January 03, 2013

Baseball Hall of Fame — what about Alan Trammell?

The long-time Detroit Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell is certainly hoping to be luckier than Dale Murphy on getting some love from the BBWAA voters. And, let's be honest, per a previous blog post, he certainly deserves it more than one-time teammate Jack Morris.

And, he probably needs it more sooner rather than later. In his 12th year on the ballot, and still at a bit under 40 percent support last year, and with a steroids-related backlog of good players growing and growing, his clock is definitely ticking.

That said, he's arguably UNDER-rated.

First, defense. A career dWAR of 22.8, but only four Gold Gloves, when he should have six or seven? Of course, he had one tough competitor at that position — see below.

Second, overall value. Career WAR of 67.1 and WAA of 40.4. That latter stands out. A 40-plus on WAA, as I am learning to evaluate it, is a strong credential.

That said, Tram's been hurt in a couple of ways.

First is having little "black ink" in his career.

Second is a relatively short career, with a relatively young drop-off. Other than an Indian summer at 35, his last good year was at 32, and already then, due to being banged up at SS and other things, he was missing games year after year.

Third, related to No. 2, is relatively low counting stats, including fewer than 2,500 hits.

Fourth, related to the "banged up," is being overshadowed so much by Cal Ripken.

Fifth, contra the high WAA, his career OPS+ is just 110, right on the HOF border for me, but I make allowance for positions of high defensive need, especially if the player meets the demand.

And, per the glove work, if we'd emphasize his defense more, and call him a "junior Ozzie Smith" on that side, and a "junior Cal Ripken" on the bat side, maybe we would appreciate him more. I know I've grown to look more favorably on his case.

So, Tiger homers? Focus on Tram, not Black Jack!

Per my three rhetorical questions, he should be in there, he probably won't get there this year, and he may get there before he hits his 15-year expiration. Stay tuned.

A little background to my Hall of Fame blogging —

I am a "small Hall" guy. In fact, I think there's plenty of people we should vote back OUT of Cooperstown. Here's some pitchers, and some batters, looking just at the modern baseball era, who need the boot.

Oh, and while you're here, please vote in the admittedly unscientific poll. 

And, click the  "MLB Hall of Fame" tag for more on other candidates on this year's ballot and my thoughts.

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