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Thursday, November 18, 2021

A 2-time and a 2-way MVP in Bryce, Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani was named the unanimous American League winner and Bryce Harper the National League winner of the game’s highest individual performance honor—the Most Valuable Player Award—by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in results revealed Thursday night on MLB Network.

Hombre Brotani Posted: November 18, 2021 at 06:51 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bryce harper, mvp, shohei ohtani

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   1. Hombre Brotani Posted: November 18, 2021 at 07:12 PM (#6053489)
Shohei Ohtani is the most special boy in the world.

Harper's probably punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame. There have been 31 multiple-time MVP winners, and only three of them are not in the Hall of Fame*:

Juan Gonzalez (1996, 1998)
Dale Murphy (1982, 1983)
Roger Maris (1960, 1961)

*Pujols, Cabrera, and Trout are still active. Bonds and A-Rod aren't actually in, but we know what's up.

   2. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2021 at 07:23 PM (#6053490)
I'm shocked he won.... I mean shocked...

was there really any debate in this discussion, when was the last time we had such an obvious MVP not on the Angels in the AL?
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2021 at 07:26 PM (#6053491)
Rookie LaMonte Wade got an MVP vote, but not a ROY vote.
   4. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 18, 2021 at 07:27 PM (#6053492)
I think Harper is far from an automatic HOFer right now, but this year puts him back on a HOF trajectory. He still has to perform at an All Star level for another 5 years or so, IMO.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 18, 2021 at 07:32 PM (#6053493)
Shohei Ohtani is the most special boy in the world.
Ohtani is truly an unfathomably talented athlete. I mean, if someone would have told you 10 years ago that a player was going to come along and essentially Babe Ruth the game again — but against 2021 level competition — you would have thought they were off their rocker. And yet here we are, at least for one year.
   6. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2021 at 07:33 PM (#6053494)
I think Harper is far from an automatic HOFer right now, but this year puts him back on a HOF trajectory.


quoted comments that is an understatement. When it come time for his hof vote, multiple mvps is going to be a big thing in his argument... and we are talking about a guy who is just 29 years old in baseball terms with 40 career war and posted an mvp season, as it stands, he's pretty much a lock going forward if he plays in 700 more games.
   7. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 18, 2021 at 08:02 PM (#6053495)
Shohei Ohtani is the most special boy in the world.


This. The year he had was just unreal. Did anyone think he could be this good with either the ball or bat and then actually do both in the same season? It really was something special to watch.

   8. John DiFool2 Posted: November 18, 2021 at 08:19 PM (#6053498)
When it come time for his hof vote, multiple mvps is going to be a big thing in his argument... and we are talking about a guy who is just 29 years old in baseball terms with 40 career war and posted an mvp season, as it stands, he's pretty much a lock going forward if he plays in 700 more games.


Dale Murphy is the cautionary tale there I'd have to say.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: November 18, 2021 at 08:23 PM (#6053500)
The vote was fairly close but it's pretty clear this should have gone to Soto. It's not even really a quasi-traditionalist vs saber-nerd decision they've made -- neither team made the playoffs, neither player put up monster traditional numbers, neither produced much black ink. But it's 7.1 WAR for Soto vs 5.9 for Harper. It's a 465 OBP vs a 615 SLG. Their AB/HR are pretty much identical, teams simply refused to pitch to Soto, a Bondsian 38 BB in 88 PA with men on and first open. (Harper at 21 in 63, no slouch either.) Soto even ended up with 55 more PA. It's all very close but the key bits tilt in Soto's favor. The article mentions Harper's torrid 2nd half with an 1188 OPS at 338/476/713, 20 HR, 50 RBI ... Soto 1164 OPS, 348/525/639, 18, 53. Oh well.

As to Harper and HoF ... he's obviously got a very good shot at it but a long way to go to be a lock. He's "only" at 267 HR and at the rate he hits them, another 6-7 seasons away from 500. Fewer than 1300 hits, <5500 PAs. 10 seasons, 40 WAR is actually more of a borderline HoVG/HoF track than surefire HoFer. His WAR7 stands at 36 which is not that good for RF (33rd per JAWS), behind Parker, Dw Evans, Giles, Sheffield, Abreu, Oliva, R Smith. Another two 5-WAR seasons would push it up to about 42 and then you're into pretty much surefire modern HoF RFer.

Now chances are good that Harper will last for a very long time, hit at least 550 HRs with lots of RBI and will get in easily. But lots can go wrong ... through age 28, at least 4500 PA, OPS+ in the expansion era, within 7 points of Harper:

Miggy 149
Strawberry 144
Stanton 144
McCutchen 144
P Fielder 144
Murray 144
ARod 143
Harper 142
Brett 139
Yaz 139
Freeman 137
Boog 137
Juan Gone 135
Rickey 135
(Wright, Santo, Winfield, Luzinski all at 134)

That list has some no-doubters in it, some very good durable guys (Murray, Yaz, Winfield) and some guys who fell off badly. If Harper stays healthy enough (say 9000+ career PA), he'll have an easy time of it. But Gonzalez and Strawberry are pretty good comps and even somebody like the young Boog is a closer comp than I'd have guessed (less than 500 PA difference).

McCutchen is an interesting guy in that list. 38 WAR, 24 WAA in 7 seasons but only 8 WAR since then. The WAR7 of 38 is not great, 23rd for "CF", in the Bernie, Puckett, Lynn, Davis, Pinson, Murphy, Cedeno group. He's a very close match to Murphy but, for example, is 19 career WAR behind Dawson although he might catch Puckett (51 WAR) before he retires. I think a lot of "peak"-oriented voters tend to underestimate just how big HoF peaks are, even for borderline candidates. McCutchen is behind Dawson on WAR7 and Dawson added 2 very good, three good and 4 average seasons (and some real dreck). And Dawson's WAR7 is only 14th among "CF" and he took several ballots to get in. (Obviously Harper is also behind Dawson in WAR7 for now, is equal in total WAR through 28 but that's because Harper has a 1000 PA lead.)

A peak-only HoF case pretty much starts with a minimum WAR7 of 42 which is really, really hard. If that's all a player has, it should still leave them behind players with an equal peak who then added more good play. A legit peak-only case probably starts around 48 WAR7. Granted, real voters will never value defense as much as bWAR does so possibly oWAR7 would be a better guide and somebody like Harper does better there.
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 18, 2021 at 08:43 PM (#6053501)
I mean, after 2019 I would have said Harper probably needs to play until 40 and reach 3,000 hits in order to reach the HOF. He was shaping up to be a corner outfielder with a career OPS+ of 120-130, which is only a HOFer with a very long career.

But now he looks like he’s an elite hitter again. If he continues to play like this for another few seasons he’s an easy HOFer. If he reverts to just being a bit above average then he’s still going to need to rack up some counting stats.
   11. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: November 18, 2021 at 09:04 PM (#6053502)
The Phillies had the CYA runner-up and MVP and missed the playoffs. Amazing.
   12. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: November 18, 2021 at 09:11 PM (#6053503)
40 WAR by age 28 is great, but it ain't the HOF slam dunk you might think it is. By my figurin', there have been 55 (HOF-eligible) players with 35-45 WAR by age 28, and only 36 (65%) are in. But the two MVPs are nice, and if Harper just keeps on keepin' on (and maybe gets a ring?), he'll be in.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: November 18, 2021 at 09:16 PM (#6053504)

The Phillies had the CYA runner-up and MVP and missed the playoffs. Amazing.


The Jays had the CYA, the MVP runner-up and the MVP third-place finisher and missed the playoffs, though they did it with a few more wins than the Phils.
   14. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 18, 2021 at 09:25 PM (#6053506)
Soto actually had this in the bag when he upped his OPS from .945 on the 25th August to 1.029 on the 23rd Sept. For the month his numbers were insane.
His triple slash on that date was .325/470/559.

Then he collected only 3 more hits in the last 8 games, didn't get that shiny 100 RBI total(not that Harper got close either) and Harper hit all the way until the end and made is sort of close number's wise and got the votes instead.(I would've selected Soto)
   15. The Duke Posted: November 18, 2021 at 10:06 PM (#6053512)
Wainwright got an MVP vote but I can’t tell who it came from. Only other pitchers were scherzer, wheeler, Burnes and gausman
   16. The Duke Posted: November 18, 2021 at 10:14 PM (#6053513)
Harper was the right choice. The beanball cost him a month of good performance. Without that incident he would have been a no-doubter. This is the beginning of soto finishing second each year to the “shiny new object”. The weight of extraordinary expectations
   17. Jack Sommers Posted: November 18, 2021 at 10:20 PM (#6053516)
These were my pros and cons for the NL MVP candidates,. I gave these to one writer friend of mine who had a vote for his consideration,. I started off with an average of both BB REF WAR and FG WAR, put the players in "tiers" and then within the tiers started looking closer at context.

He didn't vote Turner 1st. ;)


TIER 1

1.) Trea Turner: 6.45

Pros: Perhaps the best all-around player in the game in 2021, he seemingly has no weakness at this stage of his career. Playing middle infield, (SS with the Nationals, 2b with the Dodgers) he hit like an elite corner infielder while displaying above average defense at premium positions, and added to it all with dynamic baserunning. Going over to the Dodgers at the trade deadline, he was even better in LA than he’d been in Washington, providing a boost while some of the LA stars were injured or slumping.

Cons: The only cons with Turner are the Dodgers are an extremely deep team, and would likely have captured a Wild Card spot even without him. He doesn’t walk very much, just 41 in 639 PA, 6.4% vs league avg 8.4%

2.) Juan Soto: 6.95

Pros: Probably the best all-around hitter in the league, he is the modern version of Ted Williams, hitting for average, power, and on base via the walk to an extreme degree. His defense was at least average this year, maybe even a tick or two above. Definitely not a drag on his value metrics, which graded out the best in MLB from both Baseball Reference and Fangraphs. Very tough not to put him in the # 1 slot

Cons: Much of his batting value comes from his 144 walks, and 72 of those came in August and September after the trade deadline and the Nationals big sell off. Absent any lineup protection he got the Barry Bonds treatment. He hit like crazy when they did pitch to him, but his team was out of it and didn’t matter much.

3.) Bryce Harper: 6.15

Pros: While the best all-around hitter label might be slapped on Soto, and Tatis had more power, the fact is Bryce matched Soto in OPS+, and even beat him in wRC+. He hit over .300 with over a .400 OBP and mashed 35 homers. He also hit in the clutch, posting the highest WPA in the league. That coupled with a monster 2nd half kept his team in the division race until the last week of the season. He was consistent, posting over 1.000 OPS in 4 of the 6 months and .947 in another. The only blemish was the month of May where he missed 14 days due to an arm injury.

Cons: Defensive Runs saved used by baseball reference graded his defense well below average, which is the main reason he drops below Soto, Tatis, and Turner in the rankings.


4.) Fernando Tatis Jr. 6.45

Pros: On a rate basis, (Per game or per Plate appearance) he was arguably the most productive hitter in the National league. His first half propelled San Diego into the pennant race before shoulder injuries started to cause him to miss time. He was the odds-on favorite for MVP over the first half of the year and despite missing 30+ games due to injury he is just a whisker behind Soto in most value and production metrics. If he had been able to play the 149 games that Soto played Tatis would be out front considerably in almost every category and possibly had a 50-homer season.

Cons: The fact is he missed time. Just 128 games played. His team fell off in the 2nd half and he was involved in some controversies (although those were probably over blown.) More importantly perhaps, his defense at SS was not good and he had to be moved to RF.


TIER 2


5.) Brandon Crawford: 5.50

Pros: the veteran Short Stop had a career year. He matched Trea Turner in the “+” metrics and on defense and was extremely clutch. His 3.32 WPA was 5th best in the league. He anchored the infield of the team with best record in baseball. After a slow start in April (.205 BA), from May 1st on he hit .315/.392/.546, .938 OPS, with 20 HR and 80 RBI

Cons: He missed 11 days with an oblique injury in late July, and was strategically rested by Gabe Kapler, missing 24 of 160 team games. His 136 games played are 10 fewer than Trea Turner’s. With a dozen more games played at the same production level, he could have vaulted to the top of this list.


6.) Paul Goldschmidt: 5.65

Pros: A monster second half helped propel his team into the playoffs, and he came up with a lot of “clutch” hits in the process. He was an iron man presence, playing in 158 of 160 team games as of this writing. As usual, he displayed excellent defense at first base and ran the bases well, adding to his value

Cons: A slow start and below average numbers in the first half overall contributed to the Cardinals mediocre offense and below .500 record through the first 90 games. A bit more evenly distributed production might have helped avoid the necessity for a 17-game win streak at end of season for the Cardinals to make the Wild Card game. Also of note, Baseball-Reference park factors for St, Louis graded it as an EXTREME pitcher’s park in 2021 compared to past season, much more so than Frangraphs. That had the effect of boosting his, (and Tyler O’neil’s) WAR and OPS+ a bit higher.

7.) Tyler O’neil 5.45

O’neil matched Goldy step for step in OPS/OPS+, played excellent defense in the outfield and ran the bases well. The only difference is games played, just 136.

8.) Bryan Reynolds: 5.65

He had a terrific season, on par with Goldy, and O’Neil. But he did it in obscurity and in games that seldom mattered.

TIER 3

9.) Freddie Freeman: 4.45

Another excellent season, Freeman performed extremely well in high leverage meaningful situations, giving him the edge over teammate Austin Riley despite being behind him in WAR

10.) Austin Riley: 5.05

Riley emerged as one of the best young players in the league and had a huge second half of the season to propel himself into the #10 spot.


   18. Jack Sommers Posted: November 18, 2021 at 11:04 PM (#6053520)
Meant to say Turner best all around player in the NL in 21, not in the game........Obviously that title belongs to the special boy
   19. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 18, 2021 at 11:23 PM (#6053523)
Bah, Harper is boring. Let's just give them both to Ohtani.

The HOF case that I'm starting to get interested in is Freddie Freeman. To me at least he really really really does not feel like a hall of famer. He's got the MVP, but it was in the zombie year, and he won it all this year, but it was really an ensemble performance. Riley was more valuable, Acuna is the bigger star. But he keeps plugging away. Freeman might just Eddie Murray-his way into the hall.

FF 1704 hits, 271 HR, 138 OPS+
EM 1850 hits, 305 HR, 141 OPS+

Eddie is ahead, and of course played until he was 41. But he was also a first-ballot hall of famer with 85% of the vote. You don't have to match that to get elected. Odds still against him, but he's may well have a hall of fame candidacy that sneaks up on people.
   20. taxandbeerguy Posted: November 18, 2021 at 11:31 PM (#6053525)
9 - That's a good list, Harper's got a few advantages on a lot of those guys. While his rate is in the middle he has some serious advantages in plate appearances because he came up so young. So he's been compiling at that rate for quite a bit longer which is more meaningful because this is thru age 28 and there's presumably quite a bit more career to go.
Strawberry's 900 PA behind
Stanton's 600PA behind
McCutchen's 900PA behind
Fielder's 500PA behind
Murray's 300PA behind
Brett's 700 PA behind
Yaz is even a couple hundred PA behind
Freeman's 400PA behind
Powell's 450 PA behind
Gonzalez is 800 PA behind
Rickey! is 200 PA behind
Rodriguez is 900PA ahead - but is inner-circle if not for PED's.
Cabrera is 300 PA ahead - but is inner circle level hitter and would be close to inner circle overall if he was even average at fielding, baserunning and DP avoidance and if he could hit at all beyond 33.

A-Rod's a shortstop and kind of in a different league here, but these guys aren't really known as defenders either. Rickey and Yaz are excellent, Murray and Freeman and Brett and Stanton would seem to be plus-ish defenders , but overall average-above average. Harper's a tich below that, but certainly better than Cabrera, Fielder, McCutchen and Juan-Gone.

I think the second MVP- now gives him narrative - if Harper ends up borderline from a stats point of view, the multiple MVP's pushes him over the line. With that said, if healthy is 15 WAR over the next 3 years too much to expect for a hitter like Harper in his prime? After that, he needs graceful decline and additions to counting stats. By the time his contract's up, if reasonably healthy, he should be pushing 70WAR and 500+ Homers so a relatively easy HOF candidate to assess. No he wasn't Mike Trout or Mookie Betts (save for 2015), but he's clearly qualified.
   21. taxandbeerguy Posted: November 18, 2021 at 11:38 PM (#6053526)
19- The question for Freeman is how long can he sustain this level of play. Doesn't need MVP's, but health and a solid .280/30/100 hitter with above average defense for a couple more years starts to make it look like he was just a really really good player but for like a decade plus which certainly makes a compelling case. Again after that, a few more years with a graceful decline (an all star appearance or three and a couple more big moments in the post season wouldn't hurt) and he starts to become a definitive player of a generation and that with the accolades and the stats probably gets him into the Hall but maybe not first ballot.

Paul Goldschmidt is another similar type of player - looking now he's most of the way there, but hasn't really had much fanfare along the way.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: November 19, 2021 at 05:01 AM (#6053530)
#10 -- completely agree with that

#20 -- the PA differences are mostly pretty minor, 1/2 to a full season (over 10ish years). You get much the same list by WAR or WAA (where the extra PT hurts Harper a bit) and then he also doesn't look as good vs. more defensive players either. Harper has 40 WAR. Rickey, Yaz, Brett, (Machado, Fregosi, Cedeno), Raines have more ... Miggy, Stanton, Murray, (Alomar) are pretty much exactly the same ... McCutchen, Bo Bonds, (Knoblauch, Bell, etc.), Strawberry just a few behind. The 1B get killed by defense. By WAA he drops behind Stanton, McCutchen and Bonds. If we go by oWAR, he does open a gap on Strawberry, Stanton and Bonds.

Another way to look at is to ignore Harper's super early start and look at players from ages 22-28 (keeps his monster year in). Now he's in "trouble." By WAR, he's 80th in the expansion era; by WAA 69th; by oWAR 48th; but he is 13th in OPS+ (up to 150). That 10 WAR season does a lot of lifting there. Clearly more than holding his own from 19-21 is incredibly impressive and is a good indicator that he'll hit at least 9,000 PA and probably 500 HR.

None of those differences are significant in any meaningful way. As #10 notes, it was looking like he might not do enough in his 30s to make it but 2020-21 and the 2nd MVP change that picture substantially.

On Freeman ... I'm guessing not but you never know. Murray is a good comp but being behind Murray in HR in the current environment isn't that encouraging. You didn't mention the WAR gap which is substantial (10 WAR) with only a bit of that due to Murray's extra 500ish PA. If we look at the last 3 years with some sensible adjustment for 2020 and they look pretty similar. The remainder of Murray's career was pretty underwhelming -- one excellent 5 WAR season, one 3 WAR, a few average-ish and a lot of dreck totalling 15 WAR, -3 WAA. I won't say Freddie needs to beat that necessarily -- Murray's hit total would put him over 3,000 hits and with 470 HR, that's plenty to get him in even with "Just" 58 WAR. Murray was incredibly durable though, 5700 PA over those last 10 years.

I guess it should be no surprise that Murray has the most MVP shares (3.33) of anybody who never won it, 24th all-time.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: November 19, 2021 at 06:03 AM (#6053531)
I've been looking at this one for a while ... what constitutes a HoF "slugger" in the "modern" era? (Don't take anything below to suggest that OPS+ has played a role in HoF voting.)

OPS+ 130-139, >= 7000 PA, negative dWAR

Carew 131 -- >10,000 PA, >3000 H
McCutchen 131 -- >7000 PA, no milestones (1 MVP)
Singleton 132 -- >8500 PA, no milestones
Canseco 132 -- >8000 PA, >450 HR, >1400 RBI (I didn't know he'd come that close)
Gwynn 132 -- >10,000 PA, >3000 H
Palmeiro 132 -- >12,000 PA, >3000 H, >500 HR (obvious but for roids)
Gonzalez 132 -- >7000 PA, >400 HR, >1400 RBI
Holliday 132 -- 8000 PA, no milestones
B Williams 133 -- >11,000 PA, >400 HR, >1400 RBI, >2500 H
Helton 133 -- 9500 PA, >1400 RBI, >2500 H
N Cruz 133 -- Go Nelson!!
Powell 134 -- >7800 PA, no milestones
McGriff 134 -- >10,000 PA, 493 HR, >1500 RBI, just under 2500 H
Braun 134 -- >7300 PA, no milestones
J Clark 137 -- >8200 PA, no milestones
W Clark 137 -- >8200 PA, no milestones
Giles 137 -- >7800 PA, no milestones
Delgado 138 -- >8600 PA, 473 HR, >1500 RBI
Reggie 139 -- >11,000 PA, 563 HR, >1700 RBI, >2500 H

So to make the HoF you'd better have 10,000 PA and preferably either 3000 H or 500 HR (or be Billy Williams). McGriff is the scary one here for a guy like Harper; Delgado is the scary one for the "short" career peak-only slugger.

OPS+ 140-149 is nearly a guarantee, even one (Edgar) of the two (Berkman) short-career guys made it. (Votto should pass 9000 PA before he's done)

Sheffield 140 -- 11,000 PA, >500 HR, >1600 RBI, >2600 H (presumably roid association)
Vlad 140 -- >9000 PA, 450 HR, 1500 RBI, 2600 H ... 318 BA
(Chipper -- doesn't really belong on a "slugger" list, career dWAR just barely negative)
Ortiz 141 -- >10,000 PA, >500 HR, >1700 RBI
Berkman 141 -- >7800 PA, no milestones
Albert 144
Miggy 145
Killebrew 146 -- >9800 PA, 573 HR, >1500 RBI
McCovey 147 -- >9600 PA, 521 HR, >1500 RBI
Stargell 147 -- >9000 PA, 475 HR, >1500 RBI
Edgar 147 -- >8600 PA, no milestones
Thome 147 -- >10,000 PA, 612 HR, 1700 RBI
Votto 148 -- >8100 PA, 302 BA

This suggests that if Harper can maintain for about another 5-6 seasons (just ages 33-34), he'll be at about 9,000 PA and a 140 OPS+ and that should probably be enough though he'd be around only 450 HR. Obviously if he maintains over those years, he'll get to keep playing (he's getting paid after all) and 500 HR will fall easily. I would assume that most of the players who put up a 140 OPS+ through 7500 PA and are healthy enough to keep playing, decline gracefully enough to usually make it even if they fall into the low 130s. For example, Eddie Murray who had a 141 OPS+ through age 32 (7800 PA).

Getting to the HoF is freaking hard. Harper younger but I wonder how many people realize that Jack Clark had a 6700 PA run of 145 OPS+. McGriff had a 4700 PA run of 153 and put up a 144 and 142 later in his career. Delgado 153 in 5200 PA. Singleton 145 in 5200 PA. Harper's rare because he's done it at ages 19-28 which obviously bodes well for not falling off anytime soon. But being a "great" hitter for 8-9 full seasons is not enough for the HoF.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: November 19, 2021 at 07:40 AM (#6053533)
40 WAR by age 28 is great, but it ain't the HOF slam dunk you might think it is. By my figurin', there have been 55 (HOF-eligible) players with 35-45 WAR by age 28, and only 36 (65%) are in. But the two MVPs are nice, and if Harper just keeps on keepin' on (and maybe gets a ring?), he'll be in.


What I meant to say was that at age 29, after the season he had, and the previous career, any reasonable expectation going forward for him should result in a slam dunk hof. As Walt later pointed out, he's not the only player to have a good start and then not make it. He's locked into 9 more seasons, which means that the Phillies are going to probably keep him on the roster for 8 of those years at a minimum. (or some other team, either way, outside of an Albert Belle type of situation, he's guaranteed to be on the opening roster somewhere for the next 8 seasons)

He really doesn't need to keep the rate numbers up after two MVP awards, he needs to get the counting numbers up. (And Dale Murphy is a great example of the potential situation, thing is that at roughly the same age or games played in their career, Harper is 6-9 war better than Murphy, so he has a jump on him, there and Murphy is frequently mentioned as a potential hof player, even after his decline phase, so I think my original comment about just needing 700 more games played is decently accurate enough)
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: November 19, 2021 at 07:53 AM (#6053535)
I guess it should be no surprise that Murray has the most MVP shares (3.33) of anybody who never won it, 24th all-time.


Eddie Murray's case is the reason why I pay so much attention to Wainwright's Cy Young share (not the hof case, as there is pretty much nothing Waino could do to put him in a real hof discussion) It was just something interesting that someone pointed out when I was younger that always stuck with me.
   26. BDC Posted: November 19, 2021 at 09:23 AM (#6053540)
McGriff is the scary one here for a guy like Harper

And for Freeman too. I was comparing them during the WS because both were LHB Braves star first basemen … I thought Freeman would be clearly better but so far it is closer than I imagined. With a two-year head start in age, Freeman through age 31 has 43 WAR; McGriff had 38 WAR. McGriff wasn't great in his later 30s, but was still pretty good through age 38 (30 HR, 103 RBI, 2 WAR) and still couldn't make the Hall. Freeman's first two years were fine but nothing special, so he will have to play at a star level for quite a while yet (as others have noted).

Both won a ring with Atlanta. Freeman has an MVP but in a 60-game season; still, he was thought of at one point as the best player in his league and I don't think McGriff ever was.
   27. JustDan Posted: November 19, 2021 at 09:54 AM (#6053543)
Harper was the right choice. The beanball cost him a month of good performance.

That's silly. MVP is based on what you did, not what could have been.

Harper hit all the way until the end and made is sort of close number's wise and got the votes instead.

Except Harper notably failed in the important series against the Braves going 0 for 11 with 1 walk.

Cons: Much of his batting value comes from his 144 walks, and 72 of those came in August and September after the trade deadline and the Nationals big sell off. Absent any lineup protection he got the Barry Bonds treatment. He hit like crazy when they did pitch to him, but his team was out of it and didn’t matter much.

Interestingly enough, the Nationals actually had a higher OPS and scored more runs per game after the trades. Obviously they missed Turner and Soto was walked a ton, but their run production didn't suffer.
   28. Adam Starblind Posted: November 19, 2021 at 10:28 AM (#6053545)
The remainder of Murray's career was pretty underwhelming -- one excellent 5 WAR season, one 3 WAR, a few average-ish and a lot of dreck totalling 15 WAR, -3 WAA. 


LolMets

:-(
   29. Adam Starblind Posted: November 19, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6053549)
The remainder of Murray's career was pretty underwhelming -- one excellent 5 WAR season, one 3 WAR, a few average-ish and a lot of dreck totalling 15 WAR, -3 WAA.


LOLMets

:-(
   30. taxandbeerguy Posted: November 19, 2021 at 10:58 AM (#6053550)
23 - No real arguments with that. Harper for the next 5-6 years, could see a little more injuries, but wouldn't be shocked if there's a couple of 150-160 OPS+, mixed in with a 125 or 130. I think that stretch would work out to a 140 OPS+ for another 3,000 PA or so, at that point he's a 140 OPS+ with 8,500 PA, At least 2MVP's and counting stats galore. At that point he likely is already qualified as a HOFer.

A few words on the Crime Dog.
McGriff would've had 500 Homers if not for the strike, whether that alone makes him a better candidate in the eyes of the writers is another story. He also suffers from the fate of his peak being 88-94, just before the homers numbers exploded (although I guess they were fairly high in 93 and 94) and all these first basemen putting up crazy stats within a few years. Think Thomas, Bagwell, McGwire, Palmeiro, Thome, Delgado, Helton, Pujols et al. That doesn't include corner outfielders of this vintage either like Sosa and Ramirez who are hitters first and second and fielders the rest.

He is also still a solid and perhaps eventual veterans committee election - it wouldn't shock me to say the least. His Sabermetric stats are good but show him just short (give him a bit more credit for 94-95). So he doesn't cross that threshold either, but would be a much better selection than some of the recent selections (Baines, Morris).

He's kind of a combination of getting 90% there across the board by any measurement but doesn't get across in any of them. Always liked him, so hope he gets the call one day.

And as for being an elite level hitter for 8-9 years, you're right elite isn't enough unless your playing shortstop or catcher, or you're uber elite and hitting more like Frank Thomas 1990-97 or Albert Pujols 2001-10 for that 8-9 year stretch. Troutian or Foxxian for 8-9 years would also qualify. If you're Ruthian or Bondsian (01-04)- you might only need 4-5 years at that level.
   31. Russ Posted: November 19, 2021 at 10:59 AM (#6053551)
Another two 5-WAR seasons would push it up to about 42 and then you're into pretty much surefire modern HoF RFer.


Walt, I'm not even sure that is true. No one denies that Harper is a great player when he is healthy and playing well, but he has only had two seasons above 6 WAR. For me, sure-fire means a line everyone is above. We know for hitters, that line is 6 seasons with at last 6 WAR. Everyone who is at X WAR in X seasons for X>=6 is in the HOF except Trout, Bonds and ARod. Bryce Harper doesn't even have at least 5 WAR in 5 different seasons, let alone 6+ in 6.

Two 5-WAR seasons would basically put him in a group (more or less five 5+ WAR seasons) that is about a 50/50 split in terms of people in the HOF and people out of the HOF, including several people on your list above. I agree that Harper has the better narratives and awards, so he would have an edge there. But getting two 5-WAR seasons is not that easy to do (especially for someone who technically has only done it twice in his career! -- he has one 4.9 I'm giving him credit for). Miguel Cabrera managed to do it (4 times over 4.9 between 30 and 33), but he had a much longer history of staying in the lineup and consistent play.

   32. jingoist Posted: November 19, 2021 at 11:35 AM (#6053552)
Walt; at the end of post #23 you posited that 8 or 9 great years of hitting was not enough to get into the HoF.
I might suggest that Ralph Kiner is an exception to that position and Greenberg really only had about 9 great hitting years.
Maybe voters thought WW2 “stole” some value from both (certainly Hank has a case there)
   33. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 19, 2021 at 11:50 AM (#6053556)
Freeman/Murray is a fun one. According to BB-Ref, Murray has been Freeman's #1 most-similar-by-age all 11 full seasons of Freeman's career.

Through age 31 -
Murray: 7109 PA, .296/.372/.502, 141 OPS+
Freeman: 6660 PA, .295/.384/.509, 138 OPS+

Both raked in a short season; Freeman won the 2020 MVP, Murray led the AL in HR and RBI in 1981.

Murray had four more good seasons in him, culminating in his MLB batting average-leading 1990, then 3700 PA of hanging on. I suppose whoever signs Freeman this offseason should go with a 4-year contract!?
   34. Darren Posted: November 19, 2021 at 12:40 PM (#6053567)
Citing Dale Murphy as a cautionary tale seems like a mistake to me. Murphy is a the exception, not the rule. He also had only 26.3 WAR through age 28, compared to Harper's 40.1. So even if Harper goes all Murphy the rest of his career, he'll end up with 60.3 WAR, 465 HR, 1,390 RBIs, ~.270/.370/.490, ~130 OPS+.


He's not a guaranteed HOFer but he's about as close as you get without being an inner circle HOFer.
   35. Darren Posted: November 19, 2021 at 12:40 PM (#6053568)
But it's 7.1 WAR for Soto vs 5.9 for Harper.



That's bWAR--fWar has them even, and as noted above, behind Turner.
   36. Born1951 Posted: November 19, 2021 at 12:51 PM (#6053571)
Win Shares were extremely close, Soto with 30.9, Harper 30.8. Tatis had 28.5.
   37. Darren Posted: November 19, 2021 at 12:55 PM (#6053572)
But Gonzalez and Strawberry are pretty good comps and even somebody like the young Boog is a closer comp than I'd have guessed (less than 500 PA difference).


Strawberry, sure, but Gonzalez and Boog weren't nearly the player Harper is. Also very different types of players.
   38. cookiedabookie Posted: November 19, 2021 at 01:15 PM (#6053574)
40 WAR by age 28 is great, but it ain't the HOF slam dunk you might think it is. By my figurin', there have been 55 (HOF-eligible) players with 35-45 WAR by age 28, and only 36 (65%) are in.

If you just look at outfielders through age 28, within 10% of Harpers total fWAR (43.3), 7/11 eligible are in the HoF. The four who aren't include two HoM inductees (Sheckard and Magee), and two well known early flamouts (Cedeno and Pinson). If he is better than average over the next two years, he should avoid the Cedeno/Pinson trap
   39. Darren Posted: November 19, 2021 at 01:32 PM (#6053577)
Some better comps for Harper, IMHO:

Dave Parker: 32.6 WAR (later start), 143 OPS+, a bit better athlete than Harper.
Jack Clark: 30 WAR, 134 OPS+, ended up with 53.1 WAR.
Brian Giles: got a late start but by 28 looked a lot like Harper. He put up another 209 HR and 36.8 WAR afterward.
Reggie: 153 OPS+, 41.7 WAR, had 345 HR and 32.3 left in the tank.
Albert Belle: 148 OPS+, only 21.6 WAR, but from 26-28 he looked a lot like Harper with the bat. Only put up another 18.3 WAR and 187 HR.

   40. Darren Posted: November 19, 2021 at 02:20 PM (#6053585)
Ohtani, on the other hand, has a shot at breaking Ryan's single season strike out record.
   41. Walt Davis Posted: November 20, 2021 at 01:16 AM (#6053665)
I think my original comment about just needing 700 more games played is decently accurate enough)

I agree with that, at least assuming he does pretty well. Of course the only way he only gets 700 more games played is if he tanks or turns into Griffey healthwise ... so he's very likely to either cruise well past 9000 PA or not be on anybody's HoF radar ... or be a tragic career-ending story who gets in easily based on what might have been. It was #1's Harper's probably punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame that sparked the discussion.

#30: I assume McGriff well get the VC call eventually.

Walt, I'm not even sure that is true. No one denies that Harper is a great player when he is healthy and playing well, but he has only had two seasons above 6 WAR. For me, sure-fire means a line everyone is above. We know for hitters, that line is 6 seasons with at last 6 WAR.

"We" didn't know that (even if it's true). (also I said "pretty much surefire" which is not "surefire" in Walt speak.) FWIW, every "RF" (Jaws) with a WAR7 of 41+ is in the HoF except Abreu and Bonds (and Shoeless Joe and Sosa for non-WAR reasons and Betts and Ichiro because they aren't eligible yet). That is all modern HoF RFers except Winfield (just 39) although plenty of pre-war HoF RFers fall under that threshold. If he stays where he is, he won't hit that WAR7 threshold and might need to Winfield his way in (which is what most of the above discussion is about); with two 5 WAR seasons, he'll be right on that border; he needs at least one monster season to move to 44+.

If we mosey on over to LF, we find that every "LF" with 41+ WAR7 except Bonds and Rose are in. The Winfields here are Stargell and Rice (and woulda been Manny). Then let's mosey to 1B -- Votto and Helton are in limbo (I'll go Votto yes, Helton with a decent shot due to weak ballots), Goldschmidt will be, Giambi obviously not, Mac obviously would be. Hernandez also scrapes 41 but a good chunk of that is defense obviously so not particularly in this discussion. Add all that up and Helton seems to be the only corner player with substantially above 42 WAR7 who's not in on merit. Then it's Abreu and Bo Bonds on 41. So if we count my "obvious" and "off-field", I get 44 HoFers, 4 guys bypassed (Giambi, Hernandez, Abreu, Bonds) and 3 guys in limbo (Votto, Helton, Goldschmidt). 44-47 out of 51 is "pretty much surefire) in my book. Now if you want to argue that at 41-42 it's a very borderline affair then sure, that's how lines between "surefire" and "not so surefire" work.

And how many 6-WAR seasons are 2 MVPs worth?

Now looking at it ... what's so special about 6 6-WAR seasons? Those with exactly six: Cano (roids), Nomar (nope), Thomas, Griffey, Trammell (VC), Ripken, Santo (VC), Gordon (VC), DiMaggio, Greenberg, Gehringer. That's 6 of 10 by BBWAA. There's nobody with exactly 7, pretty sure all of those with 8+ except Mize were elected by the BBWAA but then 8 6-WAR seasons guarantees a WAR7 of at least 42. For modern players with exactly 5 6-WAR seasons, it's 13 for 15 (Boyer and Ashburn VC being the exceptions) with Betts, Votto, Utley, Helton and Andruw yet to be determined (2-3 by writers, probably another 1-2 by VC).

Four isn't very promising but a number are the corners: Miggy, Raines, Rose, Reggie, Yaz, B Williams, McCovey (and Dick Allen should he ever make it). Down at two with Harper definitely few and far between but Ichiro, (Manny), (Sosa), Vlad, Thome, (Palmeiro), Murray, Molitor, Stargell, Perez, Killebrew along with some VC possibles like Minoso, Maris, Dw Evans, McGriff. We note the role of counting stats in the 4 and 2 groups.

For sluggers, I wonder if oWAR might be more relevant. The modern 6 group is still just 3 of 5 (Wynn, Allen) but the modern 5 group is 100% (plus Cano and Mac). The 4 group looks much better at 15 of 20 modern players (plus some not eligible yet). Things get really dicey at 3. That doesn't help Harper because he's still got just two.

To clarify, I don't think there are any obvious 100% magic numbers for HoF selection other than obviously stuff like 90 WAR and no roids. I can't imagine they'll ever bypass anybody with 3000 hits (non-roid) but it's also hard to imagine anybody with 3,000 hits and not deserving it. 500 HR is becoming less special but I can't see them every bypassing 550. But I won't rule it out, a case can often be made against it, especially if we credit DRS. All the electrons in this thread lead to the conclusion that we seem to have near-universal agreement that Harper won't make it if he ends up on just 50 WAR -- whether that's 2 good seasons then replacement level or 10 years of 1-WAR ball. Did I really need to be clear that 50 WAR and 6500 PA would not be enough to get Harper into the HoF even if he had 42 WAR7? But fine, barring the bizarre outcome that he has two 5-WAR seasons in 2022-23 then walks away from the game (and what, $250 M?), 42 WAR7 would establish his peak as clear HoF-calibre for a RF and then he'll just need to play out the string without embarrassing himself.

Other positions (Jaws):

16 2B have 41+ WAR7; Cano, Utley, Grich and Pedroia (exactly 41.0) are the currently excluded. If Pedroia had been able to hang on for 3-4 more seasons, I think he'd be in. Cano roids; Utley who knows. Without Grich's exclusion, sabermetrics wouldn't exist. :-)

16 3B have 41+ WAR7 (I refuse to call Allen a "3B"); Boyer, Bando, Rolen (looking good), Nettles, Longoria, Donaldson. Many of us consider 3B to be screwed but alternatively they just have too many on the cusp, none of whom are remotely close to the standard milestones.

19 SS have 41+ WAR7; Nomar (6100 PA), Glasscock (19thc, 7500 PA) and Fregosi (7400 PA) ... the latter two on exactly 41.0

17 CFs have 41+ WAR7 (not counting Beltran yet); This is where things do get hairy. Andruw, Wynn, Lofton, Edmonds, Cedeno, Murphy. Murphy is probably most directly relevant to Harper with his two MVPs and barely making it to 9000 PA. The other guys are short careers or baserunning/defense reliant for much of their WAR. So Murphy had his peak ... and about 4200 PA for 5 WAR. Murphy lost 9 WAA in his off years. He's the poster child for 8-9 years of outstanding play is not enough for the HoF. McCutchen is Murphy minus one good season.
   42. The Duke Posted: November 20, 2021 at 07:03 PM (#6053787)
So Walt, if you have a VC ballot this year and you had to select two: would it be Boyer and Allen?

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