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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Hall for Halladay – Dizzy Deane

The reports invariably mention the highlights of Halladay’s career: a Cy Young Award in each league, a perfect game on May 29, 2010, and a divisional series no-hitter on October 6 of that same year.  Nice résumé items, people agree, but they are not so unanimous when it comes to the Hall of Fame.  Many seem to think Doc is a borderline candidate at best; after all, he won “just” 203 games with a modest 3.38 career ERA.

Borderline?  With the possible exception of Clayton Kershaw, Roy Halladay is the most-accomplished pitcher of the 21st century.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 11, 2017 at 06:59 AM | 184 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, roy halladay

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   101. eric Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5574981)
I'm not very smart, and I rarely express this well, but I think that peak and career show a high correlation. Ernie Banks is a peak HOF candidate, and hit 500 home runs. Eddie Murray is a career HOF candidate, and had five straight top-five MVP finishes.

It's the cases that seem way off, like Koufax and Sutton, that get the arguments started. But I don't think those cases are very common; they just absorb most of the words devoted to HOF arguments.


It's when someone is viewed as borderline that it is relevant. Someone with both peak and career is rarely a controversial choice.

However, to your point about Eddie Murray (values are bref WAR):

Murray: 7.1, 6.6, 5.6, 5.2, 5.1, 4.9
Murphy: 7.7, 7.1, 6.5, 6.1, 5.5, 5.0 (including, of course, b2b MVPs)
Mattingly: 7.2, 6.4, 6.3, 5.1, 4.2, 3.7

It's definitely not Murray's peak that distinguishes him from others for election. He is a career candidate.

And for Banks:

Player HR
Banks 512
Sheffield 509
Sosa 609
McGriff 493

Given the time frame, Banks was going in the second he hit #500 anyways, but from a more objective standpoint, it's not Banks' career totals that separate him from some others. He is definitely a peak candidate.

Sutton and Koufax are an interesting dichotomy because they are both practically the extreme endpoints of the spectrum. Both I feel are borderline choices. Koufax with a touch less peak to his career is not in, and Sutton with a touch less career to his career is not in. However, I think the distinctions between peak and career are very valid for a number of other cases as well.
   102. Baldrick Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:18 AM (#5574986)
If you were like Willie Mays quality in 1993 and 1997 and 1998 and 2001 but not any other time, then I'm doubtful that it's an important part of your story. Whereas if you were Willie Mays quality for four years running, then I'm convinced that you were truly of Willie Mays quality, at least for a time.

I mean, what's a Willie Mays quality season? Let's say 8 WAR? If so, there are a grand total of 22 guys in baseball history with four seasons of 8+ WAR. I'd say a guy with four such seasons is a clear HOF talent, and I would absolutely consider them a great 'peak' candidate, regardless of where those seasons were distributed in their career. YMMV
   103. Rally Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:32 AM (#5575006)
If so, there are a grand total of 22 guys in baseball history with four seasons of 8+ WAR.


Just looked at that list, and the worst player who meets the criteria is Wade Boggs. Lowest WAR total is the active one, Mike Trout.
   104. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5575009)
Eric, interesting idea in #100. I'll have to play around with that some day.

I better stop screwing around now and go sign up for health insurance. :(
   105. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5575012)
If you were like Willie Mays quality in 1993 and 1997 and 1998 and 2001 but not any other time, then I'm doubtful that it's an important part of your story. Whereas if you were Willie Mays quality for four years running, then I'm convinced that you were truly of Willie Mays quality, at least for a time.

This is kind of an odd argument to me. First, if a player has four seasons of Willie Mays quality (whatever you consider that to be), it seems like that's obviously an important part of his story, whether those seasons were consecutive or otherwise. And second, if a player last long enough that he has four Willie Mays seasons spread out over a long period of time, then (a) he had a long career, and (b) it's unlikely that the seasons in between weren't at least pretty good.

More to the point: Is there an actual example of a player who has a great non-consecutive peak like this, without being at least very good in between?
   106. PreservedFish Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:41 AM (#5575019)
I mean, what's a Willie Mays quality season? Let's say 8 WAR? If so, there are a grand total of 22 guys in baseball history with four seasons of 8+ WAR. I'd say a guy with four such seasons is a clear HOF talent, and I would absolutely consider them a great 'peak' candidate, regardless of where those seasons were distributed in their career. YMMV


Not really my point, you can replace that with "Dave Winfield quality season" if you want.
   107. PreservedFish Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:42 AM (#5575020)
Is there an actual example of a player who has a great non-consecutive peak like this, without being at least very good in between?


Not sure. How about Bret Saberhagen?

edit ... Grienke is somewhat similar.
   108. eric Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:42 AM (#5575021)
Is there an actual example of a player who has a great non-consecutive peak like this, without being at least very good in between?


It remains to be seen how Bryce Harper's career plays out.
   109. PreservedFish Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:47 AM (#5575025)
Steve Carlton's obviously over the line, but he's another guy that concentrated a ton of value in randomly distributed mega-seasons. He did not have back-to-back 5 WAR seasons until he was 36 years old. I'm not saying I know how to deal with it, but it's something to deal with. For a while there he was Mark Langston (or worse) plus a few Walter Johnson seasons.
   110. No longer interested in this website Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:57 AM (#5575038)
Sam, your methodology gives Glavine credit simply for being on better teams than Halladay was. I can't get on board with that.

I understand that point, for sure. But I look at it this way: a pitcher who contributes an average of 5 WAR in pennant-winning seasons is partially responsible for that team being good. He's not just lucky enough to be on a good team. My rating system doesn't give Glavine an additional 5 WAR per season for his pennant-winning years, but it gives him some credit.

As others have pointed out: the point is to win championships. Peak performance helps move a team toward that goal than being steady. Koufax, Glavine, Steve Carlton, Lefty Grove, Whitey Ford, et al...they had big years to help their teams to the postseason and titles. They deserve some measurable credit for that. Without Steve Carlton, the 1980 Phillies are not in the playoffs, let alone winning their first title. Postseasons performers get a double-dip: the credit for being horses on pennant-winning teams AND performing great in the postseason. Think of Bob Gibson, Madison Bumgarner, Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson, and Jack Morris, etc. The extra credit they get should be small, but not insignificant.

We know that voters look at that stuff. The impact of a great "clutch" Jack Morris postseason start or two is clearly worth as much as a 5-6+ WAR season to BBWAA voters. It shouldn't be that high, but it is.
   111. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5575039)
Not sure. How about Bret Saberhagen?

edit ... Grienke is somewhat similar.


Greinke just has two mega-seasons; Saberhagen has two or three, depending on your definition, but they're very close together ('87 and '89 were his two best by bWAR) and separated by a pretty good year (3.8 WAR in 1988).

And Carlton, as you pointed out, is over the line either way; he threw over 5000 innings at a 115 ERA+ and has over 80 WAR. I guess you can look at him as predominantly a career candidate with two giant, widely-separated peak seasons if you want.
   112. No longer interested in this website Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:12 PM (#5575047)
Best 3 ?

Best 5 ?

Best 7 ?

Best 10 ?

Or in this case, best 13 ?

I think you have to use a combination. I like WAR7, because seven years eliminates any flukiness. But I guess you could argue that five years does that for most people too. I look at WAR3 to help break some ties between pitchers. Ultimately, I think it has to be a mix of Career WAR, WAR7, and WAR3 (or WAR5 if you dig that). I like 60 percent weight on career and 40 percent on the peak. Of course the peak years are "baked in" to career value too, so you're getting it there somewhat.

I have never understood why the seasons have to be consecutive for "peak." Only the greatest players have a stretch of 5 or more seasons where they are truly great. Babe Ruth had a few down years in his "peak" stretch. *Almost* everyone does. And focusing only on consecutive seasons would penalize players who had great years later in careers.
   113. Sunday silence Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:13 PM (#5575049)
I think of Stargell as having a nice peak in 71 and 73 which helped his team to a world series. Then in a reduced role in 79 he was quite productive.

In think that adds a lot to the narrative aspect of his career. Which is why I don't understand PFs theory in no 94 about split peaks. Why can't someone have a slit peak and still contribute to a pennant and or his narrative.

I do agree w the first paragraph in 94 about looking at the HOF as a narrative of excellence rather then a career value thing..but I have to admit much of the time I feel like what would happen if we placed player X with these numbers into a simulation and ran it 10000 times?
   114. PreservedFish Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:22 PM (#5575058)
Which is why I don't understand PFs theory in no 94 about split peaks. Why can't someone have a slit peak and still contribute to a pennant and or his narrative.


Of course it can and does contribute. I'm not saying that big seasons didn't happen.
   115. No longer interested in this website Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:28 PM (#5575063)
If you were like Willie Mays quality in 1993 and 1997 and 1998 and 2001 but not any other time, then I'm doubtful that it's an important part of your story. Whereas if you were Willie Mays quality for four years running, then I'm convinced that you were truly of Willie Mays quality, at least for a time.


Except this isn't how anyone evaluates a player for his HOF worthiness. In practicality, we look at the entirety of a career and ALSO focus on the high peaks and valleys. Think of a movie: what do you want, ten consecutive minutes of tension, drama, or comedy, or a narrative that contains sharp peaks, sustained peaks, some valleys, and several moments of entertainment at the mean? All movies contain three acts and within them are tension, conflict, etc. Finally, it arrives at the payoff, when we evaluate it based on many factors, not just sustained minutes of goodness.

To support my theory that no one is evaluated by "consecutive years of peak performance" take Johnny Bench. In 1970 he had one of the greatest seasons ever by a catcher. He was 22 years old. It seemed impossible that a catcher could be that young and that great, so much better than anyone had ever seen at the position. The next season he was at All-Star level. Then in 1972 he had his greatest season. He yo-yoed between great years and pretty good All-Star seasons. In 1976 he had a pretty bad year with the bat. He shot back up and had one of his better seasons at 31 in 1979. After his career was over, we didn't do any mental gymnastics to find a 4-5 year run of greatness to support his palce as the best catcher ever. We knew he'd been great at 22 and had an awesome year at 24 and then filled it in with some All-Star years and a clunker here and there. He was great enough that at 31 he got MVP votes as a catcher. He was a great enough hitter that his team moved him to third to keep his bat in the lineup in his 30s, even though he wasn't near the player he was in his 20s. He was the best catcher ever, and no one worried that his best consecutive seasons were in a row or not. No one worries about that at all when they evaluate a player. There's a valuation made on his entire career, including peaks and usually ignoring the boring valleys. Just like a great movie.
   116. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:30 PM (#5575066)
If you were like Willie Mays quality in 1993 and 1997 and 1998 and 2001 but not any other time, then I'm doubtful that it's an important part of your story. Whereas if you were Willie Mays quality for four years running, then I'm convinced that you were truly of Willie Mays quality, at least for a time.


This comment made me think of this article: The Willie Mays Hall of Fame
   117. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:30 PM (#5575067)
Talking about Greinke - I'd be curious to see a list of all of the players who had exactly two seasons of (say) 8+ WAR, and a breakdown of how close together those seasons were. I would think it would be fairly unusual to see them separated by 5 years like Greinke's were... but maybe it's not.

If anyone can just pull the initial list, I can go through and check the players manually.
   118. eric Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:36 PM (#5575076)
I think "consecutive seasons" came about for much the same reason as "highest batting average after June 24" (or whatever it was) came about when writers were trying to support Justin Morneau as MVP in 2006. It's fanboys trying to elevate their emotional pick using whatever cherry-picked data that supports their claim. I never see more mention of consecutive seasons and whatnot than when people are talking up Greg Maddux as the greatest pitcher ever, or at least trying to convince people he was better than Clemens. (Not saying it is true or not--definitely don't want to start that argument--just where I saw "consecutive great seasons" bandied about the most.)

FWIW I believe people whose favorite players have more spread out great seasons (like Clemens fans, among, of course, fans of others) support the other side.
   119. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:40 PM (#5575083)
I never see more mention of consecutive seasons and whatnot than when people are talking up Greg Maddux as the greatest pitcher ever,


Maddux had a 7 year run with a 190 ERA+. That's great, but, he's no Pedro (213 ERA+ over 7 consecutive seasons), much less Clemens. :-)
   120. Booey Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:45 PM (#5575091)
More to the point: Is there an actual example of a player who has a great non-consecutive peak like this, without being at least very good in between?


My initial thought was Campanella; winning MVP every other year (1951, 1953, 1955) with mediocre or bad seasons in between. Good old B-ref mostly exposed my faulty memory, though. He was actually pretty good in 1952 (3.7 WAR), and he'd already established a solid peak before his first MVP season (4.4 and 4.1 WAR in 1949-1950), so I'm not sure he really qualifies. He was bad in between his 1953 and 1955 MVP's though (0.1 WAR in 1954), and immediately after (0.6 and 0.7 WAR in 1956 and 1957).
   121. Ithaca2323 Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:46 PM (#5575092)
Except this isn't how anyone evaluates a player for his HOF worthiness....To support my theory that no one is evaluated by "consecutive years of peak performance


FWIW, I have a very good friend who evaluates players exactly this way. I know you're talking about actual Hall voters, but thought I'd throw it in there
   122. No longer interested in this website Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:52 PM (#5575101)
If anyone can just pull the initial list, I can go through and check the players manually.


Starters with exactly two seasons of 8+ WAR:

Wilbur Wood
Iron Joe McGinnity
Steve Carlton
Zack Greinke
Tom Seaver
Dazzy Vance
Hal Newhouser
Robin Roberts
Eddie Cicotte
Warren Spahn
Phil Niekro
Greg Maddux
Carl Hubbell
Nap Rucker
Lefty Gomez
Kevin Appier
Sudden Sam McDowell
   123. PreservedFish Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:59 PM (#5575111)
I think "consecutive seasons" came about for much the same reason as "highest batting average after June 24" (or whatever it was) came about when writers were trying to support Justin Morneau as MVP in 2006.


Funny, I see it as rather the opposite. I'm talking about an actual natural data set (eg 1972-1979), you're talking about one that is dictionary definition of cherry-picking (eg 1984-1985, 1987, 1990, 1992).

It's fanboys trying to elevate their emotional pick using whatever cherry-picked data that supports their claim.


So who am I a fanboy of?
   124. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:07 PM (#5575125)
Thanks! (The results look a little wonky, there are a couple guys with more than two 8-WAR seasons included, but I'll just use top two years for each.) Here's the breakdown.

Consecutive years:
Wilbur Wood (1971, 1972)
Iron Joe McGinnity (1903, 1904)
Hal Newhouser (1945 1946)
Robin Roberts (1953, 1954)
Phil Niekro (1977, 1978)
Nap Rucker (1911, 1912)
Kevin Appier (1992, 1993)

Close years (2-3 apart):
Tom Seaver (1971, 1973)
Eddie Cicotte (1917, 1919)
Greg Maddux (1992, 1995 - caveat for 1994 which also would have been high enough without the strike)
Carl Hubbell (1933, 1936)
Lefty Gomez (1934, 1937)

Widely separated (4+ apart):
Steve Carlton (1972, 1980)
Zack Greinke (2010, 2015)
Dazzy Vance (1924, 1928)
Warren Spahn (1947, 1953)
Sudden Sam McDowell (1965, 1970)

I don't see a whole lot to separate those groups in terms of overall quality; all of them include both extraordinary pitchers and pitchers who were great a couple of times and not so much otherwise. (Consecutive years were more common than I expected, but with pitching injuries being what they are, I guess it shouldn't really be that surprising; I wonder if the results would be different for position players.)
   125. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:07 PM (#5575126)
Is there an actual example of a player who has a great non-consecutive peak like this, without being at least very good in between?

Not all on Mays's level, but Fred Lynn's best OPS+ years were 1975, 1979, 1982 and 1986. In between he ranged from below average (86 OPS+) to very good (133).
   126. SoSH U at work Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:07 PM (#5575127)

Funny, I see it as rather the opposite.


Me too. A peak is not a series of high points, but one. And I always figured that the original use of peak when describing player performance covered a single stretch of play, being consistent with what a peak is, and the non-consecutive usage was developed to recognize the fact that players' best performances are not necessarily grouped that way.

Like I said, I have no issue with using non-consecutive seasons to weigh how a player was at his best. I take exception with labeling that a "peak."
   127. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:22 PM (#5575149)
Not all on Mays's level, but Fred Lynn's best OPS+ years were 1975, 1979, 1982 and 1986. In between he ranged from below average (86 OPS+) to very good (133).

I'll give you '75 and '79, but his '82 and '86 aren't much better than his other good years. Leaving out the two great years, his best OPS+s in descending order go 142-137-133-132-132-130, and he missed substantial time in both '82 and '86.
   128. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:26 PM (#5575156)
Consecutive years:
Wilbur Wood (1971, 1972)
Iron Joe McGinnity (1903, 1904)
Hal Newhouser (1945 1946)
Robin Roberts (1953, 1954)
Phil Niekro (1977, 1978)
Nap Rucker (1911, 1912)
Kevin Appier (1992, 1993)


Ahem.....Schilling 2001-2002. ;)

He had 7.9 in 2004. Does Sam's list have him with three 8 WAR seasons ?
   129. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:29 PM (#5575160)
Ahem.....Schilling 2001-2002. ;)

He had 7.9 in 2004. Does Sam's list have him with three 8 WAR seasons ?


Not sure. There were a couple guys on the list who actually had 3-4 8-WAR seasons (Roberts and Maddux at least), so I don't really know what happened with the search. But Schilling should be included.
   130. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:33 PM (#5575169)
Even here I sense a little contradiction:

A peak is not a series of high points, but one.


So thats One season.

But then

And I always figured that the original use of peak when describing player performance covered a single stretch of play


It seems like you want to champion a literal definition of peak, yet still leave some ambiguity as to how long to define peak.

You really can't have it both ways. The literal peak is the players best season. Period. But I don't think thats what anyone is talking about.

The subjective peak you are mentioning in the second part of your comment is the one of varying length that is selected by the evaluator to fit one's argument/bias/narrative.


EDIT: Unless you use a system like Sam mentions in 110, in which case you are kind of locked in with the results the system spits out, and can't make intuitive or subjective adjustments without invalidating the system.


   131. Rally Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:40 PM (#5575179)
Not really my point, you can replace that with "Dave Winfield quality season" if you want.


Winfield is definitely a career candidate. If you had a player with just 4 great years the quality of Winfield's peak (say 5 WAR) but inferior seasons around it, you don't have a HOFer. Whether the big years are consecutive or not.
   132. PreservedFish Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:46 PM (#5575187)
A peak is not a series of high points, but one.


So thats One season.


No. He meant it is one single high point that may last any number of seasons. Nothing inconsistent in SoshU's position.
   133. SoSH U at work Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:47 PM (#5575191)
So thats One season.


Not necessarily. It could be one game, one week, one month, one season or one continuous stretch of seasons. But it's definitely one of something. How long, I don't care.

It seems like you want to a literal definition of peak, yet still leave some ambiguity as to how long to define peak.


I'd just like a definition that wasn't completely at odds with what a peak is. That's all. And 1979, 1984 and 1989 are in no way a peak. You* want to weigh players based on how good they were when they were at their best, independent of whether that was in consecutive or scattershot seasons, I have no problem with that. Just come up with a better name to describe the latter.

* Obviously, the you is plural. You didn't invent the grating non-consecutive peak usage.
   134. eric Posted: November 13, 2017 at 01:52 PM (#5575196)
Funny, I see it as rather the opposite. I'm talking about an actual natural data set (eg 1972-1979), you're talking about one that is dictionary definition of cherry-picking (eg 1984-1985, 1987, 1990, 1992).


I'm talking generally now, not about whatever you specifically may or may not do, but it's the act of restricting the definition of great to whatever gives the predetermined conclusion. That's a type of cherry picking. As a very manufactured example, let's take two players and some made up values:

Player A: 8, 1, 8, 1, 8, 1, 1, 8
Player B: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

Player A has the best 1 season,..., the best four seasons, overall. Player A also has the most cumulative value, by best seasons 1-8 (tied at 7).

Player B has the best two CONSECUTIVE seasons, as well as four consecutive and seven consecutive, by cumulative value.

So player A has the best individual seasons, and the higher overall value. Focusing on the fact that Player B is better at the precise definition of "most value over seven consecutive seasons" is very much cherry picking.

With regards to peak, I think people are arguing semantics. To me, a player's "peak" is when they were at their absolute best. Peak Pedro. Peak Rocket. The times you knew you could get a 15-K, 1-H SHO at any time. In evaluating players, I look at their "best seasons" and go down the list. Referring to that as their peak might offend people who like to view career shapes as conforming to the silhouette of a mountain, but if so, just call it something else.

If I sort two players' seasons on bref by WAR and one is higher at each step of the way than the other--that's convincing to me. I consider that to mean the player had a higher peak, irrespective of the linearity of those seasons. That player was better at their best. Maybe the other player had the better three consecutive year stretch. I can't argue with that either. All we are doing is arguing over which set (best three overall, best three consecutive, etc) gets the label "peak" to which I respond: I don't care. Have the word peak. I'll just say one player had the better "best" seasons.

   135. Rob_Wood Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:03 PM (#5575204)
My view is that people who write and talk about baseball use the term "peak" in two related but separable ways.

First is to capture the concept of a player "at his best". Here the length of time is not crucial. Somebody might say that Jose Canseco had a great peak to mean that Jose Canseco was a great player at his best.

Second is to capture the idea of telling the story of the player when you are making a case for him (e.g., for the Hall of Fame or whatever). Someone might say that Joe Morgan averaged .300/.450/.500 (BAvg/OBP/SPct) during his phenomenal peak from 1973-1976 (I just made up those stats, no idea if they are true). Here the length of time is important. And I agree with those above who say that this usage of "peak" implies consecutive seasons (or consecutive games or whatever).

This second usage is a bit problematic (as is the first) since the crafter of the story can cherry-pick whatever time frame s/he wants to best tell the story that s/he wants to tell. Of course, forcing information about different players to conform to the same timeframe ("'peak' can only mean best 3 consecutive seasons") is not a solution either.

To repeat what I said earlier (which was immediately criticized) I think the best way to handle this "issue", insofar as it is important to put different players on the same footing, is to process all of a player's seasons and derive an overall ultimate measure of how many pennants (pennant-added) he contributed to his teams over the course of his career. Taking special care to properly reflect the fact that the relationship between seasonal value and pennant-added is non-linear (that is, if two players have the same overall career WAR, to pick that stat to make this point, the one with the higher "peak" will have earned more pennant-added).

Narratives are fine and dandy. Narratives make great stories and we all love them. But narratives rarely make great arguments in and of themselves.

   136. SoSH U at work Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:07 PM (#5575211)
With regards to peak, I think people are arguing semantics.


I'm absolutely arguing semantics. I've been as upfront about that as possible.

Call it heights. Call it his best. Just call it something other than something it isn't.

   137. PreservedFish Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:09 PM (#5575215)
To me, a player's "peak" is when they were at their absolute best. Peak Pedro. Peak Rocket. The times you knew you could get a 15-K, 1-H SHO at any time. In evaluating players, I look at their "best seasons" and go down the list. Referring to that as their peak might offend people who like to view career shapes as conforming to the silhouette of a mountain, but if so, just call it something else.


First ... SoshU has already stated that he mostly cares about the semantics of it. Sometimes semantics matter.

Roger Clemens had three peaks, one with the Red Sox, one mostly with the Blue Jays, one mostly with the Astros. It's fine to consider them in any way you wish, but in lumping them together and excising the intervening seasons of lesser quality, you've stepped away from his actual story and career in a real way, and we should have language that addresses that. "Peak" doesn't do it.

Pedro had one peak. His career actually was shaped like a mountain.
   138. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:11 PM (#5575220)
No. He meant it is one single high point that may last any number of seasons. Nothing inconsistent in SoshU's position.


OK.....I choose Schillings 2001-2002 peak as a high point and compare that to Glavine, or Mussina, and say Schilling had a higher peak than either of those two.

You counter with a 13 year "peak" for Glavine and say HE had a higher peak.

Others point out the players like Carlton or Greinke.

And we are back to square one.

Basically where we have ended up by all this circular logic is nobody can effectively or legitimately claim ANYTHING when proposing to compare the "Peaks" of different players, because it's virtually like fingerprints. They all have a different shape. If nobody can agree on the definition of peak, then it invalidates any attempt to introduce peak into the discussion.


Look at the graphs for the players below. Lets ask the group here one by one to identify what are the "Peaks" by SOSH and PF "Definitions" for the following players. (Sorry, the 1 game, 1 week, 1 month thing is not working for me). BTW, I get it, you don't want us to use the phrase "Peak" anymore, but it's going to continue to get used, a lot. If not by me than by others.

Steve Carlton

zack greinke

Tom Glavine

Curt Schilling

Mike Mussina

Roy Halladay

John Smoltz

I could keep posting in more, but I think looking at these graphs makes my point sufficiently.

EDIT: Ok, remiss not to have Pedro's Graph



   139. SoSH U at work Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:16 PM (#5575224)
BTW, I get it, you don't want us to use the phrase "Peak" anymore, but it's going to continue to get used, a lot. If not by me than by others.


Oh, I know it will continue to be used. It's too late to do anything about it.

But, similar to (but not identical to) our unfortunate application of "luck", it's a poor description of what we're talking about, and we should have done much better.

If nobody can agree on the definition of peak, than it invalidates any attempt to introduce peak into the discussion.


To be fair, we don't really have that agreement now anyway, so I'm not sure how my attempts to narrow it would be problematic.
   140. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:22 PM (#5575227)
eh, not problematic. FWIW, I am enjoying the back and forth with everyone. I hope thats coming through.

   141. eric Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:30 PM (#5575235)
Roger Clemens had three peaks, one with the Red Sox, one mostly with the Blue Jays, one mostly with the Astros. It's fine to consider them in any way you wish, but in lumping them together and excising the intervening seasons of lesser quality, you've stepped away from his actual story and career in a real way, and we should have language that addresses that. "Peak" doesn't do it.

Pedro had one peak. His career actually was shaped like a mountain.


If he had three peaks, why is it disingenuous to refer to any of those seasons as him at his peak? Are you offended by the lack of pluralization? Clemens at his peaks?

I refer to him at his best. He adapted over the years and had his great seasons spaced out. I'm not going to pretend that doing so somehow magically makes him a lesser player than someone else who has a different distribution within his career.

I like shoewizard's point:

Basically where we have ended up by all this circular logic is nobody can effectively or legitimately claim ANYTHING when proposing to compare the "Peaks" of different players, because it's virtually like fingerprints. They all have a different shape. If nobody can agree on the definition of peak, then it invalidates any attempt to introduce peak into the discussion.


Even Pedro's best four seasons by WAR were 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003. If you want to consecutivize those, you have to include 2005, as well, and you eventually have to get down to 9 seasons deep. So is nine consecutive seasons now the definition of peak? Either that, or two.

Back to square one, like shoewizard said. Or cherry-picking, like I call it. People are defining peak, best, whatever, based on whichever definition fits the shape of their favorite player's career.
   142. eric Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:32 PM (#5575240)
FWIW, I am enjoying the back and forth with everyone. I hope thats coming through.


Me, as well. I enjoy constructive, open-minded discussions and disagreements, while I loathe personal, close-minded, emotional battles. As long as discussions stay with the former I'm happy to participate and learn.
   143. BDC Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:41 PM (#5575246)
First is to capture the concept of a player "at his best". Here the length of time is not crucial. Somebody might say that Jose Canseco had a great peak to mean that Jose Canseco was a great player at his best

Yes, and I don't think that gaps in the record are important to that sense, either. Take John Olerud. At the age of 24 he put up 64 RBat. Then he disappeared from view for a while, becoming a very ordinary hitter, but at the age of 29 he put up 55 RBat. He was never nearly as good again.

The fact that Olerud could repeat, or nearly repeat, a really superior offensive season suggests that he was better at hitting (in terms of talent/ability level) than, say, Dwight Evans, who had 20 more career RBat (353) but a high of just 45 (which he nearly reached two other times, suggesting that it really was his top talent level). In fact, you could argue that Olerud was better at hitting than Norm Cash (three more career RBat than Olerud, 336-333), and a higher peak (an amazing 76 in 1961), but whose career high otherwise was 31.

If someone can reach a height once, it's a real height but may be an illusion of sorts or just a conjunction of favorable circumstances. If he can return to it, no matter when, it could still be a fluke but we're more confident in saying he really could be that good – usually but for injury or suboptimal surroundings or both.

   144. Rob_Wood Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:42 PM (#5575247)
By the way, I don't know of any research that has looked into the differential value (in terms of pennants-added) of consecutive good seasons vs. non-consecutive good seasons.

For example, two players having a grand total of 30 WAR (or whatever is your favorite seasonal stat). One has a seasonal profile of [2,3,6,8,6,3,2] and the other has [6,2,8,2,3,6,3]. Which is likely to contribute to more pennants over the course of their careers?

Of course, there is surely something to a GM concentrating his value among his players (e.g., signing a free agent or acquiring someone at the trade deadline) when your team in on the cusp of a pennant. But I am not positive if this implies that consecutive peaks are inherently more valuable than non-consecutive peaks (my apology for using the oxymoronic 'non-consecutive peaks').
   145. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:49 PM (#5575255)
Perhaps we can segue into another question, and by doing so also honor the fallen Halladay, and also acquiesce to SOSH's semantic argument,

Based on pitchers you have seen in your lifetime, & based on a pitcher being at his best of his best, who are the top 5 in order you would tap to start game 7 of the world series ?

Pedro
Gibson
Gooden
Seaver
Johnson






   146. eric Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:52 PM (#5575264)
Hard to come up with an order, but I will say my #1 is Morris. His best is, in fact, a 10 inning shutout in game 7 of the WS, which I'll take every time.
   147. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 02:58 PM (#5575269)
If only Morris could do that every time ? WHo is more likely to produce that again though, Morris ? Or some other pitcher ?
   148. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5575274)
(my apology for using the oxymoronic 'non-consecutive peaks').


How about using

CP = Consecutive Peak
NCP = Non Consecutive Peak





   149. Rally Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5575277)
How about this?

Peak is an estimate of how good a player was at a certain point in time. To do player projections you weight the most recent season the most, and previous seasons are weighted less the further you go back. At this point we don't use 2018 stats to project how good a player is right now, since we don't know it. But when we are looking back at players there's no reason not to use future seasons. So for an estimate of how good Pedro was in 1999 you could weight the years something like:

.30 1996
.50 1997
.70 1998
1.00 1999
.70 2000
.50 2001
.30 2002

Multiply each season by it's weight, then divide the total by 4 (sum of weights). Do this centered on every season for a player, and whichever season ends up with the highest weighted rating is his peak. Shouldn't be too hard to set up if you know what you're doing with a computer.
   150. Rally Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:06 PM (#5575281)
Based on pitchers you have seen in your lifetime, & based on a pitcher being at his best of his best, who are the top 5 in order you would tap to start game 7 of the world series ?


Mike Scott
Curt Schilling
Pedro Martinez
John Smoltz
Randy Johnson
   151. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:07 PM (#5575282)
EDIT: By the way, I peeked (pun intended) at a list of guys looking for high value individual seasons, combined with Highest Avg Game Scores to assist me in coming up with my little list. But it was also guys that made me jump out of my seat watching them pitch.

LINK


   152. PreservedFish Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:09 PM (#5575287)
Mike Scott


Yeah, so, what's a "peak?" I'll take Kerry Wood if it's just one day.
   153. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:11 PM (#5575289)
Rally, I don't think it's too hard to figure out what an individual player's peak is. But where we have difficulty is when we introduce the notion of VALUE when comparing peaks between players, or when attempting to quantify the value of career vs peak, etc.
   154. Rally Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:23 PM (#5575298)
Yeah, so, what's a "peak?" I'll take Kerry Wood if it's just one day.


Scott's peak wasn't nearly as long as others on the list, but it's a lot more than a day. He pitched 293 innings in 1986.

I suppose other pitchers might have had better hot streaks if I really look into it. I'm going by feel here, as Show says " But it was also guys that made me jump out of my seat watching them pitch." I'm sure I'm a bit biased in being at a formative age when Scott had that season.

He only made 2 postseason appearances in his career. 18 IP, 8 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 19 strikeouts. I really wish I had seen him pitch a third in a game 7. Not that I cared that much about whether the Mets or Astros won, but just to see what he would have done.
   155. Rally Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:24 PM (#5575300)
Rally, I don't think it's too hard to figure out what an individual player's peak is. But where we have difficulty is when we introduce the notion of VALUE when comparing peaks between players, or when attempting to quantify the value of career vs peak, etc.


It's easy to figure out an individual's peak. It's hard to find agreement on the best way to do it.
   156. Booey Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:33 PM (#5575309)
Mike Scott

Yeah, so, what's a "peak?" I'll take Kerry Wood if it's just one day.


Scott had a great season. Is including him (or Jake Arrieta or whoever) really much different than including Gooden? (yes, Gooden's great season was better than theirs)

Gooden's a guy that I've always had a bit of a disconnect with when talking to fans even just a few years older than me. I started following baseball after the 1987 season, so I narrowly missed his epic 1985. But for those who grew up with 1980's baseball, he's talked about as being a clear HOF caliber pitcher who just burned out early (the way I'd talk about, say, Johan Santana). Thing is...Gooden had just 1 super great season. He was very good his rookie year, historic in his 2nd season, and then never close to truly great again. His 1985 was literally more than twice as valuable as his next best season: 12.2 WAR sandwiched between seasons of 5.5 and 4.4 (and those were his next 2 best). 229 ERA+ between years of 137 and 126 (ditto). To me, Gooden has always seemed like a guy with one flukishly great season (again, see Arrieta) rather than a HOF caliber talent who just didn't last long enough to amass a HOF career.
   157. eric Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:42 PM (#5575320)
If only Morris could do that every time ? WHo is more likely to produce that again though, Morris ? Or some other pitcher ?


Sorry I should have added a smiley :) afterwards to make it clear that it was meant tongue in cheek.
   158. eric Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:48 PM (#5575330)
Thing is...Gooden had just 1 super great season. He was very good his rookie year, historic in his 2nd season, and then never close to truly great again. His 1985 was literally more than twice as valuable as his next best season: 12.2 WAR sandwiched between seasons of 5.5 and 4.4 (and those were his next 2 best). 229 ERA+ between years of 137 and 126 (ditto). To me, Gooden has always seemed like a guy with one flukishly great season (again, see Arrieta) rather than a HOF caliber talent who just didn't last long enough to amass a HOF career.


If you look at Gooden's 1984, he set a record (at the time) for highest K/9 and had a ridiculous FIP, better than his 1985 (even though it was still league-leading). He was just relatively unlucky in 1984, and then got lucky in 1985 to even the scales (see below). I think he really was an HOF-level talent, who just declined right out of the gate. (Drugs? Stottlemyre? Overuse? who knows.)

Year ERA FIP
1984 2.60 1.69
1985 1.53 2.13
--------------
Tot 2.00 1.93

Edit: Also, in 1983 he had 300 Ks in 191 IP in the minors. That's a three-year stretch of absolute dominance. That to me means HOF-caliber, even if he fell off rather quickly.
   159. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:52 PM (#5575333)
Based on pitchers you have seen in your lifetime, & based on a pitcher being at his best of his best, who are the top 5 in order you would tap to start game 7 of the world series ?


This reduces to: who are the five best starting pitchers you've ever seen?
Where best =/= best performance (sorry Mr. Wood). But more like, who, at some point, had the best projection for future performance. Which is probably Pedro, but would be a lot of work to figure out.
   160. Hysterical & Useless Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:53 PM (#5575334)
Gooden had just 1 super great season. He was very good his rookie year, historic in his 2nd season, and then never close to truly great again.


Look at his stats from August of 84 through May of 86. Incredible stretch. Then the partying (and the IP) started to catch up. It also hurt him A LOT that the umpires moved the strike zone much lower; his two best pitches were the high fastball and an incredible, knee-buckling curve. And suddenly the letter-high fastball was just a ball, and the curve? It froze the umpires as much as the hitters.

His 1989 through June 19 was very good too. But by then his shoulder was in bad shape, he had 2 lousy starts and was then DL'd (too late).

   161. Hysterical & Useless Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:54 PM (#5575337)
I think he really was an HOF-level talent, who just declined right out of the gate. (Drugs? Stottlemyre? Overuse?


All of the above
   162. BDC Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:58 PM (#5575341)
I believe these are their team's W-L records for postseason games that were elimination games for either or both teams in the game (ie somebody could have won the series that day), when pitchers mentioned above were starting. Quickly put together and I doubtless made some mistakes:

Schilling 6-0
Smoltz 6-3
Gibson 2-1
Martinez 3-2
Seaver 1-1
Johnson 1-3
Gooden 0-1
Scott 0-0

Highly inconclusive except to note: some of their greatest efforts came in relief (Martinez, Johnson); Gibson was 2-1, sure, but all three were WS Game Sevens; and can that 6-0 really be right for Schilling? my gosh.

One of Smoltz's losses, or rather his team's loss, was WS/G7 in 1991, of course.

Anyway, yes, on SSS I'd go with Curt Schilling, and that doesn't even include the Bloody Sock, which was a Game Two.
   163. eric Posted: November 13, 2017 at 04:03 PM (#5575346)
can that 6-0 really be right for Schilling? my gosh.


Of course Schilling was poised to take the loss in 2001's G7 (and Clemens the win) until, well, you all know.
   164. Ithaca2323 Posted: November 13, 2017 at 04:05 PM (#5575347)
To me, Gooden has always seemed like a guy with one flukishly great season (again, see Arrieta) rather than a HOF caliber talent who just didn't last long enough to amass a HOF career.


The issue with this stuff to me is that, a "HOF Career" is sorta nebulous too. A deserving HOF career? Maybe not, based on what you pointed out.

But, heading into his age 24 season, Gooden had a 91-35 record and 1,067 K. With a start like that, if you basically become Derek Lowe or John Lackey, you're in.
   165. Rally Posted: November 13, 2017 at 04:08 PM (#5575349)
Jack Morris has only 2 elimination games. He was 1-1. In both the opposing starter was John Smoltz.
   166. Rob_Wood Posted: November 13, 2017 at 04:20 PM (#5575364)
I thought that somebody had done a retrospective Bayesian analysis to answer this question. I think they took each season in isolation, starting with the pitcher's up-to-then career ERA as the Bayesian prior (but weighting it the same no matter how many years it represented), and then updated our best guess for the pitcher's next game performance based upon his game-by-game performance in that season.

IIRC Bob Gibson at the end of his unbelievable streak in the 1968 season was the all-time best. But I only have a fuzzy recollection of this (perhaps phantom) analysis.
   167. DCA Posted: November 13, 2017 at 04:30 PM (#5575376)
Jack Morris has only 2 elimination games. He was 1-1. In both the opposing starter was John Smoltz.

Only one of those was an elimination game for Morris, though. He was 1-0. They were both elimination games for Smoltz. He was 1-1 but pitched better in the game he lost.

And Mike Stanton with the 3 inning save in 1992.
   168. No longer interested in this website Posted: November 13, 2017 at 04:44 PM (#5575397)
There's definitely a mixup with my earlier WAR numbers. I guess the WAR figures for pitchers have changed a bit in the last few years? My database has WAR7, WAR10, WAR3, etc. figures for pitchers and some of them are way off. I presume BB-REF changed something in their formula in the last 2-3 years. It didn't impact career totals that much, but yearly figures can be off by as much as 1 WAR up or down.

Anyone know if that's true?
   169. shoewizard Posted: November 13, 2017 at 05:32 PM (#5575432)


Sorry I should have added a smiley :) afterwards to make it clear that it was meant tongue in cheek.


Doh !.


Joel Goodson: So is this Guido guy... he's your "manager"?
Lana: That's right.
Joel Goodson: Or a pimp?
Lana: Now that's quick Joel. Have you always been this quick, or is this something new?


   170. Zach Posted: November 13, 2017 at 07:12 PM (#5575486)
Many smart people reject the artificial "peak" vs. "career" distinction in these types of discussions. (I am using Walt's excellent post above as an opportunity to make this point.) Total value is total value (appropriately measured). Kinda like the old arguments about the area of a rectangle. Some rectangles are tall and skinny, some are short and wide, and some are all sizes in between.

It's fine to reject it, but I think it's perfectly fair to say that there are multiple paths to the Hall of Fame, and that there are as many or more voters who focus on peak as those who focus on career or just lump it all together.
   171. Zach Posted: November 13, 2017 at 07:51 PM (#5575518)
Basically, I think every player should get to make the argument that works best for him. Some arguments aren't very persuasive. Some are very persuasive.

"Best pitcher/batter/player in baseball for an extended period" is a *very* persuasive argument, and we shouldn't be so picky about choosing a definition of peak that someone with a legitimate claim to the title can't make it because of semantics.

Of course, every time we step back from a clear claim to being the best in baseball, the peak argument becomes a little less persuasive. "Best player in the years he could put it all together, which wasn't every year" is distinctly less impressive, as is "best for a couple of years before he faded."
   172. Jay Z Posted: November 13, 2017 at 08:12 PM (#5575530)
Without Steve Carlton, the 1980 Phillies are not in the playoffs, let alone winning their first title.


Yes, the Phillies rode a 9.0 increase in WAR by Schmidt and Carlton from 1978 to win a whopping one more actual game in 1980. With a win total that wouldn't have been enough in 1979 or the next full season of 1982. I guess other players matter too.

Peak value, a.k.a. "career years", CAN work. The 1950 Phillies were definitely better off having Konstanty have one big year. But they still won with only 91 games, which was a post war low tied by the 1948 Braves; not until the 1959 Dodgers would a NL team win a pennant with such a low win number. The Dodgers would hit on Joe Black a couple of years after Konstanty, but had a better team around him, and won more games.

The peak value strategy really is only optimal for a team on the fringes of the pennant race who are going to max out and win one and only one title. It's less optimal for teams with a higher baseline. The higher a team's baseline, the higher importance of consistent team performance. Teams' baselines are not random, they rise and fall based on the talent in the organization. From 1958 onward, the Phillies had 4 straight losing seasons, then 6 winning seasons, 6 losing seasons, 10 winners in a row. 2003 to 2011 were 9 straight winners; now the Phillies are on another 5 straight losing seasons streak.

Now the 1993 Phillies, the only winning season in a string of 14... someone else can take that on.
   173. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 13, 2017 at 09:46 PM (#5575627)
From 1958 onward, the Phillies had 4 straight losing seasons, then 6 winning seasons, 6 losing seasons, 10 winners in a row. 2003 to 2011 were 9 straight winners; now the Phillies are on another 5 straight losing seasons streak.

And from 1953 going backward, the Phillies had 5 straight winning seasons, 16 straight losing seasons, 1 winning season (1932, 78-76), and then 14 straight losing seasons going back to 1918, two years after they'd won their only pennant prior to 1950. 30 losing seasons out of 31 has got to be a record, sort of the Bizarro World response to the Yankees' 39 straight winning seasons from 1926 to 1964.
   174. No longer interested in this website Posted: November 13, 2017 at 10:15 PM (#5575647)
Anyway, yes, on SSS I'd go with Curt Schilling, and that doesn't even include the Bloody Sock, which was a Game Two.

Bloody Sock Game was a Game Six elimination game, in the 2004 ALCS.
   175. No longer interested in this website Posted: November 13, 2017 at 10:22 PM (#5575653)
Yes, the Phillies rode a 9.0 increase in WAR by Schmidt and Carlton from 1978 to win a whopping one more actual game in 1980.

The point isn't how many more games they won from the previous year, the point is that Carlton had a WAR of 10.2 in 1980 and the Phillies won the division by one game. Without his tremendous, historic-level season, they don't win that division title. I personally think great seasons in which a player's team makes the postseason have added value. Sure, we can argue that they replace Carlton with three starters with 3.5 WAR each, but that's not happening. In some cases, as in when a player has a GREAT season and his team finishes ahead in a tight race (Yaz in 1967), that player has had tremendous value to the pennant chances of their team. Which is why they play the games.

Or did I miss your point?
   176. No longer interested in this website Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:00 PM (#5575670)
Another way to look at pitchers with freakish seasons or "peaks" would be to use standard deviation. Here's the highest standard deviation in the best seven seasons for starting pitchers with a minimum of 40 career WAR:

W. Wood 3.2
Koufax 3.0
Gooden 2.8
Cicotte 2.7
Faber 2.6
Luque 2.6
McGinnity 2.5
Carlton 2.5
Greinke 2.5
D. Trout 2.3
Feller 2.3
Hunter 2.2
Waddell 2.2
Tanana 2.1
Walsh 2.0
B. Gibson 2.0
Brecheen 2.0
Shawkey 2.0
Blue 2.0
C. Lee 1.9

I realize Wilbur Wood was a reliever for a long time, but he did accumulate 40+ WAR from 1971 to 1978, when he was a starting pitcher.

Faber, Luque, and Carlton stand out for having long careers with high standard deviations. Most of the rest had shortened careers for one reason or another. Then you have Tanana (great seasons as a flamethrower, lots of average seasons as a slowpoke), and Bob Gibson.

Several Hall of Famers, and deserving ones, in this data set.
   177. No longer interested in this website Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:08 PM (#5575673)
Here's the alternative to the last list. These starters had the lowest standard deviation in their best seven seasons (at least 40 career WAR).

Wells 0.4
C. Simmons 0.5
French 0.5
Smoltz 0.5
Lyons 0.6
Plank 0.6
Quinn 0.6
Halladay 0.6
D. Martinez 0.6
John 0.6
T. Zachary 0.7
J. Morris 0.7
Buehrle 0.7
Rixey 0.7
Pappas 0.7
W. Hoyt 0.7
Cone 0.7
Oswalt 0.8
Bridges 0.8
W. Ford 0.8

A lot of controversial HOFers on this list, at least marginal, by many standards. Whitey and Smoltzie are the exceptions, I presume. Interesting to see Jack Morris and Roy Halladay here, as some of compared the two (at least in regards to narrative, reputation). This list MAY be evidence that Roy could have more trouble being elected than some think.
   178. RJ in TO Posted: November 13, 2017 at 11:36 PM (#5575683)
In those seven top years, Halladay had an average of 7.3 WAR. In those seven top years, Morris had an average of 4.6 WAR. That's not really similar in any realistic way.

I'm not quite sure what you think you can read from those lists that's meaningful. Especially since those Hall of Famers who you see as marginal or controversial were still elected, despite lower standard deviations, which means it apparently didn't hurt them much with the voters.
   179. No longer interested in this website Posted: November 14, 2017 at 01:46 AM (#5575732)
'm not quite sure what you think you can read from those lists that's meaningful.

Earlier in the thread someone wondered which pitchers had outlier seasons at their "peak." That's all. I'm not daft. I understand that the lists are not "meaningful" ways to evaluate pitcher careers. YMMV.

I swear at times this website is about as friendly as a punch in the crotch.
   180. Sunday silence Posted: November 14, 2017 at 04:56 AM (#5575737)

The peak value strategy really is only optimal for a team on the fringes of the pennant race who are going to max out and win one and only one title. It's less optimal for teams with a higher baseline.
.

So basically every team but the yankees
   181. Rusty Priske Posted: November 14, 2017 at 01:44 PM (#5576012)
[quote Early, non-tragic death probably hurts players who aren't slam dunks, and it may hurt Halladay.]

Make whatever comments you want about his Hall qualifications, but THIS is absolutely asinine.

   182. Jay Z Posted: November 15, 2017 at 10:19 AM (#5576509)
The point isn't how many more games they won from the previous year, the point is that Carlton had a WAR of 10.2 in 1980 and the Phillies won the division by one game. Without his tremendous, historic-level season, they don't win that division title. I personally think great seasons in which a player's team makes the postseason have added value. Sure, we can argue that they replace Carlton with three starters with 3.5 WAR each, but that's not happening. In some cases, as in when a player has a GREAT season and his team finishes ahead in a tight race (Yaz in 1967), that player has had tremendous value to the pennant chances of their team. Which is why they play the games.

Or did I miss your point?


1980 helps Carlton's narrative, certainly. I am fine with narrative. Flags fly forever. Having a big season in a close race, then winning the WS helps Carlton.

My point is that over Carlton's career, it was not a narrative. A big season by Carlton bore no connection to what the team did. His best season of all was for a last place team. The Cardinals won, but his best seasons with the Cardinals weren't for champion teams. Over career, there is apparently little correlation between what Carlton did and what happened with his teams.

He wasn't a Koufax, who had a great career narrative. Guys with great career narratives were Koufax, Catfish, Lou Brock. Everything seemed to sync up for them. Koufax gets hurt in 1962, the Dodgers fade and lose a playoff. He's healthy all year in 1963 and they win the WS. Hurt again in 1964 and they don't win. Healthy in 1965 and 1966 and they win close races both years. Retires in 1967 and the team falls apart.

Koufax was great, but he wasn't as great as the narrative made him look. No player is that great. Koufax was just lucky to have such a great narrative. Sure, they won 2 WS and another pennant when he was great. But they won 2 WS and a pennant earlier when he was just a supporting player! The Dodgers won pennants in the 1970s with pitchers who were good, but not as good as Koufax.
   183. Jay Z Posted: November 15, 2017 at 10:21 AM (#5576510)
[quote Early, non-tragic death probably hurts players who aren't slam dunks, and it may hurt Halladay.]

Make whatever comments you want about his Hall qualifications, but THIS is absolutely asinine.


I don't think death helped Thurman Munson or Arky Vaughan. It probably hurt them. I think death freezes the memory in amber, and if the consensus is you weren't judged good enough initially, the odds are a lot less that people will continue to advocate, try to build up a case for you.
   184. Rusty Priske Posted: November 15, 2017 at 03:42 PM (#5576753)
I think you are missing which part is asinine... but I suppose that isn't a big shock.
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