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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Posnanski: Derek Jeter’s great, but let’s compare to Alan Trammell

And I it hit me: Oh yeah, THAT’S why I invented the word Jeterate.

He was a fantastic baseball player. But you know what? Alan Trammell was just about as good.

Here are Alan Trammell’s and Derek Jeter’s neutralized offensive numbers.

Trammell: .289/.357/.420
Jeter: .307/.375/..439

Jeter was a better hitter. But it was closer than you might think. They had similar strengths offensively. At their best, they were .300 hitters with some power and some speed. Both lost deserving MVP awards to players who hit a lot of home runs and had a lot of RBIs. Jeter played in a historically high scoring time which inflated his numbers. Trammell played in a low-scoring time, which depressed his. So their actual numbers diverge. Plus Jeter was much more dependable which is no small thing. Jeter played in 300-plus more games. He played 140-plus games in 15 seasons. Trammell because of injuries and such managed only eight 140-game seasons.

But Trammell has his advantages too — namely defense. Trammell was a much, much, much, much, much, much — can’t put “much” in here enough times — much better defensive shortstop.

By Baseball Reference’s defensive WAR Trammell was 22 wins better than a replacement shortstop. Jeter was nine runs worse.

By Fangraphs, Trammell was 76 runs better than a replacement shortstop. Jeter was 139 runs worse.

You can buy those numbers or you can partially agree with them or you can throw them out entirely, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Trammell was a better defensive shortstop. It’s only a matter of degree. And where Jeter’s offensive strengths and longevity give him a cushion over Trammell, the defense unquestionably cuts into the lead.

Thanks to GH.

Repoz Posted: February 15, 2014 at 03:46 PM | 48 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: February 15, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4657396)

OPS+ is 117 to 110, and fair to guess that Jeter loses a pt on his 117 by playing this year.
   2. Good cripple hitter Posted: February 15, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4657397)
By Baseball Reference’s defensive WAR Trammell was 22 wins better than a replacement shortstop. Jeter was nine runs worse.


Am I the only one annoyed that Poz repeatedly gets dWAR wrong? I only say that because he's usually much more statistically literate than other sportswriters, so it's really grating that he can't get this right.
   3. JL Posted: February 15, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4657404)
I like that Poz did not use this to knock Jeter but to raise up Trammell. Yes, Jeter is over-rated, but he is still a great player. Trammell was a great player who is over looked yet again. Good to see Trammell getting some positive press.
   4. CraigM Posted: February 15, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4657411)
Show me potato salad!
   5. Dolf Lucky Posted: February 15, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4657416)
Am I the only one annoyed that Poz repeatedly gets dWAR wrong? I only say that because he's usually much more statistically literate than other sportswriters, so it's really grating that he can't get this right.


Others on this board have also screwed it up, and I probably would as well, given the chance. Poz is a pretty smart guy, as you point out. Maybe the dWAR stat isn't very intuitive.
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 15, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4657417)
I like that Poz did not use this to knock Jeter but to raise up Trammell. Yes, Jeter is over-rated, but he is still a great player. Trammell was a great player who is over looked yet again. Good to see Trammell getting some positive press.

This. The problem isn't the fact that the writers overrate Jeter, who's a slam dunk HoFer by any sane measurement. It's that they underrate Trammell, and can barely even remember a guy named Lou Whitaker.
   7. BDC Posted: February 15, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4657425)
Maybe the dWAR stat isn't very intuitive

Indeed. Given that WAR doesn't equal oWAR plus dWAR anyway, I don't see what would be lost by calling dWAR "dWAA" instead; but maybe there's already something else called dWAA and we'd touch off a sort of musical-chairs of initialisms.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: February 15, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4657428)
I don't even know what he got wrong there.
   9. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 15, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4657431)
I don't even know what he got wrong there.


dWAR incorporates the positional adjustment (as does oWAR, which is why they don't add up to WAR) and fielding is measured against average (although a "replacement" shortstop is probably an average fielder who just can't hit worth a damn, so that's more of a semantic error than a real one). So, dWAR compares across all fielding positions: Trammell was 22 wins better than an average fielder - across all positions - for his career; Jeter was 9 wins worse than an average generic fielder (Poz appears to also have typed "runs" when he meant "wins" there). The difference between the two - 31 wins - is still valid, though: BB-Ref WAR is, in fact, saying that Trammell was 31 wins better than Jeter as a fielder.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: February 15, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4657432)
And what dWAR would the theoretical replacement shortstop have?
   11. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 15, 2014 at 05:44 PM (#4657433)
And what dWAR would the theoretical replacement shortstop have?


Well, there are lots of different ways to get to "replacement shortstop" - brilliant fielder who can't hit, decent fielder who's a pretty bad hitter, brilliant hitter who can't field worth a damn, etc. For his career, Jeter's Rpos - which is the credit he's getting for playing SS instead of another position is +130 which works out to a dWAR for an average defensive shortstop over Jeter's career of about 12.6, I think. So Jeter's something like 20 wins worse than an average shorstop (-234 fielding runs) and Trammell's something like 10 wins better than an average shortstop (+77 runs). When you're comparing two players who played the same position, I'm not sure that using dWAR really gains you much (although the runs-to-win conversion is different for Jeter & Trammell because of the difference in the run environments in which they played).
   12. djordan Posted: February 15, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4657446)
"dWAR incorporates the positional adjustment (as does oWAR, which is why they don't add up to WAR) and fielding is measured against average...."

Thanks for clarifying, #9. I think the next question would be, why not simply list "dWAR X PA (Posiitional adjustment)," which would make it easier to compare players of the same spot?

"I'm not sure that using dWAR really gains you much (although the runs-to-win conversion is different for Jeter & Trammell because of the difference in the run environments in which they played)."

As more MSM guys embrace numbers, you run the risk, as many of you pointed out, of them not using the statistic properly. What would be the best current stat that illustrates the difference?
   13. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 15, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4657450)
4...No. 1 answer!
   14. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 15, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4657457)
Others on this board have also screwed it up, and I probably would as well, given the chance. Poz is a pretty smart guy, as you point out. Maybe the dWAR stat isn't very intuitive.

dWAR needs to go away, because there are two possible interpretations of it and people will insist on using the wrong one no matter which one you pick and how well you caption it. Just provide the fielding scores and position adjustments and let people figure it out for themselves.

It doesn't help that they switched meanings on dWAR at one point. It used to be compared to positional average, which led to the inevitable "How can you say that Keith Hernandez was a better defender than Alan Trammell?" question. And so they changed it to include the positional adjustment, and now you get "How can you say that Keith Hernandez was a barely above-average fielder?" question (or, more annoyingly, the "B-R says Keith Hernandez was an average fielder" statement.)

I guess they could also publish two versions (one with positional adjustment and one without) and label them very carefully. But people will almost certainly find a way to screw that up, too.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: February 15, 2014 at 08:10 PM (#4657466)
When comparing the same position, dWAR and Rfield tell you the same thing ... with minor adjustments across eras for different positional adjustments and different run-to-win conversions but those will be marginal and within the bounds of error anyway. So it's easier to compare Trammell and Jeter by Rfield probably. dWAR is useful for comparing Jeter's defense to Yount or, less helpfully, Gwynn.

While I too would prefer dWAA for clarity, it is technically also dWAR given a replacement level player is essentially defined as a replacement level hitter with average defense.

The bigger issue here for Poz's point is that b-r makes it a 31-win difference while fg puts it at 22 -- 9 wins is rather a lot. He also overstates their offensive similarities. Jeter has 360 Rbat, Trammell 129 ... 30 points of OBP is huge.

The comparison of Jeter and Trammell is actually about as difficult as it gets for guys at the same position. By WAR Jeter is an almost ideal extreme -- one of the greatest hitting SS ever (esp by career) and one of the worst fielding SS ever. Trammell was very good at both. Equating them requires looking at all of the WAR components. It's a bit like a comparison of Sheffield with Andre Dawson.
   16. djordan Posted: February 15, 2014 at 08:35 PM (#4657471)
Now you have TOPPS adding WAR to the back of the card. A smart gesture, but ultimately certain people will be clamoring for a defensive measurement there as well. If dWAR isn't getting it done in the minds of many here, it's time to develop a more precise measurement. BTW, what happens when this March or next March, there's another mathematical WAR adjustment? I mean Mussina's gone from like 71 WAR to 82.7. I suppose at least now we'll be able to track the journey of Trammell's WAR passing Larkin's.
   17. ptodd Posted: February 15, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4657475)
djordan Posted: February 15, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4657471)
Now you have TOPPS adding WAR to the back of the card. A smart gesture, but ultimately certain people will be clamoring for a defensive measurement there as well. If dWAR isn't getting it done in the minds of many here, it's time to develop a more precise measurement. BTW, what happens when this March or next March, there's another mathematical WAR adjustment? I mean Mussina's gone from like 71 WAR to 82.7. I suppose at least now we'll be able to track the journey of Trammell's WAR passing Larkin's.


But which WAR? And like you say, unlike BA, OBP, etc, WAR seems to change every year.

Why is positional adjustment based on PA and not fielding chances?

Seems people have lost the ability to distinguish between real numbers and estimated/adjusted numbers with significant uncertainty.
   18. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 15, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4657479)
Thanks for clarifying, #9. I think the next question would be, why not simply list "dWAR X PA (Posiitional adjustment)," which would make it easier to compare players of the same spot?

If you want defensive value relative to position, just look at rfield.
   19. greenback calls it soccer Posted: February 15, 2014 at 10:13 PM (#4657484)
Why is positional adjustment based on PA and not fielding chances?

Define a fielding chance. That doesn't even to get to the extra complication of the distribution of chances. That is to say, I think your next question explains why PAs get used.
   20. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 15, 2014 at 10:16 PM (#4657485)
The bigger issue here for Poz's point is that b-r makes it a 31-win difference while fg puts it at 22 -- 9 wins is rather a lot. He also overstates their offensive similarities. Jeter has 360 Rbat, Trammell 129 ... 30 points of OBP is huge.

But as Poz notes, a chunk of that difference is based on playing environment. And another chunk is playing time. But yes, Jeter was the clearly better hitter, which is why they come out basically even in WAR, despite Trammell's huge advantage on defense.

But by WAA - which I maintain is a better metric for HoF voting - Trammell actually blows Jeter out of the water: 40.1 to 32.4.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: February 15, 2014 at 11:13 PM (#4657492)
But as Poz notes, a chunk of that difference is based on playing environment. And another chunk is playing time.

But very little of it is environment. Jeter's OBP+ is about 113 while Trammell's is about 106. The SLG+ are essentially equal. Let's not overstate the differences -- the RAR to WAR conversion for Trammell is 9.9; for Jeter it's 10.3. Off the top of my head, Jeter loses something like 16 Rbat put into Trammell's environment.

And the playing time difference is largely because Jeter's numbers include his decline phase while Trammell went off the cliff fast enough he didn't have much of one. Trammell also had trouble staying healthy from 30-35.

Through age 35, Trammell had 8600 PA, 114 OPS+, 162 Rbat; Jeter had 9800 PA, 121 OPS+ and 365 Rbat. Even if you give Trammell another 1200 PA at that rate, he only comes up to about 185 Rbat. So even if we tilt this as much in Trammell's favor as we can, we're talking about a hitting difference of 1 win per year. That Rbat difference is on the order of Jeter vs. Schmidt or Rickey.

From 36-38, Trammell had only 770 PA, -32 Rbat and 0 WAR; Jeter had 2100 PA, 5 Rbat and 5 WAR ... that's a difference worth counting.

This is not to say that I think Jeter was better than Trammell necessarily. It's a tough call and probably one within the margin of error. But they simply aren't similar except in WAR total and that makes it a difficult comparison.

Would have been a more interesting article that way probably. Not so fast -- Trammell was basically as valuable as Jeter. A SS who was very good at hitting and defense can be as great as one who's great at hitting but lousy at defense. Trammell belongs in the HoF.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: February 15, 2014 at 11:42 PM (#4657503)
I tend to agree that WAA is better for HoF than WAR (I've been making this point for years). That doesn't mean we can ignore playing time though.

Through age 35, Jeter blows Trammell out of the water offensively and gets blown out defensively. This puts Jeter 50 RAA down. But, over essentially the same number of seasons, Jeter has nearly two full seasons more PA and other than Trammell missing about 50 games due to the 81 strike, that gap is all Trammell's "fault." So Jeter kept plugging away at league average and the RAR difference is a measly 3 runs.

Which finally points out to me the flaw in comping players with different playing time by WAA. You need to make that comp adding on credit for the extra average play of the one with the longer career ... or subtract off the 1200 PA the Tigers needed to use a (assumed) replacement-level SS which is the same difference. This just gets you back to WAR.

And note that this is a bit different than a guy hanging on for 5 average years -- that's the boost Jeter gets from 36-38. This is not about more effective decline phases, it's about comparing primes. Trammell's great WAA tells you he was of better quality through age 35; Jeter's Rrep advantage tells you he was able to provide more quantity through age 35. One balances the other and we end up with Trammell at 70 and Jeter at 67 WAR.

Part of my logic for using WAA is that, if Trammell didn't exist, we'd assume the Tigers had an average SS over those 15 years, not a replacement level one. Somewhat less likely but, if Trammell hadn't played at all from 36-38, we'd assume the Tigers would have gotten average SS production in those years too. Under those assumptions, comping Trammell's WAA to Jeter's WAA seems perfectly sensible to me. But Jeter also has a large PT advantage in those 15 same years (by age) that Trammell "did exist". That quantity difference is ignored in a straight WAA comparison but it should not be. I may have talked myself into the idea that age/peak/prime-based WAR comparisons are the best way to comp players with substantially different career lengths but reasonably similar career WAR.

By the way, can anybody tell me why the RAA to WAA conversion factor differs from the RAR to WAR conversion? Trammell's RAA to WAA conversion is 9.4 RAA/WAA while it's almost exactly 10 RAR to WAR. Jeter's are 10 RAA/WAA and 10.3 RAR/WAR. It doesn't make any real difference in this comparison, I just don't understand why they aren't the same.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: February 16, 2014 at 12:10 AM (#4657507)
Applying the new logic to Larry Walker vs Edgar Martinez, a fave debate of mine ...

from 23-38, Walker had 48 WAA and 72 WAR in 7974 PA. Edgar had just 38 WAA from 26-41 but cuts that difference in half by WAR. However, only about 2 of those wins are extra playing time (just 600 PA), the rest is league differential -- which, if real, should probably be added to WAA for this comparison -- bump Edgars up to 41-42.

Difficult to comp these two over the same ages of course but what the heck. From 27-35, Walker still wins on reported WAA by 33-30 but they are literally dead even in WAR at 46.7. Only 400 PA difference so again half of that gap reduction is league differential.

Walker vs. Raines from 23-33 ... Pretty much dead even in WAA but Raines with 1300 more PA and 6 more WAR. This is similar to Jeter -- Trammell ... imagine Raines was 4-5 WAA behind, which would be better?

Note, this age range avoids the strikes for Raines but includes his collusion PT loss while Walker's includes 94 and misses Walker's huge age 34 season.

Now making the same 23-38 comparison, Walker is at 48 WAA while Raines is stuck on 33. The PT difference is now a mere 900 PA with Raines now caught in two strikes. The WAR difference is a full 10 and adding another 20-25 runs for Raines' lost time won't change that much. Here the quality is clearly winning out over the quantity. The difference is almost entirely defense.
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: February 16, 2014 at 12:18 AM (#4657511)

"And the playing time difference is largely because Jeter's numbers include his decline phase while Trammell went off the cliff fast enough he didn't have much of one."

hmm, Trammell got 566 PA at age 36-37, OPS+ of 84. then 207 PA of a ridiculous 34 OPS+.
looks like a pretty decent-sized decline phase to me.

Jeter had 739 PA of 90 OPS+ at age 37, which is a mirror of "below AVG" to Trammell's 36-37 basically. Then Jeter bounced back with a 100 and a 114 in full seasons. even last year's 51 OPS+ was in only 73 PA.

not sure what the big difference in decline is here. Jeter declined less per yr but in more PA.

   25. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 16, 2014 at 02:23 AM (#4657525)
Which finally points out to me the flaw in comping players with different playing time by WAA. You need to make that comp adding on credit for the extra average play of the one with the longer career ... or subtract off the 1200 PA the Tigers needed to use a (assumed) replacement-level SS which is the same difference. This just gets you back to WAR.

Eh, I disagree. The whole point of using WAA in hall of fame discussions, is because I don't think average seasons add much in the way of a HoF case, beyond maybe as a tiebreaker.

For the hall, I care about greatness. Greatness is better captured by WAA than WAR, since you can compile a lot of WAR, without ever reaching a truly elite level. I don't really care how many average seasons Jamie Moyer or Omar Vizquel string together in a career. They aren't moving the needle.

I mean ideally, I would like WAA with negative seasons zeroed out, since I don't think they should be penalized for playing those seasons either... but well I work with what I have. And it doesn't change much between Jeter/Trammell anyway, since they both have almost identical negative WAA in below average seasons.
   26. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: February 16, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4657563)
Eh, I disagree. The whole point of using WAA in hall of fame discussions, is because I don't think average seasons add much in the way of a HoF case, beyond maybe as a tiebreaker.

Read Walt's post again. He's not talking about average seasons; he's talking about more playing time in the same number of seasons.
   27. BDC Posted: February 16, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4657571)
The comparison of Jeter and Trammell is actually about as difficult as it gets for guys at the same position

Right down to their outlier best seasons, respectively (1987 and 1999):

Player          OPS+   BA Rfield oWAR WAR/pos   G  PA SB  OBP  SLG
Alan Trammell    155 .343      0  8.2     8.2 151 668 21 .402 .551
Derek Jeter      153 .349    
-11  9.1     8.0 158 739 19 .438 .552 


The major difference on offense, as Walt said above, is that 30 points of OBP is huge. It almost washes out Trammell's considerable defensive advantage.

They were both pretty great players :)
   28. bobm Posted: February 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4657633)
But, over essentially the same number of seasons, Jeter has nearly two full seasons more PA and other than Trammell missing about 50 games due to the 81 strike, that gap is all Trammell's "fault."

Jeter batted higher in the lineup than Trammell, through no fault of Trammell's. That accounts for some of the PA difference.

Jeter:

                                                             
I         Split    G   GS   PA   AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS tOPS+
    Batting 1st  978  978 4635 4129 .310 .377 .442 .820    98
    Batting 2nd 1330 1329 6134 5419 .313 .383 .452 .835   102
    Batting 3rd  128  128  573  505 .339 .411 .457 .868   110
    Batting 4th    1    1    5    4 .000 .200 .000 .200   -48
    Batting 5th    1    0    0                              0
    Batting 6th    1    0    1    1 .000 .000 .000 .000  -100
    Batting 7th   46   44  194  172 .250 .332 .343 .675    64
    Batting 8th   26   22   83   74 .311 .386 .500 .886   113
    Batting 9th   91   88  343  310 .326 .375 .435 .811    96


Trammell:

                                                           
I         Split   G  GS   PA   AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS tOPS+
    Batting 1st  49  44  202  186 .258 .313 .430 .744    92
    Batting 2nd 898 878 4007 3497 .281 .352 .405 .757    98
    Batting 3rd 258 254 1110  972 .291 .366 .443 .810   111
    Batting 4th 314 308 1350 1206 .313 .375 .478 .853   122
    Batting 5th  52  45  215  197 .325 .369 .467 .836   117
    Batting 6th  54  48  205  185 .259 .322 .378 .700    83
    Batting 7th  67  60  248  229 .288 .321 .410 .731    90
    Batting 8th 128 108  443  400 .288 .342 .420 .762    98
    Batting 9th 473 435 1596 1416 .270 .334 .362 .696    82


   29. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 16, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4657795)
The major difference on offense, as Walt said above, is that 30 points of OBP is huge. It almost washes out Trammell's considerable defensive advantage.


eh, call me ignorant but I still don't like how heavily defense is weighted in most of the advance metrics. I think Jeter's 30 points of OBP is effing HUGE and more then washes out Trammell's defensive advantage.
   30. bobm Posted: February 16, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4657798)
[27]  The major difference on offense, as Walt said above, is that 30 points of OBP is huge. It almost washes out Trammell's considerable defensive advantage.

I do not understand. In their outlier best seasons, 30 points of OBP plus identical SLG equals identical OPS+. How does that 30 points of unadjusted OBP mean something in Jeter's favor?
   31. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 16, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4657813)
The major difference on offense, as Walt said above, is that 30 points of OBP is huge. It almost washes out Trammell's considerable defensive advantage.

I do not understand. In their outlier best seasons, 30 points of OBP plus identical SLG equals identical OPS+. How does that 30 points of unadjusted OBP mean something in Jeter's favor?

The bottom line is, that it comes out 110 to 117 OPS+ in favor of Jeter. Now, that is a clear and obvious advantage to him. But let's not go nuts, and pretend that his is somehow an advantage that the worst fielding SS in history couldn't give back to an above average one.
   32. Ardo Posted: February 16, 2014 at 11:33 PM (#4657856)
Even as a big Tigers fan, I think the community consensus is correct. It's close, but Jeter's slightly better hitting and far better in-season durability slot ahead of Trammell's slightly better defense.
   33. DanG Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:32 AM (#4657869)
I mean ideally, I would like WAA with negative seasons zeroed out, since I don't think they should be penalized for playing those seasons either... but well I work with what I have. And it doesn't change much between Jeter/Trammell anyway, since they both have almost identical negative WAA in below average seasons.
Here are Jeter and Trammell's positive WAA seasons side-by-side. Tram beats Jetes like a drum:

D Jeter Alan Trammell
1999 5.6 
1987 6.1
1998 5.3 
1984 4.8
2009 4.2 
1990 4.6
2006 3.2 
1986 4.3
2001 2.8 
1988 4.3
1997 2.5 
1983 4.2
2000 2.4 
1980 2.8
2004 1.9 
1993 2.7
2003 1.7 
1982 2.4
2007 1.5 
1981 2.3
2005 1.4 
1989 2.0
2002 1.3 
1991 1.8
1996 1.1 
1978 1.1
2008 0.7 
1985 0.9
-------  - 1992 0.5
Total 35.6  
44.8 
   34. hardrain Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4657935)
What are the chances that there will be one day this season when there will be no articles on Derek Jeter?
   35. Ron J2 Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4657968)
#7 Sean made the change to Sean's original formulation. (I just love how many significant Seans there are and refuse to clear the language up) The logic was to make it clear that a -1 SS has a lot more real defensive value than (say) a DH.

But oh so many people assume that WAR = oWAR + dWAR.
   36. BDC Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4657971)
Thanks, Ron!
   37. Ron J2 Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4657977)
#25 That's exactly why I've started to redo Dale Stephenson's old peak lists.

One of the things I'm (re) discovering is that aside from the truly great players, extended stretches of 5+ WAR (defined by bb-ref as all-star level) are rare. The bulk of most players value comes from seasons as a quality regular not a guy performing at an all-start level.

Take Nomar. I've got at 10th by WAR (best 5 years, not necessarily consecutive (he ranks 8th by my definition of prime -- which places a greater emphasis on years in the same general time frame). And he's got as many (6) seasons with 5+ WAR as Trammell. Only 11 SS have more than 6 season with 5+ WAR (and they're all in the Hall).

What Nomar is missing is quality filler and like you I'm sort of struggling as to why that should matter for a HOF case.

To be clear I'm not saying that Nomar is an easy HOFer. His peak is within general method error of #20

   38. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4657979)
Jeter batted higher in the lineup than Trammell, through no fault of Trammell's.

"No fault?" Kind of an understatement.

Trammell batted cleanup for a 97-win team that also had Lou Whitaker, Kirk Gibson, and Darrell Evans in the lineup.

Jeter's best season isn't close to Tram's 1987. I'm not sure that when Jeter was at his best offensively, he was better than Tram offensively (*); at their respective overall peaks, Jeter was nowhere near as good.

(*) Tram has the best single-season OPS+.
   39. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4657998)
Jeter's best season isn't close to Tram's 1987. I'm not sure that when Jeter was at his best offensively, he was better than Tram offensively (*); at their respective overall peaks, Jeter was nowhere near as good.

Trammell's best 3 WAR seasons: 8.2, 6.7, 6.6

Jeter's best 3 WAR seasons: 8.0, 7.5, 6.6

Yeah, I guess that an 0.2 advantage would enough to give some folks a giant boner. Loose shoes, tight WAR, and a warm place to #### does the trick.

   40. tfbg9 Posted: February 17, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4658041)
IMHO, WAA is a better metric than WAR for looking at HOF questions, or "greatness". And yes indeed, Trammell clobbers Jeter 40.1 to 32.4, in about 2500 fewer PA's to boot.
   41. BDC Posted: February 17, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4658054)
And yes indeed, Trammell clobbers Jeter 40.1 to 32.4, in about 2500 fewer PA's to boot

But as I learned in some thread the other day, the longer the career, the more attenuated the WAA. Have Trammell make up the PA gap by playing everyday from age 34 through 38 as Jeter did, and that lead might get whittled away pretty severely.

That's not to say that Jeter's prime was as good as Trammell's; indeed Trammell has a distinctly good argument for the better prime. It's just to say that the career total for a prime measure (career WAA) is not that meaningful a number: hence the various more refined JAWS measures and their allies to try to quantify peak/prime.
   42. tfbg9 Posted: February 17, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4658074)
indeed Trammell has a distinctly good argument for the better prime


And therefore, there's a good argument that Trammell is at least as HOF worthy as Jeter is, accumulated milestones notwithstanding.

   43. tfbg9 Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4658087)
Have Trammell make up the PA gap by playing everyday from age 34 through 38 as Jeter did, and that lead might get whittled away pretty severely.


Maybe, and maybe not. All we know is what actually happened.
   44. BDC Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4658099)
Maybe, and maybe not. All we know is what actually happened

I'm thinking more that it only happens in one direction. If a player like Jeter is able to keep a regular job for several years past his prime, he gains PAs without adding much WAA, in fact losing quite a bit in his very last seasons. Meanwhile Trammell doesn't play much at all in the corresponding years: maybe he's still a better player than Jeter or not, theoretically or for a week at a time, but injury makes it as impossible for him to play major-league ball as if he were retired or in Japan or dead.

It's a version of the old Win Shares problem, where it makes sense to see all playing time as positive. Otherwise Jeter loses ground in a career comparison (if you use WAA, especially per PAs) by being healthy and productive when Trammell isn't even active. "What actually happened" is that Trammell wasn't as durable.
   45. bobm Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4658100)
Jeter batted higher in the lineup than Trammell, through no fault of Trammell's.

"No fault?" Kind of an understatement.


Not mine originally. See [22]: But, over essentially the same number of seasons, Jeter has nearly two full seasons more PA and other than Trammell missing about 50 games due to the 81 strike, that gap is all Trammell's "fault." 

The batting order differences may account for as much as 1 season's worth of PA.
   46. tfbg9 Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4658107)
"What actually happened" is that Trammell wasn't as durable.


No, he wasn't. But at his best, when he was on the field, he was a slightly better ballplayer, IMO. That also happened.

   47. JL Posted: February 17, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4658141)
I'm thinking more that it only happens in one direction. If a player like Jeter is able to keep a regular job for several years past his prime, he gains PAs without adding much WAA, in fact losing quite a bit in his very last seasons. Meanwhile Trammell doesn't play much at all in the corresponding years: maybe he's still a better player than Jeter or not, theoretically or for a week at a time, but injury makes it as impossible for him to play major-league ball as if he were retired or in Japan or dead.

It's a version of the old Win Shares problem, where it makes sense to see all playing time as positive. Otherwise Jeter loses ground in a career comparison (if you use WAA, especially per PAs) by being healthy and productive when Trammell isn't even active. "What actually happened" is that Trammell wasn't as durable.


I think there is value in this. At their respective peaks, I think Trammell was as good ax Jeter overall, but that Jeter has had the better overall career. I also think that Trammell deserves to be in the HOF.

All that being said, I do find it curious that these additional years are offered up as a credit to Jeter and the value he provided, yet are dismissed with respect to Whitaker.
   48. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 17, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4658159)
Posnanski mentioned that he had left Trammell off the 100, but realizes now that he has to slot him in it somewhere. He's pretty much ground to a halt in adding players:

57. Derek Jeter
56. Chipper Jones
55. Ernie Banks
54. Rod Carew
53. Steve Carlton

Negro Leaguers: Bell, Rogan, Leonard, Smokey Joe Williams, (partial Irvin and Campanella)
Japan: Oh (partial Ichiro)
19th Century Players: Radbourn, Nichols
Active Players: Ichiro, Cabrera, Jeter

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