Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Athletics ink Frank Thomas

The Oakland Athletics signed former All-Star Frank Thomas on Thursday.

Thomas was in the second year of a two-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and was batting just .167 with three home runs and 11 runs batted in when he was released by the Blue Jays on April 20.

knucklehead7 Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:03 PM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Elston Gunn Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:30 PM (#2757383)
Yes!!!!!!

Do the A's have a real shot at the playoffs now if they keep Blanton?
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:33 PM (#2757387)
Do the A's have a real shot at the playoffs now if they keep Blanton?

I think they have a better chance if they trade him for a real leftfielder and one of Duke or Harden can stay healthy until Gio is ready.

Do they have a real shot? Hell, why not? Zips says they do!
   3. PS is probably going to lose his mind Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:37 PM (#2757390)
Harden can stay healthy

Better get those lottery tickets ready!
   4. Greg K Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:42 PM (#2757397)
First you guys sweep us, then we just hand you Thomas

This is God punishing me for starting a fan club for a BTF poster who supports a different team than me
   5. Cooperstown Schtick Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:46 PM (#2757404)
Jack Cust, Mike Sweeney, Eric Chavez and now Frank Thomas. Looks like the A's are following the Yankees model. Most DHs by the end of the year wins!
   6. Dan Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:48 PM (#2757408)
Eric Chavez is a DH?
   7. 33Boots Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:49 PM (#2757410)
I pray it does, but it would be pretty fricken shocking if the starting pitching held up. Every season the A's always seem to get a shockingly good year out of a journeyman pitcher, but to ask it of three or four guys at once is too much.

Crazy to think that there is a very real possibility that Jack Cust will be DFA in the next two weeks.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:55 PM (#2757419)
I pray it does, but it would be pretty fricken shocking if the starting pitching held up. Every season the A's always seem to get a shockingly good year out of a journeyman pitcher, but to ask it of three or four guys at once is too much.

Eveland, Smith and Gaudin are NOT journeymen. They are 24-25 year old prospects with serious minor league track records.
They also have Gio Gonzalez on the way.
   9. Dan Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:57 PM (#2757422)
Wow, I hadn't realized that Gaudin was still only 25, I thought he was 27 or 28.
   10. something clever Posted: April 24, 2008 at 05:57 PM (#2757424)
Cust can play the field (you can argue how well, but so far the league leading ERA hasn't been hurt), Sweeney and Thomas can't. I'd imagine the A's share time between the two of them for a couple weeks, take a look, then DFA one of the two.
   11. rfloh Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:01 PM (#2757428)
And Cust is young enough that he has utility beyond this year.
   12. MSI Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:01 PM (#2757431)
Looks like Beane made the wrong call blowing the team up. If he hadn't sold pieces like Swisher and maybe harden, they could have definitely been a threat.

But yeah, damn, bye Frank.
   13. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:05 PM (#2757435)
they could have definitely been a threat.

They look like a threat to me.
   14. Cooperstown Schtick Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:05 PM (#2757438)
Eric Chavez is a DH?

A bit of speculation on my part. Given his health history, especially recently, and with his current ailment being a dreaded back problem, I have my doubts that he will ever again really be able to withstand the rigors of playing 3B every day. I could be totally wrong. I was surprised to discover (just moments ago) that he is only 30. I thought he was a lot older than that.

Even if Chavez does return to 3B full-time without issue, it is probably not unlikely that the A's will want to rest him time-to-time in the DH slot. Using the Yankees model again, I guess he's the Posada in this scenario.
   15. 33Boots Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:06 PM (#2757441)
Smith and Gaudin are young, but they're journeymen (DiNardo as well, obviously). Eveland is something else. Gio is struggling with his command in AAA. He's got a long way to go before he can make an impact in the bigs.

FTR, obviously Sweeney is the favorite to be DFA, but if Cust goes another two weeks with two hits and Sweeney keeps hitting, there's a real chance that he's gone.
   16. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:11 PM (#2757453)
Hawesome. Yeah, Sweeney should be odd man out here. Shades of Eric Karros.
   17. something clever Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:14 PM (#2757456)
Looks like Beane made the wrong call blowing the team up. If he hadn't sold pieces like Swisher and maybe harden, they could have definitely been a threat.


40% of the starting rotation is made up of Haren trade "throw-ins". And Sweeney is doing well as a CF glove. Certainly nowhere near the value that Swisher would be providing, but that gap could be filled if Gio can pitch well in the bigs.
   18. Danny Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:16 PM (#2757461)
Smith and Gaudin are young, but they're journeymen (DiNardo as well, obviously).

I don't know how one defines a journeyman, but Smith was drafted in 2005. He's only been a pro for 2 full seasons, and he moved pretty quickly up the ladder.

Cust can play the field (you can argue how well, but so far the league leading ERA hasn't been hurt), Sweeney and Thomas can't.

It's an extremely small sample size, but here are Cust's career ZR:

LF: .921 in 280 innings (.944 in 69 innings this year)
RF: .867 in 382 innings (all last year)

His career numbers would have put him behind 12 of 19 qualifiers in RF last year, and behind just one of 17 qualifiers in LF (Crawford).
   19. rfloh Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:17 PM (#2757463)
Even if Chavez does return to 3B full-time without issue, it is probably not unlikely that the A's will want to rest him time-to-time in the DH slot. Using the Yankees model again, I guess he's the Posada in this scenario.


If the A's need to rest Chavez, they can put him on the bench. Unless he returns to his 2001-2004 form, having him play DH strips him of much of his value.
   20. 33Boots Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:24 PM (#2757468)
I don't know how one defines a journeyman, but Smith was drafted in 2005. He's only been a pro for 2 full seasons, and he moved pretty quickly up the ladder.


He's the profile of a (future) journeyman, as is Gaudin. Whatever, it's just a word. Bottom line, it would be foolish to expect both those guys and Lenny to be more than middling contributors this year, imo. That was my point.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:24 PM (#2757471)
Smith and Gaudin are young, but they're journeymen (DiNardo as well, obviously).

I don't see how they're journeymen, except that they've been traded.

Smith is a 24 yr. old lefty with a 3.24 ERA, 3:1 K/BB, and almost 8 K/9 in the minors, at appropriate ages (AA/AAA at 23)
Gaudin was rushed to MLB by TB, but also has excellent minor league stats, and was an average MLB starter at age 24. He certainly has room to develop, by reducing the BB (which weren't a problem in the minors).
   22. Danny Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:32 PM (#2757477)
Apparently, the middle of the A's lineup looks like this today:

3. Mike Sweeney, 1B
4. Frank Thomas, DH

Sweeney's limping around has brought back horrible memories of Kirk Gibson the past couple days, but I guess Barton needed a day off sometime.

Rajai Davis is batting 9th.

EDIT: And now it's posted.

C Suzuki, Kurt
2B Ellis, Mark
1B Sweeney, Mike
DH Thomas, Frank
RF Brown, Emil
SS Crosby, Bobby
LF Denorfia, Chris
3B Murphy, Donnie
CF Davis, Rajai

Full platoon mode.
   23. flournoy Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:39 PM (#2757490)
Having been traded does not make you a journeyman, that is absurd. Greg Smith is not a journeyman. Gaudin isn't either. Buddy Carlyle is a journeyman. Micah Bowie is a journeyman.
   24. Danny Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:43 PM (#2757499)
What's the final word on Thomas' vesting option and playing time bonuses? Are the A's on the hook for them? The Jays?

* 07:$1M, 08:$8M, 09:$10M vesting option

* 2009 option guaranteed with 1,000 PAs 2007-08 or 525 PAs 2008

* no-trade protection

* performance bonuses: $0.2M each for 500, 525, 550, 575 & 600 PAs

* award bonuses: $0.1M for MVP, $50,000 each for Silver Slugger, WS MVP, LCS MVP or All Star ($25,000 All Star selection)
   25. MSI Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:44 PM (#2757503)
That Jays owe only the rest of the 8 million for the year, and the A's only owe the prorated minimum. No fuss, no muss.

Here's something from Robert Mccleods blog:

Here's an idea.

The home game of May 25th against the Kansas City Royals was supposed to be Frank Thomas Bobblehead Day and some 10,000 of the figurines have already been manufactured.

Maybe the Jays can now strike some sort of a contra deal with the A's, like shipping Oakland all the Thomas bobbleheads in exchange for Canadian pitcher Rich Harden.

Your suggestions are welcome.
   26. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:52 PM (#2757514)
I don't see why Sweeney necessarily needs to go anywhere in the near term.

Blanton, Gaudin, Eveland, Smith, DiNardo
Street, Embree, Jairo, Brown, Devine, Braden

Suzuki, Bowen
Barton, Sweeney, Thomas
Ellis, Hannahan, Crosby, Murphy
Cust, Sweeney, Brown, Denorfia, Davis


Presumably, Braden, Devine and Smith make way for Duchscherer, Foulke and Harden, with Buck bumping Davis or Sweeney. Is a sixth outfielder/designated runner a better use of that spot? He may need to go to make room for Gonzalez or Chavez, but we can cross those bridges when the time comes.

Ed. - If they go with a seventh reliever, they're morons.
   27. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:52 PM (#2757515)
Maybe the Jays can now strike some sort of a contra deal with the A's, like shipping Oakland all the Thomas bobbleheads in exchange for Canadian pitcher Rich Harden.

Throw in a Kids In The Hall DVD set and you've got a deal!
   28. MSI Posted: April 24, 2008 at 06:58 PM (#2757522)
A whole set? Yeesh, the fans of the A's mean business.
   29. Greg K Posted: April 24, 2008 at 07:03 PM (#2757530)
I'd gladly provide my copies...although I lent season 4 to someone in Winnipeg, consarnit!
   30. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: April 24, 2008 at 07:09 PM (#2757540)
Ed. - If they go with a seventh reliever, they're morons.

Tony LaRussa and Ned Yost agree. You need at least eight, preferably nine, relievers.
   31. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 24, 2008 at 07:14 PM (#2757550)
Hmm, Harden would be too much to pay for those bobbleheads, unless the Blue Jays pay the cost of repainting each one to be in an A's uniform.

How about two players from South Dakota instead? Justin Dschhhher and free-agent-to-be Mark Ellis.
   32. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 24, 2008 at 07:15 PM (#2757557)
Also, I noticed that the A's 25-man roster is entirely Americans, with the exception of one player. Of course, he has two names and two identities, so it's like they have 1.5 Dominicans instead of just one.
   33. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 24, 2008 at 07:18 PM (#2757564)
Also, I noticed that the A's 25-man roster is entirely Americans, with the exception of one player. Of course, he has two names and two identities, so it's like they have 1.5 Dominicans instead of just one.

Team Tancredo, baby!
   34. Danny Posted: April 24, 2008 at 07:22 PM (#2757570)
From mlb.com:

"I never wanted to leave here," Thomas said Thursday before the A's took on the visiting Twins in the matinee finale of a three-game series at McAfee Stadium. "The finances didn't work out a couple of years ago, but I sincerely wanted to stay. So when Toronto released me, this was my first choice, to come back here.

"It feels like deja vu. I'm happy and excited to be back."
...
Thomas said he has "no doubt" that his release was tied to his 2009 option, which would have kicked in and guaranteed him $10 million in salary were he to make 367 plate appearances this season.

The A's are on the hook for only the pro-rated Major League minimum for a player with Thomas' big league service time, while Toronto must absorb the rest of what's left on his reported 2008 salary of 2008.

The option clause does not carry over, said Thomas, who was in Oakland's starting lineup as the cleanup hitter and designated hitter.
...
Asked if Thomas was now his full-time DH, A's manager Bob Geren said, "Yeah."

Sweeney started at first base Thursday, and it's likely that Cust, who was not in the lineup, will end up in a left-right platoon in left field with Emil Brown, a right-handed hitter.
   35. flournoy Posted: April 24, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#2757582)
A while ago, I wondered whatever became of Jairo Garcia. Now I know. He is Santiago Casilla. Weird.

Just the other day, I learned that Mike Sweeney was on the Athletics. I didn't know that, either. He didn't retire? I guess not.

You can learn a lot about the Athletics by reading this site...
   36. Danny Posted: April 24, 2008 at 07:32 PM (#2757600)
Also, I noticed that the A's 25-man roster is entirely Americans, with the exception of one player. Of course, he has two names and two identities, so it's like they have 1.5 Dominicans instead of just one.


You have to use your imagination:

Daric: Viking
Saarloos: Asked by the Dutch to play for their Olympic team
Harden: Canuck
DiNardo: Pitched for Italy in the Olympics.
Gaudin: Creole
   37. MSI Posted: April 24, 2008 at 08:05 PM (#2757709)
Thomas already scored his first run of the year with the A's today.

That was quick.
   38. Iwakuma Chameleon (jonathan) Posted: April 24, 2008 at 08:12 PM (#2757732)
I'm so excited to have Frank back. And Chad Gaudin is a good pitcher, who has all the potential in the world to get even better.
   39. villainx Posted: April 24, 2008 at 08:27 PM (#2757765)
What? So is that always the case, that cutting someone cancels team/player vesting options?
   40. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: April 24, 2008 at 08:39 PM (#2757788)
Cust can start in an OF corner against righties. Offense/defense (and/or RHB/LHB) platoon with Rajai Davis. The real crunch comes when Buck gets back (who was DL-ed to make Thomas a roster spot). I'm guessing Davis goes and Barton, Sweeney and Thomas just get a bunch of days off.
   41. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 24, 2008 at 08:43 PM (#2757803)
villainx, the vesting option is (presumably) kicked in when Thomas reaches X number of plate appearances as a Blue Jay. The Jays' cutting him obviously makes that impossible.
   42. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 24, 2008 at 08:45 PM (#2757809)
What? So is that always the case, that cutting someone cancels team/player vesting options?

I'll try to explain... The Blue Jays terminated Thomas' contract when they gave him his unconditional release. Under the terms of the CBA, he's entitled to all money guaranteed him under that contract. Because he did not have 376 PA this year, the 2009 option did not vest and so it was not guaranteed.

When Thomas signed with the A's, it was an entirely new contract. The 2009 option was never part of the A's contractual obligation. Now had he been traded or claimed off waivers (ie, had the Blue Jays assigned his contract to another team) then the vesting option would have still been a possibility. But the option was "killed" when the contract was terminated before the option vested.
   43. villainx Posted: April 24, 2008 at 08:48 PM (#2757820)
Justin, ah, that's probably true. I guess whenever I hear stories about this sort of stuff, it's normally described certain # of AB, not # of AB with the team. But makes sense.
   44. villainx Posted: April 24, 2008 at 08:54 PM (#2757836)
Okay, 6-4-3, makes sense too. But that means the play them until vesting then cut option is viable. Though, of course, if that is standard practice, it pretty much would scare away FA's.
   45. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 24, 2008 at 08:59 PM (#2757849)
Jack Cust, Mike Sweeney, Eric Chavez and now Frank Thomas.

Just for fun, who has made the most All-Star teams of the players on that list?
   46. Dan Posted: April 24, 2008 at 09:00 PM (#2757855)
Mike Sweeney?

It's gotta be Sweeney or Chavez.
   47. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: April 24, 2008 at 09:02 PM (#2757862)
Chavez hasn't made any.
   48. Danny Posted: April 24, 2008 at 09:03 PM (#2757866)
Just for fun, who has made the most All-Star teams of the players on that list?

It helps to play for a crappy team...

Is Chavez the second best player after Tim Salmon to not make an AS team?
   49. cardsfanboy Posted: April 24, 2008 at 09:09 PM (#2757881)
Just for fun, who has made the most All-Star teams of the players on that list?


I was going to go with Sweeney but then saw him and Thomas tied and thought Chavez? and then seeing him with 0 and that I found to be somewhat of a shocker.

as a side note, the term Journey man has to take a new definition in todays game, in a normal 10 year career most pitchers will play for at least three teams nowadays.
   50. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 24, 2008 at 09:24 PM (#2757931)
Yeah, I was surprised to see that Mike Sweeney was still playing, so I looked him up on bb-ref and was further shocked to see he had made 5 All-Star teams. Then I was just curious, so looked up Frank Thomas and saw they had made the same number (I already knew that Chavez had never made one).

Both Sweeney *and* Thomas have made more All-Star teams than Jeff Bagwell.
   51. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 24, 2008 at 09:31 PM (#2757952)
I'm not surprised that Mike Sweeney has made 5 All-Star teams. He spent about a decade as the most popular star on a horrible team. Jason Kendall made 3 All-Star teams with the Pirates. Travis Fryman made 4 All-Star teams with the Tigers (and then another with the Indians, which I'd forgotten until now).

On the other hand, usually it ends up that in those situations the token All-Star gets mixed up from year to year. Brad Radke only made one AS Game with the Twins, being followed by Ron Coomer in 1999, Matt Lawton in 2000, and the triad of titans Guzman, Milton and Mays for the actually-good 2001 team.
   52. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 24, 2008 at 09:32 PM (#2757953)
Okay, 6-4-3, makes sense too. But that means the play them until vesting then cut option is viable. Though, of course, if that is standard practice, it pretty much would scare away FA's.


Doing it really close to the vesting option would draw an instant grievance. The Jays are unlikely to have any problems since they cut him well in advance of the option vesting and while he was hitting poorly.
   53. Skinner! Posted: April 24, 2008 at 10:14 PM (#2757993)
Out of their 5 starters, I imagine Dinardo would be the first to go. Smith and Gaudin aren't journeyman but they likely won't be cy young winners either. Braden should get the next nod to start, not Gonzalez, if there is another shot. He has pitched just as well or better than Gonzalez and at a higher level.
   54. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: April 24, 2008 at 10:30 PM (#2758008)
I like the idea of an 11 man staff with a real long man. Frank and Mike are likely to need rest and Jack C and Emil are best when platooned flexibly. Rajai goes when Travis returns.

Duke in on Saturday, Braden down. Foulke in Devine down. Chavez in Hannahan down. I'm skeptical that Harden and Chavez will both be healthy at the same time, but if they are I guess Smith could go down.
   55. BeanoCook Posted: April 24, 2008 at 11:11 PM (#2758034)
Smith and Gaudin are young, but they're journeymen (DiNardo as well, obviously). Eveland is something else.


Can I pile on this comment too? Am I too late?

The typical path of top ace or HOF caliber pitcher is usually succeed at an early age in the majors. There are few of these types. The rest (majority) of the quality pitchers that are currently in the majors didn't really figure out how to succeed and become a productive MLB regular until age 25-29.

This type of player does tend to move from team to team after running out of options after 3-4 years of mixed success with their original club. After the options run out, these players are rather, or somewhat easy to get and try for yourself. Some stick and become productive regulars, of these some are 2-4 time all stars and perhaps squeak out a CY Young season, some are league average. There are certainly quality pitchers that come out of this group, I bet most or close to half do actually come from this set.

Gaudin and Smith are certainly positioned to become MLB regulars and above average at that. If your local GM is not finding at least one of these type guys to trial each year, he ought to be canned. A lot of talent in pitching is cheapest at age ~25.

Examples: D Davis, T Lilly, A Leiter, C Capuano, C Schilling, A Harang, O Perez, R Johnson, B Arroyo.

Most of these guys you would agree were not established at all by age 25 and if you went back to that time, they could be had for cheap.

Now I'll predict that if you want to defend your "journeyman" comment, you will cherry pick R Johnson off my list and make that an issue. If your point was neither Gaudin or Smith or DiNardo would ever become a Cy Young winner, than say that. There is a huge difference between a Micah Bowie and a HOF pitcher.

The list above shows you that many high quality pitchers are bouncing around with little track record at age 25, all the time. Gaudin/Smith certianly have a shot to join this list. One scout even compared Smith to Glavine already, maybe.
   56. 33Boots Posted: April 25, 2008 at 02:59 AM (#2758331)
Obviously, I wasn't clear enough in what I wrote. Actually, Beano you wrote exactly what I meant. Smith and Gaudin are...

This type of player does tend to move from team to team after running out of options after 3-4 years of mixed success with their original club. After the options run out, these players are rather, or somewhat easy to get and try for yourself.


They're not "journeymen"...yet, but they both have the makings. On a good staff, Smith and Gaudin are fifth starters (maybe). Smith is interesting, but he's got, at best, average stuff, and above average command, but not nearly outstanding. Gaudin has well below average command (with pretty good stuff.) And, ftr, the numbers back up the observations.

To my original point, if the A's have to rely on those two, plus Dinardo, plus wildcard Eveland, they are probably in trouble. The A's are remarkable at pulling out good seasons from guys like Saarloos and DiNardo, but to expect all three (plus Eveland) to pull through is too much, imo.

Didn't even touch on Duke, Blanton, and Harden. All three are problematic in their own ways.

*ETA*
The list above shows you that many high quality pitchers are bouncing around with little track record at age 25, all the time.


If I do have to defend my "journeymen" comment, let me at least say that for every guy on your list, there are probably ten who didn't figure out anything, and most of the rest end up as Josh Fogg.
   57. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 25, 2008 at 03:52 AM (#2758351)
The typical path of top ace or HOF caliber pitcher is usually succeed at an early age in the majors. There are few of these types. The rest (majority) of the quality pitchers that are currently in the majors didn't really figure out how to succeed and become a productive MLB regular until age 25-29.


I thought this was so, too, but somebody pointed out that if you look, it's not as true as most of us assume that Hall of Fame quality pitchers generally are successful from a young age.

Just going down Bill James' (NHBA) list of top pitchers...

Pete Alexander (#3) didn't reach the majors until he was 24.

Warren Spahn (#5) didn't establish himself until he was 26.

Bob Gibson (#8) didn't establish himself until he was 25.

Sandy Koufax (#10) wasn't SANDY KOUFAX until he was 25.

Carl Hubbell (#13) was 25 when he threw his first pitch in the majors.

Steve Carlton (#15) established himself in the majors at 22, but didn't really have a really strong season until he was 24.

Gaylord Perry (#18) was 25 when he arrived.

Ed Walsh (#19) reached the majors at 23, but didn't pitch a full season until he was 25.

Mordecai Brown (#20) didn't reach the majors until he was 26.

Juan Marichal (#21) was 24 when he had his first particularly successful season.

Nolan Ryan (#24) didn't go full time until he was 25.

Phil Niekro (#26) was 28 when he got established.

I'll stop there, but that's 12 out of 26 of history's best pitchers that were 24 or older by the time they really got going in the majors, which is more than I would have expected, anyway. I don't think this is cherry picking; I went straight down the list of the greatest pitchers in history, and found many guys that weren't established until they were 24, 25 or older.

You could argue that a long time ago a lot of great pitchers didn't succeed until their mid-20s, but in modern baseball it's more common for great pitchers to start being great young, like Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux and Mike Mussina and Pedro Martinez. But even among the modern greats, Tom Glavine was in the majors young but didn't have any real kind of success until he was 25. Curt Schilling was 25 when he reached the majors to stay. Same with Randy Johnson, and he didn't really become great until he was 29. Johan Santana was 25 when he finally became a full time starter.

I think Hall of Fame level position players actually more commonly succeed in their early 20s than the same caliber pitchers do.
   58. BeanoCook Posted: April 25, 2008 at 07:04 AM (#2758398)
but that's 12 out of 26 of history's best pitchers that were 24 or older by the time they really got going


OR nearly 100% established by 26 or sooner. Not much of a difference between 24-26. The real finding overall is exactly what I pointed out in that most pitchers overall, don't figure it out until after 25, which of course your data supports my claim, even among many HOF pitchers.

Yet, I do think that a greater percentage of HOF pitchers tend to become regulars sooner than your typical pitcher, which is true.
   59. BeanoCook Posted: April 25, 2008 at 07:44 AM (#2758401)
Pete Alexander (#3) didn't reach the majors until he was 24.

Warren Spahn (#5) didn't establish himself until he was 26.

Bob Gibson (#8) didn't establish himself until he was 25.

Sandy Koufax (#10) wasn't SANDY KOUFAX until he was 25.

Carl Hubbell (#13) was 25 when he threw his first pitch in the majors.

Steve Carlton (#15) established himself in the majors at 22, but didn't really have a really strong season until he was 24.

Gaylord Perry (#18) was 25 when he arrived.

Ed Walsh (#19) reached the majors at 23, but didn't pitch a full season until he was 25.

Mordecai Brown (#20) didn't reach the majors until he was 26.

Juan Marichal (#21) was 24 when he had his first particularly successful season.

Nolan Ryan (#24) didn't go full time until he was 25.

Phil Niekro (#26) was 28 when he got established.


Not that I said all HOF pitchers were dominating at a young age, but seeing this list, I had to check, considering how easy it is to use BBR, why not. I'm sure you didn't expect this list of "late bloomers", I will call it if you don't mind, to go unchecked.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Nolan Ryan and Juan Marichal both had started over 70 games and pitched 500 innings at or above league average before they turned 25. So I think you should remove them from this list. They made the majors and had success at an early age.

Ed Walsh & Bob Gibosn both college athletes, made the majors shortly after, in other words, they were not exactly kicking around the minors from 18-25.

Mordecai Brown's career started in 1903, hardly a similar league/lifestyle to today.

Warren Spahn pitched at age 21 in the majors before choosing to fight in WWII for 3 years, returning to baseball at age 25 immediately pitched above average. Remove him from your list as it has nothing to do with needing more time learning on the job.

Koufax made the majors at 19, had successful seasons before 24, we all know he was KOUFAX for only 5-6 seasons at an older age, but I believe the point made was very young pitchers that have some success are rare, a lot of HOF pitchers accomplished this, as did Koufax.

Pete Alexander had to overcome epilepsy from age 20-24 before he could resume his pitching career. Not exactly scuffling around before "finding it". His 1st year in the majors he dominated like no one else before or after him.

Steve Carlton made the majors at age 20, was a regular at 22 and logged +700 well above average innings before age 25.

Carl Hubbell, Phil Neikro & Gaylord Perry. Only guys on list that legitimately did nothing until age 25, or 27, in the case of Neikro and Perry, then "found it".

I'm sure Bill James revealed something in the study you are referencing, but most of these players on this list did play very early, did have success or had a very good reason (war or sickness) for not being in the majors and demonstrating success early.
   60. BeanoCook Posted: April 25, 2008 at 10:12 PM (#2758930)
Does anyone know where that B James study on HOF pitching is at?
   61. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 25, 2008 at 10:42 PM (#2758950)
I didn't reference any study by Bill James; I just grabbed his top 30 pitchers list from the NHBA and looked them up myself.

I know I was/am sort of changing the subject away from what you were getting at, Beano, and just going through my own thought process of realizing how many superstar pitchers don't actually become superstars until they're 24, 25 or so. The point you were making about stars vs. journeymen seems valid to me; I can't disagree with any of the points you're making.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Martin Hemner
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogJULY 31 2014 OMNICHATTER/TRADE DEADLINE CHATTER
(364 - 5:53am, Aug 01)
Last: Infinite Joost (Voxter)

NewsblogRuben Amaro Jr., on standing pat at deadline
(12 - 5:17am, Aug 01)
Last: Infinite Joost (Voxter)

NewsblogOTP - July 2014: Republicans Lose To Democrats For Sixth Straight Year In Congressional Baseball Game
(3994 - 5:13am, Aug 01)
Last: greenback calls it soccer

NewsblogTigers To Acquire David Price
(73 - 5:06am, Aug 01)
Last: Infinite Joost (Voxter)

NewsblogAthletics, Twins Swap Tommy Milone, Sam Fuld
(23 - 3:45am, Aug 01)
Last: Dr. Vaux

NewsblogMarlins acquire Jarred Cosart from Astros in six-player deal
(7 - 3:16am, Aug 01)
Last: KT's Pot Arb

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread July, 2014
(557 - 3:04am, Aug 01)
Last: Swedish Chef

NewsblogA's Acquire Lester, Gomes For Cespedes
(128 - 3:00am, Aug 01)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogCardinals Acquire John Lackey
(93 - 1:57am, Aug 01)
Last: bjhanke

NewsblogMinnesota Twins sign Kurt Suzuki to two-year contract extension
(7 - 1:19am, Aug 01)
Last: boteman is not here 'til October

NewsblogYankees land infielders Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at Deadline
(20 - 1:07am, Aug 01)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogMariners acquire outfielder Chris Denorfia from Padres
(4 - 1:04am, Aug 01)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread- July 2014
(1074 - 1:02am, Aug 01)
Last: Squash

NewsblogCliff Lee Re-Injures Elbow
(18 - 12:55am, Aug 01)
Last: Joyful Calculus Instructor

NewsblogCubs deal Emilio Bonifacio, James Russell to Braves
(10 - 12:38am, Aug 01)
Last: Jacob

Page rendered in 0.5356 seconds
53 querie(s) executed