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Monday, September 10, 2012

Dayn Perry: Lance Berkman out for rest of season; next stop Hall of Fame?

Who else has Dick Allen and Albert Belle as their top two similarity scores?

As Strauss points out, this could mean the end of Berkman’s playing career. The 36-year-old isn’t under contract for 2013, and he’s previously said how difficult it is to coax his ailing legs into playing shape these days. If this is indeed the end for Berkman, then he leaves the game with a compelling hall-of-fame case: OPS+ of 146 (good for 47th place on the all-time list); 360 homers; 412 doubles; 1,163 walks; 1,200 RBI; 1,119 runs scored; 3,393 total bases; 3,072 times on base; and 801 extra-base hits.

How likely is he to make it? Historical standards suggest he’ll fall a bit short. Baseball historian Bill James developed four “tests” to evaluate a players Cooperstown case based on the benchmarks and threshholds that the Hall’s caretakers tend to prioritize (the wondrous Baseball-Reference.com has a good explanation of each method). Here’s how Berkman stacks up according to James’s four tests (image courtesy of Baseball-Reference):

mb

As you can see, Berkman, despite an outstanding career, falls a bit shy of what’s generally expected of a hall of famer. On a rate basis, he’s definitely good enough, but his “counting stats” aren’t quite where they need to be, at least to satisfy the voters’ preferences. With that said, Berkman’s reputation as a great teammate and affable media presence might help him with voters. All this, of course, assumes Berkman won’t play again.

Repoz Posted: September 10, 2012 at 08:32 PM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, hof

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   1. flournoy Posted: September 10, 2012 at 08:49 PM (#4232092)
Three out of four of those metrics are for an average Hall of Famer, not a minimum Hall of Famer. If those tests really mean anything, which I don't think is true, then they show that he has a pretty good shot.
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 10, 2012 at 08:55 PM (#4232097)
flournoy

nah. numbers will be regarded as inflated due to era, berkman was never 'the' guy on a team, no defense that folks noticed and no mvps. he did play great in both of his world series.

i like him a lot but i don't see it unless he gets a 'no peds' boost
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2012 at 08:56 PM (#4232099)
Don't see him as a HoF.

Just not enough bulk. With 7500 PAs, you've got to be better than a 146 OPS+ from a corner.

Dick Allen is 7300, 156, and is pretty much the definition of borderline.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: September 10, 2012 at 08:57 PM (#4232100)
Agree with harvey, he's not really a standout among his era regardless of how well he scores on these numbers.

Dick Allen is 7300, 156, and is pretty much the definition of borderline.


Not really, if Allen had any other reputation he would be a clear over the line guy. His reputation, and lack of complete seasons hurts him.
   5. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:02 PM (#4232101)
Three out of four of those metrics are for an average Hall of Famer, not a minimum Hall of Famer. If those tests really mean anything, which I don't think is true, then they show that he has a pretty good shot.


The problem with the black and gray inks, is that it is an average of all HOFers. Many middle infielders and catchers get in with 0 or close to it. A corner guy like Berkman with such low totals probably is marginal at best. Pudge Rodriguez has 0 and 37 and should be a no brainer. Jim Rice has 33 and 176 and was a huge mistake. Larry Walker has 24 and 116 and probably won't get in.
   6. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:07 PM (#4232105)
For the HOF to be the ultimate honor, there have to be great players who aren't in it. Berkman was a great player.
   7. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:13 PM (#4232108)
rowland

i would term lance a great hitter. he was at best average defensively and not much of a baserunner.

he was by all accounts a fine teammate

   8. BDC Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4232110)
I ran one of my searches for weighted comps to Berkman: guys who played some 1B and some LF, centered on him in terms of PAs and OPS+, and ranked by WAR baserunning runs (for the heck of it):

Player          Rbaser   PA OPS+
Joe Kelley           4 7832  135
Bob Watson          
-7 6962  129
Ryan Klesko         
-9 6523  128
Frank Howard        
-9 7352  142
Adam Dunn          
-12 7134  126
Boog Powell        
-12 7809  134
Lance Berkman      
-22 7519  146 


… and that's a spectacularly useless comps list for evaluating his HOF case, because he's the best hitter and has one of the longest careers on it; IOW he's a good bit better than his "comps" (particularly given that he played some RF and CF too, so he's not a Howard or Dunn with the glove. Though to grade out behind Ryan Klesko in baserunning is not the start of anybody's HOF case.)

Still, Frank Howard and Boog Powell seem at least in the neighborhood of Berkman as hitters.

So here's a list narrowly focused on Berkman's hitting line, ranked by WAR Fielding Runs:

Player          Rfield   PA OPS+  SB       Pos
Larry Walker        95 8030  141 230 
*9/387D45
Norm Cash           39 7914  139  43    
*3/97D
Bob Johnson         18 8050  139  96  
*78/3495
Jesse Burkett       
-8 8317  143 338 *7/891645
Lance Berkman      
-21 7519  146  86    3798/D
Duke Snider        
-22 8237  140  99     *89/7
Mike Piazza        
-60 7745  143  17     *2D/3
Albert Belle       
-63 6676  144  88      *79D
Frank Howard      
-110 7352  142   8     793/


And that's more helpful. It's got two HOFers (Burkett & Snider), another no-brainer pace bacne (Piazza), and another with a decent case (Walker), and some other scary hitters of note. Howard shows up again, but Powell (a somewhat weaker hitter overall) does not. Berkman is still the best hitter on his own list, and his defense is hard to assess because of his versatility; the versatility alone may be worth a bit more than WAR thinks it is, I dunno.

On the whole, I don't think he'll be elected, but his stint with the Cardinals helped his case a lot.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4232117)
Historical standards suggest he’ll fall a bit short.

A bit? I'll be surprised if he makes it past 5% in his first year. I'm not sure he makes the HoM (their position player "cutoff" seems to be about 60 WAR).

he problem with the black and gray inks, is that it is an average of all HOFers. Many middle infielders and catchers get in with 0 or close to it.

Even more problematic, it includes all the VC selections. An "average" HoFer is probably no better than a borderline BBWAA selection -- although with Perez and Rice going in (and some guys left out), the BBWAA standards are possibly non-existent at the moment. Travis Jackson has 0 and 44 on black & gray ink (609th place on gray ink), 28 on the Monitor (641st place where 100 is likely) and a decent 29 on Standards (356th place).

A Berkman-esque guy would be Cepeda and he compiled 14/196 (44th all-time)/126/27 and didn't quite make it by BBWAA. But he also won an MVP, finished 2nd another time, an RoY and made 7(+) AS teams. Hmmm... Berkman has done a LOT better in MVP voting than I ever realized -- he has 2.00 career shares which is actually more than Cepeda. He has 4 top 5 finishes plus 2 more top 10. And 6 AS games. OK, he's got a better shot at 5% than I gave him above.

Still ... Dwight Evans, Reggie Smith, Jimmy Wynn, Jim Edmonds, Carlos Beltran, Larry Walker, Tim Raines and probably Kenny Lofton just among more deserving OF off the top of my head; Edgar and maybe McGriff among more deserving hitters (I assume Bagwell makes it soon).

   10. flournoy Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:41 PM (#4232124)
flournoy

nah. numbers will be regarded as inflated due to era, berkman was never 'the' guy on a team, no defense that folks noticed and no mvps. he did play great in both of his world series.


I agree; I don't think he really has a chance. I disagree with the article, though.

For what it's worth, I wouldn't mind seeing him make the Hall of Fame, but nobody asks me about these things.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:45 PM (#4232125)
Is it too late to ask you if you'd mind seeing Lance make the Hall of Fame?

   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4232126)
i would mind

as much as i enjoyed watching him play he was a bat. so if you are going into the hof you need to be a bat for a long time or for a time be the very best bat around. lance did neither.

that's my two cents
   13. base ball chick Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:54 PM (#4232129)
lance won't make the HOF

he was a lot better baseball player than most people realize and he never got 2 seconds worth of attention until he got to saint looie and i'm really happy he finally got a Ring

he was always fantastic in playoffs - unlike the 2 popular guys biggio and bagwell

he was a meh outfielder with a strong and pretty darn accurate arm who was better in right field than left. He was a pretty good fielding 1B. by the time he learned to run the bases well, his knees were gone.

it's too bad, really, because he had HOF talent fer SHER

and larry walker and kenny lofton SHOULD be in
   14. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4232133)
If you give postseasn credit, Berkman deserves a push upward; he's one of the better playoff hitters ever, and probably the best one that nobody has noticed. To wit:

In 2004, for the Astros, he hit .409/.480/.591 in the LDS, then .292/.400/.750 in the LCS. Nobody noticed, because of Carlos Beltran on his own team and later Albert Pujols on the other one.

In 2005, it was .357/.500/.643 in the LDS, and .286/.400/.524 in the LCS. He capped that off with a World Series performance of .385/.526/.538, driving in 6 of his team's 14 runs; the 6 RBI came on four plays, and all four of them either tied the game or broke a tie to put Houston ahead. You can make an argument for him as WS MVP. But his team got swept, so nobody noticed.

In 2010, he played in only 5 games in two rounds, but managed 5 hits in them, including a double, triple, and homer, plus 4 RBI and 3 runs. The Yankees lost, and he was only a part-timer anyway, so nobody cared.

In 2011, he scuffled a little for two rounds (.167/.286/.389 and .300/.391/.300), but came alive in the Series, going .423/.516/.577. In particular, his Game 6 was a magnificent performance - a go-ahead 2-run homer in the first, an ROE in the fourth and coming around to score the tying run, a single in the sixth, again scoring the tying run, a walk in the ninth, eventually scoring the tying run for the third time in the game, and a two-out RBI single in the tenth to tie the game yet again. That's .832 WPA, which I believe is the second-highest total ever for a player in Game 6 of the Series. A few people noticed that - but most were paying attention to David Freese, who had the highest WPA ever in a Game 6.

On balance, that's a magnificent postseason career, and it'll almost certainly end up as a casualty of the fact that people don't like to process multiple narratives at once.
   15. GregD Posted: September 10, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4232135)
I'm sure I didn't appreciate him as much as he deserved. It never occurred to me that he was an HOFer at his position, barring some amazingly long late career, which isn't happening. Are there HOM voters who see themselves as likely voting for him? I haven't followed the HOM except at a distance and will be interested if he makes the cutoff.
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 10, 2012 at 10:09 PM (#4232136)
He was basically a somewhat better version of Jack Clark. That's enough to make the Hall of Very Good, but really not all that close to a HoFer.
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: September 10, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4232141)

I have voted in all of the 100+ HOM elections dating back to "1898" which was in real 2003, and without a review I have NO idea if Berkman would get my support or most others.

Probably the first player I can think of where I'd say that
   18. GregD Posted: September 10, 2012 at 10:25 PM (#4232144)
He was basically a somewhat better version of Jack Clark. That's enough to make the Hall of Very Good, but really not all that close to a HoFer.
Jack Clark is actually ahead of him in WAR though behind him in WAA. That's just a relic of Clark's extra 700 atbats; Berkman's better than that. But still...
   19. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 10, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4232148)
Would that make Berkman an inner-circle HOVG?
   20. Eddo Posted: September 10, 2012 at 10:41 PM (#4232151)
he was always fantastic in playoffs - unlike the 2 popular guys biggio and bagwell

The lasting impressions I have of the 2005 Astros, as a White Sox fan, are:
- Adam Everett getting to everything, and making it look easy
- Bagwell looking old
- Biggio playing like crap, mostly
- and, of course, Berkman just raking.

I think I will miss him.
   21. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: September 10, 2012 at 10:54 PM (#4232154)
That's .832 WPA, which I believe is the second-highest total ever for a player in Game 6 of the Series. A few people noticed that - but most were paying attention to David Freese, who had the highest WPA ever in a Game 6.

David Freese had the highest WPA ever, in any WS game. Berkman had the third highest WS game WPA ever, in the same WS game. #2 is, of course, Kirk Gibson.

What an amazing game. But you're right- I think of that as the David Freese game, and it's not fair to Lance at all.
   22. Don Malcolm Posted: September 10, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4232163)
Why the heck couldn't Lance wind up back in Houston next year when they go to the AL? They could sign him to an incentives-laden contract, park him at DH, and see if he can stay healthy. If he can, it adds about the best bat they could possibly acquire at what would probably be a quite reasonable rate. Lance just might find that an irresistible option should it get presented to him. If he gets healthy, he could possibly crack 400 HRs, get past 2000 hits, all of which would help his HoF case.

How many players are there with .400+ OBPs and 6000+ PAs who are not (yet) in the Hall of Fame:
                             
Rk           Player OPS+  OBP
1       Barry Bonds  182 .444
2      Frank Thomas  156 .419
3       Todd Helton  135 .419
4    Edgar Martinez  147 .418
5     Albert Pujols  169 .415
6     Manny Ramirez  154 .411
7     Lance Berkman  146 .409
8      Jeff Bagwell  149 .408
9      Jason Giambi  141 .404
10        Jim Thome  147 .402
11          Lu Blue  109 .402
12    Chipper Jones  141 .401
13     Larry Walker  141 .400
14      Brian Giles  136 .400
   23. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: September 10, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4232169)
I'd say half those guys will make it in and ten deserve to.
   24. JJ1986 Posted: September 10, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4232173)
Bonds, Thomas, Pujols, Bagwell, Thome and Jones will all be in eventually. Manny probably deserves it. I think everyone else is borderline at best.
   25. AROM Posted: September 10, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4232178)
If Lance Berkman could run and throw he would have been Larry Walker. And the voters aren't giving Walker much support.
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: September 10, 2012 at 11:41 PM (#4232181)
[quote]Rk           Player OPS+  OBP
1       Barry Bonds  182 .444
2      Frank Thomas  156 .419
3       Todd Helton  135 .419
4    Edgar Martinez  147 .418
5     Albert Pujols  169 .415
6     Manny Ramirez  154 .411
7     Lance Berkman  146 .409
8      Jeff Bagwell  149 .408
9      Jason Giambi  141 .404
10        Jim Thome  147 .402
11          Lu Blue  109 .402
12    Chipper Jones  141 .401
13     Larry Walker  141 .400
14      Brian Giles  136 .400[
/quote] 


1. Bonds 12000+ Pa
2. Thomas 10,000 + Pa
3. Helton 9000+
4. Edgar 8600+
5. Albert 8000+
6. Manny 9770
7. Berkman 7500
8. Bagwell 9400
9. Giambi 8600
10. Thome 10,000
11. Lu Blue 7200
12. Chipper 10000
13. Walker 8030
14. Giles 7800

Basically Berkman is with Blue and Giles more than he is with Bonds and the others.





   27. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 10, 2012 at 11:55 PM (#4232189)
Berkman ended up with less PA than Walker? Wow. I wouldn't have guessed that at all.
   28. base ball chick Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:04 AM (#4232195)
20. Eddo Posted: September 10, 2012 at 10:41 PM (#4232151)

The lasting impressions I have of the 2005 Astros, as a White Sox fan, are:
- Adam Everett getting to everything, and making it look easy
- Bagwell looking old
- Biggio playing like crap, mostly
- and, of course, Berkman just raking.

I think I will miss him.


- couldn't agree more.
my other lasting impressions are

1 - brad lidge being terrible
2 - roger clemens, naturally, getting hurt
3 - roy oswalt coming apart at home and losing
4 - brandon backe, as usual, being excellent in a playoff game (or nationally televised game)

adam everett has spoilt me permanently on how i think a REAL Ml SS plays. he never got credit for how incredible he was. roy oswalt said - if there are 2 outs and a ball is hit up the middle or to left, i start walking off the field without bothering to look behind me because i know adam got it.

he was one of the main reasons that astros pitchers looked so good when he was on the field. his absence is one of the 2 reasons we lost in 04 (having only 1 relief pitcher who didn't suck was the other)

Don Malcolm Posted: September 10, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4232163)

Why the heck couldn't Lance wind up back in Houston next year when they go to the AL?


- because berkman doesn't believe in DH ball and he has been VERY critical of jim crane. which makes me luuuuvvvvv the guy even more. also, he wants to go back to college and finish his degree.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:12 AM (#4232200)

"adam everett has spoilt me permanently on how i think a REAL Ml SS plays. he never got credit for how incredible he was."

I THINK the annoying newfangled stats capture a lot of that?

   30. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:27 AM (#4232209)
I love the idea of Berkman back in Houston as DH. I wonder what it would take on Crane's part to make that happen?
   31. base ball chick Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:52 AM (#4232227)
howie

the annoying newfangled stats certainly do, but it didn't make no nevermind to most baseball fans, astros fans, or the media

charityslave

will be interesting to see if berkman goes back on his words and sells his soul. i kind of doubt it, but then again, i don't know the guy personally, so who knows. i would hate HATE it if he did and he would drop out of my top 5 favorite astros of all time. in fact, i would lose a LOT of respect for him as a person if he did something like that
   32. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:29 AM (#4232251)
Not sure I quite buy Everett as "unappreciated." It is ridiculous that he didn't win a single GG ... and rather odd given pretty much everybody (broadcaster, player, manager, fan) I heard talk about him praised his defense. But for a guy who didn't hit a lick, he got a lot of playing time which means somebody recognized his value. And he'd have gotten a lot more if he hadn't started getting hurt all the time -- he was his team's opening day SS from 2002 to 2010 (except 2003 ... was he hurt?). Once the injuries started piling up, he just wasn't that good anymore.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:40 AM (#4232257)
Berkman and HoM: I assume it would require (a) strong peak/prime voters -- 40 WAR in 8 years is pretty solid; and (b) a down year and he just happens to be among the top finishers. Reuschel and Cone just made it; Rizzuto sat 4th. Larry Walker made it 1st ballot; Reggie Smith is in; Dawson made it; Nettles made it; Cravath came close.

AROM sums it up well in #25. And I hadn't realised how little time Berkman spent in RF and how much time he spent at 1B.
   34. RollingWave Posted: September 11, 2012 at 05:53 AM (#4232290)
OTOH, Berkman might have the advantage of comming on to the ballot during a period of realtively weaker candidates.
   35. Rants Mulliniks Posted: September 11, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4232322)
Berkman was always one of my favourite players, and probably the fattest young CF ever. It's probably not even fair to call him fat, but he always had that chubby face. I don't think he deserves the HOF, if this is the end of the line for him, but if he can somehow get another 1500 PAs and keep his career OPS close to 140 I'd vote for him.
   36. AROM Posted: September 11, 2012 at 08:30 AM (#4232326)
Everett: He was never the same after the 2007 injury. Before that he was probably a +25 true talent SS. After he came back, more like +5. Which is not enough to carry his glove.
   37. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4232614)
Dick Allen is 7300, 156, and is pretty much the definition of borderline.

Not really, if Allen had any other reputation he would be a clear over the line guy. His reputation, and lack of complete seasons hurts him.


For the HoM, maybe. The best arguments for him (stats like OPS+ and WAR) didn't even exist when he came up for election. I think Allen's not in the HOF cuz his counting stats are just way too low for a 1B, whether he lived up to his first name or not.

i would mind

as much as i enjoyed watching him play he was a bat. so if you are going into the hof you need to be a bat for a long time or for a time be the very best bat around. lance did neither.

that's my two cents


This is pretty much my exact opinion. The argument for him is basically the same one the peak voters tried to make for Albert Belle when he debuted on the ballot. I didn't buy it. To make the HOF as a pure hitter, you need to be amongst the best in a long career (Manny, Thome), or the very best (or close to it) in a shorter career (McGwire). I remember looking at the numbers a few years back and Belle wasn't one of the top 10 hitters of his era. That's not even close to enough when that's all he has going for him. Without looking at his peers, I imagine Berkman DOES crack the top 10, but I doubt he's in the top 5 or 6. Still not enough for Lance, IMO.
   38. alilisd Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4232820)
I remember looking at the numbers a few years back and Belle wasn't one of the top 10 hitters of his era.


Do you remember what numbers you looked at? OPS+ puts him in with a bunch of guys (I used 1986 to 2005 as era to incorporate 5 years before and after his years as a full time player, 1991 to 2000). There are Bonds, McGwire, Thomas and Ramirez at the top and then 13 guys who range from 150 to 144, Belle is at 146 if you use just 1991 to 2000, but his first two seasons pull him down to 144 career. I guess you could include him in the Top 10 if you consider there are several guys tied at 149, 146 and 144 and that the difference between 146 and 150 is not all that great.

I think he's pretty close t obeing a Top 10 hitter for his era.

looking at his peers, I imagine Berkman DOES crack the top 10, but I doubt he's in the top 5 or 6.


Really depends on how you define era/peers, I think. Berkman looks a lot like Belle when I look at 1995 to 2012. He's there in OPS+, except this time there are four guys at the top and 8 from 150 to 144, with Berkman at 146. However, in this case there are several guys behind him in OPS+ I would say are better hitters, which wasn't necessarily the case with Belle. Because of timing, A-Rod, Chipper and Piazza are behind Berkman in OPS+ and Thomas is tied with him, but I think most would recognize them as better hitters.
   39. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4232831)
Lance Berkman is not going to the Hall of Fame. Almost nobody gets into the Hall of Fame.
   40. BDC Posted: September 11, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4232846)
Yes, it's mainly a career-length thing. Berkman would be a good HOF candidate if he'd played quite a bit longer (he obviously had a long career, but not for a HOF discussion).

There are about two dozen HOFers, in solely as players, who have fewer hits than Berkman (and maybe only a dozen with fewer than Belle). They are either "mistakes," (Tommy McCarthy, Freddie Lindstrom) or glove men (Tinker, Rizzuto), or veterans (Hank Greenberg), or had been Negro Leaguers (Campanella, Robinson, Doby, Irvin). To merit the HOF with your bat in that short a career, you have to be as great at your peak as Greenberg, or alternatively be Mickey Cochrane or Frank Baker (at the top at your position over a significant era, and pretty damn good as a hitter in the bargain).
   41. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4232875)
I remember looking at the numbers a few years back and Belle wasn't one of the top 10 hitters of his era.

Do you remember what numbers you looked at?


For "peers" I included everyone who's career overlapped Belle's by at least 5 years. I went off OPS+, but in Belle's case he tends to be overrated by OPS+ since his career was so much shorter than most the guys we're comparing him to, and he almost completely skipped his decline phase. So for guys that were slightly behind Albert in OPS+, I used their OPS+ through roughly the same amount of plate appearances as Belle. I don't have the time while I'm working to look up every one of these players exact numbers, but going off memory these are the comps who were either clearly better (higher OPS+ and more plate appearances), or roughly on par once you factor out their decline phase and only rank them through the same number of PA's as Belle:

Bonds, Thomas, McGwire, Manny, Thome, Edgar, Bagwell, Chipper, A-Rod, Sheffield, Piazza, Griffey, Giambi, Walker, Delgado, Vlad. There may have been someone else I'm forgetting. If I remember correctly, he was right about on par with Walker and Delgado WRT OPS+ through the same number of PA's, and behind everyone else. That's not top 10; probably not top dozen. And if you extended it out a few years like you did, you'd add Pujols, Berkman, and maybe Helton.
   42. alilisd Posted: September 11, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4233017)
in Belle's case he tends to be overrated by OPS+ since his career was so much shorter than most the guys we're comparing him to


Yep. Peak only and he's in the discussion for the Top 10, but he definitely falls short on career for his era, and in HOF terms.
   43. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4233047)
Yep. Peak only and he's in the discussion for the Top 10, but he definitely falls short on career for his era, and in HOF terms.


Agreed. And for a valid peak only HOF argument, you need to be better at your peak than just possibly squeaking into the top 10 at best. If Koufax or Pedro were merely possibly one of the top ten pitchers of their era's during their peaks rather than being by far the best of their era's and amongst the best ever, they wouldn't be HOFers either.
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4233054)
. If Koufax or Pedro were merely possibly one of the top ten pitchers of their era's during their peaks rather than being by far the best of their era's and amongst the best ever, they wouldn't be HOFers either.


I'll give you Koufax, but no way was Pedro by far better than Maddux or Clemens during their peaks. (Better, maybe, but not by far)
   45. phredbird Posted: September 11, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4233063)
i know i saw berkman when he was with the new orleans zephyrs, because i used to have a berkman new orleans zephyr bobblehead doll. .... but i don't have a clear memory of seeing him play.
   46. Sweatpants Posted: September 11, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4233067)
One thing I've always thought of with Berkman is that, for a guy with a career OPS+ of 146, he never really had a monster year. Last year's 165 OPS+ was the highest of his career. But that means he never really had any bad years, either, so his two worst full seasons had him posting an OPS+ of 112 (2010) and 130. Vladimir Guerrero was (is?) another guy like that. He never topped an OPS+ of 162. He just was around 150 pretty much every year until those last three.

I don't really see all that much distance between the two in terms of career value. They were both great hitters for about 10-12 seasons; neither did all that much outside of those seasons, but Guerrero had a lot more playing time outside of them (his 1997 and 2010 were both solid years, too). He was probably a better defender and a better baserunner than Berkman - Guerrero had the strongest throwing arm in the league and stole quite a few bases. He also led the league in outfield errors more often than not, got caught stealing a lot, and grounded into a ton of double plays. To me, that's not much difference. Guerrero's advantages come down to marginal superiority in the field and on the bases and about two extra average-ish seasons. I think that Guerrero will get more HOF support because his talent was a lot more jaw-dropping than Berkman's and he got an MVP, and maybe those, combined with his slight advantages in value, make him a better candidate.
   47. booond Posted: September 11, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4233070)
but no way was Pedro by far better than Maddux or Clemens during their peaks.


Who could be? Clemens and Maddux are two of the best. If Pedro was better that puts him in some rare company.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 08:08 PM (#4233115)

Who could be? Clemens and Maddux are two of the best. If Pedro was better that puts him in some rare company.


Agreed. Just not a fan of the narrative that Pedro was the Koufax of his era, in the sense he was far and away the best pitcher of his generation.
   49. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 11:21 PM (#4233300)
Agreed. Just not a fan of the narrative that Pedro was the Koufax of his era, in the sense he was far and away the best pitcher of his generation.


I agree, actually. I think I phrased my earlier comment poorly. What I meant was more along the lines of what #47 alluded to. Pedro had tougher competition towards being the best than Koufax did, and if he was better - even a little bit - than all time greats like Maddux, Clemens, and RJ, well, that's pretty damn noteworthy.

The point was though, that guys like Koufax and Pedro are perfect examples of what a peak HOF argument should look like. Belle (and Berkman) were very good hitters, but since that's basically all they had, they should be a lot better than just the 10th or 12th best during a short career to deserve any real consideration.
   50. alilisd Posted: September 12, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4233909)
Just not a fan of the narrative that Pedro was the Koufax of his era, in the sense he was far and away the best pitcher of his generation.


And I'm not a fan of the narrative that Koufax was far and away the best pitcher of his generation. He's widely overrated, IMO. His peak is often exaggerated because of the era and park in which he pitched. It was also much shorter than most seem to realize. His 1961 season was great, but not special and he was not the best pitcher in the league. His 1962 season was very good on a rate basis, but very short for the era with only 26 GS and 184.1 IP; he just makes the Top 10 in the league in 1962 by WAR. His 1964 season was also a bit short for the era with only 28 GS and 223 IP, though it was still a great season.

If you look at 1961 to 1966 as his peak, yes, he was the best pitcher in baseball for those 6 years, but he did not distance himself in an extraordinary way from several other pitchers of the era. Drysdale's 1960 to 1965 run is also very good. Gibson's 1961 to 1966 is very good. Marichal's 1964 to 1969 is great. Staying within the 5 year overlap to keep it amongst peers/eras, Gibson and Seaver from 1968 to 1973 were just as good as Koufax's 6 year peak.

I'd say Gibson is pretty clearly the best pitcher of Koufax's era and Marichal very close behind Koufax. Even if you want to put Koufax in front, he's not so far in front of Gibson and Marichal as you seem to be saying.
   51. alilisd Posted: September 12, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4233913)
I don't really see all that much distance between the two in terms of career value.


Really good comparison. I think you're spot on, but Guerrero may fare better in voting terms because I think the perception was he was a much better player. He did get much more recognition in terms of MVP voting anyway.
   52. BDC Posted: September 12, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4233928)
guys like Koufax and Pedro are perfect examples of what a peak HOF argument should look like

Among position players, again, the similar cases are Cochrane, Campanella, and Greenberg. In each case there are additional factors (Cochrane managed a World Champion, Campanella was blocked early by the color line, and both had severe injuries to end their playing careers; Greenberg fought in the war (and of course had significant front-office credentials, though only part of his management career came before his induction to the HOF). But aside from the other factors, you've got three guys with seven MVP awards among them, just clearly off the charts as peak ballplayers. It's hard to do as a non-pitcher, and harder as a non-pitcher or catcher.
   53. cardsfanboy Posted: September 12, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4233929)
I'd say Gibson is pretty clearly the best pitcher of Koufax's era and Marichal very close behind Koufax. Even if you want to put Koufax in front, he's not so far in front of Gibson and Marichal as you seem to be saying.


I'm not saying that, I allow others to say it and will accept it, as it's probable that I have a St Louis bias so I accept the consensual wisdom when it comes to Koufax vs Gibson and others, even if I don't absolutely agree with it. With Pedro it's different as I don't have a "team bias" affecting my perception of the players involved, so I get involved in the Pedro best of his era conversations.
   54. Booey Posted: September 12, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4233946)
Really good comparison. I think you're spot on, but Guerrero may fare better in voting terms because I think the perception was he was a much better player. He did get much more recognition in terms of MVP voting anyway.


Yeah. In actual value they're probably close, but I think Vlad will kick Berkman's trash when it comes to actual votes. His numbers (mainly counting stats) are quite a bit higher in most the categories voters generally seem to care about.

Plate Appearances:
Vlad - 9059
Berk - 7519

Runs Scored:
Vlad - 1328
Berk - 1119

Hits:
Vlad - 2590
Berk - 1843

Homers:
Vlad - 449
Berk - 360

RBI:
Vlad - 1496
Berk - 1200

AVG:
Vlad - .318
Berk - .296

MVP's:
Vlad - 1
Berk - 0


I actually don't think the voters will see them as very similar at all.
   55. alilisd Posted: September 12, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4234004)
The point was though, that guys like Koufax and Pedro are perfect examples of what a peak HOF argument should look like.


An important difference between Koufax and Pedro is you can also make a prime and career argument for Pedro, but Koufax is all peak. He is borderline on a prime or career basis. Career he resembles Roy Oswalt and Johan Santana. He also resembles borderline HOF Rube Waddell and Hal Newhouser, but with significantly fewer IP, or Whitey Ford with significantly fewer IP. Pedro has about 500 more IP, about 32 more WAR and an ERA+ 23 points higher than Koufax. Pedro may still be considered a short career guy, in terms of IP, but not terribly short for his era.
   56. alilisd Posted: September 12, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4234016)
I'm not saying that


OK, seemed like you were willing to agree Koufax was far and away the best of his era, and I think it's pretty clear he is not. He may be the best on a peak basis, but not far and away the best even on a peak basis.
   57. alilisd Posted: September 12, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4234021)
Among position players, again, the similar cases are Cochrane, Campanella, and Greenberg.


I think Kiner fits in there, too. Not as worthy a choice as those three, but clearly in because of an incredible peak. Kiner is the position player's Koufax?
   58. AROM Posted: September 12, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4234036)
Gibson and Marichal are the closest to being Koufax's peers. I ran a list of pitchers born +/- 5 years from Sandy's 1935 birthdate.

What's amazing is how Koufax is a guy I never had a chance to see pitch, retiring 4 years before I was born. But I have clear memories of watching a few guys who come up as peers in this query - Perry, Neikro, Tiant, Kaat.
   59. AROM Posted: September 12, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4234053)
Koufax 1962-66, best 5 consecutive years: 275 IP, 167 ERA+, 7.8 WAR (-.3 as hitter)
Gibson 1968-72, 287 IP, 150 ERA+, 8.2 WAR (+.7 as hitter)
Marichal 1965-69, 286 IP, 149 ERA+, 6.6 WAR (+.3 hitting)
Drysdale 1960-64, 293 IP, 128 ERA+, 5.6 WAR (+.4 hitting)

I think the WAR difference between Gibson and Marichal, despite almost equal IP/ERA+, is that Marichal allowed more unearned runs.

Peak Koufax might beat peak Gibson in a DH league, but in the league these guys actually played in I'd definitely take Gibson.
   60. alilisd Posted: September 12, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4234073)
Good stuff, AROM, thanks.
   61. BDC Posted: September 12, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4234114)
Yes, Kiner's a great example, allisd. And in his case there are very few additional factors. He was a WW2 veteran, but was still fairly young when he got to the majors in 1946; his career wasn't interrupted, really, or at least not by much. He left the game young after a short career; and he's a HOM selection, so it isn't like the BBWAA misread his credentials – if anything, they delayed his induction for a while because of disdain for his batting average.

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