Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Jim Palmer on Mark Belanger and Omar Vizquel: The Hardball Times

“In 1969, the great Charley Lau became the Orioles’ hitting coach. He insisted that Belanger take extra batting practice all the time. He cut his strikeouts in half from ‘68, he hit .287, the highest mark of his career. Sometimes I think if Lau hadn’t taken that extra $5,000 to go to Kansas City after the season ended, maybe Blade hits enough to be in the Hall of Fame.”

djordan Posted: November 16, 2017 at 08:39 AM | 123 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: omar vizquel

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. The Duke Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:07 AM (#5577214)
I’ve always thought of Omar as a hall of famer. I hope he gets in. Pujols was a great defensive first baseman in his hey day - not surprised to see that. Ecstatic that Molina’s rep is corroborated by the stats. Not surprised buddy bell is so high - he was very highly regarded in his day. I wonder if he makes a vet committee ballot soon.

   2. SoSH U at work Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5577225)
“In 1969, the great Charley Lau became the Orioles’ hitting coach. He insisted that Belanger take extra batting practice all the time. He cut his strikeouts in half from ‘68, he hit .287, the highest mark of his career. Sometimes I think if Lau hadn’t taken that extra $5,000 to go to Kansas City after the season ended, maybe Blade hits enough to be in the Hall of Fame.”


Shouldn't Belanger have simply remembered that lesson?
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:20 AM (#5577231)
I’ve always thought of Omar as a hall of famer. I hope he gets in.

I don't see it. You need a tremendous glove to carry an 82 OPS+, and after age-26, his glove was merely good to average.

To compare to Ozzie Smith, Ozzie had a better bat (87 OPS+ vs 82), and much, much better glove (+239 rField vs. +128).
   4. caspian88 Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:24 AM (#5577238)
Quick and dirty:

Belanger had three seasons where he was a roughly average hitter - 1969, 1971, and 1976. His Rbat those three seasons was -3, 0, and +3. So I'll let him average 0 Rbat from 1969 to 1976 and change nothing else.

Between 1969 and 1976, Belanger had three good years with the bat and five bad years. Converting the five bad years to 0 Rbat adds 95 Rbat to Belanger's career total, roughly another 9 WAR for... 50 WAR. A good total, but not exactly a clear Hall of Famer by WAR. His 1974 becomes a roughly 5.7 WAR season and 1975 a roughly 6.9 WAR season. Maybe Belanger would have secured a few more All Star nods and he probably would have had more MVP votes (though I wouldn't predict him coming close to winning).

Of course WAR didn't exist in the 1980's, so what about his career numbers? For a quick estimate I averaged his three good seasons at the plate and replaced his five bad seasons with those (I didn't reduce his playing time in 1972). Belanger winds up as a .250 career hitter with a .325 OBP and .303 SLG. That's, what, an 80-85 OPS+ in that era? 1556 career hits, 779 runs, 457 RBI, 215 2B, 14 HR, 187 SB.

I don't see Belanger making the Hall of Fame with those numbers or coming close. He'd have to keep hitting into his mid-30's, or top out better than league average during his prime.
   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:28 AM (#5577246)
“In 1969, the great Charley Lau became the Orioles’ hitting coach. He insisted that Belanger take extra batting practice all the time. He cut his strikeouts in half from ‘68, he hit .287, the highest mark of his career. Sometimes I think if Lau hadn’t taken that extra $5,000 to go to Kansas City after the season ended, maybe Blade hits enough to be in the Hall of Fame.”

Interesting point that I'd never thought about before. In 1969 Belanger had 3.0 oWAR, and if he'd been able to sustain that over the course of the rest of his career he'd be a serious HoF candidate. As it is, he's second only to Ozzie Smith in defensive WAR, and not by that much, either----39.4 to Ozzie's 43.4, and in about 20% fewer games than Smith. Smith may have been more acrobatic, but if you believe these numbers, Belanger might have actually been the better of the two defensively.

Of course there are two counterarguments to this. First, Smith had a huge offensive WAR advantage (47.8 to 14.6). And second, Belanger did put up similar offensive WAR numbers in later years (3.2 in 1971 and 3.8 in 1976), when Lau wasn't his batting coach. His problem was simply that he couldn't sustain this sort of offense on an ongoing basis. So if you're looking for an argument for Belanger's HoF credentials, the better precedent would be to make a comparison to Bill Mazeroski.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5577257)
So if you're looking for an argument for Belanger's HoF credentials, the better precedent would be to make a comparison to Bill Mazeroski.

Of course the problem with that is Mazeroski's case was basically "best defensive 2B ever" and 1960 WS G7.

You mentioned Ozzie, whose existence means Belanger misses the key pt. 1 of that qualification.

   7. Booey Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:41 AM (#5577268)
I’ve always thought of Omar as a hall of famer.


That's interesting, cuz I was (and still am) the exact opposite; it never even crossed my mind at any point that Vizquel might be a HOFer. When a few articles mentioned the possibility at the end of his career I had a "Wait, what?" reaction. He was always just an above average regular (that happened to last forever).

MVP voting isn't always perfect, of course, but in Omar's case I think it sums up his career nicely - one 16th place finish in 24 years. The guy was never a star.

Belanger is a pretty good comp, and also never given any consideration during his career as a major star (just 1 all star selection, highest MVP finish was 21st) or a HOFer (3.7% his only year on the ballot). WAR says he should have at least made a few more AS games in his prime, but he's still well short of a worthy HOFer.
   8. Batman Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5577276)
BB-ref says Vizquel's most similar is Luis Aparicio, but I think of him more like Dave Concepción. Maybe Venezuelan shortstops all look alike to me.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:53 AM (#5577289)
The one thing the glove-first HoF infielders have in common is they were all widely viewed as The Best Ever at their position while they played, a claim no one ever made about Vizquel.
   10. The Duke Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:58 AM (#5577294)
Is there really a difference between Ozzie and Omar on offense? A little bit. And then you are basically saying that because Omar is not an inner circle guy like Ozzie he can’t get in. It’s the henderson/Raines issue. Omar isn’t Ozzie on defense but who is. He was really really good though.

I’m of the general view that guys who are high on the defensive spectrum should get in. I think the Hall should reward defense. He also almost got 3000 hits. Is here any non-ped guy not in who has more hits than that?

Molina will fall in same camp - to me he’s a hall of famer but his offensive metrics will always be lacking
   11. PreservedFish Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:02 PM (#5577298)
When I saw Omar Vizquel playing a legitimate plus shortstop at age 41 in San Francisco, I admit that the thought crept across my mind. But no, he's not a Hall of Famer.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:03 PM (#5577299)
Is there really a difference between Ozzie and Omar on offense? A little bit.

A little bit on offensive, and a ton on defense.

And then you are basically saying that because Omar is not an inner circle guy like Ozzie he can’t get in. It’s the henderson/Raines issue. Omar isn’t Ozzie on defense but who is. He was really really good though.

The mistake is Ozzie is not inner circle. He's a solid HoF, but nothing like Henderson.

Not to reduce it to WAR, but Henderson has 111 to Smith's 76.5. You can be significantly worse that Rickey and be a HoF. If you're significantly worse than Ozzie, you're not a HoF.


I’m of the general view that guys who are high on the defensive spectrum should get in. I think the Hall should reward defense. He also almost got 3000 hits. Is here any non-ped guy not in who has more hits than that?

Molina will fall in same camp - to me he’s a hall of famer but his offensive metrics will always be lacking


Just playing high on the defensive spectrum is not enough. You have to excel.

Just by WAR you can tell that neither Vizquel or Molina is anywhere near the line for a mordern HoFer.

Again, not arguing that WRA is the be all and end all. But being below 50 at SS, and below 40 in Molina's case is just not a serious HoF case in 2017.


   13. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:06 PM (#5577303)
Of course the problem with that is Mazeroski's case was basically "best defensive 2B ever" and 1960 WS G7.


Could be even better than that. Bill James made the comment that Mazeroski's defensive stats are the best for any player at any position.
   14. Batman Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:06 PM (#5577305)
Is here any non-ped guy not in who has more hits than that?
No, the only non-HOFers with more hits but who have been eligible are Palmeiro and Bonds. Jeter, A-Rod, Ichiro, Beltre, and Pujols haven't been on a ballot yet, and I don't think Rose ever was.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:10 PM (#5577310)
Could be even better than that. Bill James made the comment that Mazeroski's defensive stats are the best for any player at any position.

That's hard to figure when Ozzie has almost 100 more rField, as do Belanger and Brooks Robinson.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:14 PM (#5577315)
Is there really a difference between Ozzie and Omar on offense? A little bit. And then you are basically saying that because Omar is not an inner circle guy like Ozzie he can’t get in. It’s the henderson/Raines issue. Omar isn’t Ozzie on defense but who is. He was really really good though


The question that's always interested (only) me was whether if you shifted them, would Omar have had been the better hitter. Ozzie's offensive game seemed very well-suited * to the '80s, while Omar's absence of power truly hammered him in the silly ball era. If Omar had come up in 1978 and Ozzie in 1989, would Omar have been the 87 OPS+ guy and Ozzie the 82?

* Or, more accurately, least ill-suited.
   17. Booey Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:26 PM (#5577334)
Molina will fall in same camp - to me he’s a hall of famer

I've made the Molina/Vizquel comp before, and I agree that they have similar cases (complete with a similar "WTF"? reaction from me). They're both so clearly not HOFers in my mind that it always catches me off guard when someone says that they are.* Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

* And with both players it's happened often enough lately that it shouldn't surprise me any more, but somehow it still does every time.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:30 PM (#5577342)
I've made the Molina/Vizquel comp before, and I agree that they have similar cases (complete with a similar "WTF"? reaction from me). They're both so clearly not HOFers in my mind that it always catches me off guard when someone says that they are.* Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

* And with both players it's happened often enough lately that it shouldn't surprise me any more, but somehow it still does every time.


Concur. If Alan Trammell is having a hard time getting in, HTH is Vizquel even an option.

Likewise, Ted Simmons and Molina. And Molina hasn't even had his decline phase drag down his hitting #'s yet.
   19. shoewizard Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:31 PM (#5577344)
Responding to #4:

I essentially agree with your conclusion, however one minor addition:

If he were a better hitter, he would have started and finished more games, and had a alot more PA's.

Despite having an 18 year career, he had just 6600 PA's.

In fact, he was really only a full time starter for 9 or ten of those 18 season. (YMMV on 1977)

He also was obviously pinch hit for a lot

I think if he were a better hitter, say to 85 OPS+ like you mention, he probably gets at least 2000 more PA in his career, as he would have stayed in games longer, and also had a longer period of time as a starter.

He probably would have gotten close to or even over 2000 hits in that case.

His 238 Def runs in 15,335 innings, 6600 PA are incredible. But thats not even the best rate of defensive runs for SS. Among SS with at least 100 Rfield, Simmons actually blows belanger away

PA/Rfield=Rate

Player   Rate Rfield PA
Simmons     19 163 3129
Everett     26 116 3070
Belanger    27 241 6601
Ryan        29 101 2886
Wilson      38 141 5339
Tinker      40 180 7153
Fletcher    42 144 6036
Smith       45 239 10778
Marion      47 130 6143
Jackson     48 139 6681 
   20. TJ Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:36 PM (#5577352)
Omar isn’t Ozzie on defense but who is. He was really really good though


Aye, and there's the rub- if Ozzie wasn't Ozzie on defense, he wouldn't be in the HOF either...
   21. Booey Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:36 PM (#5577353)
Is here any non-ped guy not in who has more hits than that?

No, but right behind him on the all time list is Harold Baines, who's actually a pretty good career/value comp as well. By default, someone has to hold the "most hits by a non-HOFer" title.

And as Omar showed, you can compile a lot of hits without even being extraordinarily good at it (by MLB standards). His BA for his career was basically league average. He just stayed healthy and played forever (those are valuable skills to be sure, but just showing up for a long time doesn't make you a HOFer).
   22. Ithaca2323 Posted: November 16, 2017 at 12:50 PM (#5577367)
It’s the henderson/Raines issue.


As snapper says, Ozzie is not Rickey. By WAR, Henderson is one of of the 15 best position players ever, and one of the half dozen best post integration.

Aye, and there's the rub- if Ozzie wasn't Ozzie on defense, he wouldn't be in the HOF either...


Bingo
   23. shoewizard Posted: November 16, 2017 at 01:04 PM (#5577380)
Speaking of Simmons.....again

Shortstops through age 27 season, since 1947, (75% of time at SS)

Report Link

Rk              Player WAR/pos OPSRfield  Rbat oWAR dWAR    G   PA   AB    R    H  2B 3B  HR RBI  BB  SO HBP GDP  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1       Alex Rodriguez    63.5  144   17.8 341.5 61.6  8.8 1275 5687 4989 1009 1535 285 22 345 990 559 995  72 110 177  46 .308 .382 .581 .963
2          Robin Yount    44.6  111   19.9  90.3 42.6 11.6 1389 5919 5425  780 1541 296 65 113 633 357 584  13  98 128  56 .284 .327 .425 .752
3           Cal Ripken    43.4  125   50.8 163.5 38.3 12.6 1153 4968 4409  713 1236 236 24 183 651 496 563  13 140  16  20 .280 .351 .469 .821
4          Jim Fregosi    37.4  117   20.3 106.3 36.8  9.0 1164 4867 4296  565 1160 171 64  88 431 450 682  21  83  69  31 .270 .340 .401 .741
5          Derek Jeter    33.1  122  
-68.9 179.4 39.2 -0.9  936 4251 3744  715 1199 188 38  99 488 397 671  58  79 135  40 .320 .392 .470 .862
6          Ernie Banks    32.1  136   17.3 144.1 31.5  5.6  767 3283 2973  485  872 131 42 183 518 263 361  16  60  33  30 .293 .351 .550 .902
7        Alan Trammell    31.2  105   40.9  30.5 27.0 11.7 1138 4628 4057  595 1141 181 35  69 429 429 462  13  65 124  66 .281 .349 .394 .743
8    Andrelton Simmons    28.6   90  163.0 
-28.8 10.8 21.9  781 3129 2884  322  762 136 18  49 281 198 289  15 101  45  20 .264 .313 .375 .687
9    Nomar Garciaparra    28.3  139   19.3 142.4 26.3  5.4  616 2764 2519  464  836 179 29 121 444 191 266  25  49  58  21 .332 .381 .570 .951
10     Rico Petrocelli    27.5  115   60.6  52.4 21.4 11.8  819 3254 2864  364  733 140 12 129 405 322 487  16  53   7  14 .256 .331 .448 .780
11     Troy Tulowitzki    26.9  117   68.0  69.8 19.6 10.7  744 3177 2813  471  822 160 23 130 470 304 499  26  91  53  30 .292 .364 .504 .868
12      Hanley Ramirez    26.2  132  
-64.0 155.1 32.6 -2.7  852 3757 3320  617 1016 214 24 134 434 369 607  37  51 216  69 .306 .380 .506 .886
13        Barry Larkin    25.2  112   30.3  47.1 21.3  7.8  695 2874 2589  402  762 118 24  58 290 210 233  25  45 133  29 .294 .350 .426 .776
14        Elvis Andrus    24.1   86   17.0 
-62.2 22.2  8.5 1221 5203 4625  648 1266 207 37  35 436 408 684  34 114 241  83 .274 .335 .357 .692
15      Tony Fernandez    23.8  101   46.7   9.1 18.9 10.4  867 3600 3317  426  967 165 44  36 338 214 274  19  56 112  49 .292 .336 .400 .736
16          Jose Reyes    23.2  102   15.0  15.3 21.7  5.6  924 4254 3916  634 1119 191 83  74 379 290 468   7  40 331  85 .286 .335 .434 .769
17     Garry Templeton    22.7   97   14.8  
-5.9 20.2  8.2  980 4205 4013  558 1171 170 79  34 385 141 518   5  77 181 101 .292 .315 .399 .714
18       Rafael Furcal    21.7   95   52.0 
-14.2 16.4  9.1  817 3649 3258  554  924 160 38  57 292 320 475  12  36 189  53 .284 .348 .409 .756
19       Jimmy Rollins    21.6   95   42.5 
-27.6 17.2  8.9  952 4384 3997  630 1095 231 61  84 391 319 555  18  53 207  52 .274 .329 .425 .754
20      Edgar Renteria    21.5   95    6.8 
-18.3 21.1  6.9 1296 5501 4922  734 1423 264 17  83 565 434 675  22 144 237  89 .289 .346 .400 .746
21          Ron Hansen    20.6   95   84.6 
-20.8 12.3 14.2  857 3368 2926  337  698 107 16  81 356 377 454  14 100   7   9 .239 .326 .369 .695
22       Luis Aparicio    20.6   78   75.7 
-83.6 13.0 13.3  901 3855 3502  501  931 123 37  22 294 255 268   7  59 238  52 .266 .315 .341 .656
23          Gene Alley    20.5   95   62.8 
-14.5 12.4 12.2  683 2598 2363  275  628  98 26  28 197 157 381  23  59  38  22 .266 .316 .365 .681 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/16/2017.
   24. Rally Posted: November 16, 2017 at 01:24 PM (#5577407)
Ozzie Smith sets the standard too high, Omar just can't compare to him on either offense or defense. But he was an acceptable hitter for the position and a pretty good one at his peak, a good fielder, and lasted a long time.

Omar is a great comp for Luis Aparicio. Both had OPS+ of 82, more than 11,000 PA. Aparicio has a small lead in fielding runs (+149 to 128). Luis has 10 more career WAR due mostly to better baserunning (+91 to -1). At first glance it's no surprise Aparicio would rate so well, but Omar stole over 400 bases with a decent enough percentage. It's a bit surprising he looks so average on his career. He must have made a lot of outs on base or something like that.

   25. Rally Posted: November 16, 2017 at 01:33 PM (#5577417)
Aparicio was not a slam dunk candidate, he was selected on his 6th ballot. Being approximately 10 wins worse than Aparicio probably puts Vizquel under the line, especially in consideration of the better offensive shortstops who have come along since then. If Trammell doesn't get in by the VC there is no justification to consider Vizquel.
   26. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: November 16, 2017 at 03:23 PM (#5577551)
Vizquel really has no peak case at all, to state the obvious. He had one excellent season in 1999 - 6 WAR, GG, and some MVP votes. But it was his only year with 2 WAA or better. He had over a decade's worth of solid, a little above average seasons, but I prefer to see someone inducted who was the best or very near it at their position for at least a few years. During Vizquel's career (1989-2012), there were 119 shortstop seasons of 4.0 WAR or better. He has just two of them, and even in his best year he was only the third-best shortstop.
   27. PreservedFish Posted: November 16, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5577557)
The question that's always interested (only) me was whether if you shifted them, would Omar have had been the better hitter. Ozzie's offensive game seemed very well-suited * to the '80s, while Omar's absence of power truly hammered him in the silly ball era. If Omar had come up in 1978 and Ozzie in 1989, would Omar have been the 87 OPS+ guy and Ozzie the 82?


Yes, that is interesting. I wonder if it's possible to tease out of the numbers. There's a argument here that it is better to look at the raw, unadjusted numbers. The adjustments take into consideration all of the steroids that Omar's contemporaries were doing but that Ozzie's were not.

Or, alternatively, Omar hit 60 more HR than did Ozzie, and that's the major difference in their numbers. Is that because Omar had more power? Or was it a ballpark and juiced ball effect? Or lesser pitchers?
   28. Rob_Wood Posted: November 16, 2017 at 04:41 PM (#5577610)
First things first, does everyone think it is a slam dunk lock that Vizquel will get over 5% to stay on the ballot??
   29. BDC Posted: November 16, 2017 at 04:52 PM (#5577623)
I'd always thought that Aparicio got something of a boost for being a pioneer from Venezuela. But really it was his father, Luis Sr., who was more of a figure in the Venezuelan game. Aparicio's HOF plaque and webpage do not mention much about his stature there. But he was the first Venezuelan HOFer, and the second Venezuelan player (after Chico Carrasquel) to have a significant career in the US major leagues.
   30. djordan Posted: November 16, 2017 at 05:00 PM (#5577636)
I was somewhat skeptical about Aparicio's election until I saw that he was Top Five All-time in Baserunning (RBaser.) He was also #1 in RField for SS (better than Maranville as well) when he retired before Belanger & Ozzie passed him by.
   31. Booey Posted: November 16, 2017 at 05:07 PM (#5577639)
First things first, does everyone think it is a slam dunk lock that Vizquel will get over 5% to stay on the ballot??


Yes.
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: November 16, 2017 at 05:34 PM (#5577654)
First things first, does everyone think it is a slam dunk lock that Vizquel will get over 5% to stay on the ballot??


Absolutely. It wouldn't shock me if he were closer to first-ballot induction than first-ballot elimination.

Total WAG: a debut between 25-30 percent.
   33. cmd600 Posted: November 16, 2017 at 05:43 PM (#5577659)
Is there really a difference between Ozzie and Omar on offense? A little bit.


Rbat + Rbaser + Rdp for each

Vizquel: -236

Smith: -15

There's over 200 runs worth of difference between the two offensively. Over 100 with just the bat alone.
   34. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 06:00 PM (#5577668)
Vizquel is no more a Hall of Famer than he is a pair of ladies' shoes. While I wouldn't be surprised if he stuck around on the ballot, I don't think he's getting in. The last player even remotely like Vizquel to get in via the balloting process was Smith himself, and -- as many have noted -- Smith was a significantly better player. Importantly, few people were of the impression that Vizquel was Smith's equal while he was actually playing, so he's unlikely to go the "Jim Rice is basically Reggie Jackson" route, either. Before that you have to go all the way back to Aparicio, 30+ years ago, to find a reasonable Vizquel comp that went in via the BWAA vote. As a rule, players of Vizquel's caliber only get in if they were personal friends of Frankie Frisch.
   35. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 16, 2017 at 06:44 PM (#5577691)
Vizquel really has no peak case at all, to state the obvious. He had one excellent season in 1999 - 6 WAR, GG, and some MVP votes.


Minor correction: Vizquel actually got a single 8th-place MVP vote in 1999 - the only MVP vote of his career. He has such a weird case. It never would have occurred to me that he'd get HOF consideration if I hadn't read so many HOF voters say that they were going to vote for him; remember, MVP voters and Hall-of-Fame voters are the same people. Bert Blyleven got more MVP votes in his career than Omar Vizquel (Blyleven got at least one vote in two different seasons) and Blyleven was a pitcher who was criminally underrated for most of his career.

That said, if you step back and look from a more traditional perspective, I can kind of see it: most games/hits at shortstop when he retired (Jeter has more of both now); second-most Gold Gloves at the most important defensive position. As for Omar vs. Ozzie, here's BB-Ref's per-162 averages for the two:

Ozzie, 155-for-592, 25-4-2 D-T-HR, 79 R, 50 RBI, 37 SB, .262/.337/.328
Omar, 157-for-578, 25-4-4, 79 R, 52 RBI, 22 SB, .272/.336/.352

Superficially, they kind of are dead-ringers for each other.
   36. Srul Itza Posted: November 16, 2017 at 06:50 PM (#5577694)
. Before that you have to go all the way back to Aparicio, 30+ years ago, to find a reasonable Vizquel comp that went in via the BWAA vote


You have to remember the Aparacio, in addition to being considered a great fielder, led the league in stolen bases for 9 years in a row, starting with his rookie year, when he won Rookie of the Year. Now the raw numbers themselves were not that impressive, and he was caught quite a bit, but back then it was the kind of thing BBWAA voters took notice of. It still took him a while to get in.

Vizquel does not have that sort of narrative bump.
   37. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 16, 2017 at 06:55 PM (#5577696)
it was the kind of thing BBWAA voters took notice of


And the BBWAA noticed it at the time. He got MVP votes in 10 different seasons, finishing second to his double-play partner in 1959. The disconnect between MVP voting and likely Hall-of-Fame voting for Vizquel is the most bizarre thing to me. (Ozzie got MVP votes six times and like Aparicio finished 2nd once - in 1987 in Ozzie's case. Heck, Dave Concepcion got MVP votes three times with two top-10 finishes).
   38. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 06:57 PM (#5577698)
Ozzie, 155-for-592, 25-4-2 D-T-HR, 79 R, 50 RBI, 37 SB, .262/.337/.328
Omar, 157-for-578, 25-4-4, 79 R, 52 RBI, 22 SB, .272/.336/.352


Which further underscores that Ozzie isn't in for his hitting. It's because he was the consensus Greatest Fielding Shortstop Ever, something Omar was never considered by anyone.
   39. Tom T Posted: November 16, 2017 at 07:15 PM (#5577708)
Vizquel really has no peak case at all, to state the obvious.


The WAR-based approach to career/peak analysis on which I've been working (so I can finally join the HOM process one of these years...maybe by 2020) meets the initial smell test in that Rickey! ends up being the #12 player (career-based) of all time...and Omar ain't even near a reasonable HOF consideration line for a "career" player. (I do have him with almost identical accumulated value to HOFer Chick Hafey...but I don't think anyone other than Frankie Frisch would make a case for Hafey being much of a candidate of any sort, let alone based on "career".)

By my system, Omar played essentially forever at a level that was equivalent to B.J. Surhoff or Ossie Bluege. So, if more years on the career of B.J. correspond to "HOF" in your mind, then...yes, Omar fits the bill. That doesn't rate even consideration on my part.
   40. Walt Davis Posted: November 16, 2017 at 07:39 PM (#5577718)
Aparicio: one of the oddest HoF trajectories ever. Maybe Dag can explain it but he went 28%, 32%, 37%, 42% ... all slow steady progress then ... 67%, 85%.

The 1982 ballot (before the big jump) easily elected Aaron and F Robinson. Marichal just missed, Killer, Wilhelm and Drysdale easily on their way up the ladder. Aparicio finished 8th between Hodges and Bunning. His teammate Nellie Fox was behind him at 31% -- Billy Williams kinda embarrassing debut at 23% and Orlando Cepeda was actually all the way down in 19th with just 10%.

Then he took the massive jump which, I guess, is because Brooks came on the ballot ... I suppose voters recognized they were voting him in on his glove so they finally remembered that Aparicio was a good defender too. He jumped to 4th, passing Hoyt, Drysdale and Hodges. He seemed to suck Fox up with him, jumping 16% to 46%.

The next year had no first ballot guys so we got the hilarious duo of Killer and Aparicio (and Drysdale).

Vizquel: He'll at least toddle along at Concepcion levels. But there are very weak ballots coming up -- if he does start around 30% or so, I think he'll have a good chance of making it. His case is also hurt by a lack of AS appearances but that just looks unlucky to me. Stuck in the same league as Jeter, Nomar, Tejada and some overlap with Ripken, it was always gonna be hard to make those teams. In the NL, there'd have been plenty of times he'd have been the 2nd choice to Larkin. Without looking in detail, I'd think he'd have maybe 8-10 AS appearances in the NL ... maybe then becoming such a fixture they'd just add him out of habit.

Vizquel vs. Smith, Aparicio, Maranville: The latter three are all in but, as somebody noted above, that was on the rep as the best-fielding SS ever at their retirement. Vizquel isn't that ... but it's still not 100% clear he has to be. Clearly an argument can be made that while not as good as Ozzie, that shouldn't be the minimum standard to meet -- he is arguably as good as Aparicio defensively and not far off offensively. And Aparicio didn't have that hard of a time. The negative case is Concepcion.

Not that it matters in this particular case but remember that when comparing more modern players to earlier players on defense, we probably should be using Rtz, not Rfield/Rdrs. Vizquel splits the eras and his career Rtot and Rfield are only 6 runs apart so it doesn't matter.

By the way, Vizquel gets 0 Rbase which I find hard to believe. Happy to believe he wasn't elite but average? And it has him as basically average throughout his career, not just when he was 40.
   41. QLE Posted: November 16, 2017 at 07:45 PM (#5577720)
As a rule, players of Vizquel's caliber only get in if they were personal friends of Frankie Frisch.


And the irony of that is that Dave Bancroft and Travis Jackson have better OPS+s, accumulated more WAA, were much more dominant in defensive WAR, had more seasons with 3+, 4+, and 5+ WAR, had more years among the best position players in their leagues, and generally had much greater peaks than Vizquel.

Yes, folk, Frankie Frisch was a better judge of shortstops than the BBWAA voters who want to induct Vizquel, and I'm as surprised to realize it as you are.
   42. Morty Causa Posted: November 16, 2017 at 07:46 PM (#5577721)
Had Belanger been not the awful hitter that he was for most of his career, had he been only sub-mediocre as Ozzie Smith was, or even a good bit less, he would have gotten a lot more playing time, and he would surely be the best fielding shortstop ever probably, I think. Check those values on Baseball-ref.
   43. Lassus Posted: November 16, 2017 at 08:20 PM (#5577734)
As a former 2B in my youth, I was actually always more impressed with Vizquel than Ozzie as a fielder. It's completely subjective. While Ozzie was Baryshnikov, I really do consider Vizquel to be a Nureyev, a complete and total rock. While I might blanch on voting him in myself if given a vote, I wouldn't say boo if he ended up there.

However, he should be in line behind Keith Hernandez.
   44. Booey Posted: November 16, 2017 at 09:21 PM (#5577769)
By my system, Omar played essentially forever at a level that was equivalent to B.J. Surhoff or Ossie Bluege. So, if more years on the career of B.J. correspond to "HOF" in your mind, then...yes, Omar fits the bill. That doesn't rate even consideration on my part.


Someone on this site a few years back - it may have been the late, great Harveys - had a great post that I agreed with completely; something along the lines of "If you're not a HOFer on your best day, how does not being a HOFer for a really long time suddenly make you one?"

That's always how I've summed up the cases for Vizquel, Baines, Tommy John, etc (John is obviously closer than either of them, of course).
   45. Jay Z Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:41 PM (#5577831)
Someone on this site a few years back - it may have been the late, great Harveys - had a great post that I agreed with completely; something along the lines of "If you're not a HOFer on your best day, how does not being a HOFer for a really long time suddenly make you one?"

That's always how I've summed up the cases for Vizquel, Baines, Tommy John, etc (John is obviously closer than either of them, of course).


Anyone who thinks Tommy John wasn't a HOFer on his very best day has never looked at his stats.

The very best day for a pitcher is a shutout. That's all that's needed. John had 46 of those. That's better than Whitey Ford, Phil Niekro, Robin Roberts, Bob Feller, Red Ruffing, Catfish Hunter, Chief Bender, Jim Bunning... and Sandy Koufax.

Tommy John was plenty good as any HOFer plenty of days. Maybe not quite as often enough for you or someone else, but he was plenty good. To imply that he was some sort of career bureaucrat who won 288 games by just showing up to the office every day, that's insulting. Don't vote for him for the HOF, but that crap has got to go.
   46. Rally Posted: November 17, 2017 at 09:03 AM (#5577895)
People talking about Omar as a potential HOFer happened only when he lasted long enough to accumulate some career totals. In his prime he was not thought of as a future HOFer.

With Ozzie Smith, my recollection from the 1980s is that people were generally aware they were watching a future HOFer. Ozzie didn't do exceptionally well in MVP voting, worse than I thought. He finished 2nd in 1987 and certainly had a better year than the actual winner, but then you can say that about 3 dozen guys. I still have no idea who should have won in 1987, other than Dawson winning was dumb. Other than that, Ozzie got votes in 5 other years, but finished no better than 13th. I would have guessed he had another top 10 or two.

One thing that stands out for Ozzie showing the views baseball people had of him was that he was among the highest paid players in the game. He was making around 2 million in the mid to late 80s when that was the top of the salary scale. He was paid similar to Mike Schmidt, Gary Carter, George Brett, Dale Murphy. We didn't have WAR, we didn't have defensive numbers that people paid a lot of attention to. Closest available equivalents would be Bill James' player rankings and Pete Palmer's defensive runs in Total Baseball. But the perception of his defensive value at the time was that it made him a true superstar, similar in value to the guys who hit 30+ homers.

The first 3 million per year contract came around in the 90s. My recollection is that Kirby Puckett or Rickey Henderson was the first, but bbref shows Robin Yount making 3.2 million in 1990. Put the 1980s players into the 2017 salary structure and Ozzie would be making 30 million per year. Omar's best relative to peers contract would probably put him at the level of Brandon Crawford, who will make 15 million for the next 4 years.
   47. Sweatpants Posted: November 17, 2017 at 09:22 AM (#5577902)
My favorite Omar Vizquel memory is the time that he almost got into a fight with Arthur Rhodes over Rhodes' earrings. That or Jose Mesa saying that he intended to hit Vizquel in every one of their future meetings and then actually trying to keep that promise for a while.
   48. Ithaca2323 Posted: November 17, 2017 at 10:10 AM (#5577922)
Tommy John was plenty good as any HOFer plenty of days.


There are very few (deserving) HOF pitchers whose best season by WAR was 5.6.
   49. BDC Posted: November 17, 2017 at 10:19 AM (#5577927)
Yeah, I think "days" was meant more figuratively than literally. Otherwise pretty much every major-leaguer has had his HOF days, even against actual HOFers.
   50. wjones Posted: November 17, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5577948)
Yeah, I think "days" was meant more figuratively than literally. Otherwise pretty much every major-leaguer has had his HOF days, even against actual HOFers.


At some point in history, we digressed from the point of '300 wins is a historic accomplishment, but there are deserving pitchers who should be in the HOF who didn't attain that extremely rare accomplishment', to 'if a pitcher doesn't win 300 games he has to have something extremely spectacular to be considered for the HOF.' Between the dead ball era and the 70's, how many 300 game winners were there? Grove, Spahn, Wynn. Am I missing anyone? But several good pitchers made it during that time. Hubbell, Dean, Feller, Roberts, Koufax, Gibson, Marichal, Bunning, Lemon, Gomez, Ruffing, others. Now we are pretty much to the point where we will not see many, if any, 300 game winners anymore. Will the writers adjust to a new standard? Will the writers, as a group, become more aware, and thus become users, of more modern analytics? Should be interesting.
   51. Rally Posted: November 17, 2017 at 10:51 AM (#5577951)
I'd say they have already adjusted. They put in Smoltz and Pedro first ballot despite not being anywhere close to 300 wins.
   52. Booey Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5577963)
Anyone who thinks Tommy John wasn't a HOFer on his very best day has never looked at his stats.

The very best day for a pitcher is a shutout. That's all that's needed. John had 46 of those.


Dude, you're taking my post waaaaay too literally. By the same logic, any batter who's ever hit a homer or had 2 hits in a game was playing like a HOFer "that day." Because hey, if they did that every game, that would be a 162 homer or 324 hit season!
   53. Booey Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:39 AM (#5577987)
Will the writers adjust to a new standard? Will the writers, as a group, become more aware, and thus become users, of more modern analytics? Should be interesting.


Honestly, I don't think 300 wins has ever been the standard. Even in eras where several guys got 300 such as the 70's or the 90's/00's, they've still inducted pitchers who didn't (Jenkins, Palmer, Hunter, Pedro, Smoltz, etc). It's all about perception - how dominant you were considered compared to your peers. Niekro and Sutton took several years despite 300 because they didn't win CYA's and were viewed as compilers. Meanwhile, Palmer goes first ballot without 300 because he won 3 CYA's and had lots of 20 win seasons and an ERA under 3.00. Pedro and Smoltz went first ballot despite not coming anywhere near 300 because they won CYA's and had lots of black ink plus some other hooks that made people recognize them as major superstars. My guess is that Schilling and Moose are probably hurt more by their lack of CYA's and a crowded ballot than they are by their win totals (and Schilling for being an ass and Moose for rarely leading the league in anything). And they'll both get in anyway.

So overall I'm not too worried about the fate of modern pitchers. I think anyone with 200+ wins, an ERA below 4.00, and at least a few years as one of the clear top pitchers in the game (CYA contention, black ink) will have a good shot. I think Halladay makes it easily, and for active guys, I think Kershaw and Sabathia are already in, and any of the following who last long enough to get 200 wins probably will be too (eventually): Scherzer, Greinke, Verlander, Felix, Sale, Price, Bumgarner, and Kluber. Hamels and Lester probably need to do better in CYA voting to enter this group.
   54. Ithaca2323 Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:43 AM (#5577990)
I'd say they have already adjusted. They put in Smoltz and Pedro first ballot despite not being anywhere close to 300 wins.


Neither of those pitchers are representative of a standard HOF starter case. Smoltz got credit for three years as a closer, and Pedro's peak was all-time legend status.

Mike Mussina is going to need six years to get in with 270 and 82.7 WAR
   55. Booey Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:52 AM (#5577995)
Neither of those pitchers are representative of a standard HOF starter case. Smoltz got credit for three years as a closer, and Pedro's peak was all-time legend status.

Mike Mussina is going to need six years to get in with 270 and 82.7 WAR


Mussina never won a CYA, and despite 270 wins, he only won 20 once and only led the league once (and rarely in anything else). I think he had only one qualifying season with an ERA below 3.00, and his career ERA is fairly high for a HOFer (voters don't seem to be adjusting for era). I think he's (wrongly) being viewed as somewhat of a compiler. And the majority of voters still haven't shown they know or care about WAR (see Hoffman and Vlad on the verge of election while Schilling, Moose, Walker, etc, languish).

Edit: Glavine is a pretty similar pitcher to Moose: if Tommy retired a few years earlier with 270 wins instead of 300, does he have a similarly long uphill climb to election? I don't think so, because he has 2 CYA's, a World Series MVP, and five 20 win seasons (led league each time) instead of one. I think it's more about "hook" and "perception" rather than raw win totals. Moose just didn't have a lot going for him that made him particularly memorable for a player of his caliber.
   56. djordan Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5578010)
Moose is going to get in. It may happen Blyleven-style, but it will happen.
   57. Rally Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:27 PM (#5578013)
Mike Mussina is going to need six years to get in with 270 and 82.7 WAR


I'm cool with that, so long as he gets in. Sutton and Neikro took 5 ballots to get in, Blyleven 14. But they all made it, and that's what counts.
   58. Baldrick Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:27 PM (#5578014)
Tommy John was plenty good as any HOFer plenty of days. Maybe not quite as often enough for you or someone else, but he was plenty good. To imply that he was some sort of career bureaucrat who won 288 games by just showing up to the office every day, that's insulting. Don't vote for him for the HOF, but that crap has got to go.

The comment was "Tommy John is not a HOFer."

How is that an insult? What are you talking about?
   59. DavidFoss Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:51 PM (#5578034)
There are very few (deserving) HOF pitchers whose best season by WAR was 5.6.

Here are the highest WAR pitchers whose best year was less than 8 WAR:
name_common          totWAR              maxWAR  
-------------------  ------  --------------------
Nolan Ryan            83.85                  7.85
Don Sutton            68.67                  6.55
Ted Lyons             67.15                  7.38
John Smoltz           66.48                  7.28
Dennis Eckersley      62.53                  7.32
Tommy John            62.31                  5.62
David Cone            61.69                  7.17
Don Drysdale          61.21                  7.96
CC Sabathia           60.76                  7.47
Mark Buehrle          59.18                  6.13
Jack Quinn            59.04                  5.82
Chuck Finley          58.51                  7.63
Clayton Kershaw       57.40                  7.85
Tim Hudson            57.17                  7.46
Jerry Koosman         57.06                  7.22
Dave Stieb            56.98                  7.92
Eppa Rixey            56.81                  6.14
Mariano Rivera        56.59                  4.96 


Making it under 6 leads to:

name_common          totWAR              maxWAR  
-------------------  ------  --------------------
Tommy John            62.31                  5.62
Jack Quinn            59.04                  5.82
Mariano Rivera        56.59                  4.96
David Wells           53.48                   5.3
Waite Hoyt            53.34                  5.74
Dennis Martinez       49.51                  5.75
Milt Pappas           46.82                   5.9
Larry French          43.89                  4.88
Jack Morris           43.80                  5.84
Murry Dickson         43.51                  5.06
Curt Simmons          42.74                  4.89
Carl Mays             42.51                   5.8
Danny Darwin          40.49                  5.67
Paul Derringer        39.03                  5.45
Tom Zachary           38.58                  4.69
Charlie Root          37.96                  5.21
Bob Lemon             37.46                  5.45
Fernando Valenzuela   37.40                  5.44 

   60. DL from MN Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:54 PM (#5578037)
finally join the HOM process one of these years...maybe by 2020)


Please don't let perfect become the enemy of "good enough". Go ahead and vote what you have.
   61. shoewizard Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:55 PM (#5578038)
Had Belanger been not the awful hitter that he was for most of his career, had he been only sub-mediocre as Ozzie Smith was, or even a good bit less, he would have gotten a lot more playing time, and he would surely be the best fielding shortstop ever probably, I think. Check those values on Baseball-ref.


Morty, you owe me a coke for #19 ;)
   62. QLE Posted: November 17, 2017 at 01:12 PM (#5578050)
The very best day for a pitcher is a shutout. That's all that's needed. John had 46 of those. That's better than Whitey Ford, Phil Niekro, Robin Roberts, Bob Feller, Red Ruffing, Catfish Hunter, Chief Bender, Jim Bunning... and Sandy Koufax.


And the list is, in order: A guy who, in retrospective, almost certainly wouldn't be in the HOF if he pitched for any other team, a guy with one fewer shutout in roughly the same number of starts, a guy who gave up a ton of home runs, a guy who, due to a combination of war and injuries, only had four to six really dominant seasons, a pitcher whose case for induction relies heavily on credit for his batting, two mistakes, a pitcher who had close to 200 fewer starts.....and one who had six fewer shutouts in 386 fewer starts.

The point at hand is, this is the sort of HOF argument Bill James tore to pieces close to a quarter-century ago- there are loads of people you could argue are HOFers if you cherry-pick statistics in this manner.
   63. DavidFoss Posted: November 17, 2017 at 01:50 PM (#5578087)
The list of lowest maxWAR HOF-ers: (filtering out the position players, managers, umpires & pioneers & Satchel Paige)

name_common         totWAR  maxWAR 
------------------  ------  ------
Rollie Fingers       25.03    4.23           
Bob Lemon            37.46    5.45           
Jesse Haines         35.72    5.54           
Waite Hoyt           53.34    5.74           
Chief Bender         43.99    6.00           
Rube Marquard        34.21    6.06           
Eppa Rixey           56.81    6.14           
Red Ruffing          55.36    6.51           
Bruce Sutter         24.53    6.54          
Don Sutton           68.67    6.55          
Whitey Ford          53.89     6.7 


I double-checked to make sure that Gossage (8.2) & Wilhelm (7.6) were not forgotten.
   64. BDC Posted: November 17, 2017 at 01:57 PM (#5578094)
Those are very interesting tables, David; thanks for generating and posting them.
   65. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: November 17, 2017 at 02:06 PM (#5578109)
Bob Lemon is one interesting cat (er, fruit?). As durable as possible, with lots of wins each year and a shiny ERA, lots of all-star games and even SIX top-ten MVP finishes, but not really that great of a player. Was it all of the wins that drove the perception of him as a great player? Besides wins and durability stats, he didn't lead the league in much. SHO once, K's once, WHIP once, H/9 once. That's it. He was the Catfish Hunter of the 1950s.
   66. Sweatpants Posted: November 17, 2017 at 02:25 PM (#5578132)
He was also a terrific hitter for a pitcher. The table in 63 doesn't include offensive value, which pushes him up to 7.2 WAR in his best year (still 1949).
   67. djordan Posted: November 17, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5578151)
# 65,keep in mind Lemon was front & center in the writers' minds in 1970 when he became manager of the Royals. He went from 16.5% to 25%.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 17, 2017 at 04:14 PM (#5578211)
A guy who, in retrospective, almost certainly wouldn't be in the HOF if he pitched for any other team

Are you talking about Ford? He has a lower career ERA than Koufax and higher ERA+.

He also missed 2 full years due to military service, and lost 6-7 GS per year, for his first 8 seasons due to Stengel weird rotation management.

Ford is a no brainer HoFer.
   69. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 17, 2017 at 05:10 PM (#5578235)
Yeah, I think with war credit, Ford's an easy pick. His rookie year he was a great reliever, and he returned and immediately was a top-flight starter. Maybe he would have missed if he'd played for a bad team, and he's not inner-circle. But I don't think he's some kind of obvious fluke, either.
   70. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 17, 2017 at 05:35 PM (#5578242)
There are very few (deserving) HOF pitchers whose best season by WAR was 5.6.


I'm not sure exactly why this is the case, but Tommy John looks MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better if you look on Fangraphs instead of on Baseball-Reference. Per BB-Ref, John has 62.3 WAR and top seasons of 5.6, 5.5, and 5.5 (1968, 1970, and 1979, respectively).

Fangraphs uses the same replacement level, so their WAR numbers should be on the exact same scale as BB-Ref's. Fangraphs calculates two sets of WAR numbers for pitchers. Their preference is based on FIP and shows John with 79.4 career WAR with a top season of 6.9 in 1979.

Fangraphs calculates a second WAR number for pitchers, based on actual runs allowed, which it calls RA-9 WAR which shows John at 72.3 career WAR. So, the Fangraphs measure which puts John in the worse light still has him 10 full WAR more than BB-Ref. This WAR agrees w/ Fangraphs' other WAR that John's best season was 1979, which it shows at 6.7 WAR.

In 1979, Tommy John finished 2nd in the American League in innings pitched (276.1), 3rd in the AL in ERA+ (137), and 2nd in FIP (3.10). He led the AL in HR/9 (0.293) and was fifth in W/9 (2.12), which was pretty typical of Tommy John - he excelled in the two less-glamorous of the three true outcomes.

FYI, I've calculated my own statistic (Player won-lost record) and Tommy John looks extremely good there. But Fangraphs and traditional statistics generally work fine (20th career in innings pitched; career ERA+ of 111, ERA of 3.34; FIP of 3.38). He's certainly much more of a career candidate than a peak candidate, but Tommy John was a very good pitcher for a very long time and his second-place finish in Cy Young voting in 1979 isn't some egregious mistake based on his 21-9 record. Fangraphs actually thinks he was the best pitcher in the AL that year (based on FIP; he's 3rd based on RA-9) (I also have him first).
   71. Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2017 at 06:10 PM (#5578245)
Tommy John, ages 23-36: 2784 IP, 176 wins (300 decisions), 120 ERA+, 43 WAR
Verlander career: 2545 IP, 188 wins (302 decisions), 124 ERA+, 57 WAR

Now we've got the question of why Verlander's WAR is so much higher despite similar looking raw stats. It is certainly true that part of the mismatch is due to unearned runs, with John having about 80 more than Verlander. After all of the adjustments, bWAR says John was just .52 R/9 better than an average pitcher while Verlander was a whopping 1.14. So that's an extra .62 R/9 in Verlander's favor. However, of that .62 R/9, .24 is the actual difference between RA9 and RA9opp while the other .38 is adjustments for defense, role and park. As is often the case with bWAR for pitchers, there's an awful lot riding on those adjustments.

Those adjustment effects can be seemingly small. John's 4.06 RA9opp only gets adjusted down to 4.00 for example ... but Verlander's gets adjusted up from 4.57 to 4.89. That's 1/3 run per 9 innings, about 94 runs to his credit over his 2545 innings. That sort of change always strikes me as just too much for something that's not a direct measure of performance.

We don't get into such detail for hitters. We make no adjustment for the quality of pitcher and defense that they face under an assumption that it all evens out for them (which it most likely does over a long career). We do make park adjustments but we don't directly see how big of a difference that makes in WAR.

Still, one can make the case that in terms of results, John pitched nearly as well as Verlander -- who hasn't made the HoF yet but probably will and certainly has pitched as well as an HoFer at times. But we can all agree that John was never as good as Verlander. John is more Blyleven. BB had 450 more IP (half of that due to John's injury), 122 ERA+, 181-151 record with a whopping 68 WAR!!

25 extra WAR with the same ERA+, about the same decision rate, etc? There's a big difference in raw RA9opp which is partly due to era and partly due to Blyleven mostly pitching in the DH AL while John was mostly pre-DH AL and NL for these ages. Still the gap between RA9 and RA9opp is .58 R/9 for John and .68 for BB so that explains only about 3-4 WAR. John's adjustments shave off .06 runs while BB's raises his by .29 runs ... again about 1/3 run per 9. Then the extra 450 IP give Blyleven about 8 WAR.

My point certainly isn't that John belongs in the HoF (or that JV and BB don't). It's partly in defense of the notion that, at his best, he looked an awful lot like an HoFer. It's partly to point out that how close he looked depends a lot on whether you focus on traditional stats (to the extend we consider ERA+ traditional now) vs. bWAR (fWAR probably similar). But it's also partly to remind folks how much lifting in bWAR is often being done by the adjustment factors, not the performance factors. That's not to say that it's wrong -- do we really have any choice but to adjust for quality of opponent, defense, role and park? -- just to say that what you see on the field and what WAR is counting can be quite different.

Basically, with adjustment, every run given up by John is counted as about 1.03 runs ... not a big change. But every run given up by Blyleven counted just 0.8; for Verlander it's just 0.74. That's calculated as (1 + Rdef - Rrole)/PF. Arguably since we're comparing SPs, we zero out John's +.09 Rrole and just take out the difference for the other two. That would turn Johns run into 1.12 runs, BB to 0.89 and JV to 0.83. I suppose the offensive equivalent to that is that every offensive run produced by a SS is worth a lot more than one produced by a 1B due to positional adjustment, along with one produced in the old Astrodome is worth more than one in Coors.

You might prefer to flip those around. You could say that every "raw" run saved by John would have been just 0.97 runs in an average context vs. 1.21 for BB and 1.27 for JV. Those are massive differences and we need to have good faith in Rdef, Rrole and PF. In these particular cases, about half that difference is due to Rdef.(OK, it's actually called RA9def).
   72. Rob_Wood Posted: November 17, 2017 at 07:01 PM (#5578259)
Another set of data points on Tommy John. I have calculated what I call the Win Value for every start of every starting pitcher since 1945 (the Retrosheet era). It is a game-by-game measure of how much the starting pitcher contributed to his team winning each game. There are two flavors of Win Values. One is measured vs the League Average starting pitcher. The other is measured vs the League Replacement starting pitcher.

For his career, Tommy John compiled 23.6 WVA (win values relative to league average) which can be compared to the Baseball-Reference.com WAA figure of 21.9. In addition, for his career Tommy John compiled 62.9 WVR (win values relative to league replacement) which can be compared to the Baseball-Reference.com WAR figure of 62.3. It may be worth noting that Win Value figures are generally lower than the comparable BB-Ref WAA and WAR figures, sometimes as much as 0.5 a win per season. For example, Roger Clemens is by far the all-time career leader in both WVA and WVR. Clemens' WVA (82.4) and WVR (123.3) are significantly lower than his BB-Ref WAA (94.6) and WAR (139.4).

In terms of individual seasons, WVR sees Tommy John's best seasons to be 1979 (6.22), 1980 (5.37), 1977 (5.11), and 1968 (4.92). According to WVR, John's best finish was coming in 2nd in 1979 behind Mike Flanagan who had a 6.68 WVR.

   73. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 17, 2017 at 07:09 PM (#5578262)
Rob, out of curiosity, what are the WVA/WVR values of Bert Blyleven and Don Sutton?
   74. Rob_Wood Posted: November 17, 2017 at 07:15 PM (#5578264)
Here are the guys you asked for (including John too).

PITCHER         WVA    WVR
Bert Blyleven   34.6   75.9
Don Sutton      28.7   72.5
Tommy John      23.6   62.9

   75. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 17, 2017 at 07:22 PM (#5578268)
Thanks, Rob!
   76. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 17, 2017 at 07:37 PM (#5578271)
I'm not sure exactly why this is the case, but Tommy John looks MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better if you look on Fangraphs instead of on Baseball-Reference.

Cause they are measuring different things. Essentially BRef is measuring results, and FG is measuring 'stuff'. The basis for pitcher WAR on BRef is RA (plus adjustments for run environment, stadium, league etc). The basis for FG pitcher WAR is FIP (i.e. HR/K/BB) (again with adjustments).
   77. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2017 at 07:41 PM (#5578273)
I see an overbid on Whitey Ford above.

that said, Ford-era AL was practically a shade above AAA ball compared to the dominant NL.
(with the dozen+ black superstar hitters playing NL ball).
the AL had a great team during his carer that he didn't pitch against.

1961 is amazing. Ford had a 115 ERA+ (not in the top 10) - and went 25-4.
the Yankees had a 109 OPS+ even with Richardson leading off/704 PA of 67 OPS+ (& 9 of 16 SB tries).
(I think of it as the Yankees wanting to see if they can win a footrace even wearing a fireman's jacket.)
4 of the 9 other AL teams had 100, 100, 91, and 90 losses and only 3 other teams had winning records.

it's a weird career, and context helps put him in the proper perspective.
but I ain't kicking him out of the HOF/HOM, that's for sure.

   78. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 17, 2017 at 07:45 PM (#5578274)
Cause they are measuring different things. Essentially BRef is measuring results, and FG is measuring 'stuff'. The basis for pitcher WAR on BRef is RA (plus adjustments for run environment, stadium, league etc). The basis for FG pitcher WAR is FIP (i.e. HR/K/BB) (again with adjustments).


Read my post again. Fangraphs presents WAR two ways: FIP and RA9. In the latter, they give John 10 more WAR than BB-Ref does. (And John's career ERA and career FIP were virtually identical - 3.34 vs. 3.38)
   79. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 17, 2017 at 08:14 PM (#5578276)
that said, Ford-era AL was practically a shade above AAA ball compared to the dominant NL.
(with the dozen+ black superstar hitters playing NL ball).


I think this story line has become overblown. The NL was clearly better, but I think it was much closer to the AL/NL divide of recent decades than ML vs AAA as you state.

If the divide was that big, either 1) the Yankees would have have gotten beaten in the WS more often, or 2)they would have racked up higher W% vs. the inferior AL competition.
   80. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2017 at 08:21 PM (#5578279)
well, I am just making an extreme case against the status quo (which is overblown)
that is, Ford enormously benefited from mostly an 8-team league and he didn't pitch against the Yankees
   81. RJ in TO Posted: November 17, 2017 at 09:18 PM (#5578286)
That said, if you step back and look from a more traditional perspective, I can kind of see it: most games/hits at shortstop when he retired (Jeter has more of both now); second-most Gold Gloves at the most important defensive position.
Jeter has 2674 games at SS, but Omar is still the leader with 2709. Jeter does have more starts at the position, being ahead of Omar with 2660 to 2609.
   82. Morty Causa Posted: November 17, 2017 at 09:18 PM (#5578287)
Morty, you owe me a coke for #19 ;)

I knew I had heard that somewhere.
   83. PreservedFish Posted: November 17, 2017 at 09:26 PM (#5578290)
If Jeter hit like Vizquel, how many starts would he have had at shortstop?

   84. Morty Causa Posted: November 17, 2017 at 09:31 PM (#5578291)
What's this obsession with Vizquel that so many here have?
   85. SoSH U at work Posted: November 17, 2017 at 09:55 PM (#5578293)
4 of the 9 other AL teams had 100, 100, 91, and 90 losses and only 3 other teams had winning records.'


And yet, remarkably, AL teams finished with a .500 record.
   86. QLE Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:40 PM (#5578307)
Sorry that I'm late in response, but....

The issue at hand wasn't one involving Ford deserving HOF/HOM induction or not- if it were, I would have directly stated it, the way I did for Hunter and Bender.

Rather, I think they can be best demonstrated by his neutralized W-L record, compared with a direct AL contemporary in Billy Pierce:

Ford: 210-150
Pierce: 218-163

Pierce never reached 2% of the vote the five times the BBWAA voted on him. How much better would a Whitey Ford with a 210-150 record who spent his career largely on teams that didn't win pennants have done?

This isn't an issue of merit- Billy Pierce is in the HOM, and this Whitey Ford would almost certainly be as well. Rather, it is one about how he would have been perceived by the BBWAA electorate- and it clearly would have been different with that wide a swing in his W-L record.

(And, for those wondering, Billy Pierce also has fewer shutouts than Tommy John- and 267 fewer opportunities to obtain one.)
   87. Jay Z Posted: November 18, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5578329)
I think this story line has become overblown. The NL was clearly better, but I think it was much closer to the AL/NL divide of recent decades than ML vs AAA as you state.

If the divide was that big, either 1) the Yankees would have have gotten beaten in the WS more often, or 2)they would have racked up higher W% vs. the inferior AL competition.


There was a run where the AL team came into the WS nearly every year with a better record.

In 1952 & 1953, the Yankees beat the Dodgers despite the Dodgers having a better record. After that:

1954 Giants over Indians
1957 Braves over Yankees
1959 Dodgers over White Sox
1960 Pirates over Yankees
1962 Yankees over Giants
1963 Dodgers over Yankees
1964 Cardinals over Yankees
1965 Dodgers over Twins
1969 Mets over Orioles
1971 Pirates over Orioles

1958 the records of the two teams were tied. Yankees won that one. After that run, the A's won a couple where they had the poorer record, 1972 and 1974.
   88. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2017 at 11:12 AM (#5578333)

Which further underscores that Ozzie isn't in for his hitting. It's because he was the consensus Greatest Fielding Shortstop Ever, something Omar was never considered by anyone.


Never say never.

Bleacher Report list of top 10 defensive shortstops of all time.

And From ESPN.

Steve Pel....from ESPN.
   89. PreservedFish Posted: November 18, 2017 at 11:20 AM (#5578336)
Those articles appear to have be composed by sub-human troglodytes.
   90. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2017 at 11:21 AM (#5578337)

I've made the Molina/Vizquel comp before, and I agree that they have similar cases (complete with a similar "WTF"? reaction from me). They're both so clearly not HOFers in my mind that it always catches me off guard when someone says that they are.* Different strokes for different folks, I guess.


I don't really see them as similar arguments, catchers durability is underrated massively by war, and of course game calling ability and framing are not included in war currently (even though I think framing value is massively over valued by the current systems in use right now, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see a 5-10 defensive runs are saved over the course of a season by a good framer) and of course the standard "war" for hof for a catcher is a bit lower than it is at other positions. All of these are things that the writers(like Buster Olney) are picking up that Molina brings to the table as plus's.

I don't know where I really rest on Molina's case, but it does feel like a much stronger case than Vizquel. Vizquel is clearly on what I think of the Jim Rice, Jack Morris side of the hof line, while Molina feels more like the Sheffield/David Ortiz line to me.
   91. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2017 at 11:27 AM (#5578340)
Those articles appear to have be composed by sub-human troglodytes.


Just pointing out that some people did view Omar as the greatest defensive shortstop of all time, and with a little more searching, you can find many who say "arguably" greatest defensive shortstop or among the greatest defensive shortstop, the point is that there are people out there who do think he was at least very close to Ozzie as a defensive shortstop. I didn't, but he was probably the best shortstop in the history of the game at barehanding a ball, which may not have been as cool as the dives and backflips, but it did give him a slight bonus on ability to charge the ball.

Omar doesn't have my vote, and I've been on that bandwagon since it started being pushed out there in the mid 2000's.
   92. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5578341)

Someone on this site a few years back - it may have been the late, great Harveys - had a great post that I agreed with completely; something along the lines of "If you're not a HOFer on your best day, how does not being a HOFer for a really long time suddenly make you one?"

That's always how I've summed up the cases for Vizquel, Baines, Tommy John, etc (John is obviously closer than either of them, of course).


Durability, and reliability is a plus. How much of a plus is of course a debate, some ignore it completely and rely strictly on rate numbers, while others go the other way and rely on "magic numbers like 300 wins, 3000 hits etc." I don't see a problem looking at a guy and saying that his war might have only been 50 or so, but every year for 15+ years he gave you 140 games at above average player that allowed the team to focus their energies on other positions.... Omar is not that guy, but from 1991-2002 he gave you 150 games a season of gold glove quality defense at shortstop
   93. DanG Posted: November 18, 2017 at 11:39 AM (#5578342)
Here are some comments on Vizquel and I made in a response elsewhere:

The assertion that Omar was a big reason for the Indians' rise is dubious.

The year that the Indians broke through to contention was the strike year 1994, Omar's first with the Tribe. They achieved this despite the disappointing performance of their new shortstop. The team was 8-6 when Vizquel went down with an injury. During his seven-week absence, the team did just fine with Alvaro Espinoza at short, 25-19. For the year, Omar shows as a below average player.

In 1995, the Indians surged to their first World Series in 41 years, despite another below average year from Vizquel, who also had a poor postseason. Finally, Omar hit his stride and put together a solid five-year stretch, averaging 1.6 WAA from 1996-2000. His 1999 season looks strange, as at age 32 he had a season head and shoulders above every other year in his long career. Unfortunately for him, it was the height of the sillyball era, so Vizquel's season attracted little notice. And then he reverted to form in the postseason as the Tribe was bounced out in the first round.

In 2001 Omar's performance nosedived but the Indians won the division despite that. Then from 2002-04 Vizquel was back to his normal 3-WAR level, but his presence did not prevent the Tribe's decline below .500 all three years. After 2004 the Indians decided to retool and they let Omar go FA. With Jhonny Peralta having an excellent year at short the team immediately sprang back into contention.

Meanwhile, the Giants signed Vizquel, (4 yrs, $17 million) aiming to continue their streak of five straight 90-plus win seasons. The team immediately fell below .500 in all four seasons of Omar's tenure with them. When the Giants let him go after 2008 the team immediately sprang back into contention.

The bottom line is that Omar Vizquel was never the linchpin that his teams' performance turned upon. He was usually a solid performer but he had only one all-star type season and actually had some poor seasons (94-95-01) in the middle of his prime years.
   94. TJ Posted: November 18, 2017 at 11:40 AM (#5578343)
Thanks for the links CFB. Maybe we should mend the statement to "Omar was never considered by anyone with more intelligence than a rosin bag."

Hard to take any articles on defense that rely on fielding percentage seriously, let alone one that ranks Jeter as tied for 6th as the best defensive SS of all time with Concepción
   95. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 18, 2017 at 12:07 PM (#5578349)
There was a run where the AL team came into the WS nearly every year with a better record.

In 1952 & 1953, the Yankees beat the Dodgers despite the Dodgers having a better record. After that:

1954 Giants over Indians
1957 Braves over Yankees
1959 Dodgers over White Sox
1960 Pirates over Yankees
1962 Yankees over Giants
1963 Dodgers over Yankees
1964 Cardinals over Yankees
1965 Dodgers over Twins
1969 Mets over Orioles
1971 Pirates over Orioles

1958 the records of the two teams were tied. Yankees won that one. After that run, the A's won a couple where they had the poorer record, 1972 and 1974.


They should have had a better record, the AL was definitely worse than the NL.

But if it were as bad as some claim, the Yankees should have been racking up 105-110 win seasons with regularity, because they were clearly as good as the best NL teams.
   96. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5578351)
The very best day for a pitcher is a shutout. That's all that's needed. John had 46 of those. That's better than Whitey Ford, Phil Niekro, Robin Roberts, Bob Feller, Red Ruffing, Catfish Hunter, Chief Bender, Jim Bunning... and Sandy Koufax.


That is like when people use raw rbi vs rbi percentage or something a little more telling. What percentage of John's starts were shutouts compared to the others? Compared to other great pitchers etc. Just listing a number without any context doesn't really help, unless you believe it's a magic number. (or a historic high, 16th all time--post 1920(I use that because that eliminates most of the deadball style of pitcher, which was a different game in my opinion)---- in shutouts isn't really that impressive)
   97. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2017 at 12:32 PM (#5578355)
Just because... percentage of starts that were shutouts.

Tommy John 6.5%
Whitey Ford 10.3%
Phil Niekro 6.3%
Robin Roberts 7.4%
Red Ruffing 8.3%
Bob Feller 9.2%
Catfish 9.4%
Bunning 6.4%
Koufax 12.7%
Bender 12%

   98. Walt Davis Posted: November 18, 2017 at 04:33 PM (#5578406)
There's an estimate of the league differential at that time. For example, in 1959, Mays had 649 PA and is credited with 24 Rrep; Mantle had 640 PA and gets 19 Rrep. As comparison, the recent AL-NL gap has been about 24-20. So pretty similar.
   99. shoewizard Posted: November 19, 2017 at 12:22 PM (#5578521)
Do you believe the gap in the leagues in 2017 is almost the same as it was in 1959 though ? That seems like a pretty extreme result.

   100. Walt Davis Posted: November 19, 2017 at 03:51 PM (#5578575)
Really no idea. The gap in the 50s is easy to explain given the AL was largely disgustingly continuing to avoid black players. I don't really know how to explain the current gap -- that somehow has been in place for pretty much all of the last 25 years. For a while it was because the Yanks and Red Sox were dominating payroll -- or at least that was one possible explanation -- especially as the Cubs and Mets were dysfunctionally wasting their market advantages (and the Dodgers not doing much either).

The 50s AL also featured some really crappy teams; I could be wrong but it seems the recent NL has featured more "tanking" teams. For whatever reason, this has pretty much true in the AL since the Yanks started taking themselves and their market advantage seriously in 1920. The Yanks won an insane proportion of AL pennants while almost no NL team has even been able to win 3 in a row. Most of the current revenue sharing, competitive balance rules are designed to keep the Yanks in check.

At least now we have one direct measure in inter-league record which the AL has been dominating (this year was pretty close). A year here, a year there would be one thing but I'm pretty sure the AL has won nearly every year since interleague began and that's not luck, scheduling, etc.

Prior to that, the league difference is mostly guesswork. I think it's based on the performance of players who switched leagues (AL to NL players doing better and vice versa) but not many players switched leagues in those days, especially good players in their prime. So you've mainly got borderline, older (or about to be waived) guys switching leagues and if the league differential is correct, it was probably borderline AL guys going to the NL.

Just curious ... between Jackie and the Frank Robinson trade, who were the best players to switch leagues? I know Ted Kluzewski -- 34 and a part-timer -- switched for the last 2+ seasons of his career but that's the sort of player I'm talking about. I don't want to put much weight on the fact that his OPS+ when up 10-15 points in a few hundred PAs.

Which is to say I don't know that we have any kind of good estimate of the league differential in those days. Obviously the NL was adding a LOT of top talent thanks to black players. Did that mean the AL got a preponderance of the white talent? How much better were the 1957 Cubs and Pirates (both 62-92) than the A's and Senators (59 and 55 wins respectively)? The Cubs had Ernie in his prime but were otherwise lily white; the 57 Pirates had a very young, not good yet Clemente but otherwise were lily white.

Looking at the Phillies
Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Andere Richtingen
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP 11 December, 2017 - GOP strategist: Moore would have 'date with a baseball bat' if he tried dating teens where I grew up
(2275 - 10:28pm, Dec 15)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogOT - NBA 2017-2018 Tip-off Thread
(2015 - 10:23pm, Dec 15)
Last: Booey

NewsblogRyan Thibs has his HOF Ballot Tracker Up and Running!
(459 - 10:21pm, Dec 15)
Last: Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan

NewsblogDerek Jeter Was Once the Captain. But Now He’s the Apprentice. - The New York Times
(96 - 8:57pm, Dec 15)
Last: fra paolo

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-15-2017
(9 - 8:48pm, Dec 15)
Last: Der-K: downgraded to lurker

NewsblogTaking Back the Ballparks - Mariners voting thread
(20 - 8:41pm, Dec 15)
Last: Omineca Greg

NewsblogA's reportedly acquire OF Stephen Piscotty
(6 - 7:13pm, Dec 15)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogOT: Winter Soccer Thread
(361 - 6:41pm, Dec 15)
Last: Biff, highly-regarded young guy

NewsblogWinter Meeting Signings
(29 - 6:37pm, Dec 15)
Last: charityslave is thinking about baseball

Gonfalon CubsLooking to next year
(347 - 5:46pm, Dec 15)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

NewsblogESPN: Bob Costas wins Hall of Fame's Frick Award for broadcasting
(23 - 5:02pm, Dec 15)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogMets agree to two-year deal with Anthony Swarzak
(22 - 4:52pm, Dec 15)
Last: Dog on the sidewalk

NewsblogOT Gaming: October 2015
(717 - 3:52pm, Dec 15)
Last: GGIAS (aka Poster Nutbag)

Sox TherapyA Container of Milk, A Loaf of Bread and a Dude Who Can Hit Home Runs
(30 - 2:39pm, Dec 15)
Last: jmurph

Hall of Merit2018 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(394 - 2:23pm, Dec 15)
Last: Fridas Boss

Page rendered in 0.7496 seconds
47 querie(s) executed