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

Saturday, January 09, 2021

David Ortiz

Eligible 2022

DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2021 at 09:42 AM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2021 at 09:58 AM (#5998568)
He's going to fall short for me. An all bat candidate needs more career value. I like Norm Cash better - he was a plus glove at 1B with roughly the same offensive contributions.
   2. bachslunch Posted: January 09, 2021 at 10:08 AM (#5998570)
I'm giving Big Papi a first-year boycott for likely steroid use that the BBWAA voters will probably ignore. Did the same with IRod.

Ortiz wouldn't have made my 15-person ballot anyway. He'd have been about #25 on my overall ranking, between Cruz and Posada. He'd also have been the 3rd best 1B on my list behind Taylor and Olerud.
   3. kcgard2 Posted: January 09, 2021 at 12:10 PM (#5998591)
Ortiz will certainly qualify as a DH for HOM. I guess it's just the general lack of DHs that have people ranking him against 1B?
   4. Jaack Posted: January 09, 2021 at 12:33 PM (#5998598)
I rank him against 1B out of convenience - I'd rather not have another spreadsheet with the nine or so primary DHs that had enough to their careers to rank.

Ortiz looks to be in the 25-30 range for me. He looks like basically a worse Jim Thome - lowish peaks but long tails of all bat, no glove play. Thome has about 6 times the innings in the field as Ortiz, and a few more seasons of being good, which is why he was an easy choice and Ortiz is pretty borderline.

Postseason credit is tough - Ortiz has the strong reputation, and he was excellent in the years Boston won the WS, but he was kind of awful in all their other postseason appearance other than 2005. It works out that he basically put up his career numbers in the postseason, but his production is concentrated in a way where is was most beneficial to his teams.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 09, 2021 at 02:05 PM (#5998624)
Is Edgar in the HoM?
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: January 09, 2021 at 03:04 PM (#5998656)
Is Edgar in the HoM?


Yes, elected in the 2010 election.
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: January 09, 2021 at 03:10 PM (#5998657)
this was WAY WAY too hard to dig up, but Edgar got in on his first try in the 2010 HOM voting, as there were zero popular holdovers (the 4th-ranked newcomer was Fred McGriff at 13th and 13 points shy of the top 10):


RK LY Player PTS Bal 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 n/e Barry Larkin 938 40 26 13 1
2 n/e Roberto Alomar 849 41 11 16 4 2 2 1 1 1 2 1
3 n/e Edgar Martinez 371 26 1 1 3 3 3 4 3 1 2 3 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4 5 David Cone 316 22 2 2 4 2 1 2 1 1 4 1 1 1
5 4 Phil Rizzuto 220 16 1 1 1 3 1 2 1 3 1 2
6 6 Gavvy Cravath 219 19 1 1 1 3 3 2 1 1 1 3 2
7 14 Hugh Duffy 208 15 1 2 1 1 2 1 4 1 1 1
8 8 Bucky Walters 200 16 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 2
9 9 Luis Tiant 198 15 2 1 1 3 2 1 2 1 2
10 13 Rick Reuschel 187 13 2 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 1 1

McGriff really offers the only decent context of the electorate's relative opinion of Edgar vs other quality modern sluggers
   8. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 09, 2021 at 03:22 PM (#5998658)
  7. Howie Menckel Posted: January 09, 2021 at 03:10 PM (#5998657)

this was WAY WAY too hard to dig up, but Edgar got in on his first try in the 2010 HOM voting, as there were zero popular holdovers (the 4th-ranked newcomer was Fred McGriff at 13th and 13 points shy of the top 10):


Patrick W posted a link to all if you have issues navigating on he sight:

https://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit/discussion/2021_hall_of_merit_election_results_lofton_santana_kent/

16. Patrick W Posted: January 08, 2021 at 01:23 PM (#5998342)
HOM Election Database is updated & saved to Google Docs here:

HoM Elections - 2021

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
   9. cookiedabookie Posted: January 09, 2021 at 04:09 PM (#5998667)
I have him 37th among HoM eligibles, behind Tommy Bridges and ahead of Ernie Lombardi. I haven't factored in his postseason record yet, but I can't imagine it will be enough to move him into my final ballot.
   10. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 11, 2021 at 02:57 PM (#5999028)
Ortiz looks to be in the 25-30 range for me. He looks like basically a worse Jim Thome.


How is there such a large difference in Rbat between Ortiz and Thome? Are OP+ and PA not what fundamentally make up Rbat?

Sheff - 10947 PA at 140 OPS+ = 561 Rbat / .0512 Rbat/PA
Thome - 10313 PA at 147 OPS+ = 587 Rbat / .0569 Rbat/PA
Ortiz - 10091 PA at 141 OPS+ = 455 Rbat / .0450 Rbat/PA

edited for clarity and to add in Sheffield
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2021 at 03:11 PM (#5999033)
How is there such a large difference in Rbat between Ortiz and Thome? Are OP+ and PA not what fundamentally make up Rbat?

Sheff - 10947 PA at 140 OPS+ = 561 Rbat / .0512 Rbat/PA
Thome - 10313 PA at 147 OPS+ = 587 Rbat / .0569 Rbat/PA
Ortiz - 10091 PA at 141 OPS+ = 455 Rbat / .0450 Rbat/PA


I would guess it's OBP. Thome's at .402, Sheff at .393, and Ortiz at .380. All OPS is not created equal.
   12. Sweatpants Posted: January 11, 2021 at 03:21 PM (#5999038)
Ortiz also had a higher percentage of IBB/PA than Sheffield or Thome, and I think that IBB are left out of B-R's Rbat calculations.
   13. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 12, 2021 at 11:41 AM (#5999232)
I would guess it's OBP. Thome's at .402, Sheff at .393, and Ortiz at .380. All OPS is not created equal.


Thanks, guess I knew OPS+ was weighted differently, just didn't realize it had that much of an impact.



Ortiz also had a higher percentage of IBB/PA than Sheffield or Thome, and I think that IBB are left out of B-R's Rbat calculations.


Really? Why?
   14. Sweatpants Posted: January 12, 2021 at 11:44 PM (#5999414)
From Baseball-Reference:
When computing wOBA, we use Plate Appearances = AB + BB - IBB + HBP + SF and we also exclude IBBs from the count of BBs. Our view (and those of the creators of these stats) is that SHs and IBBs are managerial decisions, and in general the best way to handle these is to exclude them from the rate stat (wOBA); then when computing the counting stat (wRAA), we assume the hitter would have done as well as they normally did in the situation if asked to hit.
   15. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 13, 2021 at 09:02 PM (#5999634)
Intentional walks are also measurably less valuable than unintentional walks even when you count them. Situationally, they will nearly always bring a worse hitter to the plate, and also nearly always come in scenarios when the walk is not an especially damaging outcome.
   16. villageidiom Posted: January 13, 2021 at 09:56 PM (#5999643)
Intentional walks are also measurably less valuable than unintentional walks even when you count them. Situationally, they will nearly always bring a worse hitter to the plate, and also nearly always come in scenarios when the walk is not an especially damaging outcome.
I mean, when you're walking the best hitter on the team, definitionally yes it will bring a worse hitter to the plate. So will striking the batter out (with less than 2 out). Like, anything the best hitter on the team does, other than making the 3rd out, will bring a worse hitter to the plate. The big drop in measurable value on IBB comes at the bottom of the lineup in the NL: walking the 8th batter with 2 out in order to face the pitcher. I think we can agree Ortiz's IBBs were not in that scenario.

I suspect much of his IBB count was from a pitcher trying to gain the platoon advantage, which, yes, can be a measureable drop in run expectancy even with the additional baserunner. But nowhere do we assess the value of anything a player does based on who's next in the order. Why just this?

A walk is worth, what, 0.3 runs? Per BB-Ref, the average Ortiz PA was worth 0.05 runs. That's a lot of value differential - around 50 runs over his career. Obviously the team giving Ortiz an IBB is concerned less with the mean and more with the variance of outcome, but had Ortiz (or Thome, or Sheffield) been a lesser hitter they might not have been concerned with the variance. An IBB is a manager decision, but just like ROE and unearned runs it's effectively a skill as some players can elicit them more than others.

None of that is to say the Rbat difference between Ortiz and Sheffield/Thome goes away if we count IBB as BB. (It doesn't.) Carry on.
   17. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 14, 2021 at 12:00 AM (#5999654)
A walk is worth, what, 0.3 runs?

Intentional walks are not average walks. They almost never come with no outs, and almost never advance other baserunners.

Using Tango's run expectancy table from 2010 to 2015, here are the values of an intentional walk in the base-out states in which Ortiz most commonly received one:

2 outs, runner on 2nd (75 IBB): +.11 runs (.319 to .429)
1 out, runner on 2nd (38 IBB): +.22 runs (.664 to .884)
1 out, runners on 2nd and 3rd (22 IBB): +.17 runs (1.376 to 1.541)
2 outs, runner on 3rd (20 IBB): +.13 runs (.353 to .478)
2 outs, runners on 2nd and 3rd (20 IBB): +.17 runs (.580 to .752)

Overall, using this run expectancy table, the average value of Ortiz's 209 IBB was .171 runs, less than 60% the value of a normal walk. That's without accounting for the worse hitter behind him, or the potential platoon advantage, or the fact that some of the higher-value IBB (say, the two he received with one out, 1_3) were likely in situations where win expectancy and run expectancy diverge (i.e. setting up a force at home in a tie game).

I don't necessarily agree with B-R's approach to intentional walks, but treating them the same as unintentional walks isn't right either.
   18. EddieA Posted: January 14, 2021 at 02:08 AM (#5999659)
2 outs, runner on 2nd (75 IBB): +.11 runs (.319 to .429)
1 out, runner on 2nd (38 IBB): +.22 runs (.664 to .884)
1 out, runners on 2nd and 3rd (22 IBB): +.17 runs (1.376 to 1.541)
2 outs, runner on 3rd (20 IBB): +.13 runs (.353 to .478)
2 outs, runners on 2nd and 3rd (20 IBB): +.17 runs (.580 to .752)


Just curious, do non-intentional walks in the exact same base/out situations produce different outcomes?
   19. villageidiom Posted: January 14, 2021 at 09:42 AM (#5999690)
Just curious, do non-intentional walks in the exact same base/out situations produce different outcomes?
By the run expectancy tables, they don't. For example, with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd (the first example given above), an intentional walk produces a game state of 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, which is +0.11 expected runs better for the offense. An unintentional walk produces the same game state, with the same expected runs. This is because the run expectancy table was built using the average eventual runs that followed the game state, regardless of what outcomes produced the game state. The only difference is in the frequency of game states for BB and IBB. Like, you almost never see an IBB to the leadoff hitter in an inning. You see BB there all the time.

I don't think there's a sensible argument that IBB should be ignored and ROE should be counted. They are both a product of what the opposition did based on what the hitter could have done. Rush a throw on a grounder because the hitter is fast? Let's credit some of that to the hitter. Intentionally walk the hitter because the hitter could put us down a few runs? Let's pretend it had nothing to do with the hitter, and instead let's pretend he did something else.

To be absolutely clear: I'm not making this argument to change the story on Ortiz. He's still well behind Thome and Sheffield on Rbat, even if IBB were treated as BB. Ortiz has more, but it's not going to close the gap. I'm just saying IBB, at least in the context of a middle-of-the-order hitter, is an earned outcome and should be treated as such.
   20. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 14, 2021 at 09:57 AM (#5999692)
The big drop in measurable value on IBB comes at the bottom of the lineup in the NL: walking the 8th batter with 2 out in order to face the pitcher. I think we can agree Ortiz's IBBs were not in that scenario.


That's without accounting for the worse hitter behind him,

In 2006 (Ortiz's 2nd highest total of IBB) he had Manny Ramirez - a better hitter - behind him. 2013, 2014, 2016 (high IBB years) the spot behind Otiz, typically 5th but sometimes the #4 hitter, had sOPS+ numbers higher than league average (2015 the Sox were below league average for the #4/5 spot behind Ortiz). Maybe the hitters weren't better than Ortiz, but they were good hitters in general. Napoli was a good hitter with the Sox, Hanley Ramirez's good year with the Sox.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: January 14, 2021 at 10:08 AM (#5999696)
I don't think there's a sensible argument that IBB should be ignored and ROE should be counted. They are both a product of what the opposition did based on what the hitter could have done. Rush a throw on a grounder because the hitter is fast?


That's a very small portion of ROE. It's based on what the hitter did - put the ball on the ground. Some types of hitters, and they don't necessarily have to be fast, are going to have more ROE than another (of course, any calculation that includes ROE should be offset by GIDP. The type of hitter who gets a lot of ROE is going to typically hit into more DP).

The speed helps, but not necessarily because of a rushed throw (what might happen), but often because of the inability to recover from a slight miscue (what did happen).
   22. Chris Cobb Posted: January 14, 2021 at 11:08 AM (#5999713)
Very interesting discussion. Late-career Barry Bonds would, of course, be the edge case to consider on how the handling of IBBs affects his measured value as a hitter.

I am curious about how IBBs and BB more generally influences WPA. In trying to make sense of Sosa's outlier numbers on high-leverage versus low-leverage win probability added, I have found that the top power hitters very largely have negative "clutch" WPA values for their careers, while the top contact-oriented hitters very largely have positive "clutch" WPA values, so that "clutch" says little about how actually "clutch" a hitter might have been but much more about what type of hitter they were. I wonder if receiving IBBs or "unintentional intentional" walks in high-leverage situations is part of what lowers the high-leverage outcomes for power hitters?

Does anyone who knows the insides of how these stats are calculated have any ideas about this?
   23. DL from MN Posted: January 14, 2021 at 11:36 AM (#5999719)
In 2006 (Ortiz's 2nd highest total of IBB) he had Manny Ramirez - a better hitter - behind him.


Don't forget platoon advantage.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: January 14, 2021 at 11:37 AM (#5999720)
I have found that the top power hitters very largely have negative "clutch" WPA values for their careers, while the top contact-oriented hitters very largely have positive "clutch" WPA values, so that "clutch" says little about how actually "clutch" a hitter might have been but much more about what type of hitter they were. I wonder if receiving IBBs or "unintentional intentional" walks in high-leverage situations is part of what lowers the high-leverage outcomes for power hitters?


How do Gwynn and Ichiro fare in career WPA?

Gwynn is 16th on the all-time IBB list, two spots ahead of Schmidt.

Ichiro's 28th, three places ahead of Thome.

Power hitters are certainly IBB'd more frequently on average, but there are situations where giving the great contact hitter a free pass makes just as much sense (tie game, late innings, runner on second or third). If it's a situation where a single beats you, then Ichiro is much more dangerous man at the plate than McGwire (53rd all-time, one spot behind Ernie Lombardi).
   25. Rally Posted: January 14, 2021 at 12:11 PM (#5999730)
In 2006 (Ortiz's 2nd highest total of IBB) he had Manny Ramirez - a better hitter - behind him.


Amazing, considering that Ortiz hit for a decent average (.287), led the league in walks and homers with 54. But Manny was still a better hitter. Despite having them both, the Red Sox that year were outscored, 825-820.

In isolation, I would vote for Ortiz for HOF. But given the way the vote has been handled, I would have to vote no. I would not contribute to a process that might have him getting in while A-Rod falls short. And I would not contribute to a process that honors him before Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez, even though they hit the ballot several years in front of him.

Let in those other guys, and I'd be happy to vote for Ortiz.
   26. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 14, 2021 at 12:30 PM (#5999737)
In 2006 (Ortiz's 2nd highest total of IBB) he had Manny Ramirez - a better hitter - behind him.


Don't forget platoon advantage.


OK, assuming this is a RHP passing on pitching to Ortiz (career .981 OPS vs RHP) they would instead be pitching to Ramirez (career .974 OPS vs RHP)...now with a man on 1st.

Similar stats for 2006 only - Ortiz was 1.082 vs RHP, Manny was 1.040.

Any IBB to Ortiz to bring up Manny seems pretty silly to me.
   27. Rally Posted: January 14, 2021 at 01:14 PM (#5999746)
Since it's HOM not HOF, I'd have no problem with Ortiz going in as I see Ramirez is already there and I'm sure A-Rod will be joining him.
   28. Rob_Wood Posted: January 14, 2021 at 01:20 PM (#5999747)
In isolation, I would vote for Ortiz for HOF. But given the way the vote has been handled, I would have to vote no. I would not contribute to a process that might have him getting in while A-Rod falls short. And I would not contribute to a process that honors him before Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez, even though they hit the ballot several years in front of him.

Let in those other guys, and I'd be happy to vote for Ortiz.


Sir, this is an Arby's. :)
   29. Chris Cobb Posted: January 14, 2021 at 01:40 PM (#5999748)
How do Gwynn and Ichiro fare in career WPA?

Gwynn is 16th on the all-time IBB list, two spots ahead of Schmidt.

Ichiro's 28th, three places ahead of Thome.

Power hitters are certainly IBB'd more frequently on average, but there are situations where giving the great contact hitter a free pass makes just as much sense (tie game, late innings, runner on second or third). If it's a situation where a single beats you, then Ichiro is much more dangerous man at the plate than McGwire (53rd all-time, one spot behind Ernie Lombardi).


Interesting that Gwynn and Ichiro were both getting IBB'ed quite a bit.

Gwynn does very well by WPA, both in terms of the amount that his WPA exceeds his batting wins and by his "clutch" rating.Of players with over 2700 career hits, he has the highest "clutch" score at 9.8.

Ichiro has a high "clutch" score also, at 6.9, and his WPA is higher than his batting wins, although neither his batting wins nor his WPA is very impressive compared to Gwynn's.

So if their clutch score has been negatively affected by the IBBs they received, that doesn't prevent them from having high "clutch" scores. It seems more likely that IBBs aren't the cause of the lower "clutch" scores for power hitters vs. contact hitters.
   30. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: January 14, 2021 at 01:42 PM (#5999750)
I wonder if receiving IBBs or "unintentional intentional" walks in high-leverage situations is part of what lowers the high-leverage outcomes for power hitters?


My thought on this is that power hitters are also high strikeout hitters (generally). Because of this they are guys that can be pitched to. Ortiz was always susceptible to that high inside fastball for example. Easier said than done of course but against those guys if you hit your spots you can get them out. Contrast that with contact hitters, say a guy like Hideki Matsui, who maybe isn't the power threat Ortiz would be but is more likely to just dump one to left.

That's just anecdotal (barely) at best but that's always been my theory.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: January 14, 2021 at 02:02 PM (#5999754)
I think the types of players who are going to get IBB'd are:

1. Players with a supremely weak hitter behind him (No. 8 hitters in the NL are the prototype).
2. Excellent hitters with great control of the strike zone. (You don't IBB Jim Rice because you might be able to get him to chase the slider away. You do walk Barry Bonds because you're more likely to make a mistake trying to get him to chase than he is to chase).
3. Switch hitters*. Against a great RHB or LHB, you can bring in a same-side reliever in a key situation. Switch hitters don't give you that option.
4. Vlad Guerrero. The exception to the control the strike zone rule. You walk him because he can still hurt you if you try to pitch around him.

* Who would have guessed Chili Davis was 22nd on the all-time IBB leaderboard.

The one player who really defies all of this was Mantle. By all logic, he should be a Top 10 guy, but he's all the way down in 57th.
   32. RJ in TO Posted: January 14, 2021 at 02:09 PM (#5999756)
The one player who really defies all of this was Mantle. By all logic, he should be a Top 10 guy, but he's all the way down in 57th.
For most of his career, didn't Mantle have Berra hitting behind him? You don't intentionally walk a guy under category #3 to get to a guy under category #4, because now you've got the same problem as before, except with one more baserunner to worry about.
   33. Rally Posted: January 14, 2021 at 03:54 PM (#5999776)
I remember with Rice, the opponents walked the guy in front of him far more often than they intentionally walked him. Part of that is Wade Boggs, even as a non-power hitter you don't want to face a hitter that good with a runner in scoring position. Carew and Gwynn also got a lot of IBB. Plus walking a guy to get to Rice is a great way to end up with 2 outs.
   34. villageidiom Posted: January 14, 2021 at 06:52 PM (#5999817)
Yes, Rice was definitely susceptible to give you a hard-hit grounder in the last half of his career, so with first base open and under 2 out it was a good move.
   35. kcgard2 Posted: January 16, 2021 at 09:03 AM (#6000080)
Have Ortiz #69 overall, Giambi was a superior DH who is also currently eligible (I have #21).
   36. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 18, 2021 at 09:34 AM (#6000257)
Have Ortiz #69 overall, Giambi was a superior DH who is also currently eligible (I have #21).


What makes Giambi better in your view? They look pretty close to me, with Ortiz getting the slight edge.
   37. kcgard2 Posted: January 18, 2021 at 04:47 PM (#6000327)
Ortiz didn't have any seasons like Giambi's 2000-2002. Giambi had 431 runs on offense to Ortiz's 407, in fewer PAs, and a good chunk of time in his career playing 1B. If you line up their best-to-worst seasons, Giambi has the top 6 seasons. Ortiz does have a longer career and a much gentler dropoff from his good seasons to his not good ones.
   38. Mike Webber Posted: January 18, 2021 at 05:26 PM (#6000341)
What makes Giambi better in your view? They look pretty close to me, with Ortiz getting the slight edge.



JASON GIAMBI 50.5 BWAR, 325 Win Shares. 4 MVP type seasons, 8 seasons 20+ Win Shares.
4 Best WAR seasons 9.2, 7.8, 7.1, 5.9

DAVID ORTIZ 55.3 BWAR, 316 Win Shares. 1 MVP type seasons, 6 seasons 20+ Win Shares.
4 Best WAR seasons 6.4, 5.8, 5.2, 5.2

Both of them had 4 seasons with 5 or more WAR.

It seems like they have about the same career total value, while Jiambi clearly had the bigger seasons. Giambi was no slouch in the playoff either, with a 911 OPS compared to 947 for Ortiz, but with less than half of the plate appearances, 369 to 174. Just 22 World Series PAs for Giambi, with just 1 homer and 1 RBI.

I'd say the big seasons make Giambi the better player, but they seem pretty close.
   39. cookiedabookie Posted: January 18, 2021 at 09:01 PM (#6000368)
I personally have Ortiz about 30 spots higher than Giambi
   40. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 18, 2021 at 10:04 PM (#6000386)
Just chipping in. I’ve got Giambi relatively close to my in/out line. Not a threat to get a vote but not too far behind Berkman who i don’t vote for at this time and May never. Ortiz is a ways back behind Giambi. Not like eons away, but far enough away that he’s more clearly not a guy who should get my vote than Giambi is. The primary difference is that Giambi had a strong peak and Ortiz had lots of very good seasons instead. First baseman as a group seem to have long careers with many very good years which helps explain why my way of looking at things puts more weight on Giambi’s peak. Had they both played DH as often as Papi I wonder if I’d see them differently?
   41. The Honorable Ardo Posted: January 22, 2021 at 11:10 PM (#6001336)
Ortiz has 552 RAR and 185 RAA (525/222 in Boston alone).
Giambi has 528 RAR and 200 RAA, heavily concentrated in his five-year prime from 1999-2003.
Berkman has 542 RAR and 298 RAA.

Ortiz/Giambi is a career vs. peak argument. I prefer Ortiz.
Ortiz/Berkman is trickier. Boston Ortiz is a comparable hitter in about one full season more of playing time - I see Ortiz's Minnesota years as a wash. Berkman's ability to play an okay corner outfield vs. Ortiz's zero defensive value is an edge for Big Puma.

I put up a prelim with Sosa #8, Ortiz #9, and Berkman "first one off" at #16. I'm comfortable leaving Sosa and Ortiz where they are, but I now consider Berkman equally valuable and on-ballot.

Giambi is about 35th. I have McGriff and Olerud (as well as Easter and Taylor, who are very comparable to McGriff and Olerud respectively) ahead of him among first basemen.
   42. Chris Cobb Posted: January 27, 2021 at 05:42 PM (#6002287)
Somewhere (can't find the post now), someone had brought up the idea that some voters might have Ortiz higher if they thought that the DH positional adjustment in bWAR was too high.

I don't have anything to say about that, but for what it's worth, Total Zone sees Ortiz as about 5 runs below average per full season at first base, and DRS sees him as about 7 runs below average per full season. The difference between the first base positional adjustment and the DH penalty in BWAR is -5.5 runs per full season (-9.5 for first base, -15 for DH). Thus, the positional adjustment in BWAR suggests that DH'ing didn't significantly decrease Ortiz's overall value to his teams relative to his playing first base, and it may have increased it a little bit (setting aside, of course, the matter of DH helping Ortiz stay healthy and in the lineup).
   43. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 27, 2021 at 11:39 PM (#6002359)
So, it looks like I might be Big Papi's best friend among HOM voters. My preliminary weighted ranking of HOM candidates has him popping up at #2 (A-Rod is, of course, everybody's #1, barring boycotts, right?). I definitely want to dig a little deeper into that. I would guess a big part of where you rank Ortiz is what positional value you assign to DH's. I could certainly see sliding Big Papi down out of an elect-me spot, but, as of now, I can't see sliding him all the way off my ballot (barring a boycott, which I don't think I'm inclined to do).
   44. progrockfan Posted: January 28, 2021 at 09:50 AM (#6002392)
I suspect that a lot of the question of Ortiz's value hinges on a voter's acceptance of DH as a legitimate 'position,' ballot-worthy in its own right - as opposed to, say, considering him as a mediocre first baseman who played 2029 of 2408 games at DH.

Speaking for myself, I abhor the DH rule - but it does exist, it is a rule. DH is the one and only position I consider definitely worth less than other positions, for the self-evident reason: no fielding value.

Bill James assigns 32.5% of defensive value to fielders vs. 67.5% for pitchers. That may not be exactly right of course, but it's close enough for me. Assuming that baseball is 50% offense and 50% defense, offense (in all its components, including plate discipline, stolen base efficiency, double play avoidence, etc.) therefore comprises 75.4% of a position player's value - let's call it 75% for convenience.

If we accept this logic, the average DH's offense is worth about 3/4 of the average true position player's offense when calculating that player's overall value to their teams.

I've said many times that I don't subscribe to any one number in evaluating a player's value. Uber-stats, for me, are uber-rated. Ymm (and probably does) v of course; but this consideration is really important for me in Ortiz's case, because total WAR, for example. doesn't tell me the whole story.

I do consider Ortiz worthy of an elect-me spot, by the logic that a) with the exception of A-Rod, the incoming crop is weak; b) with the exception of Easter and Abreu, the backlog is weak; c) we're in an elect-4 year; and d) as a National League GM, I'd probably suffer him at first, with a putative fielding value of zero (or, God help me, less), to get that disciplined left-handed power bat in my lineup. But it's far from cut and dried. He's a second-tier guy to me - but still in.
   45. villageidiom Posted: January 28, 2021 at 11:39 AM (#6002422)
Bill James assigns 32.5% of defensive value to fielders vs. 67.5% for pitchers. That may not be exactly right of course, but it's close enough for me. Assuming that baseball is 50% offense and 50% defense, offense (in all its components, including plate discipline, stolen base efficiency, double play avoidence, etc.) therefore comprises 75.4% of a position player's value - let's call it 75% for convenience.

If we accept this logic, the average DH's offense is worth about 3/4 of the average true position player's offense when calculating that player's overall value to their teams.
By the same logic, offense comprises 60% of a pitcher's value. And thus the average AL pitcher's defense is worth about 40% of an average NL pitcher's defense when calculating that player's overall value to their teams. Are there any AL-only pitchers in the HoM?
   46. Chris Cobb Posted: January 28, 2021 at 12:17 PM (#6002435)
Setting aside the issues with the logic of the value division progrockfan has laid out in post 44, there is an authentic question of how players whose primary position is designated hitter should be evaluated in relation to a different standard from other position players because the nature of their position eliminates the opportunity for them to accrue defensive value.

There are similar arguments around relief pitchers and around catchers.

I don't expect the electorate to reach anything close to consensus on any of these questions, but it's certainly worth talking through the cases.

My current thinking is that the case is less good for the DH than it is for relief pitchers and for catchers. In both of those cases, there is a sense that the players have more value than our usual metrics capture. That argument doesn't apply to the DH.

Players who DH also have the opportunity to accrue more career value than they would otherwise by extending their careers and garnering more playing time than they would have if they had subjected their bodies to the rigors of playing defense. For the three players we have elected so far for whom DH was a very substantial portion of their career value--Paul Molitor, Edgar Martinez, and Frank Thomas--DHing surely enhanced their careers in one or both of these ways. I expect the same is true for David Ortiz. Could he have played as many games per season with as high a level of offensive production through his age 40 season if he had been playing in the field? I doubt it.

My view, then, is that the potential loss of value from not playing the field that designated hitters incur is more than offset by the opportunity they gain to accrue more value by avoiding injury and sustaining their performance as hitters to a later age. For those reasons, I don't currently make any adjustment for designated hitters when comparing them to players at other positions.

Even within this framework, there's still a question of how much of a positional adjustment should be made for DHs. BWAR and fWAR differ significantly on this point. With Molitor, Martinez, and Thomas, it didn't matter: they were all far above the in-out line. For Ortiz, the manner in which one chooses to adjust for the DH position may be decisive in pushing him above or pulling him below the line, so he makes the question of DH adjustment more urgent than it has been in any prior case.
   47. progrockfan Posted: January 28, 2021 at 12:43 PM (#6002445)
By the same logic, offense comprises 60% of a pitcher's value.
If James has published a split on pitchers' offensive vs. defensive value, I'm unaware of it. But I'll say this: Pitchers are selected for MLB roster slots because they can pitch; hitting (and even fielding) is a bonus. By contrast, DHs are selected for that role because they can hit, and only because they can hit. This invalidates the underlying premise, e.g., that evaluation of pitchers is performed by the same criteria as evaluation of position players.
And thus the average AL pitcher's defense is worth about 40% of an average NL pitcher's defense when calculating that player's overall value to their teams.
Not sure how you arrived at this number, but I can't subscribe to the logic. AL and NL pitchers both have to play defense every time they take the mound. NL pitchers also have to hit, which means that hitting represents a share of their value, unlike AL pitchers - but a) they're routinely removed in double switches before they can bat, and b) as most pitchers don't hit very well, the pecentage of their hitting value vis-a-vis their total value will certainly be far lower than that of a non-defense-playing DH, where hitting comprises pretty much 100% of their value.
For Ortiz, the manner in which one chooses to adjust for the DH position may be decisive in pushing him above or pulling him below the line, so he makes the question of DH adjustment more urgent than it has been in any prior case.
Exactly my point.
   48. Rob_Wood Posted: January 28, 2021 at 03:18 PM (#6002473)
It might be valuable if some kind soul posts one or more of the WAR yearly DH positional adjustments vs 1B positional adjustments.

Thanks in advance.
   49. John DiFool2 Posted: January 28, 2021 at 04:18 PM (#6002488)
Somewhere (can't find the post now), someone had brought up the idea that some voters might have Ortiz higher if they thought that the DH positional adjustment in bWAR was too high.


That was me. Relevant HBT article: https://tht.fangraphs.com/re-examining-wars-defensive-spectrum/

The author basically argues that the documented "pinch hitting penalty" where players hit worse at DH than at other positions [which oddly has not been brought up in this thread, until now] offsets the DH positional penalty.

I'd also add yes a modicum of positional scarcity. For whatever reasons, teams have often struggled finding someone for the role who can, you know, actually hit. From 2003-2016 DH ranked positionally [raw OPS] 4th/4th/4th/3rd/3rd/5th/3rd/4th/3rd/5th/6th/2nd/3rd/3rd. [annnd of course said ranks include Papi's own contributions note]

For whatever reasons [old guys shuffled down ye olde spectrum, said PH penalty, injured guys taking in a day off from the field, and/or the simply inability to find someone to slot in] DH has typically NOT been the best-hitting position historically. Should that also be part of the positional adjustment? Does the p.a. implicitly assume that they should? Is the p.a. an offensively-derived or defensively-derived adjustment? Should defense even be a consideration for a role where it is completely irrelevant?

Yeah, "anybody" can be dropped in there. But as said no guarantee that they will be able to maintain their production. We can play this what-if game all day long. Yeah, if he has to play the field, his 30's likely look like McCovey's. But the Sox found a role in which he could shine (in good health) for over a decade and thus gained extra value; I see no sense in performing some abstract tweak that takas away said value and thus the real wins that he contributed to. [This is similar to the fallacy of canceling someone's large home-field advantage to put them on an "even playing field" with those with more neutral lines.] Likewise someone one said that, since they had Manny falling over in left field, that Ortiz blocked his teammate from moving over and thus cost the Sox, specifically. That isn't Papi's problem, and even then I don't see any other {convoluted} arguments of this sort for other positions. Same with the old/injured guys dropped in there-either way their diminished contributions count, and Papi and his team again gains an empirical edge.

It wouldn't take too much tweaking of this sort to move him to 60 WAR, and I note the HoM put both Willie's in many years ago without incident.
   50. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 28, 2021 at 06:49 PM (#6002526)
By the same logic, offense comprises 60% of a pitcher's value. And thus the average AL pitcher's defense is worth about 40% of an average NL pitcher's defense when calculating that player's overall value to their teams. Are there any AL-only pitchers in the HoM?

I think progrockfan's math assumes that a regular position player will have roughly the same proportional impact on offense (as a share of the team's offense) as he does on defense (as a share of the team's defense). When considering pitchers, this is self-evidently untrue, because pitchers (unlike position players) have an effect during every plate appearance when they're on defense, and also get a far smaller fraction of their team's offensive opportunities than position players do on an individual basis.

(Not saying that the math is flawless on the position player side either, but the logical extension to pitchers definitely doesn't track.)
   51. Chris Cobb Posted: January 28, 2021 at 11:06 PM (#6002552)
Re 48: Here are the current positional adjustments in bWAR and fWAR (I don't have them for any other WARs). For bWAR, these are for 1350 innings (150 full games). The period for fWAR isn't given, but given the similarity of most of the numbers, I expect it is the same.


bWAR: C+9, SS+7, 2B+3, CF+2.5, 3B+2, RF/LF-7, 1B-9.5, DH-15
fWAR: C+12.5, SS+7.5, 2B/CF/3B+2.5, RF/LF-7.5, 1B-12.5, DH-17.5

According to the historical chart of position adjustments on the position player's WAR explanation page at baseball-reference, the positional adjustment for the DH has been -15 runs in every season in which the DH has been used.

In bWAR, the first base positional adjustment changed from -9 runs per 150 g to -9.5 runs in 1977, so the gap between 1B and DH was slightly larger in bWAR's estimation in the early years of the DH.

   52. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 28, 2021 at 11:28 PM (#6002556)
The author basically argues that the documented "pinch hitting penalty" where players hit worse at DH than at other positions [which oddly has not been brought up in this thread, until now] offsets the DH positional penalty.


Following up on #48 and #51, empirical positional averages in my Player won-lost records for DH's are on page 20 of this document (warning: it's a PDF) and are compared to first basemen on page 21.

Quoting myself, discussing the graph of DH and 1B positional averages (numbers here are player win percentages):

By 1980, the two numbers are almost literally identical (0.5166 for first base, 0.5162 for DH) and remain essentially equal thereafter. From 1980 through 2018, the positional average for DH is 0.521 and for first basemen in DH-leagues, the positional average is 0.522.


So, in effect, I'm rating Ortiz as if he were a first baseman.
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: January 28, 2021 at 11:37 PM (#6002557)
For whatever reasons, teams have often struggled finding someone for the role who can, you know, actually hit.


One of the reasons teams have struggled to find someone for the role who can hit is some players who are perfectly suited for the position, Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi to name two, balk at being slotted at DH. They don't want to be considered half a player, and if they're important enough, they get their wish.

It's one reason I imagine managers appreciate having an Edgar or Ortiz or Molitor, excellent hitters who don't let their egos get in the way of what's best for the club.

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