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Wednesday, October 09, 2019

 The Cooperstown Case for Yadier Molina, Russell Martin, and Brian McCann - The Ringer

Isn’t this a little early for Hall of Fame discussions? The World Series isn’t over yet.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2019 at 07:20 PM | 109 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brian mccann, hall of fame, russell martin, yadier molina

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: October 09, 2019 at 07:37 PM (#5888488)
The other three catchers form a decorated group with 28 trips to the postseason, 20 All-Star selections, 10 Gold Glove awards, and eight Silver Slugger awards between them.

Just wow. 9 of those 10 GG awards belong to Molina (Martin has the 10th). 9 of those AS selections are Molina's (McCann with a very healthy 7). 6 of the 8 SS belong to McCann (1 each). I don't think I've ever seen a sloppier construction to make a misleading point. Does this guy work for Trump in his free time or something?

Now if you want to make a case that McCann is the good bat, mediocre glove version of Molina's great glove, mediocre bat career then maybe you've got something to talk about. Martin has no business being in that sentence. (Martin has a similar case to Molina based on WAR but not based on the stats listed in that sentence other than post-season appearances.)

Anyway, based on the stats we have, none of them deserve serious HoF consideration. Add in reputation and I expect Molina to make it eventually (maybe pretty easily, maybe not until a VC). I expect the other two to drop off on the first ballot.
   2. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 09, 2019 at 07:52 PM (#5888497)
For whatever reason my mind drifted to comparing McCann to Bill Freehan, an excluded catcher who had a damn good career and played on some damn good (and title winning) teams.

It's an apt time to compare them: McCann has now played 15 seasons, 1755 games. Freehan played 15 seasons, 1774 games.

Total WAR: Freehan 45, McCann 32.
Top 3 seasons: Freehan 7.0 (1968), 6.1 (1967), 5.3 (1964) vs. McCann 5.5 (2008), 4.3 (2006), 3.6 (2010).

Well... there's no point belaboring it. Freehan beats McCann coming and going. Freehan was a better glove, of course, but he was also a better bat (over 6 oWAR twice, McCann never over 5; 43 to 34 for their careers).

McCann's big splash onto the scene at age 22 in 2006: .333/.388/.572. Freehan in 1967 hit .282/.389/.447--but adjusted for run context, these stat lines are practically identical (144 and 143 OPS+ respectively). Over their careers they were essentially identical as hitters (112 OPS+ to 110, in the same number of plate appearances), but Freehan had more peak value, McCann more hang-around value. That's just with the bat; Freehan was far better with the glove.

Freehan isn't in the Hall of Fame and may never be, though he is in the Hall of Merit. McCann will never be in either.

(edit: Freehan is 3rd on McCann's Similarity Score list, McCann 8th on Freehan's. Martin is also in both guys' top tens.)
   3. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 09, 2019 at 07:56 PM (#5888498)
FWIW, Bill James has been releasing new historical rankings of players at each position by some new statistical system he's devised, which makes no timeline adjustments and doesn't include Negro Leaguers. Yadier Molina is ranked 13th, Freehan at 14th, McCann at 22nd, between Wally Schang and Darrell Porter. Buster Posey's at 24th, Russell Martin down at 34th.

JAWS has Freehan ranked 16th among catchers, Molina 26th, McCann 32nd. Win Shares must like the modern guys' defense a lot more than WAR does.

Molina, I think, is going to cruise into the Hall of Fame with ease.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2019 at 07:58 PM (#5888499)
I read this article today, and was wondering if it would be posted here.

One of the first things I noticed, was what Walt noticed, the all star game/Silver Slugger/gold glove construction just didn't impress me after you read the next few paragraphs. This was a good article, it's fair on what it's arguing trying to point out many different ways to look at it... etc. It mentions war, does a good job of talking about the pro's and cons of the different construction and how it affects catchers, and the problems with using even it's arguments about ranks in war among catchers... It's a good opening discussion article in my opinion. It doesn't come to a conclusion at all, it just does a good job of explaining a bit more in depth on what might be missing from the current discussion among catchers for the hof (it's not missing from the discussions we have had here, but it's absolutely missing from the larger discussion)
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2019 at 08:01 PM (#5888501)
Molina, I think, is going to cruise into the Hall of Fame with ease.


Three years ago I would have disagreed barring some type of extended career, but now, it seems almost as if every announcer has accepted it, and made the comment that he's a future hofer, and many of the stat people have even accepted that he's in the discussion because of a strong non-quantitive ability.
   6. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 09, 2019 at 08:03 PM (#5888504)
Because the Molina era Cardinals won a third World Series after Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa left, Yadier Molina seems to get credit in medialand as the Heart and Soul of the Three-Time World Champion Cardinals.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2019 at 08:17 PM (#5888509)
Because the Molina era Cardinals won a third World Series after Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa left, Yadier Molina seems to get credit in medialand as the Heart and Soul of the Three-Time World Champion Cardinals.


Making a prediction??? I like it. (Blues and Cardinals same year... I'm all for that)
   8. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 09, 2019 at 08:29 PM (#5888513)
Molina, I think, is going to cruise into the Hall of Fame with ease.

I don't see it. Yes, the GGs and ASGs are nice, but he's got only 40 WAR and he's 37. (And much of that is defense; how many HOFers have less than 30 oWAR?*) Even after I award him the full ten-point "catcher bonus", Molina is still well short of 62, my informal in/out number. If he finds another gear and gets close to 2,500 hits and/or wins another ring, maybe.

*There are 8 MLB non-pitchers in the Hall with <30 oWAR: Maranville, Lindstrom, Rizzuto, Schalk, Lloyd Waner, High Pockets Kelly, Mazeroski and Tommy McCarthy (?!). Maz is the only one who's played in the last half-century, and just barely (he retired in 1972).
   9. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 09, 2019 at 08:41 PM (#5888523)
Wow, I have no idea why I thought the Cardinals won in 2013. So forget all that and remember the important lesson: I am dumb. :)
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2019 at 08:52 PM (#5888530)
I don't see it. Yes, the GGs and ASGs are nice, but he's got only 40 WAR and he's 37. (And much of that is defense; how many HOFers have less than 30 oWAR?*) Even after I award him the full ten-point "catcher bonus", Molina is still well short of 62, my informal in/out number. If he finds another gear and gets close to 2,500 hits and/or wins another ring, maybe.


I get the war argument, but the truth is that a decent amount of hof voters have flat out stated they will vote for Molina.... sure it's not a huge number since we are talking about 400 or so voters, but the number of voters who have flat out stated they will vote for him is a decent amount.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: October 09, 2019 at 09:28 PM (#5888548)
We've all seen Vizquel's vote totals, no reason Yadi won't match those. He'll also be on some pretty weak ballots. As I suggest, I can't see him not doing well enough in voting that he won't eventually get a VC nod. Not enough negatives in that sentence? :-) He will surely at least do well enough in voting that he'll be a VC choice eventually.

cfb in #4: usually after I read something as bad as the bit I quoted, I stop reading. Like in this case.
   12. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:16 PM (#5888562)
Yadi will cruise right in to the Hall of Major League ########.
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:29 PM (#5888564)
cfb in #4: usually after I read something as bad as the bit I quoted, I stop reading. Like in this case.


I did the same, then went back.. not lying... those first few paragraphs was bad and I stopped... got home from work, and clicked on it again because the concept worked as an argument, it's one I've heard before but wanted to see it presented again, and it got much, much better in the last two thirds of the article. And ultimately his conclusion was "I don't know, and have a hof vote in 2022 and want to re-evaluate it going forward"


He did a great job of presenting a lot of different arguments... the only thing he he didn't present is "my argument" that pitch framing and other stats are pitched based potential stats, and using them in conjunction with an event based value system is not really an apples/apples discussion. (and yes I know that my argument hurts Molina in this discussion...but I don't think that framing is as valuable as people want to make it out to be.... it's valuable... don't get me wrong... but I think the argument is flawed in it's ultimate value)
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:06 PM (#5888576)
mentioned on tonight's broadcast:

- Molina has the record for most games caught for one team

- he has played i more postseason games than anyone in NL history

he's got plenty of "story" for anyone looking for one, that's for sure
   15. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:11 PM (#5888578)
Yeah, as a more general observation, broadcasters in the playoffs had been breathlessly worshiping Yadier Molina for several years around 2013-2015. Having to live without him for three years must have been just awful for them.

This year, if anything, they've amped it up to levels unmatched by anyone this side of Jack Morris and Derek Jeter.
   16. The Duke Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:56 AM (#5888700)
Yadi is a no brainer and I would go so far to say that he might be first ballot. The cardinals have all kind sod out of town mlb players/broadcasters into their booth all season and it’s always “future hall of famer Yadier Molina” when his name comes up with them. He does have the Derek jeter mojo

If Yadi takes another cardinals team to the World Series, it’s a given.

I think Posey gets in as well easily. He might have a couple more seasons in him

   17. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 10, 2019 at 06:33 AM (#5888721)
a decent amount of hof voters have flat out stated they will vote for Molina

[citation needed]

Yadi is a no brainer and I would go so far to say that he might be first ballot. (...) He does have the Derek Jeter mojo

This is a joke, right?

I'd say Molina has a decent shot, especially if he gets the numbers up and/or another ring. But a shoo-in? Hardly.
   18. Rusty Priske Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:54 AM (#5888771)
Molina has a shot. Martin and McCann don't.

That's it. (Molina a no-brainer? Uh, no.)
   19. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5888781)
I was wondering if they were intentionally ignoring Buster Posey in this comparison
   20. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: October 10, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5888818)
It's a survey of a mini-generation, all in their age 35 or 36 season. That excludes Posey. (Posey also doesn't fit because you can compare him pretty directly with McCann and Martin, and he's obviously better than those two.)
   21. JRVJ Posted: October 10, 2019 at 11:17 AM (#5888825)
Molina's a "guy you need to tell the story of baseball during the ____ - _____period" candidate. He's not really a candidate on his numbers.

Personally, I'm not against a handful of "story of baseball" candidates getting into the HoF during a specific time period (say, the first two decades of the 21st century), but not more than a handful.
   22. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2019 at 11:17 AM (#5888827)
If you're the third best catcher your age you're probably not a Hall of Famer.
   23. Lassus Posted: October 10, 2019 at 11:30 AM (#5888836)
I disagree with the "maybe he'll get in" posts. I think it's possible he'd be first ballot but I don't think it's possible he doesn't get voted in before his time is up. Defense/Narrative, etc. I also think it's kind of a done deal even if not right away.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 10, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5888839)
Molina's a "guy you need to tell the story of baseball during the ____ - _____period" candidate.
For that, they should induct all three of the Catching Molinas together on one plaque.
   25. JRVJ Posted: October 10, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5888853)
24, Frankly, I don't think they'd fit…..
   26. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:06 PM (#5888865)
If you're the third best catcher your age you're probably not a Hall of Famer.


It could happen: Ernie Lombardi was an all-time top-20ish catcher, but three of his exact contemporaries - Dickey, Hartnett, Cochrane - were better.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5888928)
Molina would be a Jim Rice level bad pick with Simmons, Freehan, and Munson on the outside looking in.

   28. bachslunch Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5888938)
Don't always agree with snapper, but I do here. And add Wally Schang to his list.

None of these three guys belong in the HoF without a ticket, but unfortunately I suspect Molina gets in anyway, either as a VC pick or late in his candidacy.

Molina currently ranks 24th in BBRef WAR for catchers, about even with guys like Jim Sundberg and Lance Parrish. Martin is actually about comparable as of now:

Sundberg. 6899 PA, 40.5 WAR, 90 OPS+
Molina. 7655 PA, 40.2 WAR, 98 OPS+
Parrish. 7797 PA, 39.5 WAR, 106 OPS+
Martin. 6648 PA, 37.9 WAR, 101 OPS+

McCann is notably behind all of them: 6850 PA, 31.8 WAR, 110 OPS+
   29. DanG Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5888944)
WAR leaders, 800+ games at catcher, debut 1993+:

Player          WARWAAOPSRfield   PA From   To
Joe Mauer       55.0 27.3  124   19.0 7960 2004 2018
Jorge Posada    42.8 17.4  121  
-59.9 7150 1995 2011
Buster Posey    42.1 25.8  128   54.0 5153 2009 2019
Jason Kendall   41.7 14.6   95   16.5 8702 1996 2010
Yadier Molina   40.2 16.4   98  127.0 7655 2004 2019
Russell Martin  37.9 16.3  101   49.0 6648 2006 2019
Victor Martinez 32.3  3.7  118  
-54.0 8166 2002 2018
Brian McCann    31.8 10.0  110  
-23.0 6850 2005 2019
Jason Varitek   24.2  3.5   99   
-7.0 5839 1997 2011
A
.JPierzynski 23.9 -3.4   94  -40.0 7815 1998 2016 
   30. Bleed the Freak Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5888950)
Looks like Ben's trying to grab the average fans attention with the GG, SS, AS appearances, then delves into the real meat.

B-R WAR is all that is being quoted here, the case for these guys depends on how we value them defensively, B-R isn't measuring things other sites are...
They look great by the advanced metrics at Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs has.
It's a matter of how much you embrace these?
They are slam dunk HOF if you take the numbers at face value, they still look HOF worthy even with regressing some outstanding raw figures.

As to PASTE and bachslunch, Freehan and Sundberg have reasonable HOF arguments.

Parrish was a woeful situational player and the latest catcher metrics aren't helping him either.

Dan G just posted, Posada has the trifecta of awful advanced defensive metrics, clutch, and post-season play.
Kendall isn't a candidate either with subpar defense.
Victor Martinez gained a significant chunk of value outside Catcher.
   31. Bleed the Freak Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:18 PM (#5888952)
27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5888928)
Molina would be a Jim Rice level bad pick with Simmons, Freehan, and Munson on the outside looking in.


Why?
Even if you aren't a big fan of Yadier or see him ahead of those 3, it doesn't mean he's not HOF worthy, and I don't see how you can argue that fact for Jim Rice.
   32. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:39 PM (#5888964)
It's a survey of a mini-generation, all in their age 35 or 36 season. That excludes Posey. (Posey also doesn't fit because you can compare him pretty directly with McCann and Martin, and he's obviously better than those two.)


A survey that excludes Joe Mauer who retired last season but would have played his age 36 season this summer. I suppose if you ignore Posey and Mauer these guys would have a shot at the Hall of Fame as the best of their generation but that's only if you ignore the two most obvious candidates.

   33. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5888969)
29/32--Good luck on the Mauer Hall of fame stuff. I think it's obvious but a while back I was buried by this place because Mauer apparently didn't play enough so he's not really a catcher so he doesn't qualify. I think that was the reasoning but it was hard to tell because basically it was a string of clauses containing words but without a coherent message.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:48 PM (#5888971)
B-R WAR is all that is being quoted here, the case for these guys depends on how we value them defensively, B-R isn't measuring things other sites are...
They look great by the advanced metrics at Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs has.
It's a matter of how much you embrace these?
They are slam dunk HOF if you take the numbers at face value, they still look HOF worthy even with regressing some outstanding raw figures.


The problem is we don't have these metrics for all the other Cs in history. Let's say all the framing and stuff takes Yadi from 40 WAR to 50 WAR which makes him look like a good candidate. But if the same metrics (if available) would have put the 45-50 WAR borderline Cs in the HoF at 60 WAR, then Yadi is not a good candidate.
   35. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5888975)
Molina would be a Jim Rice level bad pick with Simmons, Freehan, and Munson on the outside looking in.
The Hall is long overdue for making a proper positional adjustment when evaluating catchers. I’m fine with the Veterans Committees addressing Freeman, Munson, Simmons, Posada, and perhaps others. However, I can’t see making a one-time exception for the Omar Vizquel of Catchers while continuing to screw over everyone else.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:56 PM (#5888977)
The Hall is long overdue for making a proper positional adjustment when evaluating catchers. I’m fine with the Veterans Committees addressing Freeman, Munson, Simmons, Posada, and perhaps others. However, I can’t see making a one-time exception for the Omar Vizquel of Catchers while continuing to screw over everyone else.

Right. If they decide 40 WAR is the appropriate threshold for Cs, then put em all in, including Yadi. But those other guys were simply better than him.

WAR clearly underrates Catchers. Yogi Berra only has 59 Rpos or 5 per 650 PA. That seems to vastly understate the difficulty of the position.
   37. PreservedFish Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5888982)
Yeah that seems wrong. I thought I recalled seeing +12.5 as the positional adjustment for catchers over a full season.
   38. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5888985)
The problem is we don't have these metrics for all the other Cs in history. Let's say all the framing and stuff takes Yadi from 40 WAR to 50 WAR which makes him look like a good candidate. But if the same metrics (if available) would have put the 45-50 WAR borderline Cs in the HoF at 60 WAR, then Yadi is not a good candidate.


Potential candidates from "all the other Cs in history"
Bill Freehan and Thurman Munson were mentioned already. Sherm Lollar (9 ASG), Elston Howard (12 ASG) and Darrell Porter (4 ASG) could easily have been as good as any of the 3 in the article, we just don't have the same data.

   39. DL from MN Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:18 PM (#5888988)
MMP voting
Player # years on a ballot
Yadier 2
McCann 3
Martin 3
   40. bobm Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5888999)
29/32--Good luck on the Mauer Hall of fame stuff. I think it's obvious but a while back I was buried by this place because Mauer apparently didn't play enough so he's not really a catcher so he doesn't qualify. I think that was the reasoning but it was hard to tell because basically it was a string of clauses containing words but without a coherent message.

Mauer's candidacy--known as a C but less extensive playing time at the position--was best compared here IMO to that of Ernie Banks as an SS/1B.
   41. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:50 PM (#5889003)
40--The other part I thought bizarre were the multiple posters wanting to give the guy who got killed in a plane crash credit for time not played but Mauer gets no recognition for the impact of the concussion which is clear and obvious from his stat history. Before concussion, great player. After concusion, one ok year and mostly just there.

Maybe Mauer should have retired after the concussion and that gives him the mystique to get in the hall. But the dude guts it out for a few years and that makes him a loser somehow
   42. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:59 PM (#5889008)
Mauer gets no recognition for the impact of the concussion which is clear and obvious from his stat history. Before concussion, great player. After concusion, one ok year and mostly just there.
How is that different from other player injuries? Don Mattingly, for example, was thought to be on a Hall of Fame path until he hurt his back. The Hall does seem to differentiate baseball and non-baseball medical problems, being more sympathetic to the non-baseball variety, such as Kirby Puckett’s glaucoma.
   43. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:10 PM (#5889015)
42--So you give a player credit for play that never happens and it's a negative for a guy to come back and try and play when he probably should not play?

Am I the only one who thinks this line of thinking is really kind of dumb??
   44. Booey Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:23 PM (#5889029)
29/32--Good luck on the Mauer Hall of fame stuff. I think it's obvious but a while back I was buried by this place because Mauer apparently didn't play enough so he's not really a catcher so he doesn't qualify. I think that was the reasoning but it was hard to tell because basically it was a string of clauses containing words but without a coherent message.


Mauer's candidacy--known as a C but less extensive playing time at the position--was best compared here IMO to that of Ernie Banks as an SS/1B.


Agreed. Mauer is a pretty clear HOFer IMO. 55 WAR and 27 WAA for a guy who spent even half his career as a catcher is plenty. With the way full time catcher usage is dwindling, it could be a long, long time before we see another C surpass those totals.

Seems like our options now regarding catchers and the HOF are:

1 - Elect players with a dominant peak but short career who also played half their games at other positions (Mauer, Posey)
2 - Elect players who had long careers at catcher but were rarely (and in some cases never) really dominant (Molina, McCann, Martin)
3 - Wait for players who qualify on both counts like most the HOF catchers of the past. This may mean that we basically stop electing catchers altogether for who knows how long

I'd pick option #1. Mauer is already in my PHOF, and Posey is near the line and just needs a few more decent (not even All Star caliber) seasons to lock it up. Obviously it's no guarantee he does that, but even if he retired now he's closer to my PHOF than Molina and waaaay closer than Martin and McCann.
   45. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:41 PM (#5889041)
44--completely agree
   46. Cris E Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:56 PM (#5889082)
When that magical 70 WAR, 15 year type 3 catcher finally shows up he's going to receiving a 45 start 350 IP per season New Hoss Radbourne. The age of robots is going to rock!
   47. Walt Davis Posted: October 10, 2019 at 06:20 PM (#5889114)
It's not difficult logic. Mauer has fewer than 900 starts at C. That's very few starts. Far from the "wears you down" argument, Mauer had one season of 135 starts (that's a lot) and his 2nd highest total was 119 (that's not).

C's deserve a "bonus" because it's a tough position such that 1200-1500 starts there is like 1800-2000 elsewhere. Mauer's career was VERY short for a C. He does well by "peak" but to make a peak-only HoF case you need one hell of a peak. C peaks are very tightly distributed. Mauer is 5th in WAR7 ... but that's only 2 WAR ahead of Munson's and Posey's WAR7s, it's only 4 better than Simmons, 5 better than Freehan. So he was a whopping half-win better at his peak than 2 Cs who aren't in, barely better than Munson who's not in and Posey who probably won't go in if he can't add substantially to his resume.

Mauer's a great what might have been candidate. He had the start of a HoF-quality career. Unfortunately he didn't have the finish. Now if we want to put in Simmons, Munson, Freehan, etc. then there's less of an issue putting Mauer in.

I've made the Mauer-Banks comparison but I always point out that Banks's peak was 6 year, 47.3 WAR -- that's a great peak. In real time, that's a guy you're saying might end up the greatest SS of all-time.
   48. Walt Davis Posted: October 10, 2019 at 06:39 PM (#5889121)
Berra's Rpos is an interesting issue. I'll admit I hadn't noticed before how low it is. Sean or similar should probably chime in.

One issue is that teams seemed a bit less concerned about the defensive spectrum in those days. Here's catcher tOPS+ from 50-54

1950: 99
1951: 97
1952: 99
1953: 98
1954: 100

CFs also hit a lot better in those days (108 to 121 over those years). Here's Cs for 2015-19:

2015: 89
2016: 91
2017: 94
2018: 87
2019: 90

C has shifted from average and out-hitting 2B and SS in every year from 50-54 (I think, 2B might have squeaked one out) to the worst-hitting position in each of the last 5 years. That doesn't necessarily mean that teams put more emphasis on C defense now than they did then but it implies it.
   49. Booey Posted: October 10, 2019 at 07:03 PM (#5889124)
#47 - Mauer had 55 WAR and 27 WAA. That's right on the HOF borderline even if he'd never caught a single game.

As for Simmons, Munson, Freehan, etc...well, I don't see how inducting more catchers from past eras is going to solve the problem of no catchers who debuted in the last 25 years being HOF worthy by previous standards. Mauer and Posey were the best of their era. Simmons, Munson, and Freehan weren't. They played in an era where it was possible for a catcher to rack up 60 WAR. I'm not sure it is anymore. So yeah, maybe those 3 deserve more consideration than they've gotten (I'd personally put Simmons in), but I think their cases are mostly irrelevant in comparison to the current crop. Usage has changed, so voter expectations of what constitutes a HOFer at the position might have to as well.
   50. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: October 10, 2019 at 08:27 PM (#5889143)
   51. toratoratora Posted: October 10, 2019 at 08:42 PM (#5889146)
Mauer has a lifetime .306 average, won three batting titles as a catcher, two obp titles, an MVP, a clean reputation, one team player, and a tragic injury.
He reeks of the sort of narrative/intangibles things sportwriters love.
My bet, without eyeing up his competitors when eligible, is he is in on 2nd or 3rd vote
   52. TDF, trained monkey Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:51 PM (#5889171)
B-R WAR is all that is being quoted here, the case for these guys depends on how we value them defensively, B-R isn't measuring things other sites are...
They look great by the advanced metrics at Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs has.
It's a matter of how much you embrace these?
They are slam dunk HOF if you take the numbers at face value, they still look HOF worthy even with regressing some outstanding raw figures.


The problem is we don't have these metrics for all the other Cs in history. Let's say all the framing and stuff takes Yadi from 40 WAR to 50 WAR which makes him look like a good candidate. But if the same metrics (if available) would have put the 45-50 WAR borderline Cs in the HoF at 60 WAR, then Yadi is not a good candidate.
To expand that thought (which I've posted before):

Those advocating for Yadi are using a stat (pitch framing) that, while very informative and important, is only going to affect a small slice of baseball history (between the time we could capture it and the time of robot umps) - a slice that will perfectly align with his career, giving his candidacy a "sabermetric" boost that almost no other catcher will have available.
   53. The Duke Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:58 PM (#5889175)
Molina has two key attributes which make him a no-brainer. 100 post season games plus appearances in multiple series with different teams (different players). The constant to the great St. Louis run since 2004 Is Yadi, not Pujols, Beltran, berkman or rolen or Edmonds or Goldschmidt .They are 4 wins away from yet another WS appearance with a completely new team ( except for wainwright )

And the second is his climb up the leaderboard in catcher games played and innings caught. Likely to be top 5 ever in both. As we can see with a lesser player like vizquel, the voters love the endurance factor. Another reason why Andruw Jones, santana, grich,etc have/will have trouble with voters. Showing up day after day is a valued tool for a lot of voters

I don’t think WAR is as critical a yardstick for catchers. Narrative is just as important.

I hope freehan, Simmons, posey, posada and Mauer all get in as well. Catchers are woefully under-represented.
   54. cardsfanboy Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:17 PM (#5889179)
[citation needed]


seriously?? have you read or watched anything from any hof voter in the past 5 years?
I don't think there is a real need to cite something that has been a pretty common comment for the past 5 or so years.
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:25 PM (#5889181)
nevermind..
   56. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:33 PM (#5889182)
And the second is his climb up the leaderboard in catcher games played and innings caught.
Didn’t seem to do anything for Bob Boone (#3), Jason Kendall (#5) or Tony Pena (#6).

Yadier Molina & A. J. Pierzynski are each other’s most comparable players by BB-Ref Similarity Score. Are they both Hall of Famers? Not seeing the slam-dunk HoF candidacy, particularly using the criteria that has kept so many out.
   57. PreservedFish Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:36 PM (#5889184)
Similarity Score sucks. Come on. It doesn't do defense, and the reputations of Molina & Pierogi couldn't be more different.
   58. Booey Posted: October 10, 2019 at 11:59 PM (#5889193)
Mauer has a lifetime .306 average, won three batting titles as a catcher, two obp titles, an MVP, a clean reputation, one team player, and a tragic injury.
He reeks of the sort of narrative/intangibles things sportwriters love.
My bet, without eyeing up his competitors when eligible, is he is in on 2nd or 3rd vote


Agree with the first few lines, hopeful about the last.

Mauer didn't just have a good peak, he had a historic one. Not by WAR/WAA (but again, even that's at the acceptable HOF baseline), but by accomplishments. He did things we've rarely - and sometimes never - seen catchers do before. His 3 batting titles are almost half of all of those won by catchers in history (3/7 - Lombardi won twice, Posey won the controversial one in 2012, and something called a Bubbles Hargrave won in 1926). His .365 avg during his MVP year is the single season record for a catcher, breaking the previous record of .362 that Bill Dickey held for 73 years (Piazza also hit .362 in 1997, but it was a slightly lower .362). Mauer is the only catcher ever to lead the league in slugging, one of just 3 to lead the league in OBP (and he did it twice) and the first since Mickey Cochrane in 1933 (Chief Myers in 1912 was the other). He's (obviously) the only catcher to ever win the "slash line Triple Crown" (avg/obp/slg), and one of just 3 to lead the league in OPS+ (Piazza twice, Posey).

Just curious, but for those who wouldn't vote for Mauer, which of the other two options for catchers I listed in post #44 would you choose instead?

(re-posting)

1 - Elect players with a dominant peak, but a short career and who also played half their games at other positions (Mauer, Posey)

2 - Elect players who had long careers at catcher but were rarely (and in some cases never) really dominant (Molina, McCann, Martin)

3 - Wait for players who qualify on both counts like most the HOF catchers of the past. This may mean that we basically stop electing catchers altogether for who knows how long
   59. Bleed the Freak Posted: October 11, 2019 at 08:39 AM (#5889208)
Sure, we don't have framing/advanced metrics dating all the way back in time, but shouldn't we use the best data we have, if it suggests these guys are HOF, we need to take them seriously. As to the defenders having no peak, if the new metrics are correct, catcher defense is gold and they did have excellent peak seasons.
   60. Ithaca2323 Posted: October 11, 2019 at 09:16 AM (#5889213)
#47 - Mauer had 55 WAR and 27 WAA. That's right on the HOF borderline even if he'd never caught a single game.


No way.

Mauer finished his career with ~2,100 hits, 143 HR and 923 RBI and a 124 OPS+. The only position he'd get significant support with counting numbers like that, in this era, is C, unless he was an Ozzie-like defender (and frankly, even that hasn't helped Andruw Jones one bit).

Much of what Booey says in 58 supports that as well.
   61. Howie Menckel Posted: October 11, 2019 at 09:27 AM (#5889217)
Not seeing the slam-dunk HoF candidacy, particularly using the criteria that has kept so many out.

there's your vision problem in a nutshell.

let's not confuse "should" with "will."

Molina's narrative is 10x Simmons or Freehan's, it just is. fight in on "should" and/or go down with the ship on "will."

he's going in, and it won't take as long as some here think.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2019 at 09:27 AM (#5889218)
3 - Wait for players who qualify on both counts like most the HOF catchers of the past. This may mean that we basically stop electing catchers altogether for who knows how long

Well they elected two catchers quite recently. If you look at HoF Cs (there are only 14) by debut decade, you get:

1890s: 1
1900s: 0
1910s: 1
1920s: 3
1930s: 1
1940s: 2
1950s: 0
1960s: 2
1970s: 1
1980s: 0
1990s: 2

The HoF has not taken the best C of each era if that era was weak in Cs.
   63. DL from MN Posted: October 11, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5889229)
Molina's narrative is 10x Simmons or Freehan's


Freehan's an 11 time all star(!), 5 gold gloves, finished 3rd in MVP voting in 1967 and was regular season MVP runner-up for a World Series champion (1968).

Just because people aren't as familiar with his "narrative" because it isn't mentioned much lately doesn't mean it isn't strong.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5889233)
Molina's narrative is 10x Simmons or Freehan's, it just is. fight in on "should" and/or go down with the ship on "will."

And Munson's blows Molina's away. ROY, MVP, captain of two time World Series winners. Died tragically.

Oh, and he's more qualified on the numbers too.
   65. Ithaca2323 Posted: October 11, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5889234)
Freehan's an 11 time all star(!), 5 gold gloves, finished 3rd in MVP voting in 1967 and was regular season MVP runner-up for a World Series champion (1968). Just because people aren't as familiar with his "narrative" because it isn't mentioned much lately doesn't mean it isn't strong.



The fact that all that was true when Freehan went on the ballot and got exactly two votes—and he's still waiting for election nearly 40 years after that result—is definitive evidence it isn't strong.

I'm not sure what will happen with Molina when he's on the ballot, but he's not going to get the treatment Freehan did
   66. DL from MN Posted: October 11, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5889245)
The fact that all that was true when Freehan went on the ballot and got exactly two votes—and he's still waiting for election nearly 40 years after that result—is definitive evidence it isn't strong.


No, it's evidence that the voters are really, really tough on catchers.
   67. Ithaca2323 Posted: October 11, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5889263)
No, it's evidence that the voters are really, really tough on catchers.


So what?

For Hall of Fame purposes, there's a difference between a narrative and a list of accomplishments. A narrative is something that actually does something substantial for a player's candidacy.

Jack Morris was the winningest pitcher of the 1980s. Mark Grace had the most hits in the 1990s. Both of these are accomplishments. One of those became a narrative.

   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2019 at 11:49 AM (#5889283)
For Hall of Fame purposes, there's a difference between a narrative and a list of accomplishments. A narrative is something that actually does something substantial for a player's candidacy.

And the evidence is that narratives similar to Molina's don't do much when they're not backup up by stats.
   69. DL from MN Posted: October 11, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5889289)
Part of the reason I participate in the Hall of Merit is the whole idea that the Hall of Fame voters will choose a player because Joe Buck talked him up during the World Series. I don't like outsourcing important decisions to Joe Buck and would rather voters did their own thinking.

I also think catchers deserve to be honored, especially since the catchers are doing a large portion of the work during the game while the outfielders stand around waiting for something to happen.
   70. Booey Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:06 PM (#5889291)
No way.

Mauer finished his career with ~2,100 hits, 143 HR and 923 RBI and a 124 OPS+. The only position he'd get significant support with counting numbers like that, in this era, is C, unless he was an Ozzie-like defender (and frankly, even that hasn't helped Andruw Jones one bit).


I was referring strictly to WAR/WAA, not counting stats. No one's going to complain when Ichiro (59/24), or Ortiz (55/20) get elected. No one says Willie Stargell (57/27) was a bad selection. Those guys are close enough to the borderline that most people are fine with the narrative/accomplishments pushing them over. Mauer is the same, IMO.
   71. Booey Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5889294)
The HoF has not taken the best C of each era if that era was weak in Cs.


It's not just that this era was weak in catchers, it's that with overall dwindling usage, it's looking quite possible that most FUTURE eras will be weak in catchers, too. Which young (under 30) catchers would you consider major stars right now (i.e. possible future HOFers)?
   72. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:15 PM (#5889297)
It's not just that this era was weak in catchers, it's that with overall dwindling usage,

Has there been a change in usage? Catchers catching 120+ games has always been rare.
   73. DL from MN Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5889301)
JT Realmuto is probably the best catcher in baseball and he catches around 120-130 games. Mitch Garver had a great year but he only caught 93 games because the Twins wanted to give him more rest. Yadier Molina only caught 113 games and people think he's a Hall of Famer.
   74. Booey Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5889302)
Has there been a change in usage? Catchers catching 120+ games has always been rare.


I think so. Feels like Mauer/Posey types who split between catching and 1B or whatever are becoming more common. I don't know how to run the numbers, though, so I could be wrong.

Anyone with a few minutes to burn and more b-ref knowledge than myself willing to see if there are fewer full time catchers (say, 120 games) in recent years than in decades past? :-)
   75. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5889310)
Yasmani Grandal is in the discussion as the best catcher and set his career high in games started at catcher at 124 this year. Before 2019 his high was 113 games started in 2017. Or do posters just use games appeared as a catcher? Or complete games?
   76. Booey Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:59 PM (#5889339)
Depending on how he comes back after missing an entire season, Salvador Perez is a Molina type of catcher that voters may try to force into HOF discussions for lack of better options by the end of his career. The value stats of course don't show that he's worthy of that consideration, but he's still just 29 and already has 6 All Star appearances, 5 gold gloves, 2 silver sluggers, and he was one of the leaders of a two time World Series team and took home WS MVP for the 2015 champions. He'd also started hitting 25 homers a year (who doesn't?) before the injury, so he could finish in the 250 range.
   77. DanG Posted: October 11, 2019 at 02:15 PM (#5889393)
Here's a quick look, using PI, at how many MLB catchers caught 120+ games in a season.

Year 120 G 
2019 3 
2018 4 
2017 4 
2016 7 
2015 7 
2009 9 
1999 8 
1989 8 
1979 12 
1969 9 
1959 5 
(118 G

So it looks like catcher workloads are becoming lighter and lighter.

Catchers 2019     G  GS  CG  Inn
J
.TRealmuto   133 130 117 1139
Yasmani Grandal 137 124 104 1096
Wilson Ramos    124 113  99 1016
Roberto Perez   118 114 101  994
Jorge Alfaro    118 112 106  973
Chris Vazquez   119 103  85  918 
   78. DanG Posted: October 11, 2019 at 02:45 PM (#5889407)
Ten years ago.

Catchers 2009     G  GS  CG  Inn
Russell Martin  137 133 127 1201
Yadier Molina   138 136 118 1177
Kurt Suzuki     135 132 126 1173
Jason Kendall   133 131 127 1162
A
.JPierzynski 131 124 117 1104
Gerald Laird    135 123 111 1090
Brian McCann    127 124 107 1079
Bengie Molina   123 120 103 1042
Road Barajas    120 110  99  974
Ivan Rodriguez  115 108 100  962
Joe Mauer       109 105 100  939
Miguel Montero  111 101  94  925
Jason Varitek   108 106  90  924
Dioner Navarro  113 105  94  921 
   79. Howie Menckel Posted: October 11, 2019 at 04:43 PM (#5889464)
Freehan's an 11 time all star(!), 5 gold gloves, finished 3rd in MVP voting in 1967 and was regular season MVP runner-up for a World Series champion (1968).

Just because people aren't as familiar with his "narrative" because it isn't mentioned much lately doesn't mean it isn't strong.

what you described about Freehan is not what I think most believe the word "narrative" means. I think you are listing "accomplishments."
   80. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2019 at 04:45 PM (#5889465)
what you described about Freehan is not what I think most believe the word "narrative" means. I think you are listing "accomplishments."

Isn't a narrative just stringing the players accomplishments into a story? You can't have a compelling narrative without a lot of accomplishments. Otherwise Bucky Bleeping Dent would be in the HoF.
   81. DL from MN Posted: October 11, 2019 at 05:33 PM (#5889485)
Read the wiki on 1968 for Freehan. You can decide if that's enough narrative for you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Freehan
   82. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 11, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5889495)
. . . he has played i more postseason games than anyone in NL history
In all those games, Molina has a .683 postseason OPS. He was .143/.174/.143, for a .317 OPS in this season’s NLDS.
   83. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 11, 2019 at 05:59 PM (#5889499)
#81 I don't think people here are saying Freehan shouldn't be in because he lacks narrative. I think they're just saying he didn't get any help from his narrative in the HOF voting. I mean, he got 2 votes in his lone appearance on the ballot*. Yadier will almost certainly get more support than that. So either the voters have changed or he's got more "narrative" -- i.e. something beyond the stats that helps his case.

* On an admittedly crowded ballot - debuting with Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Billy Williams, along with 11 other future HOFers on the ballot, has to be tough.
   84. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 11, 2019 at 06:06 PM (#5889506)

One question I have is whether good players are more likely to be moved off of catcher now in order to maximize the value of their bat. I mean, Bryce Harper was a catcher in HS / JC before being drafted, but the Nats immediately moved him to the outfield. If guys like that used to be left at C, it would be an argument for why there should be fewer HOF catchers today. (If this has always been the case it might be an argument for why there should be fewer HOF catchers overall.)
   85. Howie Menckel Posted: October 11, 2019 at 07:36 PM (#5889525)
I voted gladly for Freehan for HOM and was happy to see him get in.
but that great season, as with the rest of his career, hasn't been woven into an effective narrative - I hope you're not disputing that?

meanwhile, the wiki passage gave me a chuckle at one point:

"[Freehan] capped his season by recording the final out of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, retiring Tim McCarver on a popup."

I'm picturing Freehan taking the ball from Mickey Lolich's hands - then the team trying to stuff Lolich into catcher's equipment.

:)
   86. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 11, 2019 at 07:55 PM (#5889529)
By decade, number of player seasons with games caught >= 120 (cutoff adjusted for schedule length pre-1961 and during the strike years), as a percentage of team seasons.

1920s - 38%
1930s - 40%
1940s - 31%
1950s - 39%
1960s - 36%
1970s - 42%
1980s - 40%
1990s - 38%
2000s - 40%
2010s - 21%

Definitely seems like something has changed over the past decade.

I was curious whether guys who are primarily catchers are just catching fewer games but playing more overall by getting spells at 1B/DH etc. That doesn't really seem to be the case, although the change is less pronounced when you look at it that way.

By decade, number of player seasons with games played >= 120 and games caught >= 75% of games played (games played cutoff adjusted for schedule length pre-1961 and during the strike years), as a percentage of team seasons.

1920s - 46%
1930s - 52%
1940s - 38%
1950s - 53%
1960s - 48%
1970s - 47%
1980s - 52%
1990s - 51%
2000s - 46%
2010s - 34%
   87. QLE Posted: October 11, 2019 at 08:15 PM (#5889535)
Some thoughts on various points raised:

It could happen: Ernie Lombardi was an all-time top-20ish catcher, but three of his exact contemporaries - Dickey, Hartnett, Cochrane - were better.


And that's just considering the Major Leagues- in the Negro Leagues, Gibson, Mackay, and Trouppe were all roughly contemporaneous.

Molina would be a Jim Rice level bad pick with Simmons, Freehan, and Munson on the outside looking in.


I have a means of calculating player value based on peak and prime- by my methods, Rice and Molina (once one makes the reasonable catcher adjustment) are almost identical in ranking, which could be quite telling.

42--So you give a player credit for play that never happens and it's a negative for a guy to come back and try and play when he probably should not play?

Am I the only one who thinks this line of thinking is really kind of dumb??


It demonstrates two of the problems with calculations of player value excessively obsessed with career above all- they ignore that a few years of being a great player has more value than a bunch of being slightly above average, and they seem to lead to all sorts of antics involving various forms of extra credit for players who (like Munson) really don't need it.

When that magical 70 WAR, 15 year type 3 catcher finally shows up he's going to receiving a 45 start 350 IP per season New Hoss Radbourne. The age of robots is going to rock!


And that issue is especially telling in one regard: the only catchers to reach 70 WAR are Bench and Carter. Similarly, there are only three career catchers (using JAWS) with career values between 60 and 69.9 WAR- Rodriguez topped at 68.7, Fisk at 68.5, Hartnett at 60.1. At 50-59.9 WAR, there are five additional names- Berra at 59.8, Piazza at 59.6, Dickey at 58.4, Mauer at 55.0, and Simmons at 50.3. Essentially, almost no catchers have reached the theoretical Type 3- and even a bunch at Type 1 are under 50 WAR for their careers.

Unfortunately he didn't have the finish. Now if we want to put in Simmons, Munson, Freehan, etc. then there's less of an issue putting Mauer in.


At its core, this is the problem with the argument- punishing deserving players for the mistakes of the BBWAA in decades past seems to me to be a lousy idea, especially given that there's a really good chance at least one of these omissions will be corrected in a few months' time.

Mauer and Posey were the best of their era. Simmons, Munson, and Freehan weren't. They played in an era where it was possible for a catcher to rack up 60 WAR.


Agree with the first sentence- but Freehan was the best catcher of the 1960s (Berra was in his declining years and used increasingly more in positions other than catcher; and the only one of the catchers with a career that started in the 1960s to fully establish himself before the decade was over was Bench), and as such feels misleading to be compared with players who were not direct contemporaries.

00 post season games plus appearances in multiple series with different teams (different players). The constant to the great St. Louis run since 2004 Is Yadi, not Pujols, Beltran, berkman or rolen or Edmonds or Goldschmidt.


That just proves that Molina stuck around while everyone else left- and I think that we all can agree (even if we don't like the Cardinals) that the front-office is the reason they've been in the playoffs so often, not a frequently-mediocre catcher.

No one's going to complain when Ichiro (59/24), or Ortiz (55/20) get elected.


The problem here is that it's mistaking what we think about these matters to what the majority of the BBWAA membership thinks. Granted, there could be changes before the trio of Mauer, Suzuki, and Ortiz make the ballot (a lot of younger writers are getting closer to gaining eligibility for HOF voting, and folk who have been away from the game are going to be losing eligibility)- but a lot of those voting for Ichiro will be doing so based on "he had over 3,000 hits in spite of some of the best years of his career in Japan", while Ortiz's voters are largely going to be motivated by a mixture of the home runs and the playoff performance (the latter, needless to say, doesn't help a career Twin like Mauer). Mauer and Suzuki both clearly deserve induction (Ortiz I'm less of a fan for, unless we're going to stop ragging on Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez's inductions)- but it's highly likely our logic will match only a small minority of the BBWAA electorate.

Isn't a narrative just stringing the players accomplishments into a story? You can't have a compelling narrative without a lot of accomplishments.


Quite, which is why I twinge when I hear people denouncing "narrative" here- in practice, it seems to be more code for "people casting votes for reasons I don't like" (to be fair, they do tend usually to be bad ones) than a serious discussion of the subject of narrative (remember that Mike Trout has quite a narrative to his career).
   88. bbmck Posted: October 11, 2019 at 08:23 PM (#5889540)
Integration era seasons without at least one Hall of Fame player with 100+ games at the position (yet):

C: 1947-48, 1958, 1960-67, 2011-19
2B: 1981, 2004, 2008-19
3B: 1948, 1994, 2002-04, 2010, 2013-19
SS: 1997, 2001, 2003-19

CF: 1971-76, 1995, 2001-02, 2004, 2007-19
LF: 1955, 1959-60, 1994, 1997, 2004-19
RF: 1947-48, 1972, 1981, 2008-19
LF/RF: 2008-19

1B: 1950-54, 1960, 1971, 1981, 2005-19
DH since 1973: 1978-81, 1985, 2005, 2009, 2012-19
1B/DH since 1973: 1981, 2005, 2009, 2012-19

Joe Torre covers 5 of 8 seasons at C 1960-67, Elston Howard 5, Bill Freehan 4. Yadier covers all 9 seasons at C 2011-19, Posey and JT combine to cover 8.
Cano covers 10 of the 12 seasons at 2B 2008-19, Kinsler 11, Altuve 8, Utley and Pedroia 7, Altuve and Utley combine to cover all, Altuve and Pedroia cover 11.
Beltre or Rolen cover all 3 seasons at 3B 2002-04. Beltre also with 4 of the 7 seasons 2013-19, Longoria and Arenado 7, Donaldson 6, Rendon and Machado 5.
Jeter covers 2003-12 and 2014 at SS. Andrelton covers the other 6, Xander 5, Lindor 4.

Cesar Cedeno and Paul Blair cover all 6 seasons at CF 1971-76, Dusty Baker 3. Ichiro 2007 and Trout 2012-19, McCutchen with 3 of the other 4, Beltran or Edmonds would cover the other.
LF lacks likely 2004-19 candidates if/until a managerial career, Manny 6, Barry 3, Miggy 1, Matt Holliday 11, Brett Gardner 7.
Ichiro and Harper cover 11 of 12 seasons at RF 2008-19, Ichiro and Betts 10, Ichiro and Stanton 8.
Combined LF/RF the most likely is probably 2008 Manny, 2009-14 Ichiro, 2015 Beltran, 2016-19 Harper or Betts.

Gil Hodges covers all 5 seasons at 1B 1950-54. Pujols and Votto cover 2005-19.
Hal McRae covers 3 of 4 seasons at DH 1978-81, next in line with Baines inducted. Ortiz 2013-16, Pujols 2017, Miggy 2019.
Gil Hodges, Bill White, Norm Cash, Pete Rose, Pujols and Votto would cover every integration season at 1B alone.
   89. PreservedFish Posted: October 11, 2019 at 08:44 PM (#5889547)
If "narrative" is just "accomplishments," it's nothing. That's not how people use it. David Ortiz has a better "narrative" than Rafael Palmeiro, despite lesser accomplishments. People are eager to vote for Ortiz, and were looking for an excuse to not vote for Palmeiro.

Narrative is a story, but it's also like an elevator pitch for the player's candidacy. Mike Trout's pitch is "best player of his generation," which is all anyone needs. Ortiz's is "clutch God, hero of the greatest Red Sox dynasty." Palmeiro doesn't have an elevator pitch. The best you can do for him, without explicit reference to his counting stats, is "among the best hitters of his era."

Yadier Molina has an elevator pitch. "The Ozzie Smith of catchers, heart of a dynasty."

In addition, it's always tacitly understood that people are familiar with the narrative. Someone like Bobby Grich might've had a good narrative, but nobody knew it.
   90. The Duke Posted: October 11, 2019 at 08:49 PM (#5889549)
82. And this is the difference between stats and narrative. Molina has the two most important at bats in the nlds. His single to tie the game in game 4 and then the sacrifice fly to win the game.

   91. cardsfanboy Posted: October 11, 2019 at 08:58 PM (#5889550)
89.... good post.

I have discussions with Cardinal fans on facebook about Yadier fairly often, and I'm seen as the guy who is the idiot because I think his hof case is a debate(while they not only think it's a given, I just had a discussion with someone that Yadier is the greatest Cardinal of all time, and is clearly better as a Cardinal than Albert Pujols) ... the sad part is that I will probably argue for his hof... just pointing out his perceived value etc...

I personally do think he's a hofer, but I fully realize that the numbers don't work for him and that if I make the argument for him, I'm probably making the argument for another half dozen catchers... and I'm not quite ready to do that.... but I also recognize that my thought process is moving towards the argument that we are not just 5 catchers short in the hof, but might be 15 catchers short in the hof....

A post above pointed out how often catchers are involved in every play... and I do think that on a per game basis catchers are under rated, even though I know that war goes out of it's way to give more credit to catchers.... etc... ultimately I think that if you took an average catcher in a single game, and an average shortstop or first baseman in an a game, the argument is that the catcher is more valuable by a probable noticeable difference.
   92. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 11, 2019 at 09:11 PM (#5889556)
82. And this is the difference between stats and narrative. Molina has the two most important at bats in the nlds. His single to tie the game in game 4 and then the sacrifice fly to win the game.
If Molina hadn’t hit .143 maybe a SF & 1B wouldn’t have mattered that much? In any case, this is an example of the narrative not surviving an examination of the facts, which is the main reason there is considerable resistance to Molina’s Hall of Fame candidacy, at least ahead of more deserving candidates. That narrative simply ignores how poor a hitter Molina was except for ~ 3 seasons of his career.
   93. Cris E Posted: October 11, 2019 at 10:41 PM (#5889607)
#84 I think you're on to something. A lot of catchers get moved to a position of safety very early on, before they get hurt or worn down. Morneau and Harper went early and Biggio after a couple years in the bigs. You wonder how long someone like Bench could have lasted with modern career management.
   94. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 12, 2019 at 11:27 AM (#5889704)
If "narrative" is just "accomplishments," it's nothing. That's not how people use it.

It's not just accomplishments, it's a way of stringing accomplishments together in a coherent story so they resonate with people more than they would, or should, in isolation.

To me narrative is something that should be rewarded by individual teams, i.e. retired numbers, team HoFs etc. It shouldn't matter for the HoF.

David Ortiz should have his number retired and be a franchise icon, but shouldn't be in the HoF. Dwight Evans and Bobby Grich should not be franchise icons, or have their numbers retired, but should be in the HoF.
   95. DL from MN Posted: October 12, 2019 at 05:54 PM (#5889848)
I just had a discussion with someone that Yadier is the greatest Cardinal of all time


Stan Musial. Bob Gibson is the best pitcher. Franchise bests for St. Louis really aren't that hard.
   96. cardsfanboy Posted: October 12, 2019 at 06:12 PM (#5889859)
Stan Musial. Bob Gibson is the best pitcher. Franchise bests for St. Louis really aren't that hard.


I know... that was the weird thing about it, but then the guy who made that claim, doubled down with the argument that Yadier always hit .300 and towards the end of Pujols time in St Louis he was hitting .250... at that point I unfriended the guy.
   97. Rob_Wood Posted: October 13, 2019 at 02:44 AM (#5890043)
Stating the obvious: The view that "Yadi Molina is the greatest Cardinal of all-time" baloney speaks to the concern many of us have about an over-reliance on a player's "narrative". It can become untethered from reality. And then it's the proverbial slippery slope to "anything goes".

I am long past caring about who makes, or doesn't make, the Hall of Fame. If they (Tony LaRussa and friends) want to put in Harold Baines, I say good for them (why should Frankie Frisch have all the fun?). Yadi Molina is vastly more qualified than some of the fairly recent enshrinees, with or without a "narrative boost".
   98. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 13, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5890097)
I just had a discussion with someone that Yadier is the greatest Cardinal of all time . . .
Must be a narrative guy. However, I do think there are people who became aware of Molina in that 2011-13 period when he hit pretty well and the Cardinals were going deep into the playoffs, who never focused on how poor a hitter Molina was early in his career & in recent years.

Molina is going to play next season, at least, so he won’t be on the ballot for another 6 years. If some of those catchers with better careers than Molina are elected by the Veterans Committees, maybe Yadier makes it, too, but I continue to doubt that there is a strong case for him to be the single exception to the Hall’s failure to make a proper positional adjustment for catchers.
   99. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: October 13, 2019 at 02:24 PM (#5890098)
(remember that Mike Trout has quite a narrative to his career).


He does, and it's not any reason to vote for him for the hall of fame. The reason that he has the narrative of "greatest young player ever, possibly greatest player of all time (we'll see, but it's really exciting to think about)" is that he has been super super amazingly astonishingly good, and has produced scads of wins for his team. And that's the reason (not the stories that are based on it) that he should get HOF votes.
   100. Howie Menckel Posted: October 13, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5890099)
I continue to doubt that there is a strong case for him to be the single exception to the Hall’s failure to make a proper positional adjustment for catchers.

you still can't see the forest for the trees.

Molina is going in, and it won't take all that long.
God bless Freehan, Simba, and friends - but their being ignored won't take votes away from Molina's coronation. might as well get an early start on coming to terms with it....
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