Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, December 12, 2011

THT: Jaffe: The Cooperstown case for Tim Raines

Jaffe’s latest HOF biz…

The future for Tim Raines

Despite his lackluster ballot debut, my hunch is that Raines will go into Cooperstown eventually. After debuting with 24 percent in 2008, he sprang up to 38 percent in 2011, and he’s a very good bet to rise up much more this year (as should all the backlog).

Furthermore, down the road Raines will be helped because he’ll have a case like no one else.

The ballot looks like it will be littered with powerful sluggers and some good pitchers— along with a few others fitting various styles—but who else will have 800-plus steals? Raines will stand out, and that will help him.

Best of all, his case is strong enough to help him. Yeah, that does matter.

There is a downside. In 2013, the ballot goes crazy with a huge list of super candidates all arriving, and some of them will stick around due to the steroids controversy. Beginning in 2013, no one from the backlog will go in for several years.

Yes, but Raines will have 10 more tries, and his is a high-quality case. It’s possible the BBWAA won’t elect him.

Repoz Posted: December 12, 2011 at 12:40 PM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: expos, hall of fame, history, projections, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 12, 2011 at 01:49 PM (#4013837)
RMc's (imaginary) ballot for 2012:

Bagwell, Larkin, Walker, Edgar, Trammell, Raines, McGwire, Morris.

And, just for fun, Lima. (Yes, I know I'm a sick b@stard.)
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 12, 2011 at 02:51 PM (#4013851)
Larkin, Raines, Bagwell, McGwire, Trammell, Palmeiro, Walker & Williams.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#4013856)
Larkin, Raines, Trammell, Bagwell, McGwire
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:07 PM (#4013859)
Tim Raines > Chuck Norris. Case closed, sports fans.

Larkin, Raines, Trammell, McGwire, Palmeiro, Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Dale Murphy, Bernie Williams
   5. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:15 PM (#4013863)
Tim Raines is a good player, but, sorry, I don't see the mystic attraction that seems to drive so many here. There are many average fielders with 123 OPS+ careers. Are they all supposed to go in?
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#4013864)
Well, Morty, there's been about a hundred threads detailing the arguments why many of us feel strongly about Raines. If all of those many arguments haven't explained our fanboyism for Raines well enough then I apologize on behalf of the Raines collective. We have failed both you and Raines.
   7. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#4013867)
Larkin, Raines, Trammell, Bagwell, and Edgar Martinez without hesitation, and flip a coin about Larry Walker.

Tim Raines is a good player, but, sorry, I don't see the mystic attraction that seems to drive so many here. There are many average fielders with 123 OPS+ careers. Are they all supposed to go in?

Well, if they can all steal 808 bases at an 85% success rate, then yeah, sure.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:33 PM (#4013873)
Tim Raines > Chuck Norris. Case closed, sports fans.


Tim Raines > Tim Tebow.
   9. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#4013874)
Tim Raines > Tim Tebow.

I'm starting to have my doubts. I'm nearly convinced Tebow really is Jesus Christ.
   10. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#4013879)
Stan The Boy Taylor come to life. Tim the Enchanter Tebow?

Edited to remove anti-Christian connotation.
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#4013881)
Raines is a PEAK candidate, not a long-career guy.
He may be the best player not yet elected (ignore banned and not yet eligible players) in terms of "best player in baseball" candidacy for about 5 years.
   12. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 04:09 PM (#4013885)
Well, if they can all steal 808 bases at an 85% success rate, then yeah, sure.


I know what. Let's put on a show.
   13. bobm Posted: December 12, 2011 at 04:26 PM (#4013894)
[5] There are many average fielders with 123 OPS+ careers. Are they all supposed to go in?

No, just a few.

BB-REF PI

From 1901 to 2011, Played 50% of games at LF or RF, (118<=OPS+<=128 and At least 7000 plate appearances), sorted by WAR


Rk Player WAR/pos OPS+ PA
1. Rickey Henderson 113.1 127 13346
2. Tim Raines 64.6 123 10359
3. Goose Goslin 63.0 128 9822
4. Dwight Evans 61.8 127 10569
5. Sammy Sosa 59.7 128 9896

6. Andre Dawson 57.0 119 10769
7. Enos Slaughter 54.1 124 9084
8. Jose Cruz 52.2 120 8931
9. Kiki Cuyler 49.6 125 8098
10 Luis Gonzalez 46.3 118 10531

11 Rusty Staub 45.2 124 11229
12 Dixie Walker 45.1 120 7666
13 Jimmy Sheckard 44.6 121 7657
14 Roy White 44.5 121 7735
15 Heinie Manush 44.1 121 8416

16 Augie Galan 44.0 122 7003
17 Bobby Veach 43.6 127 7557
18 George Foster 42.5 126 7812
19 Jim Rice 41.5 128 9058
20 Moises Alou 38.2 128 7913

21 Dave Parker 37.8 121 10184
22 Tim Salmon 37.6 128 7039
23 Paul O'Neill 35.6 120 8329
24 Magglio Ordonez 34.6 125 7742
25 Ken Griffey 31.9 118 8048

26 Shawn Green 29.4 120 7962
27 Willie Horton 24.3 120 8052
   14. John Northey Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#4014044)
I've always thought the 'times on base' argument is the one that will help Raines the most.

Lou Brock: 3,833 times on base over 11235 PA - in HOF
Tony Gwynn: 3,955 times on base over 10232 PA - in HOF
Tim Raines: 3,977 times on base over 10359 PA - ???

Mix in a comment about stolen bases vs caught stealing (Raines stands above those two by a good margin) and you have a winning argument with many HOF voters I suspect and you never had to mention WAR or the like.
   15. Babe Adams Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:02 PM (#4014079)
I've always thought the 'times on base' argument is the one that will help Raines the most.


This is basically right, plus Raines's runs scored.
   16. Ryan Lind Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:22 PM (#4014104)
It's been mentioned before, but OPS+ is probably the worst metric to use for a high-OBP, low-SLG player with excellent baserunning.
   17. Ron J Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:29 PM (#4014113)
#11 As I've pointed out before, there aren't many players who substantially add to their HOF case outside their peak (and these are the guys who are just plain in)

Dale Stephenson has Raines with the 8th best peak among left fielders (with Musial counted as a right fielder), and with the 6th most value offensive outside his peak (nobody behind him in peak value added more offensive value outside their peak). Now Dale used a linear weights structure so we're talking about offensive wins above average, but I don't think that's a bad way to look at Hall of fame corner outfielders. Raines may drop a tad in a WAR structure, but I doubt it'd change the essential point.
   18. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:34 PM (#4014124)
It's been mentioned before, but OPS+ is probably the worst metric to use for a high-OBP, low-SLG player with excellent baserunning.


Does WAR help him more when it comes to making comparisons?
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:34 PM (#4014125)
Larkin, Raines, Trammell, Bagwell.
   20. GEB4000 Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:37 PM (#4014129)
Raines' HoF case has lots of holes:
1) No milestones.
2) Short 5-year Peak.
3) Only one season greater than 5 WAR outside of that peak.
4) No seasons greater than 5 oWAR past age of 27.
5) Looks like he was reduced to part time status by age 32.
6) Only one season of more than 500 plate appearances after age 32.
7) Didn't have a WAR season greater than 2 after age 33.

I know that he was hurt by the strike seasons of 1981 & 1994, but he still seems like a marginal case. Hall of Famers don't usually slip into part time status as early as Raines unless they did something really impressive during their peak. Raines wasn't that good. He could just as easily be kept out as let in.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#4014144)
Tim Raines is a good player, but, sorry, I don't see the mystic attraction that seems to drive so many here. There are many average fielders with 123 OPS+ careers. Are they all supposed to go in?

You should really use wRC+, which has the correct linear weights values. Raines is at 134 career wRC+.
   22. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:52 PM (#4014160)
Raines wasn't that good. He could just as easily be kept out as let in.


And the thing is, which no one seems to ever ask themselves, is if you let this guy in, who then can't you then keep out (if you're a thinker with integrity, that is)?
   23. Gotham Dave Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:56 PM (#4014171)
Stan The Boy Taylor come to life.
Professional athletes. Always wanting more.

Seriously, if the Broncos win the Super Bowl I'm probably going to have put aside my agnoticism and start going to the local evangelical church.
   24. sptaylor Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:58 PM (#4014177)
Morty - Compared to OPS+, any of the more advanced metrics (WAR, Win Shares, etc.) make Raines look better. OPS+ collects a somewhat limited amount of information. More advanced metrics, even just Runs Created (versus outs created), capture more information.

By OPS+, Raines ranks 267th all time, alongside Joe Adcock, Cesar Cedeño, Andre Ethier, and Ted Klusewski, and a whole bunch of players who were good, but not truly outstanding. Few players within two or three OPS+ are in the HOF. By WAR (BBRef), however, Raines ranks 117th, with Ozzie Smith. The overwhelming majority of players with more WAR, and even as much as 5-10 fewer WAR, are in the HOF.
   25. Ryan Lind Posted: December 12, 2011 at 08:00 PM (#4014182)

3) Only one season greater than 5 WAR outside of that peak.


I guess I don't understand why this is an issue. Six seasons of 5+ WAR, with 3 at 6+ is pretty good. I would guess that just about every player with that claim is a deserving HOFer.

*EDIT*

Outfielders with 6 seasons of 5+ WAR:

Ichiro Suzuki
Carlos Beltran
Vladimir Guerrero
Kenny Lofton
Tim Raines
Dale Murphy
Bobby Bonds
Minnie Minoso
Duke Snider
Charlie Keller
Goose Goslin
Sam Crawford

Admittedly, not as strong as I'd thought. Still, I think I'd vote for them all (I've supported Murphy in the BTF vote every year.)

I guess not everyone cares as little about career accumulation as I do.
   26. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 12, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#4014185)
Seriously, if the Broncos win the Super Bowl I'm probably going to have put aside my agnoticism and start going to the local evangelical church.

I don't know if I'll go that far, but I can certainly see a Jesus Fish on my refrigerator or something. It really is a hell of a story.

And the thing is, which no one seems to ever ask themselves, is if you let this guy in, who then can't you then keep out (if you're a thinker with integrity, that is)?

Ridiculous. Super ####### ridiculous.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: December 12, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#4014187)
And the thing is, which no one seems to ever ask themselves, is if you let this guy in, who then can't you then keep out (if you're a thinker with integrity, that is)?


The same guys you're keeping out now. Tim was a better baseball player than virtually all of them, so his inclusion does nothing to lower the bar.

I know that he was hurt by the strike seasons of 1981 & 1994,


That's an understatement. No player in baseball has been more hurt by labor-management issues than Rock. He lost time from his great 1981, lost more in 1994-95 (which make the tail end of his career look more part-timey than it really was), and lost a month out of a potential MVP season in 1987 due to collusion.
   28. Ron J Posted: December 12, 2011 at 08:50 PM (#4014236)
Well, if they can all steal 808 bases at an 85% success rate,


That actually understates the value of Raines' base stealing. Tom Ruane looked at (among other things) base stealing taking the base/out situation into account. Raines ran with disproportionate frequency in high leverage situations. Tom also gets Raines as the 5th best player in the Retrosheet era in terms of value not captured by the counter stats.

And as I've pointed out, there's reason to think the defensive metrics underrate Raines a little bit in that the years we have DA information for, he was the best left fielder in terms of saving extra bases on plays not made.

And that's before considering that conventional metrics subtly underrate Raines because his offensive skills are unusually well suited to the leadoff role. Put it all together and even the better metrics underrate Raines by a fair bit.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:03 PM (#4014248)
From 1901 to 2011, Played 50% of games at LF or RF, (118<=OPS+<=128 and At least 7000 plate appearances), sorted by WAR

Now, we'll note that the OPS+ restriction means that Larry Walker isn't on that list because Walker, y'know, actually hit like a corner OF with a career 140 OPS+. He would be #2 on that list with 67.3 WAR despite a much shorter career than Raines. He also adds 7 GG (or 95 rfield if you prefer) and an MVP.

He's more deserving than Raines or Edgar.

who else will have 800-plus steals?

Well, nobody. But Lofton with 600+ steals will be one and done. Bonds has 500+ steals. Ichiro will probably pass 500. Damon, Abreu and Rollins will all be over 400.

Ichiro in particular is an issue for Raines -- could help him, could hurt him. But he'll probably be entering the ballot around the time that the steroid logjam might be clearing and Ichiro will go in, probably before Raines. That will either hurt Raines -- many voters might then see him as no better than the 4th best leadoff hitter of all time (Ichiro, Rickey, Brock) -- or it could possibly help similar to the way Eck's election helped Sutter and Gossage.

I still don't think we appreciate how big this mess is going to be. Even without steroid backlash, it would be tough to weave your way through these ballots.

2013: Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Sosa, Schilling, Biggio, Lofton (lucky to get a single vote), Wells (who normally would stick for a few years at least)

Just that ballot right there, in an environment where we're averaging fewer than 6 votes per ballot, is a challenge even if there were no steroid controversy. (Yes, votes per ballots would increase but probably not sufficiently) Anyway, in a normal environment, that's 6 HoFers with a case for a 7th, joining in one year.

2014: Maddux, Thomas, Glavine, Kent, Mussina, Luis Gonzalez (a Bernie-esque candidate in a just world)

So that's at least 3 more and I think there are good cases for Kent and Mussina

2015: Johnson, Pedro, Smoltz, Sheffield, Nomar, Delgado (2 more Bernie-esque candidates)

So 4 more HoFers in a normal environment

So even without a steroid "ban", you'd have at least 13 HoFers joining over 3 years. Given traditional patterns of voting, that would take 5-6 years to clear. Maybe more because Griffey adds to the 2016 ballot ... and Hoffman.

Under a normal scenario, I think Raines would make a big jump this year but then he'd slide back a bit and get stuck for 7 years. Going into the 2020 ballot, he'd probably be sitting around 45% with only 3 elections to get 30%. Unlikely.

Under a steroid backlog scenario -- I just don't see how it can happen. A potential 2016 ballot:

Griffey
Hoffman
Bonds
Clemens
Piazza
Sosa
Bagwell
Raines
Edgar
Walker
McGwire
McGriff
Palmeiro
Schilling
Smoltz
Sheffield
Bernie
Mussina
Kent
Nomar
Delgado
Gonzalez

That's assuming the election of Johnson, Pedro, Maddux, Glavine, Larkin, Thomas and Biggio for 2012-15. Can Raines even get to 45% on that ballot? Somebody like Walker will be lucky to make it to 5%.
   30. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:20 PM (#4014280)
Non-HOF, retired players (some not yet eligible), ranked by WAR through age 32:

1 Barry Bonds 94.1
2 Ken Griffey 75.5
3 Jeff Bagwell 65.1
4 Shoeless Joe Jackson 62.9
5 Dick Allen 61
6 Frank Thomas 60.9
7 Alan Trammell 59.2
8 Keith Hernandez 56.6
9 Buddy Bell 56.3
10 Sherry Magee 56.2
11 Tim Raines 54.8
12 Bobby Grich 53.3
13 Bobby Bonds 53.3
14 Jim Wynn 53
15 Mike Piazza 52.6
16 Sal Bando 52.5
17 Pete Rose 52
18 Joe Torre 51.2
19 Cesar Cedeno 50.2
20 Barry Larkin 50.1
21 Craig Biggio 50.1

So here we have
1: Guys not yet eligible
2: Guys who are banned
3: Guys who really vaporized after age 32

In many ways Trammel is very similar to Raines- very little after his age 32 season
   31. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:42 PM (#4014316)
Here's the case for Tim Raines:

"Consider Tim Raines. I'll wait. OK, done considering? Good. Did you elect him to the Hall of Fame? If not, consider the fact that someone does not have to be as good as Rickey Henderson to belong in the Hall of Fame. Now go back to the beginning. Repeat as necessary."
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:49 PM (#4014321)
Now, we'll note that the OPS+ restriction means that Larry Walker isn't on that list because Walker, y'know, actually hit like a corner OF with a career 140 OPS+.

Get off the OPS+, wRC+ is the more accurate stat. In wRC+ the gap shrinks to 142 for Walker, 134 for Raines. And Raines has 10,359 PAs vs. only 8030 for Walker.

Walker just didn't play enough.
   33. Srul Itza Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:49 PM (#4014323)
2012 Hall of Fame Ballot

IN
1. Jeff Bagwell, 1B
2. Barry Larkin, SS
3. Mark McGwire, 1B
4. Tim Raines, OF
5. Alan Trammell, SS
6. Rafael Palmeiro, 1B

BORDER
Edgar Martinez, 3B/DH
Larry Walker, OF

OUT
Jeromy Burnitz, OF
Vinny Castilla, 3B
Juan Gonzalez, OF
Brian Jordan, OF
Javy Lopez, C
Don Mattingly, 1B
Fred McGriff, 1B
Jack Morris, RHP
Bill Mueller, 3B
Terry Mulholland, LHP
Dale Murphy, OF
Phil Nevin, 3B/1B
Brad Radke, RHP
Tim Salmon, OF
Ruben Sierra, OF
Lee Smith, RHP
Bernie Williams, OF
Tony Womack, 2B/SS
Eric Young, 2B


My issue with Larry Walker was his "Mr. Glass" career. Only one season of more than 143 games.

My issue with Edgar is the DH thing and whether the numbers properly penalize that.

I could be persuaded on both, but not yet.
   34. RobertMachemer Posted: December 12, 2011 at 10:43 PM (#4014381)
conventional metrics subtly underrate Raines because his offensive skills are unusually well suited to the leadoff role.
Unusually well-suited? Depends on the run-scoring environment, doesn't it?

I'd imagine that in a lower-scoring environment, Raines's stolen bases might be more valuable at the top of the lineup, because simply getting a runner into scoring position is important in a game where every run is precious. In a higher scoring environment, however, being able to take an extra base through stealing or good baserunning would be (again, I'd imagine) much less important than say, simply being on base since it's likely that the heart of the lineup will drive you in.

I haven't studied it, but the reasoning behind Bill James's suggestion that good base stealers are more valuable AFTER the heart of the lineup sounded (and still sounds) reasonable to me. With the same reasonably good-hitting lineup, wouldn't the team with a Jason Kendall-type (back when he was reasonably good) leading off and Raines batting sixth score more runs than one with the two players switched? Tim Raines can get himself to second base without help and can score from second on singles; a Kendall-type (post-injury, pre-decline) needed extra-base power (or multiple hits) behind him to get him home, and that's more likely to come from the heart of the order.

(Kendall was actually reasonably speedy at one point, so he may not be the best example for this. If someone wants to pick better examples, that's fine with me).
   35. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 12, 2011 at 10:45 PM (#4014385)
Well, if they can all steal 808 bases at an 85% success rate,

That actually understates the value of Raines' base stealing. Tom Ruane looked at (among other things) base stealing taking the base/out situation into account. Raines ran with disproportionate frequency in high leverage situations. Tom also gets Raines as the 5th best player in the Retrosheet era in terms of value not captured by the counter stats.

And as I've pointed out, there's reason to think the defensive metrics underrate Raines a little bit in that the years we have DA information for, he was the best left fielder in terms of saving extra bases on plays not made.

And that's before considering that conventional metrics subtly underrate Raines because his offensive skills are unusually well suited to the leadoff role. Put it all together and even the better metrics underrate Raines by a fair bit.


I'd made my initial comment after about 20 seconds worth of lookup and calculating, and it's good to be reassured that my little down-and-dirty is more than reinforced by more advanced measurements, especially those that weigh high leverage situations disproportionately, as they should.

And when you've got a leadoff hitter with a propensity to steal bases, it would be interesting to see just how those SB's would have boosted his SLG and OPS if you thought of the single + SB combination as a leadoff double, which is what it is to all intents and purposes. AFAIC Raines is almost a poster boy for the value of supplementing traditional stats with advanced metrics, and hopefully the writers will gradually have this point sink in.
   36. Ryan Lind Posted: December 12, 2011 at 10:48 PM (#4014390)

I don't know if I'll go that far, but I can certainly see a Jesus Fish on my refrigerator or something. It really is a hell of a story.


What is the story, or those of us who don't know who Tim Tebow is other than he's mentioned on BBTF every 4 minutes and don't feel like Googling it?
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 10:48 PM (#4014392)
Unusually well-suited? Depends on the run-scoring environment, doesn't it?

I'd imagine that in a lower-scoring environment, Raines's stolen bases might be more valuable at the top of the lineup, because simply getting a runner into scoring position is important in a game where every run is precious. In a higher scoring environment, however, being able to take an extra base through stealing or good baserunning would be (again, I'd imagine) much less important than say, simply being on base since it's likely that the heart of the lineup will drive you in.


Ummmm, Raines was good at both. .385 OBP, 82% SB%.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 10:53 PM (#4014399)
What is the story, or those of us who don't know who Tim Tebow is other than he's mentioned on BBTF every 4 minutes and don't feel like Googling it?

Openly Christian QB (did a Pro-Life ad with his Mom for Superbowl, claims to be a virgin), great success in college (incl Heisman), though not to have skills to QB in pros, has taken over as QB for Broncos and led them to a long winning streak including many dramatic comebacks.
   39. Ryan Lind Posted: December 12, 2011 at 10:57 PM (#4014403)
Oh.

That's not a great story.
   40. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: December 12, 2011 at 10:59 PM (#4014407)
My issue with Larry Walker was his "Mr. Glass" career. Only one season of more than 143 games.


Don't know if this will make any difference, but he played 103 of 114 games in 1994, and 131 of 144 in 1995. Those extrapolate out to 146 and 147
   41. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 11:04 PM (#4014413)
Don't know if this will make any difference, but he played 103 of 114 games in 1994, and 131 of 144 in 1995. Those extrapolate out to 146 and 147

Still only 8000 career PAs. That's only ~300 more than Mattingly. Better player, sure. But it's a really short career for a modern HoFer.
   42. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM (#4014417)
[Tebow]: Openly Christian QB (did a Pro-Life ad with his Mom for Superbowl, claims to be a virgin), great success in college (incl Heisman), though not to have skills to QB in pros, has taken over as QB for Broncos and led them to a long winning streak including many dramatic comebacks.

Tebow's a great story, though a quick glance at Denver's losing opponents reveals exactly one team (Cincinnati, week 2) that wasn't either dreadful (Oakland, KC, Minnesota) or going through a terrible streak at the time they met the Broncos (Miami, the Jets, San Diego, the Bears). It'll be interesting to see how Tebow can do against an opponent like the Patriots, a team with a porous defense but also a team that's likely to put up a lot of points for him to have to match. We'll find out this weekend.
   43. BDC Posted: December 12, 2011 at 11:22 PM (#4014433)
great success in college (incl Heisman), though not to have skills to QB in pros, has taken over as QB for Broncos and led them to a long winning streak

Since the thread is already a little bit hijacked, and Raines has been well-discussed here before ... I have often thought that being an NFL quarterback is a little like being a ML closer. There are probably a lot more guys who can do the job adequately, both mentally and physically, than there are jobs to go around. The QB on my own favorite teams of all time, Troy Aikman, is often seen as someone with limited skills, but he's got lots of rings and is a Hall of Famer, based on simply executing everything he did very well and meshing perfectly with his teammates. Obviously there are superior quarterbacks – though even at that I saw a magazine headline last summer, "Peyton Manning: Overrated?" But it probably doesn't take a superior QB to start in the NFL, even on a pretty good team, even on a champion.

To bring that back to baseball, being a closer is one of those jobs that involves more mystique than raw performance. And to bring it full circle, being a great leadoff man is perhaps one of those jobs that involves more performance than mystique. There have only been a handful of guys better than Raines at what he did, but writers look at him and say "played forever, didn't hit .300, didn't get 3,000 hits, didn't even get 1,000 RBIs, you're telling me that's a Hall of Famer?"
   44. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 12, 2011 at 11:50 PM (#4014459)
That's not a great story.

It also has to do with the WAY they're winning games. They won one game when Tebow completed only 2 passes. The coaches are inventing an offensive scheme built around Tebow on the fly. The last second comebacks just add to the unlikeliness of it but add to the theme of Tebow as a "savior" figure and drives the people who hate him even more batshit insane. I don't even really follow the NFL, but it has been a great sports story.
   45. Bad Doctor Posted: December 13, 2011 at 12:28 AM (#4014500)
That's not a great story.

Did we mention that last week, a player on an opposing team that lost to Tebow's team gave a statement in which he seemed almost appreciative to lose that game, as it allowed him to witness first hand how Tebow has been "blessed" and "anointed" by God, and in turn improved the relationship that he and several of his teammates have with their creator?
   46. Tippecanoe Posted: December 13, 2011 at 12:54 AM (#4014524)
Also adding to the story is that most of the victories are miraculous comebacks, during which the Denver quarterback looks nothing like a good quarterback through three quarters.

BTW, if going to one knee in prayer after a touchdown is called Tebowing, should a glance-and-point to heaven following a homer be called Pujoling?
   47. Morty Causa Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:02 AM (#4014530)
Are stealing all those bases really valuable overall? Considering everything, not just the stolen base itself, but also including the effect on the batter at the plate while all that is going on. If the answer is yes it is valuable overall, is this a change in view brought about metrics or what--I always thought Stengel and Weaver had it pretty much right with their opinion that attempting to steal bases was hardly ever justified. The way some people here huff and puff they sure are taken with it.
   48. Ryan Lind Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:05 AM (#4014534)

Did we mention that last week, a player on an opposing team that lost to Tebow's team gave a statement in which he seemed almost appreciative to lose that game, as it allowed him to witness first hand how Tebow has been "blessed" and "anointed" by God, and in turn improved the relationship that he and several of his teammates have with their creator?


Now it's gone from a neutral story to a bad story.

Ugh
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:08 AM (#4014540)
Are stealing all those bases really valuable overall? Considering everything, not just the stolen base itself, but also including the effect on the batter at the plate while all that is going on. If the answer is yes it is valuable overall, is this a change in view brought about metrics or what--I always thought Stengel and Weaver had it pretty much right with their opinion that attempting to steal bases was hardly ever justified. The way some people here huff and puff they sure are taken with it.

When you do it at an 82.5% rate, yeah.

When you do it at 60-70%, no.

B-Ref has Raines baserunning worth 121 runs over his career. That's a ton of value.
   50. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:10 AM (#4014543)
Are stealing all those bases really valuable overall? Considering everything, not just the stolen base itself, but also including the effect on the batter at the plate while all that is going on. If the answer is yes it is valuable overall, is this a change in view brought about metrics or what--I always thought Stengel and Weaver had it pretty much right with their opinion that attempting to steal bases was hardly ever justified.


Getting caught is never justified. But if you swipe bags at an 85 percent clip, that's always been an asset, Earl and Casey's proclamations notwithstanding.

Edit: Coke to snapper.
   51. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:16 AM (#4014549)
I have often thought that being an NFL quarterback is a little like being a ML closer. There are probably a lot more guys who can do the job adequately, both mentally and physically, than there are jobs to go around.

Considering that future NFL and Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner was stocking shelves at an Iowa grocery store after being undrafted by the NFL and working his way up through the Arena League and NFL Europe, ....
   52. Morty Causa Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:17 AM (#4014550)
Are y'all taking into consideration just the stolen base (and the rate of success)? Is there or isn't there a hidden cost that the batter at the plate pays?

Oh, and it hasn't been only Stengel and Weaver.
   53. Tippecanoe Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:22 AM (#4014554)
Regarding the stolen bases, here's my perspective. Deduct 500 walks and 500 stolen bases from Raines' career. Now deduct 500 singles from Tony Gwynn's career. Voila, their career totals are a perfect, perfect match.

Gwynn hit singles, which made him a good number three hitter, at least by conventional wisdon. Raines' walked and stole second, making him a good leadoff hitter (again conventionallly). Other than those 500 plate appearances in the thought experiment, their performance was the same.

Both are deserving hall-of-famers to me.
   54. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:31 AM (#4014563)
Are y'all taking into consideration just the stolen base (and the rate of success)? Is there or isn't there a hidden cost that the batter at the plate pays?


I doubt it. There are some negatives (the batter falling behind in the count while allowing a stolen base attempt chief among them), but that's offset by a greater diet of fastballs when a stolen base threat is on. And the distraction factor is probably a wash (both the pitcher and the batter could fall victim).

All in all, probably a wash.

Oh, and it hasn't been only Stengel and Weaver.


I think if you give any manager a guy who can steal at Rock's clip, that skipper will find a way to loosen up his anti-SB tendencies.
   55. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 13, 2011 at 04:49 AM (#4014758)
I always thought Stengel and Weaver had it pretty much right with their opinion that attempting to steal bases was hardly ever justified.

Well this is at least a little bit overblown - especially with Weaver. In his 2,541 games managed, Weaver's teams stole 1,502 bases and had 760 caught steals. In other words, his teams averaged nearly a steal attempt per game. Looks like he found some justification. I doubt he'd ground Raines at first.

Stengel did run less - but still have over 1,000 steals take place over his career. 1,185 steals in 3,766 games. We don't have CS info for his entire career, but from the period we do have it (1949-1965), Stengel's teams have 611 CS.

Raines helped his teams with his running.
   56. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 13, 2011 at 04:57 AM (#4014764)
Weaver had his runners steal when he had fast runners and needed to improvise, especially in 1973-74. Stengel's teams rarely stole because Stengel mostly managed in eras when SB's weren't generally a part of any team's strategy. I doubt if his teams were abnormally low in the SB department.
   57. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 13, 2011 at 05:20 AM (#4014769)
I doubt if his teams were abnormally low in the SB department.


The 1949 Yankees were 2nd in the AL in steals, 4 behind the league leading White Sox. The 1950 Yankees were 3rd, 1 behind the league leading A's and Senators. The next year, 1951, was when the White Sox started actually stealing bases (99 as a team, more than double the 1950 A's and Senators (42 apiece)). Even then, the Yankees were 2nd in the league and stole 50% more bases than the #3 team (Cleveland, the Yanks out-stole them 78-52).
   58. Morty Causa Posted: December 13, 2011 at 06:29 AM (#4014793)
Saying they were second in 1949 to the White Sox hardly even begins to address the issue of effectiveness. Second in 1949--is that supposed to be impressive, like being the second tallest building in Wichita, KS? How many steals did the Yankees steal in all those years Casey managed--you know, he didn't retire after 1950? How often were they successful? Did that help or hurt the Yankees? The fact is that they did't steal much at all, and as a team they weren't very successful. Saying they are second or fist when no team steals much isn't saying anything much.

Similarly, with Raines individually, you have to ask how much did stealing bases actually help the team, and to answer that question you need to look at more than just the base stealer himself.. You have to ask how big a part of the offense was stolen base attempts to those teams? As a specific tactic in a general offensive strategy, just how important was it? How effective was it? Did it help or hurt scoring? Until you do that, you don't know whether all those stolen bases and stolen base attempts by Raines helped or hurt, or to the extent they did. Thus, you don't know if that helps his HOF case or not. Just parroting 84 % doesn't prove much of anything without knowing how helpful that was--and by helpful, that means looking at entire team effect, including that batter at the plate.

I realize that is a lot of work, and I don't expect expect anyone to do any of it, but just saying stolen bases
   59. Morty Causa Posted: December 13, 2011 at 06:46 AM (#4014801)
Let me add : you all might be right. It may be that stealing bases at a high rate of success like Raines did has a definite net positive effect. Simply as a matter of impression, though, and this is just me, I don't see how diverting the attention of the batter helps, for one thing, and I don't think hitters like to hit, or hit as well, when there is runner who is going to attempt a steal. I remember hitters like Joe Morgan, who themselves stole bases at a high rate of success, saying they didn't like it--thought it interfered with their concentration. But, I certainly could be wrong with regard to a specific base stealer who is very successful. And I certainly can see how taking more chances on the base paths might be the very thing to do in another time and place--say like the deadball era. But the '80s and '90s? I don't see that that makes Raines a no-brainer candidate.
   60. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 13, 2011 at 06:51 AM (#4014804)
Saying they were second in 1949 to the White Sox hardly even begins to address the issue of effectiveness.


No, but it answers your assertion that Casey and Earl thought stealing was "hardly ever justified." Both skippers were willing to employ the SB as a tactic in numbers that were not out of line with their peers.

As for the rest, Ron J's 28 indicates that Tom Ruane did do that research you claim to be looking for, and concluded that Raines' stolen bases were even undervalued compared to what the raw numbers would suggest.

And I'd think the rest of that burden falls on you. It's pretty much established in stathead circles that the breakeven point on SB attempts, though subject to move up and down a bit depending upon the scoring environment, has consistently been well below Raines' career percentage. So unless you have a specific reason to believe that Raines' historically great SB percentage didn't result in greater production for his team's offenses than if he never remained planted at the base he was standing on, the default position would be that they did in fact benefit his teams.

Simply as a matter of impression, though, and this is just me, I don't see how diverting the attention of the batter helps, for one thing, and I don't think hitters like to hit, or hit as well, when there is runner who is going to attempt a steal.


And this undoubtedly works both ways. Yes, the batter may indeed be distracted by the guy on first. But I see no reason why the pitcher whose attention is diverted from home plate to the stolen base threat on base would not suffer similarly.
   61. Ron J Posted: December 13, 2011 at 08:51 PM (#4015451)
#34 Not really. He's one of the handful of players where batting order position really does matter. The weakest part of Raines' offensive game is isolated power and that's predictably slightly less important.

True, there are a handful of players who will score even more runs (or runs per out) than Raines if you bat them leadoff. But conventional metrics evaluate Babe Ruth or Ted Williams just fine (and you're slightly better off not batting these guys leadoff)
   62. Ron J Posted: December 13, 2011 at 09:49 PM (#4015539)
#47 An awful lot depends on who's batting while the base stealers are on base.

One of the more remarkable things I've seen in the past decade and a half is what's happened in plate appearances where there's a stolen base attempted. Doug Drinen researched the matter. The league in general got killed. More recently the effect is nothing close to it. (Or so says Tom Tango IIRC -- somebody involved with The Book at any rate)

One of the things that was observed in Douug's study was that the Cardinals (who ran far more often than anybody else) made a very effective adjustment. Their hitter basically became Max Bishop. No power, decent but unremarkable average, tons of walks.

And a number of other hitters (John Olerud and Edgar Martinez come to mind) made a similar adjustment.

The guys who just got killed when there was a stolen base attempted were the old type of #2 hitters. Not much plate discipline, decent average. Doubles power if any.

All that to say that yes, there more than likely was a hidden cost to Raines running.

Looking specifically at the Expos. (From Doug's study)

1981: Rodney Scott hit significantly better in PAs where there was a stolen base attempted. Carter and Dawson both got killed. Overall impact, maybe a run. Basically the Expos got an additional 24 points of OBP for 53 points of SLG. Not a winning trade, but no way it cost more than a run.

1982: Al Oliver hit worse during a stolen base attempt, but he still hit .229/.341/.486 then. Doubt it cost the Expos more than a run (and may not have cost that much)

1983: Bryan Little did nothing but walk. But he walked a lot. A .349 OBP when a stolen base (usually Raines) was attempted. Again, any hidden cost is minor.

1984: Nobody made the study.

1985: Vance Law did nothing but walk when a stolen base was attempted. But since this amounted to a .436 OBP I'm going to count it as a positive.

1986: Andre Dawson put up a .457 (!) OBP in the 47 PAs where somebody (again usually Raines) attempted a stolen base. Only a .432 SLG but I'd settle. Mitch Webster hit .161 with no extra base hits, but did put up a .350 OBP. On balance the Expos were ahead of the game, though not to any great extent.

1987: Tim Wallach hit .298/.343/.514 and .281/.314/.469 in the 35 PAs where a stolen base was attempted. Another small hidden cost.

All in all I'm not seeing a case for anything big. The costs appear to average under a run a year. Basically the Expos as a group made an intelligent adjustment and took the walks that are seemingly on offer when a base stealing threat is on.
   63. Ron J Posted: December 13, 2011 at 10:14 PM (#4015578)
#54 Very far from a wash in the 80s. 1981-1987 Hitting and stolen base attempts

As I said, it looks like MLB adjusted in recent years. Might be an accident in that fewer teams use a traditional bat control guy as a #2 hitter, and it seems they aren't the guys you'd want up there. You have to be willing to take a walk if you're going to bat a lot with a big-time stolen base threat on.
   64. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2011 at 10:26 PM (#4015596)
#54 Very far from a wash in the 80s. 1981-1987 Hitting and stolen base attempts


Interesting, but it doesn't cover the entire argument.

If Tim Raines is on first, he's a stolen base threat. If he goes during the at bat, it means the batter may be taking a hittable pitch and falling behind in the count, reducing his effectiveness.

But if Raines doesn't go, the batter may be seeing more fastballs due to a stolen base threat being on base, or get better pitches as a result of the pitcher's attention being distracted, etc. These would be hidden benefits of the running game, just as the lower BA and SLG during an attempt were hidden costs. Harder to measure, of course.
   65. Ron J Posted: December 14, 2011 at 04:47 AM (#4015942)
#64 Not really harder at all. You follow the same methodology as Doug's study.

There is another intriguing study in one of the Stats Scoreboard that purported to show that players hit worse when a base stealing threat was on first whether there was a stolen base attempt or not. On plate appearances where there were 3 or more throws to first there was a significant drop in both batting average and isolated power. Unfortunately Stats didn't consider either the OBP or errors on the pickoff throws (incidentally, that also should be incorporated into WAR. I'll bet there were more than a few free bases for Raines on balks and blown pickoff attempts)

From what I can tell from other studies (not specifically looking at fast guys on first though) the hitters will in fact do somewhat better on those PAs where the burners don't attempt a stolen base. It won't amount to much.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn)
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP - July 2014: Republicans Lose To Democrats For Sixth Straight Year In Congressional Baseball Game
(3178 - 5:50pm, Jul 25)
Last: The Id of SugarBear Blanks

Newsblog7-25-14 OMNICHATTER
(5 - 5:48pm, Jul 25)
Last: salvomania

NewsblogHurdles remain in Mets-Rockies deal for Tulowitzki, Gonzalez
(18 - 5:45pm, Jul 25)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread- July 2014
(940 - 5:43pm, Jul 25)
Last: robinred

NewsblogWisch: Cooperstown Shouldn’t Close Out Lee Smith
(4 - 5:41pm, Jul 25)
Last: Benji Gil Gamesh Rises

NewsblogCSN: Enough is enough — time to move on from Ryan Howard
(112 - 5:39pm, Jul 25)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogESPN : GM Offers To Get Prostate Exam During Game
(16 - 5:27pm, Jul 25)
Last: Joe Bivens, Minor Genius

NewsblogBA Report: MLBPA Files Grievance Against Astros Over Aiken, Nix, Marshall
(2 - 5:20pm, Jul 25)
Last: Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora

NewsblogSoE: AN IDIOT IN EXILE
(1 - 5:06pm, Jul 25)
Last: Jose Can Still Seabiscuit

SABR - BBTF ChapterWho's going to SABR??
(97 - 4:52pm, Jul 25)
Last: Der-K thinks the Essex Green were a good band.

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread July, 2014
(406 - 4:34pm, Jul 25)
Last: I am going to be Frank

Newsblog5 for Friday: Leo Mazzone, pitching coach to the HOFers
(22 - 4:27pm, Jul 25)
Last: Brian

NewsblogNoble: Tom Seaver expects Derek Jeter to become first unanimous Hall of Fame inductee
(84 - 3:55pm, Jul 25)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogLa Russa: Asterisk for tainted stars
(17 - 3:46pm, Jul 25)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogThe Inventor of the High Five
(28 - 3:45pm, Jul 25)
Last: winnipegwhip

Page rendered in 0.4061 seconds
52 querie(s) executed