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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Baseball Analytics: Big Papi Refuses to Get Old

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington recently said that “the door will be open” for the club to discuss a contract extension with David Ortiz, who will pull down $15 million next season during the last year of his current deal. For most 38-year-olds who don’t contribute in the field and on the bases, the door would have slammed shut years ago. But Ortiz, fresh off a season in which he posted the best park-and-league-adjusted OPS (60 percent above average) among qualified hitters this side of Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Chris Davis, just won’t get old. Forget slowing reflexes and declining bat speed—Big Papi is too busy hoisting World Series trophies and sporting WWE championship belts.

In fact, Ortiz’s lumber looks as quick as ever. He annihialated “hard” pitches—fastballs, cutters and splitters—in 2013, boasting the third-highest slugging percentage in this game against those high-speed offerings.

...Should the Sox pony up one last time for Ortiz? History hasn’t been kind to similar sluggers. The list of DHs who have thrived from age 38 onward is an awfully short one: Just Edgar Martinez (132 OPS+), Brian Downing (130 OPS+) and Harold Baines (111 OPS+) managed to be at least 10 percent above average with the bat while logging 1,500+ plate appearances. And keep in mind, these are guys who only contribute offensively. Still, are you going to bet against Big Papi at this point? Eventually, he’s going to slow down. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned while perennially writing his baseball obituary, it’s that Ortiz cares little for typical aging curves.

Thanks to CV.

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2014 at 07:00 AM | 101 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, sabermetrics

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   1. bjhanke Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:36 AM (#4640121)
Among the other frustrating things about Ortiz for us Cardinal fans was the fact that he was not helpless on defense in the World Series. He was actually pretty mobile and surprisingly agile for a guy his size and age. Yeah, he's fat, but I've seen fat athletes with quick reflexes that can do things that their size would not normally make you think they could do. I don't know how many years I would be willing to give David on a contract, but I bet he's still playing well when he's 40 and over, fat or no fat. - Brock Hanke
   2. ThickieDon Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:43 AM (#4640124)
He must be back on the juice.
   3. Bug Selig Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:14 AM (#4640132)
he posted the best park-and-league-adjusted OPS (60 percent above average) among qualified hitters this side of Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Chris Davis


So, he was 4th?
   4. Curse of the Graffanino (dfan) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4640136)
@1: Yeah, this was now the third World Series in which I saw lots of "LOL, what is Boston going to do with Ortiz in an NL park??" comments that weren't really founded. I remember in particular his heads-up play to pick Jeff Suppan off of third in 2004 Game 3 when the Cardinals had a rally going.

The main issue this year was just how to get both Ortiz and Napoli at-bats, rather than worrying about Ortiz playing badly at first.
   5. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4640139)
The main issue this year was just how to get both Ortiz and Napoli at-bats, rather than worrying about Ortiz playing badly at first.


And Ortiz ended that debate rather quickly with his monster series at the plate. There was no way he was not starting all the games.
   6. The_Ex Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4640142)
I didn't read TFA, is Joe Tacopina quoted in there?
   7. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4640143)
Among the other frustrating things about Ortiz for us Cardinal fans was the fact that he was not helpless on defense in the World Series. He was actually pretty mobile and surprisingly agile for a guy his size and age.


Yeah, the knock on Ortiz has never been his ability to play 1B competently, it's whether he could remain healthy while doing so. The Red Sox clearly haven't wanted to take that chance.

The other thing about Ortiz is that he's lost a LOT of weight since he looked like he was going to be toast in 2009. I actually buy Ortiz at his listed weight now, 250 lbs, he's still a very big guy but he's much slimmer than he was at his biggest.

I really hope he has an Edgar Martinez last few years, if he can compile ~10 more WAR he'll be a heck of a HoF debate.
   8. Morty Causa Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4640145)
That's the thing about biology: you can refuse all you want. You can even present it with a note from your mother asking that you be excused.
   9. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4640189)
He must be back on the juice.

Yes, but it's Bosco.
   10. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4640207)
I agree that he is not completely helpless at 1B. In fact, I wonder what in the world he did to earn a -1.3 dWAR in just 39 innings last year.
   11. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4640208)
Yeah, this was now the third World Series in which I saw lots of "LOL, what is Boston going to do with Ortiz in an NL park??" comments that weren't really founded.


And you'd have thought his rather adventure-free, if limited, number of outings at first during the various regular season interleague games would have disabused some of the notion that Papi with a glove was courting catastrophe, but ridiculous predictions of doom still followed.


Yeah, the knock on Ortiz has never been his ability to play 1B competently, it's whether he could remain healthy while doing so. The Red Sox clearly haven't wanted to take that chance.


This is it. He's a big guy with a tremendously valuable bat who's considered an injury risk. If you've got a position that needs to be filled that allows you to limit that risk while still taking full advantage of his bat (and a task that he, unlike some other guys, will perform without complaint), you pencil him in and thank your good fortune.

   12. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4640218)
Not to mention that Ortiz is that rare (heck, maybe only) DH that actually loves it. Most guys would rather be playing the field, but Papi is often in the clubhouse in-between plate appearances dissecting video to prepare for the next.
   13. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4640258)
I wonder what in the world he did to earn a -1.3 dWAR in just 39 innings last year


Isn't that just the positional adjustment for a full time DH? A full time 1B loses ~9-10 runs, meaning Ortiz would have to be no worse than a ~-5 1B to break even. I don't think he could do that over a full year.
   14. villageidiom Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:35 PM (#4640296)
@1: Yeah, this was now the third World Series in which I saw lots of "LOL, what is Boston going to do with Ortiz in an NL park??" comments that weren't really founded.

Paraphrased from this thread:
For a good long period of Ortiz's career in Boston, they had Kevin Youkilis playing a GG level 1B, then Adrian Gonzalez playing a GG level 1B, then Mike Napoli playing a very high level 1B. In each case they were excellent hitters themselves, yet the team did not hesitate to give Ortiz the 1B duties in NL parks. When forced to choose between Ortiz and their regular 1B, they most often chose Ortiz at 1B.
   15. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4640366)
For a good long period of Ortiz's career in Boston, they had Kevin Youkilis playing a GG level 1B, then Adrian Gonzalez playing a GG level 1B, then Mike Napoli playing a very high level 1B. In each case they were excellent hitters themselves, yet the team did not hesitate to give Ortiz the 1B duties in NL parks. When forced to choose between Ortiz and their regular 1B, they most often chose Ortiz at 1B.


And yet Ortiz will be criticized for being a DH and people will rate his defense as worse than very bad, simply because he is a DH, when it comes time to discuss him for the HOF.
   16. Jason Michael(s) Bourn Identity Crisis Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:00 AM (#4640794)
Maybe Papi goes to one of those anti-aging clinics.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:49 AM (#4640812)
30 percent better than average but who's counting?

And yet Ortiz will be criticized for being a DH and people will rate his defense as worse than very bad, simply because he is a DH, when it comes time to discuss him for the HOF.

I don't care how you do it -- rate his defense as poor, penalize him for eating a roster spot while not playing the field or recognize that if he had to play the field, he'd have gotten hurt more often and declined faster -- but the DH penalty applies and is probably smaller than it should be (for HoF purposes at least).

And over the last 9 seasons, Ortiz has about 40 games worth of time in the field and ... you guys are going to believe his Rfield numbers? You don't believe anybody else's Rfield numbers based on multiple seasons but that Ortiz doesn't fall down at 1B in 40 games is enough validity?

If I understand the detailed fielding data correctly, Ortiz has fielded 54 ground balls at 1B since 2004. 25 resulted in 3U, 23 required the pitcher to cover, 1 assist to 2B and 5 resulted in errors. 5 errors on 54 GB sounds very bad to me. He hasn't started a DP since 2005.

Let's take Prince with the same methodology. 104 3Us and 74 assists to 1B, 7 to 2B, 3 to home and 2 fielding errors and he started 3 DPs in 1300 innings. That's in not quite 4 times as many innings as our Ortiz sample. I'd call that a bit better than Ortiz but I suppose folks might quibble (and I don't know how many "opportunities" either had).

In 2013, Fielder was tagged for -13 Rfield plus -10 Rpos for -2.3 dWAR; Ortiz's DH penalty generally results in just -13 Rpos and so -1.3 dWAR. Ortiz's Rfield since 2004 in those roughly 360 innings is -3 ... multiply by 4 and we get -12, in line with Fielder's number.

So what evidence we have suggests Ortiz 2005-13 is as bad or worse a fielder than Fielder 2013. Prince had the 6th worst dWAR (tie) of any player in baseball last year, trailing (among others) the execrable Adam Dunn and the 41-year-old Ibanez. Meanwhile, by dWAR last year, Ortiz had more defensive value than Giancarlo Stanton, Jed Lowrie, Miguel Cabrera, David Freese, Justin Upton, Rickie Weeks, Allen Craig, etc.

So let's look at Dunn. He had 627 innings at 1B last year. 39 3U, 19 assists to first, 5 to second, 1 to home, 5 fielding errors, zero DPs started. Now that's about 70% more innings but only about 30% more plays "made" so Dunn probably gets killed on balls not even touched. He got whacked for -12 Rfield in that half-season. Ortiz probably isn't that bad -- who could be other than Dunn?

Craig had 775 innings at 1B, basically twice Ortiz's. 66 3U, 48 assists to first, 8 to second, 0 fielding errors, 5 DPs started. That looks better than Ortiz. He only got whacked for -1 at 1B, some bad OF play and a large runs to wins conversion still produced a bad dWAR. So a half-season of average-ish 1B, 1/4 season of bad OF (-3 in 41 starts) and he's got less defensive value than a full-time DH.

The 36-year-old 3B (Young) was at -2.8, te 41-year-old with 800 innings in LF (Ibanez) was at -2.5, the 36- (Beltran) and 37-year-old (Hunter) RFs were at -1.5, the 35-year-old 3B (Ramirez) was at -1.3 but the 37-year-old full-time DH was at -1.3.

The 37-year-old Konerko, the guy so hobbled they put Dunn at 1B, ends up with -1.1 dWAR thanks to spending 50 games at DH and only half a season in the field.

I don't necessarily have a problem with this when it comes to value. It is obviously possible that some players are such bad defenders they should be full-time DHs but are in the field because they insist on it or are forced there due to circumstances (Dunn, Ibanez kinda) or their teams are just dumb. But in terms of the quality of the player? In terms of what Ortiz would do if he had to play the field? Nope, I don't buy the DH penalty there at all.

So in terms of the HoF, sorry, no. I will treat Ortiz like somebody like Fielder. Fielder in under 70% of Ortiz's PAs has already tied Ortiz in dWAR. Fielder in 2012, when he's credited with being a decent 1B (-4 in nearly 1400 innings, 159 starts) still had less dWAR than Ortiz.

From 2000-2013, there are 29 players with at least 3000 PA who have accumulated negative dWAR/PA at a rate equal or worse than Ortiz. Among these players, Ortiz has the most PA. These include the ones that should be obvious by now -- Dunn, Fielder, Ibanez, etc. It also includes noted butchers Manny and Sheff. It also includes Giambi, Delgado, Magglio Ordonez, Dye, Cuddyer, Howard, Bernie Williams, Delmon Young, Dmitri Young, Jonny Gomes, Matt Lawton (really?), Mark Reynolds, Mark Teahen, Carlos Quentin, Ryan Klesko, Adam Lind and a few others.

I certainly won't deny that's a list of butchers but they are all rated as badly or worse than Ortiz although (mostly) they didn't get to hide at DH. Do you think a full-time DH is kinda middle of the pack when it comes to terrible defensive players or do you think he'd be about the worst of the worst?
   18. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 17, 2014 at 03:08 AM (#4640814)
Do you think a full-time DH is kinda middle of the pack when it comes to terrible defensive players or do you think he'd be about the worst of the worst?


I think it depends on the individual. Paul Molitor most definitely would not have been the worst of the worst. Edgar was probably bad, but not rock bottom. Papi is probably near the bottom, but it's hard to tell because he plays the field so infrequently, and has for 11 years now. The flip side of he'd get hurt if he had to play there is that he'd probably be better skilled at it if he was slipping on the leather every day. There's no doubt that had he been a National League property for these past 11 seasons, his manager would have simply stuck him at first and been done with it. He was "hid" at DH because it's a position that has to be manned, and he's not just a logical candidate, but a willing one.

I will say this: I don't know how you WAR it, but I imagine managers really appreciate when they have an outstanding hitter who is willing to set aside his ego and take the hit to his reputation by accepting the DH role (rather than going the full Bonilla route). It's probably no coincidence that virtually all of the long-time DHs (McRae, Baylor, Baines, Edgar, Molitor and Papi) had really solid reputations as team leaders or consummate pros.
   19. villageidiom Posted: January 17, 2014 at 07:55 AM (#4640828)
Do you think a full-time DH is kinda middle of the pack when it comes to terrible defensive players or do you think he'd be about the worst of the worst?
A full-time DH is not a defensive player.
And over the last 9 seasons, Ortiz has about 40 games worth of time in the field and ... you guys are going to believe his Rfield numbers?
In terms of saying how he would have fared as a full time 1B? Hell no.

I'm just saying the mere fact that Ortiz was not given the opportunity to play 1B full time is not indicative that he would be the worst, or among the worst, at 1B. As mentioned upthread he has been in 3 World Series where the general expectation was well below incompetence, and he has surprised people each time. That expectation has been formed on the basis that Ortiz has not been selected to play 1B regularly, without consideration of the caliber of fielder selected ahead of him when the DH spot was available, or what selection was made when the DH was not available.

I'm not saying he's a great fielder or even a good one. I'm saying we don't know, and can't know. I'm trying to explain why the people who form expectations based on his lack of opportunity are often surprised.
   20. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:23 AM (#4640842)
Yeah, I'm certainly not saying that Papi is even an average first baseman. I think if you ran him out there every day he'd be below average to bad. And you have a strong point that it's unlikely Papi would have stayed as healthy playing the field each day. But I also agree with VI, the guy just hasn't had time in the field to show that he's unplayable and when he has played in the field he's looked perfectly competent from an eyeball standpoint.
   21. thok Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4640877)
I assume that the rare times we see Ortiz in the field tend to be his peak defensive performance: because he does it so rarely, Ortiz can expend extra energy and focus than he would be able to if he played 1B everyday.
   22. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4640885)

I certainly won't deny that's a list of butchers but they are all rated as badly or worse than Ortiz although (mostly) they didn't get to hide at DH.


Ortiz didn't 'hide' at DH. Boston was and is smart to continue to maximize their offense by playing Ortiz at DH and gaining a sizable advantage over all other DH's in the game. Since 2003 all AL DH's have hit a combined .258/.340/.437. Boston DH's have hit .292/.390/.572.

The DH is a valid position and should be considered separately in HOF discussions.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4640889)
The DH is a valid position and should be considered separately in HOF discussions.

And should have a much higher offensive bar than 1B/LF, because they contribute nothing on the defensive side of the ball.

It is not at all clear that the "best DH ever" should be in the HoF.
   24. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4640890)
And it's been a valid position for 40+ years now.
   25. BDC Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4640895)
Discussions like this accentuate the distinction between "win" value and ability (which might also be expressed as "trade value." Putting Ortiz in a spot where he can't hurt you (or himself!) defensively adds to his win value, particularly as compared to other DHs. But being shackled to DH means that he lacks a significant ability, thus reducing his trade value. He's an outstanding cleanup hitter, but I wouldn't be surprised if one should be reluctant to trade a much more modest hitter who can play decent corner outfield, straight up, for him. OTOH if you've got him, put him at DH and forget about his trade value. Nobody's saying he's a bad guy to have in the lineup.

These principles seem clear enough. The problem is in quantifying just what quality of modest corner outfielder equals David Ortiz.
   26. John DiFool2 Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4640905)
I don't care how you do it -- rate his defense as poor, penalize him for eating a roster spot while not playing the field or recognize that if he had to play the field, he'd have gotten hurt more often and declined faster -- but the DH penalty applies and is probably smaller than it should be (for HoF purposes at least).


[No quibble with your analysis, at face value at least] As I've said before, I think the DH 'penalty' is larger than it should be, since not everybody can hit there, and the evidence is that there aren't that many spare good hitters around to fill the slot (if there were, the position should routinely be 1st or 2nd in the stats each season, and it isn't). But go ahead people, and ignore these points just like you have the last dozen times I have raised them. As a Sox fan, if other teams want to continue to use the slot suboptimally and also devalue it in the process (thus making Papi cheaper to the Sox), they can keep on doing just that, and we will just go out and win more championships.
   27. AROM Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4640907)
These principles seem clear enough. The problem is in quantifying just what quality of modest corner outfielder equals David Ortiz.


Actually, it's pretty easy. The answer is Curtis Granderson. Over the last 4 seasons, David Ortiz has 14.2 WAR. Granderson has 14.0. That includes a 2012 season where Ortiz missed a good amount of time to injury, but Granderson did the same in 2013. Over the 4 years, playing time matches as they are within 5 games and 50 PA of each other. Granderson has matched Ortiz's power (115 HR to 114). They balance out with Ortiz hitting 55 points higher and Granderson playing OF defense.

So does this really work, is that how teams value them? Ortiz will make 15 million this year, Granderson just signed a 4 year, 60 million dollar contract. Looks about right to me.
   28. BDC Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4640911)
Actually, it's pretty easy. The answer is Curtis Granderson

I'll buy that, but there may be two dozen other commenters here bidding higher or lower :)
   29. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4640912)
I assume that the rare times we see Ortiz in the field tend to be his peak defensive performance: because he does it so rarely, Ortiz can expend extra energy and focus than he would be able to if he played 1B everyday.

That's why relief pitchers are so good at the plate. Look at Esteban Yan!
   30. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4640943)
Actually, it's pretty easy. The answer is Curtis Granderson. Over the last 4 seasons, David Ortiz has 14.2 WAR. Granderson has 14.0. That includes a 2012 season where Ortiz missed a good amount of time to injury, but Granderson did the same in 2013. Over the 4 years, playing time matches as they are within 5 games and 50 PA of each other. Granderson has matched Ortiz's power (115 HR to 114). They balance out with Ortiz hitting 55 points higher and Granderson playing OF defense.

So does this really work, is that how teams value them? Ortiz will make 15 million this year, Granderson just signed a 4 year, 60 million dollar contract. Looks about right to me.


Couple that with John's #26 and I think you can accurately value Ortiz more than Granderson because there are more players similar to Granderson than Ortiz. It is easier (as evidenced by the quantity of players) to be good at hitting and decent at fielding than it is to be very good at hitting. If more players could DH and hit at Ortiz's level then obviously Ortiz becomes less valuable, but no one else has shown the ability to consistently do it.

   31. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4640948)

And should have a much higher offensive bar than 1B/LF, because they contribute nothing on the defensive side of the ball.

It is not at all clear that the "best DH ever" should be in the HoF.


Why is it not clear? Is Edgar Martinez really all that different from Killebrew, McCovey, Stargell, or Slaughter? Are they not HOF caliber players? They all contributed very similar amounts of win-value to their teams. All very similar hitters. The Mariners used the rules available to them to get Martinez's bat in the line up, Martinez should not be harshly penalized for NOT contributing negatively to his team's defense.
   32. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4640951)

It is not at all clear that the "best DH ever" should be in the HoF.


Didn't you support Goose ####### Gossage for the Hall?

   33. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4640952)
Couple that with John's #26 and I think you can accurately value Ortiz more than Granderson because there are more players similar to Granderson than Ortiz. It is easier (as evidenced by the quantity of players) to be good at hitting and decent at fielding than it is to be very good at hitting. If more players could DH and hit at Ortiz's level then obviously Ortiz becomes less valuable, but no one else has shown the ability to consistently do it.


I was going to post a similar sentiment.

Additionlly, playing time is a fixed commodity on the team level and it's known that a certain portion of playing time must go to a position that necessarily offers no defensive value. Given that lineups are set at a team level - the +40 bat, -20 D guy is more valuable than the +20 bat, 0 glove guy here (this is without worrying about things like the DH penalty).

Also, regarding Ortiz v. Granderson - Ortiz's salary might be hurt by a "he's old!" penalty (to say nothing of the fact that he's not going to the NL or, frankly, leaving Boston). On-field value equal, you'd expect Granderson to make more.
   34. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4640954)
Also, regarding Ortiz v. Granderson - Ortiz's salary might be hurt by a "he's old!" penalty (to say nothing of the fact that he's not going to the NL or, frankly, leaving Boston). On-field value equal, you'd expect Granderson to make more.


Right. Ortiz hasn't truly been on the market in a very long time. There's been no evidence the last few times that his contract came up that he would sign elsewhere. Now I don't expect that his market value would be dramatically higher than 15 million per year, but we don't really know.
   35. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4640957)
Now I don't expect that his market value would be dramatically higher than 15 million per year, but we don't really know.

Agreed.
   36. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4640965)
Now I don't expect that his market value would be dramatically higher than 15 million per year, but we don't really know.


On the other hand, Granderson's contract is low compared to what Choo signed for with the Rangers. Granderson's wallet was certainly hurt by his injury. If a 32 y.o. Ortiz hits the free agency market he is going to get significantly more than $60 mill for 4 years.
   37. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4640968)

And yet Ortiz will be criticized for being a DH and people will rate his defense as worse than very bad, simply because he is a DH, when it comes time to discuss him for the HOF.


No, he will be criticized for not contributing very much on defense. Ortiz has 2054 innings in the field. Manny Ramirez, for example, has 16,334 innings in the field. You wouldn't have any problem saying that a player with 9000 PAs and an OPS+ of 100 contributed more value on offense than a player with 900 PAs and the same OPS+. it should apply to defense also.
   38. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4640970)
this is where I diverge from my number lovin' compadres because Ortiz has a very reasonable hof resume

tremendous hitter
tremendous hitter for a long time
played for many winning teams
central figure/offensive anchor on multiple championship teams
excellent post season performer
beloved figure in baseball

I don't know how you don't vote that guy into the hall of fame.

but then I am open to being educated further
   39. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4640974)
and yes I do strongly prefer players who play all facets of the game reasonably well

however, fundamentally the goal of the game is to win.

now I know that this notion drives many in here batty as they chirp endlessly about 'luck of teammates' blah, blah, blah

when a team wins as the cast changes and one guy is always there and always contributing and in many cases being THE guy to me that matters

I understand and accept scorn on ridicule for believing that winning matters
   40. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4640981)
I don't know how you don't vote that guy into the hall of fame.


Oh he's (almost certainly) going into the Hall of Fame. I think he pretty nearly sealed that this year in the post-season. But I'm pretty sure most people here will be unhappy about that.

EDIT: Not me, for the record. I'll be fine with it, as a completely biased Red Sox fan.
   41. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4640982)
No, he will be criticized for not contributing very much on defense. Ortiz has 2054 innings in the field. Manny Ramirez, for example, has 16,334 innings in the field. You wouldn't have any problem saying that a player with 9000 PAs and an OPS+ of 100 contributed more value on offense than a player with 900 PAs and the same OPS+. it should apply to defense also.


Why should Ortiz be criticized because his position does not allow him to contribute on defense? It should be simple - did Ortiz contribute to his team enough (relative to his peers) to make him a HOF player. Personally, I don't think he has from a numbers standpoint. He is close, and deserves some looking at, but not yet. Edgar Martinez definitely did.


ETA:
Parenthetical.
   42. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4640991)
jmurph

I don't think you need to be a biased fan to support Ortiz for the hof

he's been great for so long and been so good at big moments I just think it's silly to point to war or other such measures to declare the guy isn't worthy of the hof

the line between him and edgar Martinez is a thin one. I do not support Martinez for the hof, but he's right on the cusp. if Martinez had played and been the central figure on multiple championship teams like Ortiz my answer would be different

hey, you have to draw a line somewhere and that's it for me


I know, I know, here come the 'count the ringszzz' snark. it's more than that to me but I get how things get distilled here
   43. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4640998)
I don't know how you don't vote that guy into the hall of fame.


Steroids.
   44. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4640999)
I'm with you HW, just noting that I can't actually separate my fandom on this one.

I've hated this argument in the past, but there is going to be a lot of "you can't tell the story of 2003-2013 without mentioning Ortiz" arguments once he retires. And I'm not sure those people won't have a reasonable point.
   45. AROM Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4641003)
this is where I diverge from my number lovin' compadres because Ortiz has a very reasonable hof resume


Edgar Martinez has an even better one.
   46. villageidiom Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4641005)
The DH is a valid position and should be considered separately in HOF discussions.

And should have a much higher offensive bar than 1B/LF, because they contribute nothing on the defensive side of the ball.
It follows, then, that everyone should have a much higher pitching standard for AL pitchers even if league quality was the same, solely on the basis that they contribute nothing on offense, than they should for their NL counterparts. I mean, that's the same argument: they don't participate on one side of the ball, and to make up for it they have to perform better than the people who do.

NOBODY considers that for the HOF. Pitchers are compared to pitchers, and while context is considered in their pitching, their hitting is a non-factor.

If the counterargument is "well, NL pitchers aren't expected to hit well", I think the obvious response is "1B aren't expected to field well". It's still a comparison of someone who does something poorly vs. someone who doesn't have the opportunity to do anything. With pitchers, the comparison is simply not made. With hitters, you're arguing that the comparison should be made, and that the difference must be large.
   47. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4641006)
I've hated this argument in the past, but there is going to be a lot of "you can't tell the story of 2003-2013 without mentioning Ortiz" arguments once he retires. And I'm not sure those people won't have a reasonable point.


Almost like not being able to tell the story of the magical 1991 world champion Twins without Jack Morris.
   48. AROM Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4641007)
You can't tell the story of 1984-2007 without mentioning Bonds or Clemens. A lot of good that's done for them.
   49. AROM Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4641008)
Couple that with John's #26 and I think you can accurately value Ortiz more than Granderson because there are more players similar to Granderson than Ortiz. It is easier (as evidenced by the quantity of players) to be good at hitting and decent at fielding than it is to be very good at hitting. If more players could DH and hit at Ortiz's level then obviously Ortiz becomes less valuable, but no one else has shown the ability to consistently do it.


Take age out of it and just assume that Bud passes a rule outlawing multiyear contracts. Age doesn't mean so much, just what can you do for me in 2014. Say for example that Granderson is properly valued at 15 million. What would you pay Ortiz?
   50. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4641010)
arom

obviously I disagree on edgar. his story is not as compelling as Ortiz.

to me anyway. and hey, I don't have a vote so what does it matter?
   51. tfbg9 Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4641013)
They both are HOF's IMO.
   52. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4641022)
47, 48: Just to be clear I don't like that argument. What I'm trying to say is that I think it's going to resonate with people in a way that it didn't with Jack Morris, because it wasn't actually true when people said it about him. I could be wrong, of course, he may not go in at all.
   53. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4641024)
Take age out of it and just assume that Bud passes a rule outlawing multiyear contracts. Age doesn't mean so much, just what can you do for me in 2014. Say for example that Granderson is properly valued at 15 million. What would you pay Ortiz?


At least $20? Sorta hard to do...
   54. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4641027)

Why should Ortiz be criticized because his position does not allow him to contribute on defense?


The same reason Quisenberry is criticized for only pitching 1043 innings over 12 years and Gates Brown is critized for only getting 2262 at-bats over 13 years. The way their managers chose to use their talents limited their contributions as well.

It follows, then, that everyone should have a much higher pitching standard for AL pitchers even if league quality was the same, solely on the basis that they contribute nothing on offense, than they should for their NL counterparts. I mean, that's the same argument: they don't participate on one side of the ball, and to make up for it they have to perform better than the people who do.


Well, they should, and I do, but it's irrelevant because for the HOF pitchers are compared to pitchers and position players to position players, and defensive contributions have always been factored into the evaluation of position players.
   55. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4641032)
Take age out of it and just assume that Bud passes a rule outlawing multiyear contracts. Age doesn't mean so much, just what can you do for me in 2014. Say for example that Granderson is properly valued at 15 million. What would you pay Ortiz?


Teams that would conceivably be in on Ortiz for one year if he were on the market: Boston, NYY (yes I realize they have about 8 DHs on their roster), Toronto, Baltimore, Detroit, Seattle, Texas...

I could see Texas, NYY, and Boston going up to 20ish, I think. Maybe Seattle, in an all-in push for the playoffs?
   56. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4641040)
The same reason Quisenberry is criticized for only pitching 1043 innings over 12 years and Gates Brown is critized for only getting 2262 at-bats over 13 years. The way their managers chose to use their talents limited their contributions as well.


Not sure who Gates Brown was or why he is relevant to this discussion. The difference between Quisno's and Ortiz is that 'relief pitcher' is not a position. Relief pitchers should be compared to pitchers, because that is the position they fill.
   57. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4641047)
jack

gates brown was a stubby, stocky guy who couldn't really play the outfield or anywhere else so kept a job by being the first bat off the bench. kind of a better version of jerry hairston senior.

   58. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4641059)
#57 - thanks. Not seeing the bat to justify anything other than that though - other than '68 of course, that is a sweet 100AB hot streak.
   59. stanmvp48 Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4641062)
Wasn't Frank Thomas more of a DH than a first baseman?
   60. BDC Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4641066)
I think the deal with Frank Thomas is that he's a HOF first baseman in the same way that Ernie Banks is a HOF shortstop. Banks too played more games away from his primary position, but they are (as with Thomas) less relevant to his HOF case. By contrast, Martinez's career took off after he moved to DH, and Ortiz barely has much career anywhere else.
   61. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4641077)
If the counterargument is "well, NL pitchers aren't expected to hit well", I think the obvious response is "1B aren't expected to field well".


This is, of course, nonsense. 1B are expected to be good defenders, just like any other position. And just like other positions, some players fall short. And just like other positions, bad defenders are moved off.
   62. AROM Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4641082)
I could see Texas, NYY, and Boston going up to 20ish, I think. Maybe Seattle, in an all-in push for the playoffs?


If so, Ortiz should fire his agent.

obviously I disagree on edgar. his story is not as compelling as Ortiz.

to me anyway. and hey, I don't have a vote so what does it matter?


Neither do I. It doesn't really matter, by why let that stop a BTF debate?

We can all look at the numbers to see that Martinez has the lead, whether WAR or OPS+, or peak seasons. Beyond that I think Ortiz gets the benefit of recency, having just dominated the world series. Trying to balance that out I need to recall how much, watching while rooting for the other team, I feared Martinez coming to the plate in a big situation. He didn't have the same power as Ortiz but was a much tougher out. Ortiz I've always felt could be pitched to as long as you were smart enough to bring a lefty in. Sure, it didn't always work, just ask Jerrod Washburn. But it gives you a reasonable chance, which you didn't have when Martinez came to the plate.
   63. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4641088)
If so, Ortiz should fire his agent.


AROM: is your stance that he's been maxing out his salary these past several years? Considering he's (by all accounts that I'm aware of) never even considered entering into negotiations with another team, it would be hard to believe that his current salary is the absolute maximum he could find. Or to word it another way, it would be hard to believe that Boston is paying him at the absolute peak of his market value when they haven't been forced to bid for him on the open market in more than a decade.
   64. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4641097)
Beyond that I think Ortiz gets the benefit of recency, having just dominated the world series.


This is definitely true. Ortiz has also had the advantage of playing more recently in a lot of postseasons, where he has largely excelled. I think they should both be in, but I'm a biased Red Sox fan and am fine with the notion of Ortiz needing a couple-three more years.
   65. Nasty Nate Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4641104)
Or to word it another way, it would be hard to believe that Boston is paying him at the absolute peak of his market value when they haven't been forced to bid for him on the open market in more than a decade.


He was on the open market last off-season. And also the off-season before that.
   66. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4641114)
arom

hey now, I am not speaking of Ortiz in this manner just because of fox raving about him. he has two elements that edgar is missing. playing on championship teams and being a central figure on each one.

that's a pretty big gap and I think closes the war differential.

and please note that I am avoiding going down the path of why a team so loaded with talent like the mariners couldn't really win all that much. it's a legit question but one that I don't think belongs hung around edgar's neck

anyway, they both have a case.
   67. Jay Z Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4641115)
It is not at all clear that the "best DH ever" should be in the HoF.


If the best DH ever hit like Babe Ruth, and can't make a single play in the field, he belongs in the HOF according to the rules of the game. He'll be hired as a DH by one of 15 teams.

Someone could be the best fielder in baseball history and not even make the majors if he only hits .150 with no power or OBP.
   68. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4641123)
He was on the open market last off-season. And also the off-season before that.


This is neither true factually nor, more to the point, in the spirit of what I was (obviously) arguing.

"The agreement came together roughly five hours before Ortiz would have entered the free agent market and been eligible to sign with any team. Now he has a deal that could take him to retirement."



   69. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4641132)
   70. Nasty Nate Posted: January 17, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4641135)
My bad about last year. I was wrong.

But in the prior off-season he was a free agent for a month before accepting arbitration (unless I am messing that one up too).
   71. jmurph Posted: January 17, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4641142)
But in the prior off-season he was a free agent for a month before accepting arbitration (unless I am messing that one up too).


You may be right about that- can't find when free agency started vs when he accepted. I still think I'm right that he never truly explored signing with other teams- at least I don't recall and can't find any accounts of that.

EDIT: Yes, sorry, of course you must be right about that. If he accepted arb in December obviously FA was already underway.
   72. Srul Itza Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4641218)
defensive contributions have always been factored into the evaluation of position players.


By WAR and VORP and such, yes. By Hall of Fame voters, outside of the defense-first positions, not so much.

Guys like Ralph Kiner and Willie Stargell are not in the Hall because of what they did in the field, but at the plate.

As it stands, Ortiz, with (a) his World Series heroics -- .455/.576/.795/1.372, 14 runs, 14 RBI in 14 games, 3 Rings; (b) his career OPS of .932, 431 HR and 1429 RBI, and (c) his overall "folk hero" "larger then life" status, stands a very good chance of being voted in after a few ballots. The more he pushes those career numbers up over the remainder of his career, and assuming he retires before he gets too bad at the plate, the more likely his election is.

If they ever discover and prove he was juicing -- if he fails a test or gets "Biogenesised", he has no chance at all.
   73. BDC Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4641226)
Guys like Ralph Kiner and Willie Stargell are not in the Hall because of what they did in the field, but at the plate

Kiner took a long time, though. I am often struck when looking at comparable batting careers, how you can draw a line across the middle of a positional list ranked by RField (or dWAR, across positions) and find the HOFers above the line.
   74. villageidiom Posted: January 17, 2014 at 06:27 PM (#4641319)
This is, of course, nonsense.
Name for me the 1B who are in the HOF who wouldn't have been in had their defense had been worse, or 1B who are not in the HOF who would have been in had their defense been better. If what I say is nonsense, then this exercise should be easy and the list voluminous.
The same reason Quisenberry is criticized for only pitching 1043 innings over 12 years and Gates Brown is critized for only getting 2262 at-bats over 13 years. The way their managers chose to use their talents limited their contributions as well.
So that would be the same reason Mariano Rivera is criticized for only pitching 1283 innings in 19 years.
   75. dr. scott Posted: January 17, 2014 at 06:30 PM (#4641322)
Someone could be the best fielder in baseball history and not even make the majors if he only hits .150 with no power or OBP.


Unless of course they pitch really well...
   76. ptodd Posted: January 17, 2014 at 08:31 PM (#4641385)
David Ortiz had the 5th highest OPS+ at age 37 in MLB history (since 1930 anyways). Only the Babe, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds had a higher OPS+ at his age.

The defense penalty for DH bothers me. DH is a AL position that must be filled. Red Sox have always had better defensive options at 1B and Ortiz unlike many other hitters seemed to suffer no adverse effects at DH. Their are hundreds of 1Bmen in the minors who can play league average defense at 1B. Many HOF'ers played awful defense at their positions and actually hurt their team when on the field but Papi has never made an error at DH.

The fact players get points just for opportunity (number of balls hit their way) at their position is wrong, at least for HOF discussions. If they play a position they should only get credit for how well they play it relative to league average, and no credit at all if the play it poorly (Jeter), or not at all in the case in DH
   77. ptodd Posted: January 17, 2014 at 08:42 PM (#4641388)
If they ever discover and prove he was juicing -- if he fails a test or gets "Biogenesised", he has no chance at all.


Well, being on the 2003 list is proof enough for some, a year in which he had his breakout year. Training with the trainer who got banned by MLB (name escapes me) is also evidence for some. His friends include Manny and Arod, guilt by association, which is pretty weak I admit. Tendon issues, palpitations and high cholesterol are side effects of steroids and issues he has had. Defying age related decline curves such as he has the past 4 years is another compelling piece.

So the circumstantial evidence is enough to give some pause. No physical proof, but after Arods case we know physical evidence is not required so long as a bought criminal says you did . Heck, Clemens was found not guilty of lying about using steroids, implying they found no compelling evidence he used, yet he is guilty in the court of public opinion because an admitted juicer says he used. Papi has a lot of friends, so maybe nobody stabs him in the back and we can all ignore the other evidence before us.
   78. Srul Itza Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:40 PM (#4641404)
The defense penalty for DH


is a misnomer, and really only relevant if you worship at the altar of the God of WAR. It's not a "penalty", it's an attempt to measure all of the value a player -- batting, running, fielding, throwing, etc. -- in comparison to all other players at all other positions. If you don't play the field, that needs to be accounted for in this green eye-shade double-entry system of accounting for valuation.

I don't hate bWAR, or fWAR. Like VORP and Win Shares and the like, I think they are admirable efforts to figure out how valuable a player is, and to compare the contributions of unlike players or of players across different eras.

But they should not be taken and the last word, be-all and end-all measure of a career, especially given the many issues (and assumptions, adjustments and estimates involved) with measuring defense, the issues with teasing apart pitching from defense, the impact of park effects, time lining, and so. Nor are they the only relevant consideration in Hall of Fame voting.
   79. CrosbyBird Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:20 PM (#4641424)
Is Edgar Martinez really all that different from Killebrew, McCovey, Stargell, or Slaughter? Are they not HOF caliber players?

McCovey, Killebrew, and Stargell all had stronger offensive peaks and played significantly more games.

I think the appropriate DH penalty is "poor defensive 1B." I wouldn't put alternate-reality mediocre 1B Edgar Martinez in the HOF, so I wouldn't put Edgar the DH in. A HOF-quality DH hits like Killebrew or Frank Thomas or Jim Thome.

Jeff Bagwell is an example of a solid HOF 1B in part because of his defense and baserunning, which add up to around 8 wins. Jeff Bagwell the slow DH would be a tough call for me and would depend in part on how much adjustment to make for the Astrodome.
   80. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:21 PM (#4641425)
Well, being on the 2003 list is proof enough for some, a year in which he had his breakout year. Training with the trainer who got banned by MLB (name escapes me) is also evidence for some. His friends include Manny and Arod, guilt by association, which is pretty weak I admit. Tendon issues, palpitations and high cholesterol are side effects of steroids and issues he has had. Defying age related decline curves such as he has the past 4 years is another compelling piece.

That seems like more "evidence" than has been produced on Bagwell, Piazza, & perhaps Sosa. Not to mention Biggio is still waiting. Until some of those guys start moving up in the tally, I don't see why Ortiz would do any better.
   81. chris p Posted: January 18, 2014 at 01:08 AM (#4641445)
ortiz as a dh has always had more to do with the perceived injury risk than his inability to field.
   82. Chris Fluit Posted: January 18, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4641473)
I wouldn't put Edgar the DH in. A HOF-quality DH hits like Killebrew or Frank Thomas or Jim Thome.


Yeah, it's too bad Edgar Martinez (career OPS+ of 147) didn't hit as well as Harmon Killebrew (career OPS+ of 143) or Jim Thome (career OPS+ of 147). Then he'd be a Hall of Famer.
   83. Chris Fluit Posted: January 18, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4641474)
Well, being on the 2003 list is proof enough for some,


That seems like more "evidence" than has been produced on Bagwell, Piazza, & perhaps Sosa.


That bit at least is the same evidence they have for Sosa.
   84. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 18, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4641480)
McCovey, Killebrew, and Stargell all had stronger offensive peaks and played significantly more games


No, they really don't. They have longer 0 WAR starts or tail ends of their careers that gives them more games played, but don't add any value.

Stargell - 235 games at 1.1 WAR first 3 seasons, 179 games at 1.2 WAR last 3 seasons
Killebrew - 116 games at -.6 WAR first 5 seasons, 279 games at .2 WAR last 3 seasons
McCovey - started well, 618 games at 2.0 WAR last 6 seasons
Martinez - 92 games at .7 WAR first 3 seasons, 141 games at -.3 last season

Stargell - 414 games for 2.3 WAR
Killebrew - 395 games for -.4 WAR
McCovey - 618 games for 2.0 WAR
Martinez - 233 games for .4 WAR

Stargell - 2360 games total, 1946 'valuable' games
Killebrew - 2435 games total, 2040 'valuable' games
McCovey - 2588 games total, 1970 'valuable' games
Martinez - 2055 games total, 1822 'valuable' games

So they really all only have 1 - 1 1/2 seasons on Martinez, who didn't get called up until age 24 - that to me is not enough to keep him out of the hall.

As far as peak? Top 5 OPS+ years

Stargell - 186, 185, 168, 164, 163
Killebrew - 177, 173, 162, 159, 157
McCovey - 209, 182, 174, 164, 163
Martinez - 185, 167, 165, 164, 160

So, Stargell has a better season, Killebrew is slightly worse, and McCovey has the best season of them all, plus the 174 season. Again, I fail to see enough to clearly separate Martinez. If those 3 are the floor of your HOF then fine, nothing wrong with putting a line somewhere, if you want to say Martinez missed by one good season, then ok. But I suspect most people really have no issues with those three in the HOF.
   85. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 18, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4641481)
That seems like more "evidence" than has been produced on Bagwell, Piazza, & perhaps Sosa. Not to mention Biggio is still waiting. Until some of those guys start moving up in the tally, I don't see why Ortiz would do any better.


Yeah, aside from the fact that MLB and the MLBPA came out and said Ortiz was a false positive - something they did only for Ortiz. Let's just let that part slide.



MLB confirmed in a statement Saturday that at least eight players on the government's list did not test positive for steroids under MLB's testing protocol. "There are more names on the government list (104) than the maximum number of positives that were recorded under the 2003 program (96)," MLB said.

Weiner also said the number of players on the list exceeds the number that the union and MLB agreed had tested positive. "Ninety-six is the outer limit of test results that could have been positive in 2003," Weiner said, explaining that there were 83 confirmed positive tests in 2003, a high enough number to trigger the 5% threshold the union and MLB had agreed would lead to additional testing, which was the purpose of the 2003 survey testing program.

"There were 13 results that in the union's view were inconclusive," Weiner said. "Normally, if those results would have had individual consequences for the players involved, you would have pursued to get a definitive answer to whether or not those results were reliable. That wasn't necessary here."



http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/careless-david-ortiz-denies-steroid-apologizes-boston-red-sox-fans-teammates-article-1.395676
   86. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 18, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4641499)
Yeah, aside from the fact that MLB and the MLBPA came out and said Ortiz was a false positive - something they did only for Ortiz.


Someone ask Bud and George Mitchell why Ortiz gets such special treatment.
   87. CrosbyBird Posted: January 18, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4641506)
Yeah, it's too bad Edgar Martinez (career OPS+ of 147) didn't hit as well as Harmon Killebrew (career OPS+ of 143) or Jim Thome (career OPS+ of 147). Then he'd be a Hall of Famer.

One data point does not tell a complete story.

Killebrew may have a similar career OPS+, but he played in about 400 more games. Martinez was in the top 10 in oWAR for a season 6 times; Killebrew 11 times. Another way to think about it is to consider Killebrew as a slightly-better hitting Edgar over about a full season more (149 OPS+ over ~2150 games), with three mediocre seasons tacked on at the end. Ignore those last seasons and Killebrew is still far ahead of Martinez in accumulation of walks and HR, despite playing in a less friendly offensive era.

Thome is Edgar Martinez plus another 25% of Edgar Martinez. Again, not just accumulation of stats with mediocre seasons, but the same career OPS+ over 500 more games. Thome is arguably one of the top ten hitters in the history of baseball by career. (Thome's peak is also slightly better than Martinez's, relative to the rest of the league.)

If you're a purely offensive player, you need both great peak stats (which Martinez has) and great career stats (which Martinez does not have). Killebrew and Thome are really great examples of the difference: a Martinez-like peak plus career milestones like being in the top 20 players in both HR and BB.
   88. CrosbyBird Posted: January 18, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4641510)
If those 3 are the floor of your HOF then fine, nothing wrong with putting a line somewhere, if you want to say Martinez missed by one good season, then ok.

I think that's a pretty fair assessment of my position. Martinez is a borderline HOF (in my opinion, just out) that would be in with another good season or two. He certainly wouldn't be an embarrassing selection.

I also appear to place a bit more of a premium on "dominance" than you do: MVP voting and all-star selections, black and grey ink, etc. The fact that Martinez has less black/grey ink than an average HOF and adds nothing defensively represents a player that starts on the outside and gets argued in rather than the other way around. I wouldn't say Martinez had a short career so much as an unremarkably long career; I'm not dinging him so much as not giving him longevity credit (the way I would for Thome).
   89. SG Posted: January 18, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4641511)
Yeah, aside from the fact that MLB and the MLBPA came out and said Ortiz was a false positive - something they did only for Ortiz. Let's just let that part slide.


I see nothing in your quote or in the article you linked that exonerates Ortiz specifically.
   90. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 18, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4641542)
Killebrew may have a similar career OPS+, but he played in about 400 more games. Martinez was in the top 10 in oWAR for a season 6 times; Killebrew 11 times. Another way to think about it is to consider Killebrew as a slightly-better hitting Edgar over about a full season more (149 OPS+ over ~2150 games), with three mediocre seasons tacked on at the end. Ignore those last seasons and Killebrew is still far ahead of Martinez in accumulation of walks and HR, despite playing in a less friendly offensive era.


Are you going to ignore Martinez's extra 161 singles, 224 doubles, or 497 less strikeouts? Killebrew was more of a pure slugger, but overall they provided incredibly similar value to their teams. As I noted above Killebrew does have an extra year's worth of games to his credit, but that is really the only difference. Are you really going to say that is enough to keep Martinez out of your HOF? Or is Killebrew not in your HOF either?
   91. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 18, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4641545)
I see nothing in your quote or in the article you linked that exonerates Ortiz specifically.


MLB was not allowed to comment directly on players, as the results were supposed to be anonymous, (as well as sealed as part of the government's investigation at the time), but Ortiz is the only one they even made that comment on. If you want to weight an anonymous source that supposedly saw the list 6 years prior to coming out (and broke the law by leaking Ortiz's name) more heavily than MLB's comments then go for it.

ETA:
To be clear - Manny and Ortiz were the only names being discussed at this specific time in 2009, and MLB did not make the same comment regarding Manny.
   92. tfbg9 Posted: January 18, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4641568)
Don't be silly jacksone.The best explanation for what MLB did for Ortiz is an elaborate, airtight conspiracy involving Selig, Mitchell, Henry, the MLBPA, and Ortiz and his agent. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

C'mon.
   93. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 18, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4641652)
Oh it isn't particularly elaborate.
   94. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 18, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4641654)
If you want to weight an anonymous source that supposedly saw the list 6 years prior to coming out (and broke the law by leaking Ortiz's name) more heavily than MLB's comments then go for it.

Isn't that what many of the HoF voters have done for the non-Ortiz players? The case for special treatment for Ortiz is weak, since the "exoneration" quoted here is in no way specific to Ortiz. You can be a PED zealot or you can back Ortiz for the HoF (there are other options, too) but I don't see how you can be both without giving a special dispensation to a player you like.
   95. CrosbyBird Posted: January 18, 2014 at 08:03 PM (#4641700)
Are you going to ignore Martinez's extra 161 singles, 224 doubles, or 497 less strikeouts? Killebrew was more of a pure slugger, but overall they provided incredibly similar value to their teams. As I noted above Killebrew does have an extra year's worth of games to his credit, but that is really the only difference. Are you really going to say that is enough to keep Martinez out of your HOF? Or is Killebrew not in your HOF either?

Killebrew is an easy HOF but not inner-circle. I think you're ignoring a major part of my position:

I also appear to place a bit more of a premium on "dominance" than you do: MVP voting and all-star selections, black and grey ink, etc. The fact that Martinez has less black/grey ink than an average HOF and adds nothing defensively represents a player that starts on the outside and gets argued in rather than the other way around. I wouldn't say Martinez had a short career so much as an unremarkably long career; I'm not dinging him so much as not giving him longevity credit (the way I would for Thome).


When I consider a HOF case, I don't merely consider OPS+ or WAR (although Killebrew, Thome, and McCovey all have an advantage in oWAR). I consider peak and career and reputation.

Strikeouts are irrelevant for hitters. I'm not ignoring singles and doubles, but Martinez isn't one of the all-time leaders in those categories. That matters to me. Killebrew's position on career leaderboards demonstrates "career dominance" in addition to the "peak dominance" that is every bit as good as Martinez, except Killebrew has an extra season or two of high-level performance. His MVP/All-Star showing and his black and gray ink demonstrate a different level of performance relative to his peers than Martinez. To a lesser degree, but still significant, 2500 games is a very long career, and I consider that part of a player's case for the HOF as well.

There's a really big difference between being in the top 10 of oWAR/RC 11/9 times and being in the top 10 6/6 times.

Where do you rank Edgar Martinez among all-time hitters? 60th? 70th? I think it's not outrageous to draw a HOF line slightly above that quality of hitting performance with no significant defensive or baserunning value and a lack of career milestones. Comparing him to players that have his offensive peak plus other stuff isn't a fair comparison, especially since he's the sort of player that I would put just under the line.
   96. tfbg9 Posted: January 18, 2014 at 08:34 PM (#4641709)
The case for special treatment for Ortiz is weak, since the "exoneration" quoted here is in no way specific to Ortiz.


It is if you're not a literalist, or a Yankee fan looking to take the man down a notch. It was clearly made, the "exoneration", in reference to the Ortiz situation.
   97. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 19, 2014 at 09:19 AM (#4641805)
Name for me the 1B who are in the HOF who wouldn't have been in had their defense had been worse


Ignoring that this is a complete non sequitur... literally every 1B in the HOF would not be there if their defense had been so bad that their teams wouldn't play them there. This is tautologically true.
   98. bjhanke Posted: January 20, 2014 at 06:20 AM (#4642480)
Actually, the answer to that one would be a bunch of guys who played in AAA ball from 1900-1925 or so. People like Gavy Cravath and Buzz Arlett. The Dead Ball Era was the only time period where 1B defense was that important to the game. When Cravath and Arlett got their MLB shots, they were placed at RF, just like Harry Heilmann was, because RF was, at the time, considered the least-valuable defensive position. So it becomes more a matter of who did not get to play in MLB at all because their defense was THAT bad. For people who did get into MLB at all, you get a very few examples, like Dick Stuart, whose MLB career was several years shorter than his bat would have warranted, but even Stuart, lousy glove that he was, didn't hit at a HoF rate, either. - Brock Hanke
   99. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 20, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4642494)
The Dead Ball Era was the only time period where 1B defense was that important to the game.

But once again the Veterans Committee ignored Fred Luderus!
   100. bjhanke Posted: January 20, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4642549)
Fred Luderus was the first baseman on Gavy Cravath's Phillies teams. Actually, he's a VERY near comp to Cravath's playing time. And he has the same problem - he only looks Hal Worthy if you take his homer totals as legit, whereas they are not. This was the Bakers' Bowl. Cravath won at least two homer titles without hitting EVEN ONE on the road in either season. His career home / road homer rate is 3.58 to 1, which is the worst I've ever seen in the 20th century. Luderus is not far behind with a ratio of 3 to 1. Neither player is anything like the Dead Ball Ear power hitters their raw stats show. They are both solely and entirely a product of the ballpark. If Luderus had played 1B like High Pockets Kelly, or the young George Sisler, he still would not have hit enough to make any Halls. - Brock Hanke
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