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Thursday, September 13, 2018

J.D. Martinez has an Excellent Chance at the Triple Crown?—?but he’s not the AL MVP

Thought this was all settled in 2012? Think again.

gehrig97 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 06:07 AM | 93 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jd martinez, mike trout, mookie betts, mvp, red sox

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   1. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 13, 2018 at 08:33 AM (#5743387)
A single Fenway Park wall-scraper moves him into a tie for the HR lead with Oakland’s Khris Davis
A double adds to his home run total?

Edit: good article, though.

I find myself rather perversely rooting *against* a Sox player winning the TC, because I am more interested in Mookie winning the MVP.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 13, 2018 at 08:42 AM (#5743390)
I think the MVP thing gets a bit tricky for JDM because his apparent primary rival is his teammate so some of what worked against Trout (Tigers made the playoffs, Angels didn't) isn't in existence. Plus, you can't watch a Sox game regularly and come away with the idea that JD is superior to Mookie. That's not a knock on Martinez, just that Mookie impacts a game in so many ways. Also Cabrera got the newness vote, it hadn't been done in 45 years.

Calling it an "excellent" chance seems like a stretch. He's got a reasonable chance but he's 11 points back in the average race. That can get made up in short order but can also go the other way. What's interesting is that if Martinez does it he will likely lead the Majors in all three categories which hasn't been done according to RedSox.com since Mantle in '56.
   3. gehrig97 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5743408)
I always thought "wall-scraper" was a home run that barely cleared the fence...?
   4. John DiFool2 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5743412)
I'll just observe that it probably hasn't been easier in decades to achieve a Triple Crown-mainly because of the virtual extinction of the high average low power batting title guys like Carew, Gwynn, Boggs, and now Ichiro. When those guys are winning batting crowns w/ averages above .350 the sluggers had virtually no chance (note each HR is at least 1 RBI, hence they're not independent). Now that these guys are pretty much gone (damned shame if you ask me), the TC odds have now improved greatly.

Note that the current active BA leaders sport a relatively meager .3165 (Altuve and Miggy)--I'd be willing to bet that that is the lowest the active leader(s) has been since before 1920, early 70's maybe.
   5. Endless Trash Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5743413)
Yeah, 11 points of batting average in 16 games isn't nothing. Martinez basically needs to out-hit Betts by 100 points of average the rest of the way to catch up.

It's not impossible but calling it "excellent" really overstates the case. I would say, pretty unlikely.

And yes, "wall scraper" traditionally refers to a homerun that barely clears even though it makes no sense.
   6. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:29 AM (#5743414)
Jose I agree that until he has some hot stretch, he's a (relative) longshot to win the TC. My WAG would be 25%, at best.

I was just listening to the chatter on NESN during the game a few nights ago when they had Tom Leyden (?) in there, and hearing him spout the "JD is the league MVP, Mookie is the team MVP" crap...it just sounds like people even locally laying the groundwork for justifying voting for JD over Mookie, even without the TC, because count the HRzzz and RBIzzzzz.
   7. gehrig97 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5743418)
David Price called Betts as the MVP of the league, but J.D. Martinez the MVP of Red Sox.

Which makes perfect sense, if one doesn't think about it.
   8. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:32 AM (#5743419)
And yes, "wall scraper" traditionally refers to a homerun that barely clears even though it makes no sense.
I honestly don't recall hearing it used that way in 35+ years following the Sox.

To me a wall scraper is basically a Fenway double--a high arcing flyball that "scrapes" the wall on the way down, high enough that it can't be caught, and probably would have been an easy out in many/most other parks.
   9. gehrig97 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:33 AM (#5743420)
@2, @5: Agreed. But "JD Martinez has a not Zero Chance at Triple Crown..." wasn't clicky enough.
   10. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:33 AM (#5743421)
Davud Price called Betts as the MVP of the league, but J.D. Martinez the Red Sox.

Which makes perfect sense, if one doesn't think about it.
It doesn't, but I'll take that over the reverse. Mookie deserves that hardware on his resume.
   11. gehrig97 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:36 AM (#5743422)
Mookie is absolutely the MVP. Easy pick.
   12. Endless Trash Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5743423)
Note that the current active BA leaders sport a relatively meager .3165 (Altuve and Miggy)--I'd be willing to bet that that is the lowest the active leader(s) has been since before 1920, early 70's maybe.


You can check this on B-ref because of course you can.

It is the lowest since Rod Carew was the active leader with .316 in 1973.

Up until then there had been a run where the leader was guys under .320.

Something then happened in 1973 which increased averages across the American League. Not sure what it could have been.
   13. RoyalFlush Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5743431)
I've always interpreted "wall-scraper" as the ball scraping the back of the wall on the way down. So, barely getting out of the park.
   14. gehrig97 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5743437)
But isn't career BA a function of league conditions? Today's pitching and defense suppresses BA to a degree we haven't seen since, what? The 1960s? So those conditions apply to all hitters: Sluggers and singles hitters alike (the Altuve comp is a little misleading, as he's hit .332 over the last 5 seasons).
   15. TomH Posted: September 13, 2018 at 09:57 AM (#5743440)
Easy, really? Given Lindor, Ramirez, Trout... lots of people having a heckuva year.

Two notes:

1 JD may win a Major League Triple Crown, which of course is rarer than a "mere" Triple Crown. The only MLB TC winners are Cobb 09 Hornsby 25,
Gehrig 34, Williams 42, Mantle 56. It has been 62 years.
2 JD will also get a boost from some MVP voters for being the "new guy" on the very-successful Sawx. Voters tend to reward the new-player-with-great-year-on-big-winner. Lonnie Smith almost won a MVP award once for Pete sakes. Vince Coleman, rookie year, lots of SB looked shiny.Vlad, coming to Anaheim in 2004.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: September 13, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5743447)
Yeah but the voters are less stupider
   17. gehrig97 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5743448)
There ARE lots of people having great years--but Betts is pretty clearly the best player in the league this season. That he's on the best team certainly won't hurt his chances. Might he take the award with a plurality of the vote? Sure. JD will get his share of votes, as will Bregman and Ramirez. But to me, Betts is an easy pick (not that I have a vote).
   18. Greg Pope Posted: September 13, 2018 at 10:03 AM (#5743451)
Isn't is that the ball scrapes the top of the wall as it passes out of the park? A ball that couldn't have even been a half-inch lower and still gotten out.
   19. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: September 13, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5743455)
Davud Price called Betts as the MVP of the league, but J.D. Martinez the Red Sox.

Which makes perfect sense, if one doesn't think about it.


The Betts/JD split reminds me of some of the Mauer/Morneau MVP discussions in the aughts. Morneau had the same OPS as Mauer in 2006, but won the hardware on the strength of the RBIs and the narrative that he carried the team down the stretch. Of course, Santana out-WARd them both easily.
   20. TomH Posted: September 13, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5743460)
Ripken in 83 took an award from Eddie Murray (not saying he didn't deserve it) because of the surprising (at the time) greatness he turned in that year, as opposed to what Eddie M was doing every year.

Ripken in 94 was just as good, but the Orioles weren't, and MVP voters completely forgot him.
   21. TomH Posted: September 13, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5743461)
sorry, 84, not 94
   22. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 13, 2018 at 10:14 AM (#5743463)
Isn't is that the ball scrapes the top of the wall as it passes out of the park? A ball that couldn't have even been a half-inch lower and still gotten out.
It looks like in recent years people have started using it that way sometimes, I just think it doesn't make much sense to describe that as "scraping."

Visualize what kinds of actions are usually being described when someone says "scraping" (taking paint off, even scraping data from websites -- it's a dragging motion/connotation) -- I think it's clear it's more intuitive and similar to the high arcing flyball than the other definition. (Plus just more unique to Fenway -- you could have "wall scrapers" in virtually any other park by the other definition, do they ever get described that way?)
   23. SandyRiver Posted: September 13, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5743482)
"Wall-scraper" may be a barely-made-it homer elsewhere, but at Fenway it's a high fly that dings the Monster, and only that. If the ball hits atop the wall and bounces over, it's a Fenway homer (or Monster homer.)
   24. PreservedFish Posted: September 13, 2018 at 10:34 AM (#5743490)
#22 and #23 have me convinced.
   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 13, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5743531)
Visualize what kinds of actions are usually being described when someone says "scraping" (taking paint off, even scraping data from websites -- it's a dragging motion/connotation) -- I think it's clear it's more intuitive and similar to the high arcing flyball than the other definition. (Plus just more unique to Fenway -- you could have "wall scrapers" in virtually any other park by the other definition, do they ever get described that way?)
It all depends on the direction of the scraping. Horizontal scrape, it's a homer. Vertical scrape, double.
   26. PreservedFish Posted: September 13, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5743555)
But the horizontal scrape better resembles a bounce, unless it only just nicks the edge and the trajectory stays downward.
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: September 13, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5743576)
I've always interpreted "wall-scraper" as the ball scraping the back of the wall on the way down. So, barely getting out of the park.
Apparently it's used that way. But ... home run balls don't ever hit the back of the wall on the way down.
   28. John DiFool2 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 12:30 PM (#5743600)
But isn't career BA a function of league conditions? Today's pitching and defense suppresses BA to a degree we haven't seen since, what? The 1960s? So those conditions apply to all hitters: Sluggers and singles hitters alike.


But it hasn't been that precipitous until this year (.255 last year, Funny Ball had it almost invariably in the 60's somewhere). So the league average has dropped c. 10 points this decade, but the active leaders have dropped 20 points, and we've had nobody over .350 in a season since 2010. If a line drive hitter hits .370-.395, no slugger has a chance unless he's up there too somehow. With Ichiro now retired, they're pretty much gone (Altuve has more power than they usually did).
   29. Ziggy's screen name Posted: September 13, 2018 at 12:36 PM (#5743606)
So one day, I'll be sitting with St. Peter, and he'll have a great big key where I can see it but not quite touch it, and we'll both be sitting on little pedestals balanced on curiously supportive clouds, and he'll say:

"Ziggy, what did you spend your time on Earth doing?"

And I'll say:

"Saint Peter, I spent it reading about whether a 'wall scraper' is a home run that scrapes the back side of the wall, or a double that scrapes the front of the wall."

And then he'll frown a saintly little frown, and that big key will recede just a little bit further out of reach.
   30. Rally Posted: September 13, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5743622)
I thought Trout might have a chance despite the team record, like he did in 2016, when Betts missed a bunch of games. But then Trout got hurt and they are back to even. Both have played 126 games so far.

Trout has +57 batting runs, Betts +56. I'm a bit surprised it's that close, as Trout beats Mookie in OPS+ 195 to 182. Trout has a 30 point edge in OBP, only 13 back in SLG. Since OBP is relatively more important and Trout is hitting in a tougher park, I thought he'd have a bigger edge in batting runs.

Mookie is +5 baserunning to Trout's +4. For defense Betts is +9 by outs above average, Trout +8. I'm looking at the Statcast data from Baseball Savant. With that, you don't have to worry about position adjustment when comparing two outfielders.

So they look really close. We can say that Trout has been just as good as Betts for the season despite playing on a team far from the playoffs. But unfortunately, and it pains me to say this, not as valuable. Every time I look at a Red Sox box score and see they are losing 7-2 in the 7th inning, I know that they are about to open a can of whoopass on the bullpen they are facing, and win the game anyway.

Betts has been a huge part of this. In late & close situations he's hit 318/471/727. In high leverage, 311/463/754. Trout on the other hand takes his walks in those situations but hasn't done much when he's thrown strikes. Late & close: 130/356/222. High leverage 222/463/315.

This stuff isn't predictive. If I had to choose between Trout's 2018 and Betts', just knowing how well they hit but not when, I'd take Trout. But the timing of the stats is part of why the Red Sox are winning more games than their RS/RA, and the Angels are winning fewer.
   31. Ziggy's screen name Posted: September 13, 2018 at 01:13 PM (#5743641)
No, that way lies darkness. If they're about equal, and Mookie is leading in late & close, then Trout is leading in not late and close. Which means that he's knocking the snot out of the ball either early in the games that end up being close, or in blowouts. If he's hitting well early in games that end up being close, then his offense is just as valuable as the offense that comes late in the game. If he hadn't hit those first-inning homers, the game wouldn't end up being close in the late innings. We didn't know that they mattered at the time, but they did.

And if you're dinging him for raking in blowouts, then you're saying that the value that he produces is partially a matter of what his teammates do. But the denial of that is precisely why we don't (well, some do, okay, shouldn't) use RBIs for MVP purposes. If his pitcher is having a bad day and giving up a bunch of runs, it doesn't make the double that he hit less valuable, it means that his team wasted the value that it produced.
   32. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 13, 2018 at 01:24 PM (#5743652)
I've heard "wall scraper" for homers that just eke out of the park but I've heard it at Fenway more commonly for doubles off the Monster. The latter type seems unique to Fenway, the former I've heard more universally.
   33. Rally Posted: September 13, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5743682)
We didn't know that they mattered at the time, but they did.


I understand that and the shortcomings of WPA. But I don't have a better way to do it. I kind of look at it as a tie-breaker. If they both produce the same amount of runs, I expect that the one doing more damage in the high leverage situations is going to translate into more real wins for his team. And when I look at the standings, Red Sox have won 5 more than their RS/RA, and Angels have won 5 fewer. Not all of that is Trout/Betts, but some likely is.

You can ignore it and call them even, or give credit to Betts and put him ahead. But there is no way to spin it into Trout being more valuable. And I feel icky just writing this because, Mike Trout!
   34. Rally Posted: September 13, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5743685)
This is exactly where we were last year with Jose Altuve vs. Aaron Judge. Bill James had a cow over the idea that anyone would consider them close, but his pick won anyway.
   35. PreservedFish Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5743704)
And if you're dinging him for raking in blowouts, then you're saying that the value that he produces is partially a matter of what his teammates do. But the denial of that is precisely why we don't (well, some do, okay, shouldn't) use RBIs for MVP purposes.


But some of his ABs occur when the blowout is already apparent, and those are hits where we know at the time the moment is less important, and we're right about it. And looking at these situation stats as rate stats doesn't dock Trout for having fewer opportunities.
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5743714)
But the horizontal scrape better resembles a bounce, unless it only just nicks the edge and the trajectory stays downward.
In either direction, we're talking about a glancing blow that doesn't substantially alter the general trajectory of the ball - the horizontal scrape would graze the top of the wall and continue moving forward, i.e. out of the pahk, whereas a vertical scrape would have to be a high fly ball that is coming down almost parallel to the Monstah, but brushes it on its way down.

Otherwise, yeah, you've got a bounce rather than a scrape. But it can still operate in either direction.
   37. Ziggy's screen name Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5743753)
You can ignore it and call them even, or give credit to Betts and put him ahead. But there is no way to spin it into Trout being more valuable.


Yes, that's right. I'm interested in this as a theoretical issue. As far as this year goes, Betts has been at least as valuable as Trout, and if you gave me a ballot I'd probably vote for him.
   38. gehrig97 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 05:11 PM (#5743880)
If I had a ballot, it would likely look like this (though I wouldn't put up much of a fight if anybody wanted to re-arrange 6-10):
1. Betts
2. Trout
3. Martinez
4. Ramirez
5. Bregman
6. Lindor
7. Chapman
8. Snell
9. Kluber
10. Verlander

There's been some pro-Martinez arguments emerging in the press recently, but I honestly can't see a path for him, even with a TC.
   39. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: September 13, 2018 at 05:23 PM (#5743885)
The co-MVP's on the Red Sox are Martinez and Betts. The co-MVP's on the Indians are Ramirez and Lindor. Bregman is the Astros MVP (this year).

Any of those 5 are deserving. Everyone else is an also ran.

I don't like the MVP award in years like this where there are 5 legit candidates. If one of them was running away with it, fine, but otherwise split it up.

edit...I'm leaving out pitchers because the Cy Young is their MVP award.

2nd edit...no Trout because I'm in the camp that says the MVP has to help the team win. If it's the "best player award" he's obviously in the discussion.
   40. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 13, 2018 at 08:25 PM (#5744033)
7. Chapman


Aroldis Chapman? I'd love to see the argument that Chapman's 47 IP with a 2.11 ERA is more valuable than Blake Snell's 164 IP with a 2.03 ERA. Or than J.D. Martinez.
   41. Hank Gillette Posted: September 13, 2018 at 08:27 PM (#5744037)
I'll just observe that it probably hasn't been easier in decades to achieve a Triple Crown-mainly because of the virtual extinction of the high average low power batting title guys like Carew, Gwynn, Boggs, and now Ichiro. When those guys are winning batting crowns w/ averages above .350 the sluggers had virtually no chance (note each HR is at least 1 RBI, hence they're not independent). Now that these guys are pretty much gone (damned shame if you ask me), the TC odds have now improved greatly.


I thought that for a long time, but I did a search a few years ago, and I could not find a case where someone would have won a Triple Crown but for Gwynn or Boggs. I can’t remember if I checked for Carew or Ichiro, but Gwynn and Boggs, at least, did not block anyone from winning a Triple Crown. I agree that theoretically, it would be easier without that type of player in the league.
   42. John DiFool2 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 08:40 PM (#5744055)
My only point there was the last one.
   43. Ziggy's screen name Posted: September 13, 2018 at 08:44 PM (#5744058)
No, he means Matt Chapman. Fangraph's new favorite player.
   44. gehrig97 Posted: September 13, 2018 at 08:48 PM (#5744063)
@43: Correct. Oakland 3B Matt Chapman.
   45. Sean Forman Posted: September 13, 2018 at 11:00 PM (#5744146)
Note that the current active BA leaders sport a relatively meager .3165 (Altuve and Miggy)--I'd be willing to bet that that is the lowest the active leader(s) has been since before 1920, early 70's maybe.


Since the 1970s.
https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/batting_avg_progress.shtml
   46. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 13, 2018 at 11:11 PM (#5744149)
edit...I'm leaving out pitchers because the Cy Young is their MVP award.


How would you vote in the NL. Because 3 pitchers are just blowing away the competition as far as BWAR is concerned.
   47. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: September 14, 2018 at 06:59 AM (#5744174)
Probably Arenado.

"Wall scraper" as a home run is a figure of speech, not meant to be taken literally.
   48. TomH Posted: September 14, 2018 at 07:54 AM (#5744178)
Are Win Shares available for 21018 somewhere on line? Especially in the NL, I would like to see the differences between the quirks of WAR and the quirks of WS. I for one prefer the latter in many cases.
   49. Rally Posted: September 14, 2018 at 08:43 AM (#5744191)
You can get win shares here: http://www.thebaseballgauge.com/index.php

The guy who runs that site was just hired by baseball reference. Don't know if it will be maintained or moved over, but it's there now. WS likes Carpenter for the NL.
   50. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: September 14, 2018 at 08:55 AM (#5744195)
Note that the current active BA leaders sport a relatively meager .3165 (Altuve and Miggy)--I'd be willing to bet that that is the lowest the active leader(s) has been since before 1920, early 70's maybe.

Gwynn led the NL at .313 in 1988
   51. Hysterical & Useless Posted: September 14, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5744219)
I've heard "wall scraper" for homers that just eke out of the park but I've heard it at Fenway more commonly for doubles off the Monster. The latter type seems unique to Fenway, the former I've heard more universally.


So then obviously we should take the Fenway-specific interpretation, because, Red Sox...?

In the real world, metaphorical "scraping" is used to mean just getting by, not "very slightly dragging across an obstacle and thus falling ever so slightly short of where it looked like it might have landed." As Billy R E Face notes above, for a ball to scrape the Monster on the way down, it has to be making an almost exactly vertical drop, which, let's face it, even in the magical world of Fenway Fandom, doesn't happen to baseballs hit 315 feet.

[Criminey, somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed today. Sorry!]

ETA: but I went ahead and posted anyway. So I guess I'm REALLY tired and ornery.
   52. jmurph Posted: September 14, 2018 at 09:45 AM (#5744226)
for a ball to scrape the Monster on the way down, it has to be making an almost exactly vertical drop, which, let's face it, even in the magical world of Fenway Fandom, doesn't happen to baseballs hit 315 feet.

This strikes me as an extremely odd thing to be upset about but yes, it kind of happens a lot. Not exactly a vertical drop, but what would otherwise be a lazy fly ball in most parks turns into a hit when it softly hits (grazes?) the wall on the way down.
   53. Nasty Nate Posted: September 14, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5744230)
So then obviously we should take the Fenway-specific interpretation, because, Red Sox...?
He didn't even say that, or even imply it.

But maybe he should have, because this is an article about JD Martinez. And the article says "Fenway Park wall-scraper" so it would be appropriate to use the Fenway Park usage of the metaphor.
   54. Hysterical & Useless Posted: September 14, 2018 at 10:03 AM (#5744245)
He didn't even say that, or even imply it.


Others did, I was just using the quote because it gave the best context. Apologies to Jose.

So, are you saying the writer used the Fenway interpretation (a weird double) even though it doesn't make his point (that 1 more homer, no matter how "just barely" he hits it, ties him for the lead)? Or that the writer used the term in the more general sense, but he should have used it in the Fenway sense (and thus not make his point), because he was writing about a Carmine Hose-head?
   55. Nasty Nate Posted: September 14, 2018 at 10:14 AM (#5744255)
So, are you saying the writer used the Fenway interpretation (a weird double) even though it doesn't make his point (that 1 more homer, no matter how "just barely" he hits it, ties him for the lead)? Or that the writer used the term in the more general sense, but he should have used it in the Fenway sense (and thus not make his point), because he was writing about a Carmine Hose-head?
He didn't use the Fenway interpretation. Ideally, he shouldn't have used it at all because of the context. But I'd guess he wasn't aware of it and got unlucky that the metaphor he picked means something else at Fenway.
   56. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 14, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5744260)
So, are you saying the writer used the Fenway interpretation (a weird double) even though it doesn't make his point (that 1 more homer, no matter how "just barely" he hits it, ties him for the lead)? Or that the writer used the term in the more general sense, but he should have used it in the Fenway sense (and thus not make his point), because he was writing about a Carmine Hose-head?
As the person who started this whole derail, I will answer: in my opinion, it's the latter. I think if you asked Red Sox fans what "Fenway Park wall scraper" meant, a clear majority of them would say it's a double off the Monster.

I'll say again though: I don't recall ever hearing "wall scraper" to describe a just-barely-a-homerun, in any park. Maybe I'm just unobservant. :)
   57. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 14, 2018 at 10:27 AM (#5744270)
Gwynn led the NL at .313 in 1988

Yes, but his career average at that point was .331. And that wasn't even the best in baseball at the time - Boggs was at .356(!)
   58. Greg Pope Posted: September 14, 2018 at 10:44 AM (#5744290)
He didn't use the Fenway interpretation.

He literally says "Fenway Park wall-scraper".


   59. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 14, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5744292)

You can get win shares here: http://www.thebaseballgauge.com/index.php

The guy who runs that site was just hired by baseball reference. Don't know if it will be maintained or moved over, but it's there now. WS likes Carpenter for the NL.


Wow, Win Shares really dislikes pitchers. They have Scherzer as the most valuable pitcher this season with 19.5 WS, good for 18th in the NL and about on par with Brandon Nimmo, Cesar Hernandez and Ozzie Albies.

Last year, Kluber was the most valuable pitcher in baseball -- with about as many Win Shares as Nelson Cruz, Jose Abreu or Justin Smoak.
   60. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 14, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5744311)
He literally says "Fenway Park wall-scraper".
Yes, the writer referenced Fenway directly. What we are saying is that "wall scraper" is interpreted differently at Fenway, and the writer didn't use that meaning of the term.
   61. Nasty Nate Posted: September 14, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5744321)
He didn't use the Fenway interpretation.


He literally says "Fenway Park wall-scraper".
So what? He still wasn't using the Fenway interpretation.
   62. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 14, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5744331)
Martinez moved into a tie with Khris Davis when he hit his 41st homer last night, leaving him just ten BA points away from the Triple Crown.

Davis, by the way, has turned in three very similar seasons in Oakland:

2016: .247/42/102
2017: .247/43/110
2018: .250/41/110

The A's got Davis from the Brewers for Jacob Nottingham and Bubba Derby, which is looking like a good trade.
   63. Endless Trash Posted: September 14, 2018 at 11:19 AM (#5744340)
I hate you all so much.
   64. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 14, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5744353)
@63 Just stomp on us, but make sure you scrape us off your shoe afterward.
   65. Nasty Nate Posted: September 14, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5744356)
@63 Just stomp on us, but make sure you scrape us off your shoe afterward.
Sweet Virginia shoe-scraper?


   66. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 14, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5744359)
Something then happened in 1973 which increased averages across the American League. Not sure what it could have been.


I'm not sure why the DH would have created an increase in individual batting averages across the AL either, although obviously the league BA would have gone up.

League BA also jumped in the NL between 1972 and 1973, from .248 to .254.

-- MWE
   67. BDC Posted: September 14, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5744364)
Yes, that's interesting – the active leader in BA rising from the .310s to the .330s in the 1970s is all Rod Carew (who DH'd very little at that time). Carew broke in in 1967-68, the worst possible years for batting average in a while. Batting .283 as 1969 started, he had to hit .337 over the next six years to get his career average above .320. In all, he would be the active BA leader for 13 seasons, which I believe is longer than anyone except Ty Cobb.
   68. Rally Posted: September 14, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5744446)
The progressive BA leaderboard is sad. It was Albert Pujols at .328 when he signed with the Angels. After a good first season with his new team it was down to .325. His current career BA is only .302.
   69. gehrig97 Posted: September 14, 2018 at 03:14 PM (#5744518)
I wonder if Pujols has his eye on his plummeting career BA. Not sure anybody cares about BA anymore (and certainly not enough to forego the 10s of millions of dollars owed him over the next several years), but the thought of him dipping below .300 is... disconcerting.

BTW, Pujols is one of a handful of players to lead the league in the three TC categories at various points in his career. Per the article: “Career” Triple Crowns: Ruth, Mays, Aaron, DiMaggio, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Mize, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, and Andres Galarraga. This obviously excepts players who achieved the actual TC.

Feels like the list is missing someone...?
   70. SandyRiver Posted: September 14, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5744546)
I wonder if Pujols has his eye on his plummeting career BA. Not sure anybody cares about BA anymore (and certainly not enough to forego the 10s of millions of dollars owed him over the next several years), but the thought of him dipping below .300 is... disconcerting.

Of course, they used to. Even a slugger like Mantle expressed disappointment when his career BA dipped below .300 in his final year.
   71. Booey Posted: September 14, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5744554)
BTW, Pujols is one of a handful of players to lead the league in the three TC categories at various points in his career. Per the article: “Career” Triple Crowns: Ruth, Mays, Aaron, DiMaggio, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Mize, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, and Andres Galarraga. This obviously excepts players who achieved the actual TC.

Feels like the list is missing someone...?


Probably a deadballer who led the league with like 9 HR one year. But I personally feel like TC lists should always start with the lively ball era (1920-present), when HR's actually became a significant offensive weapon.

And Mays, surprisingly, doesn't belong on that list. He never led the league in ribbies.
   72. Booey Posted: September 14, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5744562)
Heading into the last game of the season in 2015, Bryce Harper was leading the NL in AVG and HR, but nowhere close to the lead in RBI. I could only find 3 instances where a player led the league in AVG and HR without winning the TC:

Ruth in 1924
Mize in 1939
Williams in 1941

Are there any others?
   73. Booey Posted: September 14, 2018 at 03:58 PM (#5744566)
Feels like the list is missing someone...?


Eddie Murray misses this list on a technicality; he led the entire majors in BA in 1990, but due to Willie McGee's league switch, he didn't lead either league, and thus was never credited with a batting title. Of course, his only HR title was a 4 way tie in a strike year, so the technicalities kinda balance out...
   74. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 14, 2018 at 05:45 PM (#5744616)
I wonder who the best position player to *never* lead his league in a TC category would be. Mike Piazza has to be close. Amazingly, Piazza actually has no black ink at all on his BB-Ref page.

EDIT: I guess other HOFers at premium defensive positions are in a similar boat. Ozzie Smith, for example, never led in a TC category. But even he has some black ink :)
   75. Man o' Schwar Posted: September 14, 2018 at 05:51 PM (#5744619)
I'm not sure why the DH would have created an increase in individual batting averages across the AL either, although obviously the league BA would have gone up.

League BA also jumped in the NL between 1972 and 1973, from .248 to .254.


Could you make the argument that pitchers now deprived of an "easy out" once through the lineup were now having to work harder from an earlier time in the game, which left them with less in the tank as the game went on and subtly altered the balance between pitching and hitting in a way that the best hitters took full advantage of?

Batters in the NL also did better because screw the AL, we'll show them how to hit.
   76. Man o' Schwar Posted: September 14, 2018 at 05:52 PM (#5744621)
I wonder who the best position player to *never* lead his league in a TC category would be. Mike Piazza has to be close. Amazingly, Piazza actually has no black ink at all on his BB-Ref page.

EDIT: I guess other HOFers at premium defensive positions are in a similar boat. Ozzie Smith, for example, never led in a TC category. But even he has some black ink :)


Rickey Henderson as well, though I suspect Rickey could have won a batting title if Rickey put his mind to it. He finished in the top 5 three times.

EDIT: The Captain is in there as well, and he was more offensive than Ozzie both at bat and in the field.
   77. Booey Posted: September 14, 2018 at 05:58 PM (#5744622)
Amazingly, Piazza actually has no black ink at all on his BB-Ref page.


Only cuz OPS+ doesn't count as black ink. He led the NL in that twice - the first 2 times a catcher ever led the league, actually (Mauer and Posey have each done it since).
   78. Booey Posted: September 14, 2018 at 05:59 PM (#5744624)
Ripken never led in a TC category.
   79. Booey Posted: September 14, 2018 at 06:01 PM (#5744625)
Eddie Collins
   80. Man o' Schwar Posted: September 14, 2018 at 06:03 PM (#5744627)
How does a guy with a .333 career average manage to never lead the league? I guess he never really had that "wow" season where he hit like .415. His best single season was "only" .372, and he only hit over .350 three times.
   81. BDC Posted: September 14, 2018 at 06:19 PM (#5744630)
Rickey Henderson as well


And of course Henderson led the league in runs scored five times (as well as holding the career mark).

A few other great leadoff men have a similar pattern. Paul Molitor had three Runs titles, no TC titles; Craig Biggio two Runs, no TC titles; the same for Lou Brock. Kenny Lofton scored more runs from the leadoff position than anybody else except Henderson and Pete Rose, and never even led the league in Runs (or any TC category either). Tim Raines won one batting title, at least, to go with two Runs titles.
   82. Rally Posted: September 14, 2018 at 07:38 PM (#5744647)
I had to look up 1994, since Lofton had a legendary season. Scored 105 runs in only 112 games. How did that not lead the league? Frank Thomas scored 106.
   83. Booey Posted: September 14, 2018 at 07:43 PM (#5744648)
How does a guy with a .333 career average manage to never lead the league? I guess he never really had that "wow" season where he hit like .415. His best single season was "only" .372, and he only hit over .350 three times.


Lots of guys hit for really high averages in the 1900's-1930's. Joe Jackson hit .356 and never led the league. Speaker, Ruth, Terry, and Gehrig hit .345, .342, .341, and .340 and each only won one batting title. Other ALers that Collins was competing with also include Cobb (.366), LaJoie (.338), Heilmann (.342), Sisler (.340), Simmons (.334), etc. .333 wasn't that big a deal for his era.

Same way that sillyball era sluggers could hit 569 (Palmeiro), 521 (Thomas), and 509 (Sheffield) homers without ever leading the league. And Thome (612), Manny (555), and Papi (541) each only led once.
   84. Booey Posted: September 15, 2018 at 02:20 AM (#5744768)
According to WAR, the best position players to never lead the league in a TC category (excluding 19th century guys):

1) 124.0 - Eddie Collins
2) 111.2 - Rickey Henderson
3) 100.6 - Joe Morgan
4) 95.9 - Cal Ripken
5) 77.3 - Robin Yount
6) 76.9 - Ozzie Smith
7) 75.7 - Paul Molitor
8) 75.1 - Lou Whitaker
9) 72.4 - Derek Jeter
10) 71.9 - Rafael Palmeiro

Any guesses as to the best pitcher (by WAR) to never lead in one of the pitching Triple Crown categories (W, ERA, K)?
   85. Swoboda is freedom Posted: September 15, 2018 at 08:20 AM (#5744782)
Any guesses as to the best pitcher (by WAR) to never lead in one of the pitching Triple Crown categories (W, ERA, K)?


Tommy John?
   86. BDC Posted: September 15, 2018 at 09:15 AM (#5744786)
Joe Morgan only led the league in Runs Scored once (1972), but from 1974-77 a teammate of his did, each year (Rose three times and George Foster once).
   87. Booey Posted: September 15, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5744795)
Tommy John?


John did accomplish that "feat", but there are at least a couple other pitchers I found higher on the WAR list that did, too.
   88. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: September 15, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5744796)
Bert Blyleven?
   89. Sweatpants Posted: September 15, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5744803)
Ted Lyons?
   90. Booey Posted: September 15, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5744819)
No on Blyleven and Lyons. Bly finally led in K's in his 16th season with a whopping 206. Lyons led in wins twice and ERA once (in his last full season).
   91. Swoboda is freedom Posted: September 15, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5744833)
Don Sutton, Rick Reuschel, Mussina?
   92. Booey Posted: September 15, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5744881)
Mussina is who I was thinking when I posed the question (I didn't actually know the answer until I looked it up afterwards), but he led the AL in wins in the strike shortened 1995 season.

Sutton won an ERA title.

Reuschel is a good guess. At 70 WAR, he had the 2nd most of anyone that I found.

But no, y'all aren't thinking old school enough. It's Eddie Plank, with 91.5 WAR (88.2 pitching WAR), who never led the league despite 326 wins in only 17 years and a 2.35 career ERA. Of course, that 2.35 ERA in the deadball era was only good for a 122 ERA+. Compare that to Mussina, whose 3.68 during sillyball was a 123.
   93. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 15, 2018 at 08:36 PM (#5744953)
How does a guy with a .333 career average manage to never lead the league?

Ty Cobb won 11 batting titles in 13 years in Collins's prime. (Collins finished second in the AL in three different seasons, coming in over 20 points behind Cobb each time.)

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