Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

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

Friday, June 27, 2014

Castrovince: Beltre’s numbers could be enough for Cooperstown

Here’s a look at Beltre by the numbers, both standard and advanced:

11: The number of Hall of Famers from the Major Leagues in the modern era who spent a majority of their time at third base: Home Run Baker, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Jimmy Collins, George Kell, Freddie Lindstrom, Eddie Mathews, Brooks Robinson, Ron Santo, Mike Schmidt and Pie Traynor. (Paul Molitor is listed by the Hall as a third baseman, but he spent significantly more games at designated hitter).

5: The number of those Hall of Famers who currently outrank Beltre in career WAR (per Baseball Reference). With a 72.6 mark, Beltre trails Schmidt (106.5), Mathews (96.4), Boggs (91.1), Brett (88.4) and Robinson (78.3). It is also worth noting that Chipper Jones, a sure-fire Hall of Famer once he’s eligible, finished his career with an 85.0 WAR and that Alex Rodriguez has, to date, played more games at short than at third.

...1: The number of those Hall of Famers who currently outrank Beltre in career defensive WAR (as calculated by Baseball Reference). This is an imperfect system, as defensive metrics aren’t known to be reliable, but it does add a little perspective to what Beltre has accomplished at the hot corner. Among all third basemen in history, only Robinson (38.8) and Buddy Bell (23.0) outrank Beltre (21.8) in this tally. He is 34th among all players at all positions in dWAR.

So in the context of his position, it’s hard to label Beltre as anything other than a Hall of Famer, whether or not he gets to 3,000 hits.

Of course, that doesn’t mean his candidacy is a slam dunk, because the Baseball Writers’ Association of America often considers players in the context of their times. Beltre could be hurt by some (mostly arbitrary) issues: He’s never finished higher than second in the MVP Award vote (he’s been in the top 10 four times), he wasn’t an All-Star until 2009, he’s, strangely, won just four Gold Glove Awards, and he’s never won a World Series.

But if the context of the times is important, there is one more advanced stat worth citing:

2: The number of “active” players who outrank Beltre in career WAR. Here, Rodriguez still loosely qualifies with a 116.0 mark, while Albert Pujols is second at 94.5. Beltre, at 72.6, just barely surpasses a certain sure-fire Hall of Fame shortstop at 72.3: Derek Jeter.

Thanks to Butch

Repoz Posted: June 27, 2014 at 11:05 AM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

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

   1. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: June 27, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4737367)
Beltre had a monster year in 2004. Light years ahead of anything else. Now a resurgence in his 30s. I know what we used to call this.
   2. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 27, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4737373)
Beltre had a monster year in 2004. Light years ahead of anything else. Now a resurgence in his 30s. I know what we used to call this.


Tiresome?

Sorry, that's what we call it now.
   3. JRVJ Posted: June 27, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4737377)
I would love for Beltre to get inducted into Cooperstown.

Count me in the: "I don't think he's done enough to get voted in yet, but he surely will by the end of his career" crowd.

(Don't confuse me with the "He hasn't done enough yet" crowd. I think he has, but the voters are how they are).
   4. Matt Welch Posted: June 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4737401)
Belte played in home parks that were brutal on his offensive numbers until 2010. 2011 was the first time he ever had a higher OPS at home. His "resurgence in his 30s" maps perfectly onto his moving into favorable offensive contexts.

By WAR, his 27-35 looks like this:
5.4
3.8
5.6
3.3 (injury year)
7.8
5.8
7.2
5.4
3.9 (pro-rated 2014)

Peaking at 31-33 (in terms of 3-year peak, as opposed to 1-year peak) is not the most unusual of aging patterns.
   5. Matt Welch Posted: June 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4737422)
Three-year peaks for post-1901 3Bmen through to about Ken Keltner:

21-23 Mathews
22-24 Fryman
23-25 Ventura, Wright, Clift, Glaus, Chavez, Longoria?
24-26 Santo, Gardner, Devlin, Traynor, Bradley
25-27 Brett, Evans, Bando, McMullen, Keltner
26-28 Chipper, Baker, Cey, Wallach, Kell, Kamm, Yost
27-29 Boggs, Rolen, Bell, Groh, Williams, Gaetti, Cirillo
28-30 Boyer
29-31 Brooks, DeCinces, Money
30-32 Schmidt, Hack, Elliott, Lansford, Madlock
31-33 Beltre, Nettles

So, definitely unusual, but neither unheard-of nor non-pharmacologically inexplicable.

   6. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: June 27, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4737430)
I think the voters need to take into consideration the fact that Beltre doesn't like having his head touched.

It's funny watching grown men (and future HoFers) acting like little kids in public, isn't it?
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: June 27, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4737465)
One minor pet peeve with the article, it keeps focusing on how well he is compared to hof third baseman, why not compare to all third baseman(sure it would basically just add Chippper and maybe Arod to the discussion, but the hof isn't about how you compare to other hofers, it's about how you compare to other players, which he does mention, but only in a backhanded way.)

Of course the other problem with the article, is the over usage of war. Great stat, love it and all, and it helps cement certain positions, but when arguing in the mainstream, you really need to concentrate on the numbers that people are used to or at least explain why he's better.

As far as legitimate criticism...he's using dWar and from everything I know about it, older players are going to be punished by the system regressing to the mean, while newer players don't get that type of penalty since they use more modern play by play data. (Is TZR--which is used by bb-ref for fielding prior to 2003--published using the same system for current players? So that we can get a more accurate feel of how the systems are treating the players differently.)

   8. Ron J2 Posted: June 27, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4737486)
#5 I took a slightly different approach. Looked for a player's prime (which I defined as best 7 year stretch with best and 2 worst years removed) and then figured out the average age of the 5 best years in that 7 year stretch. Convoluted, but I think it's logical.

Beltre has the oldest prime among the top 3B (haven't finished the list yet but I've got the most important players. Cabrera, Allen and Killebrew treated as 1B). I should note that a prime that centers around 32 isn't that unusual at other positions.

Player           Age 
Adrian Beltre
*   32
Jimmy Collins    31
Graig Nettles    30
Ron Cey          30
Wade Boggs       29
Stan Hack        29
Buddy Bell       29
Brooks Robinson  28
Ken Boyer        28
Scott Rolen      28   
Sal Bando        28
Mike Schmidt     27
Chipper Jones    27
David Wright
*    27
Darrell Evans    27
George Brett     26
Home Run Baker   26
Harlond Clift    26
Ron Santo        25
Eddie Mathews    24
Evan Longoria
*   24
John McGraw      24 


And here's the distribution of prime by age for position players (CF not done and several positions done more thoroughly than others)

Age   %
23   2.1%
24   6.8%
25   9.5%
26  16.3%
27  11.6%
28  14.7%
29  11.6%
30   6.8%
31   6.8%
32   5.8%
33   5.3%
34   2.1%
35   0.0%
36   0.0%
37   0.5

   9. Matt Welch Posted: June 27, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4737495)
#8 -- I suspect (based on personal experience, not evidence) that defensive 3B is murder on the back & possibly the knees more than other non-C positions, and thus more susceptible to waking up one morning and being physically useless. But who knows?
   10. Booey Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4737506)
He’s never finished higher than second in the MVP Award vote


Um, there's not much higher you can go. That's a weird way of saying he's never won an MVP (as if that was ever a requirement).
   11. Matt Welch Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4737507)
Beltre's rank at 3B WAR by age:

19: 5 (#1 Buddy Lewis; Tim Foli is 6th!)
20: 2 (Machado)
21: 4 (Buddy Bell)
22: 60 (Dick Allen in a landslide)
23: 51 (Glaus)
24: 40 (Wright)
25: 1 (9.5 to Sal Bando's 8.3)
26: 56 (Evans)
27: 21 (bloody Josh Donaldson!)
28: 42 (A-Rod)
29: 15 (Al Rosen)
30: 47 (Ken Boyer)
31: 3 (A-Rod)
32: 3 (A-Rod)
33: 2 (Caminiti!)
34: 3 (Bando)
35: On pace for 9 (Chipper)

Bunching that up in groups:
19-21: 3rd, behind Manny Machado (and counting) and Buddy Lewis
22-24: 34th, between Milt Stock and Grady Hatton
25-25: 1st, towering like a colossus
26-30: 12th, between Toby Harrah and Ken McMullen
31-35: 1st, as soon as he compiles 0.2 more WAR

I think the most inexplicable part of his record is not 31-35, as weird as that is -- it's the 22-26, in which a guy who OPS+ed 108 from 20-21 was 97 or lower four out of five years, then just ungodly in the 5th.
   12. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4737517)
I am 99% sure teh TZRs on BBRef are consistent, and not using modern pbp data.
   13. bobm Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4737524)
3B is a hard position to get elected from, and Beltre isn't really identified with one single franchise in a way that would boost his candidacy.


Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2014, Played 50% of games at 3B, (franch_count>=1), sorted by greatest WAA Position Players

                                             
Rk            Player WAA/pos WAR/pos  F#  PA
1       Mike Schmidt    73.3 106.5    1 10062
2      Eddie Mathews    58.6  96.4    3 10100
3         Wade Boggs    57.0  91.1    3 10740
4      Chipper Jones    53.2  85.0    1 10614
5       George Brett    50.4  88.4    1 11625
6        Scott Rolen    43.9  70.0    4  8518
7      Adrian Beltre    40.4  72.7    4  9654
8    Brooks Robinson    39.6  78.3    1 11782
9     Home Run Baker    37.0  62.8    2  6666
10         Ron Santo    36.7  70.4    2  9397
   14. JRVJ Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4737525)
11, I really like this way of displaying info Beltre.

Thank you.
   15. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4737539)
He's the Andruw Jones of 3B.
   16. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4737540)
Of course the other problem with the article, is the over usage of war. Great stat, love it and all, and it helps cement certain positions, but when arguing in the mainstream, you really need to concentrate on the numbers that people are used to or at least explain why he's better.

This argument no longer holds much water, CFB. Even in elements of the Luddite community the use of WAR is increasingly commonplace.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4737546)
Bunching that up in groups:
19-21: 3rd, behind Manny Machado (and counting) and Buddy Lewis
22-24: 34th, between Milt Stock and Grady Hatton
25-25: 1st, towering like a colossus
26-30: 12th, between Toby Harrah and Ken McMullen
31-35: 1st, as soon as he compiles 0.2 more WAR


Is there a reason these groupings are of inconsistent length?
   18. Matt Welch Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4737552)
Is there a reason these groupings are of inconsistent length?

Totally! To emphasize his weird career arc.
   19. Matt Welch Posted: June 27, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4737553)
He's the Andruw Jones of 3B.

Much more like the Jim Edmonds, for my money.
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: June 27, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4737639)
I am 99% sure teh TZRs on BBRef are consistent, and not using modern pbp data.


according to their glossary

They use different methods from 2003 to the present, another methodology from 1989-1999 and a third methodology for seasons prior to 1989.

here is how current players are rated.
The second method is used when hits are coded with a batted ball type and we know who fielded each. The responsibility for ground ball singles hit to left field is split between the third baseman and shortstop, for center field it is between the shortstop and second baseman, and for right field, the second and first basemen. Groundball extra base hits are charged to the first or third baseman. Outfielders are charged with line drive and fly ball hits that they field. The responsibility split between infielders was originally 50/50, but has been refined based on more detailed analysis. Singles to left are charged 60/40 to third and short, to center it is 52/48 between short and second, and to right it is 55/45 first base/third base.


Vs prior to 1989
For most games, I have information on which fielder makes each out, and the batted ball type. Without information on the hits, I have to make an estimate. I look at each batter's career rates of outs by position. For example, if 30% of a batter's outs are hit to shortstop, then every time that batter gets a hit the shortstop is charged 0.3 hits. Repeat for every position. I look at batting against righthanded and lefthanded pitching separately, as switch hitters will have very different ball in play distributions depending on which side of the plate they hit from. I sum the fractional hits for every fielder, combine with plays made and errors, and get a totalzone. This is then park adjusted, and converted to runs. This method is used for all seasons before 1989, and for the dark years of 2000 to 2002.


Not sure if their is any regressing (would have to ask Arom that) but they are using three different methods of figuring out their numbers. I was wondering if they used the method from prior to 1989 on everyone, if there would be any noticeable difference on the results.
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: June 27, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4737641)
This argument no longer holds much water, CFB. Even in elements of the Luddite community the use of WAR is increasingly commonplace.


It's getting commonplace, and it's meeting resistance on the casual front. My point is that you still have to bring more to the table than War when talking about hofers, mvp etc. Heck even the last two years the writers voted Cabrera as more valuable than Trout, so it might be making headway, but the majority of people still look at the old numbers.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: June 27, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4737687)
As far as legitimate criticism...he's using dWar and from everything I know about it, older players are going to be punished by the system regressing to the mean, while newer players don't get that type of penalty since they use more modern play by play data.

No.

Regression estimates giveth and they taketh away. Some older players look worse than they would if we had and used pbp data, some look better. Which ones are which is unknowable.

It would be a fair statement to say, for example, that if the league-leading Rfield at 3B in 1965 was 8 that there's a good chance that with today's data, the "true" leader probably had 10 or 12 ... but you can't even guarantee you'd have the same league leader.

And by the time you're talking about a long career then, unless there's a substantial inherent bias to the model (e.g. 3B at Wrigley are almost always over-rated), the error for any given player should even out and be reasonably close to zero. Over a reasonably short period of time, you would expect to see more outlandish numbers (positive and negative) for contemporary players but not over the long haul.

Just look at the career dWAR leader list. Few contemporary players near the top. Vizquel, Pudge II and Beltre are the only 3 in the top 35. Obviously it's possible the Pee Wee Reese (+25) or Ozzie Guillen (+22) were actually better than Vizquel (+28) but there's no obvious bias and therefore no "penalty" assigned to older players.

If you prefer Rfield, looking at 75% games at 3B ... there are a nunber of modern players near the top and that may be due to a bias but not the one you're surmising -- there are essentially no pre-war players here. The first is Ossie Bluege at #17. Out of the top 20 you do get 4 guys whose careers were mostly 2001 on but that period is 13.5 years out of essentially a 66.5 year period so that seems about right.

I can't speak to the underlying model -- I don't know if they've tested it thoroughly or not. But models aren't supposed to get everything exactly right, they are supposed to get the general trend right, without bias. If all the good fielders of old are above the projected line then the model is biased in some way. But assuming that line passes through roughly the middle of that group, then the model is fine. Some individuals will be over-estimated, some will be under-estimated but we won't know which is which.

I do agree it would be nice to see how things would look if the same methodology was used for everybody. It would probably be more confusing than helpful overall, but I'd be happy to see these added to the appropriate tables.

We do seem to have seen some outlandish Rfield numbers in the last few years which I can't really explain. In RF, Heyward is already #5 and has nearly caught Larry Walker already; Reddick is 13th after just 465 games.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: June 27, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4737690)
I do agree it would be nice to see how things would look if the same methodology was used for everybody. It would probably be more confusing than helpful overall, but I'd be happy to see these added to the appropriate tables.


That was my ultimate point. Not that I think the models are right or wrong or that I'm even debating the results, I just think that before I would put a high certainty comment out there, that I was at least comparing everyone on equal data. Obviously the newer numbers are more accurate, so of course for anyone who has the newer numbers available, I'm going to want that.
   24. shoewizard Posted: June 27, 2014 at 10:56 PM (#4737832)
Taking a look at 3b with over 45 oWAR, which of course is everything but defense, but includes positional adjustment, Beltre ranks 11th all time, but 17th in OPS+ and 16th Batting Runs amongst the players in this table.

I really have no problem moving him up 3-5 notches based on his defense being better during his prime than almost anybody but Brooks, or at least top 5 defensively, no matter how much hesitancy we have over defense metrics accuracy and consistency across the generations.

Oh, and Toby Harrah !?!?!?

Rk            Player oWAR OPS+  Rbat    G    PA   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1      Eddie Mathews 93.8  143 505.5 2391 10100 .271 .376 .509 .885
2       Mike Schmidt 90.9  147 527.1 2404 10062 .267 .380 .527 .908
3      Chipper Jones 87.4  141 558.3 2499 10614 .303 .401 .529 .930
4       George Brett 84.1  135 426.8 2707 11625 .305 .369 .487 .857
5         Wade Boggs 80.6  131 440.7 2440 10740 .328 .415 .443 .858
6          Ron Santo 66.2  125 286.4 2243  9397 .277 .362 .464 .826
7        Toby Harrah 62.0  114 183.4 2155  8767 .264 .365 .395 .760
8     Home Run Baker 59.2  135 255.2 1575  6666 .307 .363 .442 .805
9          Sal Bando 58.0  119 206.1 2019  8287 .254 .352 .408 .760
10         Ken Boyer 55.6  116 184.9 2034  8272 .287 .349 .462 .810
11     Adrian Beltre 54.4  115 187.0 2340  9654 .283 .335 .478 .813
12     Darrell Evans 53.5  119 231.7 2687 10737 .248 .361 .431 .792
13         Stan Hack 52.7  119 235.1 1938  8508 .301 .394 .397 .791
14     Graig Nettles 52.3  110 102.2 2700 10228 .248 .329 .421 .750
15       Scott Rolen 52.1  122 233.8 2038  8518 .281 .364 .490 .855
16       Bob Elliott 51.6  124 248.1 1978  8205 .289 .375 .440 .815
17           Ron Cey 50.0  121 212.2 2073  8344 .261 .354 .445 .799
18      David Wright 48.9  135 277.7 1453  6299 .300 .379 .500 .879
19      Bill Madlock 48.5  123 208.5 1806  7372 .305 .365 .442 .807
20   Brooks Robinson 47.4  104  42.7 2896 11782 .267 .322 .401 .723
21        Buddy Bell 47.3  109 110.0 2405 10009 .279 .341 .406 .747
22        Eddie Yost 45.8  109 184.0 2109  9175 .254 .394 .371 .765
23   Carney Lansford 45.3  111 141.0 1862  7905 .290 .343 .411 .753 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/28/2014.
   25. theboyqueen Posted: June 27, 2014 at 11:05 PM (#4737838)
He's the Andruw Jones of 3B.


How?
   26. shoewizard Posted: June 27, 2014 at 11:14 PM (#4737844)
Good but not great career hitting numbers, but premier defender at his position during his era ?

   27. GregD Posted: June 27, 2014 at 11:43 PM (#4737856)
It seems off to compare one guy who famously aged terribly to another guy who is aging better than 99% of good ballplayers ever.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: June 27, 2014 at 11:49 PM (#4737860)
It seems off to compare one guy who famously aged terribly to another guy who is aging better than 99% of good ballplayers ever.


I think the point was that it was a guy who's overall value is much larger a part of his defense than it is his offense.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: June 28, 2014 at 03:25 AM (#4737887)
Toby Harrah !?!?!?

Harrah was an under-recognized offensive stud (look at the OBP). That said, a lot of his oWAR would be from his time at SS.

Or not as it turns out. He had some monster oWAR years at 3B.

He was another cliff diver ... 143 OPS+ at 33, 99 at 34, 79 at 35 ... 127 at 36 then done.

Harrah was a Yankee?
   30. KT's Pot Arb Posted: June 28, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4738101)
Of course the other problem with the article, is the over usage of war. Great stat, love it and all, and it helps cement certain positions, but when arguing in the mainstream, you really need to concentrate on the numbers that people are used to or at least explain why he's better.


Ok, he has 40.4 WAA, well over my HOF WAA line of 35.

Induct him now.
   31. bjhanke Posted: June 29, 2014 at 02:42 AM (#4738668)
I have a couple of things to say, one about WAR and one about 3B.

My problem with WAR is that it, used as in this thread, only measures career accumulation. A couple of people have mentioned peak and prime, but no one has tried to put together a system that includes those in with the career. This is why I keep returning to the New Historical Abstract, which is 15 years old. It actually has a ranking system, not just a career accumulator system. Someone (someone who has more credibility than I do) really should devise a ranking system, based on some version of WAR, that does what the New Historical does with Win Shares. It would also help if people identified which version of WAR they were using. As I understand it, there are about 6 in general use, with some serious support. And they do not always agree.

The problem with 3B is that there are almost no older players on any list - sometimes just Home Run Baker. This, of course, is because people up into the 1930s, thought of 3B as a glove-first position, where hitting was almost optional. There are a lot of early 3B who can be reasonably described as their team's backup SS. Modern analysis has not been able to see that this perception was true - that is, modern analysis tends to give low rankings to 3B because they didn't hit and their defense doesn't make up for it. As a consequence, there are very few old 3B in, say, the HoF. Baker, Collins, Traynor, Deacon White if you count him as a 3B, that's about it, and those guys really were the absolute best 3B of their times, except for Lindstrom. So lists of HoF 3B, used to provide context for a modern one, don't do the job. It's as if they cut about 50 years out of MLB before making up the list. Heinie Groh was probably a better 3B, compared to his peers, than Beltre is. BTW, using the 1930s as a cutoff point may be insufficient in itself. The last team that I know of who had a 3B who was, essentially, the backup SS was the Dodgers of the early 1950s. Pee Wee Reese at SS, Billy Cox at 3B. When Reese had a day or so off, Cox would move to SS, and Jackie Robinson or Junior Gilliam or someone would move to 3B, while a bench player would move to wherever Jackie or Junior had been playing. This didn't happen all the time, but it happened enough that it's clear that the Dodger managers regarded Cox as something like their #2 option at SS, as well as the starting 3B. - Brock Hanke
   32. bobm Posted: June 29, 2014 at 04:20 AM (#4738676)
[31] BR: 3B JAWS Leaders - career WAR averaged with their 7-year peak WAR.

                                                                
Rk                                Name   WAR WAR7 JAWS From   To
1                     Mike Schmidt HOF 106.5 58.5 82.5 1972 1989
2                    Eddie Mathews HOF  96.4 54.3 75.4 1952 1968
3                       Wade Boggs HOF  91.1 56.2 73.6 1982 1999
4                     George Brett HOF  88.4 53.2 70.8 1973 1993
5                        Chipper Jones  85.0 46.6 65.8 1993 2012
6                        Ron Santo HOF  70.4 53.8 62.1 1960 1974
7                  Brooks Robinson HOF  78.3 45.8 62.1 1955 1977
8                        Adrian Beltre  72.7 46.8 59.8 1998 2014
9                     Paul Molitor HOF  75.4 39.6 57.5 1978 1998
10                         Scott Rolen  70.0 43.5 56.8 1996 2012
11                      Edgar Martinez  68.3 43.6 56.0 1987 2004
12                       Graig Nettles  68.0 42.3 55.1 1967 1988
     Avg of 13 HOFers at this position  67.4 42.7 55.0
13                  Home Run Baker HOF  62.8 46.8 54.8 1908 1922
14                           Ken Boyer  62.8 46.3 54.5 1955 1969
15                          Buddy Bell  66.1 40.4 53.2 1972 1989
16                           Sal Bando  61.4 44.3 52.8 1966 1981
17                          Dick Allen  58.7 45.8 52.3 1963 1977
18                      Miguel Cabrera  57.4 44.6 51.0 2003 2014
19                       Darrell Evans  58.5 37.1 47.8 1969 1989
20                       Robin Ventura  55.9 38.5 47.2 1989 2004
21                   Jimmy Collins HOF  53.2 38.4 45.8 1895 1908
22                             Ron Cey  53.5 36.9 45.2 1971 1987
23                        David Wright  48.3 40.0 44.2 2004 2014
24                           Stan Hack  52.5 35.2 43.8 1932 1947
25                         Toby Harrah  51.2 35.3 43.3 1969 1986


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/29/2014.
   33. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: June 29, 2014 at 04:55 AM (#4738678)
Three-year peaks for post-1901 3Bmen through to about Ken Keltner:

21-23 Mathews
22-24 Fryman
23-25 Ventura, Wright, Clift, Glaus, Chavez, Longoria?
24-26 Santo, Gardner, Devlin, Traynor, Bradley
25-27 Brett, Evans, Bando, McMullen, Keltner
26-28 Chipper, Baker, Cey, Wallach, Kell, Kamm, Yost
27-29 Boggs, Rolen, Bell, Groh, Williams, Gaetti, Cirillo
28-30 Boyer
29-31 Brooks, DeCinces, Money
30-32 Schmidt, Hack, Elliott, Lansford, Madlock
31-33 Beltre, Nettles

So, definitely unusual, but neither unheard-of nor non-pharmacologically inexplicable.


I'll remember this day I learned Graig Nettles took steroids for a long time.
   34. Matt Welch Posted: June 29, 2014 at 07:04 AM (#4738684)
My problem with WAR is that it, used as in this thread, only measures career accumulation. A couple of people have mentioned peak and prime, but no one has tried to put together a system that includes those in with the career.

FWIW, when I'm noodling w/ HoF discussions in the privacy of my own home, I stack up players' individual seasons from best to worst using WAR (adjusted to 162-game seasons), then compare them to one another. This isn't a "system," per se, but it produces some interesting contrasts (like, say, Lou Whitaker vs. Bobby Grich) that force you to make judgments about what you value much more than a simple career WAR-accumulation does.
   35. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 29, 2014 at 08:25 AM (#4738694)
My problem with WAR is that it, used as in this thread, only measures career accumulation. A couple of people have mentioned peak and prime, but no one has tried to put together a system that includes those in with the career.

My preference is to take a weighted sum of WAR going from best season at full weight and reducing the values 5% from there until seasons 20 and beyond are at 5% (the "and beyond" basically applies to Cap Anson only, as far as years of actual value are concerned). Which seems arbitrary, but it's actually averaging every possible version of peak/prime/career value from "best season" down through "best 19 seasons" and then career total.

If you combine this with a schedule-length adjustment, you get George Sisler (an extreme high-peak candidate) almost exactly even with Rafael Palmeiro (an extreme flat career candidate), which I found somewhat amusing.
   36. Ron J2 Posted: June 30, 2014 at 09:19 AM (#4739520)
#31 Brock see #32. JAWS is a systematic attempt to incorporate prime and career value.
   37. Ron J2 Posted: June 30, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4739522)
Pretty much do the same as #34. Though I've started to redo Dale Stephenson's peak lists, I don't use them as a primary tool.
   38. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 30, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4739679)
He's the Andruw Jones of 3B.

Much more like the Jim Edmonds, for my money.


Not at all. Edmonds's case is built on his offense: he was a stellar offensive player for a CF, with a high peak and good defense. What hurts him is his relatively short career.

Beltre, on the other hand, does not have stellar offense for a 3B: just a 115 career OPS+. He's had a bizarre and unexpected (*) elevation to his offense in his 30s which has made him an MVP-level player, but his offense for his career is still a drag on his HOF case. He is getting catapulted into the stratosphere by defensive numbers that frankly look too good to be true. He's Andruw.

(*) I kept expecting him to up his offense in his 20s, but it never happened, except for the one year. That it suddenly happened in his 30s is strange.
   39. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 30, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4739787)
The below is obviously not a systematic attempt at this and is flawed in a number of ways, but as a quick and dirty comparison I think it works ok. It's a list of some mostly modern, prominent 3B who spent a long time at the position and indeed spent almost all of their careers there. They're listed along with their Rfield according to b-r and their total number of career games played (not just at 3B).

Name Rfield Games
Robinson 293 2900
Beltre 181 2276
Rolen 175 2023
Bell 174 2373
CBoyer 158 1689
Ventura 155 2052
Nettles 140 2700
Gaetti 131 2453
Schmidt 127 2399
Boggs 104 2285
Cirillo 85 1515
McMullen 80 1416
KBoyer 73 1992
Wallach 67 2192
Decinces 56 1627
Brett 47 2200
Bando 36 1711
Chavez 35 1402
Mathews 33 2345
Castilla 30 1826
Santo 20 2201
Cey 19 1996
ARod 8 1293 
(with Yankees only)
Lowell 1 1525
Wright 
-8 1444
Caminiti 
-10 1709
Chipper 
-23 2405
Lansford 
-46 1850
Hebner 
-55 1711
DPalmer 
-961215
Madlock 
-107 (1684


ARod is sort of interesting because he's now spent as much time at 3B as he had at SS; he was a slightly above average SS (18 Rfield in 1275 games) who then "only" became a slightly above average 3B (8 Rfield in 1293 games). Granted he was older as a 3B.
   40. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 30, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4739818)
He is getting catapulted into the stratosphere by defensive numbers that frankly look too good to be true. He's Andruw.


Except the problem with Andruw's numbers are they dwarf everyone else who ever played the position.

Beltre's defensive numbers, in contrast, are significantly worse than Brooks's, and when accounting for opportunity, are generally in the same range with some other long-term third basemen with significant defensive reps (Rolen, Bell, Ventura). To suggest they look too good to be true means the same for about a half-dozen guys.

By oWAR alone, Andruw has no Hall of Fame case. By oWAR alone, Beltre has 54.6 and counting.

He's not Andruw.
   41. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 30, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4739821)
Except the problem with Andruw's numbers are they dwarf everyone else who ever played the position.


Yes, I saw that later when I did the list.

I agree with you: he's not head and shoulders above everyone else.

Still, the dWAR is doing a lot of heavy lifting. And I don't credit defensive value to the same confidence level as I do offensive value. But WAR does; WAR pretends that the confidence level is the same, and by extension people who cite raw WAR often pretend that the confidence level is the same.
   42. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 30, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4739879)


Still, the dWAR is doing a lot of heavy lifting. And I don't credit defensive value to the same confidence level as I do offensive value. But WAR does; WAR pretends that the confidence level is the same, and by extension people who cite raw WAR often pretend that the confidence level is the same


That's perfectly reasonable.
   43. Booey Posted: June 30, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4739929)
Ray - agreed.

I've always thought Sheffield vs Andruw is a good comparision to illustrate that point. Both have similar WAR totals, but Andruw required a historic amount of defensive credit to get UP to borderline, whereas Sheff required a historic amount of defensive demerit to get DOWN to borderline. Considering the uncertainty with defensive value measures, I'd be much more confident putting Sheffield in the HOF than Jones. If the dWAR numbers are exaggerated at all at the extreme ends of the spectrum, Sheff becomes a pretty clear 'yes' (ignoring BALCO, blah, blah, blah) and Andruw becomes a pretty clear 'no'.
   44. Booey Posted: June 30, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4739934)
As to Beltre, even with over 70 WAR I think he's only borderline NOW, but he looks very likely to be a clear 'yes' by the end of his career, barring a complete cliff dive. Any type of reasonable decline should get him there.
   45. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 30, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4739937)
Yes, agreed, Booey. That's why I support Sheffield for the Hall _now_, while not supporting Jones.
   46. alilisd Posted: June 30, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4740093)
As to Beltre, even with over 70 WAR I think he's only borderline NOW


You think he's borderline, or you think to the BBWAA he's borderline?

I think he's solidly qualified even by "HOF standards," which I calculate as the average numbers for inducted players at his position. That may not mirror the BBWAA, but it seems like a reasonable proxy. He's a bit low on OPS+ as Santo is the median with a 125, but Beltre's 115 is higher than everyone below Santo. Beltre 73.1 WAR to 68.1 average, oWAR is 54.6 to 60.6 average, but his RField is 181 to an average of 71.3. You'd have to be really hard on decrementing his defense to get him down to average or below for WAR. He easily exceeds the averages for playing time by games and PA's. He exceeds the counting stats (sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot) for runs, hits, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, and SB. His triple slash stats are 10 points low for BA, 31 low for OBP, and 25 high for SLG, leaving his OPS just 6 points below average.

The writers have been really tough on 3B though. The only guys who started their careers in the expansion era to be elected were real no doubters, and the only one they elected early on was Traynor. Brooks was a no doubter, too, but he started his career in the 50's. Santo had to wait for the VC. Chipper should sail in though, but that may hurt Beltre more than help him as he's clearly not the offensive player Chipper is.
   47. Booey Posted: June 30, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4740192)
You think he's borderline, or you think to the BBWAA he's borderline?


I think he's borderline now in my personal HOF, but it's the high end of borderline, if that matters. I'd probably vote for him, but if I had a limited number of guys I could enshrine - say 20 per decade, or something - he might not quite make the cut. I think he'll be a no brainer when it's all said and done though.

I doubt the BBWAA would even see him as borderline if he retired now. I suspect he needs some milestones or at least some big counting stats before they'll consider him a HOFer. Like you said, it's tough for a 3B to get on their radar. I don't think Rolen stands a chance, for example.
   48. alilisd Posted: June 30, 2014 at 07:11 PM (#4740314)
I think he's borderline now in my personal HOF, but it's the high end of borderline, if that matters.


Cool! So what does your 3B group look like?

I doubt the BBWAA would even see him as borderline if he retired now. I suspect he needs some milestones or at least some big counting stats before they'll consider him a HOFer.


He's already top 100 in hits and RBI, top 60 in HR and 2B, 65th in total bases, but he doesn't have the big round numbers, I'll grant you that. He looks like a good bet to get to 1,500 RBI, maybe next year even. Perhaps that will get some of them to start looking and realize while he may not have 500 HR or 3,000 hits, he has put up some really big numbers across the board.

I don't think Rolen stands a chance, for example.


Yes, unfortunately I think he will be completey overlooked. Too many short, injury plagued seasons. Sort of did the journeyman (four different teams in each of his last four full seasons), sort of did the rapid decline at the end of his career (nice year at 35 then couldn't stay on the field for more than half a season the next two years).
   49. Booey Posted: June 30, 2014 at 07:31 PM (#4740327)
Cool! So what does your 3B group look like?


I think Evans and Nettles are pretty much the 3B borderline for me. It wouldn't bother me if the VC put them in, but honestly it doesn't bother me if they never do, either. Rolen and (current) Beltre are both more deserving, IMO. On the close-but-no side, Ventura fits the bill pretty well. He probably deserved a little more consideration than he got, but I don't really see him as a HOFer.

If you group players into the decades in which they produced their most value, there actually aren't any 3B from the 90's in my PHOF. But since the previous decade - Schmidt, Brett, and Boggs (plus Molitor if you consider him a 3B) - and the following decade - Chipper, Beltre, Rolen (plus ARod if you consider him a 3B) - were both golden era's for the position, I'm fine with that. 6-8 3B over a 30 year span seems like enough to me that we don't need to lower the bar to include the Ventura types.
   50. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 30, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4740375)
Just look at the career dWAR leader list. Few contemporary players near the top. Vizquel, Pudge II and Beltre are the only 3 in the top 35. Obviously it's possible the Pee Wee Reese (+25) or Ozzie Guillen (+22) were actually better than Vizquel (+28) but there's no obvious bias and therefore no "penalty" assigned to older players.

I prefer to look at the Rfield leaders rather than dWAR leaders, since the latter includes the positional adjustment. And I don't really have a concern about the top of the list, as you said it's pretty well distributed among eras. I'm more wary of the bottom of the list, which is very heavily dominated by recent players (the bottom 11 all played the majority of their careers after 1989).

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Ray (RDP)
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogEric Chavez Retires
(32 - 5:00am, Jul 31)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread- July 2014
(1035 - 4:48am, Jul 31)
Last: stevegamer

NewsblogWhy the Mets Are Right to Save the New York State Pavilion
(1 - 4:40am, Jul 31)
Last: Bhaakon

NewsblogCameron: Why a July 31 trade deadline just doesn’t make sense anymore
(15 - 4:39am, Jul 31)
Last: Swedish Chef

NewsblogJULY 31 2014 OMNICHATTER/TRADE DEADLINE CHATTER
(3 - 4:12am, Jul 31)
Last: Davo Dozier

NewsblogHoward: David Ortiz shaping up to become first steroid era Teflon slugger
(58 - 4:10am, Jul 31)
Last: Wahoo Sam

NewsblogCubs Acquire Felix Doubront
(48 - 2:57am, Jul 31)
Last: Norcan

NewsblogVICE: Baseball Erotica #1: John Smoltz and Tom Glavine
(11 - 2:19am, Jul 31)
Last: Petunia inquires about ponies

NewsblogSOE: Minor League Manhood - A first-hand account of masculine sports culture run amok.
(159 - 2:08am, Jul 31)
Last: Petunia inquires about ponies

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread July, 2014
(530 - 2:03am, Jul 31)
Last: Swedish Chef

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 7-30-2014
(45 - 1:30am, Jul 31)
Last: CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck

NewsblogRed Sox trade rumors: 'Very good chance' John Lackey and Jon Lester are traded - Over the Monster
(59 - 1:10am, Jul 31)
Last: SoSHially Unacceptable

NewsblogPosnanski: Hey, Rube: Phillies pay dearly for Amaro’s misguided loyalty
(23 - 1:04am, Jul 31)
Last: Ray (RDP)

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1957 Discussion
(15 - 12:19am, Jul 31)
Last: MrC

NewsblogPosnanski: Four theories about Hall of Fame voting changes
(28 - 11:50pm, Jul 30)
Last: Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams)

Page rendered in 0.7510 seconds
53 querie(s) executed