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Sunday, September 17, 2006

John Hiller

Eligible in 1986

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:19 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:27 PM (#2179676)
Hiller has a peak argument for the HoM. We'll find out if it's a creditable one in a few weeks, though...
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:41 PM (#2179700)
We have sure had a bunch of Tiggers go through here for a team that only won one pennant.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:55 PM (#2179731)
The Tigers did have 14 seasons over .500 between 1960-80, so they were winning games.
   4. OCF Posted: September 17, 2006 at 09:36 PM (#2179858)
I'm just going from vague memory here, and correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Hiller suffer a heart attack while an active player, and then come back and pitch some more afterwards?
   5. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 17, 2006 at 10:02 PM (#2179875)
I'm just going from vague memory here, and correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Hiller suffer a heart attack while an active player, and then come back and pitch some more afterwards?


He did. Gabe Schechter wrote a nice article about it at the HOF Web site.

-- MWE
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 10:10 PM (#2179884)
A heavy smoker, he had watched his weight balloon to 220 on a 6'1" frame. By the time he got out of the hospital, he weighed 145.

Wow! The Hiller I remember wasn't 220, that's for sure. By the time I started following baseball, he was pretty lean.
   7. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2179928)
he had watched his weight balloon to 220 on a 6'1" frame

My how times have changed....
   8. OCF Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:31 PM (#2179933)
Raw RA+ equivalent record 88-50. Outlier season in 1972, with a 12-2 RA+ equivalent record. Got lots of decisions (7.6 IP/decision), which is the opposite pattern from Wilhelm.

Always issued lots if intentional walks, including a league-leading 19 in 1973. I would attribute that to him being a left-handed closer. Note that the vast majority of closers have been right handed.

That raw RA+ equivalent record hasn't been corrected for two factors that cut in opposite directions. (1) Relief pitchers' innings are more valuable (leverage), and (2) it's easier for a relief pitcher to post a good ERA (or RA), and you need to hold them to higher standards. In any case, there's no way you could adjust Hiller enough to make him of any ballot interest.
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:36 PM (#2179934)
In any case, there's no way you could adjust Hiller enough to make him of any ballot interest.

I'm a little more bullish about him than you are, OCF, but I don't think he's ballot worthy, either. Like him better than Mike Marshall, though, which is surprising to me after all of these years.
   10. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:55 PM (#2179950)
My how times have changed....

You're tellin' me. I'm 6 feet, 210 pounds, and while I could admittedly stand to drop a couple dozen pounds, I wouldn't say that I've "ballooned".
   11. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 18, 2006 at 12:11 AM (#2179964)
You're tellin' me. I'm 6 feet, 210 pounds, and while I could admittedly stand to drop a couple dozen pounds, I wouldn't say that I've "ballooned".

I carried 200 pounds on my 5-foot 11.5-inch frame about 14 years ago, though I still wore the same pant size that I do today (32 at 172 pounds). However, I felt very bloated and unathletic. Too much bar-hopping and not enough excercise back then in my misguided (but fun!) youth. :-)
   12. Chris Cobb Posted: September 18, 2006 at 02:30 PM (#2180510)
In case it is of interest:

Here are John Hiller's Leverage Indez numbers from BP. His usage was very highly leveraged during his short peak, not so much otherwise.

1967 -- 0.94
1968 -- 1.27
1969 -- 1.17
1970 -- 1.06
1971 -- did not pitch
1972 -- 0.76
1973 -- 1.72
1974 -- 1.71
1975 -- 1.34
1976 -- 1.48
1977 -- 1.55
1978 -- 1.29
1979 -- 1.63
1980 -- 0.61
   13. OCF Posted: September 18, 2006 at 04:10 PM (#2180596)
Am I reading that right? That in 1972, which I referred to has his outlier best season (in RA+&IP; terms), he was used at below-starter leverage? That he was basically just a highly successful mop-up man?
   14. TomH Posted: September 18, 2006 at 04:18 PM (#2180606)
might need to post this somewhere else as well, but since this is an active thread today about a reliever...

David Gassko at http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/jonathan-papelbon-and-replacement-level/ has a fine article this morning on reliever leverage. He has named an effect "chaining". I tried to discuss this notion some time ago but didn't probably say it nearly as well. I'd highly recommend it for further relief analysis.
   15. Chris Cobb Posted: September 18, 2006 at 04:23 PM (#2180613)
OCF, I suspect there's an error in your dating of Hiller's seasons.

In 1972, Hiller had a 2.03 ERA in 44 IP.
In 1973, Hillter had a 1.44 ERA in 125.3 IP. That's the outlier season.

Could your records be off because you didn't note that he didn't pitch in 1971 because of his heart attack?
   16. OCF Posted: September 18, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#2180698)
OK, I just misread the columns. Yes, that is 1973 as his outlier, and he was being used at relief-ace leverage that year. 1972 looks like a "rehab" year - pitched OK in light, inconsequential usage.

Go back to my post #8 and change "1972" to "1973" and "1973" to "1974."
   17. JPWF13 Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:22 PM (#2180948)
My (completely erroneous) recollection of Hiller boils down to:
1: Held the single season save record;
2: Was essentially a one year wonder- his save "record" was similar to Thigpen's...

(I was an NL fan btw)

Looking at BBREF my recollection (or the mental impression I had of Hiller as a pitcehr was wrong)

Obviously one year he was used in a manner not totally disimilar to a modern closer- brought in to protect leads- but he averaged nearly 2ip per appearance that year.

His usage patterns are pretty startling by today's standards- but in fact they were not typical for his generation either.
A look at his BBREF comps is instructive- they are essentially all of the same generation as Hiller- but Hiller averaged 2.3 ip/g (1242/545)- more than all his comps except 1. The "exception"- Pete Richert- started 122 of his 429 games- Hiller started 43 of his 545. Hiller almost certainly avered more IP per relief apeparance.

Hiller's ERA+ of 133 also handily beats all his BBREF comps. Consideing Hiller's IP workload- very high for a reliever I think 133 is a more impressive than a comparable ERA+ from a 1ip per app closer (not as impressive as a 133 from a starter though).

Interesting career, don't think it's HOM worthy- but interesting none the less- much more impressive than how I recollected him to be
   18. DL from MN Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:45 PM (#2180975)
I have Hiller ranked 12th all time among relievers between Roberto Hernandez and Tom Henke. He's not in my top 100 players eligible but not elected, but he's in the top 150. I like him better than Sutter, Quisenberry and Sparky Lyle.
   19. Mike Webber Posted: September 18, 2006 at 10:11 PM (#2180989)
I have Hiller ranked 12th all time among relievers between Roberto Hernandez and Tom Henke. He's not in my top 100 players eligible but not elected, but he's in the top 150. I like him better than Sutter, Quisenberry and Sparky Lyle.


While the "I like him better than Sutter, Quisenberry and Sparky Lyle" part is surprising, the "12th all time among relievers between Roberto Hernandez and Tom Henke" part has to be a typo right? Specifically the "Roberto Hernandez" phrase.

Could you have possibly mis-typed Tug McGraw in a way that it accidentally came out Roberto Hernandez? :)

I have to admit, the only time I ever watched Hernandez closely he was pitching fairly mediocre baseball for two horrific Royals clubs, and he was blowing about 20% of his saves - which might not be that poor considering the talent around him.

I guess he is in the top 10 in career saves though. He's only been an All-star twice, and he has only finished in the top 5 in saves 4 times. He's hung around a long time, throwing smoke. I guess I always though of him as the 90's version of Aurelio Lopez instead of an all-time great.

Hernandez similar pitchers on baseball Ref, are Reardon, Doug Jones, Sutter, Montgomery, Timlin, Aguilera, Todd Jones, Wickman, Mike Jackson, Randy Myers - other than Sutter just aren't that impressive, other than they were dang durable.

This is why I like this project, I learn stuff. If Roberto Hernandez is one of the top 50 relievers of all time, then I have learned something today.
   20. JPWF13 Posted: September 18, 2006 at 10:37 PM (#2181003)
This is why I like this project, I learn stuff. If Roberto Hernandez is one of the top 50 relievers of all time, then I have learned something today.


... well he is (prior to 2006)
18th in career games
10th in career saves
11th in games finished

and now including 2006 as he's cleared 1000 ip,
around 18th all time in ERA+

with respect to his BBREF comp list- he beats all of them in ERA+ except Sutter (tie)
he had 324 saves, his comps average 265, he had 892 games, his comps averaged 797, only 2 weren't direct contemporaries of Hernandez- Sutter and Reardon (Reardon's career overlapped a little at the tail end). The 9 other than Sutter may not be all that impressive (though to be fair all were regarded as good pitchers)- but RH (suprising to me too) is pretty clearly better than they are/were.
   21. Daryn Posted: September 18, 2006 at 10:49 PM (#2181014)
If Roberto Hernandez is one of the top 50 relievers of all time, then I have learned something today.

If you value career over peak, RH is clearly within the top 20 relievers of all-time. I have him 16th.
   22. sunnyday2 Posted: September 18, 2006 at 10:56 PM (#2181019)
Roberto who?
   23. DL from MN Posted: September 18, 2006 at 11:00 PM (#2181027)
Hernandez is a career value pitcher, for sure. Here's my career oriented relief pitcher rankings:

Eckersley, Dennis (includes value as a starter)
Smoltz, John (includes value as a starter)
Wilhelm, Hoyt
Rivera, Mariano
Gossage, Goose
Smith, Lee
Hoffman, Trevor (very nearly ahead of Lee Smith)
Franco, John
Fingers, Rollie
Wagner, Billy
Hernandez, Roberto
Hiller, John
Henke, Tom
Kinder, Ellis
Tekulve, Kent
Wetteland, John
Reardon, Jeff
Lyle, Sparky
Sutter, Bruce
McDaniel, Lindy
Marshall, Mike
Orosco, Jesse
Quisenberry, Dan
Nen, Robb
Righetti, Dave
Percival, Troy

Only Eck through Hoffman would be in my top 50 on my 1986 ballot. Eck through Gossage meet HoM standards. Hoffman is about one more season like 2006 away from making it on ballot and at least 2 seasons away from catching Goose.

Mariano makes up the difference on Wilhelm with his postseason work. I haven't included postseason in the above rankings. Referring to Rivera as the best reliever ever isn't a stretch.

Billy Wagner has put himself in position for a HoM bid but needs 4-5 more great seasons. He is the only other active reliever who really has a shot.
   24. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 19, 2006 at 02:39 AM (#2181499)
He's only been an All-star twice,
And one of those times he broke Cal Ripken's nose while falling off the risers they took the AL All-Star team's photo on!
   25. Mark Donelson Posted: September 19, 2006 at 09:48 PM (#2182235)
I wish the peak were a little longer, but I think Hiller burned brightly enough to get a look from me. He'll probably make my top 50, though not my ballot. He's certainly the most appealing non-Wilhelm reliever this peak voter has seen yet.
   26. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 22, 2006 at 04:13 AM (#2184768)
Hiller's 1973 is the 2nd most valuable season that wasn't pitched by Walter Johnson that I have among eligible pitchers. The only more valuable non-WJ season was John Clarkson's 1889.

It was simply insane.

I posted this earlier . . . but I'll repeat it on his thread. He allowed 21 runs in 125.3 IP that season, which is great in it's own right. However, he prevented 15.6 more inherited runs from scoring than an average pitcher would have that season. His relievers cost him .7 of those runs.

This work was leveraged 1.72. His league was terrible true - that bumps his DRA (defense adjusted RA) in my system all the way up to 0.47. So essentially he threw the equivalent of 207 IP at a RA of 0.47 in a 4.50 R/G environment. It's almost 50% higher than the next highest relief season among eligibles (Stu Miller's 1965), which scores at 8.2 WAR.

He has other good seasons too, his 1975 was great, as was his 1978. His career DRA of 3.39 is the best I've found for an eligible reliever, and he threw 1603.3 translated IP (adjusted for leverage), which is the 9th most I've found.

He's one of only 2 relievers eligible that had five relief seasons of 4.0 or more WAR (Miller was the other one).

I have him as the #4 eligible reliever right now, behind only Hoyt Wilhelm, Miller and Lindy McDaniel. He was a helluva pitcher.
   27. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 22, 2006 at 04:21 AM (#2184771)
Career PA eligible relievers:

Hoyt Wilhelm .853
Stu Miller .595
Lindy McDaniel .568
John Hiller .526
Roy Face .503

Then it drops all the way down to Perranoski and McMahon at .394/.381.

Marberry is at .514, Kinder at .477 and Shnatz at .467, but they weren't true relievers about 50-60% of their value came from starting.
   28. Paul Wendt Posted: September 23, 2006 at 04:14 PM (#2185974)
Pete Palmer measures thru 2004
Single-season
Adjusted Reliever Runs
1. Eichhorn 1986
2. Kern 1979
3. Hiller 1973, Corbett 1980, Rivera 1996
20t. Hernandez 1996

Relief Ranking [overall rating]
1. Kern 1979
2. Hiller 1973
3. Gossage 1977
4. Eichhorn 1988
5. Hernandez 1996

Most of these seasons (Top 50 published in each category) are fluke coincidences of performance and usage. Few pitchers appear more than once on either list.

So Dick Radatz 1962-1963-1964 is a fluke in another league, in a three-way tie with himself and eight later seasons by eight different men for 25th-35th place at 26 ARR. . . .
season A.R.R. leaders thru 1964
29.8 McDaniel 1960
27.3 Moore 1927
27.1 Kinder 1951
26.8 Lee 1964
26.0 Radatz 1962
26.0 Radatz 1963
26.0 Radatz 1964
(I don't believe that that is three significant figures. All recent values are integers.)

------
Career
Adjusted Reliever Runs
1. Wilhelm 252
2. Rivera 187
16. Hernandez 120
24. Hiller 110

Relief Ranking [overall rating]
1. Wilhelm
2. Rivera*
3. Gossage
4. Franco*
5. Wetteland
6. Hernandez*
6. Hoffman*
8. Smith
9. Quisenberry
10. Fingers
Henke, Nen*, Tekulve, Jones, Lyle
Eckersley, Marshall, Hiller, Orosco, Aguilera

* active. (I have previously posted some data thru 2005.)
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2006 at 05:27 PM (#2186015)
DL,
I think I would have the same top 10, and not elect them all either - somewhere from 5 to 8, roughly, would seem pretty accurate, though it depends of course on quality of competition on the ballot, etc.

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