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Yep, the big one is out.  Jeter the only new guy to be an obvious pick.  Jays on the ballot are Roger Clemens, Scott Rolen, Jeff Kent, Omar Vizquel.


So who is on the ballot this time?

Rookies of note...
Derek Jeter : obviously getting in, the question is what percentage?  I'm expecting 90's but not 100% - could be in the 80's if enough voters hated his defense.
Big drop...
Bobby Abreu: was very good for a long time, but other than his 60 WAR not a HOF'er
Jason Giambi: was one of the best at one point, but PED's and a few shortened seasons got him.
Cliff Lee: once one of the best pitchers around, at 29 an easy Cy Young winner, but just 67-52 after that (lots of injuries).  His 143 wins guarantees he doesn't get in.
Adam Dunn: once the king of K's, striking out 222 times one year while still having a 114 OPS+  He'd walk 100+ times a year and hit 30+ HR

Lots of other guys too, but those are the ones who caught my eye.

Returning for the last time is Canadian Larry Walker - 54.6% last time, lets hope a push is on to get him in.  Very few got 50%+ and didn't get in.

4 guys are on their 8th (of a maximum 10) time.  Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa.  All should've been in long ago (if one ignores PED's).  Schilling isn't accused of PED use but was apparently a jerk so that has cost him, bloody sock or no. 

Schilling had the most votes without getting in last year at 60.9%.  Clemens, Bonds, and Walker all were over 50% as well.

Omar Vizquel for reasons beyond me got 42% last time and is a contender but really should drop this year with the obviously far superior Jeter on the ballot.  Just twice reached 4 WAR (once dead on it), just once got MVP votes (came in 16th), 3 ASG, 10 Gold Gloves.  I don't see him as anywhere near the HOF. 

Summary of the stats can be found at https://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/hof_2020.shtml - my favorite place for them

So, given a 10 man limit, who would each of you vote for?  My personal one would be Clemens, Bonds, Schilling, Walker, Jeter, Scott RolenJeff KentTodd Helton is always tempting as are Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez,
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Mike Green - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 03:32 PM EST (#383247) #
Clemens, Bonds, Schilling, Jeter, Walker, Rolen, Manny, Helton, Andruw Jones and Abreu. 

Pettitte and Sheffield are close.  Sosa was obviously a lesser player than Palmeiro, when both weren't cheating. 
GabrielSyme - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 05:33 PM EST (#383251) #
I teased this on the last thread, and Mike Green made the mistake of biting, so, I can't resist laying out the case against Derek Jeter as a hall-of-famer.

Firstly, let me say that the case against him is purely based on his regular-season value. If you think that the round numbers are sufficient to get a player into Cooperstown (3,000 hits, career .300 average) or that his postseason exploits mean he can't be denied, that's fine - I don't have any quarrel with people who look at hall-of-fame cases through those lenses. My own approach, however, is to ask whether a player provides enough value to get him into the realm where the round numbers and post-season and intangibles can put him over the top. And it's on his overall value that Jeter falls short even of the .

By now, almost everyone knows that Derek Jeter was a poor fielder as a shortstop, that he didn't deserve his five (!!!) gold gloves. Even so, many don't know just how terrible he was, and the main statistical websites understate it. The problem with the way both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference calculate his WAR is that they use the least appropriate (and most favourable to Jeter) defensive metrics to calculate his defence. Statistics like UZR (used by Fangraphs), DRS (used by Baseball-Reference) and Total Zone (used by both for years up to 2002/2003) use stringers to describe the location and type of ball hit. These location-based metrics are subject to human error and bias. Even small biases will add up over time. Over larger samples, it is far better to use statistics that remove the subjective judgments of the stringers and rely on comparing the actual number of outs recorded to the average player (and adjusting for pitcher handedness, ground-ball tendencies, strikeouts and ballpark). Especially over larger sample sizes, these distribution-based metrics are significantly more reliable.

There are a number of different distribution-based metrics: Defensive Regression Analysis; Baseball Prospectus's FRAA; and (through 2008) Tango Tiger's fascinating WOWY measure (which is a little different - it uses pitchers as the fixed point, seeing whether Jeter got more or less outs than other SS with those pitchers). We also have an earlier version of FRAA (nFRAA) through 2010. Each of these distribution-based measures is much more negative towards Jeter's defence.

Over his career, these are Jeter's defensive values:
TZ/UZR (Fangraphs): -137 runs
TZ/DRS (B-R): -243
DRA: -352
FRAA: -305
WOWY: -436
nFRAA: -406

We have to add some 2009-2014 data to complete the WOWY data. DRA has Jeter at -95.4 runs during those years; FRAA at -76.3 runs. Being generous, let's use FRAA to round out WOWY to -512 runs for Jeter's career. If we substitute these superior defensive values for the faulty ones used by B-R & Fangraphs, Jeter's career WAR varies from a high of 66.4 WAR (B-R guts with FRAA) to a low of 36.4 (Fangraphs guts with WOWY/FRAA). It's only at the high end that Jeter's even a borderline hall-of-famer, where I'd let the round numbers and post-season make the difference.

I also think we have to question just how much credit Jeter should get for taking up the SS position while playing such egregious defence. All WAR systems give Jeter credit for playing a difficult defensive position (about 12 WAR for Fangraphs, 14 WAR for B-R). While it's sort of punishing Jeter doubly for his terrible defence, the fact he was so bad at defence also meant that the Yankees had poorly-constructed rosters for much of his career - most obviously, when they played Alex Rodriguez at 3B instead of SS, where he was still good defensively - and certainly better than Jeter.

TLDR: If you use defensive metrics appropriate to large sample sizes, Jeter is at best a marginal hall-of-fame candidate in terms of the contributions he made to his team, and at worst, clearly doesn't belong in the Hall.
Magpie - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 06:01 PM EST (#383252) #
Raul Ibanez got a text message from Posnanski congratulating him on making the HoF ballot.

Ibanez texted back: "I am? LOL"

Mike Green - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 07:50 PM EST (#383254) #
OK, thanks. The argument is that he was the worst defender in the history of the game. Made Adam Dunn look like Ozzie Smith. I'll stick with UZR, DRS and what I saw.
John Northey - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 11:15 PM EST (#383255) #
If Jeter had moved to CF he would've probably been OK defensively, but being at SS his whole career was a mistake on the Yankees part. 

From age 25-34 Jeter was a -7.9 defensively at SS via B-R meaning he cost the Yankees 7.9 games due to his poor defense at SS.  Due to drunk voting he got 3 gold gloves anyway during that period.  A-Rod showed up when Jeter was 30.  If the Yankees had done what would've made the most sense except to Jeter and put A-Rod at SS while moving Jeter anywhere else they probably would've won more games every year as A-Rod the year before the move was +1.7 dWAR vs Jeter's -0.3 (a 2 win spread).  It is well known now that A-Rod moving to 3B focused on building bulk as he knew he didn't need to worry about the stress of SS physically.  One wonders if he would've been better had he stayed at SS or worse overall.  However, for the Yankees Jeter was selfish and I hope it costs him some HOF votes.  In 2007 the Yankees finished 2 back of the Red Sox and had to face (and lose to) Cleveland in round 1.  The Red Sox would go on to win the World Series.  One wonders if the Yankees had done the smart thing instead of the 'make Jeter happy' thing if they might have won the East and kept the Red Sox from going all the way that year.

Who knows?  In the end Jeter is a clear HOF'er with the 3465 hits plus 200 in the post season.  (a 308-374-465 post season line is nothing to sneeze at).  The only problem is he could've been better by being moved off SS when he was in his 20's rather than being left there for his whole career (73 games at DH, the rest at SS).  5 ballots so far, he is on all of them (the only one so far to be perfect).  One drunk writer put only Jeter on his ballot (Don Cooknessy - can't find him online).
AWeb - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 07:10 AM EST (#383256) #
As a note, the -436 number from WOWY is a number of plays; it was converted later in the same thread to -327 runs. I think it's likely that the advanced defensive metrics are right and Jeter was truly the worst defensive SS ever. Being compared to an average SS is a very harsh comparison group, because most SS's are very good defensive players, even the below average ones.

There's a good reason most players don't stick at SS for as long as he did, it's a tough and important position. His two signature plays as a SS, to my memory, are: 1. the jump-throw going to his right in the hole, which spoke to a lack of quick footwork and a strong arm that could occasionally make up for it - other SS's were just planting and throwing those plays, and 2. the "past a diving Jeter" play up the middle that he simply missed all the time, but seemed to be making a good effort on. He didn't make many errors, but it was more than offset by the lack of plays.

The end of this article about his defense (https://grantland.com/features/the-tragedy-derek-jeter-defense/) talks about how, at age 37, someone (Cashman?) actually told him and showed him how bad he was, and how he improved late in his career for several years. If that article is correct, Jeter was coached so poorly (i.e., not at all) regarding his defense, I'd almost give him some credit back for it. In the current shift-heavy environment, where players are positioned by the coaches (or given reference cards or something), he's probably "only" a bad SS instead of an amazingly bad one. Much like reliever-usage (entirely determined by coaches, some pitchers get extra leverage credit in WAR measures due to these choices), I think defensive metrics will increasingly have a problem disentangling coaching from player skill.
rpriske - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 08:37 AM EST (#383259) #
Jeter was a poor defender but the idea that he isn't a HoFer is a stretch at a minimum.
Bonds, Clemens, Jeter Schilling (unfortunately), Walker, Rolen, Ramirez, Jones, Helton, Sheffield

Pretty much in that order (though I didn't split hairs).

I would also vote for Pettitte and Abreu if I had more spots.

Notable 'No's - Sosa, Kent, Wagner, Vizquel
Chuck - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 08:42 AM EST (#383260) #
I think defensive metrics will increasingly have a problem disentangling coaching from player skill.

In fairness, though, isn't that true of all aspects of the game? It took Cito Gaston telling Bautista to open his hips earlier and pull the baseball to unlock Bautista's well-hidden underlying skill.

Metrics really just measure performance. So a player's performance could well be the by-product of substandard coaching that fails to exploit the player's skill.

AWeb - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 09:08 AM EST (#383261) #
Definitely true, and always has been I suppose. Jeter's defense is just one of the more prominent examples (Ortiz being coached away from power hitting by the Twins comes to mind too).

My 10 guys:
Clemens, Bonds, Walker, Schilling, Ramirez, Rolen, Sosa,
Sheffield (speaking of defensive problems), Pettitte, Helton

Yeah, I'll leave Jeter off. Since I argued for it, if you take off more defensive value to reflect what I think was likely the case, he's not a shoe-in at the least. Every so often there's debate about "what if player X makes a big round number" (right now I see it applied to Markakis and 3000 hits, previously it was Johnny Damon, or Adam Dunn and 500 HR), and whether they make the HoF anyway. I think Jeter is already that guy, he just happened to make it well past 3000 hits. Also, the years that Jays announcers spent slobbering all over him left a bad taste in my mouth.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 09:10 AM EST (#383262) #
Who's next to be scrutinized for their defense and Hall of Fame worthiness, Babe Ruth? Jeter not going to the hall, that's crazy talk.
scottt - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 09:44 AM EST (#383264) #
So, what if Pujols wants to wear an Angels cap in the Hall.
Is that allowed?

John Northey - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 10:26 AM EST (#383268) #
The HOF makes the final choice on cap.  Gary Carter iirc wanted to wear a Mets cap but the Hall told him he was an Expo like it or not (12 years in Montreal, 121 OPS+, 7 All-Star Games 55.8 bWAR; NYM 5 years, 4 ASG, 104 OPS+, 11.4 bWAR)

The big case was Wade Boggs who had an agreement with the Devil-Rays to go in as one of them which was insane (2 years 94 OPS+ 1.2 WAR vs 11 years in Boston 142 OPS+ 71.9 WAR) - I think he was angry at Boston (as pretty much every star player was after they left back then).  Nolan Ryan pushed it with his desire to go in as a Ranger (15.2 WAR over 5 years) instead of an Angel (8 years 40 WAR) or Astro (9 years 25.4 WAR) which is what got the ball rolling on taking that away from the players and giving the final call to the Hall.

Mostly they let players pick if it is close (Vlad Sr going as an Angel instead of an Expo - similar time at each, big accomplishments at each, a bit more with Expos but it really was a coin toss).  Or Halladay's wife deciding on a 'no logo' cap.
Parker - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 11:01 AM EST (#383269) #
I don't think that being overrated and a poor defender should be held against Jeter - neither of those things are his fault, unless you think he should've insisted that he be moved to 3B when Rodriguez was acquired. If the manager writes you into the lineup at SS, you're going to play SS whether you think you're the best option or not.

I never really liked Jeter, but I'm a round numbers guy. I'd vote for him in a second.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 11:33 AM EST (#383273) #
The WOWY analysis doesn't make sense to me.  I'll give an example.  In 2005, Jeter had the worst DRS rating of his career, -27.  UZR had him at -15. 

I think that it's common ground that he was pretty good on pop-ups, overall idioscyncratic athletic plays and decent enough on turning the DP courtesy of his arm.  The real issue is his ability to convert ground balls into outs.  In 2005, the Yankees pitchers allowed 2152 ground balls of which 530 became hits for a BABIP of .246.  League average BABIP on ground balls was .239, which would have resulted in 514 hits.  The Yankee infield at the time was a 29 year old Alex Rodriguez (0 according to DRS, -2.5 UZR), rookie Robinson Cano (-22 DRS and -21 UZR) and 37 year old Tino Martinez (+7 DRS and 0.5 UZR). 

Those 16 hits translate into 11-12 runs.  Do I think that A-Rod, Cano and Tino were better than average?  Nope, probably worse, but let's say that they were square for the sake of ease.  I can buy UZR's -15, but I think the DRS of -27 is probably a one-year fluke.  But if you tell me that he was worse than -15 every year, I have some trouble.  His second worst year according to DRS and UZR was 2007 (DRS -24, UZR -18).  The Yankees pitching staff had a lower BABIP on ground balls  than league average (.244 to .245). They now had a 31 year old A-Rod (-1, DRS, -2.4 DRS), a 24 year old Cano (+23, +7.5) and Doug Mientkiewicz (+6, +3.5).  I'll buy that they were a somewhat better than average infield, but I think the Cano DRS rating is a fluke.  It's truly unlikely that Jeter took a fabulous infield and made it into a slightly above average one.  The UZR rating of -18 seems, if anything, on the high side. 

Then if you do the same thing for 2009, a year where DRS and UZR agree that Jeter was above average (apparently hip mobility exercises helped him for a few years).  The Yankees' BABIP on ground balls was .230, compared to league average of .238.  This amounts to 14 hits or about 10 runs better than average.  DRS and UZR have Cano and a 33 year old Rodriguez as below average at that point, and first baseman Mark Teixeira a little above average.  It's certainly possible that the DRS and UZR figures underestimate Cano's performance that year, but I still don't see how Jeter was anything less than an average shortstop that year. 

Sure,one could argue that it was easier to turn ground balls into outs in Yankee II than in the average stadium but I doubt it.  Jeter himself had a .259 BABIP on ground balls over his career (and a better BABIP at home than on the road).  This was part of the key to his success. 
AWeb - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 01:02 PM EST (#383274) #
No offense Mike, but the analysis behind the WOWY and other metrics is a lot more advanced than a simple BABIP analysis.

FRAA describes Jeter here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/12399/manufactured-runs-how-do-you-solve-a-problem-like-derek-jeter/

They account for pitchers, handedness of batter, parks, out-situation, etc. None of the systems were designed trying to make Jeter look bad, they just came out that way. Using bbref fielding totals, he's ~340 plays worse than average already. I think it's reasonable that the real number could be ~500. The "extra" bad plays only amount to one missed play every 16 games or so. For his career, 500 missed plays is only one every 5.5 games, barely more than one a week. My own simple analysis - he played 145 games or more 16 times, only rarely as a DH. He was top-ten in assists for a SS in 1997 (1st), 2005 (5th), and...that's it. He was pretty much always in the top-10 for games played at SS, just never made a lot of plays. Noted terrible fielder Michael Young played SS full-time for 5 years, and was top-ten in SS assists 5 times.

Jeter for the Hall? Sure, wouldn't argue against it. But obviously better than a fairly interchangeable half dozen guys on the ballot (Sosa, Abreu, Jeter, Pettitte, Helton, Sheffield, Jones)? Not to me at least. I'd put that entire list in of course, I love a big HoF to be consistent with the standards of the past. I think this is the first year a ballot with less than 10 players is defensible in a long time though, if you think more players should result in higher standards. If we use Harold Baines as a floor, there are maybe 20-25 guys you could put in?
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 02:31 PM EST (#383275) #
AWeb, thanks for catching my error on WOWY. Filling out the missing years with FRAA or DRA, you'd be at -403 or -422 runs for his career.

Thanks also for linking to that excellent article about Jeter's defence. It's important to note that Jeter's poor defence isn't inexplicable - at least according to Bill James, Jeter positioned himself dramatically differently than Adam Everett, one of the best shortstops of the 2000s:
"Jeter played much, much more shallow than Everett, cheated to his left more, and shifted his position from left to right much, much more than Everett did ... Many or most of the good plays made by Jeter were plays made in the infield grass, slow rollers that could easily have died in the infield, but plays on which Jeter, playing shallow and charging the ball aggressively, was able to get the man at first."
It's an interesting question about how we should regard how poor coaching impacts player performance. On the one hand, it was hardly a secret that other shortstops positioned themselves differently, shifted position less, and so forth. I think Jeter probably needs to bear significant responsibility for his positioning and style of play, but you could share blame around to the coaching staff as well. Even the best defensive metrics can only tell us what happened on the field, not how to allocate responsibility for that performance.

More generally, I'm not telling anyone not to regard Jeter as a Hall-of-Famer. There are plenty of good reasons to put him in even if you conclude (as I do) he falls short of whatever regular-season-value benchmark one wants to use.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 02:41 PM EST (#383276) #
I'm sorry AWeb: -34 for Jeter in 2009 by (the revised) FRAA does not pass the smell test.  All the other systems have Jeter as better than ARod that year, and indeed better than average.  FRAA has to have him as tremendously worse, and we all saw that ARod by that point in his career was a much diminished fielder.  I've read the description of the new FRAA, I think that it's fundamentally inaccurate.  I think that there's no way that Ozzie Guillen made 73 plays more than average in 1998.  It just doesn't make sense in terms of proportion.  The underlying assumption of the revised FRAA system is that differences between pitching staffs aside from handedness and groundball tendencies will average out over time.  It's true in many cases, but not in others.  Some players will play behind disproportionately many left-handed fly ball pitchers and right-handed groundball pitchers (and there's a good reason why the Yankees would choose these pitchers given their park); other players will play behind disproportionately left-handed ground ball pitchers and right-handed fly-ball pitchers. 

I prefer measurements based on actual batted ball location data. 


GabrielSyme - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 04:43 PM EST (#383278) #
To be clear about Baseball Prospectus's numbers, the revised FRAA mentioned in the article about Jeter ended up being superceded - BP's current version of FRAA puts Jeter at -18 for 2009.

I mentioned this above, but the problem with the batted ball data used in UZR, DRS and TZ is that it's generated by stringers. On the margins, it's a judgement call whether to classify a batted ball as hard-hit or medium-hit, as a line drive or a grounder, as being in one zone or another. We should probably expect that Jeter's reputation and unusual positioning resulted in bias creeping in to a degree. Over smaller samples, batted-ball-based metrics will be more reliable; over larger samples (and Jeter's defensive record at SS is about as big a sample as any player ever generates) the distribution-based metrics should be expected to be better.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 05:25 PM EST (#383279) #
Bias is one flaw.  Assumptions about distributions of where balls are hit based solely on handedness of batter and overall team pitching ground/air are flawed to a greater degree.  So, here's the batted ball profile of Yankee pitchers during the period 2005-07.  The extreme ground ball pitchers are all right-handed, with Chien Ming Wang leading the way.  Wang faced almost exactly the same number of LH and RH hitters in his career.  The left-handed pitcher who faced the most batters during that time was Randy Johnson who had modestly fly ball tendencies.  Johnson would see 5 times as many right-handed hitters as LHHs.    So, a RH hitter facing the Yankees would more likely face Johnson and a LH hitter facing the Yankees would most likely face Wang (and it is not close).  This means that the Yankees would have more ground balls to the right side than to the left side than you would expect from the handedness profile of their pitching staff. 

You could do a larger study, and it might be that the single most important thing was the presence of Mariano Rivera for all of Jeter's time.  RH hitters had a devil of a time with his cutter, and hit the ball on the ground at about average rates and hit the ball equally to all three fields.  LH hitters had a devil of a time with his cutter, banged it into the ground routinely and pulled it twice almost twice as often as they sent it the other way. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 05:37 PM EST (#383280) #
FWIW, Pettitte's ground-ball and pull rates are almost exactly the same facing LH and RH batters.  He's the other pitcher who was around for Jeter's whole tenure.  If you make broad assumptions from the L/R handedness split of batters facing Rivera and Pettitte about the number of ground balls that Jeter would see vs. the second baseman, you are going to be very wrong. 
AWeb - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 07:52 AM EST (#383282) #
Mike, everything you just mentioned is the type of thing that the advanced metrics take into account already (pitcher tendencies, L/R splits, etc., GB rates, etc.). They make Jeter look worse, not better, when they are taken into account. If the Yankees staff had weird SS-grounder prevention abilities, this would actually help Jeter, since he was bad and more chances means more bad results.

A quick check using the Jays as a comparison point in 2004 and 2005 shows almost identical numbers of grounders (in 2004: 1998 grounders against NYY to 2038 against the Jays, in 2005 the numbers were 2152 to 2132), at least on bbref. I know the grounder/liner/flyball numbers bounce around year-to-year sometimes as categorizing standards change, but there's not much reason to think this somehow make Jeter look worse. It's funny, and I'll probably drop the conversation here, because we're literally debating whether Jeter was the worst defensive SS in history, or the WORST defensive SS in history (obviously among those allowed to play SS for so long). Was he 25 wins below average (terrible) or 40 wins below average (super terrible), or maybe 50 wins below average (ultra-mega terrible)? In any case his bat (for a SS) makes his overall value strongly positive, the trade-off was worth it for the Yankees. I just happen to think he's a fine enough choice for the HoF, but I'd vote for other candidates I think are about equally deserving first instead.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 09:26 AM EST (#383285) #
FRAA does take in the tendencies in a general way, but not in the specific.  That's why they end up with ridiculous numbers like Ozzie Guillen +73 in a season.  The seasonal error is humungous, higher by far than DRS and UZR (which have large errors to begin with).  Over a career, the numbers move from routinely ridiculously wrong to plausible but sometimes (as in Jeter's case) quite wrong.

Incidentally, if you are relying on retrosheet data (as they do), there are far better ways to do it than the way they do it. Retrosheet gives you gross location of ground balls, with 9 possibilities from left to right:

1.  ground ball double/single down left field line
2.  ground ball fielded by third baseman
3.  ground ball single in the 5-6 hole
4.  ground ball fielded by the shortstop
5.  ground ball single in the the 4-5 hole
6.  ground ball fielded by the second baseman
7.  ground ball single in the 3-4 hole
8.  ground ball fielded by the first baseman
9.  ground ball double/single/triple down right field line

Shortstops have no opportunity to make the play on #1, #2, #7, #8, and #9.  The shortstop has an opportunity to make a play on a very few plays where the second baseman fields the ball- ground balls up the middle where a rangy shortstop can cut in front and has the easier play.  Plays in #4 are always shortstop opportunities.  Singles in the 4-5 hole are tough to apportion because they are a function of pitcher, shortstop and second base fielding- shortstops have more opportunity on these balls than second baseman because of angle.  Singles in the 5-6 hole are easier because it's only third baseman and shortstop (and as with the 4-5 hole, the third baseman has more opportunity because of the better angle.

You can be fine, as Jonny and I were when we dd the Larkin series many years ago.  Or, if you are going to use rough estimates of shortstop opportunity, you can look at ground balls obviously on the left side of the diamond #1, #2, #3 and #4 and a fraction of #5 (40%?, 45%?) to give the shortstop and third baseman's opportunities and then divide them up with the shortstop having more.  But using handedness of batters and ground-ball tendencies of pitchers to create a number of opportunities for a fielder introduces a significant new level of error- pitchers affect ball in play patterns (about 35%) including pull/spray.  These things do usually even out mostly over a long career, but often enough do not.  The Rivera/Pettitte example illustrates it. 


Parker - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 10:26 AM EST (#383289) #
Fascinating discussion, gentlemen. I've really enjoyed reading this. Thank you.
GabrielSyme - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 02:00 PM EST (#383296) #
If the concern is that FRAA doesn't account for individual pitcher tendencies, then one should really like WOWY, where the primary mode of comparison is the pitcher with and without Jeter (it also adjusts for park, batter handedness and to a limited extent, batted ball classification). It's the exact answer to the concern raised.

Unfortunately, it doesn't help Jeter - WOWY is more negative on Jeter than either DRA or FRAA for the years we have. Unfortunately, we don't have WOWY for his entire career - I have no doubt its creator is selling the data to MLB clubs.

As an aside - TZ, which covers the first half of Jeter's career for both bWAR and fWAR, appears to have a flaw that results in systematically understating the cost of poor defenders (and the contribution of good defenders). You can see the way it works in comments #16, 20-26 in this discussion, where we got the WOWY numbers in the first place.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 02:35 PM EST (#383297) #
WOWY has a world of other problems, in terms of scale, and Tango says so in the opening.  He's not happy that Andruw Jones ends up as +610 plays (or 519 runs) compared with Vernon Wells through age 34.  DRS has it as +263, and Bill James has criticized Andruw's DRS rating as not believable (I disagree with him, but I definitely think it's at the high end of what is conceivable- the WOWY number doesn't makes sense). 

And, by the way, WOWY compares Jeter with all other shortstops in the league in Yankee Stadium with a left-hander and a right-hander on the mound.  It does not adjust for the particulars of his pitching staffs in terms of pull/spray by handedness.  Andruw's number is probably high because Braves' pitchers (I'm thinking of Glavine and Maddux) had disproportionate ability to keep batters in the middle of the field knowing that Andruw was there. 

As an aside, you can see from Rally's comment in #26 that he has things right. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 02:47 PM EST (#383299) #
Incidentally, the Braves' equivalent of Jeter is Chipper Jones.  DRS has him at -28 at third base; UZR at -13 going back to 2004 (missing the first 7 seasons of his career) and WOWY has him at -261 plays (-196 runs).  If you're pitching staff is able to keep the ball in the middle of the diamond more than usual, your third baseman will see fewer balls in the vicinity. 

The difference, of course, is that Chipper wasn't as bad as Jeter was (by any measure). 

I'm a firm believer that pitching and defence are synergistic.  It's tough to tease things out by looking at gross measures. 
James W - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 03:24 PM EST (#383300) #
Small note - of course, there is no 4-5 hole, but 4-6. Unless we're calling Jeter the "hole" between the second baseman and third baseman.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 03:38 PM EST (#383301) #
Thanks, JamesW.  It was not a comment on Jeter's admittedly limited range...
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 03:44 PM EST (#383302) #
On a Blue Jay note, I was and am inclined to the view that Wells was a somewhat below average defensive centerfielder (and was often criticized for that view here).  However the idea that he was the worst defensive centerfielder of the time and on average cost his club 15-20 runs a year with the glove as WOWY suggests would surely make some old-timers here shake their head. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 04:21 PM EST (#383303) #
Incidentally, the Statcast data for centerfielders to date supports a scale consistent with DRS/UZR rather than WOWY.  The top seasonal seasons in the Statcast era for centerfielders (2016-19) are 26, 22, 21 and 21 outs above average.  Statcast of course scales to all outfielders rather than centerfielders.  WOWY suggests that Andruw Jones was 40 outs above the average centerfielder on average for age 20-29.  I have trouble  believing that, and in fact the Statcast data suggests that Bill James may be right that the DRS/UZR numbers for Andruw are too high also.  I'll wait a few more years on that. 

The Statcast data is very persuasive, and of course, there's no reason that we won't get it for infielders ultimately.  The problem of stringer bias in scoring ground balls for line drives can be dealt with using launch angle and exit velocity. 
GabrielSyme - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 06:10 PM EST (#383305) #
I think there's still a misunderstanding of what WOWY and TZ do, and I'll do my best to clear it up

WOWY has a world of other problems, in terms of scale, and Tango says so in the opening.

Tango initially has concerns about the greater range of ability implied by WOWY, true. But those concerns are addressed by the observations made in the comments that TZ structurally depresses the range - pointed out by Guy and agreed to by Rally, the architect of Total Zone: "I agree (confess) to pretty much every point Guy made" at comment 20.

And, by the way, WOWY compares Jeter with all other shortstops in the league in Yankee Stadium with a left-hander and a right-hander on the mound. It does not adjust for the particulars of his pitching staffs in terms of pull/spray by handedness.

This is not quite right - WOWY compares Jeter with all other shortstops playing behind each of the same pitchers. Adjustments are then made for park, batter handedness, and lastly, for GB/LD/FB splits. This is explained in comment #8. Because it looks at all the pitchers Jeter played in front of individually, it necessarily is adjusting for pull/spray tendencies of the specific staffs he's in front of (in fact, the specific pitchers).

As an aside, you can see from Rally's comment in #26 that he has things right.

This appears to misread Rally's comment. He already acknowledged in comments #20 and #25 the effect identified by Guy. In #26 he merely says he doesn't split responsibility for singles to left 50/50 between SS & 3B, but instead 40/60, and then says the technical difficulty of fixing the problem identified by Guy/Tango is beyond his ability/will to do it. It's a confusing because he's partly quoting from Tango in #24 without using quotation marks.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 06:45 PM EST (#383308) #
I don't agree but what about Statcast and centerfielders? Tango said in the article that hitfx will provide better evidence than WOWY. We now have that for outfielders and it suggests the scale is less extreme than WOWY would suggest.
GabrielSyme - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 07:47 PM EST (#383310) #
A few observations about the Statcast range.

Firstly, Statcast is measuring in an era where teams have already integrated much better fielding data, and where defensive ability was already better understood and more emphasis was put on defence. The defensive revolution in front offices happened after Moneyball, basically hitting after most of Andruw's peak. This involved both better positioning, and defensive liabilities moving position or being dropped altogether. We should expect the defensive "floor" to have increased, and also the average.

Secondly, TZ thinks that Andruw had the 2 best seasons in history, and 3 of the top 9. He's second in career CF TZ to Willie Mays, who was an effective defensive CF for much longer than Andruw - and TZ is only available for about half of Andruw's CF career. It seems unlikely that the last 4 years would include a close rival to the player that TZ has already identified as the best CF in history.

Thirdly, Statcast doesn't include an arm component. UZR and DRS both rate his arm highly even in his post-peak years. You have to add that on to his range outs. I don't think WOWY takes into account the value from holding runners, but Andruw was well-above average in outfielder assists.

Lastly, I believe Statcast is based on the likelihood of making the out based on the initial positioning of the outfielder, so it doesn't capture any value based on superior positioning. I wouldn't be surprised if positioning was a very significant factor, especially in the 90s/early2000s before there was hit f/x data.

Putting that together, I'm not at all surprised by the variance of WOWY or the current variance of Statcast.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 07:56 PM EST (#383313) #
Well, if you believe the WOWY numbers, Andruw Jones was likely the real MVP in 1998, 1999 and 2000. He and Jeter would basically trade places on the career WAR list. I don't think it is true but I like Andruw Jones a lot more than Derek Jeter!
whiterasta80 - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 07:38 AM EST (#383327) #
Just to add my annual post advocating for no bonds, Clemens or other proven PED users in the HOF.

It's the only enforcement left to punish cheaters. I truly believe that the lack of legitimate consequences for PED users is responsible for the Sox, Astros (and probably us) sign stealing scandals.

Until baseball takes a "kill one, scare the rest" mentality on cheating beyond Pete Rose this cycle will continue.
Magpie - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 11:00 AM EST (#383331) #
Andruw's a funny case for me, mainly because he went so completely off the cliff. Spoils one's recollection of him a little. Ultimately, I think he's quite a bit like Richie Ashburn - a tremendous defender in centre field, a good hitter - not one of the best in the league (or on his own team) - and someone who didn't age very well at all. (Obviously they were very different types of offensive players.) Ashburn did get in, eventually, some thirty years after he retired.

Hmmm. I think I'll go with Whitaker and Evans on the Veterans Ballot. Bonds, Clemens, Jeter, Schilling, Rolen, Walker, and Manny on the regular one.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 11:22 AM EST (#383332) #
Nice ballot, Magpie.  The last 3 on my list (Jones, Helton, Abreu) are pure 50-50 calls. 

It's interesting that Ashburn had a pretty sharp decline at age 32, and was done at 35.  It makes one appreciate Devon White all the more for his longevity.  And Willie was in his own league in that way, as in many others (I didn't realize that he was a 6 WAR player at age 40; he finished ahead of David Ortiz, Darrell Evans, Luke Appling and Sam Rice with 5, and Ty Cobb, Dave Winfield, Honus Wagner and Deacon White with 4). 
Magpie - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 12:33 PM EST (#383336) #
Ashburn's always been an interesting player - hey, he was an original Met - mainly because his defensive numbers are absolutely insane. There's a simple enough explanation - Robin Roberts. It's as if they were made for each other. Practically every NL hitter who was active in the 1950s said Roberts had the league's best fastball (Ernie Banks said it was better than Bob Gibson's, but that might be the common case of a player being dazzled by the first great major league fastball he happened to see.) Roberts was an extreme fly ball pitcher, working up in the zone, in an era when hitters simply didn't strike out. And he threw so hard, it was hard to pull the ball against him. It was fly ball after fly ball to centre field. And Richie Ashburn ran underneath them and caught them.
Dewey - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 03:56 PM EST (#383343) #
I wonder who was faster, Ashburn or Devo? Ashburn could fly when he first came up. Saw him as a member of Eddie Sawyer’s 1950 Philadelphia Whiz Kids (several Toronto Maple Leaf grads on that team -- including Sawyer, Mike Goliat, Ed Sanicki, Stan Lopata, Jim Konstanty, and Willie (Puddin’ Head) Jones (1949 NL MVP), maybe others. My favourite name on that team was Putsy Caballero, also an ex-Leaf.) Old friend Russ Meyer was on that team, too, with several other ex-Cubs -- Waitkus, Borowy, Bill Nicholson.

Bob Carpenter, the Phillies owner, was apparently a friend of Jack Kent Cooke, the Leafs owner.

Ah, memory.

P.S. I’m hoping Dewey Evans makes the HOF, of course.
John Northey - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 04:34 PM EST (#383344) #
With Manny ... he is a tough one.  Generally I ignore drug rumours or try to factor in pre vs post performance.  Clemens & Bonds both were no-doubt HOF'er before 1998 when both are rumoured to have started (Bonds having the far stronger rumours).  Given the atmosphere of that time (McGwire caught with drugs in his locker and the reporter was blasted, not McGwire) I can fully understand why they did them.  After 2001 when Bonds got 73 HR it was clear there was an issue and MLB finally got serious about it and so did many players.  By 2004 I'd say there was no more excuse for being caught.  ManRam was caught three times (the initial survey in 2003, then twice more in 2009 and 2011).  I could forgive once, but 3 times being caught is a bit much even if he was a clear HOF'er by the stats.
GabrielSyme - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 05:42 PM EST (#383351) #
I may as well put up my hypothetical ballot:

Rolen, Schilling, Wagner, Walker

Obviously, after arguing Jeter's defensive shortcomings at such length above I can't vote for him here. I'm not going to be upset at his inevitable induction - he has the round numbers, the longevity, the fame, and the post-season success.

Apart from Jeter, Wagner maybe requires the most explanation. Wagner is the 2nd-most dominant reliever in history, after Mariano Rivera - and 3rd isn't particularly close. He didn't pitch as many innings as some other relievers, but once you're admitting relievers to the hall you're implicitly looking more at dominance than volume.

Obviously, I'm leaving the steroid-associated guys off. Bonds, Clemens, Sheffield, Pettitte, Manny and Sosa have the numbers, but aren't on my hypothetical ballot. In addition to Jeter, I'm open to discussion on Abreu, Helton, Kent and Andruw who all have decent arguments.
Mike Green - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 06:02 PM EST (#383352) #
Well, if you really buy the WOWY over DRS and UZR, Andruw Jones is a must.  During the period 1998-2000 using DRS, Andruw Jones was 2nd in baseball in WAR just behind A-Rod (23.6 to 22.7 for A-Rod).  If you think DRS undersells him, he's the best player in baseball over a 3 year period and obviously the key player on a winning team.  Those guys ought to get in, leaving aside arguments about whether 67 or so career WAR is enough. 
GabrielSyme - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 01:28 PM EST (#383366) #
Andruw definitely had the peak you'd associate with a hall-of-famer -it's the relatively short career that makes him a question mark. Yes, WOWY would imply he reached a career value that would make him a presumptive hall-of-famer; other defensive metrics such as DRA & FRAA (and TZ) are not quite as positive. I haven't taken a deep dive into his hall-of-fame case, but I'm definitely open to being convinced.

My point about WOWY was not that it's completely authoritative - but that it's a good methodology that directly addressed your concern about distribution-based metrics neglecting to account for which pitchers a defender played behind. I'd also note that I have a little more uncertainty about defensive metrics for outfielders as there's a lot more balls that could be caught by different fielders.
greenfrog - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 05:27 PM EST (#383372) #
The Jays have signed Cole!!!!

AJ Cole, that is (to a minor-league deal).
John Northey - Tuesday, November 26 2019 @ 11:53 AM EST (#383378) #
Yeah, the headlines saying the Jays signed pitcher Cole messed me up too when I first saw them - thought 'you gotta be kidding me', then saw it was AJ Cole and it was 'makes sense'.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 04 2019 @ 12:07 PM EST (#383544) #
Larry Walker is off to a nice start in the early ballotting.  Among the 14 ballots, he has 11 votes, 7 from last year and 4 pickups. 

Of the 3 he has not received, 2 voted only for Jeter.  I can't imagine that there will be too many of those.  The average voter has voted for 7 players. 
Mike Green - Friday, December 06 2019 @ 02:11 PM EST (#383642) #
Here's a fine piece on Bobby Abreu from Jay Jaffe.  Jaffe is getting a ballot starting next year, and it is small changes like that which should in the long run lead to better Hall decisions.
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