I usually came up with several who were in the ballpark, some higher, some lower, and I tried to mentally adjust for ballparks and positions. Then I just averaged the comps together and when appropriate spat out a number that seemed a little lower or higher as appropriate.

So the following list is Cactus's estimated WS, plus the comps I looked at, including their Win Shares
YR___WS: COMPS(ws)
1903_15: McGann(12), J Farrell(16), Ganzell(18)

1904_18: Wallace(23), Hartsel(21), Browne(20), Odwell(19), Dolan(16), Ritchey(22), Beaumont(24), Smoot(19), J Delahanty(20)

1905_18: Dahlen(24), Ritchey(17), Courtney(17), F Jones(29), Mcintyre(20)

1906_18: Isbell(26), G Davis(29), Wallace(23), Mcintyre(19), Scheckard(25), Nealon(18), T Leach (19)

1907_22: F Clarke(29), T Leach(29), Titus(22), Seymour(20), J Delahanty(17)

1909_20: H Davis(19), H Lord(21), Engle(23), Demmit(18), T Leach (26), Chance(14), Hoffman (27), Lennox(15)

1910_23: Merkle(20), Doyle(25), Byrne(27), Bates(24), Knight(23), Cree(22)

1911_30: Doyle(28), Schulte(31), Crawford(32) [Really, no one in 1911 has a truly comparable line, so this is one is really just a rounded off guesstimate.]

Total: 164

Add 164 to his 202, and you've got someone in the Keeler/Goslin/By Williams range.

Again, I was trying to make commonsense, conservative judgements, so feel free to disagree with my assessments. It should be noted, however, that if you look at the comparable players by year, they lend credence to the notion that Cravath was a late bloomer. He starts off with solid veteran types like McGann, jumps up to the borderline star area (McIntyre), then into the occasional All-Star area (H Davis, F Jones, T Leach), then finally in 1911 hits paydirt and starts the run of outstanding seasons that would continue in the NL.

Also, the persistent presence of first McIntyre, then Leach, then Doyle suggests the kind of arc his career was taking.

OK, so this is my conservative, back-of-the-envelope look at him, I can't wait to see if Brent's translations agree and can provide a more specific sense of the shape of Cravath's career.
   64. DL from MN Posted: January 31, 2019 at 12:24 PM (#5810657)
April 21, 2005 at 09:38 PM (#1277387)
Agreed on no credit after his NL career, but...

At the risk of sounding too apologetic for Cactus, and in the interest of just making sure, I think we should wait until Brent responds regarding the walk rates.

I think it's imperative to reserve judgement until then because it could mean a difference of 20 walks a year:

Here's Brent's numbers combined with Cravath's MLB numbers:

Year Lg Age AB BB OBP OPS+ AB:BB
1903 PCL 22 410 30 .291 84 13.7
1904 PCL 23 380 29 .291 93 13.1
1905 PCL 24 354 32 .301 95 11.1
1906 PCL 25 493 47 .307 104 10.5
1907 PCL 26 436 42 .335 129 10.4
1908 AL 27 277 38 .354 136 7.3
1909 AL 28 56 20 .382 92 2.8
1909 AA 28 391 42 .349 132 9.3
1910 AA 29 563 70 .370 142 8.0
1911 AA 30 553 73 .399 161 7.6
1912 NL 31 436 77 .358 119 5.7
1913 NL 32 525 63 .407 172 8.3
1914 NL 33 499 72 .402 160 6.9
1915 NL 34 522 77 .393 171 6.8
1916 NL 35 448 89 .379 147 5.0
1917 NL 36 503 57 .369 153 8.8
1918 NL 37 426 36 .320 106 11.8
1919 NL 38 214 21 .438 213 10.2
1920 NL 39 45 12 .407 145 3.8
   65. DL from MN Posted: January 31, 2019 at 12:25 PM (#5810658)
There's more in the Cravath thread

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit/discussion/gavvy_cravath/

This was my summarized takeaway though:


Notice that these MLE total rate stats look almost identical to Cravath's 1908 AL season line: 256/354/383.


I gave him a few more 1908 seasons.
   66. Mike Webber Posted: January 31, 2019 at 02:12 PM (#5810708)
DL, thank you for all this. Interesting stuff.
I know the narrative is Pete Alexander was the guy that gave the Phillies their only sustained success before Mike Schmidt showed up, but Cravath deserves a goodly chunk of that credit too.
   67. Esteban Rivera Posted: February 01, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5811144)

Here's an article I wrote up that looks at the net win values of various offensive events which makes the point Bleed is referencing here (this is an excerpt from my first book - Chapter 5, pp. 150-156): Net Win Values. I'm working on a fairly significant overhaul of how my site handles positional averages - basically, I'm going to let you pick your own positional averages. I think I have the math basically worked out, but I need to update various pages on the website and write an article explaining it - which will probably take at least a couple of weeks. That doesn't really affect a comparison of Kenny Lofton vs. Andruw Jones, who were both center fielders for whom 80% of their careers overlapped. But I'm leaning toward waiting until I finish that before getting into too many detailed player comparisons. Anyway, Bleed has basically identified why my system likes Jones more than Lofton.

Also, as a follow-up to #36, I would recommend that people who use WAR as their primary analytical tool look at both Baseball-Reference as well as Fangraphs for not only pitchers but also position players. BB-Ref gives Lofton an edge over Jones in career WAR, 68.3 - 62.8, but Fangraphs essentially reverses those numbers, giving Jones the edge, 66.9 - 62.4. Fangraphs also shows Jones as the superior batter over his career, 121.6 to 112.8 versus BB-Ref's 140 - 119.8 edge to Lofton (excluding DP's; BB-Ref has Lofton ahead 163 - 118 if you include DP's - I'm not sure which is the apples-to-apples comp).


There's a couple of things here I wanted to comment on. Would the difference in how power and contact are valued be limited just to the values of the specific components mentioned in the article, or is it related to how much weight is given to OBP vs. slugging in the frameworks of the metrics? I know that in the studies that have been done that OBP correlates more with run scoring than slugging, but of course it will when you think about it (you can't score a run if you're not on base while you can get a hit and not score in that moment unless it's a home run). And also that the weight is 1.7 or 1.8 OBP relative to slugging according to Tango (but I'm not sure if that is the weight that factors into the batting runs calculation of the WAR framework). But I've always felt that it makes more sense that the relative weight of the two should depend on the run context (higher run context would make the gap of importance between OBP amd SLG wider while a lower run context would make the gap between the two narrower). Not sure if that is how the WAR framework does it.

Very interested Kiko in playing with with the positional averages once you complete the overhaul you're planning on doing at your site. I've been looking at the positional adjustments that are used by Baseball-Reference and there are a few things that just strike me as odd about the changes in the values assigned to the positions.

And one more data point in Andruw Jones vs. Kenny Lofton, Baseball Gauge's version of WAR (which uses DRA as its fielding component) has Jones with 62.0 WAR and Lofton with 53.8 (although that is without adjusting Lofton for the 94-95 seasons).
   68. kcgard2 Posted: February 03, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5811447)
Since it seems Taylor (and NgL players at large) is the hot topic of recent elections, I will defend/clarify my statement on Taylor, and also provide thoughts about Taylor's MLEs, and the NgL MLEs in general. A lot of people seem to be taking these at par as simply the value accrued by NgL players. That's their prerogative, but I have a number of reservations about the MLEs which I will share and perhaps it will generate good discussion.

But before that, let me rephrase a few points I've made about NgL candidates in past discussions. First being, that NgL players as a group represent approximately 4-5% of the eligible player pool for the HOM, and they currently represent 10% of the electorate. This despite the fact that NgL were drawing from a smaller talent pool than MLB was (by a factor of about 8-10x by raw population count). I think there is certainly a good argument that NgL is over-represented. With the emphasis on fair representation in HOM, I do wonder why NgL never seems to get this scrutiny.

Before getting to the MLEs, let me start from a premise that doesn't directly address the MLEs, but starts from a much simpler spot. Taylor had an .858 OPS in ~4000 PAs (that we currently know about) in NgL play. Any regression of these stats is going to have Taylor quite frankly as a not particularly impressive hitter against MLB competition. Taylor's performance was equivalent to a 146 OPS+ against his league, which is more impressive than the raw line, but I will have more to say about this later. I find it difficult to start from a premise that Taylor's raw line would have improved if he had played against MLB competition. This view is where you run into troublesome comps for Taylor, such as Jack Fournier, Joe Harris, George Grantham, Bill Terry (who is in the HOM, but IMO still presents an issue for Taylor's MLEs), or if you regress the raw line at all, comps like Ed Konetchy, Jake Daubert, and others. There were a LOT of 1B during this period who put up batting lines pretty similar to Taylor's unregressed line, but did so in MLB, and it simply wasn't worth all that much in terms of WAR. Giving Taylor full credit for his career line at a seasonal level, with good 1B defense, was worth about 4-6 WAR. But that assumes that Taylor's batting lines would translate to MLB competition *and* to seasons about twice as long as Taylor was playing. This is another underappreciated source of attrition/regression that is not only ignored in the MLEs, but likely exacerbated by pro-rating playing time.

If you look at the MLEs, see 72 WAR, and stop there, it's no wonder you'd have Taylor in one of your top ballot spots. But in a few subsequent comments I want to address the MLEs themselves.
   69. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 03, 2019 at 11:58 AM (#5811467)
As an author of some MLEs and the most recent ones, I think it is wise that we have the kind of convo that KCgard2 is asking for. I hope that many will participate in it.

KCG2, my latest MLEs use a combo of z-scores, quality-of-play adjustments, and rolling averages to get at what you are talking about. Generally I totally agree: don’t just take the number.
   70. kcgard2 Posted: February 03, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5811476)
Comment on MLEs: rate of offensive performance

Using runs created for simplicity. Convert to per-PA metric. I have no objections to the method. The only issue is assuming league average in K rate, GIDP rate, and ROE. That's a limitation imposed by the lack of data, so I don't necessarily disagree with that decision. However, individual voters can decide whether they think Taylor may have been better/worse than MLB average in K and GIDP rates. In that era, ROE rates were much more important than now, but I have no idea how one would even plausibly assess a player's likelihood to be above or below average at it, especially without any baserunning data to use as a proxy. In short, given the limitations of the data, assuming MLB average across the board is probably the most reasonable route to take, and it's up to the user of MLEs to either go with that or make his best guesses as to whether to adjust up or down on a player by player basis. I'm inclined to leave Taylor about average all told.

Comment on MLEs: compare to league and place in MLB context

Use z-scores to find a player's spot on the talent distribution curve of his league, and place him in the equivalent spot in the MLB context. One big issue with this method: it assumes that if a player was in the 90%-ile (as an example) of his NgL, he would translate to the 90%-ile of the MLB distribution of talent. I think there is very little a priori support for this, especially given that the low end of NgL rosters were filled with players who were less than A-ball equivalent. Being in the 90%-ile is easier when the talent distribution of a league is highly right skewed as the NgL distribution was in comparison with MLB. This is one of my biggest sticking points with the MLEs.

Comment on MLEs: adjust for league quality

This alleviates to some degree the issue from the step above, but I'm not sure it's enough. They state in their walkthrough example with Charleston
We rate the NNL of 1921 at just above AAA level
, but I'm not able to find the methods for calculating the league adjustment. I'm skeptical of NgLs being that high, again given the talent level of players filling out rosters. Small changes to the league adjustment number make big changes in value when accumulated over a career. I can't offer a better way to calculate league quality (since I don't know what they did). In fact, I've commented on the difficulty of creating MLEs for NgLs because there are essentially no players who spent significant time in both leagues. How to create a conversion rate in that context is a serious puzzle. I am skeptical of league qualities higher than 75% at best. Again, consider the large disparity in underlying talent pools the leagues were drawing from. Consider the percent of NgL rosters and playing time allotted to players who clearly were far less than AA quality. Bottom line, I think caution is in order.

Additionally, it appears there's at least one if not multiple errors in the calculation of league-adjusted RC/PA. Using the Charleston example, the provided formula is simply wrong. I can't untangle the mistake, either. But there's a comment about length of schedule accounting for 1/3 of the variation in Charleston's league. An adjustment for this league variation should cause further regression of Charleston's stats, but their ultimate results show that they used this variance to make the league quality adjustment even weaker, from a league that's 85% MLB quality to a league that's 90% MLB quality. This is backwards. The higher variance due to schedule length should increase the regression amount (because outlier performances are more easily seen in smaller samples - that's the whole point of calculating variation due to schedule length and adjusting for it).

If this happened throughout the MLEs done by Eric and Miller, this is a very, very notable error. It could account for 10-20% of career value on their MLEs (or more, it's difficult to estimate when the formulas they've used to illustrate are wrong). If this is just a typo on the Charleston example, there is still an explanation required of how league quality adjustments were diluted instead of strengthened. In fact, diluting by 1/3 as suggested would be even stronger than I would have argued for, though it would certainly make me retract my previous statement about being skeptical of league adjustments higher than 75% (since there wouldn't be any - as best I can tell that they were intending to use this variation adjustment, it should have made Charleston's league move from 85% to 72%. That number seems quite reasonable to me).

I will try to contact Eric and Miller and see if they can straighten this out. I'm at a point to pause before moving to other elements of the MLEs anyway.
   71. kcgard2 Posted: February 03, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5811477)
Dr. Chaleeko, are you the one running these MLEs? Can you give some clarity about the mistakes in the Charleston example for league adjustment?
   72. DL from MN Posted: February 03, 2019 at 05:47 PM (#5811525)
I have been discounting the new MLEs simply because they're coming up with too many possible candidates. Even with the discounts Ben Taylor stands out. With Taylor there is a lot of other evidence besides the MLEs where the evidence matches. The anecdotal and reputation evidence is in his favor as well.
   73. kwarren Posted: February 03, 2019 at 09:13 PM (#5811709)
--> - from post #21 - Lofton vs. Abreu:

The thing is, I think basepath speed is Lofton’s #1 argument on offense. And it kind of has to be enough, because otherwise, Abreu blows him away:

* OPS: Abreu, .870 to .794
* OPS+: Abreu, 128 to 107
* Extra-base hits: Abreu, 921 to 629
* 100-run seasons: Abreu, 8 to 5
* 100-RBI seasons: Abreu, 8 to 0
* 100-walk seasons: Abreu, 8 to 0
* Playoff OPS: Abreu, .810 to .667

Which almost certainly means Abreu well above Lofton on my ballot. I’d very much like to hear your thoughts / agreements / refutations on this.
With all due respect these categories that you have cherry picked for you comparative analysis seem silly and arbitrary.

Lofton - WAR 68.3, PA 9,235, DWAR 17.1, OWAR 51.2, WAR/1000PA 7.39, JAWS 55.9

Abreu - WAR 60.0, PA 10,081, DWAR 11.1, OWAR 71.1, WAR/1000PA 5.95, JAWS 50.8

Actually Lofton blows away Abreu. Your argument focuses solely on offensive stats (and some pretty bizarre ones at that), and other than the OPS stats they are counting numbers based on number of seasons accomplished. I bet Abreu may look better than Ruth with that set of criteria.

Yes it's true, Abreu is a much superior offensive player by a margin of 19.9 war in fact, but Lofton's defense is 28.2 WAR better than Abreu, something that you don't seem to be aware of, or are totally dismissing. In your narrative you actually infer that the difference in defense is sort of marginal. That is where your reasoning goes off the rails.

Abreu is worthy of serious Hall of Merit consideration, no question about that, but Lofton was the better all round player, and had a far better career. Not that you would know it by the BWA voting, but nothing new there.


   74. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 03, 2019 at 09:39 PM (#5811743)
KCG2, yes, that’s me. Will respond this week some time. Glad someone is taking time to comb through all this.
   75. kwarren Posted: February 03, 2019 at 09:47 PM (#5811759)
Def WAR for Abreu should be -11.1 (not 11.1). Sorry about that.
   76. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 03, 2019 at 09:58 PM (#5811772)
Lofton - WAR 68.3, PA 9,235, DWAR 17.1, OWAR 51.2, WAR/1000PA 7.39, JAWS 55.9

Abreu - WAR 60.0, PA 10,081, DWAR 11.1, OWAR 71.1, WAR/1000PA 5.95, JAWS 50.8


Those WAR numbers match Baseball-Reference, but the oWAR numbers don't. Baseball-Reference has Lofton's oWAR at 57.9 and Abreu's oWAR at 61.6.
   77. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 03, 2019 at 10:45 PM (#5811801)
Re #76: never mind, I get what you're doing: OWAR = WAR minus DWAR (the missing negative sign on Abreu threw me).
   78. progrockfan Posted: February 04, 2019 at 11:51 AM (#5811903)
What I actually said:
Lofton was a top-notch center fielder with excellent range and a great arm, Abreu a slightly below average right fielder with excellent range and a very good arm. Huge points to Lofton.
What @kwarren claims:
Lofton's defense is 28.2 WAR better than Abreu, something that you don't seem to be aware of, or are totally dismissing... In your narrative you actually infer that the difference in defense is sort of marginal.

What I actually said:
No deep analysis attempted or intended... Just a quick head-to-head. There are obviously many more layers to this particular onion.
What @kwarren claims:
Silly and arbitraryYour reasoning goes off the rails.”

What I actually said:
I think Abreu gets in; I'm not sure if it'll be this year.
What @kwarren claims:
Abreu may look better than Ruth with that set of criteria

You attacked and misquoted me throughout the 2019 ballot discussion on Mariano Rivera, too.

I showed you a lot of patience on that thread, and took a lot of flak from you in post after post, before I finally responded. That clearly didn't work.

Just a reminder to the moderators of some of the language used by @kwarren in that thread:
Very scary and disheartening with regards to the conclusion drawn and the so called logic used…
He considers a pitcher with a particular ERA+ over 60 IP, to be the equivalent to the same ERA+ over 200 IP. Wonderful…
Great Hollywood story, but I think I may have to puke…
This whole issue would actually be funny, if it weren't so sad…
The third option, which is sheer nonsense…
Just to demonstrate how asinine the whole process has now become…
It's amazing what people can come up with to support their "off the walls" beliefs…
People are searching for new measuring sticks which will give the results they would like to see…
Just not sure why supposedly intelligent people think…
How much longer do I – do we – have to put up with this?
   79. DL from MN Posted: February 04, 2019 at 12:37 PM (#5811909)
Is this forum moderated?
   80. DL from MN Posted: February 05, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5812251)
I should comment that not only do we need to discount the MLEs, we should discount stats for white players during the time before integration if we want to keep the number of pennants constant. There are basically two approaches

1) Treat the Negro Leagues as an expansion of MLB teams. Do a straight MLE conversion as best as possible and elect players that meet the standard we would apply if we only elected white players.
2) Assume a fixed number of MLB teams. Do the MLE conversions and determine how many black players were MLB caliber. Remove that many white players from the league and re-calculate replacement level. Elect players based on that increased replacement level.

I think historically we have been closer to #1 than #2 in our elections. This is partly due to incomplete information. You can't do the approach for #2 without good data for black players. That data didn't exist 15 years ago when we were voting on the white players from that era and in some cases still doesn't exist. Unfortunately that means this era of baseball history is going to be a little overrepresented in the HoM.

Ultimately I think Ben Taylor is above the standard we have set for players from that era and would raise the bar. Somebody else is the guy who should still be up for election. It is very hard to make that argument for any of the other remaining Negro League players. They would all be in the discussion for "worst" at their respective positions. Worst Hall of Merit player is not really a bad thing; someone has to be the worst of the best.
   81. karlmagnus Posted: February 05, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5812263)
I'd like to second KCgard's comments on the MLEs, and thank him for his very valuable analysis. The NgL is now very demographically over-represented in the HOM, and recent revisions to MLEs making yet more borderline players appear HOMworthy don't pass the smell test -- all the revisions were hugely upwards. I think we made a mistake electing Redding. Taylor is a borderline case, but when I looked in 2005 I rated him just below Beckley (thus right on the border) whereas his revised MLEs have him way above Beckley. Sorry, I don't believe the revisions. I understand how enthusiasm to right ancient injustices may color the process, but we should try to be as objective as possible.
   82. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 05, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5812290)
Taylor is a borderline case, but when I looked in 2005 I rated him just below Beckley (thus right on the border) whereas his revised MLEs have him way above Beckley. Sorry, I don't believe the revisions.


I joined the Hall of Merit project pretty late in the process (we were already doing annual elections on an actual annual basis), in part because I hadn't felt comfortable evaluating Negro Leaguers. But I want to make sure I understand the issue with Ben Taylor (and, although it's too late to matter, Dick Redding). My understanding of the resurgent case of Ben Taylor is that new data, which had not been previously available, has been discovered which made Taylor's case look much stronger than it had previously been believed to look.

That is, it is my understanding that Ben Taylor has a stronger Hall-of-Merit case than several Negro Leaguers who are already in the Hall of Merit (I apologize, my ignorance of Negro Leaguers below the Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston level means I'm not exactly sure WHO are examples of HOMers worse than Ben Taylor). In other words, if we were to start over and/or re-populate the Hall of Merit all at once, my sense is that Ben Taylor (and Dick Redding) would be in the newly repopulated Hall of Merit, but some current Hall-of-Merit Negro Leaguers would NOT be - but, like with the real Hall of Fame, we're not going to start kicking guys out.

Is that correct? Or is the emergence of Taylor (and Redding) due to a re-construction of the MLE process?
   83. progrockfan Posted: February 05, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5812295)
@bachslunch:
Given how the other voters think, I'd probably abandon my votes for Jim McCormick because he doesn't have a chance to get in. But given how I look at things, he's a no-brainer top area of the ballot guy. Unless I plan to fudge things on my approach or totally change my thinking basis, that's the way it is. For me, my thinking seems reasonable and fair and based on something clear and quantifiable.
I think your approach is exactly correct. You have to go with what your system tells you.


@DL from MN:
Lefty Grove (though he didn't need the help)
Agreed that Lefty didn’t need minor-league credit to get into the HoM/HoF – but I think it’s crucial when evaluating his legacy.

I’ve got Grove as the #1 left-handed starter of all time, ahead of the consensus pick Walter Johnson. Grove beats Johnson by a single point on ERA+ and has 9 ERA titles (8 ERA+) to Johnson’s 5 (6 ERA+). Johnson has substantial <=1910 experience in his resume, while all of Grove’s experience came in the live-ball era.

The big argument for those who favor Johnson centers around the Train’s colossal innings-pitched totals, which seem at first glance to make Johnson’s career equal to one and a half of Grove’s. But Walter’s innings pitched per season plummeted the moment the live-ball era began (basically, as soon as he had to pitch hard more or less all the time), and Lefty was an underappreciated innings-eater himself, leading the AL in complete games in three consecutive seasons.

Lefty pitched 1184 innings in the PCL, which all of the half-dozen authorities I consulted described as less than MLB quality but superior to AAA. If we consider those 1184 innings as part of his career, it pushes Lefty from <4000 innings to >5000 and narrows the gap with Johnson from 50.1% to 15.4%. With Grove holding nine ERA titles to Walter’s five, for me the math then becomes pretty simple, and it puts Grove #1 and Johnson #2. Ymmv of course - but without Grove's PCL experience, I don't think there's a case for him as greatest-ever lefty, and with it I do.


@DL from MN:
Ultimately I think Ben Taylor is above the standard we have set for players from that era and would raise the bar... It is very hard to make that argument for any of the other remaining Negro League players.
I agree on Taylor, and agree on the larger point as well, with the sole exception of Luke Easter, whose potential case has huge evidentiary gaps.


@karlmagnus:
Taylor[‘s]revised MLEs have him way above Beckley. Sorry, I don't believe the revisions. I understand how enthusiasm to right ancient injustices may color the process, but we should try to be as objective as possible.
There’s more to Taylor’s case than just the revisions:

* His Seamheads record is outstanding in its own right.

* Holway rates him third all-time behind only Suttles and Leonard.

* James rates him third all-time behind only Leonard and Easter (though to be fair, James counts Suttles as a left fielder).

* All sources agree on his defensive excellence. Most cite him as the finest defensive first baseman in NgL history.

* He started in the NgL as a pitcher. Depending on your interpretation of the stats, he may be entitled to additional credit for his pitching. At minimum, he was probably the top pitcher in the 1912 Western Independent Leagues.
   84. DL from MN Posted: February 05, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5812297)
all the revisions were hugely upwards


For the most part this is true but Hilton Smith took a nosedive. Mule Suttles also dropped.

The MLEs are most useful when ranking the Negro League players within themselves. Dick Redding went way up the list of Negro League pitchers, it wasn't just that the average MLE got better. If Redding was a mistake then so were HALF the Negro League pitchers. He moved ahead of Bill Foster, Rube Foster, Jose Mendez and Ray Brown.

Here's a link to the relative rankings

https://homemlb.wordpress.com/2018/01/10/negro-leagues-legends-wrap-up/

   85. Mike Webber Posted: February 05, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5812311)
@83

I’ve got Grove as the #1 left-handed starter of all time, ahead of the consensus pick Walter Johnson.


Do you mean the #1 starter of all-time, or the #1 left-handed starter of all-time? Because Walter was right-handed.

Lefty pitched 1184 innings in the PCL, which all of the half-dozen authorities I consulted described as less than MLB quality but superior to AAA.


He pitched in Baltimore of the International League - which was AA at the time, but that was the highest minor league classification of the time like AAA today.
I do not think the International League would deserve any bonus like the PCL might have earned.
   86. DanG Posted: February 05, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5812328)
My understanding of the resurgent case of Ben Taylor is that new data, which had not been previously available, has been discovered which made Taylor's case look much stronger than it had previously been believed to look.
There may also be clues in the election of 2012 discussion thread. That year Taylor vaulted from also-ran to high in the backlog, where he has remained.
   87. DanG Posted: February 05, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5812350)
but, like with the real Hall of Fame, we're not going to start kicking guys out.
And why not? This is yet another area where the HoM can do better than that Hall in Cooperstown. As our knowledge and understanding increase, we should not feel beholden to past analysis; we did the best we could at the time.

If certain players' merit can now be seen as less than the standards, the voters should be able to weigh in and make that correction to the membership rolls. Any players voted out go back to the candidate pool and are eligible for election.
   88. . . . . . . Posted: February 05, 2019 at 01:55 PM (#5812358)
If certain players' merit can now be seen as less than the standards, the voters should be able to weigh in and make that correction to the membership rolls. Any players voted out go back to the candidate pool and are eligible for election.


Yeahhhh but re-election is also not good because of the bias in the residual electorate. To put it simply: as the HoM becomes a stretched out slog with rare elections, the people who participate tend to be either (1) new or (2) people with strong agendas.

To illustrate the issue with (1), I notice now that the residual electorate tends to be less appreciative of older MLB players, particularly how to assess value in the very-different pre-1920 flavors of baseball. (Even if people ostensibly are taking into account the differences, I don't think they intuitively understand it in the way that someone who 'lived' through a lot of elections does.)

For (2), I remain very concerned that MLEs are solely generated by people with strong ideological preferences toward including more non-MLB players in the HoM. To be clear, I don't think there is intentional fudging of the record; rather, "blind" analysis is better even for honest folk because of unconscious bias towards achieving a desired result. Because you're now in the "long tail" of the HoM, you've lost strong dissenting voices to ideological positions. It would be much better if someone who believed we'd OVERINCLUDED NeL players was producing a competing set of new MLEs, and we could debate any differences! But the issue isn't limited to MLEs. The electorate is losing diversity of thought more generally -- you're losing people who don't have "a strong position" they are advocating for, be it their handmade evaluation metric, a strong view on career v. peak, war credit, etc.

IMO, you'd be better running the project over again - maybe altering the rules a bit to see how it affects the outcome - and then comparing / debating HoM result set one with HoM result set two.



   89. progrockfan Posted: February 05, 2019 at 02:13 PM (#5812370)
@Mike Webber:

Sorry, both your corrections are true of course. Too much time with Luke Easter & not enough sleep. ;) I'm not advocating counting Lefty's rate stats though, MLEs will do for that; I'm just using his raw innigns totals to indicate that perhaps the innings gap between Lefty and the Train is not nearly as wide as ordinarily assumed.

@DanG:

I agree, players should be votable in AND out, and return to the pool if voted out. I actually like that last bit a lot.
   90. progrockfan Posted: February 05, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5812381)
@......:
The electorate is losing diversity of thought more generally -- you're losing people who don't have "a strong position" they are advocating for, be it their handmade evaluation metric, a strong view on career v. peak, war credit, etc.
I've got a few positions that I know are at variance with the mainstream of thought here. The opportunity to debate them with the knowledgable & articulate folks here was the #1 reason I came here.

It's also why I find @kwarren so frustrating. Pretty much the first thing he did when he got here was to denigrate my intelligence and "so called logic".

I don't mind debate and disagreement, I seek it out. Constant ad hominem attacks are not debate. I'm tired of the constant barrage of "supposedly intelligent", "I may have to puke", etc. No one else around here talks like that. It's just him.

And usually the attacks are based on the opposite of what I just said. That's the most frustrating aspect of it. If I say Lofton gets "huge points" for being an "outstanding center fielder", and am then told that my arguments are "silly and arbitrary" because I "don't seem to be aware of" his great defense - well, what the hell kind of 'debate' is that?

It's not debate. It's flamebait. And I detest flame wars.

Don't know why he does it. Don't know why he picked me. Don't care. Just need him to stop.
   91. . . . . . . Posted: February 05, 2019 at 02:52 PM (#5812390)
It's also why I find @kwarren so frustrating. Pretty much the first thing he did when he got here was to denigrate my intelligence and "so called logic".

I don't mind debate and disagreement, I seek it out. Constant ad hominem attacks are not debate. I'm tired of the constant barrage of "supposedly intelligent", "I may have to puke", etc. No one else around here talks like that. It's just him.


I'm a bad person to make this argument to, because I am a firm believer that truth comes out of vigorous debate, and genteel norms often foster groupthink. That being said, I don't think youre wrong in this particular instance. It kills me when people's best argument in a HoM discussion is "your way of looking at the world is different than mine, and mine's right and yours is wrong". We should be encouraging diverse perspectives - and that includes people who may not be using statistical analysis that's as rigorous as some might like. (For me, for example, I believe contemporary anecdotal evidence is very valuble, especially going back in time, and where it conflicts with the statistical record I give both very similar weight. To take an extreme example, I suspect Bill Bergen added value to his teams, I just think we can't figure out why.)

Respect for all eras, respect for all perspectives. The only requirements should be a willingness to engage and a commitment to apply standards equally to all candidates.
   92. kwarren Posted: February 05, 2019 at 03:21 PM (#5812413)
Lofton was a top-notch center fielder with excellent range and a great arm, Abreu a slightly below average right fielder with excellent range and a very good arm. Huge points to Lofton.


Agreed, Lofton's DWAR is 17.1 & Abreu is (11.1). Advantage to Lofton for defensive prowess is 28.2 WAR.

Abreu was one of the most durable players of his time, playing 150+ games in 13 consecutive seasons. Lofton reached 150+ games once in his career. Huge points to Abreu.
Abreu had 10,181 PA, and Lofton 9,235. Even so Lofton's WAR is superior 68.3 to 60.0. And WAR per 1000/PA favours WAR 7.40 to 5.95. As to durability, Abreu was done at age 38. Lofton played until age 40 and earned 3.4 WAR after the age of 38. Additionally "150+ game seasons" is not a stat that is usually used in evaluating a player's "merit". I would say no points to Abreu, certainly no WAR.

Lofton has 621 steals at a 79.5% clip with five SB titles. Big advantage for Lofton there. But the difference isn’t as big as it might appear at first blush: Abreu did steal 400 bases as a 75.8% clip, so basepath speed is actually a substantial plus for Abreu.

Lofton has 221 more stolen bases and a 4.9% better success rate, yet this is "a substantial plus for Abreu". Whatever, I don't get it.


* OPS: Abreu, .870 to .794
* OPS+: Abreu, 128 to 107
* Extra-base hits: Abreu, 921 to 629
* 100-run seasons: Abreu, 8 to 5
* 100-RBI seasons: Abreu, 8 to 0
* 100-walk seasons: Abreu, 8 to 0
* Playoff OPS: Abreu, .810 to .667

The one that startled me, when I compiled this quick list, was 100-run seasons. As a career leadoff hitter, getting into scoring position and scoring runs was more or less Lofton’s job description. 100 runs has always been a kind of shorthand for high-impact run-scoring seasons, and Abreu has 8 such seasons to Lofton’s 5.
We get it, Abreu's a better offensive player. Not sure that some of these data points are meaningful, but there is no disputing the fact that Abreu is much the better offensive player. In terms of offensive WAR 71.1 to 51.2.

The degree to which a voter would favor Lofton over Abreu would have to hinge more or less entirely on their view of his CF defense. And fair enough.

It's simple to quantify. Lofton's defensive advantage is 28.2 WAR, and Abreu's offensive advantage is 19.9. Overall Lofton has a total WAR advantage of 8.3, and a 7.40 to 5.95 advantage in terms of WAR per 1,000 plate appearances. When we use stats that measure value, it appears that Lofton blows Abreu away. Narrative is nice but it needs to backed up with meaningful analysis.

And when I look at Abreu I see very good range and arm on defense. Which almost certainly means Abreu well above Lofton on my ballot.
The WAR information suggest that Lofton's defensive advantage more that makes up Abreu's offensive supremacy. A lot of people here obviously don't believe the defensive stats that WAR indicates for Lofton, Andruw Jones, & Jeter but all other sources for defensive value indicate pretty similar results. And this phenomenon pretty much explains why Lofton & Jones remain on the outside looking in.






   93. DL from MN Posted: February 05, 2019 at 03:21 PM (#5812414)
Don't know why he does it.


Because it's the internet and there are no consequences for being a jerk to strangers.
   94. Carl Goetz Posted: February 05, 2019 at 04:11 PM (#5812449)
"For (2), I remain very concerned that MLEs are solely generated by people with strong ideological preferences toward including more non-MLB players in the HoM. To be clear, I don't think there is intentional fudging of the record; rather, "blind" analysis is better even for honest folk because of unconscious bias towards achieving a desired result."

I don't feel that this is fair to Dr. Chaleeko (The only person I'm aware of who has recently produced MLEs).
A) He has outright stated on numerous occasions that we should not apply these numbers straight up as though they were produced in the MLB. We need to be looking at what data is missing for a given player. Even where data are fully available, these are still estimates based on leagues with differing lengths of schedules. These estimates are never perfect and we should always be assuming error bars around each season's WAR & WAA estimates.
B) Several player's MLEs have declined with more information. Hilton Smith and Mule Suttles were mentioned before, but I also noticed John Beckwith doesn't look nearly as good as when he was elected. I'm sure there are more if I looked. This doesn't appear to be a case of ever escalating MLEs to achieve a "desired" result. I do think that, of the set of players who are HoMers or worthy of consideration as such, its much more likely that the MLE decliners will have already been elected and the MLE gainers will not.

Just my 2 cents.
   95. Carl Goetz Posted: February 05, 2019 at 04:18 PM (#5812454)
"If certain players' merit can now be seen as less than the standards, the voters should be able to weigh in and make that correction to the membership rolls. Any players voted out go back to the candidate pool and are eligible for election."

I'd be against this. The electorate now is different than the electorate when we began. I feel those elections should be respected. Also, I don't believe there have been any "mistakes". There are probably 20-30 guys in who I don't agree with personally, but I believe all are very close to my in/out line and are reasonable choices. In my mind, there's a difference between "I would have done that slightly differently" and "The was a mistake". I don't think there's been any Harold Baines or Tommy McCarthy type selections in our history.
   96. Carl Goetz Posted: February 05, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5812455)
"IMO, you'd be better running the project over again - maybe altering the rules a bit to see how it affects the outcome - and then comparing / debating HoM result set one with HoM result set two."

I got excited by this idea. Does this mean I have a problem?
   97. DL from MN Posted: February 05, 2019 at 04:30 PM (#5812463)
I'm sure there are more if I looked.


Yes, Beckwith was downgraded. New MLEs also confirm Willard Brown was a mistake.
   98. progrockfan Posted: February 05, 2019 at 05:03 PM (#5812486)
What I actually said:
ofton has 621 steals at a 79.5% clip with five SB titles. Big advantage for Lofton there. But the difference isn’t as big as it might appear at first blush: Abreu did steal 400 bases as a 75.8% clip, so basepath speed is actually a substantial plus for Abreu.
What @kwarren claims I said:
Lofton has 221 more stolen bases and a 4.9% better success rate, yet this is "a substantial plus for Abreu". Whatever, I don't get it.

I have had more than enough of this. I state something quite clearly, you claim I said the opposite. While being sarcastic. Over and over.

I asked for moderator intervention and none was forthcoming. So I'm through with being polite when my words are twisted by you.

Learn. To. Read.
   99. cookiedabookie Posted: February 05, 2019 at 05:05 PM (#5812489)
@Carl Goetz, the one that sticks out to me is Rollie Fingers. I can't imagine he'd have a chance in hell of being elected now.
   100. Carl Goetz Posted: February 06, 2019 at 07:22 AM (#5812638)
"@Carl Goetz, the one that sticks out to me is Rollie Fingers. I can't imagine he'd have a chance in hell of being elected now."
I'd agree, but he also doesn't strike me as a ridiculous choice either. But he was also one of my favorites players at age 6-7 so I may be biased.
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