Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hall Of Fame Time

Full disclosure - I've just about completely reversed course in my views on HBD Halls of Fame.

When they first got started, many worlds had a built-up surplus of deserving candidates, but it was hard to get enough owners to vote to get all those candidates in.  I was a proponent of using all 5 of your votes no matter what.

Now I look around my worlds' Halls and I see...mediocrity.

Closers with 4.40 ERA's in Halls of Fame.  DH's masquerading as 1B's with 150 "-" plays in Halls of Fame.  1-trick ponies from here to the horizon.

But here, in World Major Leagues, we have a rarity: a Hall of Fame that has not yet been polluted by the scourge of mediocrity.  Actually, I don't really believe that.  Glenn Norton simply was not a very good player, and he did hit a lot of HR's.  The ultimate 1-trick pony.  But that's water under the bridge, and at least his 1 trick was a trick that mattered).

Anyway, the way I've reversed course: I now actively campaign AGAINST certain candidates and encourage owners to use only 2 or 3 of their votes every year.

With that BIAS (and reasons for it) clearly stated, here's my take on the serious candidates for this year's Hall:

In Like Flint
SP's Cesar Carrasquel and Bartolo Escobar.  These 2 join Chris Nen to be the dominant trio (Actually, it's fair to include Luis Contreras in that era, too, but we aren't talking about him for the HOF yet) of the "pre-Rojas" era.  Those 3 won 14 of the first 26 Cy Young's.  Both had it all - the stamina and durability to go deep into games and roll up lots of innings (Carrasquel moreso than Escobar) along with the talent to make those innings count.  Both won WS rings and had many All-Star trips.  This is the kind of dominance we want in the Hall!

On The Bubble
CF/1B/LF Alex Solano;  SP's Cesar Gil, Calvin Hyun, and Steve Kennedy; and MR Zack Damon.  The purist in me wants to dismiss Solano as just a guy who took a wrong turn on his way to the track meet (his 1529 career SB's make him far and away our career leader), and remind us that SB's really don't matter much (which is to say, a lot more than saves).  But I can't.  He was a pretty good on-base guy (.374), won 3 Gold Gloves, and played CF at least competently.  So for being super-dominant in one aspect, and contributing in others, SOLANO GETS THUMBS UP.

Gil, Hyun and Kennedy were all really good pitchers who suffer by comparison to real life.  Scoring in HBD is higher than in real baseball (I don't know by how much...maybe I'll do that for a future post), so sluggers end up with better numbers than the rl counterparts, and pitchers look worse.  Just guessing, I'd say Gil's numbers translate to RL stats of close to 300 wins and maybe a 3.20 ERA.  Hyun - probably a sub-3.00 ERA and around 240-250 wins.  Kennedy maybe close to 300 wins, too.
In my view, this makes these 3 the next most-worthy candidates.  But because I'm looking for something that says "predominant", I'm saying NO ON GIL, HYUN and KENNEDY (even though Gil and Hyun won a CY each).

Damon is a bit different case. zbrent correctly points out that he and Escobar were almost identically effective (indeed, examination of career OPS confirms).  Why not at least consider Damon if Escobar's a lock?  We should consider Damon - not only was he really effective, he pitched as many innings in some seasons as starters do.  But I'm not arguing that every pitcher with a 3.17 ERA in 2500+ innings should be in the Hall.  Escobar's 4 CY's signify dominance - the best - not just once, but 4 times.  In my more denying HOF mood, Damon represents the reason NOT to induct all but the very best closers.  Only tossed 1200 innings?  Forget it.  500 saves (400 of which were 1-inning outings with nobody on, nobody out with a 2-run lead...situations any reliever on the staff coud save most of the time) and a 4.19 career ERA?  Not nearly as good a pitcher as Damon - forget it!

I looked hard at Damon but decided NO.

Honestly, it wouldn't bother me if Solano didn't get in and all 4 of the P's did - they're all that close.  I just tilt a bit toward Solano on the "predominance" criteria.

Not Just NO...HELL, NO
Abdullah Daniels, Mike Fasano, and anyone else.  OK, evidence and interpretation.  Evidence:  3 All-Star teams apiece..three?  Daniels played 15 seasons, Fasano 17...does 3 All-Star trips each say "predominant" in any way?  But I gave thumbs up to Solano with only 3.

Fasano didn't contribute anything in the power department, so let's consider his on-base ability.  .357 lifetime.  Just OK, nothing great for a leadoff man.  In his best (OPS-wise) full season (Season 3 with Boston...hitter's park in the steroid era), he got on base at a roaring .316 clip against lefties.  Interpretation:  in his best season, in a hitter's park in the steroid era, against 35-40% of all the pitchers he faced, he actually sucked as a leadoff hitter.  In probably his next-best full (which he didn't have many of) season, Season 6 with Boston, he on-based .313.against lefties.

He was a legit CF and a very good one.  Never won a Gold Glove, though.  Very good player, anyone would want him.  But for HOF consideration, the ultimate 1-trick pony.  NO ON FASANO.

Daniels wasn't a 1-trick pony, he just wasn't GREATNESS in any fashion.  He was a pretty good 1B who also stole some bases.  His lifetime OBP was .348...c'mon, in real life that's like .318 or something.  Dave Kingman and Gorman Thomas territory (those I did look up - Kingman had a career OBP of .302, Thomas .324).  And for a 1B/COF under Hall consideration, sorry, the 430 HR's are utterly unimpressive as a 15-year total.  I wish there was a way to look up players by career RC/27 or some of the other sabermetric-ish stats.  I bet guys (among this year's Hall class) like Rolando Diaz, A.J. Hemmingway, and Nigel Shibata would compare favorably to Daniels and Fasano.

Let's try something like that.

Here are the RC/27's for Fasano, Daniels, Diaz, Hemmingway and Shibata for their best seasons (MVP season if they had 1, best OPS season over 140 games played if they didn't):

Diaz - 9.96
Daniels - 8.44
Fasano - 6.72
Hemmingway - 9.97
Shibata - 9.24

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