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Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Book Blog: Tango: Edgar

Tingo Tango! A HOF case for Edgar Martinez…one of these winters.

In short, in order for Edgar to compile a batting career like Wade Boggs, he’d have to hit for 3 more seasons at far below average.

Is it that important to “compile” data in order to prove your overall worthiness of a hitter?  DH or no DH, if Edgar got to 3000 hits, he’d be in.  And if Edgar sucked for 3 years, he’d reach the equivalent of Wade Boggs.

Edgar got his 1000th PA 3 years after Wade Boggs got his.  The only difference between the two is that Boggs proved he had the better glove, but Boggs also managed to play a large portion of his career at Fenway Park.

To deny Edgar the HOF is to admit igorance.  Then again, Edgar will have good company with Tim Raines.

Repoz Posted: August 02, 2008 at 11:28 AM | 212 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, mariners

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   1. MM1f Posted: August 02, 2008 at 03:16 PM (#2887504)
The only difference between the two is that Boggs proved he had the better glove

I don't know if he intended this to be the meaning but he makes it sound as if that isn't too big of a deal.

but Boggs also managed to play a large portion of his career at Fenway Park.

I don't see why a player shouldn't get credit for being able to take exceptional advantage of his surroundings. That seems like a skill/talent to me.

Also, Wade showed a lot more veteran presence on those cross-country flights : )
   2. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: August 02, 2008 at 03:25 PM (#2887507)
Word, what's the most Boggses Martinez ever put down on one flight? Maybe a couple sixers? But I didn't RTFA, maybe Tango accounted for that...
   3. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: August 02, 2008 at 04:42 PM (#2887560)
Is it that important to “compile” data in order to prove your overall worthiness of a hitter? DH or no DH, if Edgar got to 3000 hits, he’d be in.
Possibly, but that doesnt mean that he should be in. The actual HoF voters focus on these silly milestones - no reason we have to. If Dave Kingman had stuck around a bit longer and got to 500 HRs, that might have made him a hall of famer, but it certainly wouldn't make him a deserving hall of famer.
The only difference between the two is that Boggs proved he had the better glove
That's also the difference between Ozzie Smith and Shea Hillenbrand. Hillenbrand for the hall!

I don't think anyone is disputing that Edgar Martinez had a better "batting career" than Wade Boggs. But Boggs played 2215 games at third base, 67 games at first, and 108 at DH. Edgar played 563 games at third base, 28 at first, and 1412 at DH. And Boggs played third better than Martinez did. Tango is better than this - the need to make positional adjustments, and take fielding into account, is pretty obvious, and he utterly neglects it. So I can only conclude that he's a huge fan of Edgar Martinez and is simply trying to make whatever case he can - and hey, nothing wrong with that at all, I feel the same about Omar Vizquel. But it's not proper analysis.

If Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Famer then your hall is gigantic. He's no better (and IMO rather worse) than Larry Walker and Jim Edmonds. Where does it end? Martinez is about the fifth-best 1B/DH of his own era. This is not Lake Wobegon.
To deny Edgar the HOF is to admit igorance.
Pssssh. Proof by thumping your fist on the table.
   4. rlc Posted: August 02, 2008 at 05:23 PM (#2887577)
The sad thing, of course, is that Edgar was not really a late bloomer - a competent organization would have given him a full time job three years earlier, which would have given him another 400+ games at third and much better career numbers than Boggs.
   5. bookbook Posted: August 02, 2008 at 05:32 PM (#2887584)
Or a career-ending injury. This is Edgar Martinez we're talking about, right?

Though I believe he's a deserving HOF
   6. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: August 02, 2008 at 05:36 PM (#2887590)
We do hate Mexicans, even if they're not Mexican.
   7. rlc Posted: August 02, 2008 at 06:39 PM (#2887667)
Though I believe he's a deserving HOF

I don't think he had a HoF career, but I have no doubt that he had HoF talent. If only...
   8. RobertMachemer Posted: August 02, 2008 at 07:27 PM (#2887718)
Boggs may be the third best third baseman of all time (give or take your feelings on George Brett, probably). Of course, Edgar Martinez may be the second-best DH of all time (behind only Thomas, right?), but is there any doubt that if the position had existed longer, players like Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams and Ernie Lombardi(and quite a few others) might have ended up there? If we only compare Martinez to first basemen (the end of the defensive spectrum), Martinez is still behind Gehrig, Foxx, Thomas (to whom we'll give the same benefit of the doubt), Brouthers, Bagwell, McGwire, Thome, and Anson on baseball-reference's adjusted batting-runs list. Perhaps Martinez belongs in the HOF, but if he has to deserve it more than Boggs, I don't think you can convince me Martinez belongs.
   9. CrosbyBird Posted: August 02, 2008 at 07:30 PM (#2887722)
Is it that important to “compile” data in order to prove your overall worthiness of a hitter?

Yes, if your career is relatively short and your peak is excellent but not legendary.

I mentioned this in the other thread on Ichiro and Martinez. Obviously, everyone is going to draw the line in a different place, but I think you need to have an exceptional peak value AND exceptional career value, or you need to have either a legendary peak or legendary career.

Martinez was an exceptional hitter, but not compared to the other elite hitters around his career. Most of these other hitters have better career value, by nature of playing more games, or positional value, and/or defense. Some of them will even have clearly better peaks.

Raines is a lousy comparison as well. Raines is one of the best basestealers in MLB history. There are two post-WWII players with more career SB than Raines, and both have inferior SB%. Brock's is substantially worse. While Raines isn't the same class of hitter as Martinez, he also played the field. Raines has both peak (6 seasons of top 10 hitting in the league, exceptional speed) and career (1500+ runs, historically great SB totals with excellent %).
   10. Walt Davis Posted: August 02, 2008 at 07:38 PM (#2887732)
Comparing a DH to a 3B as an argument for induction of that DH? Weak.

Edgar (2055 g, 147 OPS+) certainly wouldn't be an embarrassment in the HoF but take a look at writers' 1B and selected OF selections:

Foxx 2317 163
Heilman 2148 148
Terry 1721 136
Greenberg 1394 158
Musial 3025 159
McCovey 2588 147
Stargell 2360 147
Killebrew 2435 143
Robinson 2808 154
Perez 2777 122
Murray 3026 129
Jackson 2820 139

There are some in there which Edgar's a good fit for (Terry obviously, maybe Stargell) but, y'know, 3-4 seasons of games and PAs count -- it's 15% of a career. He's better than Perez but then I don't think he has any business being there. For somebody like Murray, he had an OPS+ of 138 through about the same number of PA as Edgar and then added 4000 more (though not of great quality).

The pro-Edgar argument is the classic peak vs. career argument ... but at least compare him to the peak of 1B and corner OF, not a guy who spent 15 years playing 3B.
   11. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 02, 2008 at 07:52 PM (#2887742)
Comparing a DH to a 3B as an argument for induction of that DH? Weak.

I think Tango wanted to pick on a HOFer who made the batting milestones (here the 3,000 hit milestone) to show that Edgar's shorter career is more than equal in actual value to a career typically associated with HOF players.

In order for me to agree with his conclusion, however, he does need to address the defense issue.
   12. CrosbyBird Posted: August 02, 2008 at 08:07 PM (#2887746)
From the article itself.

How hard would it be for Edgar to get on base 598 times on 2068 PA (OBP of .289) with no HR at all?

I think it would be exceptionally difficult for an DH in his 40s to get over 2000 PA if he was carrying a .289 OBP with no power.
   13. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 02, 2008 at 08:48 PM (#2887761)
10/11: I think his point is that Wade Boggs would be in if he was a DH (although I could be wrong... maybe it's just the argument I'd make). Anyway, I doubt too many people see Boggs as close to the in-out line, and Edgar was a solidly better hitter in less playing time.

If he is in fact trying to directly compare the two, of course defense would have to be involved. But I think he's probably using Boggs as a generic, if carefully-selected, Hall of Fame caliber hitter.
   14. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 02, 2008 at 08:49 PM (#2887763)
It seems to me that Edgar's candidacy is based entirely on how you answer these questions:

a) How many players should get elected to the Hall of Fame?

b) Should the substantial increase in the number of teams since 1960 also produce a proportional increase in the number of players elected?

If the answer to a) is "about proportionally as many as have been elected previously" and the answer to b) is "yes" then Edgar is a clear cut Hall of Famer.

Switch out Eddie Murray for Boggs in Tango's article and you get the same result: 4000 more PAs, but 4000 more lousy PAs.
   15. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 02, 2008 at 09:20 PM (#2887771)
Switch out Eddie Murray for Boggs in Tango's article and you get the same result: 4000 more PAs, but 4000 more lousy PAs.


Eddie Murray from age 34 to the end of his career - which is basically the post-Edgar career portion of his career - had a 110 OPS+ (.279/.341/.446, 151 HRs in 3,897 ABs). That's not going to get you into the Hall of Fame, obviously, but that's not "lousy" by the usual meaning of that word, either.

Oh, and Robert, in #8, I'm sure it was an oversight, but in this sentence: "Boggs may be the third best third baseman of all time (give or take your feelings on George Brett, probably)" you appear to have misspelled Mike Schmidt's name somewhere.
   16. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: August 02, 2008 at 09:42 PM (#2887783)
More likely, you appear to have misread "third best third baseman."


Edgar's about a 60-WAR player. Same for Walker and Edmonds. A Hall that includes them doesn't have to be any more "gigantic" than a Hall that includes somebody like Alan Trammell.
   17. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 02, 2008 at 09:44 PM (#2887784)
That's not going to get you into the Hall of Fame, obviously, but that's not "lousy" by the usual meaning of that word, either.

But before that he wasn't quite as good as Edgar (as a hitter anyway).

Eddie Murray's career numbers minus Edgar's career numbers are good for over 1,000 hits and almost 200 home runs, but they're also good for a line of .244/.238/.407. Even adjusting Murray's numbers up a little isn't going to make that look any better.

You could argue about whether it was easier to post big numbers relative to the league in the 1990s than the 1980s I suppose, but even so Edgar is a little better looking strictly at the leaderboards. Switch Murray out for Palmeiro and you get much the same story.
   18. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 02, 2008 at 09:48 PM (#2887786)
More likely, you appear to have misread "third best third baseman."


Well, I'm embarassed. Sorry about that. (I think my mind merged the two "third"s)
   19. RJ in TO Posted: August 02, 2008 at 09:54 PM (#2887790)
The sad thing, of course, is that Edgar was not really a late bloomer - a competent organization would have given him a full time job three years earlier, which would have given him another 400+ games at third and much better career numbers than Boggs.


The even sadder thing is that Boggs was also ready well before he was finally called up to the majors, and a competent organization would have given him a job two years earlier. This would have given him another 300+ games at third and much better career numbers than Edgar.

Year Team (Class) H RBI .Avg
1976 Elmira (A) 47 15 .263
1977 Wnstn-Salem (A) 140 55 .332
1978 Bristol (AA) 110 32 .311
1979 Bristol (AA) 132 41 .325
1980 Pawtucket (AAA) 128 45 .306
1981 Pawtucket (AAA) 167 60 .335

From Shaughnessy:

Boggs played six years in the minors. He lingered there, not because he couldn't hit, but because the Sox convinced themselves early that he was not a major leaguer. Boggs's first pro manager, Dick Berardino, now 68 and still with the organization as a consultant, admits that he thought Boggs would never make it to the bigs. The book was out: too slow, not enough power, below-average defensively.

A lot of young men would have given up. Not Boggs. He loved playing baseball and he had the hope of fulfilling his dream. So he just kept hitting and working. It didn't really get depressing until 1981, when he led the International League in hitting (.335), then failed to get called up in September. He was 23 and had six minor league seasons under his belt.

<snip>

''The only thing I ever wanted to do was play professional baseball and in the minors I was getting paid to play so I didn't get discouraged," he remembered. ''But the big thing I wanted was to have one day in the big leagues. In 1981, I won the batting title and they called nine guys up to the big club and I wasn't one of them. I said, 'I really don't know what they want.' On the last day, [Pawtucket manager] Joe Morgan called and said, 'Why don't you work out at first base in the offseason?' I wound up going to Puerto Rico to play first, but the day before we started, the third baseman broke his ankle so I played third, wound up hitting .374, and making the All-Star team. After that, the Sox put me on the 40-man roster and invited me to spring training."


Edgar isn't the only player who spent more time in the minors than he should have because his team didn't recognize what they had.
   20. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 02, 2008 at 09:56 PM (#2887791)
Eddie Murray's career numbers minus Edgar's career numbers are good for over 1,000 hits and almost 200 home runs, but they're also good for a line of .244/.238/.407. Even adjusting Murray's numbers up a little isn't going to make that look any better.


I think the problem with this argument for Edgar is that it basically boils down to this:

1. Wade Boggs and Eddie Murray are Hall of Famers.
2. Edgar Martinez was almost as good as Wade Boggs (except for defense) and Eddie Murray (except for career length).
3. Therefore, Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Famer.

I'm pretty sure you'd fail Logic class if you tried to use that on your final.

It also has a problem of mixing audiences. From the BBWAA's perspective, Boggs and Murray are Hall-of-Famers because they got 3,000 hits. Edgar didn't get 3,000 hits. End of comparison. If, on the other hand, the audience is statheads, then you need to account for the greater defensive value of Boggs and Murray.

All that said, I would have no problem with Edgar Martinez in the Hall of Fame.
   21. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: August 02, 2008 at 09:59 PM (#2887793)
From the BBWAA's perspective, Boggs and Murray are Hall-of-Famers because they got 3,000 hits.

That might be why he got in on the first ballot, but by 1989, all he had to do was not murder anyone and he was going into Cooperstwon.
   22. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 02, 2008 at 10:01 PM (#2887794)
I think the problem with this argument for Edgar is that it basically boils down to this:

1. Wade Boggs and Eddie Murray are Hall of Famers.
2. Edgar Martinez was almost as good as Wade Boggs (except for defense) and Eddie Murray (except for career length).
3. Therefore, Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Famer.

I'm pretty sure you'd fail Logic class if you tried to use that on your final.


To put this in numbers, B-Pro gives Edgar 897 BRAR (adjusted for all-time) for his career (666 BRAA) and 104.4 WARP3. They give Murray 998 BRAR (622 BRAA - so Edgar gets closer if you raise the replacement level, but at best they're comparable) and 134.4 WARP3 and Boggs 885 BRAR (597 BRAA - so, looking at BRAR we see Tango's point: Boggs and Edgar are very comparable) and 139.2 WARP3. They're all similar hitters but Boggs and Murray just completely blow Edgar away in WARP.

Edit: I added Murray's WARP3 (134.4)
   23. RJ in TO Posted: August 02, 2008 at 10:02 PM (#2887795)
then you need to account for the greater defensive value of Boggs and Murray.


Also, there needs to be some accounting for the relative qualities of the leagues. From what I remember reading, the 80s were probably the hardest leagues in history for a player to stand out in, and Boggs and Murray played through them while Edgar got to play primarily in the expansion oriented 90s.
   24. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 02, 2008 at 10:14 PM (#2887800)
1. Wade Boggs and Eddie Murray are Hall of Famers.
2. Edgar Martinez was almost as good as Wade Boggs (except for defense) and Eddie Murray (except for career length).
3. Therefore, Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Famer.


If I'm understanding the argument correctly, it's actually that Edgar is better than Boggs and Murray before those things are taken into account, not that he's almost as good. Of course, taking those things into account still puts Murray and Boggs ahead of him.

Incidentally, Joe Posnanski did a similar post (or at least a similar Pozterisk) on what it would take to turn Curt Schilling into Jack Morris. The results were grisly.
   25. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 02, 2008 at 10:20 PM (#2887805)
it's actually that Edgar is better than Boggs and Murray before those things are taken into account, not that he's almost as good.


I meant to say that the parentheticals are what keep Edgar from being as good as Boggs and as Murray. I probably said that badly. I mean, if you want to argue that Edgar was a better baseball player than Wade Boggs, then you have to argue that the difference in their hitting (which is pretty trivial at best) more than makes up for the defensive difference.

Obviously, WARP's not the be-all, end-all, and Lord knows its defensive numbers are weak, but Boggs and Murray come out 30 wins better than Edgar. That's a tall order to try to make up that 30-win difference (not to mention, a completely unnecessary order, since there are plenty of guys who aren't as good as Boggs and Murray who are nevertheless deserving Hall-of-Famers).
   26. Tango Posted: August 02, 2008 at 10:27 PM (#2887811)
1. Would Eddie Murray and Wade Boggs have made the HOF had they been career DH?

2. Paul Molitor became a full-time DH at age 34. Edgar at age 32. As I noted, Edgar came up very late. He was 28 1/2 when he got his 1000th PA. I chose Wade because he also came up late, and even he pales in comparison to Edgar. Clearly, Edgar would not have been a DH between 23 and 28 seeing that he was a 3B a majority of the time. Molitor the Golden Boy managed to rack up fielding time in the majors far earlier.

So, I don't like Walt's point about the position because it ignores the point I'm making of his late start.

If you want to make the comparison Edgar v Molitor, that'd probably safer. This also removes the Fenway issue.

3. The main point is the idea of "compiling" meaningless stats, that you can be the worst hitter around, and still end up putting up stats equal to someone else.

Edgar has a bias, in that his career started so late. This is a similar issue to Koufax. Really, Koufax's entire resume settles on 6 years and his post-season.

Other than the mandatory 10 year requirement, did Sandy Koufax's 36-40 start to his career with a league average ERA really help his HOF cause? It was purely filler, a meaningless addition, that simply helps with all the counting stats. He could have started his career at age 24/25 and be considered the greatest LHP ever by a large group of people.

If you give Edgar an ever lesser benefit of the doubt, say someone who hits like Adam Everett and Edgar played his usual 3B, and pad those stats to his career, why should that help him? I'm saying, you should simply assume those things, in the same way making Koufax 36-40 or 0-0 would come out to the same thing.

That's where I'm coming from. If you need a really bad performance to become equal to someone else, shouldn't you already be considered equal?

***

This is thinly-veiled as replacement level by the way.
   27. Repoz Posted: August 02, 2008 at 10:30 PM (#2887813)
A lot of young men would have given up. Not Boggs.

Especially since he ripped a single to RF during today's Old-Timer Game at The Stadium!
   28. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 02, 2008 at 10:33 PM (#2887817)
If I'm understanding the argument correctly, it's actually that Edgar is better than Boggs and Murray before those things are taken into account

I think before you take defense into account, that's pretty clear. After defense Edgar falls behind them of course, but not so far that he misses what are the current standards for the Hall of Fame. Murray and Boggs clear that bar easily, Tango is right when he brings up Molitor (who I think is an iffy, but probably just over the bar, pick) as another example.

The standard isn't really Frank Thomas and Jimmie Foxx, the standard is Killebrew and Stargell and Edgar meets that standard even if he did it in ways that weren't often as appreciated as they should have been.
   29. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 02, 2008 at 10:33 PM (#2887819)
Kiko/25: That's a pretty good summation of Edgar's Hall case, actually: the difference between his hitting and Boggs's is trivial at best. Boggs is better on the other stuff, but since he's an upper-third Hall of Famer, Edgar doesn't have to match him overall to get in.

Yes, you can compare Edgar to guys who aren't as good as Boggs or Murray, but Edgar's hitting is just about all he has going for him (OK, leave off the 'just about'). So, if you compare him to a lesser hitter who's in, people will still bring up the other differences, and you can't say "but that guy would be in even if he didn't have those things" like you can about Boggs. So comparing Edgar to players whose value is more comparable to his might be more fair if your goal was to find out who's a better player, but it wouldn't make as compelling a case for the Hall of Fame (at least I don't think so).

Anyway, our differences seem to boil down to choice of argument structure, which probably isn't the most trivial thing ever debated on the internet, but it's still not worth spilling too much more virtual ink.
   30. Cuban X Senators Posted: August 02, 2008 at 10:35 PM (#2887820)
Switch out Eddie Murray for Boggs in Tango's article and you get the same result: 4000 more PAs, but 4000 more lousy PAs.

Are we plugging in Eddie Murray to remove the DH issue? Because he's the all-time leader in GP at 1b despite the 475 or so DH games in Cleveland. And granted 1b is not SS . . .

Also, I'm not sure that you can compare 4000 of Edgar's PA's to 4000 of anyone else's because of the durability issue. About twenty percent of that 4000 PA difference between Eddie and Edgar, for instance, is from Eddie being in the lineup more than Edgar after the age of 27, regardless of what happened before they were 27.
   31. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 02, 2008 at 10:43 PM (#2887826)
1. Would Eddie Murray and Wade Boggs have made the HOF had they been career DH?


Tango, I think this depends on what you're asking. Would Eddie Murray have made the Hall of Fame if he had 3,000 hits and 500 home runs all as a DH? Yes, I think he would have. Would he have <u>deserved</u> to make the Hall of Fame? Well, he's my favorite player from my childhood, so I'm not the right guy to answer that question, but that just shifts the question of - what's the proper value to assign to DHing - from Edgar to Murray. You still have to answer the same question. (by the way, I also realize that you weren't the one who first mentioned Eddie Murray)

I think Edgar has a very strong statistical case for the Hall of Fame. He was an exceptional hitter - his career rate stats are all above the .300/.400/.500 level. He's got a difficult case, though, because I'm not sure who to compare him to. Not just the DH thing (in which case Molitor is the obvious comp), but he's essentially a peak candidate but who never won MVP awards or who did uniquely exceptional things (although his 1995 season was exceptional, in retrospect).

If you're trying to convince BBWAA voters, I think there's a danger in comparing players to other players who hit milestones. It's an uphill battle to convince these types of voters that Tim Raines was as good offensively as Wade Boggs or Tony Gwynn (even though he was) and the same is true of Edgar (in a way, even moreso, because Raines has the career length, he just has more of his value in non-traditional stats (i.e., walks)). Actually, thinking about it, maybe Jim Rice is the obvious (soon-to-be) HOF comparison to Edgar.

And I certainly agree with the basic idea that padding stats don't add anything if you're padding them at a low enough rate level.
   32. Blackadder Posted: August 02, 2008 at 11:09 PM (#2887846)
I think it is a little unfortunate that Tango chose Boggs as his comparison to Edgar, since even with a realistic replacement level Boggs ends up with a substantial lead in career value over Edgar (I don't have Dan Rosenheck's WARP spreadsheet handy, but I recall Edgar being around a career 55 WAR while Boggs was 75+ WAR). Molitor is a better example: despite being 9th in career hits, he is only like a 65 WAR. If you do MLEs on Edgar's minor league seasons and figure out his WAR during those years he is probably close to 65. Thus, Edgar had about the same career value as Molitor, despite the inferior counting stats. He has vastly more career value than Lou Brock, who has 3000 hits and retired with the career stolen base record.

And comparing Edgar to Jim Rice is absolutely insulting.
   33. AROM Posted: August 02, 2008 at 11:11 PM (#2887849)
I've applied the same types of ratings to player careers that Tango does for salary evaluations. I use:

Batter runs from B-ref - this is park adjusted.
Defense is either my Totalzone (from 1956-1986) or zone rating. I'm not looking at players pre-1956
Add replacement level - 20 runs per 650 PA
Positional adjustmen, per 162 games: 1B -10, 2b/3b 0, SS/CF +5, LF/RF -5, dh -15, c +10

I've got Edgar at +64 wins. Other 1b/dh between 60-70 are McGwire, Murray, Palmeiro, McCovey, and Thome.

Wade Boggs is far ahead of him at +88.
   34. AROM Posted: August 02, 2008 at 11:29 PM (#2887892)
Edgar is just one of many in the 60-war range who have been overlooked by the hall. The allstar team looks like this:

1b McGwire
dh Edgar
2b Whitaker
SS Trammell
3b Santo
Rf Dewey Evans
Cf Reggie Smith
Lf Tim Raines
C Ted Simmons (not as good as the others on this list but the best catcher)

I think you can make good cases for all of them to go in, but there isn't one guy on that list who stands out as an egregious omission compared to the others. By the numbers McGwire (+67.5) would be the best but I think they are all well within the range of error here.
   35. Tango Posted: August 02, 2008 at 11:41 PM (#2887918)
Please, no WARP. WARP is crap. Same with Win Shares. Make any other argument than that. Their replacement levels are biased against someone with low playing time, something that I'm trying to make the point with Edgar here.
   36. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 02, 2008 at 11:47 PM (#2887929)
Not to speak for the people who compile the data, but I don't think they're using BP's WARP - the numbers look low, for one thing (which would indicate a higher replacement level).
   37. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 02, 2008 at 11:48 PM (#2887930)
And comparing Edgar to Jim Rice is absolutely insulting.


That was actually my point. There is no argument, right down to "most feared hitter", for which you can't make an argument to anybody willing to listen, that Edgar's better than Jim Rice.
   38. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 02, 2008 at 11:52 PM (#2887938)
Out of curiosity, AROM, who's the first baseman if we ignore McGwire? His omission seems to be for non-achievement-based reasons...
   39. Blackadder Posted: August 02, 2008 at 11:55 PM (#2887945)
Tango, I was referring to Dan Rosenheck's WARP, not BP's WARP. His uses realistic replacement levels. You can find a thread where it gets discussed over in the Hall of Merit. One salient point is that he does not think you should apply the +5 run DH bonus, which obviously hurts Edgar.
   40. Tango Posted: August 03, 2008 at 01:54 AM (#2888087)
Why would he think that? The question being asked is always: "How would player X do, if put in the exact same context as player Y". Well, Edgar, player Y, is put at DH. If he was also playing at a pitcher's park, you'd obviously have to account for that. If DH, as a rule, are biased against because it's harder to DH, just as it's easier to relieve, then you must account for that bias. You have to account for all contexts.
   41. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2008 at 02:47 AM (#2888171)
If DH, as a rule, are biased against because it's harder to DH, just as it's easier to relieve, then you must account for that bias.

If you are arguing that Edgar Martinez would have been a better hitter had he been forced to play the field, I've got some cracked Ken Griffey bobbleheads I'd like to sell you. :-)

Basically this is the peak vs. career argument with some defensive value tossed in. Both those work against Edgar. I am, generally, a peak guy but not really when it comes to 1B/DH/LF/RF. There are just too many excellent offensive peaks in that crowd. Getting elected at those positions should, IMHO, require a great peak and a long-ish career or, in the Murray exception, an incredibly long run of excellence.

Anyway, if folks want to argue that Edgar belongs in more than Rice or Perez or the handful of other writers' selections I think are pretty horrible, be my guest. If you want to argue that he squeaks over the threshhold, I might even agree with you (I'm not opposed to him really).

Rightly or wrongly, short careers at corners have been hard to elect for a long time. The closest "recent" example you can come up with is Stargell, elected 20 years ago, with 2308 games and a 147 OPS+. Edgar comes up just a bit short of him on offense alone. This is a group of voters who dithered over Duke Snider (nearly 30 years ago), a much more valuable player than Edgar, and didn't elect short-career sluggers like Mize and Klein and Allen (who had other issues). The best Edgar comps among elected guys are Kiner (33 years ago in his last year of eligibility), Greenberg (52 years ago, war credit and a better hitter than Edgar), Terry (54 years ago, he hit 400) and Sisler (69 years ago, he hit 400).

Now of course the writers don't get to vote on slugging short-career players very often precisely because such guys are usually so valuable they're kept in the lineup for ages (and many of them age pretty well).

As to the "Edgar should have been up 2-3 years earlier" argument -- so what? We don't put guys in the HoF for AAA performance any more than we give guys credit for getting injured. It might not have been Edgar's fault ... but he got screwed on that. As to whether Edgar would have spent that time at 3B, that's pure speculation. I'll hazard a guess that one reason he didn't come up earlier was poor defense. Certainly they moved him off 3B in very short order, deciding either his bat couldn't carry his defense or he couldn't stay healthy playing the field. An equally (at least) likely alternate scenario if they put him out there full-time ages 24-26, hoping he can handle it well enough, is that they move him at 27 because he can't.

Out of curiosity, AROM, who's the first baseman if we ignore McGwire? His omission seems to be for non-achievement-based reasons...

I would guess Dick Allen.
   42. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2008 at 02:48 AM (#2888172)
And AROM, who are the corner players below the 60-WAR range that were elected by the writers?
   43. Tango Posted: August 03, 2008 at 04:40 AM (#2888221)
This is the point Walt. Even if you give him a crappy 3 years of hitting (as a DH even), he still comes out looking great. And, in terms of counting numbers, looking even "prettier".

But, those 3 years of crappy hitting should do nothing to affect our view of him, just as Koufax's pre-1961 years does nothing to us as to how great a pitcher he was.

It seems that people think that having a sub .300 OBP and a sub .350 SLG is actually something BETTER than not playing in MLB at all.

According to B-R.com, from the age of 27 onwards, since 1901, Edgar is 9th in Runs Created (Palmeiro 8th!). Boggs is 17th and Molitor 20th.

In Runs Participated In (R+RBI-HR), he's 23rd, 1 ahead of Molitor.

In OPS+ (a stat I hate, but I quote because B-r shows it), since age 27, he's a sliver ahead of Frank Thomas, Bagwell, McCovey, and Sheffield and just behind Thome.

That's all based on 8000 PA (about the same career PA as Kirby Puckett).

People have this need for "counting stats" to make them feel better, and I say, fine, give him 3 crappy seasons. Crappy play isn't supposed to make his case better, but that's how some people perceive it.

And, realistically, if you are 9th all-time in RC from the age of 27 onwards, you would at least be an average hitter prior to age 27.

I fall in the camp of "demonstrated ability", like Koufax. I don't need padding of seasons.
   44. CrosbyBird Posted: August 03, 2008 at 08:59 AM (#2888264)
But, those 3 years of crappy hitting should do nothing to affect our view of him, just as Koufax's pre-1961 years does nothing to us as to how great a pitcher he was.

If Martinez's peak was even close to what Koufax's, that would be a good comparison. It's shameful to compare Martinez as a offensive player to Koufax as a pitcher in terms of peak. Martinez never won an MVP, and was in the top 5 once and the top 10 twice. Koufax was the guy who led the league in ERA for 5 consecutive seasons, who won three CYs, an MVP, and was runner-up for MVP twice more.

A starter can only accumulate 25 points of black ink per season (4 of the 29 points are for saves and appearances, which are impossible for starters to get). Koufax got almost half of the black ink available for starting pitchers from 1961-1966. It's the type of dominance that is historically great. And it isn't like he was pitching in a league of crappy pitchers.

It seems that people think that having a sub .300 OBP and a sub .350 SLG is actually something BETTER than not playing in MLB at all.

I think that's an exceptionally misleading statement. You can't just add 3 seasons worth of such miserable hitting because no player could keep a job as a full-time DH with such numbers for such a long time. That's worse than Juan Pierre, with no baserunning, and no defensive value.

And, realistically, if you are 9th all-time in RC from the age of 27 onwards, you would at least be an average hitter prior to age 27.

Unless you got hurt, of course. Nor can you assume that the wear and tear of playing longer MLB seasons wouldn't have had any negative effect on his future production. I don't believe in giving players credit for what they might have done.

If you're looking at a player's career as having some sort of curve, Martinez has a giant portion of the left side cut off. That isn't his fault, but it's reality. If he was playing in the majors full-time from age 23-27 (if not earlier, since most HOF players are in the majors earlier in their careers) his rate stats are going to suffer. Not just that, but he missed chunks of games throughout the seasons. We're talking about around 7 seasons where he missed 20+ games.

I fall in the camp of "demonstrated ability", like Koufax. I don't need padding of seasons.

Counting stats don't make me feel better. They do provide some evidence that a player maintained production either of an exceptional level for a fairly long career, or excellent production for an exceptionally long career.

I think that Edgar Martinez is pretty close to right between Jim Thome and Carlos Delgado as a hitter, although both active players still have the potential to add to their legacies. Thome might have crossed the threshold this year, but I don't know that he was a lock at the start of the season. Delgado almost certainly needs a few more good seasons to have a decent chance to get in.

(If you think DH and 1B should be treated similarly as defensive positions, Thome is a very good comparison for Martinez, since he has 492 games at 3B to Martinez's 563.)

The obstacle that Martinez faces is not that he wasn't a great hitter, but that his great hitting doesn't stand out at all from other elite hitters of the past 25 years. As you do down the list of these hitters, Martinez doesn't compare favorably until you start getting into players that added in other areas of the game (positional advantage, defense, running, longer careers, etc.). You've got guys like Bagwell and McGwire and Frank Thomas and Manny Ramirez and Bonds and Thome who are simply better hitters.

Those who are big supporters of Martinez... is he a better offensive player than Jason Giambi? Who is the best offensive player of the last 25 years that you would say clearly should not be in the HOF (not counting moral objections or discounts for suspected/known PED users)?
   45. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: August 03, 2008 at 09:13 AM (#2888265)
Szymborski, if you're reading this, maybe this happened and I missed it, but I'd love to see ZiPS projections for Edgar (and, for completeness, Jim Presley) during the Missing Years.
   46. Blackadder Posted: August 03, 2008 at 10:14 AM (#2888268)
Tango, you would have to ask him! My guess is that he thinks it is not a "real" effect, but rather something caused by selection bias (e.g. hitters DH when they are somewhat hurt, or whatever). That seems a little fishy to me, but I don't know.

Rather than projections of his missing years, why not just do MLEs on his minor league stats? I can't find them, but my understanding was that he was raking for years in AA and AAA before getting the permanent call.

Assuming that he had three years in the minors that translate to solid seasons in the majors, that would probably be worth another 10 WAR or so. If you give him credit for the DH penalty, he picks up about another 5 WAR. So if taking those things into account, he goes from 55 WAR, which is pretty low for a deserving hall of famer, to 70 WAR, which is a solid citizen.
   47. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: August 03, 2008 at 10:39 AM (#2888270)
I fall in the camp of "demonstrated ability", like Koufax. I don't need padding of seasons.


Ditto.

I've always felt you need ten seasons to make your HOF case since that's the established minimum career length for consideration (although there are exceptions).

To me, either you're a HOF or you aren't. If you're not a HOF were 2866 hits (Harold Baines), then 134 hits will not make a difference. If you're a HOF with 300 wins, then you're a HOFer with 287. Blyleven would be in the Hall easily had he reached 300 with his peripherals--the 13 wins would simply be window dressing.

If Sammy Sosa's 609 HR aren't good enough for the Hall (as some have stated) due to his 128 OPS+ from a corner OF in a hitter's park then would hanging around until 661 but dropping his OPS+ down to 120 in the process make him more worthy?

The numbers are a major criteria but not the sole one--what I saw in Edgar Martinez looked HOF-worthy and while he lacks major milestones, his overall counting number resume looks damned good. How many players have accumulated 1200+ runs/RBI/BB, 2000 hits, 500 2B, 300 HR with .300+/.400+/.500+ rate stats?

No, I'm not doing the idiotic "he's in the group"--I'm using those totals to demonstrate that to reach those levels one needs to be an excellent hitter with power (as well as a good situational hitter) with a terrific batting eye for a very significant period of time. Only HOF-level hitters enjoy that sort of resume and can reach all of those levels.

He did it--to the best of our knowledge--without PED, he was a class act, a key member of some pretty good teams, a decent post season hitter (a monster in LDS, not so good in LCS) and is known as one of the game's class acts.

If he needed X number of hits to go from "Nay" to "Yea" then I question whether he was Hall-worthy to begin with--I mean, if he's not a HOFer with what he accomplished in his career, then I can't see how adding a few numbers to his ledger would change that. Absent work stoppages Harold Baines may have reached 3000 hits, 400 HR and 1700 RBI (making him Yaz-lite)--if he still wouldn't be considered worthy with all that then...

Hence, just because Edgrr fell short of some milestones that would consider him "automatic" doesn't mean he'd be any less Hall-worthy were he already in that category.

Best Regards

John
   48. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2008 at 11:37 AM (#2888273)
But John, who here is making the argument, other than setting it up as a strawman, that Edgar needed some milestones to be a HOFer? (The BBWAA might make such an argument, but they're not here.) Career value is not the same thing as milestones.
   49. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2008 at 11:39 AM (#2888275)
Assuming that he had three years in the minors that translate to solid seasons in the majors, that would probably be worth another 10 WAR or so. If you give him credit for the DH penalty, he picks up about another 5 WAR. So if taking those things into account, he goes from 55 WAR, which is pretty low for a deserving hall of famer, to 70 WAR, which is a solid citizen.
Sure. Hypothetical Edgar who actually played in the majors when he should have is a better HOF candidate.
   50. rfloh Posted: August 03, 2008 at 12:10 PM (#2888280)
Batting Runs from BBRef:
Molitor: 349.2
Edgar: 565.2
Larry Walker: 440
Edmonds: 325.2

Batting Runs above Replacment from BPro:
Molitor: 771
Edgar: 769
Larry Walker: 627
Edmonds: 562

Batting Runs above average:
Molitor: 414
Edgar: 537
Larry Walker: 405
Edmonds: 344


The BPro numbers are the "adjusted for season" ones, not the "adjusted for all time" ones.
   51. Tango Posted: August 03, 2008 at 12:52 PM (#2888283)
It's shameful to compare Martinez as a offensive player to Koufax as a pitcher in terms of peak.


I'm not comparing the two players. I'm comparing the framework, the thinking behind "demonstrably great" player. Koufax needed 6 years to do that, and everything else is padding. Edgar needed, what, say 12 years, and everything else is padding. He doesn't need 3 more years of crappy hitting to bolster his case.

You can't just add 3 seasons worth of such miserable hitting because no player could keep a job as a full-time DH with such numbers for such a long time.


That's my point! That you can add 3 years of miserable hitting and BOLSTER his case (in some people's minds). If you want to be realistic, and add say something reasonable, then it really really bolsters his case. I wanted to give him the least amount of benefit as possible, that it's all an illusion in the counting stats.
   52. AROM Posted: August 03, 2008 at 03:12 PM (#2888322)
I don't think we're on the same page, Tango. I'm not using bpro worp or anything like that. I'm using a realistic replacement level, and adding 3 years of that to Edgar's line does nothing at all for him. He just simply was not as good an all-around player as Boggs.

As for 1b, Palmeiro is next in line after Mac, followed by Allen. The next "clean" players are Olerud and Hernandez. Perez and Cepeda are in despite ranking below better players.
   53. Tango Posted: August 03, 2008 at 04:27 PM (#2888348)
I think we are on the same page, as I'm not disagreeing with you. Edgar has solid credentials on their own, and its only through the view of "counting stats" that he loses alot of lustre (DH or no DH).

In hindsight, I should have chosen Molitor, not Boggs, but, that's what I get for writing a quick post. I wanted to focus on the late start and wanted someone who also started somewhat late. I'm surprised that Boggs comes out as high as you have him though.
   54. AROM Posted: August 03, 2008 at 04:34 PM (#2888352)
Molitor is a good comparison. They are in the same neighborhood by my WAR, in the 60's. Molitor also DH'd a lot, though he played a lot more in the field, and had more value when he did, than Edgar. But despite the counting stats, they are of equivalent value.
   55. AROM Posted: August 03, 2008 at 04:44 PM (#2888357)
Edgar has an edge in batting wins over Boggs, 52-46. Boggs picks up a little value over replacement for having a longer career - in my system it comes out to around 6 wins. Boggs pulls ahead by about 15 wins on position - the difference between a decade spent at DH and one spent at third base, and then Boggs gets some more credit for being a very good defensive player. My latest numbers have him 83 runs above average for his career. Adds up to a bit over 20 wins, which as great as the difference between Edgar and a guy like Mark Grace, Matt Williams, or Jim Rice.
   56. The District Attorney Posted: August 03, 2008 at 05:30 PM (#2888375)
I find this "if your peak is good enough that the only difference between you and the 'career total' HOFers is 'stat-padding' seasons, you should be HOF" argument to be interesting. But, I wonder how much it proves. I assume this argument puts, for instance, Albert Belle in easily. That's certainly not a problem, but how far in that direction does it go? Charlie Keller? Ron Guidry? Mario Soto? I would like to see a more complete description of how this theory ranks everyone, and who it suggests should be in and out of the HOF.
   57. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: August 03, 2008 at 06:46 PM (#2888485)
But John, who here is making the argument, other than setting it up as a strawman, that Edgar needed some milestones to be a HOFer? (The BBWAA might make such an argument, but they're not here.) Career value is not the same thing as milestones.


I must be misreading the thread (not a first it should be noted) but I got the sense that the main objection regarding his offense is that he didn't last long enough to accumulate totals associated with HOFers.

Not milestones per se but being compared to hitters that did hang around long enough to achieve them.

My basic feeling still stands but a re-read is clearly in order.

Best Regards

John
   58. Gaelan Posted: August 03, 2008 at 07:31 PM (#2888557)
Without speaking of Martinez specifically I completely agree with Tango's main point. Add on value at the end or beginning of a career should be irrelevant when evaluating that career.
If I was master of the universe those who value career length would be barred from speaking about hall of fame candidacies.
   59. Gaelan Posted: August 03, 2008 at 07:33 PM (#2888562)
I find this "if your peak is good enough that the only difference between you and the 'career total' HOFers is 'stat-padding' seasons, you should be HOF" argument to be interesting.


I like your summary. For me this is should be an axiom of the hall of fame. No stat padding season are considered. Ever. Prime is all that matters.
   60. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 03, 2008 at 07:38 PM (#2888571)
Prime is all that matters.


Do you think that - all other things being equal - a player who amassed a 12-year prime is more deserving of the HOF than a player who amassed a 6-year prime? If so, ultimately, don't you just eventually end up coming back to a debate about "replacement level"? Isn't that really what Tango's argument boils down to: performance only has value if it's above replacement level, with the accompanying question, 'what is replacement level?'
   61. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2008 at 07:52 PM (#2888593)
I must be misreading the thread (not a first it should be noted) but I got the sense that the main objection regarding his offense is that he didn't last long enough to accumulate totals associated with HOFers.

Not milestones per se but being compared to hitters that did hang around long enough to achieve them.
John, I don't think you misread it so much as you're misequating (it's not a word, but it ought to be) two different things. Career value and milestones are two distinct concepts. The latter doesn't concern itself with quality, while the former does.
   62. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2008 at 07:59 PM (#2888609)
If so, ultimately, don't you just eventually end up coming back to a debate about "replacement level"? Isn't that really what Tango's argument boils down to: performance only has value if it's above replacement level, with the accompanying question, 'what is replacement level?'
Although that's how I'm generally interpreting his statements, Kiko, he seems to take that a step further and say that for the purpose of the HOF, performance only has value if it's star performance; he's even discounting average performance. (Witness his comments about Koufax.)
   63. Gaelan Posted: August 03, 2008 at 08:08 PM (#2888637)
Although that's how I'm generally interpreting his statements, Kiko, he seems to take that a step further and say that for the purpose of the HOF, performance only has value if it's star performance; he's even discounting average performance. (Witness his comments about Koufax.)


Right, and this is the part I strongly agree with.

Do you think that - all other things being equal - a player who amassed a 12-year prime is more deserving of the HOF than a player who amassed a 6-year prime?


Of course 12 great years are better than six great years and in any given case judgement is going to be necessary. That being said I stand by the point that while being average has value there is nothing great about it and it shouldn't add to a player's case. And if it doesn't add to the case there is no reason why the lack of average seasons should hurt a case.
   64. PreservedFish Posted: August 03, 2008 at 08:24 PM (#2888666)
b) Should the substantial increase in the number of teams since 1960 also produce a proportional increase in the number of players elected?


My answer to this is probably "no," and I wonder if anyone else agrees with me.
   65. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 03, 2008 at 08:24 PM (#2888667)
That being said I stand by the point that while being average has value there is nothing great about it and it shouldn't add to a player's case. And if it doesn't add to the case there is no reason why the lack of average seasons should hurt a case.


Or, in other words, for purposes of determining Hall-of-Fame worthiness, the appropriate "replacement level" is league-average.
   66. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2008 at 08:27 PM (#2888675)
b) Should the substantial increase in the number of teams since 1960 also produce a proportional increase in the number of players elected?

My answer to this is probably "no," and I wonder if anyone else agrees with me.
Well, the BBWAA certainly does. And the HOF generally, given how hard it has made it for the VC to induct members.
   67. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2008 at 09:02 PM (#2888724)
Right, and this is the part I strongly agree with.
That's obviously indefensible as it applies to the current HOF -- that is, it's simply not anything resembling the actual Cooperstown's standards, and would represent a dramatic break with the institution's history -- and I don't think it makes much sense generally. Nobody is suggesting Harold Baines belongs in the HOF; peak certainly counts. But to argue that average years have no value is to miss the entire point of baseball, which is to win championships. Average seasons contribute to that, so how can they be irrelevant to HOF induction?
   68. CrosbyBird Posted: August 03, 2008 at 09:03 PM (#2888725)
I'm not comparing the two players. I'm comparing the framework, the thinking behind "demonstrably great" player. Koufax needed 6 years to do that, and everything else is padding. Edgar needed, what, say 12 years, and everything else is padding. He doesn't need 3 more years of crappy hitting to bolster his case.

We need a different word than "great" here. You could make an argument that 3 or 4 years was enough of a showing, by nature of the extreme quality of his performance, to demonstrate HOF talent. Talent isn't enough, though. Performance matters. I think Koufax is a pretty marginal HOFer, mind you. His peak is so incredibly dominant that I can overlook his brutally low career length. It isn't "padding" that I'm looking for. It's just total value.

That's my point! That you can add 3 years of miserable hitting and BOLSTER his case (in some people's minds). If you want to be realistic, and add say something reasonable, then it really really bolsters his case. I wanted to give him the least amount of benefit as possible, that it's all an illusion in the counting stats.

I won't defend a position I'm not taking. If you add three years of miserable hitting, it helps his case slightly by providing more counting stats, and greater career length. I think it hurts his case a lot more by lowering his career rate stats. He doesn't look as impressive without stuff like his .312 career BA or his 147 career OPS+. I'm not asking Martinez to put up three seasons of crappy play to pad his stats. It's not like he'd suddenly be a lock with 350 HR instead of 309 or 2500 H instead of 2247.
   69. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 03, 2008 at 09:13 PM (#2888745)
b) Should the substantial increase in the number of teams since 1960 also produce a proportional increase in the number of players elected?

My answer to this is probably "no," and I wonder if anyone else agrees with me.

As written, I'm not uncomfortable with a lack of increase in the number of players elected. However, if the base population from which players are drawn increases, I think the election rate should increase.
The siphoning off of athletes into other sports should lower the rate.
Of course we don't know how many players in the late 1800s and early 1900s did not play professional baseball because of the stigma attached to sports as a career.

There are probably a couple of other parameters that I am missing that make the answer to that question impossible.
   70. CrosbyBird Posted: August 03, 2008 at 09:43 PM (#2888776)
I don't particularly like the "from age 27 on" metric, but I used it to compare Palmeiro and Martinez. I didn't count Martinez's age 41 season (because the players didn't have it in common) but it hurts him a lot less than not counting Palmeiro's age 26 season. The selection is already biased in Martinez's favor.

Martinez obviously still has the better peak, but at the same ages, Palmeiro accumulated practically 2 more seasons worth of PA. Not replacement level seasons, and not even average level seasons, but average performance of .372/.532. Park helps, but that's very good production even in Texas. He created 73 more runs. That's taking away Martinez's two worst seasons and taking away two good seasons and one great one from Palmeiro for the comparison.

It's not an outrageous argument to say that Palmeiro provided more offensive value than Edgar Martinez. There's no question Martinez was better when he was playing, but he missed a lot of time during the seasons he was a full-time starter.

Martinez, age 27-40

<pre>
AB PA RC OBP SLG
27 487 570 86 0.397 0.433
28 544 642 100 0.405 0.452
29 528 592 116 0.404 0.544
30 135 165 20 0.366 0.378
31 326 387 66 0.387 0.482
32 511 639 161 0.479 0.628
33 499 634 144 0.464 0.595
34 542 678 140 0.456 0.554
35 556 672 141 0.429 0.565
36 502 608 131 0.447 0.554
37 556 665 142 0.423 0.579
38 470 581 115 0.423 0.543
39 328 407 69 0.403 0.485
40 497 603 102 0.406 0.489
C 6481 7843 1533 0.426 0.531

Palmeiro, age 27-40

AB PA RC OBP SLG
27 608 701 96 0.352 0.434
28 597 686 128 0.371 0.554
29 436 498 95 0.392 0.550
30 554 624 123 0.380 0.583
31 626 732 137 0.381 0.546
32 614 692 98 0.329 0.485
33 619 709 132 0.379 0.565
34 565 674 152 0.420 0.630
35 565 678 128 0.397 0.558
36 600 714 135 0.381 0.563
37 546 663 128 0.391 0.571
38 561 654 108 0.359 0.508
39 550 651 89 0.359 0.436
40 369 422 57 0.339 0.447
C 7810 9098 1606 0.374 0.532
   71. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 03, 2008 at 09:46 PM (#2888779)
Without speaking of Martinez specifically I completely agree with Tango's main point. Add on value at the end or beginning of a career should be irrelevant when evaluating that career.

Count me amongst those who are having trouble with this line of thought. For me, everything a player does in the major leagues counts. Good, bad, whatever: if it had an impact on a team winning or losing games, it matters.

To me, the only compelling pro-Edgar argument I've encountered here, if anywhere, was AROM's list of players he has pegged in the 60-70 WAR range. Whitaker, Santo, Trammell, and Raines have long struck me as deserving Hall of Famers (Whitaker obviously in line behind Grich); McGwire obviously would be in if his performance were the only thing at issue. I used to think Dwight Evans deserving, then went away from that; AROM's list makes me reconsider him, as well as Reggie Smith, who I've never given much thought to one way or the other. Whether Edgar measures up to Boggs isn't particularly relevant to me, as Boggs isn't the worst qualified HoFer.

I would be interested to see a list of WAR broken down by positions or positional groups, though. I would suspect that Whitaker at 65 WAR (whatever it is) would rank higher amongst 2B than Edgar at 65 WAR would rank amongst either of 3B or 1B. DH is a whole other thing, due to the position's relative youth.
   72. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 03, 2008 at 09:49 PM (#2888781)
If you add three years of miserable hitting, it helps his case slightly by providing more counting stats, and greater career length. I think it hurts his case a lot more by lowering his career rate stats.

I agree with this, and this approach.

On Edgar's playing time within seasons, sure, that's something to consider, but someone who is 5 WAR in 140 games is no less valuable than someone who is 5 WAR in 150 games. That's equal contribution to the team's success.
   73. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 03, 2008 at 09:51 PM (#2888782)
There are probably a couple of other parameters that I am missing that make the answer to that question impossible.

Which is why I think sticking to the proportion of teams makes sense since that will also keep us on a fairly even statistical keel as well.

Also I think if you stand a player like Edgar next to the _writers'_ 1B selections and he doesn't look out of place, than I think he belongs. Trying to separate the Hall of Fame into the "writer's wing" and the "veterans wing" I think is dangerous because for most of the history of the HOF, the writers knew the veterans were going to induct more players they didn't induct, and pretty much definitionally they were going to be of a lower standard than the average writers' pick.

Again I think that omitting Edgar can be done under a defensible standard, it just doesn't happen to be a standard that's been in use at any point after the first half dozen or so years of the HOF. It's almost a given that Jim Rice is going into the HOF next year, are we supposed to try and read the writers' minds and assume that they _think_ Rice is better than we _think_ Edgar is?

That's awfully hard to do.
   74. CrosbyBird Posted: August 03, 2008 at 10:07 PM (#2888790)
My answer to this is probably "no," and I wonder if anyone else agrees with me.

It's a strange endpoint, because at the same time when expansion was really getting rolling in the sport, the BBWAA changed philosophy in HOF voting dramatically. I'm not sure that we want twice as many Herb Pennocks or Pie Traynors in the HOF.

I think if everything evens out, there should be around twice as many "legitimate" HOF players that were playing in the 2000s as there were in 1960. The thing is, aren't there tons of guys now that are locks for the HOF outside of "PED discounting"?

It seems to me like there will be 15-20 players easily inducted into the HOF that played around the 1995-2005 period (if you ignore the "PED discount"). That seems like a pretty healthy increase.
   75. CrosbyBird Posted: August 03, 2008 at 10:32 PM (#2888800)
Again I think that omitting Edgar can be done under a defensible standard, it just doesn't happen to be a standard that's been in use at any point after the first half dozen or so years of the HOF. It's almost a given that Jim Rice is going into the HOF next year, are we supposed to try and read the writers' minds and assume that they _think_ Rice is better than we _think_ Edgar is?

There is not much of a standard for the DH yet, and there's no standard for players who basically started their career at age 27 either. I mean, we know Baines wasn't good enough to get in as a player basically considered a DH. Is Molitor a true "DH candidate," really, with more games at 2B and 3B than at DH?

I feel like if you have to start comparing Edgar Martinez to the worst of the worst BBWAA selections (or potential selections) to find a favorable comparison, he's in big trouble. Based on the type of support I saw for Jim Rice around the last election, there are certainly quite a few writers who think Rice isn't just better than I think Martinez is, but much better. There are people that honestly believe Rice was the best player (not even best hitter, but best player) in baseball for several years. MVP voting certainly seems to indicate that the writers liked Rice a lot more while he was playing than they did Edgar.

Martinez is in the discussion as a legitimate HOF but I believe he falls a little short. I think Rice is a fairly laughable candidate that would be an embarrassment to the institution, much like Don Mattingly or Jack Morris. Much worse than Kirby Puckett (whom I would not have elected).
   76. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 03, 2008 at 11:22 PM (#2888826)
I feel like if you have to start comparing Edgar Martinez to the worst of the worst BBWAA selections (or potential selections) to find a favorable comparison, he's in big trouble.

But you don't. Like I mentioned, Killebrew and Stargell aren't Tony Perez, and Edgar is right there with both. And reversing the question, the only guys clearly superior to Edgar are absolute mortal locks.
   77. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2008 at 11:22 PM (#2888828)
On Edgar's playing time within seasons, sure, that's something to consider, but someone who is 5 WAR in 140 games is no less valuable than someone who is 5 WAR in 150 games. That's equal contribution to the team's success.
To state something so obvious that I say "duh" to myself after writing it, that depends on how one sets replacement level. Someone has to play the 10 extra games that Edgar (or whomever) is missing, and if RL isn't set realistically, then he is less valuable.

As an aside, conceptually it probably doesn't make sense to take within-season replacement level to be the same as offseason replacement level. The latter, I would think, is higher than the former. This is relevant in an Edgar situation, where he's missing games within seasons as well as having a shorter career.
   78. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 04, 2008 at 12:23 AM (#2888879)
- On Edgar's playing time within seasons, sure, that's something to consider, but someone who is 5 WAR in 140 games is no less valuable than someone who is 5 WAR in 150 games. That's equal contribution to the team's success.

To state something so obvious that I say "duh" to myself after writing it, that depends on how one sets replacement level. Someone has to play the 10 extra games that Edgar (or whomever) is missing, and if RL isn't set realistically, then he is less valuable


Well ... replacement level is a constant (whether we have it right or not). If you have two guys play DH for you in a season, and one guy gives you 5 WAR and the other guy gives you 0 WAR, the impact on the team is the same regardless of how many games each one played (within reasonable and realistic limits), as far as I can tell. I mean, you could go game-by-game or something ...
   79. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: August 04, 2008 at 12:37 AM (#2888884)
And reversing the question, the only guys clearly superior to Edgar are absolute mortal locks.
So in your mind Gary Sheffield* and Jim Thome are mortal locks for the Hall of Fame? Wow. To me Sheffield is basically the definition of borderline. In the rough period of 1995-2005, how many people are there in your version of the Hall?

*Forgetting about steroids and character issues just for the moment.
   80. CrosbyBird Posted: August 04, 2008 at 12:43 AM (#2888887)
Like I mentioned, Killebrew and Stargell aren't Tony Perez, and Edgar is right there with both. And reversing the question, the only guys clearly superior to Edgar are absolute mortal locks.

Edgar doesn't have as good a career as Killebrew, and it's not because he played three mediocre seasons at the end of his career either. Killebrew is an 11-time All Star and at the time of his induction, had the 5th most HR in MLB history. Back when people weren't debating whether 500 HR was no longer a sign of exceptional power production in a career, Killebrew easily passed that threshold. More than twice the black ink, and almost twice the grey ink. You want to give Martinez a little extra credit for playing in a 14-team league for most of his career while Killebrew played most of his career in a 10-team league, that's fair, but the two aren't close in terms of dominance of their leagues. That ignores any defensive value that came from playing more games at 3B than Martinez did in his career even if you call his OF/1B no better than playing DH. He was also more durable than Martinez, with 8 years missing fewer than 10 games.

If you don't want to credit Killebrew for his last three seasons, take them out of his career rate stats and he'll be better than Martinez. Stargell is a much better comparison, but he's not a particularly worthy HOFer either. A better choice than Perez, but not much better.

Most of those "mortal locks" are guys that are much, much better than Martinez, guys that are only even close if you ignore everything but hitting. I'm not sure that even all of them are guys getting in too easily (like Bagwell or Thome for example). Martinez is probably the high water mark for peak offense that shouldn't be in the HOF. The problem is that he has nothing but peak offense in his favor. Practically no defensive value or value on the basepaths, over a relatively short career.

I'm going to be hard-pressed to find anyone as good a hitter as Martinez that had as short a career and as little value everywhere else but the plate, because most players with that quality of offense come up early and have careers spanning 18 or more full seasons, and bring more to the table as fielders or runners. The closest I can think of is Jason Giambi, and I don't see him as getting into the HOF without more than he's got right now.
   81. AROM Posted: August 04, 2008 at 03:20 AM (#2889031)
Edgar's Minor league stats

Here's my take on what should have happened:

1984: age 21, hit well in midwest league. He was promoted, jumping two levels, to AA next year. Sounds OK to me.
1985: in AA hit 258/378/353 in 111 games. Got a chance in AAA late in year, raked in 20 games.

At this point he should have started 1986 in AAA, but for some reason they made him repeat AA.
1986: Hit 264/383/390 in AA, Not exactly proving the Mariners made a mistake. At this point he hasn't shown he's worthy of a major league job, but deserves to advance to AAA, and he goes there in 1987.
1987: Age 24, Edgar kicks butt and takes names in AAA. He gets a September callup and hits .372. He should have been the starting 3B beginning in 1988.
1988: Forced to repeat AAA, waste of a major league ready 25 year old.
1989: Gets 65 games as MLB 3B, hits .240 with no power. Should have been given more of a chance based on proven ability in the minors. Probably a lot of people calling him a AAAA hitter at this point.
1990: Finally gets fulltime MLB job.

The Mariners cost him 1.5 seasons where he was their obvious best option at 3rd base - he did play 79 MLB games between 1988-89.

I would have guessed it was more than that, since he was 27 when he first played a full season, but looking back and asking what should have been done based on the evidence available at the time, I would not have recommended making him a MLB starter until 1988.
   82. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 04, 2008 at 09:11 AM (#2889185)
In the rough period of 1995-2005, how many people are there in your version of the Hall?

I'd say about 33 players. Or to put another way I'd induct about 33 Hall of Famers born from 1960 through 1970.

That's three players a year which is a little less than what the HOF has averaged so far. Yes there may have been some excessive inductions with the veterans and that also includes the Negro Leaguers, but then the number of teams and population of players has increased so I'd say that evens it out (or comes close).

And I'm pretty sure Edgar is in under that standard. And no I don't Killebrew was any better than Edgar. Edgar was a better hitter and Killebrew did nothing except hit. At the moment I'd say that Thome is virtually identical to Edgar with Thome's longer postseason career maybe pushing him over the edge. Extremely close with the bat, basically even with the glove and Edgar a little better on the basepaths canceling out the extra third of a season Thome now has over Edgar. And yeah Thome should be in too.
   83. Tango Posted: August 04, 2008 at 04:18 PM (#2889407)
DA/56: you get the point exactly as I intended. Does Gooden's single 24-4 season show more about how great he was than Sutton's career? Does Sutton's career show more than Koufax's 6 years?

Statistically, it's all about how many standard deviations that performance is from some baseline (say average or replacement level). A single game no-hitter for example is 3 standard deviations from the mean. How about a 58-game scoreless inning streak?

At what point did (not does) Albert Pujols cement his position as a HOF (the 10-yr rule notwithstanding)? How about Ted Williams? Would Edgar have been DH in the NL? Would Ted have been DH if DH were around?

That's why I keep going back to "demonstrated ability inferring true talent" as way to resolve any of these issues (or Jackie or the war years, etc), and that this is really the way we remember the players (how do you remember Orel Hershiser, and Gooden and Guidry?).

You look at the breadth of performance that most likely shows them to be far better than some common comparison point.

If the filler years do nothing to enhance that, then remove them.
   84. kubiwan Posted: August 04, 2008 at 06:54 PM (#2889554)
The Mariners cost him 1.5 seasons where he was their obvious best option at 3rd base - he did play 79 MLB games between 1988-89.

Are you sure those years should be counted as full years? He barely played 200 games total in AAA and MLB in 1988-89. Was he hurt or was it a case of getting called up to sit on the bench for long stretches?
   85. Gaelan Posted: August 04, 2008 at 07:15 PM (#2889573)
On Edgar's playing time within seasons, sure, that's something to consider, but someone who is 5 WAR in 140 games is no less valuable than someone who is 5 WAR in 150 games. That's equal contribution to the team's success.


This is an easy question to answer. In terms of value if replacement level is too low then The player with 5 WAR in 140 games is more valuable than the player who is 5 WAR in 150 games. If replacement level is too high then the reverse is true. However with respect to the hall of fame it is exactly the wrong question to ask since "value" is the wrong measurement. What matters is not who is more valuable but who is the better player. It is axiomatic that the 150 WAR in 140 games is a better player and that is what should matter.
   86. CrosbyBird Posted: August 04, 2008 at 07:39 PM (#2889605)
I'd say about 33 players. Or to put another way I'd induct about 33 Hall of Famers born from 1960 through 1970.

That is a massive HOF. Clearly if you are electing that many, Martinez is an easy HOFer.

That's three players a year which is a little less than what the HOF has averaged so far. Yes there may have been some excessive inductions with the veterans and that also includes the Negro Leaguers, but then the number of teams and population of players has increased so I'd say that evens it out (or comes close).

I guess that's the huge difference between your HOF and my HOF. I would not put any Negro Leaguers in the HOF in much the same way that I'd exclude NPB stars or stars from other countries. I view them as pretty similar to Ichiro in terms of how to evaluate them... measure what they did as MLB players and fudge a little if they are borderline. You might argue that it's the "National" HOF and not the "MLB" HOF, but I wouldn't put minor-leaguers in either.

Similarly, I pretty much ignore the majority of VC selections. If the BBWAA is doing a fair job, there's practically no need for them. I much prefer errors of exclusion to errors of inclusion because there's no going back.

My ideal HOF size for players is along the lines of 15-20 per 10 year block. Obviously, this is not a strict limit because some decades will have disproportionately high or low numbers of HOF players. I don't see how Edgar Martinez makes the cut there.

And I'm pretty sure Edgar is in under that standard. And no I don't Killebrew was any better than Edgar. Edgar was a better hitter and Killebrew did nothing except hit.

I don't agree that Edgar was a better hitter at all. Martinez's rate stats are skewed because he didn't play through a decline phase (he retired after one subpar year) and he really didn't play through a growth phase. Killebrew was a top 5 MVP candidate six times. Martinez was a top 10 MVP candidate twice. Top 5 to top 10 should more than reasonably account for the larger league (we're pretty much comparing a 10 team league to a 14 team league here).

Also, Killebrew played the field and exposed himself to greater risk of injury. Despite that, he managed to be more durable than Martinez. And I'm giving practically no credit to Killebrew for ages 18-22 or 37-39 in terms of evaluating him.

At the moment I'd say that Thome is virtually identical to Edgar with Thome's longer postseason career maybe pushing him over the edge. Extremely close with the bat, basically even with the glove and Edgar a little better on the basepaths canceling out the extra third of a season Thome now has over Edgar.

I don't account for the postseason unless it's really exceptional. Mariano Rivera or Reggie Jackson get a little extra credit as we're talking about adding practically half a season against elite competition, but it's not like either really needs the help.

Thome not only has an extra third of a season worth of PA, but also better hitting over his career right now. That baserunning difference is insignificant: practically all of the difference comes from Martinez's 1992 season, where he was 14-4; in no other season did either player even have 10 SB attempts.

If Thome is hit by a truck before the 2008 season and you have to pick either him or Martinez for the HOF, I think Thome wins by a small margin.

And yeah Thome should be in too.

Thome and Martinez are pretty much right above and right below my personal line for all-hit HOFers. I expect that Thome will accumulate enough career value before retiring that he'll be a no-brainer.

What do you think about Giambi as a HOFer?
   87. MM1f Posted: August 04, 2008 at 07:46 PM (#2889611)
1985: in AA hit 258/378/353 in 111 games. Got a chance in AAA late in year, raked in 20 games.

At this point he should have started 1986 in AAA, but for some reason they made him repeat AA.


Um. For some reason? I'd say it is very reasonable, even expected, for 3b with a 258/378/353 line in AA to repeat the league the next year, even with a good 3 weeks in AAA to close the year.
   88. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 04, 2008 at 07:50 PM (#2889614)
However with respect to the hall of fame it is exactly the wrong question to ask since "value" is the wrong measurement. What matters is not who is more valuable but who is the better player.
Obviously not. The HOF is an honor for actual performance, not for mere talent. There are different ways to measure actual performance (*), but in any case, it's that performance, not the fact that the person was good enough to put up that performance, that matters.


(*) By "different ways," I don't mean different stats; I mean different conceptions. Peak vs. career being the classic, of course.
   89. Chris Dial Posted: August 04, 2008 at 07:51 PM (#2889616)
According to B-R.com, from the age of 27 onwards, since 1901, Edgar is 9th in Runs Created (Palmeiro 8th!). Boggs is 17th and Molitor 20th.
You know, I have always been anti-Edgar for the HOF because he was a DH. And that matters. However, in some recent analysis, calculating career value (NOT peak) above position, and Edgar was way up there like you point out. That analysis made me reconsider whether or not he should be in.

I don't care for your argument that three bad years and he gets in counts. I mean, Vada Pinson needed three bad years, and he gets in. So, I think that's a very weak argument. The one I quoted - well, that's the one that takes me back to the data.

He was much better as a hitter than I had previously thought. I am not saying he is "in", but I used to be sure he was "out". Now I am not.
   90. CrosbyBird Posted: August 04, 2008 at 07:57 PM (#2889626)
That's why I keep going back to "demonstrated ability inferring true talent" as way to resolve any of these issues (or Jackie or the war years, etc), and that this is really the way we remember the players (how do you remember Orel Hershiser, and Gooden and Guidry?).

You look at the breadth of performance that most likely shows them to be far better than some common comparison point.

If the filler years do nothing to enhance that, then remove them.


The problem is that those filler years often hurt the players who have them in comparison. Sutton certainly was an accumulator, but 1983-1988 hurt his career rate stats. I can understand an argument that tacking on a few years of average production shouldn't add to a legacy (even though I don't agree with it), but it certainly shouldn't work against a player.

Don Mattingly is a very good example of why I'd reject outright the idea of simply extrapolating a peak into a career. He had a short peak where he was one of the best hitters in baseball AND one of the best fielders, and where he was pretty healthy.

Edgar Martinez would have a better case if he put up a few more good seasons, either at the beginning of his career, or merely by staying healthier during his career, or if he had played a more challenging defensive position. But he didn't, so he doesn't get credit for what he might have done. He "might" have broken his wrist and never fully recovered if he was playing.
   91. Chris Dial Posted: August 04, 2008 at 08:03 PM (#2889630)
The Mariners cost him 1.5 seasons where he was their obvious best option at 3rd base - he did play 79 MLB games between 1988-89.

Are you sure those years should be counted as full years? He barely played 200 games total in AAA and MLB in 1988-89. Was he hurt or was it a case of getting called up to sit on the bench for long stretches
I love this topic:

Szym and I had one similar about a decade ago:
Newsgroups: alt.sports.baseball.balt-orioles
From: "Chris Dial" <acdial<nospam>@intrex.net>
Date: 1998/05/07
Subject: Re: Expansion Draft

Dan Szymborski wrote in message ...
>In article <6ishv2$ic...@supernews.com>, "Chris Dial" ><acdial<nospam>@intrex.net> says...
>> Dan Szymborski wrote in message ...

>> >Edgar Martinez, career minor leaguer.
>> Now Edgar Martinez: Nothing special through 1986 AA.


>A player that could play 2nd or 3rd base and walked 155 times in 1984
>and 1985 nothing special?


>Can't do an MLE for his 1984 performance (I don't have Wausau data and
>it's not AA ball anyway), but his raw numbers were 303/416/490 with 84
>walks in just over 500 plate appearances.



I thought that was pretty good too, but his slugging skyrocketed since then.
And it was pretty low ball.


>1985 was pretty bad, but after that he had an excellent season in AA
>and four excellent AAA seasons before being called up to stay.



>> to stay. Martinez got a four month shaft. Career minor leaguer? Not
even


>> close.

>Then you can't think that Petagine is a career minor leaguer then.
>He's spent four years at AAA, just like Edgar did.



I guess I think Edgar did spend 1.25 years too long at AAA. Four months is
about a AAA season, and if he'd stuck when he first came up...

Chris Dial
   92. JPWF13 Posted: August 04, 2008 at 08:04 PM (#2889632)
Um. For some reason? I'd say it is very reasonable, even expected, for 3b with a 258/378/353 line in AA to repeat the league the next year, even with a good 3 weeks in AAA to close the year.


Those three weeks hitting .353/.450/.485 in AAA count too, his line for the year was: .273/.389/.374... which is essentially the same line which got him promoted the NEXT year.

Also I don't have the specific numbers handy, but .258/.378/.353 could easily have been well above league in 1980s AA (places like El Paso excluded)
   93. Srul Itza Posted: August 04, 2008 at 08:31 PM (#2889680)
128 OPS+ from a corner OF in a hitter's park

Isn't the fact of being a hitter's park taken into account in *OPS+?

Also, according to certain advanced metric's, Sosa was not bad in the field for much of his career.

However, since refusing to speak in English to Congress is a disqualifier for the Hall of Fame, this is moot.
   94. BDC Posted: August 04, 2008 at 08:42 PM (#2889702)
Just a very general comment, but this thread points up some interesting career/peak issues. Basically, career totals have often, over the years, served as a proxy for Tango's "demonstrated ability inferring true talent" – if you hit 714 home runs, you were probably pretty good at some point. The trouble with them is that they are not a very close or ultimately very reliable proxy. And they shift over time, of course. When Bob Feller retired, there were only five pitchers with 2,500 career strikeouts, and they were all really damn good, and all are HOFers/HOMers now (Johnson, Young, Feller, Keefe, Mathewson). Nowadays, that club includes Chuck Finley and Jerry Koosman, not to mention Frank Tanana.

Career "value," of course, is somewhat different from career totals. With career "value" the idea is that Don Sutton contributes a little bit of something even just by showing up and being mediocre, which added to his fine years gives him some extra Win Shares or other such measure. That's a problematic concept, too, for many reasons addressed here and elsewhere, I'm sure.
   95. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 04, 2008 at 08:43 PM (#2889705)
1987: Age 24, Edgar kicks butt and takes names in AAA. He gets a September callup and hits .372. He should have been the starting 3B beginning in 1988.
1988: Forced to repeat AAA, waste of a major league ready 25 year old.
1989: Gets 65 games as MLB 3B, hits .240 with no power. Should have been given more of a chance based on proven ability in the minors. Probably a lot of people calling him a AAAA hitter at this point.


Let's look at what the competition was doing, shall we?

1986: Jim Presley, age 24, hits 27 HR, makes the All-Star team, and gets some MVP votes.

1987: Presley drops off a little in BA and overall power, but still hits 24 HRs, draws a few more walks, strikes out a few less times. In retrospect the overall 1987 surge in offense makes it look a lot worse now than it did at the time; it's not entirely reasonable to suggest that based on one Presley off-season and one good but not excellent (given the environment at Calgary) season Martinez should have been handed the job. Matinez slugged only .473 at Calgary in 1987 depsite a .322 average, which doesn't necessarily scream "I'm ready".

1988: Presley slips again - but now the power completely disappears. Edgar plays in 95 games, again at Calgary, hitting .363 but still without a lot of power.

1989: By now there are reasons to look at options - and the Mariners do that. Edgar starts at 3B on opening day, and gets most of the starts in the first part of April. He doesn't hit. By April 27, the Mariners are 9-14, and Edgar is hitting .176/.259/.176. Presley, who had been getting occasional starts at 1B, goes back to 3B, and hits well for the next month. On June 13, Presley had to come out of a game early. Edgar, who'd been sent back out at the end of May, came back and immediately started hitting for about three weeks, retaining the starting job even after Presley was healthy. It didn't last, though; he had a miserable month of July and Presley got the job back, with Edgar going back down in early August. But Presley stops hitting, too, and when Edgar came back in September he grabbed the job back, this time for good. Presley made only scattered starts in September, and was traded in the offseason.

After 1987, there was no particular justification for moving Presley out and Martinez in, except in retrospect. After 1988, there was justification for looking at options at 3B, and Seattle did. They gave Martinez the job. Yes, they maybe could have been a bit more patient - but Martinez wasn't hitting, Presley was (when he played), and Presley continued to hit once he went back over to 3B. Again, I can't think of a team that would have done much of anything differently.

The evidence suggests to me that in 1989 Seattle wanted to give the job to Edgar - but he didn't grab it. It also suggests that the Mariners are getting a bit of a bad rap here; it wasn't 100% clear that Edgar was, indeed, their best option at 3B until about the time he actually took the job over for good.

-- MWE
   96. Srul Itza Posted: August 04, 2008 at 08:44 PM (#2889709)
To me Sheffield is basically the definition of borderline.

For the writers, you are probably right.

As a matter of pure merit, though, he should be in comfortably.

10,449 PA at 142 OPS+, 2,144 games, with only 252 at DH so far.
   97. Tango Posted: August 04, 2008 at 09:16 PM (#2889744)
"but it certainly shouldn't work against a player."

Who said it would? I don't know that it does. And it might not, depending on your comparison point. If you answer the question: "what is the chance that this performance was put up by a league average pitcher or worse", and if you add in league-average seasons, I think this probably helps him. If you answer the question: "what is the chance that this performance was put up by a .550 or worse pitcher", then the league-average seasons likely won't help him.

If you use a replacement-level as your baseline in the question, then it would definitely help someone like Sutton.

Look at Posnanski's blog. He asked for the greatest pitcher alive, and in the middle of the top 4 (Pedro, Maddux, Clemens) you find Koufax.

And the only process, I think that can fairly put all the pitchers in the discussion like this is to consider both peak and breadth. And what I'm offering here is one way to do that. Not as a hodge-podge way of combining it, but to answer a specific question you come up with and give you the exact method to answer that question yourself.
   98. Tango Posted: August 04, 2008 at 09:22 PM (#2889749)
I have a post on my blog (post 19), which may interest some: it shows the best candidates for players born 1958-1968. Easy choices for pitchers, and a bit tougher choices for nonpitchers.
   99. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 04, 2008 at 09:34 PM (#2889758)
Just saw this thread now.

On the DH issue: Correct, I don't see why on earth it would be harder to hit as a DH than to play the field. The fact that players tend to worse at DH is, to me, clear evidence that teams put them there when hurt to keep their bats in the lineup.

I too would love to see MLE's for Edgar. If he has even two missing years as a league-average third baseman, he's in for me.

AROM, it sounds like your WAR numbers are just about a dead ringer for mine. We should compare notes on our systems; they seem to be very close.

Of course being league average has value! League-average innings munchers get paid $10M a year! There's a reason for that, guys. Just take a look at the 1996 Mariners, who missed the playoffs despite getting Godly performances from Griffey, A-Rod, and Edgar. Think what they would have done for a 97 ERA+ starter!

AlouGoodbye, Yes, Sheffield and Thome are locks. Or at least, they are well above the Hall's established standard. Particularly Sheffield.

Tango, I think Pujols is already over the line. I also think Hughie Jennings is. But someone like Kiner is rrright on the borderline for me--even a bit of war credit would help him--and I'd pass on short-career, high-peak candidates like Boyer, Dale Murphy, or Albert Belle. Steroids aside, does Jason Giambi's glorious 2000-02 meet your "demonstrated ability" standard? How about the forgotten Bill Bradley, or Chuck Klein (component park factors aside)?
   100. CrosbyBird Posted: August 04, 2008 at 09:56 PM (#2889778)
Basically, career totals have often, over the years, served as a proxy for Tango's "demonstrated ability inferring true talent" – if you hit 714 home runs, you were probably pretty good at some point. The trouble with them is that they are not a very close or ultimately very reliable proxy. And they shift over time, of course.

In a vacuum, they are practically useless. In comparison to other players playing in the same era, they are very useful. Right now, 500 HR is less of a milestone because a lot of players are putting up those kinds of power numbers, but there's pretty much no player that could possibly accumulate 600 HR right now and not merit induction based on performance. Either that player has a bunch of 50+ HR seasons, which are still pretty impressive, or he's got an exceptionally long career.

If you view milestones in some sort of context, they're still a very good proxy for "either you played at an extreme level for a significant length of time, or you played at a high level for an extremely long time." There's practically no difference between 450 and 500 HR in terms of whether a player is deserving or not, but there's a big difference between 500 HR and 600 HR. If someone's right near the milestone, there's a decent argument that it isn't enough, but if he's well over it, there's little chance that the rest of his career is so skewed that he's out.

The current milestones probably are around 3000 H, 525 HR, 1600 R, 1600 RBI for hitters. Pretty much everyone who hits one of those is getting into the HOF at this point unless there's a non-performance "adjustment," and it's very difficult to find players who pass them that are poor choices. Those that might be the worst choices are guys who played past reasonable retirement age and barely squeaked across the threshold.

It's harder for pitchers, but 3000 K by itself is a pretty good indicator if you're not Blyleven, much like 300 W.

I should note that it's not some much that passing a given mark is a free ticket as it is that you can't really imagine a reasonably shape of any player's career that includes hitting that sort of milestone without having enough value outside of just the milestone itself.
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