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A Baseball Blog - Scientific and Speculative Thoughts from Third Base

Saturday, December 29, 2012

50 Best 2012 Wrap-Up and Analysis

I finished this year’s look at my 50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame in about half the time of last year. So, I figured the best way to finish this series (and this year, as I will be taking the next week off) would be a wrap-up similar to last year’s.

So, just like last year, we’ll begin with a positional look at my top 50.

P: 11
C: 4
1B: 6
2B: 5
3B: 7
SS: 3
LF: 4
CF: 2
RF: 7
DH: 1

Pitchers are obviously leading the way, with third base and right field leading batters.Overall, nothing too shocking. The only positions that changed by more than one person from last year are first and third base, both of which decreased by two.

Friday, December 28, 2012

BBA Hall of Fame Ballot, 2012

My Hall of Fame ballot for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance vote is due soon, and since I just covered the 50 Best Players Not in the Hall, it seemed like a good time to continue on the topic. Heck, I even had an entire post just about the players on this year’s ballot. But that brings up an important question:

In my article, I had 14 players from this year’s ballot listed as worthy. The "real" voters only get 10 spaces to vote, though. It’s a stupid rule, but it still applies. So, if I were voting for the BBWAA instead of the BBA, who would I cut?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame 2012, Part 5

For the second year, I’m participating in Baseball Past and Present’s 50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame project. First, I covered players still on the ballot. Then, I started on to the backlog of candidates. He’s the final part of the older candidates. Each player is listed with their teams (in order of games played), position, and Hall Rating from the Hall of Stats (which works similar to OPS+; 100 is the baseline for a Hall of Famer).


Ted Simmons, Cardinals/Brewers/Braves, C, 111-Catchers in general are underrated in the Hall, as previously mentioned. Even considering that, though, the voters passing on Simmons is a little odd. His 2472 hits are second most for a catcher, behind only Ivan Rodriguez (meaning he was number one when he retired). He’s tenth among catchers in home runs with 248 (and Mike Piazza, Ivan Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Javy Lopez all started after he retired, meaning he was even higher up on the list when he first hit the Hall ballot), and second in doubles with 483 (again, only behind Ivan).

I was kind of surprised to see his Hall Rating at only 111. However, 1) that still puts him in a tie for eleventh all-time among catchers; and 2) he hung on too long. His final fives seasons were pretty bad (-2.9 bWAR and -1.4 fWAR). If he had just quit after 1983, his Hall rating would probably have gone up to something like 137 (if my math is correct), squarely between Mike Piazza and Yogi Berra. Not to say that those seasons shouldn’t count, but, at the same time, Yogi Berra was a second-ballot Hall of Famer, and Piazza might be a first balloter. If they tacked on three or four more seasons with the Mets and A’s (respectively) like the ones they had at the end of their real careers, would that have suddenly invalidated their entire Hall cases? At the very least, I think there’s definitely room in Cooperstown for Simmons. I suppose you get overlooked as a catcher when your career overlaps with Johnny Bench's.

For his career, Simmons was worth 46.7 bWAR and 61.2 fWAR.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame 2012, Part 4

For the second year, I’m participating in Baseball Past and Present’s 50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame project. First, I covered players still on the ballot. Then, I started on to the backlog of candidates. He’s the third part of the older candidates. Each player is listed with their teams (in order of games played), position, and Hall Rating from the Hall of Stats (which works similar to OPS+; 100 is the baseline for a Hall of Famer).


Sherry Magee, Phillies/Braves/Reds, LF, 109-Magee was one of the premier sluggers of his (early) time. Among players to debut before 1910, he ranks ninth in home runs with 83. He also ranks twelfth in slugging percentage in the same group. His 137 OPS+ (from a .291/.364/.427 batting line) puts him in the same territory as players like Will Clark, Todd Helton, Joe Medwick, and Al Simmons. Add in that he was a moderately above-average fielder in left, and you have someone that clears the Hall standards, with 55.8 bWAR and 73.2 fWAR. I would still put him in the Hall, but he’ll probably be one of the first to go next year when even more worthy candidates are added and only one or two are cleared off of this list.


Minnie Miñoso, White Sox/Indians/Senators/Cardinals, LF, 99-Miñoso is a little like Magee; he was good, but he might need to be one of the first to go next year when I need to add four or five more candidates. Also, with only twelve full seasons, part of his candidacy is dependent on assumptions (how he would have done if he got an earlier start without the Negro Leagues, how he would have done if his age was, in fact, reported wrong, which it might not have been, etc.).

In any case, he was still a good player. In his shortened career, he managed a 130 OPS+ thanks to a .298/.389/.459 batting line. In addition to being good at getting on base , he also managed 205 steals and played solid defense in left. Fangraphs gives him 58.2 WAR, while Baseball-Reference has him at 47.5.

Friday, December 21, 2012

50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame 2012, Part 3

For the second year, I’m participating in Baseball Past and Present’s 50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame project. First, I covered players still on the ballot. Then, I started on to the backlog of candidates. He’s the second part of the older candidates. Each player is listed with their teams (in order of games played), position, and Hall Rating from the Hall of Stats (which works similar to OPS+; 100 is the baseline for a Hall of Famer).


Bob Caruthers, Browns(Cardinals)/Bridegrooms(Dodgers)/Reds/Colts(Cubs), RF/P, 118-Bob Caruthers was like Babe Ruth before Babe Ruth, in that he was a great hitter AND pitcher. In ten seasons, from 1884 to 1893, Caruthers spent 366 games in the outfield and 340 games at pitcher. In that time, he went 218-99 with a 2.83 ERA (good for a 122 ERA+) while hitting .282/.391/.400 (a 134 OPS+). Going by Baseball-Reference, that gives him 40.1 pitching WAR and 18.6 batting WAR*. I think he was both good enough and interesting enough to merit induction.

*Note that 1800s WAR is kind of weird in that way. The pitchers WAR is greater because of the greater number of innings, while the shorter schedule cut into the batting WAR. That 18.6 batting WAR came in 705 games, or about as many as Joey Votto has played in six seasons.


Eddie Cicotte, White Sox/Red Sox/Tigers, P, 108-Cicotte was banned with Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the Black Sox. He was the ace of that team, too, with a 176 ERA+ and 29 wins in almost 307 innings. His 123 career ERA+ is in the neighborhood of Mike Mussina and Don Drysdale. His 53.6 bWAR is also good, especially when you consider he probably had a few more good seasons left in him when he was forced out of the game. He was 36 in his final season, but he also posted 4.7 Wins. I’d say it’s good enough for the Hall.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Knee-Jerk Reactions: The Blue Jays Pull Off the Type of Trade the Royals Were Trying to Make

Things are looking pretty close to done on the trade that sends reigning Cy Young R.A. Dickey from the Mets to the Blue Jays. All that’s left is for Toronto to work out an extension with the knuckleballer and the seven player trade will apparently be official.

Granted, we don’t know all the variables yet. We do know that Dickey, catcher Josh Thole, and a non-impact prospect will be going to Toronto, and that top prospects Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, catcher John Buck, and a non-impact prospect will be going to New York. So all that’s left are the last two prospects and the exact figures of the extension for Dickey.

Still, I would not hesitate to call this a more fair version of the Royals-and-Rays trade that went down last week. It’s not hard to see the similarities. Both feature a team trading highly regarded young talent for a top of the rotation starter in the hopes that they can compete in 2013. The Royals and Jays even had similar records this past season; the Royals went 72-90, while the Blue Jays went 73-89.

There were three major problems that I had with the James Shields trade: the quality given up, the return, and how it affected the team’s playoff chances in the future. To be totally honest, that’s pretty much every part of the trade. But what about the Blue Jays’ deal makes it significantly better?

Fighting Tomorrow's Ignorance Now 3: Andruw Jones Is Going to Japan and Might Be Done

Andruw Jones is officially signing with the Rakuten Eagles. It seems weird to think that he’s only 35 going on 36, yet he might be done in the Major Leagues. If this is the end of his career, since it’s Hall of Fame season, it makes sense to combine the two thoughts and start looking at his Hall of Fame case.

The first thing to do would be to look at his counting numbers, since that will be the first thing most voters look at. He played parts of seventeen seasons in the majors-which is actually incredible when you combine that with the information that he’s retiring at the age of 35. He debuted in 1996 at the age of 19.

Anyway, in those seventeen seasons, he amassed 1933 hits and 434 home runs. Among players who spent a majority of their games at center field, that puts him fourth behind Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey (630), and Mickey Mantle (434), and just ahead of Duke Snider (407) and Jim Edmonds (393). That’s a pretty solid group. However, that isn’t a totally accurate representation of his offensive output.

Friday, December 14, 2012

50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame 2012, Part 2

For the second year, I’m participating in Baseball Past and Present’s 50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame project. Last time, I covered players still on the ballot. Now, I’m delving into the backlog of worthy candidates. Each player is listed with their teams (in order of games played), position, and Hall Rating from the Hall of Stats (which works similar to OPS+; 100 is the baseline for a Hall of Famer).


Dick Allen, Phillies/White Sox/Dodgers/Cardinals/Athletics, 1B/3B, 115-Most of these players appeared on my ballot last year, so I’ll probably just do a quick rundown for each player. Allen was a great hitter in a difficult hitting environment, hitting 351 home runs and posting a .292/.378/.534 (average/OBP/slugging) batting line that translates to a 156 OPS+ and places him nineteenth all-time. Granted, his career was a little short at fifteen seasons, but right ahead of him are Johnny Mize and Hank Greenberg, who each played 15 and 13 seasons, respectively. And his shortened career still led to almost 68 fWAR. I’d say he’s good enough to make it.


Kevin Appier, Royals/Angels/Athletics/Mets, P, 110-One of my two additions to the list this year that isn’t actually on an official ballot. I’ve long felt that the Hall needs to do a better job of recognizing modern pitchers. The most recent debut of a Hall of Fame starter was 1970, that being Bert Blyleven’s. Now, this isn’t to say that Appier’s case is a strong as someone like Blyleven’s; just that the Hall probably needs to do a better job of evaluating modern pitchers.

Appier would fall towards the lower end of the Hall, but that would still be enough, as seen in his 110 Hall Rating. In around 2600 innings, he had a 121 ERA+ (even though he had a 3.74 ERA) and 1994 strikeouts. He played for sixteen seasons, but only thirteen of them could be considered full seasons (the other three each saw him throw between 4 and 22 innings). In those thirteen seasons, he was worth 52 bWAR and 55 fWAR. His peak was impressive, with six of his seasons registering above 5 WAR (and a sixth that would have made it were it not for the 1994 strike)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Knee-Jerk Reactions: Ohio Collectively Wins Trade with Arizona

The Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks finally finished a three-team deal, but it wasn’t with the Rangers and didn’t involve Justin Upton or Asdrubal Cabrera.

Instead, the two teamed up with the Cincinnati Reds in a deal centered around around Shin-Soo Choo.

In all, there are nine players moving. Each team’s haul, with the sending team in parentheses:

Reds: Shin-Soo Choo (Indians), Jason Donald (Indians)
Indians: Trevor Bauer (Diamondbacks), Drew Stubbs (Reds), Bryan Shaw (Diamondbacks), Matt Albers (Diamondbacks)
Diamondbacks: Didi Gregorius (Reds), Tony Sipp (Indians), Lars Anderson (Indians)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Knee-Jerk Reactions: The Rays Make the Royals Look Silly

I really have no idea what exactly happened. The Royals have traded for Rays pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis, giving up prospects Wil Myers (OF), Jake Odorizzi (P), Mike Montgomery (P), and Patrick Leonard (3B).

This is pretty clearly a bad trade for the Royals. I can't remember the last time I saw a trade that I felt was so lop-sided immediately on announcement-maybe Vernon Wells landing in Anaheim? Most commentators that I've seen seem to be echoing these ideas; this was pretty clearly Dayton Moore's wild stab at winning a contract extension, and I just can't say that I see it being enough.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame 2012

You might remember that last year, I participated in Baseball Past and Present’s 50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame. This year, Graham Womack is running the project again, and I once again decided to participate. The process was much easier this year, as I had last year’s list to work off of. However, this year’s influx of candidates did mean that I needed to do some difficult rearranging.

And that seems like the best place to start. There were fourteen players on this year’s ballot that I count among the 50 best players not in Cooperstown, seven of them new, as well as two more that made the Veterans Committee ballot. And again, I would support the induction of all 50 players that I named.

So, without further ado (Players are listed with their teams by games played, their position, and their Hall Rating* from the Hall of Stats, with the new players on the ballot italicized):

*The Hall Rating uses Wins Above Replacement and Wins Above Average from Baseball-Reference to determine a player’s worthiness. The Hall Rating is a combination of the two, on a scale like OPS+. 100 is the Hall minimum, 110 represents 10% than the minimum, and so on. It’s more for the sake of quick comparison. All Hall Ratings have been updated to reflect the induction of Deacon White.