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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Buddy Bell

Eligible in 1995.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 09:17 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 09:21 PM (#2295650)
Very similar production-wise to Graig Nettles, which is not too shabby when you think about it.
   2. Chris Cobb Posted: February 13, 2007 at 02:47 AM (#2296483)
I'm posting to this thread partly just to get Bell back onto the radar and into the discussion.

Graig Nettles just placed among the outer reaches of candidates who could have a future at #24. Bell has some strong similarities to Nettles. If he is a bit better, he could be a serious candidate, though he seems very unlikely to earn immediate election. If he is a bit worse, he'll be pretty much out of the picture. My system, as a whole, sees him as an almost insignificant amount ahead of Nettles, so let me break that out into component parts to look at what their strengths and weaknesses are:

Career, by WARP1 and WS, with adjustments for season length and DH

Nettles 106.6, 339
Bell 107.8, 325

WS prefers Nettles career by a matter of about 5 wins. WARP prefers Bell by 1.

Value above average (WARP1 and WS above an average position player, with amounts above average in all above-average seasons summed) + # of seasons above average.

Nettles 28.6, 38 in 11 or 9 seasons above average
Bell 27.4, 36 in 12 or 8 seasons above average

Both systems agree that Nettles is very slightly stronger here. WARP sees both as having considerably more value above average, because it gives more credit for good fielding, and both of these guys have a lot of that.

Peak rate (rate of adj. WARP1 & WS during best 5 consecutive seasons, or longer if rate is higher for a longer period.

Nettles 8.50, 1971-78; 26.11, 1974-78
Bell 9.72, 1980-84; 26.89, 1980-84

Both systems agree that Bell was better on a per game basis at his peak than Nettles was. WARP1 sees Bell significantly ahead; WS sees the difference as much less.

Nettles' career is almost 300 games longer than Bell's, and his edge on Bell overall is in bulk win shares, which, given the very low replacement level for batting value in win shares, weakens Nettles' case slightly in my eyes.

As hitters, they were about the same by rate for their careers. Nettles leads slightly in WARP1 EQA, .273 to .270, but in WARP2 they are even, .275 each. By OPS+, Nettles also has a slight lead, 110 to 108, but adjustment for Bell's longer time in the DH league would likely smooth that out.

As fielders, they were also similar. Win shares sees Nettles as slightly superior, with a 4.40 ws/1000 rate for his career (good for an A- rating), while Bell earns 4.35 (also an A-). As of 2002, they were 2 and 4 all time in defensive innings at third base, with 1 & 3 being Brooks Robinson and Gary Gaetti. WARP sees Bell as a bit better, awarding him 177 FRAA and 483 FRAR for his career, while Nettles accrues 125 FRAA and 437 FRAR.

Overall, the most significant differences between them seem to be Nettles' extra playing time and, as WARP1 sees it, Bell's fielding advantage.

What do other ways of looking at the pair show?

Does eye-witness testimony and reputation bear out the comprehensive metrics view of Bell's fielding as nearly equal to or better than Nettles (at least in a career perspective)?
   3. Paul Wendt Posted: February 15, 2007 at 01:07 AM (#2298028)
In the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, 2d ed (1988), the 6th to 11th alltime 3Bmen are Ron Santo, Buddy Bell, Ken Boyer, Stan Hack, and "Craig Nettles or Darrell Evans". The text makes clear that Ron Cey is close to the top ten. Santo, Bell, and Boyer rank #71, 85, 99 on the 20th century greatest players by career value; the others, like Tony Perez, are outside the top hundred.

I think of Santo, Boyer, and Evans as three of the players whose standing sabermetrics (or Bill James in particular?) boosted most. I don't know why I don't think of Bell. Dick Allen, Santo, and Boyer are the three players among one hundred who are eligible for the Hall of Fame but not honored.

Bill James 1988
name OWP gross Comparable Recent Players 
<b><u>Baker</u></b>   676 132 Brett
Bell    544 168
<b>Boyer</b>   619 155
Cey     637 140
Clift   612 125 Evans
Evans   644 168
Gardner 579 125 Bell
<b>Groh</b>    613 119 Rose
<b>Hack</b>    674 141 Henderson or Raines without the speed
Nettles 583 168
<b>Santo</b>   642 176
Traynor 570 161 Lansford
Yost    605 128 Harrah 
"would be the closest" 


not rated: Kell (comp Lansford), Lindstrom (comp Madlock)
too young: Boggs
rated much higher by OWP, gross value, or both: Brett, Mathews, Robinson, Rosen (comp Horner), Schmidt
--

On Bell:
. . . Though slow afoot and not a particularly good baserunner, Bell can count among his positives hitting for average, hitting for power, making contact, strikezone judgment and all of the elements of defense --range, arm, consistency. His year-to-year consistency as a hitter is the equal of any third baseman in history.

(For what its worth, the text on Cey makes it seem to me that he belongs in the BJ top ten by career value
   4. Paul Wendt Posted: February 15, 2007 at 01:12 AM (#2298030)
<pre>name : OWP gross : Comparable Recent Players
Baker 676 132 : Brett
Bell 544 168
Boyer 619 155
Cey 637 140
Clift 612 125 : Evans
Evans 644 168
Gardner 579 125 : Bell
Groh 613 119 : Rose
Hack 674 141 : evidently, Henderson or Raines without the speed
Nettles 583 168
Santo 642 176
Traynor 570 161 : Lansford
Yost 605 128 : Harrah "would be the closest"<pre>
   5. Paul Wendt Posted: February 15, 2007 at 01:56 PM (#2298161)
remind me how to do the Brent/jimd tables that aren't displayed in agate type

Bill James 1988
# OWP gross : player (Comparable Recent Players)
6 642 176 Santo
? 644 168 Evans
? 583 168 Nettles
7 544 168 Bell
_ 570 161 Traynor (Lansford)
8 619 155 Boyer
9 674 141 Hack (Henderson or Raines without the speed)
_ 637 140 Cey
_ 676 132 <u>Baker</u> (Brett)
_ 605 128 Yost (Harrah "would be the closest")
5 548 128 Collins (Pendleton)
_ 612 125 Clift (Evans)
_ 579 125 Gardner (Bell)
_ 613 119 Groh (Rose)

There is no rating for Kell or Lindstrom, no entry or rating for Bando.

The first column is rank among 3Bmen by career value. The second column is Offensive Winning Percentage, a rate. The third is Gross Value, a count. It appears that James relied heavily on the gross value rating in order to rank the careers. High rank for Collins and low for Traynor is not a mistake as it fits the prose entries.

On Bell
. . . Though slow afoot and not a particularly good baserunner, Bell can count among his positives hitting for average, hitting for power, making contact, strikezone judgment and all of the elements of defense --range, arm, consistency. His year-to-year consistency as a hitter is the equal of any third baseman in history.

On Evans
. . . a tremendous third basemen for many years
The prose provides no explanation for his relatively high OWP.

--
For peak value, Santo ranks 8 while Bell, Boyer, Hack, and Nettles/Evans lose their "top eleven" rankings to Boggs, Baker, Rosen and Clift.
   6. Paul Wendt Posted: February 16, 2007 at 06:06 AM (#2298817)
Chris Cobb #2:
I'm posting to this thread partly just to get Bell back onto the radar and into the discussion.

ditto
   7. Al Peterson Posted: February 23, 2007 at 10:22 PM (#2302517)
Rebump of a player that I'm going to place higher than most. Buddy Bell is above Nettles in my system and will probably hit ballot. He is said to lack peak and that is true to an extent. He suffers from a situation similar to Bob Johnson: his peak/prime occurred on less than average teams and those teams consistently underperformed in terms of Actual Wins vs Pythag.

For the years 1977-84 here are the Actual Win vs Pythag for Bell's teams:

-3, -5, -3, -5, -3, 0, -8, -5

So for that time frame we're talking 32 games underperformance. Should Bell be held responsible? Maybe to an extent. In any case, should some of those "missing" Win Shares be dealt to Buddy? I would and thus his peak moves up.

On a more observational note, Buddy Bell sure looked like a good fielding third basemen. Not fast but had good quickness needed for the hot corner. Good arm, consistent player. Underappreciated since he never got to the playoffs.
   8. OCF Posted: February 25, 2007 at 03:46 PM (#2303055)
I ran Bell through my offensive system, and he came out in a tight cluster with Collins, Traynor, Kell, and Clift. Nettles is a little ahead of that group. We elected Collins but that was a long time ago and different.

Bell does have 300 WS and 100 WARP - in my mind that says something about the replacement level in both systems. Bell was a very good player for a long time - well over 2000 games at 3B, several Gold Gloves, a hitter consistently a little above average. Nettles was that, with 200 more games at 3B and some Gold Gloves of his own. I didn't have Nettles on my ballot last time, and I'll be placing Bell somewhere behind Netles.
   9. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 25, 2007 at 03:51 PM (#2303057)
-3, -5, -3, -5, -3, 0, -8, -5

So for that time frame we're talking 32 games underperformance. Should Bell be held responsible?


Hey, just like in his managing career!
   10. sunnyday2 Posted: February 25, 2007 at 04:19 PM (#2303069)
Wow, Buddy Bell does not make my top 100.
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: February 25, 2007 at 05:14 PM (#2303111)
Bell and Nettles come out as near-twins for me - longevity, weak peak, very good fielders.
Both very borderline. Cey and Bando get to be part of that discussion, too.
Evans is problematic because of so many games as a 1B and DH, many of them not dazzling for the position.

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