November 20, 2017

#HOF ballot — who will be, should be, going into Cooperstown?

This year's Major League Baseball Hall of Fame ballot just came out. Full list of eligible players here at B-Ref.

Let's look at the first-year players, first.

Chipper Jones should be in, and will be in, I think. He's a clear top-ten, and almost top-five, third baseman, and that's a spot underrepresented in the Hall.

Jim Thome should be in, and probably will be, but even at 600-plus homers, may not get in this year. He's never faced steroid whisperers, but being on a number of different teams, and spent half his career away from Cleveland, which means he could have less writers' loyalty than some.

Omar Vizquel should not be in, won't be in this year, but may have enough people fooled into thinking he's Ozzie Smith when he's actually more than 20 WAR below the Wizard, to eventually sneak in. There's a gap of 30 overall WAR and 15 dWAR. Vizquel is NOT a HOFer, but whether he fools too many people, or almost too many, is likely to become the new Jack Morris — who is now hoping he fools enough Veterans Committee voters.

ESPN HOF-fluffer/whisperer David Schoenfield is at work here, downplaying the gap between the two on offense, when it's not that close in terms of WAR.

Otherwise, yes, Vizquel has the record for most career games at SS. And? Ozzie could have played another two-three years, but was tired of getting rat-fucked by La Russa in St. Louis, wanted to retire a Cardinal, and didn't want to play two-three years of half-time work.

I mean, Rusty Staub is 13th, all positions, on career games played and nobody pretends he's a HOFer. (Vizquel is 12th, just a few games ahead.) Many on the longevity list are HOFers, but that's because they're good enough players to have been worth playing that long. Vizquel? Rounding off by half-WAR points, roughly, Omar was AAAA-replacement level, except his 200-appearance age-42 season, his last six years in baseball. His longevity testifies more to the suckitude of shortstops 10 years ago, his stubborn refusal to quit, and his being overvalued by managers and GMs, than it does anything else. OTOH, two of Ozzie's last three seasons, short only his injury-riddled 1997, were 1.5 WAR or higher.

Interesting case coming next.

Does Scott Rolen get so overshadowed by Chipper, even more than Alan Trammell was by Cal Ripken, to even miss the 5 percent cutoff? He shouldn't, but he may. Tramm stuck for the full 15, as of that time, years. Never broke 40 percent, though.

Schoenfield is at it again here, poo-pooing Rolen a bit on defense, and even more, the career of future HOF 3B Adrian Beltre. And, NOOOO, David, Chipper is NOT arguably the second-best 3B ever behind just Mike Schmidt.

Reality? 3B is considered to have moderate positional scarcity on runs; flip side of that is that it is considered to have a moderate defensive premium. In fact, that positional scarcity increased half a run from 2000 on. And, the flip side of that means, increased defensive importance. Makes sense with the new live ball (in general), the increased power emphasis, and more pitchers throwing cutters making for grounders down the line.

Another one?

Andruw Jones played some great defensive CF at his peak. But, is it enough? And, will voting on him stir up new discussion about both the value of, and the accuracy of, defensive sabermetrics? I think he had too short of a peak, lost his D after 30, and should indeed stir such discussion.

Returning candidates?

Trevor Hoffman, just one percentage point off last year, gets in. Nobody's ever backtracked from that. Besides, with Malcolm Young of AC/DC, and specifically of Hoffman's walk-on music Hell's Bells, recently dying, he has to get in, right. In getting in, though, I hope he ignites new discussion about the true value, or lack thereof, of the modern one-inning closer.

Vladimir Guerrero, even though I consider him a borderline candidate, or maybe even borderline of borderlines, will likely get in.

When he announced his retirement in 2013, he cited bad knees. The Jays gave him a semi-shot the year before, but he didn't make the big club before opting out. Yes, per the commenter below, he had an arm as well as a bat — and a stone glove, too. And, that SI link in this graf? Story's by sabermetric guru Jay Jaffe, who has the same take as me.

Buster Olney joins Dave Schoenfield in having his ESPN knickers in a knot on Guerrero and Vizquel.

If Thome makes it along with Jones, that's four right there.

Sorry, Mike Mussina. Semi-sorry, Edgar Martinez, in next-to-last year of eligibility. Oh so sorry, Curt Schilling. You're probably running out of luck, Jeff Kemp.

Update: Joe Morgan, vice president of the HOF's board, has various numbnuts, most of them young punk sportswriters, combined with a few old guard of keyboard clatterers, shitting bricks over his "no roiders wanted letter.

Joe may not know, or get, sabermetrics, but he DOES know where to draw the line on HOF2018 entry — on roiders. And, he's right, despite the tired arguments of "that guy was innuendoed," or "but #greenies are as bad as #roiding," etc.

2 comments:

DSC said...

Vlad is "borderline" only if you think combined stats that are full of holes and, by necessity, riddled with uncertainty and error, are valid. If you think accomplishments, results, and career stats/averages matter, Vlad is already overdue.

Gadfly said...

Below 60 WAR. Borderline.

Nice try.