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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Saturday, January 09, 2021

2022 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

2022 (December 2021)—elect 4

Top 10 Returning Players
Bobby Abreu, Sammy Sosa, Andy Pettitte, Buddy Bell, Lance Berkman, Wally Schang, Bobby Bonds, Sal Bando, Vic Willis, Ben Taylor

Newly Eligible Players
Alex Rodriguez
David Ortiz
David Wright
Mark Teixeira
Jimmy Rollins
Carl Crawford
Coco Crisp
Justin Morneau
Marlon Byrd
Prince Fielder
A.J. Pierzynski
Michael Bourn
Juan Uribe
Alexei Ramirez

Jake Peavy
Joe Nathan
Jonathan Papelbon
Scott Kazmir
Tim Lincecum
John Danks

DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2021 at 09:42 AM | 246 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Chris Cobb Posted: January 27, 2021 at 10:53 PM (#6002342)
Well, I was just poking around in baseball-reference's bWAR documentation area, and they've set up a side-by-side comparison for fWAR, bWAR, and BP WARP! (it also includes the original rWAR that is the ancestor of bWAR).

WAR Comparison Chart

It may not be entirely accurate about WAR versions other than bWAR, but it's a very handy source.

Sadly, it does not seem to include any information on the fWAR "league" element.
   102. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 27, 2021 at 11:17 PM (#6002349)
That being said, it looks completely borked for the 19th century.

This is a casual observation, not a rigorous one, but I feel like Fangraphs as an organization is more about evaluating modern-day players than older ones, so it wouldn't surprise me if some of their numbers are less reliable for 19th-century or pre-integration players. (You can kind of tell this because the descriptions of WAR in the Fangraphs glossary don't actually talk about older players; obviously they can't evaluate Tris Speaker's fielding with UZR, but they don't really say what they use instead.) They also don't give any info about how their positional adjustment changes over time (although if you look at the numbers, it does change; Johnny Evers is at 0 positional runs for most of his seasons, which correctly reflects second base being a less-important position 110 years ago than it is now).
   103. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 27, 2021 at 11:26 PM (#6002353)
Brent 91, I would suggest familiarizing with Kiko Sakatas Win-Loss records, of which he can explain here. Utilization of Retrosheet and a metric tied to team wins gives us some alternative insights.

Thanks for the mention, Bleed. If you're not familiar with my Player won-lost records, my website is here, an article describing the basics is here. Since the subject of positional adjustments came up, I delve into that here (warning: that's a 53-page PDF). And you can construct a custom-weighted HOM ballot from my Player won-lost records here.

One-paragraph explanation of my Player won-lost records. They're calculated at the game level using Retrosheet play-by-play data. pWins are tied to team wins - the guts of the calculation of pWins is Win Probability, with an adjustment at the end of the game so that total pWins and pLosses are the same in all games, regardless of how close they were - the players on the winning team get 2 pWins, 1 pLoss; players on the losing team get the reverse (1 pWin, 2 pLosses). After calculating pWins, I then also calculate eWins (expected wins) which control for context and the quality of a player's teammates. I also calculate wins over positional average (WOPA) and replacement level (WORL). The latter is one standard deviation below average (same basic concept as Dan Rosenheck's numbers, as I understood them).

My system is a big fan (relative to other systems) of above-average "inning eater" pitchers - Tommy John frequently gets "elect-me" votes from me; Tim Hudson debuted very strongly; my system is a fan of Andy Pettitte. In terms of position players, I've found that power tends to show up as more valuable than most run-based estimators show it - so, for example, I'm a big fan of, say, Jason Giambi, or, debuting in 2022, David Ortiz, whereas my system is less enamored of, say, Tony Gwynn or Ichiro Suzuki, who lacked the power one typically expects of a corner outfielder. Fielding credit is shared with pitchers, so the spreads of fielding value in my system tend to be a bit narrower - I didn't vote for Kenny Lofton, my system thinks Buddy Bell is a non-candidate (in both cases, their lack of power also hurts them). Conversely, my system really likes power hitters at premium defensive positions - the recently-elected Jeff Kent, Vern Stephens; Jorge Posada looks very good in my system if you make no further adjustments for his defense. Which segues into - for catchers, their fielding numbers are based purely on SB/CS, WP/PB, and balls in play. They share credit with pitchers for the first two and catchers handle very few balls in play, so my fielding numbers for catchers tend to be very small. That's probably the biggest weakness of my system, in my opinion.

Final caveat: because my system is built from Retrosheet play-by-play data, I have only calculated Player won-lost records for seasons for which Retrosheet has released play-by-play data, which, as of right now is 1916 - 2020 (and actually, I haven't updated my Player won-lost records for 2020, because I haven't taken the time to figure out how to incorporate the stupid zombie runner in extra innings atrocity into a win-probability framework; I promise to get around to that before 2020 players start showing up on HOM ballots (I believe that gives me five years, right?)). My system also doesn't do anything with Negro Leaguers. Retrosheet did just release some pre-integration Negro games (see my comment #85) and I'm hoping to do something with them in the next few months, but there aren't enough games there (yet) to really be terribly useful for something like the HOM.
   104. Jaack Posted: January 27, 2021 at 11:32 PM (#6002355)
This is the fangraphs WAR explainer for position players, although it is somewhat outdated - it doesn't talk about their framing metrics, which were introduced in 2019, but it does account for the unified replacement level which was 2013.

Here's the relevant section on the league adjustment:

The league adjustment is a small correction to make it so that each league’s runs above average balances out to zero. Each league’s Batting Runs + Base Running Runs + Fielding Runs + Positional Adjustment often total to something slightly different from zero. The league adjustment fixes this and has a very tiny impact on player value.

To find the league adjustment find the league specific values (AL or NL) and do the following:

League Adjustment = ((-1)*(lgBatting Runs + lgBase Running Runs + lgFielding Runs + lgPositional Adjustment) / lgPA)*PA

This will tell you how many extra runs you need to add to the entire league per PA and then you multiply that by the specific player’s PA. This will add between 0 and 5 runs to a player’s value per season based on their league and PA.

Looking at BBRef's WAR explainer

They have a nice chart detailing their league adjustments as part of Rrep, which also includes a debit for 1942-1946. No explanation of where those numbers come from though.
   105. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 28, 2021 at 10:47 AM (#6002406)
Brent, I think the most important thing you said in your post is that YOU’RE BACK!!!!

Yay, we’ve missed you and the many contributions you’ve made over the years. WELCOME BACK!!!
   106. kcgard2 Posted: January 28, 2021 at 05:54 PM (#6002514)
Bleed (#94)

Tommy Bridges has WWII and PCL.
Urban Shocker has WWII.
Babe Adams has WL/AA.

You must be confused about Shocker. His career spanned 1916-1928, well before WWII even started, and he was in MLB and the minor leagues during the tail end of WWI, not missing any MLB time or development time for war service (as far as I can see he had none).

You are right that Bridges missed 1944 for WWII. For Babe Adams, it is odd that he was demoted in 1917, I guess the Pirates must have thought he was done having posted a 5.72 ERA in 1916, but I guess I can see giving him some WL/AA credit for 1917. So, fair enough, my bad.
   107. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 28, 2021 at 06:02 PM (#6002516)
You must be confused about Shocker. His career spanned 1916-1928, well before WWII even started, and he was in MLB and the minor leagues during the tail end of WWI, not missing any MLB time or development time for war service (as far as I can see he had none).

Pretty sure this should have said WWI for Shocker. Per Shocker's SABR player biography, he was drafted in June of 1918, and didn't return from service until the May of '19. That's most of a year missed.

Similarly, Bridges didn't just miss '44 to WW2; he wasn't discharged until August of '45.
   108. Brent Posted: January 28, 2021 at 09:27 PM (#6002542)
Thanks, everyone, for answering my questions and giving me helpful comments.

Chris Cobb, 91. "1) For bWAR's cross-league quality adjustments, their notes say that they are based on players who moved between leagues and on interleague play."

When I was looking through the old thread on DanR's WARP from 2007 I ran across the following comment from Rally:

Dan, what is your reason for counting the AL as weaker than the NL for this period? I looked at players who played in both leagues in the 1950's once, and found no significant differences in their quality of play from one league to the other."

That comment makes it appear that whatever adjustment for league quality he used for the 1950s, it wasn't based on players who move between leagues. The subsequent discussion on that thread talks about other data, such as a study by Dick Cramer from The Hidden Game of Baseball. But how the bbref league quality adjustments for the 1950s were calculated appears to be a mystery.

Kiko Sakata, 103. Thank you very much for summarizing your Won-Loss system and pointing me to information about it. There's a lot on your website and I will need to spend some more time trying to understand your system. I have a few questions for you:

= Reading the article on the basics of your system, it appears that individual events in each game are weighted according to the change in win probability due to the event. Is that correct? And does that remain true after all the various normalizations are applied? Should I expect the numbers for batters to be similar to Fangraphs WPA totals?

- Fielding. I see that for hits vs. outs on balls in play, you split the credit 70% fielders and 30% pitchers. I may have missed seeing how you split responsibility among fielders for hits. For example, a ground ball single to left field - is that split 50-50 between the shortstop and third baseman? Or do you have a formula for splitting responsibility for plays not made? And how do you split credit for outs when they involve multiple fielders?

- Play-by-play data. My understanding is that prior to the 1970s there are some missing games in the play-by-play data from Retrosheet (though a box score might be available instead). How did you handle incomplete or missing data?

- When you say, for example, "My system is a big fan (relative to other systems) of above-average "inning eater" pitchers," it wasn't clear to me which metric you are looking at. Do you prefer pWOPA or pWORL or eWORL?

- I'm confused about how should I interpret the difference between pWOPA and eWOPA. Is it removing the context play by play (similar to the difference between WPA and WPA/LI on Fangraphs)? You talk about expected context, but I'm not sure what that means.

Dr Chaleeko, 105. Thank you for your kind welcome.
   109. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 29, 2021 at 12:09 AM (#6002560)
Thanks for the interest, Brent!

"it appears that individual events in each game are weighted according to the change in win probability due to the event. Is that correct?" Yes

"And does that remain true after all the various normalizations are applied?" All plays for a given team within a given game get the same normalization, so, within a particular game, a ranking of players by net pWins would match a ranking of players by WPA, but the magnitudes of the numbers would differ.

"Should I expect the numbers for batters to be similar to Fangraphs WPA totals?" Not necessarily, because of the normalization process, which varies by game.

"For example, a ground ball single to left field - is that split 50-50 between the shortstop and third baseman?" The way I split fielding credit on hits is kind of complicated but explained here. The simple math answer is that a ground ball single to LF is debited about 56% to 3B and 44% to SS and that's based on working with location data from Retrosheet for the 10 years or so that they have it. All fielding credits go to the first fielder involved in a play except for double (and triple) plays where the credits go to the first fielder involved in each of the outs. So, a 6-3 groundout, all fielding credit goes to the SS; a guy thrown out at home 8-6-2, all fielding credit goes to the CF. The only shared fielding credits would be on double (or triple) plays as well as on force-outs in DP situations - e.g., runner on 1st, one out; on a 6-4 force-out, the second basemen will take a small loss for failing to turn the double play.

"Play-by-play data. My understanding is that prior to the 1970s there are some missing games in the play-by-play data from Retrosheet (though a box score might be available instead). How did you handle incomplete or missing data?" For games which are missing play-by-play, Retrosheet has begun to "deduce" these games based on newspaper game stories and box scores. I've done a lot of these deductions as has fellow HOMer Rob Wood. Retrosheet has released deduced games to fill in all of the gaps back to 1928. For 1916 - 1927, though, yes, there are missing games. This article details what we have.

For seasons with missing games, the default presentation will just exclude those games (e.g., Babe Ruth). There is a link on that page that says "Player records with missing games extrapolated"; clicking that will blow up the player's numbers based on how many games he's missing (e.g., player actually played 150 games; we have 100 - my "extrapolation" would just multiply all of his numbers by 1.5 (150/100). Here's Babe Ruth with his numbers extrapolated.

"Do you prefer pWOPA or pWORL or eWORL?" - Yes. One of the things I like best about my system is that it's not a single number, so people can choose their own preferences. In a "yes/no" Hall-of-Fame kind of environment, I tend to be fairly liberal in terms of evaluating players based on what makes their case the strongest (my personal Hall would include, for example, both Tommy John and Dwight Gooden). That doesn't quite work when you have to rank the players but my system doesn't force you to be a "career" or a "peak" or a "prime" voter. Certainly, Tommy John looks better the lower the comparison (i.e., he looks better in pWORL than in pWOPA) but, really, he looks pretty good in both.

"Is it removing the context play by play (similar to the difference between WPA and WPA/LI on Fangraphs)?" - Basically, yes. All home runs hit at Wrigley Field in 2016 have the exact same value.

"You talk about expected context, but I'm not sure what that means." - When I calculate a player's eWins and eLosses, I hold his total player decisions constant (by season) so if, doing the context-neutralizing thing, a player has a pRecord of, say 50-50, and an eRecord of 50-45, I blow up that player's eWins and eLosses so that he has the same win percentage but his eWins + eLosses equals his pWins + pLosses (so, this guy's record would become 52.6 - 47.4). This tends to have very little effect on non-pitchers. For pitchers, it tends to matter more - in effect, I'm building relief-pitcher leverage into my eWins (same as BB-Ref and Fangraphs do). One reason I do this is because it makes it a little easier to compare pWins and eWins - in the above example, this player's performance led to about 3 fewer wins (50 - 52.6 = -2.6) than would have been expected. Whether that matters in how you rank that player is up to you (and could reasonably vary player by player; pWins are absolutely affected by the quality of a player's teammates).
   110. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 02, 2021 at 06:30 PM (#6003394)
Hey, gang, I wanted to direct attention to part of an article we posted today at my website. Not trying to draw clicks, I promise, but I think it's thought provoking in terms of what we do around here. The part that's relevant to the work of the HOM is in the section called "Imagining a Better World," a little below the fold. There's some research and reasoning there that's of potential importance to our evaluation of the remaining pre-expansion candidates, both MLB and MLE players. I thought it might be worth some discussion because it could impact every player before 1958 and provide some additional thinking around chronological balance.

Again, not trying to clickbait anyone.
   111. Jaack Posted: February 02, 2021 at 09:12 PM (#6003426)
It's a great piece with interesting points for discussion but I have one thought.

Should we assume that in a hypothetical integrated baseball that the league remains at 16 teams? Or should we add the official Negro League teams to the count?

If we take 1926 as an example year (wiki page with all relevant league standings) - there were 8 teams in each of the NL, AL, NNL, and ECL, which is 32 official Major League teams. Now, it probably makes sense to toss out some of bottom tier Negro League teams that really didn't seem to be competitive at that level - the Brooklyn Royal Giants, Newark Stars, Dayton Macros, and Cleveland Elite Giants all had abyssmal records in league play, far below even the '62 Mets or the '03 Tigers. At the same time, we can add the clearly major league level Homestead Greys. That puts you at 27 major league teams as opposed to 16.

If we take an average hitter in the 16 team all white league (say Irish Meusel for 1926) and put him in a 16 team integrated league, he's definitely not an average hitter. But in an integrated 27 team league? I think he'd still be at that level.
   112. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 02, 2021 at 09:56 PM (#6003434)
Jaack, the way we thought it through was that had MLB integrated from the start, there would only have been 16 teams during the Negro Leagues era, but quality of play would be higher due to the presence of players of color. In essence that the Negro Leagues would never have existed if MLB (and the country in general) hadn’t been run by racists. Rather than 28 or 30 teams worth of players with all the replacement and below average hitters that entails, we are talking about a single league with best available talent, just as it became after integration. (I think it’s possible the NL of the 1960s might have been had the highest quality of play ever seen because the balance of players of color were in the NL, really two starting nines of All-Star players of color.) We felt that when we went by a 28-30 team expansion scenario, we would elect lesser MLB players who should not have been elected but should have moved aside for the better players of color. To take an example from current HOM elections, Bob Johnson still gets votes because he is a borederline candidate due to his performance as COMPARED TO MLB. But compared to the entire potential talent pool, he would drop far enough from the in/out line that he probably wouldn’t draw m/any votes. Hurley McNair among Negro Leaguecorner outfielders would push Johnson down the rankings too. The problem is that none of us, that I recall, and pls correct me if I’m wrong, adjust our rankings to reflect the effect of combining the talent pools. If blacks and whites had played together NONE of them would have been as good as their raw, value, or MLE stats currently show. This impacts latter-day players in important ways. We have been a little less generous with modern players and a reason for that could be that moderns are compared to a fully integrated league and pre-1960s players are not so the oldsters have an advantage that we calculated at around 14.5%.

Does that make sense? This is a little meta, so forgive me if I’m not as clear as I could be.
   113. DL from MN Posted: February 02, 2021 at 10:40 PM (#6003444)
The problem is that none of us, that I recall, and pls correct me if I’m wrong, adjust our rankings to reflect the effect of combining the talent pools.

Correct. HoM has clearly treated NGL as a de facto expansion. The MMP project treats all the years before 1962 as if there were 20 teams.

NGL players per election
1901-1910 17/213 = 8%
1911-1920 46/201 = 23%
1921-1930 52/195 = 27%

This assumes I counted correctly, I could be off by a couple.
   114. DL from MN Posted: February 02, 2021 at 10:47 PM (#6003446)
Another fun fact - only one Negro Leaguer has won an MMP award - Josh Gibson in 1940. 39 black or Hispanic (Canseco, A-Rod) players have won MMP in the 73 seasons since integration.
   115. Jaack Posted: February 03, 2021 at 01:26 AM (#6003466)

You're making perfect sense – I don't really disagree with anything there, except pegging the replacement level to a sixteen team league. Well, maybe I don’t even straight up disagree with it. I kind of see three approaches that have some sort of logic to them.

1. Integrate the leagues by kicking out the bottom 10-15% of white players from the NL/AL and replacing them with the best available non-white players. Here you have a 16 team league.

2. Integrate the leagues by adding non-white players to the NL/AL so that they make up 10-15% of the league. In doing so, you’d have an 18-22 team league.

3. Integrate by just merging the NL/AL with the Negro Leagues, and redistributing the players. Here you end up with a 26-32 team league.

I do think the Hall of Merit has elected mostly in line with the second option, and I’m inclined to continue to vote in line with that standard on the basis of precedent. I also like that option as it pegs the level of competition to the strongest existing league, which follows in line with how I treat the seasons during WWII.

I do agree that option one seems the most plausible of the in a non-racist league counterfactual, but I can’t really back that up with anything.
   116. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 03, 2021 at 12:32 PM (#6003518)
I'm wouldn't argue that anyone should change their approach to your 1, 2, and 3 points above. I would advocate that regardless of which of those things you use, we need to adjust players downward in the pre-integration era because they currently have an unfair advantage over their more modern peers. Take for example the ultimate two borderline guys: Jake Beckley and John McGraw. One's borderline because he had an extremely shallow peak and an extremely long career. The other is borderline because he had an extremely high peak and a very short career. Not set them next to a couple of modern borderliners who are not in. Say John Olerud and Sal Bando who have more normal looking careers. If a massive, systematic, and non-baseball influence on Beckley and McGraw's play made their performance look better than it was, you'd probably want to adjust for it, right? That way Olerud and Bando could be on a level playing field with Beckley and McGraw. And that's exactly what I'm saying. I've measured the effect of integration in one way and, to speak reductively, found it cost top white players 14.5% of their WAA on a seasonal basis. (You don't have to take my word for it, of course, anyone could do their own study.) If you adjust Beckley's WAA and McGraw's WAA down by 14.5% each year, you'll find that neither of them is likely a borderline candidate anymore who would have received strong support. They would both likely occupy a section of the backlog where guys like Tony Perez, Frank Chance, Ned Williamson, and Matt Williams live. I'm bringing this to everyone's attention because I think this is potentially a really big deal, an elephant in the room that none/most of us realized was there. Of course, I could be wrong, but it seems really big to me.
   117. DL from MN Posted: February 03, 2021 at 12:53 PM (#6003523)
If you assume a 4 team expansion when you go through the exercise of integrating players 1920-1947 onto the ballot the "average" point should stay in approximately the same place. The players who get pinched by that method would be those who played 1947-1962 because integration would force a "contraction" before it expanded back to that 20 team level.

I think this also applies to NGL MLE projections. NGL players would see a 14.5% drop in MLE WAA. That means (barring new data) we've found all of the Negro Leaguers and we may have over-inducted there as well.
   118. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 03, 2021 at 01:13 PM (#6003529)
DL, your first point is accurate. That's one of the reasons I prefer the 16-team model for 1871-1960.

Yes, this definitely applies to MLEs. The do not account for the integration effect and were designed to place one player into MLB at a time, not en masse. To put this in a nutshell:
A) Variance in the Negro Leagues is higher, so MLEs use z-scores to bring MLEs into an MLB range of variance.
B) Quality of play in the Negro Leagues is generally lower overall, so MLEs use an adjustment for that.
C) This new adjustment applies to all players because the MLE doesn't assume full integration and neither, of course, do the value stats many of us use for MLB value stats.
   119. DL from MN Posted: February 03, 2021 at 01:25 PM (#6003532)
prefer the 16-team model for 1871-1960

12 is probably enough teams for 1892-1900 and 8 for 1871-1891.
   120. DL from MN Posted: February 03, 2021 at 01:42 PM (#6003538)
those who played 1947-1962

Who gets underrated here? Nellie Fox, Phil Rizzuto, Johnny Pesky, Bus Clarkson, Luke Easter, Don Newcombe, Bob Lemon, Ralph Kiner, Ken Boyer, Minnie Minoso, Billy Pierce, Early Wynn, Richie Ashburn, Larry Doby, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese. Then there's your stars like Mays, Williams, Musial, Aaron, Mantle, Roberts, Banks, Kaline, Spahn, etc.
   121. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 03, 2021 at 02:18 PM (#6003545)
12 is probably enough teams for 1892-1900 and 8 for 1871-1891.
Yes, in effect they would be treated the same way as a 16 team league, but the only really important players with MLEs from that time are Grant Johnson and Bill Monroe, and Monroe hasn't proven HOM-worthy. (There's just not enough data from that time for Frank Grant.) Really, we're talking 1895-1957. The adjustment for 1871-1946 is set at 0.855, and from 1947-1957 generally rises as the degree of integration rises.

Who gets underrated here?
No one in that period (1947-1962) would be underrated, they would all be overrated, some by more than others, because they all would receive some downward adjustment for any seasons that fall in 1871-1957. Among backloggers whom I seem to recall getting votes any point, we're talking Stephens, Ellie Howard, Rizzuto, Elliott, Pesky, Clarkson, Easter, Marv Williams, Dandridge, Trout, Walters, and Newcombe.
   122. DL from MN Posted: February 03, 2021 at 03:30 PM (#6003566)
No one in that period (1947-1962) would be underrated

I think we are treating it differently. I'm assuming a de-facto expansion to 20 teams. As integration happened that would mean an increase in WAA for that period until expansion recovered it.
   123. kcgard2 Posted: February 03, 2021 at 04:34 PM (#6003593)
Dr. Chaleeko, thanks for linking that research.

I am inclined to incorporate your findings into my rankings (probably slightly softened but I haven't decided yet). But the result would most likely mean a ballot that only includes players from the integrated era. As I ponder that, I'm a bit torn. We're all well aware (I think) that certain eras of history, in particular the pre-integration era, are already over-represented in the HOM. I firmly believe your research pinpoints the reason why.

So, would a ballot consisting entirely of players from 1960-present represent fairness to all eras? Certainly I think the argument could be made for yes, based on representation already in HOM, and assuming the voter has systematically and consistently considered pre-integration players against modern players. I have often semi-formally considered the requirement a moratorium on ballots with only modern players, as a way to ensure that voters with such ballots actually have studied/considered players from older eras. This would mean it is harder to verify that they have/haven't just from looking at their ballot.

At this point I'm just rambling a bit. But I do think this research is valuable.
   124. Bleed the Freak Posted: February 03, 2021 at 06:30 PM (#6003616)
Thanks for the share Doc, great systematic look at adjusting raw WAR totals.

To you and others, by the same token, how well does WAR adjust for expansions, strength of one league versus another (1950s/1960s NL vs AL, 1990s/2000 AL vs NL), NO expansion since 1998, WWII depleted talent?
At what level do you or others adjust these?
All factors to consider, though your research suggests that THE BIGGEST is looking at the pre-integration era ballplayers and assessing them properly.

Doc, when I look at your files at the HoME, what type of discount should be in play for Negro League MLEs?
Taking a player with a robust data set, I have Ben Taylor coming in at ~97/98% of a HOF career using your WAR/WAA translations?
Should I be docking ~14.5% from this?
   125. DL from MN Posted: February 03, 2021 at 06:51 PM (#6003622)
how well does WAR adjust for expansions, strength of one league versus another

It really doesn't try to answer that question. It's trying to determine how many wins the player put up in that season compared to other players. Standard deviation adjustments normalize everything to the same runs/wins but even they don't try to assess league strength.
   126. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 03, 2021 at 07:24 PM (#6003636)
Bleed, you should dock 14.5% off of Taylor’s WAA. If Taylor had 1.0 WAA and 3.0 WAR, he’d end up at 0.86 WAA and 2.86 WAR. Please see the article for the adjustments for 1947-1957, which are less drastic as MLB moved toward fuller integration.
   127. Carl Goetz Posted: February 03, 2021 at 07:56 PM (#6003648)
Is Baseball Gauge offline now? My browser won't go there anymore
   128. Carl Goetz Posted: February 03, 2021 at 08:05 PM (#6003649)
Nevermind. Found the news item on Seamheads. RIP Baseball Gauge.
   129. cookiedabookie Posted: February 04, 2021 at 06:09 PM (#6003830)
I've used the baseball gauge war as part of my HoM system. Hope we can get it somewhere after this
   130. Bleed the Freak Posted: February 05, 2021 at 09:08 AM (#6003872)
cookie, someone tipped me off to this previously, I was able to save the raw Excel file of data for Gauge/DRA WAR, post your email here and I can send to you, same goes for others.
   131. Carl Goetz Posted: February 05, 2021 at 09:32 AM (#6003879)
Bleed, I'd be interested in that file.
   132. Bleed the Freak Posted: February 05, 2021 at 09:42 AM (#6003881)
Carl, I sent through and CC'd myself, we have both have Yahoo, so it should transmit ok :), let me know if it did not.
   133. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: February 05, 2021 at 12:53 PM (#6003916)
I was also able to download an excel copy of gWAR and also, if people are interested, Win Shares, and will be glad to send to anyone interested.
   134. DL from MN Posted: February 05, 2021 at 01:40 PM (#6003926)
I was also able to download an excel copy of gWAR and also, if people are interested, Win Shares, and will be glad to send to anyone interested.

It would be great if someone could post the top Win Shares each year into the MMP thread
   135. cookiedabookie Posted: February 05, 2021 at 05:38 PM (#6004012)
cookie, someone tipped me off to this previously, I was able to save the raw Excel file of data for Gauge/DRA WAR, post your email here and I can send to you, same goes for others.
   136. Bleed the Freak Posted: February 05, 2021 at 10:43 PM (#6004060)
Cookie, I sent through and CC'd myself, we have both have Yahoo, so it should transmit ok :), let me know if it did not.
   137. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 06, 2021 at 04:17 PM (#6004124)
I would love a copy of that database as well - my BTF email should work, but let me know if it causes trouble.
   138. Bleed the Freak Posted: February 06, 2021 at 09:06 PM (#6004147)
Can you list your email out Eric J, I'm not finding where I can send an attachment from BTF.
   139. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 06, 2021 at 10:35 PM (#6004156)
Fair enough. twototenth at gmail dot com.
   140. Bleed the Freak Posted: February 06, 2021 at 11:19 PM (#6004159)
Eric, I sent through and CC'd myself, hopefully it transmits ok :), let me know if it did not.
   141. cookiedabookie Posted: February 07, 2021 at 12:41 PM (#6004189)
Got it, thanks!
   142. Brent Posted: February 16, 2021 at 12:00 AM (#6005287)
Dr. Chaleeko, 110, 112, 116. Thanks for posting. I do have a methodological concern, though. To me, it doesn't make sense to apply a fixed percentage to a player's WAA. If we imagine an integrated league, the white players who would slip below replacement level and lose their jobs are all below average players, so someone who used to be average will now be below average compared to the new population of players. That implies that someone who used to be just above average (say a WAA of 0.3) is not going to lose 14.5% of of their WAA, but 100%. Conversely, someone with a very high WAA of 6.0 might only lose 5% or something like that. It's complicated, because both the mean and standard deviation would change, but I'm quite sure that a fixed percentage is not going to work. I hope this makes sense.
   143. The Honorable Ardo Posted: February 16, 2021 at 01:27 PM (#6005345)
Brent, you make perfect sense. In a hypothetical integrated MLB of 1935, Satchel Paige and Dizzy Dean would both be dominant aces; Mel Ott and Josh Gibson would both hit 40+ home runs per season. The players hurt the most would be the ones who performed - in real life - around league average in their respective segregated leagues. Those men would suddenly find themselves at or near replacement level.
   144. DL from MN Posted: February 16, 2021 at 02:13 PM (#6005357)
I think to make it work you need to reset "average" at 57.5% instead of 50% and replacement at .345 winning percentage instead of .300.
   145. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 16, 2021 at 08:27 PM (#6005432)
Brent, you are right. It’s the same trap as additive vs multiplicative park effects. Well, I’ll fix it at some point soon. But keep in mind the bigger point. MLEs and MLB stats are not adjusted in any way that accounts for the boost that segregation gave players. In my opinion it is very important to make such an adjustment, however you might do so, because we risk being unfair toward integrated modern leagues by not doing so.

Ardo, i don’t think you are quite right in one assumption. Or amd Gibson may but also may not hit their forty homers. It depends upon the quality of Black pitchers who enter the league and replace the innings of lesser white starters with higher quality innings. If Satchel Paige enters the league and replaces, say, Monte Weaver’s innings plus some by a fringe player, the league gets a little tougher. When the entire gamut of Negro Leagues pitching entera the league, the QoP should rise significantly making it harder to hit those forty homers.

Apropos of nothing...Speaking of Mel Ott, the most amazing thing about his 511 homers? He hit 40 just once (42 to be precise). But he hit 25 or more 11 times.
   146. cookiedabookie Posted: May 09, 2021 at 04:34 PM (#6017937)
I've been playing around with a timeline adjustment. Re-ran my rankings, and wanted to share it as a second quarter update. I'm sure I'll continue to tinker with this until December.

1. Alex Rodriguez, SS, PHOM 2022
2. Andy Pettitte, SP, PHOM 2020
3. Tim Hudson, SP, PHOM 2021
4. Thurman Munson, C. PHOM 1985
5. Tommy John, SP, PHOM 1995
6. Joe Tinker, SS, PHOM 1926
7. Jorge Posada, C, PHOM 2021
8. Bobby Bonds, RF, PHOM 1987
9. Dwight Gooden, SP, PHOM 2006
10. Lance Berkman, LF, PHOM 2022
11. Buddy Bell, 3B, PHOM 1996
12. Sammy Sosa, RF, PHOM 2022
13. David Wells, SP, PHOM 2022
14. Mark Buehrle, SP
15. Wally Schang, C, PHOM 1937
16. Urban Shocker, SP, PHOM 1937
17. Ron Cey, 3B, PHOM 1997
18. Kevin Appier, SP, PHOM 2012
19. Bob Johnson, LF, PHOM 1963
20. David Ortiz, 1B
21. Willie Davis, CF, PHOM 1987
22. Bobby Abreu, RF
23. Eddie Cicotte, SP, PHOM 1928
24. Sal Bando, 3B, PHOM 1987
25. John Olerud, 1B
   147. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 25, 2021 at 11:32 AM (#6020735)
Hey, gang, just wanted to let you know that on Thursday I’m going to be running several weeks of MLE content for the Negro Leagues. I’ve made several process upgrades, improved some background research, and, based on Brent’s suggestion, refigured the segregation adjustment I previously rolled out. New MLEs should appear three Thursdays from today.

Naturally, I’ll link over to those posts as they go live.

I think there will be a lot to talk about in one section of the second post.
   148. progrockfan Posted: May 25, 2021 at 11:56 AM (#6020737)
I for one always look forward to your Negro Leagues posts, Doc. :)
   149. TomH Posted: May 26, 2021 at 12:46 PM (#6020931)
Pardon the interruption; Baseball research topic, but *not* Hall of Merit
(from a used-to-be long-time HoM voter, lapsed for many a year)

Hello friends old and friends I have not met yet

I have an idea for a project and I’m looking for a few people to help me find a good way to “launch” it, perhaps here at BBTF. It would have some similarities to the HoM. The goal would be to identify and rank the best single-season performances in MLB history. It would likely be done in a countdown-style method, ending the project when we pick The Best Season Evah. This whole thing might take anywhere between 9 months and 2 years.

If interested in collaborating, email me - han60man at aol dot com

Now back to your regularly scheduled HoM programming….
   150. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 27, 2021 at 07:33 AM (#6021079)
Here’s the first of the posts I mentioned earlier. The link contains the post name, which ought to give you a sense of what this one’s about.
   151. DanG Posted: May 27, 2021 at 01:53 PM (#6021124)
Here’s a plug for an ongoing ranking project I designed. It’s been running for 14 months at The BBF Ranking Game. It’s designed to rank every player in history, although our aim at present is to get to a thousand. Election #65 ends soon, after which we’ll have ranked the top 595 players. There are still 21 players in the Hall of Fame that we haven’t ranked yet. We have 11 steady participants and always have room for more. Check it out!
   152. TomH Posted: May 28, 2021 at 08:49 PM (#6021415)
nice project, Dan. I wish I had jumped in closer to its inception.
   153. progrockfan Posted: June 15, 2021 at 09:14 AM (#6024264)
A colossal update on Baseball Reference today, which you all need to see.

I've been waiting for this for years.
   154. kcgard2 Posted: July 05, 2021 at 02:23 PM (#6027705)
An update about the HOM plaque room website: I've re-created the site with a new host service, due the the limitations of Google Sites - namely, that it appears to be impossible to get a Google Site indexed on Google's own search engine! But also, Google Sites functionality is quite limited in general. The new site is here. Wix allows you to write custom code for site functionality, so I was able to add filters and other functionality to the plaque room itself once I taught myself some javascript, :D In case the last comment didn't give it away, I'm not a web developer or even pretending to be one, but I got everything to work (eventually). Wix does offer a lot more ability for SEO and indexing, but I'm not yet sure exactly how much of it is accessible without buying a "premium plan" or hosting your own domain. I guess we'll find out.

If anyone here IS a developer, I would not mind at all if they could help out with indexing and SEO. It looks like a 20-minute job for someone who knows what they're doing...but then again, I don't know what I'm doing, lol. Thanks for checking it out guys, and, as before, I'm open to adding more features. Also, DL, I am planning to add MMP stuff as well.
   155. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 21, 2021 at 11:31 AM (#6029848)
Hey, everyone,

Wanted to drop two articles in you.

1) Segregation Effect 2:

2) Fully updated MLE protocol for hitters:

MLE protocol for pitchers will appear tomorrow.

Segregation adjustment is very meaningful and will probably change your rankings dramatically. The effect is 10 RAA per 600 PA+pitching outs. It is applied to all players, not just white guys. That effect persists from 1871 to 1946. From 1947-1963, the effect continues but at a diminishing rate. Guys like Bill Terry or Billy Herman lose enough value to push them under the line. Meanwhile guys like Will Clark look better because they don’t lose anything due to segregation. The troublesome issue of modern guys not seeming as electable is in great measure remédiated.

Also worth noting: BBREF has updated pitchers from 1901-1903 based on newly available splits or boxes. Further, BBREF has updated all players 2017-2020 with fully updated PFs and also new defensive information. This effects all players. We don’t have to worry about electing those guys but for anyone who keeps complete rankings….
   156. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 24, 2021 at 12:01 PM (#6030257)
Dr. C., I really enjoyed your SABR presentation this morning. When it gets put up on YouTube, everyone should watch it. Really fun stuff!
   157. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 30, 2021 at 10:42 AM (#6031562)
Thank you, Kiko! I'm so glad you were able to make it and enjoyed it.

A topic I brought up in that presentation is something I've expanded upon a bit here.

This topic is a real mind bender and, IMO, merits some thought and perhaps discussion as we move toward election season. If you choose to view baseball history through the lens I'm discussing in the piece, post-expansion players will feature more prominently in your thinking, pre-Jackie players will lose a little bit of steam, and older borderliners will become older also-rans. I'm still working through what this different perspective will mean to my ballot. But some of my old chestnuts will have a much harder time getting one of my 15 slots than they used to.
   158. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 02, 2021 at 12:03 AM (#6032113)
Segregation adjustment is very meaningful and will probably change your rankings dramatically.

Glad you mentioned that. I'm on the same page: "The only pre-1950 candidates I strongly support had their careers distorted/hidden by the color line (Dolf Luque, Luke Easter, Hilton Smith) and a special case, Wally Schang. Everyone else is someone I've seen playing on TV."
   159. progrockfan Posted: August 04, 2021 at 09:20 AM (#6032743)
+1 for Luke Easter.

Someone here challenged me to build and defend a HoF case for Big Luke - so I did. It forms a chapter of my forthcoming book. Stay tuned. ;)
   160. DL from MN Posted: August 09, 2021 at 12:11 PM (#6033527)
Looks like the HoF Eras Committee will be voting on Golden Era AND Early Baseball this winter. Also, Early Baseball committee will be able to vote on NGL players.

My top 10 for the Early Baseball (pre-1950 cutoff).

1) Bill Dahlen - seriously, there should be no doubt here
2) Dick Redding - glad to see he could get another chance
3) Jack Glasscock
4) Heinie Groh
5) Tommy Bridges
6&7) Ross Barnes and Joe Start, though they might even be too early for this committee
8) Grant Johnson
9) Quincy Trouppe
10) Stan Hack

I think Dahlen and Redding are obvious picks. The last time Redding was nominated there was not nearly as much data in his favor.
   161. DanG Posted: August 09, 2021 at 10:58 PM (#6033616)
Next 11 for the Early Baseball (pre-1950 cutoff).

Dobie Moore
Wes Ferrell
Sherry Magee
Paul Hines
Charlie Keller
Urban Shocker
Charlie Bennett
Harry Stovey
Wally Schang
Bob Johnson
Dick Lundy
   162. cookiedabookie Posted: August 20, 2021 at 09:44 AM (#6035294)
Early baseball committee definitely has the stronger players to pick from, Golden Days is pretty picked over tbh.

My top ten for that committee:

1. Bill Dahlen
2. Charlie Keller
3. Sherry Magee
4. Wes Ferrell
5. Urban Shocker
6. Jack Glasscock
7. Bob Caruthers
8. Jimmy Sheckard
9. Art Fletcher
10. Bob Johnson

But I still have 14 other guys in personal Hall from that era:

Gavvy Cravath
Tommy Bridges
Dobie Moore
Tommy Bond
Vern Stephens
Wally Schang
Jack Quinn
Charlie Bennett
Tommy Leach
Bobby Veach
Harry Stovey
Dick Redding
Paul Hines
George Wright

And I'm light on pioneers compared to most here.

In contrast, for the Golden Days ballot, I only have nine guys in my personal HoF and not in the actual HoF (and Torre is in as a manager):

1. Dick Allen
2. Jim Wynn
3. Ken Boyer
4. Billy Pierce
5. Willie Davis
6. Norm Cash
7. Minnie Minoso
8. Bill Freehan

If I was filling a ballot, I'd add Buck O'Neill and Curt Flood for their overall contributions to the game.
   163. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 22, 2021 at 11:12 PM (#6035673)
In a way, we've achieved our original purpose. The Cooperstown Hall's discussion of the Early Baseball era is going to be based around tools and methodologies we've either developed or popularized. The selection process has progressed quite a ways from "hazy, boozy memories, Tommy McCarthy, etc."

Ironically, most of the ongoing problems with the Hall are with figures very much alive and in the public eye (the selections of Baines and Morris, the exclusion of Bonds and Clemens, the Schilling saga).
   164. cookiedabookie Posted: August 23, 2021 at 06:17 PM (#6035884)
@154 kcgard, I think you missed Addie Joss. But great work!
   165. cookiedabookie Posted: August 24, 2021 at 08:31 AM (#6035970)
kcgard, you also missed George Wright
   166. cookiedabookie Posted: August 24, 2021 at 08:36 AM (#6035972)
Here's my third quarter ballot, as I continue the never ending tinkering with my system :)

1. Alex Rodriguez, SS (PHOM 2022)
2. Andy Pettitte, SP (PHOM 2020)
3. Thurman Munson, C (PHOM 1985)
4. Tim Hudson, SP (PHOM 2021)
5. Bobby Bonds, RF (PHOM 1987)
6. Lance Berkman, LF (PHOM 2022)
7. Buddy Bell, 3B (PHOM 1996)
8. Joe Tinker, SS (PHOM 1926)
9. Dwight Gooden, SP (PHOM 2006)
10. Sammy Sosa, RF (PHOM 2022)
11. Jorge Posada, C (PHOM 2021)
12. Urban Shocker, SP (PHOM 1937)
13. Roy Oswalt, SP (PHOM 2022)
14. Ron Cey, 3B (PHOM 1997)
15. Mark Buehrle, SP
16. Bob Johnson, LF (PHOM 1963)
17. Bobby Abreu, RF
18. Phil Rizzuto, SS (PHOM 1967)
19. David Ortiz, 1B
20. Kevin Appier, SP (PHOM 2012)
21. Wally Schang, C (PHOM 1937)
22. Willie Davis, CF (PHOM 1987)
23. Tommy John, SP (PHOM 1995)
24. Robin Ventura, 3B
25. Art Fletcher, SS (PHOM 1929)
   167. cookiedabookie Posted: August 27, 2021 at 06:15 PM (#6036797)
Hey everyone, if you could point me to a detailed look at the issue with 1970s 3B and WAR, that would be helpful. Trying to see how to incorporate it into my rankings
   168. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 28, 2021 at 11:04 AM (#6036858)
Cookie, I think the 1970s 3B issue is well worth exploring, though it doesn’t change, for example, the glut of 1930s SS (Appling, Cronin, Boudreau, Vaughan) or the 1880s1Bs (the ABC guys) or 1970s catchers blah blah blah. In other words, I’m skeptical.

What I can say, however, is that prior to Eddie Mathews, there’s not a lot there. Jud Wilson is probably the only PreWar guy who is among the top 5 or 6 at 3B without some kind of adjustments kicking in, and Frank Baker needs those adjustments to rank really highly. (He’s in either way, but he’s not best if the best without some extra credit).

Third base underwent at least one major shift in its responsibilities prior to the integration, which seems to have reshuffled who played there and why. It’s my personal contention that a lot of guys who would have played SS in other eras found themselves at 3B during the 1970s. Mike Schmidt being peoples exhibit #1.

However, I think in light of the segregation research I’ve done that posits the effect of integragation at -10RAA/600PA, I’m pretty sure whatever was going on at 3B in the 1970s is dwarfed by the effect of historical 3Bs prior to 1963 thanks to segregation. Check out this article for more detail.

Once you take segregation into account, players such as Williamson, Groh, McGraw, and Elliott fade back. Players such as Cey, Matt Williams, and Sal Bando jump forward to take their place. Here’s a discussion of how it affects my perceptions at 3B and elsewhere.
   169. cookiedabookie Posted: August 31, 2021 at 07:06 PM (#6037539)
Thanks doc! I did do a rudimentary look at this using fWAR and looking at Campaneris and Bando (same team for most of their careers, same park, league, etc.) First, I found the league averages for both SS and 3B in WAR per 650 PA for each year Bando and Campy played. Then I found what their WAR/650 were in those years. Then I took the league WAR/650, and reset it to two wins, as that tends to be considered average. As a league aggregate, you'd expect a position to be average. I could use this value to find a new WAR number for each season of their careers. When I do, Bando goes from 56.2 to 46.6 – an almost ten WAR drop! Campy goes from 44.9 to 97.8!

Both of these changes are because of how far away from the average each position is through the league. Now, a huge chunk of the Campy boost is from 1973, when his WAR/650 is almost 13 times higher than the league average at SS. Adjusted, that gives him an unrealistic 25 WAR, thanks to the MLB average SS being worth 0.3 fWAR/650. But if we look at how much higher each player's WAR/650 is compared to the league average, Campy stands significantly higher than Bando. Campy had eight seasons where his WAR/650 was at least three times the league average for SS, and the top seven are ahead of Bando's only season at three times the league average for 3B.

Now, you could argue that this was just some historical anomaly, having very few good SS and so many good 3B according to WAR. Or you could argue that the replacement adjustments for those positions are skewed for the time period. Or you could argue that a lot of guys playing at 3B should have been playing at SS – perhaps there was an over-correction in management strategies due to the low run scoring of the 1960s and the introduction of artificial turf, which made them lean heavily towards defense at shortstop and sacrificing too much offense as a result. I'd guess it's all three. But having done just this one look at two players makes me think my ranking of Campy is too low, and maybe my ranking of Bando is too high. I feel like a deeper dive is worth it here, not sure I'm the guy with enough time to do it, though.
   170. DL from MN Posted: August 31, 2021 at 09:59 PM (#6037568)
I have Campaneris with 29.2 wins above positional average and Bando at 19.3, Bell 17.7, Cey 29.1. I like Pie Traynor better than the remaining 1970s third basemen.
   171. cookiedabookie Posted: September 03, 2021 at 12:04 PM (#6038113)
I have Campaneris with 29.2 wins above positional average

With what I did, I have him at 68 wins above positional average. Which seems crazy, but man were SS bad during his career
   172. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 04, 2021 at 09:09 AM (#6038248)
#DL 170

Now dock him -10 RAA / 600 PA for playing against white guys only. He’s suddenly either even with the 1970s guys or he’s behind them.
   173. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 04, 2021 at 09:15 AM (#6038249)
Cookie #171

There were basically no half decent SS in the NL between Banks’ move off SS in 1960ish and the emergence of Ozzie Smith as a decent offensive player in the early to mid 1980s. In the AL, Campy and Fregosi were pretty much it until Yount’s bat came alive in the late 1970s. It’s a pretty stark difference from preceding and succeeding generations.
   174. DL from MN Posted: September 04, 2021 at 09:21 AM (#6038251)
Now dock him -10 RAA / 600 PA for playing against white guys only. He’s suddenly either even with the 1970s guys or he’s behind them.

I don't view that era of baseball through this lens. I treat the NGL as an expansion. The number of white MLB teams was not the "right" number of teams.
   175. Chris Cobb Posted: September 04, 2021 at 02:29 PM (#6038289)
DL,treating the NGL as an expansion doesn't have bearing on the question of how to compare the statistical records of pre-integration Major-League players to post-integration Major-League players. In my system, I also treat the NGL as an expansion, but I don't examine player statistics across these periods without an adjustment for changes in the quality of competition. Imagining that the major leagues expanded by integration provide a framework for comparing NGL MLEs to Major-League stats without having to adjust either set of statistics further, but a cross-period comparison would still have to account for changes in competition levels caused by the expansion of the demographic base of the game and by the maturation of the sport.

I treat the Negro Leagues as if the major leagues had gradually expanded to 20 teams between 1901 and 1920, with the number of teams contracting during WWII and remaining reduced until 1961, but I also recognize that between 1920 and 1969, when major-league baseball expanded beyond 20 teams to 24, the population of the United States basically doubled, growing from 106 million to 205 million, while the reach of major-league baseball into Latin America also increased dramatically (even accounting for the participation of many Cuban players in the NGL).

An imagined Major-League expansion in 1920 creates a context in which there are more than twice as many major-league baseball jobs per capita than there would be in 1970. The segregation adjustment that Dr. Chaleeko has calculated gives us a unique opportunity to observe the effects of limiting the population base of the game, and it is a substantial effect. A key takeaway for me from the Good Doctor's work is that we have to take the impact of demographics on competitive contexts seriously.

If your system is making direct statistical comparisons between pre- and post-integration players, then applying the segregation adjustment is a highly salutary way to gain a concrete appreciation for the impact of demographics on competition levels and, hence, on how merit manifests in the game's statistical record.

In my own system, I don't base my ballot rankings even on adjusted statistical comparisons of players who were not contemporaries. I don't think it's possible (with our current state of knowledge) to "get it right" (although I think Dr. Chaleeko's segregation adjustment is a sound approximation of the contemporary impact of segregation on competition levels), so I take a different approach.

In sum, I'd encourage you not to consider that because you apply an expansionary model to the period in which the major leagues were segregated, that means you can safely compare Pie Traynor's stats to Ron Cey's without making contextual adjustments and draw accurate conclusions about their relative merit.
   176. kcgard2 Posted: September 04, 2021 at 05:54 PM (#6038324)
@cookie (164):

Thanks! I'm sure there are some mistakes to fix in the site (it's a lot of stuff for one person to curate and clean up). However, Addie Joss is not in the HOM, and George Wright is in fact represented in the plaque room on the site :)
   177. kcgard2 Posted: September 05, 2021 at 09:28 AM (#6038359)

I have some questions about your latest MLEs. First, do they include the segregation adjustments? Second, what happened to Conrado Marrero (not in the spreadsheet anymore)? Third, How does Hurly McNair end up with such a strange combination of WAR and WAA? 43 WAR and 29 WAA in 9500 PAs, that doesn't make sense. Then you compare with say Burnis Wright, 49 WAR and 12 WAA in 10500 PAs. McNair just sticks out like a sore thumb for the numbers not looking right, maybe there was a typo? Fourth, wither the completeness scores?

Some players took some HUGE tumbles in these updates. And then some players we've never discussed before jumped up towards the tops of their positions. Kind of underscores that this is still quite volatile.
   178. theorioleway Posted: September 12, 2021 at 03:14 PM (#6039329)
Since the good doctor might be on internet sabbatical, and I'm not sure when he'll respond to this, let me provide a response in the interim until he sees this, since I've had some correspondence with him on the MLEs outside this platform. I'll differentiate between what I'm sure of vs. what I guess/suspect:
Sure of: The MLEs do NOT include the segregation adjustment
Guess: Marrero got removed because Dr. C didn't feel confident about the underlying stats to keep up the MLE
Sure of: The MLE version I downloaded for McNair has him at 72 WAR/39.5 WAA - so maybe something happened with your download?
Sure of: Dr. C doesn't think the completeness score is necessary. Quoting from him: "Most of the data is complete enough to give us a very strong idea of the about 95+% of cases I feel confident in our results.
Sure of/guess: I don't think it's quite as volatile as you make out. The changes come from a) getting more data on some players (Newt Allen maybe isn't the best defensive 2B ever by a significant margin) and b) Dr. C changing how he did the MLEs, particularly in regards to batting translation, to a more rigorous and data-adaptable approach (read about the details on his website). Therefore, I think we can be pretty confident on the MLEs and data. Furthermore, I hope to post an analysis of this at some point before the election, but his MLEs and the HOM results see pretty eye-to-eye. There's a couple HOMers who might not be voted for on a redo, and some others that would take their place/electorate would decide more NGLers are qualified than has been determined so far, but overall it's pretty consistent. Everyone really should thank Dr. C for his work in this area - it's phenomenal. And everyone should also thank him and Chris Cobb for doing such great work on the previous generation of MLEs with much less data that allowed the HOM to make such good decisions.
   179. theorioleway Posted: September 12, 2021 at 03:19 PM (#6039331)
Re 177 - I just looked and it looks like you're taking the WAR/WAA #s for Charlie Smith rather than McNair's, so your data set is probably correct.
   180. kcgard2 Posted: September 15, 2021 at 04:43 PM (#6039849)

I am quite familiar with the MLE calculations, and the new algorithms. I stand by the statement that it's still quite volatile. That's the nature of the business when a lot of seasons (as far as the data is concerned) are comprised of 50 PAs and such. Dr. C did overhaul a lot of the calculations behind the scenes, but the end result is as I pointed out that a lot of players took big hits and a lot of others jumped up. In other words, our understanding of where these players rank among their peers is still volatile. Dr. C could find another handful of things to change/improve about the methods in the upcoming months, and it could shake up the rankings again (Marvin Williams). Or more data comes into the picture, as it probably will (Newt Allen). The legends still mainly stayed the legends, but below that, plenty of volatility.

Thank you for verifying that they do not include the segregation adjustment. I just checked my MLE sheet again, it is indeed Hurley McNair in mine that looks off. Charlie Smith looks very similar at 40.2 WAR and 26.0 WAA (however, in less than 5000 projected PAs, he was apparently a god among men until injury?). If you open the sheet from his website right now, it shows the same as I am suggesting.

I am highly appreciative of the work Dr. C has done on MLEs. It's a massive amount of work.
   181. theorioleway Posted: September 18, 2021 at 12:01 AM (#6040234)
@kcgard2 - apologies if I made it seem like you weren't familiar with the MLEs or that you weren't appreciative. Too much haste/excitement in replying if it occurred. I clearly am more bullish on the MLEs than you are, but your point is fair. As for the MLE sheet, I checked the website again and I think there is a data issue with the all MLE career lines one - but if you look at the yearly MLEs one, that should be correct info, and will have the McNair and Smith lines I mentioned in my previous post. And yes, Smith was an incredible player - the only reason Smith isn't in the HOF/HOM is because he died at age 30 from yellow fever he picked up in Cuba.
   182. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 24, 2021 at 08:51 PM (#6041538)
I've done a lot of research and thinking this year, and I wanted to talk about it a little because I think my ballot may be somewhat different than previous years'.

The areas I've been focusing on have some significant effects on my perceptions.
A) I've revamped my MLES, which you can find at The Hall of Miller and Eric.
B) I've looked deeply into the effects that segregation had on players' value on an annual basis. You can find my work therein at the HoME as well. Long story short, segregation created an inflation of all players' stats by about 10 runs above average per annum (specifically per 600 PA + pitching outs). In the Integration era, which I define as 1947-1963, this effect slowly tapered away. So the upshot is an adjustment for my numbers that is prorated based on playing time:
1871-1946: -10 Runs Above Average
1947-1963: Tapering from -9ish RAA to under -1 RAA in 1963
1964-now: No adjustment required

As you'd likely predict, this has a significant impact on my evaluations. A player whose career took place prior to Jackie and who ended up with 10,000 PA is going to lose about 17 WAA and WAR (because WAA plus repWAR = WAR). Actually pitchers get hit harder. A pitcher with 300 innings and 100 PA is going to lose 14 RAA and about 1.4 WAA and WAR. Therefore pitchers, especially as we go deeper into history, will lose more than hitters. I'm still looking into the implementation for pitchers because some of the results feel awkward. So what's below is a tad tentative.

Based on those two very large and related undertakings, my rankings have shifted considerably toward expansion era players. Actually, a more accurate statement would be that they have shifted AWAY from pre-integration players, causing more modern players to bubble upward. Given what we know about the development of the game over time and the increasing caliber of play across generations---or to put it differently, the relative ease with which big stars could put up astounding seasonal and career records prior to Integration---I find this welcome. My new rankings do not appear to short any generations among hitters. Among pitchers, I'm not sure yet, but it's my next area of inquiry.

These then are the 15-20 players, in no particular order that I've zeroed in on for this year's election. I haven't ordered them yet, but my thinking is far enough along to share.
C: These first two look like strong candidates in my rankings. They got there because their stats from BP for both framing and game-handling are excellent. Schang has slid out of my top-25.
Tony Pena: 108 CHEWS+ (my sifting/ranking tool)/16th ranked catcher---Never voted for him.
Jim Sundberg: 108 / 17th---Never voted for him.
Region Garcia: 105 / 18th---Cuban backstop in the first fifteen years of the 20th century. Worth our time to look at him. Never voted for him.

John Olerud: 109 / 21st---He is a carbon copy of the already elected Will Clark, value-wise. Haven't voted for him.

Tony Phillips: 118 / 16th---In addition, I have done a little figuring that suggest his versatility might have bought his team's a handful of extra wins because his presence allowed the team to gain another platoon advantage in the lineup beyond the one his switch hitting created. Haven't voted for him before.

Buddy Bell: 129 / 11th---I'm not really on board with the 1970s third-baseman-glut worry. I mean there was basically one great MLB 3B before Eddie Mathews, Frank Baker, plus Collins and Groh and half of Deacon White to cover the first 75 years of white baseball. Adding Jud Wilson helps, and he's the very best before Mathews, though he might be half a 1B. Point: 3B is just an outlying position. I regularly vote for him.
David Wright: 114 / 16th---Newly eligible.

Alex Rodriguez: 162 / 2nd---OK, half a 3B, but whatever. I don't care about sports drugs, so he is my numero uno as the premier newly eligible candidate. We've elected every SS down to my #24, Bert Campaneris, so no one else needs attention here. Art Fletcher is now on the in/out line, and Joe Tinker fell further yet.

LF: Probably the hitting position with the biggest shakeup as Magee, Sheckard, Veach, Clarke, Goslin, Burkett, Delahanty, Keller, Kiner, Wheat, Medwick, and Kelley all tumbled, some out of my top-25. The position is weaker than I'd figure, much more so than RF. Both these guys are stealthy candidates since they were not flashy guys and because they get a lot of mileage from fielding value.
Roy White: 120 / 10th---May have voted for him once?
Jose Cruz: 113 / 12th---See Davis comment below. I feel very diffident about him. I'm responding in part to his ranking, but his underlying factors for me are weak compared to CF and RF. Have never voted for him or talked him up that I can recall.

Willie Davis: 109 / 18th---To demonstrate how weak LF is for me, Cruz as noted ranks 12th there thanks to a 38 WAR7 and 60 career. Davis ranks 18th in CF with a 39/62 split. I don't THINK I've voted for him before.

Heavy Johnson: 120 / 10th---There is a caveat that Johnson's career is, and will never be, fully documented. But he hit the tar out of the ball. What we have is so good, that even if we discovered additional info for him that wasn't quite as rosy, he would still end up highly ranked in RF. Never gotten my vote.
Sammy Sosa: 117 / 13th---Occasional votes
Bobby Bonds: 111 / 18th---I have voted for him before.

Kevin Appier: 122 / 35th---Low ballot votes if any
Andy Pettitte: 120 / 38th---Ditto
Chuck Finley: 119 / 41st---Triple ditto
Orel Hershiser: 119 / 42nd---And again.

As for returnees...
Abreu is my 21st RF with similar underlying credentials to W Davis too.
Bando slots in behind Wright as #17 at 3B.
Berkman is ranked 24 at 1B, three behind Olerud.
Schang has dropped to 27th in my rankings. I won't be voting for him any longer after years of being his most vocal supporter.
Willis is also now below the line for pitchers.
Taylor isn't as good a candidate for me as Norm Cash or Tony Perez. He was abutting the in/out line before and the segregation adjustment pushed him down.

So as you can see, pending potential pitching changes, I'm looking at a remarkably modern ballot (for me).
   183. kcgard2 Posted: September 25, 2021 at 01:23 PM (#6041615)
Dr C. very happy to see Appier showing up for you now :) Couple heat checks: Ventura, Ortiz, and Oswalt. I assume Ventura close behind Wright and Bando. But in particular, Oswalt. I agree with Appier and Pettitte ahead, and don't feel strongly about Finley ahead or behind. But curious how Hershiser is ahead for you (and others). I'm not real big on Hershiser's case, he really has 4 years of all-star level, and a career of lots of average-ness outside of it. Oswalt blows him away on rates, more WAA, same bWAR in lots fewer innings, less defense-dependent for effectiveness; just rather hear more thoughts about Hershiser. That really applies to anyone who votes for Orel, I personally just see a lot of SP candidates who look better, post-integration too, so I'd like to know what the hook is.

Roy White (and Jose Cruz) are big surprises to me. I have them roughly tied, so not surprised ordinally, but I have 13 corner outfielders ahead of White, one of which is Cruz. H Johnson/Sosa/Bonds/Abreu are four, you have them as RF, plus Colavito is five. I have Berkman and Dale Murphy as corner OF that's two more (that most people probably would not call corner OF). Giles technically goes to RF it looks like. That leaves only Bob Johnson, Luis Gonzalez, Jim Rice, and George Foster as unambiguous LF that I have ahead. I guess that explains it. 13 corner OF but only 4 attributed to LF. What's left of LF does seem weak, compared to other positions. In CF I pretty much agree with you, I have Lynn and Lemon negligibly ahead of Davis.

When it comes to segregation, the thing that makes me kinda sad is it will push Tinker further down and I usually have a spot for him end-ballot. It will also push Bob Johnson down, but I think I can recover some of that with minor league credit so not far enough down that he goes off ballot (without running numbers yet, I'm just eyeballing). It will also hurt Eddie Cicotte who has down-ballot for me the past three years. But I've been on an island voting for Cicotte anyway.
   184. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 28, 2021 at 12:06 PM (#6042124)

very happy to see Appier showing up for you now :)
Ape's always been above my line, but just below my ballot, so I'm glad he's percolating up.

Couple heat checks: Ventura, Ortiz, and Oswalt.
VENTURA: I've got, in rank order, Wright, Bando, Cey, Matt Williams, and Ventura. He'd have to skip over a few guys first.
ORTIZ: Well below my in/out line.
OSWALT: Oswalt is in the next bunch below Hershiser. It's totally possible I've flip-flopped who should be where, and they aren't THAT far apart. I don't have any great hook for Orel beyond excellent peak, stayed around a while, could hit.

Left Field
When I typed this email, I hadn't made a couple additional moves. I decided to put Musial and Rose in left field, which bumps everyone's rankings down a couple, which feels mo better. FYI: I also moved Allen to 3B, Deacon White to catcher, and Jim O'Rourke to centerfield.

Thanks for reminding me about checking in again on minor league credit for Johnson. Though, we're so full of 1930s guys, I'm not sure it matters. As for Cicotte, well, he's well my in/out line for which I am thankful.
   185. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 02, 2021 at 02:27 PM (#6042999)
I've been thinking more about pitching. I already split off the pre1893 pitchers into their own little group, from which, I would elect three into my personal Hall: Keene, Clarkson, Radbourne. Which would around 75-80 other pitchers to fill in. I've come to a place where I think I need to do something similar with 1893 to roughly expansion. So I'd have three buckets of pitchers:
1893 to about 1960
Expansion to present

These would probably have approximately 3, 35, and 40, give or take, to offer a sense of relative representation. We're I to lean in one direction across all history, it would probably be toward pitchers who primarily worked in the post1992 era. Guys from sillyball to now have a far more difficult job than their historical peers, particularly in the last ten years.
-The 1990s guys worked in a radically high scoring environment with a massive increase in homers
-Batters and teams have evolved into a TTO game plan which means that pitchers throw more pitches, require greater velocity and spin, and therefore more maximum effort and fewer to Christy Mathewson relating in Pitching in a Pinch how he could hold off on using his best heater until he really needed to
-Lineups are longer, i.e. have fewer easy outs in them such as Wally Gerber or Don Kessinger (as examples of player types from their time)
-Similarly, I believe the quality of play is dramatically higher than in Don Sutton's day or Don Newcobe's or Earl Whitehill, or Earl Hamilton's
-Just before the 1990s, players began lifting, training year round, and observing better nutrition, and this is, in my memory, usually related to hitters (Parrish, Downing were early adopters, Steve Carlton was too among pitchers), so that by the 1990s, a much bigger part of the league wasn't worried about being musclebound nor about having to report to ST, wear rubber suits, and run off those extra pounds---and, of course, players made more money and didn't have to get off-season jobs, allowing them to focus on fitness year round
-Trick/y pitches like the spitter, scroogie, and knuckler went away or diminished significantly in usage, replaced by conventional pitches like the slider and splitter, and the rise in popularity of each pitch (slider, splitter, cutter, circle change, higher spin curves) made it more difficult to be better than the league average the slider and splitter are often very damaging to the arm
-Velocity has increased dramatically, further winnowing down the types of pitchers in the game (I.e. Hard to find sinker/slider righties, and even lefties are require a better fastball than they used too), which is harder on the arm
-New ballparks built in the 1990s and beyond have as a whole probably tended to have dimensions more hitter friendly than several old parks (Commiskey, Forbes, Griffith, Ruth-era YS, the non-corner dimensions of the Polo Grounds, Braves Field, Cleveland Muni, Dodgers Stadium Astrodome, the Oakland Colessium, old Busch), and Coors, and Chase are at much higher altitude than anything built before the the 1990s
-Much higher rate of integration, particularly from Latin America
-Limits on height of mound weren't established until the 1960s.

A counter to this is that older pitchers saw the same lineup more times per game and more often during the season. Some didn't have the kind of advanced scouting we have now. They only played day games for many years, where it's easier to hit. They were required to pitch more innings, more often, including in highly leveraged relief moments between starts (mostly aces, of course).

Overall, however, once the 1893-1960 era has a reasonably representative number of pitchers, I don't think it's too wacky to lean toward the modern fellows.
   186. bachslunch Posted: October 02, 2021 at 04:27 PM (#6043017)
Revised ballot, minor changes. Reflects latest BBRef WAR changes, mostly affects off ballot players.

Disclosures: I'm keeping things simple and what I believe to be consistent. Am assuming that all the deserving Negro Leaguers are already enshrined, an opinion seemingly held by several in the electorate. Players are ranked by position first using BBRef WAR amounts for the AL, NL, and PL as the sole determining factor. After that, I collect the top non-pitcher candidates at each position and order them as I think best, scattering anywhere from one to three pitchers into each group. The result is a 15 player ballot and 27 ranked off-ballot players, encompassing 10 pitchers and 4 players from other positions. While these are not popular approaches:

-I do not credit or debit for war, injury, illness, postseason play, or minor league service.
-I treat pitchers from all periods equally, but only consider the NL, AL, and PL legitimate. When considering 19th and early 20th century pitchers, I remove NA, AA, UA, and FL totals, with final numbers being approximate.
-I do not give relievers special treatment.

Will boycott 1st year candidates who bet on games, threw games, impeded players of color, were caught using PEDs post-2005 (Manny, ARod), and likely used pre-2005 if it looks like they'll get an immediate free pass by BBWAA HoF voters (IRod, Ortiz, Pettitte).

1. Wally Schang. Best C WAR available.
2. Buddy Bell. Best WAR at 3B. Have decided to trust the metric for him.
3. Jim McCormick. Best WAR for starters not in by a mile, even when removing all his UA-earned credit. Short career, but played in NL except for one UA season.
4. Bobby Abreu. Best WAR among available RFs.
5. Bob Johnson. Best WAR among available LFs.
6. Willie Davis. Now the best CF available by WAR.
7. John Olerud. Best WAR for available 1B.
8. Tony Phillips. Best WAR for available 2B.
9. Luis Aparicio. Best WAR for available SS.
10. Vic Willis. Good pitcher WAR, best after McCormick.
11. Sammy Sosa. Second best RF WAR. Happy to give him some benefit of the doubt given his treatment by the BBWAA.
12. Sal Bando. Second best WAR at 3B.
13. Joe Tinker. Second best WAR at SS.
14. Gene Tenace. Second best WAR at C.
15. Jose Cruz. Second best WAR at LF.

16-42. Mickey Welch, Tommy John, Tony Perez, Chuck Knoblauch, Johnny Damon, Andy Pettitte, Bobby Bonds, Chet Lemon, Thurman Munson, Mark Buerhle, Lance Berkman, Bert Campaneris, Robin Ventura, Tony Lazzeri, Fred McGriff, Eddie Cicotte, Urban Shocker, Sam Rice, Norm Cash, Dave Bancroft, Chuck Finley, Ron Cey, Jorge Posada, Tim Hudson, Buddy Myer, Vada Pinson, Juan Gonzalez.

1B. Olerud, Perez, McGriff, Cash, Teixeira, Giambi
2B. Phillips, Knoblauch, Lazzeri, Myer, Evers, Childs
SS. Aparicio, Tinker, Campaneris, Bancroft, Fregosi, Rollins
3B. Bell, Bando, Ventura, Cey, Harrah, Elliott
LF. B. Johnson, J. Cruz, Berkman, J. Gonzalez, Downing, Veach
CF. W. Davis, Damon, Lemon, Pinson, Cedeno, Puckett
RF. Abreu, Sosa, Bonds, S. Rice, Hooper, J. Clark
C. Schang, Tenace, Munson, Posada, Kendall, D. Porter
P. McCormick, Willis, M. Welch, John, Pettitte, Buehrle, Cicotte, Shocker, Finley, Hudson, Tanana, Whitney, Hershiser, Uhle, J. Powell.

All required disclosure players are on ballot or within top 40 except Ben Taylor; am accepting the idea that there are no viable NeL candidates left. None of the newcomers make my ballot, as I'm boycotting Alex Rodriguez (who would otherwise have been ranked #1) and Ortiz (who would have been a few notches off ballot and otherwise would have ranked second as a 1B).

If no further adjusted ballot is forthcoming, consider this version final -- and please post it to the appropriate thread if I'm not able to do so.
   187. Jaack Posted: October 02, 2021 at 09:27 PM (#6043133)
Nice to see some pitching discussion as I’m just finishing up this year’s revisions to pitchers.

I’m not sure I necessarily agree with the notion of treating the 1893-1960 cohort as a separate unit from the 1960- cohort as most of the changes are pretty gradual. There isn’t really a cataclysmic shift like there is in 1893. That being said, I think that Dr. C’s numbers are just about spot on for how era representation should look. Our numbers aren’t too bad – by my count we have 6 pre-1893ers, 39 pre-expansion guys, and 34 modern guys. We are probably over on the pre-1893 cohort, doing adequately on the pre-expansion group, and perhaps in need of a little fluffing with modern guys.

My top ten pitchers at the moment are:
Tommy John
Babe Adams
Andy Pettitte
Don Newcombe
Mickey Lolich
Roy Oswalt
Ron Guidry
Orel Hershiser
Tim Hudson
Dwight Gooden

That’s an 8:2 ratio for post-expansion guys, although the two pre-expansion guys rate are both in the top four, but both are guys with missing seasons, so it’s more understandible why there has been less support for them. Right now I have everyone down to Guidry on my ballot, but I haven’t worked much on my position player revisions.

Since there was some discussion on Hershiser, I’ll say he is becoming a more interesting candidate for me – there are a lot of pieces to juggle, but it comes together quite nicely. One big thing for me is his postseason performances, specifically 1988 and 1995. The former is a pretty typical Cy Young year without considering postseason play (at least on it’s statistical merits) but with postseason consideration it stands out a fair bit more. In 1995, a stellar postseason turns a solid year into an All-Starish one. That, plus his solid bat helps fill out a pretty solid looking career – he’s one of the few borderline guys left to have both a legitimate peak and some sort of volume to their career. That puts him into serious consideration for me.

I also want to note Cliff Lee, who doesn’t quite make my top ten, but is similar enough to the elected Santana and the popular Oswalt that he deserves a little more consideration. He has a bit of an Ed Walsh sort of career – solid claim as the best pitcher in baseball over a six year stretch, but very little outside of that worth noting.
   188. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 03, 2021 at 12:16 PM (#6043222)
I’m not sure I necessarily agree with the notion of treating the 1893-1960 cohort as a separate unit from the 1960- cohort as most of the changes are pretty gradual. There isn’t really a cataclysmic shift like there is in 1893.

Jaack, there is a cataclysmic shift: integration! According to my research the Runs Above Average of players prior to integration were inflated by 10 runs per 600 PA+pitching outs. Which means that in a full season, every MLB and Negro Leagues player prior to integration loses about 1 Win Above Average (and, therefore, one WAR) per full season. More for pitchers with high innings totals. That is probably as big an effect-size as you will ever find.

More information on my research:
   189. kcgard2 Posted: October 03, 2021 at 01:01 PM (#6043232)
Also not sure I'd pick 1960 as a hard cutoff, more likely for me to pick 1970. The mound was lowered in 1969, strike zone was shrunk in 1969, four expansion teams in 1969, DH adopted in 1973, multi-use astroturf stadiums start appearing around 1970, steroids start to become adopted around the 70s (really pick up in the mid-late 80s and forward). That's a lot more hard changes to the pitching landscape circa 1970 than 1960. Steroids was one of the gradual shifts, among others that Dr. C mentions culminating in the current pitching landscape. IMO, there's a steady ramp up in pitching difficulty starting 1969 through current, with a few blips of alleviation. The decades themselves make pretty clean units of difficulty I think, except maybe 1995-2005 should count as one unit with a 5-year buffer/transition on each side (Joint Drug agreement happened in 2006, Mitchell report 2007, making 2005 the last get-out-of-jail-free year for the steroid era, 2006-2010 the ramp-down, 1990-1994 the major ramp-up), then back to decades again.

70s: mound lowered, DH adopted, astroturf, steroids/weightlifting start to gain a following.
80s: no-hit up-the-middle players start to disappear, steroids gain momentum.
90-94: steroids ramp up, weightlifting ubiquitous, ballparks start getting smaller, Coors.
95-05: steroids explode, ballparks continue smaller-ness, Chase, strike zone starts tightening, TTO becomes widely adopted major analytics focus, pitch counts become near-gospel, true no-hit players are virtually extinct, video review of at-bats (in-game) becomes prevalent.
06-10: steroids ramp down, strike zone tightening continues, analytics continues pressure on pitchers (times through order effect, RP v SP effectiveness, time between pitches + max effort, etc.), bunting and other bad strategies by offense that helped pitchers disappear. Miniscule upside: astroturf is gone.
10s: analytics pressure continues, strike zone and pitch count tightening continue, TTO continues to lessen value of defense, creating more selection for position players via offense, velocity is no longer sufficient for success as all hitters at this point are inured and have been selected for their ability to handle it. BUT shifting becomes en vogue, biomechanics, pitch tunnels, and spin rates (illegal substances) become understood, giving a good deal of leverage back to pitchers in this era.
20s: illegal substance crackdown, 3-batter rule, roster restriction on pitchers, [mound moved back?, pitch clock?, universal DH?]. Any changes that happen here will work against pitchers (unless they build a bunch of new Petco style ballparks, but they won't).

Jaack, your list of best available pitchers has good overlap with mine. I also like Mark Buehrle, Sam McDowell, Chuck Finley, and Wilbur Wood as others for you to consider :) Jim Kaat would also look better if we ignore his cups of coffee at 20-21, and then his very lengthy end-of-career from 38-44. These seasons remove ~5 WAR from his career, but he has such a weird career to judge. 25 year career of which 6 are good to great, and then 19 that are average to very bad. 4500 IP at above average overall rate, 16 GGs, 283 wins...and 45 WAR. OK, Kaat tangent over. Edit: forgot to mention that Kaat also has 71 fWAR. I don't like the mental gymnastics of trying to figure out his career! FWIW I have him just ahead of Guidry. Koosman is another one kind of in this mold.
   190. Jaack Posted: October 03, 2021 at 05:24 PM (#6043315)
Jaack, there is a cataclysmic shift: integration! According to my research the Runs Above Average of players prior to integration were inflated by 10 runs per 600 PA+pitching outs. Which means that in a full season, every MLB and Negro Leagues player prior to integration loses about 1 Win Above Average (and, therefore, one WAR) per full season. More for pitchers with high innings totals. That is probably as big an effect-size as you will ever find.

I mean, it is indisputably a huge shift, but it’s not a position altering shift a la the 1893 rule changes. Someone who started pitching in segregated ball did not have to change much of anything throughout the process of integration. Early Wynn and Bob Gibson were fundamentally playing the same position, even if their level of competition was different. The same can’t exactly be said for the 1880s crowd and pitchers after the mound shift. Furthermore, it’s immediate in 1893 – strike out rates plummet and BABIP sky-rockets immediately. Integration is a much slower burn, and while it’s certainly an extremely important one, it's effect is more in line with a number of gradual changes that have happened.

Jaack, your list of best available pitchers has good overlap with mine. I also like Mark Buehrle, Sam McDowell, Chuck Finley, and Wilbur Wood as others for you to consider :) Jim Kaat would also look better if we ignore his cups of coffee at 20-21, and then his very lengthy end-of-career from 38-44. These seasons remove ~5 WAR from his career, but he has such a weird career to judge. 25 year career of which 6 are good to great, and then 19 that are average to very bad. 4500 IP at above average overall rate, 16 GGs, 283 wins...and 45 WAR. OK, Kaat tangent over. Edit: forgot to mention that Kaat also has 71 fWAR. I don't like the mental gymnastics of trying to figure out his career! FWIW I have him just ahead of Guidry. Koosman is another one kind of in this mold.

Definitely an interesting group of pitchers here worth discussing.

I used to be pretty high on McDowell – he is quite similar to Johan Santana or Bret Saberhagen. Two things that have moved him down some for me. First is his poor bat, which makes a pretty big dent in his short career. It’s a particularly big deal in his 1970 season as it turns a stellar season into just a pretty solid one – he was just awful hitting that year. The other issue is that he doesn’t notably poorly by REW compared to his basic RA, which implies that he was leaving a lot of runners on base for his relievers to clean up.

Wilbur Wood I think is someone who had really good fortune in his two biggest years – by bWAR, 1971 and 1972 are the sort of years that can single handedly put a guy in the HoM conversation. But his peripherals don’t look qutie as good, and again, his REW is much more in line with those. They are still really good years – my combined system rates out 1971 at 8.1 WAR. But it’s not enough of a peak for a guy with so much nothingness outside of it.

Buehrle and Finley look like the exact same pitcher to me. Steve Rogers and Larry Jackson are also quite simiilar – twelve really nice years, but lacking both a big peak year or an extended tail. Interesting little group of guys, tough to compare to peak-oriented guys like Gooden and Guidry. But for now, I think they are strictly outclassed by John and Pettitte, who have more bulk, but no less quality, and the trio of Lolich, Hudson, and Hershiser, who have similar career lengths, but a bit more of a defined peak.

I’d rate them as

Jackson has the most All-Starish seasons, while Buehrle looks the best relative to his peers.

Lastly, Kaat really is a sort of a conundrum – If you just look at that 1961-1976 stretch, he looks a fair bit like Buehrle and Finley and friends, and everything outside of that stretch adds absolutely nothing. But the total volume makes him feel more like Tommy John than he actually is. He's also someone who does pretty poorly by REW - even worse than bWAR. I've had him close to ballot in the past, but he's been moving down over the years for me - just too many questions.
   191. kcgard2 Posted: October 04, 2021 at 10:23 AM (#6043485)
Good discussion, Jaack. Your comment made me realize I hadn't ranked Lolich, somehow. I think I saw his 104 ERA+, 48 bWAR and 16 WAA and decided he wasn't a serious candidate when I set out creating my big ol spreadsheet, and never revisited. But now I have him ranked #21 overall for available players. It's another weird case. His (earned) run prevention over his career was essentially average, that's an awfully tough sell for HOM, and the bWAR numbers are underwhelming for sure. But he has a couple strong peak seasons, good at preventing unearned runs, and fWAR likes him a lot better. #21 doesn't feel exactly right, but maybe it is. It's one spot below McDowell in my ranking, FWIW. I think one of the reasons it doesn't feel right: on the surface his career looks like a really good comp for Bobo Newsom. Line up their seasons, best to worst, look at bWAR or bWAA, total innings very close, ERA+ very close...they look a lot alike. And I have Newsom #94. The difference is driven by what fWAR thinks of them. Of course Newsom played in an environment where league walks and strikeouts were basically equal, and he only outperformed that a little; Lolich outperformed his league environment on these factors by a better margin but still maybe what I'd call just moderately. That doesn't feel worthy of the difference between 21 and 94. Hmm, I'll have to think about this one further. Lolich's WAA values by either bWAR or fWAR are also pretty weak for someone vying in the top 20 available guys...just another weird case.

Jackson is in my pHOM so I agree he's in this class too. Part of Jackson's entry was timing, he was available during one of those long dry stretches for HOM, but at the end of the day not an overly weak inductee. Currently have him ranked #48, in the clump of guys we've basically listed. John and Pettitte are basically the best available SP available IMO as well, though I have Appier one spot ahead of Pettitte. In fact all three are ranked next to each other.

I guess all the obvious SP candidates are in, and we're debating over the interesting but just missing something candidates. Well, I think John is clearly qualified, but voters say he's missing the peak. That's why he's still around.
   192. Jaack Posted: October 04, 2021 at 10:30 PM (#6043630)
I think the key with Lolich is figuring out what to do with his career up until 1968. bWAR seems to think he was getting a lot of defensive help, particularly relative to the second half of his career. While his outfield was pretty good, as a strikeout pitcher, it would matter less. Furthermore, comparing his BABIPs to his teammates, it looks like Denny McClain and Earl Wilson were bigger beneficiaries of the Tigers’ gloves. Since bWAR’s defensive adjustment looks at what fielders did across the whole season and then prorates their performance to each pitcher, it won’t pick up when one pitcher gets a uniquely good/bad defensive performance behind them (2018 Aaron Nola is probably the most notorious example of this).

If Lolilch was a mostly average pitcher for that stretch, he really doesn’t have a whole lot of a case, but if he was a solid number two/borderline ace for that period, he has a really solid case. Whenever I dig deeper into Lolich, I come away thinking that the latter is true, which is why he’s stuck around on my ballot since I started voting.
   193. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 11, 2021 at 05:32 PM (#6045540)
Lolich has a nice peak from 1969-1972, and you can toss in the '68 Series if you'd like. Before and after, it's 2400 innings of league average pitching. I have him (adjusting for era workloads) equivalent to Orel Hershisher and about the 15th-best pitcher available.
   194. kcgard2 Posted: October 23, 2021 at 03:08 PM (#6048560)
I've made a bunch of adjustments to my ranking method and also updated my big old spreadsheet of candidates with the latest bbref WAR values. I'll try to be brief on my updates:

- Reduce the impact of extreme outlier seasons. My previous wWAR formula broke when it saw WAR values of 13+. A single 16 WAR season could get a player to the ballot even if he had literally no other career with it. This really applies to the pre-modern pitchers, because I don't think anyone outside of them has 16+ WAR seasons. However, 10 or 11+ WAR seasons still start to warp a player's score kind of heavily if not break anything. Think Norm Cash or Dwight Gooden - they had other good seasons too but a single 11 WAR season can put them on par with guys who had rather typical 40 WAR careers and the like. I didn't like how my previous version handled extreme WAR seasons so I fixed it.
- Systematically handle war, minor league, and NgL credit. Previously these were things I used to move players around within tiers, but now they are built into the metric, individualized for each player.
- Systematically handle era representation. Pre-modern and 19th century pitchers get an era + position adjustment. Again this was something I used basically as a tiebreaker previously, but is now built in. My previous approach was too lenient. For now, this is really kind of standing in for a segregation adjustment, which I may do more rigorously in the future.
- Add a component for production per playing time unit. This is a two-part adjustment, one for WAA and one for wWAR. My motivation: two players have 55 WAR 25 WAA careers, one in 8000 PAs, one in 10,000 PAs. Let's assume their wWAR and other components that go in are all equal, they would have had identical scores before, now the 8000 PA player will score slightly higher. That's the wWAR part. Now consider a different comparison. Two players both have 30 WAA for their careers, one in 6500 PAs, one in 11500 PAs. In this case, I actually consider the second more impressive, because the second player had bulky, extended early-age and decline-phase portions of his career that tend to deflate WAA, while the first probably played through the bulk of his prime and little or nothing else. So I include an accounting for very short or very long careers in the WAA component. I could handle this in a more case-by-case manner but it would involve a lot of time for a minimal change, so I'm content with the general career-length approach.
- Predict fWAA, then average with bWAA, since I'm already using both versions of WAR. Previously, I was just using bWAA since it was available.

I think that's all the adjustments. Here's the updated ranking:

1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Sal Bando
3. Buddy Bell
4. Bobby Abreu
5. Tommy John
6. Bobby Bonds - up
7. Andy Pettitte - up
8. Lance Berkman
9. Roy Oswalt - up
10. Sammy Sosa - down
11. Robin Venura - up
12. Brian Giles - up
13. Kevin Appier - down :(
14. Bob Johnson - down
15. Chuck Finley - up

16. Ron Cey
17. John Olerud
18. Chet Lemon
19. David Wright
20. Heavy Johnson

Consistent 5-7 WAR guys tended to move up, guys that relied on a few big years mixed with above average tended to move down.

BTW, for those who may not have noticed or incorporated updated WAR from bbref, I'll call out a few of the bigger movers among the eligibles. The movers really tended to be WWII era guys. Also, "big" movers tends to mean 2-3 WAR, so it's not that big in the scheme of things. However, 2-3 WAR in the range of players we're talking about moved guys 30+ spots in my rankings sometimes.

Phil Rizzuto ↑
Chuck Klein ↑
Chief Bender ↑
Earle Combs ↑
Heinie Manush ↑
Sam Rice ↑
Tommy Henrich ↑

Vic Willis ↓
Tony Lazzeri ↓
Babe Herman ↓
   195. Jaack Posted: October 26, 2021 at 10:47 PM (#6049276)
I’m in the final phases of my system updates for the year, and getting pretty close to locked in on most of the guys here. Not doing my full write up yet, but just sharing where I am for now.

1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Lance Berkman
3. Tommy John
4. Babe Adams
5. Andy Pettitte
6. Don Newcombe
7. Jim Sundberg
8. Mickey Lolich
9. Bob Johnson
10. Roy Oswalt
11. David Wright
12. Ron Guidry
13. Orel Hershiser
14. Bert Campaneris
15. Bobby Bonds

16. Tim Hudson
17. Kiki Cuyler
18. David Ortiz
19. Robin Ventura
20. Dwight Gooden
21. Tommy Leach
22. Burleigh Grimes
23. Willie Davis
24. George Uhle
25. Joe Tinker

Most of these guys are returning to my ballot from last year, but a decent bit of shuffling in the middle sections of my ballot. Big movers up are Pettitte, Guidry, and Hershiser. Along with Lolich, they all seem to have one or two Cy Young-caliber seasons, and then like a decade of above average pitching, which seems to be my preference now.

Wright and Ortiz are both pretty borderline newcomers, with Ortiz needing a ton of credit for contextual hitting to get this high. But it’s a much better showing than I expected. After those two and A-Rod, the highest ranking newcomer for me is Jake Peavy at 196.

I’m not incorporating too much of a debit for player in segregated ball, but the little bit I do have does seem to knock down some of the older guys. Adams benefitted from other changes, so he doesn't fall, and Johnson doesn't fall too far either. Cuyler falls of my ballot for this cycle – I already had some questions about the quality of his opposition anyway, but he's still a reasonable choice for me. Tinker also falls down quite a bit, just outside where I'm seriously considering guys for my ballot.

Based on the new Negro League MLEs courtesy of Dr. C, Heavy Johnson and Hurley McNair look to be contenders. I always play conservatively when moving guys up on MLEs at first – it’s a work in progress and I don’t want to vote for a Newt Allen only to see him fall off a cliff with a bit of new data. Johnson looks particularly strong, and could make my ballot next year if there’s no new damaging data uncovered there. McNair is a top 30 guy, kind of looks like Kiki Cuyler, but with more uncertainty.

As for the required disclosures not on my ballot:
37. Buddy Bell
44. Wally Schang
52. Sammy Sosa
62. Bobby Abreu
63. Sal Bando
70. Vic Willis
77. Ben Taylor
   196. DL from MN Posted: October 27, 2021 at 09:31 AM (#6049349)
4) Dude, what’s up with John Beckwith and Heavy Johnson?

I wouldn’t die on the Heavy Johnson hill. We will never have information for the first half-dozen years of his career. The last several years he appears to have split between midwestern semipro teams and brief appearances in the Negro Leagues, and we have precious little information on him. On the other hand, dude could really hit. Beckwith, however, leaves a longer paper trail. His 168 OPS+ in the Negro Leagues Database trails Oscar Charleston by just five points. It looks a lot like the first half of Oscar’s career: brilliant. On the other hand, his thirties occurred during the peak depression years when leagues and teams folded or moved to barnstorming arrangements. We lose a lot of the scent after 1931. But what we do have shows that he earned the nickname “Boom Boom.” He didn’t draw lots of walks but let the power do the talking. The figures I’ve presented for him above should be taken seriously as indicators that he could rake. Curiously, my recent changes to fielding play up for him because while he has awful fielding stats, they come in a somewhat small sample, which my new routine, therefore, dampens down. If enough new fielding data came to light, he could lose some overall value if his glove still looks awful.

Yeah, I'm guessing that Heavy Johnson was a poor fielder. He played mostly corner outfield and 1B and was below average there even though those positions were pretty weak in the NGL. He was called "Heavy" because of his weight which means he was probably pretty slow. His reputation for fielding was "unpolished" according to Riley.

I don't know if he was Greg Luzinski bad but the MLE's are almost certainly overselling his defense.
   197. Jaack Posted: October 29, 2021 at 12:24 AM (#6049794)
I agree that Johnson was more than likely a pretty poor fielder. But if the bat is as good as the MLEs look, he has a lot of room for error.

Was he Greg Luzinski/Adam Dunn bad? Then he's a fringe/borderline. Top 50, but not much better. I'd have him in a similar place to Jason Giambi.
Was he at the Harry Heilmann/Ken Singleton level of defense? Then he's probably electable. Not overwhelmingly so, but he'd fit in around the middle of the ballot for me, 8-10 range.

For now, I rate his defense at the Heilmann/Singleton level, while also applying a temporary penalty to wait for a little more info. If everything stays steady, he'll be in ballot consideration for me in the future.
   198. Chris Cobb Posted: October 29, 2021 at 10:42 PM (#6049997)
My ballot for 2022 is rounding into shape, so I thought I'd add my prelim to the others that have been recently shared.

My approach is to rank all players first against their contemporaries, grouping players by decade-by-decade cohorts. For each decade, I set a "soft" quota of Hall of Merit slots based on the number of major-league equivalent teams playing during that decade: the quota sets a soft in-out line for that decade. Within the decade, I compare players on a measure that combines career value, career value above average, and peak quality as measured by the player's highest WAR rate over a period of five consecutive seasons or more. For pitchers, I use BWAR only; for position players, I average BWAR and FWAR and include a fielding adjustment using DRA. Once I have the players ranked for a given decade, I give them a rank number, which I pro-rate to a 30-point scale, with the in-out line falling at 30. So if a decade has a quota of 20 HoM slots, I pro-rate the ranking by multiplying it by 30 and dividing by 20. The tenth-best player in such a decade would be treated as equal to the 15th-best player in a decade with a quota of 30 HoM slots. All the eligible players who are "above the line" become, more or less, the consideration set for the ballot. I start by putting them in order by their in-decade ranks, pro-rated, and then I adjust from there. I like this approach because it is fair to all eras well and it assesses players' values primarily within the context of their own era, which avoids the problem of trying to make direct comparisons between players who were playing under vastly different conditions. (I take Dr. Chaleeko's move toward this sort of approach for pitchers as validation of this approach.) Although I think Dr. Chaleeko's calculated adjustment for segregation is an important tool for direct cross-period comparisons, there isn't a role for it in my own system, and I would have concerns about applying it rigidly to all periods. It seems more appropriate as a rule of thumb for making broad distinctions between periods.

From a decade-by-decade perspective, I see the HoM as having elected an “above quota” number of HoMers from every decade prior to 1970 except for three. The 1910s is three under quota; the 1860s and 1950s are exactly at quota. Overall, the first 110 years of the game have 17 more electees than the quota system proposes as being about right. The four highest-offense decades—1880, 1890, 1920, 1930—have 16 or the 20 overages, with 1910 compensating by being three under. Despite the perhaps excessive representation from this era, my system identifies seven players from 1860 to 1969 who are at or above the in-out line but have not been elected to the Hall of Merit:

1880s: Ned Williamson
1900s: Vic Willis
1910s: Art Fletcher, Ben Taylor, Babe Adams
1940s: Bucky Walters, Johnny Pesky

From the 1970s to the 2000s, on the other hand, no decade has yet reached its quota, although we have nearly gotten down to the players at the in-out line. The 1970s decade is 1.5 short, the 1980s is 1 short, the 1990s is 4 short, and the 2000s is 8 short (not counting the portion of its quota that hasn’t been activated yet because some candidates from this decade meeting HoM standards are not yet eligible, so they don't have a claim on current HoM slots). These four decades are 14.5 spots under quota, total. My system identifies 17 eligible players at or above the in-out line for those decades:

1970s: Bobby Bonds, Sal Bando, Thurman Munson
1980s: Buddy Bell, Orel Hershiser
1990s: Kevin Appier, Sammy Sosa, Chuck Finley, John Olerud
2000s: Alex Rodriguez, Bobby Abreu, Tim Hudson, Brian Giles, Jason Giambi, Lance Berkman, Mark Buerhle, Jorge Posada

These 24 players, 7 from the first century of professional baseball and 17 from 1970-2009, form the primary consideration set for the 15 ballot spots.

<u>The Ballot</u>

1. Alex Rodriguez. Newly eligible. (2000s. In-Decade Scaled Rank: 1.5). An All-Time Great, vastly superior to any other player eligible this year. Ranks behind Barry Bonds and ahead of Randy Johnson among his contemporaries. I don’t have an all-time ranking from #1 down, but Rodriguez would be somewhere between #9 and #13, I think.
2. Bobby Abreu #6 in 2021. (2000s. In-Decade Scaled Rank: 22.5). Complete player with an extended prime but without an outstanding peak. Looks likely to be elected in 2022. Moves up a bit relative to his contemporaries, so he jumps a few spots on the ballot.
3. Buddy Bell #3 in 2021. (1980s. In-Decade Scaled Rank: 25.3). A review of the apportionment of positional credit in bWAR and fWAR leads me to conclude that 3rd base is a little bit overvalued defensively in the 1970s and 1980s, so Bell drops slightly in my rankings, but he’s still clearly among the very best position players on the board. Still, I don’t believe that docking Bell because we have elected a lot of third basement from his period is justified. This year, I did an in-depth study of outstanding hitters in the major leagues from 1871-2021. This study has reinforced for me the conclusion that the basis of player value is highly contextual. As the playing conditions of the game change, the types of players who are optimally positioned to accrue value under those conditions also changes. As types of players tend to be grouped together by position, we should expect to see the outstanding players cluster at certain positions in each period, varying with the playing conditions, rather than being distributed evenly. First base is the obvious case, with elected first-basemen clustering in the high-offense eras that enable heavy hitters (in both senses of “heavy”) to accrue a larger share of offensive value. Three periods, the 1880s-90s, 1930s, 1990-2010 have produced a large majority of first basemen. In the 1960s-1980s, the interrelated factors of stadium design, style of play, and pitching rules suppressed the advantages enjoyed by the big first-basemen in high-scoring eras, while enabling some other players with well-above-average offensive skills to field a position on the high end of the defensive spectrum but not to move to the top of the spectrum at shortstop or catcher (with a few exceptions). As a result, the period of the late 1950s through the early 1990s was a golden era for third basemen, and we shouldn’t hesitate to elect them.
4. Kevin Appier #5 in 2021. (1990s. In-Decade Scaled Rank: 25.6). Very similar in value to the now-elected Santana, although the career shape and the pitching style are a little different. The 1994-95 strike takes a chunk out of his peak. Are voters adjusting for that?
5. Bobby Bonds #7 in 2021. (1970s. In-Decade Scaled Rank: 28.2). Complete player with a fine prime but short career. Reevaluating third basemen moved him up relative to his peers (Bando), and I see him as highly comparable to Abreu. At his best, Bonds was the better all-around player, very near the top of his league, but Abreu accomplished a bit more over his career. Looks increasingly likely to be elected. Bonds also gets a bit of a boost in the rankings for being a top hitter in a period in which it was very tough to accumulate hitting value.
6. Tim Hudson #9 in 2021. (2000s. In-Decade Scaled Rank 25.5). Hudson’s well-rounded game places him a bit above Mark Buerhle and Andy Pettitte in my pitcher rankings for 2000s decade, a bit behind Santana and the not-yet-eligible CC Sabathia.
7. Sammy Sosa #8 in 2021. (1990s. In-Decade Scaled Rank: 26.7). More of a one-dimensional player than Abreu and Bonds, but he did hit 609 home runs, and he was very good, if not great, at other aspects of the game as well, especially early in his career. I’ve lowered him a bit due to WPA considerations, but I think the significance of his low “clutch” score is overblown. I’ve looked closely at the top power hitters, and they almost always are negative by this measure, even ones who were also good contact hitters, while top contact hitters are almost invariably positive. I don’t think all that top power hitters were bad in the clutch, so I believe the WPA “clutch” score shows contact hitters adding relatively more value in high-leverage situations because they add relatively less value, compared to power hitters, in low-leverage situations. Sosa is also disadvantaged a bit in WPA assessments by not playing on many good teams, which reduced his leveraged opportunities. Yes, he is probably the weakest situational hitter of the game’s 500+ HR hitters (Jim Thome challenges him for that distinction), but he still had a great peak and merits election.
8. Brian Giles #12 in 2021. (2000s. In-Decade Scaled Rank 26.5). My system likes him a little bit better than Lance Berkman, who has been getting somewhat more attention from the electorate, because of Giles’ stronger consecutive peak and higher defensive value. I’m not sure why Giles is so far under the radar. Will he become the Bob Johnson of the 20-aughts?
9. Chuck Finley #11 in 2021. (1990s. In-Decade Scaled Rank 27.8). Frequently overlooked because he lacked a great consecutive peak, he scattered three great years across a very solid prime. In context, very comparable to Vic Willis, but from a decade that is not yet fully represented in the Hall of Merit. Also similar in many respects to Andy Pettitte, but his in-season durability was higher, so he put up significantly more seasonal value above average.
10. Ben Taylor #13 in 2021. (1910s. In-Decade scaled rank 26.8). Some uncertainties about his value remain that I’d like to see clarified sometime in sabermetric history, but among deadball-era first basemen, he’s pretty clearly the best after early George Sisler. Getting to borderline candidate status as a deadball first baseman is a considerable achievement in an era when the game was not friendly to players with his skill set. It’s on the basis of positional factors that I prefer him to Art Fletcher, although I support Fletcher’s eventual election as well.
11. Thurman Munson #14 in 2021. (1970s. In-Decade scaled rank 30.6). Top catcher in my rankings. Being a player from an under-represented position in a not-overrepresented era brings Munson onto my ballot.
12. Jason Giambi #16 in 2021 (2000s. In-Decade scaled rank 27.5). His batting peak was great, but not Frank-Thomas-great, so the fact that he was not good in other aspects of the game leaves him still some distance from election, though he may well make it eventually.
13. Mark Buerhle #21 in 2021 (2000s. In-Decade scaled rank 29.5). A personal favorite. I would love to see him elected, but as he’s just slightly above the all-time in-out line, it may be a long wait for him. He may get traction as his durability shows better. See my comment on Lance Berkman below for more on Buerhle’s placement.
14. Bucky Walters #15 in 2021. (1940s. In-Decade scaled rank 29.2). When I revisited the 1940s and 1950s in 2021, I found that pitchers were pretty thinly represented from the 1940s—the war appears to have been especially hard on them. Walters pitched through the war, had an excellent peak, and just enough value outside it (helped, like a surprising number of top pitchers from this period, by his hitting) to move over the historic in-out line. The HoM doesn’t need another player from the 1940s, but it’s not over-represented, either, so Walters is a slightly better choice than any of the half-dozen unelected, pre-integration pitchers sitting just above on the historic in-out line.
15. Sal Bando. #17 in 2021. (1970s. In-Decade scaled rank 29.4). Re-evaluation of third base replacement levels has dropped Bando a little bit from my highest placement for him, but he’s back on my ballot this year.

I'll put the off-ballot group in the next post.
   199. Chris Cobb Posted: October 29, 2021 at 10:45 PM (#6049999)
Off Ballot, but very close in value to on-ballot candidates

16. Lance Berkman #23 in 2021. (2000s. In-Decade scaled rank 28.5). He may deserve to rank higher, but there’s no shortage of first basemen/left fielders from the 1990s and 2000s. When I considered him vs. Mark Buerhle as the last player from the 2000s going onto the ballot, I realized that I consider Buerhle’s achievements to be more remarkable than Berkman’s, and so Buerhle goes on, and Berkman stays off until next year. If he happens to be elected without my support, I have no concern about him going into the HoM.
17. Orel Hershiser #18 in 2021. (1980s. In-Decade scaled rank 30). Grabbed the #15 spot in 2020, when I put him up over Chuck Finley in direct comparison. Last year, with a broader look at the pitchers on the borderline, I decided I had been undervaluing Finley a bit, so I dropped Hershiser slightly, and he remains just off the ballot for now.
18. John Olerud #19 in 2021. (1990s. In-Decade scaled rank 29.5). Very different player from Giambi, but the next first baseman in line after him. I agree with Dr. Chaleeko that he is a very similar (but slightly better) player than Will Clark. He ought to be elected eventually.
19. Jorge Posada #33 in 2021. (2000s. In-decade scaled rank 30.5). This decade, like many others, isn’t long on catchers, with only ½ of Ivan Rodriguez’s by time and ½ of Joe Mauer’s career (by position) likely to be elected. That argues for giving some preference to Posada, who is pretty much an exact match in the rankings for Thurman Munson, who is on the ballot. With catcher defensive assessments in flux, I’m a bit reluctant to push Posada’s candidacy until I understand better how the expanded catcher defense metrics may influence evaluations. Munson’s defensive reputation and available defensive stats are strong, so I am more comfortable supporting him than Posada at this point.
20. Bert Campaneris #20 in 2021. (1970s. In-Decade scaled rank 31.8). Re-evaluation of shortstop replacement levels brings Campaneris more firmly into contention for a ballot spot. Changes close most but not all of the distance between him and Bando/Munson, while moving past Cedeno, Perez, John, and Cey in the 1970s rankings.
21. Art Fletcher #10 in 2021. (1910s. In-Decade Scaled Rank 25.3). The relatively unknown Fletcher was an outstanding defensive shortstop and solid hitter in the depths of the slightly under-represented Deadball era, the only under-represented era prior to 1970. Considering that he’s flanked by strong shortstops in both the 1900s and 1920s, I feel that there’s less urgency to “plug the hole” in representation, and that I can’t really sustain an argument that Fletcher was a superior player to Ben Taylor, so positional considerations keep Taylor on the ballot while dropping Fletcher off. I’d kind of like to see him in the HoM, but it may take a decade of rebalancing between the 1970-2010 period before it makes sense to start adding pre-integration players again.
22. Robin Ventura #22 in 2021. (1990s. In-Decade scaled rank 30.6). Also slides down a bit with re-evaluation of third base. On the cusp of the all-time in-out line, but with no on-ballot presence, he seems unlikely to gain traction, but things change.

Off-Ballot, usually with a story

23. Phil Rizzuto #24 in 2021. (1940s. In-Decade scaled rank 31.6). Without the malaria year in 1946, he would probably rank above Bucky Walters.
24. Tony Phillips #25 in 2021. (1990s. In-Decade scaled rank 31.6). If elected, would be the second HoMer whom I classify as by position as UT. That designation fits him better than Pete Rose. He’s a player I want to research more. Loss of playing time (perhaps due to injury?) early in his career costs him significantly by damping the front end of his prime.
25. Ned Williamson #26 in 2021. (1880s. In-Decade scaled rank 26.9). Best third baseman of nineteenth century, but he was great during easiest time for players to dominate in the history of major-league baseball, and we’ve already taken more from this period than we should. Tragic early death likely fueled (as was his rapid decline) by alcohol addiction.
26. Vic Willis #27 in 2021. (1900s. In-Decade scaled rank 26.5). A bit above the borderline in a well-represented decade that was very favorable for pitchers. In a tight group with Waddell and McGinnity—my system sees him as a little behind both, but clearly better than the elected Brown. There’s some concern that he was less successful than his run-support should have enabled, but that conclusion from an earlier analytical era may not stand up to more informed scrutiny.
27. Urban Shocker #28 in 2021. (1920s. In-Decade scaled rank 27.1). If electorate of 15 years ago had been voting based on the current metrics, Shocker would probably have been elected, and Eppa Rixey would probably not have been elected. Now we have to deal with the fact that putting Shocker in would mean leaving out a deserving candidate from later eras. If Shocker hadn’t had a fatal heart condition and had lived to pitch longer, he’d have been elected easily, like Stan Coveleski. He was good! However, he also had a unusual competitive advantage in being allowed to throw a high-value pitch—the spitball—that was denied to most other pitchers. If he were elected, the ML pitchers from the 1920s would be 50% grand-fathered spitballers: Coveleski, Faber, and Shocker (the others being Alexander, Vance, and Rixey, as I divide the decades). I don’t think there would be anything wrong with that, but it’s a telling example of how significant even an apparently small competitive advantage can be in enabling some players to create more value than others.
28. Jim Fregosi #29 in 2021. (1960s. In-Decade scaled rank 31.5). Replacement level adjustment brings Fregosi into a low borderline position in my rankings for the first time. My system prefers him to Aparicio as the shortstop representative for the 1960s. Like Nomar Garciaparra 35 years later, he was on clear HoM trajectory until his body fell apart at age 29. It looks like Fregosi might have taken better care of himself, but being finished around 30 seems like a thing that happens to some top shortstops.
29. Don Newcombe #30 in 2021. (1950s. In-decade scaled rank 31.7). Lost a couple of big-league seasons at the beginning of his career to segregation that was rolling back only slowly; lost a couple of seasons to military service; may have lost the later part of his career to alcoholism (not unrelated to racism and possibly to military service). Needs minor-league credit and war credit to get here. Like Rizzuto, his first year back after his stint in the military was poor. Were there lingering physical/mental issues? If he’d returned the way Willie Mays returned, his case would be a lot stronger.
30. Nomar Garciaparra #31 in 2021. (2000s. In-decade scaled rank 32.5). Like Jim Fregosi, but in Nomar’s case he was undone mainly by injury. Their stories make me wonder if I should have a more peak-heavy system. Both were greater impact players in their time than a number of players who rank above them. Would they be better picks for that reason?
31. Babe Adams Not ranked 2021 by accidental omission. (1910s. In-decade scaled rank 30). Right on the in-out line from a weak decade, in which pitchers are already well represented. Having lost track of Adams last year, I am going to try to look more closely at him before the election.

All of the returning top 10 players except Andy Pettitte are in my top 31 and so are noted above, except Andy Pettitte, who is at 38:

38. Andy Pettitte (2000s. In-decade scaled rank 33.5). My system sees Pettitte as offering more bulk than brilliance in his career, so he is just below my in-out line. A couple of outstanding seasons, but generally he was a middle-of-rotation starter. He was a middle-of-rotation starter for a long time, so his career value is strong, but he lags significantly on peak measures. A factor here is his low seasonal innings-pitched totals. He and Mark Buerhle have similar career IP, and similar peak rates of effectiveness, but Buerhle was consistently an IP leader, while Pettitte hardly ever was. Thus, Buerhle’s prime was stronger. Those who give post-season credit rightly advantage Pettitte somewhat for that; I don’t, so that’s not a factor for him.

Newly eligible players besides ARod who do well enough to land among the rankings list that integrates players from all periods are

33. David Wright. Newly eligible. (2000s. In-decade scaled rank 31.5). Strong player, but injuries cut him short. A bit less peak than Garciaparra, whom I rank slightly higher, despite what the system shows.
53. David Ortiz. Newly eligible. (2000s. In-decade scaled rank 35.5). Some have suggested that the DH position adjustment in bWAR is too large, but if I treat Ortiz as a first baseman and factor in his below average defense at first, he ends up worse than he would with the DH position adjustment by about six wins. Rated only as a hitter, he’d fall between Jason Giambi and Lance Berkman.
62. Mark Teixeira. Newly eligible. (2000s. In-decade ranking 36.5) Very nice peak with an excellent combination of offensive and defensive skills, but he would need a couple more strong seasons to have a shot at election.

Jimmy Rollins doesn't quite make it into that group, but I thought he was worth a full work-up and a note:

Jimmy Rollins. Newly eligible. (2000s. Scaled in decade rank around 40). One of the better shortstops of the era. Well behind Arod, Jeter, and Garciaparra, the latter of whom has gotten almost no attention from the electorate, so Rollins won’t either. Very close in value to Miguel Tehada. DRA sees Rollins’ defense as terrible, but other systems see him as above average. Even with the positive defensive evaluation, he’s not near the ballot. Still, he’d be a much better choice than, say, Omar Vizquel . . .
   200. DL from MN Posted: October 30, 2021 at 09:47 AM (#6050042)
If he were elected, the ML pitchers from the 1920s would be 50% grand-fathered spitballers

Interesting. The NGL had Paige, Williams, Foster, Dihigo, Redding and Rogan. That group is more known for fastballs than spitballs.
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