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Thursday, February 14, 2019

CC Sabathia has chance to bolster Hall of Fame case before retiring after 2019 season

New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia is expected to announce on Saturday that the upcoming season will be his last, but he still has plenty on the line in 2019.

Not only are the Yankees odds-on favorite to win the World Series, but on the cusp of 3,000 career strikeouts, Sabathia has a chance to pad his resume for a chance at induction into the Hall of Fame.

Baseball is a game of numbers, and boy do people love round numbers. While he won’t have a chance at 300 wins – unless he somehow wins 54 games in relief or reverses course and plays several more years – 3,000 strikeouts is a notable milestone. At 2,986 career punch-outs, he should reach that mark in two to three starts and could pass several legends by season’s end.

Notes on a pitcher on his way out.

 

QLE Posted: February 14, 2019 at 05:15 AM | 83 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: c.c. sabathia, retirement tour, strikeouts

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   1. bbmck Posted: February 14, 2019 at 06:53 AM (#5815188)
Sabathia certainly has a puncher’s chance already, although he has some factors working for and against him. For one, voters have historically been loathe to vote in starters who did not win 300 games, despite the sport moving away from valuing wins as a stat and starters being pulled earlier in games. Since 1992, only three such starters have been elected, and one of them, John Smoltz, spent enough time as a reliever to rack up 154 saves.

1995 - Vic Willis 249 Wins
1996 - Jim Bunning 224 Wins
(2004 - Dennis Eckersley 197 Wins)
2011 - Bert Blyleven 287 Wins
2015 - Pedro Martinez 219 Wins, John Smoltz 213 Wins
2018 - Jack Morris 254 Wins
2019 - Mike Mussina 270 Wins, Roy Halladay 203 Wins

So if you exclude Eck and his 361 starts, two elected by the BBWAA because they aren't inducted yet and three elected by committee because that doesn't count either, it's only three since 1992.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: February 14, 2019 at 06:53 AM (#5815189)
And as it sort notes, 4 wins from 250, 30 innings from 3500 so a solid shot at 3600, outside shot at 65 WAR. That should be a solid 2000s case for the HoF.
   3. Tony S Posted: February 14, 2019 at 08:07 AM (#5815195)
Not only are the Yankees odds-on favorite to win the World Series


Where'd THIS come from? The Yankees have a good team, but so do the Astros and the Red Sox and the Dodgers and the Cubs and the Brewers...
   4. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 14, 2019 at 08:26 AM (#5815198)
Not only are the Yankees odds-on favorite to win the World Series


Where'd THIS come from? The Yankees have a good team, but so do the Astros and the Red Sox and the Dodgers and the Cubs and the Brewers...

I don't think this person knows what "odds-on"means

Yanks are favored in 2 of 7 Vegas houses
   5. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 14, 2019 at 10:07 AM (#5815223)
After 2012, I thought he was a future HoFer. Then he fell off and now ... maybe? I’d say his career was better than Pettitte’s but worse than Mussina’s. So better than a guy who will hang around the ballot for 10 years without gaining much traction, but not as good as a guy who took 6 years. If the Veterans Committee is still in “induct everyone!” mode when he makes it there, he’ll be a shoo in.
   6. DanG Posted: February 14, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5815243)
Pitchers outside the Hall with 240 Wins under the modern pitching distance (1893+):

Player            W   L   WAR     IP From   To
Roger Clemens   354 184 139.0 4916.2 1984 2007
Tommy John      288 231  62.5 4710.1 1963 1989
Jim Kaat        283 237  45.4 4530.1 1959 1983
Jamie Moyer     269 209  50.0 4074.0 1986 2012
Andy Pettitte   256 153  60.7 3316.0 1995 2013
Bartolo Colon   247 188  48.0 3461.2 1997 2018
Jack Quinn      247 218  58.2 3920.1 1909 1933
CC Sabathia     246 153  62.2 3470.0 2001 2018
Dennis Martinez 245 193  49.5 3999.2 1976 1998
Jack Powell     245 254  55.8 4389.0 1897 1912
Frank Tanana    240 236  57.6 4188.1 1973 1993 

After 2019 Sabathia should have the most Pitching WAR of anyone here but Clemens.
   7. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: February 14, 2019 at 10:55 AM (#5815249)
It’s absurd that he is not an obvious first-ballot shoo-in.
   8. Zonk Totally Exonerated by Total BS Posted: February 14, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5815250)
I think his nice bounceback the last couple years - and really, he's been pretty solid.... more than solid - 300 IP of 120 ERA+ and ~5 WAR - hell, even 2.5 WAA!

If he wants to hang it up on his terms, bully for him - but if he decided to drag it out, I think he COULD get to 300.

Anyway, I think he's in.

Assuming he does retire - and assuming he basically stays around where he's been the last two seasons -- he's going to be around 63-64-65 WAR and a fighting chance to get over 30 WAA. That's not inner circle or anything - it's probably right on the fence, in fact. But - I think he's got enough oomph (a CYA, 4 other top 5 finishes, 6-7 ASGs... ace of three different playoff teams) that I think he should go in.

If he really cared about the HoF - he really ought to consider milking a few more seasons.... at least until he falls apart - as noted above, he's pitched like a perfectly solid mid to backend rotation option the last two years.
   9. Ziggy's screen name Posted: February 14, 2019 at 11:13 AM (#5815258)
Favorite C.C. Sabathia factoid: he led both leagues in shutouts in 2008.
   10. JL72 Posted: February 14, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5815261)
If he wants to hang it up on his terms, bully for him - but if he decided to drag it out, I think he COULD get to 300.


Sorry but I just don't see this. He is at 246 wins at age 38. The last three years he had 9, 14 and 9 winds, with IP of 179.2, 148.2 and 153.0. The 14 wins seems like an outlier, but even if he gets his average, he is at 11 wins. So he would need 5 more years. Even 14 wins a year requires 4 yours.

Assuming he does retire - and assuming he basically stays around where he's been the last two seasons -- he's going to be around 63-64-65 WAR and a fighting chance to get over 30 WAA. That's not inner circle or anything - it's probably right on the fence, in fact. But - I think he's got enough oomph (a CYA, 4 other top 5 finishes, 6-7 ASGs... ace of three different playoff teams) that I think he should go in.


I agree he deserves a good thorough look. I am on the fence, but don't see him getting elected as a bad thing.
   11. Booey Posted: February 14, 2019 at 11:25 AM (#5815263)
After 2012, I thought he was a future HoFer. Then he fell off and now ... maybe? I’d say his career was better than Pettitte’s but worse than Mussina’s. So better than a guy who will hang around the ballot for 10 years without gaining much traction, but not as good as a guy who took 6 years. If the Veterans Committee is still in “induct everyone!” mode when he makes it there, he’ll be a shoo in.


It’s absurd that he is not an obvious first-ballot shoo-in.


I don't know about first ballot, but I think he'll make it pretty easily. Mussina had to deal with a much more crowded ballot, including a glut of other HOF pitchers who overshadowed him throughout his career. 270 wins doesn't look as impressive next to 2 contemporaries who topped 350, plus another 2 who passed 300.

With CC, his 250+ wins and 3500+ innings should top the ballot for the majority of his duration (Pettitte could still be there with a few more wins for the first couple years). Throw in 3000K, and that's a career line we're just not going to see much anymore. He also has a CYA and a peak with 5 straight top 5 finishes (where he went 95-40, an average season of 19-8), which should give him the perception of being more than just another Pettitte-like compiler.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: February 14, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5815266)
yeah, I'd be leaning "in" at a glance, anyway
   13. Baldrick Posted: February 14, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5815268)
Reminder that Harold Baines is in the Hall of Fame. Which means Sabathia is absurdly overqualified.
   14. eric Posted: February 14, 2019 at 11:47 AM (#5815276)
And Roger Clemens is not in the Hall of Fame, so by that measure, Sabathia isn't even in the discussion. :)
   15. Ithaca2323 Posted: February 14, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5815282)
I'd vote for CC. Four seasons with 6+ bWAR, 62 career WAR, 117 ERA+. Don't think he gets enough credit for the 2009 postseason, when the Yankees went with a three-man rotation with him as the key component.
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 14, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5815286)

Sabathia would need to pitch until his early/mid-40s in order to get to 300, but that's the route most pitchers who get there take (Glavine was 41, Johnson 45, Ryan 43, Perry 43, Niekro 46, Sutton 41). It's a pretty rare breed (Maddux, Clemens, Seaver, Carlton) who get there before age 40.
   17. alilisd Posted: February 14, 2019 at 12:59 PM (#5815312)
It’s absurd that he is not an obvious first-ballot shoo-in.


Should easily be a unanimous selection!
   18. alilisd Posted: February 14, 2019 at 01:00 PM (#5815313)
It’s absurd that he is not an obvious first-ballot shoo-in.

I don't know about first ballot, but I think he'll make it pretty easily. Mussina had to deal with a much more crowded ballot, including a glut of other HOF pitchers who overshadowed him throughout his career. 270 wins doesn't look as impressive next to 2 contemporaries who topped 350, plus another 2 who passed 300.


Yes, this is a much more reasonable perspective. I was thinking the first poster was joking, but perhaps not.
   19. DL from MN Posted: February 14, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5815315)
If not guys like Sabathia, then who? Is the fast track to the Hall of Fame to turn down starting pitching in favor of being a reliever?
   20. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: February 14, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5815316)
Davo does not joke. He is legitimately that crazy.
   21. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: February 14, 2019 at 01:13 PM (#5815320)
Davo does not joke. He is legitimately that crazy.


Sabathia must've had a cameo in Speed Racer.
   22. baudib Posted: February 14, 2019 at 01:13 PM (#5815321)
With the disintegration of Felix Hernandez, the only real contemporaries of Sabathia's to be good HOF candidates are Greinke and Verlander. Who am I missing?

   23. Baldrick Posted: February 14, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5815325)
With the disintegration of Felix Hernandez, the only real contemporaries of Sabathia's to be good HOF candidates are Greinke and Verlander. Who am I missing?

Scherzer
   24. Booey Posted: February 14, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5815326)
With the disintegration of Felix Hernandez, the only real contemporaries of Sabathia's to be good HOF candidates are Greinke and Verlander. Who am I missing?


Halladay, but obviously he's not going to be siphoning votes away from CC during Sabathia's time on the ballot...
   25. Booey Posted: February 14, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5815327)
Scherzer


Scherzer and Kershaw came quite a bit later and are (likely) going to hit the ballot quite a bit later. They're probably not going to be battling CC for votes.
   26. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 14, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5815329)
Sabathia must've had a cameo in Speed Racer.


I laughed.
   27. cookiedabookie Posted: February 14, 2019 at 01:51 PM (#5815339)
My favorite CC factoid. His 130.2 innings with Milwaukee were so good that his career ERA is lower than his ERA with either the Indians or the Yankees (3339.1 total innings)

And he is absolutely a HoF pitcher
   28. baudib Posted: February 14, 2019 at 02:00 PM (#5815342)
So Halladay, Verlander, Greinke and Sabathia. Nice group, but quite a big drop from Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, Pedro. Mussina, Glavine, Schilling, Smoltz is probably as good or better than Sabathia's group.

The last Cy Young of the Clemens group was by Roger in 2004. From there you have to go to Kershaw's emergence in 2011 to find a real candidate for a top ~15 all time starter.
   29. Jose is an Absurd Kahuna Posted: February 14, 2019 at 02:01 PM (#5815343)
With the disintegration of Felix Hernandez, the only real contemporaries of Sabathia's to be good HOF candidates are Greinke and Verlander. Who am I missing?


"Good" is obviously a bit subjective but Jon Lester is the name that jumped into my head. 177 wins (CC was at 214 at the same age) though coming off a much better year than 34 year old CC had. Plus a bunch of soft points; overcoming cancer, One dominant post-season (2013) and won a World Series clinching game in 2007.
   30. Baldrick Posted: February 14, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5815359)
Scherzer and Kershaw came quite a bit later and are (likely) going to hit the ballot quite a bit later. They're probably not going to be battling CC for votes.

Scherzer is four years younger than Sabathia, within a year of Greinke, and a decent bit older than Felix who was posited as one of Sabathia's contemporaries in the original question.

Edit: It's true that with his late start, Scherzer didn't become a dominant starter until after Sabathia was done as a dominant starter. So they're not 'contemporaries' in the sense that there was ever a point where you'd talk about 'the best pitchers in baseball' and include both of them. That's fair.
   31. Esteban Rivera Posted: February 14, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5815377)
The thing with Sabathia is that quite a few of the pitchers who would be his contemporaries have already retired. I'd say a solid list of contemporaries would be (in no particular order):

Roy Halladay
Justin Verlander
Zack Greinke
Johan Santana
Felix Hernandez
Mark Buehrle
Tim Hudson
Roy Oswalt
Bartolo Colon
Cliff Lee
Jake Peavy
Adam Wainwright
John Lackey
Barry Zito
Brandon Webb
Carlos Zambrano

There are some others that could be mentioned and that's not counting guys like Kershaw, Scherzer, Hamels or Lester who started a few years later or the tail end of the guys who started in the 90s.
   32. Srul Itza Posted: February 14, 2019 at 03:26 PM (#5815383)
if he decided to drag it out, I think he COULD get to 300.


Sure -- if he develops a knuckleball, and pitches until he's 45.
   33. DL from MN Posted: February 14, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5815385)
Halladay, Scherzer, Verlander and Greinke is not nearly enough pitchers from this era.
   34. Ithaca2323 Posted: February 14, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5815386)
The issue, as always, is how do we define "contemporary"?

How many years do careers need to overlap? Does it matter that Halladay was elected to the Hall, and Santana dropped from the ballot, before CC retired?
   35. baudib Posted: February 14, 2019 at 03:36 PM (#5815389)
Buehrle probably could have pitched till he was 40. Give him 250 wins and he becomes a pretty interesting candidate.

   36. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 14, 2019 at 03:36 PM (#5815391)

Cole Hamels is looking like he will have a surprisingly good case, but he's the kind of guy who needs to pitch until he's at least 40 to have a reasonable chance with the voters.
   37. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 14, 2019 at 03:44 PM (#5815399)

Halladay, Scherzer, Verlander and Greinke is not nearly enough pitchers from this era.

Kershaw as well.

And there will probably be a few more guys who are currently too young to speculate about who end up in the discussion. Bumgarner, Sale, maybe Kluber if he keeps this up (although he got a very late start).
   38. DanG Posted: February 14, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5815402)
Most Pitching WAR, SP debuting 1993+:

Player            WAR WAAERA+   W   L     IP From   To   Age
Roy Halladay     65.5 40.5  131 203 105 2749.1 1998 2013 21
-36
Justin Verlander 63.8 38.1  126 204 123 2759.0 2005 2018 22
-35
CC Sabathia      62.2 29.6  117 246 153 3470.0 2001 2018 20
-37
Clayton Kershaw  62.1 45.4  159 153  69 2096.1 2008 2018 20
-30
Zack Greinke     61.5 38.2  124 187 118 2663.1 2004 2018 20
-34
Andy Pettitte    60.7 29.9  117 256 153 3316.0 1995 2013 23
-41
Mark Buehrle     60.3 29.5  117 214 160 3283.1 2000 2015 21
-36
Tim Hudson       56.9 30.1  120 222 133 3126.2 1999 2015 23
-39
Cole Hamels      55.4 34.6  124 156 114 2553.0 2006 2018 22
-34
Max Scherzer     52.9 34.7  131 159  82 2117.2 2008 2018 23
-33
Felix Hernandez  51.0 26.2  120 168 128 2658.0 2005 2018 19
-32
Johan Santana    51.0 32.6  136 139  78 2025.2 2000 2012 21
-33
Roy Oswalt       50.0 32.4  127 163 102 2245.1 2001 2013 23
-35
Bartolo Colon    48.0 16.2  106 247 188 3461.2 1997 2018 24
-45
Brad Radke       45.7 22.2  113 148 139 2451.0 1995 2006 22
-33
Jon Lester       44.6 23.4  122 177  98 2366.0 2006 2018 22
-34
Javier Vazquez   43.6 19.5  105 165 160 2840.0 1998 2011 21
-34
Chris Sale       43.1 29.2  144 103  62 1482.1 2010 2018 21
-29 

   39. base ball chick Posted: February 14, 2019 at 04:00 PM (#5815408)
CC >>>>>>> jack EFF morris, so he's in

gotta compare guys to the lowest hanging fruit
   40. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: February 14, 2019 at 04:08 PM (#5815412)
I tend to be more of a career than peak voter, but I really want to support Johan Santana. The guy led the league in virtually everything for three years, and was excellent-to-dominant in every season he was an ERA qualifier (seven seasons), plus two superb seasons as a bullpen/starter swingman. Unfortunately, he adds next to nothing outside of that.
   41. baudib Posted: February 14, 2019 at 04:19 PM (#5815422)
Santana not putting together a HOF career is probably one of the biggest upsets we've seen since Doc Gooden.
   42. Walt Davis Posted: February 14, 2019 at 04:27 PM (#5815427)
Halladay, Scherzer, Verlander and Greinke is not nearly enough pitchers from this era.

Meh, it happens. The "80s" gave us Jack MOrris and Dennis Martinez and a bunch of guys with some great years who got hurt. If, miracle of miracles, Prior stays healthy and Wood stays healthy and Webb stays healthy and Oswalt lasts and Peavy stays healthy and Hudson lasts a bit longer/better and Zito/Mulder last and Chris Carpenter's arm doesn't fall off every other season ... Johan Santana was 39 last year and has at least 250 wins and 3000 Ks in an alternate universe.

But at least we live in an era where a guy with Halladay's record doesn't have a hard time of it. His early death probably boosted his vote total but it's still good news for Scherzer and Verlander. Verlander is turning 36 and has "only" 204 wins and 2750 innings with an ERA+ of "only" 126. That's 3/4 of Mussina's career (almost exactly) or Marichal's. Except in wins, it's not much more than half of Gaylord Perry's career. He of course has a chance (a rather good one) of finishing off that last quarter of Mussina's career and probably some chance of having a late career like Clemens or Ryan.

Pretty good comp:

Marichal 24-33: 2805 IP, 202-97, 132 ERA+, 2.90 FIP, 3.65 K/BB, 1904 Ks, 57.5 WAR
Verlander car: 2759 IP, 204-123, 126 ERA+, 3.42 FIP, 3.35 K/BB, 2706 Ks, 63.8 WAR

The WAR difference mostly comes from RA9role (plus some PF) -- i.e. because starters used to pitch more of a team's innings and relievers of the day weren't 1-inning specialists, there was only a tiny SP-RP ERA gap so Verlander gets a bigger correction. The flip side is that Marichal's 57.5 WAR came in just 9 seasons while Verlander's 64 is spread out over 14. Verlander's best 9 consecutive are the 9 he just finished at 48.6 WAR.

Outside of that, Marichal didn't add much --700 innings, 41 wins, 4 WAR, -2 WAA. So in that sense, Verlander could call it a day. It's just that Marichal and Mussina weren't the best of their "generations."

   43. DanG Posted: February 14, 2019 at 04:44 PM (#5815440)
Most Pitching WAR, SP debuting 1971-83 (between Blyleven and Clemens):

Player           WAR WAA/   W   L     IP From   To   Age ERA+
Rick Reuschel   68.3 38.2 214 191 3548.1 1972 1991 23-42  114
Frank Tanana    57.6 20.0 240 236 4188.1 1973 1993 19
-39  106
Dave Stieb      56.8 31.0 176 137 2895.1 1979 1998 21
-40  122
Orel Hershiser  51.6 24.9 204 150 3130.1 1983 2000 24
-41  112
Dennis Martinez 49.5 14.9 245 193 3999.2 1976 1998 22
-44  106
Ron Guidry      48.2 26.6 170  91 2392.0 1975 1988 24
-37  119
Frank Viola     47.4 22.4 176 150 2836.1 1982 1996 22
-36  112
Steve Rogers    45.3 21.3 158 152 2837.2 1973 1985 23
-35  116
Jack Morris     44.0  9.7 254 186 3824.0 1977 1994 22
-39  105
Bob Welch       43.5 15.9 211 146 3092.0 1978 1994 21
-37  106 

Reuschel and Stieb are in the Hall of Merit.
   44. baudib Posted: February 14, 2019 at 04:48 PM (#5815443)
Even if healthy, none of those guys are in the class of Clemens/Maddux/Martinez/Johnson except maybe Santana. Goes to show how special that class of late-80s/1990s pitchers were.

In the 1980s you have Gooden and Saberhagen. Dave Stieb? Fernando had 32 WAR by age 26, he ended up with 37.

The 1970s had a large amount of very long career guys who made the HOF -- Seaver, Carlton, Ryan, Jenkins, Perry, Niekro, Sutton, Palmer, Blyleven.
   45. Baldrick Posted: February 14, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5815444)
Most Pitching WAR, SP debuting 1971-83 (between Blyleven and Clemens):

FWIW, Eck had 46 WAR as a starter, then added another 17 as a reliever.
   46. Adam Starblind Posted: February 14, 2019 at 07:36 PM (#5815492)
I always lump Gooden, Cone, Saberhagen, Hersheiser.
   47. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 14, 2019 at 08:01 PM (#5815496)
I tend to be more of a career than peak voter,


I'm all peak. IMHO if you are the best for 5-6 years then I'll happy to see you elected. Below is a interesting example.

Cole Hamels 55.4 34.6 124 156 114 2553.0 2006 2018 22-34
Max Scherzer 52.9 34.7 131 159 82 2117.2 2008 2018 23-33

The last 6 years Scherzer has 6 top 5 CY finishes, winning 3 times and accumulated 51 points of black ink. That is dominance. Unless he totally falls apart, I'd vote for him for the hall.
Hamels, who is a fine hurler for his part, at this stage I wouldn't even give a 2nd look.
   48. bbmck Posted: February 14, 2019 at 08:14 PM (#5815498)
1947 ballot: Carl Hubbell who last played in 1943, has two MVPs and 253 Wins gets 87% of the vote, Lefty Grove who last played in 1941, has one MVP and 300 Wins gets 76.4% of the vote. At least 17 voters picked Hubbell but not Grove. Not going to make any sense of that so starting with pitchers who first appeared on a later ballot with 50+ WAR, 200-299 Wins and under 100 Saves:

1948: Red Ruffing 3.3%, Jack Quinn 1.7% (Herb Pennock elected)
1949: Red Ruffing 14.4% (Kid Nichols, Mordecai Brown)
1950: Red Ruffing 7.1%
1951: Red Ruffing 4%
1952: Red Ruffing 4.3%

1953: Red Ruffing 9.1% (Dizzy Dean, Chief Bender)
1954: Red Ruffing 11.5%
1955: Red Ruffing 23.9% (Ted Lyons, Dazzy Vance)
1956: Red Ruffing 50.3%, Jack Quinn 0.5%, George Uhle 0.5%
1958: Red Ruffing 37.2%, Jack Quinn 3.4%, Carl Mays 2.3%, George Uhle 1.5%

1960: Red Ruffing 32%, George Uhle 1.5%, Jack Quinn 0.7%
1962: Bob Feller 93.8%, Red Ruffing 45%, Hal Newhouser 2.5%
1963: No main ballot (John Clarkson, Eppa Rixey)
1964: Red Ruffing 70.1%, Hal Newhouser 12.9% (Tim Keefe, Burleigh Grimes, Red Faber, John Ward)
1965: No main ballot (Pud Galvin)
1966: Red Ruffing 68.9%, Hal Newhouser 10.6%

1967: Red Ruffing 72.6%, Hal Newhouser 21.2%
1968: Hal Newhouser 23.7%
1969: Hal Newhouser 24.1% (Waite Hoyt, Stan Coveleski)
1970: Hal Newhouser 26.7%, Billy Pierce 1.7% (Jesse Haines)
1971: Hal Newhouser 26.1%, Billy Pierce 1.9% (Rube Marquard)
1972: Hal Newhouser 23.2%, Billy Pierce 1% (Sandy Koufax, Early Wynn, Lefty Gomez)

1973: Whitey Ford 67.1%, Robin Roberts 56.1%, Hal Newhouser 20.8%, Billy Pierce 1.1% (Warren Spahn, Mickey Welch)
1974: Whitey Ford 77.8%, Robin Roberts 61.4%, Hal Newhouser 20%, Billy Pierce 1.1%
1975: Robin Roberts 72.7%, Hal Newhouser 42.8%, Don Drysdale 21%
1976: Robin Roberts 86.9%, Don Drysdale 29.4% (Bob Lemon)
1977: Don Drysdale 51.4%, Jim Bunning 38.1% (Amos Rusie)

1978: Don Drysdale 57.8%, Jim Bunning 47.8% (Addie Joss)
1979: Don Drysdale 53.9%, Jim Bunning 34%
1980: Don Drysdale 61.8%, Jim Bunning 46%
1981: Bob Gibson 84%, Don Drysdale 60.6%, Juan Marichal 58.1%, Jim Bunning 40.9%
1982: Juan Marichal 73.5%, Don Drysdale 56.1%, Jim Bunning 33.3%

1983: Juan Marichal 83.7%, Don Drysdale 64.7%, Jim Bunning 36.9%
1984: Don Drysdale 78.4%, Jim Bunning 49.9%
1985: Jim Bunning 54.2% (Hoyt Wilhelm)
1986: Jim Bunning 65.6%
1987: Jim Bunning 70% (Catfish Hunter)

1988: Jim Bunning 74.2%, Luis Tiant 30.9%
1989: Jim Bunning 63.3%, Fergie Jenkins 52.3%, Jim Kaat 19.5%, Luis Tiant 10.5%
1990: Jim Palmer 92.6%, Fergie Jenkins 66.7%, Jim Bunning 57.9%, Jim Kaat 17.8%, Luis Tiant 9.5%
1991: Fergie Jenkins 75.4%, Jim Bunning 63.7%, Jim Kaat 14%, Luis Tiant 7.2%, Jerry Koosman 0.9% (Gaylord Perry)
1992: Jim Kaat 26.5%, Luis Tiant 11.6% (Tom Seaver, Hal Newhouser, Rollie Fingers)

1993: Jim Kaat 29.6%, Luis Tiant 14.7%
1994: Jim Kaat 21.5%, Luis Tiant 9.2% (Steve Carlton)
1995: Jim Kaat 21.7%, Tommy John 21.3%, Luis Tiant 9.8% (Vic Willis)
1996: Tommy John 21.7%, Jim Kaat 19.4%, Luis Tiant 13.6% (Jim Bunning)
1997: Jim Kaat 22.6%, Tommy John 20.5%, Luis Tiant 11.2%, Rick Reuschel 0.4% (Phil Niekro)

1998: Tommy John 27.3%, Jim Kaat 27.3%, Bert Blyleven 17.5%, Luis Tiant 13.1% (Don Sutton)
1999: Jim Kaat 20.1%, Tommy John 18.7%, Bert Blyleven 14.1%, Luis Tiant 10.7%, Frank Tanana 0% (Nolan Ryan)
2000: Tommy John 27.1%, Jim Kaat 25.1%, Bert Blyleven 17.4%, Luis Tiant 17.2%
2001: Tommy John 28.3%, Jim Kaat 26.2%, Bert Blyleven 23.5%, Luis Tiant 12.2%
2002: Tommy John 26.9%, Bert Blyleven 26.3%, Jim Kaat 23.1%, Luis Tiant 18%

2003: Bert Blyleven 29.2%, Jim Kaat 26.2%, Tommy John 23.4%
2004: Bert Blyleven 35.4%, Tommy John 21.9% (Dennis Eckersley)
2005: Bert Blyleven 40.9%, Tommy John 23.8%
2006: Bert Blyleven 53.3%, Tommy John 29.6%, Orel Hershiser 11.2% (Bruce Sutter)
2007: Bert Blyleven 47.7%, Tommy John 22.9%, Orel Hershiser 4.4%

2008: Bert Blyleven 61.9%, Tommy John 29.1%, Chuck Finley 0.2% (Goose Gossage)
2009: Bert Blyleven 62.7%, Tommy John 31.7%
2010: Bert Blyleven 74.2%
2011: Bert Blyleven 79.7%, Kevin Brown 2.1%
2012: no qualifying pitchers
2013: Curt Schilling 38.8%, David Wells 0.9%

2014: Curt Schilling 29.2%, Mike Mussina 20.3%, Kenny Rogers 0.2% (Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine)
2015: Pedro Martinez 91.1%, Curt Schilling 39.2%, Mike Mussina 24.6% (Randy Johnson, John Smoltz)
2016: Curt Schilling 52.3%, Mike Mussina 43%
2017: Mike Mussina 51.8%, Curt Schilling 45%
2018: Mike Mussina 63.5%, Curt Schilling 51.2% (Jack Morris, Trevor Hoffman)
2019: Roy Halladay 85.4%, Mike Mussina 76.7%, Curt Schilling 60.9%, Andy Pettitte 9.9% (Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith)

2021: Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson
2025: CC Sabathia

Justin Verlander only needs to retire.
Zack Greinke needs 13 Wins, Felix Hernandez 32, Max Scherzer 41, Cole Hamels 44 and Clayton Kershaw 47.
Bartolo Colon needs 3.9 WAR.
Jon Lester 6.2 WAR/23 Wins, Chris Sale 7/97, Adam Wainwright 11.8/52, David Price 12.1/57, John Lackey 12.3/12 and Madison Bumgarner 15.8/90.
   49. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 15, 2019 at 11:37 AM (#5815630)
I would think that ~ 65 WAR, 260 Wins, and a strong narrative should be enough to get Sabathia in the Hall, maybe on the 2nd or 3rd ballot. He's got the CYA, a WS with the Yankees, and his memorable late-season effort to pitch Milwaukee to the playoffs. Might speed things up if he can exit on a successful 2019 season, albeit in a reduced role, leaving the voters with the thought that he was good enough to still pitch at age 38, and left some wins on the table when he retired. The probable less-crowded ballot environment should also help CC.
   50. JL72 Posted: February 15, 2019 at 12:05 PM (#5815647)
Might speed things up if he can exit on a successful 2019 season, albeit in a reduced role, leaving the voters with the thought that he was good enough to still pitch at age 38, and left some wins on the table when he retired.


I would be curious to see if that helps players. I don't get the sense that it did for Mussina (who could have gotten to 300 wins), but he is a bit of an odd case.
   51. alilisd Posted: February 15, 2019 at 07:40 PM (#5815805)
I tend to be more of a career than peak voter,

I'm all peak.


I'm not as extreme as the Hugh, but I cannot understand being more career than peak. If you never played at a HOF level for a sustained period, who cares how long you play? You're not a HOF caliber player. Emphasizing career over peak leads to Harold Baines getting elected! I know, I know, that's not why Baines was elected, but that's the basically the way I see career emphasis over peak.
   52. QLE Posted: February 16, 2019 at 12:28 AM (#5815825)
If you never played at a HOF level for a sustained period, who cares how long you play? You're not a HOF caliber player.


From my analysis of position players, it seems that this is an especially big issue with analyzing players with between 50 and 70 career WAR- in that range, you end up with a large number of players who were very good for a while but were only great briefly, as well as a mixture of players who actually were great but who, for a variety of reasons, had peak-focused values. Any effort to engage in consideration of players in this band that does not look at each one individually is bound to have problems- the people who would just draw a WAR line in the sand will either miss deserving folk, include the undeserving, or both.
   53. Booey Posted: February 16, 2019 at 01:57 AM (#5815828)
#52 - Agreed completely, but that's only for players in that 50-70 WAR borderline zone. For the Baines, Morris, Vizquel types, they just plain weren't good enough at their best to be (deserving) HOFers, no matter how long they lasted or what compiling milestones they almost hit. Just like there needs to be SOME basic threshold for career value, there also needs to be SOME basic level of peak dominance, as well. It doesn't make sense that not playing like a HOFer for a really long time can eventually make you one.
   54. bbmck Posted: February 16, 2019 at 03:17 AM (#5815829)
Setting the bar at 50 WAR is just the modern version of setting the bar at 200 Wins or 2000 Hits as the voters seems to have done or there has been about half a century of coincidences since Koufax was elected with so many things on the other side of the ledger that a 165 game winner was inducted. Setting the bar at 70 WAR is just the modern version of a "clean" 300 Wins or 3000 Hits.

Dennis Martinez and Tim Hudson have a 10 year run of averaging about 200 IP, 2.5 WAA and 4 WAR. No subscription needed, just go to a b-ref player page, eyeball the best decade of performance, click twice and you have the information. If you discard Martinez because the rest of the career doesn't lead to a sum of 50 WAR you've done the same thing that presumably many BBWAA voters did when they noticed that Bret Saberhagen, David Cone or Johan Santana didn't have 200 Wins.

The basic threshold for performance should be that you go to the player page, click to sort the WAR or WAA or RAR (to get relievers without leverage adjustment) or get fancy and IP/PA then discard the bottom and then click on ERA+, OPS+, FIP or whatever. There will be some mental arithmetic required if someone was traded mid-season while performing at a high level but it's still pretty easy to manage when you can use the projected BBWAA ballot on b-ref and you have 5 years to check out a candidate.

10 seasons is an obvious minimum on the basis of HoF induction requirements although 15 can also be appropriate as current BBWAA voting pretty much excludes anyone with a shorter career and maybe your preferred first pass cutoff is based on 5 or 7 seasons. Even Andruw Jones with a "proper" career length is getting support from 1 in 13 BBWAA voters because he didn't play well long enough. If you're normally looking for 10 seasons of 2+ WAR if the top of the row is 10.7, 10.3 and 8.1 you might not want to scratch him off your list quite yet for only having 7 seasons of 2+ WAR.

If instead you go to the b-ref ballot, sort the WAR column and say yes to anyone ("clean") with 70+ and no to anyone below 50, it's unfortunate that Cliff Lee wasn't worth a minute of your time because his career WAR starts with a 4. Not thinking he's worthy or one of the ten or fifteen most worthy is a reasonable conclusion that many people will reach but letting 43.5 or 143 decide is terrible way to reach that conclusion.
   55. QLE Posted: February 16, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5815872)
#53-

Oh, I very much agree with that sentiment as well- bulk is bulk, and I sincerely can't think of a player worthy of the HOF/HOM who merited induction because of it.
   56. DanG Posted: February 16, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5815881)
Here's a simple system for looking at careers. Surely, this will be too simple for some, but I like it as a quick way to get a picture of a player's career.

On another site, someone called Carl Yastrzemski a compiler, because he just played forever putting up mediocre seasons to compile his impressive numbers. I said no, Yaz should not be labeled this, because he was also a truly great player for a few years. When we apply the pejorative "compiler" to a player we mean that he never established himself as a great player; he compiled impressive career counting stats because he played forever, period.

To illustrate this point, I created this chart based on players' WAA:

Level              WAA
Historic
:          7.5 or more
MVP
:               5.0 to 7.4
All
-star:          2.6 to 4.9
Very good 
or Star1.6 to 2.5
Above ave 
or Good0.6 to 1.5
Average
:          -0.4 to 0.5
Below ave 
or Bad: -1.4 to -0.5
Replacement
:      -1.5 or less 

Here's a comparison of Yaz with Baines, showing how many seasons they had at each level:

Level      Yaz Baines
Historic    2    0
MVP         1    0
All
-star    6    0
Star        3    1
Good        4    9
Average     3    6
Bad         2    4
Replacement 2    2
# Seasons  23   22 

It's obvious that Yaz' profile as a star player is vastly higher than Baines', with 12 years at Star level or better versus 1 for Baines. We can make this even more obvious by assigning points to each level. Here's a first attempt I made at doing this:

Level      Points
Historic     6
MVP          5
All
-star     4
Star         3
Good         2
Average      1
Bad         
-1
Replacement 
-

Applying this point system to Yaz' and Baines' careers looks like this:

Level      Yaz   Baines
Historic    12    0
MVP          5    0
All
-star    24    0
Star         9    3
Good         8   18
Average      3    6
Bad         
-2   -4
Replacement 
-4   -4
Total       55   19 

This is just something I've started playing with. The point system can be improved by running through a lot of players, but I haven't done that yet. I'll leave you with one more comparison.

Here are Omar Vizquel, Rabbit Maranville and Nomar Garciaparra:

Level    Omar Rabbit Nomar
Historic    0    0   0
MVP         0    0   1
All
-star    1    4   5
Star        2    3   0
Good        6    1   1
Average     7    6   4
Bad         7    7   2
Replacement 1    2   1
# Seasons  24   23  14 

and their points

Level     Omar Rabbit Nomar
Historic     0    0   0
MVP          0    0   5
All
-star     4   16  20
Star         6    9   0
Good        12    2   2
Average      7    6   4
Bad         
-7   -7  -2
Replacement 
-2   -4  -2
Total       20   22  27 

Again, pretty simple, just a way of breaking down year by year WAA to paint a picture of a career.








   57. DanG Posted: February 16, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5815882)
The above system gives us another way of talking about players' hall of fame cases. Take Omar and Rabbit. Rabbit had seven years at Star level or better (eight if you give him war credit), versus three for Omar.

Maranville is usually seen as a mistake of the HOF electors. Using him to justify Omar Vizquel's election is wrong for that reason. Alternatively, we could use Rabbit as the border that Omar must cross to make it into the Hall. Unless you're into the time-lining game, I see no way to get Omar over Rabbit.

   58. alilisd Posted: February 16, 2019 at 05:07 PM (#5815904)
Any effort to engage in consideration of players in this band that does not look at each one individually is bound to have problems- the people who would just draw a WAR line in the sand will either miss deserving folk, include the undeserving, or both.


I wasn't advocating any line for in and out, I'm simply saying you have to have some sustained peak, and this very much involves, for me, analyzing and evaluating each player individually. What sort of peak did they have? How do they compare to peers, and to existing HOF players at their position? Although it was two pitchers, not position players as you mentioned, the comparison the Hugh made above really resonates for me. Two players with comparable WAR and playing time, but one with a distinctly better peak, give me the guy with the peak every time if we're talking HOF. JAWS sort of does this, although it's far from perfect. With the two pitchers the Hugh used, Scherzer has 2.1 fewer WAR right now, but a JAWS score 3.9 higher than Hamels because he has a JAWS7 that's nearly 10 WAR higher.
   59. alilisd Posted: February 16, 2019 at 05:08 PM (#5815905)
For the Baines, Morris, Vizquel types, they just plain weren't good enough at their best to be (deserving) HOFers, no matter how long they lasted or what compiling milestones they almost hit. Just like there needs to be SOME basic threshold for career value, there also needs to be SOME basic level of peak dominance, as well. It doesn't make sense that not playing like a HOFer for a really long time can eventually make you one.


Yes, well said!
   60. alilisd Posted: February 16, 2019 at 05:16 PM (#5815908)
Here's a comparison of Yaz with Baines, showing how many seasons they had at each level:

Level      Yaz Baines
Historic    2    0
MVP         1    0
All-star    6    0
Star        3    1
Good        4    9
Average     3    6
Bad         2    4
Replacement 2    2
# Seasons  23   22 


Beautiful! The shortstop comparison is fantastic as well. I really like this!
   61. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 16, 2019 at 07:19 PM (#5815918)
10 seasons is an obvious minimum on the basis of HoF induction requirements although 15 can also be appropriate as current BBWAA voting pretty much excludes anyone with a shorter career and maybe your preferred first pass cutoff is based on 5 or 7 seasons.

My preference is actually not to take any one number of seasons at all, because you'll always end up arbitrarily giving someone an advantage. I prefer to take the average of best season, best two seasons, best three seasons... out to best (a large number - I use 20, but this can be modified to preference) seasons, plus career value at the end. (Technically I cut it off at best 19 seasons and career value takes the place of 20.) How this works out mathematically is:

1.0 * best season + .95 * second-best season + .9 * third-best season + ... + .1* 19th-best season + .05* (all seasons past 19).

Gives a nice balance of peak and career (which is especially helpful in evaluating people with missing sections in their careers, such as wartime or non-MLB play. Or active players, for that matter.)
   62. Booey Posted: February 16, 2019 at 07:30 PM (#5815920)
On another site, someone called Carl Yastrzemski a compiler, because he just played forever putting up mediocre seasons to compile his impressive numbers. I said no, Yaz should not be labeled this, because he was also a truly great player for a few years.


Yaz is a weird one. His batting averages and power numbers were wildly inconsistent throughout his career. He won 3 batting titles, but also had a bunch of .260-.270 seasons. He hit 40 homers 3 times, but had just one more season of as many as 25 and had 14 full-ish seasons with less than 20.

Value wise, he had 3 epic seasons (1967, 1968, 1970) where he produced a total of 32.5 WAR - a third of his career total. That means that the rest of his career he put up 63.9 WAR in 20 years. He was basically Dave Winfield...with 3 all time great seasons tacked on. That's not an insult; Winfield is already a HOFer, and 3 extra massive seasons aren't something that can just be hand waved away. It's just hard to say if Yaz should be considered "inner circle" when he really wasn't for the vast majority of his career. He's always been a hard one for me to rank.
   63. bbmck Posted: February 16, 2019 at 08:38 PM (#5815925)
[56] WAA places more value relative to WAR on the Big Three: Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, Buck Ewing. Among others: Kenny Lofton, Barry Larkin, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker and Willie Randolph and generally helps Catchers. But especially using WAA as opposed to WAR the inclusion of negative seasons is puzzling. The White Sox presumably don't expect a 43 year old Omar Vizquel to be an average player and offer him $3mil to play for them for 2 years. Omar becomes less HoF worthy because he didn't decline millions of dollars to play baseball?

Even mid-career, 26 year old Willie McCovey presumably playing hurt might have cost the Giants the pennant because the franchise doesn't have the resources and/or desire to bench McCovey or send him to Tacoma. McCovey is under contract for probably about $30k and he's supposed to go up to ownership and say my knee/shoulder/hip is really bothering me, I'm hitting below .200, I'm taking painkillers by the handful just to play and decades from now box score analysis will reveal that this is the worst defensive season of my career, let me go home and rest and recover for 3 months and if you're in contention which you should be with a replacement level player, I'll come back healthy and help you with the stretch drive.

Playing poorly certainly shouldn't help a HoF case but management's decision to give 43 year old Omar or 26 year old McCovey around 400 PA shouldn't hurt one either. If anything you would use a career length penalty which wouldn't apply to either Omar or McCovey. If you have fewer than 10 or 12 or 15 average+ seasons then you get -1 for each season or the first 3 seasons you fall short and then -2 for each additional season. Penalizing Juan Marichal for 165 IP and 94 ERA+ in 1972 because it's -1.2 WAA and not penalizing Sandy Koufax a far worse pitcher in 1970 is highly illogical. If Juan must maintain at least an average level of performance at 34 then Koufax should be held to the same standard. You also need a minimum PA and/or WAA unless you want to give credit to Minnie Minoso for having an average quality season at 50 and 54. Admittedly he got considerably more BBWAA support after those seasons so maybe HoF voters did give him credit for 2 average seasons.

Beyond that WAA^X generally works better than 5.0 is 20% better than 4.9. Use docs.google spreadsheet enter 1 in A1, A2 =sum(A1+0.5), copy A2 down to A19, B1 =sum(A1^C1), copy B1 down to B19, C2 =sum(C1), copy C2 down to C19 and then enter an exponent in C1 maybe 1.25, look at the B column, change C1 until the B column reflects your views of performance. If you use 1.33 then an 8 WAA season is worth roughly 2.5 seasons of 4 WAA, 1.6 and it's roughly three 4 WAA seasons = one 8 WAA season. If you want to get fancier can also do something like adding =sum((WAA-4)^C1) for seasons of at least 5 WAA to accelerate the curve without creating that huge gap 4.9 to 5.0.

For ranking all the players eligible for the Hall of Merit it's pretty time consuming to make the initial spreadsheet but you only have to do it once each time bWAR, fWAR, Win Shares, WAG or your preferred custom metric at Baseball Gauge has it's underlying calculations altered as well as adding new candidates annually. For a Hall of Fame ballot it's trivial.
   64. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: February 16, 2019 at 08:49 PM (#5815927)
Not to bring race into it, though I guess that's precisely what I'm doing, but I believe that if Sabathia makes the HOF he'd be only the 3rd non-Hispanic black starting pitcher to do so based on his MLB numbers (which of course excludes guys who are in for their Negro League careers), joining Bob Gibson & (Canadian, so not actually African-American) Ferguson Jenkins. Lee Smith is, I think, the only such reliever.

   65. DanG Posted: February 17, 2019 at 09:28 AM (#5815960)
[63] Yes, I have long agreed that negative seasons shouldn't work against a player's HOF case. I'll take another stab at assigning points to the levels.

As for doing a ton of data input, that's something I was doing a lot of 30 years ago. Maybe when/if I retire I'll get back to doing that.
   66. bbmck Posted: February 17, 2019 at 08:28 PM (#5816027)
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11lscYGMMY0xiX_bQnsxm_qLFqGIgLcU-LzPGNvXnGgg/edit?usp=sharing

Total column sums all the way to AA column if you add more numbers. Can change individual seasons for pitcher hitting, playoff success or whatever. Can have a different exponent for pitchers and position players, can use the exponent as a PED penalty or whatever. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are Top 2 by an absurd margin and not listed, everyone else on the 2020 ballot with a reasonable chance at 5% listed other than Billy Wagner because Billy's total would be way too low to be useful. Also Josh Donaldson because he is one of my preferred sanity checks, when he passes Derek Jeter at 1.8 it's a pretty good indication that the exponent is too high unless that reflects your view on the players. Also CC Sabathia since he's officially the topic of the thread.

Changing Main can be annoying, anyone changing any other page is the intended purpose.
   67. Ziggy's screen name Posted: February 17, 2019 at 10:20 PM (#5816031)
Allow me to be the voice of the opposition. If I had a HOF vote, I'd vote career only, no consideration for peak as such. What matters (and what the HOF voting criteria tell you to look at) is your contribution to your team. That doesn't mean that peak performance is unimportant. Peak performance is important only insofar as it contributes to your team winning - which of course it does! In fact, since you need above-average players in order to win a pennant (pretty much by definition), the "WAR-to-value" function isn't linear. A pure career voter can (and should) give extra credit to above average performance. Even on career value alone Baines isn't anywhere near qualified for the hall of fame, but if he'd continued plugging along hitting 20 HR with a .280 batting average each year until he was 60 years old, hell yes he'd be qualified for the hall of fame. He would have contributed an enormous amount to his teams over that forty year career.

N.B. 60 isn't an exaggeration. If he continued at his career rates for an additional 18 years after his actual retirement he'd get up to 68 WAR (and 5000 hits!), which even for a career-only voter might still be borderline for someone with no peak.

Playing poorly certainly shouldn't help a HoF case but management's decision to give 43 year old Omar or 26 year old McCovey around 400 PA shouldn't hurt one either.


And I think I'll disagree with this in spirit if not in detail. The post was about WAA, which I think is an inappropriate metric for HOF debate (since even below average play wins games). But negative WAR certainly should hurt your case. If a player posts negative WAR he's hurting his team, and hence it falls under the "contributions to his team" criteria for HOF voting. He made a negative contribution. We don't (and shouldn't) give someone HOF credit for sitting on the bench, even if they're better than a starter and even if the decision to make them a backup was the manager's and not theirs. By parity of reasoning we should deduct from a player's HOF case if they're costing their team wins even if it's not their decision to run out there every day.
   68. baudib Posted: February 17, 2019 at 10:52 PM (#5816034)
Surely there have been studies on this, right? Totally ignorant of the results I'm going to say that I'd guess that an 8.0 WAR season gets you to the postseason more than twice as often as a 4.0 WAR season. To give a specific example, I'm pretty sure breakdowns of Koufax's great seasons illustrate this. Could be wrong on all of this though.

   69. Rob_Wood Posted: February 18, 2019 at 12:00 AM (#5816036)
Several people have looked into this including me. The results of my study was published in one of the recent HOM ballot discussion threads (maybe the 2018 thread). If anybody is interested, they can probably easily find it.
   70. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 18, 2019 at 12:26 AM (#5816038)
But negative WAR certainly should hurt your case. If a player posts negative WAR he's hurting his team, and hence it falls under the "contributions to his team" criteria for HOF voting.

My take on negative WAR seasons is: There are three circumstances in which a player can post a negative WAR.

First, WAR does not accurately represent the player's contribution to his team, and he in fact made a positive contribution. (This would be more common in deadball era play, when defensive metrics are rougher and fielding was more important. But it's still very possible today; WAR doesn't consider everything.) In this case, the player should not be penalized.

Second, WAR accurately represents the player's contribution, but the team did not have a better option available at his position. In this case, the player's value over the actual replacement level available to his team is positive (or at least zero), and he should not be penalized.

Third, WAR accurately represents the player's contribution and his team did have a better option available, but didn't use it for whatever reason. In this case, it is the manager's responsibility to best deploy the players available to him, and his failure to do this is not the player's fault, so he should not be penalized.

I understand why negative WAR values exist and would not eliminate them from use in year-to-year player evaluation. But in circumstances where you're considering the player's entire career (which is generally just Hall of Fame discussion), I zero out the negative years. Otherwise you end up (slightly) penalizing Roberto Clemente for being a Rule 5 draft pick on an awful team at the beginning of his career, or Harmon Killebrew for being a bonus baby back when the rules were stupid.

We don't (and shouldn't) give someone HOF credit for sitting on the bench, even if they're better than a starter and even if the decision to make them a backup was the manager's and not theirs.

We sometimes give minor league credit, which is similar. I've also seen some references to the possibility of crediting (say) Elston Howard for the years in which he was arguably the second-best catcher in the AL and was benched behind the best.
   71. bbmck Posted: February 18, 2019 at 02:44 AM (#5816042)
"I'm going to say that I'd guess that an 8.0 WAR season gets you to the postseason more than twice as often as a 4.0 WAR season."

While that might run parallel to your view on HoF induction it can be something completely different. Nomar Garciaparra has one of the steepest declines, does his 40.5 WAR in six seasons or does having 6 of the 793 seasons of 6+ position player WAR among players who debuted since 1951 create a compelling HoF case? Min 300 PA: there are 1517 seasons of 5+ position player WAR, 2610 of 4+ and 4363 of 3+ among the 14342 seasons by those players.

Torii Hunter has one of the best careers among those players who never has a 6+ WAR season, 12 consecutive seasons of 3+ WAR totaling 47.2 WAR. Nomar has a 0.5 WAR and 91 PA season during his run if consecutive is a factor you consider important. Assume the math and analysis shows that Nomar gives you a better chance to win a championship. Let's say it even shows that Josh Donaldson even with 2019 and beyond not going well provided his teams with a better chance to win a championship with 31.3 WAR in 4 consecutive years or 36.1 in five. 1961 Norm Cash with 9.2 WAR and .370 BABIP is ahead of 2012 Torii 5.4 WAR and .389 BABIP but beyond that they are pretty similar. If you go by the championship quality of each season then Norm can be ranked considerably ahead of Torii.

I much prefer peak and go Nomar over Josh over Norm over Torii. If someone prefers averaging nearly 4 WAR for 12 straight seasons and goes if I had to draft careers I'd take Torii and forget about CF for a dozen years and prefers him as a HoF candidate over the other three it makes a lot of sense. What I don't think makes much sense is Torii would have been a Hall of Famer if in his early 20s and after 37 he had more 1 or 2 WAR seasons and got his career total up to ~60 WAR. For position players pretty often career WAR suggests career shape and it takes using specific examples. For pitchers career WAR can provide little information especially if you are considering a longer time frame than the BBWAA ballot covers.
   72. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 18, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5816109)
Surely there have been studies on this, right? Totally ignorant of the results I'm going to say that I'd guess that an 8.0 WAR season gets you to the postseason more than twice as often as a 4.0 WAR season. To give a specific example, I'm pretty sure breakdowns of Koufax's great seasons illustrate this. Could be wrong on all of this though.

I want to say I've seen a study a while back that indicated that the increase in pennant value for extra wins in a single season applied primarily in the pre-divisional or pre-Wild Card era. When you can make the playoffs by winning 85 or 89 or 86 or 88 games (totals taken from the 2014-17 AL), concentrating your value into fewer seasons might not make as big a difference.
   73. Rob_Wood Posted: February 18, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5816169)
Good point. My analysis was based upon the pre-division/pre-Wild Card era.
   74. Ithaca2323 Posted: February 18, 2019 at 03:06 PM (#5816187)
Second, WAR accurately represents the player's contribution, but the team did not have a better option available at his position. In this case, the player's value over the actual replacement level available to his team is positive (or at least zero), and he should not be penalized.

Third, WAR accurately represents the player's contribution and his team did have a better option available, but didn't use it for whatever reason. In this case, it is the manager's responsibility to best deploy the players available to him, and his failure to do this is not the player's fault, so he should not be penalized.


I think this opens up some issues.

For example, we penalize players for terrible defense. But the same arguments could be made there, that it's not a player's fault he's a position he physically can't because his team couldn't find a better option or declined to use one (or playing the field at all). Is Adam Dunn a HOFer if he's a career DH? Or Gary Sheffield (PEDs aside, he lands pretty borderline for RF because of his defense)?

Heck, what about a Wade Davis/Andrew Miller type thing? If a pitcher had a good chunk of his career wasted as an ineffective starter, but produces at a HOF level as a reliever—but too briefly to really warrant HOF consideration—are we unfairly penalizing the player for his manager not moving him to the pen earlier and wasting what could have been several more elite years out of the pen?
   75. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 18, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5816189)
For example, we penalize players for terrible defense. But the same arguments could be made there, that it's not a player's fault he's a position he physically can't because his team couldn't find a better option or declined to use one (or playing the field at all). Is Adam Dunn a HOFer if he's a career DH? Or Gary Sheffield (PEDs aside, he lands pretty borderline for RF because of his defense)

I think there's an argument to be made here, but I don't think it's the same argument. There's a difference between a player being used in a way that may not have maximized his value, and a player being used at a time when he is not of overall major league quality. Take the Killebrew example again - if he's signed in 1974 instead of 1954, he spends his first few years in the minors, and probably comes up around '78 or '79 at the time when he's ready to be an actual major leaguer. (This is not necessarily a representative example of all negative WAR seasons, of course.)

Also, in the specific case of Dunn, if you give him zero RField for his career and leave his RPos alone, he ends up around 35 WAR as an average outfielder. So no, he's probably still not a Hall of Famer as a DH, which would have the same RField and a bigger RPos penalty. (Sheffield, yes - but he'd probably be in the actual Hall already if not for the BALCO stuff, and I would vote for him in a no-limit ballot scenario.)

Heck, what about a Wade Davis/Andrew Miller type thing? If a pitcher had a good chunk of his career wasted as an ineffective starter, but produces at a HOF level as a reliever—but too briefly to really warrant HOF consideration—are we unfairly penalizing the player for his manager not moving him to the pen earlier and wasting what could have been several more elite years out of the pen?

I think there's a difference between not penalizing players for things that did happen, and crediting players for things that didn't happen. (If you want to compare this hypothetical to minor league credit or war credit, that would seem like a better argument to me.)
   76. Ithaca2323 Posted: February 18, 2019 at 03:50 PM (#5816198)
In general, I'm a career guy. I think peak is important, and two guys arriving at the same career WAR through very different methods matter greatly. See, say Scherzer and Moyer.

But I don't like just disregarding the portions of a player's career that don't make his case. Particularly when that leaves us with less than 10 years total, since you need to play 10 years to be eligible.
   77. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 18, 2019 at 04:00 PM (#5816201)
But I don't like just disregarding the portions of a player's career that don't make his case. Particularly when that leaves us with less than 10 years total, since you need to play 10 years to be eligible.

First, I'm talking about a general practice when evaluating the quality of a player's career; this doesn't have to be for the Hall, that's just the context in which this usually comes up.

Second, within the HoF context, how many serious candidates have less than 10 seasons with positive WAR? (Addie Joss and Ross Youngs aside.)
   78. Ithaca2323 Posted: February 18, 2019 at 04:48 PM (#5816219)
Second, within the HoF context, how many serious candidates have less than 10 seasons with positive WAR? (Addie Joss and Ross Youngs aside.)


I wasn't just talking about your practice, but the general peak-only practice that isolates the 6-7 best years of a player's career and ignores all else. We see that all the time, most notably with Sandy Koufax (successfully), most recently with Johan (unsuccessfully). It strikes me as the most logical argument for say, Todd Helton, though I admit I haven't paid enough attention to his candidacy to know if that's what they are saying.
   79. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 18, 2019 at 07:09 PM (#5816252)
I wasn't just talking about your practice, but the general peak-only practice that isolates the 6-7 best years of a player's career and ignores all else.

Oh, yeah, that's different. Troy Tulowitzki has 6 amazing seasons and very little else; ditto for Nomar a decade earlier. Good for them for having the great seasons, but the lack of anything else is still relevant.
   80. baudib Posted: February 18, 2019 at 07:27 PM (#5816257)
A lot of us are peak voters in theory but not many are really supportive of a Nomar HOF case.

There aren't many true peak only HOF hitters. Ralph Kiner? Jim Rice? Orlando Cepeda? A bunch of 1930s hitters?

I'd call Puckett a "prime only" candidate and everyone just kind of assumed the fill-in years (3,000 hits, etc).

There's no Fred Lynn, Will Clark, Don Mattingly.

If he were elected, Dick Allen would probably be the best example of a peak candidate among hitters of the past 60 years.

I'd vote for Chase Utley pretty happily so maybe he's one.
   81. Jay Z Posted: February 18, 2019 at 07:59 PM (#5816261)
I think there's an argument to be made here, but I don't think it's the same argument. There's a difference between a player being used in a way that may not have maximized his value, and a player being used at a time when he is not of overall major league quality. Take the Killebrew example again - if he's signed in 1974 instead of 1954, he spends his first few years in the minors, and probably comes up around '78 or '79 at the time when he's ready to be an actual major leaguer. (This is not necessarily a representative example of all negative WAR seasons, of course.)


Killebrew's first five seasons amounted to -0.3 WAR. It is hardly significant. Negative WAR is below replacement, one of the worst players. There are not that many good players that spend much time piling up negative WAR.

I want to say I've seen a study a while back that indicated that the increase in pennant value for extra wins in a single season applied primarily in the pre-divisional or pre-Wild Card era. When you can make the playoffs by winning 85 or 89 or 86 or 88 games (totals taken from the 2014-17 AL), concentrating your value into fewer seasons might not make as big a difference.


I don't know if the people studying this are using actual results or simulations. I am suspicious of models reflecting the reality of team construction.

Yes, I think the increased number of teams in the playoffs reduces if not eliminates the limited (IMO) "bonus" that should go to peak value. I mentioned this in a Bryce Harper thread. A model may assume a .500 team. The problem with rewarding peak or variability itself is that team performance itself is variable. The Nationals didn't make the playoffs in Harper's best season (despite making it in 4 out of 7 years with the team) because other players' negative variance more than made up for Harper.

The variance method is effectively the career year method. Teams dependent upon career years tend to only win a single time. With 10 out of 30 in the playoffs every year, it seems that nearly every team with any chance at assembling a talent core should be shooting for multiple appearances.

   82. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 18, 2019 at 08:42 PM (#5816271)
Killebrew's first five seasons amounted to -0.3 WAR. It is hardly significant. Negative WAR is below replacement, one of the worst players. There are not that many good players that spend much time piling up negative WAR.

Which is why I had to use an admittedly mediocre example. (Also Killebrew has an easily laid-out narrative.) You can use Roy Halladay if you want - two negative-WAR seasons, -3.9 between them. But yes, it's not common.
   83. bbmck Posted: February 18, 2019 at 09:50 PM (#5816278)
Second, within the HoF context, how many serious candidates have less than 10 seasons with positive WAR?

Grady Sizemore, Al Rosen, Brandon Webb and Teddy Higuera. Josh Donaldson is at 7. But yes, players of that caliber generally get the opportunity to reach 10 seasons and Kevin Appier 1990-97 over Webb or Higuera and then Appier has 1999-02. There are 303 pitchers debut since 1955 with 300+ starts, since I prefer peak "serious" candidates are going to need 3 seasons of 5+ pitching WAR which eliminates Dwight Gooden, David Wells and Dennis Martinez. Tim Lincecum, Chris Sale and Johan Santana don't have 300+ starts (yet), long form I'd keep these and other pitchers mainly to see where they rate and as a sanity test if 12.2 pitching WAR breaks something but they have no realistic shot at the Top 50 and as things stand there are only 24 pitchers in the HoF who meet the criteria so doubling that is about the limit for "serious" candidates.

79 candidates debut since 1955 with 300+ starts and 3+ seasons of 5+ pitching WAR, all of them have 10+ seasons of positive WAR with Jim Clancy and Chris Short being the only ones with exactly 10. If you raise the bar to 1+ pitching WAR it's 7: Jim Clancy, 8: Cliff Lee, Sam McDowell, 9: Josh Beckett, Carlos Zambrano, Chris Carpenter, Pat Hentgen, Charlie Leibrandt and Jon Matlack.

Chronologically by Final Year I don't imagine any statistical issues with: Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver, Phil Niekro, Steve Carlton, Bert Blyleven, Nolan Ryan, Kevin Brown, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Roy Halladay and Clayton Kershaw. Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz the only statistical argument against begins with essentially throwing out their relief seasons so stick those two in as well and it's 23, one less than the current HoF count.

Brandon Webb, Teddy Higuera, Dwight Gooden, Chris Sale or whoever needs to be more qualified than basically half of the remaining 56 or the other 55 without radically increasing the number of inducted starting pitchers or using a pretty loose definition of "serious" candidate in which case it's really easy to make a case for them being among the Top 75 starting pitchers who debuted since 1955.

Chronologically by Final Year: Larry Jackson, Don Drysdale, Jim Bunning, Chris Short, Mel Stottlemyre, Sam McDowell, Mickey Lolich, Catfish Hunter, Luis Tiant, Jim Kaat, Jon Matlack, Jerry Koosman, Steve Rogers, Burt Hooton, Vida Blue, Don Sutton, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Rick Reuschel, Jim Clancy, Frank Tanana, Charlie Leibrandt, Jack Morris, Frank Viola, Mark Gubicza, Fernando Valenzuela, Dave Stieb, Jimmy Key, Mark Langston, Orel Hershiser, Bret Saberhagen, Chuck Finley, David Cone, Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen, Al Leiter, Brad Radke, Kenny Rogers, Javier Vazquez, Jamie Moyer, Carlos Zambrano, Chris Carpenter, Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, Josh Beckett, Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson

Active(-ish): Bartolo Colon, CC Sabathia, Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Cole Hamels, Max Scherzer, Jon Lester

Any process to pick the Top 50 and Don Sutton and others are going to start taking spots and Brandon Webb will quickly fall off my list of candidates by triage. If I simply make my own Top 50 I definitely include Webb and Higuera and maybe even Lincecum because the main point of making a list is to validate a list with 40 or so pitchers that will appear on almost all Top 50 lists, then 5 or so pitchers that speak mainly to your preferences and have a pretty reasonable case so for me: Dwight Gooden, Johan Santana, Kevin Appier, Cliff Lee and Chris Sale. And then use the last 5 or so spots to draw attention to pitchers you feel are under the radar and someone might go "Higuera was really good and I forgot or never knew about him" even if they also go "it's really stupid to have Higuera in a Top 50 that doesn't even include Sutton". It's really pointless to include Sutton since he has 300 Wins and a plaque and oh noes some people on the internet think I'm stupid because I used the last few spots on what would be considered "strategic voting" on a HoM ballot.

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