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Monday, April 30, 2018

Nick Markakis, Durability & 3000 Hits

For now, Markakis’ durability remains his calling card — and his best chance at 3,000.

The Times on Base vs. Hits argument, which compared Tony Gwynn’s career offensive output against Tim Raines, carried the former Expos great into Cooperstown in his 10th year of eligibility. Perhaps more discussion needs to unfold surrounding the greatness of players who were not only able take the field 150 games a year for a decade and a half plus, but who remain wanted by front offices more and more inhabited by quantitative analysts rather than eye-test experts.

djordan Posted: April 30, 2018 at 08:40 AM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   1. ajnrules Posted: May 01, 2018 at 10:12 AM (#5663530)
Nick Markakis could be the 3000-hit test case that everybody thought Johnny Damon was going to be until he fell off the cliff. Unless of course Markakis falls off the cliff and ends up in the 2700-2800 range as well.
   2. Man o' Schwar Posted: May 01, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5663548)
He would have to stay at his current level of production and durability through the 2023 season, when he would be almost 40. He's probably going to have to move back to the AL - it's hard to imagine his defense would hold up through then, but as a DH he doesn't have much attraction as a guy who's going to hit a largely powerless .280 every year.

I think he's going to run out of teams willing to stick him in the starting lineup every day. It's hard to imagine the Braves would want him back after his contract runs out at the end of this season, given all the young players that are coming up through the system and their expected window for contention.
   3. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 01, 2018 at 10:53 AM (#5663561)
56 players have 950 or more hits after the age of 33. That's actually more than I expected but it's not a huge number either. The problem for Markakis as Man O'Schwar points out it's that he's not a guy you are going to make room for. His ten most comparable players through age 33 all looked pretty solid at the same age and none of them got close to 950 hits.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: May 01, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5663563)

Nick Markakis could be the 3000-hit test case that everybody thought Johnny Damon was going to be until he fell off the cliff. Unless of course Markakis falls off the cliff and ends up in the 2700-2800 range as well.


I was going to say that he's much more likely to fall short of 2,500 than wind up north of 3,000. But I thought of a way he could actually make a run. If he's willing to play on the cheap over the next 4-5 years, it's possible he could move from one tanking team to the next and accruing the necessary ABs.

Honestly, I'd love to see him try.

   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 01, 2018 at 11:04 AM (#5663569)
Speaking of the 3000 Club, here's its newest member

(Yeah, I know, but the timing is too perfect to pass up.)
   6. Baldrick Posted: May 01, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5663574)
It's only a month, but he's off to a really good start this year.

In fact, with 1.6 WAR through the end of April, he's already basically put together a typical Nick Markakis season. Somewhat bizarrely, he's been at 1.7 or 1.8 WAR in four of the last six years.
   7. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 01, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5663655)
Nick Markakis could be the 3000-hit test case that everybody thought Johnny Damon was going to be until he fell off the cliff. Unless of course Markakis falls off the cliff and ends up in the 2700-2800 range as well.


I don't think this is at all fair to Damon. He's not a HOFer in my book, even with the 3,000, especially since Lofton was ignored.

But if he'd had two more decent years to get him to 3,000 hits, he'd be a (50-50) CF with ~60 WAR, 400+ SB, who was a key contributor on two WS winning teams. That's still a no to me, but it doesn't scream out and out mistake to me either. He might be the absolute line for modern CFs, but someone has to be.

Notably, by WAR, there'd be 2-4 non-HOFers in CF ahead of him (Edmonds, Davis, Jones, Lofton) with the largest gap being 8.3 WAR. You could absolutely argue that Damon is a borderline player, but that his iconic moments/rings make up enough of the difference between him and Lofton to justify a vote without relying strictly on the 3,000 hits to make your argument. It would be part of your argument, sure. But it wouldn't be *the* argument.

On the other hand, this hot start non-withstanding, a Markakis with 3,000 hits probably ends up with 40-45 WAR and, barring some good luck in the team department, absolutely nothing else on his resume except two gold gloves.

Let's be generous and say he gets to 45 WAR. There would be 7 non-HOFers in RF ahead of him in WAR, and that's if you exclude Jackson and PED guys. But the gap between him and guys like Reggie Smith (19.4), Dwight Evans (22.1), and, especially Larry Walker (27.7) is so insanely large, and Markakis has nothing else to mitigate it, that the only possible way to justify a vote for Markakis is to say "3,000 hits means you're in, period."
   8. jmurph Posted: May 01, 2018 at 12:34 PM (#5663664)
absolutely nothing else on his resume except two gold gloves.

Wow he's never even made an all star team? I'm now fully on board with him getting to 3,000 because it would be so confusing.
   9. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 01, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5663690)
Wow he's never even made an all star team? I'm now fully on board with him getting to 3,000 because it would be so confusing.


Nope. Although I guess 6th place in ROY voting is technically something.

But yeah, it would defy logic that a player that mediocre—he has two seasons where he's had 3 WAR (although this will probably be a third)—could ever get to 3,000 hits. Which is probably why he won't.

Damon, on the other hand, is pretty much the definition of a HOVG guy. Him getting to 3,000 wouldn't have been all that shocking.
   10. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 01, 2018 at 01:10 PM (#5663700)
At BBRef, Damon is Markakis' #1 most similar through age 33. That's fun. (Though the score is 910, so they're not all that close to one another.)
   11. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 01, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5663727)
Of all the batters in the modern era who have passed the 3,000-hit mark, only Pete Rose, Cal Ripken and Ichiro Suzuki averaged more games played per season than Markakis has thus far.
Through their first 12 seasons, Ripken averaged fewer games than Markakis (because he was a September callup as a rookie). Ripken is #1 in games played from career seasons 2-12. Pujols averaged more than Markakis, and ATM he's at 2996 hits.

Eddie Murray lost 50-55 games to the strike in 1981, or else he would have also played in more games than Markakis. If you assume that Murray would've appeared at the same rate in games lost to strike in '81, '94, and '95, then he would've averaged 154 games played in his first 20 years in MLB (through age 40), vs 153 for Markakis in his first 12.

Players (including those with fewer than 3000 career hits hits) with 1800+ games through their first 12 seasons:

Rk             Player    G From   To   Age   PA
1       Ichiro Suzuki 1911 2001 2012 27
-38 8723
2           Pete Rose 1860 1963 1974 22
-33 8478
3       Albert Pujols 1859 2001 2012 21
-32 8103
4       Robinson Cano 1848 2005 2016 22
-33 7845
5           Ron Santo 1844 1960 1971 20
-31 7828
6       Nick Markakis 1839 2006 2017 22
-33 8006
7        Eddie Murray 1820 1977 1988 21
-32 7790
8      Miguel Cabrera 1819 2003 2014 20
-31 7811
9    Carl Yastrzemski 1817 1961 1972 21
-32 7831
10       George Scott 1809 1966 1977 22
-33 7419
11         Hank Aaron 1806 1954 1965 20
-31 7855
12          Ken Boyer 1803 1955 1966 24
-35 7584
13         Cal Ripken 1800 1981 1992 20
-31 7807 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/1/2018.

   12. Howie Menckel Posted: May 01, 2018 at 01:48 PM (#5663728)
Damon was the first one voted off the all-athlete "Dancing with the Stars" series last night, which is bound to hurt his "intangibles" case. I didn't see it, but maybe he was supposed to throw the girl and it didn't take?
   13. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:17 PM (#5663787)
Damon was the first one voted off the all-athlete "Dancing with the Stars" series last night, which is bound to hurt his "intangibles" case. I didn't see it, but maybe he was supposed to throw the girl and it didn't take?


Manny Ramirez cut off the girl on the way to her landing.
   14. bfan Posted: May 01, 2018 at 05:39 PM (#5663917)

Wow he's never even made an all star team?


That Chipper Jones didn't make the NL all-star team the year he was the league MVP while his teammate Brian Jordan did make the all-star team that year, because...(who knows?) has made me ignore that as a credential.

I guess maybe for the hall of FAME it is important, but there aren't many weaker metrics out there than that one.
   15. DanG Posted: May 01, 2018 at 06:11 PM (#5663943)
According to The Bill James Handbook 2018 these players have more than a 20% chance to reach 3,000 hits:

97% Albert Pujols
67% Miguel Cabrera
57% Robinson Cano
28% Nick Markakis
25% Jose Altuve
23% Elvis Andrus
22% Melky Cabrera
21% Carlos Beltran
   16. Ziggy's screen name Posted: May 01, 2018 at 07:42 PM (#5663981)
Bill thinks that Pujols is going to die this week?
   17. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: May 01, 2018 at 09:12 PM (#5664047)
Bill thinks that Pujols is going to die this week?

I think 97% is the maximum.

67% Miguel Cabrera (for 3000 hits)

And about 50-50 for 550 HR, just figuring it in my head.
   18. The Duke Posted: May 01, 2018 at 09:28 PM (#5664063)
How does Beltran have that much of a chance. Markakis is about as far away from a hall of fame player I can think of, so yes it would be great if he got 3000 hits and no other black ink. I don’t know how you could vote him in.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: May 01, 2018 at 09:34 PM (#5664069)
Markakis is about as far away from a hall of fame player I can think of, so yes it would be great if he got 3000 hits and no other black ink. I don’t know how you could vote him in.


Nick Markakis with 3,000 hits would be wonderful, as it would finally and conclusively dispel the myth of the automatic number.
   20. DanG Posted: May 01, 2018 at 10:15 PM (#5664104)
How does Beltran have that much of a chance
The book was published before Beltran announced his retirement.

His 108 hits last year left him 275 short of 3,000. He had a 79% chance to fall short of the milestone, and that's what happened.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: May 02, 2018 at 02:50 AM (#5664192)
I refuse to believe Markakis has anything remotely like a 28% chance at 3,000. (Calm down, this virtually guarantees he'll get there.)

That Chipper Jones didn't make the NL all-star team the year he was the league MVP while his teammate Brian Jordan did make the all-star team that year, because...(who knows?) has made me ignore that as a credential.

It's fairly common for a player to miss the AS team in an MVP or CYA year. All it takes is a sub-par first half and 1 or 2 players overperforming at the same position. Also Chipper is one of the less impressive MVPs of recent vintage (see EDIT) and locked it down with late-season performances against the Mets. (i.e. it was a "clutch" MVP in a year where nobody had runaway numbers). Which isn't to say he didn't deserve it and I'm pretty sure I argued for him but he was 14th in RBI, tied for a distant 3rd in HR, 2nd in WAR and just barely ahead of Ventura in 3rd, was even 4th in OBP with a 441 (or third if we ignore Walker).

Through the end of May he was hitting "just" 290/381/554 at the height of sillyball. He wasn't substantially different at the end of June. After the break he hit 328/464/693 which was pretty darned good.

Now ... Ventura didn't make the AS game either that year. The starter was Matt Williams (about the same season as Ventura and Jones to that point) and the back-up was Ed Sprague who I assume was the Pirates only rep. So one of Chipper/Ventura got screwed by that rule. Also the NL carried just one backup at each IF spot but 4 bench OF ... so sure, they coulda snuck Chipper on there ... unless one of the OF was hurt (beside Gwynn who was hurt and I didn't count him). The NL also carried 12 pitchers, 2 more than the AL, for no good reason.

Anyway, we all know the limitations of AS selections and that therefore they are far from a perfect indicator of excellence ... but they have some value. And although it looks silly in hindsight, it's not uncommon for MVP/CYA to not make the AS team and it's often explained by the emphasis on first half performance and the 1-per-team rule. Jake Arrieta didn't make the AS team in the year he won CYA and finished 6th in MVP. He was plenty good in the first half (10-5, 2.66 ERA) but I guess not good enough in the era of 10 relievers on the roster.

EDIT: Poorly phrased. As I explain a sentence later, he was deserving just that he was one of a pretty equal bunch and he won MVP based on clutch, late-season performance. I think that's fine when there's a bunch and was a good bit of why I argued for him, but it's still kinda random. If he'd started super-hot, he'd have made the AS team but probably misses out on MVP if he's just really, really good down the stretch.
   22. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: May 02, 2018 at 07:09 AM (#5664201)
Part of the problem for Markakis is he's gotten very little WAR bang for his 2,000+ hits buck. Here is a list of the 33 players within 50 hits of Markakis by age 34, and the average player is around 50 WAR (and, um, that guy at the top did pretty good, too); Markakis is 26th, at 31 WAR. (Still, he's only 6 WAR behind George Kell...)
   23. Rennie's Tenet Posted: May 02, 2018 at 09:12 AM (#5664253)
But if he'd had two more decent years to get him to 3,000 hits, he'd be a (50-50) CF with ~60 WAR, 400+ SB, who was a key contributor on two WS winning teams. That's still a no to me, but it doesn't scream out and out mistake to me either. He might be the absolute line for modern CFs, but someone has to be.


Another 120 runs scored would leave Damon 20th all time.
   24. CraigK Posted: May 02, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5664307)
It feels like every 5? 10? In between? years there's always some guy that we're worried is going to get 3000 hits despite being wholly undeserving of the mantle of the 3000 hit club, such as Juan Pierre, Johnny Damon, apparently Nick Markakis now. Makes me wonder who will be looked at that way in the next couple years. As mentioned upthread, Elvis Andrus maybe?
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: May 02, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5664361)
As mentioned upthread, Elvis Andrus maybe?


Stalin Castro?
   26. McCoy Posted: May 02, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5664369)
Eva Longoria?
   27. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 02, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5664370)
As mentioned upthread, Elvis Andrus maybe?


Hosmer would cause all kinds of fun. Just 15 WAR, but he'll be at ~1,300 after his age 28 season, he's got a bunch of GGs despite poor advanced metrics, and he was part of those young Royals who won it all.
   28. BDC Posted: May 02, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5664425)
Elvis Andrus maybe?

I would feel better about Andrus driving toward a large hit total if he hadn't just had such a severe arm injury. Even though young people recover so well, any playing time missed is a factor in itself …
   29. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: May 02, 2018 at 01:35 PM (#5664533)
I refuse to believe Markakis has anything remotely like a 28% chance at 3,000. (Calm down, this virtually guarantees he'll get there.)


Concur.

He's a corner OF that has increasingly become a ~100 OPS+ hitter, but without a Heywardian glove.

Durable or not, I'd be surprised if he's got another 2 years as a starter. Signing with tanking teams on a string of cheap, one-year deals isn't an option either - they Dejesus themselves pretty quickly once the clock hits the mid-30s -- dealt to contenders looking for a good 4th OF or filling in for an injury, etc.

I'll be surprised if he ends up at 2500.
   30. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 02, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5664544)
Stalin Castro?


The world's most Communist man.
   31. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: May 02, 2018 at 02:16 PM (#5664573)
Stalin Castro?


Strictly in terms of getting to milestones, the exile to Florida has got to be seen as a YUGE bonus for Starlin. He was quite likely to see his PAs in NY continue to slide - right as he's entering his late 20s and needs to put in a couple more 200 hit seasons. Now, he's basically the 'star' of a bad Florida team - and he's actually having a nice year (leads the NL in hits!).

Assuming the fish don't exercise the 2020 option - this ought to line him up nicely for a decent full-time gig when he hits the market (by virtue of being the 'anchor' in a bad lineup, I have every expectation he'll post some surprising counting numbers - and he can still hit a bit).

Another plus is probably the move from SS - he looks better as a 2B than a SS... another piece of luck for him. Add to that, the new DP rules seem like they might give 2B a leg up (pun intended) on aging gracefully.

He's my pick for guy who gets to 3000 but probably isn't a HoFer.

That said - he's got 4 ASGs already - figure (depending on whether Realmuto gets dealt), he might well get two more rep'ing the Fish.

It wouldn't be hard to see him ending up with half a dozen ASGs, maybe more... a wee bit of black ink here and there - already led the league in hits once and if he plays full-time? I think he's capable of doing it again.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 02, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5664580)
28% Nick Markakis

I'd take the under big time. Way under. I think the real chance is more like 2%.

He's just not good enough to get regular PT into his 40's.
   33. DavidFoss Posted: May 02, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5664586)
That said - he's got 4 ASGs already - figure (depending on whether Realmuto gets dealt), he might well get two more rep'ing the Fish.

The ASG's and the Marlins reminded me of Edgar Renteria. He got 1934 hits through age 30 -- more than anyone since 1980 except A-Rod and Miggy. All with zero black ink (unless you count CS). He only made it to 2327, though.
   34. eric Posted: May 02, 2018 at 04:30 PM (#5664758)
Are the favorite toy numbers based on anything empirical? I'm wondering what actual percentage of players with approximately Markakis' hit total through his age went on to get 3000 hits. Or better yet, what percentages of full-time players at age 34 went on to get at least the remaining number of hits Markakis needs (914 as of this writing).

But I agree with others--he'll be lucky to get 2500. Even if exactly 28% of players at his age went on to get the number of hits necessary (highly unlikely), each player's situation is different. Examples: Willie Mays at 34 was having the best season of his career. Jimmie Foxx at that age was batting .226, and would only play another 104 MLB games after that year. So even though Foxx had over 300 more hits than Willie after age 33, I doubt anyone applying percentages to their individual chances watching them at age 34 would have given Foxx much of a chance at all, while Willie would probably have been considered a favorite.
   35. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 02, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5664768)
Examples: Willie Mays at 34 was having the best season of his career. Jimmie Foxx at that age was batting .226, and would only play another 104 MLB games after that year. So even though Foxx had over 300 more hits than Willie after age 33, I doubt anyone applying percentages to their individual chances watching them at age 34 would have given Foxx much of a chance at all, while Willie would probably have been considered a favorite.


It's based not just on age and hit total but a player's established hit level. At age 34, Mays had an established hit level of 177, while Foxx's was just 109. I'm not going to go back and figure their exact chances, but Willie's would have been much higher.
   36. DavidFoss Posted: May 02, 2018 at 04:48 PM (#5664781)
It's based not just on age and hit total but a player's established hit level.

ESPN turned the formula into an online tool. (I'm not sure how old this page is. I found it through google.) This version matches the 28% number.
   37. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 02, 2018 at 04:52 PM (#5664782)
It's based not just on age and hit total but a player's established hit level. At age 34, Mays had an established hit level of 177, while Foxx's was just 109. I'm not going to go back and figure their exact chances, but Willie's would have been much higher.


Pretty close actually. 36% Mays, 29% Foxx.
   38. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 02, 2018 at 04:57 PM (#5664787)
ESPN turned the formula into an online tool. (I'm not sure how old this page is. I found it through google.) This version matches the 28% number.


My numbers in #37 are from the BBREF formula. the ESPN tool yields 50% Mays, 42% Foxx.
   39. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: September 03, 2018 at 08:01 PM (#5738057)
...aaaand here we are in September, with Markakis having the season of his life, his first All-Star nod, and providing Veteran Leadership (tm) to a first-place team.

Let's say Markakis ends up with 183 hits in 2018, giving him 2,235 at age 34. The Toy sez he's got a 40% chance at 3,000 hits -- not great, but not bad. And maybe he'll have a great postseason and pick up a ring...?

But, as we all know, the last 765 hits are always the hardest.
   40. BDC Posted: September 03, 2018 at 08:43 PM (#5738070)
2,235 at age 34. The Toy sez he's got a 40% chance at 3,000 hits


If 28% seemed high, 40% seems way too high. There are 20 players who got to between 2,200 and 2,270 hits by age 34. Of them, four (Lajoie, Yastrzemski, Brett, and Gwynn) got to 3,000. And of course, of those four, Lajoie, Brett, and Gwynn had BAs well over .300, while Markakis is at .289 (Yaz was at .292).

Still, 20% is a heck of a shot. There are of course several players below 2,200 at age 34 who got to 3K (though there are quite a few above 2,270 who didn't).

A 40% shot, on form, would need around 2,550 hits through age 34. Of the ten players centered on 2,550, four got to 3,000 (Musial, Speaker, Clemente, Rose) and six didn't (Foxx, Pinson, Gehrig, Burkett, Alomar, and Delehanty). Of course we might be confident that Markakis will avoid the fates of Gehrig or Delehanty (or Clemente for that matter), but fate is the whole problem. Markakis has been good at dodging fate so far though, and props to him for staying in shape and keeping his skills sharp.
   41. bunyon Posted: September 04, 2018 at 08:04 AM (#5738123)
40%?!

This year has to increase the chances someone gives him a generous (read: dumb) contract, which probably gets him a lot of ABs the next few years. I'd guess his reliable hit totals per season establish a baseline that makes the toy give better odds than the eye.

He's going to need to average 146 hits per year for 5 more seasons. That's well below his career average.

If he plays five more years, he can average 146 hits per year if he hits .270 and averages 540 AB per year.
If he plays four more years, he has to average 183 hits. Batting .270 that requires 675 AB. He'd probably need a higher BA to do it in four years, but I'm budgeting some decline. He's a lifetime .290 hitter, but was around .270 the previous two seasons and hasn't been over .300 since 2008.

I started looking at his numbers thinking he had basically no chance but that all looks doable. As always, and as others have said, it comes down to health and playing time. If he's healthy and teams run him out there, he has a shot. It's been a long time since I looked at how the toy works but it seems to not do a very good job of predicting cliffs, which is what kills most of these chances, based on the names you've all thrown out.

But if he can sign a 3 or 4 year deal this year and bat .270 and stay healthy, he'll be tantalizingly close by the end of that contract. Maybe I underestimate how smart teams have gotten.
   42. BDC Posted: September 04, 2018 at 08:22 AM (#5738127)
I was curious why Jesse Burkett hadn't gotten to 3,000 hits. If you look just at his ML record, he disappears after 1905 (age 36), when he was still a pretty good hitter, about a year away from 3K.

Come to find that Burkett, after the 1905 season, bought an entire minor-league ballclub and moved it to Worcester, Mass., where he'd lived for many years at that point. He played for Worcester for another eight seasons. I guess that is not the kind of possibility that might derail Markakis, but you never know.
   43. bunyon Posted: September 04, 2018 at 08:37 AM (#5738130)
If he does that, I'd support him for HOF.

Honestly, why hasn't Rickey! done this?
   44. Rally Posted: September 04, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5738145)
Doesn't look like 3000 hits was a priority to Burkett. Some theories:

1. Reliable records may not have been around, and he may not even have known how many hits he had.

2. He would not have known that "Major League records" would one day consist of American + National League records, plus a few other short time leagues here and there. Only 4 years earlier he left the National League with 2227 hits to join an upstart American League. For all he knew the AL could have folded shortly after and his hits there later deemed as "minor league hits".

3. There was no 3000 hit club at the time. It was just something Cap Anson had done, and Burkett was #2 on the list when he played his last MLB game. I don't know if he would have known this either, I don't know if Anson's National Association records were well known at the time or what the accounting was for his NL hits. I kind of remember owning a baseball encyclopedia in the 1980s that started at 1876. If I still had it I'd look up to see where Anson was listed at that time, which could be totally different from the state of baseball records in 1905.
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: September 04, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5738148)
1. Reliable records may not have been around, and he may not even have known how many hits he had.


Given that was the case with Sam Rice 30 years later, that would be my guess.
   46. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 04, 2018 at 10:04 AM (#5738152)
Wow he's never even made an all star team?


Markakis did make the A-S team this year.
   47. BDC Posted: September 04, 2018 at 10:20 AM (#5738163)
Rally and SoSH are correct, Burkett may not have given a hoot about 3,000 hits even if he knew he was close. I was mainly interested in what kept him from playing on. In Burkett's case it was not ability or desire, since he batted well over .300 for years to come in Class B ball and could surely have gotten another 200, 300 hits in the majors. So Burkett is a contrast to, say, Al Simmons, who stopped just short of 3,000 (whether he knew it or not) but was batting .203 as a 41-year-old part-time player during WW2 and was clearly out of gas.

I was mostly trying to see if some of these old-time comps left the majors because they reached the end of the road, or whether they were cases where the player just didn't care. Burkett didn't care, he had other priorities. A Burkett time-machined to Markakis' era would certainly have played on to reach 3K.
   48. bunyon Posted: September 04, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5738197)
Burkett is a wild story. It sure seems like players used to be both more cantankerous and have more interesting post-playing days.

Probably money.

https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/53d6808e
   49. DL from MN Posted: September 04, 2018 at 12:00 PM (#5738220)

67% Miguel Cabrera
57% Robinson Cano
25% Jose Altuve


Looks like those chances are down to 48% for Cabrera and 25% for Cano. Altuve up to 34% and Trout at 11%.
   50. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 04, 2018 at 03:31 PM (#5738375)
If 28% seemed high, 40% seems way too high. There are 20 players who got to between 2,200 and 2,270 hits by age 34. Of them, four (Lajoie, Yastrzemski, Brett, and Gwynn) got to 3,000. And of course, of those four, Lajoie, Brett, and Gwynn had BAs well over .300, while Markakis is at .289 (Yaz was at .292).

5 of the guys who didn't make it played before 1940, so I assume they were in the same bucket as Rice -- either didn't know or didn't "care" about getting to 3,000. (Remember, there wasn't even a Hall of Fame until 1936.)

1 guy (Billy Herman) went to fight in WW2 at age 34-35, came back, became a player-manager at age 37 and only played 15 games that season, his last one as a player. Not sure of the whole story there but I don't think it's a good comparison.

And then a number of them were already losing a step or having significant injury problems at or before age 34. 2 of them -- Torre and Simmons -- were ex-catchers. Markakis, on the other hand, has been very durable throughout his career and has barely missed any games over the past few seasons.

The obvious red-flag for Markakis is that after a 142 OPS+ in the first half this season, he's back to 96 in the second half, roughly in line with where he's been the past two seasons. If he can hold on as an average-ish hitter and fielder then he'll probably get the chance to reach 3,000, but if his offense declines much from this point I doubt it.
   51. BDC Posted: September 04, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5738395)
5 of the guys who didn't make it played before 1940, so I assume they were in the same bucket as Rice -- either didn't know or didn't "care" about getting to 3,000


Yes, but ~750 hits is still a long way when you're 34. Of those five guys, Hugh Duffy's major-league career was basically over at 34; he played in the minors the next year and only surfaced briefly thereafter. George Van Haltren had one year left as a regular. Age 34 was Pie Traynor's last year as a regular, and Joe Sewell's last year, period.

Of course one could argue that they're all irrelevant to Markakis, who is still in good health and benefits from modern medicine. And who can make a ton more money playing baseball than not.

Charlie Gehringer is the last of the five you mention. He played quite well through age 37, then faded fast, and retired with 2,839 hits just as a lot of players went off to WW2. So he's an interesting case, in that if it meant much to him he could have reached 3K, but perhaps not if it had been peacetime. It did not mean much to Gehringer, though. He had business opportunities to pursue, and he wanted to settle down and get married.
   52. DavidFoss Posted: September 04, 2018 at 04:57 PM (#5738460)
So he's an interesting case, in that if it meant much to him he could have reached 3K, but perhaps not if it had been peacetime. It did not mean much to Gehringer, though. He had business opportunities to pursue, and he wanted to settle down and get married.

He actually enlisted (though it looks like he spent most of his service time coaching baseball teams at military bases).

The business opportunities mentioned in the SABR bio pertained to a potential 1946 comeback when he would have been 43. Gehringer's best shot was if he had been deemed too old to serve but was asked by the Tigers to fill in during 1943-45.

Sam Rice only had 1413 hits through his age 34 season. It took an incredible effort and a team switch to make it as far as he did. 13 is pretty close though.

In addition to Burkett, I think Hornsby could have made it. It was his choice to focus on managing. I think if he knew the amount of fame involved, he could have found some garbage-time PA's for the Browns that would have gotten him to 3000.
   53. dlf Posted: September 04, 2018 at 05:07 PM (#5738470)
In addition to Burkett, I think Hornsby could have made it. It was his choice to focus on managing. I think if he knew the amount of fame involved, he could have found some garbage-time PA's for the Browns that would have gotten him to 3000.


Frank Robinson absolutely chose not to get 3000. His last two years as Player-Manager in Cleveland with ~225 PAs total was not because he couldn't hit anymore.
   54. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: September 04, 2018 at 05:48 PM (#5738500)
Starlin Castro --

Now, he's basically the 'star' of a bad Florida team - and he's actually having a nice year (leads the NL in hits!).


Ummm ... what? He's 13 behind Scooter Gennett & something like 10th in hits.
   55. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 04, 2018 at 05:58 PM (#5738508)
Come to find that Burkett, after the 1905 season, bought an entire minor-league ballclub and moved it to Worcester, Mass., where he'd lived for many years at that point. He played for Worcester for another eight seasons. I guess that is not the kind of possibility that might derail Markakis, but you never know.

Honestly, why hasn't Rickey! done this?
What, and derail Rickey!'s plan to come back to the majors?

Seriously, have you seen the guy lately? He still looks like he could do it.
   56. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 04, 2018 at 06:35 PM (#5738528)

Yes, but ~750 hits is still a long way when you're 34.

I think that's the more relevant question -- how many guys have gotten 750+ hits after age 34, and how many have been as "bad" as Markakis is likely to be?

66 guys have gotten more than 750 hits after age 34, but only 16 did so with an OPS+ below 105. And most of those were guys at premium defensive positions (Lofton, Maranville, Bob Boone, Steve Finley), HOFers at the end of their careers (Ripken, Biggio, Jeter, Ichiro, Ozzie Smith, Rickey, Eddie Murray), or at least guys with some pop (Dave Parker). Jeff Conine is the odd guy in there, but but he basically shows you what Markakis needs to do -- Conine had a 123 OPS+ at 35 and a 110 from 35-39 while hitting .289, and was able to stick around for another two seasons despite hitting poorly.

In addition to Burkett, I think Hornsby could have made it. It was his choice to focus on managing. I think if he knew the amount of fame involved, he could have found some garbage-time PA's for the Browns that would have gotten him to 3000.

Not that you were implying otherwise, but I don't think Hornsby's fame is affected at all by not having 3,000 hits.
   57. BDC Posted: September 04, 2018 at 06:56 PM (#5738542)
Yes, thanks for that correction on Gehringer's wartime record, David.
   58. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 04, 2018 at 07:18 PM (#5738552)
Starlin Castro --

Now, he's basically the 'star' of a bad Florida team - and he's actually having a nice year (leads the NL in hits!).


Ummm ... what? He's 13 behind Scooter Gennett & something like 10th in hits.


Check the time stamp on the original post. it was true at the time.
   59. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: September 04, 2018 at 09:58 PM (#5738660)
Ah. Missed that, obviously. (Castro probably wasn't on my fantasy roster at the time, as he is now. I also added Starling Marte along the way. Batters whose name begin with "Star" are the new market inefficiency, or something.)
   60. bunyon Posted: September 05, 2018 at 08:14 AM (#5738794)
Not that you were implying otherwise, but I don't think Hornsby's fame is affected at all by not having 3,000 hits.

I'm sure as a boy, when I had the 3,000 hit club memorized, I knew Hornsby wasn't on it. But if you'd asked me yesterday afternoon before I read this post, I'd have sworn he was.
   61. Rally Posted: September 05, 2018 at 08:46 AM (#5738803)
Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano probably get to 3000 hits just because their contracts last so long. Neither player's 2018 season has helped their chances though.

After Markakis the next candidate is a long way off. Looking at the active list, most of the players after Nick are too far away and look to have too little baseball left in them. The next potential candidate is Nick's old teammate at #19, Adam Jones. Two solid, 150+ game seasons from him and Adam will be next on the list of "guy who was never that great but maybe he's got a chance at 3000 hits".

Elvis Andrus (#33) will eventually get to that point as well, kind of the next Edgar Renteria case. Altuve might become a real candidate, but he's far enough away that injuries could prevent him from getting close. I kind of doubt Mike Trout will get 3000 hits, mainly because he walks so much now and he's probably just going to walk even more as he gets older.

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