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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Juliano: Hideki Matsui a Hall of Famer?

Brazzers has a Hall of Fame? Who knew?!

Hideki Matsui will best be remembered for his seven years in pinstripes, but his last three seasons bouncing around the American League could turn out to be among the most important of his career. By prolonging his time in uniform, Matsui, who is reportedly set to announce his retirement, reached the milestone of 10 seasons in the major leagues. As a result, the former Japanese slugger will be eligible for Hall of Fame consideration in five years, assuming he makes good on his intention to walk away from the game. However, we don’t have to wait that long to consider his candidacy.

Is Hideki Matsui a Hall of Famer? Although the left handed outfielder/DH ranks surprisingly high on the Yankees all-time list as a hitter (21st in OPS+ and 22nd in wOBA among those with at least 3,000 plate appearances), his overall numbers still pale in comparison to the Hall of Fame standard. Even including his postseason heroics and prominence on several great Yankee teams, Matsui still seems to fall short in terms of overall contribution while playing in the majors. But, what about the 10 seasons he spent in Japan?

Before joining the Yankees, Matsui belted 332 homers and drove in 889 runs while playing for the Yomiuri Giants. When combined with his output in the major leagues, Matsui’s 507 homers and 1,649 RBIs take on historic proportions.

Repoz Posted: December 27, 2012 at 08:17 PM | 164 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: December 29, 2012 at 01:44 AM (#4334069)
Yes, and that doesn't mean we're wrong, or hypocritical, or inconsistent, or any of those other things you've been saying.
   102. vivaelpujols Posted: December 29, 2012 at 03:34 AM (#4334089)
Fine. 0%. And suddenly - even MCOA agrees - Ichiro is not HOF quality.


Actually Ichiro is still a HOF with zero NPB. Same WAR as Mike Piazza, and you have no problem giving him credit on the basis of a high peak and missing PA due to factors outside of his control.

I also have no idea why you would choose zero. Doesn't seem like the most reasonable choice, but then again look who I'm talking to. Why am I even typing this? Damn I must really hate myself.
   103. Sunday silence Posted: December 29, 2012 at 04:15 AM (#4334096)
Getting Blyleven elected was a massive victory...


A massive victory? For whom? What is Bert Blyleven supposed to represent? The triumph of counting stats for starting pitching?

Hell, you know what? Up until now I was mildy anti-Jack Morris about the HoF. But now, just to piss you off, I am plumping for MOrris. Because you know what? Eff Bert Blyleven! I'd rather have Jack Morris starting for my team in the playoffs than Bert Blyleven.
   104. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 29, 2012 at 07:12 AM (#4334106)
A massive victory? For whom? What is Bert Blyleven supposed to represent? The triumph of counting stats for starting pitching?

Hell, you know what? Up until now I was mildy anti-Jack Morris about the HoF. But now, just to piss you off, I am plumping for MOrris. Because you know what? Eff Bert Blyleven! I'd rather have Jack Morris starting for my team in the playoffs than Bert Blyleven.


So much fail, and can't even manage to close his tags.
   105. AROM Posted: December 29, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4334123)
I like winning, so if I had a choice between Morris and Blyleven, I take Bert. They faced each other in a playoff game once. Look it up.
   106. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4334222)
I wonder if Matsui looked as bad as he did in the Yankee outfield because of all the years patrolling CF on turf in the Tokyo dome. The Japanese season is shorter but Matsui played in literally every game (1,250 consecutive before leaving Japan, followed by his first 3+ years in NY). Not that it should matter for his tepid HOF case, though at least some voters seemed to give Andre Dawson extra credit for playing CF in Montreal.
   107. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 29, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4334228)
FWIW, when Matsui occasionally played the field in Oakland he didn't look bad at all. He looked really old and didn't cover much ground, but he looked perfectly competent such that one could imagine him being a good fielder when he was young.
   108. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 29, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4334250)
Actually Ichiro is still a HOF with zero NPB. Same WAR as Mike Piazza, and you have no problem giving him credit on the basis of a high peak and missing PA due to factors outside of his control.


Catchers do not compare to outfielders in this fashion, particularly a straight WAR comparison. Corner OF should be compared to corner OF.
   109. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 29, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4334359)
While I firmly believe that Ichiro's last two seasons were garbage and that he's completely overpaid these days, I say yes for the HOF for him and no for Matsui. Ichiro earned it.
   110. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 29, 2012 at 09:30 PM (#4334363)
Bert Blyleven has a .833 post-season winning percentage with a 2.47 ERA (I know that you guys love the ERA). Morris has only a .636 winning percentage with a 3.80 ERA. Morris doesn't even come close.
   111. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 29, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4334375)
Postseason winning percentages? Really? Jose Rijo's at 1.000 with a 2.28 ERA. Or my favorite October legend, John Rocker (1.000, 0.00 ERA). Can't stop those J.R.'s.
   112. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 29, 2012 at 10:58 PM (#4334432)
Ichiro's last two seasons don't move the ball any.
   113. Greg K Posted: December 29, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4334446)
Ichiro's last two seasons don't move the ball any.

I'll take the coward's way out and say that I had Ichiro on the bubble two years ago. If he could have staved off decline over 2011-2012 and roughly repeated 2009-2010 I think he may have been a yes for me (based purely on MLB), but he didn't, so for me he doesn't.

If anyone asked me (which they haven't) I'd have no problem factoring in his Japanese play. I'd also consider including Matsui's Japanese record as well. (Or even Hiroki Kuroda who could easily be the best Japanese pitcher in MLB history by the time his career is over). I'm certainly no NPB expert, though I'd expect those two would fall short.

I suppose my lack of firm belief on the topic stems from the fact that I find "Hall of Fame: Yes or No?" a far less interesting question than "Considered in their entirety, who was a better player?" in no small part because it's a question that doesn't always have a definite answer.
   114. LargeBill Posted: December 30, 2012 at 12:03 AM (#4334459)
Is this the Ichiro some are saying isn't a future Hall of Famer?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/suzukic01.shtml

If so, I recommend taking another look. He's no Ruth or Mays inner circle guy, but he easily has the type of career that gets a bust in Cooperstown. 10 straight seasons of 200+ hits and .322 batting average is the stuff that thrills the typical BBWAA voter. Add in close to 500 SB's by time he's done. I realize he wasn't fond of bases on balls. Doesn't matter. Most voters are barely aware walks count.
   115. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 30, 2012 at 02:15 AM (#4334500)
Is this the Ichiro some are saying isn't a future Hall of Famer?


No; everyone agrees he will make the HOF.
   116. Booey Posted: December 30, 2012 at 02:19 AM (#4334501)
He's no Ruth or Mays inner circle guy, but he easily has the type of career that gets a bust in Cooperstown. 10 straight seasons of 200+ hits and .322 batting average is the stuff that thrills the typical BBWAA voter. Add in close to 500 SB's by time he's done.


Also 10 straight gold gloves and all star appearances, 2 batting titles, ROY and MVP on a 116 win team, led league in hits 7 times (including 5 in a row), 8 straight 100 run seasons, single season hits record (and rookie hits record).

I'd agree that he's borderline for the HoM. But this is the HOF we're talking about. And even if you don't give any extra credit at all for any of the accomplishments above or for his time in Japan, it's not like a 55 WAR player would be a disgrace to begin with. Come on, now.

Edit: Oh, and he might reach 3,000 hits in only 15 seasons.
   117. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 30, 2012 at 03:12 AM (#4334516)
This is a crude measure but basically gets at the likely vs. deserving issue. Note Ichiro's Monitor vs. Standards:

Black Ink Batting - 43 (34), Average HOFer ? 27
Gray Ink Batting - 141 (114), Average HOFer ? 144
Hall of Fame Monitor Batting - 218 (36), Likely HOFer ? 100
Hall of Fame Standards Batting - 40 (164), Average HOFer ? 50


JAWS Right Field (19th), 54.6 career WAR/42.3 7yr-peak WAR/48.4 JAWS Average HOF RF (out of 24) = 69.5 career WAR/41.3 7yr-peak WAR/55.4
   118. Matt Welch Posted: December 30, 2012 at 04:36 AM (#4334527)
Ichiro from 2009-2012: 3rd in Plate Appearances (just behind Prince Fielder and Derek Jeter), 39th in Runs (just behind Corey Hart and Josh Hamilton).
   119. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 30, 2012 at 04:42 AM (#4334528)
Ichiro from 2009-2012: 3rd in Plate Appearances (just behind Prince Fielder and Derek Jeter),


He is obviously durable, but he's also batted leadoff most of that time, which unduly adds to the PAs.

And the last couple of years, quite frankly, you wanted fewer PAs from him, not more, since he sucked on offense for a corner OF.
   120. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 30, 2012 at 04:49 AM (#4334530)
Ichiro from 2009-2012: 3rd in Plate Appearances (just behind Prince Fielder and Derek Jeter), 39th in Runs (just behind Corey Hart and Josh Hamilton).

Mariners RBI leaders and runners-up:
2009: Jose Lopez 96, Russell Branyan 76
2010: Franklin Guitierrez 64, Jose Lopez 58
2011: Miguel Olivo 62, Justin Smoak 55
2012: Kyle Seager 86, Jesus Montero 62
   121. Matt Welch Posted: December 30, 2012 at 05:30 AM (#4334534)
Yankees Runs/Plate Appearances from July 23, 2012, onward:

16.1% A-Rod
14.7% Jeter
14.6% Ibanez
14.5% Cano
13.3% Granderson
12.7% Swisher
12.5% Chavez
12.3% Martin
11.7% Ichiro
   122. LargeBill Posted: December 30, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4334563)
117. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 30, 2012 at 03:12 AM (#4334516)
This is a crude measure but basically gets at the likely vs. deserving issue. Note Ichiro's Monitor vs. Standards:

Black Ink Batting - 43 (34), Average HOFer ? 27
Gray Ink Batting - 141 (114), Average HOFer ? 144
Hall of Fame Monitor Batting - 218 (36), Likely HOFer ? 100
Hall of Fame Standards Batting - 40 (164), Average HOFer ? 50


Ray,

I'm not taking the time to look at how close he is to some of the guideposts for HoF standards, but obviously the Average HOFer is talking about completed careers. Also, HoF Standards give significant weight to power (HR & SLG) which obviously isn't a strong area of Ichiro's game. Couple more seasons and he will add a few points (also might lose a point if BA dips).

   123. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4334567)
Ray-

So, have you now backed off your initial claim, "if Ichiro, then Matsui"? And your scattershot accusations of hypocrisy?

If you want to have the 1000th iteration of, "can NPB play count for a Hall of Fame case", we can have it, I guess. So long as we're acknowledging that the best reading of the numbers treats Hideki Matsui as a significantly lesser player than Ichiro Suzuki, and most likely a lesser player than a Lance Berkman or a Dave Parker.
   124. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: December 30, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4334592)
Good questions.
   125. AROM Posted: December 30, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4334594)
"And the last couple of years, quite frankly, you wanted fewer PAs from him, not more, since he sucked on offense for a corner OF."

He was playing for the Mariners. Not like they have anyone else deserving of those PAs.

When he went to a team with better options he was dropped in the order.
   126. Booey Posted: December 30, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4334634)
Black Ink Batting - 43 (34), Average HOFer ? 27
Gray Ink Batting - 141 (114), Average HOFer ? 144
Hall of Fame Monitor Batting - 218 (36), Likely HOFer ? 100
Hall of Fame Standards Batting - 40 (164), Average HOFer ? 50


Not sure how this an argument against Ichiro, since he's way above the average HOFer in 2 of the 4 categories and right on par with a 3rd. Basically, only 1 of the 4 measures shows him as being less than an obvious choice.

Ichiro had 53 WAR in his first 10 seasons. Isn't that a pretty good peak/prime argument? Isn't someone who puts up the value of a borderline HOFer in only 10 seasons a better candidate than someone who puts up the same value in 20 seasons?
   127. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 30, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4334652)
It's a prime argument. Ichiro does not have a particularly high peak, but he maintained an All-Star-ish level of play for 10 years running. Counting only MLB career numbers, he's short on career and doesn't have the kind of peak you expect from a guy without too much career value. It's a very strange MLB career - I can't think of any other outfielders with such a strong, consistent prime who don't impress in peak or career value. I most likely wouldn't vote for Ichiro if he had suddenly popped into existence in 2001. Given that he was also a great player in Japan for seven years before coming to MLB, I think he's an obvious HoFer.
   128. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:53 AM (#4335017)
Ray-

So, have you now backed off your initial claim, "if Ichiro, then Matsui"? And your scattershot accusations of hypocrisy?

If you want to have the 1000th iteration of, "can NPB play count for a Hall of Fame case", we can have it, I guess. So long as we're acknowledging that the best reading of the numbers treats Hideki Matsui as a significantly lesser player than Ichiro Suzuki, and most likely a lesser player than a Lance Berkman or a Dave Parker.


As long as we're not excluding NPB from consideration, then we're not excluding, well, anything. So I want to induct the best players in NPB, which I can do so long as the player also has 10 years in MLB, which Matsui does. Matsui has 1268 games in Japan at .304/.413/.582 with 332 HR, which is a great rate of production. He has 1236 games in MLB at .282/.360/.462 with 175 HR, which is a good rate of production. That's 2504 games at a high level with 507 HR between the two leagues. And I know that combining home runs -- or simply combining the stats from the two leagues -- is ok, because witness the fetish people had over Ichiro approaching a combined 4,000 hits, which was used as a HOF argument. Thus, as Matsui was a great player in Japan and a good player in the US, he gets my vote.

Why is it relevant that he's not as good as Ichiro? That's as relevant as him not being as good as Babe Ruth. In the eyes of many here, Ichiro doesn't need his entire Japan career to make it, if he needs his Japan career at all. Why does it matter if Matsui is no better than Lance Berkman (who might be a deserving HOFer himself) or Dave Parker? Again, my goal is to induct the best NPB players who also played 10 years in the majors. And who says this goal is misguided? Certainly it's completely valid by the voting guidelines of the HOF, which don't tell me I can only consider MLB performance. That's what everyone here says, i.e., that the voting guidelines don't say we can only consider MLB performance. Do you now take issue with that? If not, what is your problem with my reasoning?

   129. Greg K Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4335041)
So I want to induct the best players in NPB, which I can do so long as the player also has 10 years in MLB, which Matsui does.

This seems like an odd way to phrase it. It's probably more accurate to say, "I want to induct the best baseball players, and I want to include Japanese play for those eligible". Maybe it's semantics but the above phrasing sounds like, "I want to induct the best defensive catcher in history, and I can because he's played 10 years in MLB." How good a player was in Japan isn't the question, but how good you rate him based on how you combine the two portions of his career based on how you evaluate his Japanese play. Hypothetically speaking Matsui could have been better than Ichiro in Japan, but I'd still take Ichiro as the better player and more Hall-worthy because he's been much, much more valuable in America.

Conversely, at least hypothetically, if there were two Japanese players one of whom had 10 brilliant years in Japan and 10 average years in America, but that added up to more value* than player B who had 10 ok years in Japan and 10 above average years in America. Just like the offensive and defensive contributions of a player, they are two elements which add up to one weight on which the player is judged. But that's just me.

*Based on whatever Japanese translations I was using and presumably had confidence in.
   130. vivaelpujols Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:39 AM (#4335052)
Matsui has 1268 games in Japan at .304/.413/.582 with 332 HR


Seriously, don't we have to at least MLE numbers from Japan?
   131. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:49 AM (#4335062)
Why? When people combine Ichiro's NPB+MLB hits to use that as a HOF argument, they don't MLE the hits numbers.

And as I said, my goal is to honor the best players from NPB that have at least 10 years in the majors. Which HOF rule says I can't do this?
   132. Greg K Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:53 AM (#4335067)
Why? When people combine Ichiro's NPB+MLB hits to use that as a HOF argument, they don't MLE the hits numbers.

I'd say, because they shouldn't do that, the NPB and MLB aren't equivalent. I would assume that's easy to agree upon. Whoever is doing that, I think you are correct to criticise them.
   133. vivaelpujols Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:06 AM (#4335071)
Why? When people combine Ichiro's NPB+MLB hits to use that as a HOF argument, they don't MLE the hits numbers.


Well they should. That's what I was getting at with my "somewhere between 0% and 100%" comment. Let's say you take 80% of the japan numbers - that's a fair proxy for MLE's. Now I'm not exactly sure what the correct percentage would be, but 80% seems around fair.

I'm guessing that taking 80% of NPB numbers + MLB numbers leaves Matsui a borderline HOFer (~55 WAR) and Ichiro a slam dunk (~75 WAR). The point is that it's not hard to come up with a system that counts NPB numbers and leaves Matsui out but Ichiro in.
   134. AROM Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:57 AM (#4335099)
The NPB numbers should be taken with an MLE.

For hit totals, though, it doesn't matter whether you do it or not. Players from Japan don't lose a lot of hits coming over, if the batting average loses 10%, they gain back 10% because they are now playing 162 games instead of 144, which is pretty close to 10%

For homers though, they lose about half coming over. So a 30 homer guy goes to 15, then back up to 17 with the playing time. Still a big drop.

But I could be wrong, I've never looked at what actual Japanese players do when they come over here. I just pulled those numbers out of my ass to make Ichiro look better and Matsui look worse. I'll come up with the perfect adjustment factors for any situation too, because my goal is to have Ichiro in the Hall of Fame, but no other Japanese, ever.
   135. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:15 AM (#4335111)
I'm guessing that taking 80% of NPB numbers + MLB numbers leaves Matsui a borderline HOFer (~55 WAR) and Ichiro a slam dunk (~75 WAR). The point is that it's not hard to come up with a system that counts NPB numbers and leaves Matsui out but Ichiro in.


Is it relevant to anyone's case that Ichiro or Matsui were prevented from coming to the US by the arrangement between NPB and MLB? If yes, should Ichiro then be given ML credit by reverse engineering his career and projecting how he would have hit in the majors from 1992 through 2000 based on his actual major league numbers from 2001 on, rather than taking his MLEs from NPB for those years? (That might be more interesting for Matsui, since any significant credit from Japan makes Ichiro a deserving HOFer.)

Catchers do not compare to outfielders in this fashion, particularly a straight WAR comparison. Corner OF should be compared to corner OF.


This suggests the Hall of Fame should keep extremely close tabs on positions played, since from the above claim it would be horribly unfair to allow 17 1bmen but only 10 2bmen in the Hall. Seems odd to want to intrude on the voting process that profoundly.
   136. baudib Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:46 AM (#4335165)
What an odd thread. Don't see how Ichiro and Matsui are really comparable at all. Yes, they are Japanese, lefthanded hitters, both played for the Yankees and spent not inconsiderable time playing in Japan. Beyond that, as baseball players, they couldn't be more different. Were people, 40 years ago, going around saying, "If Jackie Robinson, then Monte Irvin"? If you want to talk about Matsui, and discuss what should count, what he gets credit for, etc., it seems a lot more germane to talk about Irvin or Orlando Hernandez than Ichiro.

Incidentally, I'm 100% for putting Sadaharu Oh in Cooperstown. I don't think putting Oh or Ichiro in the HOF means you put Matsui in, because it's pretty clear that he's of different caliber.

   137. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:03 AM (#4335166)
And as I said, my goal is to honor the best players from NPB that have at least 10 years in the majors. Which HOF rule says I can't do this?
No rule. There's also no rule that says you can't exclude players who used steroids, there's no rule you can't submit a blank ballot to protest the umkempt hair of today's ballplayers, there's no rule that says you can't vote for 10 players based entirely on their rank in Pancake Flops. These are just dumb ways to do Hall of Fame voting.

We should honor the greatest players, whether they happened to play in NPB, Cuban Ball, MLB, the Negro Leagues, or wherever. Hideki Matsui was a very good but not amazing player in Japan, and he was no more than a complementary player in the majors. I would be open to being convinced, but he looks a lot more like Dave Parker than Manny Ramirez to me.
   138. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4335289)
We should honor the greatest players, whether they happened to play in NPB, Cuban Ball, MLB, the Negro Leagues, or wherever.


In your opinion. In my opinion, we "should" induct players only based on what they did in MLB.

Once we open this up to considering NPB play, then we can consider anything, and it is a perfectly valid goal to induct the best NPB players who also played 10 years in the majors. And it also means that it doesn't matter whether Matsui was better than Dave Parker. Parker could have played the second half of his career in Japan, if he had wanted to. Or the first half. He didn't need to stay in the MLB his whole career. Had he gone to Japan after getting his 10 MLB years in and played well there, he'd have gotten my vote, because I'm honoring the best NPB players and this is not prohibited by the HOF voting guidelines.

Hideki Matsui was a very good but not amazing player in Japan, and he was no more than a complementary player in the majors. I would be open to being convinced, but he looks a lot more like Dave Parker than Manny Ramirez to me.


Again, under the logic all of you are using, where NPB play can be considered, then it doesn't matter if Matsui wasn't "an amazing" NPB player in Japan, or better than Parker. Matsui was one of the best NPB players, so he gets my support, as long as we're doing the whole "NPB should be considered" thing.

Which means that all other leagues should be considered. Julio Franco now gets my vote, for being one of the best players in Mexico and having 10 years in the majors. Jim Abbott now gets my vote, for being one of the best collegiate players - he pitched well and hit .400 - and for having 10 years in the majors.

You guys opened the door to this, right? So why would we stop at exactly the place YOU think we should stop at?
   139. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4335296)
Again, under the logic all of you are using, where NPB play can be considered, then it doesn't matter if Matsui wasn't "an amazing" NPB player in Japan, or better than Parker.
No, under the logic I'm using, if Matsui wasn't greater than Parker (who is not worthy of the Hall), then Matsui is also not worthy of the Hall.

You guys opened the door to this, right? So why would we stop at exactly the place YOU think we should stop at?
This is true of everything about the Hall of Fame. You could use this logic to defend inducting Jack Morris or Jim Rice or Omar Vizquel or any number of other guys who shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. There are no clear rules for what makes a Hall of Famer.
   140. PreservedFish Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4335350)
Which means that all other leagues should be considered. Julio Franco now gets my vote, for being one of the best players in Mexico and having 10 years in the majors. Jim Abbott now gets my vote, for being one of the best collegiate players - he pitched well and hit .400 - and for having 10 years in the majors.

You guys opened the door to this, right? So why would we stop at exactly the place YOU think we should stop at?


What a poor argument.
   141. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4335371)
Hideki Matsui was a very good but not amazing player in Japan


Is this true? I will admit that I am not an expert in NPB history, but I was under the impression that Matsui was about as big a modern superstar as the NPB has had. Who of his contemporaries were better?
   142. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4335379)
What a poor argument.


Not at all. Matt said "We should honor the greatest players, whether they happened to play in NPB, Cuban Ball, MLB, the Negro Leagues, or wherever."

The problem is that the HOF has only specifically opened the door to MLB and Negro Leagues players. So we can't "honor the greatest players" in Cuban ball, unless they also happened to play 10 years in MLB. People disingenuously ignore the whole "10 years in MLB" thing - in that they pretend that this doesn't strongly suggest that the HOF is only concerned with inducting players for what they did in MLB. If the HOF wanted to induct NPB or Cuban players, it would have said so, just like it specifically said so for MLB players and Negro Leagues players. Or at a minimum it would remove the 10 years in MLB rule, so that we could start inducting the best collegiate players and Mexico league players and minor league players, etc etc etc.

Sadaharu Oh cannot be inducted given the 10 year rule. So Matt knows that his "We should honor the greatest players, whether they happened to play in NPB, Cuban Ball, MLB, the Negro Leagues, or wherever" statement ignores the HOF's own rules and thus the HOF makes no suggestion that we should be doing this - indeed, it makes the contrary suggestion, that we shouldn't be doing this, because we can't do it.

The HOF screening committee does not put the Oh's on the ballot.

And so once you ignore the thrust of the HOF's voting guidelines to start counting NPB play, then there's absolutely no reason to demand that an NPB player be better than Dave Parker; all that matters is whether the NPB player was one of the best NPB players.
   143. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4335382)
Is this true? I will admit that I am not an expert in NPB history, but I was under the impression that Matsui was about as big a modern superstar as the NPB has had. Who of his contemporaries were better?


He was one of the best NPB players of his era, which pretty clearly should put him in if we're honoring NPB play.
   144. Ron J2 Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4335406)
#82 (and others) Worth noting that Matsui played 3B in Japan (as did Ichiro -- IOW the defensive advantage comes from how well they played their respective positions and I don't think any of us really knows this). For obvious reasons his services were not required at that position when he came to the US. No idea how well he played third, but a lot of people seem to have a mental picture of Matsui as the guy who has been challenged to handle LF the past few years and he was a very different player when young and healthy.

Just looking at the run context he played in. League runs per game:

2002 4.08
2001 4.25
2000 4.26
1999 4.43
1998 4.05
1997 4.27
1996 4.44
1995 4.20
1994 4.06
1993 3.96

Tough to get a good sense of the park effects from what I have handy. Yomiuri basically always led the league in scoring. Generally by a comfortable margin. Their good teams also either led or were above average in run prevention.

All in all it looks Matsui was playing in a very good hitter's park

And Ichiro and the JPL

2000 4.92
1999 4.36
1998 4.44
1997 4.35
1996 4.23
1995 3.92
1994 4.68
1993 4.07

Don't have home/road splits handy, but it looks to me like Ichiro played in a mild hitter's park.

Going by value in context (without adjusting for league strength) I'd say that even after adjusting
for park that Matsui was far ahead with the bat. (Matsui has a minor OBP edge and a big power edge. Ichiro's top OPSs -- coming in high offensive years would rank 6th and 7th for Matsui. And some of Matsui's monster seasons were in low offensive years for the league)

Ichiro didn't run as much as you'd expect while in Japan (top totals 49, 39, 35, 29, 21 -- and yes, shorter season)

All that to say that I think first cut has Matsui as the better player while in Japan. Maybe a more detailed analysis would change this but I don't see the information required to do such an analysis.

It's just that the MLE methods I've seen suggested that Ichiro would retain a higher percentage of his offense than Matsui would (because there are more relatively cheap HR available in Japan and Matsui was better able to take advantage of this). That's not quite the same as value.
   145. PreservedFish Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4335408)
Not at all. Matt said "We should honor the greatest players, whether they happened to play in NPB, Cuban Ball, MLB, the Negro Leagues, or wherever."


And then you responded with the equivalent of, "I was great in Little League so I should be in the Hall of Fame." Because I guess you think this:

And so once you ignore the thrust of the HOF's voting guidelines to start counting NPB play, then there's absolutely no reason to demand that an NPB player be better than Dave Parker; all that matters is whether the NPB player was one of the best NPB players.


Why you think this is true or that anyone was arguing this I have absolutely no idea, but it's cute that you think it's some sort of linchpin argument.
   146. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4335419)
Why? When people combine Ichiro's NPB+MLB hits to use that as a HOF argument, they don't MLE the hits numbers.


Yes, they do. As pointed out above, hit totals tend to remain steady after a move from NPB to MLB (harder league, but longer season) while slugging numbers tend to decline. You know this because you're a bright guy, and also because it's been discussed repeatedly in your presence. Yet you continue to pretend otherwise. This is why people find you and your arguments annoying.

If you simply said, "Hey, HOF voting guidelines call for at least a 10-year MLB career, so I personally am not interested in acknowledging anything that happens outside that context," I'd have no objection. Totally valid. What's not cool is insisting that people who don't share your preferences are stupid or corrupt or illogical.
   147. CrosbyBird Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4335472)
We should honor the greatest players, whether they happened to play in NPB, Cuban Ball, MLB, the Negro Leagues, or wherever.

I strongly disagree with this. We should honor the greatest MLB players, because no other league is at all comparable competitively. I would not give war credit or induct Negro Leaguers either.

I don't think you're irrational to think otherwise, but if you do, we have very different conceptions of the HOF and we'd better know that clearly when discussing a particular player's merits.
   148. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4335501)
Incidentally, I'm 100% for putting Sadaharu Oh in Cooperstown.


This could be a tide in the affairs of men this year. If no one gets the 75% this year, start campaigning for the Sadaharu Oh special induction. The people of Cooperstown will give you a free weekend and the key to the city.
   149. vivaelpujols Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4335581)
Yes, they do. As pointed out above, hit totals tend to remain steady after a move from NPB to MLB (harder league, but longer season) while slugging numbers tend to decline. You know this because you're a bright guy, and also because it's been discussed repeatedly in your presence. Yet you continue to pretend otherwise. This is why people find you and your arguments annoying.


AROM's comment was a joke.

Ok so Ray thinks we should put in the best players of Japan (who played 10 years in the majors) which Hideki clearly is. Others think we should MLE Japan numbers and try to gauge how well each player would have done if they had spent their entire career in MLB. Either way, no one's a hypocrite, but I'd really like to hear Ray say that himself.
   150. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:58 PM (#4335609)
#82 (and others) Worth noting that Matsui played 3B in Japan (as did Ichiro -- IOW the defensive advantage comes from how well they played their respective positions and I don't think any of us really knows this). For obvious reasons his services were not required at that position when he came to the US. No idea how well he played third, but a lot of people seem to have a mental picture of Matsui as the guy who has been challenged to handle LF the past few years and he was a very different player when young and healthy.


Matsui played regularly at third base when in high school (he went directly from high school to the pros, played a few weeks in the minors, and was called up to the Giants in May 1993 at age 18) but was converted to a right fielder when he was signed by the Giants, and became a center fielder in 1997. I don't believe he played an inning in NPB at third base.

Ichiro did play a few games at third base for Orix, but never as a regular (he won a Gold Glove as an outfielder every year he played as a regular in NPB). His only games at 3B came in 1999, but unfortunately I don't have complete fielding stats, so I don't know how many games he played there. I do know he won a Gold Glove as an outfielder that season, so it can't have been his primary position.
   151. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:25 PM (#4335687)
Mr. Di Perna, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
   152. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:53 PM (#4335702)
Once we open this up to considering NPB play, then we can consider anything, and...


You're wrong, again. You not only consider NPB play, you consider the quality of NBP play, and whether the player had the option of complete movement, the same way your consider Negro Leaguers.

And I know that combining home runs -- or simply combining the stats from the two leagues -- is ok, because witness the fetish people had over Ichiro approaching a combined 4,000 hits, which was used as a HOF argument. Thus, as Matsui was a great player in Japan and a good player in the US, he gets my vote.


I used to think your obtuse reasoning in the political threads was simply in order to avoid admitting you were wrong, or to be a nuisance.

After this thread it's clear to me you simply do not know how to reason. Taking a silly argument and using it to justify your silly conclusion is... silly. Even in order to prove a point, which you have not done.

Please consult some elementary logic texts before posting again.
   153. baudib Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:22 AM (#4335733)
Let's stop being so damned earnest about the HOF rules. The HOF rules can be changed or ignored any time the HOF wishes, as it has proven on numerous occasions. The 10-year rule is silly, as there are any number of players without it -- Negro Leaguers mostly, but also Addie Joss. Incidentally, the HOF has decided it can elect Negro Leaguers simply based on the caliber of their play, with no other restrictions. There are several Negro Leaguers who don't have anything like 10 years in the "major" Negro Leagues of the day, guys who were in Cuba like Jose Mendez or kicking around in the Negro League equivalent of the Pacific Coast League. Also, the HOF can form special committees to elect overlooked groups of players whenever it wishes.

There's also a 5-year waiting period, but the HOF can suspend that rule whenever it wants, as well (Clemente, Lou Gehrig). The HOF can elect people as pioneers, even with otherwise undistinguished careers -- Candy Cummings, Tommy McCarthy. What are the criteria to making it as a pioneer, exactly? No one knows, because the HOF can basically make up any criteria it wants.

   154. Ron J2 Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4336768)
#150 I don't pretend to know about their respective fielding in Japan, I'm strictly going off what I saw on The Baseball Cube. It's normally a reliable source but has both playing 3b (with no fielding stats) in Japan.

   155. Ron J2 Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4337247)
OK, after poking around on thebaseballcube, it looks as though the position stuff is nonsense. Doug Jennings is also listed as a 3b for instance. Sorry to have ever brought it up.

"MLEs" for Matsui and Ichiro in Japan (I say "MLE" because I don't have park factors)

Ichiro
1994 162
1995 177
1996 155
1997 151
1998 148
1999 165
2000 169

Having trouble finding the stats for Troy Neel in Japan. Doug Jennings was a teammate for two years and put up "OPS" of 144 and 129. Neel was quite a bit more successful than Jennings.

All that to say that while in Japan, Suzuki probably wasn't as good a hitter as Troy Neel (at least not in Neel's best seasons. Suzuki has him in volume and consistency). This is of course not an insult. Neel could hit and Suzuki brought plenty more to the table than Neel.


Matsui
1993 109
1994 134
1995 131
1996 174
1997 169
1998 175
1999 178
2000 197
2001 195
2002 224

Took Matsui a while to find his stride (but he was all of 22 in 1996).

No really good comps for Matsui after he took that step forward. Jeff Manto spent part of a year there (and seems to have been pretty bad). Shane Mack was a teammate for years. Can't get his stats for some reason either.
   156. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4337271)
Ron, as you know, guys like Tuffy Rhodes and Roberto Petagini also excelled in Japan.

Quoting some interesting snippets from a February 2002 article Clay wrote for BP. I imagine our idea of how the two leagues relate was much more primitive 10 years ago when he wrote this.

FWIW, Clay has Hideki Matsui as being a CF in Japan.

---------

...Ichiro's .310 EqA last year [rookie year in Seattle] was his second-worst since 1994. I think he changed his approach at the plate, concentrating on slapping the ball around without attempting to drive it. He got a boost to his batting average, but lost all his power. It would not surprise me at all to see him improve upon his MVP season. In another park, he'd have a realistic shot at hitting .400.

...Sticking with the Pacific League, last year's MVP was an American import who tied the Japanese home run record, Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes... In 1993, Rhodes split a .291 EqA while playing for Omaha (Double-A), Iowa (Triple-A), and the Cubs, easily his best American season. The average of these seasons isn't out of line for a player who had that level of talent at age 24, but the peaks are better than you'd expect.

...Alex Cabrera followed up a monstrous seasons in the U.S. minors by having one more just like it in Japan.

...Kazuo Matsui is not quite the caliber of hitter as some of the other players listed here, but he's a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop.

...The reigning MVP of the Central League, leading the league in home runs, RBI, and EQA, Roberto Petagine had a lot to do with the Swallows (am I the only one who can't say without at least thinking "beloved Swallows"? Longtime r.s.b readers will know what I mean) winning the title last season. I was suspicious of his hitting improvement and the small dimensions of Jingu Stadium, but 1) the park doesn't show as being offense-friendly, and 2) he only hit 15 of his 39 home runs in 2001 there, one less than expected given that 59 of his team's 140 games were there.

...AKA "Godzilla," or "Big Matsui" in contrast to Kazuo, "Little Matsui." Hideki Matsui was one of the most anticipated draft picks in Japanese history, and has lived up to the anticipation. For his consistency, I would name him the best native hitter in Japan right now. He's always had power, and has developed his other hitting skills to the point that he led the league in batting average last season, and was the league MVP in 2002. While he plays center field for the Giants, he would be a corner outfielder in the U.S.

...Daisuke Matsuzaka has played three years in Japan's major leagues, and has been named the league's best pitcher three times. He throws as hard as Ishii does, but from the right-hand side, and blew Ichiro away three times the first time they met. I also have to think he's a good candidate for arm trouble, given his age and workload.
   157. AROM Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4337301)
Ron, You are confusing me. You mean OPS+, not MLE, right?

In 2002, Matsui hit 463/692 in Japan. Two years earlier, Jason Giambi hit 477/660 over here, and his OPS+ was "only" 199. Mark McGwire's big year (470/752) only earned him a 216 OPS+.

The MLE for Matsui's 2002 season should be a lot lower than 224.
   158. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4337305)
Ron, as you know, guys like Tuffy Rhodes and Roberto Petagini also excelled in Japan.


Petagine: .317/.446/.633 career Japan
Tuffy: .289/.384/.535 career Japan

Petagine also OPS'd Tuffy in AAA by over 150 points

Petagine was a much better hitter than Tuffy- comparable to Hidecki Matsui- Rhodes was not

   159. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4337333)
Clay wrote this in January 2002. Is it about true now? Clearly we have many more data points of players moving between both MLB/NPB and AAA/NPB (or other minor leagues and NPB).

Quoting:

In Baseball Prospectus 2001, I wrote that the difficulty level of Japan was "about even with the Triple-A leagues." Looking at it more comprehensively--I was basing my assessment on a scattering of players, rather than off a full list of Japanese player data--that was a silly thing to say, as the Japanese leagues have clearly and consistently rated as tougher than the American Triple-A leagues. Every case from the 1990s shows that players do worse as a CPA-weighted-average group in Japan than they do in Triple-A, and by a considerable margin. The Triple-A/majors multiplier is .860; if the transitive property holds, then Japanese EqA is worth about .948 of a major-league EqA, which conveniently enough is almost identical to what we got from major leaguers.


Not sure whether that accounts for the specific fact that the cheap home run is easier to come by in Japan than at least MLB.
   160. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 02, 2013 at 07:16 PM (#4337345)
FWIW, Clay has Hideki Matsui as being a CF in Japan.


That's correct for the time. Matsui's primary position with Yomiuri was right field in 1993-1996, and center field in 1997-2002.
   161. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4337351)
Below is BP's player comment on Ichiro before his first year in Seattle. The comparison to Damon kind of works, but kind of doesn't: Ichiro hit for higher averages but walked less; Ichiro hit fewer home runs but was better at running and stealing; Ichiro didn't play much CF but the quality/value of his defense and his arm was better.

Their batting styles weren't terribly far apart, as each hitter looked like he was slapping at the ball. At the end of the day, they end up as broadly comparable hitters by OPS+ -- though Ichiro has the clear edge there -- but Ichiro has the defense/arm/baserunning edges.

Quoting from BP 2001:

Ichiro Suzuki will be the first non-pitcher from the Japanese professional leagues to play in the majors. He begins the quest at the peak of his career, following seven consecutive Pacific League batting titles. Mariners’ owner Hiroshi Yamauchi made sure that Suzuki would get to play for his team of choice by submitting a $13.1-million bid to the Blue Wave merely for the rights to negotiate with him. Johnny Damon is the player most frequently mentioned when describing Suzuki; it’s a fair comparison.


It was a fair comment by BP. I don't think anyone predicted - did they? - the value that would subsequently show up in Ichiro's defense/running stats. Nor frankly the sheer number of infield hits, gotten by an at-times singularly focused approach to try for infield singles.
   162. Ron J2 Posted: January 03, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4337828)
AROM yeah. Too much editing. Sorry for the confusion.

And #158 Ichiro was better than Tuffy Rhodes while the two were in Japan but it's not like he buried Rhodes. They can be sensibly compared

As I've said many times before, Ichiro's value in context doesn't blow me away, but at the same time there was good reason to expect him to be more successful than Matsui in America.

Also to #161, worth noting that WAR treats infield singles separately -- they're somewhat less valuable than a regular single. IOW WAR accounts for his unusual distribution of hits. (Sean roolz)
   163. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 03, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4337867)
Yankees Runs/Plate Appearances from July 232012onward:

16.1A-Rod
14.7
Jeter
14.6
Ibanez
14.5
Cano
13.3
Granderson
12.7
Swisher
12.5
Chavez
12.3
Martin
11.7
Ichiro 


I'm glad someone posted this. Small sample size, I know, but it confirms the thought I've always had about Ichiro - despite being a superficially good looking baserunner, the man has trouble scoring runs.
   164. Greg K Posted: January 03, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4337937)
OBPs over that same time period

A-Rod .358
Jeter .372
Ibanez .325
Cano .383
Granderson .270
Swisher .393
Chavez .368
Martin .327
Ichiro .340

Granderson and Ibanez, and Swisher and Cano look like the surprising ones in terms of the relationship between OBP and Runs per PA. I'd guess where you bat in the order influences things as well.
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