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Friday, January 13, 2012

BPP: Darowski: The Small Hall (of wWAR)

Erardiabolical!

Joe recently wrote a post called To the BBWAA: Focus on the Great, Not the Very Good. In the post, Joe explains his “small Hall” stance. It’s not a stance I agree with, but I’ve been intrigued by the idea of a “small Hall” since coming up with my system to rank Hall of Famers (via Weighted WAR and the Hall of wWAR). To get a “small Hall” by wWAR, you just have to pick a higher cutoff than I use for my Hall.

So, let’s see what a Small Hall of wWAR would look like.

Center Field

  Ty Cobb (305.5)
  Willie Mays (298.8)
  Tris Speaker (247.9)
  Mickey Mantle (228.4)
  Joe DiMaggio (145.7)
  Billy Hamilton (118.6)
  Duke Snider (115.0)

There are not very many center fielders in the Hall of wWAR. But gosh is the position top-heavy. Look at that. Four guys above 200 (225, even). And that doesn’t even include Joltin’ Joe and the Duke. Who’s next? There’s a huge 20 wWAR drop-off before we get to Jimmy Wynn (95.1). Then there’s Richie Ashburn (84.8) and 19th century stars George Gore (82.9) and Paul Hines (78.3). Exiting the Hall would be Ashburn, Hugh Duffy, Larry Doby (again, just because this is purely statistical), Earle Combs, Kirby Puckett, Edd Roush, Earl Averill, Hack Wilson, and Lloyd Waner.

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2012 at 12:59 PM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, sabermetrics

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   1. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 13, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4036236)
Where's Ken Griffey Jr.?
   2. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 13, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4036247)
Where's Ken Griffey Jr.?


from TFA:

Which active or retired-but-not-yet-eligible players reach the 105 wWAR threshold?

Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez (134.8), Mike Piazza (129.7)
First Base: Albert Pujols (174.2, already)
Second Base: none
Third Base: Chipper Jones (122.0)
Shortstop: Alex Rodriguez (189.2)
Left Field: Barry Bonds (341.2)
Center Field: Ken Griffey (133.0), Jim Edmonds (108.6)
Right Field: none
Designated Hitter: Frank Thomas (115.4)
Starting Pitcher: Roger Clemens (221.8), Greg Maddux (155.4), Randy Johnson (154.5), Pedro Martinez (124.6), Mike Mussina (109.5)
Relief Pitcher: Mariano Rivera (154.2)
   3. Chris Fluit Posted: January 13, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4036260)
Interesting article. It confirms my impression that there's an opportunity for good work to be done yet by the upcoming Veterans Committee. They'll be looking at the pre-integration era (1871-1946) for the 2013 induction. They could elect Ross Barnes, Bob Caruthers, Bill Dahlen and Deacon White from the wWAR Small Hall.
   4. BDC Posted: January 13, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4036261)
There's nothing wrong with discussing the greatest of the great ballplayers, though the controversy is always more interesting at the margins of a discussion; whether Cobb was greater than Mays is more ethereal a question, since they were both clearly enormously better than their contemporaries.

So the intriguing inclusions here are players like Don Drysdale. He is an HOF/HOM pitcher, but not one who leaps to mind in a greatest-of-the-great discussion.
   5. Hecubot Posted: January 13, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4036265)
I like this small hall, with a 100 wWAR cutoff.

Especially for DH and reliever where the standards have been evolving, I feel pretty comfortable with DH's in the hall being Molitor, Edgar and Frank Thomas (though obviously Molitor and Thomas both played a significant chunk in the field).

And I'm comfortable with Gossage and Mo as the relievers.

Now that Bert and Santo are in, I'd like Bill Dahlen to get some advocates.
   6. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 13, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4036270)
So the intriguing inclusions here are players like Don Drysdale. He is an HOF/HOM pitcher, but not one who leaps to mind in a greatest-of-the-great discussion.


well, as the author states in TFA:

Can you have any kind of Hall that doesn’t include Koufax? The peak was strong, but this type of small Hall is reserved for dominance and longevity. Sorry, Sandy.


with emphasis on longevity
   7. BDC Posted: January 13, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4036284)
with emphasis on longevity

OK, but Drysdale is 79th in career Innings Pitched; he wasn't exactly Phil Niekro.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 13, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4036309)
Which active or retired-but-not-yet-eligible players reach the 105 wWAR threshold?


If you're going to have a Hall of Fame based on strict statistical criteria, there's no reason to have a five-year waiting period.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4036318)
To the BBWAA: Focus on the Great, Not the Very Good.

Exiting the Hall would be Ashburn, Hugh Duffy, Larry Doby (again, just because this is purely statistical), Earle Combs, Kirby Puckett, Edd Roush, Earl Averill, Hack Wilson, and Lloyd Waner.

Puckett is the only one of those voted in by the BBWAA. They make weird choices from time to time -- especially lately -- but the writers have always been small Hall, especially when it comes to CF.

The other spots (BBWAA selections bolded; I might miss a couple):

C -- Hall of Fame catchers who would be bumped include Ewing, Gabby Hartnett, (sadly) Campanella, Roger Bresnahan, Ernie Lombardi, Ray Schalk, and Rick Ferrell.

Only 6 Cs make the cut and see my Posada discussions for the shift in C WAR standards after integration (more to do with increases in durability than racism, just a convenient cut point).

1B -- This call bumps McCovey, Greenberg, Eddie Murray, George Sisler, Bill Terry, Harmon Killebrew, Jake Beckley, Frank Chance, Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda, Jim Bottomley, and George Kelly from the Hall. heaps of BBWAA selections in there

2B -- Alomar, Sandberg, Joe Gordon, Bid McPhee, Billy Herman, Johnny Evers, Tony Lazzeri, Bobby Doerr, Nellie Fox, Red Schoendienst, and Bill Mazeroski are bumped.

Note only 8 2B make the cut so Alomar and Sandberg are clustered with Grich and Whitaker to battle it out for the last two spots in the all-time top 10.

3B -- Exiting the Hall in this case would be Robinson, Jimmy Collins, Pie Traynor, George Kell, and Freddie Lindstrom.

7 3B make it, Robinson is the 8th and he has over 100 wWAR.

SS -- Shortstops exiting the Hall will be Appling, Larkin, Pee Wee Reese, Bobby Wallace, John Montgomery Ward, Joe Cronin, Hughie Jennings, Lou Boudreau, and Ozzie Smith.

And he somehow misses Aparicio and Maranville (they aren't in this small HoF). Here's some of the biggest differences. But again only 6 SS make it (and one of them is the "SS" Yount), mostly pre-war. The writers added #7 and #8 by this measure and Ozzie (and Aparicio and Maranville) as the "greatest" defensive SSs to that time. The odd picks then are Cronin and Boudreau, probably both helped by their managerial time (both were player-managers).

LF -- O’Rourke, Burkett, Simmons, and Goslin would depart the Hall of Fame along with Ducky Medwick, Willie Stargell, Billy Williams, Zack Wheat, Ralph Kiner, Heinie Manush, Jim Rice, Lou Brock, and Chick Hafey. again heaps

Kiner in as a peak candidate (and they put him through his paces).

RF -- Leaving the Hall would be Kelly, Gwynn, and Keeler, along with Elmer Flick, Dave Winfield, Andre Dawson, Enos Slaughter, Kiki Cuyler, Sam Thompson, Harry Hooper, Sam Rice, Chuck Klein, Ross Youngs, and Tommy (Freakin’) McCarthy.

The writers have been much stingier with "RF" than with 1B and LF. 10 RF make it by this standard and the BBWAA added 2 of the next 4 (Walker, Gwynn, Keeler, Kelly) and they never got to vote for Kelly and have only just started screwing Walker. Dawson is in more as a CF in the voters' eyes (I think) and Winfield is in with 3,000 hits.

There has perhaps been a slippage in standards -- Puckett, Dawson, Rice -- but nobody who is a small hall advocate has any major beef with the BBWAA. Other than 1B and LF, they have basically put in the top 10* at each position and that's about it. Milestones help (Winfield, Brock) and historically they have valued defense at SS.

*Actually fewer than that given a number of the top 10 are pre-1900 guys they generally didn't get to vote on.

Various problems with wWAR and perhaps WAR come up here. C is dominated by modern players taking the top 4 spots and 7 of the top 10. 1B is dominated by older players with Bagwell the only "true" modern 1B to make the cut -- Banks and Carew are also listed but their values was primarily accumulated at SS and 2B. Johnny Mize is the 2nd youngest 1B on the list.

2B is also dominated by older players with Morgan and Robinson being the only post-integration 2B to make the cut. 3B is all modern guys. These differences are at least somewhat legit but highlight the limited value of defense in wWAR at least -- 2B used to be the more offensive position but that shifted in the live ball era.

SS is also dominated by pre-integration guys with Ripken and Yount (not really a SS) being the only moderns to make it (although there's Banks and AROD on the way).

The OF spots are a better mix of old and "new" although that Griffey may be the only CF to debut in 60 years worthy of the HoF seems odd.

I'm not generally a fan of time-lining but the idea that pre-integration SS were a better mix of offense and defense than post-integration (and especially the last 20 years) seems silly to me. Same with CF.

But then I recall thinking that wWAR was a bad idea when this guy introduced it so I'll stick with that.
   10. DL from MN Posted: January 13, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4036320)
Here's the results of the last time Bill Dahlen was eligible

Pre-1943 Players Ballot (9 of 12 votes needed for election): Joe Gordon (10 votes, 83.3%), Allie Reynolds (8, 66.7%), Wes Ferrell (6, 50%), Mickey Vernon (5, 41.7%), Deacon White (5, 41.7%), Bucky Walters (4, 33.3%), Sherry Magee (3, 25%), Bill Dahlen, Carl Mays and Vern Stephens: Each less than 3 votes.

Joe Gordon is a decent pick but Dahlen and White are a cut above.
   11. Graham Womack Posted: January 13, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4036335)
@Walt Davis I recall thinking you were needlessly critical the first time you ripped one of my pieces so I'll stick with that.

Do you offer other solutions or are you only capable of ripping ideas?
   12. adarowski Posted: January 13, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4036351)
Hey guys, It's me (the guy who wrote TFA and the guy who whipped up wWAR (on the coat-tails of Sean Smith, that is)...

Walt, thanks for pointing out the shortstop error. I've fixed it. When pointing out flaws in wWAR, you pointed to catcher and first base. I wonder if it's maybe not a flaw of wWAR (and WAR), but maybe the actual talent at the position over time. Catchers, of course, didn't last as long before they had good equipment. So, they didn't pile up big career totals. I think that absolutely explains catchers.

As for first basemen... my Hall of wWAR includes anyone above 76.2 wWAR. So, we actually have 23 first basemen. We actually have a very good spread across eras (as seen in the visual I just linked). I think the 105+ wWAR guys just happened to mostly come earlier.
   13. Randy Jones Posted: January 13, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4036352)
@Walt Davis I recall thinking you were needlessly critical the first time you ripped one of my pieces so I'll stick with that.

Do you offer other solutions or are you only capable of ripping ideas?


So I just looked up wWAR, and Walt is right, it's a terrible idea. Not only does it make completely arbitrary weightings(in the WAM and WAE components), but even worse it uses WPA as a historical value measure. Here's a tip, WPA is not designed to look back at past events and measure value.
   14. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 13, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4036363)
In general I would say I'm a small hall guy, but this one is positively claustrophibic
   15. adarowski Posted: January 13, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4036370)
@RJ not in TO - the only place WPA makes an appearance is for post-season value.
   16. Randy Jones Posted: January 13, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4036375)
@RJ not in TO - the only place WPA makes an appearance is for post-season value.


Postseason numbers shouldn't be used directly in a value measure for the HoF(or anything else really) anyway. Unless you like giving players additional value because their teammates were good. Either way, doesn't change the fact that WPA is, as usual, being horribly misused there.
   17. adarowski Posted: January 13, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4036391)
Postseason numbers shouldn't be used directly in a value measure for the HoF


It probably shouldn't, but it is definitely a factor voters use. That's why I added it here. If voters are going to consider postseason performance, I wanted to use a measure that wouldn't simply reward players who appeared in the postseason and compiled numbers that didn't really do much. That said, the effect of the WPA on a player's wWAR is minimal (unless you are Mariano Rivera).
   18. Chris Fluit Posted: January 13, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4036430)
SS is also dominated by pre-integration guys with Ripken and Yount (not really a SS) being the only moderns to make it (although there's Banks and AROD on the way).


Banks is listed at 1B; he played more games at that position even though he accrued more value as a SS. Jeter is also on the way. He's at 104 wWAR and counting. Assuming he can get at least 1 wWAR this year, he'd clear the cut-off.
   19. Chris Fluit Posted: January 13, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4036439)
Here's the results of the last time Bill Dahlen was eligible

Pre-1943 Players Ballot (9 of 12 votes needed for election): Joe Gordon (10 votes, 83.3%), Allie Reynolds (8, 66.7%), Wes Ferrell (6, 50%), Mickey Vernon (5, 41.7%), Deacon White (5, 41.7%), Bucky Walters (4, 33.3%), Sherry Magee (3, 25%), Bill Dahlen, Carl Mays and Vern Stephens: Each less than 3 votes.

Joe Gordon is a decent pick but Dahlen and White are a cut above.


Thanks, DL.

I was glad Joe Gordon got in. And his daughter gave a great speech at his induction.

I didn't get to mention it the HoM Veterans thread because the comments were cut off but I'm relieved that Allie Reynolds didn't get in as well. I get that the "Count the Rings" crowd needs their candidate but I think his induction would have tarnished Gordon to some extent. He would have been opened up to ridicule such as "he only got in because he's a Yankee" or "because he won 5 world series" (similar arguments, I know). However, Gordon's case is his all-around play (39.9 offensive WAR and 15.0 defensive WAR) plus credit or perceived value for missing two prime years to World War II. That's what got him into the Hall of Merit, and that's why I was happy to see him make the Hall of Fame.

As for the next round, I hope Dahlen finally gets his due. He's the most deserving of the bunch.
   20. Randy Jones Posted: January 13, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4036451)
It probably shouldn't, but it is definitely a factor voters use. That's why I added it here. If voters are going to consider postseason performance, I wanted to use a measure that wouldn't simply reward players who appeared in the postseason and compiled numbers that didn't really do much. That said, the effect of the WPA on a player's wWAR is minimal (unless you are Mariano Rivera).


In that case I am confused as to the purpose of this altogether. Are you trying to predict who will be elected to the actual HoF? If so, why are you using a derivation of WAR? If that is not what you are doing, why does it matter what the voters have done in the past?
   21. Graham Womack Posted: January 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4036463)
@RJ I can answer this. Adam's idea is another alternate Hall of Fame, similar to the Hall of Merit. The w in wWAR is short for "weighted." It's similar to the Baseball-Reference or Fangraphs versions WAR but does things like adjust for season length, a good thing for 19th century players who couldn't accrue as much WAR as a result.

There are currently a sizable glut of 19th century players decades overdue for induction: Bob Caruthers, Deacon White, Pete Browning, Bill Dahlen, and Harry Stovey just to name a few. Adam's idea could help get them their due. I like it, and I'd like it even if I didn't consider Adam a friend.
   22. Randy Jones Posted: January 13, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4036472)
If that is the case, then I stand by my original statement that there is no reason to directly include postseason value unless you like rewarding players for being on good teams. The fact that the BBWAA voters do selectively use postseason numbers is irrelevant.

Edit: Also, if you'll note my post #13, I did look up wWAR and I agree with Walt, it is a terrible idea. At the very least, it is quite poorly implemented.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4036528)
Do you offer other solutions or are you only capable of ripping ideas?

I think I can safely stand on my history of providing tons of analytical content to this site -- some of it pretty ####### stupid.

And have I offered "solutions" about who should/shouldn't, will/won't be in the Hall of Fame? You're joking right?

But am I silly/arrogant enough to think that just because I know a little bit about baseball and databases that I should start my own blog? No.

Am I silly/arrogant enough to think that anything I write about the silly game of baseball is a "solution" to some perplexing problem? No.

Anyway, the article at hand started with a quotation from another article asking the BBWAA to start applying a small Hall standard. This then is the "question" this article is addressing. I am sorry if you don't see my response of "but the BBWAA is applying a small Hall standard" as a "solution" to the "problem" that the BBWAA is not applying a small Hall standard. I further apologize for trying to present evidence to support my statement.

   24. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: January 13, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4036554)
I'm not generally a fan of time-lining but the idea that pre-integration SS were a better mix of offense and defense than post-integration (and especially the last 20 years) seems silly to me.

To the Davenport Translations!

Hall of Famers, Bill Dahlen and notables from the last 20 years:

Player           WARP3  Best 5
H
Wagner        128.4   45.9
A
Rodriguez     110.1   46.0
C
Ripken        103.6   50.7
O
Smith          87.7   36.2
A
Vaughan        86.3   46.9
B
Larkin         80.5   38.5
G
Davis          74.8   31.7
A
Trammell       73.8   39.0
B
Dahlen         70.4   30.9
L
Boudreau       70.1   44.1
L
Appling        70.0   34.9
E
Banks          67.1   45.1
R
Yount          64.6   33.1
J
Cronin         63.7   37.1
D
Jeter          62.0   30.3
T
Fernandez      60.5   30.7
B
Wallace        59.6   27.7
M
Tejada         54.5   31.7
J
Sewell         52.6   31.7
J
Bell           51.8   32.0
R
Furcal         50.5   27.7
P
Reese          50.0   28.0
O
Vizquel        47.9   20.5
N
Garciaparra    47.0   35.7
H
Jennings       44.7   41.0
J
Ward           42.0   25.7
D
Bancroft       40.5   25.5
E
Renteria       38.7   23.9
L
Aparicio       38.2   23.2
J
Tinker         37.0   21.4
R
Maranville     36.9   21.3
P
Rizzuto        35.6   28.1
J
Rollins        35.3   23.8
T
Jackson        34.7   29.5
H
Ramirez        33.7   33.8 
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4036611)
ok, I probably double posted, but that was somewhat weird, posted and nothing happened.

@24, how much defensive penalty is Davenport translations giving to Jeter that he ranks behind Ozzie Smith by a pretty massive margin? I love the list mind you, but Ozzie Smith that high doesn't really pass the smell test(heck I might be wrong, hope I am, but that just seems to be an ungodly defensive value given to him--heck where would Belanger be on this list or Concepcion)
   26. Gotham Dave Posted: January 13, 2012 at 08:57 PM (#4036750)
I seriously bet that current-day 57 year old Ozzie Smith would be a better defensive shortstop than Jeter.
   27. JJ1986 Posted: January 13, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4036772)
That can't possibly be right for Ripken's best 5, can it? Seems way too high.
   28. Baldrick Posted: January 13, 2012 at 09:39 PM (#4036791)
This trend of adding w to the front of already complex stats has got to end. wOBA was bad enough. Now it's wWar. Is wwWAR next? Sigh.

I have absolutely no problem with these new stats per se. I like WAR, though think it's clearly imperfect - a starting point rather than a conclusion. And I can see the value of weighting it. I'm really just complaining about the names.
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2012 at 10:06 PM (#4036821)
I have absolutely no problem with these new stats per se. I like WAR, though think it's clearly imperfect - a starting point rather than a conclusion. And I can see the value of weighting it. I'm really just complaining about the names.


The problem I have with wWar is the writers insistence that it has some validity as a hardline on who should be in or out of the hof.
   30. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 13, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4036834)
That can't possibly be right for Ripken's best 5, can it?


You have to allow for non-consecutive, but Ripken's 1983, 1984, and 1991 were all monster seasons. Although I agree it's hard to see how he gets above A-Rod, especially with timelining (which has to help A-Rod relative to Ripken, even if only a little, right?).
   31. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: January 13, 2012 at 11:50 PM (#4036887)
how much defensive penalty is Davenport translations giving to Jeter that he ranks behind Ozzie Smith by a pretty massive margin? I love the list mind you, but Ozzie Smith that high doesn't really pass the smell test(heck I might be wrong, hope I am, but that just seems to be an ungodly defensive value given to him--heck where would Belanger be on this list or Concepcion)

Jeter -197, Smith 229, Belanger 101, Concepcion 114


Throwing out a few more:

Player          WARP3  Best 5
D
Concepcion    63.0   33.8
B
Campaneris    57.2   32.5
D
Bartell       49.2   29.1
C
Speier        48.2   28.3
M
Wills         43.0   27.9
G
Templeton     41.6   28.1
J
Logan         40.7   29.0
J
Fregosi       40.2   25.4
T
Harrah        37.2   23.3 
D
Bush          36.8   23.7
V
Stephens      36.7   23.0
A
Fletcher      35.8   22.2
D
Groat         34.3   26.9
R
Peckinpaugh   30.6   21.1
A
Dark          30.4   22.2
M
Marion        27.7   18.4
M
Belanger      25.4   19.1 



That can't possibly be right for Ripken's best 5, can it? Seems way too high.

It's based on his being 25-30 runs above average in the field in those years. So, yeah, high.


timelining (which has to help A-Rod relative to Ripken, even if only a little, right?

Very slightly. The Rod gains a little over 6% from WARP1 to WARP2, while Ripken's just under.
   32. adarowski Posted: January 14, 2012 at 01:20 AM (#4036926)
@RJ not in TO - just to reiterate the goal here. I like WAR as a starting point. That alone may differentiate this approach from what others like. But using WAR to simply rate a players' Hall of Fame cases is very flawed. My goal was to make WAR a better indicator of a Hall of Fame case. I'm not saying wWAR is the perfect measure of a player's career. I just find it to be better than WAR. Hall of Famers consider peak and postseason play. My goal was to apply these, but to do it objectively.

That's cool, it's not for everyone. I just wanted to see if a Hall of Fame populated by a single metric like this would be better than the existing Hall of Fame. I absolutely believe that it is. Would I rely on this metric ALONE to populate a Hall of Fame? I would not.

It's a bummer to hear that it's a "terrible idea" and "poorly implemented". I'm no math whiz. I'm just a dude. The fact that a site that I really respect like BBTF is even debating wWAR is pretty much exhilarating to me. I like WAR, but it wasn't cutting it for me for ranking Hall of Famers. So I wanted to modify it in a bit in a way that understood it to me to see if I got better results than the original. I think I did.

The problem I have with wWar is the writers insistence that it has some validity as a hardline on who should be in or out of the hof.


I'm not sure I've ever "insisted" that it is a hardline. I just happen to like it better than some of the "methods" used to induct players in the the Hall of Fame since 1936. I've written so much about the Hall of wWAR findings that I may be guilty of making it sound like I think this is gospel. I mean, I've written dozens and dozens of articles about it now. I'll try to make it more clear that this is simply a guideline, a tool. Thanks for your feedback and thanks to everyone for reading!
   33. GuyM Posted: January 14, 2012 at 07:35 AM (#4036955)
One reason that the great defensive infielders drop out of this "small hall" is that their defense is systematically undervalued by Total Zone, which I believe is the foundation for this metric. I'm sure great hitters would dominate even if this were corrected, but the lists might change some.

Adam, in case you aren't aware of this, the construction of Total Zone ensures that good fielding will, on average, be undervalued. This is true even for the "modern" version, though the effect isn't enormous, but is quite large in the pre-1989 version. We can see this by comparing a given player under the two versions of TZ (which Rally has calculated for some players). For example, Omar Vizquel was +126 thru 2008 in "new" TZ, but under "old" TZ -- which is all we have for seasons before 1989 -- Vizquel was just +62 for the same seasons. Comparing Cal Ripken on the two metrics (from 1989 on), he was just +54 TZ(old) but +129 TZ(new). Because Ripken played about half his SS years before 1989 and half after, he illustrates the change in the metric nicely. Through age 27, TZ(old) says Ripken was just +7 per season, while from age 28-35 TZ(new) says he was +16. That's extremely unlikely, especially since we know that TZ(old) is designed in a way guaranteed to underestimate good fielders (on average). If we just assume that TZ(old) was underestimating Ripken at the same rate from 1981-1988 as it did subsequently, then Ripken would gain 70 runs (7 wins) for his pre-1989 fielding. If you made the same adjustment for Ozzie Smith, he would gain between 20 and 35 wins. So this is not a minor issue.

   34. DL from MN Posted: January 14, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4036990)
Postseason numbers shouldn't be used directly in a value measure for the HoF


I don't believe that. The players played those games, they risked injury, they deserve credit. Especially for pitchers, those are additional innings for their seasonal workload.

I think the way to approach the postseason is using "average" as the replacement level. The teams are essentially equal. If you're performing below the average postseason player then you didn't help your team win and your contributions don't really matter in this type of discussion.

Run context is admittedly tricky but park effects are known.

I don't like WPA mainly because it ignores defensive contribution - all contribution is assigned to the pitcher or the batter.
   35. adarowski Posted: January 14, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4036995)
@GuyM: Thanks, I knew a little bit about that, but not the detail. Rally's much better at this stuff than me, so I've just been modifying his system. I'm also very curious about the effect game calling has on TZ (he talks about it here: http://www.baseballprojection.com/special/catcher_gcall.htm). I suppose once these modifications are incorporated into WAR, I'd definitely jump on them. Right now, I don't have the confidence in them to include them. Definitely keeping an eye on them.

Would this TZ change also mean that some players would have TZ numbers drastically LOWER than they do have now?
   36. GuyM Posted: January 14, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4037064)
Would this TZ change also mean that some players would have TZ numbers drastically LOWER than they do have now?

Yes, some players would have lower defensive value. Pre-1989 TZ essentially "over-regresses" fielding peformance, making great fielders look less good and poor fielders look less bad. Players near average aren't impacted much. However, this probably won't affect many of the players you really care about, i.e. those who are HOF contenders, at least at the key defensive positions. That's because it's rare for poor fielders to be allowed to play many years at key defensive positions. The obvious exceptions in recent times are Jeter and Tejada, but I doubt there are many of these guys in earlier eras. Where it might make a difference is for some great-hitting 1B or corner OFs who were very poor defenders -- a full accounting of their defensive shortcomings might lower their place in the historical standings.
   37. Graham Womack Posted: January 14, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4037122)
@Walt Davis

You seem like a troll. You seemed like one the first time you shredded one of my pieces almost two years, and it doesn't really seem like anything has changed. I think Baseball Think Factory is a wonderful website, and the editors and silent majority of readers have provided excellent support to my blog, but zealously critical commenters like yourself embody everything I don't like about here.

What's sad is that you seem to know a lot about baseball history. There are, what, 7,000 members in SABR and maybe another 7,000 other people into baseball history? We shouldn't cannibalize our own. I wish you were silly and arrogant enough to start a blog, as I have done. I know my site touches and educates people, in whatever small way it does, and I'm proud of the hard work my writers and I have put in.
   38. shattnering his Dominicano G Strings on that Mound Posted: January 14, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4037133)
Damn, Graham, if you can't take the heat...

Walt's no troll. There are quite a few of them here, and some of them cringe-worthy. And there are folks who get trolly on certain topics. But Walt's by far and away one of the best posters here. He always spends a ton of time on his posts and I've learned more from him than just about anyone else here. Maybe instead of snarling and raising you hackles, it might be wise to weigh the critique and see if you can make a better BPP as a result of learned feedback.
   39. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 14, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4037140)
plonk
   40. Randy Jones Posted: January 14, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4037143)
I don't like WPA mainly because it ignores defensive contribution - all contribution is assigned to the pitcher or the batter.


Regardless of my issues with using postseason value, WPA is not the correct stat to use for this purpose. At the very least, it should be replaced with WPA/LI.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: January 14, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4037145)
Regardless of my issues with using postseason value, WPA is not the correct stat to use for this purpose. At the very least, it should be replaced with WPA/LI.


Wpa should almost always replaced with WPA/LI(in the few instances that it's remotely useful). I'm not sure that WPA has any value other than as trivia fodder and for story telling purposes of the moods of the fans during a particular bat.
   42. Graham Womack Posted: January 14, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4037178)
@shattner I have a very good blog. In the near three years it's been up, I've spent literally thousands of hours researching and writing, getting other good writers involved, and yes, constantly working to make things better. Heck, read my posts from 2009-- they suck.

Personally, I've written more than 400 posts and at an average of maybe 600 words apiece, I estimate I've produced at least a quarter of a million words on my site. That's the equivalent of about six or eight books. It's not all excellent, but a lot of it's been very good. I have an interview I'll be posting with Robert Creamer pretty soon, and parts of what he has to say read like something from The New York Times.

I work hard, and one of the rewards is that I get a lot of praise for my site. Honestly, I don't think the problem that BPP has in these forums is a lack of quality or effort. I think you guys are a ridiculously tough crowd. I could be producing professional-quality stuff, and I'm sure some of the folks on here would find ways to criticize. It's what they do.

I invite any critic to contribute a guest post to my site, on whatever baseball history-related topic. I think it's more productive and beneficial than lobbing cheat shots. Please feel free to email me. My email address is on my site.
   43. The District Attorney Posted: January 14, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4037179)
Honestly, I don't think the problem that BPP has in these forums is a lack of quality or effort. I think you guys are a ridiculously tough crowd. I could be producing professional-quality stuff, and I'm sure some of the folks on here would find ways to criticize. It's what they do.
Okay, so why don't we stop linking your site's articles, then? I've gotten very little out of them, to be honest. (And no, I do not intend to deal with this emotion by writing an article for your site.)
   44. Monty Posted: January 14, 2012 at 07:41 PM (#4037181)
I think it's more productive and beneficial than lobbing cheat shots.


Then why don't you stop coming here and lobbing cheap shots at people?
   45. . . . . . . Posted: January 14, 2012 at 07:41 PM (#4037182)
Why do we keep linking to this junk? Sometimes it seems like someone can use numbers, put it on the Internet, announce how sweet it is and then we link it.

The underlying stat is stupid and derivative, and the article adds nothing to it. What a waste.
   46. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 14, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4037185)
@Walt Davis

You seem like a troll. You seemed like one the first time you shredded one of my pieces almost two years, and it doesn't really seem like anything has changed.


Wow, I never thought I would see Walt Davis, of all people, called a troll.

Walt, in my experience, is one of the most substantive and interesting contributors on the site. If he has substantive criticisms of your work, it might be worth your time to try to take them into account rather than dismiss them out of hand.
   47. adarowski Posted: January 14, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4037188)
The first time I released the Hall of wWAR, there was positive feedback and there was constructive criticism of how it could be better. So, I reworked it and made it better. I'm not sure why we're fighting here. I think most of the comments to this point (well, all but the one by Liver) have been mostly constructive in nature. I can take suggestions. I love taking suggestions.

Thing is, I'm an incredibly mellow guy almost to the point of being half dead. So, I'm just going to take the fact that you guys took the time to read this and comment as a win in my book. I'm having fun with my little Hall of wWAR and a bunch of other people seem to like it, too. It has a much bigger overlap with the Hall of Merit than it does with the Hall of Fame. To me, that's another major win.

If you're not into WAR, then wWAR most definitely isn't for you. This project is just a another way to look at WAR, so it'll never impress you. That's totally fine with me.

I love this band called Teenage Fanclub. If you don't like Teenage Fanclub, I'm not going to tell you that their live album is freakin' awesome and you need to hear it. I'm going to tell you it's not for you and you should listen to something else.

We all cool?
   48. Graham Womack Posted: January 14, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4037189)
@The District Attorney-- really? How often do you read my site?

You must have missed my recent project on the Hall of Fame, or my interviews with Joe Posnanski, Rob Neyer, and Dan Szymborski.

You didn't read any of those, did you? Honestly dude, what do you want me to write? What am I not providing that you so urgently seek? Clearly, you're very dismissive, but if you'll offer constructive criticism, I'll consider it. I'm a fully capable writer.
   49. The District Attorney Posted: January 14, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4037191)
@The District Attorney-- really?
Really.
   50. Graham Womack Posted: January 14, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4037205)
Can you be specific on where my work is falling short?
   51. Srul Itza Posted: January 14, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4037207)
Geez, you can't tell the real trolls from the thoughtful posters.
   52. The District Attorney Posted: January 14, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4037208)
Can you be specific on where my work is falling short?
Since you take a post like #9 as a "cheap shot", no, I cannot.
   53. Graham Womack Posted: January 14, 2012 at 08:22 PM (#4037209)
@Srul -- no. You just put a smile on my face.

@The District Attorney-- go #### yourself.
   54. Greg K Posted: January 14, 2012 at 08:53 PM (#4037219)
I can certainly understand why a Walt Davis critique of one's work would be daunting.

His posts are invariably packed with information and he doesn't waste any of his time apologizing for disagreeing or correcting your work (why should he?*).

I don't see what any of that has to do with being a troll, or a mean-spirited desire to tear other people down. As far as I can tell a Walt Davis post is about covering the details and being informative to a ridiculous degree.

*I don't take criticism well, even well-intentioned criticism, which is why you'll never see anything I've ever written about baseball posted on this site. But if you're going to write about baseball seriously his are exactly the kind of posts you're going to want as feedback.
   55. Justin T has a centaur for a mentor Posted: January 14, 2012 at 09:45 PM (#4037233)
Haha, what a tool Womack is.
   56. Graham Womack Posted: January 15, 2012 at 12:06 AM (#4037273)
Thanks, Greg. I don't always respond well to criticism, either real or perceived, and I overreacted here. From the point of my first comment, I was in the wrong. I dealt with this situation poorly throughout and created a lot of it with my behavior.

I apologize to anyone I offended. In the future, I'll work to comport myself differently here.
   57. Ron J Posted: January 15, 2012 at 05:46 AM (#4037291)
#21 I feel quite strongly that the 19th century is over-represented. The basic problem is that any kind of straight comparison of value misses the fact that they were competing against vastly inferior competition. And this isn't the "they couldn't hold Jamie Moyer's jock" kind of thing but a recognition of the fact that in the 19th century nothing close to all of the top talent was in the leagues we recognize as major leagues. (for an extreme example look to the 1878 Buffalo team. I have little doubt they'd have finished 3rd in the NL and yet they're considered a minor league team)

As such only the absolute top of the 19th century players merit inclusion. Maybe Dahlen qualifies under that definition but I just don't see it. Good player for a long time feels like the best description.

   58. DL from MN Posted: January 15, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4037313)
19th century is over-represented


Depends on what you're trying to determine. If you're looking for a list of the best baseball talent of all-time, sure. If you're trying to determine which players are important to include to be able to tell a complete history of baseball then no. A pennant is a pennant is one of the principles of the Hall of Merit.
   59. . . . . . . Posted: January 15, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4037331)
Depends on what you're trying to determine. If you're looking for a list of the best baseball talent of all-time, sure. If you're trying to determine which players are important to include to be able to tell a complete history of baseball then no. A pennant is a pennant is one of the principles of the Hall of Merit.


One of the reasons why a pure WAR (or adjusted WAR) based hall is so silly is that value (and the ease accumulating value) is complicated by so many nonquantifiable factors. Leagues become harder to dominate as the population/team goes up - but measuring that is nigh-on-impossible, since it's not just a function of available player pool (though WAR earned in the immediate post integration NL is more valuable than WAR earned in the AL, obviously) but the popularity of the game and the increased ability for the Major Leagues to identify and attract the best talent. Then you have the war - not just war credit, but also the impact of military service on players' development and the cascade effect on peaks. Changes in player usage - how do you handle the Roger Breshnahan situation, where catchers pre George Gibson just DIDN'T catch a lot of games, then all of a sudden someone proves it can be done, and the nature of catcher changes. Same with 1970's MIF.

People treat WAR as a blackbox - sure, they might understand that there's batting runs and fielding runs and baserunning runs etc., but they don't really understand how the stat works. How much less precise it gets with time. The assumptions made in constructing the stat (I'll bet a dollar the writer of this article can't articulate the assumptions CHONE WAR makes in assigning value to 1970's MIF and the arguments for and against and what players are most affected by those assumptions). No big WAR pitchers in the 50's? No problem. WARUBERALLES. Curious how there are no big WAR 1B from the deadball era, isn't it? NOT TO THE SIMPLE THINKER, IT ISNT.
   60. The District Attorney Posted: January 15, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4037340)
#56: Apology accepted.
   61. Booey Posted: January 15, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4037371)
#21 I feel quite strongly that the 19th century is over-represented. The basic problem is that any kind of straight comparison of value misses the fact that they were competing against vastly inferior competition. And this isn't the "they couldn't hold Jamie Moyer's jock" kind of thing but a recognition of the fact that in the 19th century nothing close to all of the top talent was in the leagues we recognize as major leagues. (for an extreme example look to the 1878 Buffalo team. I have little doubt they'd have finished 3rd in the NL and yet they're considered a minor league team)

As such only the absolute top of the 19th century players merit inclusion.



Agreed. The formative years of a league are important to preserve in the games history of course, but it's basically apples and oranges to try and compare their stars to those of a later, more well developed era. The best players of the 19th century have been virtually ignored in all the "Greatest Players" lists, and I think that's the right move, actually; same way that lists of the greatest football players ignore pretty much everyone from the Red Grange era and lists of the greatest basketball players ignore pretty much everyone from the George Mikan era. It was just a different game back then.

Personally, I think it would be a much better use of time to campaign on the behalf of the slew of more recent deserving candidates that are struggling to break through the BBWAA's inconsistent and baffling standards for HOF induction. I'd rather see guys like Bagwell, Trammell, Raines, etc, get their due over someone who retired over a hundred years ago and who's been dead for 80.
   62. DL from MN Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4037392)
> much better use of time

The audiences aren't the same and there are plenty of people around to argue for both. Let people who care about early baseball lobby the VC. You can go lobby the writers.
   63. GGC Posted: January 15, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4037424)
I thought that Dahlen's problem was that he was kind of a prick.
   64. Srul Itza At Home Posted: January 15, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4037474)
I feel quite strongly that the 19th century is over-represented


Given some of the guys they've inducted from more recent years, who were good but not really great -- like Reuschel and Randolph -- I don't think they've wasted too many slots on them.

The problem with the "must elect" system, is that some years the candidates are much weaker than others. The solution is to require a minimum vote percentage. If in a given year you don't elect enough, you roll that spot over. If it happens more than once, you can start to reduce the minimum required until you catch up.
   65. Booey Posted: January 15, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4037672)
The audiences aren't the same and there are plenty of people around to argue for both. Let people who care about early baseball lobby the VC. You can go lobby the writers.

That's a good point, actually.


Given some of the guys they've inducted from more recent years, who were good but not really great -- like Reuschel and Randolph -- I don't think they've wasted too many slots on them.

The problem with the "must elect" system, is that some years the candidates are much weaker than others. The solution is to require a minimum vote percentage. If in a given year you don't elect enough, you roll that spot over. If it happens more than once, you can start to reduce the minimum required until you catch up.


Oh, were we talking about the Hall of Merit? I thought we were talking about the Hall of Fame (I really did, I'm not trying to be snarky). But yes, I agree about the HOM. One of the things I worried about from the very beginning was when they said they were going to try to match the number of electees of the Hall of Fame, because my biggest problem with the HOF wasn't just that they were electing the wrong people, but that with all the VC selections they had elected too many people period. Since there were a lot more bad choices than there were obvious snubs, what do you do when you've taken out the 50 or so mistakes and put in the 20 or so snubs instead? You're still left with 30 slots you need to fill with good but not great players. Basically, it seems the HOM has just replaced all the bad and borderline selections of the HOF with different borderline selections. In addition to the aforementioned Reuschel and Randolph, they've also got Stieb and Saberhagen and Nettles and Reggie Smith and David Cone, etc, etc. Even guys like Will Clark and Keith Hernandez don't really scream greatness, IMHO. But to each their own. And even though they picked a lot of borderline guys, at least they haven't made any terrible selections yet, so I'd count that as a win.

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