A Baseball Blog - Scientific and Speculative Thoughts from Third Base
Showing posts with label Kevin Appier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kevin Appier. Show all posts

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.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Retired Number Spin-Off: Going Where No Retired Numbers Have Gone Before, or Why Do Baseball Players Hate 8?

One cool thing about doing the Retired Number Series was all of the ideas for spin-offs I got. However, I wanted to wait until I finished the main series to work on those. Now that that’s out of the way, though, I can work on these side projects.

One thing that I always thought was interesting was the breadth of numbers worn. I remember seeing this chart from Flip Flop Fly Ball and thinking about teams needing triple digit numbers and all the numbers that would have to be out of use to get to them. And from there, I for some reason thought of how that span would look.

Basically, after doing 30 retired number pieces, you get to notice that some numbers show up more than others. In case you were wondering, 20 showed up more than any others, with nine occurrences.* In total, 51 useable numbers have been retired (this disqualifies Cleveland’s 455). They span from 1 (seven times) to 85 (once, Augie Busch). 72 was the highest one that was actually worn by a player (Carlton Fisk).

*Luis Gonzalez, Monte Irvin, Lou Brock, Pie Traynor, Mike Schmidt, Frank White, Don Sutton, and Frank Robinson twice

Seeing stuff like this made me wonder what the lowest unretired number was. When I began, it was 28. Since then, the Twins have honored Bert Blyleven. Apparently though, players don’t like the 8’s. The now-lowest unretired number is 38.

So what as-of-yet-unhonored numbers may someday join these illustrious ranks? Well, Baseball-Reference has introduced a cool tool (at least, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t around when I started). Clicking on a player’s jersey will take you to a list of all the players to wear a jersey in that team’s history (for example, see the Astros’ page). From there, you can navigate to each individual jersey’s page (again, see 20’s page for reference).

Now with a purpose, I investigated each number without a represented player to see what may eventually become the new lowest not-retired number.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Retired Numbers Series: Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals were one of the eight expansion teams to begin their lives in the 1960s, and as I’ve found while doing the Retired Numbers Series, these teams tend to run the gamut with regards to how stingy they are at retiring numbers. Some, like the Padres and (especially) Astros, have tried to recognize every stage of their history. Others, like the Mets and the Astros’ ideological opposite extreme the Rangers, have only recognized one to two players. The Royals, while not as extreme as those two, tend to fall in to the latter category. Would they turn up a similar wealth of potential honorees?

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)