Sunday, September 8, 2013

Was Richie Ashburn Undervalued By The Hall Of Fame Voters?

The Veteran's Committee put him in in 1995. The highest percentage he ever got from the writers was 41.7. But even now he is still 98th in career WAR among position player at Baseball Reference. Fangraphs has him at 127. Through 2001, he was tied for 115th among both pitchers and hitters in Win Shares.

Ashburn had over 2500 career hits and nearly 1200 walks to go along with a career AVG of .308 and OBP of .396. He had little power with just 29 career HRs, but he stole over 200 bases at time (the 1950s) when there was not much stealing going on. He had 109 career triples, leading the league twice.

He finished 4th in WAR once and twice 5th (from BR). His peak value might be stronger if those were all consecutive years, but they were not. He did, however, have 7 top 10 finishes. He also had 5 top 10 finishes in defensive WAR, including 3 in the top 5 (that is among all position players).

He had 11 seasons with at least 20 Win Shares. Bill James says that is an all-star type season. 8 of them were 25 WS or more. He had 7 top 10 finishes (that combines pitchers and hitters). He finished in the top 5 in fielding WS among NL outfielders 11 times, including 3 first place finishes.


Jim Baker said...

As a peer of Mantle, Mays and Snider, Ashburn always got short shrift. I always thought that's why he suffered at the hands of the voters.

Cyril Morong said...

Good point. It is pretty hard to standout when you are in the shadow of those guys. Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

My recollection is that leading up to 1995, the sabmetric community thought that Ashburn's defense was really terrific because we tended to look at range factors back then without any adjustments. Today's advanced defensive metrics still think Ashburn was good, but not ridiculously so. For example his career defensive WAR at b-ref is 28th best out 189 players with 3000+ plate appearances and at least half played in CF.

In other words, Ashburn is now being evaluated without giving him huge credit for his defense. I think that is an argument in favor of Cyril's point that Ashburn has under-rated by HoF voters.

Looks like this is more a case of OBP being under-rated, if one wants to pick a single cause.

-- Detroit Michael

Cyril Morong said...

Good points. Thanks for reading and commenting. I did go back and look at what Bill James said about Ashburn and that maybe slow RFers and LFers on his team led to his big putout totals. And also that Robin Roberts, who pitched alot of innings tended to give up more flyballs than average. But he still thought Ashburn must have been good