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Monday, January 26, 2009

Roberto Alomar

Eligible in 2010.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2009 at 07:24 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2009 at 07:29 PM (#3060638)
First-year HoM inductee in waiting.
   2. Kyle S at work Posted: January 26, 2009 at 07:55 PM (#3060681)
What cap does he wear in the HOF? The most seasons he played for any team is five for the Blue Jays.
   3. OCF Posted: January 26, 2009 at 07:57 PM (#3060684)
Re: Alomar.

I say he's in. Probably #2 on my ballot.

Unrelated to Alomar:

Are we going do a ranking vote (or several ranking votes) for HoM pitchers?
   4. RJ in TO Posted: January 26, 2009 at 07:59 PM (#3060688)
What cap does he wear in the HOF? The most seasons he played for any team is five for the Blue Jays.


Seeing as how he also won 2 WS while he was there, and arguably produced more of his value for them than for any other team, I'd say the Jays.
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2009 at 08:04 PM (#3060694)
Cleveland actually has a case based on the value Alomar accrued over there, but he still had more value in Toronto, IMO. A Blue Jay cap it is for him then.

Are we going do a ranking vote (or several ranking votes) for HoM pitchers?


I'm waiting for a response from the Commish about this, OCF.
   6. Paul Wendt Posted: January 26, 2009 at 09:26 PM (#3060767)
Presuming that no one precedes him (presumably Fred McGriff), Roberto Alomar will join a select group of five Cooperstown HOF players who worked no more than five seasons, whole or part, with any club (in one city and league).

maximum tenure with one major league franchise, narrow definition
nSeasons
5 : Brouthers, Radbourn, Clarkson, McCarthy, Sutter, ?? is alomar next?
6 : Keefe, Hamilton, Waddell, Bancroft, Manush, Wilson, Mize, Wilhelm

These five players have only five seasons tenure on broader definitions of the franchise too. Of course, broader definition lengthens the maximum tenure for many players, chiefly from the 19th century and the 1950s-60s.

All but McCarthy played their five seasons consecutively. Tommy Mac played for the NL Boston Hubmen in 1985 (after showing his stuff in the Union Association) and 1892-95. I haven't looked systematically at consecutive seasons.

Brouthers, Radbourn, Sutter, and Alomar enjoyed five quite full seasons with the NL Buffalo Bisons, NL Providence Grays, NL Chicago Cubs, and AL Toronto Blue Jays. McCarthy and Clarkson played only 4+ seasons each with NL Boston; McGriff only 4+ seasons with each of AL Toronto and NL Atlanta. I don't know how to generate an adjustment for part seasons systematically.

* This covers major leagues 1871 to date. Naturally I have passed over Willard Brown (1) and Satchel Paige (3). Monte Irvin played 7.

* This concerns hof "Players" or Al Spalding and George Wright would be in the mix with five.

So would Harry Wright and Dick Williams be there with part of five seasons, although we shouldn't care much about their playing seasons. FWIW Mack, McKechnie, Stengel, and Durocher played 6 seasons with one narrow franchise; Huggins and Lopez 7; McGraw, Robinson, and Griffith 8; Comiskey 9. Is that all? The other Hall of Fame members played no more Satchel Paige's and Billy Southwick's three seasons with one narrow franchise.

See the HOM Plaque Room for the same table.
   7. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2009 at 09:33 PM (#3060774)
Thanks, Paul!
   8. HGM Posted: January 26, 2009 at 10:46 PM (#3060886)
Alomar's going to be on my ballot, probably in the #2 slot.

I'd go with a Blue Jay cap, FWIW.
   9. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: January 28, 2009 at 12:38 AM (#3061966)
As many have noted, my system is extremely lukewarm on Alomar. The main problem is that the Retrosheet-based (SFR and TZ) and Zone Rating-based (Dial's RSpt) statistics, which show an extremely high correlation (r-squared around .75) to an average of modern PBP metrics, just don't support the widely held view that Alomar was a brilliant fielder. In particular, they show him as about 8 runs a year *below* average in Toronto, which was supposedly his defensive peak. As a worse-than-average fielder, and given that 2B and 3B had basically converged by the time Alomar debuted (where they remain to this day, as Tangotiger notes), he's still over the in/out line, but not by much. I have to decide for myself how much weight I want to give to the anecdotal accounts in light of the quantitative evidence.
   10. nick swisher hygiene Posted: January 28, 2009 at 12:57 AM (#3061977)
given the love in Toronto for Robbie ("catch the taste"--how can it not be on YouTube!?), I'd guess his defensive rep might have benefited from the Jeter Effect.....
   11. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 28, 2009 at 01:41 AM (#3061992)
Like Gaylord Perry, a player best remembered as a spitter.
   12. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 28, 2009 at 02:51 PM (#3062166)
Alomar was my favourite player in baseball when he was with the Jays. I don't care what the metrics say, he was an excellent fielder with the best range to his left I've ever seen, and excellent baseball instincts.
   13. Mike Green Posted: January 28, 2009 at 04:13 PM (#3062252)
DanR,

Here's a marker for you, in weighing the objective and subjective accounts. Subjectively, by all accounts, Alomar was terrible on the pivot. He was indeed very good ranging to his left, but as you know, there are many more balls up the middle than in the hole and there the second baseman's arm comes into play. Alomar could make a spectacular play to his right, but whether he made more plays than average there is open to debate. If you can break down the objective numbers into balls to his right, balls to his left and the DP, you'll have a better idea whether the disparity between a widely held perception and the objective numbers is due to a real disagreement about performance or rather due to different understandings about the importance of different defensive events for second basemen.
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2009 at 04:22 PM (#3062268)
Like Gaylord Perry, a player best remembered as a spitter.


Frenchy Bordagaray expectorated you to say that.
   15. Paul Wendt Posted: January 29, 2009 at 04:51 PM (#3063275)
Alomar was a minor whipping boy for sabrmetric consumers already in the mid-1990s, along with Kirby Puckett and Ken Griffey, for their poor fielding --revealed by Pete Palmer's Fielding Wins iirc.

Of course the major whipping boys were people who consumed baseball broadcasts and game stories or sports talk radio, and believed that Alomar, Puckett, and Griffey were great fielders and treasures of our national game.

Position was supposed to be the key. Alomar plays far to the right and makes TV highlights in the hole with his flashy spin and throw. Puckett and Griffey play deep and make TV highlights with plays at the fence.
--unlike Devon White who runs back to the fence really fast!

My earliest living memory of Roberto Alomar is reading in the Bill James Baseball Abstract or new format oriented to fantasy general managers,
GET ROBERTO ALOMAR !
   16. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 29, 2009 at 05:20 PM (#3063310)
In my mind, the role of Alomar's defense plays out as follow:

1) If he was a brilliant fielder, then he's one of the ~5 best 2B of all-time (inner-circle)

2) If he was an average fielder, then he's one of the ~8 best 2B of all-time (solid HOM)

3) If he was a below-average fielder, then he's one of the ~12 best 2B of all-time (middle of the pack among HOM secondbasemen)


In my mind, I don't trust that the more advanced metrics accurately capture the role that artificial turf may have played in lowering Alomar's range (other than Toronto, Minnesota, and Seattle, were there any other AL teams that played on turf in the early 1990s?). If Mazeroski had played all of his home games on turf while most of the rest of the league played on grass, it's possible that his numbers would look inferior. As such, I'm willing to discount the metrics that say Alomar was below-average and, combined with visual accounts which universally say he was above-average, settle on considering him to be a league-average fielder.

As such, he's a borderline inner-circle HOM candidate. Depending on how much you ding him for a relatively early end and what type of era adjustment is made, he's somewhere in the range of 4-8 in all-time 2nd: clearly inferior to Collins/Hornsby/Morgan, but a step above Carew/Sandberg/Frisch.*

*-going by last year's HOM all-time rankings by position.
   17. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 29, 2009 at 05:33 PM (#3063324)
If Mazeroski had played all of his home games on turf while most of the rest of the league played on grass, it's possible that his numbers would look inferior.


I thought conventional wisdom was that artificial turf improved one's fielding - the ball comes at you much more cleanly, no bad hops, and the turf helps you one-hop throws to the 1B if necessary.
   18. DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2009 at 06:31 PM (#3063371)
In the advanced metrics you're looking at how much of a cone the player can cover. Due to the speed of the ball on turf you have a smaller cone to work with. However, from what I've seen players on FieldTurf have the best of both worlds - slower ground balls, truer and softer bounces than grass or AstroTurf. No more benefit 1-hopping throws but that rarely happens at second base anyway.

I think Alomar had some pretty stiff competition at 2B (which is shown by Dan R's increased replacement level). If Mark Lemke or Jose Oquendo would have hit like Alomar we would have heard a lot more about their gloves. There is a talent v. value argument at the crux of where to rank Alomar. With a fair glove he's around Gordon and Doerr. With a great glove he's nipping at Sandberg's heels. Transport him back in time and he might be Frankie Frisch.
   19. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: January 29, 2009 at 11:24 PM (#3063670)
I agree with everything DL from MN says. There is significant room to differ on Alomar's value, but even the most pessimistic take (mine) puts him comfortably over the in-out line, in the bottom tenth or so of the HoM. His position-adjusted hitting and baserunning are enough to push him over our in/out line all by themselves, even if his rank among the HoM 2B is very open to debate.
   20. Rocco's Not-so Malfunctioning Mitochondria Posted: January 29, 2009 at 11:32 PM (#3063679)
I thought conventional wisdom was that artificial turf improved one's fielding - the ball comes at you much more cleanly, no bad hops, and the turf helps you one-hop throws to the 1B if necessary.


If all you care about fielding is whether a player commits errors, sure. But everyone knows the ball travels faster on turf, and which would make zone data look worse. On top of that, there are the shortened-career issues from playing extensively on turf, but Alomar wasn't in Toronto long enough for that to factor into things.
   21. jimd Posted: January 30, 2009 at 01:04 AM (#3063727)
(other than Toronto, Minnesota, and Seattle, were there any other AL teams that played on turf in the early 1990s?).

Kansas City
   22. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 30, 2009 at 01:28 AM (#3063738)
If all you care about fielding is whether a player commits errors, sure. But everyone knows the ball travels faster on turf, and which would make zone data look worse. On top of that, there are the shortened-career issues from playing extensively on turf, but Alomar wasn't in Toronto long enough for that to factor into things.

Yeah, that's what I thinking: turf helps FPct, but hurts Range.

Are we sure that turf didn't contribute to Alomar's relatively early decline? Seems to me that he started suffered from a myriad of leg injuries towards the end of tenure in Cleveland and as a Met.
   23. Srul Itza Posted: January 30, 2009 at 01:44 AM (#3063750)
Are we sure that turf didn't contribute to Alomar's relatively early decline? Seems to me that he started suffered from a myriad of leg injuries towards the end of tenure in Cleveland and as a Met.

This is not unusual for second basemen, because of the demands of the pivot, and collisions at second. Alomar also was a base-stealing threat for a lot of his career, and that will also wear out the legs for most non-Rickey class runners.

The turf may not have helped, but it is not the first culprit I would think of.
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 30, 2009 at 03:20 AM (#3063825)
On top of that, there are the shortened-career issues from playing extensively on turf,


I recall Bill James writing in one of his Abstracts that players who played on turf didn't have shortened careers. Did anybody else ever do any research about this?
   25. Paul Wendt Posted: January 30, 2009 at 06:43 PM (#3064358)
18. DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2009 at 12:31 PM (#3063371)
In the advanced metrics you're looking at how much of a cone the player can cover. Due to the speed of the ball on turf you have a smaller cone to work with. However, from what I've seen players on FieldTurf have the best of both worlds - slower ground balls, truer and softer bounces than grass or AstroTurf. No more benefit 1-hopping throws but that rarely happens at second base anyway.

Do you mean that the bounce is truer than grass but not true enough for a bounce throw to be anything but a risk?

I don't see enough baseball to draw conclusions anyway, during whatever era this is. But I never paid enough attention to support conclusions during my era either. Frankly I think we called all artificial turf "astro turf" without respect for the studly capitals that supposedly helped brand someone's product. Did the MN Twins move from AstroTurf to FieldTurf?
   26. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 30, 2009 at 06:54 PM (#3064374)
Here's the canonical list of places with artificial turf.

It's bizarre to me that three non-domes chose to take out the grass and replace it with AstroTurf. I didn't know ANY places had done that.

Looks like in the early 90s it was the Royals, the Mariners, the Twins, the Blue Jays, the Phillies, the Pirates, the Cardinals, the Reds, the Astros, and the Expos.
   27. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 30, 2009 at 06:55 PM (#3064378)
The Metrodome moved to "AstroPlay" (very much like FieldTurf) only in 2004.
   28. DL from MN Posted: January 30, 2009 at 08:25 PM (#3064493)
I mean the bounce isn't as hard so there is too much momentum lost to make bouncing it off the turf worthwhile. With the hard turf you could bounce the throw and really let loose without worrying about sailing one over the head of the first baseman. Kind of like a cricket pitch. The newer turf absorbs more of the bounce slowing down the throw enough to make this less effective than getting the throw there in the air.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: February 11, 2009 at 02:18 PM (#3074153)
No idea what to say, other than it's already a thread on BBTF

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2009/02/10/2009-02-10_15m_lawsuit_claims_exmet_roberto_alomar_.html
   30. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 11, 2009 at 11:52 PM (#3075005)
Yeah, let's keep the comments on that on the regular BTF thread.

Thanks!
   31. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: February 12, 2009 at 05:53 PM (#3075573)
Well, Joe, I'm going to defy you on that.

Continuing my recent posts on aging patterns, what to make of Alomar's Age 34 season, where he falls off the cliff? Remarkably, he declined in every single category except K's- he lost his batting eye, BABIP, speed, and all of his power (His ISO drops from over 200 to 110!). But its not a totally unprecedented season- he was pretty terrible in 1998, with declines in performance across the board.

Compare that season to another famous cliff-dive, Dale Murphy age-32. Murphy also lost power, BA, and speed, but he did preserve his BB rate (along with his K rate).

What can we make of these season? They look a lot like the result of a back injury- back injuries sap power sufficiently to kill both BABIP (which is power dependent, assuming hitting-style (particularly GB/FB rate and LD rate) remains constant) and to kill SLG, which looks a lot like what happened to these guys (see Mattingly or Kendall for evidence). Interestingly, thought, I think you could make a reasonable argument that back problems sap speed, too-- both Mark Kotsay and Jason Kendall showed a dramatic drop in speed (as manifested in 3B and SB) with the onset of their back problems.

So while I'm mainly thinking out loud here, I guess my observation is that Alomar's cliff-season would be consistent with back problems (which, along with the vision issues, were cited as a reason for his retirement), and the magnitude of the fall-off isn't unprecedented in view of analogs like the Dale Murphy cliff and Alomar's own 1998 season.

I conclude, tentatively, that something exotic like AIDS is unnecessary to explain Alomar's sudden decline.
   32. sunnyday2 Posted: March 04, 2009 at 03:08 AM (#3091938)
I see that people are looking up old 2Bs and Larry Doby. Look up Doby's old teammate Bobby Avila while you're at it. With MxL credit, he is really really really close. Jeff Kent is actually not a bad comp (for value, not style)...again if you allow Avila credit for play in Latin America before coming to MLB at age 25. Of course guys like Del Pratt, Buddy Myer, Tony Lazzeri, Larry Doyle, Chuck Knoblauch are better ones. Willie Randolph, too.
   33. Mike Green Posted: March 23, 2009 at 08:56 PM (#3111919)
FWIW, the new BBRef Beta has Total Zone, with home and road splits. Alomar is a smidge below average fielding for his career on the road, and much below average at home. The road statistics are consistent with my subjective view of him.
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: November 10, 2009 at 02:47 AM (#3383641)
bump
   35. Howie Menckel Posted: November 10, 2009 at 03:01 AM (#3383657)
Career-high 150 OPS+ at age 33, looked like he'd cruise right into the Hall of Fame and Merit. Then - off a cliff. 89-80-81 OPS+s in 1500+ PAs, and done.

Still, he opened with 14 full-time seasons, 5 of them 129 OPS+ and up - and without Larkin's durability problems, to say the least.

116 OPS+ in 10400 PA.

Compare to Ryne Sandberg - 114 OPS+ in 9282 PA, and ranks 9th among our 21 HOM 2Bs. Or Billy Herman, 112 OPS+ in 8641 PA (then add war credit), he's 13th.

Geesh, it really does come down to where we rate his fielding, doesn't it?
   36. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 10, 2009 at 03:13 AM (#3383670)
BB-ref has him -32 runs for his career. Although that's -20.2 at home, and -1.3 on the road, so maybe there's some kind of park factor working here. He's -8 on the DP.

Nothing terrible. Even if he cost his teams 3-4 wins with the leather, I think he more than made up for it with the stick. I think he's a pretty easy electee . . .
   37. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 10, 2009 at 03:15 AM (#3383674)
Oh, and those numbers in #36 were at 2B. I guess he cost his team 3 runs in 5 games at SS too.
   38. Paul Wendt Posted: November 10, 2009 at 05:04 AM (#3383753)
Compare to Ryne Sandberg - 114 OPS+ in 9282 PA, and ranks 9th among our 21 HOM 2Bs. Or Billy Herman, 112 OPS+ in 8641 PA (then add war credit), he's 13th.

Geesh, it really does come down to where we rate his fielding, doesn't it?


Cut him back to 9000 PA, or about 9300 PA prorating 1994/1995. Then at OPS+ 121 he is seven rather than two points above Sandberg; +9 rather than +4 vs Herman.

I don't believe much comes down to assessment of his fielding. Only his placement above or below Larkin in this vote and his standing among Grich, Carew, Sandberg, Frisch, and Barnes at 2B. (They rank 7 to 11 here. See the "Election Results" for 2B ranking.)
   39. DL from MN Posted: November 10, 2009 at 04:19 PM (#3383987)
He looks like a clear winner until you realize everything is stacked against his numbers:

Played in a high run-scoring era (high standard deviations, too!)
Played a position with a higher replacement value in his era than historically
Overrated defensively
Short career for his era

I think he meets standards but more in the Joe Gordon / Bobby Doerr / Frank Grant / Billy Herman bunch.

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