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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Is David Ortiz a Hall of Famer? | HardballTalk

Craig Calcaterra says yes.

You bet your bippy he is. The numbers certainly bear this out. And he still has a lot of gas left in the tank so he’ll be providing value for a few years yet, adding to his case.  But you can be statistically illiterate and see this guy’s value as a player. His mark on the game is indelible. Numbers aside, Ortiz has killed it in the World Series. He clearly carried the Red Sox this year. He is clearly the leader of one of the best teams of his era.

When I have a tough call on a Hall of Fame candidate, I ask myself: “Can you tell the story of baseball in the era in which he played without including him?”  If the answer is no, it’s hard to argue against his Hall of Fame case.  And in Ortiz’s case, that answer is clearly no. The man should go to Cooperstown the first year he’s eligible.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 31, 2013 at 06:30 PM | 116 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: david ortiz, hall of fame

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   1. Moe Greene Posted: October 31, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4591530)
Huh. I didn't know that Calcaterra bothered writing articles that don't inspire flame wars.
   2. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 31, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4591531)
No.
   3. tfbg9 Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4591534)
Yes. He's good enough to be about as famous as any of his contemporary ballplayers.
   4. JE (Jason) Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4591535)
The writers who will pimp Big Papi's candidacy years from now ought to start thinking up excuses as to why they turned up their noses when Edgar's name was on the ballot.
   5. DavidFoss Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:06 PM (#4591536)
This is why they have a five year waiting period. Its hard to be completely objective one day after he wins the WS MVP.
   6. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4591543)
The writers who will pimp Big Papi's candidacy years from now ought to start thinking up excuses as to why they turned up their noses when Edgar's name was on the ballot.


That's actually pretty easy. ESPN has not offices of note in Seattle.
   7. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:16 PM (#4591544)
But you can be statistically illiterate and see this guy’s value as a player.

I'm a Sox fan, and totally in the tank for Ortiy. I would love to see him in the hall. But you basically have to be statistically illiterate, to see the value of a HoFer as a player.
   8. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4591548)
The writers who will pimp Big Papi's candidacy years from now ought to start thinking up excuses as to why they turned up their noses when Edgar's name was on the ballot.
FTFA:
..With the possible exception of Edgar Martinez, David Ortiz has been the greatest DH in baseball history. And for what it’s worth, Martinez should be in the Hall too.
   9. Danny Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:38 PM (#4591552)
These numbers place Ortiz comfortably within the range of current Hall of Famers. Is he inner-circle? Not really, but his not borderline on the numbers either. There are many worse hitters than Ortiz in Cooperstown whose primary argument for induction was their offensive output.

He's not borderline on the numbers because he's below the borderline. He's Jason Giambi with less defensive value and a significantly worse peak.
   10. John DiFool2 Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4591556)
But you basically have to be statistically illiterate, to see the value of a HoFer as a player.


A valid argument can be constructed for him. The DH "penalties" in the various WAR formulations are IMNSHO quite a bit overblown*: on the one hand many otherwise fine hitters have struggled to hit there as well as they did when playing the field (even after you adjust for complicating factors like more DH time later in a career); and on top of that many teams do seem to struggle to find someone to put there who can, well you know, hit. Often the DH position is 3rd/4th or even 5th in the league in raw offensive value (before positional adjustments).

But the WAR formulas assume that (A) you can just plunk anybody in there and they will automatically hit just as well as they do when in the field, and (B) that the pool of DH candidates is thus very wide, and thus the replacement level there must thus then be set very low, lowest of all positions.

I don't either of those assertions have been proven, at all, and in fact the truth there is closer to the exact opposite. If they were true, the Tigers would have unhestitatingly put either Cabrera or Fielder there when the latter joined the lineup, yet they didn't. Think about that.

I think the Sox have gotten tremendous value out of the position for 11 seasons now, giving them a sizable advantage over the opposition.


*[Not touching the hoary argument often debated to death here as to whether someone who is awful in the field would be more or less valuable as a DH and where you place the floor to adjust just for that.]
   11. JE (Jason) Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:47 PM (#4591559)
FTFA:

Craig is so not the problem, Gold Star. (Not that it matters, as he's not in the BBWAA.)
   12. Srul Itza Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4591565)
The Hall of Fame is NOT The "Hall of WAR" or "The Hall of WARP" or "The Hall of VORP" or whatever magic number floats your boat. It never has been seen that way by the voters or the Hall itself, and never will.

I have never rooted for David Ortiz -- unless you count rooting for him to strike out. But he is exactly the kind of folk hero/larger than life type that absolutely belongs. The narratives write themselves, including being the only player who played on -- and who in fact was a major star on -- the three Boston teams which won the World Series from 2004-2013, while also starring on the only team to come back from a 3-0 deficit. You can't tell the story of this Boston resurgence without the story Big Papi. At the same time, he has been a great deal of fun as a player, and a great (and profane) ambassador for Boston and the Game.

If you don't see this, then you love numbers more than you love the Game. If that is what it takes to be a "Thinking Fan", then you're thinking much too hard.

But hey, you can always console yourself by keeping him out of the Hall of Merit
   13. AROM Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4591566)
WAR says a DH is -15 per full season, and a first baseman is -10. How is that too harsh? A DH should certainly be valued less than a guy who is a middle of the pack defender at first. As it is, it treats DH the same as a below average 1B like Paul Konerko or Jason Giambi.

Tigers: they didn't put Fielder or Cabrera at DH because they think its more important to keep those guys happy than to improve the defense by a few runs. Superstar hitters in their 20's generally don't want to be the DH.
   14. RollingWave Posted: October 31, 2013 at 08:16 PM (#4591575)
He has held up a lot better than I expected, when I projected about 5-6 years ago I thought he'd clearly be in the decline phase by now but nope.

F it, he's in, I don't care, at some point the fame exceed other things.
   15. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: October 31, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4591578)
From TFA:
And the fact is that, with the possible exception of Edgar Martinez, David Ortiz has been the greatest DH in baseball history. And for what it’s worth, Martinez should be in the Hall too.


I think he's not giving enough credit to Martinez here. Martinez to me is a clear Hall of Famer, Ortiz is seriously borderline and probably needs another 2 seasons of decent numbers to get himself over the line- and I say that as a moderately Big Hall, completely in the tank Ortiz supporter (I'd elect him if he retired tomorrow, but I can see why a lot of people wouldn't vote for him).
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: October 31, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4591579)
Superstar hitters in their 20's generally don't want to be the DH.


This is true. I think it makes managing a hell of a lot easier when your stud hitter is willing to set aside his ego and accept the half-time role of the DH. I don't think it's a coincidence that most of the long-time DHs, with the exception of Canseco, had pretty strong reputations and/or were seen as team leaders (Papi, Molitor, Baylor, McRae, Baines and Edgar all have/had pretty damn good reputations inside the game).

   17. Walt Davis Posted: October 31, 2013 at 08:29 PM (#4591580)
If I just say yes, will the articles stop?
   18. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: October 31, 2013 at 08:48 PM (#4591598)
Yes (to him being a HOF player). The articles will never stop, Walt.
   19. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 31, 2013 at 08:57 PM (#4591604)
Do the Jack Morris articles ever stop? Because that's what this is. Jack Morris as a Red Sox DH.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: October 31, 2013 at 09:04 PM (#4591608)
A valid argument can be constructed for him. The DH "penalties" in the various WAR formulations are IMNSHO quite a bit overblown*: on the one hand many otherwise fine hitters have struggled to hit there as well as they did when playing the field (even after you adjust for complicating factors like more DH time later in a career);

I actually don't believe this for a second no matter what the fancy analysts think they've found. Players struggle to hit here when they get 10 starts a year (similar to PH penalty) or when they are injured or when they are on the decline. I obviously can't prove it but I find the notion that if you let Giambi (or Pujols or any excellent hitter) be a DH for 5/8/12 years that they would hit worse to be somewhere between ridiculous and very unlikely.

and on top of that many teams do seem to struggle to find someone to put there who can, well you know, hit.

No, many teams decide that it is better to use the position in a rotation manner. This has been true since the DH was introduced.

If anything, this is a sign of how much value is lost by using a roster spot on somebody who can't play defense (either due to ineptitude or fragility). The average OPS+ for a full-time DH over the last decade is somewhere around 135 (I looked at it a while ago and don't have P-I now so that number is probably off but it was really high). It's been steadily rising since the beginning. This is not a sign that teams have trouble finding hitters for the spot, it's a sign that you have to hit like a MFer to make it worthwhile for a team to carry you as a full-time DH (esp in this era of 12-13 man staffs). If you are a bad-fielding 115 OPS+ 1B then teams would rather rotate people who can actually play the field through the spot because they have decided that is more valuable than carrying a good, not excellent, hitter there.

That might be a dumb decision on their part but it seems pretty clear to me that's what they've decided.

If they were true, the Tigers would have unhestitatingly put either Cabrera or Fielder there when the latter joined the lineup, yet they didn't. Think about that.

Huh? First the Tigers didn't put them there because VMart was already holding the spot under long-term contract. Second, how does a team choosing to play great-hitting, lousy-fielding players IN THE FIELD where they do harm argue for the notion that the DH positional penalty is too high? The Tigers are quite openly stating "we would prefer Fielder losing 10 runs a year in the field because he is more valuable there." With positional and defensive adjustments, Fielder cost 23 runs this year ... and this is evidence that he would have cost them less than 15 as a DH?

Another thing to look at is how bad fielders usually have to get in the field before teams are willing to take them out. Manny and Sheffield are among the best hitters and worst fielders (by dWAR) of all-time ... yet the Red Sox chose to keep the inferior-hitting Ortiz at DH. Ken Griffey was a travesty before teams started taking him out of the field. Bernie Williams wasn't shuffled off to the DH slot. Frank Thomas had to stink in the field for several years and become fragile before he got moved to DH. Adam Dunn should wear his Rfield for Halloween.

Team behavior reveals DH as the position of last resort -- whether it's because the player is old, the player is fragile, the player is terrible in the field.* They regularly bend over backwards to keep guys out of the DH slot. If anything, that suggests the DH penalty is too low.

*Baines might have been the only guy who wasn't any of those three things when he was moved; possibly also Billy Butler who's just been bad but nowhere near horrific in the field.
   21. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: October 31, 2013 at 09:24 PM (#4591620)
I thought Jim Rice was Jack Morris as a Red Sox DH.
   22. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 31, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4591625)
Jim Rice with post-season heroics instead of The Fear is a good comp too. Ortiz - only hopeless fanboys call him "Papi" - is the modern day equivalent of a Rice or Morris type player. The legend exceeds the reality; members of the BBWAA being newspapermen at heart will always choose to print the legend. It's sloppy of Craig to fall for this line of thinking, though.
   23. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: October 31, 2013 at 09:33 PM (#4591628)
Oh go #### yourself Sam. You're a joyless piece of flotsam, and no one will mourn your passing.
   24. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 31, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4591630)
So, so touchy. Perhaps you should see about that hysterical streak you have there, buddy. I haven't said anything that isn't true. I'm not a fanboy of Boston, so I don't overrate David Ortiz. I similarly don't overrate Derek Jeter. I get that fans get caught up in the mushy narrative thing. It happens. Don't make it right.

Also, I #### myself quite often enough, thank you very much. Sometimes, even with joy.
   25. steagles Posted: October 31, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4591636)
Jim Rice with post-season heroics instead of The Fear is a good comp too. Ortiz - only hopeless fanboys call him "Papi" - is the modern day equivalent of a Rice or Morris type player. The legend exceeds the reality; members of the BBWAA being newspapermen at heart will always choose to print the legend. It's sloppy of Craig to fall for this line of thinking, though.
i disagree with the rice = ortiz premise for at least one reason - ortiz has consistently been one of the best power hitters in baseball.

the thing about the 'fear' is that people ascribed substantive value to it, despite rice's actual performance not really deserving it.

for a 3 year period, rice probably was the most feared hitter in baseball (he hit a combined .320/.376/.596), but he only hit .291/.348/.471 from that point of his career onwards. he was still a good hitter, and he still looked the part, but he wasn't.

ortiz has a similar 3-year period of dominance (hitting a combined .306/.418/.620), but he was a much better hitter than rice before that period, and after.
   26. steagles Posted: October 31, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4591637)
also, #### the redsox.
   27. Bhaakon Posted: October 31, 2013 at 10:07 PM (#4591649)
ortiz has a similar 3-year period of dominance (hitting a combined .306/.418/.620), but he was a much better hitter than rice before that period, and after.


That's not very fear-inducing in a league with Bonds, Pujols, Arod, and Manny. While it's not factually accurate to say that every team had a guy who hit like Ortiz in his prime, there was certainly a stretch in the late-90's/early 2000's when it sure felt like it.

Modern standards of hitting greatness have been ruined.
   28. JRVJ Posted: October 31, 2013 at 10:11 PM (#4591652)
I'm with Calcaterra and Srul Itza on this. I don't see how you can tell the story of baseball in this time period, including the 3 Boston WS wins, without him.

Yes, he is wanting from a sabermetric standpoint (at least as of the end of 2013). But from a history of baseball standpoint (which ultimately, the HoF is all about), he should be included. And that's not disrespecting anybody else (really, I've never understood the almost ascetic view of baseball where performance, events and personalities are discounted, be it significantly or modestly).

Having said that, unless he falls off a cliff (which any Phillies fan can tell can happen - see Roy Halladay, even if he is a pitcher), he stands a good chance to pad his stats (including post-season stats) by enough to be a clearer cut HoF candidate.
   29. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 31, 2013 at 10:15 PM (#4591655)
Yes, he is wanting from a sabermetric standpoint (at least as of the end of 2013). But from a history of baseball standpoint (which ultimately, the HoF is all about), he should be included.


Maybe they should add a "Narrative" wing, so that players like Morris or Ortiz can be in one room and players like Larry Walker and Tim Raines can get into the "but these guys were better baseball players" wing.
   30. TJ Posted: October 31, 2013 at 10:18 PM (#4591660)
"Is David Ortiz a Hall of Famer? A lot of people are going to be asking that question this morning. Anyone answering “no” had better bring a good argument, because they’re on the much tougher side of the battle today than they were a year ago."

OK, I'll try...

1. Looking at Ortiz' career OPS+ and Offensive WAR in comparison to power-hitting corner infielders who made it basically with the bat, Ortiz beats only Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez in both. Ortiz also tops Eddie Murray in OPS+, but falls way short in OWAR. (61.3-45.2). Ortiz can close that a bit, but I don't see him getting real close without a Bondsian last four years of his career. Ortiz doesn't come close to Johnny Mize, Harmon Killebrew, or Willie McCovey, let alone the top tier HOF 1B.

2. Only 35 men have hit 450+ homers in a career. Ortiz will probably get there. Of those 35 already above that mark, 15 have played most of their career after 1990. (The two at 449- Bagwell and V. Guerrero- also spent their entire careers after 1990). Of the 51 who have topped 400, 25 have played most of their career after 1990. Upshot- hitting 400+ or 450+ career HR is a lot more common for players who spent the majority of their careers in the big hitting 1990's and 2000's, and has to be taken into contextual account.

3. Among non-HOF power-hitting corners, Ortiz is on pace to be on par in OPS+ and OWAR with Carlos Delgado and Fred McGriff. He might catch Jason Giambi, but it will be difficult. And don't even think about a comp with Dick Allen, who blows Ortiz away here. The only one of these four with any shot through the BBWAA is McGriff, although Allen has a strong case with his Vet Committee.

4. Ortiz' postseason record is very close to his regular season marks, which is a compliment to Ortiz, as one would assume that he faces better pitching when playing against better teams. e should be given credit for this, but not to the degree we've been hearing this past week. he has had three good WS runs, but he has also had some really bad playoff rounds as well.

Calcaterra says "David Ortiz is a career .287/.381/.549 hitter. He has 431 homers and 1429 RBI. His OPS is .930 and his OPS+ — which adjusts him to the level of his competition, his era and the ballparks in which he hits — is 139, which means (for quick and dirty purposes) that’s he’s 39% above the average hitter. These numbers place Ortiz comfortably within the range of current Hall of Famers. Is he inner-circle? Not really, but his not borderline on the numbers either. There are many worse hitters than Ortiz in Cooperstown whose primary argument for induction was their offensive output."

This is literally true, but misleading. Many of the players included are outfielders, and not even the biggest Ortiz homer would argue that he could have handled an OF spot. As for corner infielders, Ortiz is better than Cepeda and Perez. If you are a big Hall guy and that's your cutoff line for HOF induction, then yes, David Ortiz has a solid HOF case. If you prefer a higher standard for a HOF plaque for a player who built their career primarily with their bat, then Ortiz falls short.

That good enough of an anti-Ortiz argument?

   31. Walt Davis Posted: October 31, 2013 at 10:30 PM (#4591662)
Also take a look at salaries. For Ortiz some of it is probably just bad timing, but according to Cots, the biggest contract he's ever had is 4/$52. Dunn was signed for 4/$56 to be the White Sox DH. VMart got 4/$50 (and I think he was signed to be the DH, not the C). Butler's on an arb/FA buyout and his first year of FA is priced at $12.5. Those are all Swisher/LaRoche money, not Fielder, Tex, AGon, Hamilton money.

Still, from 2003-6, Ortiz hit 294/391/609, 152 OPS+ and was turning 31 coming off a year in which he led the AL in HR (54), RBI, BB and TB and had 4 straight top-5 MVP finishes ... that's when he got his 4/$52 contract.

2007 seems to have been a fairly quiet offseason but in 2008 the 32-year-old Torii Hunter signed for 5/$90 and Aaron Rowand got 5/$55. Which reminds me of somebody else who was signed in 2007 -- Gary Matthews Jr at 5/$50. Back in 2006, Magglio Ordonez signed for 5/$80.

Hey, conveniently enough, Cots lists the highest AAV for "DH"s (not sure how defined).

Ortiz 2012: 14.5
Hafner 09-12: 14.2
Thome 03-08: 14.2 (signed as a 1B when the market was at its low point)
Sheff 08-09: 14
Dunn 11-14: 14
Ortiz 07-10: 13
Ortiz 13-14: 13
Ortiz 11: 12.5
VMart 11-14: 12.5

They list 7 1B contracts plus Adam Dunn in effect in 2013 for a higher salary than Ortiz in 2013, led by the monster ones. Add another 11 if you want corner OFs. Torii Hunter for 2013-14 costs the same as Ortiz 13-14. In 2007, Ortiz was paid roughly the same as (using signees from around that time) Delgado (05), Derrek Lee (06), Morneau (08, buyout) and Konerko (06).

Ooh, boy ... I take that back about 2007 ... Carlos Lee 6/$100, Soriano 8/$136, Drew 5/$70. In 06, Damon and Matsui both signed 4/$52 contracts. In 2008, Fukudome got 4/$48 and Jose Guillen 3/$36.

So, Ortiz at his peak was paid about the same as a 2nd tier 1B or corner OF. Granted, the market was still somewhat depressed at that time -- 2008 may have been the breakout year with the crazy CF contracts following the craziness of Soriano and Lee (and Zito). And Ortiz may have enough fondness for Boston that he wasn't seriously considering other offers but, still, he was well short of C Lee and Soriano in the same offseason, the same as Matsui from the season before and paid just a bit more (AAV) than the other Sox's local hero Konerko the year before.

The Red Sox got good value out of him from 2007 on of course, even with 2008-10 being off-years cuz he was a monster in 2007. All told 23 WAR for about $90 M vs. 13 WAR for about $85 M for Konerko or 27 WAR for $114 for Hunter.

So maybe not a bad comp. Hunter has a career 50 WAR, 44 oWAR and 107 Rbat in about 8500 PA; Ortiz has 44 WAR, 45 oWAR and 359 Rbat in 8200 PA. So 2 more wins per year of hitting (minus maybe half a win in running/DP) set off against above-average mostly CF defense. That doesn't seem out of whack to me, especially not in Hunter's favor.
   32. JJ1986 Posted: October 31, 2013 at 10:30 PM (#4591663)
his OPS+...is 139, which means (for quick and dirty purposes) that’s he’s 39% above the average hitter.


Craig should know better than this.
   33. Morty Causa Posted: October 31, 2013 at 10:31 PM (#4591665)
As Bill James put it, the first question to ask is this the best player eligible for the HOF who is not in the HOF. In deciding this, you don't just ride off in all directions shooting wildly into the air. You should judge players for the HOF by comparing them to their competition--to the context of their times and the immediate vicinity. Saying someone is better than Jim Rice (or Lloyd Waner) is stupid and dishonest.

EDIT: Post 30 is good, as is the ever reliable Walt "Breaking Balls" Davis.
   34. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 31, 2013 at 10:51 PM (#4591681)
Excellent post (as usual), Walt.

Team behavior reveals DH as the position of last resort -- whether it's because the player is old, the player is fragile, the player is terrible in the field.*

*Baines might have been the only guy who wasn't any of those three things when he was moved.


Baines became a full-time DH at the (young) age of 28. From what I recall, he was a capable outfielder with an excellent arm. However, I thought he moved to DH because of his bad knees? (In other words, because he was "fragile," though this didn't result in a lot of missed games.)
   35. Walt Davis Posted: October 31, 2013 at 10:56 PM (#4591685)
is 139, which means (for quick and dirty purposes) that’s he’s 39% above the average hitter.

Ugh, no. Not even quick and dirty. For quick and dirty purposes this means that he was 20% above the average hitter. (If I had a Tardis, I'd go back and fix that mess -- divide by two you jackasses, not subtract 1).

So, 20% better than the average hitter and I would hope we can agree 10% less valuable than the average (overall!) defender and only 8200 PA ...

Note if we WAR-equate him to 1B then he gets back something like 6 WAR in positional adjustment. Still only puts him to 50.

I don't see how you can tell the story of baseball in this time period, including the 3 Boston WS wins, without him.

I don't see how you can do it without Pedroia ... or Wainwright ... or Matt Cain ... or Matt Holliday ... or Buster Posey ... or Jimmy Rollins.

I don't know how you tell the story of baseball in the 90s and early 2000s without Bernie Williams or Jorge Posada or Andy Pettitte. Or Craig Biggio or Mike Piazza. You can't tell the story of the 80s without Mattingly and Gooden. Now we're mostly in favor of Schilling but his narrative isn't swaying the day with the writers yet Ortiz's narrative is supposed to push gnarly, old, cantankerous saber nerds over the edge?

Ortiz is a very good hitter with a few very great moments and no defensive value.




   36. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 31, 2013 at 11:21 PM (#4591693)
If you don't see this, then you love numbers more than you love the Game. If that is what it takes to be a "Thinking Fan", then you're thinking much too hard.

But hey, you can always console yourself by keeping him out of the Hall of Merit


The reason that numbers are important is because they do a great job of describing a player whom we have not seen, or not seen regularly. If you follow the logic above, you must decide that the most famous players, who play for the best teams and thus have "hero" opportunities that others don't, must be the only Hall of Famers. This is - and I'm sorry to say this about my friend Srul who posted this - a "teh fear" argument.

For what it's worth, I've gone from "Hell no" to "Maybe with another few good years" on Ortiz recently. But, as pointed out above, making such a decision literally the day after he's named the WS MVP is perilous. The HOF is forever. And "Who's that guy and why would his contemporaries put him in?" is a fifty-years-from-now question that is worth some consideration.
   37. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 01, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4591715)
I have never rooted for David Ortiz -- unless you count rooting for him to strike out. But he is exactly the kind of folk hero/larger than life type that absolutely belongs. The narratives write themselves, including being the only player who played on -- and who in fact was a major star on -- the three Boston teams which won the World Series from 2004-2013, while also starring on the only team to come back from a 3-0 deficit. You can't tell the story of this Boston resurgence without the story Big Papi. At the same time, he has been a great deal of fun as a player, and a great (and profane) ambassador for Boston and the Game.

Then why not Gil McDougald, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Joe Rudi, Vida Blue, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Davey Concepcion, Paul Blair, Willie McGee, Kent Hrbek, Chris Carpenter, Kirk Gibson and all the other pretty good to very good players who were regulars on multiple championship teams? Orel Hershiser should be a lock!
   38. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 01, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4591716)
(double post deleted)
   39. Cooper Nielson Posted: November 01, 2013 at 02:40 AM (#4591738)
Then why not Gil McDougald, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Joe Rudi, Vida Blue, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Davey Concepcion, Paul Blair, Willie McGee, Kent Hrbek, Chris Carpenter, Kirk Gibson and all the other pretty good to very good players who were regulars on multiple championship teams? Orel Hershiser should be a lock!

Note that I am not (yet) a proponent for Ortiz in the HOF. However, his regular-season career already surpasses most of these guys', and you could argue that his World Series performance was better than any of theirs. (Though I'm not really sure how to compare him to the pitchers.) Also, he was a key member of all of his World Series teams, never a role player or "supporting cast" like, for example, Concepcion and McDougald.

If he comes out on top of this particular list of "pretty good to very good players who were regulars on multiple championship teams" -- and I think he does, challenged only by Williams and Hershiser -- that's a pretty good argument that he's at least close to the HOF line. The guys you listed may not be what most of us consider HOF material, but they aren't bums -- they were/are all very good players.
   40. dejarouehg Posted: November 01, 2013 at 06:13 AM (#4591754)
You bet your bippy he is.
I think this is the first I've heard this phrase since Laugh-In.



   41. John DiFool2 Posted: November 01, 2013 at 09:24 AM (#4591799)
WAR says a DH is -15 per full season, and a first baseman is -10. How is that too harsh? A DH should certainly be valued less than a guy who is a middle of the pack defender at first. As it is, it treats DH the same as a below average 1B like Paul Konerko or Jason Giambi.


I'm saying that there are more things to consider other than just "Oh let's make a DH the equivalent of a -5 defender at first" and leave it at that. It is just a number somebody pulled out to cover just one aspect of the position, without considering the other aspects, nor without actually bothering to, you know, check the actual offensive levels for the position and adjust for them on a yearly basis. That seems quite bizarre to me in point of fact, unless I am missing something...

Tigers: they didn't put Fielder or Cabrera at DH because they think its more important to keep those guys happy than to improve the defense by a few runs. Superstar hitters in their 20's generally don't want to be the DH.


Fair enough on the Tigers' side (forgot about VMart).

If anything, this is a sign of how much value is lost by using a roster spot on somebody who can't play defense (either due to ineptitude or fragility). The average OPS+ for a full-time DH over the last decade is somewhere around 135 (I looked at it a while ago and don't have P-I now so that number is probably off but it was really high). It's been steadily rising since the beginning. This is not a sign that teams have trouble finding hitters for the spot, it's a sign that you have to hit like a MFer to make it worthwhile for a team to carry you as a full-time DH (esp in this era of 12-13 man staffs). If you are a bad-fielding 115 OPS+ 1B then teams would rather rotate people who can actually play the field through the spot because they have decided that is more valuable than carrying a good, not excellent, hitter there.


I'm not sure where you're getting the 135 figure from; my estimates put it around 110 or so in the years when DH's hit well (sometimes at or near the top of the positional rankings, sometimes 3rd-4th or so: 101 this year, 5th in the league). I think this just indicates the opposite; that you can gain a sizable advantage if you can find someone who can rake there (with no ego or other issues impacting their performance), since so many teams struggle to put someone there who can even reach an OPS+ of 100:

Red_Sox: .310 .398 .560 .958
Rays___: .214 .307 .373 .680
Orioles: .234 .289 .415 .704
Yankees: .189 .276 .307 .583
Jays___: .253 .347 .425 .772
Tigers_: .302 .354 .425 .779
Indians: .239 .340 .414 .753
Royals_: .290 .377 .412 .789
Twins__: .214 .294 .341 .634
Wh. Sox: .219 .290 .384 .674
A's____: .230 .309 .389 .698
Rangers: .245 .313 .385 .698
Astros_: .198 .276 .337 .613
Angels_: .264 .341 .414 .754
Marinrs: .265 .333 .448 .781

The Sox have an advantage, over the next closest teams, of 150+ points worth of OPS. That represents a huge advantage. Yet in BBRef's WAR calculations, it's "only" worth 4.4 WAR. It is quite possible that the Rays lost the division because they put in below-replacement hitters there, while the Sox had Papi.

That ain't right.

I obviously can't prove it but I find the notion that if you let Giambi (or Pujols or any excellent hitter) be a DH for 5/8/12 years that they would hit worse to be somewhere between ridiculous and very unlikely.


That's because you can't prove it at all. Giambi and Hurt and terrible examples because in most years even during their primes they usually hit worse as DH's (Thomas' struggles there were esp. notorious). I don't think you can weasel out of that by claiming that they were usually injured when DHing, and healthy when in the field. The evidence clearly shows that many elite hitters couldn't handle the position psychologically.

Team behavior reveals DH as the position of last resort -- whether it's because the player is old, the player is fragile, the player is terrible in the field.* They regularly bend over backwards to keep guys out of the DH slot. If anything, that suggests the DH penalty is too low.


That suggests to me that they aren't using the position in anything close to an optimal way and/or that teams are already aware of the psychological impact, thus their reluctance to put good hitters there.

I just find it amusing to see people dragging his WAR totals out in recent threads like this one, as if that number is gospel or something. It isn't, people, not anywhere close-far too many reasonably questionable assumptions are built into that calculation, assumptions that for the most part I cannot buy.



   42. BDC Posted: November 01, 2013 at 09:42 AM (#4591813)
Walt mentions Andy Pettitte, and I think that's a telling comp for Ortiz – Pettitte and Bernie Williams in particular. Neither was a WS MVP, but both (like Ortiz) won an LCS MVP. Both have several rings and had quite a few crucial postseason heroics. Both have more career WAR than Ortiz, in Pettitte's case a lot more. It's too bad Williams left the memory of being a hopeless outfielder, because in his youth he was a perfectly good center fielder; CF is simply a young man's game, and Bernie was left there too long. It's also too bad that Williams hit a career .208 in the World Series, but those earlier rounds are kind of important too, and he was often a monster in them. Williams also didn't do as well as Ortiz in MVP voting, and probably shouldn't have; but Ortiz was probably overrated by MVP voters. Pettitte's CYA ballot finishes are comparable to Ortiz's MVP votes.

It's a matter of how large you want your Hall, but any argument you can make for Ortiz has to apply to Pettitte and Williams too: if you want all three as a package, that's cool with me. Also cool with me is Ortiz turning in another 3 or 4 years like 2013, which would shore up his case an awful lot.

   43. GregD Posted: November 01, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4591814)
I don't think WAR will convince anybody of the weakness of Ortiz's case, for good or ill.

To me the way to show how thin Ortiz's case is the number of people who look like him. If you want a real big HOF, then it's totally plausible to draw the line where Ortiz gets in. But if you don't want a big HOF but do favor Ortiz, then what about lots of guys who look very much like Ortiz and are within a few years of being contemporaries (leaving aside guys like Edgar and obviously deserving HOFers):

Delgado
Berkman
Juan Gone
Helton
McGriff
Giambi
Sheffield
Vlad



Older guys:
Norm Cash
Pedro Guerrero
Frank Howard
Jose Canseco
Jack Clark
Will Clark
Reggie Smith


Brian Freakin Giles has 7800 PA with a 136 OPS+ and Ortiz has 8200 with a 139 OPS+. Is that the gap of a Hall of Famer?


In terms of "fame," I assume that MVP votes are useful indicators. Ortiz's record there has been deservedly strong. He right now is tied with Ryan Howard in MVP shares and is ahead of quite a few HOFers, including near contemporaries not just guys who miss points because of earlier era voting) but he is also quite close to:


Vlad
Juan Gone
Sheffield
Garvey
George Foster
Dale Murphy
Pedro Guerrero


Obviously from any of these lists, you can make a case that Ortiz was a better hitter than some of the other guys, but it's hard to make a case that he doesn't belong on the lists. If you think the whole list is an HOF list, that makes sense. But if you don't think these are lists of Hall of Famers, then it's hard for me to see separation for Ortiz.

In terms of fame, the test case for me is Jose. Jose Canseco had to be one of the most-famous baseball players ever. Far more famous than Ortiz. Pop-culture famous, not just baseball famous. I presume no one thinks Jose deserves to be in the HOF for that reason. Is Ortiz more famous than Strawberry was? Or Vida Blue?
   44. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 01, 2013 at 09:56 AM (#4591832)
If he comes out on top of this particular list of "pretty good to very good players who were regulars on multiple championship teams" -- and I think he does, challenged only by Williams and Hershiser -- that's a pretty good argument that he's at least close to the HOF line. The guys you listed may not be what most of us consider HOF material, but they aren't bums -- they were/are all very good players.


Oh sure, they were good, that's why I picked them. Rudi is clearly worse. Cain and Lincecum are still in mid-career.

Ortiz -- bWAR 44, bWAA 16
Williams -- 50, 19
Hershiser -- 52, 25
McDougald -- 41, 24
Concepcion -- 40, 8
Posada -- 43, 17
Blue -- 45, 15
Blair -- 38, 15
Hrbek -- 38, 15
Gibson -- 38, 16
Carpenter -- 36, 17

Eyeballing this, Ortiz is clearly worse than Hershiser, Williams and McDougald and not that different from the others except Concepcion. Of course this doesn't include Postseason or Peak and he's still active. The point is that he isn't clearly at the top of this list, and I don't see anyone clamoring for Hershiser or Williams to be in the HOF. Ortiz would probably be more deserving than George Kelly, but not more than Travis Jackson (44,23), who also got in largely because he was a good player on pennant-winning teams. All that said, I can see myself voting for Ortiz for HOM if he has maybe 3 more years like the one he just had -- Postseason and all.
   45. plim Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:03 AM (#4591837)
  9. Danny Posted: October 31, 2013 at 07:38 PM (#4591552)
These numbers place Ortiz comfortably within the range of current Hall of Famers. Is he inner-circle? Not really, but his not borderline on the numbers either. There are many worse hitters than Ortiz in Cooperstown whose primary argument for induction was their offensive output.

He's not borderline on the numbers because he's below the borderline. He's Jason Giambi with less defensive value and a significantly worse peak.

Really? Because Jason Giambi is a 3-time world champion with a .455/.576/.795 line across the 3 series, multiple postseason walk-offs, and a WS MVP? Call a spade a spade - these articles are coming out of the woodwork because of Ortiz's postseason accomplishments. If we can talk about Schilling vs Mussina and give the edge to Schilling because of postseason play, you can do the same thing for Ortiz.

I think Ortiz is still borderline, even with his postseason accomplishments. if you're a peak, postseason, or large hall guy (or to Srul Itza's point in #12, the classic folk hero story), then he's in. if you're a career, counting stats, or small hall guy, then no.

and, to address the 800 pound elephant in the room - unlike Giambi, Ortiz is not an admitted roider. Ortiz's case is wide open: ranges from he did absolutely nothing, to maliciously (and falsely) added to the 2003 NY Times list that had more names on it than samples collected, to he took something that was legal at the time but illegal later, to he actually did something. in other worse - we don't know. And for all the revisionist history fans out there: he was *not* on the mitchell report. I can't count the number of times Yankee fans blast ortiz for being named in the mitchell report - yankee fans that adore Giambi, Arod, Clemens, and Pettitte!

Also, to address the DH/Edgar side of the coin: If Ortiz makes it, Edgar has to get in. Molitor might be the only "official" DH, but Edgar really revolutionized the position (esp in a pitcher's park). That said, Ortiz is starting to catch up to Edgar in his own right. He won't ever catch up in hitting/on-base, but a) his power more than makes up for it, and b) while Edgar's postseason career was pretty decent, he doesn't have Ortiz's lore...

to start another flame war: if Reggie Jackson can make it...
   46. spike Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4591839)
Sheffield is the big one there I think - at this point in Sheffield's career he'd already put up 70.1 oWAR. There is just no way you can say yes to Ortiz and no to Sheffield, for me anyway. I realize that's not a problem for many around here, but I suspect it would be for more than a few writers, PED issues aside.
   47. GregD Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4591857)
I think Ortiz is still borderline, even with his postseason accomplishments. if you're a peak, postseason, or large hall guy (or to Srul Itza's point in #12, the classic folk hero story), then he's in. if you're a career, counting stats, or small hall guy, then no.
Large hall, yes. Postseason if you are quintuple counting postseason, yes. But peak?

Giving him the benefit of not worrying about consecutive years, his OPS+ in years he qualified for the batting title goes 171, 161, 158, 154, 145


Giambi is 199, 187, 172, 161, 153

Delgado 181, 161, 160, 151, 147


Berkman is 164, 163, 161, 160, 160

Jack Clark is 176, 153, 152, 149

Brian Giles is 177, 157, 157, 150, 147

Reggie Smith is 168, 162, 155, 143, 142

Pedro Guerrero 182, 156, 154, 150, 145

It's strange to make a peak argument for a guy who never once led the league in OPS and was only 2nd once. When his whole value was his hitting.

[ed: removed one sentence for clarity since I at first counted his non-qualifying season but qualified it with an explanatory sentence, then decided only to list people's qualifying seasons.]
   48. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4591867)
You can make a case that Ortiz's postseason performance is equivalent to something like 10 WAR. If you look at WPA, he's added 3.3 wins in his playoff career (1.10 LDS, 0.93 LCS, 1.25 WS). I don't think it's unreasonable to weight postseason performance on something like a 3:1 scale, assigning greater importance to later rounds.
   49. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4591868)
The DH "penalties" in the various WAR formulations are IMNSHO quite a bit overblown*: on the one hand many otherwise fine hitters have struggled to hit there as well as they did when playing the field

Accounting for the hitting penalty is what gets the overall position adjustment down as low as it is. Arguing as you are from complete ignorance, perhaps your opinion *should* be humble.
   50. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4591869)
For what it's worth, I've gone from "Hell no" to "Maybe with another few good years" on Ortiz recently.


As I've said, this is where I am on Papi and he's already in my pHoF. I agree that unless he goes full Bonds for a couple years he's going to be a borderline candidate. Which isn

I'd also be voting for Sheffield, Vlad, and Pettitte, of the top of my head.

I think Ortiz is still borderline, even with his postseason accomplishments. if you're a peak, postseason, or large hall guy (or to Srul Itza's point in #12, the classic folk hero story), then he's in. if you're a career, counting stats, or small hall guy, then no.


This also seems correct. I'd also say that we need to wait to see how his career ends. If he has an Edgar Martinez age 38+, then he's going to be at 55 WAR and a much easier choice, and while I think that's not his most likely outcome I don't think it would be outlandish for him to have 3 more good years and a bad year.
   51. DL from MN Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4591873)
No, mainly because he wasn't good enough when he was young. I suppose if he can keep this up until age 42 he'll make up for how unproductive he was as a Twin.
   52. BDC Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4591875)
Edgar really revolutionized the position

As Walt also points out (I can never do better than echo Walt Davis :) Edgar may have had an unusual career, but he didn't revolutionize much. Since the inception of the DH in 1973, here's the complete list of guys who had over 100 games played with at least two-thirds of them at DH.

Player           WAR/pos    G From   To   Age   PA      Pos
Orlando Cepeda       1.0  175 1973 1974 35
-36  725     *D/H
Tommy Davis          2.2  491 1973 1976 34
-37 2008    *D/H3
Tony Oliva           0.7  471 1973 1976 34
-37 1761     *D/H
Frank Robinson       9.0  376 1973 1976 37
-40 1437   *D/H73
Rico Carty           9.4  822 1973 1979 33
-39 3220   *D/7H3
Willie Horton        5.1  970 1973 1980 30
-37 3907   *D7/H9
Hal McRae           27.5 1837 1973 1987 27
-41 7362  *D7H/95
Sam Horn             2.4  389 1987 1995 23
-31 1185    *DH/3
Edgar Martinez      68.1 2055 1987 2004 24
-41 8674   *D5/H3
Josh Phelps          3.3  465 2000 2008 22
-30 1552 *D/H3279
Travis Hafner       24.8 1183 2002 2013 25
-36 4782    *D/H3
David Ortiz         44.0 1969 1997 2013 21
-37 8249     *D3H 


The list of guys who became DHs young and stayed there for any length of time, good or bad, reduces to McRae, Martinez, Hafner, and Ortiz, with Horn and Phelps honorary members and Billy Butler maybe joining the list before too long. It just isn't really a "position": it's a lineup spot that gets filled by whoever's sitting, or alternatively by the latter-day equivalents of Tommy Davis or Tony Oliva: somebody like Vlad Guerrero or Lance Berkman putting in their last few miles. Otherwise it's one or two guys a decade who follow the Edgar/Papi path of becoming a career DH: I don't even really see a trend toward that becoming more common.
   53. deputydrew Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4591876)
I tend to be a big-Hall guy, but Papi's on the borderline for me. First name that came to my mind was "Jose Canseco". He may not have had the post-season clutchiness, but he sure had the fame. He was also the best player in baseball for a year or two back in the late 1980s. Well, at least many perceived him as the best player in the game after his 40-40 season in 1988. I don't think anyone has ever seriously argued Papi was the best in the game.
   54. plim Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4591882)
@GregD - I was categorizing him more as a peak guy b/c of his late start to his career. Funny, if you ignore his part-time/late start, he looks more like a career guy since outside of 2009 in Boston (where he had a .570 ops for April/May, but then had a .904 the rest of the year), he never had an OPS+ under 120.
   55. BDC Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4591885)
I'm'a use the "character clause" to arbitrarily subtract 10 WAR from Canseco and add 10 to Ortiz :)
   56. GregD Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4591887)
@GregD - I was categorizing him more as a peak guy b/c of his late start to his career. Funny, if you ignore his part-time/late start, he looks more like a career guy since outside of 2009 in Boston (where he had a .570 ops for April/May, but then had a .904 the rest of the year), he never had an OPS+ under 120.
I agree that Minnesota may have deprived him of an HOF career.

But his peak case isn't a good peak case. There are quite a few guys who have peaks like Ortiz's. If he had a Frank Thomas peak but only had 8000 PAs, then I'd see his case differently. But he has a Lance Berkman/Will Clark peak without their defensive value. Why is that a Hall of Famer, unless your HOF is way big. There are always some immobile sluggers who hit in the 150 OPS+ range for a while; the vast majority of those guys don't make the Hall. The ones who do either put up higher peaks or last a long time.

To me, the peak argument is the very weakest argument for him. If he puts up enough good years to make a good career argument, that's a whole nother story.
   57. plim Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4591896)
Otherwise it's one or two guys a decade who follow the Edgar/Papi path of becoming a career DH: I don't even really see a trend toward that becoming more common.


That's what I was alluding to when i said revolutionized. Maybe that was too strong a word. Agree that most teams use the DH as the rotation/rest guy - even today. I had this discussion with a friend of mine - there are very few full-time DHs out there.

But I meant that Edgar was the first, best full-time DH.

I'm surpised Thomas isn't on the list. I guess he's over 50% DH, but not over two-thirds?

Honestly, that list is both telling and damning - Edgar and Ortiz are the top 2 in history (albeit a shorter, 40 year history). But that the list is only 12 people helps belittle the DH position to the point that they don't deserve a place in the hall. Heck, how many closers are in the hall? And there are a ton more than 12...
   58. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4591897)
I'm not sure where you're getting the 135 figure from


It's for full time DHs. Which is a very small group of players of whom Papi is a huge chunk of the dataset. Since 2003 there's 69 player years where the player played at least 100 games and had more than 2/3rds of their PAs at DH. David Ortiz is 9 of those player seasons He's 4 of the top 10, and 7 of the top 20. The average OPS+ for that group excluding Ortiz is 117, the median is 114. What is true is that there's very few horrible hitters in that group, only 6 player years below a 90 OPS+, but that's because if you don't have someone who can actually hit why carry a full time DH?
   59. plim Posted: November 01, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4591901)
I don't think anyone has ever seriously argued Papi was the best in the game.


Lest we forget, Ortiz was 24 voting points away from the MVP in 2005, and it was well documented that Ortiz lost votes because a) he was "only" a DH, and b) Manny took votes away from him.

So to say that he was still within 2 or 3 top 3 votes away from the MVP *after* being "discriminated against", and then to have 4 more top-5 finishes, I'd say that's seriously argued for best in the game.
   60. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: November 01, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4591922)
I also think you could make an argument that he was considered the best hitter in the AL from 2005-2007 from the general public's perspective, when really he was probably only the 2nd or 3rd best hitter.
   61. BDC Posted: November 01, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4591978)
I meant that Edgar was the first, best full-time DH.

I'm surprised Thomas isn't on the list. I guess he's over 50% DH, but not over two-thirds?


Fair enough on Edgar being – well, a significantly better hitter than Hal McRae, who was certainly decent, but not great.

Thomas had 1,310 games at DH (57%), 969 at 1B. He actually moved to being primarily a DH younger than Martinez, but of course he broke into the majors a lot younger.

Dropping the cutoff from 2/3 to 1/2 at DH picks up quite a few other players, though not many recent ones. Baylor and Baines, mentioned upthread, broke in and played quite a while as reasonable outfielders and moved to DH mid-career. Brad Fullmer, Jack Cust, Billy Butler, and Jesus Montero are the only ones other than Ortiz and Hafner to join the >50% DH list since 2000 – I'm not sure they are much of a group for study, as Fullmer and Cust were good only briefly, and Montero is just a peculiar case all around – what kind of career he'll have, if any, is anybody's guess.

The type that has really disappeared is the Baylor/Baines type: strong hitter who moves to DH around age 31, like Thomas or Martinez himself. As people were discussing upthread, there's a great reluctance to take anybody whomsoever at any age till near-retirement, however terrible their glove, and make a regular DH out of them. What Jason Giambi was doing in the National League c. age-40 is still a mystery, but that seemed preferable to some club picking him up as an everyday DH.
   62. Danny Posted: November 01, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4591987)
If you don't see this, then you love numbers more than you love the Game. If that is what it takes to be a "Thinking Fan", then you're thinking much too hard.

But hey, you can always console yourself by keeping him out of the Hall of Merit

People are responding to a section in the article titled "The Numbers" where the author argues that Ortiz's numbers put him above the HOF borderline.

If you can't be bothered to read the article, you can always console yourself by rubbing your "Old Man Who Talks About the HOM in Every HOF Thread" membership card with Andy.
   63. Danny Posted: November 01, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4591993)
Really? Because Jason Giambi is a 3-time world champion with a .455/.576/.795 line across the 3 series, multiple postseason walk-offs, and a WS MVP? Call a spade a spade - these articles are coming out of the woodwork because of Ortiz's postseason accomplishments.

The article has a section on "The Numbers" that discusses Ortiz's career stats in the regular season. The article has a separate section titled "The Playoffs Factor."

In "The Numbers," the author argues that Ortiz's regular season stats put him above the borderline. That's the claim I take issue with, because it's nonsense. If you want to argue that the playoffs push his underwhelming regular season stats into borderline territory, that's fine--but it doesn't contradict what I wrote.

And, as others have said, he does not have a great peak.
   64. valuearbitrageur Posted: November 01, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4591996)
David Ortiz career 148 OPS+ over 6,556 PAs.

Mark McGwire career 163 OPS+ over 7,660 PAs.

If only Big Mac had DHd or had some big moments in his career, or a championship, maybe he could have a HOF case.
   65. GregD Posted: November 01, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4591997)
David Ortiz career 148 OPS+ over 6,556 PAs.
I think those are just his Red Sox numbers
   66. Baldrick Posted: November 01, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4592020)
Since the inception of the DH in 1973, here's the complete list of guys who had over 100 games played with at least two-thirds of them at DH.

Of course, Edgar himself barely makes this list. He's at 71% of games at DH. And, to beat my old drum again, if he'd been allowed to play in the majors on a more reasonable schedule, he'd have another 200 or so games as a third baseman on his record. And he'd be below the 2/3 mark, too.
   67. BDC Posted: November 01, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4592030)
The relative absence of even good career DHs who move to the position young is perhaps indirect evidence for my contention in a recent DH thread that offensive and defensive talent in baseball correlate at least roughly, and we're in no danger of pressures toward two-platoon baseball any time soon. If there were really rafts of dominant hitters who had no defensive skills, wouldn't every team have a full-time DH who hit significantly above league average? Fears of two-platoon baseball assume that there's a large source of guys who are superior ML hitters but shouldn't play in the field at all. We can call this hypothetical source the "Ortizian Well," but I am not sure it exists.
   68. homerwannabee Posted: November 01, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4592035)
Nope, David Ortiz is not a Hall of Famer. Did everyone forget that this guy is linked to PED's? I didn't. The guy is already a borderline candidate without the stench of PED's, but with them it's a no doubt about it slam dunk that his bust will never grace the Hall of Fame.
   69. plim Posted: November 01, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4592054)
@homerwannabee: I addressed that. Ortiz's only connection is having been named in the NY Times article - a list that had more names than number of positive tests.

On the same day, the Major League Baseball Players Association issued a statement[16] pointing out that because of several factors, any player appearing on the list compiled by the federal government in 2003 did not necessarily test positive for performance enhancing drugs. Among those factors were that the total number of players said to be on the list far exceeded the number of collected specimens that tested positive. In addition, there were questions raised regarding the lab that performed the testing and their interpretation of the positive tests. Also, the statement pointed out that certain legal supplements that were available over the counter at the time could possibly cause a positive test result.


like I said earlier: Ortiz's involvement in steroids could range from completely clean to completely doped. We have no actual evidence nor any accurate allegation one way or another.
   70. homerwannabee Posted: November 01, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4592069)
Well the handling of the PED questions is his undoing. He initially said "I'm not talking about that anymore." Than he did admit that he was in fact on the list.

Sides just look at players who are less associated with steroids than Ortiz. Mainly Mike Piazza, and Jeff Bagwell. With Mike Piazza you have "Andro" which was legal at the time, and whispers of him using PED's. With Jeff Bagwell all they have on him is that he looks like a PED user. Mike Piazza should be a no doubt about it 1st ballot Hall of Famer, but just the unsubstantiated rumors kept him out. And the same goes with Bagwell. He just looks like a PED user, and that has kept him out so far.

Now you have Ortiz on an actual list with him confirming as much with him saying "I am not talking about that anymore". The guy is already a borderline candidate. The PED issue whether you like it or not knocks him down a rung. He is too tainted. Yes you can say the evidence is questionable against him, but guess what they are stopping people from entering for far less than that.
   71. Srul Itza Posted: November 01, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4592071)
any argument you can make for Ortiz has to apply to Pettitte and Williams too


Only if the only thing you ever look at it, is numbers.

Believe it or not, there is more to the history and lore of baseball than numbers.
   72. Srul Itza Posted: November 01, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4592092)
All that said, I can see myself voting for Ortiz for HOM if he has maybe 3 more years like the one he just had -- Postseason and all



The Hall of Fame is not the HOM. Never was. Never will be.

Sorry.
   73. Srul Itza Posted: November 01, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4592098)
People are responding to a section in the article titled "The Numbers" where the author argues that Ortiz's numbers put him above the HOF borderline.


They are responding to more than that. But don't let the facts get in the way of your rant.
   74. Dale Sams Posted: November 01, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4592101)
As for the PED argument...putting aside we don't know what he failed for...how did he do on the his second test? You know, the one everyone gets when they fail a test? Oh he didn't get a second test? Well, if he doesn't get the same level of testing integrity as everyone else gets now, then it may as well have not happened.
   75. BDC Posted: November 01, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4592118)
there is more to the history and lore of baseball than numbers

What, Yankees get no history or lore? :-D

Without the history or lore, in fact, I'm thinking that Ortiz is basically Jack Clark or Bob Johnson, at the moment. That's the "numbers" argument. I'm specifically invoking history and lore with Pettitte and Williams.
   76. Dale Sams Posted: November 01, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4592120)
The Sox have an advantage, over the next closest teams, of 150+ points worth of OPS. That represents a huge advantage. Yet in BBRef's WAR calculations, it's "only" worth 4.4 WAR. It is quite possible that the Rays lost the division because they put in below-replacement hitters there, while the Sox had Papi.


Not only do the Sox have an advantage...they regularly let people go who could be help a team that struggles to find a good DH, and on the roster right now, languishing on the bench or stuck in platoons have more than one player who could possibly do better than 100 OPS+ as a fulltime DH.

Hell they have people OFF the 25 man who could do that (Lavarnway)
   77. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: November 01, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4592142)
If David Ortiz isn't a Hall of Famer, what's the point of even caring about baseball? I love advanced stats, but I love the stories and the great moments even more. Nobody will be sitting around one day telling their grandkids stories about WAR. Well, maybe some will, but I pity the kids.

   78. tfbg9 Posted: November 01, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4592148)
As for the PED argument...putting aside we don't know what he failed for...how did he do on the his second test? You know, the one everyone gets when they fail a test? Oh he didn't get a second test? Well, if he doesn't get the same level of testing integrity as everyone else gets now, then it may as well have not happened.


There was no 2nd test, it was the anonymous 2003 test that he registered positive for a supplement, or had a false poz.

Or...George Mitchell! Trilateral Commission! Bohemian Grove! The Illuminati! Bubba Smith!
   79. Danny Posted: November 01, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4592165)
People are responding to a section in the article titled "The Numbers" where the author argues that Ortiz's numbers put him above the HOF borderline.

They are responding to more than that. But don't let the facts get in the way of your rant.

Please identify which of the 11 comments that were posted prior to your "get off my HOF" rant were about more than that?
   80. spike Posted: November 01, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4592176)
I love the stories and the great moments even more.

What does Ortiz being in or out of the HOF have to do with this? Bobby Thomson doesn't seem to have faded from the public's memory.
   81. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: November 01, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4592188)
I don't think Ortiz is a HOFer, but I'm sure some deserving HOF inductees would willingly trade careers with him.
   82. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: November 01, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4592216)
Bobby Thomson and Papi are comparable b/c of one Thomson at-bat? Don't see it. Papi is an October legend.
   83. plim Posted: November 01, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4592217)
What does Ortiz being in or out of the HOF have to do with this? Bobby Thomson doesn't seem to have faded from the public's memory.


Meh, that wasn't in the postseason =)
   84. spike Posted: November 01, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4592224)
Papi is an October legend.

Fine. Non-responsive, but sure, fine. let me ask it a different way - how will the "stories and the great moments" be negatively impacted by his non-inclusion into the hall of fame? Surely an October legend can stand on its own?
   85. plim Posted: November 01, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4592233)
Surely an October legend can stand on its own?


In my mind, there's a one-time October legend (e.g. Joe Carter), and then there's people who made a career in October (e.g. Reggie Jackson). Joe Carter deserves a story, Reggie Jackson, a plaque.

after all, that's the whole point of the Hall of Fame. Much like the semi-ambiguous wording of the MVP criteria, the HOF is a collection of the best of baseball history. It doesn't necessarily say the most proficient hitters/pitchers/defenders. Plus, it gives us something to argue about!

speaking of which...the next couple years should be interesting (only listing the new candidates that have a shot of making more than say 25% of vote):

2014: Moises Alou, Keith Foulke, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Hideo Nomo, Frank Thomas

2015: Carlos Delgado, Jermaine Dye, Brian Giles, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Troy Percival, Gary Sheffield, John Smoltz

2016: Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds, Troy Glaus, Ken Griffey Jr., Trevor Hoffman, Mike Lowell, Billy Wagner

yikes, 2016 seems pretty weak.

Let the Nomo debate begin...
   86. GregD Posted: November 01, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4592234)
Lots of people have helped make great baseball stories. Are people boycotting the hof because it doesn't include Kirk Gibson? Great story.

Jack Morris is a big part of baseball's story

Vida blue was one of the best young pitchers ever and a leader of one of baseball's great dynasties

Ditto gooden except for the dynasty part

Gil mcdougald was a big part of baseball's story

Could you be a bigger story than Fred Lynn?

If you want to close the hof because it doesn't cover baseball's stories, you're going to have a long list to work through
   87. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: November 01, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4592236)
I'm sure the legend can stand on its own, but I believe his entire body of work is Cooperstown worthy. Face of the franchise, 3x WS champs, more big hits in the clutch than any player I can remember. I get why people will disagree with me, but I think he embodies much of what the HOF is about.



   88. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: November 01, 2013 at 05:07 PM (#4592240)
Ortiz's legend isn't just one game or one big year. He's a lot more than that. There's a million stories; he's on the short list of the best, several times over.

The Kirk Gibson Game, we all know.

The Bobby Thomson Game.

Joe Carter, etc.

The Big Papi Game. Well, which one? I need you to narrow it down.

That's why he's a different cat.
   89. John DiFool2 Posted: November 01, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4592242)
Accounting for the hitting penalty is what gets the overall position adjustment down as low as it is. Arguing as you are from complete ignorance, perhaps your opinion *should* be humble.


Ignorance? Did you even read the chart I had? Outhitting the 2nd best players (a big clump there) in the league at your position by 150 points of OPS is being ignorant. That should play absolutely no role in determining said player's value.

Okay.

As is looking at all of the guys who hit worse there than they did when playing the field too, I guess.

All I am saying is that other factors need to be put into play to make for a more accurate WAR calculation for the position; I think the glib "-5 runs off a 1B" assumption is nothing more than that, an assumption which only uses a narrow set of factors to consider. If the floor was properly set to what the evidence that I have put forth* seems to indicate, he might in fact be worth 0.5 to 1.5 wins more per season than the current state of the art (such as it is) shows. That would put him up around 60, and increase his peak as well. Ain't his fault if teams can't/don't want to put people there who can rake-I can't believe that the Rays couldn't find or trade for someone who could hit there, but they didn't-they trotted 7 guys out there who played 10 or more games, and only Wil Myers hit well there-everybody else hit better at other positions (SSS caveat yes).
   90. spike Posted: November 01, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4592245)
So if his stature in the game is assured already, what will the HoF do that is essential to caring about baseball? I mean if he's already the most famousest of postseason hobbits, induction isn't going to change that. If you think he should be in, great, but don't tell me about how it's ruining things if his fame is already so great, he qualifies by inspection. Has it really mattered to the legend of Ruth either way?
   91. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: November 01, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4592251)
Nobody famous "needs" the HOF, Papi included. He deserves it; a HOF without him misses the point imho. The voters will get that.
   92. toratoratora Posted: November 01, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4592253)
Reasons Ortiz makes the hall:

-He has a great nickname
-Three Rings
-The styling chops
-He and Manny back to back for years were the modern Gehrig and Ruth (Hey, just saying what writers wrote)
-"This is our ####### city."
-Narrative, Baby.
-Post-Season heroics, especially 2004.
-He's pleasantly rotund in a likeable Puckett/Gwynn way
-There are about eleventy billion writers in and around the Boston area, many of whom regularly start drooling and wax romantic about the Red Sox.
-Have I mentioned that he has a great nickname?
   93. spike Posted: November 01, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4592268)
The voters will get that.

"What the voters get" can have a remarkably variable meaning in a very short frame of time. I wouldn't be overwrought if he got in, assuming other more qualified players got in at the same time, or earlier, but presuming that opinions of his play and rank among players are going to remain static as of right now is most optimistic.

Nobody famous "needs" the HOF, Papi included.

So can we now at least walk back from the brink of "a game not worth caring about" if the HoF doesn't include Ortiz?
   94. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 01, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4592285)
I'd respond to one comment here, but this is more of a general response to a bunch of things in the thread.

Gibson/Thomson aren't necessarily good comps for Ortiz, because, as mentioned, they're known for one game. So let's see if there's a better comparison out there.

A mention was made earlier in the thread of Ortiz's postseason WPA. As it happens, I have a spreadsheet including every postseason game ever played (just updated for this World Series), with the WPA for every player involved. What's more, the data can be weighted for the importance of the individual game at the time - Game 7 of a Series gets a weight of 1.0; Game 6 of a Series or Game 7 of an LCS weights 0.5, and so on.

By this measure, Ortiz's massive performance in this World Series moves him into the top 10 postseason hitters of all time - he's at #7, with .637 championships added, just ahead of guys like Reggie, Yogi, and Pujols.

On the other hand, the #6 postseason hitter of all time is... Hal Smith. (If you don't remember Hal Smith, blame the Pirate bullpen and Bill Mazeroski for stealing his 1960 Game 7 thunder - but his home run was bigger, because the Pirates were behind at the time.) But postseason hero or not, nobody's arguing for a fringe catcher in the Hall of Fame, so he's not much of an Ortiz comp either.

No, the best one comes in the form of the #3 postseason hitter of all time, who was conveniently mentioned upthread as having a similar regular season career to Ortiz's: Lance Berkman.

Yes, seriously. .750 championships added by weighted WPA. Let's break it down.

2001: 2/12 in an LDS loss. Bad score, but it's only an LDS, so it doesn't have a huge amount of weight.

2004: Killed the ball in the LDS (.409/.480/.591); hit "only" .292/.400/.750 while Pujols and Beltran were staging an all-time great hitting showdown in the LCS. Solid overall, but still below even for his career to this point.

2005: Killed the ball in the LDS again (.357/.500/.643). Cooled off some in the NLCS, but in Game 5, came to the plate with two men on and the Astros down a run in the seventh, and homered to give his team a 4-2 lead in a game that, if won, would clinch their first-ever NL pennant. Pujols hit the ball over the train tracks 2 innings later, which is all anyone remembers from that game, but the Astros won the pennant anyway two days later.

That brings us to the '05 World Series. Berkman hit .385/.526/.538, and even that undersells his production. In Game 1, he had a game-tying 2-run double in the third. In Game 3, he tied the game with a third-inning sac fly, then hit a 2-run double two innings later to put them ahead. And in Game 3, he brought in the first run of the day with a single in the first, and added a hit and two walks later on. He had 6 RBI in the Series, the most on either team, and all of them came on plays that either tied the game or gave his team the lead. This Series was the greatest sweep ever played, and Berkman was a huge reason for that, even though his team was the one getting swept, which I assume resulted in him getting 0 votes for Series MVP even though he actually had the best championship probability added in the contest.

2010: Killed the ball in the LDS (in 4 PA - double and homer); hit cromulently in 15 PA in the Yankees' LCS loss.

2011: Unimpressive LDS for the first time in forever (3/18, albeit with a double, a homer, and 2 walks). 6/20 in the NLCS, with no extra-base hits but a couple of walks. And then came the World Series.

Game 1: 2/4 with a pair of RBI in a 3-2 win. (.064 WPA, less than I would have expected.)
Game 2: 1/4 with a couple of strikeouts. Singled in the eighth and was stranded; the Rangers came back to win in the ninth. (-.003 WPA, essentially non-participatory.)
Game 3: 2/4 with a walk and a couple of runs. (.070 WPA, although Pujols and his 3 homers got the attention, which... makes sense.)
Game 4: 2/3 with a double, .088 WPA; he was the only Cardinal who remembered to show up against Derek Holland, whose 8.1 innings of 2-hit ball (both by Berkman) took the headlines.
Game 5: Worst WPA of the Series, -.037; walked twice and scored, but also struck out 3 times, including the game-ender as the tying run.
Game 6: 2-run homer in the first, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. Reached on an error in the fourth and scored the tying run. Singled in the sixth and scored the tying run again. Flied out in the eighth. Walked in the ninth and scored the tying run again on Freese's triple. And with two out and his team down a run in the tenth, singled in the tying run.

.828 WPA, which is utterly ridiculous. It's more than any hitter had ever had in a Game 6 or 7 before; I believe it trailed only Gibson in World Series play overall. And yet, just two years later, it's barely remembered, because his teammate was having an even better game at the same time.

Game 7: A hit and a walk and two runs, including the tying run in the first, but still just -.008 WPA overall.

And that's it to date for Berkman. The raw numbers are pretty comparable to Ortiz (.295/.409/.553 for one, .317/.417/.532 for the other - can you guess which is which?), and the moments match up as well - except that Berkman had worse luck with teammates and opponents relentlessly stealing his spotlight. (In terms of unremembered exceptional postseason performance, it's hard to imagine worse luck than Berkman's, really.)

Oh, also, they're very similar in the regular season (Ortiz with a 139 OPS+ in 8249 PA, Berkman 144 in 7814; since Berkman could actually play the outfield for most of his career, including center as a young guy, it's hard to find an advantage for Ortiz there).

So, David Ortiz HOF voters: How do you feel about Lance Berkman?
   95. spike Posted: November 01, 2013 at 06:48 PM (#4592287)
For the record, I wasn't offering Thomson as a comp merely pointing out that undying glory can accrue to a player regardless of an HoF induction.
   96. Blackadder Posted: November 01, 2013 at 06:48 PM (#4592288)
Eric: great post. Do you think you could post your top 10?
   97. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 01, 2013 at 07:01 PM (#4592290)
1. Mickey Mantle .826
2. Pete Rose .785
3. Berkman .750
4. David Freese .743 (fell out of the #1 spot this year)
5. Lou Gehrig .668
6. Hal Smith .655
7. Ortiz .637
8. Reggie Jackson .617
9. Dwight Evans .584 (by far the best postseason hitter never to win a title - Beltran moved into second this year)
10. Yogi Berra .580

Pujols is 11th. Yadier Molina also moved into the top 20 this postseason, although he's still not quite the best Cardinals postseason catcher ever (unless you debit McCarver for his postseason broadcasting).
   98. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 01, 2013 at 07:08 PM (#4592293)
Just realized that I have the machinery to easily figure this out: Berkman's '05 World Series (.184 championship probability added) is the best ever by a player on the losing end of a World Series sweep. Tony Gwynn in 1998 is second (.173); the next-highest score is less than 2/3 of Berkman's.
   99. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: November 01, 2013 at 07:41 PM (#4592308)
So can we now at least walk back from the brink of "a game not worth caring about" if the HoF doesn't include Ortiz?


Baseball is definitely worth caring about. Fans who don't see Ortiz as a Hall of Famer on the other hand ...

I'm kidding. They're worth caring about, too.

We disagree on Ortiz. So be it. I think a HOF w/out him has a void. You don't. We'll both deal with whatever happens.
   100. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: November 01, 2013 at 07:42 PM (#4592310)
Flip!
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