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Saturday, September 15, 2012

AL playoff race: September 15, 2012

AL East

NYY 82-63 [7-7 in SEPT]
BAL 81-64 [8-6 in SEPT] (1 GB)
TBR 78-67 [7-6 in SEPT] (4 GB)

AL Central

CWS 78-66 [6-7 in SEPT]
DET 77-67 [7-6 in SEPT] (1 GB)

AL West

TEX 86-59 [8-6 in SEPT]
OAK 84-61 [10-4 in SEPT] (2 GB)

AL Wildcard

OAK 84-61 [10-4 in SEPT]
BAL 81-64 [8-5 in SEPT]
LAA 79-67 [8-6 in SEPT] (2.5 GB)
TBR 78-67 [7-6 in SEPT] (3 GB)
DET 77-67 [7-6 in SEPT] (3.5 GB)

MLB.com: Triumphant Nova keeps Yankees atop East
MLB.com: Liriano, bullpen combine to two-hit Twins
MLB.com: [Anibal] Sanchez keeps Tigers within game of first place
MLB.com: Rangers rally to tie but fall to Mariners
MLB.com: Drew sparks five-run inning to lift A’s past Orioles
MLB.com: Greinke’s gem spoiled as Angels slip in ninth

NTNgod Posted: September 15, 2012 at 07:44 PM | 134 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, athletics, orioles, pennant race, rangers, rays, tigers, white sox, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2
   101. rr Posted: September 16, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4237290)
like I said, I don't like it, either.
   102. valuearbitrageur Posted: September 16, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4237293)
Recent sluggers and how their first 6,000 PAs compare to Miggy.

Player/OPS+/PAs
Pujols/172/6082
Thomas/169/ 6,092
McGwire/162/6,314
Bagwell/159/6,519
Manny/157/5,912
Thome/152/6,421
Martinez/152/6,534
Cabrera/151/6,399
Giambi/149/6,329
Belle/148/6,054
Berkman/147/6,355
Helton/145/6,076
Delgado/142/6,018

Those first 6,000 PAs are the best.

I actually think Thome is kind of a good, but wierd, comp for Cabrera. Very similar production in same PAs, and Thome goes on to a very long career and still finishes with a 147 OPS+. Thome simply doesn't have the defensive value that Cabrera does, even though Miggy hasn't ever been good, he's been athletic enough to be valuable. And Thome started much later like almost all of of this list. Miggy is got to 6K PAs in his 20s, not 30s. S

o if he continues his career in a Thome like progression, he'll play into his early 40s and finish with a 145ish OPS+, and 11,000 to 12,000 PAs with close to 600 HR. That should be a HOF career.
   103. BDC Posted: September 16, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4237294)
This is one of those threads where it hardly matters if I arrive late, because every conceivable contradictory set of opinions I have about the virtues of the second Wild Card has already been expressed, and I have nothing whatsoever to add. I guess it'll be still more October baseball, which can never be bad per se, and I just hope I don't have to see the Rangers in that screwy play-in game.
   104. rr Posted: September 16, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4237296)
You seem to keep ignoring this key issue while claiming that no one is ignoring key issues.


For every example there will be a counterexample; the competitive ecology of the league will emphasize different elements of the system year to year. Last year, the one WC system created Game 162 awesomeness. In 2005, it created Game 162 yawns. This year, as I actually recognizedm in a previous post, it gives the Yankees and Orioles a parachute--and it has pulled the Cardinals, Dodgers, Pirates, Phillies, and Brewers into a race for a shot at the WC game.

Jeter's 199th hit just put NY up 1-0.

   105. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 16, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4237297)
Next time we should just let Bob argue with himself. It will be just as informative and much more entertaining.
   106. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 16, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4237303)
Jeter's 199th hit just put NY up 1-0.


2-0 now. 200 hits has only been done five times by players 38 or older. On a related note, 36 year-old A-Rod leads the team in SB despite missing ~40 games.

EDIT: 5-0 on a Russell Martin HR. Guess it's time for a new thread.
   107. BDC Posted: September 16, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4237308)
Actually I have one small item to contribute. It's raining miserably and steadily in Arlington right now, less than an hour till game time. I'm not sure what the plan will be if it's rained out – the Rangers are off tomorrow, but the Mariners go to Seattle to play the Orioles. Conceivably they could play an extra game in Seattle next weekend, or just wait and see: but the prospect of rainout makeups stacked in front of playoffs stacked in front of play-ins is mind-numbing.

I think the most likely scenario is that they play in and around the rain and get the game in sometime before midnight tonight …
   108. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 16, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4237364)
Rays will be kinda toasty if they don't take serious advantage of their next ten games.
   109. Loren F. Posted: September 16, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4237375)
All three of NYY, BAL and TBR are very flawed teams - just look at today's Yanks-Rays game, where it was TB's underwhelming offense against NYY's uninspired pitching to see who could lose. AL East still up in the air. As a Yankee fan, I am glad the team built a big lead back in June because that may decide it.
   110. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4237401)

Obviously 5 games is the only measure of greatness, not putting up a 117 OPS+ and 117 ERA+ while leading the league in defensive efficiency (.727) over a 162 game season.

After all the 98 Yankees only put up a 116 OPS+ & 116 ERA+ and led the league in defensive efficiency (only .708 though), but also ran good in short series and had the STARS, and all wearing pinstripes!


If you want to be considered a great team, you win in the playoffs. Thus has it ever been.

No one waxes poetic about the 1954 Indians.
   111. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: September 16, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4237405)
If you want to be considered a great team, you win in the playoffs. Thus has it ever been.

No one waxes poetic about the 1954 Indians.


But they do about the 1906 Cubs.
   112. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 16, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4237408)
But they do about the 1906 Cubs.

How much of that is "Tinker to Evers to Chance"?
   113. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 16, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4237415)
No, if you want to be remembered as a great team, do it more than once. The '54 Indians and the '01 Mariners immediately after their amazing seasons went right back to being, you know, good teams. It strongly suggests they were flukey.

The key for the 1906 Cubs is they came back in 1907 and won 107.

The 1984 Tigers had a great season and won the WS, but they're not remembered as one of the great teams of all time, because they didn't do it again.

   114. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 16, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4237424)
"Tinker to Evers to Chance" was written in 1910. It doesn't get written, or remembered, if the Cubs were a second-place club after 1906.
   115. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 16, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4237429)
I have spent my day on MLB Network watching their coverage. Man this is the way to live. They have done a superb job. Endless look-ins, good analysis and guys genuinely enjoying themselves. Amsinger in particular is beyond excited.
   116. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: September 16, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4237431)
But they do about the 1906 Cubs.

How much of that is "Tinker to Evers to Chance"?


Funny. It was you who wrote "No one waxes poetic ..."
   117. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 16, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4237437)
No one waxes poetic about the 1954 Indians.

Except for that little computer sim that got run here a couple of years ago. (smile)

----------------------------------------------------

No, if you want to be remembered as a great team, do it more than once. The '54 Indians and the '01 Mariners immediately after their amazing seasons went right back to being, you know, good teams. It strongly suggests they were flukey.

The key for the 1906 Cubs is they came back in 1907 and won 107.

The 1984 Tigers had a great season and won the WS, but they're not remembered as one of the great teams of all time, because they didn't do it again.


Three short paragraphs, and you've said it all. Though in the case of the '54 Indians and the '01 Mariners, we didn't have to wait till the next year for their weaknesses to be exposed.
   118. shoewizard Posted: September 16, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4237512)
Value Arb

Cabrera games by position:

1b 598
3b 523
OF 347
   119. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 17, 2012 at 12:21 AM (#4237649)
I realize that it's very difficult for anyone to get into the Hall of Fame with only a 10-year career. You need either an insanely high peak (and I will grant that Cabrera's probably isn't extraordinary enough), or some external conditions that generate sympathy from the voters. This could be: being kept out of the league because of your skin color; leaving MLB to fight Nazis; getting shot in the back while pursuing a purse snatcher; coming down with polio or Parkinson's disease at a young age; etc.

The notion of the "bus test" is a bit disingenuous because usually we just mean, neutrally, "What if he never played another game in the majors?" But, honestly, if a superstar-level player's career ends after just 10 years, the reason why it ended plays a huge factor in how HOF voters consider him. If it's baseball-related injuries/wear-and-tear (in the Mattingly/Garciaparra mode), that's just tough luck -- part of the game. If you leave MLB to play for $200 million in Japan or go on a 10-year Mormon mission, you won't get sympathy either -- it was your choice to leave. If you get kicked out of the game for drugs or gambling, obviously you can kiss your HOF chances goodbye.

So for the sake of argument, let's assume that, yes, we are talking about Miguel Cabrera ACTUALLY GETTING HIT (AND KILLED) BY A BUS. (God forbid.) That's a tragic, unavoidable ending to a career that everyone concedes is on a clear Hall of Fame "trajectory." If he literally got hit and killed by a bus today (especially if he was pushing a little girl out of the way to save her life!), I believe the voters would factor in an implicit what-if extension to his career. They would NOT simply compare his career WAR to players who had full careers and/or lived to be 70. (I don't think most voters pay attention to career WAR anyway.)

Yeah, of COURSE his career numbers don't compare favorably to Hall-of-Famers who played 5-10 years longer, and of COURSE his career rates will go down in his late 30s (though, as I noted, Cabrera's rates are still climbing, so there's a decent chance that in 5-7 years they will still be exactly where they are right now). But does Miguel Cabrera RIGHT NOW, sitting on two legs of a Triple Crown, with ten seasons of consistent excellence behind him, solidly in the prime of his career, get into the Hall of Fame if he is HIT BY A BUS AND KILLED on his way to the stadium tomorrow? I say he does.

And I don't think there was ever a similar point in Giambi's, Nomar's, Strawberry's, Helton's, or Abreu's careers (after the minimum 10 years) where they would have passed this literal "bus test." In almost all of the non-HOF counter-examples mentioned in this thread, the guy was already clearly in decline by his 10th season. Cabrera is not.
   120. escabeche Posted: September 17, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4237653)
The 1984 Tigers had a great season and won the WS, but they're not remembered as one of the great teams of all time

They're not? The sense of absolute crushing dominance that team enjoyed was not really reproduced again, in my memory.

   121. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 17, 2012 at 02:12 AM (#4237672)
The 1984 Tigers had a great season and won the WS, but they're not remembered as one of the great teams of all time

They're not? The sense of absolute crushing dominance that team enjoyed was not really reproduced again, in my memory.


Agreed. They're definitely on my very short list of the best teams of my lifetime (40 years): '98-'99 Yankees, '89 A's, '86 Mets, '84 Tigers, '75-'76 Reds. The '84 Tigers basically had the division wrapped up in June, and won 104 games just for fun.

They led the league in runs scored and runs allowed, HR, OBP, OPS+, ERA, and WHIP, and were near the top in just about everything else (including walks, SLG, defensive efficiency, K/BB ratio).
   122. Swedish Chef Posted: September 17, 2012 at 06:49 AM (#4237691)
So what if MLB had freaked out about the worldwide popularity of soccer and decided that two divisions with a relegation system was the way to go, and that it should be implemented after the 2011 season with the top 16 teams playing in the new MLB Premier League? If the teams would have had the same relative strengths in that alternative universe as this year, the standings would be:

MLB Premier League
1.  WSN
2.  TEX
3.  SFG
4.  ATL
5.  NYY
6.  LAA
7.  TBR
8.  DET
9.  STL
10. LAD
11. MIL
12. PHI
13. ARI
--------
14. TOR
15. BOS
16. CLE

MLB Championship
1.  CIN
2.  OAK
3.  BAL
--------
4.  CHW
5.  PIT
6.  SEA
7.  SDP
8.  KCR
9.  NYM
10. MIA
11. MIN
12. COL
13. CHC
14. HOU
   123. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 17, 2012 at 07:32 AM (#4237697)
The sense of absolute crushing dominance that team enjoyed was not really reproduced again, in my memory.


Crushing dominance? After the 35-5 start, they played at a .565 clip the for rest of the season. That's a 92 win pace. The 7-1 post-season was a nice coda, but other than ALCS game 1, there was little crushing involved (two one run wins and two two-run wins, one of those in 11 innings).

Memory is a funny thing -- we focus on the two months of winning every day and gloss over the four months of being merely very good.
   124. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 17, 2012 at 09:35 AM (#4237774)
Crushing dominance? After the 35-5 start, they played at a .565 clip the for rest of the season. That's a 92 win pace. The 7-1 post-season was a nice coda, but other than ALCS game 1, there was little crushing involved (two one run wins and two two-run wins, one of those in 11 innings).

Yeah, seriously. It's like how people keep saying that Usain Bolt was "crushingly dominant" in the 100 m at the 2008 Olympics. But if you take away his great first 50 meters, the rest of his race was nothing special. In fact, in the second half, pretty much everyone out there was running faster than him.
   125. Loren F. Posted: September 17, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4237798)
As of this morning, Miguel Cabrera is leading the AL batting average (.330 over Trout's .329), tied for the lead in RBI and 5th in HR, and leads the league in Slugging. Trout still has healthy leads in bWAR, fWAR, wRC+ and wOBA, but I get the sense that most MVP voters don't look at those numbers -- well, maybe WAR, as ESPN is using it. I can easily imagine a scenario where Cabrera stays hot for the next two weeks and wins the MVP (although Trout is more deserving), especially if some voters believe "This is a chance to make sure Cabrera wins at least one MVP in what is shaping up to be a Hall of Fame career." I am not saying an MVP this season means that Miggy passes the hit-by-the-bus test, but it would put him a big step closer.

   126. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 17, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4237839)
To further present Miguel Cabrera's "consistency" argument, here's what a Frankenstein season, taking all of his WORST single-season performances in each category, would look like (not counting his 87-game debut, but counting this year, which still has two weeks left):

G: 144
PA: 627
R: 85
H: 177
2B: 31
3B: 0
HR: 26
RBI: 103
SB: 1
CS: 6
BB: 56
K: 148
AVG: .292
OBP: .349
SLG: .512
OPS: .879
OPS+: 130
TB: 309
GIDP: 28

That season right there would be probably a career year for 90% of hitters in the history of the game. It looks remarkably like Jim Rice's 162-game average of .292/.352/.502, 30 HR, 113 RBI. Eddie Murray's 162-game average was .287/.359/.476, 27 HR, 103 RBI.

And yet this is Cabrera's absolute floor thus far. It's not his worst season, it's the worst elements of all of his seasons. (His worst season is considerably better than this. For example, in 2008 when his OPS+ was a career-low 130 and he hit a career-low .292, he led the league with 37 HR and had 127 RBI. In 2006, when he had a career-low 26 HR, he had 50 doubles and 86 walks with a healthy .998 OPS.)
   127. Loren F. Posted: September 17, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4237868)
Cooper, comparing with Eddie Murray's stats is a little unfair, as Murry's peak occurred in a lower run-scoring environment (so .287/.359/.476 was better than it would be today), and Murray's career OPS+ of 129 includes his decline phase of ages 35-41 (after putting up a 159 OPS+ at age 34). Also, Jim Rice is one of the weakest Hall of Fame members, so "better than Jim Rice" is not a big plus.

I think most here would agree that Miggy is on a pace that would make him a Hall of Famer in a few more years. For the "hit-by-bus" test, I look at Kirby Puckett, who had 12 years in the bigs before he had to retire. So I think two more seasons at his current level (which is somewhere between Albert Belle and Frank Thomas in their primes) and Miggy would be in the hit-by-a-bus category. Others may think he needs three or four more prime seasons to distinguish himself from other slow sluggers.
   128. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 17, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4237948)
Sure it's unfair, but comparing Cabrera's WORST stats with the AVERAGE stats for two Hall-of-Famers in unfair too, innit? Rice is a questionable HOFer, but Murray sailed in easily on the first ballot.

I'm not saying Cabrera's "better than Jim Rice" — that's patently obvious, and not a strong argument. I was just surprised to see that at his absolute worst (which never even happened) Cabrera is virtually indistinguishable from Jim Rice. Basically, even if Miguel Cabrera repeated only his WORST stats in every statistical category for about 13 years, he would have amassed the numbers of a borderline Hall-of-Famer. That's how consistent (and durable) he's been, and I suspect this is very rare.

If we did the same exercise with Hank Aaron's first 9 full years, he'd bat .292/.352/.540 with 26 HR and 92 RBI, 141 OPS+. Better, but not by a ton. Steady Stan Musial's Frankenstein-worst first full nine years: .312/.397/.490, 10 HR, 72 RBI, 134 OPS+. Barry Bonds: .248/.329/.426, 19 HR, 58 RBI, 114 OPS+. Even Babe Ruth, starting from his first year as a full-time player, is arguably inferior by this method: .290/.393/.543, 25 HR, 66 RBI, 137 OPS+ (all from 1925). Yeah, Ruth was hurt (or something). Cabrera never has been. That's valuable.

There are some players who have been clearly better than Cabrera using this methodology (Albert Pujols is an obvious one), but I can't believe there are too many of them, and most of them are Hall of Famers or will be. I admit that the Frankenstein-worst methodology is a silly measure of overall quality, but it's not a bad measure of consistency. This is just a plank in Cabrera's "hit by a bus" argument. His highs are not QUITE as high as they need to be, but his lows are higher than just about anyone's. Maybe you don't value consistency and reliability, maybe you do.

I'm not saying his career has surpassed Eddie Murray's already — it hasn't — but he sure has been consistent.
   129. BDC Posted: September 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4237971)
at his absolute worst (which never even happened) Cabrera is virtually indistinguishable from Jim Rice

That's true in one sense (average Rice across his whole career, and you get a watered-down version of Miguel Cabrera). But in another, they've been about even as peak players. Rice, as even his detractors will admit, had a holy hell of a season in 1978, and was nearly as good in '77 and '79. WAR sees Rice's 1978 as 7.4, and Cabrera's best season so far (2011) as 7.3. The shape of Rice's career means that comparing anybody to his "average" season is a bit misleading; if Rice has any HOF argument at all, it's a three-year-peak argument.
   130. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 17, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4238019)
This is just a plank in Cabrera's "hit by a bus" argument.
His hit-by-a-bus argument is really terrible, unless you assume he gets votes because of the tragedy of him actually dying in a freak bus accident.

Dick Allen, Cesar Cedeno, Vada Pinson, Bobby Bonds, Darryl Strawberry, all these guys were really great in their 20s, in a way quite similar to Cabrera, but then they didn't do enough in their 30s to earn induction. They're the outliers, and most guys like Cabrera get in, but these guys were all useful, productive ballplayers in their 30s (other than Strawberry). Their cases are improved by their numbers in their 30s. They're all ahead of Cabrera, and they all not in.
   131. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 17, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4238040)
Again, I'm not trying to make Miguel Cabrera's Hall-of-Fame argument by saying he's better than Jim Rice. I would hope this has already been conceded. Cabrera has probably already surpassed Rice's entire career, or will do so by the end of this year. He's definitely had a better 10-year, 9-year, 8-year, 7-year, 6-year, 5-year, 4-year, and 3-year peak than Rice, and they've been about equivalent (by WAR) for 2-year and 1-year peaks.

Jim Rice's 3-year peak is (apparently?) a HOF peak. Cabrera's 3-year peak (so far) is better, and the point I am trying to make is that he HASN'T had a Rice-shaped career, with 3 great years, 2 good years, and a bunch of nothin'-special. Cabrera's "trough" is in fact not far from his peak, which most people agree is a HOF-worthy peak. I think that's impressive.

But I'm not really trying to compare Cabrera to Rice at all — just trying to illustrate that the WORST performance that Miguel Cabrera is apparently capable of in the majors would be a great year for a lot of players and a typical year for some Hall of Very Good members who were sometimes considered stars: not just Jim Rice, but Tim Salmon, Kent Hrbek, David Justice, Fred McGriff, Mo Vaughn, etc. Frankenstein-worst Miguel Cabrera would not be a Hall-of-Famer, but he would probably make $15 million a year.

Making the "Hall-of-Fame Trough" argument apparently isn't very convincing, but I really think that Cabrera's everyday reliability is one of his most valuable qualities, and I think this is an interesting way of looking at it. He came to the majors at a young age, was good immediately, never gets hurt, plays almost literally every day, has never had a bad year, and has rarely even had a bad month.
   132. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 17, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4238089)
MCoA, I wouldn't say Cabrera's hit-by-a-bus argument is "really terrible," except that it's hard for ANYONE to qualify after just 10 years. But other than Pujols, who in the past 50 years had a BETTER hit-by-a-bus argument than Cabrera after their first 10 years? Not too many players.

The problem, as Walt pointed out way back in the thread, is that there isn't really a precedent for this. Most players whose first 10 years are as good as Cabrera's end up in the Hall of Fame — after being good for another 5-10 years. Some of them do something negative, performance or otherwise, in their 30s that changes voter's perceptions, though I can't really think of too many examples. But no one dies/retires 10 years into a HOF trajectory and the career just STOPS. Kirby Puckett is somewhat analogous, though he was obviously a very different type of player. He played 12 years, got hurt in a sympathetic way, and got into the HOF on the first ballot. So we don't really know what would happen if the bus got him.

Of the players you listed as better(?) than Cabrera, I'm not really convinced that any of them except Allen were (at any point after 10 years of their career) or are (over their full careers) more worthy than Cabrera, unless you're judging solely on career WAR (which HOF voters don't do).

Strawberry: Through his first 10 years he was not as good as Cabrera. He trailed significantly in WAR, OPS+, rate stats, counting stats, games played, MVP votes, black ink, etc. When he hit the magic 10-year mark, he played 43 games and hit .237. In his 30s, he was an OK DH in very limited playing time.

Pinson: The best 10 years of his career were far worse than Cabrera's only 10 years. His career high single-season OPS+ was 142. He didn't do much in his 30s (two years over 100 OPS+). He also had negative defense by WAR, though he had one really good defensive year..

Bobby Bonds: A different type of player, but trails significantly in OPS+ after 10 years. Low batting average. No awards. Only had three good (healthy) seasons after his first 10.

Cedeño: Again, a different type of player, and a lot of the things he did well were not noticed at the time (OBP) or were masked by his ballpark. His OPS+ was much lower than Cabrera's. He didn't do so well in MVP voting. He also missed a lot of games. Cabrera doesn't.

Allen: This is a legitimate one, but like with Albert Belle, I'm not convinced that his absence from the HOF is due to not being "good enough." He was a similar but better hitter than Cabrera, but he missed a lot of games (sometimes for unacceptable reasons), moved around a lot, and wasn't "beloved." Still, if Allen's career ended after his 1971 MVP season, I think he might have had more HOF luck than he ended up having.

I would argue that Cabrera was clearly better than all of these guys but Allen over the first 10 years of their respective careers, and I think his career is already clearly better than Strawberry's and Cedeño's, and arguably better than Bonds' and Pinson's, depending on how you weigh quantity.
   133. Loren F. Posted: September 17, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4238176)
I agree that Cabrera is rare in his consistency: he hasn't had a season of more than 100 games with an OPS+ under 130 in his first 10 seasons. In recent history, Mike Piazza, Manny Ramirez, Vlad Guerrero and Jim Thome also meet those criteria. We could include Frank Thomas if we drop it down to 125 OPS+. That's a very good cohort. The red flag is Vlad: he didn't do enough outside of his 11-year prime and so he's probably a borderline Hall of Famer. Cabrera has better "old player" skills, and a higher peak as per OPS+, so should be able to remain more valuable into his mid-30s than Guerrero did. Cabrera could use a few more seasons on par with 2010 & 2011 to establish a "peak" that would really cement his case.
   134. shoewizard Posted: September 17, 2012 at 10:32 PM (#4238640)
Dick Allen, Cesar Cedeno, Vada Pinson, Bobby Bonds, Darryl Strawberry, all these guys were really great in their 20s, in a way quite similar to Cabrera, but then they didn't do enough in their 30s to earn induction. They're the outliers, and most guys like Cabrera get in, but these guys were all useful, productive ballplayers in their 30s (other than Strawberry). Their cases are improved by their numbers in their 30s. They're all ahead of Cabrera, and they all not in.


Dick Allen: A lot less playing time through age 29 as he missed a lot of time in 67, 69 & 70. But his rate of production was actually better. Allen was a better hitter than Cabrera, but not posting up for over 150 games each year weakens him in the comparison.

Cesar Cedeno: Different kind of player altogether. Ceased being an elite hitter at age 23, (although remained a very good one through 29) Got a lot of his value out of defense and baserunning of course....and numerically that just wasn't as appreciated in his time.

Vada Pinson: 119 OPS+ through age 29. Not in the same league as a hitter, although a couple of comparable seasons early on. Again defense and baserunning pumps his WAR

Daryl Strawberry: 144 OPS+, and power adjusted for ballpark and era gives him a big boost here. But low and inconsistent batting averages, and over 1000 less PA's through age 29

Bobby Bonds: Again, 133 OPS+ thru 29 and more than 1000 fewer PA's....defense and baserunning again.


If strictly by WAR these guys are comparable.....but there are some real important distinctions here.

Such consistency at such a high level, and yes......constant high batting average and RBI, with nary a slump season in there.......it's really really impressive.
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