October 30, 2013

David Ortiz: Poor man's McGwire and not a HOFer

With the hot bat of David Ortiz driving the Boston Red Sox toward a possible third World Series ring in 10 years, ESPN and other magazines are ramping up the talk, again, about David Ortiz being a Hall of Famer.

Let me save you all the trouble, while possibly pissing off a few Red Sox fans, but showing I'm not a Cardinal homer.

He's not. He's a poor man's Mark McGwire, about whom I've said more than once before, that he's not a HOFer himself.

First, a stipulation or background note. Ortiz has two bits of baggage.

One is that he's a DH, meaning he has to rely on his bat alone to get in the Hall.

Two is that he was named in 2003 before the Mitchell Report (corrected) due to allegedly failing a roiding test. Although he denies ever being a roider or PEDer, let's look at his career. Now, it's possible that he just happened to have a breakout season at the age of 27, after the trade to Boston. It was only his fourth full-time season. Or, other things are possible.

Back to the issues at hand, though.

First, the most direct comparison to McGwire? On counting stats, he has only 2,023 hits. And, given his average per  year, it's pretty clear that, even with three more seasons, he won't hit 2,500. (Errors on reporting Boston stats as career ones corrected.)

Will David Ortiz be playing at 40? Possible, but he may be platooning by then.

With all that, he's below 450 HRs and will probably never get 500, which would still leave him more than 100 behind Big Mac.

He does have a good OPS+, but he hasn't played a lot of games. So, his career oWAR is only 45.2. Worse, his career WAA is only 15.5. I don't see that crossing 20, and 35 is a lodestone for me. Likewise, his oWAR is likely to fall short of 55, and certainly of 60.

On career or near-career DH's, I've also blogged that Edgar Martinez is not a sure-shot HOFer and is borderline in my book, and Ortiz doesn't meet Martinez's standards, and on counting sabermetric and traditional stats, won't do so before he's retired, so that's that.

With Papi, as with Gar, beyond the issue of not getting more on the bat side out of playing DH, a career DH who still struggles with injury problems draws further skeptical eye from me. Whatever the cause of the injuries, if you have health problems as a DH, it's an orange flag at least, if not a red one.

On Big Mac, I tackled his HOF likelihood in this blog post about trying to factor out steroids' degree of stat-enhancing from possible HOFers. I suggest that if we remove the roiding from McGwire, what we're left with is a different-bodied version of Dave Kingman. In reality, I know that's a bit harsh, but I say that as a deliberate wake-up call.

And, that's probably the best final word on David Ortiz, too. Let's stop this nonsense about him being a Hall of Famer. If we're going by World Series batting heroics, Joe Carter should be in. And, he's even worse, sabermetrically than Ortiz. If we go by pitching, Jack Morris should be in; fortunately, we have just one year left to worry about keeping him out.

Let's also stipulate, as I did with Fox Sports this summer when it proposed several players in a row with cases at least as iffy as that of Ortiz, that sports websites are doing it for pageviews as much as for legitimate beliefs. That's why, in today's sports websites + social media world, I'm going to be even harsher on claims that "Player X" is a HOFer. (Also, to avoid enabling pageview counts, I either don't link to such sites, or add the "no follow" element to the HTML when I do create the HREF to link, so any hits off here don't count as pageviews.)

And, let's further stipulate what I've said more than once about ESPN and its baseball writing staff. It's a bunch of big-Hall fluffers. When Jim Caple says 10 ballot spaces aren't enough, we've passed the land of the one-eyed and entered the land of the truly blind.


Anonymous said...

When you looked up David Ortiz's stats you only looked at his Red Sox's stats. Ortiz's already has 2000 hits (2023 to be exact) and 431 home runs. SO if he plays till he's forty he should be over 500hrs. The Mitchell Report and rumors of PED use, will hurt him more than his stats.

Gadfly said...

Error on reporting Boston stats as career ones corrected. WAR and WAA were correct all along. He's ahead of Mac on hits, but still won't get 2,500. Likely won't get 500 HRs. So, he's a rough equiv of Mac, at best, then, not a poor man's. Still not a HOFer.

Gadfly said...

And, per a sports minded friend, Boston fans owe the L.A. Dodgers a sloppy wet kiss for taking all those huge contacts off their hands last year. Without that, they likely don't pursue Napoli (remember, before the hips issue, they were offering three years with serious money) or Victorino.

Anonymous said...

Gadfly, how does it feel to be a blind, hate filled fan of the losing team? Please show us the PED he took that failed the test that he was listed in and then illegally sent out to the NY media. You can't, because it was not a PED. If it was, it would have been recognized by MLB and the MLB Players Association. Giving us his name is only telling us half a story. And, you don't think he'll make it into the HoF? LMAO. Like it or not, the DH is a part of baseball history. David Ortiz just happens to be the greatest DH in the history of the game. The HoF will recognize all his achievements as a DH, as will the media who vote for him. Just because you do not like the DH rule, doesn't mean that DHs do not deserve the recognition they get. Whether you like it or not, he owns records that are recognized by baseball writers and the HoF. DH is a position, deal with it. David Ortiz deserves to be in the HoF after he retires, and to deny this is just stupid. Now, run along and find someone else to attack and slander.

Gadfly said...

Anon No. 2, probably "churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged," is (other than the "losing team" part) engagedin projectionism.

Here's the reality about Ortiz being listed on a list of players who tested positive. Period. End of story.

Oh, and Manny Ramirez was on that list too: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/31/sports/baseball/31doping.html?partner=rss&emc=rss