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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Spencer: Marlins not shopping Stanton, and my HOF ballot

Epiphany!  Return Spencer’s gift!

the Marlins “are not moving [Giancarlo Stanton],” according to a source I spoke with. They haven’t even “discussed” it internally. The team’s plans calling for Stanton to start the season with the club and occupy the clean-up spot have “not changed at all,” according to another source with knowledge of the Marlins’ intentions.

And yet the speculation continues. The latest report indicates the Marlins have spoken to the Padres about Stanton. “Completely off base” and “totally ridiculous” was the response I received when I asked about it.

Teams contact the Marlins about Stanton all the time. The Marlins, out of professional courtesy, don’t hang up on them. They “listen,” as they do with all inquiries involving any of their players. But listening is not the same as “contemplating,” and the Marlins—at least for now—are not entertaining any thoughts of trading their slugger…

Based on the early returns, the Hall of Fame announcement on Wednesday could be extremely brief. Not a single candidate is trending above the 75 percent threshold needed to gain entrance to Cooperstown, according to Hall of Fame Collecting Gizmo.”...

I ended up voting for five players: Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling and Larry Walker.

With the lone exception of Schilling, the other four players on my ballot rank among the Top 10 players of all-time at their positions based on the JAWS scoring system, a useful advanced metrics tool that allows one to compare players from different eras. JAWS isn’t perfect. It doesn’t factor in fielding, for example, postseason performance, milestones or awards—all stuff I also considered.

But it does account “for the wide variations in offensive levels that have occurred throughout the game’s history.”

The District Attorney Posted: January 06, 2013 at 02:59 PM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giancarlo stanton, hall of fame, marlins, rumors

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   1. The District Attorney Posted: January 06, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4340124)
Oh, I think I know why it breaks now. (I bet you can't put quotes within link text.) Yay.
   2. Tripon Posted: January 06, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4340173)
I believe the Marlins are dumb enough to trade Stanton.
   3. Swedish Chef Posted: January 06, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4340179)
I believe the Marlins are dumb enough to trade Stanton.

The Marlins aren't dumb, they're cheap. They won't feel any pressure to trade Stanton as long as he's earning the minimum (next year when they have to pay him several million dollars is another story).
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4340185)
I ended up voting for five players: Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling and Larry Walker.


Solid ballot, I do not really see how you vote for Walker but not Edgar, but still at least there is no Morris on the ballot, lack of Biggio is somewhat disappointing though.
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 06, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4340236)
Solid ballot, I do not really see how you vote for Walker but not Edgar


Walker played the field well and ran the bases well?

I've basically come around to the idea that Walker is deserving. I'm not 100% there yet, but he's moved from HOVG to virtually in for me.

My thought process on Edgar has been slower.
   6. smileyy Posted: January 06, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4340262)
Re: Edgar -- I think I'm coming to be of the opinion that if DH isn't a position that you can play better than anyone else ever has, and make the HOF, then maybe it shouldn't be a position.
   7. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 06, 2013 at 07:28 PM (#4340265)
Re: Edgar -- I think I'm coming to be of the opinion that if DH isn't a position that you can play better than anyone else ever has, and make the HOF, then maybe it shouldn't be a position.


That doesn't really hold. I don't think anyone would keep Edgar out if he had hit like Pujols. Or if he'd had a 160 OPS+. Or probably even 155. Or a higher peak. Or better in-season durability.

Or more years on the front end of his career, but not everyone can be Ichiro.
   8. Danny Posted: January 06, 2013 at 07:38 PM (#4340268)
Re: Edgar -- I think I'm coming to be of the opinion that if DH isn't a position that you can play better than anyone else ever has, and make the HOF, then maybe it shouldn't be a position.

Edgar's one of only ten players who have 3000+ PA to have played more than half of his games as a DH, and only 5 of those 10 have been eligible for the HOF. Only four players have 3000+ PA and 60% of their games as DH, and just two are at 70%. So few people play the position regularly that it's unsurprising that none have been elected. That said, Frank Thomas (57.5%) will likely be elected within the next couple years.
   9. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 06, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4340269)
lack of Biggio is somewhat disappointing though.

And Trammell. It's nearly the perfect, "ok, I'm not sure what to do with the tainted guys, so I won't vote for them" ballot.

I can see leaving Edgar off if your DH standard is Frank Thomas and you are waiting for him.
   10. JJ1986 Posted: January 06, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4340272)
I think I'm coming to be of the opinion that if DH isn't a position that you can play better than anyone else ever has, and make the HOF, then maybe it shouldn't be a position.


The Big Hurt will make the Hall.
   11. smileyy Posted: January 06, 2013 at 07:51 PM (#4340273)

Or more years on the front end of his career, but not everyone can be Ichiro.


Maybe its this. Its a little frustrating to see a great hitter being left out of the HOF due to forces largely beyond his control.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2013 at 07:56 PM (#4340274)
Walker played the field well and ran the bases well?

I've basically come around to the idea that Walker is deserving. I'm not 100% there yet, but he's moved from HOVG to virtually in for me.

My thought process on Edgar has been slower.


I'm a fan of players playing everyday, and Walker gets dinged for not being able to do that, yes Edgar is helped by being a DH in that matter, but that is the nature of the beast. I ultimately see them as pretty much equal players even though the way they get there is vastly different.

And Trammell. It's nearly the perfect, "ok, I'm not sure what to do with the tainted guys, so I won't vote for them" ballot.


Oops, my bad, can't believe I missed Trammell not on the ballot, but I understand why Trammell isn't getting the love. Biggio is a harder case for me to understand people not voting for him.
   13. Tripon Posted: January 06, 2013 at 08:46 PM (#4340337)

The Marlins aren't dumb, they're cheap. They won't feel any pressure to trade Stanton as long as he's earning the minimum (next year when they have to pay him several million dollars is another story).


Which is why they're dumb. You want to sign guys like Stanton to multi-year offers so it gives you maximum flexibility from either keeping him and playing him into and past his prime years, or trading him for a big haul.
   14. salvomania Posted: January 06, 2013 at 09:12 PM (#4340353)
Re: Edgar


Edgar fails the simple "the" test at bb-ref: when you type in "the edgar" and hit return, a different, decidely-non-HOF player comes up instead of Martinez.
   15. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2013 at 09:21 PM (#4340357)
Which is why they're dumb. You want to sign guys like Stanton to multi-year offers so it gives you maximum flexibility from either keeping him and playing him into and past his prime years, or trading him for a big haul]

How many championships has your team won in the last 15 years?
   16. flournoy Posted: January 06, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4340363)
Signing guys to long-term contracts is the opposite of retaining flexibility. There's certainly something to be said for agreeing to long-term contracts, but I would pick something else to say.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: January 06, 2013 at 10:01 PM (#4340371)
Danny hit the nail on the head. There are very few "career" DHs. 5 guys with 8000+ PA who spent at least half of it at DH. Thomas is out front in OPS+, then Edgar then a big gap to Baines, McRae and Baylor. Thomas has 1400 more overall PA and Baines has 2400 more than Edgar. Thome might be close enough to include and I'd put him ahead of Edgar too. Ortiz doesn't really have the career length yet to enter an HoF debate.

In essence, DH maybe shouldn't be a "position" for HoF purposes -- i.e. this guy was the Xth best DH. Over the last 13 years, there have been only 28 player-seasons with 90% time at DH and 502+ PA. Ortiz, Edgar, Thomas and Thome are the only ones to have had as many as 3 such seasons. Of those 28 seasons, the median OPS+ is 138-139. This is looking from 2000 on only. Martinez's career 147 OPS+ is not that far ahead of the median full-time DH of the modern era. By OPS+, since 2000, Hafner holds 3 of the top 4 seasons. In his career, Edgar had 4 seasons with an OPS+ that are in Hafner's peak (and a lot just below it).

And it's always been that way. We've had 40 years of the DH now and there have only been 113 qualifying seasons. The median OPS+ is a lot lower at 120. The list of guys with 5+ full-time DH seasons are Chili Davis, Edgar, Ortiz, Baylor and Baines. Note, even Thomas and Molitor only had 4 such seasons and Baines and Baylor only made it to 5. Edgar had 9 such seasons, Davis 7, Ortiz 6. Yes, Edgar is the best full-time DH of all-time -- out of 3. (Maybe the 90% restriction is too high but if you're playing 15-20 games a year in the field, your team likely has genuine options on where to play you.)

On the median OPS+ for full-time DH seasons:

1973-82: 109 (29 seasons)
1983-92: 117 (32 seasons)
1993-02: 128 (30 seasons)
2003-12: 139 (22 seasons)

Now the number of full-time seasons at any position is always less than we think it might be. Applying the same criteria to AL-only 1B from 03-12 you get 62 seasons so still less than half the team-seasons. By the way, the median OPS+ there is 120.

But the lack of full-time DHs tends to skew the "average" DH production much moreso than other positions. Most teams use the DH slot like a good bench slot and rotate players through. Full-time DHs are usually aging stars who can still hit (or are on a farewell tour) but they're also likely to miss time due to injury. Anyway, the above suggests that the true "average" for a starting DH is something like a 135 OPS+ these days. Edgar's 147 is still mighty good compared to that but it looks more like Miguel Tejada (9000 PA, 109 OPS+, 47 oWAR) compared to starting SS (93 median OPS+, 1993-2012).*

At this point, at the very least, we need to lump DH with 1B (and maybe LF) while still applying an extra penalty for not playing the field. And that's where we start to run into a challenge. Looking at post-expansion, 8000+ PA, 50%+ games at 1B or DH:

Edgar's 147 OPS+ is essentially identical to Thome, McCovey and Killebrew. But he has fewer PA than both Thome and McCovey, only 300 more than Killer who also played a lot of 3B. I think all three of these guys scored some PA at DH but not huge amounts. If we apply a DH non-fielding penalty to Edgar he has to be a bit below these guys.

Now that's OK -- those guys are clear HoFers in my book. The problem comes when you step just below Edgar. You get Giambi at 141 OPS+, Delgado at 138 and WClark at 137, all in basically the same number of PA as Edgar and with not a lot of DH time. Those guys seem to be the post-expansion borderline for 1B with 8000-9000 PA. Even if you put Edgar in-between those guys, he's still borderline at best, albeit that is a pretty thin border.

Fair enough, OPS+ understates Edgar's production which was heavy on OBP. If we look at Rbat he is 60 runs behind Thome and Bagwell but 80 runs ahead of McCovey and Giambi and 100 ahead of Killer and Palmeiro. That looks like pretty comfy HoF territory, at least if we treated him like a 1B. A DH penalty (relative to 1B) for Edgar's 9 full-time DH seasons is probably not enough to erase the McCovey/Giambi/Killer gap and, even if it was, that might be as much an argument that Giambi belongs.

So I'd put it to you this way -- Jason Giambi (roids aside), an HoFer or not? If your answer's yes then it should probably be yes on Edgar too. If your answer is no, Edgar's still borderline but probably leaning towards yes (assuming you're OK with McCovey and Killer).

For me, I come back to that sort of stuff and that Edgar having the DH available likely both lengthened his career (in-season and long-term durability) and likely meant his talent didn't decline as rapidly as it would have if he'd been banged up more. Obviously with no DH available, Edgar just plays 1B but (I believe) with fewer career PA and a lower career OPS+. Well, that's Norm Cash who had 1 career start at DH ... and looks a lot like Miguel Tejada. (It's also Delgado or Clark or Giambi but they at least had the DH available.)

*Yes, at least a bit unfair to Edgar since it ignores his non-DH time. But you get my point -- the "average starting DH" can rake. The guys eating up the remaining 11-12 teams' DH PAs every season, not so much.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: January 06, 2013 at 10:02 PM (#4340372)
Edgar fails the simple "the" test at bb-ref: when you type in "the edgar" and hit return, a different, decidely-non-HOF player comes up instead of Martinez.

Do not try "the Yaz" then.
   19. smileyy Posted: January 06, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4340396)
Signing guys to long-term contracts is the opposite of retaining flexibility.


Why? The presumption is that contracts that buy out arb and FA years are going to be lower cost contracts, and thus attractive in trades. The assumption being that there's no possibility a guy like Stanton will turn into a bust over the duration of the contract.

So you can keep him and build a team around him, or you can easily trade him. Seems like flexibility to me.
   20. smileyy Posted: January 06, 2013 at 10:38 PM (#4340401)
In essence, DH maybe shouldn't be a "position" for HoF purposes


This contributes to my dislike of the lack of elegance of the DH. It breaks the 9's symmetry, its an official position, but its not a real position, etc.
   21. SM Posted: January 06, 2013 at 10:47 PM (#4340411)
Walt, Giambi would also have a peak argument over Edgar. Just going by RBat, Giambi's 3 best seasons is 214, Edgar's is 187. 5 best seasons is 308 vs 291. 3 consecutive is the same 214 vs 187. 5 consecutive is 306 vs 284. And this is before applying any DH penalty to Edgar.

EDITed bad math
   22. The District Attorney Posted: January 06, 2013 at 11:08 PM (#4340433)
BTW, JAWS does factor in fielding.
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 06, 2013 at 11:17 PM (#4340438)
Isn't JAWS supposed to be just a fun tool to set the scene for a HOF inquiry? I'm now seeing people cite it - including voters - as the final word on things.
   24. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4340443)
Alas, if you can find it on BRef people think it is legitimate. If Win Shares was on BRef we'd still be talking about win shares.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2013 at 11:46 PM (#4340447)
Alas, if you can find it on BRef people think it is legitimate. If Win Shares was on BRef we'd still be talking about win shares.


I would prefer win shares over stuff like Jaws or WPA or fWar...
   26. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:05 AM (#4340453)
Edgar fails the simple "the" test at bb-ref: when you type in "the edgar" and hit return, a different, decidely-non-HOF player comes up instead of Martinez.

This is also bad news for Tim Raines.
   27. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:19 AM (#4340459)
Solid ballot, I do not really see how you vote for Walker but not Edgar


Are you for real? You can't figure out the big difference there?

Or more years on the front end of his career, but not everyone can be Ichiro.

Maybe its this. Its a little frustrating to see a great hitter being left out of the HOF due to forces largely beyond his control.


I don't fully get this line of thought; Martinez wasn't some offensive monster for year and years in the minors, unfairly deprived of his time to shine. He didn't post a slugging percentage > .400 above Low-A until he was 24 (and not because he developed power; his BA shot up by .60), which was the same year he first got an MLB audition. He improved upon his breakout in AAA (still not much power, but another .30 of BA) and got another brief audition the next year. And then the next year, he was the opening day 3B (and received most of the initial player time there), but blew it by being a terrible hitter. So just over two years after being a no-power corner player in AA, he was handed regular playing, but didn't grab the opportunity. And the next year he was full time. So the timeline:

Age 23, 1986: blah minor leaguer
Age 24, 1987: BA driven breakout year in the PCL, sees first MLB time
Age 25, 1988: Proves that '87 wasn't a fluke, receives second MLB audition
Age 26, 1989: Handed regular playing time at 3B, is awful, loses place in lineup
Age 27, 1990: Is a full time regular.

I don't see the problem. There's little argument that he should have received real MLB time in 1987. Maybe he should have gotten a bigger chance in 1988, but I don't think it's particularly surprising that he was given a "now see if you can do it again" year. He did do it again was thus given an MLB job in 1989, but was terrible, which hardly leads me to believe he would have been very good the year before.

So at most, we've got him deprived of one year, and it's pretty unlikely he would have been putting up big numbers that year anyway. What am I missing?
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:36 AM (#4340473)
Are you for real? You can't figure out the big difference there?


Yes I'm for real...
Larry Walker 8030 pa, 141 ops+, career war of 69.7
Edgar Martinez 8674 pa, 147 ops+, career war of 64.4.

Walker and Edgar are about the same rate of offense, Walker gets bonus's for being the better fielder and baserunner, while Edgar gains ground by having the better obp(relative to environment) and health. Walker has the better 'great' year, but Edgar again gains ground due to health. Ultimately I don't see any difference between the two, I don't see how you can put one in and not the other.

   29. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 07, 2013 at 01:03 AM (#4340491)
Walt, Giambi would also have a peak argument over Edgar. Just going by RBat, Giambi's 3 best seasons is 214, Edgar's is 187. 5 best seasons is 308 vs 291. 3 consecutive is the same 214 vs 187. 5 consecutive is 306 vs 284. And this is before applying any DH penalty to Edgar.


Always been puzzled by this. How can 'peak' not be 'consecutive peak'?
   30. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: January 07, 2013 at 01:35 AM (#4340512)
Always been puzzled by this. How can 'peak' not be 'consecutive peak'?

How can 'peak' be consecutive anything?
   31. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:04 AM (#4340529)
Walker and Edgar are about the same rate of offense, Walker gets bonus's for being the better fielder and baserunner, while Edgar gains ground by having the better obp(relative to environment) and health. Walker has the better 'great' year, but Edgar again gains ground due to health. Ultimately I don't see any difference between the two, I don't see how you can put one in and not the other.


I don't disagree with that assessment, but it really shouldn't be difficult for you figure out the enormous divergence in their respective narratives, and thus why the large chunk of voters who don't just add up WAR would view them differently. It's anything but baffling what the big demerit against Edgar is (DH), and it doesn't apply to Gold Glover Walker (who has his own big demerit: Coors). Since not everyone is going to equate those two problems, there's no bizarre disconnect there.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:09 AM (#4340532)
I would prefer win shares over stuff like Jaws or WPA or fWar...

At least for HoF debates, JAWS and WAR and WAR7 are all nearly perfectly correlated. So there's no reason it should be viewed in a worse light than bWAR ... but it also doesn't add much to the conversation.

Isn't JAWS supposed to be just a fun tool to set the scene for a HOF inquiry? I'm now seeing people cite it - including voters - as the final word on things.

Of course it's not supposed to be the "final word" but it's intended as a "definitive" (or some word that's not quite as snooty) take on performance that applies a balance between peak and career. I mainly find it useful in that (a) they've bothered to calculate the total of their 7 best WARs so I don't need to (I probably wouldn't have chosen 7 but close enough); (b) it gives a starting point of peak/career balancing although I don't know to what extent I agree with it yet; (c) it ranks by "position" which is helpful for those players that should be ranked at a single position (and often very misleading for those who shouldn't be).

It's a time saver. Lots of voters will like it for that reason and not do any thinking below it. The positional rankings could be a real help to Piazza.

That said I'd probably put more stock in HoM rankings ... although they make the same obvious mistake on positions.

How can 'peak' not be 'consecutive peak'?

Just terminology. "Peak" had originally meant consecutive peak (easier to compile if nothing else) but basically there's no reason we should rank these two guy differently (OPS+):

Player A 150 150 150 150 150 120 120 120 120
Player B 150 120 150 120 150 120 150 120 150

so some folks starting distinguishing "peak" (player at his best, whenever) and "consecutive peak". Plus injuries and just outlier seasons screw with consecutive years. Those can be particularly problematic for pitchers. Still, for convenience purposes, most people do use consecutive peak -- at least until b-r allows us to easily add up non-consecutive years.

In part you avoid it if you distinguish between peak (4 or 5 best years ... make it consecutive if you want) and prime (8-10 year run). In the end, I've decided I'm definitely not a peak voter but I do weigh prime pretty heavily. If over 8-10 years you were the best or near-best at your position, you deserve serious consideration. But there's nearly nobody I would vote for based strictly on their peak with little/no value surrounding it -- the peak would have to be massive. Fortunately there's almost nobody who really fits that mold -- if you had a truly great peak your "prime" will end up looking pretty good.
   33. Shock Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:15 AM (#4340535)
To me Edgar is the perfect standard for a HOF DH. Any DH who hit better than him should be in, and any DH who hit worse than him should be out. Whether or not he himself should be in is eh, 50/50 :)

I think I'd vote for him. And Walker. And Lofton. And Murphy. But then, I'm a peaker.
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:17 AM (#4340536)
I don't disagree with that assessment, but it really shouldn't be difficult for you figure out the enormous divergence in their respective narratives, and thus why the large chunk of voters who don't just add up WAR would view them differently. It's anything but baffling what the big demerit against Edgar is (DH), and it doesn't apply to Gold Glover Walker (who has his own big demerit: Coors). Since not everyone is going to equate those two problems, there's no bizarre disconnect there.


My thinking is that anyone who is capable of sussing out that either Walker or Edgar is worthy of being a hofer, is able to see that they are roughly equivalent valuable. You could argue one over the other, but I find it hard to argue one over the line and the other not, they are close enough that both are over or neither is over.
   35. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:25 AM (#4340538)
@32--Walt, thanks for the considered response. Makes sense.
   36. deputydrew Posted: January 07, 2013 at 05:11 AM (#4340558)
How many championships has your team won in the last 15 years?


Two. In the last three years.

Do I win something?
   37. sinicalypse Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4340735)
Edgar fails the simple "the" test at bb-ref: when you type in "the edgar" and hit return, a different, decidely-non-HOF player comes up instead of Martinez.


By that metric, Vladimir Guerrero makes the hall of fame. I'm going to spread the word of this around games this year in the hopes of influencing the potential future BBWAA I encounter.
   38. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4340741)
The searching feature at b-r actually sucks, and shockingly so. If you mistype a name by one letter -- say, you type Grenwell by mistake -- b-r can't pull up the player for you.

That's really user-unfriendly, especially since particularly with older players you might not always have the exact spelling. Is there really any excuse for this in this era of the internet?
   39. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4340748)
Thus you would type in only the first few letters of his first and last name. For instance Mi Gr will give you a list in which Mike Greenwell is on it. That list will also inform you of each player's nickname, when they played, and whether or not they were a Hofer or All star.

The world doesn't have to give you the most perfect oyster ever.
   40. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4340755)
   41. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 07, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4340759)
The world doesn't have to give you the most perfect oyster ever.


It's a perfect oyster to hope for a search engine that meets even the most basic standards? This isn't that hard.

"Grenwell." "Here, you must have meant Greenwell." This is what basic search engines do.

"Mi Gr" isn't a solution because in this case the problem wasn't that I didn't know how to spell Greenwell; the problem was that I mistyped it, and now I have to type it again.
   42. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4340765)
obligatory, again.
   43. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4340852)
Marlins are not shopping on Saturn? Wait, what?
   44. smileyy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4340853)

How can 'peak' be consecutive anything?


I never tire of pictures of people trying to balance themselves on the most prominent atom at the top of Mount Everest.
   45. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: January 07, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4341034)
but basically there's no reason we should rank these two guy differently (OPS+):

Player A 150 150 150 150 150 120 120 120 120
Player B 150 120 150 120 150 120 150 120 150


In a HOF debate? Naive to think that. Narrative counts. Guy A was 'one of the best in the game' for 5 years running, Guy B was 'talented but maddeningly inconsistent.'

Practically? Disagree there too. Say Guy A is Thome and you have a young Ryan Howard. Guy A is very valuable, as you can trade him or his young heir for whoever gets a better package, knowing you traded away Guy A 'in the twilight of his career' as Duquette might have had it. Guy B puts up a decent season (in my imagination they're both first baseman) every other year that you have to live with to get the monster season in the odd-numbered years.

Of course that's with the benefit of hindsight, but you take my point.
   46. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: January 07, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4341056)
Edgar fails the simple "the" test at bb-ref: when you type in "the edgar" and hit return, a different, decidely-non-HOF player comes up instead of Martinez.


Brooks, Jackie, and Frank had better hope Robinson Cano keeps hitting for a while.
   47. smileyy Posted: January 07, 2013 at 04:28 PM (#4341067)
[45] At the end of the career, the "alternating season guy" also has the question -- is this a down year, or the start of his fall off the cliff?
   48. Swedish Chef Posted: January 07, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4341146)
In a HOF debate? Naive to think that. Narrative counts.

Narrative counts, but the narrative will be set when a half-senile gaggle of sport writers connects the dots on what little they can dredge up from their alcohol-soaked brains. That narrative will be heavily influenced by whatever the current pet peeves are, so it's better to not have too great stats and be branded a statnerd darling.
   49. CrosbyBird Posted: January 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4344154)
My thinking is that anyone who is capable of sussing out that either Walker or Edgar is worthy of being a hofer, is able to see that they are roughly equivalent valuable. You could argue one over the other, but I find it hard to argue one over the line and the other not, they are close enough that both are over or neither is over.

I think you can make a very easy argument with WAR if you consider a DH to be equivalent in defensive value to a poor 1B, which doesn't seem particularly outrageous. A DH gets around -15 RAR in a full season (-15 Rpos), while a lousy 1B is charged -22 RAR or worse in a full season (-12 Rpos, -10 Rfield). That change over ~1400 games at DH would put over ten wins of difference between Walker and Martinez.

I definitely have a problem with a system that says someone is a HOF but would not be if he had actually played a position in the field and put up the same offensive performance.

I don't think these players are particularly close even with a coarse approach. Martinez as a bad defensive 1B and below-average runner with his career offensive numbers is not a particularly impressive candidate. Walker as an exceptional defensive RF and good runner with his career offensive numbers is a guy you have to argue to kick out.
   50. smileyy Posted: January 10, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4344206)
Crosby, your post clarified a vague feeling that I've had for a while:

Positional value arguments don't resonate with me when it comes to the Hall of Fame, because its not a zero sum game. A vote for Edgar does not take a vote away from another player.

When it comes to MVP voting, where one single player has to be compared and picked against players of other position, then yes, relative value definitely comes into play. But for the HOF, my personal feelings are to recognize greatness of every established position (and, to a lesser extent, role) in baseball.

Of course, this isn't so simple, because players will play multiple positions, and that being the greatest LFer ever just means you weren't good enough to be the greatest CF ever. But you still gotta put somebody in LF, you still gotta put someone in the DH spot.

And, of course, as stated above, there's a compelling argument that Edgar was very very good, but not great at playing DH.
   51. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4344237)
"Mi Gr" isn't a solution because in this case the problem wasn't that I didn't know how to spell Greenwell; the problem was that I mistyped it, and now I have to type it again.


Personally, I'd rather have to occasionally re-type something that was obviously mistyped than have every last search return a ####-ton of irrelevant results that have a slightly different spelling.

That's just me, though.
   52. CrosbyBird Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4344290)
Of course, this isn't so simple, because players will play multiple positions, and that being the greatest LFer ever just means you weren't good enough to be the greatest CF ever. But you still gotta put somebody in LF, you still gotta put someone in the DH spot.

I don't think you have to put in a DH for the sake of having a DH-spot, just like I don't think you need a designated "HOF middle reliever" or "HOF utility infielder." For HOF purposes, I think DH/LF/1B are all pretty much one position.
   53. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4344296)
But you still gotta put somebody in LF, you still gotta put someone in the DH spot.

And that someone is Frank Thomas.
   54. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4344299)
I definitely have a problem with a system that says someone is a HOF but would not be if he had actually played a position in the field and put up the same offensive performance.
Perhaps I'm misinterpreting this, but why? Presumably as a general rule this person was a DH because he was more valuable there than he would have been if he had actually played a position in the field.
   55. CrosbyBird Posted: January 11, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4345215)
Perhaps I'm misinterpreting this, but why? Presumably as a general rule this person was a DH because he was more valuable there than he would have been if he had actually played a position in the field.

I'm saying that anyone who played 1B rather than DH would have (as opposed to merely "might have") provided that at least that same additional value. It is very likely that the player could have done even better, without the wear of defensive play (although I'm not in favor of crediting players for what merely might have been).

I don't place any stock in the idea that there's some skill component to "hitting while not playing the field."
   56. BDC Posted: January 11, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4345250)
Walt's excellent comments in this thread underscore a basic dynamic. If you are good enough at hitting to put together a Hall of Fame baseball career, you are probably also good enough at other elements of baseball to play more than half your career in the field. This could be called the Thome/Hafner dichotomy :)

Edgar Martinez was a superior hitter. He's also 200th in career Games Played, 161st in Hits and Runs, and 124th in RBIs. He is 44th in Walks and thus 80th in Times on Base, which is what's really keeping his candidacy alive: he was extremely superior at getting on base. But did he do enough of it? I'm usually enough of a peak "voter" to support guys who were really great at something, as Martinez clearly was. The injury in 1993 didn't destroy his baseball career, but it put a big dent in his HOF case: guys who break in to stay at 27 and then are ordinary-to-less-than at ages 30 and 31 (the Chris Sabo pattern, honestly) put themselves in quite a hole. The wonder is that he pretty much climbed out of it.

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