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Friday, August 24, 2018

Posnanski: Baseball 100 Rules

In this era of reboots, it was perhaps inevitable that Joe Posnanski would take another crack at the 100 greatest players in major league history. 

The Baseball 100 is more than just a ranking system to me. The difference between my 78th ranked player and my 212th ranked player is so miniscule that it’s mathematically irrelevant. With one slight adjustment, I could have those two players switch places.

Nearly all of the series is to be pay walled, but Zach Greinke is No. 100 on the list.

In the original version of this list, I included a bunch of Negro leaguers — I can tell you that four were in my Top 20. I still believe this. But Negro leaguers will now be a major part of my corresponding Shadowball 100….It’s an eclectic list that includes players who are, in their own ways, larger than life.

No. 100 on this list is Duane Kuiper.

 

 

Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 24, 2018 at 08:01 AM | 1453 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, joe posnanski, joe posnanski top 100, reboots

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   501. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 04, 2020 at 10:17 PM (#5921701)
I'm sure I missed or double-counted someone, but here's a guess at the last 51:

c: J. Gibson, Bench, Berra
1b: Gehrig, Foxx, Pujols
if: Wagner, Hornsby, Morgan, Rodriguez, Schmidt, Lloyd, Boggs, Lajoie, J. Robinson, Collins, Mathews, Ripken, Brett
of: Ruth, Bonds, Mays, Cobb, Aaron, Speaker, Musial, T. Williams, Henderson, Mantle, F. Robinson, Charleston, Stearns, Trout, Griffey, Jr., Kaline, Clemente, Yazstremski, Ott
sp: Young, W. Johnson, Clemens, Seaver, Maddux, Grove, R. Johnson, Mathewson, Paige, Martinez, Spahn, Bob Gibson, Alexander
   502. bbmck Posted: February 04, 2020 at 10:31 PM (#5921706)
September 28, 2011

Wouldn’t it be cool if the Phillies had a modern Tinker to Evers to Chance infield, with three of its stars—Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley—one day heading for the Hall of Fame?

And finally, there’s second baseman Chase Utley—who, unfortunately, is perhaps the weak link in this triumvirate. Though that’s not to say he isn’t building a Hall of Fame case of his own.

By the end of that season, Chase Utley 51.8 WAR, Jimmy Rollins 39.7 and Ryan Howard 19.5, Howard is a year younger than the other two. Defense rarely leads to being a "superstar".
   503. Jaack Posted: February 04, 2020 at 10:38 PM (#5921708)
I'm sure I missed or double-counted someone, but here's a guess at the last 51:

c: J. Gibson, Bench, Berra
1b: Gehrig, Foxx, Pujols
if: Wagner, Hornsby, Morgan, Rodriguez, Schmidt, Lloyd, Boggs, Lajoie, J. Robinson, Collins, Mathews, Ripken, Brett
of: Ruth, Bonds, Mays, Cobb, Aaron, Speaker, Musial, T. Williams, Henderson, Mantle, F. Robinson, Charleston, Stearns, Trout, Griffey, Jr., Kaline, Clemente, Yazstremski, Ott
sp: Young, W. Johnson, Clemens, Seaver, Maddux, Grove, R. Johnson, Mathewson, Paige, Martinez, Spahn, Bob Gibson, Alexander


I think Nolan Ryan will be there in place of Stearnes, but the other 50 pretty much have to be correct.
   504. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 05, 2020 at 07:43 AM (#5921763)
51. Kaline
   505. PreservedFish Posted: February 05, 2020 at 07:53 AM (#5921767)
Thanks bbcmk, for linking a subliterate Bleacher Report article in support of your point.
   506. Rally Posted: February 05, 2020 at 07:59 AM (#5921768)
And finally, there’s second baseman Chase Utley—who, unfortunately, is perhaps the weak link in this triumvirate. Though that’s not to say he isn’t building a Hall of Fame case of his own.

By the end of that season, Chase Utley 51.8 WAR, Jimmy Rollins 39.7 and Ryan Howard 19.5, Howard is a year younger than the other two. Defense rarely leads to being a "superstar".


When it comes to actual value on the field of play Howard was always the weakest link of the 3, but at the time that was written he looked to have a decent shot at a big round number - 500 homers. One week later he'd end his and the team's season with the Achilles injury. After that the team was bad, and Howard went from overrated but useful, to a sever liability. Just in time for his big extension to kick in!
   507. Rally Posted: February 05, 2020 at 08:51 AM (#5921786)
I think Nolan Ryan will be there in place of Stearnes, but the other 50 pretty much have to be correct.


Agree. I don't think you have to rank Ryan in the top 50, but I just can't see leaving him out of the top 100. I would have had Steve Carlton ahead of Ryan. Carlton has more wins, fewer losses, better WAR (though extremely close), better ERA+, more Cy Youngs. Both over 5000 innings and mostly contemporaries. Ryan lasted longer of course, but I remember for a few weeks in 1983 they were trading the alltime strikeout record back and forth with every start, or at least that's what I vaguely remember. Ryan has strikeouts and no-hitters, but Carlton's edges seem more important to me.

But at the same time I can't see having Blyleven and Perry rank on the list and Ryan left off entirely.

You could easily justify Stearnes in the top 100, and Joe seems knowledgeable about the Negro Leagues and a fan, but I don't see who you'd leave off to do so.

I probably would have Stearnes on instead of Cool Papa Bell, but I'd want to do more research before committing to that. Bell has a bigger legend to him whereas most baseball fans who are not extreme nerds on the subject might have heard there was a player that was called "Turkey". From the stats we have, Stearnes seems a far better hitter, one of the elite power hitters of his time, and also a fine defensive CF. Bell was not in the same class as a hitter. Bell probably would have an extra 10-15 wins over a career for his baserunning, going by the totals for Raines and Rickey, but that's not enough to make up the edge in hitting if Bell was say, a Lofton/Raines type while Turkey was a Hank/Willie/Frank type batter.

And the stats we have for Turkey suggests he was about as good a batter as anyone who ever played in the Negro Leagues except for Gibson.
   508. taxandbeerguy Posted: February 05, 2020 at 09:19 AM (#5921799)
#501

Nolan Ryan will be on the list likely in place of Stearnes. The rest look spot on. Coke to Jaack.

#507

I'd put Stearnes on the list too (and especially instead of Cool Papa Bell), I just don't see how Ryan is left off the list altogether.

I kind of always though of Turkey Stearnes as Willie or Hank light. 5 tools. If he was playing in the majors during the 50's and 60's, 25 HR's (peaking at 35-40 for a couple of years), .300+ average (maybe gets a couple batting titles), loads of doubles and many triples, maybe 20-30 steals in his youth, plus glove (but not Willie Mays). Career OPS+ ends the low-mid 140's for about 18 years. 95-100 bWAR or so. A war-credited Joe diMaggio is a fair fight. Shorter career but slightly higher peak Al Kaline might be another good comparable. Stearnes has more steals and triples and plays center, but is less outstanding defensively relative to his peers than Kaline. A more durable and longer career Larry Walker also draws some comparisons.

   509. Rally Posted: February 05, 2020 at 09:33 AM (#5921804)
Mostly agree, Tax and beer guy. Except for “shorter career Al Kaline”. Turkey played from ages 19 to 39. Some gaps in the record and lots of missing data, but seems to me that in a different time he’d be a 20 year guy just like Al.
   510. taxandbeerguy Posted: February 05, 2020 at 09:50 AM (#5921816)
Rally, maybe shorter career isn't the right way of putting it. Stearnes to me is an 18-20 year guy, Kaline played in 22. Stearnes probably has a little extra durability (especially through his early 30's), Kaline did miss quite a bit of time. They probably end up with the same number of games, Stearnes just compressed those games into fewer calendar seasons.
   511. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 05, 2020 at 10:00 AM (#5921827)
Just based off his prior rankings, if one of the two is off the list I think it's Ryan. Pos had Ryan no. 87 in his first rankings. Immediately ahead of him were Cabrera and Larkin, neither of whom have made the cut this time around. Stearnes was no. 58.

I could also see Pos having two co#1s.
   512. Rally Posted: February 05, 2020 at 11:32 AM (#5921927)
Rally, maybe shorter career isn't the right way of putting it. Stearnes to me is an 18-20 year guy, Kaline played in 22. Stearnes probably has a little extra durability (especially through his early 30's), Kaline did miss quite a bit of time. They probably end up with the same number of games, Stearnes just compressed those games into fewer calendar seasons.


Seems like splitting hairs to me. BB-ref has at least some data for Stearnes from ages 19-39, skipping 21. I assume that's just not having data as opposed to him not playing baseball that year. He was a great player at 22 and still a good one at 39. Age 20 data not great (2 for 18, so extreme small sample). I'd assume he was MLB quality from 21-39.

Kaline barely played at 18 as a bonus baby, regular at 19 but not much of a hitter. Then a legend at age 20. So Kaline has no more than a 2 year head start age-wise as a great player, maybe just a one year. Both finished at 39 and still productive players, Kaline a 107 OPS+, Stearnes an .850 OPS. That is, assuming that was the end for Stearnes, maybe more missing data. 1940 is his last season, born in 1901, I don't think they drafted 40 year olds in WW2.
   513. Rally Posted: February 05, 2020 at 12:24 PM (#5921958)
Pos had Ryan no. 87 in his first rankings. Immediately ahead of him were Cabrera and Larkin, neither of whom have made the cut this time around. Stearnes was no. 58.


No Larkin, but Miguel Cabrera made the list at #77.
   514. Rally Posted: February 05, 2020 at 12:31 PM (#5921962)
Of the guys I assume will make the list, who mostly played MLB, and have fewer than 80 WAR I have:

Bench
Berra
J Robinson
Trout

He's not leaving off Bench or Berra no matter what the WAR total is, these are generally considered the 2 greatest MLB catchers and several other catchers are already done. Neither is going to rank below say, Gary Carter.

Jackie is going to be on the list.

Trout will very likely be there, but maybe we'll see something like "I have no idea how the rest of his career plays out so I'll withhold assigning him a place for now."

Maybe he'll go with a tie someplace.

Among those who I think will make it, played mostly MLB, and are 80+ WAR, Ryan at 81.2 is the next lowest, so maybe he's out. Does seem a bit strange though considering there was space for Blyleven, Perry, and Niekro. And yes, I understand they all had more WAR.
   515. JJ1986 Posted: February 05, 2020 at 12:31 PM (#5921963)
Ryan's going to be #34.
   516. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 05, 2020 at 12:36 PM (#5921965)
All this Ryan talk and I was like Braun? What? And then I checked BBREF and yeah, Nolan Ryan. So I am dumb.

I guess you have to have Ryan as one of the great outliers of mlb history, right? Dude could throw super hard and had a pitching odometer about 10 times anyone else of the last 60 years. Not my list but I would put him off to the side in some special area like hey, this guy's career was REALLY strange but the actual results, not so great.
   517. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: February 05, 2020 at 01:00 PM (#5921975)
Nolan Ryan seems out of place with most of the guys in 501. With only a few exceptions, all of those guys were better than him.

Maybe he should have just had a "indestructible starting pitchers from the 1960s" as a single entry. Ryan, Blyleven, Perry, Carleton, Niekro. They're sort of like a historically weird little family, even if, as pitchers, the only thing that Ryan and Niekro had in common was walking lots of dudes. (Niekro is third all-time, albeit nearly 1000 behind Ryan.)

Gibson and Griffey are the others that really stick out to me. (Don't know enough about the Negro League players to evaluate their cases.) Griffey sure looked like he was going to end up on that list, but then he joined the Reds.

Leaving off Trout is certainly possible on the grounds that we don't have a good idea of where he'll end up. But on the other hand, given normal Trout production, he's going to pass Griffey and Ryan in WAR sometime around May 2021.
   518. TomH Posted: February 05, 2020 at 01:20 PM (#5921988)
a little fun with Nolan Ryan:

I once created a simple formula for creating a "W-L" record for hitters; with most of the goods & flaws that a pitcher's W-L record has; by counting R+RBI, dividing by 12 for WINS, and counting OUTS (AB-H) divided by 34 for Losses.

One of the most fun parts to this was matching MLB pitchers actual W-KL record with similar hitters. I was fascinated by how many matches had players with similar accomplishments, failures, temperaments, etc.

Nolan Ryan's (324 W, 292 L) best match was ... Pete Rose :)

[other fun ones were both Spahn and Maddux to H Aaron; Clemens to Bonds (!); Teddy Ballgame to Left Grove; T Seaver to T Speaker; Pedro Martinez to Joe DiMaggio; B Blyleven to R Santo]
   519. Rally Posted: February 05, 2020 at 01:27 PM (#5921995)
I guess we'll find out pretty soon. I would have a hard time leaving Ryan off the top 100 entirely, but can't see him that far below 50 considering the other players left to go.
   520. PreservedFish Posted: February 05, 2020 at 01:31 PM (#5921998)
TomH, that sounds pretty neat. Would like to see the results.

One could match WARs, but W/L is much more expressive, despite the obvious problems.
   521. Rally Posted: February 05, 2020 at 01:42 PM (#5922005)
Maybe Stearnes and Ryan are on, but Pop Lloyd is not?

The story I've always read was that Lloyd was the equal to Honus Wagner. But the Seamheads.com data (check it out, they've got more data on Negro Leagues than BBref, and even have OPS+, WAR, and defensive stats!) doesn't really support this.

Now I understand that we don't have complete data, and they were not contemporaries, but by the data on that site Willie Wells, not Lloyd, appears to be the best SS of the group.

As a batter, Wells is head 147 - 141 in OPS+. As a fielder, Wells +46, Lloyd +11.

For the top hitters, Stearnes is right between Charleston and Leonard, all in the high 170s for OPS+. Josh Gibson (203) is way ahead of everybody else.
   522. Jaack Posted: February 05, 2020 at 01:51 PM (#5922008)
I think Lloyd will be there - his legend is pretty strong, and Dr. Chaleeko's estimates still have him higher than Stearnes (although Wells is higher than both).

Based on the placements of Cool Papa Bell and Buck Leonard I think that Posnanski is leaning more on the narrative for Negro League guys. That leads me to believe Lloyd is there.

Ryan basically has to be there. Steve Carlson was recent and Ryan is very similar, but with a bigger legend and narrative. I can't see Posnanski excling Ryan with Carlton, Blyleven, and Niekro already on the list.
   523. TomH Posted: February 05, 2020 at 01:57 PM (#5922012)
PresFish, drop me a line at han60man @ aol.com and I will send you ppt slides I created.
   524. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 06, 2020 at 07:39 AM (#5922181)
50. Nolan Ryan
   525. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: February 06, 2020 at 09:59 AM (#5922217)
Now I understand that we don't have complete data, and they were not contemporaries, but by the data on that site Willie Wells, not Lloyd, appears to be the best SS of the group.
That might be an artifact of a continued increase in season lengths from 1906-1948. If you look at the seasonal distribution of Lloyd's career PA, half of his stats are from his age-37 to age-48 seasons, while Wells' PA are centered between his age-25/26 seasons. In other words, a much larger share of Lloyd's career data is from his decline phase relative to Wells.
   526. Baldrick Posted: February 06, 2020 at 11:07 AM (#5922249)
Nolan Ryan:
Every time out, Ryan aimed for history. He refused to compromise, to moderate, to take his foot off the throttle even for a second. Sure, he could have tightened up his windup so that base-stealers didn’t run on him at will. Wouldn’t do it. He could have spared a couple of miles per hour off the fastball to refine his control. Wouldn’t do it. He could have given in more often when behind in the count, could have been more efficient by not always going for the strikeout, could have taken a few wild pitches off the career total by just not putting everything on every pitch.

Would. Not. Do. It.

No, Ryan wasn’t into trade-offs. He wasn’t negotiating. He had what I feel sure is the hardest fastball ever thrown and, by God, he was going to throw it. He had a curveball that dropped like a hawk going after its prey, and, by God, he was going to throw it. He intended to strike out 27 every game. He intended to throw a no-hitter every game. And each batter who made contact, each batter who managed a hit, didn’t change the fundamental truth of Nolan Ryan’s ambitions.
   527. PreservedFish Posted: February 06, 2020 at 12:28 PM (#5922297)
Man this would make a great book to put in the guest bathroom.
   528. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 06, 2020 at 01:04 PM (#5922307)
Man this would make a great book to put in the guest bathroom.
Yeah, if you had a nice bound version made up, I'd totally come to your house to take a dump.
   529. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 06, 2020 at 01:12 PM (#5922312)
Prediction: There'll be a tie for #2, between Babe Ruth and your dump.
   530. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 06, 2020 at 03:22 PM (#5922414)
WFAN NYC sports radio loudmouth Mike Francesa has just launched a new "app" which you can add for the bargain annual price of $98

get yours now before they run out of them!

"This app is going to be about me," Francesa said last week during a question-and-answer session on Twitter. "This app is about me. It's going to be me on it all the time, it will eventually be my broadcast home."

Francesa said he plans to be live on it at "crazy hours," adding he could start yakking at 7 a.m. or 2 a.m., depending on when the spirit moves him. "I promise you, you'll get sick of me, I'll be on the app so long," he said.


I’m west coast so out of loop, does he still live there?
   531. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: February 06, 2020 at 04:11 PM (#5922463)
As Posnanski did for Joe Dimaggio at 56, I suspect Nolan Ryan is at 50 for a reason. He was 50% the most dominant pitcher in history and 50% the wildest pitcher in history. You could say the same about the way he's felt about by fans: half the people think he's one of the best pitchers who ever lived and half think he's incredibly over-rated. Pos doesn't come out and say that, but a lot of the statistical profile he presents in the piece varies between how much greater he was than any other pitcher at certain things (strikeouts, unhittability, etc.) and how much worse he was than any other pitcher at other things (walks, controlling the running game, defense, etc.).

I think Pos would have him in the 70's or 80's if he wasn't being purposeful in lining up certain players with certain numbers. He also said on his personal blog that he tends to give the famous superstars (which Ryan was undoubtedly one) numbers that end in zeroes because that's how baseball card sets used to do it. That will be harder as you go up since most players, aside from maybe the Negro Leaugers and some quieter guys, will be superstars.
   532. Rally Posted: February 06, 2020 at 04:40 PM (#5922477)
I'm going to take a wild guess and predict tomorrow's player.

49. Wade Boggs

If not he'll be around soon. Pretty sure Jackie Robinson will be #42.
   533. Mefisto Posted: February 06, 2020 at 04:54 PM (#5922485)
Seems to me that this kind of silly numerology kind of defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.
   534. PreservedFish Posted: February 06, 2020 at 05:12 PM (#5922494)
Boggs should have been #64.
   535. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 06, 2020 at 06:12 PM (#5922507)
Seems to me that this kind of silly numerology kind of defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.

My understanding (at least from back when I could read Poz for free) is that the ordinal rankings are not actually the purpose of the exercise.
   536. Howie Menckel Posted: February 06, 2020 at 06:15 PM (#5922508)
Seems to me that this kind of silly numerology kind of defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.

oh, that ship already sailed on this a while ago, fwiw.
   537. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 06, 2020 at 06:29 PM (#5922512)
Seems to me that this kind of silly numerology kind of defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.


The silly numerology, to me, actually does serve a small purpose - to remind us that claims to be able to evaluate the value of these players with the kind of precision that says Gary Carter is a greater player than Ed Delahanty are nonsense. It would be one thing if he dropped Hank Aaron to No. 44 just to be clever. But if he initially had DiMaggio at 53 but dropped him to 56, just because that seemed appropriate? Is anyone really going to beef about that?
   538. Howie Menckel Posted: February 06, 2020 at 08:19 PM (#5922529)
I don't know exactly where Cool Papa Bell rates in the pantheon of greatest baseball players - but it sure as hell ain't in the top 100.

is anyone going to beef about that observation, who knows about his actual baseball performance and not just silly anecdotes? the sense that Bell fills a 'Negro Leagues slot' on this list instead of a number of superior such players is, frankly, offensive. the pick is either condescending, or ignorant - not sure which.
   539. Jaack Posted: February 06, 2020 at 09:50 PM (#5922541)
I'm pretty sure Posnanski picked the Negro League players based on their legend level. CPB is probably the second most well known Negro League player after Satchel Paige and has numerous stories and anecdotes, which makes for a compelling article.

And if you just take a quick look at the basic Seamheads' WAR, Cool Papa Bell looks like one of the better Negro League players. If he thought "I want to write ~9 Negro League stories" and did a cursory look at the stats, it's pretty easy to get him where he is among Negro League players on Posnanski's list. Now the MLEs have shown Bell to be a pretty underwhelming player when compared to his glowing legend. But it's not like those MLEs have gotten significant coverage - if you don any search for Negro League rankings, Cool Papa Bell looks pretty decent. Bill James ranked him highly, as did Buck O'Neill.

Posnanski is wrong on Cool Papa Bell. But basically everyone has been. He's in the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Merit, he has historically been rated very highly on everyones Negro League lists until the most recent research, which hasn't exactly gotten an enormous amount of coverage.
   540. The Run Fairy Posted: February 06, 2020 at 09:54 PM (#5922542)
Seems to me that this kind of silly numerology kind of defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.


The purpose of this exercise for Poz is to have 100+ articles he can sell and release regularly. The benefit for the readers is they get 100 articles about important players in baseball history. Short of wild errors (IIRC, Posnanski totally forgot to rank one or more inner-circle players the first time he did this) I wouldn't expect anything more from this project.

is anyone going to beef about that observation, who knows about his actual baseball performance and not just silly anecdotes? the sense that Bell fills a 'Negro Leagues slot' on this list instead of a number of superior such players is, frankly, offensive. the pick is either condescending, or ignorant - not sure which.


I don't think Bell belongs in the top 100. I don't know if his MLEs have changed (Seamheads seems relatively down on him*, but I don't know anything about the state of NeL stats) but in 2008 the HoM ranked him 21st out of 26 elected CF, behind other Negro League players like Alejandro Oms, Pete Hill, Torriente, Stearnes, and Charleston. One possible defense of Joe is that he was influenced by Buck O'Neil's opinions. In I Was Right on Time Buck ranked the best NeL players at each position, and Bell was a "very close second" to Charleston for CF. Personally, I think it's more likely that Joe had more stories to tell about Bell than other players.

(* - incredibly, unbelievably, Seamheads has Bell as having below average range, and having the lowest defensive Wins Above Replacement when compared to his contemporary CFers.)

Edit: Coke to Jaack for raising the same points, including mentioning Buck.
   541. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 06, 2020 at 10:16 PM (#5922546)
incredibly, unbelievably, Seamheads has Bell as having below average range,
Does anyone else find incredible and unbelievable the basic concept that we would have enough, and reliable enough, data to evaluate the range of Negro League players with anything approaching credibility?
   542. PreservedFish Posted: February 06, 2020 at 10:26 PM (#5922548)
Does anyone else find incredible and unbelievable the basic concept that we would have enough, and reliable enough, data to evaluate the range of Negro League players with anything approaching credibility?

I find it even less believable than the light switch story.
   543. Rally Posted: February 07, 2020 at 08:09 AM (#5922571)
Wrong on Boggs.

#49 Warren Spahn.

I think Bell translates to a slightly above average hitter by the MLEs. With his baserunning (scored nearly a run per game), probable defense (we should probably trust the reports of his speed more than the limited stats) and long career he's probably a viable HOFer. Kenny Lofton's career OPS+ was only 107. I see him as a Lofton type who got an earlier start. But not top 100.

#525 - Good point on comparing Wells/Lloyd.
   544. Mefisto Posted: February 07, 2020 at 08:53 AM (#5922577)
It would be one thing if he dropped Hank Aaron to No. 44 just to be clever. But if he initially had DiMaggio at 53 but dropped him to 56, just because that seemed appropriate?


I don't have any problem with the second, but I think he's closer to the first on Ryan.
   545. bbmck Posted: February 07, 2020 at 05:20 PM (#5922749)
Spahn does make Nolan's exclusion more likely:

Warren Spahn: 5243.2 IP, 92.4 pitWAR, 40.9 pitWAA, 7.3 posWAR, 119 ERA+, 85 OPS+, misses early 20s to military service, 1.83 Cy Shares during the 2nd half of his career, 3.1 WAR_MVP Shares
Nolan Ryan: 5386 IP, 83.5 pitWAR, 34.8 pitWAA, -2.3 posWAR, 112 ERA+, 77 OPS+, 1.48 Cy Shares, 1.6 WAR_MVP Shares

#34 Nolan Ryan still seems more likely than ranking him below Max Scherzer.
   546. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: February 07, 2020 at 05:54 PM (#5922765)
The silly numerology, to me, actually does serve a small purpose - to remind us that claims to be able to evaluate the value of these players with the kind of precision that says Gary Carter is a greater player than Ed Delahanty are nonsense. It would be one thing if he dropped Hank Aaron to No. 44 just to be clever. But if he initially had DiMaggio at 53 but dropped him to 56, just because that seemed appropriate? Is anyone really going to beef about that?


I think this is it exactly. These articles, even the ones that are relatively heavy on statistics, are fun. They're meant to shed light on the narratives of great baseball players. The rankings are generally where Joe feels they should be, but he also has expressed the opinion that numbers are inextricably linked with baseball in myriad ways (e.g. Joe Dimaggio and #56, which I think he admits is the furthest he moved someone in order to make a link; he would have ranked Dimaggio in the upper 30's or 40's otherwise). He has used players' connections to those numbers as part of the story-telling process when it makes sense. And as he revealed on his blog, sometimes the connection between the ranking and the player is so obscure as to only be interesting to himself and maybe a few others. But he's okay with that since he doesn't think we can say with any meaning that Hall of Famer X was definitively better than Hall of Famer Y who was definitively better than Hall of Famer Z when they all had similar WAR numbers while playing under vastly different circumstances.
   547. Mefisto Posted: February 07, 2020 at 07:31 PM (#5922780)
Seems like DiMag has to rate around 40, even with pitchers in the mix. Dropping him to 56 for the sake of the number is the kind of thing which makes me not bother to read it.
   548. Rally Posted: February 07, 2020 at 09:54 PM (#5922816)
#545,

You must have missed the Ryan write up yesterday.
   549. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: February 07, 2020 at 10:35 PM (#5922824)
Poz is a story teller. And he's good at it. That's why you read him (if you do). If you want an actual, like, reliable, ranking of baseball's greatest players, we've got people around here who can no doubt do that better than he can.
   550. bbmck Posted: February 07, 2020 at 10:51 PM (#5922826)
Yep, missed Nolan the last player who could credibly be excluded. More non-MLB or 19th century players could be included by virtue of a tie but there is a really clear group of MLB players from the last 120 or so years remaining.

Poz side-stepping ranking some of the players does seem odd considering he's been working on the list for over 6 years and specifically had Tom Tango rank the players by some formula. It really makes the Poz 100 a strange way to present the articles, simply Poz's Greatest Players series would accomplish the same thing and make it essentially impossible to have a "mistake" and also free up the order of presenting the players, had Nolan Ryan passed away a month ago, finish and publish that article without having to change his ranking to 75ish. Don't feel like writing about Manny Ramirez or only feel like writing about him this summer when he writes the sequel to Juiced no problem as opposed to the strange decision to rank Carlos Beltran ahead of him.
   551. Jaack Posted: February 07, 2020 at 11:24 PM (#5922831)
I have no problem with the way Posnanski is ranking players - I likely wouldn't get too much into the numerology thing that he seems to be doing, but I think starting with a formula and then making adjustments is going to end up with a truer list than either a straight formula or straight gut would get you.

However, I do kind of like the idea of him writing a 'great players' series a la Roger Ebert's great movies essays. Then it could serve as more of a collection of great plaers and would free up room for more interesting picks. I think the Shadowball 100 list he was doing was sort of pointing in that direction, but I think if you were to completely going to seperate from ordinal rankings, that would be the way to do it.
   552. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 08, 2020 at 09:14 AM (#5922852)
49. Spahn
48. Griffey, Jr.
   553. Mefisto Posted: February 08, 2020 at 10:14 AM (#5922860)
Poz is a story teller. And he's good at it. That's why you read him (if you do). If you want an actual, like, reliable, ranking of baseball's greatest players, we've got people around here who can no doubt do that better than he can.


550 pretty well states my view: do a Greatest Players series, but don't rank them. Do them alphabetically or chronologically or whatever.
   554. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 09, 2020 at 09:27 AM (#5922965)
47. Wade Boggs
   555. cookiedabookie Posted: February 09, 2020 at 05:32 PM (#5923037)
Through #47 Wade Boggs, when comparing to my own all time rankings (for HoM purposes), here's where we differ the most:

Poz much higher than me (excluding NgL players):

Derek Jeter -219
Ichiro Suzuki -209
Sandy Koufax -176
Roy Campanella -141
Mariano Rivera -103
Tony Gwynn -102
Bob Feller -101
Hank Greenberg -96
Ernie Banks -94
Max Scherzer -75

Lower than me:

Mike Mussina 56
Kid Nichols 55
Gary Carter 44
Bert Blyleven 37
Carlton Fisk 33
Curt Schilling 31
Bullet Joe Rogan 23
Phil Niekro 20
Mike Piazza 19
Fergie Jenkins 17
Charlie Gehringer 16

Closest to my rankings:

Warren Spahn 5
Steve Carlton 5
Justin Verlander 3
Al Kaline 2
Jeff Bagwell -3
Brooks Robinson -5
Arky Vaughan -7
Chipper Jones -8
Robin Roberts -8

Given his timelining, I have to assume most of the players in the back half of my top 100 from the 1800s won't make it. Roger Connor, Cap Anson, and George Davis should be my highest ranked that may not make it from that era, they between 37-50 for me. Does Eddie Plank make it? He's just this side of the turn of the century. For the Negro Leagues, there's the holy trinity of Gibson, Paige, and Charleston. Does Pop Lloyd join them? And if he does, will Poz at least give a shout out to Willie Wells?

There are seven more worthwhile catchers for me, it will be interesting to see how many of them actually make it. Gibson and Bench are no-doubters, Dickey seems like he should be, but it's hard to separate him from Ivan Rodriguez and Yogi Berra (and Yogi seems like a definite). And that doesn't even mention Cochrane and Harnett, who are the most likely to be left out.
   556. Rally Posted: February 10, 2020 at 08:30 AM (#5923125)
46. Eddie Mathews
   557. PreservedFish Posted: February 10, 2020 at 09:19 AM (#5923130)
550 pretty well states my view: do a Greatest Players series, but don't rank them. Do them alphabetically or chronologically or whatever.


Countdowns are inherently compelling. If it were unnumbered, it would just seem like an endless column on random great baseball players.
   558. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 10, 2020 at 11:22 AM (#5923161)
Boggs should have been #64.

47. Wade Boggs


I have Boggs at #717.

https://nowiknow.com/superstitious-superstar/
   559. Mefisto Posted: February 10, 2020 at 12:16 PM (#5923177)
Countdowns are inherently compelling.


Only if they're meaningful.
   560. Rally Posted: February 11, 2020 at 10:52 AM (#5923462)
45. Bob Gibson
   561. Baldrick Posted: February 11, 2020 at 11:32 AM (#5923498)
Really enjoyed the Gibson one:
“That’s a whole lot of !@#$%^,” is how Gibson explains it. “I wasn’t trying to intimidate anybody — are you kidding me? I was just trying to survive, man.”
   562. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 11, 2020 at 11:35 AM (#5923504)
561--agree. Really good article.
   563. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: February 11, 2020 at 11:46 AM (#5923512)
Unless I'm missing someone obvious, Gibson is still -- somewhat astonishingly (at least to me) -- the only African-American starting pitcher in the Hall. (Fergie is Canadian, Lee Smith a reliever, etc.)
   564. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 11, 2020 at 11:57 AM (#5923517)
563--Satchel Paige doesn't count??
   565. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: February 11, 2020 at 12:10 PM (#5923528)
Meant to mention him. I have no doubt at all that he'd have made the Hall for his MLB accomplishments if he'd had a chance to compile them to any extent, but of course he's enshrined instead as a Negro Leaguer. He's asterisked, so to speak, at least to me.
   566. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: February 11, 2020 at 12:14 PM (#5923532)
For that matter, the lack of any Negro League pitchers other than Satchel (as far as I can tell from a rather cursory eyeballing of BB Reference) is rather surprising, again at least to me. I gather Bullet Joe Rogan made it for his hitting, though apparently he was a helluva hurler as well.
   567. TomH Posted: February 11, 2020 at 12:46 PM (#5923557)
Smokey Joe Williams

Martin DiHigo was like Othani
   568. Jaack Posted: February 11, 2020 at 01:11 PM (#5923570)
There are quite a few NGL pitchers in the HoF
Satchel Paige
Smokey Joe Williams
Bullet Rogan
Martin Dihigo
Leon Day
Willie Foster
Rube Foster
Hilton Smith
Ray Brown
Andy Cooper
Jose Mendez

Dihigo was a combo hitter/pitcher candidate, and Brown, Rogan, and Day were also fine hitters as well.
   569. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: February 11, 2020 at 01:28 PM (#5923581)
Thanks! I was going by this list, which if I'd paid attention (stupid work insists on interfering with actual interesting stuff ...) obviously excludes non-MLB players.
   570. Rally Posted: February 11, 2020 at 02:50 PM (#5923609)
I gather Bullet Joe Rogan made it for his hitting, though apparently he was a helluva hurler as well.


He was probably HOF quality as both a hitter and a pitcher. Maybe the only one. Rogan was better than Dihigo as both a pitcher and a hitter. If had was forced to pick one I don't think Dihigo's pitching stats alone are good enough to make it. At least going by what I see on Seamheads. As a combo player, he's certainly a worthy HOF selection.

Ruth was off to a good start but if he didn't move to hitting my guess is he'd have about a 10-20% chance of lasting long enough as a pitcher. His strikeout rate was in serious decline. The league K rate dropped between 1915-1920, but Ruth's fell faster than the league rate. I think Ruth as only a pitcher is much more likely to burn out than to recover and stick around long enough to win 250-300 games.

With Rogan I think if he had been forced to pick one path at the start of his career, either choice would have led to a HOF career.
   571. Rally Posted: February 11, 2020 at 02:57 PM (#5923615)
Unless I'm missing someone obvious, Gibson is still -- somewhat astonishingly (at least to me) -- the only African-American starting pitcher in the Hall. (Fergie is Canadian, Lee Smith a reliever, etc.)


Looking at 1947+, Gibson is the only one who is eligible and deserving. That will change in a few years when C.C. Sabathia is eligible.

Dwight Gooden and Vida Blue had good enough starts, not so much the finishes. David Price had a good start, has hit an injury bump, and we'll find out whether he can recover to finish with a HOF career. With a 150-80 record, 40 WAR, 2000 innings and 123 ERA+, he's about 2/3 of the way to being a good candidate.
   572. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:02 PM (#5923619)
Not related to Gibson but one of the posters in that ranking thread is tracking the number of comments for each player which is kind of interesting by itself. Gibson's thread has pretty much exploded I assume because of the boomer factor. A lot of the posters were kids or teens when Gibson pitched so those memories are super strong.
   573. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:04 PM (#5923620)
Unless I'm missing someone obvious, Gibson is still -- somewhat astonishingly (at least to me) -- the only African-American starting pitcher in the Hall. (Fergie is Canadian, Lee Smith a reliever, etc.)


Don't tell Canadians they're not Americans, it makes they mad. Especially the border guards.
   574. TomH Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:49 PM (#5923651)
Bob Gibson:
ONE ERA title
ONE time led his league in Wins.

Boomers:Gisbon::Oldtimers:DiMaggio
   575. Blastin Posted: February 11, 2020 at 04:00 PM (#5923659)
That is still pretty surprising on the African American (of course, not the same as Black, which is broader and would include Jenkins) pitchers.

I have a book called "the Black Aces," and there really are very few.
   576. cardsfanboy Posted: February 11, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5923665)
Bob Gibson:
ONE ERA title
ONE time led his league in Wins.

Boomers:Gisbon::Oldtimers:DiMaggio


Number of players since integration to post 10 or better war 3 times....

1. Willie Mays 6 times
2a. Mike Trout 3 times
2b. Barry Bonds 3 times
2c. Mickey Mantle 3 times
2d. Bob Gibson 3 times.

(this is bWar of course and it's total bWar)

and that is the complete list.

:)


Just using pitching war 7 players have done it 2 times, Gibson is on that list(Randy, Clemens, Carlton, Roberts, Seaver and Koufax), drop it down to 8 war and you get 8 players (Randy 7 times, Clemens 6, Pedro and Robin Roberts 4.... with Maddux, Gibson, Halladay, Koufax rounding out the rest that have done it 3 or more times)
   577. Rally Posted: February 13, 2020 at 09:36 AM (#5924116)
44. Cal Ripken
43. Yogi Berra
   578. taxandbeerguy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 10:29 AM (#5924142)
Given the run of post-integration players in the top 50 (Ryan, Spahn, Griffey, Boggs, Mathews, Gibson, Ripken, Berra not to mention Kaline and Beltre right before that), I foresee a similar run soon of pre-integration players. Jackie's probably 42, but coming up soon are the likes of (Lajoie, Pop Lloyd, Collins, Foxx, Mathewson, Alexander, Speaker, Ott). Grove, Wagner, Young, W. Johnson, Cobb, Gehrig, Hornsby are a cut above and are likely a bit (or maybe even significantly) higher. The career totals are too much to ignore, but given the tilt towards more recent players, I thought some of these older generation players would've been knocked down a few spots and would have been among the last 8 or so inducted. Only post integration players I see in the next dozen or so are Trout, Clemente, Pedro, Yaz and Brett. Bench could be in there too but think he's more of a high 20's guy.
   579. taxandbeerguy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 10:29 AM (#5924143)
Oops double post.
   580. Rally Posted: February 13, 2020 at 01:32 PM (#5924223)
My guess for Trout is he gets #27.
   581. Rally Posted: February 13, 2020 at 04:02 PM (#5924276)
What are the ranges for where Trout ends up in 10 years?

I think he's ahead of Griffey (#48) right now, even if he retired before spring training started. He's only about 10 WAR back of Griffey but has a higher peak. At the same time, I don't think he's caught his teammate yet. Trout has 6 years over 8 WAR, Pujols has 7. Albert has 16 WAR combined in his 7th and 8th best seasons, Mike has 14.

Albert will probably rank around 20-25. Trout probably in the same range for now.

At the high end, certainly Mike could finish in the top 5, and maybe even #1 if he's inspired enough by Ohtani to solve the Angels' pitching problems personally.

   582. cardsfanboy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 04:49 PM (#5924288)
I think he's ahead of Griffey (#48) right now, even if he retired before spring training started. He's only about 10 WAR back of Griffey but has a higher peak. At the same time, I don't think he's caught his teammate yet. Trout has 6 years over 8 WAR, Pujols has 7. Albert has 16 WAR combined in his 7th and 8th best seasons, Mike has 14.

Albert will probably rank around 20-25. Trout probably in the same range for now.


Agree for the most part, with the caveat, that on these lists, it almost always seems to be a given that active, still in prime players are going to be held back on the rankings for various reasons. Pujols career is done, he's not adding anything to his resume, except maybe a few moments, and some counting numbers but nothing of substance. So he'll probably be ranked as if he is already retired, but with Trout you have questions remaining, and these type of things usually hold back in case of a catastrophic cliff drop or something else,(dead girl or live boy type of thing) so I do expect there will be a gap of about 10 names between the two with Pujols ahead for now.

But Trout has the potential to break the top ten and outside shot of top five, but that is really going to be tough to do, heck doing a cursory pi look at war/waa for the all time greats, and it's tough for me to even imagine anyone, even with Trout's start, breaking the top 15. Just using war/waa as a barometer, he's still at at about 35/20 from cracking anyone I would put in the top 15. (and that is just position players, there are about 6 pitchers to be added to that list)..... but by using war/waa as the only gauge, right now, if he retired today, he would be the almost the hitting version of Curt Schilling.... of course their careers had completely different arcs so that isn't a good comparable. (and Curt does have the 8 war advantage--- 1 waa disadvantage.)

   583. cardsfanboy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:01 PM (#5924296)
If Trout follows Albert's aging patterns..... from age 28-now, Albert put up 45.4 war, 21.00 Waa, but I'm in the camp that isn't going to hold that -7.6 waa against him, so arguably he put up 27.6 waa....

That puts Trout at 117.9 war, 82.5 waa... on the pitchers list that puts him the fourth best behind Cy, Walter and Clemens, and on the hitting list behind Ruth, Bonds, Mays, Cobb, Hornsby, Williams and Speaker, with arguments being made for Musial..... of course Trout is actually better than Albert at this point in age, so it's not out of the question that he might age a bit better than Albert also. So it's not hard to argue that he might add in another 10? 20? 30? War with 6? 12? 18? waa over that time?

To break the top five as a position player he'll need to reach either Aaron's 143 war(he's at 72.5 now), or Hornsby 97.4(54.9 now) waa to even enter the discussion, (unless time-lining is brought up)
   584. Mefisto Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:15 PM (#5924303)
Williams would be top 4 with war service credit. That means Trout would have to pass Cobb to make top 5 (absent timelining, which I would do).
   585. cardsfanboy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:17 PM (#5924304)
Of course another way to look at it would be what if Trout has another 9 seasons like his first (including the cup of coffee season) just using war/waa again.... that would but him at 145 war/109.8 waa... so if he goes another nine seasons, playing exactly as he has and then retires, he would still be behind Ruth, Bonds, Mays in both war and waa, and only ahead of Cy Young's waa(101.2) but behind his war(165.6) and same with Walter Johnson(151.6/96.6)

So yes it's possible Trout breaks the top five of all time, but it would have to be historic or people arguing for more time-lining. (honestly when I first thought of this, I thought he was going to do better, but man that is something incredible.... and yes I get that I'm cheating a bit by including his 40 game first season, but oh well, it's easy enough, and considering that he's had injury issues the past three seasons, doesn't seem like a bad idea to make that he might only average 133 games a season going forward over the next 9 years...considering his last three has been 114, 140, 134)
   586. cardsfanboy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:19 PM (#5924305)
Williams would be top 4 with war service credit. That means Trout would have to pass Cobb to make top 5 (absent timelining, which I would do).


Absolutely agree, my comments was strictly based upon "numbers" and that is clearly before we actually talk about the actual history of how those numbers happened.
   587. bbmck Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:26 PM (#5924307)
Players with a decent chance to be rated ahead of Mike Trout if he remains healthy and declines slowly or even improves:

C: Josh Gibson
2B: Rogers Hornsby
3B: None
SS: Honus Wagner, Alex Rodriguez

1B/DH: Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial
CF: Willie Mays, Oscar Charleston, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle
LF/RF: Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Rickey Henderson
P: Roger Clemens, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Satchel Paige, Tom Seaver, Lefty Grove

"Only" Frank Robinson, Joe Morgan, Mike Schmidt, Johnny Bench, Albert Pujols is a pretty low bar for Trout.
Eddie Collins, Tris Speaker, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson have the problem of not being the best at their position in their era.

The Top 5 is really likely to be Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and a Negro League player. The next 5 most likely has a Negro League player, an MLB pitcher so Mike is competing with probably Ted Williams, Honus Wagner and Hank Aaron.

~60 WAR and ~6000 PA in the next 10 years puts Mike Trout comfortably in the 11-15 range. Top 6 MLB position player mostly depends on time lining. The numerology in the Poz 100 further confuses things but setting that aside it comes down to how close are Joe Morgan and Rogers Hornsby or Honus Wagner and Alex Rodriguez or Albert Pujols and Lou Gehrig to get an idea on time lining.
   588. cardsfanboy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:27 PM (#5924308)
The Top 5 is really likely to be Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and a Negro League player. The next 5 most likely has a Negro League player, an MLB pitcher so Mike is competing with probably Ted Williams, Honus Wagner and Hank Aaron.


I thought he wasn't including negro league players in this list for various reasons
   589. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:58 PM (#5924311)
Bullet Rogan, Cool Papa Bell, Smokey Joe Williams and Buck Leonard (so far) would like a word with you.
   590. cardsfanboy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 06:10 PM (#5924314)
Bullet Rogan, Cool Papa Bell, Smokey Joe Williams and Buck Leonard (so far) would like a word with you.


He's done so many of these lists, it's hard to keep track of which one he is doing now.
   591. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: February 14, 2020 at 02:24 PM (#5924448)
This is the "I Mean It This Time!" list. I guess.
   592. Rally Posted: February 14, 2020 at 02:40 PM (#5924459)
This is the "I Mean It This Time!" list. I guess.


This time he's on a set schedule, and has been right on time* with the first 59 names, so I think there's a good chance he finishes.

*Seems like they post at 7 AM. The train I take boards at 6:58 each morning, and this series has been a good and reliable morning commute read.
   593. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: February 14, 2020 at 03:19 PM (#5924474)
This time he's on a set schedule, and has been right on time* with the first 59 names, so I think there's a good chance he finishes.

*Seems like they post at 7 AM. The train I take boards at 6:58 each morning, and this series has been a good and reliable morning commute read.


Posnanski mentioned on his personal blog how difficult it has been. He said he started by getting a good lead on the project by using a lot of previous writing, but that's gotten harder as he's progressed, and now he's barely keeping up. But I do believe he'll do it.

Almost all of them have been fantastic, but I think it will get harder as it goes. So far he's been able to succeed by bringing a slightly different angle to a player's story or maybe focusing on lesser known details, but from here on, the players have well established narratives, and most aspects of their lives have been discussed at length. I anticipate they'll still be very good and I'm looking forward to all of them, but I also have a feeling that his best work in this series has come already.
   594. Rally Posted: February 14, 2020 at 03:34 PM (#5924478)
I've seen the stat before about how Jackie Robinson hit only .097 at UCLA. Anyone know what that stat line was? 6 for 62? 11 for 113?

Hard to imagine since it includes a 4-4 game. Jackie did have excellent stats before UCLA, at a junior college. Then he focused more on other sports, went into the military, and somehow when he comes out is not only MLB ready, but complete. Not at all like a Bo Jackson type, great athleticism but very raw. Everything about his game looks like a guy who was born into a baseball family and played ball exclusively throughout his youth.
   595. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: February 14, 2020 at 03:36 PM (#5924480)
The discussion of Trout reminds you how flabbergastingly great Willie Mays (and his ilk) were. For how godlike as Trout has been, he's not even halfway to Mays in WAR.

But despite some recent injuries, Trout's most notable attribute hasn't been his greatness, it's been his consistency. He cranks out 8-10 WAR seasons year after year. He might not have anything that we're going to want to identify as a "peak", he might just be really good every single year. In some ways the guy he reminds me most of is Hank Aaron. Hank's top WAR score was 9.4, but from age 21 through 39 his low was 3.9 and he rarely dipped below 7.
   596. bbmck Posted: February 14, 2020 at 03:58 PM (#5924487)
Link and Link

UCLA Baseball
In 1940, batted just .097 during the California Intercollegiate Baseball Association season ... in his first game (March 10, 1940), he had four hits and stole four bases, including home once.

The team plays 37 games so 4 for 4 in Game 1 and 7 for 109 the rest of the season with some walks is probably close.
   597. Rally Posted: February 14, 2020 at 04:01 PM (#5924488)
I really thought last season would stand out as Trout's big year for passing the 50 HR mark. He hit #45 on September 5th, and his team had 21 more games to play. Unfortunately he got hurt and only had 2 more AB for the season.
   598. Mefisto Posted: February 14, 2020 at 04:51 PM (#5924500)
The discussion of Trout reminds you how flabbergastingly great Willie Mays (and his ilk) were. For how godlike as Trout has been, he's not even halfway to Mays in WAR.

But despite some recent injuries, Trout's most notable attribute hasn't been his greatness, it's been his consistency. He cranks out 8-10 WAR seasons year after year. He might not have anything that we're going to want to identify as a "peak", he might just be really good every single year. In some ways the guy he reminds me most of is Hank Aaron.


Well, he *is* half way to Aaron. :)
   599. bbmck Posted: February 14, 2020 at 05:27 PM (#5924507)
Willie Mays: 12 years of 9.6 WAR, 662 PA, 51 Rbat, 4 Rbaser/dp, 13 Rfield
Willie Mays: 15 years of 9 WAR, 648 PA, 47 Rbat, 4 Rbaser/dp, 12 Rfield
Willie Mays: per 650 PA through Age 40: 8.5 WAR, 44 Rbat, 5 Rbaser/dp, 11 Rfield
Mike Trout: 8 years of 9.0 WAR, 642 PA, 59 Rbat, 5 Rbaser/dp, 1 Rfield
Barry Bonds: 4 years of 10.8 WAR, 611 PA, 102 Rbat, 0 Rbaser/dp, -2 Rfield

Anything short of peak Bonds and you need about 15 years of elite play to even begin a non-time lining comparison to Mays. Games in CF since 1908 at Age 28.146 (Trout on Dec 31):

1321 - Andruw Jones
1219 - Vada Pinson
1184 - Ken Griffey Jr
1171 - Willie Davis
1170 - Tris Speaker (7 games in 1907 so probably 5th)

1151 - Curt Flood
1128 - Cesar Cedeno
1126 - Richie Ashburn
1102 - Mickey Mantle
1058 - Willie Mays
1042 - Mike Trout

Even with Willie's military service very few players have much of an early lead, A-Rod with 1267 games at SS at that age, Robin Yount with 1359. Mays is born in May and has the military service so doesn't show up among the Age based WAR leaders for quite some time. Mays is still 20 WAR behind the leader Ty Cobb through Age 30 for position player WAR and Trout might challenge Cobb's total. After Age 30 it's the Fab Four: Barry Bonds 88.8, Honus Wagner 83.4, Babe Ruth 82.5 and Willie Mays 79.4 then the drop to Hank Aaron "only" 62.5. Projecting Albert Pujols 18.9 WAR at Age 31+, Mickey Mantle 19.5 or Ken Griffey Jr 7.6 (12.2 for his dad) to much higher totals was certainly realistic at one point and Trout can certainly be projected to both be around Cobb through Age 30 and have a back end of Hank Aaron which is what it takes to be 3rd in career position player WAR just ahead of Mays. Projecting anyone above that until they have actually done it is not realistic. Other than some future player throwing 300 elite innings a season and possibly adding in some batting value you're simply not going to get much better than Mays because you can simply Walk a player 755 times in 4 years to limit his batting production.
   600. Mefisto Posted: February 14, 2020 at 08:06 PM (#5924540)
Those numbers for games played in 599 really shocked me. I'd never have guessed Mays played more games than Trout despite missing 1.75 years to military service. And Mays continued to play 150+ games per year through age 35. Trout's going to need a long stretch of injury-free seasons in order to make it to the very top.
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