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Monday, January 27, 2014

Nomar Garciaparra

Eligible in 2015

DL from MN Posted: January 27, 2014 at 12:43 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Ardo Posted: January 27, 2014 at 07:46 PM (#4647011)
An Ernie Banks lite (or George Sisler plus) argument for the HoM.

Among shortstops, he's very comparable to Lou Boudreau and Dobie Moore, whose careers, like Nomar's, were truncated.
   2. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 27, 2014 at 07:55 PM (#4647015)
Huh. Thinking...
   3. Booey Posted: January 27, 2014 at 08:07 PM (#4647019)
I don't think Nomar stayed healthy long enough to warrant election to the HOF or the HoM, but of all the HOF caliber burnouts of the last 25 or so years since I've been following baseball, he's probably the one that saddens me the most (him or Johan Santana). You could probably count on one hand the number of SS in MLB history that had a hitting peak equal to Nomar's 1997-2003 (minus his injured 2001). Unfortunately, those 6 seasons comprised of almost literally his entire career value. If he'd stayed healthy and played even pretty good for another few seasons, he'd probably be over the cutoff line.

Plus, c'mon, NOMAR GARCIAPARRA! How many other players sport such a cool sounding name?
   4. Booey Posted: January 27, 2014 at 08:10 PM (#4647022)
Also, if a future version of the VC goes nuts again and does to the 90's and 2000's what the Frisch squad did to the 20's and 30's, Nomar would be the mistake choice that bothers me the least. He wouldn't deserve it, of course, but the irrational fanboy side of me almost wouldn't care.
   5. Curse of the Graffanino (dfan) Posted: January 27, 2014 at 09:03 PM (#4647037)
He sure seemed like a lock after his age 26 year in 2000, coming off two years in a row of .350+ and 20+ HRs as a shortstop. People had real arguments about whether he or A-Rod was better. Then he got injured. I can't see him as being deserving of election, but, like Booey, it makes me sad.

   6. Baldrick Posted: January 27, 2014 at 11:16 PM (#4647078)
He's a lock for the Hall of Best-First-Seven-Years. Sadly not for the HOF or HOM.

Man, he was fun to watch though. It was just amazing how the ball leapt off his bat.
   7. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 27, 2014 at 11:30 PM (#4647083)
Man, he was fun to watch though.


This captures it best I think. He was just a joy to watch. He looked like he was having fun, swung at everything in a Vladesque way and made stuff just look easy.

   8. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: January 27, 2014 at 11:53 PM (#4647088)
How did the Red Sox only win 85 games in the 2000 season when Pedro, Nomar, and Carl Everett were worth 23.7 WAR?

   9. CraigK Posted: January 28, 2014 at 07:42 AM (#4647141)
How did the Red Sox only win 85 games in the 2000 season when Pedro, Nomar, and Carl Everett were worth 23.7 WAR?


Because that was all that team had, talent wise.

Around them was 560 ABs of an 83 OPS+ Troy O'Leary, 495 ABs from Brian Daubach (89 OPS+), 451 from Jose Offerman (80 OPS+), 448 from Jason Varitek (83). Scott Hatteberg, Trot Nixon, and Lou Merloni were the only three non-part timers to even put up a 90 or greater OPS+.

Pitching was a little better but they still gave a ton of innings to guys like the 93 ERA+ Tim Wakefield and 83 ERA+ Ramon Martinez.
   10. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: January 28, 2014 at 09:35 AM (#4647161)
Man, he was fun to watch though. It was just amazing how the ball leapt off his bat.


I don't know about fun to watch... all the antics with his gloves between each and every pitch were pretty darn annoying.
   11. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 28, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4647192)
After sleeping on it, Ima hafta go with "no."
   12. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 28, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4647239)
Maybe there should be a special exhibit in the HOF devoted to Nomar, Don Mattingly, and Dale Murphy. Call it the "six season studs" or something.
   13. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 28, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4647248)
They should take all of Cooperstown and turn it into a series of concentric rings. Those three can have little plaques in the rings immediately before you get to the "Hall of Fame" ring.
   14. Danny Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4647307)
You could probably count on one hand the number of SS in MLB history that had a hitting peak equal to Nomar's 1997-2003 (minus his injured 2001). Unfortunately, those 6 seasons comprised of almost literally his entire career value. If he'd stayed healthy and played even pretty good for another few seasons, he'd probably be over the cutoff line.

There are a handful of SS whose careers overlapped with Nomar who had comparable or superior offensive peaks: A-Rod, Ripken, Larkin, Trammell, and Jeter. Nomar does better if you limit it to a consecutive-year peak.

And the talk of Nomar needing just a few more pretty good seasons to push him over the line really demonstrates how badly Trammell has been snubbed. Trammell has the same 6-year/40-WAR peak as Nomar, and Trammell surrounded that peak with an additional 30 WAR in 8 seasons. So Trammell is basically Nomar if Nomar had eight 3.7 WAR seasons seasons after 2003 instead of 3 WAR total for the rest of his career.
   15. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4647328)
Trammell from 83-88 is 36 WAR. That includes an off year in 1985, if you swap that out for 1990 he's 40 WAR over 6 years.

That's entirely fair to do, as Nomar's 6 year, 40 WAR peak is interrupted by 2001, when he was hurt and only played 21 games. I understand how Trammell's peak was worth just as many wins to his team as Nomar's.

It really, really highlights the difference in league and park context though. Looking at raw stats, Trammell only had one season (1987) where his numbers match up with Nomar's. Alan had a .953 OPS that year, his next best in a full season was .856. In Nomar's 6 big years at short, he twice topped 1.000 and his worst was .870. Trammell's best season is about even with Nomar's third best.

Had Trammell played his peak years in Fenway park in the late 90's/early 2000's, he probably has a raw stat line very similar to what Nomar did. The whole sillyball era was pretty much a decade+ where hitters partied like it was 1987.
   16. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4647337)
Using BBREF to adjust Trammell's stats for Boston in 1998, you get a career line of .308/.377/.446. That's not far off Nomar's line of .313/.361/.521 (with 3000 more PAs).
   17. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4647341)
Do the same for Ripken and he ends up at .297/.363/.480 with 3600 hits and 2000 RBIs. His 1991 is almost comical.
   18. Booey Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4647355)
There are a handful of SS whose careers overlapped with Nomar who had comparable or superior offensive peaks: A-Rod, Ripken, Larkin, Trammell, and Jeter. Nomar does better if you limit it to a consecutive-year peak.


Well, that's why I specifically said HITTING peak rather than overall offensive peak. When you factor in baserunning and playing time, I'm sure there are several who produced just as much value at the plate. But how many could match Nomar's OPS+ over a similar stretch? I can't look it up since I'm at work, but looking at your list I doubt Larkin, Trammell, or Jeter even came particularly close.

Trammell was ridiculously underrated and is one of the HOF's most egregious snubs. But his peak value is comparable to Nomar's cuz he was also a gold glove caliber fielder in addition to being a very good hitter. Nomar beats him pretty easily with the bat (right? again, can't look it up)

   19. Danny Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4647364)
But how many could match Nomar's OPS+ over a similar stretch? I can't look it up since I'm at work, but looking at your list I doubt Larkin, Trammell, or Jeter even came particularly close.


Top OPS+ Seasons

Nomar     156 153 140 127 123 121
Trammell  155 138 138 138 136 130
Larkin    155 143 134 134 131 125 

That's a 6-year (unweighted) average of 136 for Nomar, 139 for Trammell, and 137 for Larkin. And that ignores Larkin's 138 OPS+ in 73 games in 1997 and 131 OPS+ in 97 games in 1989, while including his 125 OPS+ in 100 games in 1993.
   20. Booey Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4647378)
Thanks, Danny. Not the difference I remembered, obviously. Maybe Nomar's big years all being in a row (well, mostly) made the peak look better compared to guys who spread theirs out a bit more.
   21. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4647413)
Looking at top OPS+ for shortstops in 6 consecutive seasons, Nomar is way up there, with 138 for 1997-2002. The only others to top that are (6 consecutive years, 50%+ games at short, 2500 PA):

Wagner 183
A-Rod 155
Vaughn 151
Banks 148

Boudreau and Jennings are also at 138, Yount and Hanley are at 136, Larkin at 133. Jeter, Trammell, and Ripken were in the 128-129 range. Wagner has 10 sets of 6+ seasons that top 130, for each player I just took their best 6 year stretch.
   22. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4647431)
Do you need the PI subscription to neutralize the stats for context now?
   23. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4647452)
No. Just go to the offense page. It's on the bottom.
   24. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4647472)
#23 - thanks, I've been wondering where they put that.
   25. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4647507)
How did the Red Sox only win 85 games in the 2000 season when Pedro, Nomar, and Carl Everett were worth 23.7 WAR?


Because that was all that team had, talent wise.


That was the problem with a lot of those Duquette teams -- he was good at acquiring stars who performed well and were not overpaid, but filling out the roster was always a bit of a problem for him. Sometimes it worked out; sometimes it didn't: he wasn't a guy who did well on the low-risk part of putting a team together. The same guys who are named as problems in one of the posts above would also be integral parts of very good Sox teams at various times, but Duquette didn't have the acumen that Theo & Co did when it came to finding the Muellers, Bellhorns, Millars &c that Theo did.

Garciaparra was one of the most elegant players of the sillyball era. Even when he "bulked up" (and you need only to look at his SI covers to see how cut he was), you could tell that under there was a skinny, feline athlete of incredible gracefulness at his core. He had a fast, violent swing and incredible eye-had coordination that resulted in an unbelievable number of zingy line drives and many, many doubles; this maximized his ability for a few years as a high-average, high-power hitter who was as fun to watch as anybody in the game, but he could have turned the same skillset into an Ichiro-style high average game, or learned to uppercut and hit 40 dingers a few times.

Would a less-violent swing have kept Nomar in the game longer? Oh, probably not. It certainly would have reduced his entertainment value.

Other, random notes about Nomar:

1. If he had stayed healthy, he was probably primed for a move to 3B around the time the Sox unloaded him. He still had a cannon arm and a fair amount of speed in 2004, but he had visibly lost a lateral step and was no longer a league-average SS. A healthy Nomar would still have been an asset at 3B, though not nearly the star he was at SS.

2. Like Rafael Nadal, Nomar was one of those pro athletes who obviously struggled with a form of OCD. In Nomar's case, as in Rafa's, it manifested as a series of rituals and tics that he had to repeat no matter what. A healthy level of this is probably Papi's spit-clap routine b/w pitches; Nomar had to adjust each armband, tug each batting glove, then place his left hand on his helmet and push it down a bit on his head; then he had to tap his back foot then his front foot and then his back foot, and then take a couple of menacing practice waves with his bat; then he was ready to kill your pathetic fastball. I would be shocked if you found much mess in Nomar & Mia's house.

3. Like Vlad, Nomar could hit anything with authority. This worked both for him and against him.

4. Nomar is Ramon backwards. Ramon is his father's name.

5. I once adopted a kitten and named her Nomar. She wandered in through an open window in my dorm room when I was a sophomore in college. My roommate wanted to name her Goldie, after an English rapper; I won the day with the argument that Nomar was local (we went to school in LAX, where Nomar grew up). We fed her scraps from the dining hall, but after two months she became lethargic and listless. We took her to the vet, who told us she had feline luekemia. We had to have her put down. The vet didn't charge us, because we were young and broke and because we both wept when he gave us the diagnosis. She had gray ears and a white chest. She was the first pet I ever cared about who died. Jesus, that was almost 20 years ago now.
   26. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: January 28, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4647539)
Nomar is a good name for a cat. I had a cat named Quilvio Gato, who I found the year Quilvio Veras came up, stole a lot of bases, and helped my fantasy team. Turned out Quilvio was actually a she.

In my sim league we had a player from Tatooine sort of named after Nomar, Nomad Garciajawa. He was a good player from the start but didn't set the world on fire like Nomar did. He needed some Fenway, and after 5 years was traded to Boston where he hit .336-20-112 in 2003, and then .367-30-147 in 2005. Stayed a lot healthier, and is barely hanging on as he enters his age 39 season with 2862 hits.
   27. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4647575)
Even when he "bulked up" (and you need only to look at his SI covers to see how cut he was)


Looking at that cover - he really isn't all that 'cut'. Nothing compared to Brady Anderson or Cristiano Ronaldo, even naked Mickey Mantle is more defined.

He's obviously been working out, not a small guy, but his results are nothing special.
   28. villageidiom Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4647667)
He's obviously been working out, not a small guy, but his results are nothing special.
It's not so much that he bulked up than that he nearly eliminated his body fat. He had developed some muscle, obviously, but not freakishly so.
   29. Jeff R., P***y Mainlander Posted: January 28, 2014 at 09:33 PM (#4647754)
In my sim league we had a player from Tatooine sort of named after Nomar, Nomad Garciajawa. He was a good player from the start but didn't set the world on fire like Nomar did. He needed some Fenway, and after 5 years was traded to Boston where he hit .336-20-112 in 2003, and then .367-30-147 in 2005. Stayed a lot healthier, and is barely hanging on as he enters his age 39 season with 2862 hits.


This is the nerdiest thing I have read this week--not only do you play simulated baseball with imaginary players, but you nerd it up even more by naming them after Star Wars characters. Well done.
   30. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 08:15 AM (#4647844)
It's not so much that he bulked up than that he nearly eliminated his body fat.


Huh? Compare the Garciaparra picture to Ronaldo - there is clear difference and it's not in Nomar's favor.
   31. DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4647902)
nerd it up even more by naming them after Star Wars characters. Well done.


Agreed. I'm hoping that only one team is named using Star Wars puns and the other teams get their own identities (Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Nintendo game characters, etc).
   32. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4647971)
Do you need the PI subscription to neutralize the stats for context now?


You have to hit "more stats" next to "standard hitting" than it's at the bottom of the page.
   33. Chris Cobb Posted: February 04, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4651315)
I've been looking at what the available fielding metrics report about the defensive value of the newly eligible candidates for 2015, and now I've reached Nomar. In my previous posts, I've just looked at career value, to give a sense of how much, overall, one's choice of defensive metric sways one's evaluation of a player. Since Nomar's case, if he has one, is clearly a peak case, I'm going to break his fielding record out across his six peak years (1997-2000, 2002-3) as well as his career totals. I list them from highest to lowest:


System -- career -- seasonal FRAA -- peak total

Davenport -- +38 -- -2, 9, 12, 18, 21, 4 -- +62
BProspectus -- +20 -- 2, 3, 5, 13, 17, 8 -- +48
BB-Ref -- +15 -- 10, 11, -6, 9, 16, 6 -- +46
DRA -- -34 -- -3, -1, -3, 6, 15, 2 -- +16
(for DRA I have used the single-year values rather than the multi-year for the seasonal totals)

Here the disagreements are not large, though in a peak case, they are likely to be significant. Interestingly, all the metrics agree that Nomar had an excellent defensive season in 2002. I'm curious how Nomar is going to fare in this year's balloting.
   34. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: February 04, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4651345)
[27, 30] THANK YOU JACKSONE!!! For years now I've felt like I was taking crazy pills when people would talk about how Nomar looked on that cover (or how 99.9% of "steroid era" players look). Almost none of these guys has that impressive a physique. Compared to whatever the average is sure, but compare them to athletes in almost any other sport or even to your run of the mill gym rat and it's comical.
   35. dave h Posted: February 04, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4651491)
I once adopted a kitten and named her Nomar.


I also named a cat Nomar, in southern California, but mine disappeared mysteriously. It was about 13 years ago now, and he was a tiger cat, so I think you're in the clear.

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