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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gary Carter

Eligible in 1998.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2007 at 01:56 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:10 AM (#2336704)
Ralph Kiner thought he was great as Lou Gehrig in "Pride of the Yankees," too. :-)
   2. Mike Webber Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:22 AM (#2336719)
In 1998 Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star published his HOF ballot, without Carter on it. I wrote and asked him why, citing a few stats, wondering where he thought Carter was lacking. He politely replied that he had whiffed, and just somehow missed him. No BS about first ballot status or any carp like that. I admired him admitting he blew it, and the next year he was on Flanagan's ballot.

If only the BBWAA took their responsibility as seriously as we do :)
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:34 AM (#2336729)
A bit of the Garvey thing going for him


Which is unfair, IMO, because I never got the feeling that he was a phony. Of course, he could have stayed away from the cameras once and a while. :-)
   4. Chris Cobb Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:36 AM (#2336732)
At least the #1 and #2 spots will be easy this year. I have Carter as the #4 catcher all time through 1998, behind Gibson, Berra, and Bench.

He'll be #1 in 1998; Blyleven will be #2.
   5. sunnyday2 Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:41 AM (#2336739)
I always thought of Carter as the closest thing to Johnny Bench of my lifetime. Let's see.

Bench 356/37-34-34-30-28-26-24-22-22-20-19-19-15
Carter 337/33-31-30-30-27-25-24-23-22-18-17-13-12

Each had 13 years > 10 WS, and Bench is better 8 out of 10, by an average of 2 WS per year, not an insignificant number.

Bench 127/171-46-44-40-33-29-28-24-23-21-15-8-5-0
Carter 116/146-45-41-38-27-24-18-16-13-13-11

Advantage Bench.

Okay, the other guy I think of with Carter is Lance Parrish.

Carter 337/33-31-30-30-27-25-24-23-22-18-17-13-12
Parrish 248/24-24-24-21-20-20-19-15-15-12-12-11-10

Carter 116/146-45-41-38-27-24-18-16-13-13-11
Parrish 105/134-22-22-20-20-18-10-3-0

Carter is + a solid 6 WS per year and has pretty much the same edge on OPS+ than Bench has on him. Still, all in all, he's closer to Bench than to Parrish. Right now I see him #1 on my ballot.
   6. Boots Day Posted: April 17, 2007 at 03:05 AM (#2336758)
I always thought of Carter as the closest thing to Johnny Bench of my lifetime.

That's a strange lifetime, since Carter and Bench played in the NL together for a decade, from 1974 to 1983. Carter is only six and a half years younger than Bench.

Okay, the other guy I think of with Carter is Lance Parrish.

Probably because they both finished with 324 career homers.
   7. Chris Cobb Posted: April 17, 2007 at 03:10 AM (#2336759)
WARP has them even closer:

Bench 123.4 w1 / 12.8-12.3-11.4-11.2-9.1
Carter 121.6 w1 / 12.6-10.7-10.5-10.2-10.1

Interestingly, both of the comprehensive metrics have Carter slightly ahead of Bench defensively.
   8. DL from MN Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:13 PM (#2336929)
"At least the #1 and #2 spots will be easy this year. I have Carter as the #4 catcher all time through 1998, behind Gibson, Berra, and Bench." - Cobb

I have Bill Dickey 4th and Carter 5th but it is close enough to make them virtually tied for #4.
   9. sunnyday2 Posted: April 17, 2007 at 03:19 PM (#2336986)
>>I always thought of Carter as the closest thing to Johnny Bench of my lifetime.

>That's a strange lifetime,

No I don't think so...there is nobody as good as Bench but Carter is the closest thing 1965 to the present. That's almost a lifetime.

I mean BTW in terms of value + the distribution of value (IOW not sure he's the #2 catcher of my lifetime, but he is the #2 catcher of my lifetime who is not a bit lop-sided as it relates to bat vs. glove).
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2007 at 03:37 PM (#2336992)
No I don't think so...there is nobody as good as Bench but Carter is the closest thing 1965 to the present. That's almost a lifetime.


I think he means that Johnny Bench is probably the closest thing to Johnny Bench in your lifetime.
   11. Loren F. Posted: April 17, 2007 at 03:52 PM (#2337005)
So, Johnny Bench was the Johnny Bench of his time?
   12. Paul Wendt Posted: April 18, 2007 at 03:06 AM (#2337798)
and before his time, advertised as one of the best ever before his AAA stint in Buffalo

As an elementary school reader of the Buffalo Evening News, I understood that a Hall of Fame catcher was coming to town.
   13. Paul Wendt Posted: April 18, 2007 at 03:14 AM (#2337811)
In 1998 Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star published his HOF ballot, without Carter on it. I wrote and asked him why, citing a few stats, wondering where he thought Carter was lacking. He politely replied that he had whiffed

Aww, I thought he was going to say "Joe Carter isn't eligible for a couple of years."
   14. Paul Wendt Posted: April 18, 2007 at 03:41 AM (#2337838)
2. kevin Posted: April 16, 2007 at 10:22 PM (#2336715)
A bit of the Garvey thing going for him but he's too good to keep out.


Garvey?

I remember reading that Gary Carter was like Frank Robinson, you loved him if you liked his team and you hated him if you didn't like his team.
I still love Frank Robinson, so to speak. And I admired Carter for ten years, until 1985.

Was Carter the Garvey of the Mets or the LaSorda? more the LaSorda if one can ever say that about a player on the one hand and a field manager on the other.

Gary Carter and John Tudor, the big name and little name offseason trades of the 1985 pennant race. Carter put up another good year but you have to give the laurel wreath to Tudor (mentally gives laurel wreath to Tudor).
   15. JPWF13 Posted: April 18, 2007 at 09:24 PM (#2338346)
A bit of the Garvey thing going for him but he's too good to keep out.


In the Bad Guys Won book there was a discussion of how his Expos teamates hated him, thought he was a Garvey Type goody goody phony, the Mets were prepared to despise him believing the same thing, eventually many of the Mets relented because while they originally thought his persona was an act he was never ever (unlike Garvey who'd slip from time to time and let his "true" self emerge) "out of character".
So many of the Mets originally hated him for his "act", but after awhile many decided it really wasn't an act, he really was the goody goody he seemed to be.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2007 at 10:24 PM (#2338407)
So many of the Mets originally hated him for his "act", but after awhile many decided it really wasn't an act, he really was the goody goody he seemed to be.


What scandal has he had in over 30 years as a celebrity?

If he were a phony, I think it would have come to the surface at some point by now. IOW, I agree with you, JPWF13.

BTW, I don't think I have ever been as ecstatic about a Met trade than the Carter trade.
   17. Paul Wendt Posted: April 19, 2007 at 12:05 AM (#2338600)
ok, from a distance I thought it was rah-rah gung-ho cheerleader (thus LaSorda) rather than goody goody, but I am happy to sit corrected
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2007 at 12:20 AM (#2338630)
ok, from a distance I thought it was rah-rah gung-ho cheerleader (thus LaSorda) rather than goody goody, but I am happy to sit corrected


Carter had a lot of that "rah-rah" stuff in him, but it was believable with him.

His nickname "Kid" really described, IMO.
   19. JPWF13 Posted: April 19, 2007 at 10:29 PM (#2339825)
Carter had a lot of that "rah-rah" stuff in him, but it was believable with him


Which was another thing that his Expos teammates seemed to hate- but in NY the Mets just joined in (God do I miss the 85/86 Mets...)
   20. Paul Wendt Posted: April 19, 2007 at 11:18 PM (#2339867)
"Baseball's Mozart"
was that a Sports Illustrated cover or was it a Peter Gammons sunday notes? (on prodigy Doc Gooden)

i am fond of the 1985 and 1987 pennant races.
the Orel and Kirk miracle (makes me think Oral Roberts and church) makes me cringe so i do wish that the Mets and A's dynasties ;-) had matched up. in my mind's eye, the Eck fans Darryl Strawberry on three elegant swings.
   21. Guapo Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:32 AM (#2340168)
Bench 356/37-34-34-30-28-26-24-22-22-20-19-19-15
Carter 337/33-31-30-30-27-25-24-23-22-18-17-13-12

Each had 13 years > 10 WS, and Bench is better 8 out of 10, by an average of 2 WS per year, not an insignificant number.


If you prorate Carter's 1981 for the strike (the "17"), it turns into a 26, which will get him a little closer to Bench with respect to this metric.
   22. OCF Posted: April 27, 2007 at 05:28 PM (#2347347)
I finally got around to running Carter's offensive numbers in my system, and I'm less impressed than I thought I'd be. I don't see him stacking up to Bench (or Cochrane, Dickey, Hartnett) offensively. Part of that is that his OBP isn't all that impressive, and he does have that typical-catcher offensive instability from year to year.

He does have a reasonably long career, and a lot of games caught, which activates that whole "catcher bonus" thing, so I suppose he's an easy election anyway.
   23. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 27, 2007 at 09:19 PM (#2347530)
One point of interest for me has always been Carter vs. Parrish. If you go by the raw stats, it's hardly a whitewash for Carter. The big difference is that Carter walked a couple hundred more times and had more doubles:
PLAYER     G   AB    R    H  2B 3B  HR  RBI  BB SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+
---------------------------------------------------------------------
CARTER  2296 7971 1025 2092 371 31 324 1225 848 39 42 262 335 439 115
PARRISH 1988 7067  856 1782 305 27 324 1070 612 28 37 252 313 440 105 


Wow. Pretty close. How much difference is Carter's playing time making? If you do a quickie reduction of Carter's games to Parrish's (so multiply everything by .87)...

PLAYER     G   AB    R    H  2B 3B  HR  RBI  BB SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+
---------------------------------------------------------------------
CARTER  1988 6935  892 1820 323 27 282 1066 738 34 37 262 335 439 115
PARRISH 1988 7067  856 1782 305 27 324 1070 612 28 37 252 313 440 105 


That's eerily similar. Not perfectly, but awfully close. What's interesting to me is how the DH is affecting Parrish here. In Carter's NL and parks, batters OBPed and SLGed .328 and .387. In that environment, Parrish's unadjusted rates would be worth an OPS+ of 109. bbref's AIR number for Parrish is .98, so Parrish might have cracked 110 in OPS+ in the NL. (though carter's is 95, so maybe not).

Carter is defenitely better than Parrish: more games (though Parrish did lose around 30-40 to the latter-day strike), more walks, generally more careerness, better peak, etc... but when Lance comes along, this information may well be worth remembering. I suspect he'll be a strong candidate, and this comparison has always been interesting to me.
   24. DavidFoss Posted: April 27, 2007 at 09:41 PM (#2347550)
What's interesting to me is how the DH is affecting Parrish here.

Those are "pitcher-removed" hitting contexts. I think the context difference is indeed legitimate and Gary Carter is a full 10 points better in OPS+.
   25. JPWF13 Posted: April 27, 2007 at 09:57 PM (#2347560)
Wow. Pretty close.


Not really, top 5 seasons by ops+
Parrish: 135,122,122,121,119
Carter: 146,143,139,137,126

Carter had a terrible year near the beginning and a few bad ones at the end that dragged down his career OPS+ to only 10 above Parrish

Parrish was also a poor defensive C, despite being lauded for much of his career for his strong arm and ability at blocking the plate*- the reality was that he was slow even by catcher standards, slow to get out of the crouch, chase foul balls, field bunts, had an amazing number of passed balls etc., and if there was any baseball "skill" that was more overrated by the baseball media in the 80s than "blocking the plate" I don't know what it was.


*He won 3 Gold gloves largely because he physically fit the bill for what people looked for in a catcher back then, STRONG ARM, imposing physical presence...
   26. JPWF13 Posted: April 27, 2007 at 10:10 PM (#2347571)
What's interesting to me is how the DH is affecting Parrish here. In Carter's NL and parks, batters OBPed and SLGed .328 and .387.


BBREF calculates NL OPS+ after removing pitcher hitting
For instance- 1985, Carter was playing in a slight pitcher's park (PF of 98) and the league hit .252/.319/.374, on Carter's page the league numbers are given as .325/.384
For a player in a pitcher's park (Wrigley) the 1985 numbers are higher .342/.406
   27. Chris Cobb Posted: April 27, 2007 at 11:01 PM (#2347597)
Parrish was also a poor defensive C

For what it's worth, win shares grades Parrish as an A defender. WARP isn't quite so high on his defense (possibly because their system cares less about arm and more about passed balls?), but still rates him as well above average for his career. Basically, they see him as above average for the first half of his career and below average for the second, but more above than below, and with more playing time when his defense was of better quality. It's worth noting that he won his gold gloves fairly early in his career -- 1983-85. This was after Sundberg began to decline and before Bob Boone took over the award for the later 1980s.
   28. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 28, 2007 at 08:04 PM (#2348471)
BBREF calculates NL OPS+ after removing pitcher hitting

That's not what I meant. There's two things at work, one kind of big, one kind of tiny.

In the AL of 1977-1995, all non-P batters hit 264/330/401/731 in 1.4 million ABs

In the same period, all AL DHs hit 261/337/426/763 in 133,000 ABs. Maybe a little quirk in the SBE that they aren't 1/9th. Anyway, their OPS was 4% better than all non-P batters (including themselves, so the real difference between DHs and everyone else is somewhat greater). In comparing two contemporary players in different leagues, this seems like an important point. OPS+'s calculation does, so far as I understand, account for this difference, a difference which likely shades our cross-league comparison.

The teensy weensy point. Carter's non-p batters include substantially more pinch hitters. I don't know the numbers, so I could be wrong there, but I went to restrosheet and picked three years in the span: 1980, 3070 NL to 2268 AL; 1985, 3303 NL PH games to 2017 AL; 1990, 3343 NL to 2207 AL. In aggregate in these years, the AL PHs 33% less frequently than the NL. That seems reasonable to me; the AL still does PH for platoon advantage and to replace weak hitters, as does the NL, but the NL also has to PH at least once a game for the P. OK. So, MGL published a study last year on BP that showed a signficant drop in performance among batters when they pinch hit. This "penalty" was persistent among all batters, even PH specialists. (Disclaimer: His data was from 2000-2005 or thereabouts.) So NL player's league non-P averages include about an extra 1000 or more PH opportunities that are incurring the PH penalty. This is about 1% of the likely total non-P ABs. It's not exactly huge, but it's in there some where.

So, Parrish's league comparisons are composed of an extra 9-10% of guys who are batting above the league norms. While Carter's league norms include 1% of guys who are batting at a penalty in PH roles. What I don't know is how many of those DH guys would otherwise find work as a 1B/RF/LF and still be in Parrish's league comparison set. I don't think all of them would, nor do I think all of them wouldn't.
   29. DavidFoss Posted: April 28, 2007 at 08:57 PM (#2348534)
The effect you are describing is real, but having an extra lineup slot filled with guys with an OPS+ of 104 is only going to have a small effect on the context. About 0.5%. The maximum OPS+ adjustment I would justify for Parrish would be up to 106.

The only thing strikingly similar about Carter & Parrish's stat lines in the HR total. A 115-106 gap in OPS+ over a long career is pretty big (plus Carter's career is two full years longer).
   30. Paul Wendt Posted: April 29, 2007 at 01:40 AM (#2348811)
I agree with David's arithmetic. While reading that paragraph I wondered whether it would be the "kind of big" point or the "kind of tiny" one. (Answer: kind of big)

This approach ignores matters of roster construction. DHs are better than average batters. Is it their plate appearances or other ones that the DH rule adds to the AL game? Without the DH, David Ortiz might be spending more time on practice at first base. On the other hand, do NL teams, having the pitcher ninth, recruit differently for the other eight positions?
This also ignores whether there is a DH penalty akin to the PH penalty. Do the DHs bat as well as they would if playing first base?

Regarding the "kind of tiny" point that turns on the PH penalty.
So NL player's league non-P averages include about an extra 1000 or more PH opportunities that are incurring the PH penalty. This is about 1% of the likely total non-P ABs. It's not exactly huge, but it's in there some where.

How big is the socalled PH penalty, that pinch-hitters bat worse in that role than they do when playing in the field? If it's 20% where the superiority of DH plate appearances is 4%, then the frequencies make this effect about half as large as the "kind of big" one.
   31. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: April 29, 2007 at 03:28 AM (#2348965)
One thing I can state with great certainty is that Carter would have caught the infamous pitch that got by Rich Gedman.
   32. JPWF13 Posted: April 30, 2007 at 02:11 PM (#2349877)
For what it's worth, win shares grades Parrish as an A defender. WARP isn't quite so high on his defense (possibly because their system cares less about arm and more about passed balls?), but still rates him as well above average for his career.


He had a cannon for an arm, but his throwing was merely good- he couldn't get the ball out of his glove and on teh way to second as quickly as other catchers- if he could have he'd have sb/cs numbers like IROD's.

Also back in the late 70s and into the 80s catchers began the practice of mugging the runner from third every time there was a play at the plate (or looked like there was going to be one). As noted Bill James this was against the rules- the catcher can only block the plate when he has the ball)- and as a result just about every runner coming home would slam into the catcher full force- not just to knock the ball loose (many times the catcher didn't have teh bal yet) but simply to reach home.

Parrish was very good at this aspect of play- if he had the ball he was unlikely to drop it and compared to other catchers he definately delayed the runner from reaching home. It may have been an illegal play (and judging by its relative absence today I think the league has told someone to clamp down on it), but getting an out at home rather than allowing a run to score is a pretty big play- so now that I think about it, Parrish could have been a net positive on Dee for a few years despite an inability to actually "field" his position (he was terrible at fielding pops and bunts- simply took too long to get going)

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