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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ken Singleton

Eligible in 1990.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 13, 2006 at 07:33 PM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 13, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2236525)
In retrospect, the Mets would have been better off not trading Singleton (and I'm a HUGE Staub fan saying this).
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: November 13, 2006 at 08:12 PM (#2236574)
If Singleton was so great how come he doesn't have any comments yet?
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 13, 2006 at 08:14 PM (#2236577)
Hey, what am I, Marc - chopped liver?!

:-)
   4. Sam M. Posted: November 13, 2006 at 08:21 PM (#2236592)
In retrospect, the Mets would have been better off not trading Singleton (and I'm a HUGE Staub fan saying this).

Absolutely. Of course, the Mets weren't thinking how quickly the end was going to come for Agee and Jones, and how much better off they'd have been replacing them with Otis and Singleton. They thought they just needed a right fielder to finish off their "outfield of the 70s."
   5. DavidFoss Posted: November 13, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2236661)
If Singleton was so great how come he doesn't have any comments yet?

:-)

I think the point is not that Singleton is great or that he deserves induction -- Its that Singleton compares so well to a lot of contemporary hitters who are much better remembered. (Rice, Parker, Lynn, DwEvans, etc) His name pops up 'Jim Rice debates' because his career compares so favorably to Rice's (better peak, better career, just plain better). So, even if Singleton doesn't get much support, he's right in the mix of borderline guys and we'll have to explain why the borderline guys we vote for are better then Ken.
   6. JPWF13 Posted: November 13, 2006 at 09:12 PM (#2236672)
# 1 BBref comp is Dusty Baker.

career OPS+ of 132, top 5 4 times.

He's another player for whom similarity scores don't work very well
none of hos BBref comps made the HOF, he was better than every single one of them, (personally I think the scores should be tweaked- more weight to OBP, add OPS+ or something similar...)

8558 PAs and 132 OPS+
what's better, that or 10861 PA at 122 OPS+ (Tany Perez)
that or 8090 PAs and 130 OPS+ (the first Bonds) (Singleton of course- but I hear about Bobby as a HOF candidate all the time)
9058 PAs and 128 (Jim Rice)
8695 PAs and 133 (Orlando Cepeda)

I don't think he belongs in the HOF or the HOM, bt he was good or better than some others who are in the HOF or who received vocal support (which as far as I know, he doesn't receive)

He hit .388-?-.703 for Tidewater at age 23. (I assume his OBP was somehwere between .450 and .500) If stathead prospect watchers existed then what might have been the buzz surrounding him? At the age of 24/25 he was traded for a 27/28 year old Rusty Staub, who at 31/32 was traded for a much older (and even rounder) Mickey Lolich (gawd was it hard to root for this team...)
   7. DavidFoss Posted: November 13, 2006 at 09:16 PM (#2236687)
He's another player for whom similarity scores don't work very well

Pitchers parks and lots of walks. Sim scores don't adjust for park or era and they don't put much weight on walks -- this was actually done intentionally to match the BBWAA voting biases.
   8. Jim Sp Posted: November 13, 2006 at 09:19 PM (#2236696)
Wow, the Mets trade was brilliant compared to the Expos/Orioles trade.

December 4, 1974: Traded by the Montreal Expos with Mike Torrez to the Baltimore Orioles for Dave McNally, Rich Coggins, and Bill Kirkpatrick (minors).
   9. JPWF13 Posted: November 13, 2006 at 09:33 PM (#2236716)
It takes a true stathead to appreciate a .388 BA and .703 SLG. Those poor heathens probably thought he was Mario Mendoza's chauffeur or something.


They may ahve, Minor league stats were disregarded as almost meaningless back then. If a scout thought Player A was better than Singleton, and Player A hit .305 with a .475 SLG, the scout would still think player A was better than Singleton- they only looked at stats for comfirmation- Is my guy ready yet? Hitting decently at AAA? Yes- overmatched at AA? No.

Oh the Sporting News had minor league coverage, and each year Baseball Digest would give a prospect list- including minor league stats- but what is baseball without numbers? No article I ever read before the 1980s used stats to rank prospects. Minor league stats simply were not taken into account in deciding whether player A was a better prospect than player B- stats could tell you if a guy was "ready" or if he was progressing- but that was it.
   10. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 13, 2006 at 09:55 PM (#2236748)
Maybe Singleton didn't have The Face....
   11. JPWF13 Posted: November 13, 2006 at 09:57 PM (#2236751)
or didn't look good in Jeans
   12. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: November 13, 2006 at 10:28 PM (#2236808)
The Mets could have used Jorgensen and Foli as well.

December 4, 1974: Traded by the Montreal Expos with Mike Torrez to the Baltimore Orioles for Dave McNally, Rich Coggins, and Bill Kirkpatrick (minors).

The Expos could not have foreseen Mcnally's hiccups.

It takes a true stathead to appreciate a .388 BA and .703 SLG.

Those aggregates fall into the "too good to be legit" category and are consequently often subject to discount.
   13. Al Peterson Posted: November 14, 2006 at 10:33 PM (#2237828)
Just ran Singleton through my system and excepted a little higher result. Right now his value is equivalent to Kiki Cuyler and places him in the 60-70 range. For all the good things there are some things to note on the negative side of things.

No speed - maybe a product of the Earl Weaver 3-run HR strategy but his GIDP numbers seem to point to lack of speed.

Defense, or lack thereof - Wasn't great shakes before he spent the last 3 years exclusively DHing.

Appears to be a Moneyball prototype - walks, some power, station to station on the bases, best suited without a glove. I can wait on inducting such a player.
   14. OCF Posted: November 14, 2006 at 11:21 PM (#2237867)
Appears to be a Moneyball prototype -

Hey! Enough with the anachronisms. Let's call him what he was: an Earl Weaver player.

Of course, as has been documented in the early discussion of Jim Palmer that was on the 1990 ballot thread, Earl Weaver did very much care about defense - but that didn't mean that everyone on the field had to be Mark Belanger.
   15. DavidFoss Posted: November 15, 2006 at 01:56 AM (#2237961)
Of course, as has been documented in the early discussion of Jim Palmer that was on the 1990 ballot thread, Earl Weaver did very much care about defense - but that didn't mean that everyone on the field had to be Mark Belanger.

Bill James has written that Earl Weaver loved specialists. He'd rather start Belanger and pull him for a pitch-hitter like Bumbry than find an 'all-around' player who could play the full game but wasn't as good at either role. With his four-man rotation loaded with workhorses, he had the luxury to do stuff like that.
   16. Steve Treder Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#2237966)
Bill James has written that Earl Weaver loved specialists. He'd rather start Belanger and pull him for a pitch-hitter like Bumbry than find an 'all-around' player who could play the full game but wasn't as good at either role. With his four-man rotation loaded with workhorses, he had the luxury to do stuff like that.

With the 10-man pitching staff that was the standard of the day, every manager had the luxury to do stuff like that. Few were nearly as clever at understanding that and taking advantage of it as Weaver.
   17. JPWF13 Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:13 PM (#2238487)
With the 10-man pitching staff that was the standard of the day, every manager had the luxury to do stuff like that. Few were nearly as clever at understanding that and taking advantage of it as Weaver.


Weaver had some great platoons- he'd get a .281/.374/.481 line in 300 at bats from some nameless journeyman, and .260/.326/.477 in 300 at bats from another (back in the 70s/80s were talking the equivalent of a regular 600 ab player with an OPS+ of 130...) and before the season began the position occupied by that platoon would be described as a weak spot by the mediots- and if the Orioles made the playoffs and teh mediots did their position by position comparison- they'd always give the Orioles' opponent the "advantage" no matter how much better "Lowen/icke" was than that teams' regular...
   18. Daryn Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:55 PM (#2238717)
Weaver had some great platoons- he'd get a .281/.374/.481 line in 300 at bats from some nameless journeyman, and .260/.326/.477 in 300 at bats from another (back in the 70s/80s were talking the equivalent of a regular 600 ab player with an OPS+ of 130...) and before the season began the position occupied by that platoon would be described as a weak spot by the mediots- and if the Orioles made the playoffs and teh mediots did their position by position comparison- they'd always give the Orioles' opponent the "advantage" no matter how much better "Lowen/icke" was than that teams' regular...

Bobby Cox achieved the same thing in Toronto in the mid-80s with Mulliniorg and Buck 'n' Ernie. I'd love to see a return to the 10 man pitching staff. I think it could be done with little loss on the pitching side and significant gain on the hitting side.
   19. Mike Webber Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:29 PM (#2238814)
I'd love to see a return to the 10 man pitching staff. I think it could be done with little loss on the pitching side and significant gain on the hitting side.


AMEN!
   20. JPWF13 Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:31 PM (#2238815)
I'd love to see a return to the 10 man pitching staff.
Most teams weren't that good at platooning- plus there was a not inconsiderable amount of complaining by the players involved.

In my example, "lowen-icke" one half was fine with the arrangement- he was an older player who'd never been a regular and had any delusions of stardom kicked out of him long before Weaver got a fair amount of production out of him- the other half was disgruntled and continually complained about not playing everyday- in the only interview I ever read of his- he said he never forgave the Orioles for not making him a regular.
   21. Daryn Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:41 PM (#2238820)
the other half was disgruntled and continually complained about not playing everyday

Gary Roenicke had an overinflated view of his abilities, then.
   22. Steve Treder Posted: November 16, 2006 at 04:44 AM (#2239186)
Most teams weren't that good at platooning

All the more opportunity for the team that is good at it to gain the competitive advantage.

plus there was a not inconsiderable amount of complaining by the players involved.

To the extent that this is true, it's a damn weak reason to carry 2 LOOGYs and a setup man to the setup man's setup man on the roster.
   23. JPWF13 Posted: November 17, 2006 at 04:31 PM (#2240339)
Gary Roenicke had an overinflated view of his abilities, then.


Now that BBref has splits...
Roenicke had a few more Abs against LHPs than against RHPs...
his splits were not enormous- large- but not enormous...
OPS+ versus RHP of 107*
OPS+ versus LHP of 125

worse players have been given FT jobs

* Of course Weaver may have been very conscientious about protecting Gary from the tougher RHPS- may be if he faced all RHPs instead of a select few he would have done worse.

His platoon partner on the other hand was mesmerizingly awful versus lefties: .197/.255/.271
and marginally better than Gary versus righties (but again they may not have been facing the same righties- probably weren't in fact).

Roenicke tended to get more ABs than Lowenstein even though Roenicke had the "wrong" half of the platoon, becaus eyou could bat Roenicke against RHPs- he may not have hit them as well as Lowenstein, but he didn't emabarrass himself. Lowenstein just could not be allowed to hit against lefties though, there are several pitchers on the Cubs who'd do a better job at hitting versus them than him.
   24. baudib Posted: November 19, 2006 at 11:23 AM (#2241453)
The Orioles were the first team to field two legitimate power-hitting switch-hitters, I believe. (Prior to Eddie Murray, I believe the list of switch-hitters who had hit as many as 20 homers in a season was Ripper Collins, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Smith and Ted Simmons.

Did Murray always switch-hit? Did Weaver take particular interest in him while he was developing?
   25. DavidFoss Posted: November 19, 2006 at 01:44 PM (#2241461)
Prior to Eddie Murray, I believe the list of switch-hitters who had hit as many as 20 homers in a season was Ripper Collins, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Smith and Ted Simmons.

Switch hitters with 20+ HR seasons through 1976:

Ripper Collins(3), Roy Cullenbine(1), Mickey Mantle (14), Tom Tresh (4), Jim Lefebvre (1), Roy White (1), Reggie Smith (6), Ken Singleton (1), Ted Simmons (1), Ken Henderson (1)

Tresh & Mantle hit 20 as teammates twice (1962,1966). Roy White overlapped with them a bit with NYY, but he did not hit 20 until those two were gone.
   26. OCF Posted: November 19, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#2241578)
Did Murray always switch-hit? Did Weaver take particular interest in him while he was developing?

I don't know for sure, but Murray blew through the minors in a hurry and was a major league regular at the age of 21. It would seem unlikely that he was still learning to switch-hit; he must have been doing that in high school, before he signed a pro contract. Now, Weaver was managing the Orioles when Murray was in high school, so he might have had some influence on scouting, drafting, or signing.

Murray was the first of a remarkable cluster of African-American ballplayers from a small cluster of high schools in south Los Angeles: Eddie Murray, Ozzie Smith, Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis. You wouldn't look for baseball players from those high schools now.
   27. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 21, 2006 at 12:08 AM (#2242573)
Interesting to look at that list. All of those guys were highly skilled players, not merely tools hounds who turned out well. Davis must have been the best pure athelete (he was a SS originally), but even he had a strong ability to draw walks, and he was a good percentage base stealer IIRC.
   28. OCF Posted: November 21, 2006 at 12:25 AM (#2242584)
and [Davis] was a good percentage base stealer IIRC.

And Tony Gwynn was good a hitting for average. And Greg Maddux had some good ERA's. And Joe Morgan is a good candidate for the HoM. Davis's career SB/CS percentage was 84% on 349-66.
   29. fra paolo Posted: November 21, 2006 at 03:46 PM (#2242855)
I worked out OPS+ against position for Singleton throughout his prime:

1973 123
1974 94
1975 180
1976 128
1977 164
1978 169
1979 156
1980 138
1981 123
1982 98

Do Retrosheet park factors inflate his Baltimore OPS+ a bit, I wonder? I find him the best rightfielder I've seen for a while, certainly better than my previous favoured off-ballot outfielder, Tony Oliva. He's directly challenging Alejandro Oms for a spot on my ballot, and may have a knock-on effect on people like Charley Jones or Pete Browning.
   30. Cblau Posted: November 22, 2006 at 04:25 AM (#2243581)
Fra Paolo,
How's he compare with Mike Tiernan?
   31. sunnyday2 Posted: November 22, 2006 at 05:24 AM (#2243625)
Funny, I have Singleton and Tiernan 3 slots apart and with this backlog that means they are siamese twins.

Not funny: They are #68 and #71.
   32. fra paolo Posted: November 22, 2006 at 03:13 PM (#2243777)
How's he compare with Mike Tiernan?

I did a quick first pass using a very blunt mathematical instrument that I employ for comparing Negro League MLEs posted at this site with Major League stats: H+TB+(1.5*BB)/(AB+BB).

The raw scores are:

Oms: .920
Tiernan: .875
Singleton: .860

However, adjusting Oms down 5% to allow for quality of play, I get:

Tiernan: .875
Oms: .874
Singleton: .860

On that basis, I would be inclined to put Oms on my ballot (largely on positive discrimination principles), and position Tiernan and Singleton in the backlog. (Tony Oliva, BTW, scored .865 on this measure, which would put him ahead of Singleton. I'm not sure about that. Like I said, it's a blunt instrument I use reluctantly in an attempt to quantify the performance of Negro League players.)

Comparing Tiernan and Singleton's Warp2 Batting Runs and Fielding Runs directly, and adjusting Singleton's to a 1108-game "prime" I get the following totals:

Singleton 285
Tiernan 215

On that basis, I'd rank Tiernan behind Singleton. Since I have more confidence in this method than in the Blunt Instrument, overall I'd rank these three as follows:

1 Oms
2 Singleton
3 Tiernan
   33. Cblau Posted: November 24, 2006 at 03:55 AM (#2244870)
Just looking at OPS+ and playing time, Tiernan and Singleton seem about equal to me. Tiernan a little better hitter, but Singleton played longer. Plus, neither adds anything with their fielding. If you adjust Tiernan's PA for season length, he comes to within about 400 of Singleton, and Ken had the DH advantage. In fact, if you leave off Singleton's last season, you'd have about the same player.
   34. Boogie Nights Powell Posted: November 24, 2006 at 05:23 AM (#2244886)
In retrospect, the Mets would have been better off not trading Singleton

Singleton struggled as a Met, which as I remember was a reason they were willing to trade him to Montreal. He continued to struggle as an Expo until it was discovered he was allergic to wool uniforms. They switched him into a double-knit and his hitting took off almost overnight.
   35. Steve Treder Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:44 PM (#2245111)
Singleton struggled as a Met

If a 119 OPS+ in one's first full major league season is considered struggling, then I guess he did.

I do recall the wool allergy situation, and Singleton certainly benefitted from the switch to synthetic doubleknits. But Singleton had torn the minors apart wearing wool flannel, and his hitting with the Mets (in a role in which they never allowed him to play regularly on a sustained basis) was pretty good.
   36. fables of the deconstruction Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:35 PM (#2245152)
Did Murray always switch-hit? Did Weaver take particular interest in him while he was developing?

Eddie Murray didn't start switch hitting until he was at Double-A Asheville in 1975 as a 19 year old. Here's the story.

--------
trevise
   37. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:40 PM (#2245201)
Wow, the Mets trade was brilliant compared to the Expos/Orioles trade.

December 4, 1974: Traded by the Montreal Expos with Mike Torrez to the Baltimore Orioles for Dave McNally, Rich Coggins, and Bill Kirkpatrick (minors).


No kidding. That trade was about two bucks short of the Brinks robbery.

McNally went 3 and 6 in 12 games for the Expos and then quit the game.

Coggins had 37 AB's for the Expos and then was waived back into the AL.

Singleton had 8 excellent years in Baltimore, 1 average year and 1 bad year.

Torrez won 20 games in his only year in Baltimore, then got traded with Don Baylor to Oakland for Reggie Jackson and Kenny Holtzman. Jackson had only 1 year as an Oriole and then left as a free agent, but ten weeks later Holtzman was the bait in one of the great sucker deals of all time, where the O's traded him, Doyle Alexander and a few has-beens to the Yankees, in return for Rick Dempsey, Scott McGregor, Tippy Martinez and Rudy May, who in turn got dumped on the Expos for Don Stanhouse and Gary Roenicke.

The bottom line of all this was that the Orioles essentially got many combined productive years out of of six key players (Singleton, Dempsey, McGregor, Tippy Martinez, Stanhouse and Roenicke) in return for two absolute nothings and Don Baylor. And they also got a 20-game season out of Mike Torrez as a bonus. That initial Singleton trade ranks right up there with the Frank Robinson trade in Baltimore history for what it eventually brought to that franchise, and when you add it all up on a quantity basis it might well be one of the two or three most lopsided deals in history. It's right up there with the Herschel Walker to the Vikings heist that the Cowboys pulled off in the 80's.
   38. OCF Posted: November 25, 2006 at 12:28 AM (#2245221)
Thanks for the link, trevise. Good story.

I remember Bill James making the case in one of his Abstracts that minor league statistics were meaningful. He answered the question, "But what about all of the great home run hitters who didn't hit many home runs in the minors? Like Eddie Murray, for instance?" His answer was something like "Because after Murray hit 11 HR in 54 games in AAA at the age of 20, he wasn't a minor leaguer any more."

I just checked that on Basballcube: At the age of 18, at Asheville (high-A) in 124 games, he hit .264/.348/.422 (17 HR). The next year, he spent 88 games at Charlotte (AA), hitting .298/.389/.482 (12 HR), followed by 54 games at Rochester (AAA), hitting .274/.399/.530. What's striking about that is that his performance was improving in raw terms even as he climbed in level, meaning he was improving rapidly in real terms. I can see two explanations for that, both of which could be true. One is that it is part of the nature of 18-19 year old players that they have the potential for rapid improvement. The other is that he was still adjusting to switch-hitting.

At any rate, the Orioles organization had seen enough (and rightly so). Murray began the next year in the starting lineup in Baltimore.
   39. Paul Wendt Posted: July 02, 2007 at 09:40 PM (#2426580)
Eric Chalek in "2001 Ballot"
4. Ken Singleton: He’s the best player in the AL of the very late 1970s, and a good long while best RF in the AL. And while he might not have much defensive value, he’s doing a great job of walking and hitting with power, lots of SEC. Plenty of All-Star and MVP type seasons.

Or simply "late 1970s" or give him 1980 and call it "the last four years of the decade".
I didn't know he was the best player on his team, and it was my favorite team.
Grich and Baylor/Jackson were gone to California but Eddie Murray arrived in 1977 and by September we (college friends in Florida) both thought he was the best player on the team and wondered whether he would be a Yankee before the Orioles would win another pennant.

The qualm I have about Singleton is his value in the field. Regarding the small point at hand, the question is whether Eddie Murray may have been the better player already in 1977-79. Murray won his Gold Gloves in 1982-84 and something like that sometimes means the guy was really terrific about five years earlier :-)

Singleton was durable, playing 460 games in 1977-79. Murray played 480. Jim Rice 481 (you know the '1').
Reggie was not durable --416 games, never 460 in any three seasons-- although you wouldn't say "he can't stay in the lineup".
Baylor played 474 but he wasn't so good.
Grich had some down time and some out time.
   40. JPWF13 Posted: July 02, 2007 at 10:38 PM (#2426619)
What's striking about that is that his performance was improving in raw terms even as he climbed in level, meaning he was improving rapidly in real terms. I can see two explanations for that, both of which could be true. One is that it is part of the nature of 18-19 year old players that they have the potential for rapid improvement.


I think that if you look at minor leeguers in general you will not see this pattern-
If you look at major leaguers- and then look back at THEIR minor league careers thsi pattern will be a bit more common- 3 examples off the top of my head

1: David Wright- hit better as a 20 year old in A+ than he had as a 19 year old in A-; hit even better as a 21 year old in AA (ending the year in the majors)
2: Ryan Braun- at 22 hit better in AA than he had in A+, the next year at age 23 hit better in AAA than he had in AA the year before- is now in the majors
3: Magglio Ordonez- at 23 hit better in AAA than he'd hit at 22 in AA, where he'd hit better than when he was 21 in A+

Lesson? If you see a minor leaguer who's production goes up as he's promoted from league to league? He's a keeper.

Too soon to tell:
Carlos Gomez- at 21 hit better in AAA than he'd hit at 20 in AA, where he'd hit better than when he was 19 in A+...
   41. Chris Cobb Posted: July 03, 2007 at 01:24 AM (#2427061)
Eric's ballot read:

4. Ken Singleton: He’s the best player in the AL of the very late 1970s, and a good long while best RF in the AL. And while he might not have much defensive value, he’s doing a great job of walking and hitting with power, lots of SEC. Plenty of All-Star and MVP type seasons.

Paul Wendt responded:

Or simply "late 1970s" or give him 1980 and call it "the last four years of the decade".

You can't give him 1980, because if you give him 1980, you also have to give George Brett 1980, and then Singleton is no longer the best player in the AL over any stretch of seasons when he and Brett are full time players.

Actually, since neither Dan Rosenheck's WAR nor WARP agree that Singleton was more valuable than Brett, the claim that Singleton is the best player in the AL is only true for one three-year period, 1977-79, and is only seen in that light by one comprehensive metric (win shares).
   42. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 03, 2007 at 01:11 PM (#2427567)
Here's where I'm coming from on Singleton.

Chris is correct that 1977-1979 is the one three-year set where Singleton is unqustionably the best player in the AL (by WS). However, from 1975-1977, he's very, very close to Carew (within 5%), and he is also that close to Rod in 1976-1978. Care falls away thereafter. Brett is within 10% in that first frame, within 5% in the second. Then Brett falls away a bit in 1977-1979 before surging back in 1978-1980. Singleton in 1978-1980 remains within 10% of Brett in and even as late as 1979-1981 is still within 10% of Brett (in a pack with Cooper, Rickey, and Murray).

So my justification for Singleton is probably overstated, I'll have to agree. But this seems to me a matter of degree. I think Singleton has an obvious argument for being better than Brett from 1975-1977 through 1977-1979, a good argument for better from 1975-1977 through 1977-1979, and a not as persuasive argument for the entire 1975-1977 through 1979-1981 period.

I decided to take a look at this through a five-year window to see if that made any difference in the Brett v. Singleton case. (Quick reminder, each individual season is assigned an "MVP percentage" which is figured as the player's WS divided by Win Share's MVP's WS. I then averag this figure for n years, usually three. This time five.)

Here's how the guys stack up (Singleton's includes NL time). While I'm at it, Rod Carew and Reggie and Grich and Yount...

TIME SPAN   KS   GB    RC    RJ  BG  RY
-----------------------------------------
1970-1974  .40  ----  .63  .77  .51  ----
1971-1975  .57  ----  .75  .84  .67  ----
1972-1976  .66  ----  .84  .83  .85  ----
1973-1977  .76  .56   .93  .84  .77  ----
1974-1978  .78  .69   .88  .77  .71   .41
1975
-1979  .88  .83   .78  .72  .68   .44
1976
-1980  .83  .88   .71  .73  .61   .50
1977
-1981  .85  .83   .66  .69  .65   .63
1978
-1982  .72  .81   .55  .66  .71   .74
1979
-1983  .66  .82   .51  .55  .73   .83
1980
-1984  .47  .70   .47  .47  .65   .89 


You look at this list of guys and you say Ken Singleton belongs with them? But he does, he's right there with them. In the early-mid 1970s, the well-established players are clearly superior, but beginning in 1974-1978, Singleton is eclipses the best of the old guard, trades places with Brett (the best of the new) and holds off the young Yount. Singleton indeed fades earlier than Brett and Yount (he's older than they are), but he remains a forceful player in the league until his demise. The fact is, he's a prime guy, his career is shorter than I'd like, his peak is good but not extremely fabulous, but it was good enough to legitimately claim (via Win Shares' POV) that Singleton was the best player in his league for a few years and close to it several others. Very few players can make that claim, and I take it seriously. Were his career longer or his peak peakier, he'd already be in. But instead he's got a real good prime, better peaks and careers than, say, Puckett or Mattingly, and the distinction of being the best in his league during a time when talent was dispersed pretty widely across the leagues and quality of play was high.
   43. PhillyBooster Posted: July 03, 2007 at 03:31 PM (#2427653)
A few years ago, someone was maintaining a "Pennants Added" stat based on an earlier Baseball Prospectus Book article that attempted to combine "peak" and "career" values equitably. I assume it is not being maintained any more.

Based on my memory of the original BPro Book article, Ken Singleton was among the players with the most value added by this "Pennants Added" method. He has the perfect mix of "peak" and "career" such that he will be undervalued to the degree that you value one measure over the other, as I think the conversation here shows.

If I still voted, Singleton would be in my Top 15.

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