A Baseball Blog - Scientific and Speculative Thoughts from Third Base

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 Predictions: NL West

Links to the other divisions: AL East, AL Central, AL West, NL East, NL Central

NL West

2014 Predictions: NL Central

Links to the other divisions: AL East, AL Central, AL West, NL East

NL Central

2014 Predictions: NL East

I’ve fallen a little behind for this to be a true “prediction” I guess, but I want to finish this, so I’ll try and keep what’s occurred this year so far out of it. Also, to save time, I’ll try and cover all the NL together. As a reminder, I look at the team’s records and Pythagorean Won-Loss records (based on runs scored and allowed, a better predictor of future success than actual won-loss records) from last year, then what should be different this year. So, onward: (Previous predictions: AL East, AL Central, AL West)

NL East
Braves-96 wins/98 Pythagorean wins

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 Predictions: AL West

I’m a little behind with the start of the season, but I want to finish this. Let’s get this ball rolling and dive right in. Just a quick refresher, though: I’m looking at what happened last year both in Wins and Pythagorean Wins (which is the estimated wins total based on runs scored and allowed, which is often a better predictor of future wins than actual wins) and then looking at what’s different from last year.

AL West
A’s-96 Wins/96 Pythagorean Wins

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2014 Predictions: AL Central

This is a continuation of my series from the other day predicting the 2014 season. Here’s the AL East article for those who missed it. Now, let’s get right into the AL Central predictions.

AL Central
Tigers-93 Wins/99 Pythagorean Wins (based on run differential)
White Sox-63/67

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2014 Predictions: AL East

We’re fast approaching Opening Day, so I may as well make my predictions. They’re sure to be wrong, but they’ll be fun if nothing else. I’ll keep the introduction short so I can get right into the predictions, but first, a short description of my methods: basically, I’m going to look at how teams did last year (both in wins and Pythagorean wins, which are based on runs scored and allowed) and what should be different this year. The latter is a broad category that can cover anything from newly-acquired players to injuries to just straight regression to the mean (always an underrated force, but always prevalent).

AL East
Last year: Red Sox-97 wins/100 Pythagorean wins
Blue Jays-74/77

What should be different:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Roy Oswalt's Retirement and the Raised Bar for Hall of Fame Pitchers

I’m going to be covering some older news here, so apologies if you were looking for breaking news. Unfortunately, real life has kept me busy lately; I was determined to write this, though.

Roy Oswalt retired this offseason, as you may well know. When I heard this, I went through my traditional reaction, which was to look at Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference and reflect on his career. He had quite the run of dominance; from his 2001 debut year to 2007, he threw 1413.1 innings with 1170 Ks and a 143 ERA+, as well as three All-Star Game selections and five Top-5 Cy Young finishes.

For his career, he managed a 163-102 record with a 3.36 ERA in 2245.1 innings and 1852 strikeouts against only 486 unintentional walks. That all translates to a 127 ERA+, 49.9 rWAR, and 49.7 fWAR. All in all, pretty solid stuff. He’s certainly going to be well-remembered in Houston (I can’t imagine his number 44 remaining in circulation with the Astros for very much longer given their history and his talent), but he’s probably not going to Cooperstown without paying for a ticket.

Except there’s one other career value that I like to check: Hall Rating. And according to Adam Darowski’s metric, Oswalt actually clears the Hall of Stats bar. Granted, it’s just barely, with a 104 rating. And given the fluid nature of the Hall of Stats, combined with his proximity to the border, it’s no guarantee that he’ll make the Hall of Stats come 2019 (since they try and match the size of the Hall of Fame in size and keep the worst member as 100, the formula for Hall Rating shifts depending on voters). But he’s pretty much on track-it looks like 24 people would have to get the boot before he would slip below 100.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lance Berkman and Michael Young Retire: Reflecting on Two Texas Stars

A pair of iconic Texas baseball players retired this past week. Like I do any time notable players retire, I wanted to take the “Hall of Fame” aspect of the discussion and run with it. So, are Lance Berkman and Michael Young Hall-worthy?

Let’s start with Berkman, since his announcement came first. I’ve always liked Berkman. As a non-Astros fan who moved to Houston in the post-Bagwell/Biggio years, Berkman was easily always the most fun player on the team to root for. His key role on the 2011 Cardinals only cemented that image of him for me.

It’s still easy to overlook just how dominant his run in the 2000s was, though. From 2001 to 2008, he had an OPS+ over 150 five times, with an overall OPS+ of 151 in that time span. His best mark, though, was his 164 mark in that 2011 season, something that will probably irk Houston fans a little (although four times in Houston, he fell between 160 and 163). The man could flat-out hit.

His 366 home runs rank fourth for a switch hitter, behind only Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray, and Chipper Jones (and 76th all-time). On top of that, he managed a solid 422 doubles. His 1905 hits may seem uninspiring, but he reached base another 1201 times via the walk. It all added up to a .293/.406/.537 batting line, making him one of only 25 players with a .290/.400/.500 line in 6000 at bats. It also adds up to a career 144 OPS+ in fifteen seasons, 44th best all-time. It ties him with, among others, Hack Wilson, a Hall of Famer that he compares well with.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Another Look at Predicting Hall of Fame Hitters

As some of you may remember, last year I took a look at the active players who were, in one sense, on track to join the Hall of Fame. I wanted to update it with the players from last year, but after looking at it in retrospect, there were a few things I needed to fix. The biggest issue was that, when gathering the historic data, I only went back to 1901. This time, I included all years in the Play Index search. This ended up pushing the median Wins Above Replacement higher than last year, which led to interesting results on the prediction angle.

First, though, a quick summary of what I did for those who didn’t see last year’s article: I looked at the Hall of Fame hitters and their career Wins Above Replacement through each age from 20 through 35 (last year, I only went to 30). In each set, I picked the median career value. Then, I looked at how many hitters in history had been worth that much through those ages, Hall of Fame or not. I removed players currently on the BBWAA ballot, since they’re still up in the air, then found a simple percentage of how many players at the Hall median for the age would go on to Cooperstown.

For example, take the age of 20. Of the 60 Hall of Famers who had played games through their age 20 seasons, the median value provided was 0.45 WAR. Therefore, 30 Hall of Famers were above that. 90 Players not in the Hall have matched that mark, with 1 of them being on the ballot this year. That works out to 25.21% of 20-year old players who were at the Hall median eventually making the Hall of Fame.

There are still some issues with this. The two biggest are related. Mostly, this doesn’t account for deserving players not in the Hall. One that sticks out in my mind is Ted Simmons; I remember seeing him consistently above the median, and he’s definitely better than half of the catchers in the Hall, but as is, he’s just not in.

However (the second problem) is that this also doesn’t account for future Veterans Committee picks. For example, Simmons may one day get his induction; right now, though, it just doesn’t factor in. Either way, these numbers would be underselling the likeliness of future election in both cases.

At the low end, there’s also the issue of incomplete information (since not all players debut at the same age), but there isn’t much that can be done with that. Also, I’m just going by what has historically happened, not counting stuff like all the protest nonsense, steroid-moralizing, and whatever else has been going on the last few ballots.

Anyway, on to the numbers. Below, in order are the Ages, the median WARs (from Baseball-Reference), the number of Hall of Famers at that mark, the number of non-Hall of Famers, the number on the ballot still, and finally, the resulting percentage that have made the Hall.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Examining the Hall of Fame Vote for Starters

Well, the Hall of Fame votes were finally released. There are a lot of ridiculous things I could cover (like Craig Biggio’s exclusion, missing by two votes and largely caused by the artificial 10-person limit), but I won’t. Instead, I want to look at something else. Pitchers, specifically.

There were eight starters up for election this year. If you were to rank them, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens would undoubtedly be options 1 and 1A. Hideo Nomo and Kenny Rogers would probably bring up the rear (although Rogers is probably better than at least a couple pitchers already in the Hall; that’s not really a huge help for his candidacy, though).

Really, I want to look at the middle four, those being Tom Glavine, Jack Morris, Mike Mussina, and Curt Schilling. Really, I want to keep it to just this year’s ballot, otherwise I would throw in John Smoltz and Kevin Brown as well, but let’s just keep it simple.

First, let’s see how they did in voting:
Glavine: 91.9%
Morris: 61.5%
Schilling: 29.2%
Mussina: 20.3%

I find this interesting for a lot of reasons. Mostly, the voting doesn’t really seem to reflect performance terribly well in my mind. If I had to rank these guys, I’d probably put them Schilling/Mussina/Glavine in a tight bunch but in that order, followed by a far lagging Jack Morris. A 70+ point spread doesn’t seem at all justified. So, just for fun, here are some comparisons. I’ll award each pitcher points based on where they finish in the group; first gets 4, last gets 1. I haven’t run this experiment, so I don’t know if it’ll turn out like I expect, but let’s see.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reconsidering Fred McGriff for the Hall of Fame

I didn’t really give a lot of time to the returning candidates this year that I didn’t vote for in past years. Which I guess makes sense; I mean, I knew I couldn’t vote for any of them, with 18 players that I knew I’d vote for. It made sense to stick with the new guys that I may have not considered, since I’ve by definition already looked at past years.

And to be fair, I went in knowing that I would vote for thirteen of the seventeen returning candidates. That really only leaves four players, and I already know i wouldn’t vote for Jack Morris or Don Mattingly, as I've put more than enough time into considering their cases.

And I’m pretty chilly on Lee Smith’s candidacy as well; I wouldn’t be opposed to him going in, I guess, but I don’t see it as urgent. I’d put him on level with Dan Quisenberry, or maybe even-to-slightly behind Billy Wagner (maybe even Eric Gagne-Lewie Polls at Beyond the Boxscore makes an interesting case for him on a hypothetical unlimited ballot), which is to say: I’d support them if we decided that Cooperstown needed more than seven closers (the five currently in, plus I’m assuming Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman get in, which might be a leap), but given what we know about the difficulty of closing, the relative newness of the closer position, etc, it seems almost silly to put that many in the Hall.

That leaves one holdover-Fred McGriff. I’ve actually voted for McGriff before, back when there were more ballot spaces than worthy candidates. It only seems fair to give him another look, since he’s so close to my borderline.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Next Six Hall of Fame Ballots

With my recent Hall of Fame kick, I’ve been looking at this year’s ballot and prospective future ballots a lot. And every time, all I can think of is how crazy the ballot will start to look in the future. I just needed to put it all in writing, though, to share my thoughts. I feel like I’ve written this before, but either way, it wasn’t recent enough that I remember doing it, the issue is still relevant, it still shocks me every time.

So, we know that this year has a lot of candidates. As I’ve said, I’d vote for eighteen if given the choice: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Tom Glavine, Mike Piazza, Alan Trammell, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez, Tim Raines, Craig Biggio, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Jeff Kent. We’ll probably get one of them elected this year. Some number will almost certainly drop off the ballot, which is really unfortunate.

On that note, this ballot should have been even more crowded. Kenny Lofton and Kevin Brown should be there, too, but both fell off after one go-around unfortunately. Who all will join them in no-man’s land next year, not on the ballot but too recent for the Veterans Committee? My guesses would start with Kent and Sosa, but I also wouldn’t be shocked about McGwire or Palmeiro. Maybe even Mussina or Walker if we’re really unlucky.

Next year, to replace Maddux and whoever else is gone (Jack Morris at least, since this is his 15th year), we’ll see Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Gary Sheffield, all of whom have Hall Ratings over 100. I’d also like to give a special mention to Brian Giles-he was a personal favorite growing up, and he was almost certainly better than you remember (even a 98 Hall Rating!). In a world with an unlimited ballot, I’d definitely at least throw him a vote based on those two factors, although I imagine I’d be more or less the only person to do so.

Then we have possibly the weakest ballot of the six upcoming in 2016. I’m not sure who all will fall off after the 2015 vote, but we’ll definitely be adding a pair of worthy center fielders in Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jim Edmonds. Edmonds will almost certainly be underrated and may even fall off the ballot in one try, which will be an absolute travesty (and not just because I’m an Edmonds fan). On the note of personal favorites, Jason Kendall will join that year. He’s a dead match for Giles, in that he has a surprisingly high Hall rating (87!) and he was another personal favorite. Also, the Hall doesn’t seem to have a clear idea of how to deal with relievers, but we’ll be getting to of the better ones in recent memory that year with Billy Wagner and Trevor Hoffman. Yes, this is our “breather/catch-up” year. It will also mark Alan Trammell’s final year, barring unusual occurrences.

2017 will see an interesting quartet added. Ivan Rodriguez is the surest bet of any of them, but who the hell knows how the voters will go anymore. On top of that, we get the introduction of Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, and Jorge Posada. Manny Will bring an interesting and spirited debate, I’m sure. Vlad and Jorge are both more borderline, although again, I wouldn’t be shocked if both immediately fall of the ballot because that’s how the BBWAA rolls these days.

The 2018 ballot is a doozy, with interesting newcomers just oozing off of it. Chipper Jones will hopefully be elected in his first try. Jim Thome is poised to join the debate that year as well, assuming he doesn’t manage a comeback this year. It’ll be interesting to see how things go for him, although Frank Thomas this year may be a test case. Also, Scott Rolen, Andruw Jones, and Bobby Abreu are all set to come up in 2018. I’d say all three are worthy. Abreu looks a lot like Tony Gwynn, believe it or not. Andruw Jones is maybe the best fielder of all-time. I’ve covered Rolen a lot already. He may be my favorite player of all-time (either him, Albert Pujols, or Cal Ripken, Jr.), but even then, his case looks a lot like Ron Santo’s. All the worthiness in the world didn’t get him elected for decades and decades.

Not helping matters is that 2018 is also the year that Omar Vizquel, Johnny Damon, Chris Carpenter, and Jamie Moyer will all join the ballot. I wouldn’t vote for any of them, but I would almost guarantee that they’ll all get some level of support. Vizquel is probably the player most likely to inspire heated generational debates that are currently sparked by Jack Morris.

That’s the last year that we know for sure, but we already have something of an idea about 2019’s additions. Mariano Rivera, Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte, and Roy Halladay have all announced that they won’t play in 2014, making them eligible then. On top of that, Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman are free agents who may not garner contracts for next season, but both will deserve a good, hard look upon their appearance on the ballot. I’m not sure I see that happening if the ballot is 30 players deep at this point. Assuming nobody I've mentioned falls off other than the players that age out, we'll easily top that mark, even assuming that the BBWAA actually elects somebody in that span.

Worrying about it this early won’t really do anything, but I figured I should bring it up since it was on my mind.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Breaking Down This Year's 50 Best Not in the Hall: Which Team Gets Snubbed the Most?

I may as well continue with the Hall of Fame theme I have going on. One thing that I always wonder when filling out my 50 Best Players in the Hall of Fame ballot is if there’s any noticeable bias in who gets snubbed from the Hall. Like, whether there’s a specific position that the voters overlook, or if certain teams get passed over more often than others. I guess it’s also possible it’s my bias, but I’d like to think I’m objective in filling this out.

Anyway, if you need refreshing, here’s the selection of 50 Players I ended up going with this year. I wanted a quick number to look at for Hall worthiness, so I went with Adam Darowski’s Hall Ratings, since 1) that’s exactly what they were designed for, and 2) he includes breakdowns of how much of a player’s Hall Rating came in each season, with each team in total, and so on.

First, we have the straight number of players each franchise had on the list:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 2

I know I’ve harped on the Ballot backlog enough, but I’m always finding new ways to put it in to number form. For example, take my ballot for the 50 Best Players not in Cooperstown. I said I would put all 50 players in. I’ve pointed out before how it wouldn’t actually water down the Hall, but here’s another way to think about it.

Adam Darowski has an objective look at the Hall of Fame in his Hall of Stats and its Hall Rating system. I’ve explained it enough before, but the highlights: based on Baseball-Reference WAR (rWAR), on a scale like OPS+ (so 100 is Hall minimum, 200 is equal to 2 Hall of Famers worth of value, etc.). My ballot this year had an average Hall Rating of 137.7. That would slide comfortably into 70th place (out of 208) in the real Hall of Fame, which itself only has an average Hall Rating of 132.9 (you can check the numbers from his site if you want, they’re available for download).

This year’s ballot is even stronger. As I said last time, there are 18 players I would vote for this year. Those 18 average out to a 164.6 Hall rating, nestled nicely between Steve Carlton (167) and Carlton Fisk (158).* Even if you want to throw out Barry Bonds as an outlier, you get 152.9. Bonds and Roger Clemens? 144.1. Bonds, Clemens, and Greg Maddux? 139.1.

*Those two aren’t right next to each other, but I liked the symmetry.

Basically, I want to get across that this ballot is incredibly deep. Which is going to make whittling it down to ten for my Baseball Bloggers Alliance ballot even harder. First, which eighteen am I focusing on?

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Tom Glavine, Mike Piazza, Alan Trammell, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez, Tim Raines, Craig Biggio, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Jeff Kent

I hate having to ask “Why wasn’t this person Hall-worthy?” It feels so negative. Unfortunately, it seems like that might be how I have to go about this part, since I have to cut almost half of the names off. I’ll then list any mitigating factors to their negatives, things like titles, extreme stats, or other variables. Let’s start:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1

Continuing my theme of Hall of Fame articles, I should probably write something about my Hall of Fame ballot for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. Actually, I don’t know who all I’m voting for yet, so this would be a good opportunity to sort things out in my head.

So, last year, my ballot was:
Jeff Bagwell
Craig Biggio
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Kenny Lofton
Mark McGwire
Mike Piazza
Tim Raines
Curt Schilling
Alan Trammell

I also thought that there were four more Hall-worthy players on last year’s ballot, in Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Edgar Martinez, and Larry Walker. Thankfully, the voters helped to clear up this logjam by…giving Kenny Lofton less than 5% of the vote so that he fell off the ballot. Thanks, guys!

So with only thirteen worthy holdovers, we look to the newcomers. Now, you probably have some idea of my thoughts on these guys if you read my 50 Best Players not in the Hall of Fame piece for this year. However, I’ll give them proper run-throughs now. First, here’s every first-year player on the ballot:

Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine, Jeff Kent, Kenny Rogers, Luis Gonzalez, Moises Alou, Ray Durham, Hideo Nomo, Richie Sexson, Paul Lo Duca, Armando Benitez, Mike Timlin, Sean Casey, Jacque Jones, Eric Gagne, J.T. Snow, Todd Jones

That list is already conveniently sorted by Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement. Now, I know that Wins Above Replacement is not the only thing that matters, but I don’t want to do write-ups for all 19 players. I’ll just limit it to the top eight, since Moises Alou sits at almost 40 WAR exactly and that seems like as good a cut-off as any. Sorry to the other eleven; if anyone wants me to write why any of those wouldn’t get my vote, I’ll take them up on it I guess. Now then, the case for each of those eight, in alphabetical order:

Moises Alou: 332 home runs, putting him right in a group with Shawn Green, Mo Vaughn, Boog Powell. 2134 hits. A .303/.369/.516 batting line over 17 seasons, which is good, but becomes a 128 OPS+ in the steroid era. That can be borderline Hall-of-Fame stuff if it comes with good defense, or more plate appearances (Alou didn’t even reach 8000), or a difficult position (Keith Hernandez, Sammy Sosa, Jim Wynn, for starters), but Alou comes with none of those. 39.7 Baseball-Reference WAR (or rWAR*); 48.2 Fangraphs WAR (fWAR). Adam Darowski’s Hall Rating from the Hall of Stats gives him a 71. NO

Tom Glavine: 305 wins, which is all that a lot of voters need to hear. He also had a 3.54 ERA (118 ERA+) over 22 years, which fits in nicely with players like Bert Blyleven and Gaylord Perry. Didn’t strike out as many guys as you might have liked, with only 2607 total and no seasons with over 200. There’s definitely Hall-level value in allowing runs at the rate he did over 4400 innings (74.0 rWAR, 64.3 fWAR), and he does bring a pair of Cy Young awards to the table, but he may only be the fifth-best pitcher on the ballot this year. Overall, he has a 149 Hall Rating as well. YES

Luis Gonzalez: He’s probably closer than you’d first realize. His 596 doubles are fifteenth of all-time, plus he had 354 home runs on top of that. His .283/.367/.479 line was good for a 119 OPS+; like Alou, that can work if you have some fielding going for you, but being an average corner outfielder won’t really do it. He did last a little longer than Alou, though, at 19 seasons. Overall, Gonzalez was worth a solid 51.5 rWAR and 55.3 fWAR, which translates to a 90 in the Hall of Stats. NO

Jeff Kent: Kent is an interesting case. He’s the all-time leader in home runs by a second baseman with 377, and for the other common hitter milestone, he has 2461 hits. Not bad. His .290/.356/.500 line means a 123 OPS+, but unlike Gonzalez or Alou, he actually does have some defensive value going for him.

Well, kind of. Having that kind of production from a second baseman is always great…but Kent wasn’t exactly a great fielder. In fact, he negated almost all of his value from playing second base by being bad at it (Fangraphs has his fielding at +1.2 runs, combining the two aspects). His other benefit over the other two is that Kent had a much higher peak than either of them, with an MVP award and three other top-10 finishes. Overall, it comes out to a Hall rating of 103, 55.2 rWAR, and 56.6 fWAR. I think Kent is borderline, but his hitting makes me err on the side of putting him in. I’m not really sure why; fielding in such large sample sets is probably much more stable than I’m giving it credit for.

Maybe part of it is assumed regression? Think of it this way: Gonzalez is a 50-win player who was mediocre at fielding, Kent is a 50-win player with atrocious fielding. I don’t know how bad Kent was at fielding, but it’s a lot easy to assume he wasn’t an extreme negative than it is to imagine that any given player wasn’t just average (given no prior knowledge). I hope that makes sense? Also, I didn’t really see Kent field, so maybe he was awful. Like I said, he’s borderline enough that I won’t be as upset if he falls off as I was about Kenny Lofton. YES

Greg Maddux: Four-time Cy Young Award winner; lifetime 355-227 record; 3371 strikeouts against only 999 walks (177 of which were intentional); 3.16 ERA (132 ERA+) over 23 seasons; 18 Gold Gloves; 104.6 rWAR (eighth all-time); 114.3 fWAR (fourth all-time); 220 Hall Rating

Greg Maddux is great to write about because it’s almost easier to write what about him wouldn’t merit induction. I can more or less pick out any of his stats and just list them without context and it’ll still be obvious that he belongs. YES

Mike Mussina: He didn’t reach either of the major pitching milestones, but he very well could have with two more seasons (270 wins, 2813 Ks). And he went out more or less on top, plus he missed time from the 1994-5 strike. His 123 ERA+ (3.68 ERA) over eighteen years is right in line with players like Juan Marichal and Bob Feller. He had six top-5 finishes in Cy Young voting as well. Also, he was a master of control: since the mound was moved back to 60 feet, 6 inches in 1893, only one player has a higher K/BB ratio (3.58) in over 3000 innings (Curt Schilling, 4.38). His Hall Rating is a solid 163. At 82.7 rWAR, he’s between Fergie Jenkins and Bob Gibson (24th). His 82.3 fWAR is between Schilling and Warren Spahn (19th). YES

Kenny Rogers: His 4.27 ERA would be far and away the worst of Hall starters (although it was still a solid 107 ERA+ over twenty years). He didn’t even reach 2000 strikeouts (1968), and he didn’t have the control of Schilling or Maddux or Mussina, with 1175 walks. Again, there’s value to being above average for twenty years (51.1 rWAR, 46.8 fWAR, 96 Hall Rating), but not Hall-level value. NO

Frank Thomas: Like Kent, Thomas did not offer a lot of defensive value. The Big Hurt, however, was a much better hitter overall: 521 home runs, 2468 hits, a .301/.419/.555 batting line, and so on. His 156 OPS+ is tied for nineteenth of all-time. All in all, he was worth 73.6 rWAR and 72.4 fWAR while racking up a 140 Hall Rating. YES

*I had abbreviated this as bWAR in the past for convenience sake, but the general standard over the rest of the internet has been to call it rWAR for its creator, Sean “Rally” Smith. I’ll start referring to it as such from now on.

In total, that’s thirteen holdovers and five newcomers, so I have 18 people on this year’s ballot that I want to vote for. Unfortunately, I only get ten slots. Next time, I will attempt to whittle this group down.