Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dale Murphy and the HOF

Two MVPs.  Seven All-star Games.  Five Gold Gloves in CF. Four Silver Sluggers CF.
398 HR and an OPS+ 125.  Roberto Clemente and Lou Gehrig Memorial Awards Winner,  7 times a top ten hitter. 

Who is this player?  Must be a Hall of Famer.  It is Dale Murphy.  He should be a in the HOF.  His Prime consisted of 6 great seasons, 1 very good season, 3 good seasons, 3 other useful seasons,  The Atlanta Braves would not be the team they are, without the past players such as Dale.  There is a reason his jersey is retired. 

He had a great prime.  He was a great player for those great seasons.  From 1982-1987, he was first in Home Runs and Runs created, second in games and runs, and third in RBI.  Cal Ripken was ahead of him in games, and Ricky Henderson in Runs.  Dave Winfield and Eddie Murray were ahead of him in RBI.  Wade Boggs was trailing by 17 in runs created. 

According to OPS+, he was 21% better than the league over his career.  During his best seasons, he was a top 3 hitter in the league.  He had a high enough peak to justify being in the HOF. 

I am an inclusionary.  Including Dale Murphy in the HOF will not dilute the talent pool in the Hall.  He was a Gold Glove Centerfielder who could rake.  His career numbers may not be the best, but His prime was great enough.  He won enough awards to show he belongs.  Look at his overall numbers, and they would not disgrace the Hall of Fame.  But his greatness should not be kept out.  398 HR and .815 OPS.  47.3 fWAR, .357 wOBA and 44.2 bWAR.  He was a masher with the bat and a good defender in CF.  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Next Candidate?

I am trying to decide where to go from here.  I have gotten a handful of candidates reviewed.  My next person is a bit of a challenge to decide on.  The list of returning candidates is as follows.  I have put “X” next to them as I finish.  I also have done a post on Ron Santo.  I am thinking about skipping pitchers for now.  I will probably cover Bagwell (next highest), Trammel(unique position for those left), or Murphy (running out of time).  Any suggestions of these or other people let me know.  Eventually I will also get into past players who are no longer up for selection that may have been missed.  I am also willing to cover retired individuals who are not yet up for election. 

X          Barry Larkin                  62.1
Jack Morris*                 53.5
Lee Smith*                    45.3
Jeff Bagwell                 41.7
X          Tim Raines                    37.5
X          Edgar Martinez            32.9     
            Alan Trammel              24.3
            Larry Walker                 20.3
Mark McGwire             19.8
Fred McGriff                 17.9
Don Mattingly              13.6
Dale Murphy                12.6
Rafael Palmeiro           11.0
Juan Gonzalez                        5.2

X          Ron Santo

This was just a tease to get you ready.  I think I will try and get one of these done a week as my goal.  More often if possible.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Long Interruption

It has been a long time between posts.  I did not want it to be this long.  I just did not feel I had the time to even do just the basic research that Barry Larkin deserved from me to highlight his career.  I know my posts will not convince anyone to change their opinion.  I am only hoping to get that dialogue started.  Maybe someone else will use it as a starting point to jump in deeper.  I am sure I will go into more depth with some than other candidates. 

On a second note, I want to address the idea of lowering the percentage of the vote for gaining election.  The starting point came from http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/7328/hall-of-fame-should-lower-voting-threshold
I think it is a good idea.  As has been pointed out, this would just speed up the process for people who deserve enshrinement.  I believe in making the process as quick as possible.  The long weight is unnecessary.  A Hall of Famer is a Hall of Famer.  If they get in more quickly, that is better.  It gives him a longer time to enjoy the benefits of being in the Hall.  It is no harm to anyone to speed up the Hall process.  It will be such a shame for Ron Santo to be elected in the first election after his death.  Let us not make anyone else go through that process.   

Barry Larkin

I am not going to spend much time on Barry Larkin.  He is a HOF in my mind.  I do not see how anyone argues with this statement.  He went to 12 All-Star Games.  He also won 3 gold gloves.  This may have been more if his career did not overlap with the best defensive shortstop ever (Ozzie Smith) and lost some later ones due to Rey Ordonez who was a wiz with the glove as well.  He was a major threat with the bat as well.  He won 9 Silver Sluggers, the most ever for a shortstop.  It also is only behind Piazza and Bonds all-time for players. 

He was so good in fact, that he won the 1995 MVP award while leading the Reds to a first place finish in NL Central.  The Reds made it to the NLCS that year but lost to the World Series Champion Atlanta Braves.  He even had a much better offensive year the following year but the Reds fell to third place.  Larkin was also exemplary off the field which is evident by him winning the Roberto Clemente Award in 1993 and the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1994. 

Larkin had the excellence to go along with his character.  He had around 70 WAR from both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.  Based on bWAR, he is better than 14 of the 20 shortstops in the Hall of Fame.  People claim he was hurt so much that he might not have the longevity to be in the Hall of Fame.  He has the 13th most games at shortstop.  He also has the 25th most assists and 36th most putouts at shortstop. 

He played a great deal of games.  He was an offensive force for his entire career.  He had a career wOBA of .366 with an OPS+ of 116.  He produced these by having an OBP of .371 and SLG of .444 for an OPS of .815.  He did all of this while playing gold glove caliber defense. 

I do not see how anyone could feel he does not belong in the Hall of Fame.  It seems like a pretty easy case.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Edgar Martinez and the HOF

Professional Hitter.  What more is there to say about one of the best all time right-handed batters?  5 Silver sluggers were given to Edgar; 4 at Designated Hitter which is supposed to be a position for great hitters and the other at 3B.  He won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004.  The Award is given annually to the Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team".  Edgar went to 7 All-Star games in his career.  And remember, at this time the DH was only a starter every other year (when the AL hosted). 

His 71.6 fWAR ranks him 80th all-time position players.  According to bWAR, he is better than 12 of the 18 1B in the HOF.  If you compare him to the 3B, he is better than 5 of the 10 HOF’s according to bWAR.  The 67.2 bWAR places him 71st among position players.  His bWPA of 44.1 is good for 44th for players since 1950 and his fWPA is 45.21. His Hall of Fame Monitor and Standards score of 132 (100 likely HOF) and 50 (50 Avg HOF) show him as a likely HOF. 

If we take a look at his career compared to 3 in the HOF, we notice one thing right off the bat.  According to fWAR, his ten best seasons are better than Gwynn’s, Molitor’s and Murray’s ten best.  He was actually better than Gwynn for their 12 best seasons.  This is a big deal. 

Looking at this second graph shows that his career parallels the three Hall of Famers.  He started playing full time at a later age but still had a better career fWAR than Gwynn.  His short career hinders his overall counting stats considerably.  He “only” hit 309 Home Runs. This is still good for 116th all-time.  His rate stats show that he was still a great player; BA .312, OPB .418, SLG .515, OPS .933.  He hit great. His OPS+ was 147, good for 43rd place all-time.  He won the AL batting title twice (once at 3B and DH each) as well as leading the league in OBP 3 times. 

One thought though is Martinez started his career later than the rest of these guys.  He was good throughout this time though.  From age 31-41 he was better than these three HOFs.  He posted 10 seasons with over a 4.0 bWAR. 

Some people say he did not play a real position and hold this against him.  There are already great hitters who did not field well in the HOF.  Why is this different?  Is this different because he did not have to make up runs if he was a bad defender? Well that makes no sense.  He is more valuable as a DH than a bad fielder who hits just as well as he does.  He does not seem to be a bad fielder on either FanGraphs or Baseball Reference for the years he did play in the field.  He would have been serviceable at 1B for a team.  He just was not needed in the field at the time and was kept at DH for his health.  His bat was too valuable to take out of the lineup.  If we discount him for being a DH, Molitor’s stats from his time as a DH should not count, and Mauer’s DH stats should not count toward his MVP votes or his career accomplishments.  The DH is a part of baseball.  Do not punish Edgar for his team playing by the league rules.  Fight the rule if you do not like it, but do not discount a great player career. 

Sorry about that quick rant.  Edgar is just one of the great hitters.  Edgar and Frank Thomas are probably the two best right-handed hitters of that generation.  I just hope people can see how good Edgar is.  I hope this shines a little light on it.  


This is the definitions of some of the abbreviations used in this blog.   I will try to update this as I use new stats and abbreviations. 

HOF= Hall of Fame/Hall of Famer
WAR= Wins Above Replacement
WPA= Win Probability Added
F= FanGraphs stat
b= Baseball Reference stat
OPS= On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage
OPS+= Adjusted OPS; adjusts for league and ballpark; can compare across eras
wOBA= Weighted On Base Average; a statistic created that uses linear weights to account for all outcomes of a plate appearance of a batter and putting a value on it; 0.340 is around average; 0.400 is great

Bill James Creations for measuring how likely a player will get into the HOF
Black Ink- Player is awarded points for leading league in important statistics; 27 and 40 are average for HOF position players and pitchers respectively
Grey Ink- Player is awarded points for being in the top 10 in important statistics; 144 and 185 are average for HOF position players and pitchers respectively
Hall of Fame Monitor- A Monitor of statistics that shows how likely a player is to be in the HOF; 100 is likely in the HOF
Hall of Fame Standards- A test created with a score of 50 for the average Hall of Famer 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ron Santo

I know I said I would cover the players left on the ballot for next year.  But I believe Ron Santo will be up for consideration by the Veteran’s Committee this coming fall.  I am sad to think he will finally get in this year after he passed away.  He has long been a Hall of Famer in my book. 

He was obviously favorably viewed in his time considering he was invited to 9 All-Star games.  His defense was also was viewed favorable considering he has 5 Gold Gloves.   He even received the 1973 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award for exemplifying Lou’s integrity and character both on and off the field.  He was a player that just carried greatness with him.  He is currently the 47th best position player occording to fWAR with 79.3.  His bWAR is 66.4.  Ron Santo has a bWPA of 34.5 with incomplete records.  He was in the top 10 for MVP votes 4 times, and in the top 25 for MVP votes 7 times.  The Gray Ink score for Sanot was 147 (144 is average for the HOF).  Gray Ink rewards players for appearances in the top 10 of different batting statistics. 

He could just flat out hit the baseball.  The OPS of .826 and OPS+ of 125 speak for themselves.  He also went on to hit 342 home runs amd drive in 1331 runs.  He finished his career with 2254 hits and scored 1138 times.  He played consitenly as well.  He needed to to be 8th in games played at 3B, have the 13th most putouts, and the 5th most assists from 3B as well.    He had 7 straight years of over a 6 fWAR and 10 straight years over a 4 fWAR.  For 13 years he hit 17+ HR, 74+ RBI, 137+ Hits.  He did this with only watching his OPS drop below .775 or OPS+ drop below 109 once. 

Out of Hall of Fame Thirdbasemen, Ron Santo falls smack in the middle according to bWAR.  There are 10 primary 3B in the Hall, Santo falls behind 5:
Mike Schmidt
Eddie Mathews
Wade Boggs
George Brett
Brooks Robinson
These are 5 are the greates alltime players.  It is no slight to be listed behind these five players.  I think this list shows where Santo belongs in the history of the game.  Frank Baker is the sixth best 3B in the Hall of Fame.  Here is a graph created on FanGraphs comparing Brooks, Frank, George and Ronnie:

As seen in the above graph, Santo was always better than Frank Baker.  He was also better than Brooks Robinson through age 33 and comparable at Age 34.

The second graph shows the bWAR from best to worst seaosns for thes plaeyers.

As is seen here, Santo was always better than Frank Baker except for his 10th best season.  Santo’s career also lasted longer.  Santo’s 8 best seasons are better than Robinson’s and Brett’s (except for Season 5) with similar seasons for 9. 

Looking at similar graphs based on fWAR, Santo’s best season was better than Mike Schmidt’s, Eddie Mathews’ and Wade Boggs’.  The top 4 seasons were on par with these 3 (the best 3B in the HOF).  It helps that Ronnie started earlier but he had a better cumulative fWAR through age 31 compared to Mike Schmidt.  He also had a higher cummulative fWAR than Wade Boggs through age 33 but again he started out earlier. 

Please visit FanGraphs for making very cool graphs and Grids: