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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Luis Aparicio

Eligible in 1979.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 11, 2006 at 11:13 PM | 68 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 11, 2006 at 11:18 PM (#2060440)
I have him practically tied with Maury Wills. More career than the Dodger star, but less peak.
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: June 12, 2006 at 12:15 AM (#2060503)
Sorry, but Overrated (with the capital O). I have him ahead of Wills but behind Campaneris and Fregosi.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 12, 2006 at 12:19 AM (#2060505)
I have him ahead of Wills but behind Campaneris and Fregosi.

I have Campy as clearly the best of the quartet. I do have "Bela" a little bit ahead of Little Louie and Mr. Nice Guy, though.
   4. Ardo Posted: June 12, 2006 at 01:33 AM (#2060587)
Let's look back a little further, gang. Luis Aparicio is a dead ringer for Rabbit Maranville:

Little Louie: 11230 PA, OPS+ 82
The Rabbit: 11256 PA, OPS+ 82

And both were defensive stalwarts.

Aparicio might make the bottom of my ballot (I like Maranville more than most), with integrated-league credit. But I consistently rank Nellie Fox in the #10-#13 range, and I can't make a case to rank Aparicio ahead of his onetime double-play partner.
   5. OCF Posted: June 12, 2006 at 07:27 AM (#2060845)
2581 games at SS, with not an inning at any other position. Ozzie Smith had 2511 games at SS. Led the league in SB nine times - and in CS four times. Batted leadoff and never scored 100 runs in a season. Offensively, I've got him as maybe better than Maranville, but a definite rung lower than either Herman Long or Smith. (Had his best offensive years in his mid-30's when he started to draw more walks.) My gut instinct is to give tremendous respect to that career length - what it will come down to is just how good he was on defense for all of that time. We also need to look for what kind of defensive peak (probably much earlier than his offensive peak) and defensive prime he had. I don't yet know what I'll do with him.
   6. sunnyday2 Posted: June 12, 2006 at 12:10 PM (#2060888)
While I have my Encyclopedia open:

Luis used up about 7600 outs, Maranville a mere 7400, Ozzie almost 7000, Fox 6600, Campy about 6400.
   7. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 12, 2006 at 01:23 PM (#2060950)
OCF,

I'm going to pick on you, sorry in advance.

My gut instinct is to give tremendous respect to that career length

Why? Dude was an out machine. Is Rabbit Maranville getting that same tremendous respect? Will Vizquel? Why would Aparicio's career length be important when his career value is very low given the number of years he played. Seems like he's a speedy Bobby Richardson with Omar Vizquel's glove (in other words, not near Ozzie's glove). Nice player, but nothing near HOMable.
   8. DL from MN Posted: June 12, 2006 at 01:53 PM (#2060981)
Not in my top 100. I think growing up I confused Aparicio and Appling. I agree, a very useful player (hold down SS for 15 years, 5-6 all star seasons) but only decent at the plate in comparison to other no-hit SS.
   9. jimd Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:07 AM (#2061654)
Luis Aparicio is a dead ringer for Rabbit Maranville:

Little Louie: 11230 PA, OPS+ 82
The Rabbit: 11256 PA, OPS+ 82

The Wizard of Oz, 10778 PA, OPS+ 87

Except that WARP and WS both agree that Smith and Maranville were much the superior fielders.

WARP has them Smith 110, Maranville 108, Aparicio 102.
Win Shares rates them Smith and Maranville A+, Aparicio B.

The Rabbit was the consummate deadball SS. The 1920's hurt his offensive value; his stats went up but not as much as most players, i.e. relatively speaking he lost value. If he had been able to spend his entire career in the deadball era, or in Braves Field, he would be a HOMer by now, IMO.

Ozzie Smith was the consummate turf SS. He also benefited from playing in a park that minimized the impact of his lack of power. If he had been a Cub, I doubt that he would have benefited as much as the average player from playing in Wrigley, which would have hurt his OPS+.

I haven't done a full analysis of Oz yet, but I see him and Maranville as very similar players with very similar cases. And both are well ahead of Aparicio.
   10. Paul Wendt Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:24 AM (#2061674)
Except that WARP and WS both agree that Smith and Maranville were much the superior fielders.

WARP has them Smith 110, Maranville 108, Aparicio 102.
Win Shares rates them Smith and Maranville A+, Aparicio B.


This must make Aparicio one of the famous players most downgraded by the new Bill James sabermetrics. "A" by reputation, I think. B is not good at shortstop.
   11. Paul Wendt Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:25 AM (#2061675)
How common is WARP fielding 110 or 90?
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:29 AM (#2061678)
Well, if not for Bill James, George Sisler woulda been a HoMer a long time ago--except, of course, for the fact that without Bill James there would not be a HoM. But anyway, you get the idea. Whereas Luis would fall short one way or the other.
   13. OCF Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:30 AM (#2061679)
The problem with "102" or "B" is that those sound like attempts to put a single description on a whole career. As I mention, Aparicio never played an inning at any position other than SS (unlike Maranville, who had over 500 games at 2B). Perhaps there came a point late in Aparacio's career at which he should have been moved.

Here's the question: is there any good way to isolate out a defensive peak or defensive prime for him?
   14. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 13, 2006 at 01:43 AM (#2061698)
Here's the question: is there any good way to isolate out a defensive peak or defensive prime for him?

I think that both WARP1 and WS (in the extendo .pdf version) offer breakouts of that very sort. Here's a chrono of Aparicio's FRAA from 1956 through 1973.

-8
-4
13
6
19
2
15
-4
1
7
14
-16
23
15
10
-17
-12
3

Here's Ozzie's
19
15
20
16
18
14
12
23
10
19
12
4
-4
9
18
23
-1
4
9

Here's Rabbit's
0
27
18
13
19
8
-1
6
6
16
15
14
10
-4
4
0
11
21
2
-16
13
-23
-1

You'll have to look up the games on your own. 20 seems to be a big number for FRAA.

As to WS, same idea this time with FWS

Aparicio
7.9
6.3
9.2
7.2
9.1
6.6
8.0
7.7
8.2
8.0
8.8
2.5
8.2
7.4
3.9
4.0
2.9
7.0


Smith
10.4
6.7
10.0
6.1
10.4
9.0
7.6
10.5
9.3
10.2
7.7
6.8
3.9
5.7
8.7
8.2
3.1
2.1
3.4

Maranville
0.8
5.4
13.3
9.8
10.7
7.9
0.4
6.6
5.0
10.7
10.2
8.4
6.6
2.4
3.0
0.7
7.7
9.6
9.1
2.8
6.8
4.6
0.2
   15. sunnyday2 Posted: June 13, 2006 at 02:00 AM (#2061714)
Aparicio absolutely should have been moved, and early in his career...

...to the #8 spot.
   16. jimd Posted: June 13, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#2061715)
How common is WARP fielding 110 or 90?

100 is an average fielder at the position.

110 means that the fielder saved 10 runs above average per 100 games played. (100+10)
90 means that the fielder cost 10 runs below average per 100 games played. (100-10)

The problem with "102" or "B" is that those sound like attempts to put a single description on a whole career.

I agree absolutely. I should have looked deeper here.

Perhaps there came a point late in Aparacio's career at which he should have been moved.

He should never have reported to Boston. Before then, eyeballing it, I'd say that by WARP he's probably Maranville over a similar number of games. Aparicio then adds three years of dreadful fielding at SS in Fenway (average about 90) at ages 37-39. OTOH, Maranville adds three years at 2B; his last year in Pitt (1924) is quite good with the glove (107), the finale back in Boston is average fielding after age 40 (1932-33).

I always do this treatment with pitchers because they vary so much. It's worth looking at the hitters in the same way, though it usually doesn't make a big difference.
   17. jimd Posted: June 13, 2006 at 02:09 AM (#2061723)
the finale back in Boston is average fielding after age 40 (1932-33).

Should have said:
the finale back in Boston is average 2B fielding after age 40 (1932-33).

BTW: Roberto Alomar turns 40 in two more years.
   18. OCF Posted: June 17, 2006 at 12:25 AM (#2066489)
I went back to look at Maranville and Aparicio and discovered a data entry mistake that was causing me to undervalue Maranville. After fixing that, what do we have? I'll try comparing them on my usual offensive system, but this time instead of using scaled RCAA, I'll used scaled RC above 75% of average. I'll also throw in Ozzie, although he won't be eligible for another 20 years. (His career has started, though.) Sorted from best year to worst:

Maranville 30 27 22 21 20 18 15 15 10 10  9  7  6  4  4  0  0 ----5- -6-12
Aparicio   35 25 25 25 20 18 16 14 14 13 13 11 11  5  5  3 
--3
Smith      55 46 33 33 32 28 25 25 21 14 13  8  8  7  6  4 
--7-18 


That looks like a small advantage for Aparico over Maranville. One reason is that Aparicio stole twice as many bases as Maranville, with a much better percentage. Maranville has more years, but a number of them are years in the middle of his career in which he played very little - sometimes because he didn't have a job. The total number of games comes out to about the same.

Of course, I'm also comparing to 75% of average there, not average. Neither one can make any kind of case without claiming extraordinary defensive value. In both cases, it's a career case - an extreme longevity case.

The modern comprehensive metrics do like Maranville's defense quite a bit more than Aparicio's. This is not based on play-by-play data in either case.

Argument against Maranville: he wasn't purely a SS; he played over 500 games at 2B. This contrasts with Aparicio, who never played any other position. In fact, as far as I can tell, Aparicio holds the career record for games played at SS.

Counterargument to that: who plays what position sometimes depends as much on incumbency or other considerations that don't necessarily put the best player at each position. Cite precedent of Jeter v. Rodriguez.

Argument for Aparicio: contemporary observers were impressed enough by his defense that he was voted the Gold Glove nine times. True, contemporary observers also praised Maranville, there being no GG awards. But if Maranville's value was so obvious, what was he doing on the waiver wire in 1925?

Counterargument to that: the writers have never taken the GG particularly seriously, and it's a "trailing indicator," with players winning the award based on reputations earned years earlier. There's a bias in favor of short "rabbit" shortstops who obviously look quick over tall, strong-armed SS. (Of course, Maranville is on the right side of that bias as well.) Reputations don't always square with reality (again, see Jeter).

Still ... this is the guy who played more games at SS than anyone else.
   19. Chris Cobb Posted: June 17, 2006 at 01:04 AM (#2066550)
Aparicio's edge in games at shortstop over Maranville is diminished if one gives Maranville war credit for 1918 and adjusts for season length.

With these adjustments, I have Maranville at about 2400 games at shortstop to Aparicio's 2638. That's an edge for Aparicio, but Maranville's extra 500 games at another high-defense position doesn't hurt his career stature. Note that Maranville's missing 1918 season falls squarely in the middle of his batting peak: there's every indication that he is short one peak season because of the war.

But if Maranville's value was so obvious, what was he doing on the waiver wire in 1925?

It's clear that Maranville's hitting fell off the table in 1925 and didn't recover to an acceptable level until 1928. His fielding also seems to have suffered in 1925. Does anyone know if injury was a factor here? On the subject of shortstops of the 1920s, I learned recently from baseballlibrary that Joe Sewell wasn't traded from Cleveland to the Yankees after the 1930 season; he was released by Cleveland (!) . I am still curious about why Sewell was switche to third base late (?) in 1928. If Cleveland had an heir apparent at short, he clearly didn't work out. They were weak at third in 1928, but would they move Sewell to third to fill that hole only to create another one at short?

Does anybody know anything about the reasons for the turns in Maranville's and Sewell's career paths in the second half of the 1920s?
   20. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 17, 2006 at 02:38 AM (#2066669)
Does anybody know anything about the reasons for the turns in Maranville's and Sewell's career paths in the second half of the 1920s?

Maranville had severe problems with alcohol - he basically drank himself out of the league. He stopped drinking in mid-1927, while still in the minors, and was able to resurect his career.
   21. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 17, 2006 at 02:48 AM (#2066681)
OCF, just an FYI, writers don't vote for Gold Gloves, coaches and mangers do.
   22. Chris Cobb Posted: June 17, 2006 at 04:17 AM (#2066742)
vortex,

Thanks for the info on the reasons for Maranville's downturn. I guess we can now say the Maranville has a Dave Parker career shape, or perhaps Parker has a Maranville career shape.
   23. Brent Posted: June 17, 2006 at 05:05 AM (#2066776)
Maranville has a Dave Parker career shape, or perhaps Parker has a Maranville career shape.

Talk about a Mutt and Jeff pair!
   24. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 17, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2066904)
It's like the snake and the mongoose, only it's The Cobra and the Rabbit instead. Will The Cobra win? Or will the Rabbit charm, joke, and prank The Cobra to death?
   25. Jeff M Posted: June 19, 2006 at 01:33 PM (#2068327)
The problem with "102" or "B" is that those sound like attempts to put a single description on a whole career.

I think maybe Bill James agreed with the above statement and built in a reputation bonus by giving Aparicio a "B" letter grade. His FWS per 1000 innings was 5.47. The average for a shortstop with at least 10,000 innings (Aparicio has about 22,500) is 5.72, so Aparicio is quite a bit below that. That average is reported in WS. If you average the FWS per 1000 of shortstops with 15,000 innings or more, you get about the same baseline.

As another reference point, the shortstops in the Hall of Fame average 6.14 FWS per 1000 innings. Aparicio is considerably below that. Only four (4) HoF shortstops have lower fielding WS per 1,000 innings: Appling (5.40), Davis (5.36), Wallace (5.46) and Yount (5.09). Appling and Davis were fine hitters. Wallace pioneered the position. Yount played almost half of his career in the outfield after being moved out of the shortstop position.
   26. Chris Cobb Posted: June 19, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2068378)
I think maybe Bill James agreed with the above statement and built in a reputation bonus by giving Aparicio a "B" letter grade.

No, Aparicio earned his B. Here's the "grading scale" for shorstops from _Win Shares_, p. 135:

A level 5.80 WS/1000
B Level 5.00 WS/1000
C Level 4.20 WS/1000

Each "level" includes + and - grades; i.e. the B level includes grades of B-, B, and B+

The B range (above B-, below B+) is 5.27 to 5.53. Aparicio's 5.47 WS/1000 falls squarely into this range, which, as Jeff M. points out, is low for both HoF shorstops and long-career shortstops, though since Aparicio has more innings at shortstop than anyone else, it's probable that in his defensive prime he was considerably better than his career rate indicates.
   27. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 19, 2006 at 03:35 PM (#2068393)
Maranville was moved off shortstop in 1924 because the Pirates got a better all-around player, in Glenn Wright, and Maranville was better suited to 2B than Wright. That season represents nearly 1/3 of his games at 2B, and most of the rest occurred when he was past 40.

In 1922, when Cotton Tierney went out for a while with an injury, the Bucs shifted Maranville to second, moved Pie Traynor to SS, and played Clyde Barnhart at 3B. Interestingly enough, when Maranville finally moved full-time to 2B at age 40, the Braves shifted their 3B, Billy Urbanski, to SS. Well into the 1930s (Connie Mack's experiment with Jimmie Foxx notwithstanding), there was still a strong trend toward playing glove men, with at least some ability to handle SS, at 3B. Traynor came up as a SS, and probably would have stayed there had the Pirates not already had Maranville; he played 9 games at SS as late as 1927. Buddy Myer came up as a shortstop, and played 3B in the 1925 WS when Ossie Bluege went out with an injury. After being traded to Boston in 1927, he played SS regularly and (apparently, from what I can tell) adequately, with Billy Rogell at 3B much of the time. In 1928, they traded positions (although Rogell was quickly replaced by Wally Gerber, who was picked up from the Browns in early April when Rogell had defensive problems at SS). When Myer went back to Washington a year later, he took over at 2B.

It seems pretty clear to me that a large part of the perception of Traynor as one of the all-time greatest 3B was because 3B was considered - at the time - the virtual equivalent of SS defensively. Traynor's move off SS was to a large extent dictated by the personnel, as was Maranville's move off SS in 1924, and not on any intrinsic inability on either player's part to handle the defensive demands of the position.

That's not to suggest, BTW, that Traynor (or Maranville or Myer, for that matter) should have their HOM cases bolstered because of that. You can "what-if" a lot of players in that manner. The perception of 3B as the near-defensive equivalent of SS does, in my estimation, explain a significant part of why Traynor was perceived at the time to be one of the all-time greats at 3B.

-- MWE
   28. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 19, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2068427)
In 1922, when Cotton Tierney went out for a while with an injury, the Bucs shifted Maranville to second, moved Pie Traynor to SS, and played Clyde Barnhart at 3B. Interestingly enough, when Maranville finally moved full-time to 2B at age 40, the Braves shifted their 3B, Billy Urbanski, to SS.

This may sound obvious, but I don't think this would happen today. Not only because the profiles of 2B and 3Bs are so different now, but because I think most managers would tend to avoid "disruption" at all cost. Which seems like a reason to appreciate someone like Scioscia who allows himself to work within a more fluid situation.
   29. Jeff M Posted: June 19, 2006 at 08:33 PM (#2068693)
No, Aparicio earned his B. Here's the "grading scale" for shorstops from _Win Shares_, p. 135:

A level 5.80 WS/1000
B Level 5.00 WS/1000
C Level 4.20 WS/1000


Thanks for the clarification. I didn't see that.

This left me wondering how someone with a below average FWS/1000 IP ends up with a B grade. IOW, how did James determine that was the grading scale? Normally average is about a C, depending on where you went to school, so that tends to be where most of us intrinsically grade an average performance, relative to peers.

Since James measures the success of his grading scale by looking at who won the gold gloves, I wonder if the grading scale was somewhat reverse engineered based on gold glove winners. His C-level shortstop, at 4.20 WS, would be average for someone who played less than 1,000 innings at short (less than a season), but far below average for any shortstop who played longer. Did James take a results-oriented approach since he was going to test his system by gold glove winners? It wouldn't surprise me, as he tends to measure things that way.

However, Chris is right that there is a declining "tail" to a long-career shortstop's performance that drags him down. Normally the innings played would decline too, so the effect on the career average would be muted somewhat. It is clear, however, that in his last 5 years Aparicio's fielding WS declined significantly. He played in 669 games over those last 5 years (still 133 games a year, so his innings may not have dropped significantly) but amassed only 25.2 fielding win shares over that time period. If (and it's a big if) he played the same number of estimated defensive innings per game as for the rest of his career (8.62), he was fielding at a rate of about 4.37 in those last five years. That looks to be good for a C in James' grading system and about what a 1,000-2,499 career inning (one to two years) shortstop would average.

James gives the distribution at each grade level. At shortstop it is heavily weighted towards A's and B's (a skewed bell shape). There are 113 A's and B's, 92 C's and 72 D's and F's. Thus, a shortstop gets a B- or higher if he is in the top 40% in FWS/1000. That leads me to believe that the grading scale might be relative to something like a replacement level performer, as opposed to average. A C- or higher goes to approximately the top 75%. Replacement level is often around 20% below average. James is fairly consistent in this regard, as B- or higher is given to approximately the top 40% at second base and third base too (I didn't test the other positions).

I usually don't use the letter grades, but this discussion puts them in context for me (at least a little bit) when I see them mentioned.

I'm still concerned that Aparicio's FWS/1000 is much lower than the typical HoFer, though, particularly when he had a below average bat that would probably be replacement level at any position other than short or catcher. Looking at the WARP numbers BRAA + FRAA, he is combined -25 relative to average (on the WARP 1 side -- i.e., without timelining). The other HoFers with lower FWS/1000? Appling = +347, Davis = +561, Wallace = +285, Yount = +188. And for reference, Ozzie = +267 and Rabbit = +11.
   30. Jeff M Posted: June 19, 2006 at 08:35 PM (#2068694)
Separately, from those who saw Aparicio play, was he flashy like Ozzie? Well-positioned like Cal? Smoove as buttah like Tony Fernandez?
   31. Steve Treder Posted: June 19, 2006 at 08:48 PM (#2068718)
Separately, from those who saw Aparicio play, was he flashy like Ozzie? Well-positioned like Cal? Smoove as buttah like Tony Fernandez?

He was a spidery little guy, very light on his feet, but not flashy. Smooth and flawless would be better adjectives.
   32. jimd Posted: June 19, 2006 at 09:27 PM (#2068770)
B Level 5.00 WS/1000

An average SS for an average team will earn 5.0 WS/1000.

Looking at the WARP numbers BRAA + FRAA

What does BRAA+FRAA signify?
   33. Jeff M Posted: June 20, 2006 at 05:37 AM (#2069445)
Batting Runs Above Average and Fielding Runs Above Average. Roughly you could divide the sum by 10 and get Wins Above (or Below) Average.

WARP is actually based on BRAR and FRAR (or did we decide they used FRAA?), for Batting Runs Above Replacement and Fielder Runs Above Replacement.
   34. Jeff M Posted: June 20, 2006 at 06:04 AM (#2069456)
Correcting my post #33:

WARP1 approx= (BRAR + FRAR)/9

So WAAP1 would be something like (BRAA + FRAA)/9
   35. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 20, 2006 at 03:17 PM (#2069617)
It is clear, however, that in his last 5 years Aparicio's fielding WS declined significantly.


He played the last three of those seasons in Boston. While park effects tend to be more pronounced for outfielders than they are for infielders, I would suggest that the steepness of Aparicio's decline is at least in part attributable to the odd configuration of Fenway, which tends to cut into the chances for left-side fielders to make plays.

-- MWE
   36. Paul Wendt Posted: June 20, 2006 at 05:00 PM (#2069691)
JeffM
This left me wondering how someone with a below average FWS/1000 IP ends up with a B grade. IOW, how did James determine that was the grading scale? Normally average is about a C, depending on where you went to school, so that tends to be where most of us intrinsically grade an average performance, relative to peers.

But all the children are above average.

At shortstop it is heavily weighted towards A's and B's (a skewed bell shape). There are 113 A's and B's, 92 C's and 72 D's and F's.

I wouldn't call that distribution heavily inflated but it must yield an average for all innings that is in the B's.


jimd:
> B Level 5.00 WS/1000

An average SS for an average team will earn 5.0 WS/1000.


I don't know the force of jimd's quotation and reply but I do suppose he means "average SS" measured by innings: on average, an average team has a 5.0ws/1000i shortstop in the field.
   37. jimd Posted: June 20, 2006 at 06:48 PM (#2069784)
Batting Runs Above Average and Fielding Runs Above Average. Roughly you could divide the sum by 10 and get Wins Above (or Below) Average.

I know that part, Jeff.

What is the significance/usefulness of adding those two quantities together?

on average, an average team has a 5.0ws/1000i shortstop in the field

Yes. An average fielding SS on a team that is average in every way will earn slightly more than 5.0WS/1000I.

There are 113 A's and B's, 92 C's and 72 D's and F's.

Are these counts of those that had enough innings to qualify for James' lists?
Or for all SS's that would be considered a regular SS for a season? Or something else?
   38. baudib Posted: June 22, 2006 at 07:35 AM (#2072055)
I'm not going to make an argument to put Luis in the HoM, but I want to defend him here a little, nonetheless.

One thing that I NEVER see anyone mention is that players such as Aparicio just get buried in pitching-dominated eras.

Of course, every player must be judged by his contributions in his particular era and his ability to adjust to it. Now Aparicio was hardly a terrific offensive player but to make him an object of scorn -- he was an out machine -- is really unfair.

First, outs were cheap for most of his career. Making 480 outs a year in 1965 is not as costly as making 480 outs in 2000. For some perspective; the 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers led the league in runs while featuring Ray Oyler as their starting shortstop.

Now, Aparicio was hardly a terrific leadoff hitter but then, you put Brett Butler in the majors and start his career in 1960 or so, and he's not going to be very well thought of, either.

Make a list of the top 20 leadoff hitters of all time, and you'll find that almost all of them -- probably 18 or so of the 20 -- played in relatively good offensive eras. Particularly in eras when walks were abundant -- the 1890s, 1940-1959, 1975-present.

In eras when the strike zone is large, or when there is little fear of big innings, scrappy little guys who poke singles and try to get on base get absolutely slaughtered. Pitchers are almost never going to walk these types of players.

Look at the abundance of Richie Ashburn or Eddie Stanky type players in the 1950s. It seems to be a bit of saber conventional wisdom that all of a sudden, managers became brain dead in the Maury Wills era and forgot that getting on base was important. This is really laughable when you consider that virtually all of the managers of the time were guys who either managed or played in the 1950s, an era that featured more one-dimensional walkers than any other. Power hitters will always get their share of walks in any era; guys who hit singles can only get walks when the strike zone is favorable to them.

As is the case for most of baseball history, teams in the 1960s were lucky to have more than two legitimately good hiters. And of course, these guys batted 3-5 most of the time. The problem was that the little guys teams had in the 1960s were at a big disadvantage. Thus, the abundance of .320 OBP leadoff hitters.

After the adjustment of the strike zone, Aparicio put up the best two OBPs of his career -- .352 and .372. Lou Brock is similar; he turned 30 in 1969, his OBPs from 69-75 are pretty good (.350-.385).

Incidentally, this really makes you appreciate how good Pete Rose was in his heyday.
   39. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 22, 2006 at 12:33 PM (#2072099)
AIR, For his era Brett Butler walked more than the average hitter and Aparicio did not. Also, it coudl be argued that Butler was hurt some by playing in an era with more HR's as he simply wasnt' a guy that was going to hit many anyway, same as Aparicio. In other words, I think that Aparicio may have been HELPED by his era, an era where defense only shortstops could get a lot of playing time and where there was less power to dwarf Aparicio's lack of power.
   40. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 22, 2006 at 01:40 PM (#2072144)
After the adjustment of the strike zone, Aparicio put up the best two OBPs of his career -- .352 and .372. Lou Brock is similar; he turned 30 in 1969, his OBPs from 69-75 are pretty good (.350-.385).


Aparicio's two big OBP years were at age 35 and 36, and appear (to me at any rate) to be a manifestation of the aging process that many hitters go through, in combination with the restoration of the strike zone. Many hitters, as they lose bat speed when they age, compensate by working the strike zone more, and you will often see a "walk spike" as a result. Aparicio kept his BA up for two years by doing that - 1970 was his best offensive season - but he crashed and burned pretty quickly after that.

-- MWE
   41. Dizzypaco Posted: June 22, 2006 at 01:57 PM (#2072154)
Several points can be made in response to post 38

First, its not just that Aparicio doesn't look good offensively compared to the standards of today, or high offensive eras. Its that he wasn't good offensively even compared to players in his own era. We have ways of measuring these things, and he ranged from being a below average offensive shortstop to an average offensive shortstop.

Second, Aparicio did play in the 1950's - and he didn't walk much then, either. Its not that he became a bad hitter in 1963, with the change of the strike zone. He was never a good offensive player to start with.

Third, its not that managers forgot the importance of getting on base in the 1960's. Its that its questionable how much they were really paying attention to on base percentage in the 1950's as well. The fact that guys walked more in the 1950's doesn't necessarily mean that everyone was trying to find the guys with the highest on base percentage.

Finally, its not as if there wasn't anybody getting on base in the 1960's. There were guys who weren't power hitters who were still walking a fair number of times. Aparicio just wasn't one of them. People thought he was a good lead off hitter. They were just plain wrong. He wasn't. Its not crazy to think that people can learn something over time. One of the things that has generally been learned is that it makes a difference whether your leadoff man gets on base a lot.
   42. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 22, 2006 at 02:23 PM (#2072170)
I think that Aparicio may have been HELPED by his era, an era where defense only shortstops could get a lot of playing time and where there was less power to dwarf Aparicio's lack of power.

I agree, jschmeagol. In my mind I liken Aparicio to Vizquel. But in today's game, Vizquel is more anomolous than normative. Look at all the splendid hitting SS today: Tejada, Jeter, Rodriguez, Nomar. These guys are much better hitters than the leading shorstop batsmen of the 1960s: Fregosi, Petrocelli, McAuliffe, maybe Menke.

That's not a bumper crop.

Aparicio is pretty normal within his era, since his paltry OPS+ is hidden amongst not only Wills and Oyler, but also Kessinger, Campeneris, Cardenas, Kubek, Versalles, Alley, Bressoud, Groat, Harrelson, and pretty much every team's number one SS. Compare to Vizquel who trails his heavy-hitting peers by a TON, but who is also behind the above-average second-tier SS hitters like Peralta, C Guillen, Crosby, Aurilia, and Young (and maybe K Greene). Granted there are still many below average hitting SS today, but it's not the epidemic it was in the 1960s, where Rey Sanchez was the dominant model of the day (OK, overstatement, Sanchez has a 69 OPS+, the 1960s guys were better than that).

As for outmachine, which was my comment, I'll have to stand by that one. Luis's .311 OBP was 18 points less than the adjusted league average. His average was .262. I just made a quickie estimate of the impact of Luis's lack of plate discipline. I took his career stat line and the league stat line during his career, and found the difference in walk+hbp rate between him and the league. Then I adjusted Luis's on-base rate upward to the league average, holding his PA his hits constant to see how the adjustment might affect how many outs he makes. What happens is that he walks about 255 more times. Which has to come out of his ABs when you keep his hits and PAs constant. 255 outs is about 9-10 games worth of outs. I also assumed that Aparicio's 184 GIDPs would descrease at the same rate as his outs. This knocked him down to 179 DPs or 18 more outs. Now we're at a full 270 outs, or exactly ten losses worth of outs. That's a pretty heavy impact, and I think outmachine is not overreaching.

Think of this as runs created. With the league-average walks, he raises his RC by 80 runs and his RC/27 by .39. If you want to think of it in terms of win shares, he'd add about 24 WS (80 runs, divided by ten runs per win, times three). That's 8-10% of his current WS career value. We could even add a little to this estimate by virtue of the fact that Aparicio stole frequently, and was above the break-even mark, so by walking more, he could have added extra runs there too.

So it's entirely possible I've done the math wrong on this, but I'm going to stand by calling him an outmachine. He's not as bad as some, it's true, he's not Omar Moreno (79 OP+ vs Aparaicio's 82, .306 OBP in a .333 league), but a lifetime .311 OBP is bad, especially for a guy with a 20 year career. .311 just isn't helpful unless the league OBP is around .315.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 22, 2006 at 02:40 PM (#2072181)
People thought he was a good lead off hitter. They were just plain wrong. He wasn't.

Are there any people who defend Aparicio's leadoff abilities anymore?
   44. Dizzypaco Posted: June 22, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2072205)
e there any people who defend Aparicio's leadoff abilities anymore?

Well, yes. It was largely in response to 38, which I interpreted as saying as everyone was about the same in the 60's anyway, so it wasn't really possible to be a good leadoff man, and therefore, in context, Aparicio was just fine in his offensive role. If you claim that Brett Butler wouldn't have been any good in the 60's, then its a defense of Aparicio's leadoff abilities. If I misinterpreted, I apologize.

But to quote from 38, but to make him an object of scorn -- he was an out machine -- is really unfair.
   45. Paul Wendt Posted: June 22, 2006 at 04:22 PM (#2072246)
Make a list of the top 20 leadoff hitters of all time, and you'll find that almost all of them -- probably 18 or so of the 20 -- played in relatively good offensive eras. Particularly in eras when walks were abundant -- the 1890s, 1940-1959, 1975-present.
. . .
Look at the abundance of Richie Ashburn or Eddie Stanky type players in the 1950s.


Aparicio did make his mark in the 1950s. Then he was an MVP candidate once. He is sometimes credited with changing the game then.

That was before the big strike zone, when Ashburn was still playing his game. (Stanky and Joost had retired but Yost played in the same league thru 1962, a regular thru 1960. The general walk rate declined from 1950 to 1959, of course.)

After 1970, Aparcio's second, third, fourth, and fifth best seasons by OPS+ occurred 1964-1969, three of them with the big strike zone. From the bb-ref presentation, I estimate 7 seasons at 640 PA, 77 OPS+ from 1956-1962. 1052 games played at shortstop. He led the league in steals every year and continued that thru 1964, nine seasons.
   46. Brent Posted: June 23, 2006 at 03:56 AM (#2073002)
Make a list of the top 20 leadoff hitters of all time, and you'll find that almost all of them -- probably 18 or so of the 20 -- played in relatively good offensive eras. Particularly in eras when walks were abundant -- the 1890s, 1940-1959, 1975-present.

In the NBJHBA (p. 685), Bill James gives his list of top 20 leadoff history. It includes Pete Rose and Don Buford from the 1960s, Topsy Hartsel, Roy Thomas, Miller Huggins, and Bob Bescher from the deadball era, and Augie Galan and Elbie Fletcher from the low-scoring NL of 1930-45. Also Bobby Bonds and Rod Carew who overlapped the low-scoring 60-75 period and the higher scoring post-1975 period.
   47. Chris Fluit Posted: June 23, 2006 at 04:54 AM (#2073032)
Re: Post #28. Although I agree with Dr. Chaleeko that the kind of position-swapping would be rare today, I wouldn't say that it's completely out of the realm of possibility. For example, during Inter-League play this year, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons moved his everyday SS Aaron Hill to 2B and his everyday 3B Troy Glaus to SS so he could make sure that his everyday DH Shea Hillenbrand could still get into the game at 3B. Now, Hill has significant playing time at 2B (he started the season at that position) and Hillenbrand has significant playing time at 3B (even making an All-Star team at that position earlier in his career)so it wasn't like he was putting players in positions with which they were unfamiliar. But he definitely went with a disrupted defense for a temporary situation.
   48. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 23, 2006 at 01:53 PM (#2073183)
Actually, come to think on it, Pete Rose switched positions a bunch. And Tony Phillips did too (though to be fair Rose switched between seasons, not during a week, game, or inning like Phillips). Their common threads: both came up as 2B, both were managed by Sparky Anderson. Anderson also moved Perez off third to first and simultaneously cemented Dennis Menke's move from SS to 3B.
   49. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: June 25, 2006 at 04:50 AM (#2074952)
Because people might be interested, here's the details of the list Brent was talking about in post #46:

1. Estimate how many runs the player should score by the "leadoff man formula", which is # of times on first*.35 + # of times on second*.55 + # of times on third *.8 + Home Runs. "Many players, and most modern leadoff men, will actually score about the number of runs that the formula says they should score."
2. Convert Expect Runs Scored into Expected Runs Scored/27 Outs
3. Contrast that figure with the league average for Runs Scored/Out during the player's career.

So, Rickey Henderson comes in 1st among leadoff men (Ted Williams is #1 overall), with a 1.67. That means that the expected runs scored is 67% higher than the league runs scored for his era.

Here's the top 5, and some others that might be of interest:
1. Henderson 1.67
2. Tim Raines 1.64
3. Topsy Hartsel 1.61
4. Lenny Dykstra 1.59
5. Wade Boggs 1.57
10. Pete Rose 1.54
13. Rod Carew 1.54
14. Stan Hack 1.53
19. Billy Hamilton 1.51
20. John McGraw 1.50
Richie Ashburn 1.47
Lou Brock 1.44
Johnny Pesky 1.42
Paul Molitor 1.40
Max Carey 1.39
Brett Butler 1.39
Pee Wee Reese 1.36
Maury Wills 1.21
Red Schoendienst 1.20
Phil Rizzuto 1.19
Bert Campaneris 1.18
Luis Aparicio 1.17
   50. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:09 AM (#2076171)
Something to note . . . according to the sabermetric encyclopedia, Aparicio was 51 RC above position for his career. Meaning he was a better hitter than an average SS. SS were really bad hitters in his era, the average OWP was just .406.

Of course during Ozzie Smith's career SS was even worse, .386 OWP. Ozzie was 182 RCAP.

Throw in incredible defense and a very long career, and I think you've got a pretty solid candidate. He probably won't make my ballot, but he's in the mix.
   51. sunnyday2 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:27 AM (#2076185)
Should we be taking a fresh look at Topsy Hartsel? Does anybody have him anywhere in their consideration set?

And what of Lenny Dykstra? If he had been able to bottle 1993, he certainly played at a high level (probably a HoM level) for a year, anyway. 'Course it now appears to have been the juice, is that right?

This doesn't speak highly for Paulie, does it? I'm shocked that he could be worse than Lou Brock at anything.
   52. Jeff M Posted: June 26, 2006 at 07:19 PM (#2076578)
I know that part, Jeff.

What is the significance/usefulness of adding those two quantities together?


Sorry, guess I didn't understand the question. Still don't. Is it rhetorical? If so, why?
   53. jimd Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:20 PM (#2076788)
The original quote:

Looking at the WARP numbers BRAA + FRAA, he is combined -25 relative to average (on the WARP 1 side -- i.e., without timelining).

Because I was curious, I wondered "What is the significance/usefulness of adding those two quantities together?"
   54. fra paolo Posted: August 27, 2006 at 01:55 PM (#2158403)
The election of Luis Aparicio to the Hall of Fame in 1984 has become an obsession with me in Anno Hall of Merit 1984. I posted some info in the Jim Fregosi thread, comparing assist totals, and I thought I'd add Luis Aparicio's OPS+ using the average AL SS instead of the league average during his "Gold Glove" Era (1958-1970) here. All information derived from Retrosheet.

1958 109
1959 99
1960 100
1961 98
1962 88
1963 93
1964 95
1965 91
1966 105
1967 96 (Was he injured this year?)
1968 107
1969 100
1970 113

He looks like he was not even average with the bat, even compared to shortstops in his era.

I'm also curious about what one would call his career year. His best defensive year looks like 1960, but he was nearly as good in 1958 and in 1969. In 1970, his defense deteriorated markedly. His career has something of a U shape, like Dave Parker's is supposed to be, but I think it's more pronounced in the case of Aparicio. His 1967 looks a little out of place compared with the trend in his career at that time.
   55. BDC Posted: August 27, 2006 at 02:02 PM (#2158404)
Aparicio would be a fine #9 hitter today and would have had more value (or taken less away from his teams) if he'd hit #8 in his prime. He was simply ill-deployed as a leadoff hitter.

Didn't seem to wreck the 1966 Orioles, though ...
   56. karlmagnus Posted: August 27, 2006 at 02:24 PM (#2158413)
Nevertheless, Aparicio was very highly regarded in his time. At a slightly higher level, the same questions apply to Ozzie Smith, only a marginally better than Aparicio and only marginally more highly regarded (people forget how good Aparicio was thought to be - he was overrated like Brooks Robinson or Maury Wills.)
   57. DCW3 Posted: August 27, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2158668)
Fra paolo, how did you figure out the positional averages? You didn't go through all the game logs and add together all the shortstop's performances, did you? Or is there somewhere on Retrosheet where that data can be found?
   58. fra paolo Posted: August 27, 2006 at 11:32 PM (#2158847)
DCW3, Retrosheet has splits pages (although I'm not sure if they cover all seasons). In this case, I used this one, for example. You'll find a section on stats by position.

Regarding Aparicio's sterling reputation, he earned a couple of his early Gold Gloves by virtue of not having much competition. I've only looked at 1958-63, but here's the breakdown of AL SS with a minimum of 120 games at the position by season:

1958 4
1959 3
1960 7
1961 7
1962 6
1963 9

He's way clearly the best SS in the field in terms of assists as a percentage of team assists (see my comment in the Fregosi thread) in all years except 1962 and 1963. He didn't win the Gold Glove in 1963, although he committed way fewer errors than Versalles (12 v 30), even if you allow for the difference in games played (150 v 162).

Without doubt, in this six-year period, Aparicio is the best fielding shortstop in the league. But the competition is weak, and he's not even an average-hitting shortstop at best. The second half of his career his bat improves, but he's not so clearly the best fielder. Nonetheless, complimenti on being league-all-star calibre for 13 straight years.

I've often had the view that HoF standards as an argument for a candidate is a chimera because there's no such thing as a single HoF standard. There's a different one each year, as the electorate changes with newcomers and people leaving. But it seems to me that in 1984, the voters clearly valued longevity at a fielding position very highly. Aparicio topped the poll, ahead of fellow enshrinees Killebrew and Drysdale, as well as Billy Williams.
   59. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: August 27, 2006 at 11:46 PM (#2158853)
I used to mix up Luke Appling and Luis Aparicio all the time. I still have to make a mental adjustment each time I hear either of their names. Am I alone in this?
   60. DCW3 Posted: August 28, 2006 at 07:02 AM (#2159123)
DCW3, Retrosheet has splits pages (although I'm not sure if they cover all seasons). In this case, I used this one, for example. You'll find a section on stats by position.

Ooh, an embarrassment of riches, even if they only go back to 1957. Thanks.
   61. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 28, 2008 at 07:24 PM (#2797023)
I was thinking about Aparicio in relation to some of the Omar Vizquel-for-the-HOF talk. One thing I was wondering about was whether Bill James had any comment on Aparicio's selection at the time. I've never read the old Abstracts, but I assume some people have.

One thing, and I realize the voting was more volatile back then, but his vote history is quite odd.

1979 - 27.8%
1980 - 32.2%
1981 - 12%!
1982 - 41.9%
1983 - 67.4%
1984 - 64.6%

In 1979 he was behind Mays*, Snider, Slaughter**, Hodges, Drysdale, Fox, Wilhelm, Wills, Schoendienst, Bunning, Ashburn and Maris
In 1980 he was behind Kaline*, Snider*, Drysdale, Hodges, Wilhelm, Bunning, Schoendienst, Fox, Wills and Ashburn
In 1981 he was behind Gibson*, Drysdale, Hodges, Killebrew, Wilhelm, Marichal, Fox, Schoendienst, Bunning, Wills, Ashburn, Maris, Kuenn, E. Howard, Cepeda, Munson and Kluszewski
In 1982 he was behind Aaron*, F. Robinson*, Marichal, Killebrew, Wilhelm, Drysdale and Hodges
In 1983 he was behind B. Robinson*, Marichal* and Killebrew

(*elected, **last year on ballot)

I assume this sort of thing can't happen, but in all seriousness, his 1981 totals look so out of whack, I wonder if whoever counts the ballot screwed up the total and credited him with 48 votes instead of 148 (which would be 36.9%).
   62. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 28, 2008 at 07:25 PM (#2797026)
Oops, the 1984 should be 84.6%, of course.
   63. DanG Posted: May 28, 2008 at 08:30 PM (#2797106)
I wonder if whoever counts the ballot screwed up the total and credited him with 48 votes instead of 148

That's basically what I've always assumed. The vote count was still being handled in-house at the time, there is reason to believe they weren't terribly careful about it.
   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2008 at 10:34 PM (#2797237)
That's basically what I've always assumed. The vote count was still being handled in-house at the time, there is reason to believe they weren't terribly careful about it.


I really hope that's not the case, Dan. There would be no excuse for such sloppiness.
   65. Paul Wendt Posted: May 28, 2008 at 11:02 PM (#2797267)
They made mistakes in implementing the 5% rule and mistakes in recognizing who should be newly eligible.
   66. Paul Wendt Posted: May 28, 2008 at 11:28 PM (#2797292)
This weekend Omar Vizquel passed Luis Aparicio in shortstop fielding games. Counting games as shares of full seasons (full seasons equivalent games), it appears to me that Vizquel late in 2007 became the 11th players to work 16.0 fse at one of the eight fielding positions. At the end of the season there were fifteen players with 15.0 fse games.

Fifteen or more full seasons equivalent at one position, 1871-2007 (outfield is three distinct)
18.78 Cap Anson - leader, 1B
17.95 Brooks Robinson - leader, 3B
17.85 Willie Mays - leader, CF
17.65 Tris Speaker
17.39 Eddie Collins - leader, 2B
17.15 Barry Bonds - leader, LF
16.75 Jake Beckley
16.37 Bid McPhee
---------------------- Omar Vizquel mid-2008, now the shortstops leader
16.19 Luis Aparicio - leader, SS
16.09 Ozzie Smith
---------------------- Omar Vizquel end 2007
15.51 Rickey Henderson
15.35 Eddie Murray
15.33 Zack Wheat
15.26 Graig Nettles

. . .
14.66 Paul Waner - leader, RF
. . .
14.10 Carlton Fisk - leader, C
   67. Paul Wendt Posted: May 28, 2008 at 11:40 PM (#2797304)
These three shortstops are extreme specialists. They rank about 30th in fielding games at all positions (fse) and about 50th in games played (fse).

That top 15 list is errorprone mainly because I am working with a baseball database through 2006 and catching active players by hand and eye and baseball-reference.
   68. DanG Posted: May 29, 2008 at 02:11 AM (#2797704)
I really hope that's not the case, Dan. There would be no excuse for such sloppiness.

Yes, there is no excuse, and they have made many a sloppy error down through the years. That being said, we may never know for sure what happened to Aparicio; I doubt the HOF has any interest in revisitng the issue.

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