Friday, April 29, 2011

Bobby Grich And His Case For The Hall Of Fame

This came up again recently with Ex-Angel Grich is a no-brainer Hall of Famer By SAM MILLER of THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Hat tip goes to Baseball Think Factory.

I have written about how good the case for Grich is before.

The best, eligible Non-Hall of Famers (from 2006)

Peak Value And Hall Of Fame Worthiness

Some Players With A Good Sabermetric Case For The Hall Of Fame

Here is some info I just compiled, using Baseball Reference.

The only AL player with more WAR from 1973-6 than Grich (26.2) was Reggie Jackson (26.3). In a 10 year period, Grich had 5 top 5 finishes in the AL in WAR (among position players). From 1972-76 he was 5-2-1-4-6.

He had 7 top 10 finishes from 1972-81. Grich actually beats Jackson 32.0-31.8 in WAR in the AL over the years 1972-76.

Looks like good peak value. My guess is that many Hall of Famers don't have even that much peak value but that would require looking at all of them.

Grich had 67.6 WAR for his career, good enough for 65th among position players.

Here are the top 15 among second basemen (playing at least half their games there). Grich is 8th, while Whitaker is 7th and may have a good case, too.

Rogers Hornsby 127.8
Eddie Collins 126.7
Nap Lajoie 104.2
Joe Morgan 103.5
Charlie Gehringer 80.9
Frankie Frisch 74.8
Lou Whitaker 69.7
Bobby Grich 67.6
Craig Biggio 66.2
Roberto Alomar 63.5
Jackie Robinson 63.2
Ryne Sandberg 62
Willie Randolph 60.5
Jeff Kent 59.4
Bid McPhee 57.9

Here is how Grich compares to six other second basemen who are in the Hall. He had more top 5 finishes in WAR than all of them and only one had as much WAR in his best consecutive 3 seasons.

Top 5 finishes in WAR
Grich-5 (best consecutive 3 seasons-20.7)
Alomar-3 (best consecutive 3 seasons-20.6)
Sandberg-4 (best consecutive 3 seasons-20.7)
Lazzeri-2 (best consecutive 3 seasons-18.3)
Doerr-3 (best consecutive 3 seasons-14.6)
Fox-4 (best consecutive 3 seasons-16.9)
Herman-3 (best consecutive 3 seasons-19.1)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Will Prince Fielder Surpass Albert Pujols?

On Monday night before the Brewers game, a commentator on ESPN said something like "now that Fielder is entering his prime years, his numbers will surpass those of Albert Pujols." This seems hard to believe. Fielder generally has not hit as well as Pujols at the same age.

The table below shows how each guy hit by age:

So far, at only one age, 25, was Fielder even close to Pujols. From 21-26, Pujols had an OPS+ of 169. Fielder had 139. The table below shows the offensive WAR for each guy:

The next table shows the neutralized stats for each guy (all data hare is from Baseball Reference):

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bonds And His Performance As He Aged

Since he is in the news, I thought it would be good to revisit.

I have written about this before and there are some links below. This table shows his neutralized SLG as he aged from Baseball Reference. This means that it was adjusted for the league average and park effects. Notice how his 4 best years are clearly from 36-39. This seems to be highly unusual and I think his improvement at those ages over what he did earlier is much better than anyone else's improvement.

Now links to other posts:

The Best 5-Year Hitting Performances By Age

Bonds Aging vs. Aaron Aging

Bonds Greatest Feat Might Be Improvement

Has Anyone Aged as Well As Barry Bonds?

Has Anyone Aged as Well As Barry Bonds? (yes, there are two differenct articles with the same name)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can "Pitching To Contact" Lead To More Scoring?

See Are Twins Taking "Pitching To Contact" Too Far? by Rob Neyer.

To look at this, I calculated the batting average and slugging percentage in the AL in 2010 on contact. For contact, I used AB - K + SF. I assumed that sacrifice hits (bunts) and their attempts rarely end up in strikeouts. So in the AL last year when a plate appearance ended in contact, the AVG was .320 and the SLG was .501.

How many runs per game might this lead to? To approximate this, I used the equation

R/G = 16.04*OBP + 11.595*SLG - 5.52

That comes from regression analysis based on the 2007-2009 seasons.

Last year the AL had a leage OBP of .327 and a league SLG of .407. The equation predicts that would lead to a runs per game of 4.44 (it was actually 4.45). But if we used .320 for OBP and used the .501 for SLG, we get 5.44 runs per game. That seems like a big difference.

I am not sure if this approximation works. It would be quite a different game with no walks and the denominator for OBP and SLG is not the same in each case. But even with that said, I am skeptical that pitching to contact (or not trying to cause batters to miss the pitch) is a good idea.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Did Minnie Minoso Have Enough Peak Value To Make The Hall of Fame?

Rob Neyer's Measuring Minnie Minoso's Hall Of Fame Case got me thinking about this. He might have enough peak value using WAR. His career WAR is not bad at 52.8, which is 152nd among position players (from Baseball Reference).

Here is the top 10 in WAR in the AL over the years of 1951-59:

Mickey Mantle 72.1
Minnie Minoso 49.5
Yogi Berra 43.3
Ted Williams 42.7
Nellie Fox 38.3
Gil McDougald 37.3
Larry Doby 34.2
Al Kaline 32
Al Rosen 27.8
Jackie Jensen 26.7

Second place to only Mickey Mantle is pretty good. He was still 6th if we look at both leagues;

Mickey Mantle 72.1
Willie Mays 57.2
Eddie Mathews 54.8
Stan Musial 53.1
Duke Snider 50.2
Minnie Minoso 49.5
Richie Ashburn 43.5
Yogi Berra 43.3
Ernie Banks 43.2
Ted Williams 42.7

Minoso had 7 top 5 finishes in the AL including 1st place in 1954 and 1959.

He was also 10th in OPS+ for players with 3000+ PAs in both leagues.

Ted Williams 186
Mickey Mantle 172
Stan Musial 159
Willie Mays 158
Eddie Mathews 152
Hank Aaron 151
Duke Snider 149
Ralph Kiner 141
Ernie Banks 139
Minnie Minoso 137

Here are his ranks in Win Shares in the AL from 1951-1960:

1951: 6
1953: 7
1954: 5
1956: 3
1957: 7
1958: 7
1959: 4
1960: 5

For the whole decade of the 1950s, Minoso was 3rd in Win Shares in the AL:

Mantle 317
Berra 276
Minoso 234

That means Minoso averaged 26 Win Shares per season. I don't know if any of this is enough to get him in, but his case is better than I thought.

Monday, April 4, 2011

AL On Record Power Pace

Just checked at Baseball Reference and so far the league SLG is .449. That would break the record for a whole league of .448 set by the NL in 1930. The AL has an ISO of .184. That would break the record the AL set in 1996 of .168. The Rangers have a .775 SLG with a .442 ISO. The Blue Jays have an ISO of .283, the Angels .239 and the Yankees .210.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Was Roger Maris More Deserving Of The MVP Award In 1960 or 1961?

I am not sure he should have gotten it in either year, but if he had to get it, 1960 was actually the better choice. This is inspired by Baseball and the Value of Sabermetrics: An Author's Perspective. It was an interview at Bleacher Report of author Alan Hirsch who wrote the new book The Beauty of Short Hops (Hat tip: Baseball Think Factory).

Here is the exchnge that inspired this post:

"Q: What about the fact that Maris, by some measures, was actually as good or better in 1960 than in 1961?

In 1960 Mantle mostly hit in front of Maris, not behind him. And Maris only had four intentional walks in 1960 hitting mostly in front of the rather mediocre Bill Skowron. Should we question the impact of Skowron on Maris’ performance in 1960, the season in which he was probably more deserving of the MVP award?

AH: First, I’d take issue with the suggestion that Maris was as good in 1960 as in 1961."

Now here is my analysis:

Maris 1960 vs. Maris 1961 is a very close call. But it looks like if he was deserving of the MVP, 1960 was the better choice.

1960-161 (2nd to Mantle's 164)
1961-167 (Mantle lead with 206, Cash had 201)

Offensive winning percentage
1960-.751 (2nd to Mantle's.764)
1961-.739 (5th, Mantle lead with .868, Cash had .864)


He was 1st in 1960 and only 5th in 1961. So that makes 1960 more deserving. Here are the WAR leaders for each year in the AL

1. Maris (NYY) 7.5
2. Mantle (NYY) 6.7
3. Bunning (DET) 6.0
4. Herbert (KCA) 5.9
5. Aparicio (CHW) 5.4
6. Skowron (NYY) 4.5
7. Lary (DET) 4.3
Ramos (WSH) 4.3
Fox (CHW) 4.3
10. Robinson (BAL) 4.2
Sievers (CHW) 4.2

1. Mantle (NYY) 11.9
2. Cash (DET) 10.0
3. Kaline (DET) 8.3
4. Colavito (DET) 7.9
5. Gentile (BAL) 7.2
Maris (NYY) 7.2
7. Howard (NYY) 5.9
8. Killebrew (MIN) 5.5
9. Kralick (MIN) 5.2
10. Pascual (MIN) 4.7
Romano (CLE) 4.7
Pizarro (CHW) 4.7

Win Shares

In 1960, Mantle beat Maris in WS 36-31 (they were 1-2). In 1961, Mantle beat him 48-36. Mantle was 1st, Maris 3rd. Cash had 42. So that tells me he was not deserving in either year, and even less so in 1960.

Here are the leaders in runs created above average in each year. In 1960, Maris was at least close to the leader. But in 1960 he was way back.

1960 AL
1 Mickey Mantle 59
2 Ted Williams 53
3 Roger Maris 51
4 Roy Sievers 37
5 Norm Cash 33
T6 Jim Gentile 31
T6 Harmon Killebrew 31
T6 Bill Skowron 31
9 Tito Francona 26
T10 Jim Lemon 25
T10 Minnie Minoso 25

1961 AL
1 Norm Cash 113
2 Mickey Mantle 111
3 Jim Gentile 74
4 Rocky Colavito 63
5 Roger Maris 60
6 Harmon Killebrew 56
7 Al Kaline 48
8 Elston Howard 42
9 Roy Sievers 35
T10 John Romano 29
T10 Norm Siebern 29

Here are the 1960 AL leaders in BFW, batting plus fielding wins by Pete Palmer
3.9 Aparicio CHI
3.7 Maris NY
3.6 Mantle NY
3.5 Runnels BOS

Now 1961

7.6 Cash DET
7.5 Mantle NY
5.5 Gentile BAL
4.6 Colavito DET

Maris had 3.1