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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Renck: Larry Walker believes chances for Hall of Fame take pair of hits

Dead body counting stats not included.

Walker’s candidacy nosedived this year, his fourth on a crowded Hall of Fame ballot. He received 10.2 percent of the vote, a reflection of the controversy surrounding several former players who used — or are suspected of using — performance-enhancing drugs. Walker said his goal is to remain on the ballot for 15 years. He needs 5 percent to prevent falling off. Playing at Coors Field, where he hit .381 with 154 home runs in 597 games, isn’t helping his cause.

“I played 17 years, and almost 10 of them were in a Rockies uniform,” Walker said. “I feel like I am getting penalized for that. If I stay on the ballot, that’s a success. Obviously, I would rather be in.”

He finished with a lifetime batting average of .313 and a .400 on-base percentage. However, he fought injuries throughout his career, costing him valuable statistics.

“Yeah, pretty much. It (stinks) I am tied into (steroids era). It’s unfortunate, because there are some of us that didn’t do anything and got dragged right into it. Part of me wants everybody back then to get caught, because it would make me look that much better. Then people would get it, because not all of us did it,” said Walker, who’s working as a guest instructor in Rockies’ camp.

“It’s tough to get that through anyone’s skull. My size never changed, my physique never changed, my weight never changed. I was the same every year. A lot of guys could physically see the difference. I could say some names right now, because some were no-brainers. It (stinks).”

...Walker’s candidacy nosedived this year, his fourth on a crowded Hall of Fame ballot. He received 10.2 percent of the vote, a reflection of the controversy surrounding several former players who used — or are suspected of using — performance-enhancing drugs. Walker said his goal is to remain on the ballot for 15 years. He needs 5 percent to prevent falling off. Playing at Coors Field, where he hit .381 with 154 home runs in 597 games, isn’t helping his cause.

“I played 17 years, and almost 10 of them were in a Rockies uniform,” Walker said. “I feel like I am getting penalized for that. If I stay on the ballot, that’s a success. Obviously, I would rather be in.”

He finished with a lifetime batting average of .313 and a .400 on-base percentage. However, he fought injuries throughout his career, costing him valuable statistics.

Repoz Posted: March 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM | 78 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, rockies

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   1. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: March 13, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4670960)
Survey says.... IN !!
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4670971)
He defines the border for me. Some days I say in and Edgar out as the dividing lines, somedays I say both in, somedays I say both out.
   3. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 13, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4670984)
The thin air at Coors Field caused most of the excerpt to show up twice.
   4. dr. scott Posted: March 13, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4670989)
Funny, I always thought of Walker as an excellent fielder, but dWar has him as basically 0 for his career. He was nearly 3 dWar for his time in Montreal, so maybe that is what I'm remembering. He was 0 for Colorado, and negative for his short time in Stl.
   5. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4670998)
#4, that's almost all position adjustment. Walker is +94 on rfield, -75 on the position adjustment. (bref war)
   6. Baldrick Posted: March 13, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4670999)
He was an excellent fielder. His dWar is 0 because he was an excellent fielding rightfielder. He saved 100 runs but gave most of it back from positional adjustments.

I know WAA doesn't tell the whole story or anything, but he had almost 50 WAA. Easy HOFer.
   7. zonk Posted: March 13, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4671018)
Walker used to be a tough one for me, too -- but over the past year or so, I've come around to thinking he definitely belongs.

To me - the tough part is that while I think he belongs, he's really close/if not #11 or so to the end of the ballot list... I don't recall my (fake BBTF) ballot last year, but I think I had him at 12 and thus, off my ballot. In a vacuum, he probably deserved to be higher - but there was some strategic voting (for whatever the BBTF totals matter to the conversation).

   8. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 13, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4671021)
Obviously more of a Hall Of Famer than Jim Rice but not a Hall of Famer for me. His statistical record is hard to wrap your arms around because of all the stat padding (Coors, not playing hurt, ducking lefties, etc.). Really good though and it wouldn't be an outrage.
   9. Sunday silence Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4671036)
I read the headline and thought he was stuck at 2998 career hits and was going to do a Mr. Three Thousand tour or something.
   10. Baldrick Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4671049)
Obviously more of a Hall Of Famer than Jim Rice but not a Hall of Famer for me. His statistical record is hard to wrap your arms around because of all the stat padding (Coors, not playing hurt, ducking lefties, etc.). Really good though and it wouldn't be an outrage.

- Do you think there's something about Coors that park effects can't capture? If so, what is it and much does it overstate Walker's value?
- Over his career, Walker had 30% of his plate appearances against lefties. Is that abnormally low? Sure doesn't seem like it
- Even with missing 20 games a year, he still averaged almost five WAR a year for his career. He ended up with over 70. That's more than Eddie Murray, more than Gwynn, more than Raines, more than Manny, etc. Just above him are guys like Reggie Jackson and Paul Molitor and Robin Yount. If that's the size of the HOF you want, then I guess that's fine. But if you want a normal-sized HOF then Walker ought to be in it.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4671056)
Boy is he ever borderline. His most comparable player looks to be Reggie Smith.

Smith 8051 PA, 137 OPS+, +79 Rfield.
Walker 8030 PA, 141 OPS+, +95 Rfield.

WAR has Walker ahead 72.6 to 64.4, which is a little odd since Smith played over 800 Gs in CF.

At the end of the day, a little bit better than Reggie Smith is probably not a HoFer in my book.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4671062)
I suspect he's being "penalized" more for his short career/DL time than for Coors per se. He was always going to have a hard time -- I might be his biggest HoF supporter here but I'd still put him behind Bagwell. It's always going to be hard for a corner player without milestones to get in. And then you add the crowded ballot -- I'm not sure he even made top 10 on my list last year.

Yes, what dWAR is saying is that he was an average CF playing RF -- which seems perfectly reasonable.

ducking lefties,

Huh? 30% of Walker's PAs were against LHP. That's between Thome and Bonds, same as Votto. Walkers R/L split is just fine -- 10% better against RHP, quite standard and a 903 OPS vs LHP. It's only in his very last season that you see an uncharacteristic tilt towards RHP, something that happens to nearly all old LHB.

Man's got enough trouble getting in without people making #### up.
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4671071)
Huh? 30% of Walker's PAs were against LHP. That's between Thome and Bonds, same as Votto. Walkers R/L split is just fine -- 10% better against RHP, quite standard and a 903 OPS vs LHP. It's only in his very last season that you see an uncharacteristic tilt towards RHP, something that happens to nearly all old LHB.


From memory, when I last researched it, 30% is a pretty high number for any player. I think that an average player is closer to around 27-28%....30% is not someone who is regularly ducking lefties.
   14. Baldrick Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4671079)
Boy is he ever borderline. His most comparable player looks to be Reggie Smith.

Except for an additional 8 WAR (which is quite a lot!), sure.

That four point gap in OPS+ is all OBP - which means it's quite a bit more valuable than a random four point gap.

At the end of the day, a little bit better than Reggie Smith is probably not a HoFer in my book.

I assume, then, that you also think that none of Willie McCovey, Craig Biggio, Duke Snider, Ernie Banks, and Eddie Murray are deserving either?

It's possible that Walker in fact is borderline or undeserving. But citing WAR is a pretty terrible way of making that case.
   15. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4671080)
At the end of the day, a little bit better than Reggie Smith is probably not a HoFer in my book.


Reggie Smith is in the Hall of Merit and is one of those guys who really help to reveal the size of the Hall of Fame. As the Hall of Merit was going through its exercise, I think Keith Hernandez was the first one who did it for me, but Reggie Smith works just fine, too. I think if you look at how Hall-of-Merit voters evaluated Reggie Smith's career was perfectly valid: they adjusted for context and ballpark, gave him credit for the 800 games in CF, but didn't rely on some kind of crazy fielding or baserunning numbers or particularly esoteric statistical calculations. They more or less got him right and that gets you into a merit-based Hall of Fame the size of the one in Cooperstown. Which, of course, also gets Larry Walker into the same Hall (and he's already in the Hall of Merit, too).
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4671081)
- Do you think there's something about Coors that park effects can't capture? If so, what is it and much does it overstate Walker's value?

I haven't done the math, but his home/road splits are pretty massive. He may well have derived extra benefit from Coors, and I would ding him for that.

In terms of HoF, I care about ability more than value accumulation.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4671082)
Funny, I always thought of Walker as an excellent fielder, but dWar has him as basically 0 for his career. He was nearly 3 dWar for his time in Montreal, so maybe that is what I'm remembering. He was 0 for Colorado, and negative for his short time in Stl.


dWar is an utterly useless stat (for the most part) it includes the positional adjustment so it doesn't give any understanding on the quality of a particular players defense. As mentioned, Walker was an excellent defender, you always want to look at rfield to determine how good of a fielder a player was. Just look at Keith Hernandez, widely considered the best defensive firstbaseman in history. His dWar is .5, his rfield is 117 runs.(117 runs is second all time among first baseman, Albert Pujols is first, but Albert played during the pbp era where the numbers are more accurate, Keith's numbers have been regressed--I think---so he's hurt by the methodology)
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4671084)
Reggie Smith is in the Hall of Merit and is one of those guys who really help to reveal the size of the Hall of Fame. As the Hall of Merit was going through its exercise, I think Keith Hernandez was the first one who did it for me, but Reggie Smith works just fine, too. I think if you look at how Hall-of-Merit voters evaluated Reggie Smith's career was perfectly valid: they adjusted for context and ballpark, gave him credit for the 800 games in CF, but didn't rely on some kind of crazy fielding or baserunning numbers or particularly esoteric statistical calculations. They more or less got him right and that gets you into a merit-based Hall of Fame the size of the one in Cooperstown. Which, of course, also gets Larry Walker into the same Hall (and he's already in the Hall of Merit, too).

Sure, but I don't like including the "mistakes" in the sizing of the HoF. I'd prefer a slightly more restrictive HoF than the current HoM size.

   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4671088)
Except for an additional 8 WAR (which is quite a lot!), sure.

That four point gap in OPS+ is all OBP - which means it's quite a bit more valuable than a random four point gap.

At the end of the day, a little bit better than Reggie Smith is probably not a HoFer in my book.

I assume, then, that you also think that none of Willie McCovey, Craig Biggio, Duke Snider, Ernie Banks, and Eddie Murray are deserving either?

It's possible that Walker in fact is borderline or undeserving. But citing WAR is a pretty terrible way of making that case.


Well, I'm saying I don't quite believe the 8 WAR difference. I also don't rate HoFers strictly by WAR.
Ernie Banks is a peak candidate. At his best he was much better than Larry Walker. A 150 OPS+ SS who plays every day is leagues ahead of a 160 OPS+ RF who tends to miss 30 to 75 games a season.

Some of the other guys you cite had 12,000 PAs. They're in a totally different category than Walker. Murray has 3000 hits and 500 HRs. Biggio was a catcher and 2B for pete's sake.

What's next? You're going to tell me Larry Walker was better than Yogi Berra and Mike Piazza b/c he has more WAR?
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4671091)
Well, I'm saying I don't quite believe the 8 WAR difference. I also don't rate HoFers strictly by WAR.


I agree with the second part... but basically Walkers better baserunning (40 vs 11) ability negates(and a little more) Reggies positional advantage. (-75 vs -49) another win is given for the ability to avoid the dp (10 vs -4) the .400 career obp vs .366 obp is a significant difference(even adjusting for different eras)

Ernie Banks is a peak candidate. At his best he was much better than Larry Walker. A 150 OPS+ SS who plays every day is leagues ahead of a 160 OPS+ RF who tends to miss 30 to 75 games a season.


Walkers missed playing time is a huge reason he's borderline for me, if we go by just his career numbers, he makes it in probably pretty easy, but the seasonal missed playing time is a big deal for me and really hurts his case.
   21. Greg K Posted: March 13, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4671095)
dWar is an utterly useless stat (for the most part) it includes the positional adjustment so it doesn't give any understanding on the quality of a particular players defense.

I think it's useful, but misleadingly named so it is often used incorrectly.

It's useful for things like, how much defensive value did player X bring compared to player Y? In other words, ignoring hitting, who is more useful, an league-average fielding SS, or a good fielding RF? Or, how good a 2B would you have to be to have equal defensive value to a league-average SS?

I think where it is not useful is in asking "was Larry Walker a good right-fielder?" Unless you know roughly what the positional adjustment is and can mentally note that 0 dWAR for Walker is a sign that he was very good out there...but that's a bit of a waste of time because you can just look at Rfield, or one of the other defensive metrics and avoid the mental adjustment.
   22. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 13, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4671100)
I haven't done the math, but his home/road splits are pretty massive. He may well have derived extra benefit from Coors, and I would ding him for that.


Of course they are massive, he had over 30% of his ABs in Coors field which makes it a mathematical requirement. Any hitter with any substantial career length in Coors field will have bigger than normal splits. No one can hit in the leagues best hitting home park without also hitting in the leagues worst hitters parks on the road.

If you take Coors field out (which is of course silly), Walker's BA drops from .313 to .293, that's 6%. If you take Yankee stadium out for Jeter, he drops from .317 to .308, 3%. That's an almost trivial difference and park adjustments do fine adjusting for it.

Jeter is also apparently a slam dunk HOFer, yet has only been worth 32 wins above average, Reggie Smith 37 wins above average. They are both smoked by Walker (48) by a huge amount. He hit like a very good corner outfielder, and played defense like a center fielder, that's a very rare combo and it made him one of the dominant outfielders of his era.
   23. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 13, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4671104)
Note that Jeter has had three full and two partial seasons of being a below average player. Aside from 20 games as a 22 year old rookie Walker never turned in a below average season even when hurt. That's a dominant player with a very good peak, he just wasn't able to apply it over enough full seasons to meet the limited criteria of the typical BBWAA voter.
   24. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 13, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4671115)
I agree with the second part... but basically Walkers better baserunning (40 vs 11) ability negates(and a little more) Reggies positional advantage. (-75 vs -49) another win is given for the ability to avoid the dp (10 vs -4) the .400 career obp vs .366 obp is a significant difference(even adjusting for different eras)


This is why using WAR, or better WAA, is necessary to any HOF discussion. Ignoring it often means you don't think defense or baserunning are important, or it doesn't match your preconceived biases.

It's reasonable to say argue that the way rWAR measures a component unfairly favors Walker, but it's ludicrous to just say the better way to determine his value over 8,000 or so PAs is the few dozen or hundred you witnessed in person or cherry picked non adjusted stats devoid of any real value weight.
   25. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 13, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4671116)
it made him one of the dominant outfielders of his era.

on a rate basis. but because of his playing time walker never received that level of stature within baseball. he was well respected. but other than his mvp season nobody was speaking of walker in hushed tones. there were too many other guys also killing the ball who played more frequently.

look at 2001. walker hit great that year. but his eye-opening in any other season ops of 1.111 was 5th in the league. 9 guys were at a 1.000 or better. 6 were outfielders. yes I know one of those guys was bonds but this and Colorado only winning 73 games likely explains walkers well down the ballot mvp finish.

kind of strange for a guy who was legitimately so good to have 2 top 5 mvp finishes. sure, sure the writers are morons. fine. they also gave walker the mvp that belonged to mike piazza. the gist is that if walker were truly dominant even the most thick headed would pick up on it.

I am not going to holler in pain if walker goes into the hof. but playing time is a skill too you know. and walker, as good as he was, didn't play as much as he could have and that kept his teams from winning a bit more.

at least that is what I suspect folks are influenced by come voting time right or wrong

   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4671122)
I am not going to holler in pain if walker goes into the hof. but playing time is a skill too you know. and walker, as good as he was, didn't play as much as he could have and that kept his teams from winning a bit more.

Yup. You can't be "dominant" when your games played line in your prime reads 103,131,83,153,130,127,87,142,136, unless you are a C.

As for the WAR comparison, I flat out don't believe than 8000 PAs of 141 OPS+ from a RF (Walker) can be more valuable than 7750 PAs of a 143 OPS+ from a C (Piazza).

WAR is getting something wrong. I mean, if you could draft Piazza's career or Walker's, you'd talk Piazza without hesitation. A catcher hits better than a RF, and the catcher is less valuable? Doesn't pass the smell test of what we know about the scarcity of bats at the 2 positions.
   27. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4671134)
Yup. You can't be "dominant" when your games played line in your prime reads 103,131,83,153,130,127,87,142,136, unless you are a C.


103 was in a 114 game season and 131 was in a 144 game season. Not disagreeing with the point being made, but those first two seasons aren't evidence of his lack of durability.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4671137)
As for the WAR comparison, I flat out don't believe than 8000 PAs of 141 OPS+ from a RF (Walker) can be more valuable than 7750 PAs of a 143 OPS+ from a C (Piazza).

WAR is getting something wrong. I mean, if you could draft Piazza's career or Walker's, you'd talk Piazza without hesitation. A catcher hits better than a RF, and the catcher is less valuable? Doesn't pass the smell test of what we know about the scarcity of bats at the 2 positions.


War screws up catchers defense, but look at the rfield difference -63 vs 94... 15 win difference between their fielding, it's almost all negated by the positional adjustment(1 dWar for Piazza, .5 for Walker), but then you are looking at the differences strictly based upon their offense. Walker has better baserunning--roughly 7 games difference9 (40 vs -29) another four because he's better at avoiding the dp, (10 to -27)

Even saying all of that Piazza is a clear hofer, and Walker is borderline.

Edit: Piazza is a historically bad defensive catcher, the Derek Jeter of catchers...at least by the methodology that b-reference uses. I don't agree with that at all, but that is what their numbers say.
   29. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 13, 2014 at 06:06 PM (#4671143)
but because of his playing time walker never received that level of stature within baseball.

Yup, that's the killer.
   30. toratoratora Posted: March 13, 2014 at 07:04 PM (#4671181)
Piazza was supposedly a good pitch framer (Max Marchi at Bpro once estimated him to have saved 78 career runs)so there's some lost wins there.
Plus his pitching staffs almost always had a lower era when he was catching, often significantly lower.

First column is e.r.a. with Piazza catching. Second is w/o.Third is the e.r.a. difference.

1993 3.45 3.50 -05
1994 3.95 4.17 -22
1995 3.68 3.66 +02
1996 3.31 3.41 -10
1997 3.50 3.62 -12
1998 4.13 3.81 LA+32
1998 3.94 3.76 NY+18
1999 4.40 4.27 -13
2000 3.86 4.16 -30
2001 4.08 4.07 +01
2002 3.86 3.89 -03
2003 3.97 4.48 -51
2004 3.94 4.09 -15
2005 3.88 3.76 -12
2006 3.50 3.87 SD-37

On average,his pitchers had an e.r.a. of .10 less pitching to Piazza lifetime.
Per Bref,Piazza caught 13,555 innings lifetime. Divided by nine, that's 1506.7 games caught.If he saved an average of 1/10 a run each full game caught, that's 150 runs.
Now some, if not all, of this is likely reflected in pitch framing stats and I'm certainly double counting more than a little if I try to combine the two.*

Figure out some way to quantify and work in those factors and I suspect his, and all catchers, WAR, will shift pretty dramatically. It will also be more reflective of a the players true worth.

*Note-all math is back of the napkin type stuff,not a serious study.I understand that there will be tons of mitigating factors and adjustments, but I wanted to make the point that there's potentially lots of value out there not being captured.
   31. Baldrick Posted: March 13, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4671182)
I feel like there is a lot of sleight-of-hand going on here. The problem is that Walker was exceptionally good on a per-game basis but never played full seasons. So of course you have to ding him for that. But dinging him ought to be done in some kind of rational way. WAR is one way of assessing it - and it says that even with those injuries, Walker was basically an All-Star quality outfielder for his whole career. He averaged about 5 WAR a year. That is very very good. If he could have added 20-30 games to each of those seasons, he would have been a 6 WAR player a year - which is inner-circle good. Since he didn't manage that he's not inner-circle good.

But this is where the Eddie Murray comparison is useful. Eddie Murray was a solid HOFer who was never incandescent. He just pumped out 4-5 WAR seasons for a long time. And people seem comfortable with that being a sufficient HOF argument. Well, Walker was a enough better (per-game) than Murray that even with those missing games, his average season is better than Murray's.

But people seem to want to ding Walker EXTRA - and say that missing those games somehow reduces his value - and I don't really understand why. Why is it worse to be a 6 WAR player for 5/6 of the season than it is to just be a 5 WAR player? Is it because you think the replacement level in WAR is set too high? Is it something else? Absent a reason to think otherwise, what WAR suggests is that Larry Walker + 30 games of readily available AAA talent is better than 162 games of Eddie Murray.

Well, I'm saying I don't quite believe the 8 WAR difference. I also don't rate HoFers strictly by WAR.

You're the one that brought up WAR and Reggie Smith. I'm not saying WAR is the only way to evaluate things, but I would like to see some consistent mechanism. Otherwise, we're just back to whether someone 'feels like' a HOFer.

Also, several posts have explained where the gap comes from. If you don't believe it, please explain why.

Ernie Banks is a peak candidate. At his best he was much better than Larry Walker. A 150 OPS+ SS who plays every day is leagues ahead of a 160 OPS+ RF who tends to miss 30 to 75 games a season.

Yes, Ernie Banks is a peak candidate. I agree. Walker is ALSO a peak candidate (or perhaps a 'prime' candidate). The difference is that Walker's peak - while lower per season - lasted a lot longer than Banks. His peak is pretty much his whole career. That is tremendously valuable. So: I would rather have the 7 best seasons of Banks' career than the 7 best seasons of Walker's career - obviously. Though they're closer than you might think. But I would rather have Walker's 8-14 best seasons. And, actually, they're better by a big enough margin that it almost makes up the gap from those original seven best seasons.

In your terms: a solid-defending RF who hits 130 OPS+ and misses 30 games a year is leagues ahead of a first baseman who hits 110 OPS+ and misses 10 games a year.

Some of the other guys you cite had 12,000 PAs. They're in a totally different category than Walker. Murray has 3000 hits and 500 HRs. Biggio was a catcher and 2B for pete's sake.

Yes, that is the point. Those guys have less WAR in 4000 extra PA. Is it your contention that Walker would be a better candidate if he threw in 4000 extra replacement-level plate appearances into his career to bulk up all his seasons to 160 games - and tacked three or four more bad years at the end?

What's next? You're going to tell me Larry Walker was better than Yogi Berra and Mike Piazza b/c he has more WAR?

I think WAR significantly undervalues catchers, so I would not put Walker ahead of Piazza, no.

But again, I was responding to YOUR CLAIM that Walker was not very impressive based on WAR. My only point was that his WAR is actually very impressive. If you don't want people to cite WAR at you in the future, maybe don't introduce it as a measure of reference.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 07:31 PM (#4671189)
But again, I was responding to YOUR CLAIM that Walker was not very impressive based on WAR. My only point was that his WAR is actually very impressive. If you don't want people to cite WAR at you in the future, maybe don't introduce it as a measure of reference.

I never said that. I mentioned WAR b/c I knew someone would bring it up, and I said I didn't believe Walker's WAR advantage over Smith.

I don't believe Walker was as good as WAR says he was. I have a suspicion the Coors factor is not being properly reflected.

How is Walker's 965 OPS worth 418 rbat, but Piazza's 922 OPS in much tougher hitting environments only worth 414. 250 PAs and 40 pts of OPS shouldn't make up the difference between playing in the most extreme hitters' park ever, and the twin offense killers of Dodger Stadium and Shea. I mean a 95 park factor vs. a 125 should be worth more than that.
   33. StHendu Posted: March 13, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4671191)
I haven't done the math, but his home/road splits are pretty massive. He may well have derived extra benefit from Coors, and I would ding him for that.


Larry Walker career road numbers: .278/.370/.495. that isn't bad - it's Derrek Lee like.
career home numbers : .348/.431/.637. Lou Gehrig numbers at home.

Larry Walker's career slugging at Coors (2501 PA) is .710, higher than the Babe.

Coors sure does make for some strange H/A splits. Dante Bichette has a .641 slg at Coors.

even if Walker's value exceeds the minimum for HOF entry, I doubt he would be anywhere close to election without playing at coors.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 07:46 PM (#4671194)
Larry Walker career road numbers: .278/.370/.495. that isn't bad - it's Derrek Lee like.
career home numbers : .348/.431/.637. Lou Gehrig numbers at home.

Larry Walker's career slugging at Coors (2501 PA) is .710, higher than the Babe.

Coors sure does make for some strange H/A splits. Dante Bichette has a .641 slg at Coors.

even if Walker's value exceeds the minimum for HOF entry, I doubt he would be anywhere close to election without playing at coors.


Whereas Piazza put up a 294/364/515/880 line at home, and a 320/388/572/960 line on the road. I'm a lot more sure that Piazza was an elite hitter.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 07:49 PM (#4671197)
How is Walker's 965 OPS worth 418 rbat, but Piazza's 922 OPS in much tougher hitting environments only worth 414. 250 PAs shouldn't make up the difference between playing in the most extreme hitters' park ever, and the twin offense killers of Dodger Stadium and Shea.




Coors field isn't always a huge park advantage, sometimes it's just a good park advantage. If you look at "neutralized batting" on bb-ref, where everything is neutralized to a 4.42 r/g environment, you have Piazza with a .923(.309/.376/.546) ops and Walker with a .909(.294/.378/.530) ops. That is a .060 drop in ops, which is a huge chunk.



Basically they are equal hitters, Piazza is slightly better rate, but it's negated by Walker's slight pa advantage. That seems perfectly logical to me. (heck his road ops was .865 for his career, makes me feel pretty comfortable that it does a fairly accurate job of capturing his neutralized stat.) Basically their positions net out as a wash(again, bb-ref screws Piazza, and I fully agree to that) and walker makes up the difference by baserunning and avoiding double plays. (over the course of 15+ seasons that equals out to about half a war a year)

But people seem to want to ding Walker EXTRA - and say that missing those games somehow reduces his value - and I don't really understand why. Why is it worse to be a 6 WAR player for 5/6 of the season than it is to just be a 5 WAR player? Is it because you think the replacement level in WAR is set too high? Is it something else? Absent a reason to think otherwise, what WAR suggests is that Larry Walker + 30 games of readily available AAA talent is better than 162 games of Eddie Murray.


Absolutely I want to ding him because of time missed. The team is penalized on a seasonal basis when you lose a star player, and when it becomes habitual then I don't mind if an analyst dings him for it. Keep the seasonal war total, but add in "replacement" level offensive performance to his his numbers for missing time to adjust his career rate numbers. Since I don't vote strictly based upon WAR, this means his career rate numbers and seasonal WAA is going to look worse and may drop a 'career' guy off the list. (not the only way to do it, but yes, I have zero qualms about penalizing a player who routinely misses 14+ games a year)

   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 07:52 PM (#4671198)
Basically they are equal hitters, Piazza is slightly better rate, but it's negated by Walker's slight pa advantage. That seems perfectly logical to me. (heck his road ops was .865 for his career, makes me feel pretty comfortable that it does a fairly accurate job of capturing his neutralized stat...in comparison Piazza's road ops was .880.)


No, Piazza OPS'd 960 on the road, the 880 was home. He played in major pitchers' parks.
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4671199)
No, Piazza OPS'd 960 on the road, the 880 was home. He played in major pitchers' parks.


And???? You seem to think that these difference in pitchers parks is a .100 ops difference, they are not.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 08:02 PM (#4671201)
And???? You seem to think that these difference in pitchers parks is a .100 ops difference, they are not.

I think park effects could have knocked 40 pts. of OPS off Piazza, and added 60 to Walker. Yes.

The neutralization you showed accounted for 60 pts. It's entirely possible that Walker benefited more than average from Coors, and Piazza suffered more than average from his parks.

It is entirely possible that playing in neutral parks Piazza would have had a career 975 OPS (you should hit better at home, all else being equal), and Walker would have put up a 900 OPS.
   39. The Duke Posted: March 13, 2014 at 08:04 PM (#4671202)
I wish all these guys who say they know who juiced would just come out and tell us. This would be the most helpful thing they could all do for hall of fame voting
   40. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 08:07 PM (#4671204)
Coors field helps your home numbers and actually hurts your road numbers as you are missing the best hitters park to play in, and have to readjust your body constantly from the changing environments. Add in that he a large portion of his road games in pitchers parks with Dodgers and the Padres being his two most visited parks, and .865 is impressive.

Again.
1. Mike Piazza is a certainty for me for the hof.
2. Larry Walker is borderline in my opinion, which changes constantly
3. War sucks at evaluating catchers
4. Every defensive system out there sucks at evaluating Mike Piazza.
5. Mike Piazza was a slightly better rate hitter(and I mean slightly...Walker's slightly longer career negates that)
6. because bb-ref sucks at rating catchers, and Piazza specifically all positional advantage that Piazza has is negated by their claim of his crappy defense and Walker's elite defense.
7. Walker was a significantly better base runner, which pretty much explains all the difference in their career war.

I don't see the big coors advantage that you are bemoaning. Yes it helped out walker of course, but judging a player strictly by their road stats only, is an utterly ridiculous way to evaluate them.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4671206)
deleted
   42. Zach Posted: March 13, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4671207)
How is Walker's 141 OPS+ worth 418 rbat, but Piazza's 143 OPS+ in much tougher hitting environments only worth 414.

OPS+ is park corrected, right?
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4671208)
I don't see the big coors advantage that you are bemoaning. Yes it helped out walker of course, but judging a player strictly by their road stats only, is an utterly ridiculous way to evaluate them.

I'm not only using road stats. I'm just saying that given how extreme Coors was back then, I'm not confident the park adjustments get it right.
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: March 13, 2014 at 08:17 PM (#4671211)
I'm not only using road stats. I'm just saying that given how extreme Coors was back then, I'm not confident the park adjustments get it right.


I'm not confident it gets it right in regards to Mike Trout...but I'm much more comfortable with the Walker adjustment than I am with the current Angels adjustment. Walker in his twighlight years left Colorado and did very well in St Louis (.926 ops--not all of it as a Cardinal of course)

I think that going with .865 and assuming that you get a 5-10% knock on your offense at a visitor park(a safe assumption) means he might have been realistically a true.900-.940 ops hitter, the neutralized stats put him in that ball park for his career, so it passes the initial smell test for me.

Obviously Piazza has the opposite problem, in that his road ops is much better than his home ops, so you can't really make as much out of his road number since it's so unusual.(with Montreal, Philadelphia, Colorada, Pittsburgh providing much of that heavy lifting--Piazza had a 1.115 ops in Coors, Walker 1.172--not really important, just mentioning it)

   45. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 14, 2014 at 05:02 AM (#4671300)
No, Piazza OPS'd 960 on the road, the 880 was home. He played in major pitchers' parks.


Which of course means that Piazza was able to hit in the best possible road parks, while Walker was forced to hit in the worst possible.
   46. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: March 14, 2014 at 08:35 AM (#4671323)
Walker should be in, but he probably won't make it:

1) No ringzzz.
2) He played in Montreal, which is, like, in a different country, man.
3) He played in Colorado, where everybody gets 2,000 hits and 300 home runs just for showing up.
4) He also played in St. Louis, but nobody remembers that, so it obviously didn't really happen.
5) Because steroids.
   47. stanmvp48 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 09:01 AM (#4671333)
"Playing at Coors Field, where he hit .381 with 154 home runs in 597 games, isn’t helping his cause."

Well, Troy, I kind of think playing at Coors Field is helping his cause.



On the other hand; Kirby Pucktt 7831 PA with OPS+ 124.



   48. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4671348)
Which of course means that Piazza was able to hit in the best possible road parks, while Walker was forced to hit in the worst possible.

Right, but the difference between Piazza's road parks and Walker's road parks is nowhere near the gap between Dodger/Shea's 95 PF, and Coors 125 PF.

If you played in all 15 road parks equally as often, the average road PF for a guy playing in a 125 home park would be 98.4 ((15*98.4+1*125)/16=100). The avg. road PF for a guy playing in a 95 home park would be 100.4.
   49. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 14, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4671407)
The problem is that Walker was exceptionally good on a per-game basis but never played full seasons.


You know who else only played about 3 full seasons in his whole career? Reggie Smith.
   50. kcgard2 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4671531)
I reject Walker's premise that he stayed the same size/weight through his career. He was listed 205 in 1991, up to 235 by 1997, and then listed weight just stayed 235 from then on, though I would wager was more than that as a Cardinal. He was clearly bigger after moving on from the Expos. I wish we knew who did what, as well, Larry.
   51. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4671538)
If you played in all 15 road parks equally as often, the average road PF for a guy playing in a 125 home park would be 98.4 ((15*98.4+1*125)/16=100). The avg. road PF for a guy playing in a 95 home park would be 100.4.


And those park factors are what is being used to determine the rBat of the players. If you trust those park factors, then there is no reason to not trust the rbat.

Obviously you won't play in all 15 road parks equally as often. You'll play in road parks from the your division about 3 times more than the other parks, and if you are a Rockie, then that means a lot of road games in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco...three good pitchers parks.
   52. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4671562)
And those park factors are what is being used to determine the rBat of the players. If you trust those park factors, then there is no reason to not trust the rbat.

Right, but I'm certain park factors don't affect all hitters equally. We know Joe DiMaggio was disproportionately hurt by Old Yankee Stadium. We know certain types of LHB benefit disproportionately from Fenway.

When a park is ask extreme as Coors was when Walker played there, all sorts of weird things might be going on.
   53. Ron J2 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4671564)
Here's the peak list of corner OF sorted by adjusted offensive wins (AOW).

Peak totals in 5 best season by AOW. Not necessarily consecutive. May include seasons with substantial time at other positions
AOW = Adjusted Offensive Wins. batting, baserunning, DP avoidance etc converted to wins above average
WAR = WAR in 5 best seasons by AOW
oWAR = offensive WAR in 5 best seasons by AOW. Totals not adjusted for seasons spent at more demanding defensive positions
dWAR = defensive WAR in 5 best seasons by AOW.
OPS+ = OPS+ in 5 best seasons by AOW.
POS % = % of time at primary defensive position in 5 best seasons by AOW.
PP = position where plurality of time was spent at.
WAR 7+ = number of seasons with 7+ WAR
WAR 5+ = number of seasons with 5+ WAR
Prime = WAR in 7 best seasons with best and two worst years removed
AGE = Average age in best 7 year stretch -- excluding two worst years in that strech (average of this list is just over 28)

Player            AOW   WAR  oWAR  dWAR OPS+  POS %  PP  WAR 7+  WAR 5+  Prime  Age 
Babe Ruth        50.3  62.7  58.5   1.0  236  49.6
%  LF   13*     19*     48.5   29 includes pitching41.3RF
Barry Bonds      46.6  53.2  53.1   0.7  241  96.2
%  LF   14      17      39.7   37 
Ted Williams     44.5  51.7  51.0  
-2.7  220  99.4%  LF    9      13      39.8   24 
Stan Musial      35.7  47.4  45.3  
-1.3  184  32.9%  RF    9      14      36.0   25 24.7LF,22.61B19.7CF
Hank Aaron       33.4  41.9  42.3  
-3.9  178  75.8%  RF   13      17      34.0   26 
Joe Jackson      31.3  41.1  39.8  
-2.8  183  91.7%  LF    5       7      29.7   26 
Mel Ott          29.8  39.3  37.2  
-0.7  172  84.5%  RF    6      14      30.8   27 
Frank Robinson   29.6  39.4  38.1  
-2.6  172  78.1%  RF    5      11      29.4   27 
Carl Yastrzemski 29.5  43.8  37.0   2.8  170  86.0
%  LF    3       8      30.8   28 
Harry Heilmann   29.0  35.5  37.0  
-4.6  174  98.3%  RF    2       7      27.4   29 
Ed Delahanty     28.6  35.5  34.7  
-2.8  185  82.0%  LF    2       9      26.3   30 
Ralph Kiner      27.5  36.3  37.3  
-4.2  169  92.3%  LF    3       5      28.0   26 
Rickey Henderson 27.4  39.8  35.9   1.9  150  75.1
%  LF    4      12      31.1   29 
Sammy Sosa       26.4  33.0  33.9  
-4.1  162  96.4%  RF    1       6      23.3   30 
Gary Sheffield   26.3  29.5  34.0  
-7.1  172  42.2%  RF    0       6      19.1   33 
Chuck Klein      26.3  30.5  33.4  
-6.2  161  82.6%  RF    1       4      23.0   26 
Larry Walker     26.1  34.4  32.1  
-0.7  163  96.9%  RF    2       6      24.6   32 
Reggie Jackson   25.1  32.8  32.8  
-3.3  169  85.5%  RF    2       8      26.7   26 
Albert Belle     25.0  28.7  32.7  
-7.0  167  97.2%  LF    1       4      23.0   28 
Manny Ramirez    24.9  29.5  31.9  
-5.8  173  44.9%  LF    1       6      21.9   29 
Roberto Clemente 24.8  38.1  32.8   1.5  156  99.8
%  RF    7      10      31.0   32 
Al Simmons       24.3  35.6  31.8  
-0.7  165  61.0%  LF    3       7      27.7   26 
Billy Williams   23.9  30.4  31.7  
-6.3  153  76.2%  LF    1       5      21.1   27 
Willie Stargell  23.9  30.4  30.4  
-4.3  173  94.7%  LF    2       4      21.5   32 
Paul Waner       23.7  31.9  30.6  
-2.1  153  94.4%  RF    0       7      22.1   26 
Al Kaline        23.2  36.4  30.5   2.9  154  85.1
%  RF    3      10      27.4   23 
Jesse Burkett    23.1  28.6  28.8  
-3.7  161  99.6%  LF    1       5      21.5   29 
Brian Giles      22.8  28.4  31.4  
-5.0  157  40.2%  LF    2       4      21.8   30 
Charlie Keller   22.2  31.6  28.6  
-0.5  159  89.8%  LF    0       5      27.0   25 
Tim Raines       22.2  32.1  30.9  
-1.7  142  78.2%  LF    1       6      24.5   26 
Frank Howard     22.2  22.9  30.5 
-12.0  166  62.3%  LF    0       1      15.8   32 
Vlad Guerreo     21.9  31.6  29.4  
-1.0  157  95.4%  RF    2       5      23.4   26 
Sam Crawford     21.7  26.5  30.0  
-7.3  158  81.1%  RF    0       8      21.7   31 
Joe Medwick      21.7  31.1  28.9  
-1.5  155 100.0%  LF    2       1      22.6   25 
Tony Gwynn       21.6  29.9  28.6  
-2.2  151  99.4%  RF    5       6      21.5   26 
Pete Rose        21.4  33.0  32.0  
-0.6  143  40.6%  RF    2       8      24.1   32 
Jim Rice         21.3  30.3  27.3  
-1.2  147  70.2%  LF    1       5      20.2   27 
Dave Winfield    21.1  27.2  29.1  
-5.2  153  85.4%  RF    1       5      18.5   26 
Ken Singleton    21.0  24.8  29.6  
-8.0  153  94.7%  RF    0       4      20.8   29 
Minnie Minoso    21.0  30.3  27.6  
-0.6  146  81.7%  LF    1       5      22.0   29 
Goose Goslin     20.8  32.7  29.0   0.5  151  89.0
%  LF    1       7      25.0   26 
Sherry Magee     20.5  28.8  23.8  
-5.4  156  85.2%  LF    0       4      22.1   28 
Bobby Abreau     20.5  29.8  27.7  
-1.3  146  97.4%  RF    0       7      24.5   28 
Bobby Bonds      20.4  30.9  28.3  
-1.0  140  77.2%  RF    1       7      23.2   25 
Sam Thompson     20.4  25.4  25.8  
-3.3  163  99.5%  RF    0       3      18.0   33 
Dwight Evans     19.8  27.3  27.8  
-3.5  147  88.0%  RF    0       4      20.8   32 
Rusty Staub      18.9  26.5  27.0  
-4.7  148  95.3%  RF    0       4      20.8   25 
Jose Canseco     18.7  23.7  24.6  
-4.6  156  55.3%  RF    1       3      15.7   24 
Heinie Manush    17.5  26.4  25.8  
-1.3  141  79.6%  LF    1       3      18.6   27 
Reggie Smith     17.2  24.7  24.8  
-2.4  156  80.8%  RF    0       5      21.0   26
Mike Donlin      17.2  23.9  23.5  
-2.5  154  38.7%  LF    0       2      13.5   26 
Lou Brock        16.7  24.4  24.1  
-4.6  122  79.9%  LF    0       3      19.0   27 
Enos Slaughter   16.6  26.8  25.7  
-2.6  139  65.4%  RF    0       3      20.6   31 
Ichiro Suzuki    16.4  33.0  26.2   4.6  124  78.6
%  RF    2       6      24.4   31 
Harry Hooper     12.1  21.8  18.9  
-0.2  124  99.4%  RF    0       2      14.4   31 
Sam Rice         10.1  21.5  19.0  
-0.4  119  60.6%  RF    0       0      18.0   33 
Bob Meusel        9.3  18.0  17.6  
-2.6  127  44.5%  LF    0       0      13.8   27 

   54. Ron J2 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 12:35 PM (#4671575)
#33 WAR accurately captures his overall value properly. That some players have an ability to take greater advantage of their parks than the typical player is valuable to the team.

It's very much like Koufax's splits in Dodger Stadium (a 1.37 ERA in 715.1 innings). It's plausible that Walker would have been less valuable playing for a different set of teams, but he did play for the Rockies.
   55. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4671584)
#33 WAR accurately captures his overall value properly. That some players have an ability to take greater advantage of their parks than the typical player is valuable to the team.

It's very much like Koufax's splits in Dodger Stadium (a 1.37 ERA in 715.1 innings). It's plausible that Walker would have been less valuable playing for a different set of teams, but he did play for the Rockies.


So, if you had two players one of whom put up 60 WAR but played in a highly unfavorable environment and would have put up 70 WAR in a neutral environment, and another put up 70 WAR in a highly favorable environment, and would have put up 60 in a neutral environment, you'd rather have the 2nd guy in the HoF?
   56. bjhanke Posted: March 14, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4671587)
One interesting thing about Coors is that it helps two different kinds of hitter. Most parks that help hitters only help one class (fly ball hitters, lefties, etc.). But Coors helps fly ball hitters, because the thin air will turn some warning-track fly balls into homers. And it helps hitters who have trouble with curve balls, because the ball doesn't curve as much in Coors as it does elsewhere. This makes it harder to figure out an accurate adjustment for individual hitters. I have no idea whether Walker had trouble with curve balls, but I do know that he was essentially a fly ball hitter. Using the normal ballpark adjustment for Coors is likely underrating the effects of the park on Walker. There might also be different effects for lefties and righties. Someone who is truly interested in Walker's place in baseball history ought to go look at all three if possible (the curve ball thing may be hard to get splits for). I'm not that interested. - Brock Hanke
   57. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: March 14, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4671590)
What's it been, like 15 years since it was established that Rockies have lower road stats than would be expected based on having to readjust to the way pitches move at lower altitude? And still we get brilliant but-just-look-how-big-those-splits-are! analysis.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4671608)
So, if you had two players one of whom put up 60 WAR but played in a highly unfavorable environment and would have put up 70 WAR in a neutral environment, and another put up 70 WAR in a highly favorable environment, and would have put up 60 in a neutral environment, you'd rather have the 2nd guy in the HoF?


If war was the only criteria being used, then Yes. Obviously nobody, anywhere on this thread is using war as the only criteria. You are more or less arguing for the hitters version of Fip to be used as the standard of hof. I think results matter, war is park and era adjusted so it's value is consistent over the years, but there are always going to be people that take advantage of the environment better. Your Wade Boggs, Chuck Kleins, Hank Greenbergs etc. It doesn't diminish the value that they provided.

If you want to talk about just raw talent, then put Eric Davis, Bo Jackson and Darryl Strawberry in the hall.
   59. Baldrick Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4671613)
So, if you had two players one of whom put up 60 WAR but played in a highly unfavorable environment and would have put up 70 WAR in a neutral environment, and another put up 70 WAR in a highly favorable environment, and would have put up 60 in a neutral environment, you'd rather have the 2nd guy in the HoF?

If we really actually knew their true talents, I would certainly be interested in the argument that the 'better' neutral player might well be more deserving.

But here's the thing. Your hypothetical is beyond ludicrous. The idea that we have the precision of statistics to make such an absurdly specific claim about such an enormous gap is the entire problem with your line of reasoning in this thread. There's NO WAY with the data that we've got that we could established a 20 WIN SWING between two players and their home parks. No way. Impossible. Not even close to possible. If these differences do exist, they are really pretty small.

We can occasionally point in very specific ways to guys who seem to take slightly better advantage of their home parks - or guys who seem slightly worse off in their home parts. But I have never seen any conclusive evidence that this is anything other than random variation. What we CAN measure, however, and pretty accurately, is how much actual value players provide. And we are pretty darn confident that this generally tracks very well with talent.

You can obsess over individual splits and your imagined differences and imagine that you're adding precision when in fact the only thing you're adding is noise. Lots of guys hit better at home than they do away. Some of those guys will hit several standard deviations better. It might be because they got lucky; it might be because they are uniquely suited. But regardless of WHY, those extra runs happened and provided real value for the team. So it's not crazy to count them - and the burden really ought to be on those who think they should be excluded to explain what specifically about the player renders those numbers suspect.
   60. Baldrick Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4671626)
Walker's tOPS+ at home was 120, and on the road it was 80. He was indeed, quite a bit better at home than on the road. But let's look at some other Rockies. Castilla: 114/86. Bichette: 124/76. Helton: 119/80. The entire Rockies team in 1997: 118/82. 1998: 123/77. 1999: 126/72. 2000: 129/69. 2001: 124/76.

Forgive me if I'm having a hard time picking out Walker's unique and extreme Coors splits.
   61. Ron J2 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4671752)
#55 I simply don't accept your formulation. They *might* have put up a different WAR in a different set of parks (James used a hypothetical Harmon Killebrew coming up in the dead ball era as his example) but the one thing that we really know about park effects is that we simply don't know how they'll affect any given player.

So I have been and am likely to remain a value in context kind of guy. We know what (say) Joe Gordon actually did and we can speculate that he was hurt to an unusual extent by Yankee Stadium, but in the end WAR captures the value of his contributions to the Yankees. (within method error of course)

   62. Ron J2 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4671770)
#59 James' example of Harmon Killebrew as a deadball player might qualify. And if you take Sandy Koufax's prime and weight his home park equal to any other ...

LGLD is the best ERA of any NL pitcher not named Koufax.

Year ERA LGLD  ERA+
1955 3.91  -   103
1956 4.23  
-    89
1957 3.89  
-   100
1958 3.98  
-    99
1959 4.81  
-    82
1960 3.28 2.70 115
1961 2.97 3.01 136
1962 3.35 2.80 118
1963 2.22 2.10 148
1964 2.72 2.20 130
1965 2.59 2.14 137
1966 1.92 2.22 213 


Only two ERA titles, one in a year not commonly thought of as part of his peak. Don't know if this hypothetical career make him a HOFer. Perhaps not (though he'd have a powerful "if only" factor working for him)
   63. StHendu Posted: March 14, 2014 at 05:40 PM (#4671890)
#33 WAR accurately captures his overall value properly. That some players have an ability to take greater advantage of their parks than the typical player is valuable to the team.

It's very much like Koufax's splits in Dodger Stadium (a 1.37 ERA in 715.1 innings). It's plausible that Walker would have been less valuable playing for a different set of teams, but he did play for the Rockies.


did you mean #33? I wrote #33 and my post basically agrees with what you are saying, except:

1. I'm not convinced WAR accurately captures value. although it appears to be a decent attempt, it's nowhere close to accurate, particularly with defense.

2. performing better than normal at coors during the big offensive years may not be an ability, but a function of the ballpark. Walker did play much better than normal at all his home parks, though.
   64. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: March 14, 2014 at 07:22 PM (#4671924)
If you take Coors field out (which is of course silly), Walker's BA drops from .313 to .293, that's 6%
Could you please explain how you got these numbers? I could have miscalculated or something, but I see it dropping from .313 to .282.

Total AB = 6907
Coors AB = 2136
6907 - 2136 = 4771

Total H = 2160
Coors H = 814
2160 - 814 = 1346

1346/4771 = 0.282

And I see the slash lines as going from 313/400/565 to 282/372/501.
   65. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 14, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4671931)
If hitters got the boost to their overall numbers from play home games at Coors that some people penalize them for in these discussions then I don't think you would have to go down to 192nd on the all-time OPS list to find someone besides Walker or Helton who played for Colorado (Ellis Burks). After that, as far as I could tell by scanning the leaderboard, you have to go all the way to 340 before finally hitting another one (Matt Holliday). Even in Coors during a high-offense era you have to be a truly exceptional hitter to repeatedly have those massive seasons.
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4671939)
If hitters got the boost to their overall numbers from play home games at Coors that some people penalize them for in these discussions then I don't think you would have to go down to 192nd on the all-time OPS list to find someone besides Walker or Helton who played for Colorado (Ellis Burks). After that, as far as I could tell by scanning the leaderboard, you have to go all the way to 340 before finally hitting another one (Matt Holliday). Even in Coors during a high-offense era you have to be a truly exceptional hitter to repeatedly have those massive seasons.


Walker's .865 ops on the road for his career is 78th (road ops) and in history, a .865 ops would put you at around 106 all time.(5000 pa or more) So he's easily one of the top 100 hitters of all time, add in elite defense at the corner, and plus baserunning and it's not hard to see why he is a good borderline candidate, and not an entire creation of his park.
   67. alilisd Posted: March 14, 2014 at 08:50 PM (#4671942)
@ 65: But what does it tell about Walker and Helton? If you look at the high offense era, there have been 156 seasons of at least 1.000 OPS from 1990 on. If you look at the top of the list, it's obviously dominated by Bonds, but Walker has more of the top 30 seasons than Thomas, Bagwell, Sosa or Thome; he has as many as McGwire, though McGwire's rank a bit higher, and Pujols, but Walker's rank much higher than Pujols. Do you really think Walker was a better hitter than all but Bonds and McGwire?

Helton has more of the top 30 than Thomas, Bagwell, Sosa, or Thome. Now granted he had two while they each had one, so it's not a huge difference, but when you go to top 40 Helton picks up two more before Thomas gets his second, and none of the other three have another. Do you really think Helton was a better hitter than those guys?

Sure both Helton and Walker were great hitters, but it's also sure Coors greatly exaggerated their numbers.
   68. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 14, 2014 at 08:59 PM (#4671946)
But what does it tell about Walker and Helton? If you look at the high offense era, there have been 156 seasons of at least 1.000 OPS from 1990 on. If you look at the top of the list, it's obviously dominated by Bonds, but Walker has more of the top 30 seasons than Thomas, Bagwell, Sosa or Thome; he has as many as McGwire, though McGwire's rank a bit higher, and Pujols, but Walker's rank much higher than Pujols. Do you really think Walker was a better hitter than all but Bonds and McGwire?


No, he wasn't, but he was a better defender (at a more difficult positon than all but Sosa and Bonds) and baserunner. So we acknowledge the Coors effect and knock him down for that (as well as for missed time) while also giving him credit for the advantage on defense and the basepaths. If he actually was an equivalent hitter to most of those guys (Sosa doesn't belong in this discussion by the way, more time on the field is the only advantage he has over Walker) then we wouldn't need to have the borderline discussion at all.

Helton has more of the top 30 than Thomas, Bagwell, Sosa, or Thome. Now granted he had two while they each had one, so it's not a huge difference, but when you go to top 40 Helton picks up two more before Thomas gets his second, and none of the other three have another. Do you really think Helton was a better hitter than those guys?


Helton might be a better hitter than Sosa but not the other three of course. But as far as I know Helton isn't considered to have as strong of a case as Walker anyway despite the longer career and being an excellent defender in his own right.

The point isn't to say that Helton and Walker are as good as the guys they keep company with on that leaderboard, it's to say that even with the Coors assist you still need to be a really damn good hitter to be up there repeatedly.
   69. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 08:59 PM (#4671947)
Nobody is saying that they weren't helped by Coors. The argument/debate has been about the accuracy of the park adjusted numbers to reflect Walker's talent/skill/value by the various systems we use in these discussions.

Snapper doesn't think that the park adjusted numbers go far enough in correcting for Walker's Coors field advantage, while others think it does a good enough job, backed by reasonable evidence.

But what does it tell about Walker and Helton? If you look at the high offense era, there have been 156 seasons of at least 1.000 OPS from 1990 on. If you look at the top of the list, it's obviously dominated by Bonds, but Walker has more of the top 30 seasons than Thomas, Bagwell, Sosa or Thome; he has as many as McGwire, though McGwire's rank a bit higher, and Pujols, but Walker's rank much higher than Pujols. Do you really think Walker was a better hitter than all but Bonds and McGwire?


Of course not, that is what ops+ is for. It park adjusts and lets you compare hitters from different eras and parks in one easy to understand number based upon a scale of 100 = average.

Instead of looking at 1.000 ops, look at players with over 160 ops+ seasons(has happened 144 times since 1990)...Now you have Bonds doing it 14 times, Thomas doing 8 times, Pujols doing it 7 times, Manny 6, Sheffield 5, McGwire 5, Miggy, Berkman, Helton, Giambi, Sosa, Arod, Bagwell and Edgar 4 times... Walker(along with a host of others) does it 3 times. (Every name I listed above Walker has a hof argument, although Berkman and Giambi and Helton's are weak cases)
   70. alilisd Posted: March 14, 2014 at 09:08 PM (#4671951)
CFB, I don't disagree with anything you've pointed out, except I do believe Jim was trying to diminish the Coors effect, and he was using raw OPS in an attempt to do so. That's the only reason I responded as such. I would never, unless I were comparing direct, contemporary teammates, use raw OPS.
   71. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 14, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4671956)
I deliberately used raw OPS because the argument is over whether or not park adjustments are penalizing Coors hitters enough. The entire point is that even if you don't adjust the numbers at all Walker and Helton stand out way above any other Coors hitters.
   72. DavidFoss Posted: March 14, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4671962)
I think WAR significantly undervalues catchers

Catchers simply don't play as much -- by design, they sit once or twice a week. I don't think rPos is supposed to make a playing time adjustment. I have no problem with catchers having 15% less WAR than comparable players at other positions.
   73. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4671969)
I deliberately used raw OPS because the argument is over whether or not park adjustments are penalizing Coors hitters enough. The entire point is that even if you don't adjust the numbers at all Walker and Helton stand out way above any other Coors hitters.


But that argument really doesn't matter. All that shows is that Walker and Helton were better hitters than the other Coors hitters. It doesn't confirm or deny anything in regards to how good of a hitter Walker and Helton is to the league. It's very possible that Coors just had poor hitters for a number of years, and being the best of a group of poor players isn't really evidence that they are good hitters.

Mind you, if someone is going to argue that the adjustments isn't enough, it's going to be hard to prove them wrong. As I've said on this thread the adjustments pass the smell test for me.

Catchers simply don't play as much -- by design, they sit once or twice a week. I don't think rPos is supposed to make a playing time adjustment. I have no problem with catchers having 15% less WAR than comparable players at other positions.


The argument is
1. Catchers affect more of the game than other players. Nobody has a problem with a pitcher getting around 85% of the defensive credit (meaning a pitcher who throws a complete game is worth roughly 44% of the value of an individual game while all other players on the team make up roughly 7%.... It's arguable that some of that defensive credit going to the pitcher should be going to the catcher...let's say defense is 75% pitcher, 10% catcher 15% the rest of the field... that would mean that on an individual game basis, the catcher is about 11% of the value, pitcher is 40% and the rest of the field is 7%...(numbers are for illustrative purposes only)
2. Catcher replacement level might be too high. Due to the fact that teams have to have 2 dedicated catchers, it's arguable that the ability to get a true replacement level catcher is tougher than any other position.


Edit...quick word on the numbers.. I divided offense and defense into 50% of the game. So a pitcher getting credit for 85% of the defense would be awarded 42.5% of the value of that game. There are 9 players on offense, each player is rewarded (.5 x 9) 5.5% of the value...and roughly 1.5% for remaining defense...nitpick if you want, as this was just a simplified for illustrative purposes.
   74. alilisd Posted: March 15, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4672076)
Jim, if that's your point, I agree. It seemed to me you were trying to say they were being penalized too much and they are actually better than they appear to be.
   75. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 15, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4672096)
Snapper doesn't think that the park adjusted numbers go far enough in correcting for Walker's Coors field advantage

No, I'm just not sure it does enough. Maybe it does too much. I think park factors are incredibly broad; too broad to adjust performance.

Using the same park factor to assess say Joe DiMaggio and Charlie Keller is absurd. Yankee Stadium played near neutral in the earl 40's, but it probably played as a 90 PF for a RH power hitter, and a 120 PF for a dead-pull LH power hitter.

At a minimum, park factors should be assessed by handedness, and for individual events (singles, doubles, triples, HR, K, BB). For goodness sakes, that's what DMB does that much for a game. For real evaluation we should do as much.
   76. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 15, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4672119)
Jim, if that's your point, I agree. It seemed to me you were trying to say they were being penalized too much and they are actually better than they appear to be.


Nah, definitely not. I think that without convincing proof one way or another (and "Look at the road numbers!" doesn't constitute convincing proof regardless of how often it gets brought up) we should assume that park adjustments like OPS+ uses are taking care of the high offense environment properly.

   77. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 15, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4672120)
Using the same park factor to assess say Joe DiMaggio and Charlie Keller is absurd. Yankee Stadium played near neutral in the earl 40's, but it probably played as a 90 PF for a RH power hitter, and a 120 PF for a dead-pull LH power hitter.

At a minimum, park factors should be assessed by handedness, and for individual events (singles, doubles, triples, HR, K, BB). For goodness sakes, that's what DMB does that much for a game. For real evaluation we should do as much.


I don't really disagree though I wonder if you might start running into significant sample size issues breaking things down that much.
   78. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 15, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4672143)
I don't really disagree though I wonder if you might start running into significant sample size issues breaking things down that much.

Just eyeballing it, it looks like the avg. team has about 175 HR, 23 3B, 260 2B, 950 1B, 1200 K, and 500 BB is a season.

If you use multi-year park factors, like you should, that seems like plenty of observations, with the possible exception of triples.

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