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Sunday, January 05, 2014

Bill Gilbert: Rating the 2014 Hall candidates by Win Shares

The Win Shares system favors players with long productive careers like Raines, Palmeiro and Biggio, although it appears to under-rate pitchers, while OPS+ rewards strong offensive players who had shorter, more dominant careers like Martinez and Mattingly. ERA+ favors relief pitchers since their ERAs are generally lower because they are not charged with runs scored by inherited runners.


1. Maddux, Thomas and Biggio will be elected in 2014.

2. Morris will fail to win election on his final year on the BBWAA ballot.

3. Bagwell, Piazza and Raines will continue to move up but will fall short of 75%.In the past, I haven’t paid much attention to whether or not a player is elected in the first year he is eligible. However, it may be a bigger issue this year. Bonds and Clemens obviously have the credentials to be elected in their first year and will eventually be elected but their involvement with steroids will prevent their election this year.

4. While the 2014 class is very strong at the top, it is weak at the bottom. As many as 12 newcomers may not receive even one vote. Five or six newcomers should receive enough votes to remain on the ballot.

5. The incoming class in 2015 is also very strong – Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez and Gary Sheffield. This will continue to make it difficult for holdovers to get elected.

6. There will not be a groundswell of support for Jacque Jones, Paul LoDuca, Richie Sexson, Hideo Nomo and Mike Timlin among others.

Thanks to Ruff.

Repoz Posted: January 05, 2014 at 08:40 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Matt Welch Posted: January 05, 2014 at 09:23 AM (#4630407)
There is no single "Win Shares system" for judging the HoF, just like there's not "WAR system" -- it's what you do with either. He is using lifetime compilation, which is certainly not the only way.
   2. The District Attorney Posted: January 05, 2014 at 09:41 AM (#4630411)
Also, James is revamping the system to consider Loss Shares as well as Win Shares.

Also, it's very odd to conflate Win Shares analysis of who should be elected with a prediction of who will be elected. How would the author explain the fact that Morris is pulling 60%+ to begin with?

Overall, this is just weird.

If you want to use a flawed and outdated Bill James system to predict who will be elected to the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame Monitor is right there! Here are the scores, handily available on one page through the magic of B-R:

Bonds 340, Clemens 332, Maddux 254, Piazza 207, S. Sosa 202, Thomas 194, Palmeiro 178, Glavine 176, Schilling 171, McGwire 170, Biggio 169, Bagwell 150, L. Walker 148, L. Smith 135, Mattingly 134, E. Martinez 132, J. Morris 122, Kent 122, Mussina 121, Trammell 118, L. Gonzalez 103, McGriff 100, ("likely Hall of Famer" line here) Raines 90, M. Alou 80, T. Jones 78, A. Benitez 73, K. Rogers 66, Durham 64, Timlin 49, Sexson 46, E. Gagne 46, Casey 38, Nomo 24, Lo Duca 21, Snow 16, J. Jones 6

Like I said, flawed and outdated...
   3. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4630417)
it appears to under-rate pitchers

It systematically underrates starting pitchers to boost relievers. It's designed that way.
   4. BDC Posted: January 05, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4630439)
Like I said, flawed and outdated

Bill needs to incorporate a Steroid Suspicion Index :)
   5. bjhanke Posted: January 05, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4630852)
DL - Good comment. One of the things that has puzzled me the most about sabermetricians is how few of them know this. Bill's system starts out by assigning a percentage of games won to "pitching." He concluded, by a series of tests, that an IP by a reliever has 1.7 times the value of an inning by a starter (because relievers pitch higher leverage innings). Well, that ".7" is what causes the trouble. That .7 is extra Win Shares going to relievers. But where did that .7 come from? Using Win Shares' top-down analytical method, it MUST come from the starters. There's no other source. So, if you want to argue about Bill's rankings of pitchers, you have to keep in mind that you are arguing with his whole Win Shares top-down approach. If you can't break that approach, then Bill is right. Other systems, where the sum of all pitcher WAR or whatever is not tied to anything solid, like team wins, don't have the problem. They can add leverage to reliever IP ranks and not worry about such consequences as having those WAR add up to something solid. Since I think that Win Shares' approach is correct, I agree with Bill's rankings. - Brock Hanke
   6. Walt Davis Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:56 AM (#4631131)
No, you can still argue about how the pitcher WAR are allocated even if you're capping total pitcher WAR. A leverage index of 1.7 sounds completely nuts. I don't know how James vs. b-r do it but even Mo's career gmLI is only 1.8 and a 1.7 aLI (no idea) would put you in the top 25 all-time. Your slightly older school relievers like Gossage, Quiz, Fingers, Wilhelm were around 1.5-1.6. But of course those are your firemen, the typical reliever won't have a LI anywhere close to that and the average reliever LI must be about 1.0 because they pitch a ton of low-leverage innings too.
   7. bjhanke Posted: January 06, 2014 at 03:57 AM (#4631143)
Walt - I must have written a lousy comment in #5. I say this because I agree with what you wrote in #6, and you seem to be trying to DISagree with me. If you're capping pitcher WAR, you have to worry about WAR allocation. It's only if you're not capping pitcher WAR that you can get off-track with leverage. But there are WAR systems that do not cap WAR - I think the majority of them. I don't know the guts of any of the WAR systems well enough to know that for sure.

As to the 70%, I remembered that; didn't have to look it up. It was something that, when I ran across it, struck me as important to know. So now, to look up the original 70% comment, I had to leaf through both Win Shares and The New Historical. I expected to find the reference in Bill's Save-Equivalent innings section on page 35-37 of Win Shares. But, although Bill does say there that he is convinced that reliever leverage had to be more than 1.00, but less than 2.00, he doesn't give an actual hard percentage (unless you're able to make more out of Bill's math in that regard than I could, which is always VERY possible when it comes to math and Walt Davis). Percentages aren't mentioned there. I finally found what may have been where I got the 70% figure. It's in the New Historical, on page 917. Bill is calling out Rollie Fingers' MVP in 1981. He lists a group of similar seasons, and then focuses on Bob Veale's 1963 season. The exact quote is:

"Veale, for pitching 78 innings and allowing 9 earned runs, was credited with 10 Win Shares. Fingers, for doing the same, was credited with 17 Win Shares. That is a reasonable recognition of the importance of Fingers' role on the team."

Actually, Veale was not a rotation starter. He was a sophomore trying to gain control of the strike zone. He started 7 games, three of them complete, but pitched in 34 games. I'd guess that he was, by IP, about 2/3 a starter and 1/3 a reliever. In any case, that Rollie got 17 WS as a full-time closer, while Veale, mostly a starter that year, got only ten is a very possible source for the 70%. Pending running across the 70% elsewhere, that was probably what I was channeling.

I also completely agree with your statement that the leverage of reliever should be directly related to how late the IP were that he pitched. A full-time 1-inning closer has the most leverage. A middle reliever won't be pitching the 9th exclusively, and therefore should have a lesser leverage adjustment.

In short, I think we are actually in agreement. However, if you don't think so, please post up your reasoning The application of leverage is a subject that I would like to know a lot more about. And, as I hope you know, I have a LOT of respect for your opinion. - Brock

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