Friday, November 30, 2012

HOF Game in the Steroid Era, Rationale and Personal Preference

That's what it's going to come down to, after all, as the baseball writers make their first really difficult votes for the players of the steroid era.  Rationale, and individual rationale, at that, and personal preference.  Do they think of steroids in this era as just part of the game, one that the bosses of baseball turned their back to when they could have stopped it, so they'll turn their back to it now, hold their noses, and vote for anyone?  Do they say, no way, we won't ever vote for anyone who cheated the game like that, and if there's a whiff of probably to a player, they'll never get their vote?  Do they take a hybrid approach, trying to discern whether a player would have gotten in had they not taken a PED in their professional life?  It will come down to some rationale on their part, and it won't be pretty or logical all of the time, and it will come down to personal preference.

And where do we stand, as if anybody really wants to know?  We're in the third category, pending other information, with a penalty of exclusion for a period of time.  What time is that?  Definitely not voting for a PED rumoured player in their first year of eligibility, maybe not their second, third, or fourth.  Definitely not voting for a PED rumoured player when other players who are worthy sit on the ballot that we think should go in first.  But, I get the feeling, we'll eventually, if we had a vote, vote for them if we think they would have gotten in otherwise.  And we'll take it on a year to year basis.  Is any of that logical, or rational?  Probably not, but it is personal preference.

So let's take a look at this year.  First off, let's knock out the players who don't deserve grand consideration and focus on those who may or may not deserve it.

First Timers: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, Craig Biggio, and Mike Piazza.  For us, these are the only players in this group deserving of discussion.

Holdovers: Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire.

And we'll start from the bottom and work our way up.  And give our criteria right up front.  If a player would be in the Top Half of the Hall of Fame at their position, we will vote for them, at a maximum of three per year.  Why, three?  Well, we think this is an exclusive club and would have made it more exclusive in the past.  We think every year two players is a good number to enshrine, but are okay with three, and think, no matter what, at least one player should be voted in.  Okay, once again, personal preference and justification.

Mark McGwire - PED allegations and we believe a career that would not have been Hall worthy had he not taken them.  Not getting our vote, and that's our position every year.

Jeff Bagwell - Okay, popeye arms, but not really embroiled in the controversy.  We're going to say his numbers deserve inclusion.  He's ranked #39 in PEVA in history among all position players and is above the 275 PEVA number of which every player above it, who is eligible, is in the Hall already.  We're voting YES.

Jack Morris - His ERA is just too high for us and doesn't have the automatic inclusion number of 300 wins.  Very good pitcher, but just below Hall caliber to us.  We vote NO.

Mike Piazza - In the Career Position Player PEVA ratings for the regular season, he is the second rated catcher in history, only behind Johnny Bench.  We vote YES.

Craig Biggio - He has one of those automatic inclusion number that still ring true, 3,000 hits, but we don't like voting in too many players all at once, and this year (yes, we're voting for someone else), we vote NO.  But will be voting for him in another year and think he deserves inclusion.

Curt Schilling - It's doubtful Schilling gets into the Hall of Fame in his first year and there's logic to that opinion, plus a bit of dislike by some from a personal standpoint.  Plus his win total is not too impressive.  But Schilling dominated games at his prime and pitched great in the postseason.  And overall, he's #20 in the Best Pitcher PEVA Rankings,  We vote YES.

Sammy Sosa - No way, Jose.  We don't think, without steroids, that Sosa would have the numbers for inclusion.  Same reason as McGwire.  We vote NO, and do so every year.

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.  These are two players who we do believe benefited from PED use, but even without them, would have the numbers to make the Hall of Fame.  Clemens is rated as the #3 pitcher in history and Bonds as the #2 batter.  Diminish their numbers and they're still probably in the Top 40.  We think they deserve inclusion eventually, unless some other allegations and proof pops up, but are voting NO this year.

So to recap our rationale and personal preference.

Our Ballot This Year
YES - Bagwell, Schilling, and Piazza.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Was Mike Trout the Best Rookie Ever?

That's what people are talking about, and is being written, on Sportsline.com, where they compare rookies via WAR, and elsewhere.  Well, we're not proponents of WAR, in either definition, but we are the originators of PEVA.  And how do they compare on the subject of Mike Trout?  Was this past 2012 season the best rookie season by any player ever?  The answer for us was no, but oh, boy, was it close.

Comparing WAR to PEVA, Best Rookies Ever

PEVA Rank, Name Year, WAR, PEVA
1. Joe Jackson 1911, 9.7 WAR, 34.179 PEVA
2. Mike Trout 2012, 10.0 WAR, 33.373 PEVA
3. Dick Allen 1964, 8.7 WAR, 30.770 PEVA
4. Al Rosen 1950, 7.6 WAR, 29.097 PEVA
5. Ted Williams 1939, 7.9 WAR, 28.548 PEVA
6. Tony Oliva 1964, 7.5 WAR, 26.344 PEVA
7. Fred Lynn 1975, 7.3 WAR, 25.825 PEVA
8. Mike Piazza 1993, 7.6 WAR, 22.963 PEVA
9. Albert Pujols 2001, 7.7 WAR, 20.378 PEVA
10. Tommy Agee 1966, 7.2 WAR, 18.187 PEVA

* Players listed per CBS Sportsline comparison; there may be others within the PEVA Top 10 Rookies not listed.

And for a quick look at the stats within WAR and PEVA.

Mike Trout
Trout 2012 - 30 HR, 83 RBI, 0.326 AVE.
MLB Max 2012 - 44 HR, 139 RBI, 0.336  (MLB Average 0.255)

Joe Jackson
Jackson 1911 - 7 HR, 83 RBI, 0.408 AVE.
MLB Max 2011 - 21 HR, 127 RBI, 0.420  (MLB Average 0.266)

Gotta admit, it's hard to choose between them, but they seem to be the Top Two, no matter whether you are a proponent of the WAR formula, or our own.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hall of Fame Veterans, Should Any Get In?

This December, at the Winter Meetings, the formerly called Veterans Committee, now with some other similar name, will choose among 10 candidates from the 1871-1946 era and decide whether any of them should earn a place in Cooperstown after all these years.  It's a collection of executives, managers, umpires, and players in this now once every three years for certain era format that get considered and voted on.  Now, we'll admit right up front, we're not real keen on adding lots of players to the Hall, and with the current incoming crop of potential current era players coming onto the regular ballot, including some of those PED cases, plus others, we're probably even less inclined to add.  But, that's probably unfair, so we'll take a look at the ten candidates offered and try to decide, without too much prejudice, if any deserve a spot.  So here goes.

Okay, we'll put our prejudice out with the first statement.  Too many real players who'll be entering soon, so we can't reach too far into the executive, manager, or umpire field.  So, right off the bat, we'll say no to good men Samuel Breadon (Executive), Hank O'Day (Umpire/Manager/Player), Al Reach (Executive/Player/Baseball Publisher), and Jacob Ruppert (Owner/Executive).  Some day when baseball's HOF discussion is less busy, we'll revisit their merits.

As for the six predominant players on the ballot.
Bill Dahlen - Shortstop, 1891-1911.  When he retired, he was the active career leader in Home Runs, even though hitting just 84, and is still the active leader in Games Played.  Had 2,457 hits and 1,233 RBI's.  But beyond those stats, how good was he.  Pretty darn good.  With a career PEVA of 216.119, he'd come in at #6 on the Hall of Fame list for shortstops..  And where would he sit overall, #99 in baseball's position player history, right behind Jim Rice, Goose Goslin, Willie Keeler, and just ahead of Tony Perez.  Based predominantly on how high he ranks of historic shortstops, he's in for us, and we'd vote for Dahlen to enter Cooperstown.

Wes Ferrell - Pitcher, 1927-1941.  Won 193 games.  Career PEVA of 128.949.  ERA of 4.04.  Only 8 players below him in PEVA that are in the Hall and 54 above him.  Our rule of thumb with this, pending some special circumstance of achievement, is that we vote for folks above the median line of those already in the Hall of Fame.  Ferrell's nowhere close to that.  So we vote No.

Marty Marion - Shortstop, 1940-1950, 1952-3.  NL MVP in 1944.  Under 100 career PEVA.  Only 1 shortstop, Travis Jackson in Hall under 100 PEVA.  Not for us.  Vote No.

Tony Mullane - Pitcher, 1881-1894.  Won 284 games, and 468 complete games.  Pitcher whose numbers were inflated by the era and only reached 109.564 PEVA Career Points while compatriots in his years were putting up higher.  For same reason as Ferrell.  Vote No.

Bucky Walters - Pitcher, 1934-1950.  198 wins, 3.30 ERA.  Career PEVA of 182.990, which would rank him #61 overall.  On the already in the Hall list, he'd be 35 out of 63.  Below the half way line, so we should and will vote no.  And before you say, that's unfair, consider the other pitchers near him on the PEVA list.  He's David Cone, not in the Hall.  He's Rick Rueschal, not in the Hall.  He's Dwight Gooden, not in the Hall.  We'll still vote No.

Deacon White - 3rd Base, 1871-1890.  977 RBI and 0.312 Batting Average.  PEVA of 274.720, which ranks him as the highest rated player eligible for the Hall of Fame who's not in.  Sometimes he's hard to categorize, due to the era of rare home runs and because he played so many positions.  We're listing him as a third sacker, because that's where he played the most, 827 games out of 1,622, but he also played at catcher for 458.  On the Hall of Fame list, he'd be the #5 third baseman behind Schmidt, Matthews, Brett, and Boggs, and will get passed in the future by Chipper and ARod, pending their inclusion.  There are only 11 third baseman in the Hall of Fame right now, the rarest amongst the positions.  We vote Yes.

Two new names into the Hall of Fame from the veterans for us, but we're unsure if that many will get in, or whether they'll prefer some of the non-players on the list we just can't consider right now.  Guess we'll know in December.  For more information on how Stat Geek Baseball ranks the already in Hall of Fame players, visit our Hall of Fame Ranking pages.

Hall of Fame PEVA Position Ranks