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I think that WAR is really difficult to use to compare between eras for pitchers.
I think comparing pitcher/players across eras is hugely problematic, regardless of what metric you use. For example, the brief list CFB put up earlier has three 19th C/Deadball pitchers on it. Comparing them to Schilling and trying to determine who is better seems hopeless to me. Kid Nichols was a great pitcher in his time, but there's simply no way, IMO, we can say whether he would have been as great in the 1930's, 1960's or 1990's (though I'm sure he would have been better than Jack Morris if he'd pitched in the 1980's :-).
Schilling is 93rd(no era+ required)89th(100era+) 57th(110era+) on the all times innings pitched list, he's 26th(2000ip) 20th(2500ip) or 15th(3000ip) in era+ and in all of those cases he should be considered arguably at least 5 spots higher.
Is that consideration giving Schilling credit for unearned run prevention (where he was historically great, as we know)? Postseason? Or something else?
I don't expect to go far with that and there's probably a fundamental flaw I haven't thought of.
I mostly agree with cfb in that post but I don't like this sort of thing. A lot of the guys behind Schilling have a lot more IP. Fergie still doesn't catch him I don't think but comparing Schilling's 3200 IP ERA+ to Jenkins' 4500 IP ERA+ (which the above lists do) "penalizes" Jenkins for 1300 decline IP that Schilling didn't throw. This really is timelining of another sort -- essentially assuming that 4500 IP in Jenkins day was roughly the equivalent of 3500 today. I'd say that at least this needs to be balanced with comparisons of Schilling to other guy's in 3200 IP stretches (or non-consecutive peaks for that matter) and the truth probably lies somewhere between those.
I've also been thinking of a different notion of "replacement" level. The difference between Jenkins and Schilling (as an example) is largely all those 8th and 9th innings that Schilling didn't pitch. But, in reality, these innings were usually being replaced by very effective relievers, possibly even better than Schilling in small stints, not crap pitchers. Jenkins value, in this sense, is that he gave you 1300 pretty effective IP relative to a true replacement level pitcher while Schilling was replaced by well-above replacement level pitchers.
87? In 1986, Edgar hit 264/383/390 at AA ... and you think he was ready for an ML starting job?
Now Presley stunk in 88 so why not an earlier call-up for Edgar. It would be good if somebody did some digging here. Edgar only played 95 games in the minors that year. Other than 4 games in May, his only ML time was in Sept. It looks on the surface like he was hurt for a month or more. He doesn't seem to have been in the majors for much of May unless he was on the DL -- he got 3 starts from May 10 to 12 then nothing until May 22 which was also a start. Anyway, something funny went on here. If it was a month's injury, the timing of that injury would matter a lot. A mid-season injury to a minor-league player you're almost certainly going to keep that guy in the minors for another month to get the rust out and prove he's healthy. Anyway, at most, I don't see it being likely that the Ms should have given up on Presley and called Edgar up before midseason. It is fair to say the Ms weren't sold on Edgar yet -- they gave him only 4 starts in Sept. That was silly. Call it 100 to 300 PA lost.
From a group of 5.
The position of starting DH simply doesn't exist in large numbers. In the last 10 years there are 22 seasons of a player with 502+ PA and spending at least 90% of his time at DH. I can't find my post from yesterday but for the entire history of the DH I think it was 113 such seasons. And if you look at the median OPS+ of actual starting DH seasons by decade they go something like 109, 118, 128, 139 -- Edgar's 147 OPS+ looks a lot less impressive when compared to actual starting DHs.
It's not hard to be a DH, it is simply rare for a good hitter to be so horrible/fragile in the field that it makes sense to limit him in such a way for most of his career. Ortiz, Hafner, Edgar and the post-injury Thomas and a handful of earlier DHs (Carty & Thornton spring to mind) are the rare exceptions. Especially in today's game with short benches, it makes little sense to carry a full-time DH.
So the argument that Edgar was "the best DH in 40 years" is a thoroughly empty argument in my opinion. You want a comparison group for Edgar (and Thomas and Ortiz if he makes it), lump them with 1B and then apply a non-fielding penalty. Edgar still looks pretty good by that angle but he also looks pretty much indistinguishable from Giambi, Delgado and Will Clark.
Well, "great" is pretty subjective so it's hard for me to .
30th all time OPS+ and 26th alll time wRC+ with at least 6,000 PA's. That seems pretty great to me. Obviously YMMV.
Even I go farther than this.
Don't bother to timeline, just rate them compared to how much better than they were over their peers. Timelining is a folish errand. Nichols played in a different era, that is true, but he dwarved his competition by being able to pitch at a higher level and for a longer period of time. Same with Cy Young.
If we could scientifically prove that Kid Nichols never topped 90 MPH and would be a worse pitcher in today's game than Ramon Ortiz or Ervin Santana, that should matter not one bit to his place in history. He was among the greats in the game he played, and should be enough
Pretty good, yes. Great...not really.
Really? B-R lists roughly 18,000 MLB players; generously calling half of them pitchers still leaves about 9,000 position players. 30th of 9,0000 is the top .0033, the top 1/3 of 1%. And that's only pretty good?
He was among the greats in the game he played, and should be enough.
Compare him to guys who hit well and have sufficient defensive value to play the field and you'll (a) have a much more accurate comparison of where he ranks in terms of offense and (b) you'll then realize that his lack of defensive value hurts him.
You can't just compare rate stats across guys with different career lengths. Some of the guys behind Edgar on that list looked just as or more impressive than Edgar in 8600 PA stints. They played another 1000-2000-3000 more PAs during which their rate stats were lower. You CANNOT compare rate stats of players with unequal amounts of playing time. Go to the effort to try to adjust it to make sure the comparison is fair.
Just looking at players of his own era and he's behind/tied with Bonds, Pujols, Thomas, Bagwell, Thome, McGwire, Votto, Manny, Cabrera, Braun, Thome, Berkman, a bit ahead of Albert and Prince.
No, thank you. I thought it was clear I was only talking about his hitting.
True, but this doesn't allow us to say he was greater than Schilling or vice versa, does it?
Why not? Relative to their contemporaries, he was greater than Schilling was relative to his contemporaries. That is all that needs to be known. Babe Ruth is probably not as physically fit or capable as Albert Pujols, but there is no doubt who was the greatest baseball player of all time.
Relative to his contemporaries can tend to skew the results though. Schilling pitched alongside some of the best ever pitchers. Clemens, Johnson, Maddox, Pedro, those pitchers just don't exist in every era. Pretend Schilling pitched alongside Morris and Schilling's relation to his contemporaries is similar to Nichols'. If that makes any sense.
This obsession with ranking him based upon his rate stats is silly. He's a pretty good hitter, and that is all he brought to the table. The fact that he's 36th all time in ops+(based upon 3000 plate appearance requirement) is not a point in his favor. You are trying to put him in the hof as a hitter, and yet there are plenty of players who were equally as good and played a position who aren't in.
Dick Allen with a 156 ops+, and he played a position.
Jim Thome 147 ops+; 151 plus over a stretch of 9000 plate appearances. Obviously Thome is a better hitter than Edgar.
Gary Sheffield career ops+ of 140 put up a 150 ops+ over 8900 pa. Obviously another player who is a better hitter by this metric.
Heck Ken Griffey Jr put up a 146 ops+ over 8500 pa while playing gold glove defense in centerfield.
You can do this with Edgar, too, though. From 1992-2001, he put up a 159 OPS+ over 5621 plate appearances.
1985-2012, using ERA+ (point taken) and 2000+ innings, Schilling is tied for 8th with Brown and Saberhagen, just behind Oswalt. That doesn't sound like clearly top 30 to me although one can certainly start to bring in IP, unearned runs, postseason, etc. to move him up that list. But there's no way you can get him above 5th for his era.
If Schilling pitched in Morris's era, he would have probably blown out his arm and been a non-factor in any hof discussion.
The greats do two things, pitch at a high level and do it for a long time. Schilling doesn't really meet that criteria. He pitched great but not the greatest for his era, he pitched long time, but not the longest
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