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Monday, June 18, 2007

Lance Parrish

Eligible in 2001.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:06 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:12 AM (#2407762)
At the present time, I don't see him as a HoMer, but the guy did hit a lot of homers, though.
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:17 AM (#2407767)
Perhaps the best catcher below the HoM line--better than Lombardi or Schang, but not a HoMer.
   3. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 19, 2007 at 02:11 AM (#2408887)
Here's the case for Lance Parrish in a nutshell, as my WS-based system sees it:

He's arguably the best catcher of the AL in the 1980s, especially in the first six to seven years of the decade. He made lots of WS All-Star teams and had five different three-year spans (1980-1982 through 1984-1986) where he could reasonably be considered the best catcher in his league, and one other where he's very close (1979-1981). I give a little bonus to catchers in MVP performances because they tend to play about 85% of the games that other position players play, and that helps him pick up a handful of MVP finishes. He's at or near the general standards for induction at catcher. He had a good, long career and was able to play a good while after his prime ended.

This actually adds up to his being a little over the line for me, above the Munson/Bresnahan claque toward below him near the in/out line of the position.

The downside is that like most Cs he was never the best player in his league, he's not a high peak or even got a huge career (certainly not by other position's standards), and he won't get many points in the question about whether he would lead a team to a pennant (partly due to being a catcher).

But I think it's not a closed case against Parrish, and he probably requires a good, close look. Is anyone else considering him as potentially ballotable?
   4. Harris Posted: June 19, 2007 at 07:19 PM (#2409674)
I remember when Lance came to the Phillies. We were all so excited, he was going to be so awesome. Oh wait - he wasn't. He hit 0.245 with a 0.313 OBP. He followed it up with an even worse 0.293 OBP the next year. Even from a catcher that was abominable.

I have a hard time considering a lifetime 0.313 OBP guy in the hall of fame. The 0.440 slugging isn't as bad. I'm just not a big believer in the argument that "well - he was a catcher, so you've got to lower the bar". Unless the player is an awesomely above average fielding catcher, I don't buy into that. If you've got a LOOGY who's an awesome hitter, but a marginal pitcher, you don't really care do you? Catchers are supposed to hit AND field. Failure to be above average in one of those is a severe detractor. I'll admit he had an above average stretch, but only for about 5-6 years.
   5. Paul Wendt Posted: June 19, 2007 at 09:29 PM (#2409819)
His Detroit career was way above average, once he became everyday catcher (almost 90% of team games for seven seasons, 55% in the eighth season, just before Philadelphia).

He enjoyed a reputation for good defense, probably partly because he was one of the best defensive linemen around.
Was it largely,mainly,chiefly because he was a big guy blocking the plate? That is crucial. He doesn't need to be "awesomely above average fielding" in order to merit some support; if he were that, everyone should be voting for him. (On the other hand, I'm not sure that he was even "barely above average" in the glove and mask.)
   6. JPWF13 Posted: June 19, 2007 at 09:34 PM (#2409823)
He enjoyed a reputation for good defense, probably partly because he was one of the best defensive linemen around.
Was it largely,mainly,chiefly because he was a big guy blocking the plate?

yes, he also had a howitzer for an arm, but his CS rates were merely good and not great- he was too slow, too slow to gte up out of teh crouch and throw, too slow to get up and field pop ups and bunts etc etc.

he was very god at blocking the plate which had some value in the 1980s when homeplate collisions and the illegal blocking of the plate on every play became rampant.

as far as hitting? He hit enough HRs to be an above average hiiter- for a catcher- but offensively he did nothing else well
   7. Harris Posted: June 19, 2007 at 10:01 PM (#2409846)
a lifetime 0.313 OBP.

Seriously - isn't this barely above the MendBowa Line?
   8. Christopher Linden Posted: June 19, 2007 at 10:10 PM (#2409855)
Feel free to disregard and discard, as I've never involved myself of HOM debates before ...

If you've got a LOOGY who's an awesome hitter, but a marginal pitcher, you don't really care do you

I don't think that's an appropriate comparison. Catcher is a position that the nature of the game demands be filled. "LOOGY" is a role with which managers have become comfortable, but it isn't a "position" in the same way catcher (or shortstop, or right field, etc) is. It makes no sense to me to not make a lowering-of-the-bar adjustment for catchers when you can't field a team if you don't have one.

Happy Base Ball
   9. RobertMachemer Posted: June 19, 2007 at 10:35 PM (#2409879)
Was he better than Rich Gedman from 1984-1986 though? With Lance Parrish's playing only 90 games in 1986, I think it's a hard argument to make that Parrish was better for that three year span, all things considered.

From 1984-1986:

Parrish's OPS+s: 100, 118, 122
Parrish's games-played: 147, 140, 91

Gedman's OPS+s: 118, 126, 100
Gedman's games-played: 133, 144, 135
   10. Chris Cobb Posted: June 20, 2007 at 12:15 AM (#2410039)
To answer Eric's question, I am giving serious consideration to balloting Parrish. The "too slow" argument has been advanced against his defensive skills, but both WARP and WS like his defense. Is there any PBP-based assessment of his defense in the 1980s available?

However, the biggest issue I have concerning Parrish's ranking is where he stands in relation to Thurman Munson. Here are some quick comparisons of Munson's 9.5 years as a regular, 1970-79, to Parrish's best 10 consecutive years, 1979-88.

Munson 1216.6 adj. games caught (WARP's count)
Parrish 1129.5 adj. games caught (WARP's count: strike adjusting 1981 adds 43 games 50 1172.5)

Munson was slightly more durable, 4-5 games/year on average.

EQA2 best-to-worst (to DH-adjust)
Munson .305, .298, .292, .291, .288, .276, .269. .267, .267, .261
Parrish .299, .295, .284, .282, .281, .274, .266, .263, .255, .248

Munson over 10 consecutive years is clearly Parrish's superior offensively, by WARP2

Munson 332/87
Parrish 311/77

Munson is slightly superior to Parrish by WARP1

Fielding, Win Shares
Munson, B-, 61.2 fws
Parrish, A, 66.7 fws

Parrish is superior to Munson defensively by win shares

Batting win shares
Munson, 151.4
Parrish, 116.3 (DH-adjusted)

Munson is superior to Parrish offensively by win shares.

Now, Parrish also has 3.5 additional full-time seasons, plus part time seasons as well, that Munson simply doesn't have. So Parrish is the better career candidate, I think, but I have a hard time accepting that he is more meritorious than Munson, since over a period substantial enough to be the prime of most catchers, it's pretty clear that Munson was the better player. I haven't been supporting Munson, but I am inclining to think that I should support him before I support Parrish.

Other thoughts on Munson (or other catchers) vs. Parrish?
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 20, 2007 at 12:58 AM (#2410179)
Chris what does EQA1 say about them?
   12. Chris Cobb Posted: June 20, 2007 at 02:52 AM (#2410348)
EQA1 for Munson, 1970-79 and Parrish 1979-88

Munson .300, .300, .290, .284, .284, .282, .274, .263, .261, .255
Parrish .291, .285, .277, .275, .273, .269, .256, .255, ,251, .246

Munson is farther ahead by WARP1. Munson had three non DH seasons, 1970-72, while Parrish had two, 1987-88. I believe WARP thinks that the 1970s AL was quite weak early and gradually got stronger, while it sees the 1980s AL as being a very strong league for hitting. I am inclined to think that is an accurate assessment, but even giving Parrish the benefit of a league quality adjustment, he doesn't catch up to Munson as WARP2 sees it, and he appears farther behind in WARP1.

I thought it would be useful to look at EQA since Parrish's OPS+ is so slugging heavy -- he might be more than usually overrated by that stat.

Eric, how does your system see Munson?
   13. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 22, 2007 at 03:09 AM (#2412664)

Here's what my system sees in the Parrish/Munson comparison. As always the disclaimer that it's Win Shares based, and YMMV.

The system says that

-Neither was ever the best player in his league over any three-year span.

-Munson was very slightly more often the best catcher in their leagues over any three-year span (Munson, three such three-year cycles, Parrish five, but Parrish a very close runner up once).

-Parrish's career total is a little more comparable to other HOF/HOM catchers (and as you note, Chris, the extra years he has on Munson aren't garbage time, even if they are not top-notch seasons).

-Both guys meet the basic WS standards for their position at the intervals I measure them at.

-Parrish had one more season of All-Star type play (per WS) than Munson.

-Parrish had a couple years of regular-level value after his prime (defined as best 10 years), Munson didn't have anything afterward, of course.

-I credit Parrish with 3 MVP-type seasons, Munson with one: I bonus any catchers for having MVP-type seasons when they are within a 80% of the Win Shares MVP (as opposed to simply being among the top-X in the league, which is my yardstick for the other positions)

-It is equally likely that a team with Parrish or Munson as its best player would win a pennant.

So the differences I see come down to Parrish having a couple more MVP-type seasons, 1 more All-Star type season, a couple more years as a productive regular, and more total career value.

In other words, the gap my system detects is not huge.

For what it's worth, my system currently shows Parrish as coming after Freehan and Torre, but before Mackey, Howard, Schang, Bresnahan and Munson (the last two being tied). There is, after Munson, a little gap to the next group (headed by Lombardi, and Tenace.

Curiously, the main positional competition for both guys is Pudge Fisk (well, there's some Porter and some Sundberg in there too, and a little Freehan for Munson).

Also curiously, this system suggests that Munson and his teammates Nettles and Randolph (and Bonds for that matter) occupy a very similar space at their respective positions, that of straddling the in/out line (in a HOM perfectly balanced by position). And at that, Roy White isn't too too far behind them at his position, which says to me that those late 1970s Yanks had an awful lot of HOVG talent, and that HOVG talent can get you a lot of pennants.
   14. Catfish326 Posted: July 05, 2007 at 05:19 PM (#2429656)
Lance Parrish was the nicest player I've ever met in person. Great guy. He even told me what room Sparky Anderson was staying at, at the hotel, so I could get Sparky to sign one of my drawings of him. Lance was awesome.
   15. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 05, 2007 at 07:34 PM (#2429759)
I don't see Parrish as better than Schang. Schang was a much better hitter. Enough to offset Parrish's defensive edge, IMO.
   16. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 05, 2007 at 07:39 PM (#2429764)
I also don't see Parrish as better than Munson. Munson was a better hitter, and a better fielder (though Parrish was very good). I don't think Parrish's extra seasons offset how much better Munson was, even after accounting for the 1980s AL being stronger than the 1970s.

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