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Monday, November 14, 2011

Dodd: On Hosmer, the Rookie of the Year and why age matters

Intermocking NY Yankee fan that threw Hosmer’s 1st career HR back…begins now!

In just his third full year of professional baseball, Hosmer batted .293/.334/.465 with 19 homers and 27 doubles in 128 major-league games. His adjusted on-base percentage plus slugging (OPS+) was 118. And if you want to put all these numbers in historical context, here we go:

Here is the list* of players that batted at least .290/.330/.465 with a 118 OPS+ at the age of 21 (with a couple qualifiers):

*During their first or second major-league season

*Minimum 500 plate appearances

... Eddie Matthews; Mickey Mantle; Ted Williams; Albert Pujols; Stan Musial; Hal Trosky; Arky Vaughan; Del Ennis; Frank Robinson; Hank Aaron; Ken Griffey Jr.; Bob Horner; Orlando Cepeda; Miguel Cabrera; Joe Medwick; Vada Pinson; and Joe DiMaggio.

That’s 17 names. And just three — Cabrera, Pujols and Griffey — in the last three decades.

 

 

Repoz Posted: November 14, 2011 at 06:52 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, projections, royals, sabermetrics

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   1. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: November 14, 2011 at 07:37 AM (#3992866)
I've been a little surprised that Hosmer's name hasn't come up more in the ROY discussion, but maybe that's because I'm looking more at sites like BBT. I may be completely off base here in this thinking, but I've always thought a component of the ROY voting should be based on which rookie projects to have the best career among the candidates. I see the ROY voting a little bit as a vote for posterity. To me, Hosmer is the best bet of all the candidates to be a very good to great player. Also, he got better as the season went along, which suggests he adjusted to the league's adjustments. Royals fan are lucky they get to root for this guy.
   2. Greg K Posted: November 14, 2011 at 08:44 AM (#3992870)
Weird, I've always thought of Rookie of the Year as the first year player who had the best season.

I think we need one of those guys from the endless MVP threads to quote the guidelines for us!
   3. Russ Posted: November 14, 2011 at 12:06 PM (#3992879)

Weird, I've always thought of Rookie of the Year as the first year player who had the best season.


Yeah, I'm perfectly OK with giving ROY to a 27 year-old rookie and have that guy disappear off the face of the earth 2 years later. The award is almost solely distinguished by its eligibility criteria and those are pretty crystal clear on who is eligible. I don't see a reason to adjust for age, although I do understand why some people think that professional experience outside of the minor leagues should count against someone (although I disagree).
   4. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: November 14, 2011 at 01:55 PM (#3992902)
While I like the idea of giving the award to the rookie who shows the greatest ability to excel for a career, that is obviously highly subjective, and could lead to bizarre award recipients (for example, Bobby Witt was memorably wild early in his career, but one could've concluded that he would be the next Nolan Ryan once he got his control down pat. David Clyde, too.). Besides, it is pretty clear that the award is supposed to go to the guy who had the best year among eligible rookies, regardless of their age or perceived upside...don't worry, Bob Hamelin, you'll get to keep your award!
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 14, 2011 at 01:59 PM (#3992904)
I think ROY should be player with the best season. I mean, the second ROY ever given out went to a 33 year old (Sam Jethroe).

Besides, we can't fully predict what players will do. The 22 year old might flame out while the 28 year old might go Raul Ibanez.
   6. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: November 14, 2011 at 02:01 PM (#3992906)
Here is the list* of players that batted at least .290/.330/.465 with a 118 OPS+ at the age of 21 (with a couple qualifiers):


As usual, a list designed to make a player look far better than he really is. Among those 18 players (Hosmer included), Hosmer ranks:

18th in BA (17th is .294)
18th in OBP (17th is .337)
18th in SLP (17th is .478)
18th in OPS+ (17th is 128)

Drop the OPS+ requirement just a hair and you pick up Ben Chapman .316/.371/.474/116.

And what's with the first or second year qualifier? Hornsby's not eligible, because his age 21 season was the second season he accomplished this, but it was his 3rd overall season, having played 18 games at age 19. Cobb also did it at 20 and 21, but he played a bit at 18 and 19. Ditto Alex Rodriguez and Al Kaline. Mel Ott did it at 19, 20, and 21, so obviously he doesn't count.

Now, those additional names still put Hosmer in great company, but only if you stay strictly withing the minimum qualifications, which are designed to just barely get Hosmer in. Hosmer's season is by far the worst of any of them. Reduce the minimums just a bit, say to .280/.320/.445/114, and you pick up the afore mentioned Chapman, as well as Whitey Lockman, Greg Luzinski, Ryan Zimmerman, Freddie Freeman*, and Adrian Beltre. Altogether, 46 seasons, in which Hosmer comes in 40th in OPS+, 37th in BA, 44th in OBP, and 43rd in SLP.

*Freddie Freeman. A perfect illustration of the fallacy of placing a player into a list with far superior players, based on minimum qualifications designed to get your guy just over the top, to the exclusion of much more similar players who just barely miss out on one or more qualifications. Freeman, a 21 YO rookie first baseman in 2011, batted .282/.346/.448/118 in 635 PAs is excluded from the list of all time greats, while Hosmer, a 21 YO rookie firstbaseman in 2011 batted .293/.334/.465/118 in 563 PAs is included.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: November 14, 2011 at 06:57 PM (#3993193)
To pile on:

Age 21 season, 502+ PA, OPS+ of 108 to 128 ...

There are 42 such seasons and Hosmer ranks 38th in WAR with 1.3. -10 in the field (ouch). He is just ahead of Freeman at 1.1. There are certainly some big names nearby -- Juan Gone, Boog, Luzinski. But most of the stars are non-corner players and much higher on the WAR list .

Age 21, when Rick Manning looked like he was gonna be a star!
   8. Charlie O Posted: November 14, 2011 at 09:06 PM (#3993410)
"Weird, I've always thought of Rookie of the Year as the first year player who had the best season"

That's what I thought until 1977. They must have been looking at career potential when the award was given to Eddie Murray instead of Mitchell Page.
   9. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 14, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#3993425)
Giving it to a younger player isn't just a matter of career potential. All things being equal it seems more impressive for a 21-year-old to accomplish something than for a 26-year-old to do it, even if the 21-year-old was an unheralded prospect. Also Murray was on a very good team and Page was on a very bad team.

[note: these arguments are all taken from other people in the other ROY thread]
   10. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 14, 2011 at 09:26 PM (#3993433)
They must have been looking at career potential when the award was given to Eddie Murray instead of Mitchell Page.


Murray had more HR (27 to 21) and RBI (88 to 75), and Page had a rep as a bad character guy to boot.

I would've certainly given it to Page, but in retrospect, I understand why the voting went the way it did.
   11. Charlie O Posted: November 14, 2011 at 09:53 PM (#3993458)
It's bad enough that the team's accoplishments are considered for the MVP award. It's outrageous that anyone would consider it for Rookie of the Year.

I remember Page having problems with Finley over his contract after a couple of seasons (who didn't?). I have no recollection of his character being called into question during his rookie season.
   12. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 14, 2011 at 10:10 PM (#3993484)
Here is the list* of players that batted at least .290/.330/.465 with a 118 OPS+ at the age of 21 (with a couple qualifiers):


To pile on, IOW this is list designed to group Hosmer with better players- .325/.390/.565 is in, .288/.375/.500 is out... .289/.329/.464 is out...
This is the list of guys, .280-.300 average, slugging .450-.480 OBP .330-.340:


Player OPS+ BA OBP SLG OPS+
Greg Luzinski 120 .281 .332 .453 120
Eddie Murray 123 .283 .333 .470 123
Eric Hosmer 118 .293 .334 .465 118
Vada Pinson 118 .287 .339 .472 118

not a bad group to be in
   13. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 14, 2011 at 10:27 PM (#3993508)
I have no recollection of his character being called into question during his rookie season.


There were rumors that he had drug problems during his time as a Pirates prospect, prior to the trade with Oakland. No idea whether or not they were true, though given his subsequent issues with alcohol, I wouldn't be surprised.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: November 14, 2011 at 10:35 PM (#3993513)
I'm going to be 'that guy' and ask a fantasy baseball question. In a keeper roto league (can keep for unlimited years, OBP TB R RBI SB) should I hold onto Hosmer or Heyward? We only keep 5 guys, and this would be my last spot, I have one other OF keeper but not a 1B.
   15. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: November 14, 2011 at 11:02 PM (#3993532)
Player OPS+ BA OBP SLG OPS+
Greg Luzinski 120 .281 .332 .453 120
Eddie Murray 123 .283 .333 .470 123
Eric Hosmer 118 .293 .334 .465 118
Vada Pinson 118 .287 .339 .472 118

not a bad group to be in


He misses by .002 of SLP, but Freddie Freeman absolutely has to be in a group of Hosmer comps. He's got to get bonus points for same age, same position, same year, and same OPS+. 2 more HR, 2 fewer RBI, 1 more run scored. BBREF has them as each other's second most similar age 21 comps. I can't think of 2 more similar rookies. Both have Eddie Murray #1, but if similarity scores considered adjusted rate stats, they would be each other's #1 (Murray had a 123 OPS+ at age 21).

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