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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ken Davidoff: My 2013 Hall of Fame ballot

Last year’s winner of the Primer-approved “Ballot of the Year” is looking to Piazza-lessingly win again!

Mike Piazza . If you watched Piazza play, you were captivated by him. Did anyone else hit those heat-seeking missiles like he did? You felt like all of his homers flew about a foot over the shortstop’s glove and then soared over the wall, breaking a car window in the process.

He hit 427 home runs, with 396 of those as a catcher. More than any other catcher in baseball history.

But again: The goal here isn’t to get caught up in images, or to hone in on any one number. It’s to look at the whole picture.

If Piazza is on next year’s ballot _ I assume he’ll get the five percent of the votes necessary to carry him over _ then I absolutely would consider voting for him. He’s a very worthy candidate. On this clogged ballot, though, I don’t believe he’s one of the 10 best. Not when you look at the historical value measures like WAR and JAWS.

What I did was, I looked at every candidate on this ballot and ranked him according to both WARs, Baseball-Reference’s WAR7 (which takes a candidate’s best seven seasons by WAR, to consider a player’s peak) and Jaffe’s JAWS. I rewarded a player one point for finishing first in a column, two points for second, etc. _ and then ranked them by lowest score to highest. Bonds, for instance, ranked first because he had just four points; atop all four categories, he received one point for each.

Using this process, Piazza placed 14th on my list of candidates.

Yes, I place a huge emphasis on these statistics. Because these statistics have no emotions. They have no horse in the race. They just try to determine value. And I think the best way to determine a Hall of Fame ballot is without emotions. That’s why Piazza is a No . It has nothing to do with suspicions that he used illegal PEDs.

Ballot: Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Kenny Lofton (!), Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Craig Biggio

Repoz Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:45 PM | 126 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4328649)
Wow big Hall guy. Pretty darn good ballot. I probably wouldn't vote for Lofton or Walker and I'm on the fence about Edgar, but it doesn't cheapen the Hall to have any of those guys in.
   2. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4328654)
Lofton and Edgar but no Piazza is sort of weird - but Raines/Bonds/Clemens/Trammell plus no Morris is cause for celebration from where I'm standing.
   3. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4328658)
Are the statistics good in the clubhouse?



(sorry)

edit: Am I reading that correctly? He MAY vote for Piazza if he gets the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot? WTF? If you don't for him now you never will because Mike Piazza won't be on the ballot next year.
   4. JJ1986 Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4328661)
Also, Piazza once didn't speak up when the team tried to change a passed ball to a wild pitch.
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4328662)
Damn, can't really argue about this too much. What's the fun in that?
   6. Squash Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4328665)
Well, the massive flaw in using this method is you pretty much never end up with a catcher in the HOF, which seems silly. WAR is a counting stat, so the nature of the fact that catchers don't play nearly as many games means they don't stack up nearly as many WAR, so they never make the hall in the first place and therefore never can be compared to existing HOF catchers using JAWS. On the BBRef all time WAR list you go down to 45 before you find your first catcher - in the meantime you've passed 18 or so OFs, a bunch of 1Bs, and a bunch of 3Bs, i.e. the positions where players rack up a bunch of 150 game seasons.

EDIT: That being said, otherwise a good ballot. I'd substitute Piazza for Walker or Lofton or Martinez, but otherwise his picking based on actual value yields great results. Who knew?
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4328669)
I'm sorry, there is no way that Piazza isn't one of the top ten candidates. Lofton, Edgar, Walker and Raines are all behind him. Heck Piazza is a slam dunk worthy candidate, those guys need a narrative.
   8. Suff Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4328677)
This run-down just illustrates that there are not enough spaces on this ballot. None of the 10 he chose were weak choices, and he still left off McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, and Piazza. That's crazy.
   9. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4328678)
You felt like all of his homers flew about a foot over the shortstop’s glove and then soared over the wall, breaking a car window in the process.


I seem to remember Piazza's home runs being towering fly balls, not heat-seeking line drive missiles ala Sheffield.
   10. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4328679)
Am I reading that correctly? He MAY vote for Piazza if he gets the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot? WTF? If you don't for him now you never will because Mike Piazza won't be on the ballot next year.

I can see voting for Piazza later if you think there are equally worthy players at a greater risk of falling off the ballot.

Then again, that's only going to make the bottleneck worse.
   11. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4328683)
Just to be fair, I'm good with the rest of his ballot, but I don't get the logic re: Piazza. To me he's one of the easy choices this year. I'm really surprised a New York writer wouldn't write him in twice if he could.
   12. LargeBill Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4328684)
I'm a Piazza is a an automatic first ballot guy, but it is nice to see Kenny Lofton get a vote. I'll be shocked if he gets more than a few votes.As an Indians fan, it saddens me that there is no chance that Lofton gets the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot and get full consideration. Obviously, he isn't an inner circle guy. However, when you consider he got a late start (wasn't a regular until 25) and played CF his stats don't fall that short of HoF standards. Failure to elect Bagwell in past years as well as others will cause guys like Lofton to be one and done when they might otherwise have gotten several looks.
   13. John Northey Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4328704)
In a sane baseball world Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell would've been in already, as would McGwire & Palmeiro (crossing both magic numbers makes it hard to argue against without PED's). Edgar Martinez & Larry Walker both would have to fight to get in no matter what as neither hit magic numbers and both had a clear thing against them (career DH and Coors Field) that have yet to be measured clearly historically for the HOF. We'd also not have to deal with Rice & Sutter being in or Morris on the edge of getting in. If all of that happened then 5 slots would've been cleared making it so Piazza was on this writers ballot.

I do like seeing a writer who doesn't just go by 'my gut says' but instead has a method and mixes it with gut feel.
   14. Adam S Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4328725)
This is also a very good column in the he goes out of the way to celebrate the careers of (most of) the noes, rather than feeling the need to trash players who had excellent careers.

Other than that, I think the consensus here is right that he has a thoughtful method that needs a catcher adjustment. You don't have to be that much of a "big hall" guy to get to ten on this ballot, especially when considering the number of votes per writer ballot has been in decline for reasons that do not appear related to the quality of the candidates.
   15. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4328733)
Aside from the Piazza omission, which is just kind of silly, it's a nice ballot. And I'm glad to see Lofton get a vote.
   16. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4328738)
However, when you consider he got a late start (wasn't a regular until 25) and played CF his stats don't fall that short of HoF standards.


I am happy to see Lofton get recognized as well, but the argument that he wasn't a regular until 25 only adds to his case if he was KILLING it in the minors for a few years and not getting a chance at a full time job. He spent a full year in A+ ball in his age 23 season (hitting .337 in the FSL is impressive, but it's still the FSL), then he posted a .308/.367/.417 in the PCL the next year at age 24. Not bad, but nothing there says he was good enough to be in the majors in those years. He doesn't have much of a peak by HoF standards, either. Granted, averaging a .390 OBA and 52 SB from 1993-99 is no small feat.
   17. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4328740)
Piazza's average 162 game line over his career: 36 hr's 113 RBI's .308 .377 .545

Holy Toledo! And that's playing his entire career in Dodger Stadium and Shea.
   18. puck Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4328742)
What I did was, I looked at every candidate on this ballot and ranked him according to both WARs, Baseball-Reference’s WAR7 (which takes a candidate’s best seven seasons by WAR, to consider a player’s peak) and Jaffe’s JAWS.

I had to look up WAR7, as I'd never heard of it.

Turns out, it is part of JAWS, so he uses JAWS, and then equally weights a component of JAWS:

JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score system) was developed by sabermetrician Jay Jaffe as a means to measure a player's Hall of Fame worthiness. A player's JAWS is their career WAR averaged with their 7-year peak WAR.


According to the JAWS stats at BB-ref, Piazza is ranked 5th among all catchers in JAWS, 3rd in WAR7. But no hall of fame for that guy.
   19. attaboy Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4328743)
I really enjoyed the article and appreciate his vote and that he went through each and every candidate, even the obvious no's, except one, for some reason. I thought he sort of insinuated that he would vote for Piazza next year when the ballot got cleared away from this year's over abundance of choices. Could just be that he wants to make a first ballot distinction, although I think, if you ignore the PED question, Piazza ought to be a first ballot choice.
   20. JJ1986 Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4328745)
And that's playing his entire career in Dodger Stadium and Shea.

Almost his whole career.

(I know he played for the Padres and A's too, but that's not as funny.)
   21. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4328746)
(I know he played for the Padres and A's too, but that's not as funny.)

And the Marlins! San Diego and Oakland are pitcher's parks, too.

edit: Dammit. Should have clicked your link first.
   22. OsunaSakata Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4328771)
This is the first year on the HOF ballot for Roberto Hernandez and Mike Stanton. There are currently active MLB players named Roberto Hernandez and Mike Stanton. Okay, one of them was previously called Fausto Carmona and the other is now called Giancarlo Stanton, but I wonder if that's ever happened before.
   23. AROM Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4328794)
Ken's voting by WAR, and as the one who created the WAR system used by BBref, it makes me sort of feel like I have a vote. That said, I hope Ken reconsiders Piazza if he has a chance to in the future.

The situation with catchers is that they take such a beating at the position that they cannot compile the same career WAR numbers that other positions can. I think the fairest way to deal with this is to have a different WAR HOF target for catchers than other positions. So if 65 WAR is the cutoff for others, use maybe 50-55 for catchers.

In addition, Piazza was very good at working with pitchers. This made up for his more easily measurable defensive deficiencies. I have Piazza as worth about 10 wins more than an average catcher over his career by his gamecalling. My career ratings are here: http://www.baseballprojection.com/special/catcher_gcall.htm

But the problem here is greater than Piazza. You might notice that this writer who explicitly says he's not disqualifying steroid users had no space for Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, or Rafael Palmeiro either. The problem is that 10 spots is too small on a ballot with so many qualified players. And it will get worse, not better.

I think even if Ken reads my post, accepts and agrees with my pro-Piazza arguments, he may not have room for him on next year's ballot. There's a very good chance that only Biggio from this ballot will get in, and the names of Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine will be added. If that happens I don't know if I'd have room to keep Piazza.
   24. AROM Posted: December 19, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4328806)
Could just be that he wants to make a first ballot distinction, although I think, if you ignore the PED question, Piazza ought to be a first ballot choice.


I think it's quite obvious he's not trying to make some first ballot distinction. He just ran out of room. The problem is the 10 player limit. We can quibble about the rankings, I would put Piazza ahead of guys like Lofton or Walker, but the thing is I support every one of his 10 picks, plus at least 4-5 others, and it looks to me that if you give Ken a bigger ballot, he'd keep adding names.
   25. Shredder Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4328812)
Steve Finley

...I don’t think anyone would peg him as a Hall of Famer. He’s a No. But he’ll be remembered quite fondly by the fans of the teams for which he played.
This is not entirely true.
   26. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4328816)
This is not entirely true.

But he got you Edgardo Alfonso!
   27. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4328819)
There's a very good chance that only Biggio from this ballot will get in


if that. There's a very good chance that no one from this ballot will get in.

-- MWE
   28. AROM Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4328824)
This is not entirely true.


That was so frustrating. We had to listen to Rex talk about what great shape he was in for his age, then watch Finley hit and field like Ted Williams. Headless, cryogenically frozen Ted Williams that is.

if that. There's a very good chance that no one from this ballot will get in.


True. Maybe Morris, but then Davidoff isn't voting for him so he is irrelevant to Ken's ballot crunch.
   29. puck Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4328832)
In addition, Piazza was very good at working with pitchers. This made up for his more easily measurable defensive deficiencies. I have Piazza as worth about 10 wins more than an average catcher over his career by his gamecalling. My career ratings are here: http://www.baseballprojection.com/special/catcher_gcall.htm

Interesting...do you have an overview of this somewhere?
   30. JE (Jason) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4328842)
Does BPro treat closers like 14K gold? If not, how might this impact Ken's 2019 ballot re: Mariano Rivera?

EDIT: 31.3 WARP!
   31. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4328845)
Interesting...do you have an overview of this somewhere?

Craig Wright wrote about this a few years ago in one of the THT Annual books.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4328848)
To reinforce AROM's point, even if 3 players were elected this year, Piazza will be 14th in WAR on the 2014 ballot. Elect another three off that ballot and he'll be 14th in WAR on the 2015 ballot. Elect three more and he makes it up to 13th on the 2016 ballot. Elect three more and he's up to 11th on the 2017 ballot. In the real world where three players aren't going to be elected every year ...

I suspect a simple email to Davidoff explaining why Piazza's WAR-based numbers are so low would change his mind and Piazza might be on his 2014 ballot. Doesn't solve the problem though.

One change in HoF voting I think we have a reasonable chance of seeing is an expansion of the ballot. Voters who are squeezed should ask for it ... neither the HoF nor BBWAA members who aren't squeezed have any good reason to object.

It's one of the points I keep making -- PEDs or no PEDs, these ballots were going to be cluster****s.
   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4328850)
If Piazza is on next year’s ballot _ I assume he’ll get the five percent of the votes necessary to carry him over _ then I absolutely would consider voting for him. He’s a very worthy candidate. On this clogged ballot, though, I don’t believe he’s one of the 10 best. Not when you look at the historical value measures like WAR and JAWS.


So roughly the same offense between Piazza and Edgar Martinez gets the DH in but not the C.

Huh.
   34. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4328853)

This is the first year on the HOF ballot for Roberto Hernandez and Mike Stanton. There are currently active MLB players named Roberto Hernandez and Mike Stanton. Okay, one of them was previously called Fausto Carmona and the other is now called Giancarlo Stanton, but I wonder if that's ever happened before


Best I can come up with is in 1987 Mike Marshall and Jim "Catfish" Hunter were on the ballot, while Dodgers outfielder Mike Marshall was active and future MLBer Jim Hunter was in the Brewers farm system.

The 2010 ballot had Dave Parker, Tim Raines and Mike Jackson. There were three minor leaguers (well, indy leaguers) in 2010 with the same names.
   35. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4328855)
Wow big Hall guy. Pretty darn good ballot.


Disagree. Any ballot that doesn't have the greatest catcher ever is a pretty sucky ballot.

Piazza should be on ahead of everyone except Bonds and Clemens.
   36. Lassus Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4328858)
This ballot is almost a follow-up trolling of the Mets.

Yes, it's a good ballot OTHERWISE, but no Piazza is plain dumb.
   37. zonk Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4328860)
I agree on Piazza being a better choice than perhaps Walker or Lofton --

OTOH -- Raines, Lofton, Walker, and Trammell are really fighting for relevance -- so I think there's a very strong tactical argument to be made for them getting votes if only to build/keep some semblance of momentum... and for Lofton/Walker/Trammell, with the upcoming/ongoing ballot crunch, I think it's also a worry about one of them getting Whitaker'ed and inexcusably falling below 5% too soon.

Davidoff, though, is one of those guys whose ballots really ought to be worth like 50 of his peers... He's also far and away always been the best to trade e-mails with, both gracious and conversant whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with him.

I think I'd probably swap Walker for Piazza, but then -- I'm absolutely certain Piazza will be available next year and I'm only pretty sure Walker will be.
   38. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4328867)

OTOH -- Raines, Lofton, Walker, and Trammell are really fighting for relevance -- so I think there's a very strong tactical argument to be made for them getting votes if only to build/keep some semblance of momentum... and for Lofton/Walker/Trammell, with the upcoming/ongoing ballot crunch, I think it's also a worry about one of them getting Whitaker'ed and inexcusably falling below 5% too soon.


I don't think there's any justification for 'tactical' voting. If you think he is one of the 10 best candidates, you should vote for him.

   39. Lassus Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4328869)
I don't think there's any justification for 'tactical' voting. If you think he is one of the 10 best candidates, you should vote for him.

I'd agree with this as well.
   40. puck Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4328873)
Craig Wright wrote about this a few years ago in one of the THT Annual books.

Oh yeah, the article about Piazza?
   41. zonk Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4328875)
I don't think there's any justification for 'tactical' voting. If you think he is one of the 10 best candidates, you should vote for him.

I'd agree with this as well.


Get a room...

I disagree -

In a world populated with idiots, I think there are lots of times where it IS necessary to do things tactically -- and HOF voting is probably a pretty good exhibit A.

On a 10 person-limited ballot with what I think we'd all agree probably has at least 11 reasonable candidates, I think I'd probably worry more about squeezing in someone out of concern he'd be lopped off next year.
   42. Bob Tufts Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4328880)
It's the Hall of Fame. It doesn't matter. Stop making sportswriters think that they are actually important or do something that has value.

   43. Fist Pumping Maniac Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4328894)
Actually, the Hall of Fame does matter to a lot of people, including you. Otherwise you wouldn't be posting on this thread. Amirite?
   44. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4328896)
This is also a very good column in the he goes out of the way to celebrate the careers of (most of) the noes, rather than feeling the need to trash players who had excellent careers.


Yeah, I really like this too. Todd Walker is the only guy without any comments. I really like his bit on Royce Clayton:

I remember him for 1) succeeding Ozzie Smith as the Cardinals’ shortstop; 2) getting into a “heated discussion” with his Rangers teammate Chad Curtis concerning some profane music that Clayton liked and 3) playing Miguel Tejada in “Moneyball.” I wouldn’t mind being remembered for those things. He’s an obvious No for the Hall of Fame.


Clayton was more useful than I remembered. From age 22 to 32 he was good for about 2 WAR a year, by being consistently above average with the glove and a little above replacement at the plate. He hung around way too long, but that's not his fault.

Really, the worst players on the ballot -- Clayton, Todd Walker, Aaron Sele, Sandy Alomar, a couple of the relievers -- were all pretty good for at least a chunk of their careers. The HoF ballot should in part be an opportunity to give a shout out to some old warhorses like these guys. Good for Davidoff.
   45. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4328898)
Clayton played Miguel Tejada in a major movie, but wasn't he played by an actor in "The Rookie"?
   46. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4328904)
Hey, did anyone notice he left Piazza off his ballot....
   47. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4328905)
I thought I remembered Royce Clayton in the dugout during the 2007 post-season, doing one of those Fox "Sounds of the Game" things and reminding Jacoby Ellsbury of the free taco everyone will get if he steals a base. He was on that team in 2007, but I don't see his name for these games in BB-Ref. Do they only list the guys who saw playing time, as opposed to everyone on the post-season roster?

3) playing Miguel Tejada in “Moneyball.”

Royce Clayton was Jim Morris's first strikeout of the big leagues. Oddly enough, he does not portray himself in The Rookie.

EDIT: coke to AG#1F.
   48. JJ1986 Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4328912)
Do they only list the guys who saw playing time, as opposed to everyone on the post-season roster?


I think guys might hang out in the dugout even if they aren't on the postseason roster. Or maybe he was disabled.
   49. alilisd Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4328913)
I think the fairest way to deal with this is to have a different WAR HOF target for catchers than other positions.


Or one could just compare catchers to catchers and realize Piazza is one of the Top 5 MLB catchers ever (in fact he is 5th in the JAWS measurement Davidoff cites as being so important to his decision). Personally I'm much more sceptical of the HOF worthiness of a position player whose team regularly had to find a replacement for him 20 times or more a year than I am of a catcher who had trouble throwing out base stealers
   50. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 19, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4328922)
Interesting, Royce Clayton's IMDB lists an uncredited appearance as himself in The Rookie. His wiki says he was portrayed by Jorge Sanchez, but IMDB doesn't have that name in its cast listing.

One way or the other, the internet contains a factual error that must be rectified. Or maybe Jorge Sanchez is the Latin Alan Smithee?
   51. AROM Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4328929)
Interesting...do you have an overview of this somewhere?


I wrote the article in the 2011 Hardball Times book. It was on the method to estimate a catcher's impact using retrosheet data and not about Piazza specifically. I think Craig Wright's article on Piazza was from the year before.
   52. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4328936)
Interesting, Royce Clayton's IMDB lists an uncredited appearance as himself in The Rookie. His wiki says he was portrayed by Jorge Sanchez, but IMDB doesn't have that name in its cast listing.


In the Rest of the Cast section IMDB says "Himself (uncredited)" for Clayton. It appears to be available streaming from Netflix, so someone (not at work, unlike me) could watch the part with Clayton in it and try to figure out if it's really him. I assume it's not, because there aren't any other MLB people listed anywhere.
   53. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4328944)
Everyone ahead of Piazza in oWAR (and quite a few behind) are A) Hall of Famers, B) Hall of Famers when they become eligible, or C) people we scream about that HAVE to make the Hall of Fame.

With two exceptions. Dick Allen and Gary Sheffield.

How come no love for them?
   54. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4328946)
How come no love for them?


We're all afraid of Harveys' wrath.

The man makes his own nuclear devices, you know.
   55. zonk Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4328949)
Sheffield also isn't really making any effort to gain Hall of Fame entrance... he's waiting until they build the Hall of Infamous... because it's MORE famous.
   56. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4328955)
I think the fairest way to deal with this is to have a different WAR HOF target for catchers than other positions.


Or to understand how to properly use WAR.
   57. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4328988)
If I ran the HOF, I would require Piazza wear a Marlins cap on his plaque. (Actually, I want everyone in the Hall to wear a Marlins cap. It's a cool-looking cap!)
   58. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:07 PM (#4328989)
Finley signed with Arizona (which went hard after Bernie), sending him further along a journey in which he’d ultimately play with all five NL West teams.


Six, actually. Finley played with the Astros for a few seasons before the realignment.
   59. HowardMegdal Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4329013)
23 was like a really polite version of the Marshall McLuhan scene in Annie Hall.
   60. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4329015)
So roughly the same offense between Piazza and Edgar Martinez gets the DH in but not the C.

I was going to make the same point ... but realized it wasn't true. I know "roughly" and when you take that as "high BA, good OBP, good power" that's true. But Edgar has a career OBP 41 points higher than Piazza's. The OPS and OPS+ are very close ... but both under-reward OBP for these purposes.

By WAR (as good an estimate as any) Edgar's offense was worth 135 more runs than Piazza. Some of that is an extra 1.5 seasons of PA but those extra seasons only added 21 runs to Edgar's lead. Piazza meanwhile is getting credit for 211 runs of positional difference (then whacked for poorer defensive performance) leading to a dWAR difference of 11 in Piazza's favor.

By the WAR measures, adjusting for position, these two basically come out exactly equal. oWAR is 63.2 to 62.9 for Piazza; WAA is 39 to 36 for Edgar (playing time); Piazza had 1 WAR per 138 PA and Edgar had 1 per 135. So they weren't really equivalent hitters, they were (by WAR) equivalently valuable after adjusting for position. Now I still easily give the nod to the C there.

Davidoff's ballot is just a clear example of relying solely on statistics you don't fully understand. He quite possibly thinks that WAR makes C vs DH adjustments (which it does but not to the point of adjusting for playing time); he presumably didn't check/notice the JAWS positional rankings and/or didn't understand JPos. If he'd done that, he's see Piazza is 8 JAWS (wins?) ahead of the average C while Edgar is dead even (based on description, I think this is the overall HoF average since not many DHs inducted). So are Lofton, Biggio, Raines and even Trammell.

But then I don't really know JAWS. And I'm wary of how it defines a player's "position" (Yount is not the #6 SS, he was not a better SS than Banks) but there aren't any major position-shifters among this year's candidates (Biggio a bit but his non-2B time was spent main in CF -- equal defensively -- or C -- harder -- so ranking him relative to "2B" probably does him a small disservice if anything) so it doesn't matter.

EDIT: also Davidoff's methodology of ranking players on X criteria then summing the ranks is surely the worst (yet common) method of ranking (yet again) objects. This should never, ever be done. At best it reproduces what the raw numbers are already telling you; at worst it inflates trivial differences on unimportant criteria and introduces a ton of noise.
   61. alilisd Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:29 PM (#4329026)
If he'd done that, he's see Piazza is 8 JAWS (wins?) ahead of the average C while Edgar is dead even (based on description, I think this is the overall HoF average since not many DHs inducted).


It's Third Base for Edgar's position. Jaffe uses the position most commonly played in the field for a DH-type candidate.
   62. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:47 PM (#4329032)
On the methodological note, the correlation among WAR, WAR7 and JAWS for the HoF ballot:

.96
.996 .98

Yep, very useful to use all three. Yes, for this group, the correlation between JAWS and WAR is nearly perfect. For JAWS v WAR, the top 7 rankings are identical. Palmeiro drops from 8th in WAR to 10th in JAWS and Sosa (54.8 WAR and 48.5 JAWS) moves "ahead" of Piazza (56.1 WAR and 48.4 JAWS). His ranking exercise takes differences of 0-2 wins over 20 years and treats them as meaningful (but generally small) differences in ranking.

As somebody noted ...

WAR7 is part of WAR and WAR7 is part of JAWS. Again, pretty much statistical nonsense to use all three of these and to rank the thing and the components of the thing.

Weighting peak vs. career value is perfectly sensible of course. Within this context, the cleanest way to do that would probably be to calculate (WAR - WAR7) and look at it beside WAR7. But it turns out that's not going to help you a lot either:

Sosa WAR7 = 42.2; WAR_non7 = 12.6
Piazza WAR7 = 40.7; WAR_non7 = 15.4

Are either of those a difference worth arguing over? Especially if you take them at face value as Davidoff does.

Which brings me back to an old suggestion -- for HoF the sensible comparison is wins above AVERAGE not replacement. Within a season or two, replacement is a sensible counterfactual to having Mike Piazza. If Piazza got hurt on the last day of spring training, his teams would have had to use a replacement-level C. But for Piazza's career? If Piazza didn't exist, the sensible counterfactual is that those 7800 PAs would have gone to an average C, not a replacement level C.

Alas, that doesn't help us much but it does help some:

Walker 48 WAA
Trammell 40 WAA
Edgar 39 WAA
Lofton 38 WAA
McGwire 37 WAA
Piazza 36 WAA
Raines 35 WAA
Palmeiro 30 WAA
Biggio 29 WAA
Sosa 28 WAA

Woohoo! At least some separation. I'm still not sure I quite buy Walker*, Edgar and Lofton being quite so high or Biggio so low but at least this is a measure that (after Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell and Schilling) would put Piazza in the top 10. That looks like a fairly sensible list to me and I would certainly feel more comfy picking Raines over Biggio (for example) based on 5 WAA than 4.1 WAR, 2.4 JAWS or 4 ranking points.

*I do think that Walker is the best of the non-Piazza bunch and probably has more WAA than Piazza but I don't think he dominated to this extent.
   63. bobm Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:49 PM (#4329035)
Steve Finley...I don’t think anyone would peg him as a Hall of Famer. He’s a No. But he’ll be remembered quite fondly by the fans of the teams for which he played.


I remember him fondly for his leaping non catch in this game:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN199910090.shtml

Also, between whiffing on Piazza and l'affaire Dickey, has any baseball columnist shat the bed as much in 1 week as Davidoff has?
   64. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:14 PM (#4329044)
I seem to remember Piazza's home runs being towering fly balls, not heat-seeking line drive missiles ala Sheffield. 


I remember it the same - dead center or right center. Followed by that crazy (because it was so minimal) follow through with just arms seeming to have moved, way around behind him with the bat head pointed straight down.
   65. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:16 PM (#4329047)
Yeah, I remember the home runs as towering fly balls as well.

I think of Miguel Cabrera as being the line drive home run type.
   66. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4329054)
I appreciate that Davidoff is trying to use stats more than most voters, but no Piazza?

Any ballot that includes Kenny Lofton, but does not include Piazza, is not a great ballot. That 1993-2002 ten-year run, with an OPS+ of 155, is as good as anybody in history at the position.

Top six career comps: Bench, Berra, Carter, Fisk, Hartnett, and Dickey.

First ballot, automatic.
   67. Lassus Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4329090)
It's like Davidoff is deliberately trying to make SABRists look bad by sitting in his basement and deciding Piazza, the surest sure thing on the ballot, shouldn't be on it.
   68. Walt Davis Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4329139)
Jaffe uses the position most commonly played in the field for a DH-type candidate.

Ooh, this is a bad idea. If you're going to restrict everybody to one position (not necessary), players whose careers are predominantly DH should be compared to 1B/LF. And for some reason Dick Allen is ranked as a 3B too even though he had more game at 1B.

Edgar, Molitor and Allen combined for 1964 starts at 3B. That's 800 fewer than Brooks. It's also roughly 200 fewer than Scmidt, Mathews and Boggs; 150 fewer than Santo; equal to Chipper.

I suppose it shouldn't but this sort of stuff really does annoy me.

Molitor is the #8 3B by JAWS -- 786 starts at 3B
Edgar is #9 -- 532 starts at 3B
Rolen is #10 -- 1994 starts at 3B

That's absurd.
   69. Walt Davis Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4329140)
First ballot, automatic.

Can you name all of the first ballot HoF Cs?

EDIT: Without PEDS, the battle between Piazza, Biggio, Sosa and Bagwell for the third and likely final HoF slot would have been interesting.
   70. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:05 AM (#4329141)
I am happy to see Lofton get recognized as well, but the argument that he wasn't a regular until 25 only adds to his case if he was KILLING it in the minors for a few years and not getting a chance at a full time job. He spent a full year in A+ ball in his age 23 season (hitting .337 in the FSL is impressive, but it's still the FSL), then he posted a .308/.367/.417 in the PCL the next year at age 24. Not bad, but nothing there says he was good enough to be in the majors in those years. He doesn't have much of a peak by HoF standards, either. Granted, averaging a .390 OBA and 52 SB from 1993-99 is no small feat.


If Lofton had gone straight into the minors instead of playing basketball in college, he probably would have been "KILLING it" in the minors. The more I think about him, the more I think he should get extra credit for his athletic exploits outside baseball instead of being penalized for them.
   71. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:09 AM (#4329145)
And of course it's bizarre to leave Piazza off the ballot, but I'll take it if it means guys like Martinez, Trammell, and Raines get votes. My ballot in the HOF thread was almost the same, although I think I dropped Walker and Lofton in favor of Piazza and Palmeiro. I'd have extended mine past ten names if I could have, too.
   72. SoSH U at work Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:11 AM (#4329148)

Can you name all of the first ballot HoF Cs?


Is it just Bench?

   73. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:21 AM (#4329150)
Any ballot with cheaters on it is a bad ballot.
   74. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:32 AM (#4329157)
Clayton was more useful than I remembered. From age 22 to 32 he was good for about 2 WAR a year, by being consistently above average with the glove and a little above replacement at the plate. He hung around way too long, but that's not his fault.
He stuck around for five years and made six million dollars back when that was real money while being of negative value. That's not easy to do.
   75. flournoy Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:39 AM (#4329162)
I seem to remember Piazza's home runs being towering fly balls, not heat-seeking line drive missiles ala Sheffield.


Not only towering fly balls, but towering fly balls to right field. I'm sure he hit his share of homers that flew past shortstop, as Davidoff remembers, but I remember him as an opposite field hitter.
   76. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 20, 2012 at 02:14 AM (#4329170)
Any ballot with cheaters on it is a bad ballot.

So that leaves the Gehrig one and the Clemente one?

You must have really been pissed, the day they inducted that colluder Pat Gillick.
   77. cardsfanboy Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:22 AM (#4329180)
Can you name all of the first ballot HoF Cs?


By now almost everyone on this board could probably name the one catcher who was a first ballot hofer.

73. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:21 AM (#4329150)
Any ballot with cheaters on it is a bad ballot


Yep, Babe Ruth, Gaylord Perry and Willie Mays is just 3 of those who are 100% confirmed cheaters who are in, so we need to get the hof to nullify their inductions too. (note.... I 100% guarantee you that over 50% of the players in the hof have cheated)


If you come up with a system to rate players for your hof vote and Piazza isn't on the ballot of top five candidates this year, you really need to reexamine your system. Heck if you came up with a system in which Piazza isn't one of the top 5 candidates since Rickey, then you need to re-examine your system.
   78. bjhanke Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4329335)
Actually, there are two first-ballot HoF catchers: Bench and Buck Ewing. But Ewing is an odd case because he played in the 1880s. "First ballot" is almost meaningless for those guys. Ewing's "first ballot" was a ballot supposed to cover the entire 19th century, with a voting structure so poor that no one accumulated enough votes to actually get elected (they had expected to elect 5). But Ewing was tied with Cap Anson for first place, such as it was, and got elected as soon as a reasonable ballot with his name on it appeared. I think that counts. - Brock Hanke
   79. alilisd Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4329345)
Ooh, this is a bad idea. If you're going to restrict everybody to one position (not necessary), players whose careers are predominantly DH should be compared to 1B/LF. And for some reason Dick Allen is ranked as a 3B too even though he had more game at 1B.


Perhaps I'm mistaken considering Allen is included at 3B, but I thought that's how he ranked. I agree with you though about comparing a DH to 1B rather than trying to shoehorn them into a position they really didn't play at for a significant amount of time.
   80. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4329352)
Don't have time to read the whole thread, but I use a 50% career boost to whatever metric I'm using for catchers. That puts them about right. Makes the cutoff somewhere in the Bill Freehan in, Thurman Munson out area for the Hall of Fame, assuming a same sized Hall of Fame as what we have right now. That also gets catchers reasonably represented (though not quite equally) when compared with other positions.

Kind of makes sense intuitively too, as a crazy long career for catchers is 2000 games, 3000 for a normal player. For a single season, MVP type deal, I'd give them about a 15% bump, since it's rare that anyone catches more than 140 games in a season.

If you do this, Piazza and Bench end up near Arky Vaughan and Eddie Mathews depending on your metric. That seems entirely reasonable to me. Freehan ends up near Keith Hernandez or Goose Goslin.

If you don't give the bonus, Piazza and Bench are on par with Joe Sewell, Sherry Magee, Graig Nettles and Stan Hack. That's absurd.

Freehan would be down with the likes of Ken Griffey Sr., Willie Kamm and Chris Speier.
   81. AROM Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4329354)
I remember well that Fisk and Carter had to wait a few ballots.

Yogi Berra went in on the second try, getting 67.2% in his first year.
   82. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4329357)
Allen is considered a 3B because that's where he had the most value. You shouldn't go by games played, you should go by which positions they had the most value at. And for the multiple position guys, if it's close and you are putting them on a list you should use your head and not stick a 3B/2B/1B/LF on the 1B list if he happened to play the most games there, but played many more at 2B/3B combined.
   83. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4329367)
If Lofton had gone straight into the minors instead of playing basketball in college, he probably would have been "KILLING it" in the minors. The more I think about him, the more I think he should get extra credit for his athletic exploits outside baseball instead of being penalized for them.


Are you going to give extra credit for every player that went to college? Wasn't he also playing baseball in college too? I'm sure that helped his development.

I'm all for extra credit where appropriate, but I don't see it with Lofton.

He was in the minors for 4 seasons before he made the majors and he was 21 when he played his first minor league game. It's not like he was Chris Weinke from an NFL perspective, finally playing pro baseball for the first time at age 27 or anything.
   84. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4329376)
Which brings me back to an old suggestion -- for HoF the sensible comparison is wins above AVERAGE not replacement.


I don't think this is sensible at all. Average seasons have plenty of value. Teams lose pennants (or nowadays miss the playoffs) all the time because they can't find an average player for a position or two.

5 or 8 average seasons is the difference between a guy who is done at 32 and one who plays until his 37 or 40 helping teams win pennants. There is plenty of value there. At a minimum it's a strong tiebreaker, but even that way underrates average seasons.

I don't know where this myth that a peak is super important came from. In terms of winning pennants, 10+0 is worth about 10-15% more than 5+5. And it's not like the differences between two 60 career WAR guys are as cut and dried as one player have six 10 WAR seasons with nothing else while the other has twelve 5's. It's usually a lot closer than that.

Having the peak should be the tiebreaker, assuming you've set your replacement level correctly, not the other way around.
   85. Ron J2 Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4329419)
#68 Allen is also classified as a 3B on Dale Stephenson's peak lists. Probably for the same reason that he is on the JAWS. The plurality of his peak (by adjusted batting wins in Dale's case) was at third.

Dunno. I'm planning on redoing Dale's peak lists and I think the way I'll do it for multi-position players is to not include time at less demanding positions. So calculate Allen's peak at 3B counting only his years at 3B, but for purposes of peak 1B count any of his years (which is likely to result in him being listed as a 1B). Yount peak SS won't include his time in CF, but he'll still end up listed as a SS.
   86. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4329432)
Not sure I understand.

Bill James suggested way back when that you take everything the player did, then pick a position that best describes him (which I take to mean where he had the most value in most cases) and slot him on that list.

If not you'll end up underrating the more versatile guys, or the guys that moved around for whatever reason.
   87. AROM Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4329472)
Woohoo! At least some separation. I'm still not sure I quite buy Walker*, Edgar and Lofton being quite so high or Biggio so low


Biggio hung around for a few years as a below average player to get his 3000 hits. If you do the wins above average approach, I think you need to zero out any below average seasons. A player should not hurt his case by playing more if a team thinks he has something to contribute.

I don't think this is sensible at all. Average seasons have plenty of value. Teams lose pennants (or nowadays miss the playoffs) all the time because they can't find an average player for a position or two.


Average seasons have value, but they don't indicate greatness. That's what I'm looking for in the HOF.
   88. bachslunch Posted: December 20, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4329528)
Babe Ruth, Gaylord Perry and Willie Mays is just 3 of those who are 100% confirmed cheaters who are in

Add in three other spitter/scuffers in Whitey Ford, Don Drysdale, and Don Sutton, plus admitted greenie user Mike Schmidt. You can also count John McGraw for grabbing base runners by the belt/belt-loop or tripping them.
   89. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 20, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4329540)
If nobody gets voted in this year, a year in which arguably the greatest pitcher of all time, the greatest position player of the last 50 years, and the best-hitting catcher of all-time are on the ballot, plus at least 10 others who would not be poor HOF choices at all, I think we need to push to have the BBWAA disbanded. This is the most stacked ballot since the first two or three back in the 30's.
   90. AROM Posted: December 20, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4329548)
I don't think you need to take the vote away from the BBWAA. A few simple reforms would solve the problem.

1. No limit to HOF ballot. If you think 14 players on a ballot are deserving, you should be allowed to vote for 14.
2. Minimum elect target. It would work this way: Anyone over 75% is in. If there are not enough 75% candidates to meet the minimum, then the top candidates are inducted to meet that minimum.
3. The minimum target adjusts from year to year to reflect that some ballots are weaker than others. It could be anywhere from 2 to 5 players, and this would be determined objectively by tying it to the total number of Cy Young and MVP awards collectively awarded to the group on the ballot.
   91. bachslunch Posted: December 20, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4329552)
One could also require the HoF candidate to appear on the Banned List in order to flunk the "character/sportsmanship/whatever clause."
   92. AROM Posted: December 20, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4329554)
After looking at the weak 2012 ballot (8 collective MVP, no CY) and the loaded 2014 one, assuming nobody gets in (27 collective awards) my scale would be:

0-10 awards: elect 1
11-15: elect 2
16-20: elect 3
21-25: elect 4
26+: elect 5

Of course in a year like 2012, you can still have more than 1 inductee, provided they get 75% of the votes.
   93. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 20, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4329566)
I'm not a huge fan of a "minimum elect" clause. While I agree with the general objective it seems that in hockey and football where they do have such a thing it winds up with some silly elections. For example, I'd bet dollars to donuts that in 2013 one of the group would be Morris. The other concern I have with it is I think it creates too much of a hive mind electorate. I like that there are people out there who disagree with me.

Having said that I like the idea of some sort of objective determination for how many players are on that minimum number. The problem in general with HoF elections is and will remain the inability of voters to recognize what is a Hall of Famer.
   94. Ron J2 Posted: December 20, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4329573)
#86 Not sure if you're talking to me, but the approach I've outlined works pretty well for almost everybody when you're talking peak. Relatively few players split their peaks across positions, and I don't think anybody has a problem with including Rickey's 1985 in his LF peak even though he played center. He obviously could have played left. (lots of corner OF with reasonable speed spent time in CF. I'm not going to sweat it)

Allen and Killebrew probably show up as first-basemen given the approach I'm thinking about and that's not a terrible result.

Honus Wagner might miss a year, but it's not going to make any difference. Really the only player it really affects (that I can think of) is Yount.

But come to that, while I'm planning on sorting by best 5 qualifying years it won't be a problem to also include best 5 years period.
   95. BDC Posted: December 20, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4329598)
Average seasons have value, but they don't indicate greatness

Exactly. Ernie Banks and Graig Nettles have almost identical career WAR. Nettles may be better than the BBWAA thinks he was (he's in the HOM), but Ernie Banks was a very great baseball player; Nettles, OTOH, was a solidly OK guy for much longer.

The effect becomes magnified as you move well down the WAR list, since most of the players near the top have great career totals; great careers correlate well with great peaks. But if you wander way down the page, you see things like Jackie Jensen having the same career WAR as Rondell White. White was a good player, perhaps better than I remember him (I remember him as just some guy). And Jensen was overrated by his RBI totals, which were a function of his team and park; he didn't deserve his MVP award. And Rondell White wasn't afraid of flying, which helped him get the maximum out of his career. But Jensen was by far the better baseball player.

The career-value argument is quite respectable and consistent, but not very nuanced about such comparisons.
   96. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: December 20, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4329616)
Again, I find it hard to take WAR nearly as seriously as a lot of people do when Kenny Lofton is rated as has having more career value than Mike Piazza. With a crystal ball in hand, I think very few GMs (if any) would draft Lofton over Piazza. I never was a fan of Piazza, his hair, or his mustache. But he's a slam dunk Hall of Famer.
   97. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4329622)
What does 'greatness' mean?

If a player is average, say 2 WAR for 10 years, that provides nearly as much value to a team, and is nearly as 'great' as a player who was 5 WAR for 4 years and then retired. He's definitely as great at the guy who had 4.5 WAR for 4 years and retired.

I just don't understand the fascination with peak (which is what you are calling greatness). I'm not a career voter per se. I just ran the numbers (using every season since 1871) and Baseball Prospectus Pennants Added methodology (from an early 2000s book), which is extremely logical and objective. It turns out that having a bigger peak adds a little value to a player's career, but not very much. Again 10-15% for the player who packs it all into one year vs. splitting his value amongst two years.

If the numbers showed that peaks had some crazy additional value in terms of teams winning more pennants, I'd be all for it. But that just isn't how baseball works. Mainly because an MVP is the difference between being .500 and winning 90 games. He can't make a .500 team great all by himself. In the NBA, where only 6 or 7 guys matter for a team, and the top 2 or 3 drive most of the winning, I'm sure it would be different.

Being very good for a long time is a form of greatness. Any system that considers two players who have the same peak the same, when one of them has additional years as an average player, helping teams win, is seriously flawed. Durability counts.
   98. Tippecanoe Posted: December 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4329629)
The career-value argument is quite respectable and consistent, but not very nuanced about such comparisons.

I don't understand what makes a peak argument more nuanced. Does Whitaker's peak meet the "greatness" standard? If Saberhagen had been able to add three average seasons, wouldn't the SABR community rate him as clearly over the HOF line?
   99. BDC Posted: December 20, 2012 at 08:16 PM (#4329673)
A sheer peak argument is no more nuanced than a sheer career argument. I'm for maintaining a distinction between the Jensens of the world and the Rondell Whites, is all. It might be six of one as to who you'd draft in full knowledge of their coming careers, but Jensen was still better at baseball.
   100. BDC Posted: December 20, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4329679)
I find it hard to take WAR nearly as seriously as a lot of people do when Kenny Lofton is rated as has having more career value than Mike Piazza

I don't think it's a problem with WAR. Catchers (as noted often in these threads) simply play fewer innings than other position players, and those innings must be taken by somebody not nearly as good as Mike Piazza. So, adjust one's thinking for catchers (as AROM suggests above).
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