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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Edgar Martinez is a deserving player to get into the Hall of Fame | SI.com

Jay Jaffe loves Edgar.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2017 at 10:03 AM | 117 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: edgar martinez, hall of fame

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   1. Booey Posted: November 29, 2017 at 11:05 AM (#5582586)
Jay Jaffe loves Edgar.


Doesn't everyone?
   2. Brian Posted: November 29, 2017 at 11:32 AM (#5582615)
I too love Edgar and I want everyone to love Edgar.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 29, 2017 at 11:43 AM (#5582635)
That is a headline that uses an awkward way of phrasing it.
   4. jmurph Posted: November 29, 2017 at 12:06 PM (#5582662)
Doesn't everyone?

I'm pretty meh on his candidacy, to be totally honest. I've been convinced by the conversation here over the years that he's probably deserving, but he's well behind a bunch of others in my book. I'd guess he'd be 10th on my hypothetical ballot? But (and I haven't spent a ton of time thinking about this- don't worry I don't have a vote!) I'm not 100% sure I'd fill all 10 slots?

Definites for me:
Bonds
Clemens
Chipper
Schilling
Mussina

Probables:
Rolen
Manny

Walker
Thome
Edgar

Something like that.
   5. BDC Posted: November 29, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5582666)
The most similar hitter is Harry Heilmann. A good comp, I think, and there are hardly any other useful ones. Both were outstanding hitters in careers that were long but not super-long for a HOFer. Both hit a lot of doubles. Each won an RBI title, though Heilmann had four batting titles to Edgar's two. Both are in the HOM. Heilmann would have been a DH if he'd been born in the 1960s:

Player            dWAR   PA OPSRbaser    R    H  HR  RBI   BA  OBP  SLG      Pos
Edgar Martinez    
-9.7 8674  147  -18.2 1219 2247 309 1261 .312 .418 .515   *D5/H3
Harry Heilmann   
-14.0 8964  148   -1.4 1291 2660 183 1543 .342 .410 .520 *93/H847 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/29/2017.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: November 29, 2017 at 12:16 PM (#5582670)
Harry Heilmann is an appropriate player to get into a BR Play Index Tool
   7. RJ in TO Posted: November 29, 2017 at 12:19 PM (#5582673)
Pretty much all of that negative dWAR for Heilmann is the positional adjustment. He was actually only -44 runs over the roughly 14 seasons worth of games he played in the field, which would make him about -3 runs per year. It is likely he'd have spent a couple years at DH at the end, like many sluggers do, but I don't remember anything in the descriptions of his defense at the time that would make it seem likely he would have been a DH from the start, were the option to be available.
   8. Booey Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:20 PM (#5582725)
I'm pretty meh on his candidacy, to be totally honest.


I've been sold for a couple years, but it actually took me a while to come around too. My comment was more in reference to his personality and style. IMO he always seemed like a genuinely likeable guy that was easy to root for. And whether his hitting was HOF worthy or not, it sure as hell was fun to watch. Dude could rake.
   9. Captain Supporter Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:31 PM (#5582733)
When the Yankees were playing the great Mariner team with Griffey and A-Rod, the only guy I ever really did not want to face in a big spot was Edgar. He scared the hell out of me, and he'd get my vote.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:42 PM (#5582739)
He scared the hell out of me, and he'd get my vote.

TEH FEAR!
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:44 PM (#5582742)
Edgar lives right on the borderline for me. I don't think WAR punishes DHs enough. A -5 1B gets less positional value than a DH.
   12. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5582745)
When the Yankees were playing the great Mariner team with Griffey and A-Rod, the only guy I ever really did not want to face in a big spot was Edgar. He scared the hell out of me, and he'd get my vote.

Edgar gets my vote, too, but in that fateful DS it was pick your poison. Edgar posted a 1.667 over those five games, but Griffey posted a 1.448, and was on base with a single when Edgar drove him home with the series ending run.
   13. Zonk, Genius of the Stables Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:57 PM (#5582756)
That is a headline that uses an awkward way of phrasing it.


A bit less awkward way of phrasing it if you think about it like "the only way we're going to him onto that last lifeboat is if we put a dress on him and convince people he's a little girl" - which is roughly equivalent to what it's gonna take to get him over the hump.
   14. weiss-man Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:01 PM (#5582763)
Funny but no one ever brings up that Edgar played in two more post-season series against the Yankees and didn't do much in either of them (and the Mariners lost them both).
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:01 PM (#5582764)
"the only way we're going to him onto that last lifeboat is if we put a dress on him and convince people he's a little girl"

Has he shaved the mustache since he retired?
   16. Rally Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5582768)
Edgar lives right on the borderline for me. I don't think WAR punishes DHs enough. A -5 1B gets less positional value than a DH.


Not less, exactly the same. In any given season you might have some really bad 1B who come out worse than they would have if they were DHing, but on a career level very few 1B are worse than -5 runs per year. Prince Fielder was -6, so the difference between his actual WAR and what he would have as a 100% career DH is just a rounding error.

Frank Thomas was -9 per season, Dick Stuart, Dr. Strangeglove himself, was -8.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:16 PM (#5582785)
Not less, exactly the same. In any given season you might have some really bad 1B who come out worse than they would have if they were DHing, but on a career level very few 1B are worse than -5 runs per year. Prince Fielder was -6, so the difference between his actual WAR and what he would have as a 100% career DH is just a rounding error.

Frank Thomas was -9 per season, Dick Stuart, Dr. Strangeglove himself, was -8.


Right, and I'm saying a -5 1B is not terrible at all. A DH should get a far higher penalty.

If a bad, but not awful 1B, is -14 (IIRC) then a DH should be -20-25.
   18. RJ in TO Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:21 PM (#5582791)
I'm always torn as to Edgar's candidacy. On the one hand, he ran up a ton of value as a DH, and spent years murdering the baseball. On the other hand, his career was relatively short for a Hall of Famer (about 8600 PA), and he had a hellish time staying healthy enough to play, even with the DH. Most other guys who have played significant time at DH spent a large portion (if not a majority) of their career at other positions - even if they weren't very good at them, they could at least reliably stand in the field without exploding a hamstring, and so would have (or did) still put up an extended stretch of good to excellent seasons if the DH never existed. Edgar, however, seems like a guy whose career without the DH would likely have petered out in his mid 30s after an extended stretch of half-seasons as he kept hurting himself in the field.

Now, the DH is a thing, and he took advantage of its intended purpose, and it feels like bullshit to penalize a player for doing exactly what baseball says he should be doing, but it still (to me) feels a little bit like gaming the system.

Regarding other players who were elected to the Hall who played significant time at DH:

Despite him playing more at DH than 1B, I have no problem thinking of Frank Thomas as a legit Hall of Famer, as pretty much all of his great seasons were during his years at 1B, where he demonstrated over an extended period his Hall of Fame skills and value. The DH stuff made for a nice extended decline, but he was already most of the way there, even before the DH years are considered.

For Paul Molitor, it's a similar thing, in that he was already a good part of the way to the Hall before he moved permanently to DH, although that time at DH certainly allowed him to pad his numbers to the point where he moved from solid candidate to no-doubter. The DH helped him, and did allow him to avoid the "well, he was talented, but..." arguments, but it was less clearly necessary than it seemed for Edgar.

Basically, these guys get the "I know Banks played more at 1B, but he's really a SS" exemption. Edgar, on the other hand, was a DH through and through.

Really, this is just a longwinded way of saying I recognize Edgar is probably technically of Hall of Fame quality, but I'm kind of searching for a reason to justify not voting for him.
   19. Srul Itza Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:26 PM (#5582800)
Edgar was an amazing hitter per rate stats. I love .300/.400/.500 hitters

At the same time, he did not (for a variety of reasons) become a full time player until his age 27 season and has less then 9,000 PA; he has essentially no overall defensive value, and had little baserunning value for most of his career.

I am still very much on the fence about him, but slightly more pro than con. If he gets elected, I will be okay with it; but if does not get elected, it will probably not even be No. 5 on my "He shoulda gotten in" list.
   20. jmurph Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:28 PM (#5582804)
Really, this is just a longwinded way of saying I recognize Edgar is probably technically of Hall of Fame quality, but I'm kind of searching for a reason to justify not voting for him.

This is a good way of putting it. But I also feel, perhaps overly simplistically, that the HOF yes/no decision should be pretty easy for someone reasonably conversant in advanced metrics who watches a lot of baseball (and watched even more during his best years). And I don't feel like he's a no-doubter. Hence being pretty meh on his candidacy.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:32 PM (#5582810)
I'm always torn as to Edgar's candidacy. On the one hand, he ran up a ton of value as a DH, and spent years murdering the baseball. On the other hand, his career was relatively short for a Hall of Famer (about 8600 PA), and he had a hellish time staying healthy enough to play, even with the DH. Most other guys who have played significant time at DH spent a large portion (if not a majority) of their career at other positions - even if they weren't very good at them, they could at least reliably stand in the field without exploding a hamstring, and so would have (or did) still put up an extended stretch of good to excellent seasons if the DH never existed. Edgar, however, seems like a guy whose career without the DH would likely have petered out in his mid 30s after an extended stretch of half-seasons as he kept hurting himself in the field.


I'm not sure about that. He was much healthier in his 30s, when he was a DH. All but one of his earlier injuries occurred when he was on offense, which he continued to do just as often as a DH as he did when he was in the field.

If there were no DH, the M's would have dumped him at first, and he likely suffers the same number of injuries most first basemen endure playing the field, which is very few.

Edgar DH'd because a) his bat was just that valuable, b) he was perceived as an injury risk, and why risk that bat when you have the DH, c) somebody had to, and d) he was willing to, which a lot of superstar hitters won't (and one reason I'm not sympathetic to extra DH penalties. Give me an Edgar or Papi who DH without complaint over some shoddy fielding slugger who ####### if he'd forced into the half-player role).
   22. Rally Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:48 PM (#5582826)
Right, and I'm saying a -5 1B is not terrible at all. A DH should get a far higher penalty.


A first baseman who is -5 consistently, as a career average per season, is indeed terrible. This is Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard.

If a bad, but not awful 1B, is -14 (IIRC) then a DH should be -20-25.


Problem is, that just doesn't work. Give at that high a position adjustment and these seasons are basically replacement level:

Pujols 2016 (.268, 31 homers, 113 OPS+)
K Morales 2016 (.263, 30 homers, 110 OPS+)
V Martinez 2013 (.301, 14 homers, 113 OPS+)
David Ortiz 2009 (.238, 28 HR, 102 OPS+)

These guys didn't have a lot of value, but they had some. Even ignoring defense, you can't just expect to find that level of bat anytime you want it for the league minimum.
   23. dlf Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:51 PM (#5582830)
I'm torn about Edgar too. I loved watching him play and I'd like to see him rewarded for some of the joy he brought me. And he clearly was an amazing hitter. On the other hand, of players whose career is centered pretty closely to his, he seems to be something like the 7th-12th best just among those who played a bat-only (DH, LF, 1B) position and I think that is approaching an untenable number of inductees.
   24. bookbook Posted: November 29, 2017 at 02:51 PM (#5582831)
Edgar was a league average defensive 3b early in his career. There’s no reason at all to believe he couldn’t have played a -5 first base. He was much better defensively that Frank Thomas.

And he did play about 30% of his career in the field....
   25. Booey Posted: November 29, 2017 at 03:30 PM (#5582865)
Edgar was an amazing hitter per rate stats. I love .300/.400/.500 hitters

Unless I'm missing someone, there's only 19 of these in modern MLB history (min 5000 PA's to leave out Lefty O'Doul and the still too early Mike Trout):

Cobb
Speaker
Shoeless Joe
Ruth
Hornsby
Heilmann
Gehrig
Foxx
Ott
Greenberg
Williams
Musial
Edgar
Walker
Thomas
Chipper
Manny
Helton
Votto (still active but seems like a lock)


Not surprisingly, they're almost all clustered into a couple of high offense era's. In fact, no one who debuted between Musial in 1941 and Edgar in 1987 hit this trifecta (Mantle and Bonds both barely missed with .298 BA's).
   26. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 29, 2017 at 03:39 PM (#5582868)
Larry Stone has an article in the Seattle Times today imploring his fellow BBSAA members to vote for Edgar.
   27. Baldrick Posted: November 29, 2017 at 03:42 PM (#5582870)
With Edgar, I think a lot of people start from the assumption that since he spent 3/4 of his time as a DH, he must have been a terrible defender. But he really wasn't. He was a perfectly competent third baseman for 25% of his career, which is a lot more valuable than someone who played a mediocre-to-awful first base for 50% of his career.
   28. Booey Posted: November 29, 2017 at 03:43 PM (#5582872)
On the other hand, of players whose career is centered pretty closely to his, he seems to be something like the 7th-12th best just among those who played a bat-only (DH, LF, 1B) position and I think that is approaching an untenable number of inductees.


3 comments -

1st, people tend to lump 1B/LF/RF/DH into one position, but really that's 3 positions for an NL team and 4 positions for an AL team, so on average there should be 3.5 times as many of these types of players inducted as there are for any other single position (or maybe sliiightly less if you want a DH penalty). Still, 1B/LF/RF combined should roughly equal 2B/SS/3B combined.

2nd, 1B was a historically stacked position during the 90's. This happens literally almost every decade at one position or another (2B 1920's, 1B 1930's, CF 1950's, RF 1960's, C 1970's, SS and 3B 1980's, 3B 2000's). Because of this, where a player ranks historically at his position is probably a better way of looking at his HOF worthiness than where he ranks just amongst his immediate positional peers. Being the 2nd or 3rd best X in a stacked era could easily be more impressive than being the best X of a less stacked era.

3rd, for some reason the above phenomenon only seems to bother people when there's a glut at the non-defensive positions. No one would have any problem if they inducted all the great 2B/SS/3B of the 1980's (Sandberg, Whitaker, Ripken, Ozzie, Yount, Trammell, Schmidt, Brett, Boggs, Molitor), even though the number of those players for that era outweighed the number of worthy 1B/LF/RF/DH from the same period (Murray, Rickey, Raines, Gwynn, Winfield, Evans...???).
   29. Walt Davis Posted: November 29, 2017 at 04:12 PM (#5582898)
A 110 OPS+ is replacement level for a full-time DH. Most teams don't run a full-time DH and this has always been true. About the minimum OPS+ that a full-time DH has to maintain to keep his job is about 125 -- it helps that most full-time DHs are old and on short-term contracts. Teams do recognize this -- DHs don't get long-term contracts and don't make big money. It's not so much that 105-110 OPS+ bats are easy to find, it's that they can usually play the field and teams seem to prefer to carry another OF with a 90-95 OPS+ than a full-time DH. The in-season DH penalty is pretty much just a guess and one that doesn't seem consistent with how teams actually behave. If you prefer, for most teams, DH is a bench spot and is treated as such.

But also, the proper in-season adjustment for DH to make WAR/WAA add up right is a different issue than how "great" a player was. Edgar is the greatest DH ever ... because all of the other great hitters stayed out in the field for almost their entire careers. Relative to some contemporaries, he wasn't a better hitter than Manny, he wasn't a better hitter than Sheffield. With his career length and lack of any non-bat value, he does not stand out against his contemporaries to be anything better than borderline (which I know is how folks in this thread are viewing him).

He hit 300/400/500. From 1994-2003, minimum 4500 PA (everybody here is over 5000), using slightly lower criteria to hopefully reduce the endpoint issue, there were 10 players who achieved that: Bagwell, Bernie, Chipper, Bonds, Edgar, Manny, Thomas, Sheffield, Giambi, Walker. That's a good-fielding 1B and deserving HoFer; a CF who varied from solid to terrible, definite non-HoFer; a 3B HoFer; a good-fielding LF and roid HoFer; a full-time DH; a terrible fielding LF who won't make the HoF probably more due to roids; a mostly DH HoFer; a terrible RF; a meh 1B; and an excellent RF but raw stats inflated by Coors. Three are or sooon will be in the HoF; at least one, probably two others would be; Bernie, Sheff, Giambi, Walker will be on the outside.

And I thought we didn't care about BA. If you remove the BA criterion, you add Thome (288) and Delgado (284 who also missed the 400 OBP at 395). Edgar's main claim in this group is that he had the 2nd best OBP to Bonds. That puts him 3rd in Rbat, might almost catch Bagwell if we pro-rated playing time ... but he was also not far ahead of Thome, Manny and Sheff.

I don't really object to Edgar as an HoFer even though I don't vote for him on my mythical ballots ... I do get annoyed that he's got a much better chance than Walker but that's not Edgar's fault. He was an excellent hitter with no other value ... and if you're going to pick one talent to have (other than pitching), that's the one to pick. But his proper comp groups is Sheff, Manny, Sosa, Giambi, etc. I don't like the idea of a full-time DH like Edgar making it while, just to pick one, the solid slugging CF Edmonds can't even get a sniff. Rolen was a much better player than Edgar -- not as good as fantasy Edgar that's listed as a 3B maybe but better than the actual Edgar.
   30. JAHV Posted: November 29, 2017 at 04:53 PM (#5582931)
Doesn't everyone?


No. He was a very good hitter, but the lack of defense (whether he was good early in his career or not) without eye-popping offensive numbers just doesn't quite do it for me.

For what it's worth, I tend to be more of a small Hall person. He falls outside for me. Not by a lot, but not by just a hair, either.
   31. Booey Posted: November 29, 2017 at 05:11 PM (#5582956)
Doesn't everyone?


No


See my clarification in #8. My question asking "Doesn't everyone (love Edgar)?" wasn't intended entirely to mean "Doesn't everyone think Edgar is a HOFer?" Did anyone here not like Edgar as a player or a person? To me he felt like he should have been one of the beloved players of his era that were impossible to dislike (like say, Gwynn or Ozzie or Altuve).

I could ask the same thing about Vlad, knowing full well there are plenty of people who don't think he's a HOFer. But did anyone dislike him as a player or a personality?
   32. NJ in NY (Now with Baby!) Posted: November 29, 2017 at 05:24 PM (#5582964)
Edgar was an amazing hitter per rate stats. I love .300/.400/.500 hitters

At the same time, he did not (for a variety of reasons) become a full time player until his age 27 season and has less then 9,000 PA; he has essentially no overall defensive value, and had little baserunning value for most of his career.

I am still very much on the fence about him, but slightly more pro than con. If he gets elected, I will be okay with it; but if does not get elected, it will probably not even be No. 5 on my "He shoulda gotten in" list.


This is where I land. I've always been somewhat surprised about how passionately pro-Edgar some on here are.
   33. Baldrick Posted: November 29, 2017 at 06:21 PM (#5582991)
He was an excellent hitter with no other value

He was a very good hitter, but the lack of defense

he has essentially no overall defensive value

I know people have their arguments about the DH penalty and WAR and everything, but just for argument's sake, here's the guys with over 40 career WAR whose dWAR is between -9 and -11:
                                               
Rk              Player  dWAR WAR/pos    G    PA
1              Ty Cobb -10.8   151.0 3034 13087
2          Stan Musial  -9.3   128.1 3026 12718
3        Mickey Mantle -10.1   109.7 2401  9907
4           Paul Waner  -9.6    72.8 2549 10766
5          Derek Jeter  -9.7    71.8 2747 12602
6           Tim Raines  -9.5    69.1 2502 10359
7       Edgar Martinez  -9.7    68.3 2055  8674
8    Vladimir Guerrero -10.7    59.3 2147  9059
9           Will Clark -10.8    56.2 1976  8283
10           Norm Cash  -9.3    52.0 2089  7914
11         Brian Giles  -9.7    50.9 1847  7836
12     Bernie Williams -10.3    49.5 2076  9053
13         Ralph Kiner -10.8    49.3 1472  6256
14       Jack Fournier  -9.7    41.4 1530  6032
15         Babe Herman  -9.7    40.3 1552  6229


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/29/2017.
   34. BDC Posted: November 29, 2017 at 06:37 PM (#5583002)
Pretty much all of that negative dWAR for Heilmann is the positional adjustment. He was actually only -44 runs over the roughly 14 seasons worth of games he played in the field, which would make him about -3 runs per year. It is likely he'd have spent a couple years at DH at the end, like many sluggers do, but I don't remember anything in the descriptions of his defense at the time that would make it seem likely he would have been a DH from the start, were the option to be available

That's quite possible, RJ. Heilmann was notoriously slow. I once thought he was called "Slug" because of his bat, but apparently it was because of his foot speed. But he did have a right-fielder's arm. So he held his own mostly for that reason. The Tigers moved him to 1B when he was 24, but a couple of years later they signed Lu Blue, a very good first baseman, and Heilmann went back to RF for the duration of his career.

I wonder, given the arm, if Heilmann would have come up as a 3B if he'd been born in the 1960s, as Edgar was. Third basemen in the 1910s/20s were still ideally spidery guys who could cover the bunt, and Heilmann was, well, sluggish instead. Given his lack of staying power at 1B, he may just not have been suited to the infield (though he did play some 2B when younger). But with his physical type, he might well have moved 3B-1B-DH if he'd played in the 1980s/90s/2000s, with different expectations from those positions.
   35. Booey Posted: November 29, 2017 at 07:11 PM (#5583025)
I know people have their arguments about the DH penalty and WAR and everything

I support Edgar for the HOF and all, but I do have a hard time believing he's roughly the equal of, say, Manny Ramirez or Jim Thome.

EM: 68.3 WAR, 38.5 WAA, 147 OPS+, 8674 PA's
MR: 69.2 WAR, 35.6 WAA, 154 OPS+, 9774 PA's
JT: 72.9 WAR, 37.5 WAA, 147 OPS+, 10313 PA's

Ramirez was a better hitter in over 1000 more PA's. Thome was an equal hitter in over 1500 more PA's. Both beat Edgar easily in oWAR, but drop down to his level by taking a bigger dWAR hit. I know Martinez gets some defensive credit for his time at 3rd, but the D hit still seems a bit off to me...

EM: 66.4 oWAR, -9.7 dWAR
MR: 81.2 oWAR, -22.5 dWAR
JT: 77.1 oWAR, -17.2 dWAR

   36. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:20 PM (#5583063)
support Edgar for the HOF and all, but I do have a hard time believing he's roughly the equal of, say, Manny Ramirez or Jim Thome.

EM: 68.3 WAR, 38.5 WAA, 147 OPS+, 8674 PA's
MR: 69.2 WAR, 35.6 WAA, 154 OPS+, 9774 PA's
JT: 72.9 WAR, 37.5 WAA, 147 OPS+, 10313 PA's

Ramirez was a better hitter in over 1000 more PA's. Thome was an equal hitter in over 1500 more PA's. Both beat Edgar easily in oWAR, but drop down to his level by taking a bigger dWAR hit. I know Martinez gets some defensive credit for his time at 3rd, but the D hit still seems a bit off to me...

EM: 66.4 oWAR, -9.7 dWAR
MR: 81.2 oWAR, -22.5 dWAR
JT: 77.1 oWAR, -17.2 dWAR



I treat the poor fielders who could hit like a DH as a DH for practical purposes when comparing them to a DH. Edgar Martinez became a full time DH in 1995(age 32 season) and from that point on, he accumulated 6000+ pa, has a positional adjustment of -127, if you want to make an adjustment to Manny's career, I look at roughly his last 6000 or so pa(2000-2011 was 6200 pa) and he has an rPos of -74, and an rField of -106....(without bothering to worry about those extra 180 or so pa that differentiates these two, just adjust Manny's rField to zero and his rPos to -127, giving you a net gain +53 giving Manny another 5 more war on Edgar, making it 74.5 war for Manny vs 68.3 for Edgar in a straight war comparison.

That seems to line up about right to me, Manny as a hitter was about 4 rbat better than Edgar per 650 pa. Over the course of their careers it comes out to 120 rbat advantage, Manny never provided any defensive value, while Edgar spent several years as a slightly above average third baseman, giving him 20 runs on defense, and getting a slight positional adjustment at third (roughly 7 runs) Manny gives away another 20 runs on the basepaths over their career to Edgar, and another 10 on double plays...(120-20-7-20 = 63...or 6.3 war roughly)
   37. chisoxcollector Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:23 PM (#5583064)
I also consider Edgar to be borderline. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that a player that meets all of the following criteria could be a HOFer:

- Short career
- Not “dominant” for any length of time
- Not even close to any counting stat milestones
- Little/no defensive value
- Little/no baserunning value
- Little team success

I feel like a short career DH needs to have an astounding peak to be a no-brainer HOFer. Edgar was a wonderful hitter, but didn’t really stand out amongst his peers for any single season (1995 maybe), let alone his entire peak.

You can probably take my opinion on the HOF with a grain of salt. I’m very conflicted about who belongs, and change my mind all of the time. Intellectually, I understand that people like Scott Rolen and Larry Walker very clearly meet the standard of a typical HOFer. Yet they just didn’t “feel” like HOFers (I know) to me during their careers. Somebody like a Jim Thome (or obviously Chipper) felt much more like HOFers to me. Maybe I just don’t properly appreciate defense.

To be completely honest. If you put me in a trance and I was forced to give “gut” opinions on HOF candidates, I’m sure I’d say yes to people like Sammy Sosa & Manny Ramirez, and no for Rolen, Walker, etc.

At least we can all agree on one thing. Omar Vizquel is not a deserving player to get into the Hall of Fame.


   38. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:28 PM (#5583066)
As far as the rpos of a DH, there is just more than the comparison to players for the hof that is involved with the numbers being used. It's relative to league average and the performance that the league is getting out of the DH, so it's based a bit on the tactical decisions teams have decided to go with on how they are going to use the DH. And as we know, frequently teams use the DH as a place to rest players or rotate injuries or whatever, but that doesn't diminish the value that a DH bat provides in terms of adding wins to the team, and that is what War is theoretically trying to measure.

Fortunately for the hof purposes, there are just not many DH's worthy of even being involved in a hof conversation, so it's an issue that doesn't come up frequently. I think the most fair way to debate a DH is to compare their offensive numbers to the whole pool of hitters, and on a case by case basis adjust the poor defenders to the scale of the DH and look at it from that viewpoint. There is no real reason the best DH of all time has to be in the hof, so I'm not going to be swayed by "best all time at his position argument" for a DH, but that doesn't mean you should try to adjust away his accomplishments as a hitter. A larger rPos will undersell the actual win value that the player is providing to his team during the season.
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:38 PM (#5583078)
Not “dominant” for any length of time


Not really sure I agree with that, best ops+ in the AL from 1995-2001 was Edgar's 164, which was third in Major League baseball behind Bonds 188, and McGwire 183. He was a dominant hitter, which at the time, that was his job.

His slash line from 1995 to 2001 was (4477pa) .329/.446/.547/1.020, 164 ops+(28hr per season, 100runs, 110 rbi). His dominance wasn't the homerun or RBI, but there is no doubt that he was the best batter in the AL for those years.
   40. chisoxcollector Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:41 PM (#5583082)
So from 1995-2001 there were two other players with much higher OPS+ that also provided defensive value (or “value” in Big Mac’s case). To me that means Edgar wasn’t dominant. Edgar was excellent, but not dominant.
   41. Sweatpants Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:46 PM (#5583085)
- Little team success
Martinez's time with the Mariners is almost a perfect overlap with the years that they were a good team. His Mariners made it to the ALCS three times. They tied the single-season record for wins. Before him they did nothing (did they ever have a winning season pre-Martinez?), and after he left the best they've done is compete for the wild card a few times.

I agree with cardsfanboy about Martinez as a dominant hitter, too.
   42. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:47 PM (#5583086)
To be completely honest. If you put me in a trance and I was forced to give “gut” opinions on HOF candidates, I’m sure I’d say yes to people like Sammy Sosa & Manny Ramirez, and no for Rolen, Walker, etc.


The problem with gut opinions is that they are often colored by the way the player was covered at the time they played, so you are getting a self fulfilling prophecy, instead of a reasoned rationale on the subject. Thome never felt like a hofer to me, at least not until the end of his career, when the writers finally started talking about him being a hofer, but yes he's clearly deserving when you look at his performance. Thome would be an on the fence guy for me, but on the side of being over the line, Rolen and Edgar are both straddling the fence, some days I have them over, some days on the other side, but the more I look into it, the more it seems like they should be over the line (of course my issue with Edgar is that a clearly better Larry Walker is being left out in the cold)
   43. chisoxcollector Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:52 PM (#5583089)
Martinez's time with the Mariners is almost a perfect overlap with the years that they were a good team. His Mariners made it to the ALCS three times. They tied the single-season record for wins. Before him they did nothing (did they ever have a winning season pre-Martinez?), and after he left the best they've done is compete for the wild card a few times.

You’re right, I’m probably overstating the team success thing. Let me rephrase. Not enough team success (for me) that it helps push a borderline guy over the line. Generally I don’t consider team success wen evaluating a HOF case. But for somebody like David Ortiz, the team success was so extreme that I feel I have to consider it a point in his favor. Edgar is nowhere near that point.
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:55 PM (#5583093)
So from 1995-2001 there were two other players with much higher OPS+ that also provided defensive value (or “value” in Big Mac’s case). To me that means Edgar wasn’t dominant. Edgar was excellent, but not dominant.


We will have to disagree then, being the best hitter in the league is a sign of dominance. His slash line is a sign of dominance. He was the best hitter in the AL for a 6 year stretch, that is pretty dominant. He's 21st all time in OBP, he's a dominant hitter. The argument on his case isn't the quality of his hitting or his peak, it's whether or not he has enough of a career, his offensive peak nestles well within pretty much any hofer's offensive peak, it's whether he has any more than that.
   45. chisoxcollector Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:55 PM (#5583094)
The problem with gut opinions is that they are often colored by the way the player was covered at the time they played, so you are getting a self fulfilling prophecy, instead of a reasoned rationale on the subject.


Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely agree with this statement. I just wanted to admit that my gut instinct is to be impressed by big shiny offensive numbers, while intellectually I understand there is a lot more that needs to be considered.
   46. chisoxcollector Posted: November 29, 2017 at 08:59 PM (#5583095)
We will have to disagree then, being the best hitter in the league is a sign of dominance. His slash line is a sign of dominance. He was the best hitter in the AL for a 6 year stretch, that is pretty dominant. He's 21st all time in OBP, he's a dominant hitter. The argument on his case isn't the quality of his hitting or his peak, it's whether or not he has enough of a career, his offensive peak nestles well within pretty much any inner circle hofer's offensive peak, it's whether he has any more than that.


I think I just have a different definition of dominance. I may be alone on this, but “dominant” isn’t a term I throw around often. I’m thinking players like Barry Bonds, Pedro Martinez, Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth, etc. I guess Mike Trout now merits that description.

At any given time there is a player that is the best at something. Being the best, even for a few years, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dominant.

I don’t think it’s possible for a player to be dominant for any considerable length of time and not be a no-brainer HOFer.
   47. chisoxcollector Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:14 PM (#5583099)
From 2012-2017 in the American League, Chris Sale has the highest ERA+, the most strikeouts, WAR, and WAA. (I think, I may have forgotten somebody).

Is he dominant?

   48. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:16 PM (#5583101)
Edgar is basically Joey Votto, with about 4 more years of playing time. If Votto does what he has done for the past three years, for another 4 years, he's Edgar Martinez, and it's hard for me to imagine that guy isn't a hofer. Edgar has the DH stigma, that much I do get, as I'm usually on that side of the argument, but at the same time, people seem to want to over penalize DH's and like to list 8600 pa as a "short" career. It's short for a typical hofer, but it's 163rd all time.
   49. Baldrick Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:20 PM (#5583102)
I think I just have a different definition of dominance. I may be alone on this, but “dominant” isn’t a term I throw around often. I’m thinking players like Barry Bonds, Pedro Martinez, Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth, etc. I guess Mike Trout now merits that description.

A Hall of Fame that excludes guys with shortish careers who fail to meet this definition of 'dominant' is MUCH MUCH smaller than the real Hall of Fame.
   50. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:21 PM (#5583103)
I'll have to pile on Chisox guy. Just because Edgar wasn't quite as good as one of the 5 best players ever or the guy who hit nearly 600 homers at a rate never before matched doesn't mean he wasn't dominant. He was more dominant with the stick then everyone else bar those 2 guys in the period we are referencing, that's pretty comprehensive in my book. His job, as determined by his employer, was to hit. And hit he did.

I'm a peak voter and Edgar is over my line. 7-10 year stretches were you are effectively one of the best in the league at doing what you are paid to do does a lot of heavy lifting for me.(pinch running and sacrifice bunting not withstanding)

And yes, to join the CFB and Walt mantra, Larry Walker never gets enough love. I still think many voters are really docking him for the Coors effect.
   51. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:22 PM (#5583104)
From 2012-2017 in the American League, Chris Sale has the highest ERA+, the most strikeouts, WAR, and WAA. (I think, I may have forgotten somebody).

Is he dominant?


Yes. He's not Kershaw level of dominant, but being the best is being dominant. He received Cy Young votes in 6 consecutive seasons, made 6 consecutive all star games(at a position that the fans don't get a vote on, so it's a merit based choice)
   52. chisoxcollector Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:30 PM (#5583111)
Edgar is basically Joey Votto, with about 4 more years of playing time. If Votto does what he has done for the past three years, for another 4 years, he's Edgar Martinez, and it's hard for me to imagine that guy isn't a hofer. Edgar has the DH stigma, that much I do get, as I'm usually on that side of the argument, but at the same time, people seem to want to over penalize DH's and like to list 8600 pa as a "short" career. It's short for a typical hofer, but it's 163rd all time.

If Votto is Votto for the next four seasons, he will be a MUCH better candidate than Edgar. He’d have better offensive rate stats, better career totals, and some level of defensive value.

And if Edgar’s 8600 PA don’t constitute a short career, why aren’t his counting stats better?

I don’t mean to keep dumping on Edgar. I like Edgar, I swear!
   53. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:32 PM (#5583112)
Martinez owned Rivera: .579/.652/1.053


And since we are talking about all time great, part time players, that's impressive. Sure the sample size is super tiny(23ABs), but still. The man faced Mariano 23 times and got on base safely 15 times...that's crazy stuff.
   54. chisoxcollector Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:35 PM (#5583114)
I'll have to pile on Chisox guy.


Haha, I can take it. I don’t usually post in baseball threads because I know I’m outclassed when it comes to the statistical side of things. But if I couldn’t take some constructive criticisms I wouldn’t have posted. And I fully get that my position is somewhat out there.

Now if there’s an ongoing movie thread, I’ll post like there’s no tomorrow!
   55. Booey Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:55 PM (#5583121)
Larry Walker never gets enough love. I still think many voters are really docking him for the Coors effect.


Agree that Walker doesn't get enough love, but I think Coors helps him more than it hurts him. If he never played for the Rockies and finishes with a .295 avg, 350 homers, and no batting titles instead of .313 with 383 homers and 3 batting titles, I think he's off the ballot already. He'd basically be Jim Edmonds with some steals (to BBWAA voters - I know his WAR/WAA would still be higher).

(Obviously if he'd put up his actual numbers WITHOUT Coors field then his support level would be much different, but if that happened his OPS+ and WAR/WAA would be dramatically higher, too)
   56. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:55 PM (#5583122)
And if Edgar’s 8600 PA don’t constitute a short career, why aren’t his counting stats better?


Because his skills don't show up in the counting stats. He's 172nd in hits, and 47th in walks which equates to 86th all time in times on base. He's 21st all time in obp, he's 45th all time in ops+, he's 63rd all time in runs created. He hits for good power, good average, good walk rate etc. It's just that he doesn't do any of those at an elite level, so while Sosa may have been hitting 30 more homeruns than , Edgar was getting on base 50 more times.

I'm not sure which counting stats you think he should show up better at, he's 183rd all time in plate appearances and his career numbers coincide pretty well for a guy with that many plate appearances, just because he wasn't one dimensional as a hitter, doesn't mean he wasn't doing things right.

Just a list of basic rankings
PA 183rd.
War(position players) 77th,
oWar 69th,
Runs scored 169th,
Hits 172nd
Total bases 131st.
Doubles 53rd.
Homeruns 132nd.
RBI 131st.
BB 47th.
Runs Created 63rd.
Extra Base hits 97th.
Times on Base 86th.


And on rate stats he's 92nd in average, 21st in obp, 69th in slugging, 33rd in ops, 45th ops+. (and again, for the record, I'm not even an Edgar supporter, but that is mostly about the positional adjustments and other snubs than it is about his hof offensive resume...and I do agree that I would have preferred about 1000 more pa for me to fully support him... I'm just pointing out counter arguments and some statistical viewpoints)
   57. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:57 PM (#5583123)
Chisox guy, if my phrasing came across a bit mean, sorry about that, not my intention. Your definition of dominant would appear to be a little narrower then mine, but discussions about the candidacy of players like Edgar and Walker are fun as there is much to discuss and consider. Players like Bonds, Clemens, Chipper or Thome are so obviously HOFers there really is no point in rehashing it.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 09:59 PM (#5583124)
And yes, to join the CFB and Walt mantra, Larry Walker never gets enough love. I still think many voters are really docking him for the Coors effect.


I think it's a double dock, Coors adjustments, combined with an inability to stay in the lineup. I don't agree with the first dock(mostly---and there is an argument to be made that if you are accurately adjusting the numbers, on a physical level, Coor's players are facing a greater challenge), agree with the second dock, but I still think that Walker is far enough over the line that it probably doesn't matter.
   59. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 29, 2017 at 10:16 PM (#5583126)
He was an excellent hitter with no other value
He was a very good hitter, but the lack of defense
he has essentially no overall defensive value
All of these things are true. "Very good hitter" undersells his bat — Edgar unquestionably had a Hall of Fame peak — but it's totally fair to look at the other parts of his production (or lack thereof) and dock him for that. I'm a Big Hall kind of guy and I grew up right smack dab during his peak, so I'd vote for Martinez. At the same time, I agree with this:
I don’t think it’s possible for a player to be dominant for any considerable length of time and not be a no-brainer HOFer.
Martinez was a dominant offensive player, but he's definitely NOT a no-brainer HoFer.
   60. chisoxcollector Posted: November 29, 2017 at 10:16 PM (#5583127)
Chisox guy, if my phrasing came across a bit mean, sorry about that, not my intention.


Nah, it didn’t come off mean at all. I love the back and forth. Nobody has called me an idiot or moron or troll, so my biggest fear about posting has been alleviated!

My definition of dominant probably is narrower than most. I think there have definitely been periods of time without any dominant players. To me dominating means leaving everybody else in the dust. Kind of how you mentioned that discussing the HOF case of people like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens would be pointless. If a player is truly dominant, then there is no point discussing who the best player is, because it’s obvious!

I think there are exactly two dominant players right now. Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw. I think Joey Votto and Mike Stanton and Jose Altuve and Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer and Chris Sale are all amazing players. But I don’t think they’re dominant.

I would not be upset at all if Edgar makes the HOF. I don’t think I’d vote for him, but I don’t think he’d qualify as a mistake either. This isn’t Jack Morris or Omar Vizquel we’re talking about here.
   61. chisoxcollector Posted: November 29, 2017 at 10:33 PM (#5583130)
I also object to the general idea that Edgar was the best hitter in the AL. If you look at the White Sox only portion of Frank Thomas’s career, it’s almost a perfect match for both years and PA’s. Does anybody really think Edgar was a better hitter than the Big Hurt?
   62. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 29, 2017 at 10:45 PM (#5583133)
And yes, to join the CFB and Walt mantra, Larry Walker never gets enough love. I still think many voters are really docking him for the Coors effect.

I think it's a double dock, Coors adjustments, combined with an inability to stay in the lineup. I don't agree with the first dock(mostly---and there is an argument to be made that if you are accurately adjusting the numbers, on a physical level, Coor's players are facing a greater challenge)

I think both Walker and Edgar are legit HoFers, but Walker's road OPS was .865 to Edgar's .926. It may be that playing in the thin Denver air presents a greater physical challenge, but in terms of its effect on the players that challenge is borne disproportionately by pitchers, not hitters.
   63. Baldrick Posted: November 29, 2017 at 10:51 PM (#5583134)
All of these things are true. "Very good hitter" undersells his bat — Edgar unquestionably had a Hall of Fame peak — but it's totally fair to look at the other parts of his production (or lack thereof) and dock him for that.

I'm all for docking players for the things they didn't do, but my point is there's a problem of double-counting going on here. He provided only a LITTLE bit of defensive value, sure. But 'no defensive value' implies that he was a full-time DH from first at bat until the end. And he wasn't. He contributed four seasons of good defense at a reasonably premium position. That's not a huge amount, but it's not nothing either. If he'd been a full-time DH from the very beginning, he'd lose something like 8 wins, and his case would be a lot weaker.

A lot of people feel an intuitive sense that someone who stands out in the field with a glove and makes plays MUST by definition be contributing more than the guy sitting on the bench. And in one light, he is. But from the perspective of actual player value, twenty seasons of barely passable defense from a Gary Sheffield or Manny Ramirez is almost certainly worth less than four good defensive seasons from Edgar and a bunch of null seasons at DH.

Take it to a further extreme: would anyone argue that Andrelton Simmons has contributed less defensively than Adam Dunn? Surely not, even though Dunn has 1000 extra games on Simmons.

Obviously, Edgar was no Simmons, and 'four seasons of good defense' is hardly something to hang a HOF case on. But when a guy is near the borderline, it's worth digging into the whole story. And while 'no defensive value' is an easy shorthand for 'mostly just a DH' it ends up obscuring an important piece of the puzzle.
   64. PreservedFish Posted: November 29, 2017 at 10:55 PM (#5583135)
Nothing wrong with Chisox's use of "dominant," which is the dictionary definition. There's usually only one dominant force at a time. But the only time that I think that extreme sort of "dominance" (or the lack thereof) might be relevant to a HOF case is for guys that have literally been hit by a bus. I'd put Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw in the Hall of Fame today, no questions asked. That's a level of performance that is so rare, and so far beyond any reasonable in/out line, that's it just doesn't make sense to even mention it as a criterion.
   65. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 10:59 PM (#5583136)
Just a list of basic rankings
PA 183rd.
War(position players) 77th,
oWar 69th,
Runs scored 169th,
Hits 172nd
Total bases 131st.
Doubles 53rd.
Homeruns 132nd.
RBI 131st.
BB 47th.
Runs Created 63rd.
Extra Base hits 97th.
Times on Base 86th.


And just because I'm not ready for bed yet...here is a different piece of the argument.

Here is the list of players with fewer pa than Edgar Martinez, but are ahead of him in these offensive stats.

War(Edgar has 68.3---I'll list Edgar's totals in parentheses immediately after the name of the stat from now on) Dan Brouthers(79.4), Joe Dimmagio(78.1), Johnny Bench(75) Arky Vaughan(72.9) Larry Walker(72.6), Johnny Mize(71.0) Bobby Grich(70.9) Scott Rolen(70.0) Ed Elehanty(69.5).

oWar(66.4) Dan Brouthers(81.6) Joe Dimaggio(73.3) Arky Vaughan(70.9) Duke Snider(70.6) Dick Allen(69.9) Johnny Mize(69.2) Ed Delahnty(68.7)

Runs(1219) (okay, there are 31 people ahead of him here...with Billy Hamilton leading the way with 1697), most(20 of them) of the guys on the list played prior to 1900 or integration(another 5 or 6 depending on where you place Dimaggio) ...along with Joe Dimaggio, Duke Snider, Bobby Bonds, Ellis Burks, Larry Walker, Edmonds, Delgado and Ray Durham.

Hits(2247) behind Delahanty(2597) Manush(2574) Medwick(2471) Lloyd Waner(2459) Pie Traynor(2416) Stuffy McInnis(2405) Robinson Cano(2376--REALLY?) Edd Roush(2376) Michael Young(2375) Billy Herman (2345---great number) Bottomley(2313) Brouthers(2303) Cuyler(2299) Duffy(2293) Patsy Donovan(2256) McGee(2254)

Total Bases(3718) Delgado(3976) Dimaggio(3948) Walker(3904) Soriano(3874) Snider(3865) Cano(3857) Medwick(3852) Delahnty(3794) Bottomley(3737) *4(Delgado, Soriano, Walker, Cano)

Doubles(514) Medwick(540) Delahnty(522) Rolen(517) *1 Rolen. (Cano will pass him in the first month of next season most likely, but will also pass him in pa halfway through the season and will be removed from this list--and Yes Cano is probably already a hofer in my mind)

Hr 309...he's well down this list at 63rd. Way too many people to list, and obviously most of these guys are recent players.... (by recent I mean their careers started after 1983--funny thing is that there are 9 hofers on this list....every player who made this list who's career started before 1947(except Gil Hodges) and Bench and Piazza)

Rbi again another list with a lot of players his 1261 is 29th on the list, Dimaggio leads with 1537....Delgado(1512) Delahanty(1466) Berra(1430) Bottomley(1422) McGwire(1414) Canseco(1407) Juan Gonzalez(1404) Medwick(1383) Bench(1376) are the names at least 100 above him.... *11 (Delgado, McGwire, Canseco, Juan Gonzalez, Larry Walker, Teixeira, Andruw Jones, Moises Alou, Rolen, Del Ennis, Bob Johnson, Gil Hodges, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill.

Base on Balls(1283) McGwire(1317) Dunn(1317) *2

Runs Created (1631) ---nobody. (Walker is at 1619, Delgado at 1588 and McGwire at 1529)

Extra Base hits(838) Delgado(974) Soriano(924) Walker(916) Dimaggio(881) Rolen(876) Medwick(858) Edmonds(855) Andruw(853) Snider(850) Gonzalez(847) Cano(846) McGwire(841) *9 Delgado, Soriano, Walker, Rolen, Edmonds, Andruw, Gonzalez, Cano and McGwire.

Times on Base(3694) ----nobody. Billy Hamilton is at 3442, Delahnty(3432) Stan Hack(3412) Ken Singleton(3405)


Note this is just to show that not many people (except homeruns) are getting counting stats with his pa, and that it's not unusual. 8600 pa is a large amount of pa but it's not going to lead to magic numbers often times.

   66. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 11:04 PM (#5583138)
I also object to the general idea that Edgar was the best hitter in the AL. If you look at the White Sox only portion of Frank Thomas’s career, it’s almost a perfect match for both years and PA’s. Does anybody really think Edgar was a better hitter than the Big Hurt?


Edgar wasn't a "dh" until 1995...and the 6 years I used was from 1995 to 2001...

Edgar 1995-2001 4477pa, .329/.446/.574/1.020/164ops+
Thomas 95-2001 4033pa, .315/.430/.568/.998/157 ops+
Thomas was a great hitter, but yes, Edgar was the better hitter once he became a full time DH.

Of course Thomas is a hofer and rightfully so, and he has a larger career than Edgar, but from the time Edgar became a full time DH until his retirement he was the best hitter in the league over that time frame, there were individual years he may have not been the best, and from 2001 on he was no longer the elite hitter in the league, but still damn good until his last full season.
   67. cardsfanboy Posted: November 29, 2017 at 11:12 PM (#5583139)
I think both Walker and Edgar are legit HoFers, but Walker's road OPS was .865 to Edgar's .926. It may be that playing in the thin Denver air presents a greater physical challenge, but in terms of its effect on the players that challenge is borne disproportionately by pitchers, not hitters.


I'm pretty sure there has been enough studies on athletes from high altitude going to low altitude that says that they take several days to acclimate, which is obviously a bigger deal for everyday players than it is for pitchers(at least starting pitchers) Playing a week in Colorado, then going to San Diego is a bigger stress on a player than say going from St Louis to New York... So it's pretty obvious that there is going to be a bigger spread in home/road stats for the guys who have to face that struggle.
   68. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 30, 2017 at 03:27 AM (#5583172)
Obviously, Edgar was no Simmons, and 'four seasons of good defense' is hardly something to hang a HOF case on. But when a guy is near the borderline, it's worth digging into the whole story. And while 'no defensive value' is an easy shorthand for 'mostly just a DH' it ends up obscuring an important piece of the puzzle.
Edgar spent three-quarters of his career at DH, so it's perfectly reasonable to look at him as a DH. Did he play 3rd some? Yeah. Was he so good defensively that it's a notable part of his Hall argument? No. If Martinez's Hall argument hangs on the four seasons where he wasn't a total defensive non-contributor and we need the nickels in the couch cushions to push his career value over the threshold, then that's not much of an argument. The tallying of fractional WAR points here and there is a HoM argument, not a HoF one.
   69. JAHV Posted: November 30, 2017 at 04:22 AM (#5583175)
See my clarification in #8. My question asking "Doesn't everyone (love Edgar)?" wasn't intended entirely to mean "Doesn't everyone think Edgar is a HOFer?" Did anyone here not like Edgar as a player or a person? To me he felt like he should have been one of the beloved players of his era that were impossible to dislike (like say, Gwynn or Ozzie or Altuve).

I could ask the same thing about Vlad, knowing full well there are plenty of people who don't think he's a HOFer. But did anyone dislike him as a player or a personality?


Ah, I see. In that case, still no, but I'm an Angels fan. So Vlad is awesome and Edgar Martinez sucks.
   70. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: November 30, 2017 at 09:52 AM (#5583243)
Edgar spent three-quarters of his career at DH, so it's perfectly reasonable to look at him as a DH. Did he play 3rd some? Yeah. Was he so good defensively that it's a notable part of his Hall argument? No. If Martinez's Hall argument hangs on the four seasons where he wasn't a total defensive non-contributor and we need the nickels in the couch cushions to push his career value over the threshold, then that's not much of an argument. The tallying of fractional WAR points here and there is a HoM argument, not a HoF one.

When a player is on the borderline, like Edgar is, then even seemingly minor factors can be decisive. Not to reduce this to WAR but I often think about how many "HOF" seasons a candidate had, i.e., how many 5-6+ WAR years. Nomar had six of them. That's excellent, but not enough when there's almost nothing else. Edgar had eight of those, with another two at 4.8 and 4.9. Three of the HOF seasons came during his 3B years, but two (if I'm doing the math right) wouldn't make it if it he was DHing then. I think there's a difference between having 8-10 versus 6-8 excellent seasons.
   71. Baldrick Posted: November 30, 2017 at 10:35 AM (#5583282)
Edgar spent three-quarters of his career at DH, so it's perfectly reasonable to look at him as a DH. Did he play 3rd some? Yeah. Was he so good defensively that it's a notable part of his Hall argument? No. If Martinez's Hall argument hangs on the four seasons where he wasn't a total defensive non-contributor and we need the nickels in the couch cushions to push his career value over the threshold, then that's not much of an argument. The tallying of fractional WAR points here and there is a HoM argument, not a HoF one.

His HOF argument 'hangs' on him being one of the best hitters in baseball history.

The case against him hangs on him having a relatively short career, in which he produced no defensive value. The fact that he DID actually produce defensive value (not a lot, but also not nothing) is relevant to respond to that case. That he was a reasonably useful defensive player for a quarter of his career adds ~6-8 wins to his case (according to WAR).

Again, WAR isn't everything, but it's a useful way of characterizing issues. And it says that rounding 'little defensive value' down to 'no defensive value' ends up erasing the equivalent of a full MVP-level season. Which, yeah, if you removed (for example) 1995 from his record, he would feel less like a HOFer. You can call it nickels in the couch cushions if you want, but it sure doesn't feel like it to me. And as Steve Parris notes, when guys are on the borderline, you absolutely should drill down into the details if you're taking the process seriously.
   72. dlf Posted: November 30, 2017 at 10:41 AM (#5583286)
I'm pretty simplistic when I look at the more advanced stats. For his career, Jason Giambi has 1613 Runs Created to Edgar's 1631. Giambi has the two best RC seasons, and three of the best four. There were a lot of players of this basic type whose careers overlapped with Martinez's. I just think that the margins between Edgar and, for example, Berkman, Helton, Delgado, and Giambi are pretty thin. He is better than, say Olerud or Galarraga, but not head and shoulders better. Then when you add in other "bat" candidates like Thome, McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa, Sheffield, Ramirez, Bagwell, Bonds, Walker, Guerrero, or those who I'd say are slightly into the next generation (Ortiz, Pujols & Cabrera most notably) and I just see something in the game that allowed this type of player to flourish statistically, but not set the teams on which any one of them played any closer to winning - as nearly everyone had one - the goal of the whole thing.
   73. Booey Posted: November 30, 2017 at 10:58 AM (#5583305)
In that case, still no, but I'm an Angels fan. So Vlad is awesome and Edgar Martinez sucks.


Heh. Fair enough.

Martinez was a dominant offensive player, but he's definitely NOT a no-brainer HoFer.


Agreed. He's over my line, but even as a big fan of his (the late 90's Mariners are possibly my favorite MLB team of all time) it took me years to come around to the idea that he's really HOF worthy, and even though I'd vote for him on an unlimited ballot, he hasn't cracked my 10 man mock ballot since ballotgeddon hit in 2013.
   74. Morty Causa Posted: November 30, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5583315)
Is Vlad really likely to be elected to the HOF?
   75. fra paolo Posted: November 30, 2017 at 11:26 AM (#5583322)
Is Vlad really likely to be elected to the HOF?

It's possible Vlad is one of the players less likely to benefit from the culling of the voter rolls a while back.

Using a method I've developed based on oWAR, Vlad falls just short of the level of performance that the BBWAA have been automatically electing to the HoF during the past couple of decades. However, he has the magic 9000 PA and a good MVP record.

That puts him in a 'zone of uncertainty'. An electorate dominated by more traditional voters would probably have fewer qualms about electing Vlad. But we don't have that so much now, as we did in the past.

So 'really likely' makes this a nice question. I don't know that he's 'really' likely, but he's a plausible contender for election either by the BBWAA, or by doing well enough with them that the Veterans elect him.

   76. Booey Posted: November 30, 2017 at 11:29 AM (#5583325)
Is Vlad really likely to be elected to the HOF?


So 'really likely' makes this a nice question. I don't know that he's 'really' likely, but he's a plausible contender for election either by the BBWAA, or by doing well enough with them that the Veterans elect him.


Um...did neither of you pay attention during last seasons election? Vlad got over 70% on his first ballot. So yes, he's a stone cold lock to be elected by the BBWAA, most likely in this coming vote.
   77. SoSH U at work Posted: November 30, 2017 at 11:30 AM (#5583326)

Is Vlad really likely to be elected to the HOF?


Of course he is. Of all the candidates for the Hall on the ballot, he is undeniably the Vladdiest. That singularity has always counted an awful lot in Hall elections.

   78. fra paolo Posted: November 30, 2017 at 11:35 AM (#5583330)
did neither of you pay attention during last seasons election?

I know I didn't!
   79. Booey Posted: November 30, 2017 at 11:44 AM (#5583335)
Vlad has just about everything a traditional voter would like: .318 avg, 449 homers, an MVP and several other high finishes (3rd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, etc. Total of 2.94 MVP shares, good for 40th all time). Made 9 all star teams and won 8 silvers sluggers. Had 8 seasons of .300/30/100 in the TC stats (and added 200 hits in 4 of them). And despite missing 50 games in 2003, he averaged .327/.394/.586 (151 OPS+) with 35 homers and 114 rbi over a ten year span (1998-2007). He's the definition of a "felt like a HOFer" guy.

SABR types don't love him as much, but he still managed 59 WAR, so they don't have reason to complain too badly, either.

Plus Vlad was just f'n awesome, in every way. So there's that, too. He's one of the rare cases where I don't care that he's jumping the line in front of more statistically qualified players like Walker or Rolen. The HOF was built for guys like Vladdy.
   80. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 30, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5583367)
I think both Walker and Edgar are legit HoFers, but Walker's road OPS was .865 to Edgar's .926. It may be that playing in the thin Denver air presents a greater physical challenge, but in terms of its effect on the players that challenge is borne disproportionately by pitchers, not hitters.

I'm pretty sure there has been enough studies on athletes from high altitude going to low altitude that says that they take several days to acclimate, which is obviously a bigger deal for everyday players than it is for pitchers(at least starting pitchers) Playing a week in Colorado, then going to San Diego is a bigger stress on a player than say going from St Louis to New York... So it's pretty obvious that there is going to be a bigger spread in home/road stats for the guys who have to face that struggle.


Do those studies compare the Rockies players' production at the beginning of a road trip to the end of the trip? Do their numbers improve steadily as the trip goes on? That's about the only way that alleged effect could be quantified. And of course you'd then have to balance that with the huge advantage of playing 81 games in the best hitters' park in the Majors.

I put it all together and see Walker as a legit HoFer, but certainly no better or more Hallworthy than Edgar. AFAIC they're both (so far) being denied entry for different but equally superficial reasons, in Walker's case a bias against Coors players and in Edgar's case a bias against designated hitters. The bar should be higher for both players in both of those categories, but not so high as to amount to a de facto ban.
   81. Morty Causa Posted: November 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM (#5583408)
SABR types don't love him as much, but he still managed 59 WAR, so they don't have reason to complain too badly, either.

I realize he superficially seems to be more than very good, to have been great. But, those impressive traditional stats that take context into consideration. That he has only 59 WAR (for a HOF candidate) with those stats says something about the inflated offensive era he played in. His Hall of Fame stats are hardly super. He's not as good as Edgar or Walker, for sure, who both have a good bit more WAR.
   82. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 30, 2017 at 12:53 PM (#5583427)
He's not as good as Edgar or Walker, for sure, who both have a good bit more WAR.

Part of this makes no sense to me.

Vlad gets -10.7 dWAR vs. -9.7 for Edgar. As an average RF Guerrero had to have a ton more defensive value than a DH.

Walker has the same OPS+ as Guerrero (141 vs 140) in 1000 fewer PA. His whole WAR advantage is defense. Hard to know if he was that much better.

   83. Morty Causa Posted: November 30, 2017 at 01:21 PM (#5583469)
dWAR doesn't begin at average. Vlad has all of 7 fielding runs.

Edgar has 17, not that much better, but evidently he was fairly good in the field, compared to Vlad.

I, OTOH, can't instinctively grok why a DH should be docked more than a bad defensive player. I tend to think his defensive contribution is zero, not minus something.
   84. Morty Causa Posted: November 30, 2017 at 01:24 PM (#5583471)
Oh, and just looking at oWAR, Walker, in a 1000 fewer PAs, has more WAR than Vlad. And however one might want to quibble with fielding metrics, no one thinks Vlad was anywhere near the field Walker was.

EDIT
   85. Booey Posted: November 30, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5583477)
Who's a good historical comp for Vlad (the way Heilmann is for Edgar)? Maybe Al Simmons?
   86. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 30, 2017 at 01:29 PM (#5583478)
dWAR doesn't begin at average. Vlad has all of 7 fielding runs.

7 fielding runs over a career is average. An average RF will have significant negative dWAR. I'm simply saying it makes no sense for a DH not to be much, much, more negative.

Oh, and just looking at oWAR, Walker, in a 1000 fewer PAs, has more WAR than Vlad.

Which is pretty much all baserunning and DPs. They were pretty much equivalent as hitters.

Walker, of course, suffers from the Coors Field uncertainty. People don't have confidence that park factors accurate reflect the ease of hitting there.
   87. Baldrick Posted: November 30, 2017 at 01:59 PM (#5583524)
7 fielding runs over a career is average. An average RF will have significant negative dWAR. I'm simply saying it makes no sense for a DH not to be much, much, more negative.

Martinez was a full time DH from 1995-2004. Over that period (around 6000 PA), his dWAR was -12. Over the first 6000 PAs of Guerrero's career (1996-2006), his dWAR was -4.

Which is to say: an average RF does much, much better than a full-time DH.

The issue is that Vlad added five years as a TERRIBLE right fielder/DH, and Edgar added five years as a perfectly respectable third baseman. That's what pulls things back into the same ballpark.
   88. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 30, 2017 at 02:04 PM (#5583533)
Martinez was a full time DH from 1995-2004. Over that period (around 6000 PA), his dWAR was -12. Over the first 6000 PAs of Guerrero's career (1996-2006), his dWAR was -4.

Which is to say: an average RF does much, much better than a full-time DH.


8 runs a year seems to be an absolutely ridiculously small gap to me.
   89. John DiFool2 Posted: November 30, 2017 at 02:11 PM (#5583544)
7 fielding runs over a career is average. An average RF will have significant negative dWAR. I'm simply saying it makes no sense for a DH not to be much, much, more negative.


For the zillionth time:

You can discuss "hypotheticals" and "ideals" all you want, in your spartan and uncomplicated universe.

It ain't the one we live in.

The facts remain:

A. Most players don't hit as well when DHing.

B. Every year teams struggle finding someone to plug in there who can, you know, hit.

C. Thus the position (often) suffers from a scarcity issue.

Thus a good-hitting DH probably deserves a bit more credit than they currently get in WAR. To say the penalty should be "much much" worse even than it is currently, just because the entire notion offends your delicate sensibilities, or something, completely ignores these facts.

Yes, I think teams (typically) misuse the position. As Bill James once wondered, why don't they take a young kid without a position, but who can rake, and make him a career DH? As a Red Sox fan, I am perfectly content (or, was) if they continue to do so.
   90. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 30, 2017 at 02:45 PM (#5583579)
For the zillionth time:

You can discuss "hypotheticals" and "ideals" all you want, in your spartan and uncomplicated universe.

It ain't the one we live in.

The facts remain:

A. Most players don't hit as well when DHing.

B. Every year teams struggle finding someone to plug in there who can, you know, hit.

C. Thus the position (often) suffers from a scarcity issue.

Thus a good-hitting DH probably deserves a bit more credit than they currently get in WAR. To say the penalty should be "much much" worse even than it is currently, just because the entire notion offends your delicate sensibilities, or something, completely ignores these facts.

Yes, I think teams (typically) misuse the position. As Bill James once wondered, why don't they take a young kid without a position, but who can rake, and make him a career DH? As a Red Sox fan, I am perfectly content (or, was) if they continue to do so.


I don't care one whit about any of that. For the HoF we're trying to determine how good a player really was.

The guy who can play in the field is a much better player than the guy who can't. Much more than 8 runs a year.

You can visualize this by thinking how bad a RF Edgar Martinez or David Ortiz would have been.
   91. GregD Posted: November 30, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5583588)
Isn't another way of thinking about this the trade value value of DHs? What DHs have drawn significant chips in return in a trade? Even at their "peaks"?

An alternative--and more favorable to DHs--would be contract value. Can we compare their contracts to the contracts of similar hitting but lousy fielding 1Bs/LFs? On the whole DHs look well paid retrospectively, I think, but that's an artifact partly of having older position players moving into DH spots (A-Rod was paid a lot and DHed at the end, but he wasn't given his contract to DH.) But prospectively--new contracts for players who are known to be mostly DHs--how do contracts compare to similar players who can play the field?

I don't think MLB teams value talent perfectly of course, but it would be an additional way to think about how these players are valued.
   92. Rally Posted: November 30, 2017 at 03:08 PM (#5583604)
I generally see it as a good sign that I have the DH position adjustment about right when I see people taking issue with it - from both sides.

Thus a good-hitting DH probably deserves a bit more credit than they currently get in WAR.


How much more? He's got to grade out worse than an average defender who plays first base. There's only 5 runs of room there.


The guy who can play in the field is a much better player than the guy who can't. Much more than 8 runs a year.

You can visualize this by thinking how bad a RF Edgar Martinez or David Ortiz would have been.


Those two played DH because they were good at the role, happy with it, and in a league where somebody has to do it. Either one could have played first base had I been appointed commissioner instead of Bud and banning the DH in 1994.

Ortiz was -4 per year by TZ, -6 by DRS, so his WAR would have been the same had he played first. Edgar playing first, interleague games mostly, played at a rate of -3 per year.

Every now and then you find a Frank Thomas, a Dr. Strangeglove, who is so bad at first they are worse than the DH penalty. But such players are exceptionally rare. Almost everyone who plays professional baseball is at least capable of playing a sub-average first base. There are people who would be -15, -25 runs playing first base - but they don't play baseball. They are not good enough athletes to be capable of hitting.

The concept of a player who is a +20 hitter, but a -20 fielder at the game's easiest position is a myth. Baseball's actual DHs are drawn from a pool of players who could play a passable first base.
   93. RJ in TO Posted: November 30, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5583609)
The concept of a player who is a +20 hitter, but a -20 fielder at the game's easiest position is a myth. Baseball's actual DHs are drawn from a pool of players who could play a passable first base.
Adam Dunn did exist, you know.

I recognize he is an outlier here.
   94. Rally Posted: November 30, 2017 at 03:14 PM (#5583614)
An alternative--and more favorable to DHs--would be contract value. Can we compare their contracts to the contracts of similar hitting but lousy fielding 1Bs/LFs? On the whole DHs look well paid retrospectively, I think, but that's an artifact partly of having older position players moving into DH spots (A-Rod was paid a lot and DHed at the end, but he wasn't given his contract to DH.) But prospectively--new contracts for players who are known to be mostly DHs--how do contracts compare to similar players who can play the field?


Good question. Guys signed to DH last year:

Encarnacion 3/60
Morales 3/33
Moss 2/12
Holiday 1/13
Beltran 1/16

   95. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 30, 2017 at 03:25 PM (#5583621)
I generally see it as a good sign that I have the DH position adjustment about right when I see people taking issue with it - from both sides.


I'm sure you have it right for what you are trying to achieve. I'm arguing for HoF purposes, we should look at it differently.

It's just like players who are very specifically helped or hurt by their home parks. I wouldn't want to include that in published WAR, but I do want to include it when I'm asking how good Joe DiMaggio was vs. Ted Williams.
   96. SandyRiver Posted: November 30, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5583624)
I'm pretty sure there has been enough studies on athletes from high altitude going to low altitude that says that they take several days to acclimate, which is obviously a bigger deal for everyday players than it is for pitchers(at least starting pitchers) Playing a week in Colorado, then going to San Diego is a bigger stress on a player than say going from St Louis to New York... So it's pretty obvious that there is going to be a bigger spread in home/road stats for the guys who have to face that struggle.


Maybe. Possibly not that relevant, but when I played college football (on a 1960s equivalent of a rather poor Div 3 team), one teammate was from elevation in CO. He said that he loved the "rich" air near sea level in Baltimore, that it gave him extra energy. Anecdotal only, and how that would translate to the diamond is unclear, but I would guess that the effect of elevation change would be a lot greater for teams going to Coors than for Rockies playing on the road.
   97. Jay Z Posted: November 30, 2017 at 05:41 PM (#5583740)
[quoteIt's just like players who are very specifically helped or hurt by their home parks. I wouldn't want to include that in published WAR, but I do want to include it when I'm asking how good Joe DiMaggio was vs. Ted Williams.

I don't understand why you are worried about this.

Players presumably has some ability to respond to their home park. So a player comes up to the NY Giants, playing in the Polo Grounds, figures out how to pull the ball to get more homers, helps the team. You're going to walk that value, that actual value to a real team, you're going to walk it back because of some sense of "fairness." That what this player did wouldn't have counted in the "real", made-up, context-neutral world that he was really supposed to live in. Not the flesh and blood world that actually existed.

Similarly, a Polo Grounds player can be free to hit CF fly ball after CF fly ball, easy outs in the context, because you'll square him away down the line. Great.
   98. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 30, 2017 at 05:55 PM (#5583751)
His HOF argument 'hangs' on him being one of the best hitters in baseball history.

The case against him hangs on him having a relatively short career, in which he produced no defensive value. The fact that he DID actually produce defensive value (not a lot, but also not nothing) is relevant to respond to that case. That he was a reasonably useful defensive player for a quarter of his career adds ~6-8 wins to his case (according to WAR).
That he had some defensive value for a handful of years before having absolutely no defensive contribution for three-quarters of his career gives us a fuller picture of the player, but I don't think it adds to his argument for greatness. If anything, the most notable thing about the short amount of time he did spend at 3rd is that there was so little of it.

DHs are a thing, and I think it's completely fair to argue that guys who don't contribute at all to defense should get some penalty for that. (My personal opinion is that DHs are a thing and because they only play offense, they should only be judged on their offense.)


[Edgar and Ortiz] played DH because they were good at the role, happy with it, and in a league where somebody has to do it. Either one could have played first base had I been appointed commissioner instead of Bud and banning the DH in 1994.
But since you didn't stage a coup and Edgar and Ortiz stayed DHs, we can only judge these guys by what they actually did. It's not like these guys were drafted in WW2 or blocked by the color barrier or anything like that; they got a chance to play and play plenty. If we're going to do hypotheticals, it's just as likely that in an alternate universe Edgar continued to play 3rd, got hurt a few more times, and never stayed healthy enough to merit Hall of Fame consideration. I'm uncomfortable with guessing in either direction.
   99. Morty Causa Posted: November 30, 2017 at 06:16 PM (#5583765)
Why don't we have the same problem with relievers as HOF candidates as we do with DHs? (Or, really, all pitchers. Anyone looking at their offensive stats?)

I rather agree with 98. Making no defensive contribution is better than making a negative one. Plus, as is becoming clearer all the time, the DH position has its own constraint, mostly mental, I guess. It's hard to find someone good to fill the role. If a position has a rare premium, it should have commensurate value.
   100. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 30, 2017 at 06:29 PM (#5583770)
I don't understand why you are worried about this.

Players presumably has some ability to respond to their home park. So a player comes up to the NY Giants, playing in the Polo Grounds, figures out how to pull the ball to get more homers, helps the team. You're going to walk that value, that actual value to a real team, you're going to walk it back because of some sense of "fairness." That what this player did wouldn't have counted in the "real", made-up, context-neutral world that he was really supposed to live in. Not the flesh and blood world that actually existed.


Yes. If a guy hit .320 instead of .300 b/c he played in Fenway, or hit 40 HRs a year instead of 30 b/c he was a LHB in Old Yankee Stadium I want to walk back that value.

I want to know who was the better player.
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