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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Thursday, January 05, 2023

2024 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion

2024 Election (December 2023)—elect 4

Top 10 Returning Players
Buddy Bell, David Ortiz, Sal Bando, Tim Hudson, Tommy John, Bob Johnson, Thurman Munson, Kevin Appier, Jason Giambi, Phil Rizzuto

Newly Eligible Players
Adrian Beltre
Joe Mauer
Chase Utley
David Wright (was ruled eligible for us already)
Bartolo Colon
Matt Holliday
Adrian Gonzalez
Jose Bautista
Jose Reyes
Victor Martinez
James Shields

DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 10:46 AM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 10:59 AM (#6111968)
MMP scores for new candidates

Chase Utley 50.12
Adrian Beltre 28.24
Joe Mauer 27.07
David Wright 27.00
Jose Bautista 24.15
Adrian Gonzalez 10.24
Matt Holliday 7.94
Victor Martinez 2.04
Bartolo Colon 0.82
Jose Reyes 0.60
James Shields 0.23
   2. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 11:02 AM (#6111969)
Utley was MMP runner-up in 2008 and 2009, 3rd in 2006, 6th in 2007, 7th in 2005 and 28th in 2010

Beltre's best finish was 3rd in 2004. Mauer was 3rd in 2009.
   3. cookiedabookie Posted: January 05, 2023 at 12:31 PM (#6111984)
Added the new guys, here's my super early preliminary ballot for 2024:

1. Adrian Beltre, 3B, PHOM 2024
2. Bob Johnson, LF, PHOM 1963
3. Tim Hudson, SP, PHOM 2021
4. Chase Utley, 2B, PHOM 2024
5. Joe Mauer, C, PHOM 2024
6. Thurman Munson, C, PHOM 1985
7. Babe Adams, SP, PHOM 1965
8. Joe Tinker, SS, PHOM 1926
9. Roy Oswalt, SP, PHOM 2022
10. Dwight Gooden, SP, PHOM 2006
11. Mark Buehrle, SP, PHOM 2023
12. Buddy Bell, 3B, PHOM 1996
13. Kevin Appier, SP, PHOM 2012
14. David Ortiz, 1B, PHOM 2023
15. Jorge Posada, C, PHOM 2021
16. David Wright, 3B
17. David Wells, SP
18. Robin Ventura, 3B
19. Tommy John, SP, PHOM 1995
20. Urban Shocker, SP, PHOM 1937
21. Willie Davis, CF, PHOM 1987
22. Wally Schang, C, PHOM 1937
23. Luke Easter, 1B, PHOM 1972
24. Phil Rizzuto, SS, PHOM 1967
25. Heavy Johnson, RF, PHOM 1940
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: January 05, 2023 at 12:49 PM (#6111993)
I swear I don't have a tally of the perpetually last-second (if that) voters.

but can I make a gentle suggestion to whom it may concern? you have 12 months to do your next ballot. perhaps after 7 or 8 months or so, you could put a prelim together with a notation asking for it to become official if you don't have time to revise it.

that would be considerate of the rest of the electorate, and thus would be appreciated.
   5. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2023 at 12:49 PM (#6111994)
I am likely to be

1) Beltre
2) Mauer
3) Utley
everyone returning from last year's ballot
   6. Chris Cobb Posted: January 05, 2023 at 02:55 PM (#6112026)
I am of the

1) Beltre
2) Utley
3) Mauer
everybody returning from last year's ballot

school, but I see Utley and Mauer as fairly close. After electing three outfielders in 2023, I hope to see us elect four infielders in 2024!

I should also note that I see Matt Holliday as a serious candidate, above the all-time in-out line. He's at #29 among players from the 2010s, and he'll probably debut around #20 in my rankings.

David Wright is at about #35.

Jose Bautista is at about #40 (Pgh's screwed-up player development quite possibly kept him off of a HoM trajectory, although for some peak-oriented voters he might look like a ballotable player even so).

Bartolo Colon is in the #100-120 range, after a remarkable career.

   7. Jaack Posted: January 05, 2023 at 04:52 PM (#6112052)
Right now the top of my ballot looks like
1. Beltre
2. Utley
3. John
4. Mauer
5. Babe Adams

I agree with Chris Cobb that Holliday is someone worth considering - he's around 45 for me, very similar to Brian Giles who is getting a few votes. Haven't looked too deep at his situational stats, but a boost from those could get him close to ballot.

Colon and Bautista are fringier candidates for me, but definitely worth a deeper dive. Right now I have Colon higher, but Bautista is more likely to sneak into the back end of my top 100. Martinez and Gonzalez both make the very outer fringes of my consideration set - Martinez being one of the last five guys to make the initial cut for me.
   8. kcgard2 Posted: January 05, 2023 at 05:23 PM (#6112061)
This is a really strong debut class, at least I should say deep with quality candidates, though not containing multiple inner-circle guys.
   9. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 05, 2023 at 07:08 PM (#6112078)
Beltran, Berkman, and Bonds were elected, replaced by 3 newcomers.

1 Adrian Beltre

2 Chase Utley

3 Joe Mauer

4 George Scales - Eric to release new data in Q1 2023, 1 spot for backloggers in 2024, let's strongly consider "Tubby" if Eric's research is overwhelming.

5 Thurman Munson - peak catcher candidate I think is due.

6 David Ortiz - along with Giambi, the DH/1B penalty is a little strong for my blood, elevates these guys to upper half ballot types.

7 Tommy John - killed by RA/9, Kiko, FIP, clutch/postseason and kcgard reminds you he should be elected/reviewed closely.

8 Tim Hudson - Kiko's stat highlights his ability to be great/leverage his defenders.

9 Jason Giambi - while he gets less bonus than Ortiz from DH penalty being harsh, he has a better peak and clutch scores than Ortiz.

10 Bert Campaneris - B-R WAR is bearish, worthy by Baseball Gauge and Kiko's stat, was an excellent situation player relative to context neutral.

11 Urban Shocker - credit for WWI

12 Sal Bando - biting the bullet here, I had been holding on to Dan R's assessment and keeping him off ballot, but kcgard2's arguments were persuasive to not penalize 3B as much as Rosenheck, as well as Kiko's stat showing him as worthy.

13 Bobby Veach - along with Tinker, a DRA/Baseball Gauge darling, seems to have arm value that B-R isn't capturing too.

14 Jim Sundberg - advanced defensive metrics love this guy, his bat was good enough that he's ballot worthy.

15 Kevin Appier - too sledding with Orel Hershiser, Roy Oswalt, Dwight Gooden, and others for a last pitcher candidate.


Short:
Buddy Bell - Kiko's stat drops him from an elect me to off the radar, he was bubble or worse from Rosenheck's analysis. Esteban's comments from the 2023 ballot thread give additional pause:

"What holds me up on voting for Bell is that his best seasons are his age 27 to 32 seasons and all coincide with his run with the Rangers. These are driven by Rfield values that are all higher than his highest values in prior seasons with Cleveland and those values immediately drop once he leaves Texas (although that may also be related with age but in his age 33 split season where he leaves Texas he is 7 with Tx and -5 in Cincinnati). It could be he just was even better as a fielder while in Texas, but if this were offensive value one would think that a park effect may be in play. Until I reconcile this, I don’t feel comfortable putting him on my ballot yet."

I think Ron Cey is arguably the safest pick of 70s centric 3B candidates available, while Bando is ahead depending on how to interpret replacement levels.

Bob Johnson - HOMer for me, but close enough to the border he doesn't make the ballot, even with a bump for MLE credit, would have been elected YEARS ago had the latest WAR's been available, he was truly hurt by Win Shares as the stat du jour in the early days.

Phil Rizzuto - with war/malaria credit, he's borderline, similar to Johnny Pesky. Below Campaneris, Tinker, and Fletcher from backlog. Bancroft and Stephens in this neighborhood of what I'm seeing as borderline/out guys at this point.
   10. The Honorable Ardo Posted: January 05, 2023 at 07:55 PM (#6112085)
I'm not a contrarian - it's hard to imagine elevating anyone above the Beltre/Mauer/Utley trio. My favorites from long ago (Hilton Smith, Wally Schang, Adolfo Luque, and Luke Easter) will be 4-5-6-7.

David Wright is a serious candidate for me. He has an extended prime of nine seasons with a 139 OPS+ and roughly B-grade defense. Bando (an interesting comp) has an extended prime of 11 seasons with a 127 OPS+, greater in-season durability, and a similar defensive profile.

Who was the better left fielder from Oklahoma, Bob Johnson or Matt Holliday? I struggle to tell them apart. Personally, I think both fall just short of the Hall of Merit cutline.

Bartolo Colon started 552 games, tied for 30th all-time with Christy Mathewson. Just sayin'.
   11. Al Peterson Posted: January 05, 2023 at 10:52 PM (#6112102)
I've done some quick minor edits, checked some metrics along with added in the new eligibles. Here would be the "one day in" 2024 prelim HOM ballot.

1. Adrian Beltre (new)
2. Chase Utley (new)
3. Joe Mauer (new)
4. Bob Johnson (8 last year)
5. Tommy John (5)
6. Buddy Bell (11)
7. Sal Bando (15)
8. Phil Rizzuto (2)
9. Tony Mullane (6)
10. Willie Davis (32)
11. Ben Taylor (10)
12. Tommy Leach (4)
13. Tim Hudson (13)
14. Jack Clark (16)
15. Brian Giles (24)
16. Vic Willis (12)
17. John Olerud (18)
18. David Wright (14)
19. Mark Buerhle (19)
20. Urban Shocker (20)

I'd be in favor of expanding the ballot to 20 spots...not that it matters this year, we've got the 3 newcomers who should stroll in so only taking one from the backlog. Next group 21-30 looking to bust into ballot:

Mickey Welch (7), Luke Easter, David Ortiz, Kevin Appier, Tony Perez, Norm Cash, Fred McGriff, Nomar Garciaparra, Jorge Posada, Chuck Finley

Matt Holliday is an interesting other newbie...seems to be in the ranked 50-60 range.
   12. Chris Cobb Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:38 AM (#6112145)
Since the electorate seems to want to give heightened scrutiny to Buddy Bell's case, I'd like to take a look at the concern about Bell's fielding raised by Esteban Rivera and re-posted in post 9 above by Bleed the Freak. Here it is again:

"What holds me up on voting for Bell is that his best seasons are his age 27 to 32 seasons and all coincide with his run with the Rangers. These are driven by Rfield values that are all higher than his highest values in prior seasons with Cleveland and those values immediately drop once he leaves Texas (although that may also be related with age but in his age 33 split season where he leaves Texas he is 7 with Tx and -5 in Cincinnati). It could be he just was even better as a fielder while in Texas, but if this were offensive value one would think that a park effect may be in play. Until I reconcile this, I don’t feel comfortable putting him on my ballot yet."

I'd propose that a close look at the details of Bell's career and his fielding data largely explains Bell's career fielding trajectory without our having to posit some hidden park effect in Arlington Stadium. Let's look at the Cleveland/Texas transition first and then at the Texas/Cincinnati one.

In the Cleveland/Texas case, a close look at the numbers and rates reveals the difference between Bell's Cleveland and Texas numbers to be well within the ordinary range of variance for fielding. He was not a different player in Texas than he was in Cleveland, although he was somewhat better, as players are during their peak. What we find making the primary differences in his seasonal fielding values are less positional stability and injuries. Here are Bell's Cleveland years, with TZ seasonal fielding numbers from BBREF, with notes about what was happening in Bell's career:

Year - Rfield - Fielding Rate (per 135 g) - Notes
1972 - 8 - 7/39 - Bell played 3B in the minors, but was switched to OF, playing 123 games there vs. 6 at 3B. His seasonal rate in CF/RF was 7/season, so he was still an above average defensive outfielder, but we shouldn't expect a rookie playing out of position to match his peak fielding rates at his primary position. (He was brilliant, though in his small sample size at third.)

1973 - 12 - 10 - Bell is back at 3rd base full time and has an excellent season. Plays 154 g at 3B

1974 - 14 - 17 - Bell is brilliant at 3rd base full time, but misses four weeks due to a strained knee and plays only 116 g.

1975 - 1 - 1 - Bell has an off year. When he is offered the starting spot at 3rd base in the all star game when the elected starter, Graig Nettles, can't play due to injury, he declines, saying he doesn't deserve it.

1976 - 8 - 7 - Bell rebounds, and is well above average but not excellent at third.

1977 - 8 - 10/-7 - Bell is excellent at third base, with a rate of 10 runs/135 games, but he misses 20 games due to injury and also plays 11 games in left field, not very well, which sets his overall fielding totals back by a run. If he had played 154 games at 3rd base at a consistent level of quality, this would be a 13 rfield year for Bell.

1978 - 12 - 12 - Bell is again excellent at third base, plays 139 games.

To sum up, Bell's seasonal rates at third base in Cleveland are 39, 10, 17, 1, 7, 10, 12.
In Texas, Bell's season rates at third base are 29, 13, 38, 15, 14, 18, 12.

It should be noted that Bell's astronomical 38 rate came in only 96 games in the 1981 strike year, where we would expect to find greater variance (just as we see in Bell's rookie season at third base). Overall, Bell's fielding value is better in Texas than in Cleveland, but except for the two spike seasons (which are not unusual in fielding records), Bell's play is just a bit better than his play in Cleveland. Given that Bell also hit better in Texas, it is not unreasonable to conclude that he was in his prime during his Texas years, which came in his age 27 to 33 seasons--not an unusual time to for a player's peak. The differences in fielding runs, rather than rates, between Bell's Cleveland and Texas years are the product of an injury year, Bell's being used as an outfielder, and one season when he himself acknowledged that he didn't play all that well. When this fielding history is carefully reviewed, I would submit that there is nothing here to suggest that Bell's fielding in Texas should be viewed as an anomalous product of park effects.

Now let's look at the Cincinnati transition. It's clear that TZ finds Bell to be a different defensive player after his move to Cincinnati than he was in Texas. Let's just look quickly at the seasonal numbers:

Year * Rfield * Rate (per 135 g)
1985 * 7 * 12 (Texas half)
1985 * -5 * -11 (Cincy half)

1986 * -2 * -2

1987 * -7 * -6

Undoubtedly, Bell has declined here, and the decline manifests abruptly in the middle of 1985. The timing of the decline is not unusual, as these are Bell's 33-35 seasons, a time when players' skills often decline both offensively and defensively, sometimes rapidly. (Bell suffered a big decline in batting in 1985 as well, some in Texas and then more in Cincy). It is suspected that the decline may have occurred because Bell shifted out of a uniquely advantageous playing situation for him in Arlington stadium. We have no concrete hypothesis as to what that advantage might have been, but it is suspected that something was inflating Bell's Texas numbers. The continuity between Cleveland and Texas should already cast some doubt on this theory, but I think there is a rather obvious explanation for what happened to Bell in 1985 that doesn't have to do with a special feature of Arlington Stadium in Texas but with a distinctive feature of Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, and with a broader difference between the National and American Leagues at this time: artificial turf. Arlington Stadium had a grass field; Riverfront, of course, was astroturf, and most of the astroturf parks were in the National League at this time--there were never many in the American League. The most likely explanation for Bell's sudden drop in fielding, then, is the shift from playing mainly on grass to playing mainly on artificial turf. Making a shift to an artificial turf home park in the middle of the season at the same time that one is having to learn a new pitching staff and set of hitters for positioning seems very likely to cause a significant drop in fielding effectiveness: that would be a great deal of adjustment to make without any time to practice! It appears that Bell was able to make adjustments, however, as his fielding rebounded significantly in 1986 after the 1985 plunge, and even as his decline continues in 1987 he fielded better than he did in the second half of 1985. Still, a player with declining skills faced with a new and more challenging, speed-demanding context is not likely to return to his former levels of success. My suggestion, then, is that the magnitude of Bell's decline is not due to any hidden advantage he enjoyed that was specific to Arlington Stadium but rather was due to the shift to a turf-primary playing environment when he changed team and league. I would submit that this explanation of Bell's decline means that we should take Bell's fielding numbers at face value, both before and after the change. Artificial turf vs. grass was part of the reality of the game, and players' careers were helped and hurt by it in various ways.

One other note--Bell's fielding when he got to Texas was recognized at the time as being even better than it had been in Cleveland, and Bell talked at the time about how he had been learning from Graig Nettles in ways that improved his positioning, particularly playing farther off the line so as to reach more balls in hole. Adjustments like this, in addition to reaching his physical peak, can readily account for the degree of his fielding improvement in Texas. For details, see his SABR biography at https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/buddy-bell/.

   13. bachslunch Posted: January 06, 2023 at 11:40 AM (#6112147)
Best I can tell, this will be my ballot for 2024. It assumes a 20 person ballot (will be adjusted if that's not the case). If I'm unable to post it myself to the ballot thread when the time comes, please assume this is final and add it.

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 20 player ballot and 22 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, and were caught using PEDs post-2005 (Cano, Braun, N. Cruz, Colon).

1. Adrian Beltre. Best WAR for available 3B.
2. Joe Mauer. Best WAR for available C.
3. Chase Utley. Best WAR for available 2B.
4. Jim McCormick. Best WAR for available pitchers, even when removing all his UA-earned credit. Played in NL except for one UA season.
5. Bob Johnson. Best WAR for available LF.
6. Willie Davis. Best WAR for available CFs.
7. John Olerud. Best WAR for available 1B.
8. Sam Rice. Best WAR for available RF.
9. Luis Aparicio. Best WAR for available SS.
10. Vic Willis. Good pitcher WAR, best after McCormick.
11. Buddy Bell. Second best WAR at 3B.
12. Wally Schang. Second best WAR at C.
13. Joe Tinker. Second best WAR at SS.
14. Mickey Welch. Good pitcher WAR, best after Willis.
15. Tommy John. Good pitcher WAR, best after Welch.
16. Jose Cruz. Second best WAR at LF.
17. David Ortiz. Second best WAR at 1B.
18. Tony Phillips. Second best WAR at 2B.
19. Mark Buehrle. Good pitcher WAR, best after John.
20. Harry Hooper. Second best WAR at RF.

21-42. Johnny Damon, Sal Bando, Gene Tenace, Bert Campaneris, Eddie Cicotte, Urban Shocker, Buddy Myer, Chet Lemon, Jack Clark, Tony Perez, Tim Hudson, Luis Gonzalez, Thurman Munson, Fred McGriff, Robin Ventura, Tony Lazzeri, Brian Downing, Dave Bancroft, Chuck Finley, Frank Tanana, Brian Giles, Vada Pinson.

Ranked by position:

1B. Olerud, Ortiz, Perez, McGriff, Cash, Teixeira, Giambi
2B. Utley, Phillips, Myer, Lazzeri, Evers, Pratt, L. Doyle, (Gilliam)
SS. Aparicio, Tinker, Campaneris, Bancroft, Fregosi, Rollins, Fletcher
3B. Beltre, Bell, Bando, Ventura, Cey, Harrah, Elliott, (D. Wright)
LF. B. Johnson, J. Cruz, L. Gonzalez, Downing, Veach, Manush, J. Rice
CF. W. Davis, Damon, Lemon, Pinson, Cedeno, Puckett, T. Hunter
RF. S. Rice, Hooper, J. Clark, Giles, Cuyler, C. Klein, Staub
C. Mauer, Schang, Tenace, Munson, Posada, Kendall, D. Porter, (Sundberg)
P. McCormick, Willis, M. Welch, John, Buehrle, Cicotte, Shocker, Hudson, Finley, Tanana, Whitney, Hershiser, Uhle, J. Powell, Appier, W. Cooper.

Regarding the top 10 left over from last time. Bell, Ortiz, John, Johnson, are on ballot. Bando, Hudson, Munson are in my 21-42 range. Three players lie outside my top 42: Giambi is my seventh best 1B, Appier is my fifteenth best pitcher, Rizzuto is my nineteenth best SS.
   14. cookiedabookie Posted: January 06, 2023 at 12:46 PM (#6112162)
Top ten returnees:

Sal Bando: 28th
Jason Giambi: 50th

Where other newcomers rank for me:

Matt Holliday: 75th
Bartolo Colon: 101st
Adrian Gonzalez: 154th
Jose Reyes: 272nd
Jose Bautista: 284th
James Shields: 405th
Victor Martinez: 472nd
   15. kcgard2 Posted: January 07, 2023 at 01:19 PM (#6112310)
This is how my 2024 ballot currently looks:

1. Adrián Beltré (330) - easy first place choice
2. Chase Utley (251) - I did not expect Utley to come out this high. I thought his career shortness would truncate his value more than this
3. Buddy Bell (216) - the question is whether Bell will have to wait another year, maybe Ortiz passes him, maybe not
4. Joe Mauer (216) - if Mauer had spent any time at catcher in the last 5 years of his career, he easily would be 3rd place or challenging for 2nd on the ballot
5. Sal Bando (215) - Mauer nudged between the 3B candidates
6. Tommy John (212)
7. Roy Oswalt (196) - bit of a notable gap between 6 and 7 on the ballot
8. Brian Giles (194)
9. Robin Ventura (191)
10. Kevin Appier (190) - required mention! I've been stumping for 4-5 years so I'm pleased :)
11. Bob Johnson (189) - a tad more minor league credit moves him above Finley
12. Chuck Finley (188) - still doesn't feel like it
13. John Olerud (184)
14. Ron Cey (184)
15. Chet Lemon (184)
16. David Wright (182) - almost forgot this spot is still on-ballot under the new format
-- Willard Brown (182) - will go into my pHOM this year barring a setback in updated MLEs
17. Mickey Lolich (182)
18. Cliff Lee (176)
19. Mark Buehrle (174) - glad the new format lets me put a vote in for a favorite
20. César Cedeño (174) - now I don't have to split hairs between Lemon and Cedeño

21. Jerry Koosman
22. Dwight Gooden
23. Sam McDowell
24. Jason Giambi
25. Mark Langston - always associated Langston and Finley as like, indistinguishable kind of anonymous stars, if that's somehow a thing

Newcomers:
67. Matt Holliday (153) - not a bad career by any means
84. Bartolo Colon (147) - wouldn't have imagined his career turning out this solid when it was all said and done
148. José Bautista (125) - for such a short career, this is pretty good
154. Adrián González (123) - Mid-career, I might have thought he'd be ahead of all three above him
202. José Reyes (111) - this feels disappointing considering how his career started and his hype
288. Victor Martinez (78) - DHing a lot didn't move the needle on career value much
295. James Shields (74) - just good enough to remain in my ranked set, I liked him as a player, always seemed to have him on my fantasy teams :)
   16. kcgard2 Posted: January 07, 2023 at 03:12 PM (#6112323)
Thanks for the kind words Bleed.
   17. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 07, 2023 at 03:19 PM (#6112325)
https://baseball.tomthress.com/StatTables/Similars.php?id=finlc001&w0=0.333333333333&w5=0&wl=0.333333333333&ws=0.333333333333&p0=0.333333333333&p1=0.333333333333&p2=0.333333333333

At kcgard2 post 15, I thought the same with Langston and Finley, Kikos similarity scores does too.
   18. kcgard2 Posted: January 07, 2023 at 08:09 PM (#6112381)
@Bleed (#9): If the ballot goes 20 deep this year, who are your 16-20?
   19. DL from MN Posted: January 08, 2023 at 12:01 PM (#6112426)
I didn't hear any objections to a 20 person ballot so I think we'll give it a try in 2024. Vote for 20.
   20. kcgard2 Posted: January 10, 2023 at 05:36 PM (#6112746)
I feel like I should point out: Brandon Phillips is also eligible beginning this year, since the token-appearance rule was waived off last election. That's quite a good candidate to be arguably the 11th one down.
   21. Mark A Shirk Posted: January 11, 2023 at 10:48 AM (#6112808)
Putting aside Wright (who we already elected) I see 5 guys on this year's ballot that I would put into a HOF/HOM: Beltre, Utley, Mauer, Bautista, Holliday. Top three are likely to not only make my ballot but could be the top 3 spots. I doubt Bautista and Holliday will be on my ballot given that my PHOM is roughly 50 or 60 people long at this point.

All of which is a long way to say that we may not get through much of the 'backlog' this year.
   22. kcgard2 Posted: January 11, 2023 at 04:19 PM (#6112869)
Wright has not been elected to the HOM. I can't tell if that's what you meant or not, but just to be clear, he's on the outside and eligible.
   23. kcgard2 Posted: January 15, 2023 at 09:48 PM (#6113320)
I decided to do a deeper dive into Mark Buehrle, because he is possibly the most successful pitcher at shutting down the opponents' running game in the history of the sport. First, some simple numbers. Basestealers were caught 57.9% of the time when stealing on Buehrle. Buehrle's teams with all other pitchers on the mound caught basestealers 15.7% of the time. I think this may be the greatest disparity in MLB history but I don't know how to check it anywhere. It gets even better though if you include pickoffs (that is, if you count a pitcher pickoff as a caught stealing): in this view Buehrle caught 75.4% of basestealers versus a team average of just over 16%. Buehrle had more pickoffs in his career than successful steals against him, another trait that I suspect is unique in history and in which he likely blows every other pitcher out the water.

However, the above is still only half the narrative, because teams attempted to steal against Buehrle FAR less often than against any of his teammates (as you might guess by his teams' horrible CS% with any pitcher other than Buehrle). If I replaced Buehrle's innings with his team's non-Buehrle average rate of steals and average rate of success in those innings, he saved 325 steal attempts over his career, at the cost of 4 caught stealings. Opponents would have made 325 more attempts, and would have been caught four total more times than they actually were against Buehrle - effectively, he saved 321 successful steals from happening in 325 attempts.

So I began to think, bWAR may be underrating Buehrle, because he is singlehandedly making his defenses look better than they really are, but bWAR takes total team defense and divides the contributions equally among all pitchers. Buehrle's baserunning suppression was worth roughly 9 runs per season in stolen base/caught stealing terms, and roughly 6 runs/season in his own fielding runs above average, and with Buehrle generally representing roughly 15% of his team's innings, as rough math he was making his defenses look 1.5-2% better than they really were by his baserunning suppression. Remarkable to make an entire team's seasonal defense look that much better just by baserunning suppression of a single pitcher, but when parceled out through the WAR formula in an adjustment of RA9def, it only adds about a third of a WAR to Buehrle's career total. So to those who say he's already properly credited in bWAR because his personal RA9 reflects his baserunning suppression, you're basically right :) But I wanted to see what would come out, and I'm glad because while I knew his reputation for controlling the running game, I had absolutely no idea how completely dominant in that aspect of the game he really was. Almost certainly the best of all time. By a lot.
   24. DL from MN Posted: January 16, 2023 at 08:12 AM (#6113333)
Is it true that none of that run prevention is recognized by fWAR?
   25. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 16, 2023 at 12:05 PM (#6113347)
Based on my understanding of fWAR, that is correct. (Fangraphs does have RA9 WAR as well, which at the career level is almost an exact match for bWAR in Buehrle's case.) FIP WAR has him 7.7 wins below bWAR, and given that the defenses he played in front of were mostly nothing special (per B-R), this seems likely to be largely Buehrle's own fielding contribution.
   26. Jaack Posted: January 16, 2023 at 02:18 PM (#6113357)
Fangraphs does also have DRS figures for pitchers since 2002 buried deep in their stat pages, which I believe is the only pitcher defense number out there at all. It's not incorporated any of their WAR models though, which is a shame. I think bbref has those same DRS numbers somewhere too, but again, I don't think they've incorporated them either.

Buehrle is credited for +42 runs on stolen base prevention alone, well ahead of anyone else in the data set, with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke the only guys above +20 runs in that stat. I would bet that a pitcher from a more steal heavy period might beat him on volume, but Buehrle definitely stands out in terms of dominance of his peers.
   27. kcgard2 Posted: January 16, 2023 at 02:19 PM (#6113358)
Yes, it seems fWAR will have a systematic effect of underrating pitchers who are good defenders (also overrating bad defenders), because they don't get WAR credit for their own defense, as far as I can tell. You could conceivably add 8-12 WAR to Buehrle's fWAR if you give him the run credit for his fielding and baserunning suppression, which would put him 60-64 WAR, about the same or slightly ahead of bWAR.

FWIW, I also investigated whether Buehrle himself caused the defenses behind him to play better than they did for other pitchers on his teams. A common refrain among baseball observers was that he pitched to contact, worked very fast, and these things kept his fielders engaged and playing better behind him. At the beginning of Buehrle's career, it appeared to be true, but examining his whole career it's probably random variation. He had some years where his defense had notably better DER playing behind him than their other pitchers, some years notably worse, and some years about the same...in other words just random variation plain and simple. At the career level the DER behind Buehrle was essentially the same as behind his teammates. Again, it was interesting to look into, just to see what would result, and score another point for the fact of so many pop psychology aspects of baseball really just being a RNG. A RNG that we try to fit narratives onto, as xkcd pointed out :)
   28. kcgard2 Posted: January 16, 2023 at 02:36 PM (#6113361)
@Jaack, 42: I believe that stolen base prevention only credits the CS% above league that happened behind Buehrle, and does nothing to credit the hundreds of attempts that were never made at all thanks to Buehrle's skill. I would estimate Buehrle's total run prevention from suppressing the running game to be ~120 runs above an average pitcher who pitched to his same catchers, who were generally mediocre to awful at throwing out runners. That number seems incredible, doesn't it? This was important because Buehrle, as mentioned, was a pitch-to-contact type guy and that resulted in lots of hits allowed, so he had to neutralize them.
   29. Rob_Wood Posted: January 16, 2023 at 06:26 PM (#6113381)
Aren't these 120 runs already reflected in Buehrle's ERA (ERA+)? I realize that some pitcher evaluation methods separate out actual run prevention from components for which a pitcher has more "control" over, but I want to see if I am following correctly.
   30. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 16, 2023 at 08:14 PM (#6113390)
Aren't these 120 runs already reflected in Buehrle's ERA (ERA+)? I realize that some pitcher evaluation methods separate out actual run prevention from components for which a pitcher has more "control" over, but I want to see if I am following correctly.

Yes. The difference is that fWAR is based on FIP, not runs allowed, and therefore will systematically underrate pitchers who have skills that aren't reflected in strikeouts, walks, and home runs. (Fangraphs also has RA9 WAR, which goes the other way and doesn't appear to adjust for defense at all. Tom Glavine's WAR totals between fWAR, bWAR, and RA9 WAR are quite different.)
   31. DL from MN Posted: January 19, 2023 at 05:58 PM (#6113700)
2024 Prelim Ballot

You will see some particular areas where I am going to differ from group consensus - I think pitchers are quite under-represented in the Hall of Merit. I give war credit and also credit for minor league seasons played at a level that indicates the player would have been above average in the major leagues. I think the consensus right now is to NOT give war credit which is a shame. I use Dan R's standard deviation adjusted WAR (when available). I like the positional average and positional replacement value calculations in his spreadsheet as well. I also believe a season is a season whether 60 games or 162 and adjust shortened seasons to a 162 game baseline. I think we have enough pre-1890 players and generally identified the correct ones.

I look at two main things - value above replacement and value above average. I'm not as interested in a (theoretical) 65 WAR player with 0 WAA as I am with a 55 WAR 25 WAA player. Therefore I zero out seasons at the beginning and end of a player's career where WAA + WAR < 0. I don't care about peak (consecutive or non-consecutive) and it doesn't really enter into my calculations.

I haven't ever boycotted due to steroid usage. I have penalized players who gambled by applying the lifetime ban for the offense to immediately after the time when it occurred.

No postseason credit calculated yet for the 2024 newbies

1) Adrian Beltre - Schmidt, Jones, Mathews, BELTRE, Boggs, Rolen, Brett - PHoM 2024
2) Joe Mauer - Cochrane, Ewing, Santop, MAUER, Campanella - PHoM 2024
3) Chase Utley - Carew, Whitaker, UTLEY, Biggio, Sandberg - PHoM 2024
4) Tommy Bridges - I give war credit for two seasons at the level he was pitching 1941-1945. That gives him roughly 60 WAR and 30 WAA. PHoM 1958.

5) Mark Buehrle - My biases explained above are going to like a guy like this. FIP WAR is going to miss his plus defensive contributions. PHoM 2021.
6) Hilton Smith - adjusted upwards after looking through Dr. C's MLEs for pitchers. He's been on and off my ballot over the years depending on interpretations of the NGL data. PHoM 1987.
7) Bob Johnson - Giving him 1.5 seasons of credit for minor league performance as he was performing at a level above MLB average. I've been voting for Bob Johnson every single year I have participated in
the project. PHoM 1986.
8) Phil Rizzuto - gets 3 full seasons of WWII credit at the level of his average performance from the surrounding 9 seasons. That doesn't give him any extra credit for playing 1946 with malaria. Fantastic fielder with just enough bat. PHoM 1967
9) Urban Shocker - giving him 1/2 season credit for WWI. Good bat for a pitcher helped him in my recalculations. PHoM 1968.
10) Bert Campaneris - If you look at wins above positional average instead of BBREF wins above average you will like 1970s SS more than 1970s 3B. Good fielder and great baserunner - his bat is basically average but his baserunning makes his offensive contribution a positive. PHoM 1991.

11) Kevin Appier - Another pitcher with solid performance above average. PHoM 2009
12) Dave Bancroft - another mostly glove SS with extra credit (50% for 1919). PHoM 1976
13) Tommy John - a compiler with only a few top seasons but does well with STDEV adjustments, postseason bonus. PHoM 1995
14) Roy Oswalt - contemporary of Johan Santana who was a similar high peak, short career pitcher. PHoM 2019
15) Brian Giles - Perhaps the modern day version of Bob Johnson - he was an average contributor right away and provided a ton of value from 2000-2005. Zero out his last season and he's 30WAA. Has an argument for minor league credit but I'm not giving it to him on this placement. PHoM 2020.

16) Bucky Walters - overlooked pitcher from WWII era. Very good hitter for a pitcher which helped him in my re-evaluation. PHoM 1972
17) Ben Taylor - moves down after latest MLE adjustments. He's Rafael Palmeiro of the deadball era. Also compares well to Keith Hernandez. Better than Mule Suttles. The last obvious Negro League candidate. PHoM 1973.
18) Tim Hudson - another pitcher that fits my system well. PHoM 2021
19) Norm Cash - Terrific fielding 1B with a plus bat and one monster season. PHoM 1997
20) Bus Clarkson - Needs credit for NGL, Mexican League and time missed due to the war as well as minor league credit for integration quotas. He's likely an average fielding 3B or below average at SS but the bat is a plus at either position. PHoM 1967

21) Frank Tanana - top ranked player not in my PHoM. Probably will be PHoM 2024.
22) Johnny Pesky - 3 seasons WWII credit. PHoM 2005
23) Gavy Cravath - 4 seasons minor league credit. PHoM 1927
24) Jorge Posada - PHoM 2022 - even with the glovework lacking there is too much to like. Postseason bonus helps.
25) Wally Schang - PHoM 1987
26) Don Newcombe - gets 2-1/2 years of war credit for serving 1952-54. Gets 1/2 year of minor league credit for being held back due to integration quotas. Good bat. PHoM 2004.
27) Dave Concepcion

Will Clark is my highest rated inducted player who is not PHoM. He would end up 28th.

34) David Ortiz - Borderline choice. Unlikely to make my PHoM soon with 9 players ahead of him in line including Ducky Medwick and Will Clark among inducted players.
59) Buddy Bell - not much value above 3B positional average, Behind Ron Cey and Robin Ventura on my list
63) David Wright
65) Jason Giambi - just ahead of Jack Fournier and John Olerud. Behind Luke Easter
68) Bartolo Colon - does better than I expected. Zeroed out first season and last couple seasons. No postseason credit yet.
73) Thurman Munson - career cut short hurts a lot in these rankings when players are bunched together this tightly. There is not much separation between 40th and 80th.
82) Vic Willis - adjusted for standard deviations he's 46 PWAR and 21 WAA. Terrible hitter.
137) Sal Bando - Concepcion and Campaneris are preferred for 1970s infielders. 45 WAR, 19 WAPA.

Holliday is > 100, haven't looked at the other newcomers yet.
   32. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 19, 2023 at 07:04 PM (#6113705)
DL 31, surprised to see Giambi that low, with you incorporating Rosenheck WARP, he exceeded a HOM level back in 2007, and had some value after Dan's close through 2005. Any reason he drops for you?
   33. DL from MN Posted: January 20, 2023 at 09:48 AM (#6113730)
Giambi exceeded a HOM level back in 2007, and had some value after Dan's close through 2005


I don't see that at all. 47 WAR and 24 wins above positional average at the end of 2005. I give him 6.3 WAR after that but reduce WAPA by 1.3. He ends up with the same WAR as David Ortiz but -5 WAPA which is enough to drop him 30 spots. The players between 30 and 75 are not separated by much at all.
   34. Alex02 Posted: January 29, 2023 at 11:44 AM (#6114972)
Hello.

I have never participated in the Hall of Merit before but have followed it on-and-off for years and always admired the effort that goes into it and have learned so much from the discussions. After honing my personal Hall over the past few years and sharpening my thoughts on most of the candidates, I'm interested in voting in 2024. I initially planned on waiting until later in the year to post a preliminary ballot, but then I got caught in the spirit and... here are my 15, at least for now.

Obviously all feedback welcome!

1. Adrian Beltre -- Little explanation required here. Beltre is no worse than the sixth best third baseman ever, combining offense, defense, peak, longevity, old-school stats, advanced stats, etc. in a way very few candidates do. He probably became a deserving Hall of Merit candidate in 2011 or 2012 and then kept on going for years after that.

2. Joe Mauer -- The main objection to Mauer seems to be that he switched to first base two-thirds of the way into his career. But if he'd retired when he stopped catching he'd basically have Buster Posey's resume (arguably better), and there's no reason to fault him for hanging on as an average first baseman an extra five years. He's the seventh-best catcher ever by JAWS, ninth best by bWAR and 15th best in fWAR but sandwiched between two well-deserving HOMers. Not a particularly tough call.

3. David Ortiz -- I appreciate the thoughtfulness with which people here have considered Ortiz's candidacy, but in the end I think he's a more than worthy HOMer. As will come up a few times on my ballot, I'm a big believer in playoff performance as part of a player's Hall resume, and Ortiz has a case as the most valuable postseason performer ever. Understanding this is a crude calculation… If we take his 55.3 bWAR and add his 3.2 playoff WPA (most of any position player ever) we get 58.5 wins. Give any extra weight to the playoff numbers, as I'd argue we should, we're well into the 60s. He was a borderline Hall of Famer in the regular season who then added 63.2% cWPA in the playoffs, more than half an entire championship by himself. That's a Hall of Meriter, before any squishier arguments about prominence and importance to his era.

4. Chase Utley -- I don't have too much to say about Utley. Great player, one of the two best second basemen of his era, had some big moments in important games, clears the bar by basically every WAR model. I considered him as high as second on this ballot, and I consider him only narrowly behind Mauer and Ortiz.

5. Ben Taylor -- I know Taylor has been discussed a lot here, and I don't know how much new I have to add, but this is what I'd say: When looking at Negro Leagues candidates, I try to find players who grade out well enough statistically given the available data but also who were well-regarded by contemporaries who had a (relatively) full view of the player's career. In my opinion, this is useful for all candidates but particularly for Negro Leaguers for whom not every last stat is recorded. So with Taylor, I see a guy who ranks 24th in Seamheads' raw WAR calculation, behind mostly HOMers; who ranks 31st in the MLE-adjusted Hall of Stats rating, comfortably above the threshold used there; and who has appeared on various rankings and all-star teams assembled by Negro Leagues veterans, historians, fans and journalists, such as the 1952 Pittsburgh Courier poll. That is more than enough for me.

6. Thurman Munson -- Catchers appear somewhat underrepresented in the HOM, and in my opinion Munson is behind only Mauer among the best available. He's 12th in JAWS, and I know he doesn't grade as well by FanGraphs WAR, but even there he's in the ballpark, especially when considering his playoff output. I also have a hard time not factoring in that he lost much of his decline phase to tragedy. He'd already done the hard part, putting together a Hall-worthy prime, and all that was really left was to hang on a few more years as a passable regular to hit some statistical benchmarks. It'd be one thing to try to forecast a Hall of Fame career for, say, Jose Fernandez, who died four years in, but I think it's another to give an established star like Munson some benefit of the doubt at the margins. If the primary thing keeping him out is that he's missing the years where he would have hit .260/.300/.350 and been worth 1.5 wins a year as a semi-regular, I think you might as well put him in.

7. Tommy John -- Obviously John is the ultimate longevity candidate, but it's not as though he had no peak. In fact, you could argue he had two distinct and impressive peaks, from 1968-70 and from 1977-1980, when he finally got some (both deserved and undeserved) Cy Young love. He was also excellent in the playoffs, including in three World Series. By bWAR John is right on the borderline, by JAWS he's probably a little short, though not far off from some other HOM inductees, by fWAR he's well over the line, etc. I can certainly see why someone who prioritizes peak performance would hold him off their ballot, but for me he's in.

8. George Scales -- Let's apply the test I used above for Taylor. Does Scales hit the requisite statistical benchmarks? He's maybe a little light in raw WAR but grades out very well through MLEs, better than several other inducted players. Does he pass the smell test as a guy who contemporaries viewed as one of the bests of his time? Not as convincingly as Taylor, but he's on various lists of the best Negro Leagues second basemen and was named to the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot, by a well-qualified panel. Also, to the extent we care about positional balance among Negro League candidates, there are currently no NeL second basemen in the HOM. I'm fairly sold.

9. Luis Aparicio -- It's possible I'm about to violate Hall of Merit protocol, in which case let me know and I will adjust my ballot accordingly. On a strict statistical basis, I view Aparicio as probably a touch short of Hall standards. But I have a hard time thinking about his case without considering he was one of the first Latin stars in the AL/NL and remains to this day one of the most important athletic figures ever from a baseball-mad country. He was a non-native English speaker in a barely integrated, English-speaking sport and still wound up a historically great player, while helping inspire generations of Venezuelan players. That, to me, is part of being meritorious.

10. Orel Hershiser -- It surprises me Hershiser doesn't have more HOM momentum. As far as WAR goes (all-around, not just pitching), he's right there with Stieb, Saberhagen, Buehrle, Hudson, Appier, with the added credential of being one of the greatest postseason pitchers ever. The calculation is almost identical to that or Ortiz. Take 56 WAR, add three playoff WPA, throw in some extra credit for the the leverage of those innings and you've got yourself a HOM honoree. Plus, few players have ever done more to help their team win a World Series than Hershiser in 1988, and that has to count for something.

11. Hilton Smith -- I don't mean to overdo it with the Negro Leagues candidates, but I think the constant advances in research on the subject means candidates' cases are changing (of growing stronger) all the time, in a way that isn't necessarily the case for AL/NL players. Smith is not a slam-dunk candidate, but MLEs have him as something like the seventh best pitcher in pre-integration Black baseball and a reasonably worthy inductee. Plus all the big names vouch for him, for whatever that's worth. He's more or less as qualified as any other pitcher we're discussing here.

12. Dizzy Dean -- Dean has basically the Johan Santana case, right? Superstar best pitcher in the world for a few years and not too much outside of that stretch. Maybe Santana's case is a little stronger, but it's a fine line to draw. At any given moment from 1932 to 1937, Dean was a top-five pitcher in the NL and possibly in all of baseball. At any given moment from 1934 through 1937, he had a strong case as the single best pitcher in the NL and one of the two best in all of baseball, along with Lefty Grove. In 1934 and 1935 you'd have been justified in calling him the best player in baseball, regardless of position. That's a genuinely historic peak, complete with a signature performance in the 1934 World Series. Sure, his case would be stronger if he'd held on a little longer, but as it is he's a lot closer to Koufax than to, say, Cliff Lee, in my opinion.

13. Kirby Puckett -- I'm not going to die on this hill given everything we now know about Puckett, but from a strictly baseball standpoint, I see a few basic arguments for giving him a closer look here: No. 1. He's another guy with a great playoff track record. He added nearly 40% of a championship in only four postseason series, without even counting one of the greatest high-leverage catches in baseball history, in 1991 Game 6. No. 2. When considering his playoff heroics, it's fair to say he was on his way to being a fully qualified HOM inductee before his abrupt retirement. So then it becomes a question similar to that of Munson. Should we really punish a guy for doing most of the hard part but (for reasons out of his control) failing to adequately pad his stats at the end of his career? Would his legacy be that much stronger if he'd limped through a few more years? 3. His career value stats are hurt somewhat meaningfully by the fact the Twins left him in centerfield too long, culminating in what was, according to FanGraphs, the 13th worst defensive season in MLB history and the worst ever for a CF in 1993. Moving him to a corner earlier could have added several wins to Puckett's ledger, and that the Twins failed to do so hardly seems like his fault. I don't think any one of those three factors alone would earn him a spot on my ballot, but added up they have him above my line.

14. Vic Willis -- I've gone back and forth multiple times on whether to have Willis in my personal Hall. He's basically my line. In general, I'm not that enthusiastic about early pitchers who threw a trillion innings without particularly standing out, but Willis pitched after the mound distance had been set and most of the kookier rules had been discarded, and he more than held his own while pitching in the more difficult league. Over the course of his career, he was probably the second or third best pitcher in the NL, and he stacks up fine in all the various systems that adjust for early 20th century workloads. I'm not super excited about his case, but in the end I think he belongs.

15. Mark Buehrle -- Buehrle probably would not be in this spot if not for a point I saw someone make on this board about WAR underselling great defensive pitchers, something I hadn't previously considered. Thank you to whoever said that. (If anyone is wondering, Heavy Johnson was the guy Buehrle displaced). In the end, I'm torn about whether Buehrle is Hall-worthy mainly because I'm torn about the argument that recent pitchers should be judged against a lower standard given workload reductions. Part of me thinks that yes, the Buehrles and Tim Hudsons deserve credit for nearing Hall thresholds at a time when few pitchers were. Another part of me thinks we're just rewarding B+ pitchers because there's no one else around to reward, and I wonder if that argument will fade a little when Sabathia, Greinke, Scherzer, Verlander and Kershaw arrive. But as I grapple with that, I'm giving Buehrle my final spot here.

Ok that's my ballot, obviously subject to change. I'm going to post additional comments below on top returning vote-getters who did not crack my top 15, because I'm running low on characters!
   35. Alex02 Posted: January 29, 2023 at 11:45 AM (#6114973)
Continued from above, here are comments on the top returning vote-getters who aren't in my top 15:


Buddy Bell -- Bell is borderline for me, one of the handful of players I go back and forth on most often. I know people have been up and down this, but I struggle what to do with a guy who derives so much of his career value from less-than-state-of-the-art defensive metrics. I'm not ready to land conclusively on either side.

Sal Bando -- Bando (may he rest in peace!) is also borderline, and I think I'd have him just above Bell. He'd probably be No. 18 or 19 on my list.

Tim Hudson -- Much of what I wrote about Buehrle could also be about Hudson, who was maybe a little less valuable in the regular season but has a slightly better postseason resume. Another guy I would probably add if given a few more spots.

Bob Johnson -- Reading conversations here has definitely made me more open to Johnson. I wasn't aware of the factors that might have delayed the start of his MLB career. With that in mind he's in the mix for me, but it gives me pause that more than 20% of his value, including arguably his best season, came against lesser competition during WW2.

Kevin Appier -- I don't see a lot that makes his case pop over that of Hershiser or even the Chuck Finleys of the world. Just not there for me.

Jason Giambi -- Similarly, just a very good player (or at least very good hitter) who isn't quite at the Hall level.

Phil Rizzuto -- I think you have to be pretty liberal with the war credit to get Rizzuto to a point where he's truly Hall-worthy. I can see how you get there, but it's a lot to ask.

Don Newcombe -- Similarly, I see how you can get there with Newcombe, crediting the three seasons he clearly didn't belong in the minors, plus the two he missed while in the military, but that's a whole lot of forecasting. I wouldn't be upset if he were elected eventually, but I'm not ready to vote for him.

Urban Shocker -- Similar to others above, I don't have any particular argument against Shocker but nor do I see a pressing reason he need to be in the Hall.

Ok, that's all I got. Looking forward to discussing and reconsidering for the next, uh, 11 months!


   36. Rob_Wood Posted: January 29, 2023 at 11:51 AM (#6114974)
Welcome Alex02.
   37. DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2023 at 12:58 PM (#6114981)
Welcome Alex02.


I will echo that. You seem to have thought through your own take on what creates value. That's always a good thing. Feel free to participate in the ranking of players by position too.

did not crack my top 15


We're going to try voting for 20 this year.

add three playoff WPA, throw in some extra credit for the the leverage of those innings


WPA is already a leveraged stat. If you add extra leverage then postseason games could be counted as high as 10x of a regular season game. That is going to disadvantage players who never made it to the postseason as well as players who played when the postseason was 7 games max. That's your prerogative but I don't agree with it. I'll also note that WPA completely ignores defensive contribution (a fantastic catch gets credited to the pitcher) which makes it a very flawed stat. Phil Rizzuto, for example, is going to be absolutely underrated by postseason WPA.

He was a non-native English speaker in a barely integrated, English-speaking sport and still wound up a historically great player, while helping inspire generations of Venezuelan players. That, to me, is part of being meritorious.


The Hall of Merit doesn't credit for off the field impact or subtract for off the field misdeeds.
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: January 29, 2023 at 01:15 PM (#6114985)
Welcome, Alex.

yes, your Aparicio analysis seems problematic.

Ortiz, too, to a lesser extent.

I would add re Munson, having seen him play in his last days: His knees were so shot that it appeared he could not catch anymore for the rest of the season - if ever again. He played with reckless abandon, and it hit him very, very hard. If Munson didn't retire entirely after 1979, you might have had a DH/1B part-timer with a sub-100 OPS+ (and hard to imagine him being agreeable to that. He already was pushing hard for a trade to Cleveland in the weeks before his death). How much would that have added to his candidacy?
   39. Jaack Posted: January 29, 2023 at 01:38 PM (#6114992)
Welcome Alex02! Always nice to have a new voter in the mix! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and getting additional insights! You've clearly put some good thoughts into everything already. I'll probably come back with some discussion sparkers for you to think about, but wanted to get a welcome out of the way :)

Two procedural notes. One - we've just increased the ballot size to 20 starting in the 2024! Five more slots to play with. Second - I'm sure you've probably noticed, but we will be re-ranking the various HoM positions over the course of the next couple of years, and we'd love additional input there as well if you'd like to join us.


I'll echo the others in saying you'll probably want to circle back on Aparicio. I could maybe see a justification for giving him some sort of hardship credit for the language barrier (but you'd probably want to be applying it to Camilo Pascual and Dolf Luque as well, and it'd get real messy real quick). But there really isn't a way to credit a guy for notability/importance/inspiring a country - that is outside our purview.

Here's a good framework:
-Was a player unfairly being kept off the field for segregation, labor disputes, because his manager didn't like him, etc? Then it's perfectly fair to credit him for the missed time.
-Was a player on the field but his performance was negatively affected by segregation, labor disputes, manager abuse? That's a much, much harder case. A lot harder to quantify and justify. Maybe as a tiebreaker, or to ignore a specific stretch of poor production, it's doable, but it's the type of rabbit hole you'd want to avoid more often than not.
-Is there no way to translate it to a player's production on the field. Then you probably shouldn't be crediting him for it.
   40. kcgard2 Posted: January 29, 2023 at 01:41 PM (#6114994)
Welcome, Alex - very thoughtful ballot. I don't think it's allowed to give credit for "intangible" factors as you did for Aparicio, I also don't think you can give extra credit after a player died or got a career ending injury, but I'm not sure you did that for Munson and/or Puckett either. If so, I think you'd need to revise. But I think it's a quality ballot. You should go to 20 this year, not just 15.
   41. DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2023 at 02:09 PM (#6114999)
Specific to Rizzuto - in 1951 he turned 9 double plays and hit .320/.393/.440 but gets credited with a negative WPA for his efforts.
   42. Jaack Posted: January 29, 2023 at 03:07 PM (#6115007)
Okay, two food for thought type questions for you to ponder Alex-

Others picked up on this, but I'm going to phrase a little differently - what is sort of your process for identifying short/peakish careers that appeal to you? Compare Puckett to say Cesar Cedeno. There are definitely some similarities to note - both CF, both were really nice players for about a decade. When Puckett was done, he retired. Cedeno, meanwhile, soldiered on as a useful, but limited, part-timer for a few more years. Does that extra playing time add to Cedeno's case? Subtract from it?

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of either guys HoM case - I don't think their primes are quite enough. But Cedeno wins out for me. In part because I think his peak was a smidgen higher, but he does get some credit for his post-1980 career as well.



Second question is regarding postseason credit - this has been something that has been on my mind a lot over the years. You seem to be valuing it quite a bit - could you go a bit into your approach for evaluating it?
   43. cookiedabookie Posted: January 29, 2023 at 07:25 PM (#6115072)
I would add re Munson, having seen him play in his last days: His knees were so shot that it appeared he could not catch anymore for the rest of the season - if ever again. He played with reckless abandon, and it hit him very, very hard. If Munson didn't retire entirely after 1979, you might have had a DH/1B part-timer with a sub-100 OPS+ (and hard to imagine him being agreeable to that. He already was pushing hard for a trade to Cleveland in the weeks before his death). How much would that have added to his candidacy?

Not Alex, but I don't give Munson any "what if" credit, and he's still sixth on my ballot, with three newcomers dropping him down out of my top three spots.
   44. Alex02 Posted: January 29, 2023 at 11:47 PM (#6115106)
Hi all, I appreciate the welcomes and the feedback!

Noted on Aparicio. He's in my personal Hall, but I want to respect the rules established here, so I will happily adjust. With those guidelines in mind there's a chance he will still fit toward the bottom of my 20-player but more likely he will fall off. I'd anticipate Heavy Johnson, Hudson, Bell and Bando get four of my six additional slots, and I'll have to think through the remaining two and look out for arguments that persuade me.

A few additional responses:

WPA is already a leveraged stat. If you add extra leverage then postseason games could be counted as high as 10x of a regular season game. That is going to disadvantage players who never made it to the postseason as well as players who played when the postseason was 7 games max. That's your prerogative but I don't agree with it. I'll also note that WPA completely ignores defensive contribution (a fantastic catch gets credited to the pitcher) which makes it a very flawed stat. Phil Rizzuto, for example, is going to be absolutely underrated by postseason WPA.


Understood on WPA. I don't have a perfect answer, and haven't found anyone who does, but it doesn't seem right to me to think of Ortiz's walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS as equally leveraged as a walk-off home run he might have hit in May. I agree that counting it as 10x seems excessive, but counting it as 1x seems to fundamentally underrate the value of the hit.

I noted the point about defense in my Puckett write-up, trying to account for at least on extremely high-leverage play he made, but of course acknowledge that is but one small data point. If there's a playoff value stat that incorporates defense, definitely point me toward it. Without one, we're kind of left to guess a little, no?

That said, you make a strong point when it comes to Aparicio, and one I will definitely consider as I weigh whether he cracks my top 20.

Second question is regarding postseason credit - this has been something that has been on my mind a lot over the years. You seem to be valuing it quite a bit - could you go a bit into your approach for evaluating it?


At risk of giving away my not-so-secret identity in only my second ever post, I thought through some of my thoughts on playoff performance in this blog post about Andy Pettitte a couple years ago: https://alexputterman-8525.medium.com/the-hidden-in-plain-sight-hall-of-fame-case-for-andy-pettitte-7b3d9d5f7e40

Basically, I think that not only should playoff performance count in these conversations, it should count somewhat more than equivalent performance in the regular season. How much more? That is almost necessarily more art than science (though I'm more than open to anyone who wants to be scientific about it!).

I would add re Munson, having seen him play in his last days: His knees were so shot that it appeared he could not catch anymore for the rest of the season - if ever again. He played with reckless abandon, and it hit him very, very hard. If Munson didn't retire entirely after 1979, you might have had a DH/1B part-timer with a sub-100 OPS+ (and hard to imagine him being agreeable to that. He already was pushing hard for a trade to Cleveland in the weeks before his death). How much would that have added to his candidacy?


That may be true, but he was worth 2.4 wins in two-thirds of a season in '79. It's hard for me to believe he'd have hurt his candidacy if he'd lived longer. To address another comment someone made on Munson, I'd argue that allowing him some benefit of the doubt due to his untimely death isn't giving him what-if credit, it's rewarding his peak while understanding he has a good excuse for lack of longevity.

It's not apples to apples, but if something happened to, say, Manny Machado tomorrow, would we really keep him off a list of all-time great players because he's a few WAR short? I wouldn't want to.

Others picked up on this, but I'm going to phrase a little differently - what is sort of your process for identifying short/peakish careers that appeal to you? Compare Puckett to say Cesar Cedeno. There are definitely some similarities to note - both CF, both were really nice players for about a decade. When Puckett was done, he retired. Cedeno, meanwhile, soldiered on as a useful, but limited, part-timer for a few more years. Does that extra playing time add to Cedeno's case? Subtract from it?


I appreciate this question because I grappled with this a lot.

The extra playing time certainly doesn't subtract from Cedeno's case. It looks like he was worth about 3.5 wins after he stopped being a star, without which his case would only be weaker. The biggest difference between Cedeno and Puckett, though, is that Puckett added substantial playoff value to his fringe regular-season resume, while Cedeno emphatically did not (.176/.276/.235). Even so, I don't think Cedeno is an outrageous candidate and would probably support him before many of the other down-ballot vote-getters. Same for Vada Pinson, to name someone with a similar-ish arc. I do think that type of career appeals to me more than a

If there are other guys out there who, like Puckett and Munson, have fringy (or just below) WAR totals and were also playoff heroes and had their careers derailed mid-stream I am more than happy to look into them.


Finally, I appreciate the invite to help rank HOM inductees. I will contribute as my schedule allows!

Thanks again for the warm welcome. :)
   45. Howie Menckel Posted: January 30, 2023 at 12:30 AM (#6115107)
re Pettitte:

he had a 3.81 ERA in his postseason career, slightly higher than his 3.74 regular-season mark.

both are higher than almost every HOF or HOM pitcher ever.

I see no problem with crediting him with another Pettitte-level season on his ledger. but (and I'll admit I didn't check the link), I'm not all that dazzled by this.

there have multitudes of claims that having that sort of ERA in the postseason is really impressive because the opposing offenses are so dominant. I have never seen a study backing up that claim - but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It's plausible, at least on the surface.

of course, Pettitte staggered into the HOM just a year ago, though barely one-third of the electorate chose him as one of their top 8 candidates.

so that's one less windmill you need to tilt here.

:)
   46. Jaack Posted: January 30, 2023 at 01:39 AM (#6115109)
Good discussion - the thing that eventually pushed me from Pettitte neutral to pro-Pettitte was changing how I assigned postseason credit. When I would give him another Pettitte-esque season on top, it wasn't much of a difference maker. But when I shifted to crediting each season individually for their respective postseasons, it reflected better on his case overall (Orel Hershiser was anoth big beneficiary of this method). On the opposite end, this actually hurt Babe Adams in my evaluation (although not enough to dislodge him from the top of my ballot), since his one great postseason occured in an abreviated season for him, so it doesn't make his peak look any better.

If there are other guys out there who, like Puckett and Munson, have fringy (or just below) WAR totals and were also playoff heroes and had their careers derailed mid-stream I am more than happy to look into them.


I don't have a raw list in front of me, but the name that shoots to the top of my head is Cliff Lee. Even after accounting for his postseason, I still think he's behind Oswalt or Appier, but with more aggressive postseason credit, he'd definitely become a very potent candidate at this stage.
   47. DL from MN Posted: January 30, 2023 at 10:03 AM (#6115127)
If there are other guys out there who, like Puckett and Munson, have fringy (or just below) WAR totals and were also playoff heroes and had their careers derailed mid-stream I am more than happy to look into them.


Phil Rizzuto checks all of those boxes. Fringy regular season WAR totals, career derailed by 3 years of military service in WWII, seven World Series rings. Elston Howard is another. My favorite Tommy Bridges also checks those boxes.
   48. DL from MN Posted: January 30, 2023 at 10:18 AM (#6115129)
If there's a playoff value stat that incorporates defense, definitely point me toward it. Without one, we're kind of left to guess a little, no?


I'm surprised there isn't, especially considering the amount of play-by-play information we have available for playoff games. I don't have time to systematically go through all the playoff games and split defensive value between pitchers and fielders. As-is WPA is a stat designed to inflate the value of the DH and the closer while underrating the shortstop and catcher.
   49. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 30, 2023 at 10:47 AM (#6115133)
13. Kirby Puckett -- I'm not going to die on this hill given everything we now know about Puckett, but from a strictly baseball standpoint, I see a few basic arguments for giving him a closer look here: No. 1. He's another guy with a great playoff track record. He added nearly 40% of a championship in only four postseason series, without even counting one of the greatest high-leverage catches in baseball history, in 1991 Game 6. No. 2. When considering his playoff heroics, it's fair to say he was on his way to being a fully qualified HOM inductee before his abrupt retirement. So then it becomes a question similar to that of Munson. Should we really punish a guy for doing most of the hard part but (for reasons out of his control) failing to adequately pad his stats at the end of his career? Would his legacy be that much stronger if he'd limped through a few more years? 3. His career value stats are hurt somewhat meaningfully by the fact the Twins left him in centerfield too long, culminating in what was, according to FanGraphs, the 13th worst defensive season in MLB history and the worst ever for a CF in 1993. Moving him to a corner earlier could have added several wins to Puckett's ledger, and that the Twins failed to do so hardly seems like his fault. I don't think any one of those three factors alone would earn him a spot on my ballot, but added up they have him above my line.


Puckett is a fringey candidate by Baseball-Reference WAR, but he's much lower taking others into consideration, he's not on my radar due to this.

And welcome to the show, your thoughtfulness and discussion here is greatly appreciated!
   50. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 30, 2023 at 01:17 PM (#6115160)
Hi, all! I am really hopeful that I'll be able to make some more substantive contributions through this year and take more time to put together my ballot. But, in the meantime, I wanted to throw out a few somewhat-unrelated comments.

First, I don't know how many of you saw this, but Retrosheet is looking for input as we re-design the website and the downloads we make available. On the latter, our plan is to provide downloadable player logs (among other things). Y'all are a target audience, so we'd appreciate your feedback.

If there's a playoff value stat that incorporates defense, definitely point me toward it.


With pleasure. May I introduce to you Player Won-Lost records. Statistics are compiled by game (really by play) for both regular-season and postseason games. They're shown separately on player pages - e.g., Phil Rizzuto (whose postseason record ballparks to something like his 1954 season), Andy Pettitte (his postseason record ballparks to something like his 2003 season). You can play with the weights you want to assign various aspects of Player won-lost records, including how heavily to weight the postseason here. (Although I need to update my database for our last election or two and add the last three years to MLB, so for now you have to weed out some ineligible guys there; sorry about that.)

Finally, I want to make a pitch for Retrosheet's Negro Leagues data. It's all raw data - so you'll have to do your own data analysis (and it's not super download-friendly - yet - that should change this summer) - but it is more extensive than the data available at Seamheads and/or Baseball-Reference. In compiling seasonal data, Seamheads limits itself to games for which box scores are available. Retrosheet has strived to provide data for all games that we could find (between major-league caliber teams), whether they have a box score or not. Obviously, data for games without box scores is less complete than data for games with box scores. But, particularly for pitchers, in an era where complete games and linescores that listed batteries were common, Retrosheet has significantly more information about some pitchers than is available at Seamheads. As one example, here's the career pitching log for Memphis Red Sox star Verdell Mathis. Retrosheet has only compiled full seasons back to 1942 (i.e., 1942 - 1948 - Retrosheet traditionally moves backward in time) with limited games prior to that. For Mathis, we have 201 games (199 from 1942 - 48, including 4 All-Star games and one inter-racial barnstorming game), for which we have box scores for only 57 of them (including the 5 games in my previous parenthetical). We don't know EVERYTHING he did in these games, of course (or in all of the games with box scores - depending on the quality of the box score) but we know some things (including, of course, that Mathis pitched 30+ games per year in these seasons, not the 7 games per season shown at Baseball-Reference).

To tie my first and last comment together, Retrosheet is really hoping to be able to make these data much more accessible - and consolidate them more closely with our AL/NL data. And we'd love to get feedback on what folks would like to see done in this regard. Thanks!
   51. Alex02 Posted: January 30, 2023 at 06:37 PM (#6115199)
of course, Pettitte staggered into the HOM just a year ago, though barely one-third of the electorate chose him as one of their top 8 candidates.

so that's one less windmill you need to tilt here.


Honestly seeing that Pettitte (and Berkman) had been inducted was heartening, because it meant I had at least some kindred spirits. :)

I don't have a raw list in front of me, but the name that shoots to the top of my head is Cliff Lee. Even after accounting for his postseason, I still think he's behind Oswalt or Appier, but with more aggressive postseason credit, he'd definitely become a very potent candidate at this stage.


Cliff Lee is an interesting one. He does check a lot of those same boxes. Evan Longoria somewhat fits, though his decline has been a bit more graceful. I imagine he'll do well here when he becomes eligible. Felix Hernandez will be a very interesting case. I could imagine supporting him but haven't done a deep enough dive yet to say for sure.

Phil Rizzuto checks all of those boxes. Fringy regular season WAR totals, career derailed by 3 years of military service in WWII, seven World Series rings. Elston Howard is another. My favorite Tommy Bridges also checks those boxes.


I'm going to have to think more carefully about how to handle war years. My philosophy typically has been to give some credit but err more on the conservative side as kind of a hedge against the unknown, but I've noticed that folks here are pretty aggressive about projecting those years, and it's making me rethink a little bit.

Puckett is a fringey candidate by Baseball-Reference WAR, but he's much lower taking others into consideration, he's not on my radar due to this.


I'll have to dive deeper some time into why Puckett's WAR is so much lower on FanGraphs. It looks like BP agrees with B-Ref. In general, I'm going to have to sit with him for a little while and make sure I'm applying these philosophies evenly. I continue to think he's a stronger candidate than most other 51-WAR players you'll find, but I'll give more thought to whether it's enough for the HOM and whether I'm creating a standard that I'm truly ready to uphold.

Honestly, you all have made things difficult by doing such a thorough job over the years (maybe more thorough than I'd have been in some spots, but that's ok), especially when it comes to the guys who fit the traditional underrated Hall-candidate mold of "solid player for 15-20 years who quietly racks up a bunch of WAR with too few people noticing." All that's really left is to get a little bit creative.

With pleasure. May I introduce to you Player Won-Lost records.


Well how about that! Ask and you shall receive. Looks pretty cool!
   52. DL from MN Posted: February 01, 2023 at 01:00 PM (#6115398)
After incorporating the postseason pWin data into my spreadsheet there are a few changes.

Tommy Bridges moves down a little, but still #4 on my ballot. Rizzuto and Campaneris both move up ahead of Bob Johnson. Roy Oswalt moves up to the 10 spot (34 bb ref WAA is excellent). Tommy John moves ahead of Appier. Norm Cash moves to #16 which shows that very small adjustments are all that separate spots 9-30. Ron Guidry becomes my second best pitcher available who isn't PHoM, but still off ballot. Cliff Lee moves a lot up to #28.

David Ortiz makes my top 30 and is borderline for PHoM someday but still behind Tanana, Guidry, Concepcion, Will Clark and Cliff Lee.

Thurman Munson moves all the way up to #45 from #73.

Buddy Bell, Jason Giambi, Vic Willis - no help from postseason performance. Sal Bando still not in my top 125 unelected.
   53. DL from MN Posted: February 01, 2023 at 06:06 PM (#6115436)
The site is glitchy (I can't access the LF thread) so anyone who can get a left fielders ballot in by noon tomorrow will get it counted.

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