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Monday, July 25, 2011

Bethel: Concepcion being overlooked by Hall of Fame

FIRE B.J. BETHEL
Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

Concepcion isn’t — and for reasons that remain rather dubious. ESPN motor mouth Skip Bayless has this saying of “this isn’t the Hall of Very Good,” but Concepcion was beyond good. He was a star at his position. He was one of the two best during his prime, something which would normally guarantee admission.

He’s hurt considerably from the large shadow cast by his Big Red Machine teammates and one Ozzie Smith, who was always good for a jaw-dropping catch, but for years batted on the lower end of .200. Concepcion was better offensively, and he helped redefine how to play shortstop on AstroTurf.

He made nine All-Star squads and played on one of the greatest teams in the history of the game. He’s also more qualified than many of the seemingly hundreds of Yankees who get into the Hall as long as they’ve had an official at-bat.

This isn’t surprising. Given how long it took for Tony Perez to get in, maybe there’s some big-city resentment toward the ’70s Reds. Maybe voters don’t want to have to deal with the Pete Rose issue again, which would assuredly come up with another Red inducted. Whatever the case, Concepcion has the credentials. All that’s left is his rightful plaque.

Repoz Posted: July 25, 2011 at 12:16 PM | 89 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, reds, yankees

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:04 PM (#3884632)
He was one of the two best during his prime, something which would normally guarantee admission.


Does it? One of the two best second basemen of that era was Bobby Grich (after Joe Morgan). One of the two best first basement of that era was Steve Garvey or Keith Hernandez (after Rod Carew). One of the two best catchers of that era was Gene Tenace or Ted Simmons (after Johnny Bench). Doesn't seem like being second in your era guarantees anything.
   2. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:13 PM (#3884639)
I don't think Concepcion is a HOF quality player, but have seen reasonable people come to a different conclusion. Instead, who is the most ridiculous receipient of this kind of advocacy that people can link to? (Presumably sub-Keltner-ian.)
   3. Jay Z Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:35 PM (#3884658)
Concepcion was one of the best 1970s shortstops. But 1970s shortstops weren't all that great.

Ted Simmons is at the front of the line for 1970s players.
   4. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:47 PM (#3884663)
Cesar Geronimo, Rawly Eastwick, and Dan Driessen are being overlooked, too. What's up with the HOF, anyway?
   5. RJ in TO Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:52 PM (#3884667)
He’s hurt considerably from the large shadow cast by his Big Red Machine teammates and one Ozzie Smith, who was always good for a jaw-dropping catch, but for years batted on the lower end of .200. Concepcion was better offensively, and he helped redefine how to play shortstop on AstroTurf.


Concepcion's final line was 0.267/0.322/0.357 (88 OPS+) in 9640 PA. Smith's was 0.262/0.337/0.328 (87 OPS+) in 10778 PA. That tiny difference is probably balanced out by the 580/148 SB/CS to 321/109 SB/CS advantage in Ozzie's favor. And while Concepcion was obviously a good defender, he certainly wasn't Ozzie Smith-level good.

This isn't to say that a good case can't be made that Concepcion deserves to be elected to the HoF, but that this really isn't the way to go around making that case.
   6. Xander Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3884669)
At least we now know Joe Morgan's nom de plume.
   7. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:58 PM (#3884675)
One of the two best catchers of that era was Gene Tenace or Ted Simmons (after Johnny Bench).


Carlton Fisk's career started started the same year as Tenace's, then went on for another ten years after Tenace was done. Gene Tenace had two seasons in his career where he played 100 games as catcher. He doesn't enter this discussion at all.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:02 PM (#3884678)
Instead, who is the most ridiculous receipient of this kind of advocacy that people can link to? (Presumably sub-Keltner-ian.)


I think the "If Bill Mazeroski, why not Frank White?" arguments here in KC are ridiculous.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#3884685)
Cesar Geronimo, Rawly Eastwick, and Dan Driessen are being overlooked, too.

FREE GEORGE FOSTER!!!
   10. Dale Sams Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3884708)
On my Baseball Mogul team, George Foster was an unstoppable monster. Mickey Rivers also made the HOF without having played in a single AS game in his life.

....that is all.
   11. kthejoker Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3884711)
   12. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:48 PM (#3884718)
Give Davey a plaque for inventing the one-hop turf throw. Or at least that's the story, right?
   13. Dale Sams Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:54 PM (#3884726)
Btw...according to fangraphs, my all-time fave player as a kid, Bert Campaneris beats out Concepcion on WAR from 1970-1979.
   14. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 25, 2011 at 03:01 PM (#3884730)
These columns used to be cool when they were arguing that a deserving player was being overlooked. Santo, Raines, etc. Now every good player is being mistaken for great.
   15. whoisalhedges Posted: July 25, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3884775)
Accordings to BBRef's calculations, Concepcion has a 1.1 WAR advantage over Mark Belanger.

Blade was a truly historic defensive SS, maybe second only to Ozzie. He also had a 68 OPS+ and got 16 votes in his one year of HoF eligibility.

I was born in southern Ohio in 1975. I grew up on the Machine. Bench, Morgan, and Rose (asterisks, etc.) belong in the Hall. Perez doesn't. Foster and Griffey don't. Davey Concepcion, fun as he was, *good* as he was, does not.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2011 at 05:32 PM (#3884789)
I don't think Concepcion is a HOF quality player, but have seen reasonable people come to a different conclusion. Instead, who is the most ridiculous receipient of this kind of advocacy that people can link to? (Presumably sub-Keltner-ian.)


Now that Rice made it in, I would say Jack Morris. He has no legitimate case and people still find a way to finangle numbers, small sample sizes etc to try cherry pick his way in.

Of the guys that smart people are arguing for... I guess it depends on your perception, I just don't really see Dick Allen, but the smart guys like to look at his career and not his in season durability(regardless of the reason) and argue based upon his career numbers and rate he did in his career and not the fact that he just never really produced any stretch of peak seasons. Others see Edgar as a strong argument for similar reasons. But those aren't ridiculous arguments.

My guess is that Maris is probably the best candidate for ridiculous arguments proposed by people that don't cheat in producing the numbers. (here is a hilarious Maris link.)
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2011 at 05:39 PM (#3884794)
Concepcion's final line was 0.267/0.322/0.357 (88 OPS+) in 9640 PA. Smith's was 0.262/0.337/0.328 (87 OPS+) in 10778 PA. That tiny difference is probably balanced out by the 580/148 SB/CS to 321/109 SB/CS advantage in Ozzie's favor.


the tiny difference is balanced out by the 1000 plus plate appearances. Knock off Ozzies last three years and you get 9902 pa with an 88 ops+. The running difference just allows Ozzie to pull ahead.
   18. Repoz Posted: July 25, 2011 at 06:17 PM (#3884816)
Now that Rice made it in, I would say Jack Morris. He has no legitimate case and people still find a way to finangle numbers, small sample sizes etc to try cherry pick his way in.

Seeing Verducci all pumped up yesterday on Morris probably cracking the 60% ("once you do that...you're in!") barrier this year was quite disturbing.
   19. Brian C Posted: July 25, 2011 at 06:35 PM (#3884827)
Given how long it took for Tony Perez to get in, maybe there’s some big-city resentment toward the ’70s Reds.

Too funny. I love how this guy pretends like he just can't figure out why voters won't accept Concepcion, as if no one's actually made an argument against him other than a vague Bayless quote that may or may not have been directed at Concepcion in the first place (it's not really clear from the article). Gee golly gosh, it must be because of big city bias! I also like how he manages to fume about "seemingly hundreds of Yankees" but forgets to name a single one.

Sad to think that some idiot editor allowed this to go to print. What perfect hack work.
   20. DanG Posted: July 25, 2011 at 06:37 PM (#3884828)
Most WAR, 800+ G at SS, debut 1960-79

Rk            Player WAR/pos OPS+    G    PA From   To
1        Robin Yount    76.9  115 2856 12249 1974 1993
2      Alan Trammell    66.9  110 2293  9375 1977 1996
3        Ozzie Smith    64.6   87 2573 10778 1978 1996
4        Toby Harrah    47.1  114 2155  8766 1969 1986
5        Jim Fregosi    46.1  113 1902  7402 1961 1978
6    Bert Campaneris    45.3   89 2328  9625 1964 1983
7    Rico Petrocelli    35.6  108 1553  6170 1963 1976
8    Dave Concepcion    33.6   88 2488  9640 1970 1988
9      Mark Belanger    32.5   68 2016  6602 1965 1982
10       Denis Menke    29.6  103 1598  5934 1962 1974
11   Garry Templeton    25.2   87 2079  8208 1976 1991
12       Roy Smalley    25.1  103 1653  6594 1975 1987
13      Bill Russell    24.9   82 2181  8020 1969 1986
14      Chris Speier    24.7   88 2260  8155 1971 1989 
   21. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 25, 2011 at 06:37 PM (#3884829)
Seeing Verducci all pumped up yesterday on Morris probably cracking the 60% ("once you do that...you're in!") barrier this year was quite disturbing.

Verducci voted for Morris, but not Blyleven. I don't want to put votes in his mouth, but with Pettitte, Schilling and Mussina on deck, I have a sneaking suspicion which one he'll rate #3.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: July 25, 2011 at 06:41 PM (#3884830)
Seeing Verducci all pumped up yesterday on Morris probably cracking the 60% ("once you do that...you're in!") barrier this year was quite disturbing.


I take it he didn't notice what awaits in 2013-14. Jack's got very little shot at BBWAA induction unless he takes a massive leap in 2014 (I'm thinking high 60s).
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 25, 2011 at 06:48 PM (#3884835)
Verducci voted for Morris, but not Blyleven.


This has to boil down to:

1. Game 7, 1991.
2. Reputation for clutch and winning.
3. 20-win seasons.

It's a shame that Game 7, 1991 can't be recognized for what it was: a great pitching performance at precisely the right time, a great baseball moment, a great credit to Morris... but not something that qualifies him for the HOF.

EDIT: 126 pitches for Morris. Was he set to go out for the 11th?
   24. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 25, 2011 at 06:59 PM (#3884840)
If he'd pitched the 11th inning, Morris would be a first-ballot pick. But with just 10 innings, he's a clear "no."
   25. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: July 25, 2011 at 07:10 PM (#3884848)
Chris Speier played 19 seasons, almost 2300 games? You've gotta be shitting me. Maybe I've conflated him with others over the years. I woulda said he played 8-10 seasons as a utility guy.
   26. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 25, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#3884854)
This has to boil down to:

1. Game 7, 1991.
2. Reputation for clutch and winning.
3. 20-win seasons.


Plus actual wins and excellent performance in bigger regular-season games, as chronicled herein.
   27. RJ in TO Posted: July 25, 2011 at 07:18 PM (#3884856)
He did play 8-10 seasons as a utility guy, but only after playing another 8-10 seasons as a regular.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2011 at 07:32 PM (#3884872)
Plus actual wins and average performance in bigger regular-season games, as chronicled herein.


FTFY...
   29. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 25, 2011 at 07:40 PM (#3884888)
NUT-CHASS: DAVEY CONCEPCION IS JUST A STALKING HORSE FOR OMAR VIZQUEL, MR. PRESIDENT!
   30. rconn23 Posted: July 25, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#3884897)
"He’s also more qualified than many of the seemingly hundreds of Yankees who get into the Hall as long as they’ve had an official at-bat."

Hyperbole, blah, blah, Local newspaper hack shills for hometown guy, who clearly doesn't deserve the HOF, because "you just had to watch him everyday!" Lather, rinse, repeat.
   31. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:21 PM (#3884951)
He did play 8-10 seasons as a utility guy, but only after playing another 8-10 seasons as a regular.
Bill James once wrote some doggerel about him, which is the only reason I remember the name of a guy who played in that other league: "Will Chris Speier ever retire? Will his numbers go higher and higher?" Something like that.
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:37 PM (#3884975)
Hyperbole, blah, blah, Local newspaper hack shills for hometown guy, who clearly doesn't deserve the HOF, because "you just had to watch him everyday!" Lather, rinse, repeat.


agreed, as a Cardinal fan, I'm spoiled by having a high percentage of probably undeserving players in the hof (Sutter, Bottomley, Brock, Dean, and several others probably) so I always find it funny when people try to point to Yankees undeserving which is somewhat of a short list(Catfish Hunter, Combs, Rizzuto, Lefty Gomez, Hoyt, Gossage etc) but it's not like Mattingly is in or Munson etc. Most of the mistakes were done long time ago.
   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:43 PM (#3884988)
Plus actual wins and excellent performance in bigger regular-season games, as chronicled herein.


? Blyleven had more wins.

(And a much better postseason ERA, FWIW.)
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:55 PM (#3885003)
? Blyleven had more wins.

(And a much better postseason ERA, FWIW.)


SBB's argument is that Morris pitches better in important games. Otherwords his argument is that Morris is a hofer because in 2/3rds of the games of his career he didn't try his best.
   35. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 25, 2011 at 09:06 PM (#3885024)
? Blyleven had more wins.

(And a much better postseason ERA, FWIW.)


Blyleven also had more losses, less black ink, a lower score on the HoF monitor, etc., etc.

Despite the statistical differences between them, Blyleven and Morris are actually a lot closer together than you might think, in terms of what they did in the context of their teams and their run support; they are a lot closer to each other than either is to the inner-circle guys of their era. I can see Blyleven in, Morris out. I can see both in, or both out (my choice, FWIW). I can't see a real argument for Morris in, Blyleven out; you have to credit Morris for things that either (a) Blyleven didn't have the opportunity to do or (b) Blyleven did just about as well but maybe not quite as well, while ignoring or downplaying the things that Blyleven did better than Morris, in order to make that argument.

-- MWE
   36. Matt Welch Posted: July 25, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#3885033)
He was one of the two best during his prime, something which would normally guarantee admission.

Jim Fregosi and Maury Wills will be so pleased!
   37. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 25, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#3885037)
can't see a real argument for Morris in, Blyleven out; you have to credit Morris for things that either (a) Blyleven didn't have the opportunity to do or (b) Blyleven did just about as well but maybe not quite as well, while ignoring or downplaying the things that Blyleven did better than Morris, in order to make that argument.

I can't see an argument for Morris in, Blyleven out either, though Morris was perceived by most observers to be better at his best than Blyleven at his best -- again, as previously chronicled at length herein.

The argument for Morris is quite convincing, and it should convince upward of 60% of the Hall of Fame voters next year. As things stand now, it's convinced a majority.
   38. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2011 at 09:38 PM (#3885048)
The argument for Morris is quite convincing, and it should convince upward of 60% of the Hall of Fame voters next year. As things stand now, it's convinced a majority.


The argument for Morris is quite simplistic, requires either a complete lack of understanding of baseball(which is what the writers are mostly basing their votes on) or requires mathematical origami in order to make a case. Your argument is the Origami, the writers aren't basing their votes on that, they are basing it upon 1. Most wins in a decade. 2. one of the greatest game sevens ever. 3. won/loss percentage. They aren't doing the gymnastics you do to try to prove your point.

I of course argue fairly straight forward, is he one of the 50-60 best starting pitchers of all time? if so put him in, if not keep him out. I don't see how he's remotely at that level.(heck you could go top 80 of all time)
   39. GuyM Posted: July 25, 2011 at 09:54 PM (#3885056)
Blyleven and Morris are actually a lot closer together than you might think, in terms of what they did in the context of their teams and their run support; they are a lot closer to each other than either is to the inner-circle guys of their era.

Blyleven 90 bWAR, Morris 39 bWAR. You can obviously quibble with those calculations, but how in the world can you get them close? I don't see it. And what does "context...of their run support" mean? I think the "pitching to the score" notion has been convincingly debunked at this point....
   40. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2011 at 10:01 PM (#3885059)
think the "pitching to the score" notion has been convincingly debunked at this point....


Sbb does at least a decent job of showing that Jack pitched well in the seasons where it matters. There is at least one season on his resume where he was absolutely fantastic down the stretch, and that a few of his bad games happened in unimportant games and affected his numbers. (of course he conveniently ignores the first few months of the seasons in those years when if Jack would have pitched better his team may not have needed his 'superhuman' performance. And of course he somehow thinks that a guy who only tries in about 25% of his games is worthy of being the definition of a fierce competitor)

Mind you I don't buy that argument for several reasons, but mostly because it's not enough to get Morris over the hump. I think of the hof as scoring a 90 on a test, Jack Morris scores a 70 and even giving him all the extra credit that SBB attempts to cherry pick, it only moves him up to a 75.
   41. Srul Itza Posted: July 25, 2011 at 10:22 PM (#3885066)
Blyleven 90 bWAR, Morris 39 bWAR. You can obviously quibble with those calculations, but how in the world can you get them close


I was going to point this out. Also, in terms of peak (Best 5 years):

BB: 9.2, 7.2, 6.3, 6.2, 5.8
JM: 5.1, 4.9, 4.8, 4.7, 4.1


This captures all of the years that Morris was at or above 4 WAR. By contrast, BB had 4 more years above 5 (5.7, 5.5, 5.4, 5.0) and 3 more at 4 and above. JM's best year was not as good, by this metric, as BB's 8th best year.
   42. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: July 25, 2011 at 10:26 PM (#3885069)
Sbb does at least a decent job of showing that Jack pitched well in the seasons where it matters.


No he doesn't. He shows that Jack pitched well in certain portions of certain seasons, some of which were meaningful in terms of pennant races, and others not, and uses a very convoluted definition of when games count and when they don't. He cites the 1983 stretch run as one of Jack's feathers in his cap, but ignores his last 4 starts where he went 1-3 with an ERA of 5 because the Tigers were nearly out of the race by then (the Tigers were 6 out with 15 to play including 6 with the team they were chasing). And yet, in another season, 6 or so out with 15 or so to play is considered still in the race because Jack pitched well in the final games of that season, and he needs the data to support his "case".

1981 stretch run is another part of his data that makes a "compelling case", even though Morris pitched worse down the stretch than at any other time that season. But 1981 was a very low scoring year, and thus the poor numbers look good when aggregating* them with the rest of his data, so it's in.

SBB's "Morris has compelling case" is nothing more than alchemy.

* Something he vehemently opposes doing with Morris, except where it can help his argument.
   43. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2011 at 10:34 PM (#3885071)
I was going to point this out. Also, in terms of peak (Best 5 years):

BB: 9.2, 7.2, 6.3, 6.2, 5.8
JM: 5.1, 4.9, 4.8, 4.7, 4.1


This captures all of the years that Morris was at or above 4 WAR. By contrast, BB had 4 more years above 5 (5.7, 5.5, 5.4, 5.0) and 3 more at 4 and above. JM's best year was not as good, by this metric, as BB's 8th best year.


The problem is that is an argument that will resonate with people who already think Blyleven is pretty good. The Morris argument refuses to accept that as the basis of argument. The argument for Morris is that his era, doesn't accurately reflect his performance when it matter, that he pitched better when it matter and that when the season was effectively over he had bad starts making his numbers look worse(mind you I had in the past looked at SBB's numbers and even assuming this is true we are talking about a difference of moving his career era+ from 105 to maybe 110)
   44. Srul Itza Posted: July 25, 2011 at 10:35 PM (#3885072)
He shows that Jack pitched well in certain portions of certain seasons, some of which were meaningful in terms of pennant races, and others not, and uses a very convoluted definition of when games count and when they don't


You mean SBB is really Tommy in CT?
   45. GuyM Posted: July 25, 2011 at 10:44 PM (#3885076)
I've never heard sbb's argument for Morris (which does sound preposterous). I was talking about the idea that Morris was good at matching his performance, on a per-game basis, to his team's scoring -- while Blyleven did the reverse -- such that Morris produced more wins for his team relative to their respective runs allowed.
   46. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: July 25, 2011 at 10:50 PM (#3885079)
The argument for Morris is that his era, doesn't accurately reflect his performance when it matter, that he pitched better when it matter and that when the season was effectively over he had bad starts making his numbers look worse(mind you I had in the past looked at SBB's numbers and even assuming this is true we are talking about a difference of moving his career era+ from 105 to maybe 110)


Unless it was a season in which Jack apparently knew beforehand that the Tigers wouldn't contend, and thus he was free to tank his may and June numbers. Tke 1985. Coming off the wire to wire championship season, Jack started 1985 off with bang, But come June, he just knew they wouldn't win anything, so he was free to tank (mind you, SBB puts this forward as a point in his favor, that Jack frequently didn't try when it didn't matter). His numbers through June 5 7-5 2.15 ERA. His next 5 starts 2-1 5.88 ERA. After that, for the rest of the season, 7-5 3.44. And how far out were the Tigers during Jacks June swoon? 2.5 - 3 games out.
   47. Srul Itza Posted: July 25, 2011 at 11:05 PM (#3885088)
I was talking about the idea that Morris was good at matching his performance, on a per-game basis, to his team's scoring -- while Blyleven did the reverse -- such that Morris produced more wins for his team relative to their respective runs allowed.


Do we really have to do another round of debunking "pitching to the score"?
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2011 at 11:12 PM (#3885091)
You mean SBB is really Tommy in CT?


No Tommy is an idiot, SBB is just misguided :). SBB usually says that Bert belongs and that Jack also belongs.
   49. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: July 25, 2011 at 11:19 PM (#3885096)
Do we really have to do another round of debunking "pitching to the score"?


Always. That 1985 June swoon I mentioned. Jack made 3 consecutive starts where he allowed 5 or more runs, and the Tigers won all 3 games.

June 10, allows 5 runs in 8 innings, Tigers win 8-7. When Jack gave up his 4th and 5th runs, it put the Tigers down 5-3.

June 15 allows 8 runs in 7.2 innings. Tigers win 10-8. When Jack allowed his 8th run, that made the score 9-8.

June 20, allows 6 runs in 3.2 innings. Tigers win 10-9. When Jack allowed his 6th run, it put the Tigers behind 6-4.

None of that is pitching to the score, and he probably had way more like that among his poorly pitched games than the up 10-0,allow 4 meaningless runs in the 9th kind of games.
   50. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 25, 2011 at 11:44 PM (#3885112)
? Blyleven had more wins.

(And a much better postseason ERA, FWIW.)


Blyleven also had more losses, less black ink, a lower score on the HoF monitor, etc., etc.


I'll grant you the "more losses" bit. The rest is relevant as well, although SBB was talking about "actual wins and excellent performance in bigger regular-season games," so I was trying to address that.

Despite the statistical differences between them, Blyleven and Morris are actually a lot closer together than you might think, in terms of what they did in the context of their teams and their run support; they are a lot closer to each other than either is to the inner-circle guys of their era. I can see Blyleven in, Morris out. I can see both in, or both out (my choice, FWIW). I can't see a real argument for Morris in, Blyleven out; you have to credit Morris for things that either (a) Blyleven didn't have the opportunity to do or (b) Blyleven did just about as well but maybe not quite as well, while ignoring or downplaying the things that Blyleven did better than Morris, in order to make that argument.


Mike, Morris over his career had 3824 innings of a 105 ERA+.

Blyleven from ages 24-41 had 3915 innings of a 115 ERA+. So, in slightly more innings over this portion of his career, he had a significantly better ERA+.

Now consider that Blyleven from ages 19-23 pitched 1054 innings of a 132 ERA+.

Does that performance not blow Morris out of the water, and wash away any advantage Morris might have had in blown leads (even assuming arguendo that blown leads are not dumb luck)?

Also, do you calculate blown leads for every pitcher as a point of comparison to each other? And do blown leads take into account quality of defense, size of lead, etc.?
   51. smileyy Posted: July 26, 2011 at 12:40 AM (#3885141)
I keep hoping this thread gets back to how there's no *($#ing way Dave Concepcion should be in the Hall of Fame.
   52. Moeball Posted: July 26, 2011 at 09:17 AM (#3885548)
Wow...I keep getting unstuck in time just like Billy Pilgrim...suddenly I'm back in the '80s again...is Big Hair still considered cool?
   53. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 26, 2011 at 09:42 AM (#3885550)
Under the nose, it is.
   54. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 26, 2011 at 10:48 AM (#3885554)
I am the biggest advocate of Concepción's case (hence my user handle). But I think Campaneris was a little bit better. Both guys provided huuuge value over the sh!tshow most teams were throwing out at SS when they played. And FWIW (nothing, probably), you couldn't win a World Series from 1972-76 without a Latino shortstop with the initials D.C.
   55. Ron J Posted: July 26, 2011 at 11:13 AM (#3885557)
I was talking about the idea that Morris was good at matching his performance, on a per-game basis, to his team's scoring


Didn't happen. That's been very well researched and the research has been on the record for around a decade and a half. Look for Greg Spira's article on pitching to score.

While Morris isn't an exception to the general rule that a pitcher's W/L record is a function of his run support and his runs allowed, Blyleven is close to being one. He has both fewer decsions than one would expect given his IP total and a lower winning percentage than you'd expect given his run support and how well he pitched. And it wasn't bullpen sabotage (as happened to Dave Stieb for instance). He received somewhat above average bullpen support through his career.

While Mike can comment on this more fully, from what I can see from a quick look, he did seem to get a slightly unusual (and unhelpful) distribution of run support. There are a couple of seasons where he got an awful lot of diminishing returns run support.

I'll also note that Mike's comment in #35 is in part based on methods that give little support for bulk innings. That's by no means wrong when you're talking about greatness (which is something I take into consideration in all HOF discussions, while the plurality position around here is pretty much bulk WAR -- or similar -- counting), but if you're ahead in methods that don't give much credit to being average (or even somewhat below average) and do have the advantage in that area, the conclusion is fairly clear.
   56. AROM Posted: July 26, 2011 at 12:16 PM (#3885574)
" Yankees undeserving which is somewhat of a short list(Catfish Hunter, Combs, Rizzuto, Lefty Gomez, Hoyt, Gossage etc)"

You can make that even shorter, Catfish is an undeserving A. He's a Yankee like David Winfield is an Angel.
   57. Moeball Posted: July 26, 2011 at 12:27 PM (#3885576)
OK, seriously now. Let's look at Jack Morris. I'm not going to look at WAR since most of the Jack Morris supporters aren't going to. That kind of statistical evaluation is not going to make Jack's case.

Just looking at W-L record, which is one of his strong suits, his best 5-year peak (gosh darn you, Sandy Koufax!*) was from 1983-1987. Over that period Jack was 94-54, an average record of about 19-11. That's pretty impressive and Blyleven certainly never had a run like that. Jack had a reputation for being able to "pitch to the situation". I think that started even before the Game 7 of the '91 WS which was, let's face it, as clutch a performance as you're ever going to see.

That being said, how did Jack actually do during his peak period when given poor run support, defined here as 2 runs or less per game? After all, it was Blyleven and Ryan, etc. losing a bunch of 2-1 games that got people talking about how they were just 0.500 pitchers who couldn't "find a way to win" the tough games like the truly great pitchers can. You know, "If your team only gives you one run, the really good pitchers get the shutout."

So how'd Jack do? From '83-'87 his record in games with poor run support was...oh, I'm sure it was really good, based on his reputation...wait for it...8 wins, 35 losses.

8-35.

Yikes. I thought for sure he'd be at least close to 0.500, but a winning % of 0.186? Ouch.

Here are some specific seasonal highlights:

1983 - won 20 games (20-13 overall), finished 3rd in Cy Young voting. He was an outstanding 20-3 when given at least 3 runs per game. That means his W-L record when getting less than 3 runs per game was...0-10. That's right, zero wins all season when getting less than 3 runs in a game. This included games such as July 9 where he was given a 1-0 lead vs. Oakland but gave up 3 runs in 8 innings and lost the game 3-1. Or September 5 where he was given a 2-0 lead against Cleveland, couldn't hold it, wound up giving up 3 runs in 7+ innings and was stuck with a 3-2 loss. Or September 17 when he duplicated that feat, being given a 2-0 lead against Boston only to give up 3 runs in 8 innings and losing the game 3-2. Now, giving up 3 runs in 8 innings isn't pitching poorly - you're going to win most of the time with that kind of performance. Funny, now I sound like one of the Blyleven defenders, because Bert had a lot of games like this in his career. At any rate, going 0-10 when getting poor run support doesn't sound to me like someone who can "pitch to the situation".

1984 - went 19-11 for the greatest Tigers team ever. Clearly was one of the reasons they were so outstanding that season. Went 18-6 when given 3+ runs/game, 1-5 when getting less than 3 runs. What the heck, Detroit ran away from the league that year, I don't see how this really means anything although again I wouldn't exactly say going 1-5 when getting poor support is evidence of "pitching to the situation". BTW, I did see Jack's no-hitter on TV that April. It was a Saturday Game of the Week as I recall and he was in top form that day. It foreshadowed what kind of season it was going to be for the Tigers...

1985 - was 16-11 overall for the season. Was 14-4 when given 3+ runs; 2-7 when given less than 3 runs of support. These 7 losses in low support games included 5 times just in August and September alone where he was given 1-0 or 2-0 leads and couldn't protect them, getting pinned with the losses. On the one hand, this doesn't sound like "pitching to the situation" and being able to win the important games at key parts of the season to me. On the other hand, in a reversal of 1984, in '85 Detroit finished 15 games behind Toronto so I don't know if going 7-2 in these tough games instead of 2-7 would have really helped the team much anyway. Had Morris gone 21-6 instead of 16-11 the Tigers still wouldn't have made it to postseason play that year.

1986 - went 21-8 overall and finished 5th in the Cy Young balloting. Was a stellar 18-2 when getting 3+ runs/game; only 3-6 when getting less than 3 runs/game of support. Now, this is one of the years you could say Jack pitched some brilliant games down the stretch as the Tigers were trying to catch the Red Sox and Yankees. All 3 of his wins in poor support situations came during the last 2 weeks of the season, a 1-0 10-inning gem and two wins by 2-1 scores. All 3 were complete game victories. That's big time clutch, no argument there. Of course, this means he was 0-6 when getting poor support before September 22, but, hey - I think this season we can say Jack did just fine.

1987 - finished with an 18-11 record in '87. Was 16-4 when given 3 or more runs of support, only 2-7 when getting less than 3 runs. As you will recall, this was the year Toronto led the division right up until the final week of the season and then somehow blew it to the Tigers. So there were a lot of pressure packed games down the stretch, the kind that pitchers like Jack Morris find a way to win so their team will be able to make it to the playoffs. So how'd Jack do? Let's see...9/2/87 vs. CLE pitched CG 2-1 win, that's strong...9/12/87 given 2-0 lead against MIL, couldn't hold it, lost game...9/28/87 was given 0 runs of support, gave up 3 runs in 8 innings, lost game...10/3/87 given 2 runs to work with, gave up 2 runs in 9 innings, got a ND (ooh, a Blyleven specialty!)...September and October W-L record during the most critical time of the season: 1-2 with a ND. Uhm, that doesn't exactly sound like a guy who found a way to win the most important games of the season to help his team make the playoffs. It sounds like, well...Bert Blyleven.

Sorry, folks, I actually liked Jack Morris. I thought he was a fine pitcher and certainly one you would want pitching for you in a big game. But I'm just having a difficult time seeing any factual numbers that say he was HOF good.

Hey, let's look at 1992, too. I mean, Jack went 21-6 that season, finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. Helped Toronto win a championship, right? So he really must have been Mr. Clutch for them, yes? Hmm...went an almost perfect 20-1 when given at least 3 runs of support. That means he was...1-5 when getting less than 3 runs. That's really difficult to defend as "pitching to the situation".

It's funny how while everybody remembers Game 7 of the 1991 World Series (brilliant clutch pitching by Jack Morris), nobody at all seems to remember that he pitched in the postseason for Toronto the following year as well. I mean, everywhere Jack went, teams won championships, right? (DET '84, MIN '91, TOR '92 and '93) Since Toronto won the WS over the Braves in '92, Jack must have led the way, just like in '91, correct?

Uh, here are the numbers for the '92 postseason:

Game 1, ALCS vs. A's: fell behind 3-0 by the 2nd inning, Toronto clawed back to tie the game at 3, then Morris gave up the 4th run to lose, 4-3 (although he did pitch a CG so he gets credit for gutting it out as best he could - but he still didn't get the job done). Toronto trails in series 0-1.

Game 4, ALCS vs. A's: With Toronto now up 2 games to 1, Morris had a chance to redeem himself. After being given a 1-0 lead, he gave up 5 runs in the 3rd inning and put Toronto behind 5-1; had to be pulled from the game in the 4th inning. This is an example of Jack "pitching to the situation", right? Only giving up a lot of runs when he has a big lead? Fortunately for Jack, Toronto came back to win the game in extra innings, 7-6 - no thanks to Morris.

Game 1, WS vs. Braves: Given 1-0 lead in the 4th, he can't make it stand up and gives up 3 runs in the 6th, ultimately losing the game 3-1. Toronto is down 1 game to none.

Game 5, WS vs. Braves: Toronto wins 3 straight games since Jack's loss in Game 1 and now has a chance to clinch the WS. Hey, this is the clinching game of the whole season here and who better to have on the mound than Jack Morris? Jack responds by giving up 7 runs by the 5th inning, Toronto has no chance to win this one, eventually losing 7-2.

Do any of these postseason performances even remotely sound like great clutch pitching? Yes, Jack Morris helped Toronto get to the '92 playoffs but, let's face it folks, the Jays won the championship that year in spite of Jack Morris, not because of him.

Listen, Jack Morris was a stud for the Tigers in the 1984 postseason and we all know about his heroics for the Twins in 1991, too. I get that. But if you're going to include his good clutch performances in the postseason as important criteria for his HOF candidacy, you've got to include the bad ones, too. And as we've just observed, there were plenty of those bad performances to see.

"Pitching to the situation" is often used to describe Morris as a defense of his relatively high ERA compared to other HOF-candidate pitchers. You know, if he had an 8-0 lead in a game he would relax and give up 5 runs, but making sure the game never got out of hand. But "pitching to the situation" also means a pitcher has to be able to work with what he's got. If the team only scores 1 run for you, you'd better pitch a shutout. Well, Jack Morris did that on one really famous occasion. But that was the exception in his career, not the rule.

Finally don't forget the '87 ALCS disaster against the Twins, either. The Tigers were heavy favorites to beat Minnesota and Jack's one and done performance that year was Game 2 - he was given a 2-0 lead and proceeded to give it all back and then some, allowing 6 runs and ultimately losing the game 6-3. Oh, and the pitcher who outdueled him in this October pressurecooker? That would be Bert Blyleven.

*Koufax is both the main reason we tend to look at 5-year peaks (his run from '62-'66 finishing off his career was amazing)and why people still think HOF-worthy pitchers can "find a way to win" even with poor run support. From '62-'66 Koufax had a record of 27-24 when given less than 3 runs in a game to work with. He's the only pitcher I've found that had a winning record (or even close to a 0.500 record) under those circumstances. You might find a pitcher every now and then who has a winning record one season even with poor support, but not over a 5-year period. Plus Sandy had those great World Series performances such as a 2-1 win over the Yankees in Game 4 of the '63 WS to clinch the sweep, or the Game 7 2-0 shutout of the Twins in '65 (on short rest, no less). People really believed all Sandy needed was a run or two and that would be enough to win. In his case that might be true, but it doesn't hold true for any other pitchers in major league history, and I've checked just about all of them, from Cy Young to Greg Maddux and from Walter Johnson to Randy Johnson.
   58. whoisalhedges Posted: July 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM (#3885578)
A couple of interesting points raised (a couple of interesting points that attempt to reign us in from *under*rating Concepcion and now, Morris), but I think it boils down to the concept that great value is not necessarily historic value; that to be an asset to your team does not imply that one is among the all-time greats.

Yes, Concepcion and Campaneris were worlds better than most MLB shortstops between Banks/Wills late '50s-early '60s and the Yount/Trammell/Ripken early-'80s. As such, they had a lot of value to their team. But this is reflected in WAR. The replacement value of a SS in the '70s was, well, garbage. They were better than garbage. They helped their teams win. But not enough for Cooperstown.

Morris, also -- due to the myriad nonsensical articles clamoring for his induction, he's probably underrated by a lot of us. So overrated he's underrated, you know? There's a tremendous amout of value in being an average to a bit above-average pitcher who can throw over 250 innings every year. Especially when your lineup includes names like Trammell, Whitaker, Gibson, Parrish, Evans, Lemon, etc. That lineup, plus Willie Hernandez and Senor Smoke in the 'pen, plus a guy who's going to go the distance (or damn near) every 5 days; yeah, that's a recipe for success. I'd have Jack Morris on my team in a heartbeat. Not as my ace, mind you... ;)
   59. AROM Posted: July 26, 2011 at 03:31 PM (#3885705)
Despite the statistical differences between them, Blyleven and Morris are actually a lot closer together than you might think, in terms of what they did in the context of their teams and their run support; they are a lot closer to each other than either is to the inner-circle guys of their era.


To some extent, Morris makes upa lot of ground on Blyleven here, but he just had too far to go when the runs allowed based WAR starts them at 50 wins apart.

What I did, in case anyone wants to check my numbers or run other pitchers through this system, is this:

1. Using his ERA and ERA+ from BB-ref, figure his average league ERA
2. Convert this to RA by ERA/0.92. This is average runs allowed in this pitcher's leagues
3. Multiply RA by 1.25 - this is replacement level.
4. Look up Run support per 9 innings (RS), also on BB-ref by clicking on the more pitching stats link.
5. Figure pythagorean wins and losses in pitcher's actual decisions, using RS9 and RA, and also for replacement level pitching.

The results: An average pitcher in Bert's leagues getting his 4.2 runs per 9 would have gone 266-271. Bert is +21. A replacement pitcher would have gone 207-330, so Bert is +80. This is 10 wins less than his runs allowed based WAR, but +80 wins is still +80 wins - this is an elite level and should have put him in on the first ballot.

Morris comes out to +13 and +62 - 23 wins better than his 39 WAR, but this does not include defensive support. I have the Tigers during the prime years of Whitaker/Trammell as a great defensive team. Without the defensive adjustment Morris would have had 47 WAR. Still, an extra 15 from optimal use of his run support is pretty good.

Now, compare to a few others. Steve Carlton is +23/+87, so Bert is a lot closer to this inner circle guy than he is to Morris. Seaver is +64,+120, so he's on another level.

A few more pitchers: Cone +29/+65, Saberhagen +30/+61, Hershiser +20/+60, K Brown +73/+34

Which gets us back to this, if you reject those 4 pitchers as Cooperstown voters have, then you should reject Morris as well.
   60. AROM Posted: July 26, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3885708)
Two more: Nolan Ryan +22/+90

Tommy John +23/+81
   61. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 26, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3885714)
The problem with Mike's presentation is that, while he agrees that Blyleven is better than Morris, he nevertheless suggests that Blyleven and Morris are close based on blown leads. Which is really not the case.

And I'd still like to know whether quality of defense and size of lead is being considered. If your defense is better, you're blowing fewer leads, and if your offense is better, you're getting bigger leads and making them bigger (and thus harder to blow) more often.
   62. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: July 26, 2011 at 05:13 PM (#3885761)
The argument for Morris is quite convincing, and it should convince upward of 60% of the Hall of Fame voters next year. As things stand now, it's convinced a majority.


Funny how it doesn't seem to convince anybody other than you, though, at least around here.
   63. AROM Posted: July 26, 2011 at 06:03 PM (#3885789)
Hmm...went an almost perfect 20-1 when given at least 3 runs of support. That means he was...1-5 when getting less than 3 runs. That's really difficult to defend as "pitching to the situation".


Actually, that is a perfect description of pitching to the situation. That's a better record when given some runs to work with than Felix Hernandez (11-2) and Jered Weaver (12-2) had last year.

Not that it's enough to move him past other pitchers who the writers did not support, but give credit where it's due. Morris got 5.8 runs per 9 in support that year, and allowed 4.27. You'd expect a pitcher with that run profile to go 17-10. That Morris won 4 more games than that is to his credit. He sure had an ugly postseason that year though.
   64. Srul Itza Posted: July 26, 2011 at 06:42 PM (#3885821)
Funny how it doesn't seem to convince anybody other than you, though, at least around here.


The arguments in favor of Jim Rice didn't convince anyone around here, either. He still got his plaque.
   65. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: July 26, 2011 at 06:51 PM (#3885825)
Hmm...went an almost perfect 20-1 when given at least 3 runs of support. That means he was...1-5 when getting less than 3 runs. That's really difficult to defend as "pitching to the situation".



Actually, that is a perfect description of pitching to the situation. That's a better record when given some runs to work with than Felix Hernandez (11-2) and Jered Weaver (12-2) had last year.


Well, not all 3+ runs/game profiles are equal. Morris had 2 games of 3 runs, 9 of 4 runs, 1 of 5, and 15 of 6+. I know that's more than 21. I have the ND's in there as well. He got ND with run support of 7, 8, 6, 4, 4, and 7. 0-0 in those games, the team went 4-2.

June 28. Got a 3 run lead in the first. Gave up 4 in the bottom of the first, and 1 in the second. And yet he almost got the win, but the pen blew it.

April 16. Was given leads of 2-0, 4-1, and 5-3. he then allowed 3 more runs, but the offense bailed him out in the bottom of the 9th.

May 7. Gave up 6 runs by the 3rd, eventually leaving the game down 7-1. Offense then scored 7 runs to take him off the hook again.
   66. GuyM Posted: July 26, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#3885827)
AROM: I don't think timing of performance closes the gap by 25 wins. When I repeat your method*, I get Bert underperforming his pythag by 7 wins and Morris overperforming by 7. I wonder if you accounted for the fact that the starter only accounts for 7+ innings in each game? If you fill in the rest with average RA from the pen, the expected wins for both declines a bit. And of course you are giving 100% of the credit/debit for this timing to the pitchers. If we're going to suspend disbelief and assume this timing is under the control of players to some extent, it seems to me the obvious solution is to assume that pitchers and hitters each have 50% of the responsibility for matching their performance to the others. Why should Bert's crystal ball be any less cloudy than his teammates' when it comes to predicting today's final score? So now we're down to adjusting these guys by +/-4 wins over their whole career -- hardly worth the trouble unless we're really sure this was a skill (which we're not).

On top of that, I'm not sure why we want to ignore games in which the pitchers received no decision. If we assume that each pitcher's teams went .500 in those games (does anyone know?), then each starter was delivering about .07 wins over replacement in these games. That's another 4-5 net wins for Bert (who had 148 of these games, vs. 87 for Morris).

* To clarify, I assumed each pitcher received and gave up his career average RS/RA over the games in which he got a decision. If you actually calculated his RA and RS for those specific games, that might explain a difference.
   67. AROM Posted: July 26, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3885865)
Guy,

I tried to exactly detail my method, but I'll walk through an example. One change I made after posting is use 1.20 instead of 1.25 for replacement level - that's what I use on Baseballprojection so I'll stick with that. I'm definitely not looking game level calculations, this is a quick and dirty number crunch I can do by quickly looking at a player's BB-ref page and plug a few numbers into a spreadsheet. Blyleven:

ERA of 3.31, ERA+ of 118 - so league ERA is 3.90. Run average is ERA/0.92, or 4.24. Replacement level is 1.2 times that, or 5.09.

Bert got 4.2 runs per 9 innings of support. Calculate a pythag winning percentage of an average and then replacement level pitcher getting that run support. I get .495 for average, .405 for replacement. Bert had 537 decisions, so .495*537 = 266 wins. He's +21 vs average. .405*537 = 218, so he's +69 vs replacement. 21 wins less than WAR.

Doing the same for Morris, using his 3.90 ERA, 105 ERA+, and 4.9 RP9 support. Average is 241 wins, replacement is 201, so Morris is +13/+53.

Alternatively, I can use each pitcher's actual runs allowed, actual run support, and apply a pythag w% to their decisions. Blyleven allowed 3.67, Morris 4.27. That implies a record of 304-233 for Bert (-17) and 250-190 for Jack (+4).

If you're repeating my method you should get the exact same numbers. If you aren't, I'd be interested in seeing what method you are using.
   68. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 26, 2011 at 09:02 PM (#3885886)
He cites the 1983 stretch run as one of Jack's feathers in his cap, but ignores his last 4 starts where he went 1-3 with an ERA of 5 because the Tigers were nearly out of the race by then (the Tigers were 6 out with 15 to play including 6 with the team they were chasing). And yet, in another season, 6 or so out with 15 or so to play is considered still in the race because Jack pitched well in the final games of that season, and he needs the data to support his "case".

Your first sentence is a misrepresentation in every particular. The first start I counted as a non-pennant race start in 1983 was September 21, 1983. The Tigers weren't 6 out with 15 to play; they were 6.5 out with 12 to play. It wasn't his fourth-to-last start, it was his third-to-last start. In his fourth-to-last, he gave up 3 runs in 8 innings at Fenway on three days rest, and lost 3-2. The team was mathematically eliminated in his last two starts. The entirety of your bad-faith quibble reduces to whether one start is counted when the team was 6.5 out with 12 to play -- and you had to prevaricate to try to convince people. Even if you did count it, its effect on the overall result would be miniscule.

The second sentence is a bald-faced lie, in keeping with the first -- likely made so people would believe your original lies.
   69. GuyM Posted: July 26, 2011 at 09:25 PM (#3885900)
AROM: I was ignoring replacement and just doing your last calculation: compare each pitcher's actual record to his pythag projection, to see how many wins he gained/lost due to "good timing." So for Blyleven I get:

RA/9 3.67
RA/Start 3.79 (Bert pitches 7.1 innings, avg. pitcher the rest)
RS 4.2
Pythag exponent 1.80
Pythag win% .5466
Pyth Wins 294
Actual Wins 287
Timing -6.5

Your "21 wins less than WAR" is also ignoring Bert's 148 starts in which he didn't record a decision -- that counts in WAR (as it should), but not in this method.

Repeat this for Morris, and his teams allow 4.31 runs per start, score 4.9, pythag exponent of 1.87, pythag win% of .560, 247 expected wins, so he is +7 wins from timing.

Note that I'm assuming league-average pitching from both Morris' and Blyleven's relievers. To the extent one or the other got better support from the pen, that would obviously make a difference. And then there's fielding....
   70. AROM Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:21 AM (#3886061)
Thanks Guy. Filling the extra innings with average pitching makes a difference. I'll post later after I compare the approaches.
   71. GuyM Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:30 AM (#3886151)
Thanks Guy. Filling the extra innings with average pitching makes a difference.

Makes a real difference for Bert. Doesn't change the calculation much on Morris, since he actually isn't that much above average.

This method should capture any wins related to "pitching to the score." To the extent there is any additional gap between WAR and your calculations, it has to be some difference in how the methods estimate the win value of runs, park adjustments, stuff like that.
   72. AROM Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:10 AM (#3886193)
Definitely on comparing to WAR - defense, strength of league factors, and the quality of opponents faced will make the ratings diverge.

If the question is "how many wins should you expect given this pitcher's number of decisions, runs allowed, and run support" then what I see is that you do not want to throw in a league average run figure for the innings the pitcher doesn't cover. Doing so will underestimate the win totals of the very best pitchers. To estimate their wins, all you need is runs allowed, run support, and figure your pythag for that.

I tested this on the 10 starting pitchers, post-retrosheet, with the best career ERA+. They are:
Pedro, Roger, Johan, B-Webb, Roys H & O, Unit, Ford, Maddux, and Koufax.

Using my method I get 2155 wins (99% - they actually won 2187), using yours I only get 2016 (92%). So while Blyleven looks about average, just a little unclutch, just about every other great pitcher by that method will look like clutch gods.
   73. Ron J Posted: July 27, 2011 at 05:49 AM (#3886274)
Guy, Greg only looked at Morris as a starter in his study.

On a year to year basis for the heart of his career Morris's actual W/L total is an unusually consistent match for his projected W/L.

The first column is Morris' projected record based on the runs he allowed and the run support he received. The second column is Morris' assigned won-loss record.
The third column indicates how many more wins his actual record credits him with as compared with the projection based on his run support.
The fourth column is Morris' projected record based on the runs he allowed and the league average run support.
The fifth column indicates how many more wins his actual record credits him with compared to the projection based on league average run support.
Year     Projected   Actual    Difference   Projected  Difference
1979      16
-8        17-7      +1           16-8       +1
1980      16
-15       16-15     0            16-15      0
1981      16
-5        14-7      -2           13-8       +1
1982      15
-18       17-16     +2           17-16      0
1983      21
-12       20-13     -1           20-13      0
1984      18
-12       19-11     +1           16-14      +3
1985      17
-10       16-11     -1           17-10      -1
1986      20
-9        21-8      +1           18-11      +3
1987      19
-10       18-11     -1           18-11      0
1988      14
-14       15-13     +1           14-14      +1
1989      6
-14        6-14      0            8-12       -2
1990      15
-18       15-18     0            14-19      +1
1991      19
-11       18-12     -1           17-13      +1
1992      18
-9        21-6      +3           14-13      +7
1993      6
-13        7-12      +1           6-13       +1
Total     236
-178     240-174   +4           224-190    +16 


1992 is as you and AROM have noted is the interesting year. He pitched well enough that you'd expect a 14-13 record (actually Michael Wolverton had him at 13-13 in the Support Neutral W/L report) with league average run support. The Jays gave him enough run support that you'd expect 18-9.

Some of the excellent record was Henke and Ward. Morris didn't have the bullpen blow a single lead for him all year (only 22 his entire career) and only 5 of 21 runners he turned over to the bullpen scored.

The team also bailed him out a career high 4 times. That is to say he was on the hook for 4 losses at the time he left and was bailed out. That's not merely pitching to score, it was pitching to eventual score.

As you might expect, despite a shorter career Dave Stieb had more games where the bullpen failed to hold a lead for him --23. And despite my saying that Blyleven had good bullpen support for his career, he actually had 43 games where the bullpen failed to preserve the lead for him.
   74. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 06:03 AM (#3886290)
The team also bailed him out a career high 4 times. That is to say he was on the hook for 4 losses at the time he left and was bailed out. That's not merely pitching to score, it was pitching to eventual score.


Easily explained. Morris is psychic.
   75. Something Other Posted: July 27, 2011 at 08:55 AM (#3886305)

Some of the excellent record was Henke and Ward. Morris didn't have the bullpen blow a single lead for him all year (only 22 his entire career) and only 5 of 21 runners he turned over to the bullpen scored.

The team also bailed him out a career high 4 times. That is to say he was on the hook for 4 losses at the time he left and was bailed out. That's not merely pitching to score, it was pitching to eventual score.
Any idea how those scenarios play out for other pitchers?
   76. GuyM Posted: July 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM (#3886310)
If the question is "how many wins should you expect given this pitcher's number of decisions, runs allowed, and run support" then what I see is that you do not want to throw in a league average run figure for the innings the pitcher doesn't cover. Doing so will underestimate the win totals of the very best pitchers.

I'm sure the relievers behind your pitchers are better than average. I was just doing a rough fix for the mistaken assumption the starters pitched 9 innings. Ideally, you would use the actual performance of their relievers. Without that information, I think you'd have to base the estimate on W:L ratio, since reliever performance in victories will tend to be much, much better than in defeats. Given that (and the increased use of short relievers in last two decades), Blyleven almost certainly had worse bullpen support than the other pitchers you are looking at.

And let's look at the big picture. In his 2006 THT Annual article on Blyleven, Bill James reports that in all of Blyleven's starts, given total RS and RA (both BB and relievers), his teams should have won 371 games. They actually won 364. So that would mean poor timing cost 7 wins. Using the same method, I would be surprised if Morris overperformed by much more than 7 games -- probably less.

Guy, Greg only looked at Morris as a starter in his study.

Ron, who is "Greg" and where is his study? In any case, I think trying to study decisions only is a flawed approach. You need to look at all starts, using team wins and losses, and factor in the performance of relievers (as well as RS). If someone does that, I'm confident that Morris is not close to +16 wins due to timing alone.
   77. Ron J Posted: July 27, 2011 at 10:45 AM (#3886311)
#75 Nope. Just something I started to look at. No idea if Morris' total is exceptionally low. On a very quick look Blyleven's seems high for his day and Morris' is the lowest I've found so far in any career of substantial length.
   78. Ron J Posted: July 27, 2011 at 10:58 AM (#3886312)
Greg is Greg Spira (I mentioned him earlier in the thread) -- and the study doesn't seem to have a home now that Keith Woolner closed down his site. It was published in one of the early Prospectus', but does not seem to be in their archives.

An early version of the study can be found on RSB

As I mentioned, Blyleven also has fewer decisions that expected (a decent rule of thumb that holds up pretty well is 1 decision per 9 IP). This would seem to be partially due to the unexpectly high number of leads Blyleven's relievers coughed up.
   79. Greg K Posted: July 27, 2011 at 11:17 AM (#3886315)
(here is a hilarious Maris link.)


I like how one of his arguments is "Bill Mazeroski only has 2 more RBI than Roger Maris!"
   80. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 11:24 AM (#3886316)
whoisalhedges--Yes, it is reflected in their WAR, which is dependent on how you calculate replacement level. If you use AROM's system, which is based on studying the fielding of position-switchers, they are short of the Cooperstown. If you use my system (www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/hall_of_merit/discussion/dan_rosenhecks_warp_data and www.tangotiger.net/rosenheck), which looks at the overall production of actual replacement players at each position, they are both deserving of enshrinement.
   81. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:34 PM (#3886372)
Any idea how those scenarios play out for other pitchers?


I remember looking at Zack Greinke in his CYA year, he was never bailed out by his team. Every time he left the game behind, he took the loss. Conversely, he left the game leading or tied about 6-7 times and didn't get a win.
   82. GuyM Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:08 PM (#3886385)
AROM: According to James' best estimate, Blyleven's relievers allowed 3.92 R9. If I plug that in, rather than league average, then BB's projected wins increase to 298, making him -11 in "timing wins." However, if we assume Morris got equivalent bullpen support relative to league average (and I'd guess he had better than that), then Morris's timing wins shrink to +4. So you still have a 15-game net difference between the two, not the 25 you estimated.

And note that this approach still excludes all the no-decisions, and BB's bullpen blew his leads more often than it saved him from losses. A lot of those games must have been examples of exquisite "timing" in which BB gave his team a narrow lead.
   83. Chris Fluit Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3886424)
Dave Concepcion is a classic borderline case for the Hall of Fame. You can make an argument for him based on era (arguably the best shortstop of the '70s; arguably the best between Banks and the Smith) and defense but I think that ultimately he falls just short.

However, this article is putrid. I'm sure that Bobby Murcer and Roy White are happy to know that hundreds of Yankees get into the Hall of Fame (nevermind players like Nettles and Randolph that have been honored by the Hall of Merit).

And I'm sure that the institution that just honored Bert Blyleven (Cleveland, Minnesota, Pittsburgh) and Roberto Alomar (San Diego, Toronto, Baltimore, Cleveland, and okay the Mets) has a big-city basis. I'm sure we'll see the big-city bias and the writers-hate-the-Reds articles again next year when Barry Larkin is elected.

Its not always a conspiracy. Sometimes its simply an honest disagreement about what constitutes greatness.
   84. whoisalhedges Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3886506)
whoisalhedges--Yes, it is reflected in their WAR, which is dependent on how you calculate replacement level. If you use AROM's system, which is based on studying the fielding of position-switchers, they are short of the Cooperstown. If you use my system (www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/hall_of_merit/discussion/dan_rosenhecks_warp_data and www.tangotiger.net/rosenheck), which looks at the overall production of actual replacement players at each position, they are both deserving of enshrinement.

Thanks for the clarification. I'm not sure I buy (and I'm not insisting I'm right) the idea that the great poverty of SS in their era really deserves as much credit as you give it -- who's to say Bobby Grich couldn't have been a better shortstop? Sure, he was probably more valuable as a great 2B; but would his defense at short, had he been given enough opportunity at the position, been good enough to make him just *that* much better than Davey and Bert, and *THAT* much better than everyone else? Rico Petrocelli only has the one great year (and moved to 3B in '71); but without going through the numbers with the finest-toothed comb myself, I think there's an argument that he, not Campy or Concepcion, may have been the best all-round SS between Banks and Ripken/Yount.

I'm just not convinced that the "best shortstops" of the era weren't playing other positions; and that artificially pushed down replacement level. I don't think there was a single MLB team in 1970 that would have started Derek Jeter over Hal Lanier at short. Don't get me wrong, Jeter would be in the lineup; but at third, at second, at center -- Campy and Davey were elite fielders like Lanier, Maxvill, Belanger; but unlike them, were decent batters. That's it, though: decent. Neither was a good hitter by any measurement other than against the pitchers with good range the other teams threw out there.

I do believe that there are just certain periods when there's not a lot of great players at a position. If 29 of the MLB first basemen in a given era are Todd Benzinger and one is Hal Morris, I don't believe that makes Hal Morris a Hall of Famer; no matter how putrid Benzinger performs.
   85. Ron J Posted: July 27, 2011 at 04:50 PM (#3886575)
Oh yeah Guy, I think you mis-read the chard. That +16 is projected W/L given league average support. Morris was +4 over the actual run support. All in the 1992-93 period.
   86. AROM Posted: July 27, 2011 at 05:18 PM (#3886626)
Rico Petrocelli only has the one great year (and moved to 3B in '71); but without going through the numbers with the finest-toothed comb myself, I think there's an argument that he, not Campy or Concepcion, may have been the best all-round SS between Banks and Ripken/Yount.


Jim Fregosi is the man you want. Toby Harrah is one of the few exceptions, a poor fielder but a good hitter at short. They moved him to third eventually, but he spent a few years at short.

Looking at Harrah's defensive numbers, if they are anywhere close to the truth he should have stayed at short. His TZ puts him -5 runs per year, his range factor of 5.02 is .06 higher than the league average during his time.

Then again, the 1977 Texas Rangers improved in DER from .699 to .710, and from 76 wins to 94 when they brought in Bert Campaneris and moved Harrah to third. Can't argue with those results.
   87. AROM Posted: July 27, 2011 at 05:25 PM (#3886641)
The 77 Rangers' improvement in actual runs was all offensive, they allowed as many runs each year as the other. Relative to the league this changes a bit, as offense was up overall in 1977. Plus it was an expansion year, so you'd expect improvement for any holdover team.

At this point I'm rambling. I have no conclusion, just found looking at the team pages of the mid 70's Rangers a bit more interesting than I would have guessed for a team that didn't win anything. They had 2 HOF pitchers on the staff - Gaylord Perry and Bert Blyleven, plus a few good pitchers like Doyle Alexander and Doc Ellis.
   88. GuyM Posted: July 27, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#3886783)
Oh yeah Guy, I think you mis-read the chard. That +16 is projected W/L given league average support. Morris was +4 over the actual run support.

Ah,OK. So it seems pretty clear that Morris' record was just about what you'd expect, given his RA and run support -- no indication of "clutch" pitching for Morris. I suppose one can make the case that Blyleven had poor timing to the tune of roughly -7 wins, although this is almost certainly chance, but even then I can't see any serious argument for giving him more than 50% of the responsibility for that.
   89. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 09:44 PM (#3886983)
I do believe that there are just certain periods when there's not a lot of great players at a position. If 29 of the MLB first basemen in a given era are Todd Benzinger and one is Hal Morris, I don't believe that makes Hal Morris a Hall of Famer; no matter how putrid Benzinger performs.


I will always have a soft spot for Benzinger, who once hit a huge home run for the Red Sox circa 1988, to win a game. My brother used to emulate his blow-legged stance at the plate (until he found out it didn't work).

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