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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rafael Palmeiro

Eligible in 2011

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 22, 2009 at 01:33 AM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 22, 2009 at 01:35 AM (#3419107)
hot topics
   2. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 22, 2009 at 01:46 AM (#3419121)
Sits back in chair. Lights cigar.
   3. Nolan Giesbrecht Posted: December 22, 2009 at 03:17 AM (#3419167)
So the lurking I've done in HoM threads has shown that most voters see McGriff as being on the outside looking in. Does Palmeiro's better fielding and 2000 more plate appearances push him over the line?
   4. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: December 22, 2009 at 03:49 AM (#3419183)
(To the tune of "Oh Tannenbaum")

Oh perjury, oh perjury,
Palmeiro lied to Congress.
He swore his homerun hitting might
Was clean as winter snow is white.
Oh perjury, oh perjury
Palmeiro lied to Congress

Oh perjury, oh perjury,
His stats need some deduction.
He peaked when he was thirty-four-
That kind of fact, you can't ignore.
Oh perjury, oh perjury
His stats need some deduction.

Oh perjury, oh perjury
His peak is unimpressive.
His three-year O-P-S-plus peak
Is not as high as we should seek.
Oh perjury, oh perjury,
His peak is unimpressive.

Oh perjury, oh perjury
He's on the edge regardless
And when on top, you contemplate,
The steroids that he liked to take
Oh perjury, oh perjury,
He's on the edge regardless.
   5. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: December 22, 2009 at 04:16 AM (#3419194)
I dig 4.
   6. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 22, 2009 at 06:11 AM (#3419282)
Nice one, 'zop, but his career value (67 WARP2) is far over the HoM standard. To reject him, you either have to be the purest of pure peak voters, or to deduct for steroids.
   7. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 22, 2009 at 06:30 AM (#3419290)
For some reason, Palmeiro inspires in me a deep urge to make jokes that essentially reduce to "Oh yeah?! And so's your face!" and "Your MOM is a _____", where "_____" is whatever noun most recently uttered.

I think this makes him a clear HoMer.
   8. DL from MN Posted: December 22, 2009 at 04:04 PM (#3419463)
Palmeiro fits with the standard we've set of long career, good glove 1B very similar to Jake Beckley. Hernandez and Will Clark are sort of similar but more "prime" candidates. There is another candidate that is very similar to Palmeiro (at least in my evaluation) that we haven't elected though. That candidate is Ben Taylor. I hope to get to compare/contrast of Ben Taylor to Palmeiro in more detail later.
   9. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 22, 2009 at 06:16 PM (#3419791)
I think Palmeiro looks a lot more like Eddie Murray than the guys you mention.
   10. DL from MN Posted: December 22, 2009 at 06:29 PM (#3419823)
Eddie Murray with a lower ceiling.
   11. Paul Wendt Posted: December 22, 2009 at 06:47 PM (#3419847)
a poor man's Eddie Murray with a big enough salary and enough gumption to buy some good steroids in his thirties?

Murray merely enjoyed a minor miracle at age 34 and a major miracle at age 39 (a major miracle for manager Hargrove too). In his first book on statistical analysis of hitters, Michael Schell noted that Eddie Murray is the all-time leader or "trailer" by the magnitude of decline in one of his career rates after 8000 ab or pa (for Murray, roughly after Baltimore or after that big age 34 season with Los Angeles). Roberto Clemente was the leader by the magnitude of improvement after 8000.

Clemente's final improvement by any career rate is partly a fluke. Palmeiro improved his career OPS+ for almost 3-1/2 seasons after 8000 pa, almost 1-1/2 seasons after 8000 ab. Before slinking away, however, he played long enough to join the throng whose career averages do finally decline after 8000 (judging by career OPS+ alone).

--
Regarding Palmeiro's lower ceiling:
In three seasons with OPS+ >= 150 (mean 155), Palmeiro ranked 5t, 6, and 2 in his league.
In five seasons at OPS+ >= 150 (mean 156), Murray ranked 3, 2, 2, 2, 2 in his league.
There may be some secular expansion of standard deviation in their different ranks in league but Murray's latest was NL 1990 and Palmeiro's earliest 150 was AL 1991.
   12. DL from MN Posted: August 11, 2010 at 04:55 PM (#3613922)
bump
   13. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 04, 2010 at 03:24 PM (#3683752)
bump
   14. rawagman Posted: November 05, 2010 at 01:13 AM (#3684258)
DL from MN - have you managed to run your proposed comp between Ben Taylor and Palmeiro? I'm a Taylor booster and see the similarities. I think that Taylor was better, at his best, but, but worse at his worst, whereas Palmeiro contributed fairly well as long as he was regular. And I couldn't care less about PEDs.
   15. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2010 at 02:45 PM (#3684445)
No, I never got around to it. I saw mentioned in another thread though that Ben Taylor, in addition to being a long career, good glove, solid bat first baseman also fills a gap where we haven't elected any 1B besides George Sisler and Jake Beckley. There will be no such gap for Palmeiro, in fact he might be the 7th or 8th 1B from his era that we elect.

Ben Taylor
20 NGL seasons (ages 22-41)
consistently hit .300 - projected MLE OPS+ of 130 in 9000 PA (154 game season projection) - deadball era
8 all-star seasons according to Holway
one of the best 1B gloves of his era, also some credit as a pitcher
possibly the best 1B in baseball 1913-1916 period (which is an historic trough for 1B) until Sisler

Rafael Palmeiro
20 seasons (ages 21-40), career 132 OPS+ in 12000 PA (162 game seasons) - steroid era
4 all-star selections (4 times in top 10 for WAR also)
above average glove but not outstanding despite reputation
Never considered the best 1B in baseball

I don't see any reason not to elect Palmeiro - we've elected Jake Beckley and Keith Hernandez. However I don't see it as consistent to elect all those players and not Ben Taylor. That's not even getting into the what-if's around what Palmeiro's career would look like without PEDs.
   16. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 05, 2010 at 07:41 PM (#3684688)
I'm a big fan of Ben Taylor's, I'd love to see the comparison.

Taylor is up there with Rizzuto, in terms of our biggest long-term misses so far, IMO.
   17. bjhanke Posted: November 08, 2010 at 07:10 AM (#3685717)
OK, so, dodging the issue of Ben Taylor, about whom I know almost nothing except what I've learned from this here HoM, this thread can be summed up in two sentences:

1. Raffy's career makes no sense unless you believe that steroids are massive performance enhancers, especially for this particular player.
2. If you take the career at face value, meaning no steroid deductions, he's in on career value if nothing else, although he's not going in on peak or even prime.

I've done just a wee bit of research on steroids, including asking doctors about them, and I can find NO evidence of ANY sort to indicate that steroids can do to an athlete what happened to Palmeiro in his mid or late 30s. That means that his career makes no sense. If something comes along that does make sense of his career, then I will vote for him. I will also vote for him if his candidacy remains as it is right now for about 5 years; that's as long as I'm willing to wait to vote for something that does exist, even if it makes no sense. But right now, I am unwilling to vote for a career that makes no sense. - Brock
   18. rawagman Posted: November 08, 2010 at 01:25 PM (#3685746)
Brock - the fact that you don't understand his career arc means you won't vote for him? That makes no sense.
If you are not debiting him for steroids, or something tangible, shouldn't you at least be obliged to credit him for what he did?
   19. bjhanke Posted: November 08, 2010 at 07:11 PM (#3685972)
Rawagman, your point certainly is there, and is part of my thinking. My problem is that there is a career here that I don't understand to the point where it looks unique to me. Meanwhile, there are these accusations and one confession by Raffy. It is always possible that Raffy did find the magical drug of youth - at least for him - that did not work like that for anyone else, or that no one else found (unlikely). It's also possible that he just started hitting the weight room hard when he started to age out. In the absence of any resolution, I've decided to wait. If nothing happens in about 5 years to explain Raffy's career, then I will vote for him, just as you suggest. But if I vote for him right now, and it turns out that he did find some unique way of cheating, well, I can't take the vote back, and there is some small chance that my vote will be the one that puts him in. That is, my decision is a compromise. There is no doubt that the career, taken at face value, is HoM. It's the outer circle, because it lacks peak, but it's HoM.

(Side digression: Yes, when I make up my ballot, I always consider that my vote for a guy might be the one to put him over. That applies to even people like Deacon Phillippe, where I think I'm the only vote he gets.)

In other words, I'm not opposed to voting for Raffy. I'm opposed to voting for him right now, because there's no way to take the vote back, nor should there be. I will "credit him for what he did", which I called "his candidacy remains as it is right now", when I've given the case enough time to settle. Please, by all means, feel more than free to remind me of this in the 2015 election, if Raffy is not already in, and his career has not been figured out. I mean, it's possible that someone will find out that his post-Wrigley ballparks had a unique feature (like the Green Monster) that unusually affected Raffy, just as Mile High severely favored right handed fly ball hitters. If and when that happens, Raffy will get a new analysis out of me based on the new data. But nothing has shown up yet, in spite of Raffy's offense rise being related in time to his ballpark change. And league change. That stuff may yet come into play. I'm just being cautious. I'm not actually OPPOSED to Raffy or anything. I'm just careful with my vote, whenever I can be. - Brock
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: November 08, 2010 at 07:28 PM (#3685988)
Rawagman, your point certainly is there, and is part of my thinking. My problem is that there is a career here that I don't understand to the point where it looks unique to me. Meanwhile, there are these accusations and one confession by Raffy. It is always possible that Raffy did find the magical drug of youth - at least for him - that did not work like that for anyone else, or that no one else found (unlikely). It's also possible that he just started hitting the weight room hard when he started to age out. In the absence of any resolution, I've decided to wait. If nothing happens in about 5 years to explain Raffy's career, then I will vote for him, just as you suggest. But if I vote for him right now, and it turns out that he did find some unique way of cheating, well, I can't take the vote back, and there is some small chance that my vote will be the one that puts him in. That is, my decision is a compromise. There is no doubt that the career, taken at face value, is HoM. It's the outer circle, because it lacks peak, but it's HoM.


What could he have possibly done that would invalidate his numbers? I'm assuming you haven't similarly discounted admitted steroid user McGwire and other syspected users, so it doesn't seem you have a problem with PEDs in general. Even if he found a better one that no one else discovered, I can't see how that would make the usage any different than anyone else's usage.
   21. Spivey Posted: November 08, 2010 at 07:53 PM (#3686009)
But right now, I am unwilling to vote for a career that makes no sense.

This is quite possibly one of the weirdest sentences I've ever read, and until I saw 18/19 I assumed this was some sort of a joke.
   22. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 08, 2010 at 08:19 PM (#3686038)
Meanwhile, there are these accusations and one confession by Raffy.
Confession? What? Am I forgetting something?
   23. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 08, 2010 at 08:59 PM (#3686069)
1. Raffy's career makes no sense unless you believe that steroids are massive performance enhancers, especially for this particular player.


No, if you believe (as I and a few others do) that the ball was juiced around 1993/94- and that affected him more than most, then is career path is not so nonsensical.

You want a similar career arc?
Zack Wheat

Or better yet, look at WAR, graph his career- it's surprisingly "normal" looking curve,
Palmeiro's career, by WAR, 3 year moving average:

0.6, 1.4, 2.6, 3.9, 4.4, 5.6, 5.3, 6.2, 5.1, 4.5, 4.5, 4.8, 4.6, 4.0, 3.7, 3.3, 2.2, 1

That shows a 3 year peak at ages 28-30, next best 23 year interval is ages 26-28, next best is 27-29, next best 29-31

Next I know what you are going to say- THE FORM of his production changed
and through age 30 Steve Finley's closest comp was Mookie Wilson...
Raffy's change of form has nothing on Finley's.

Raffy maintained his peak/near peak production for an unusual length of time (so did Gary Gaetti), and the form of that production changed somewhat (but not nearly as much as Finely's), and the appearance of that change was exaggerated by the overall change in baseballs' run scoring environment- and maybe Raffy's extended prime is owed to some chemical self-help
I personally find nothing overwhelming inexplicable about his career and am a bit puzzled that Hanke does-

if you think Raffy's career cannot be explained what about Barry Bonds? Finley? Melvin Mora? Bob Elliot?
   24. DanG Posted: November 08, 2010 at 09:09 PM (#3686077)
Brock:

I believe that under HoM rules you are allowed that tack for one year. I can't find exactly where it's written, but long ago the rules were amended to allow voters to be a "conscientious objector" against a candidate for one year. This was done to appease the objections of voters against Anson for his racism, Jackson for his gambling conspiracy, McGwire for PED's, etc. After the first year of eligibility, these sorts of considerations become inadmissable in our deliberations and your vote must be solely based on the merit/value of their playing/leadership.
   25. rawagman Posted: November 09, 2010 at 02:33 AM (#3686392)
Brock - DanG is correct - constitutionally speaking, you can plug your nose on Raffy for one year, but next year you have to inhale, as stinky as you think it may be.
   26. bjhanke Posted: November 09, 2010 at 10:04 AM (#3686497)
Well, hey! This was a LOT of help. Thanks to all. First, to Dan G. I didn't know the rule, but I'm happy with it, although I think more than one year should be permissible at times.

Second, to SOSH, who said, "What could he have possibly done that would invalidate his numbers?" When I read this, I understood why people weren't understanding my position. It was exactly my inability to answer that question that caused me to realize that the career made no sense to me. There was nothing to invalidate the numbers, since I don't think steroids have anything to do with performance. With nothing to invalidate the numbers, they made no sense until....

But mainly, thanks to Johnny, comment 23. The list of 3-year WAR averages caused me to go back to BB-Ref and take yet another look, and while I did not find what I thought I might find, I did find something that makes sense. Raffy now appears to me to have had problems with the Baltimore ballpark, or else the Texas park was made for him. His last year in Texas, the first time, ended with a year with 150 OPS+. The first year back in Texas, after the stay in Baltimore, he posted up 159. But the time with the O's is a sinkhole. Not a big one, just enough to make his late 30s not jibe with his early 30s, which was the big problem. You can see this in Johnny's list. The last of his four peak groups is 29-31, with 5.1. Then there are two 4.5s, before a 4.8 and a 4.6. The 4.5's represent his stay in Baltimore. The higher ones have Texas years in there. I just hadn't looked at the teams he was playing for to see if they correlated with anything. But if you're trying to make sense of that run of 3-year averages, you end up looking at where he was playing when. Or at least I do.

How I found this, which is really just a matter of finally looking in the right place, was trying to figure out ages 26-28. If you look at Johnny's list of the top four three-year runs, they are not consecutive. It goes 28-30, 26-28, and then the middle run of 27-29. That's pretty rare. What happened was that he had a fluke weak year at age 27. It's such a weak year that it is even weaker than his best years in Baltimore. That keeps the peak, which is really the end of the first stay in Texas, from looking like it should. And in turn, that helps his years in his late 30s, when he was back with Texas, to look better than you'd think they would, given the first stay there. Combined with the return to the better ballpark, Raffy's late 30s look out of place. But it now appears to be mostly a matter of ballpark, plus the fluke of an off year at age 27, with no injury explanation that I know of.

So, again, thanks to all. I don't know where I will end up placing Raffy, but at least I now can make sense of his career and compare it to other people's. - Brock
   27. bjhanke Posted: November 09, 2010 at 10:56 AM (#3686499)
Johnny also said, "if you think Raffy's career cannot be explained what about Barry Bonds? Finley? Melvin Mora? Bob Elliot?"

I took this as a fun challenge, and looked the four of them up. Bonds' career makes perfect sense once you remember that the Lords ordered the umpires to start enforcing the upper part of the strike zone in 2001. They announced this publicly. It turned out that Barry had a sweet spot high and tight. He'd never hit pitches there before, though, because he was so obsessive about his strike zone judgment that he wouldn't swing at them. Once he started, they started disappearing into Mc Covey Cove. No problem with that one.

Steve Finley got a late start in the majors because he didn't hit until late. He stayed productive until age 39 because he was blindingly fast. His speed did drop as he moved through his 30s (check the SBs), but it started so high that he didn't suffer from the "your legs go first" syndrome until late. Once they went, he was gone, just like anyone else with his skills. You can check this because he was still playing center field pretty well in his late 30s.

Melvin Mora's career makes no more sense than anyone else's who did not make the majors until his late 20s, posted an OPS+ of 16, and remained in the league for another decade. That is, it took him the normal couple of years to learn how to hit major league pitching at all, but he started so late that he was 30 by the time it happened. The real question is how he got teams to give him those first three seasons to settle in.

Bob Elliot's career has three oddities, all within two years. First, he had a fluke bad season in 1946, right in mid-career. It may (I think probably, but can't find a mention) have been an injury, because the Pirates promptly traded him to Boston. Second, the Braves had the sense to just put him at third and let him play, whereas the Pirates couldn't decide whether he was a third baseman or an outfielder. And third, walk rates ran rampant right after WWII. Bob had always taken his share, but some combination of the trend and the new ballpark amped him up into an OBP factory. OBP is often an old man's skill, and Bob was right there at the right time to exploit it through his 30s.

None of these is anything like as hard as Raffy Palmeiro (if you want a really hard career, try Jose Oquendo), but they are examples of players whose late 30s look suspiciously good, so it was a good exercise. Thanks for bringing it up.

One last thing. Johnny also said, "Next I know what you are going to say- THE FORM of his production changed." Uh, no, that's not me. If Raffy had suddenly, in his mid-30s, lost power and walks, but picked up batting average and stolen bases and moved out to center field, I would question the change in form. But that's not what happened. The form change makes perfect sense for a player of that age.

Thanks again! - Brock
   28. DL from MN Posted: November 09, 2010 at 01:24 PM (#3686513)
I can't find anything in particular about his 1992. He appeared to have an every other month slump.
   29. bjhanke Posted: November 09, 2010 at 08:09 PM (#3686772)
I went back to Raffy's 1992 too, to see if I could find anything. I did, but not what I was looking for. Checking out the stay in Baltimore again, I realized that Raffy took a hit in the walks column when he moved to the O's. Although his walk totals are overall on the rise, which masks the effect somewhat, if you just look at the column of yearly walk totals, you can see that Raffy dropped 10-15 walks when he went to the O's, and then gained back about 20 per year when he returned to Texas. That makes it look like Raffy had some problem in Baltimore seeing the ball. Perhaps the ballpark had a bad background for him; I don't know. But this is the one actual effect that I can clearly trace to the O's tenure. And, of course, drops in walks do affect your OPS+.

Also, David N. questioned my claim that Raffy had made one steroid confession. I was referring to the incident where he failed the test for one of the big name steroids (stan something), and then was willing to admit that he might have taken the stuff, but blamed it all on a dose of vitamin B-12 that he had gotten from Miguel Tejada. That is, he confessed to using, but said it was unknowing and unintentional. I wouldn't throw a tantrum if someone wanted to say that this is not enough to count as a confession, but I do think it's enough, although I do keep in mind that he said accidental and unknowing. - Brock
   30. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 09, 2010 at 09:34 PM (#3686832)
I took this as a fun challenge, and looked the four of them up. Bonds' career makes perfect sense once you remember that the Lords ordered the umpires to start enforcing the upper part of the strike zone in 2001. They announced this publicly. It turned out that Barry had a sweet spot high and tight. He'd never hit pitches there before, though, because he was so obsessive about his strike zone judgment that he wouldn't swing at them. Once he started, they started disappearing into Mc Covey Cove. No problem with that one.


It's a pity Kevin is no longer around- this would be good to haul out whenever he posted that Bonds' post 2000 production was unprecedented and could only be caused by steroids, his head woudl explode, and then he would call you names.

Jose Oquendo? That's easy- brought up before he was ready, a few years later began to hit and then got hurt.
   31. OCF Posted: November 10, 2010 at 02:07 AM (#3687066)
Jose Oquendo? That's easy- brought up before he was ready, a few years later began to hit and then got hurt.

I'll add that I didn't understand at the time Herzog's unwillingness to hand the 2B job over to Oquendo when he traded Herr. And once it had been established that he could hit, it probably would have been to Oquendo's personal advantage to be traded to an organization for whom he could have played SS - that position was pretty convincingly already taken in St. Louis. (In 1987, I thought of Oquendo as the team's best RF - and a very odd RF he made, with zero power.)

What about Jose Cruz? That's a classic late-bloomer career. I'd say part of the explanation is the the Cardinals jerked him around and never just gave him a job he could handle and let him do it; the Astros did give him that job. But then he did also show late development.

Among superstars, it's reasonably common for the player to arrive in the majors fully formed or nearly so. Ty Cobb was the real Ty Cobb very soon after he was in the majors, as was true with Ted Williams. Frank Thomas didn't have all of his home run power the instant he came into the league, but he already had that OBP > .450. Some - for instance Griffey, Jr. - have to grow into their skills but do so at a fairly rapid pace.

In that context, what do we make of the first four years of Barry Bonds' career? Oh, he was an awfully good player for those four years, but at the same time, those four years look pretty weak in the context of an inner-circle player. Then in his fifth year, he became a league-dominating monster.
   32. bjhanke Posted: November 10, 2010 at 10:13 AM (#3687204)
Johnny says, "Jose Oquendo? That's easy- brought up before he was ready, a few years later began to hit and then got hurt."

That's the superstructure, but you're not taking the challenge the same way I was. I wanted to know WHY the career looked weird. I figured it out for everyone except Mora. For him, I asked the "why" question of how he got to stay in the bigs for his first three years. You answer that one, and the rest of Melvin's career makes sense.

For Oquendo, the why questions are: Why did he get called up at that very young age, when he was obviously not ready? (The answer seems to be that the Mets were such a bad team that Jose, who even at age 19 had hot glove skills, was the only infield candidate who had ANY big league skills.) Why did it take him so long to start hitting? (The answer seems to be that the Mets just gave up on him when he didn't hit early, and just dumped him in the minors and forgot him instead of focusing on developing him.) How did he get on a big league roster at all, then? (Answer is that Whitey Herzog had passed through the Met front office, had noted Oquendo, and made a move to get him as soon as the Mets gave up on him, sent him to the minors, but told his people there to DEVELOP him. Porter and Oquendo were Herzog's "I want this guy from my old organization" guys.) Why didn't he become an immediate starter with STL? (Answer is that the Cards had Ozzie, but also Tommy Herr and Ken Oberkfell, who all had the same bat profile as Jose, except for speed.) Why didn't he get traded to some team that could have used the upgrade at shortstop (just about any team except STL and Baltimore)? (Answer, because he was the #1 backup to (especially) Ozzie, Herr, Oberkfell, and the left and right fielders, besides being a valuable pinch hitter because his OPB was high, so he didn't kill many innings with outs.) Why didn't he get to start later, when Oberkfell and then Herr were gone? (Answer, when Oberkfell left, Whitey developed an absurd fascination with Terry Pendelton at third. Then, Jose did get to start at second base when Herr left (sorry, OCF, but he did). But it's mainly because he got hurt with a nagging injury that didn't cause him to retire, but limited his playing time; but also because he ended up competing, when Joe Torre was managing, with Luis Alicea and Geronimo Pena for the second base job, and he had the nagging injury, and they were younger and, in Pena's case, even more talented. Torre was stubbornly blind to the fact that he had a hole at third base that Jose could have easily filled, and moved Todd Zeile out from behind the plate, thereby savaging both Jose and Todd.)

That's a lot of questions. You have to know about the Mets, Whitey, Ozzie, Herr, Oberkfell, Torre, Zeile, Alicea, and Pena to get the answers. But there is absolutely positively no question that you got the superstructure right, which is the question you were trying to answer. For all I know, you could have written the above paragraph just as easily as I could, and I was living in STL through all this. - Brock
   33. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 10, 2010 at 01:17 PM (#3687214)
Also, David N. questioned my claim that Raffy had made one steroid confession. I was referring to the incident where he failed the test for one of the big name steroids (stan something), and then was willing to admit that he might have taken the stuff, but blamed it all on a dose of vitamin B-12 that he had gotten from Miguel Tejada. That is, he confessed to using, but said it was unknowing and unintentional. I wouldn't throw a tantrum if someone wanted to say that this is not enough to count as a confession, but I do think it's enough, although I do keep in mind that he said accidental and unknowing. - Brock
If you had said he had used, fine. The positive test result is pretty compelling evidence of that. But at no point did he confess to anything. He did not "confess to using." He denied using, and said that the only explanation he could think of for why he would test positive was that some B-12 he had used might have been tainted.
   34. Don Malcolm Posted: November 10, 2010 at 06:58 PM (#3687436)
That makes it look like Raffy had some problem in Baltimore seeing the ball.

Possibly, but Palmeiro hit a bit better at home than he did on the road during his first tour with the O's (1994-98):

Home: .293/.380/.556, 98 HRs in 368 G
Road: .291/.361/.535, 84 HRs in 369 G

It's clear that he just had a perfect fit in the Ballpark at Arlington, beginning in 1993 and continuing upon his return to Texas in 1999. The home/road figures from 1999-2003 demonstrate the extent of this:

Home .289/.404/.607, 121 HRs in 398 G
Road: .279/.373/.525, 93 HRs in 387 G

There's some evidence that Palmeiro changed his hitting approach way back in 1988 when you look at his balls in play percentages (IP% over at bb-ref). In '87, that figure is 75%, driven in large part by a 5.7 HR%. That first partial year gets overlooked (possibly discounted due to sample size issues or the fact that it was 1987). For the next five years, the IP% goes way up as HRs and Ks decrease. 1991-1992 might be partially explained as a kind of rough transition back toward the style/approach of hitting he'd initially possessed. September 1992 (7 HRs, .611 SLG) fits more into Palmeiro's subsequent career, so possibly that's the point where he got things figured out. In '93, his GO/FO ratio drops to its lowest level by far, indicating another possible adjustment in his hitting approach. Don't know if Sean can break those figures out home/road, but it would be interesting to see the breakouts for that year. From that point on his "shape stats" become a great deal more consistent.

Seems to me that Palmeiro's career looks more strange than it actually is due to some shape-changing in tandem with the offensive explosion and the steroids issue. (Johnny's earlier data strongly supports that too, IMO.) He'll pay for that big-time in terms of his Hall of Fame chances, but it will be interesting to see how the Hall of Merit handles him. As Dan R. said above, if one discounts the controversy, all the numbers seem to point to a HoF/HoM-level career. Looking forward to seeing how the vote turns out...
   35. Chris Fluit Posted: November 10, 2010 at 08:20 PM (#3687526)
Based on the prelims posted so far, I think I'll be one of the few to place Palmeiro ahead of Walker. That likely leaves the battle for third to Palmeiro and Brown with the loser being the clear cut favorite the following year.
   36. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 10, 2010 at 09:19 PM (#3687561)
In that context, what do we make of the first four years of Barry Bonds' career? Oh, he was an awfully good player for those four years, but at the same time, those four years look pretty weak in the context of an inner-circle player. Then in his fifth year, he became a league-dominating monster.


my guess was he started striking out less, but wrong, Bonds, K/650 PA:

137
94
87
89
87
75
73
76
59
85
73
82
86
93
82
91
50
69
43
75
67
74

He did K a lot as a rookie, but by 1988/89 he was already at the same K rate as some of his inner circle monster years, my second guess was BABIP- but it was .285 for his career- .272 for the first 4- but if you adjust that to league average for those 4 years- that's nothing...

and back to the obvious the following is 2*BB/650pa + 9*HR/650pa (essentially linear weights type weighting):
368
354
381
342
506
450
595
642
660
550
655
612
553
677
723
990
860
828
915
788
612
703

In Year 5 it jumps by 50%
basically it was walks and power, he was always a take n rake guy, but he really got going in 1990.
   37. OCF Posted: November 10, 2010 at 10:40 PM (#3687640)
So it looks like one of the reasons Bonds' BA went up was that he hit more HR, and a HR is a hit, too.

Another fun career to try to explain is Lonnie Smith. A young part-time player got a chance to do a whole job in 1982 and did it at a star level. Then his cocaine habit led him to take the cure - and he came out of the clinic as a significantly lesser player for four or five years in what should have been his prime. And then he had an improbable late revival, including an increase in power. If you wanted to skate on very thin ice, you could quote the 1982-1984 decline as "evidence" that coke is performance-enhancing. I don't know what you would want to invoke for the late revival.
   38. bjhanke Posted: November 11, 2010 at 09:17 AM (#3687933)
I took a look at the cocaine issue back in the 1980s. But I approached it from a different angle from most. I knew that coke was a PED from my tiny personal experience and the much greater experience of some friends (I was doing stick fighting in the 1980s, which is where the athletic connection comes from). The main problem with it as a career PED is that the high only last about 20 minutes. I think it was Tim Raines who said that he had been caught with coke in his back pocket because he had to snort up every inning or he'd crash.

The approach I took was to look at what happened to players who went through rehab. In most cases - Darryl Porter is the easiest to write about because Porter admitted everything publicly - the player would lose batting average and speed stats, but start taking more walks. That is, it appears that rehab mellows players out, which is probably what it is trying to do. The odd thing was that the VALUE of the effort didn't really change much. It was the shape of the stats that changed.

This may have happened to Skates. His actual peak is 1982-3, when he was ages 26-7. Then he had a down year where his batting average just collapsed. But his walk rate went up in spite of the drop in hitting ability. His stolen base effort did not change much. After that, he got traded to KC because the Cards came up with Vince Coleman. He didn't play well in KC, was moved to Atlanta, and did play well there in his 30s. The big question regarding his career is what happened to him in KC. That, I do not know. - Brock
   39. OCF Posted: November 11, 2010 at 10:11 AM (#3687940)
His actual peak is 1982-3, when he was ages 26-7.

It looks to me like he was that good in 1980-81 as well, except that for some reason the Phillies refused to make him a full-time player. The trade to St. Louis freed him to become a star, but that was mostly just about playing time. And while I know that Whitey really wanted Coleman, had Smith still been playing at his 1982-83 level, Whitey would have been nuts to pull the trigger on that trade. As it was, there wasn't a lot of difference in tangible value between Coleman and the diminished mid-career Smith. (There were two - forgive me - intangibles: the team self-image and swagger as the base-stealingest team you ever saw, and not having Tudor worry about Lonnie's fielding adventures when pitching inside to a RHB.)

The big question regarding his career is what happened to him in KC.

As I see it, the big question is what happened to him in Atlanta. Yes, he had been a good player in 82-83, but after that he'd gone from being an average or worse player in 84-86 to barely being a player at all in 87-88 to what? And even when he'd been a good player before he'd looked like Lou Brock II, not someone who would slug .500. Where did that power come from?
   40. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 15, 2010 at 06:22 AM (#3689986)
Adding to post 24-25, I just wanted to chime in for the record on what is/isn't allowed with regard to boycotts . . . reposting from the ballot thread since it's relevant here:

If a voter thinks a player's character, etc. was not up to the voter's standards, the voter can boycott the player during his first year of eligibility. This boycott should be clearly stated on the voter's ballot. It'd be nice if the voter would slot the player where he'd otherwise fit, but that's not required.

This is intended for major offenses, not things like, 'he wasn't a nice guy'. The only cases where I can remember this happening to any significant extent so far were Joe Jackson and Pete Rose. I think a couple of voters took this stance on Cap Anson, but that's just from memory. I don't think it had much impact on Dick Allen or Mark McGwire either.

The Hall of Merit cares about what happened on the field, but we did make this compromise to allow voters who feel this is important a chance to voice that concern.

I figure this is important to bring up with Rafael Palmeiro appearing on the ballot for the first time. It's a good reminder for the old-timers and we will hopefully have some new voters as well.
   41. shoewizard Posted: November 21, 2010 at 11:35 AM (#3694656)
It's clear that he just had a perfect fit in the Ballpark at Arlington, beginning in 1993 and continuing upon his return to Texas in 1999. The home/road figures from 1999-2003 demonstrate the extent of this:


Or those H/R splits indicate he played a lot of road games in pitchers parks like Oakland and Seattle, and neutral parks likes Anaheim.
   42. Paul Wendt Posted: November 23, 2010 at 05:26 AM (#3695774)
1979 to 1993, which covers Palmeiro's first tenure in Texas, the American League played a balanced schedule, for each team 78=6x13 games within division and 84=7x12 games inter-division.

I thought that I might find at baseball-reference some version of park factors by division, but I don't find them. They might be useful for reference regarding NL 1969-93 and both leagues since then. At the same time it occurs to me that these are "Palmer park factors" whose calculation supposes a balanced schedule within league.

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