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Monday, January 10, 2022

Which birth year produced the most WAR?

1. 1983: 1,369.3 WAR
Top 5 players by WAR: Zack Greinke (73.1), Justin Verlander (71.8), Miguel Cabrera (68.7), Joey Votto (64.6), Cole Hamels (59.3)

It wasn’t just a banner year for baseball births—1983 outpaces the next year on the list by more than 130 WAR, which is more than one Honus Wagner (130.8 WAR). The top five by WAR from this year are five active players with well above 50 WAR, and there are plenty of others with at least 35 WAR worth noting. The 1983 birthdays also include Joe Mauer (55.2), Dustin Pedroia (51.9) and Ryan Braun (47.1). And given that Greinke, Verlander, Cabrera and Votto are active, and Hamels has yet to retire either, this year’s total will continue to grow.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 10, 2022 at 03:11 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: birth year

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   1. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: January 10, 2022 at 04:22 PM (#6060477)
The article acknowledges this, at least to a degree, but... this is super-biased towards (playing) years with more teams and more games per team.
   2. AndrewJ Posted: January 10, 2022 at 04:56 PM (#6060481)
Anticlimactic presentation -- Sarah should at least have had the good sense to Casey Kasem-it, beginning with #20 and ending with #1.
   3. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 10, 2022 at 05:25 PM (#6060490)
14. 1987: 999.3 WAR -- Paul Goldschmidt (50.7)


Will this be the highest-WAR birth year without a Hall of Famer?

EDIT: Posey, who is second, would seem to have a better shot than Goldschmidt despite the 44.9 WAR. Nobody else is close, and since the 87s are turning 35 this year, they don't have much time left to build the ol' legacy. (And pitchers? Don't ask.)
   4. JJ1986 Posted: January 10, 2022 at 05:43 PM (#6060494)
Posey is 100% making the Hall.
   5. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 10, 2022 at 06:27 PM (#6060504)
Posey is 100% making the Hall.

I think not. This summed it up nicely from the Posey retirement thread from a few months ago:

19. John Northey Posted: November 03, 2021 at 11:03 PM (#6051164)
The HOF will be tough for him - Gary Carter had to wait 6 years and his resume was crazy good (2000+ hits, 300+ HR, 11 time All-Star, 1 Gold Glove, 5 Silver Sluggers, 1 WS win, over 70 bWAR, solid playoff performer), as did most modern catchers. Fisk had to wait for a second ballot, Mike Piazza for crying out loud had to wait 4 years. IRod snuck in on the first ballot (76%) somehow. I don't see Buster Posey as being in that group. Yes, he has 7 All-Star games, 1 Gold Glove, 4 Silver Slugger, a ROY, an MVP - he has the peak case, but no longevity at all with just 12 seasons (includes a 7 game season and a 45 game one). His bat in the postseason was nothing to write home about (252/321/345, WS: 230/288/328) but 3 WS titles is significant regardless of his horrid hitting during the WS. Of course Pat Borders has 2 WS titles as primary catcher and he didn't even get on the ballot (was a WS MVP who hit 315/339/414 in the playoffs and played in 17 seasons but just 3.6 WAR, yeah he wasn't that good a player but just right place, right time, and hot at the perfect time). But looking at Posey I see a guy who just had way too short a career to be put into the HOF (maybe vets someday if few catchers make it from this era), with low odds of writers doing it unless a story is built up around him that they love.


Even if I award my full "catcher's bonus" of 10 WAR, that only puts Posey in the mid-50s, well short of my 62 WAR in/out line. I mean, he's a solid candidate, sure, but hardly a slam dunk.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: January 10, 2022 at 06:36 PM (#6060508)
I think he's pretty dunky. An MVP, the best player on a three-time Series champ (and no one else is really a candidate from that club).
   7. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 10, 2022 at 07:20 PM (#6060511)
Yeah, the Giants are the only dynasty of the 21st century so far and Posey was their best player in that stretch.
   8. Booey Posted: January 10, 2022 at 07:22 PM (#6060512)
#5 - Voters aren't as obsessed with WAR as some here are. And even if they were, there aren't any contemporary catchers who are going to get significantly more WAR than Posey (unless you count a half catcher like Mauer, who will already be elected by then). Buster will be competing against the other catchers of his era, not the 60-70 WAR inner circle types of previous eras (Carter, Fisk, Piazza, IRod).

If they're not going to elect the likes of Posey, Mauer, and Molina (all of whom have good arguments against them based on past standards), then they're just gonna have to stop electing catchers, it seems.
   9. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 10, 2022 at 07:34 PM (#6060515)
not the 60-70 WAR inner circle types of previous eras (Carter, Fisk, Piazza, IRod)


I would consider Piazza to be an inner circle catcher, but the BBWAA sure didn't. Though I do wonder how he would have been treated without steroid whispers.
   10. Booey Posted: January 10, 2022 at 07:40 PM (#6060516)
#9 - Piazza likely goes 1st ballot if he didn't have PED whispers and didn't debut with Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Sosa, and Biggio.
   11. JRVJ Posted: January 10, 2022 at 08:28 PM (#6060525)
Posey will be inducted by the BBWAA.

Don't think it'll be on the first ballot, but who knows how many candidates will remain on the ballot at that time (i.e., I don't like to project ballots that far into the future, because if ballotgeddon taught us anything, is that ballots can get insanely packed).
   12. crict Posted: January 10, 2022 at 08:44 PM (#6060529)
The article acknowledges this, at least to a degree, but... this is super-biased towards (playing) years with more teams and more games per team.


Quite amazing that 1887 ranks #13.
   13. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: January 10, 2022 at 09:22 PM (#6060535)
Posey has 1500 hits. Hall of fame catchers that he ranks ahead of: Bresnahan, Campanella, Schalk. (Negro league players not comparable and so excluded. MLB stats only for Campy, since I presume that's all the voters were looking at when they elected him.)

His 158 HR ranks ahead of: Bresnahan, Cochrane, Ewing, Ferrell, Schalk
His 729 RBI ranks ahead of: Bresnahan and Schalk
His 663 runs ranks ahead of: Campanella, Lombardi, Schalk

You don't have to be WAR obsessed to think that he doesn't have a good shot. By traditional measures his career stats are simply bad. They're in a box with a guy whose career began in 1897, a guy who was on the black sox, and a guy who was paralyzed in a car crash (and who really isn't comparable because he was an established star when MLB integrated, and won 3 MVP awards for the Dodgers). If Posey was to be elected, he would have the worst career numbers for any live-ball inductee. His would be a peak case, of course, but those career numbers are a lot to overcome.

>>>

As for the topic of the article. I'm going to guess 1889. Zach Greinke might have produced a lot of WAR, but Hitler has got him beat.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: January 10, 2022 at 09:28 PM (#6060536)
Posey -- see the other thread on David Laurila's musings. There's a big difference for Posey between bWAR and fWAR, on the order of 13 WAR which I assume is framing, etc. 45 WAR is iffy; 58 WAR is not. Posey's WAR7 is not that strong even for a C ... but if his bWAR is understated by about 1 WAR per year then his WAR7 is among the best. Of course we don't have those fWAR adjustments (at least not with precision) for earlier Cs so who really knows. The main question to me is whether Posey's peak is good enough to make up for having only just over 1,000 career starts at C. I lean towards no. But if Mauer goes in, no reason Posey shouldn't and, if those two (and Molina) are in, Munson should be too. That would then leave Freehan as probably the best C not in the HoF.

On this article ... as noted, the number of WAR available to be divvied up each year is determined by the number of teams and games. Therefore, after adjusting for that, differences between birth years of essentially the same era are mainly a function of longevity and talent. Neither of those should be particularly due to structural differences between years other than demographics. The 90s expansion increased WAR following a long period
when US births had been falling. Those early 60s birth cohorts got to hang on a long time in part due to that expansion. That differs from the 60s-70s expansion because those came at a time when those born at the star of the baby boom were approaching their MLB-playing ages.

Quite amazing that 1887 ranks #13.

My first guess was that it was the pitching -- guys throwing 600 innings a year. But of course this is a bit late for that craziness. But it may be the year most dominated by its top -- Johnson at 152 WAR (plus apparently some batting WAR), Pete Alexander at 116 and Eddie Collins at 124. That's 40% of the WAR right there. Shoeless Joe is there too but the 3rd-best pitcher had just 25 WAR. On the career WAR list, that's #2, #13 and #15 born in 1887 -- that's some random outlier #### there. The within-era talent distribution would have an effect too -- i.e. lots of guys who would have been decent players were either never found or could make more money in real jobs -- such that the super-talented players soaked up an even higher percentage of WAR. Seven of the top 15 WAR all-time had played most of their career before 1920.
   15. alilisd Posted: January 10, 2022 at 09:31 PM (#6060537)
5. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 10, 2022 at 06:27 PM (#6060504)
Posey is 100% making the Hall.

I think not. This summed it up nicely from the Posey retirement thread from a few months ago


It summed up something, but it misses the fact that Carter faced a radically different electorate, as did Fisk. It ignores the jam packed ballots and PED era issues that Piazza faced, while also soft pedaling Rodriguez's election. Posey will be an easy selection when he comes onto the ballot.
   16. alilisd Posted: January 10, 2022 at 09:33 PM (#6060538)
Quite amazing that 1887 ranks #13.


Pitchers throwing 300+ innings make for a lot of WAR, I'd guess.

Half a coke to Walt because 300 innings is half of 600 innings :-)
   17. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: January 11, 2022 at 09:31 AM (#6060584)
the Giants are the only dynasty of the 21st century so far

And that's using the term "dynasty" very loosely since their average season during their run was 87-75. They may have fluked into winning three playoff tournaments in five years, which does provide plenty of narrative points, but this was hardly some unstoppable juggernaut team.
   18. Jack Sommers Posted: January 11, 2022 at 10:26 AM (#6060594)
EDIT: Posey, who is second, would seem to have a better shot than Goldschmidt despite the 44.9 WAR. Nobody else is close, and since the 87s are turning 35 this year, they don't have much time left to build the ol' legacy. (And pitchers? Don't ask.)


I gotta admit I was surprised Goldy put up a 6.1 WAR season and 143 OPS+. I thought he was headed down the typical slugging firstbaseman's path of decline.

Except this:

Per his Statcast Page He just posted his highest Hard Hit, Barrel and Exit Velocity rates of his career (for Stat Cast era since 2015), and his xWOBA (.397) was actually 23 points higher than his wOBA (.373). Something else REALLY unexpected: Through 2019 his career K% was 22.7%. 2020-21 combined he has a 19.7% K rate. Overall Contact percentage also up slightly from 74.7 to 75.4
So more contact, fewer K's and hitting the ball as hard as ever. His 2021 seasons was no fluke, or dead cat bounce. The underlying peripherals supported a great season.

His entire career has been about exceeding expectations. 8th round pick, never a top 100 prospect. Beats his ZIPS projection EVERY YEAR since the beginning.

At this point, despite the fact that I felt the Dbacks should not have given him the big extension he ultimately got from the Cardinals, I was probably wrong. He's averaged 6 WAR per 650 the last two seasons. So at this point we can't rule out Goldy getting into the mid 60's in career WAR before it's said and done. If he gets there, I think he gets in the HOF. While that may be considered borderline for a first baseman by some, he is universally liked and respected as a human being, and voters will WANT to vote for him. So stay tuned. If he repeats 2021 levels in 2022 that HOF drumbeat will start to get louder.





   19. alilisd Posted: January 11, 2022 at 11:56 AM (#6060607)
I gotta admit I was surprised Goldy put up a 6.1 WAR season and 143 OPS+. I thought he was headed down the typical slugging firstbaseman's path of decline.


He was never that, never a just a slugging 1B. He was/is a well rounded player: great D, very good baserunner, and good power/on base batter.
   20. Jack Sommers Posted: January 11, 2022 at 12:15 PM (#6060611)
That's true......my comment was stated poorly in that regard

But his K Rates were climbing in 2018-2019, and his batter ball data was declining those same two years. So entering age 32-33 I didn't see him reversing those trends.

His fielding runs had dropped too. From 2013-2017, +8 per 650, 2018-2020, +2. Still positive, but not the same. 2021 ? +9 !

And of course steady decline in Sprint Speed (ft/S)

2015-27.4 (Rank 239, perecent rank 64.8%)
2016-27.4
2017-26.8
2018-26.8
2019-26.6
2020-26.4
2021-26.2 (rank 449, percent rank 33.6%)

His defense and foot speed were slowly declining, his contact skills were eroding, and the quality of his contact had fallen off a lot. And then he reversed EVERYTHING (except sprint speed) back to peak levels last year. I find that remarkable.


   21. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 11, 2022 at 05:56 PM (#6060678)
So at this point we can't rule out Goldy getting into the mid 60's in career WAR before it's said and done. If he gets there, I think he gets in the HOF.

No rings, no MVPs, and an (unfair) rep as your standard slugging 1B. I think he needs at least 400 HR [he's got 280] and/or 2,500 H [1,572] and 70+ WAR [50.7] to get in.
   22. alilisd Posted: January 11, 2022 at 06:28 PM (#6060683)
His defense and foot speed were slowly declining, his contact skills were eroding, and the quality of his contact had fallen off a lot. And then he reversed EVERYTHING (except sprint speed) back to peak levels last year. I find that remarkable.


Ah, now I'm tracking you. Yes, he did bounce back really well. Much better than I realized thanks to your in depth analysis of him. Cheers!
   23. Booey Posted: January 11, 2022 at 08:13 PM (#6060703)
#21 - Similar to what they're going to have to do with catchers and starting pitchers, voters are going to have to adjust the standards of what's considered a HOF caliber offensive career. No one gets 200 hits, steals bases, bats well over .300 consistently or gets well over 100 rbi consistently anymore. Very few active players look likely to put up "traditional" HOF looking career numbers.
   24. Jack Sommers Posted: January 12, 2022 at 11:01 AM (#6060773)
#21, I kinda agree with #23. Goldy probably won't hit the ballot for another 10 years and it will be 20 years from now before his time on the ballot is up. The slow but steady changing of the guard with Baseball Writers will continue to push the emphasis slowly away from traditional counting stats as the key measures for determining HOF worthiness. I hope I'm around long enough to see it . ;)

   25. toratoratora Posted: January 12, 2022 at 08:04 PM (#6060864)
Barring catastrophe Goldie is in.
Looked and was kinda shocked to see he had 50.7 WAR. At 33 and averaging 5.6 a year, especially now that Hodges is in (Albeit his case also rested somewhat on the '69 Mets and untimely death) he'll make it.
Like Votto, he's accumulated more than I thought the last few seasons. Both are handicapped by being late starters and the shortened COVID season, but recent years have helped their cases considerably.

Posey is a shoo in.

First round draft pick
Rookie of the year
7 time all star
Batting title
MVP
3 rings
A catcher with a lifetime .304 BA.
Involved in a major rule change
One team player
Fun nickname
Press loves him
Has the narrative of retiring on top.

Barring Edwin Edwards situations or Schillingization dude is in like Flynn.
   26. taxandbeerguy Posted: January 14, 2022 at 11:17 AM (#6061050)
Kind of would've thought 1931 would make the list. Lots of front end talent there with Mays, Mantle, Mathews and Banks (plus Ken Boyer and Jim Bunning)
1903 also has some serious firepower - Cochrane, Gehrig, Gehringer, P. Waner, Hubbell plus some guys in the Hall that aren't as deserving but were still good-very good players (Lazzeri, Hafey, T. Jackson)

1983 and 1975 - Not surprised to see them, deep years with lots of all-stars and future Hall of Fame Guys.

1887 - Also Have Ty Cobb in 1886 and Tris Speaker in 1888 that are only off by a year. That's quite a concentration of inner-circle level talent.

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