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Saturday, January 04, 2014

Cybermetrics: Was Willie Mays The Most Underrated Player In History? Or Was It Wade Boggs?

...Is Albert Pujols The Most Overrated?

This approach is not perfect. Some players might have long careers and so they compile a high career WAR. But if they never have any great seasons, they might not get many MVP votes. Plus, it helps to play on contenders. But Mays had plenty of great seasons and played on many contenders. There is also the possibility that if there are other great players around compiling high WAR seasons, you won’t do as well in the voting.

Now here are the players who got more MVP Shares than predicted.

...Pujols got 3.49 more shares than predicted, making him the most overrated player by this measure.

Then, using data from Fangraphs, I found all the players who had 4000+ PAs since 1931 and found their WAR from their seven best seasons combined. Total players, 931. Click here to see the scatter plot and trend line. Again, a second degree polynomial was better than a straight line regression (if you look closely, the line slopes downward for very low WAR players, which should not make sense-but this is avoided with a sixth degree polynomial whose results are essentially the same, so I used the simpler one here). Here is the equation

MVPShares = 0.0018*WAR7Squared 0.041*WAR7 + 0.2683

Here are the most underrated players. Boggs was actually number 1 in WAR 3 straight years while his team came if first twice. He was second in WAR 3 times. He reached the post season a total of six times. But the best he ever finished in the MVP voting was fourth. Mays was 117th here.

Thanks to Chet.

Repoz Posted: January 04, 2014 at 09:52 AM | 95 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. bfan Posted: January 04, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4629772)
boy is there an elephant in the room in those 2 top 10 lists (looking only at the top 10, for over-rated and under-rated).
   2. Greg K Posted: January 04, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4629778)
Probably the most shocking thing about delving into the recent past for me is Chet Lemon. I was born in 1983 so I missed the entirety of his peak, and only knew him as some old, mediocre dude with the Tigers. But he was a solid Hall of Very Good guy.
   3. EddieA Posted: January 04, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4629780)
I believe percentage difference is more relevant than absolute difference in stating who is overrated/underrated - but there would have to be a minimum number of predicted award shares to apply it. From the WAR tables, Chet Lemon is infinitely underrated, while Willie Randolph, Johnny Damon, and Darrell Evans got no respect at all. Ryan Howard is more overrated than Albert Pujols - who isn't that overrated percentage wise.
   4. Alex Vila Posted: January 04, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4629789)
Cecil got fat, but I wouldn't go so far as to call him an elephant.
   5. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 04, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4629790)
boy is there an elephant in the room in those 2 top 10 lists

Guys who walk a lot get screwed.
   6. McCoy Posted: January 04, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4629794)
I thought chicks dig the long ball.
   7. Hit by Pitch Posted: January 04, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4629804)
I think that this study shows that MVP Award voters underrate speed and defense compared to how they are weighted in WAR.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: January 04, 2014 at 11:06 AM (#4629810)
boy is there an elephant in the room in those 2 top 10 lists (looking only at the top 10, for over-rated and under-rated).


I read this comment before I clicked on the link and I assumed that all of the overrated players would be white, the underrated players black. But that isn't the case at at all. Now I don't know what it's referring to.
   9. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: January 04, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4629819)
I read this comment before I clicked on the link and I assumed that all of the overrated players would be white, the underrated players black. But that isn't the case at at all. Now I don't know what it's referring to.


I don't either.
   10. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 04, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4629820)

I don't either.


And it's not Ichiro related, which was my first guess (based on the poster).
   11. caprules Posted: January 04, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4629823)
There are quite a few 3B on the first list. But that's not elephant level.
   12. Cyril Morong Posted: January 04, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4629834)
Thanks for all the comments. Dan Hirsch compiled the following "Highest Career WAR For Players Who Never Got Any MVP Votes"

Chet Lemon 55.3
Jason Kendall 41.5
Ron Fairly 35.2
Frank White 34.7
Jeff Cirillo 34.4
Ray Durham 33.7
Mark Ellis 33.7

#3EddieA-good points. I am not sure what to do because so many guys have 0 MVP shares
   13. Cyril Morong Posted: January 04, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4629835)
This other post might be of interest. C & 2B did the worst, not counting DH

MVP Awards And Award Shares By Position
   14. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: January 04, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4629841)
OK, I understand the methodology (not the nuts and bolts, I'm not a stat talking guy), but the basic methodology. So, Pujols is the most overrated by this method, but in the real world, I think he's rated pretty accurately. His MVP finishes (ignoring anything lower than 5th) are 3 firsts, 4 seconds, one each third, fourth, and fifth. His WAR among position players (ignoring pitchers, because pitchers rarely figure in the top 5 of MVP. The MVP is almost always a competition among position players), are 6 firsts, a second and a fourth. So, his 6 firsts and the second in WAR account for his 7 top 2's in MVP, and his 4th WAR accounts for his 4th MVP. So he got (in the aggregate) an undeserved 3rd and 5th. That hardly makes him overrated, much less way overrated.

Ryan Howard was never in the top 10 in WAR, much less top 5, and yet got a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th (plus 2 10ths) in MVP.
   15. Cyril Morong Posted: January 04, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4629844)
I see what you are saying. It might be a good idea to do this by rank for both WAR and MVP votes. I think that would be alot harder to do
   16. Publius Publicola Posted: January 04, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4629845)
Well, if you go down to the second set of lists, there's one black guy and one hispanic (white/black?) guy in the underrated list top 10, but 5 black and 2 hispanic (black hispanic) guys in the overrated list. So I guess that's what bfan is getting at.

No wonder Joe Morgan hates sabermetrics.
   17. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: January 04, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4629854)
I see what you are saying. It might be a good idea to do this by rank for both WAR and MVP votes. I think that would be alot harder to do


It would, but it would reflect reality better. Take Jim Rice and Hank Greenberg. They are nearly identical in overratedness in the first chart (diff of -2.08 and -2.18 respectively.) But Greenberg's MVP shares are far more defensible than Rice's. In MVP's, Hank has 2 firsts, 2 thirds, a 6th, and an 8th. By WAR, he has 2 seconds, 2 thirds, one each 4th, 5th, and 8th. That's a pretty good correlation, probably one of the best you'll see among players with significant award shares in multiple years. Contrast to Rice who has a first, 2 thirds, 2 fourths, and a fifth in MVP, and a first, a fifth, and 2 tenths in WAR.
   18. PreservedFish Posted: January 04, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4629859)
I think I would prefer to determine the quality of this study before worrying about the racial implications of it.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: January 04, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4629861)
Well, if you go down to the second set of lists, there's one black guy and one hispanic (white/black?) guy in the underrated list top 10, but 5 black and 2 hispanic (black hispanic) guys in the overrated list. So I guess that's what bfan is getting at.


Also, wait a second. Doesn't this mean that the journalists were being more generous to minorities than they were to whites? Is this our elephant?
   20. BDC Posted: January 04, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4629865)
Chet Lemon not only didn't seem like a great player while he was active, but needs a lot of interpretation to make his career stat line look even HOVGy. For instance, over a prime of seven years (1978-84), he hit for an OPS+ of 135, which is very good indeed. But his scoreboard average per season for that period was .288/16/63 with 69 Runs Scored. He didn't steal bases, and he drew about 50 walks a year (though he'd get hit another 13-15 times, which helps).

Lemon only played 150 games once in his career (exactly 150, at age 22), so that's one reason his excellent rate stats produced such unimposing totals. Despite not being a 150g/yr guy, he played 16 seasons and almost 2,000 games, and was an excellent CF. That in itself is most of the way to the HOVG; the offense is gravy.
   21. Cyril Morong Posted: January 04, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4629879)
Lemon's best OPS+ was 1981 at 155. So that season might not be noticed. He also got hit by pitch 151 times, adding .019 to his career OBP (151/7874PA = .019, assuming they would have been outs otherwise, not always the case). If we just take them out altogether, from both numerator and denominator, his OBP falls from .355 to .342. Voters probably don't think much of HBP. The voters probably did not value his fielding enough. He had 3 top 10 finishes in defensive WAR. And even a .342 OBP, which was good at the time, probably went unnoticed. And in my other research, CFers did not generally do well in MVP voting

In 1990 at age 35, his OPS+ was 107 and he had 2.4 WAR. Never played again after that
   22. Cyril Morong Posted: January 04, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4629883)
A technical note "each player's WAR in 1981 was increased by 50% while it was 40% for 1994-this is due to player strikes"

On doing a rank comparison, one problem would be that many players get 0 votes, so what rank do they get? All tied for 30th?
   23. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 04, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4629904)
My only comment on a study that uses first career WAR, then WAR7, vs. MVP shares determined on a season by season basis, is "garbage in, garbage out". For an extreme case, player A has a 12 WAR season, and six 5 WAR seasons for a WAR7 total of 42, player B has four 7 WAR seasons and three 5 WAR seasons for a nearly identical WAR7 of 43, how should their MVP shares correlate (outside of the obvious racial bias in this example)?

Come back to us when you correlate their under/ over-performance on a season by season basis. Only then will we have something worth talking about.

And Willie Mays is over-rated. He's widely viewed as one of the greatest hitters/defenders/and players of all time, when he was only one of the greatest hitters and players of all time and merely a very good defender. That is the nastiest thing I have ever, or will ever, say about the say hey kid.
   24. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 04, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4630037)
I always thought Eddie Mathews was possibly the most underrated player in history.

1963 8 WAR not in top 25 MVP voting
1954 7.8 WAR 19th
1957 7.4 WAR 8th
1960 7.3 WAR 10th
1955 7.3 WAR 18th
1961 7.2 WAR 17th
1958 6.4 WAR out of top 25
1956 5.7 WAR out of top 25

He did come in 2nd twice with a 8.3 and 8.1 in 1953 and 1959 respectively. Of course then they compound it by making him wait till his 5th try before letting him into the HOF all while playing 2nd fiddle to the likes of Brooks Robinson and Pie freaking Traynor.
   25. Wahoo Sam Posted: January 04, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4630081)
Though flawed (as pointed out by others here), the study reinforces what we know, which is that voters undervalue on-base percentage and defense (and to some extent speed), and overvalue the home run and RBIs.
   26. BDC Posted: January 04, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4630141)
Interesting data in #24, Mickey. Of course, it may just illustrate that voters haven't been very careful about their ballots after the first couple of spots. In several of those seasons Mathews was finishing behind Mays or Aaron (or Koufax, in 1963) and despite some oddities, he didn't really deserve any MVP awards. It's more a matter of playing in the shadow of some really awesome players. I don't think some of these voters were trying to preserve an accurate 1-10 ranking for posterity. They'd see that Roy Campanella was the MVP and then they'd fill in the rest of the ballot rather aimlessly at times.

Mathews was a big star while active (I saw him play, at least on TV, late in his career). He didn't get the respect, later on, that similar talents like Ernie Banks or Frank Robinson did. Mathews loved baseball and loved to party; he was eventually a big-league manager but not very succcessful. He was a good ol' boy, not a pillar of any community, and that may have hurt his image.
   27. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 04, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4630168)
I don't think some of these voters were trying to preserve an accurate 1-10 ranking for posterity.


That's a good point, and was probably more common in those days. Even today in a typical season once you get past "the guys" it becomes somewhat of a pet player- idiosyncratic crapshot for a lot of voters.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: January 04, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4630192)
I always thought Eddie Mathews was possibly the most underrated player in history.


If I had to pick a clearly qualified candidate for the most underrated player in history, Eddie Mathews would be on the short list. I also frequently point to Frank Robinson as the most underrated inner circle player in history. But the system they used here wouldn't have pointed it out. Frank was well regarded while he played, just after he retired, even though he keeps himself in the game, he gets overshadowed and forgotten fairly quickly.
   29. bjhanke Posted: January 04, 2014 at 07:38 PM (#4630197)
Mathews is underrated largely because he was on the same team as Hank Aaron. However, he was a homers and walks guy, and the voters usually like the big-homer guys. There's another aspect to the voters' valuation of Eddie. Eddie was carrying the flag for the idea of a 3B who could REALLY hit (Al Rosen says "HI", but his career was short and people may have just decided that the Mathews-at-3B game would result in injured 3B.). The only guy much like him who played before was Harlond Clift. The voters were, really, just trying to adjust to the fact that this kind of hitter can also play decent 3B. If they hadn't understood the concept yet, they would always think that Pie Traynor was the best 3B of all time (Home Run Baker and Jimmy Collins never did get to vote on themselves, although both made the HoF eventually). And those two are, in fact, the only two 3B who played before Traynor and were better.

Skipping right past the lack of a Hall of Fame in several player's years, the most underrated is probably Arky Vaughn. Charlie Bennett and Darrell Evans can also complete at this level. My own memory of Willie Mays' playing years is that his reputation was pretty much congruent with his actual performance. The idea that Willie was only a "very good" defender puzzles the hell out of me. If you devise a fielding ranking system, and your system does not have Willie right up at the top, I think you should consider overhauling your system. That's a really red flag out there.

Chet Lemon's reputation was dragged down because he came along right after Mays and Flood, so he didn't LOOK like a superstar CF. People knew that he was really good, but not Mays/Flood good. He was, in fact, a Grade A/A+ glove. - Brock Hanke
   30. cardsfanboy Posted: January 04, 2014 at 07:47 PM (#4630198)
Chet Lemon's reputation was dragged down because he came along right after Mays and Flood, so he didn't LOOK like a superstar CF. People knew that he was really good, but not Mays/Flood good. He was, in fact, a Grade A/A+ glove


The voters understanding of the value of centerfielders has certainly been colored by the standard of Mantle/Mays/Cobb to the point that fully qualified centerfielders are undervalued in the eyes of the writers. The fact that Duke Snider took 11 years to get in, is proof of that. This was a peak/prime candidate that played in New York and La and still needed forever to get in.
   31. Cyril Morong Posted: January 04, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4630201)
One thing about Pujols is that his average rank in WAR from 2001-11, his years in the NL, was 3.8 but his average rank in MVP votes was 2.9. So that appears to be some overrating, but maybe not as much as my numbers indicate. In his 2nd year, 2002, he was 2nd in the MVP vote with a 62% share. His WAR was a solid 5.5 but ranked 13th. There were two players besides Bonds who had at least 7 WAR, Kent & Guerrero, who combined to barely beat Pujols in share at 68%. As I mentioned in the post, being a contender might help. Cards finished first.

He really lost out in 2007, when he led in WAR with 8.7 but was only 9th MVP voting with a very low 11% share.

In 2011 he was 5th in voting with a 37% while being 9th in WAR with 5.4.

One thing to remember about my analysis, whatever flaws it might have, is that it takes into account that some other guys are not getting their "fair" share of votes. In 2011 Sandoval had 6.0 WAR but only a 2% share. Votto had 6.4 WAR but finished behind Pujols with a 30% share.

It might be better to do a rank correlation every year, but again, I am not sure what rank to give everyone who gets zero votes and sometimes really good players get no votes (4 times a guy with 8+ WAR got no votes). I will try to look at each year of Pujols' career and come up with something
   32. Cyril Morong Posted: January 04, 2014 at 07:56 PM (#4630203)
#30-Again, in another post, I found that CFers did not generally do well in MVP votes. Maybe for the reasons you list
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: January 04, 2014 at 08:03 PM (#4630207)
#30-Again, in another post, I found that CFers did not generally do well in MVP votes. Maybe for the reasons you list


It's the same concept that made the gold gloves put all outfielders into the same pool. I have no problem with lumping left and right fielders together, but centerfield has more demands on the legs, and you have to sacrifice mass(strength/power) for speed. But the voters think all outfielders are the same and expect corner offensive numbers from centerfielders (if Mays could do it, why can't everyone else?)

(I would think your study probably also showed third baseman being underrepresented also...for the same reason, voters expect similar offensive performance from third as a first baseman)
   34. Cyril Morong Posted: January 04, 2014 at 08:03 PM (#4630208)
If I include 2012, Pujols' first year in the AL, he was 10th in WAR but only 17th in MVP vote with a 2% share. So then his average MVP rank would be 4.08 and average WAR rank 4.33. He got no votes in 2013.

This has no affect on the best 7 WAR seasons analysis since 2012 was not among them. But it certainly tells a different story than the career analysis
   35. Cyril Morong Posted: January 04, 2014 at 08:05 PM (#4630210)
#33

Click on my link in #13. Judge for yourself on how 3Bmen have done. Looks like they are still well behind LFers, RFers and 1Bmen
   36. Cyril Morong Posted: January 04, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4630214)
One thing I don't think I can explain is that in Pujols' 7 best WAR years, his average rank in MVP vote is 2.71 while his average rank in WAR is 1.57
   37. bookbook Posted: January 04, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4630259)
+Frank was well regarded while he played, just after he retired, even though he keeps himself in the game, he gets overshadowed and forgotten fairly quickly.+

Which is interesting. Do you think he was tokenized as "first black manager" (and a pretty good manager) which led folks to forget about his phenomenal accomplishments as a player?


Interestingly, it appears that all you need to do is apply a weight multiplier to WAR, call it WARW. With the right weight given to the extra wieght, WARW would correlate dramatically better to MVP shares.

Andruw Jones' underrated years came before he put on the pounds, and Barry Bonds' MVP years came after, so those two might look like exceptions but really aren't.


Brooks Robinson and Pete Rose and Jim Rice were just plain overrated, weight be damned. (Robinson is the one case of voters giving super extra-credit for defense, and one where advanced stats haven't agreed that he was that exceptional. Of course, I remember him as a round TV commentator, so didn't realize at first that he played at 180.)


   38. cardsfanboy Posted: January 04, 2014 at 09:35 PM (#4630266)
Brooks Robinson and Pete Rose and Jim Rice were just plain overrated, weight be damned. (Robinson is the one case of voters giving super extra-credit for defense, and one where advanced stats haven't agreed that he was that exceptional. Of course, I remember him as a round TV commentator, so didn't realize at first that he played at 180.)


Really? Baseball-reference has Brooks Robinson as the greatest defender in history(by bField) I've never ever heard of any system that didn't flag him as one of the top 10 defenders in history(all positions)

I agree that Rice was overrated, but generally Rose seems to be rated about exactly where he belongs.
   39. Walt Davis Posted: January 04, 2014 at 10:21 PM (#4630276)
I do think Boggs has a good case. He's certainly as under-rated as somebody who wins 5 "batting titles" possibly can be. What I didn't realize when he was playing was how good defensively he was -- well, at least Rfield tells me he was a lot better than I ever realized. (Didn't really get to see him that often but I don't recall ever thinking "wow" when I did see him.)

I think that once you include defense and games at 3B that Boggs moves past Brett on the all-time 3B list. Boggs vs. Mathews is too close to call -- and hard to call given how different they were as hitters. But they had the same number of starts at 3B, virtually the same career PA and the WAR difference is just 5 (Mathews). I give the nod to Mathews I suppose because he was so much better than almost everybody who came before him.
   40. Cblau Posted: January 04, 2014 at 11:02 PM (#4630293)
So, how long until Mike Trout is in the top 20?
   41. stevegamer Posted: January 05, 2014 at 12:19 AM (#4630316)
Honestly, Willie Mays is way too highly rated to be the most underrated player in history.
   42. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 05, 2014 at 01:00 AM (#4630339)
Do you think he was tokenized as "first black manager" (and a pretty good manager) which led folks to forget about his phenomenal accomplishments as a player?


Frank Robinson's problem as a player is that he was an exact contemporary of Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. So he's starting out as no better than the 3rd-best outfielder of his era. Roberto Clemente gets the triple ranking bonus of dying tragically and heroically, having his offensive value heavily concentrated into batting average, and being talked about as perhaps the greatest defensive right fielder of all-time, which pushes him ahead of F-Robby in a lot of eyes, too, and now, Robinson is, at best, the 4th-best outfielder and 3rd-best right fielder of his own generation. His Triple Crown might also be under-rated a little because Carl Yastrzemski went out the very next season and did the exact same thing.

That said, as I type this, the Fan EloRater at BB-Ref has Frank Robinson ranked #11 all-time among batters, between Hank Aaron and Mel Ott and ahead of both Mickey Mantle (#13) and Joe DiMaggio (#14). So, I'm not sure how well the underlying premise (Frank Robinson is underrated) really holds up.
   43. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 05, 2014 at 01:16 AM (#4630343)
I do think Boggs has a good case. He's certainly as under-rated as somebody who wins 5 "batting titles" possibly can be. What I didn't realize when he was playing was how good defensively he was -- well, at least Rfield tells me he was a lot better than I ever realized.


Boggs' reputation was as a weak fielder who worked hard to elevate himself to pretty good. The numbers suggest he was good right from the start.

Arky has always been the go-to guy from the underrated among the highly rated club.

   44. Joe OBrien Posted: January 05, 2014 at 01:22 AM (#4630346)
The EloRater is less useful than Youtube comments. Please never mention it again, it's purely the domain of trolls.
   45. toratoratora Posted: January 05, 2014 at 03:46 AM (#4630378)
Honestly, Willie Mays is way too highly rated to be the most underrated player in history.

Exactly.There are essentially four players in the discussion for greatest ever-Ruth, Bonds, Wagner and Mays (The only other player I can see being in the argument is Cobb)
Nobody in that discussion can cry underrated.

Arky Vaughan though,now there's a guy with a real complaint.
   46. MuttsIdolCochrane Posted: January 05, 2014 at 06:11 AM (#4630388)
His Triple Crown might also be under-rated a little because Carl Yastrzemski went out the very next season and did the exact same thing.
Not quite
   47. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 05, 2014 at 07:05 AM (#4630391)
What I don't know is whether the EloRater gives us a good idea of what the average moron thinks or whether those who contribute to it have agendas. It almost has to be the latter, because Bonds and Clemens are both ranked far lower than seems possible under any legitimate circumstances.
   48. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 05, 2014 at 07:22 AM (#4630392)
eddie owns some of the blame for not getting more mvp votes. he was a sensitive guy and very willing to use his fists. when he didn't appreciate a writers article he was more than willing to confront the individual with a less than subtle suggestion that next time may result in a physical altercation. and given that eddie got into several fights a year be it on the field or in some bar writers knew he wasn't joking. it was also the case that you were never really sure what would be the trigger which is the hazards of being around a guy with who drank too much. seemingly innocuous remarks could set him off.

writers gave him a wide berth in the clubhouse and kept their remarks to a minimum

   49. Moeball Posted: January 05, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4630405)
What I don't know is whether the EloRater gives us a good idea of what the average moron thinks or whether those who contribute to it have agendas.


The average moron has a real agenda?

Actually, I thought the lists in the article were interesting, kind of confirming what I guess we already knew. Multi-talented well-rounded players - the usual suspects - such as Grich, Nettles, Darrell Evans, etc. really get screwed. Was a bit surprised to see players such as Ripken and Yaz actually considered underrated, but their peaks really were incredibly high, and I guess the MVP voters didn't realize just how good these guys were.
   50. The District Attorney Posted: January 05, 2014 at 10:05 AM (#4630406)
There are essentially four players in the discussion for greatest ever-Ruth, Bonds, Wagner and Mays (The only other player I can see being in the argument is Cobb)
Nobody in that discussion can cry underrated.
Yeah? What if I told you that the fans didn't elect Wagner to the All-Century team, or even as the best player in the history of the Pirates?
   51. Greg K Posted: January 05, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4630424)
Yeah? What if I told you that the fans didn't elect Wagner to the All-Century team, or even as the best player in the history of the Pirates?

Joe Carter voted the best Blue Jay of all time?

I mean...I know why, but that's still crazy.

EDIT: I'm not 100% sure if I buy it, but you might be able to make a non-crazy case for Larry Walker being the #1 Expo and Rockie.
   52. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 05, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4630440)
I'm not 100% sure if I buy it, but you might be able to make a non-crazy case for Larry Walker being the #1 Expo and Rockie.


Greatest Rockie, sure, you can make that case (though lifetime status would push Helton over him for me). But other than some kind of hefty exchange rate bonus, I don't see any way Walker even makes the Top 5 for the Expos (Carter, Raines, Dawson, Rogers and Vlad seem pretty solid. Wallach and El Presidente probably have stronger cases as well.
   53. bobm Posted: January 05, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4630517)
What if I told you that the fans didn't elect Wagner to the All-Century team

It's amazing who else didn't get elected by the fans. From the Wikipedia page:

The top two vote-getters from each position, except outfielders (nine), and the top six pitchers were placed on the team. A select panel then added five legends to create a thirty-man team: — Warren Spahn (who finished #10 among pitchers), Christy Mathewson (#14 among pitchers), Lefty Grove (#18 among pitchers), Honus Wagner (#4 among shortstops), and Stan Musial (#11 among outfielders).


   54. bjhanke Posted: January 06, 2014 at 05:11 AM (#4631144)
There is one good reason why 3B may be underrepresented in the HoF. Lou Gehrig started in the majors in 1923. Eddie Mathews is about 25 years later. By the time Eddie came along, 1B had already had Gehrig, Foxx, Mize, Greenberg, and others. So, by the time Eddie was a rookie, MLB fans had already realized, by dint of several examples, that big homers can come from 1B. With only Clift and Rosen as the only predecessors to Eddie, people may well have still been wondering if big homers and 3B can really work together, or whether that just leads to injuries and short careers. That 25-year head start is what kept Pie Traynor's reputation as the greatest 3B ever going until the late 1970s or so. Essentially, there's a 25-year period where top-ranked 1B were MUCH better than the top 3B. That will skew your HoF voting totals. - Brock
   55. toratoratora Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4631165)
Yeah? What if I told you that the fans didn't elect Wagner to the All-Century team, or even as the best player in the history of the Pirates?

True, but, as proven by the ELO rater, fans are oft idiots.

I will grant the point-Wagner's greatness is fading into the midst of time and that sucks.
I suspect some of that is simply due to playing in the Pre-Ruth/dead ball era(Cobb also doesn't get close to the respect he once did. As late as the 60's, there were people who seriously considered him the GOAT. Now,he's lucky to be considered a top 3 CF...and usually he's remembered for all the wrong reasons, not his dominance), time-lining(There have been serious arguments here using MLE's that suggest Wagner would be an average modern SS,if that) and integration .
Sadly though, I think most of it is simply because he wasn't colorful enough. That and the minor fact that most people have short memories and the modern attention span is about that of an ADD sparrow strung out on Walter White's finest product
   56. Morty Causa Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4631169)
What would be cool, would be if someone--what with all the technology available--would create an actual game from the deadball era, preferably one with Tyrus Raymond &Co;. It would be fascinating to see how it differs as to the time and pace, the fielding and baserunning (maybe one where Cobb and Sam Crawford do a double-steal), how relievers warmed up, what happened to insert them into play, how many trick pitches were used in a game, catchers catching with the equipment that was available. Etc.

EDIT: And I don't mean Conan O'Brien as that someone.
   57. bobm Posted: January 06, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4631247)
[54] There is one good reason why 3B may be underrepresented inthe HoF. 

It is interesting how much 1B stars dominated 3B stars offensively before Mathews, Robinson, Schmidt, Brett etc. (Not that 1B still doesn't, of course.)

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 1980, Played 50% of games at 1B, sorted by greatest WAR Position Players

                                                                                   
Rk           Player WAR/pos From   To   Age    G   PA  HR  RBI   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1        Lou Gehrig   112.6 1923 1939 20-36 2164 9663 493 1992 .340 .447 .632 1.080
2       Jimmie Foxx    96.4 1925 1945 17-37 2317 9676 534 1922 .325 .428 .609 1.038
3       Johnny Mize    70.9 1936 1953 23-40 1883 7370 359 1337 .312 .397 .562  .959
4    Willie McCovey    64.4 1959 1980 21-42 2588 9692 521 1555 .270 .374 .515  .889
5    Hank Greenberg    57.6 1930 1947 19-36 1394 6097 331 1276 .313 .412 .605 1.017
6     George Sisler    54.6 1915 1930 22-37 2055 9013 102 1178 .340 .379 .468  .847
7        Bill Terry    54.3 1923 1936 24-37 1720 7108 154 1078 .341 .393 .506  .899
8        Tony Perez    52.0 1964 1980 22-38 2313 9441 348 1462 .282 .343 .473  .816
9         Norm Cash    51.9 1958 1974 23-39 2089 7914 377 1103 .271 .374 .488  .862
10   Orlando Cepeda    50.2 1958 1974 20-36 2124 8698 379 1365 .297 .350 .499  .849


Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 1980, Played 50% of games at 3B, sorted by greatest WAR Position Players

                                                                              
Rk            Player WAR/pos From   To    G    PA  HR  RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1      Eddie Mathews    96.1 1952 1968 2391 10100 512 1453 .271 .376 .509 .885
2    Brooks Robinson    78.4 1955 1977 2896 11782 268 1357 .267 .322 .401 .723
3          Ron Santo    70.6 1960 1974 2243  9397 342 1331 .277 .362 .464 .826
4          Ken Boyer    62.9 1955 1969 2034  8272 282 1141 .287 .349 .462 .810
5     Home Run Baker    62.4 1908 1922 1575  6663  96  987 .307 .363 .442 .805
6          Sal Bando    61.4 1966 1980 1987  8214 240 1030 .254 .353 .409 .761
7       Mike Schmidt    59.1 1972 1980 1234  5158 283  787 .259 .375 .525 .901
8      Graig Nettles    56.8 1967 1980 1767  7161 280  910 .252 .331 .428 .759
9          Stan Hack    52.5 1932 1947 1938  8508  57  642 .301 .394 .397 .791
10       Bob Elliott    50.7 1939 1953 1978  8205 170 1195 .289 .375 .440 .815
11       Heinie Groh    48.5 1912 1927 1676  7036  26  566 .292 .373 .384 .757
12     Larry Gardner    48.1 1908 1924 1923  7694  27  934 .289 .355 .384 .739
13      George Brett    45.4 1973 1980 1002  4330  98  579 .319 .368 .497 .864
14           Ron Cey    40.3 1971 1980 1246  5122 191  713 .264 .363 .445 .808
15     Harlond Clift    39.2 1934 1945 1582  6894 178  829 .272 .390 .441 .831
16        Buddy Bell    37.6 1972 1980 1278  5343  99  570 .283 .333 .403 .736
17       George Kell    37.5 1943 1957 1795  7529  78  870 .306 .367 .414 .781
18        Art Devlin    36.7 1904 1913 1313  5241  10  505 .269 .364 .338 .702
19     Darrell Evans    36.5 1969 1980 1468  6022 204  719 .250 .365 .419 .784
20       Pie Traynor    36.3 1920 1937 1941  8297  58 1273 .320 .362 .435 .797


   58. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4631342)
It is interesting how much 1B stars dominated 3B stars offensively before Mathews, Robinson, Schmidt, Brett etc. (Not that 1B still doesn't, of course.)


I've noticed this myself which makes their (Mathews and Santo) lack of support even more perplexing. The established standard for 3b was who and what? Pie Traynor? Home Run Baker? The really insane thing is Freddie Lindstrom got in during the period when Mathews was still getting ~50% and then George Kell gets in during the time when Santo was temporarily floundering in "one and done" purgatory. Obviously, the one thing they all had that Mathews and Santo didn't were those pretty batting averages.
   59. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4631356)
24
He did come in 2nd twice with a 8.3 and 8.1 in 1953 and 1959 respectively. Of course then they compound it by making him wait till his 5th try before letting him into the HOF all while playing 2nd fiddle to the likes of Brooks Robinson and Pie freaking Traynor.

Pie Traynor's first name was Pie. I don't know what Eddie Matthews' first name was, but there's no way in hell it was as awesome as "Pie."
   60. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4631363)
It is interesting how much 1B stars dominated 3B stars offensively before Mathews, Robinson, Schmidt, Brett etc. (Not that 1B still doesn't, of course.)


And that list of 1B is diminished by two of its top players WAR totals being artificially diminished by the war. Mize missed 3 prime years. He should be pushing 90. Greenberg missed about 4.5. He should be in the mid 80's.
   61. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4631366)
Pie Traynor's first name was Pie. I don't know what Eddie Matthews' first name was, but there's no way in hell it was as awesome as "Pie."


Actually, it was Harold. Eddie is more awesome than Harold. Though, Eddie was actually Edwin. So, no points for either.
   62. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4631376)
I've noticed this myself which makes their (Mathews and Santo) lack of support even more perplexing.


It's actually pretty easy. Neither was the face of their franchise (Aaron and Banks respectively, both of whom coasted into the HoF) and both played most of their careers for teams that had a reputation for underachieving.

In Mathews's case, his best seasons were before Aaron came into his own; after that his best years were 1959 and 1960, both years in which the Braves were considered disappointments. In 1959 they were coming off two straight NL pennants, but had to rally to tie LA down the stretch only to blow leads in both playoff games (including a 5-2 lead entering the ninth inning of Game 2). In 1960 they were tied for first with Pittsburgh as late as July 24, but then lost seven of their next nine to fall four back and never really got back into the race.

In Santo's case, his best season was 1964, but the Cubs were never part of the discussion that year as Ken Boyer and Dick Allen were getting all of the ink. His next best year was 1966, when the Cubs finished last in Leo Durocher's first season as manager. And then there was 1969. If the season had ended on August 1, Santo would have been the MVP - but he hit .245/.344/.383 from that point forward as the Mets surged, and Santo took more than his share of the blame for what happened.

-- MWE
   63. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 06, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4631395)

It's actually pretty easy. Neither was the face of their franchise (Aaron and Banks respectively, both of whom coasted into the HoF) and both played most of their careers for teams that had a reputation for underachieving.


Speaking of underachieving teams and Ernie Banks I give you the Cubs of the aforementioned Banks and Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams. The writers realized more then one HOFer can come from the same team, underachieving be damned. Eddie Mathews failure with the voters is nothing more then a synchronized brain fart.
   64. Cyril Morong Posted: January 06, 2014 at 08:02 PM (#4631836)
Click here to see the revised numbers

If you go to that you can see my explanation for the revision. I hope it makes sense. Mays actually slips from the most underrated player to the second most underrated player. Lou Whitaker, who did very poorly in the Hall of Fame vote (unjustly so), is now number 1.
   65. Cyril Morong Posted: January 06, 2014 at 08:06 PM (#4631837)
It looks like Santo got about the number of votes you would expect based on the writers' voting patterns. Here is a post I did on that

What Might Explain Ron Santo's Low Hall Of Fame Voting Percentages?
   66. BobD Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4631871)
Brock,

My recollection of Chet Lemon was that he was known for playing deeper than most CF's. Would that have helped/hurt his stats? And at what cost/influence to his team?

Eddie Mathews career was my start as a fan (almost the same era as you), and I think the next factor after Aaron was that his first 3 yrs in Milwaukee was his best, then he settled back into "average all-star" level, so there was a sense for many that he could not hold to the high level of Aaron, Mays and Robinson. I think he got discounted for that and was under-appreciated until us highly enlightened stats folk came to reign.

I think the 3 partial seasons Mel Ott spent at 3B, even though inconclusive defensively, would have been influential on any discussion/thinking of the day. Of course the time spent at 3B by Jimmie Foxx (maybe Rudy York too) was in the collective baseball consciousness. All of that would have been the argument that it just wouldn't work. Eddie Mathews was the change. Interesting that Ernie Banks did not do for SS what Mathews and Rosen did for 3B.

-Bob
   67. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:15 PM (#4631876)
Interesting that Ernie Banks did not do for SS what Mathews and Rosen did for 3B.


Isn't that to some extent because it didn't work? At least not in terms of having a player have a long career as a power-hitting shortstop. Ernie Banks played his last game at shortstop at age 30 and spent his 30s as a somewhat below-average first baseman (although he was named to 4 All-Star teams and got MVP votes 4 times, so he probably wasn't perceived as "below-average" at the time).
   68. BobD Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4631897)
Kiko,

Vern Stephens as power-hitting SS predates Ernie Banks, but somehow Banks just seemed to be more startling. Stephens only led the league in HR once (with 24 during war years), while Banks was in the 40's five out of six years while at SS. It's hard for me to see the Banks-at-SS as a failed experiment. It seems to me that right after Banks, MLB entered it's weak hitting/good fielding phase. It just seems to me to be one of MLB's more block-headed group-think. I mean we had no-power all-star SS with sub .300 OBP years, such as Tony Kubek, Luis Aparicio (he had some clunker years and nobody seemed to notice), Don Kessinger, etc. I remember the columns warning of the foolishness of trying Cal Ripken at SS because he did not fit the mold.

Anyway, the all-star keystone combo of Beckett and Kessinger are the ones that today would not get much traction except for a vanishing minority of old-school managers and systems (looking at you KC Royals).

-Bob
   69. Cyril Morong Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:37 PM (#4631923)
It seems to me that right after Banks, MLB entered it's weak hitting/good fielding phase. It just seems to me to be one of MLB's more block-headed group-think. I mean we had no-power all-star SS with sub .300 OBP years, such as Tony Kubek, Luis Aparicio (he had some clunker years and nobody seemed to notice), Don Kessinger, etc.
It does seem like that is true. See my post on

Positional Hitting Over Time
   70. Cyril Morong Posted: January 06, 2014 at 11:01 PM (#4631959)
Here are the years from 1952-65 when Matthews got no MVP votes. All WAR ranks are for position players.

1956-7th in WAR, no MVP votes, team finished in 2nd, 1 game out

1958-5th in WAR, no MVP votes, team finished in 1st

1963-4th in WAR (8.0!), no MVP votes, team finished in 6th, 15 games out

1964-19th in WAR, no MVP votes

In the other 10 years, his average rank in WAR was 8 while it was 14.6 in MVP voting. So he even when he got votes, which was not always, he seems to rank lower than he should have
   71. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: January 07, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4631988)
Here are the years from 1952-65 when Matthews got no MVP votes. All WAR ranks are for position players.


And as I posted earlier, Pujols was pretty close to spot on (with a couple of notable exceptions either way).

He was #1 in WAR/pos every year from 2005-2010. MVP finishes 1,2,9, 1,1,2.

He was #2 in WAR in 2003, and #2 in MVP

He was #4 in WAR in 2004, and #3 in MVP

He was #8 in WAR in 2001 (only 0.4 behind #6) and #4 in MVP

He was tied for #8 in WAR in 2011 (0.7 behind #5), and #5 in MVP

He was 10th in WAR in 2012, and 17th in MP.

He was outside of the top 10 in 2002 (0.3 behind #10, and due in part to negative fielding runs, the only time in his career he was below 0. Give him a 0 instead of -4 and he's tied for 9th.) and #2 in MVP.

So, 2007 balances out 2002, and he's pretty much spot on. This is not the most overrated player in history. He's about the most accurately rated one.





   72. vivaelpujols Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:46 AM (#4632050)
One thing about Pujols is that his average rank in WAR from 2001-11, his years in the NL, was 3.8 but his average rank in MVP votes was 2.9. So that appears to be some overrating, but maybe not as much as my numbers indicate.


I'm guessing this is the case for nearly every RBI guy out there.
   73. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 07, 2014 at 08:16 AM (#4632071)
Pie Traynor's first name was Pie. I don't know what Eddie Matthews' first name was, but there's no way in hell it was as awesome as "Pie."


As an old man, Pie did commercials for a Pittsburgh heating/ air company. He died, and his wife took over the job. She was introduced as "Mrs. Pie."

Did anyone find the elephant?
   74. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 08:49 AM (#4632076)
His Triple Crown might also be under-rated a little because Carl Yastrzemski went out the very next season and did the exact same thing.



True, but Frank Robinson WAS on his way to another TC in 1967. It was Robby who was leading the league in BA .337 RBI 59 and was one off the lead in HR with 21 when he got hurt on June 27. Who knows if he keeps up with Yaz through the dog days, but it would have been interesting; not that 1967 was wanting in excitement.
   75. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 07, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4632080)
It seems to me that right after Banks, MLB entered it's weak hitting/good fielding phase.


I'd have to think the advent of turf was a factor in this.
   76. Ron J2 Posted: January 07, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4632189)
One of the obvious problems with Robinson is that he's so easy to compare to Hank Aaron. Kind of like Raines and Rickey!

Not that it's a problem if you aren't quite as good as Hank Aaron, but I think it did lead a fair number of people to miss just how good Robinson was.
   77. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4632255)

He was #2 in WAR in 2003, and #2 in MVP

He was outside of the top 10 in 2002 (0.3 behind #10, and due in part to negative fielding runs, the only time in his career he was below 0. Give him a 0 instead of -4 and he's tied for 9th.) and #2 in MVP.


If not for that big bison head, Pujols would have 5 MVP's. Just an observation and I like saying bison head.
   78. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 07, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4632289)
Speaking of underachieving teams and Ernie Banks I give you the Cubs of the aforementioned Banks and Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams.


Banks, as I said before, coasted into the HoF on the first ballot. Jenkins (three) and Williams (six) took longer, despite their credentials. Mathews took five ballots to get in, not at all out of the context of what happened with the Cub players (don't forget those Braves also had Warren Spahn, too).

-- MWE
   79. Squash Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4632373)
Mathews took five ballots to get in, not at all out of the context of what happened with the Cub players (don't forget those Braves also had Warren Spahn, too).

Yes, and five ballots isn't an insane amount of time to wait (though obviously he should have been in earlier). I think part of what confuses the issue is Eddie Matthews is often thought of as a 50s player since that's when his glory years were, but he wasn't eligible until 1974 and gained pretty quickly and steadily to induction.
   80. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4632432)
You guys are just making my point for me which was that Eddie Mathews was grossly underrated. The fact that we now know just how good he really was yet took 5 yrs. to get into the HOF. His poor showings in MVP voting because the sportswriters weren't or couldn't interpret his value. These all show that he was underrated. We know now that he was unquestionably the greatest 3b of alltime at the time of his retirement and was in fact 15th on the alltime WAR list. The guys ahead of him: Ruth, Cobb, Mays, Speaker, Musial, Hornsby, Collins, Williams, Wagner, Gehrig, Aaron, Mantle, Ott, Foxx. That's it, fourteen inner inner circle guys and every single one of them was recognized as such, certainly by the mid 70's they were, yet Mathews wasn't
   81. Squash Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4632469)
You guys are just making my point for me which was that Eddie Mathews was grossly underrated.

He was definitely that. What I'm saying is that by the time he hit the ballot his glory years were 20 years earlier, which is perhaps why he was underrated/somewhat forgotten. His last big stud year was 15 years prior to his appearing on the ballot.

EDIT: "Big stud" year as by the definitions of the time - namely lots of RBIs.
   82. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2014 at 05:12 PM (#4632593)

He was definitely that. What I'm saying is that by the time he hit the ballot his glory years were 20 years earlier, which is perhaps why he was underrated/somewhat forgotten. His last big stud year was 15 years prior to his appearing on the ballot.


Yea you could say that about a host of players. You think when Griffey comes up in a couple of years anybody is going say, "his last great year was 16 years ago"? Ernie Banks, Bob Feller, Yaz, Kaline, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, they all got voted in 1st ballot and they all were ~15 yrs. removed from their last great year. Mathews was probably better than every player listed other than Robby, and even there he doesn't embarrass himself.
There's really no reasonable explanation as to why he wasn't regarded as a huge star. I can't think of any other inner-circle type HOFer who had to wait as long as Mathews to get in. Certainly not since they instituted the current rules.
   83. Cyril Morong Posted: January 07, 2014 at 10:27 PM (#4632877)
I did the analysis for each year of Albert Pujols' career. In each year I tried to find a polynomial trend line that best fit the voting that year. Who was included in the analysis each year? Anyone who had at least as many ABs as the lowest AB total for anyone who got votes. Sometimes players don't get any votes but have a pretty good WAR and I don't think they should be left out of the analysis. So there had to be some way to decide who got included. So it is a different number of players each year.

I usually went with the highest r-squared among 2nd, 3rd degree, etc. polynomials. But they had to make sense. Sometimes the line goes up and down alot and I preferred lines like the ones in the graphs I used already. Logs and exponential functions would not work be cause of zero values for WAR and MVP shares. Sometimes even negative WAR values came up.

So I got a predicted value for each year of his career (including 2013 when he got no votes and had only 391 ABs, so I included everyone in the AL who had 391+ ABs).

In 11 of his 13 seasons his share was higher than predicted. Adding up all of the differences between his predicted share and actual share I got 1.73. So, although his rank in the MVP vote is about right based on his rank in WAR, his vote total is still higher than expected based on the overall pattern of the vote by the writers.

Now this 1.73 is lower than the 3.78 I currently have for him. But to know where that ranks I will have to go through every season since 1931 for each league one by one and get a total for all players. That will take some time.
   84. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: January 07, 2014 at 10:55 PM (#4632889)
In 11 of his 13 seasons his share was higher than predicted. Adding up all of the differences between his predicted share and actual share I got 1.73. So, although his rank in the MVP vote is about right based on his rank in WAR, his vote total is still higher than expected based on the overall pattern of the vote by the writers.


You look at MVP shares, not ordinal ranking, but apparently simply ordinal ranking for WAR? Are all #1s in WAR treated the same? In 2009 he got 100% MVP share, and was not only #1 in WAR, but #1 by a lot. He had 9.7. #2 had 8.2. #3 had 7.3. Is getting 100% of the first place MVP vote really overrating him?
   85. haggard Posted: January 07, 2014 at 11:22 PM (#4632916)
Peter Gammons never missed a chance to say something derogatory about Chet Lemon. I don't know if he had problems with the press in general.


The problem I have with this article is that I don't think MVP votes were intended to "rate" the players. Nobody thought Maury Wills was a better player than Willie Mays in 1962.
   86. Cyril Morong Posted: January 07, 2014 at 11:37 PM (#4632930)
For 2009 I used a 3rd degree polynomial. It predicted he would get a share of 83.67%. Is that the best model for that year? I can't say for sure. Some higher degree polynomials have a slightly higher r-squared but there are ups and downs. I like to see the line constantly rise and be relatively smooth. The third degree polynomial has an r-squared of .634. The 6th degree has a slightly higher r-squared (.6862) but the line goes down slightly then up slightly then down slightly then rises steadily then almost flattens out then shoots up very steeply. If I went with that it would predict Pujols to get a 98.397% share (so very little overrating). But that trend line snakes around so much I think people would mis-trust it.

My independent variable is not ordinal. I am using the absolute value of WAR. And how that relates to MVP voting will be different each year depending on who the voters like. It is not just how many votes the MVP winner got or how many the #1 guy in WAR got. It is the overall pattern that leads to the prediction. If in a given year some guy, say Pujols, is above the trend line, that implies that he was overrated in that year. And the trend line results from all the votes cast (and giving a 0% share to anyone who did not get votes and has a minimum level of ABs).

If there is a better way to determine who is overrated and who is not, then I would like to see someone present that. But it is something we hear or read frequently that so and so was underrated or overrated. Underrated by who and by how much? And how do we know?

I think doing a rank correlation would be fine if everyone in the league got ranked by the voters. But if only 20 or so guys get votes each year, what rank do we give to all the guys who get no votes?
   87. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: January 07, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4632941)
If there is a better way to determine who is overrated and who is not, then I would like to see someone present that. But it is something we hear or read frequently that so and so was underrated or overrated. Underrated by who and by how much? And how do we know?


I appreciate that what you are doing is scientifically based. Maybe I'm just having a tough time with the nomenclature. Any system that claims Albert Pujols is more overrated than Ryan Howard seems to be just plain wrong.

Is there any instance in which a WAR leader by a huge amount getting 100% share wouldn't be overrated? In 1967, Yaz got a 98% MVP share ( some idiot gave Cesar Tovar a first place vote). He had 12.4 WAR. Second place was 7.7. IN 1956, mickey Mantle got 100%. He had 11.3. second place was 6.6. In 2002, Barry Bonds got 100% and had a WAR lead over second place of 11.7 to 7.0. Would your system call all these guys overrated that year?
   88. Cyril Morong Posted: January 08, 2014 at 12:03 AM (#4632950)
I would have to do each one of those years. Maybe combining years like I did at first helps reduces randomness and year to year quirks. It just so happens that Bonds has a prediction of a 100.083% share for 2002.

For Howard vs. Pujols, maybe I should do that on a per plate appearance or AB basis. For the years 2006-11 only, Howard is overrated by about 2.4 (that is using the year by year analysis). So without checking, my guess is that on a per PA or AB basis, Howard is more overrated
   89. Squash Posted: January 08, 2014 at 01:40 AM (#4632996)
There's really no reasonable explanation as to why he wasn't regarded as a huge star.

You're right - there is no reasonable explanation as to why Mathews wasn't regarded as a huge star. He was obviously a huge star. I'm trying to offer some explanation as to why he wasn't perceived as a huge star and it took him some time to get into the Hall. Probably some combination of his being overshadowed by the bigger stars on his own team (Aaron, Spahn), which was already mentioned upthread, and his career being exceptionally front-loaded, so people had time to forget that he was once truly awesome.
   90. cardsfanboy Posted: January 08, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4633198)
Instead of using MVP votes to determine "ratedness" wouldn't a better proxy be All star appearances and starts?
   91. Cyril Morong Posted: January 08, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4633252)
I don't know if it would be better, but it is worth trying. One problem is that fans vote for starters and then a manager picks backups. So there are two different entities doing the rating. And the fans have not always had a vote. The fans also vote, it seems, mostly before the season is half over. We don'tknow the WAR of a player when he received votes. Maybe if we did this for a career, it would not matter so much as things might even out
   92. Cyril Morong Posted: January 08, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4633260)
Another issue is how much does an All-Star start count compared to an appearance? And what about being named to a team but not getting in the game?
   93. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 08, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4633267)
Another issue is how much does an All-Star start count compared to an appearance? And what about being named to a team but not getting in the game?


I don't know about BBRF, but Baseball Almanac does break it down by fan voted starters whether or not they played.
   94. cardsfanboy Posted: January 08, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4633273)
I don't know if it would be better, but it is worth trying. One problem is that fans vote for starters and then a manager picks backups. So there are two different entities doing the rating. And the fans have not always had a vote. The fans also vote, it seems, mostly before the season is half over. We don'tknow the WAR of a player when he received votes. Maybe if we did this for a career, it would not matter so much as things might even out


Agree, not saying it's easy or not time consuming, and of course it's going to be somewhat inaccurate as you don't have the actual results to know when a guy might have won the vote but bowed out of the game.

Another issue is how much does an All-Star start count compared to an appearance? And what about being named to a team but not getting in the game?


I would say that getting the start is worth twice as a guy who just makes the team. I don't see any difference between being named to the team and not getting in. If you are talking about ratedness, making the team indicates that people are rating you pretty good. (drawback is you still have guys like Gibson who made three teams but didn't want to participate so has no all-star showing)

Mind you, it really depends on how much work you would want to do on this. Your initial take on it was probably time consuming enough. But to be more 'accurate' I would think that you really have to look at how the players did on a seasonal basis relative to their performance. (as people posted above, if you look at Pujols individual seasonal ranking by war/waa compared to how he actually did in mvp voting, you would be getting a better idea of how he is rated...add in all star appearances compared to that seasonal war and you might have a good proxy for ratedness at the time...although I think a two year running average at looking at the all star votes would be a little more accurate than just their ranking for that particular season.)

   95. BDC Posted: January 08, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4633370)
I'm trying to offer some explanation as to why he wasn't perceived as a huge star and it took him some time to get into the Hall

As Mickey Henry mentioned upthread, batting average is a big part of it. It's weird, but if you think back into the mindset of HOF voters (both writers and Veterans) in the 1970s, there was this preposterous sense that today's players couldn't hit for ####, while Ross Youngs and Chick Hafey and Pie Traynor, for that matter, were obviously the kind of greats we'd never see again. Mathews was one of the venerable stars of my childhood; everybody knew he was great among his contemporaries: just like Harmon Killebrew, who made the HOF on his 4th ballot. But voters thought that very few of these contemporaries could compare to the greats of the past. Even Mickey Mantle got only 88% of the vote on the first ballot: to some degree because his career batting average dipped at the end below .300.

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