Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Musial and great power/contact hitters

Dave Cameron addresses this over at Fangraphs. See Translating Stan Musial’s Numbers into 2012 Norms. He compares Musial's isolated power to his strikeout frequency and then converts them into numbers for the 2012 season. He looked specifically at Musial's 1943 season and also his entire career.

A couple of things to remember. That article talks about Musial in 1943. Recall that it was a war year and alot of good pitchers were gone, so that would help him strikeout less and hit more HRs, everything else being equal. And Sportsman's park was a good hitter's park. Musial had a home ISO of .246 and a road ISO of .211 for his career.  DiMaggio had .231 home and .277 away. And notice how close their SO rates were in the table below. DiMaggio had an overall career ISO of .254 while Musial had .228. And notice how close their SO rates were in the table below.

I did a study on this before and I divided a guy's relative HR rate by his relative K rate. Now that is not the same as ISO but my guess is that ISO and HR rate are highly correlated. The guy that really looks great in this analysis was DiMaggio

Musial was 70% better than the league average in ISO and DiMaggio 95% better. So, for Musial we have 1.7/.55 = 3.09. For DiMaggio we have 1.95/.59 = 3.30. DiMaggio had a better relative ISO rate divided by SO rate and he played in a bad park for righties while Musial played in a great park, especially for lefties.

Here is the link

Which Players Had The Best HR-To-Strikeout Ratios?

Musial does well but not as well as some other big names. Now here is all of that post

I looked at every player with 5000+ PAs since 1920. I found their relative HRs and their relative strikeouts. Then found the ratio of the two. Ken Williams, for example, hit 3.70 times as many HRs as the average player of his time and league while striking out only 75% as often as the average player. Since his ratio of ratios (3.7/.75 = 4.93) is the highest of anyone in the study, he is ranked first. The data comes from the Lee Sinins Complete Baseball Encyclopedia. The table below shows the top 25:

DiMaggio hit only 41% of his HRs at home in his career while Williams hit 72%. So it is likely the case that DiMaggio would rank first, and probably by a wide margin, if HRs were park adjusted. Ted Williams hit less than 50% of his HRs at home.

The next table shows which players had the lowest relative strikeout rates among guys who hit 40+ HRs. Again, no pikers here. In 2004, Bonds had only 41 strikeouts while the average player would have had 100. I am so proud to see the demonstration of Polish power with 3 for Ted Kluszewski and 1 for Carl Yastrzemski (whose 1970 season ranks 27th). Don't forget Stan Musial is 13th on the above list.

Update: I found all the guys from 1920-2011 with 5000+ PAs. I also found their ISO relative to the league average and their strikeouts relative to the league average. Then I took the ratios. Here are the top 12

Tris Speaker 4.105263158
Tommy Holmes 4.035714286
Joe Sewell 3.772727273
Frank McCormick 3.102564103
Joe DiMaggio 3.0625
Yogi Berra 3.02
Nellie Fox 2.894736842
Vic Power 2.875
Albert Pujols 2.857142857
Tony Gwynn 2.806451613
Don Mattingly 2.785714286
Stan Musial 2.741935484

The league average in the above case was based on outs or how many outs each guy made. The next one is based on PAs (these are the choices you have using the Lee Sinins data base). So the guy that really stands out is Speaker and DiMaggio still beats Musial

Tris Speaker 4.727272727
Tommy Holmes 4.185185185
Joe Sewell 3.952380952
Joe DiMaggio 3.322033898
Albert Pujols 3.214285714
Frank McCormick 3.102564103
Stan Musial 3.090909091
Yogi Berra 3.081632653
Tony Gwynn 3
Don Mattingly 2.925
Nellie Fox 2.894736842
Ted Williams 2.848101266

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bagwell Is A Clear Hall Of Famer Unless He Used PEDs

He is 36th in career WAR among position players. He twice led the league and 2 other times was 5th. By my count there are 147 position players in the Hall who played in the majors (I am not counting Negro league players only because we don't have a WAR ranking for them).

This puts Bagwell in the to 25% of career value among the top 147. Maybe he will get in eventually, but his gain this year was slight.

Bagwell had 387 career Win Shares. Through 2001, that would have been tied for 56th among all players, including pitchers. Not sure where he would rank now, definitely still in the top 100.

I count 63 pitchers, so there are 210 players + pitchers. Bagwell clearly is above the bar by two different measures, WAR and Win Shares. I doubt both of these measures are so seriously flawed that he should not be in.

Is there some reason to keep waiting to see if proof of using PEDs is found? I don't think so.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Was Biggio Treated Differently Than Other Members Of The 3000 Hit Club?

It looks like 12 of the last 13 guys with 3000+ hits got elected in their first year of eligibility. The one who did not is Palmeiro. The streak might even be longer since I am starting with Brock in 85. Two of these guys had less career WAR than Biggio (62.1). Winfield (59.4) and Brock (42.8). Murray (63.4) and Gwynn (65.3) were just slightly higher.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How Does Piazza's Vote Percentage Compare To Other Great Catchers?

The table below shows the top 10 in career WAR for guys who played 50%+ games at catcher

Carter actually fell to about 33% in his 2nd year and slowly rose to make it. So Piazza did better than Carter but not as well as Berra. Carter jumped to about 49 in his 3rd year and to 64 in his 4th year. He had 72.7 in year 5. We could look at Piazza's vote as pretty normal for a catcher. We don't have to say that he was necessarily affected by the steroids era.

Ted Simmons caught more games than Johnny Bench, Ray Schalk, Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra. More innings than Bench.

The votes for Dickey, Hartnett and Cochrane are a little strange as the rules were in flux. Their vote histories from Baseball Reference are below. What I use for 1st year above is 6 years after their last year, which would be in line with today's rules, although Cochrane got no votes in that year (1943). As you can see below, he did get votes in 1942, so I used that above.

Hartnett jumped 20 points in 1953, from about 39 to 59 and got in the next year

Hall of Fame-Dickey
1945 BBWAA ( 6.9%)
1946 Final Ballot (12.2%)
1946 Nominating Vote (19.8%)
1948 BBWAA (32.2%)
1949 BBWAA (42.5%)
1949 Run Off (20.9%)
1950 BBWAA (46.4%)
1951 BBWAA (52.2%)
1952 BBWAA (59.4%)
1953 BBWAA (67.8%)
1954 BBWAA (80.2%)
Selected to HOF in 1954 by BBWAA

Hall of Fame-Hartnett
1936 BBWAA ()
1945 BBWAA ( 0.8%)
1946 Nominating Vote ( 1.0%)
1947 BBWAA ( 1.2%)
1948 BBWAA (27.3%)
1949 BBWAA (22.9%)
1949 Run Off ( 3.7%)
1950 BBWAA (32.1%)
1951 BBWAA (25.2%)
1952 BBWAA (32.9%)
1953 BBWAA (39.4%)
1954 BBWAA (59.9%)
1955 BBWAA (77.7%)
Selected to HOF in 1955 by BBWAA

Hall of Fame-Cochrane
1936 BBWAA (35.4%)
1939 BBWAA (10.2%)
1942 BBWAA (37.8%)
1945 BBWAA (50.6%)
1946 Final Ballot (24.7%)
1946 Nominating Vote (39.6%)
1947 BBWAA (79.5%)
Selected to HOF in 1947 by BBWAA

Monday, January 7, 2013

Did Good Hitters Behind Jim Rice Prevent Him From Being Intentionally Walked?

Probably not. This is a follow up on a post I did a few years ago. See Was Jim Rice A Feared Hitter?

Someone on Twitter suggested that he had good hitters behind him that kept him from being intentionally walked. But it seems like his IBBs were pretty low for a slugger like him.

One thing I should check is if Rice came up with a man on 1st more than average. That would tend to lower IBBs.

But here is a brief analysis. It looks like Rice's best years were 77-79 and 83. The numbers below show the AVG-OBP-SLG of how the slot behind him did on the Red Sox for those years. Then I show it for the league average in those years. I don't think the differences are that great.

Red Sox

1977(5th) .274-.345-.486
1978(4th) .271-.358-.417
1979(5th) .283-.346-.474
1983(4th) .224-.260-.440

Look at how weak the hitters did behind Rice in 1983 and yet he had only 10 IBBs (tied for 9th). Singleton led with 19.

League Average for those slots, same years

1977(5th) .272-.337-.450
1978(4th) .271-.342-.440
1979(5th) .280-.349-.454
1983(4th) .280-.347-.460

Again, it does not look like Rice was followed by unusually good hitters compared to the league average.

In 1978, Ben Ogilvie had 10 IBBs and Rice had 7. Remmber, this was Rice's best year, with 46 HRs. The guys batting 6th on Milwaukee that year had AVG-OBP-SLG of .301-.359 -.448, far better than the guys behind Rice. Ogilvie batted mostly 5th that year and had 18 HRs and a .303 AVG. Rice hit 46 HRs with a .315 AVG. Rice had more impressive stats and weaker hitters behind him yet he had fewer IBBs. Carew actually led the league with 19.

Here are the numbers on the percentage of time Rice came up with a man on 1st (but not 1st only), then followed by the league averages.

1977 31.1%
1978 30%
1979 36.3%
1983 40.8%

League average

1977 30.5%
1978 30.7%
1979 31%
1983 30.7%

So in two of these years, Rice was at the league average. That would not stop him from getting walked intentionally. The other years he did have a man blocking an IBB on 1st more than average. But again, in 1978 he had his best year, the guys behind him did not hit very well and he only had an average number of guys on 1st. Yet he had only 7 IBBs.

Take Don Baylor in 1978. He had 9 IBBs with 34 HRs and a .255 AVG. Less fearsome than Rice's numbers. He batted mostly 5th, but a good chunk came 4th, too. The 6th place hitters on the Angels had a .423 SLG, only .049 below Baylor's .472. So if you walk him, you don't gain much. Rice had an SLG of .600, so walking him saved you .183. Big incentive to give him a walk.

Now Baylor did bat 4th a good bit, too. So how did the 5th place hitters do? Some of that includes him. But if you take that out, they slugged .453. almost as good as Baylor. So again, IBBing him is no big gain.

28.5% of the time was there a man on 1st with Baylor up. That is less than Rice (30%) but not that much. With 1st base open, you will IBB a guy more. But gain the difference is not that great and with Rice you had a huge gain in SLG.

In 1979, Wayne Gross of the A's had 9 IBBs. He batted .224 with 14 HRs in 138 games. Jim Rice who batted .325 and had 39 HRs had 4 IBBs (and surely he had a fearsome reputation after winning the MVP award the year before). Gross tended to bat 3rd or 5th. The 4th place hitters on Oakland had a SLG of .406. 6th place hitters slugged .332. Gross slugged .367. It was hardly any advantage for A's opponents to walk him. Yet he more than double Rice's total.

Larry Walker's All-Around Ability And His Hall Of Fame Worthiness

Last year I tried to quantify who the greatest "all-around" players were. I tried to take into account hitting for power, hitting for average, speed and defense (I so far have not broken down defense into catching and throwing).

I used various formulas and tried to have everything adjusted for the league average and park effects (where possible). Besides a simple score of "all-aroundness," I also tried to calculate one that was "above replacement." That allows longevity to play a role. Below are the three posts I did on this. The last one is the best attempt, I think.

In Part 3, Walker had the 87th best "all-around" score out of 913 players with 5000+ PAs through 2011. Above replacement, he is 96th. So he is around being in the top 10%. He did have alot of assists, so if I could break down defense into catching and throwing, he might do a bit better.

If you think being an "all-around player" matters, perhaps this would make you want to vote for Walker more. That might be a reasonable argument. Maybe the "all-around" players are more likely to excel no matter what the circumstances or playing conditions.

So here are the links

Who Was The Greatest "All-Around" Player Ever? Another Quantitative Attempt

Who Was The Greatest "All-Around" Player Ever? Another Quantitative Attempt (Part 2)

Who Was The Greatest "All-Around" Player Ever? Another Quantitative Attempt (Part 3)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Who was the youngest pitcher to ever win a game in major league baseball since 1900? Rogers Hornsby. Rogers Hornsby McKee, that is.

He was born in 1926 and named after the great 2B man. He pitched a few games during WWII and played in the minors for several years after that, although not as a pitcher since he hurt his arm. He is still alive. He hit 33 HRs one year and batted .357 for Baton Rouge in 1953. Here are links to some articles about him:

A career in a moment by Scott Fowler of the The Charlotte Observer. On thing it says is that in 2009 the Phillies "paid for McKee and his entire family to come to Philadelphia for alumni night and honored him on their field."

eBay Item of the Day: Named for Greatness by Jim Baker, featuring a picture autographed by McKee. Jim has lots of info about the game he won.

A short biography at Baseball Reference

Where Are They Now: Rogers McKee by Larry Shenk, writing for the Phillies link at

A baseball star -- for one day from Scott Fowler's blog.