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2009 Archives http://www.dbacksvenom.com/table/2009-articles/december/ Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:28:34 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb 10 Years of Diamondbacks Top 10 Prospects Lists http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/10-years-of-diamondbacks-top-10-prospects-lists.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/10-years-of-diamondbacks-top-10-prospects-lists.html All rankings are taken from Baseball America, and stats listed are Batting Average/On-Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage.
2000 Stats
1. John Patterson, P (22) AA/AAA: 10.0K/9, 2.5K/BB, but 5.18 ERA
2. Jack Cust, OF (21) Hi A: .334/.450/.650, 145K/96BB
3. Byung-Hyun Kim, P (21) AA/AAA: 12.5K/9, 2.96K/BB, 2.19 ERA
4. Jeremy Ward, P (22) HiA/AA: 9.8K/9, 2.79K/BB,  7 Saves
5. Nick Bierbrodt, P (21) AA/AAA: 7.4K, 1.46K/BB, 5.58 ERA
6. Alex Cintron, SS (21) HiA: .307/.333 /.391
7. Rod Barajas, C (24) AA: .318 /.354 /.488
8. Luis Terrero, OF (19) Rookie: .287/.365/.474, 91K in 272 AB
9. Ben Norris, P (22) HiA/AA: 7.4K, 1.71K/BB, 4.23 ERA
10. Geraldo Guzman, P (27) Back after an 8 year layoff
2000: A decent list - Patterson, Cust, Kim, Cintron, and Barajas all turned into solid major leaguers, although injuries cut short the careers of Patterson and Kim.  Patterson was ranked #1 despite a high ERA, but the excellent strikeout and K/BB rates showed his potential.  Jack Cust at #2 was already showing his skill set - great power, great on-base rates, high strikeouts, and poor defense.
2001 Stats
1. Alex Cintron, SS (22) AA: .301/.336/.404, 32 Errors
2. Jack Cust, OF (21) AA: .293/.440/.526, 150K/117BB
3. Luis Terrero, OF (20) A: .245/.288/.355, 28 SB, 91K
4. John Patterson, P (23) Injured - Tommy John surgery
5. Jerry Gill, SS (18) Rookie: .225/.266/.286
6. Brad Cresse, C (22) A/AA: .312/.398/.600, 62K/23BB
7. Jeremy Ward, P (23) Injured - Elbow surgery
8. Chris Capuano, P (22) A: 9.3K/9, 2.33K/BB, 2 HRA in 101 IP
9. Bret Prinz, P A/AA: 10.5K/9, 4.65 K/BB, 27 Saves
10. Jose Valverde, RP (21) A: 13.1K, 2.17K/BB, 18 Sv, 3.95 ERA
2001: Many repeaters from the 2000 list, plus Chris Capuano and Jose Valverde make the Top 10.  John Patterson undergoes Tommy John surgery, and is out for over a year.  Luis Terrero and Jerry Gil, two great tools prospects, make the Top 5, despite mediocre results to this point.  Catcher Brad Cresse has a great debut at High Desert, but slows down at AA. Surprisingly, two players who just missed the Top 10 were Lyle Overbay (.927 OPS between A/AA) and Junior Spivey (.895 between AA/AAA).
2002 Stats
1. Luis Terrero, OF (21) A/AA: .296/.321/.468, 96K/7BB
2. Mike Gosling, P (21) Did not play
3. Scott Hairston, 2B (21) Rookie:  .347/.432/.588
4. Jack Cust, OF (22) AAA: .278/.415/.525, 160K/102 BB
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B (25) AA: .352/.423/.528, 100 RBI
6. Jose Valverde, RP (22) AA: 15.7K/9, 2.67 K/BB, 3.92 ERA
7. Jesus Cota, 1B (20) Rookie: .368/.476/.625, 52K/56BB
8. Lino Garcia, OF (17) Rookie: .243/.333/.400
9. Jason Bulger, P (23) Did not play
10. Brad Cresse, C (23) AA: .289/.373/.483, 116K/44B
2002: I'm not sure if a hitter could rank #1 today after a 96K/7BB season, but Luis Terrero pulled it off in 2002.  Terrero did finally get some major league ABs from 2003-2007, but still had poor OBPs and K/BB ratios. Mike Gosling is ranked #2 after being drafted out of Stanford.  Scott Hairston, Jack Cust, and Lyle Overbay are the best hitters in the system. Jesus Cota puts up a 1101 OPS in Rookie ball, but that will drop to only 766 the following year in the California league. Lino Garcia was another 5 tool prospect that struggled as he moved up the ladder.
2003 Stats
1. Scott Hairston, 2B (22) A/HiA: .345/.429/.603, 22 HR, 98 RBI, 99R
2. Mike Gosling, P (22) AA: 14-5, 3.13 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 1.85K/BB
3. Lyle Overbay, 1B (26) AAA: .343/.396/.528, 19 HR, 109 RBI
4. John Patterson, P (25) AAA: 10-5, 4.23 ERA, 8.3K/9, 2.31 K/BB
5. Brandon Webb, P (23) AA/AAA: 10-7, 3.17 ERA, 7.2K/9, 0.2 HR/9
6. Edgar Gonzalez, P (20) A: 14-8, 2.63 ERA, 6.8K/9, 0.3HR/9
7. Sergio Santos, SS (19) Rookie: .272/.367/.520, 28 E
8. Chad Tracy, 3B (22) AA: .344/.389/.486
9. Brian Bruney, P (21) A/A: 1.93 ERA, 10.1K/9, 0.3HR/9, 10Sv
10. Luis Terrero, OF (22) AA: .286/.342/.442, 18SB, 22CS
2003: More advanced players on this list, and many became successful major leaguers.  Mike Gosling has a good won-loss record and ERA in AA, but the strikeout rate and K/BB ratio are not that impressive.  Webb has much better peripherals, but is ranked 5th.  Sergio Santos shows good power, but also commits too many errors at SS.  Overbay continues to hit well, and Chad Tracy has a solid AA season.
2004 Stats
1. Scott Hairston, 2B (23) AA: .276/.345/.469 - missed 2nd half
2. Sergio Santos, SS (20) HiA/AA: .278/.347/.395
3. Dustin Nippert, P (22) A: 6-4, 2.82 ERA, 9.0K/9, 0.4HR/9
4. Chad Tracy, 3B (23) AAA: .324/.372/.456, 52K/41BB
5. Adriano Rosario, P (19) A: 9-5, 2.86 ERA, 6.7K; became Tony Pena
6. Conor Jackson, OF (21) A: .319/.410/.533, 60 RBI in 68G
7. Carlos Quentin, OF (21) Did not play
8. Brian Bruney, P (22) AA/AAA: 8.5K/9, 1.94K/BB, 26Sv
9. Edgar Gonzalez, P (21) AA/AAA: 10-9, 3.69 ERA, 5.4K/9, 0.3HR/9
10. Mike Gosling, P (23) AAA: 9-12, 5.61 ERA, 5.9K/9, 1.59K/BB
Sergio Santos was being advanced aggressively through the system, but is showing signs of struggling at AA.  19 year-old Adriano Rosario turned out to be 22 year old Tony Pena after a Dominican visa controversy. Conor Jackson puts up a .943 OPS in his first season, while fellow draftee Carlos Quentin sits out with elbow surgery.
2005 Stats
1. Carlos Quentin, OF (22) HiA/AA: .332/.435/.549, 21HR, 89 RBI
2. Conor Jackson, OF (22) HiA/AA: .324/.406/.512, 17HR, 91 RBI
3. Sergio Santos, SS (21) AA: .282/.332/.461 - shoulder surgery
4. Jon Zeringue, OF (21) HiA: .335/.374/.552, 53K/14BB
5. Greg Aquino, P (27) AAA: 6.37 ERA, 5.8K/9; NL: 3.06 ERA, 16Sv
6. Chris Snyder, C (24) AA: .301/.389/.520, 57K/46BB, 15 HR
7. Josh Kroeger, OF (22) AA/AAA: .331/.385/.587, 19HR, 87RBI
8. Jamie D'Antona, 3B (22) HiA/AA: .294/.328/.480, 52K/18BB
9. Tony Pena, P (23) AA: 5.44 ERA, 7.5K/9, 1.0BB/9
10. Matt Chico, P (21) HiA/AA: 3.90 ERA, 8.9K/9, 2.35K/BB
Quentin and Jackson dominate in A and AA, and Chris Snyder emerges as a prospect.  Josh Kroeger hits well, but can't find a place to play.  Low walk rates for Zeringue and D'Antona may be foreshadowing their upcoming struggles.
2006 Stats
1. Stephen Drew, SS (23) HiA/AA: .346/.430/.633, 18HR, 70RBI
2. Conor Jackson, OF (23) AAA: .354/.457/.553
3. Carlos Quentin, OF (23) AAA: .301/.422/.520, 21HR, 89RBI, 98R
4. Carlos  Gonzalez, OF (20) A: .307/.371/.489, 18HR, 92RBI, 86K
5. Dustin Nippert, P (24) AAA: 2.36 ERA, 7.4K/9, 2.3K/BB
6. Miguel Montero, C (22) HiA/AA: .326/.382/.562, 26HR, 95RBI
7. Garrett Mock, P (22) A: 14-7, 4.18 ERA, 8.3K/9, 1.7BB/9
8. Matt Torra, P (21) LoA: 10 IP, 10K - biceps tendinitis
9. Micah Owings, P (23) HiA: 2.45 ERA, 12.3K, 1.9BB/9
10. Sergio Santos, SS (22) AAA: .239/.288/.367, 108K/34BB
2006: Strong seasons from Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson, and Carlos Quentin put them at #1-3. Carlos  Gonzalez and Miguel Montero also emerge as big time prospects.  Sergio Santos has a tough time in AAA.
2007 Stats
1. Justin Upton, OF (19) A: .263/.343/.413, 12 HR, 15 SB
2. Chris Young, OF (23) AAA: .276/.363/.532, 21 HR, 17 SB
3. Carlos  Gonzalez, OF (21) HiA/AA: .289/.348/.543, 99RBI, 116K/37BB
4. Alberto Callaspo, 2B (23) AAA: .337/.404/.478, 27K/56 BB
5. Miguel Montero, C (23) AA/AAA: .286/.373/.461, 17HR
6. Micah Owings, P (24) 16-2, 3.33 ERA, 7.2K/9, 2.55K/BB
7. Mark Reynolds, 3B (23) HiA/AA: .318/.401/.633, 31HR, 98RBI
8. Dustin Nippert, P (25) AAA: 13-8, 4.87 ERA, 8.3K/9, 2.5K/BB
9. Tony Pena, P (25) AA/AAA: 5-1, 1.35 ERA, 7.3K/9, 13Sv
10. Brett Anderson, P (19) Did not play
2007: Justin Upton does well as a 19 year old in A ball, and takes the #1 spot.  Chris Young, acquired from the White Sox in the JVazquez trade, is at #2.  The batting average is a little low for the PCL, but the power, speed, and defense are promising.  Mark Reynolds shows great power, and Tony Pena is shifted to the bullpen. Micah Owings and Dustin Nippert continue to show major league potential.
2008 Stats
1. Carlos  Gonzalez, OF (22) AAA: .288/.336/.478, 109K/38BB
2. Jarrod Parker, P (19) Did not play
3. Brett Anderson, P (20) A/HiA: 11-7, 3.07 ERA, 9.3K/9, 1.6BB/9
4. Max Scherzer, P (23) HiA/AA: 7-4, 2.87 ERA, 11.1K/9, 3.9BB/9
5. Gerardo Parra, OF (21) A/HiA: .313/.357/.425, 71RBI, 26SB
6. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B (23) AA: .285/.333/.352, 105K/38BB, 41SB
7. Aaron Cunningham, OF (21) HiA/AA: .308/.375/.509, 16HR, 28SB
8. Chris Carter, 1B (21) A: .291/.383/.522, 25HR, 112K/67BB
9. Reynaldo Navarro, SS (18) Rookie: .250/.274/.283
10. Barry Enright, P (22) A/HiA: 15IP, 0 ER, 17K, 5BB
2008: Carlos  Gonzalez takes the #1 spot, despite some concerns about his plate discipline. Jarrod Parker is drafted out of high school and takes the #2 slot. Brett Anderson makes his debut at HiA and struggles a little, but then pitches very well at Class A South Bend. Max Scherzer shows impressive strikeout rates, and a trio of 21 year olds, Gerardo Parra, Aaron Cunningham, and Chris Carter make their Top 10 debuts.
2009 Stats
1. Jarrod Parker, P (20) A: 12-5, 3.44 ERA, 8.9K/9, 2.5K/BB
2. Gerardo Parra, OF (21) HiA/AA: .286/.358/.416, 28SB
3. Daniel Schlereth, P (22) Rookie/A: 1.50 ERA, 12IP, 20K, 6 BB
4. Mark Hallberg, MI (23) HiA: .283/.357/.368, 28K/30BB
5. Wade Miley, P (22) LoA: 4.91 ERA, 11 IP, 11K, 5B
6. Kevin Eichhorn, P (18) Rookie: 2.2IP, 2K, 1BB
7. Cesar Valdez, P (23) HiA/AA: 13-8, 3.14 ERA, 7.9K/9, 2.2BB/9
8. Billy Buckner, P (25) AAA: 4.95 ERA, 5.3K/9, 3.3BB/9
9. Collin Cowgill, OF (22) LoA/A: .264/.366/.479, 12HR, 78K/37BB
10. Reynaldo Navarro, SS (19) Rookie: .258/.323/.385, 77K/25BB, 38E
2009: Probably the weakest Top 10 list of the decade.  Parker is a solid #1, but no one else has impressive stats.
2010 Stats
1. Jarrod Parker, P (21) HiA/AA: 3.14 ERA, 8.8K/9, 0.2HR/9
2. Bobby Borchering, 3B (19) Rookie: .241/.290/.425; 27K/5BB
3. A.J. Pollock, OF (22) A: .271/.319/.376, 10SB
4. Brandon Allen, 1B (23) AA/AAA: .298/.373/.503, 85K/50BB, 20HR
5. Chris Owings, SS (18) Rookie: .306/.324/.426, 25K/3BB
6. Mike Belfiore, P (21) Rookie: 2.17 ERA, 8.5K/9, 2.0BB/9, 0.3HR/9
7. Marc Krauss, OF (22) A: .304/.377/.478, 21K/14BB
8. Ryan Wheeler, 1B (21) LoA/A: .361/.462/.540, 32K/42BB
9. Colln Cowgill, OF (23) A: .277/.373/.445, 49K/29BB
10. Matt Davidson, 3B (18) LoA: .241/.312/.319, 75K/21BB
2010: Again, the stats are not that impressive, but this group has a lot of potential.  7 of the Top 10 were taken in the 2009 draft.  Borchering started off slowly, but then had 2 HR, 4 2B, and 10 RBI in 6 playoff games.  Allen shows good power and has a chance to be the starting major league 1B in 2010. Ryan Wheeler and Marc Krauss have good offensive seasons, while Matt Davidson starts at Low A Yakima right out of high school, and predictably has some struggles. Conclusions Most of the good Diamondback hitters put up great numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League - Conor Jackson (1010 OPS), Carlos Quentin (1004), Scott Hairston (968), Justin Upton (958), Jack Cust (936), Lyle Overbay (919), Chris Young (896), Miguel Montero (896), Chad Tracy (840), Stephen Drew (802).   Properly adjusting these AAA stats is critical to projecting how Diamondback AAA hitters could perform in the majors. Among the pitchers, the ones who have performed well in the Majors - Brandon Webb, Max Scherzer, Brett Anderson, Jose Valverde, John Patterson - all had good strikeout rates and K/BB ratios, and did a good job in preventing home runs. The lists also show the difficulty in projecting players who are still in the very low levels of the minors.  Many players had nice seasons in the rookie or short-season levels, but struggled as they moved up the ladder.  Players with high K/BB ratios often can be identified as ones who will struggle against better competition. In a future article, we will look at some methods of projecting major league performance from minor league stats.]]>
amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Fri, 25 Dec 2009 00:43:22 +0000
Top10Prospects http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/top10prospects.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/top10prospects.html amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Thu, 24 Dec 2009 08:24:31 +0000 2010 Hall of Fame Ballot - Part 2 http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/2010-hall-of-fame-ballot-part-2.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/2010-hall-of-fame-ballot-part-2.html As we have a slow week for Diamondbacks' news (SP Rodrigo Lopez signs a minor league deal), let's finish up our look at the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot. This time, let’s look at the 15 players on the ballot for the first time (Here is the link to my evaluation of the 11 returning names).

There are 11 position players – Roberto Alomar, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, David Segui, Robin Ventura, and Todd Zeile- and 4 pitchers – Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, and Shane Reynolds. Here are the basic stats for the 11 position players:

Player R H HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
Roberto Alomar 1508 2724 210 1134 474 1032 1140 .300 .371 .443
Ellis Burks 1253 2107 352 1206 181 793 1340 .291 .363 .510
Andres Galarraga 1195 2333 399 1425 128 583 2003 .288 .347 .499
Eric Karros 797 1724 284 1027 59 552 1167 .268 .325 .454
Ray Lankford 968 1561 238 874 258 828 1550 .272 .364 .477
Barry Larkin 1329 2340 198 960 379 939 817 .295 .371 .444
Edgar Martinez 1219 2247 309 1261 49 1283 1202 .312 .418 .515
Fred McGriff 1349 2490 493 1550 72 1305 1882 .284 .377 .509
David Segui 683 1412 139 684 17 524 687 .291 .359 .443
Robin Ventura 1006 1885 294 1182 24 1075 1179 .267 .362 .444
Todd Zeile 986 2004 253 1110 53 945 1279 .265 .346 .423

and here are their Career totals in WARP3 (Wins above Replacement Player) from Baseball Prospectus:

Player WARP3
Roberto Alomar 79.4
Ellis Burks 40.2
Andres Galarraga 23.8
Eric Karros 20.3
Ray Lankford 41.1
Barry Larkin 86.2
Edgar Martinez 68.9
Fred McGriff 59.0
David Segui 12.2
Robin Ventura 66.4
Todd Zeile 24.7

Of these 11 players, I think 3 can be eliminated fairly quickly - Eric Karros, David Segui, and Todd Zeile.  These three don't have any legitimate qualifications for the Hall of Fame.   Let’s look at the 8 remaining players a little closer.

Roberto Alomar, 2B Robero Alomar has a pretty strong case for the HOF. With 2724 career hits, Alomar ranks #7 among second basemen, behind only Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie, Craig Biggio, Rogers Hornsby, Frankie Frisch, and Charlie Gehringer. He’s also 5th in career SB among 2B, 10th in RBI, 8th in Runs, and 12th in HR. Alomar was selected for 12 All-Star games and won 10 gold gloves for his defense. His career WARP total of 79.4 would rank him #5 among HOF second basemen. In addition to his strong career totals, Alomar also had some excellent peak seasons, finishing in the Top 6 of the MVP voting 5 times, with 4 seasons with a WARP over 7, and 10 seasons with a WARP over 4. His career ended a little early at the age of 36, but I think his accomplishments should get him in. If elected, Roberto Alomar would be the first former Diamondback inducted into the Hall of Fame. One thing that may hurt Alomar’s chances is the spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck. While it was certainly a horrible act by Alomar, he and Hirschbeck have reconciled and are now friends. In fact, Alomar now helps raise money for ALD (the disease has been found in Hirschbeck’s other son), and Alomar was one of the first to call Hirschbeck when the umpire was diagnosed with cancer.
Verdict: Roberto Alomar should be IN.

Ellis Burks, OF Burks has nice career totals, with 352 HR and 1206 RBI, and a solid .291/.363/.510 line. And he had a monster season in 1996 (while playing in Coors Field) - .344/.408/.639, 40 HR, 128 RBI, 142 Runs. But 1996 was the only season that Burks finished in the Top 10 in the MVP voting, and the only year where he exceeded 100 RBI or 100 Runs Scored. His career WARP total of 40.3 is below average for a HOF-outfielder, and he only exceeded 4 WARP in a season five times.
Verdict: Ellis Burks is OUT.

Andres Galarraga, 1B Like Ellis Burks, Galarraga has some nice career counting stats that were aided by playing several seasons in Coors Field. His career stats at home were .307/.368 OBP/.535 SLG while they were only .270/.327/.464 on the road. In his huge 1996 season with 47 HR and 150 RBI, he hit 32 of his 47 HR at home, and drove in a remarkable 103 runs in 79 home games. But even with the Coors Field boost, Galarraga’s career line of .288/.347/.499 is below the average of HOF-first basemen -.308/.380/.501, and his career WARP total of 23.8 really doesn’t fit with other Hall of Famers.
Verdict: Andres Galarraga is OUT.

Ray Lankford, OF Ray Lankford is probably a better player than many people realize, because his strongest skills – excellent defense and a good on-base percentage, are still undervalued by HOF voters. These factors contributed to Lankford’s career WARP total of 41.3 – much higher than Galarraga, for example, but still not HOF-worthy. The career totals of 238 HR and 874 RBI aren’t nearly high enough for serious consideration, and there are no peak seasons to strengthen Lankford’s case.
Verdict: Ray Lankford is OUT.

Barry Larkin, SS Barry Larkin also has a strong case for the HOF, although probably not as strong as Roberto Alomar. Looking at the career rankings for shortstops, Larkin ranks #14 in Hits, #12 in Runs, #18 in RBI, #13 in SB, and #12 in OBP. His career WARP total of 86.3 would rank #5 among shortstops. Larkin was a 12-time all star, won an MVP, and also won 3 Gold Gloves. One knock against Larkin is that he was injured a lot – he only managed 4 seasons with at least 150 games. But while he was playing, he provided a combination of good hitting, good pitching, and good defense. He had a strong peak, with 5 seasons with a WARP over 7, and longevity, with 11 seasons with a WARP over 4. Overall, I think he’s pretty close to Alan Trammell, and they should both get in. Both are better than the majority of the shortstops already in the HOF.
Verdict: Barry Larkin is IN.

Edgar Martinez, DH Edgar Martinez is a tough player to evaluate, since he’s one of the first strong candidates who was primarily a DH. Let’s start with a look at Martinez’s offensive stats – his career rate line of .312/.418/.535 is incredible. The number of player who achieved these career rates is pretty short. Players exceeding .310 BA, .410 OBP, and.510 SLG (min 8500 PA): Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Ty Cobb, Harry Heilmann, Edgar Martinez.

While Martinez’s rate stats are outstanding, his counting totals are not quite as impressive, mainly because he did not become a full time major leaguer until age 27. He only had 45 career home runs by the time he turned 30, but then slugged 264 over the next 11 seasons. His career WARP of total of 68.9 is solid, and he had six seasons with a WARP over 6. He is ranked #29 in Adjusted Batting Runs on Baseball-Reference.com.

But what about the DH factor? A DH obviously does not contribute defensively at all towards a team win. Stats like WARP credit a DH with 0 Fielding Runs above Replacement. But is 0 even correct? Should a DH’s defensive contribution of 0 be considered better than a really bad fielding SS or a bad fielding 1B? Probably not, it may be more accurate to think of Martinez as if he was a bad fielding 1B or OF, like a Adam Dunn or Jack Cust. But even with a 0 or a negative fielding value, I think Martinez just passes the line as a Hall of Famer. His career OBP and SLG levels are historically good, so I think he should be in.
Verdict: Edgar Martinez should be IN.

Fred McGriff, 1B Fred McGriff had 493 HR (#26, tied with Lou Gehrig) and 1550 RBI (#41 all-time) in his career. Despite the outstanding career totals, McGriff did not have a great peak. His season high in HR is only 37, and his single season RBI high is only 107, although he did exceed 100 RBI 8 times. McGriff had 5 All-Star appearances, and 4 Top 10 MVP finishes. McGriff only had 4 seasons with a WARP over 6, but did have 12 years with a WARP over 2. McGriff was a consistently good player, but just did not have the elite seasons usually associated with a Hall of Famer. His career WARP total of 59.0 would rank him below Edgar Martinez, and below average compared to other 1B in the HOF.
Verdict: Close, but I say Fred McGriff is OUT.

Robin Ventura, 3B Third Base is the position with the fewest representatives in the HOF, so there aren’t many Hall of Famers for comparison. Among all 3B, Ventura ranks #13 in HR, #14 in RBI, #27 in Runs Scored, and #28 in Hits. Ventura’s career WARP of 66.4 is just below average for HOF third basemen. While the career totals are respectable for a Hall of Famer, the peak seasons just don’t add much to his candidacy. Ventura only had 4 seasons with a WARP over 6, but 12 seasons with a WARP over 2. Ventura only had 1 MVP Top 10 finish, and only was selected to 2 All-Star games. He did win 6 Gold Gloves on defense.
Verdict: A nice career, but Robin Ventura should be OUT.

Pitchers
Of the 4 new pitchers on the HOF ballot, three can be dismissed fairly quickly. Shane Reynolds (114-96, 4.09 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 103 ERA+) made just one All-Star appearance, and only finished in the Top 10 of the Cy Young voting once. Mike Jackson (41-42, 142 Saves, 3.42 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) had a great season in 2008 (40 Saves, 1.55 ERA), but never was selected to the All-Star Game or finished in the Top 10 of the Cy Young voting. Pat Hentgen (131-112, 4.32 ERA, 1.391 WHIP, 108 ERA+) won a Cy Young Award, and was selected to three All-Star games, but doesn’t have nearly enough on his resume.

Kevin Appier, SP 169-137, 3.74 ERA, 1.294 WHIP, 2595.1 IP, 1994K, 121 ERA+
Kevin Appier deserves at least a few sentences of discussion. He had 5 seasons among the Top 10 in ERA, and 6 in the Top 10 in WHIP. In 1993, Appier went 18-8 with a 2.56 ERA, leading the league in ERA by 0.38. Yet Appier finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting, as Jack McDowell won with a 22-10 record and a 3.37 ERA. During the 8 year stretch from 1990-1997, Appier had a 140 ERA+, which is only behind Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens during that timespan. Although not a Hall of Famer, Appier was a very good pitcher who never got the recognition he deserved.

Conclusions Of the 15 new players on the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot, I would vote for 3 - Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, and Edgar Martinez. Of the rest, only Fred McGriff is a close call, and hopefully Kevin Appier gets a few votes. Along with these 3, my ballot also includes returning players Bert Blyleven, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell and Mark McGwire.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Fri, 18 Dec 2009 08:06:37 +0000
MLB Players Non-Tendered - Dec. 12th http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/mlb-players-non-tendered-dec-12th.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/mlb-players-non-tendered-dec-12th.html Garrett Atkins is a possibility. Atkins can play either 1B or 3B, and could be a right-handed platoon partner for Brandon Allen. Atkins struggled offensively last year, but does have a lifetime .301/.384./.486 line against LHP. Atkins's stats have been inflated by playing in Coors Field, but he should be a decent platoon partner. He did earn $7M in 2009, but should be much cheaper this year. A cheaper alternative to Atkins is Ryan Garko, who was non-tendered by the Giants. Garko flopped after his trade to the Giants last year, but does have a lifetime .887 OPS against LHP. Garko earned around $0.5M last year. If the D'backs decide that the Abreu/Roberts/Ryal group doesn't cut it at 2B, Kelly Johnson could be an option. Johnson hit well in 2007 (116 OPS+) and 2008 (109 OPS+), but dropped to an 83 OPS+ last season. Johnson should be a decent hitter, but he's below average defensively, and probably would not be much of an upgrade over Tony Abreu. Johnson earned $2.8M in 2009. In the outfield, Ryan Church is a possibility, if Conor Jackson ends up starting at 1B. Church is an excellent defensive outfielder in RF or LF, and an OK hitter (OPS+ ~ 100). He could be a slight upgrade over Gerardo Parra. Church earned $2.8M in 2009. Jonny Gomes is a very good hitter, but a pretty poor defensive player. Gomes' lifetime .914 OPS against LHP would be nice to have around, and he only cost around $1M last year. Pitcher Matt Capps was the Pirates' closer from 2007-2009, with 67 career saves. Like most of today's non-tenders, Capps had a poor 2009, seeing his ERA jump to 5.80, and his walks and home runs go way up. His career ERA is still only 3.61, and he's only 26, so he's a decent bet to turn his career back around. Capps earned $2.3M in 2009. Pitcher D.J. Carrasco led all AL relief pitcher in IP with 89.1, and had a 3.76 ERA in 2009. Carrasco can start or pitch multiple innings in relief. Carrasco only earned $440K in 2009. Here is a list of players who are now free agents: Catcher John Buck, KC - signed with Blue Jays, 1 Yr/$2M Raul Chavez, TOR - re-signed with Blue Jays Shawn Riggans, TB Mike Rivera, MIL First Base Garrett Atkins, COL Ryan Garko, SFG Josh Whitesell, ARI Second Base Kelly Johnson, ATL Outfielders Ryan Church, ATL Jonny Gomes, CIN Jack Cust, OAK Gabe Gross, TB Ryan Langerhans, SEA Alfredo Amezaga, FLA Brian Anderson, BOS Jeremy Reed, NYM Cory Sullivan, NYM Starting Pitchers Anthony Reyes, CLE - re-signed with Indians Chien-Ming Wang, NYY (out until July?) Scott Olsen, WAS - re-signed with Nats Tim Redding, NYM Dustin Moseley, LAA Relief Pitchers Matt Capps, PIT D.J. Carrasco, CWS Mike Macdougal, WAS Jose Arredondo, LAA (out for 2010) Brian Bass, BAL Seth McClung, MIL Neal Cotts, CHC Lance Broadway, NYM ]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Sun, 13 Dec 2009 01:17:32 +0000 Diamondbacks - Rule 5 Draft http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/diamondbacks-rule-5-draft.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/diamondbacks-rule-5-draft.html Zach Kroenke (26 when the season starts) 2009: 7-1, 1.99 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 72.1 IP, 6.8K, 3.7BB, 0.5 HR/9 2008: 7-0, 2.85 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 53.2 IP, 9.1K, 4.7BB, 0.7 HR/9 Zach Kroenke is a 6-3 left-hander who was drafted in the 5th round in 2005 out of the University of Nebraska. He throws a fastball in the low 90s, and also has a cutter, split-finger fastball, and change-up. Kroenke's raw numbers were excellent the last two years, including a stellar 1.99 ERA in 2009. Looking at his peripheral stats, the walks are a little high, but the HR rates are very good and the strikeouts are decent. His Fielding Independent ERA was 3.64 in 2009, and 2.10 in 2008. Looking at Kroenke's splits from AAA, he held lefties to a .196 batting average, while right-handers hit .220 against him. In 2008, the splits were reversed, as LHB hit .213 while RHB hit .182 against him. Over his career, he hasn't shown a particular advantage against left-handers. Kroenke also pitched in the Arizona Fall League this year, and reportedly his velocity was up. In the AFL, Kroenke had a Win and 2 Saves, with a 5.28 ERA (14Ks, 4 Bs, and 2 HRs in 15.1 IP). Kroenke has a chance to keep a job at the back end of the bullpen. He has spent a full year at AAA, so unlike many Rule 5 draftees, he should be ready to pitch in the majors. He's probably expected to be a left-handed specialist, but his record shows that he had pitched equally well against both sides. The key for his success will be to keep the walks down. Hector Ambriz 2009 AAA Stats: 9-9, 5.57 ERA, 7.3K, 2.8 BB, 0.8 HR I thought that the D'backs should have protected Ambriz on the 40-Man roster. Ambriz’s peripherals were much better than his actual results. His Fielding Independent ERA was only 3.80, but Ambriz was plagued by an unusually high BABIP and a low LOB%. Drafted as a 5th Rounder out of UCLA in 2006, Ambriz has never been ranked high in the Prospect lists, and he's had some weight issues, but there is some potential here. He'll probably be used as a relief pitcher with the Indians.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Thu, 10 Dec 2009 17:52:09 +0000 Baseball America Ranks the Diamondbacks Prospects http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/baseball-america-ranks-the-diamondbacks-prospects.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/baseball-america-ranks-the-diamondbacks-prospects.html rankings of the Diamondbacks’ Top 10 prospects this week (really 11, since they added one to replace the traded Daniel Schlereth). Here are their rankings, along with my rankings that I posted last month in parenthesis: 1. Jarrod Parker, RHP (1) 2. Bobby Borchering, 3B (3) 3. A.J. Pollock, CF (7) 4. Brandon Allen, 1B (2) 5. Daniel Schlereth, LHP (4) 6. Chris Owings, SS (12) 7. Mike Belfiore, LHP (10) 8. Marc Krauss, LF (8) 9. Ryan Wheeler, 1B (5) 10. Colin Cowgill, OF (NR) 11. Matt Davidson, 3B (6) The one player that BA rates much higher than me is OF Colin Cowgill, who did not make my Top 21. I think that Cowgill’s defense isn’t good enough for CF, and he doesn’t have enough power for a corner spot. They are also a little down on Brandon Allen, which isn’t surprising after his disappointing showing in the AFL. Their latest comparison is Mike Jacobs – I think that’s too low. Some other comments from their recap and online chat: Leyson Septimo – Mentioned as a possible closer of the future, after 69Ks in 56.2 IP in High-A Visalia; control is still a problem though – also issued 44 walks. Jordan Norberto – 92 mph fastball with late sink; compared to J.C. Romero Josh Collmenter – turned himself into a prospect by throwing all kinds of pitches Roque Mercedes – good chance to be a power arm in the bullpen; scouts have compared him to LaTroy Hawkins Cole Gillespie – not too close to cracking the Top 10, profiling more as platoon or 4th outfielder David Nick – good bat, but needs to improve defense Overall, 7 of the top 10 are from the 2009 draft. That’s a combination of several things – many players graduating from the minor league system over the last few years (Upton, Reynolds, Parra, Montero, CYoung, Scherzer), several players being traded away (Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, Aaron Cunningham, Carlos Quentin), and a couple of fairly weak drafts in 2007 and 2008. As a result, Baseball America ranks the Diamondbacks Minor League system #27 out of 30 teams. I think that the last year has brought in some really high-upside hitters (Allen, Borchering, Wheeler, Krauss, Davidson), and Jarrod Parker is still one of the 10 best arms in the minor leagues, so I would rank the system in the 15-20 range.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Thu, 10 Dec 2009 05:31:34 +0000 Diamondbacks-Tigers-Yankees trade is official http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/diamondbacks-tigers-yankees-trade-is-official.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/diamondbacks-tigers-yankees-trade-is-official.html official. Here is how it shakes out: Diamondbacks: Add RHP Edwin Jackson, RHP Ian Kennedy; Lose: RHP Max Scherzer, LHP Daniel Schlereth Tigers: Add Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, CF Austin Jackson, LHP Phil Coke; Lose Edwin Jackson, Curtis Granderson Yankees: Add CF Curtis Granderson; Lose Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke Many of the early reviews see the Diamondbacks as the biggest loser in this trade. I'm not so down on the trade, but it really comes down to two questions: 1) Is Ian Kennedy capable of being a quality starting pitcher in the majors? 2) Is Max Scherzer too large an injury risk to be a quality starting pitcher in the majors? As I posted in Monday's recap, Kennedy has been outstanding in AAA (AAA: 7-4, 2.14 ERA, 131K/35BB in 126 IP) but strugged in the majors. Plus, he missed most of 2009 with an arm injury. But he looked solid in the Arizona Fall League (28K/5BB/1HR in 29.2 IP) and should become the #4 starter in 2010. Between Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, the D'backs have filled their #3 and #4 starting slots for around $5M. The alternative was to spend more than that to bring in an older free agent starter. So the remaining budget can now be used on offense or bullpen help. Max Scherzer is certainly very promising, but there are still doubts about his long-term role and success. Scherzer has a very good fastball and a deceptive delivery, but still needs to work on his secondary pitches. His unusual delivery, along with the big jump in Innings Pitched last year (110 between AAA/Majors to 175) leads many to view Scherzer as a large injury risk. But Scherzer would still have been under the D'backs' control for 5 more years. Daniel Schlereth was a first round pick in the 2008 draft, and has an excellent fastball-curve ball combo. Despite the great stuff, he needs to have better control (32 BBs in 46 IP last year) to succeed in the Majors. Overall, I think Jackson and Scherzer will probably be about equal in value for 2010. So the trade comes down to Ian Kennedy. If he pitches like he showed in the minors, the D'backs can come out ahead in this trade. Apparently the Diamondbacks' front office thinks he can do that.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Tue, 08 Dec 2009 20:07:28 +0000 Winter Meetings – Diamondbacks and MLB Monday Recap http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/winter-meetings-e28093-diamondbacks-and-mlb-monday-recap.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/winter-meetings-e28093-diamondbacks-and-mlb-monday-recap.html Max Scherzer/Edwin Jackson/Ian Kennedy Trade Rumors The Diamondbacks did not complete any deals on Monday, but were involved in the biggest rumor of the day. The rumored 3-team deal, according to FoxSports.com, would have the D’backs trading away Max Scherzer and two undisclosed prospects, and receiving Edwin Jackson (Tigers) and Ian Kennedy (Yankees). The Tigers would get Max Scherzer, center fielder Austin Jackson (Yankees), and relievers Phil Coke and Michael Dunn, and the Yankees would receive Curtis Granderson and the Diamondbacks’ prospects. Edit: Daniel Schlereth appears to be one prospect in the proposed trade. The proposed deal is reportedly being pushed by the Diamondbacks, and is supposedly stalled because at least one of the teams rejected it. Would this be a good deal for the D’backs? Well, Scherzer is probably the most valuable of the three pitchers, and you hate to be giving up the best player in a trade. Does this trade rumor indicate that the D’backs are not confident that Scherzer can succeed as a starter? It would certainly be better if the Yankees’ pitcher coming back was Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, but Kennedy isn’t bad. Kennedy (25) has struggled in the Majors (6.03 ERA in 59.2 career IP, 43K/37BB), but has pitched well in the minors (AAA: 7-4, 2.14 ERA, 131K/35BB in 126 IP). He missed much of 2009 with an arm injury, but came back late in the year and pitched well in the AFL (28K/5BB/1HR in 29.2 IP). His prospect status has fallen a lot because of his poor showing in the Majors, but I expect him to be a productive major leaguer. Jackson (26) had his best season in 2009, going 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA and 161K/70BB in 214 IP. He’s shown good durability, but is due for a raise as he enters his 4th season (earned $2.2M in 2009). However, he might not be as good as his final stats last year – his FIP was 4.28 and his xFIP was 4.39. Is that a more likely expectation for 2010? Obviously, a lot depends on the quality of prospects involved. I probably wouldn't do a straight trade of Scherzer for Jackson/Kennedy, but I don't think that is a ridiculously one-sided trade - just risky depending on Kennedy's performance. Adding two top prospects along with Scherzer would make it a bad trade, in my opinion. A quick look around the web shows that D'back and Yankee fans are not happy with the proposed trade, while Tiger fans seem OK with it. Anyway, for now, it looks like the trade is dead. Nick Johnson Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that 7 teams showed interest in Johnson, including the D’backs. Johnson would like a multi-year deal, but the D’backs are probably unlikely to go more than 1 or 2 years. Adam Kennedy There were rumors that the D’backs were interested in Kennedy, but it doesn’t seem worth spending a couple of million on a 2B that is not much better than the Abreu/Roberts/Ryal group. Signings C Ivan Rodriguez signs a 2 year, $6M deal with the Nationals. RHP Brad Penny about to sign with the Cardinals for $7.5M plus incentives. Tigers re-sign SS Adam Everett for S1.55M Nationals acquire RP Brian Bruney from the Yankees for a PTBNL. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti signs a contract through 2014. Arbitration Accepting: Rafael Soriano (Braves), Carl Pavano (Twins), Rafael Betancourt (Rockies) Declining: John Lackey (Angels), Adrian Beltre (Mariners), Mike Gonzalz (Braves), Jose Valverde (Astros), Brandon Lyon (Tigers), Fernando Rodney (Tigers), Matt Holliday (Cardinals), Joel Piniero (Cardinals), Mark DeRosa (Cardinals), Justin Duchschere (A’s), Jason Bay (Red Sox) Other Rumors Randy Wolf - Brewers, 3 years? Milton Bradley - trade to Rays? Joel Piniero - looking for 3-4 years Erik Bedard - back to the Orioles? Jason Bay - wants to play for the Mariners? ]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Tue, 08 Dec 2009 06:52:30 +0000 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot - Part 1 http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/2010-baseball-hall-of-fame-ballot-part-1.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/2010-baseball-hall-of-fame-ballot-part-1.html The 2010 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame ballot includes 26 players – 11 players who received at least 5% of the vote in the 2009 election, as well as 15 on the ballot for the first time. In this post, I'll examine the candidacy of the 11 returning players. The 11 returning players (with their vote percentage in parenthesis; 75% is needed for election) are Andre Dawson (67.0%), Bert Blyleven (62.7%), Lee Smith (44.5%), Jack Morris (44.0%), Tim Raines (22.6%), Mark McGwire (21.9%), Alan Trammell (17.4%), Dave Parker (15.0%), Don Mattingly (11.9%), Dale Murphy (11.5%), and Harold Baines (5.9%). The 15 new players are Roberto Alomar, Kevin Appier, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Robin Ventura, and Todd Zeile. Alomar could be the first Diamondback player elected to the HOF. I'll evaluate these 15 newcomers in the next post.

Current Hall of Famers The Hall of Fame currently has 202 former Major League players, as well as 35 Negro League players. Stats aren’t fully available for all of them, but I identified 209 Hall-of-Famers that we have fairly complete records for. Dividing these players by position, here are the average stats for a Hall-of-Famer at each position:

Position AB R H HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
C (13) 6237 901 1773 198 1013 92 705 544 .284 .357 .447
1B (19) 7837 1366 2418 282 1465 164 910 857 .308 .380 .501
2B (17) 8031 1318 2419 146 1090 283 901 535 .301 .372 .434
SS (21) 8196 1227 2335 113 1060 267 825 544 .285 .350 .400
3B (11) 8233 1275 2449 218 1201 156 885 756 .297 .366 .453
CF (17) 7660 1426 2436 208 1157 302 942 649 .318 .393 .484
LF (21) 7932 1396 2472 221 1235 257 928 653 .312 .384 .481
RF (23) 8521 1490 2640 270 1367 228 973 779 .310 .380 .486

This gives us an idea of the typical standards of the Hall of Fame.  As discussed in the recent MVP article, one way to compare players is to convert their stats into Wins. The Baseball Prospectus stat Wins Above Replacement (WARP3) attempts to do this for all players in baseball history. Here are the average WARP3 scores for Hall-of-Famers.

HOF Position Career WARP3
Average C 58.1
Average 1B 61.6
Average 2B 75.1
Average SS 68.9
Average 3B 67.9
Average CF 66.1
Average LF 61.3
Average RF 72.5

 

Returning Candidates Here are the stats for the 8 players returning on the HOF ballot:

Player R H HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
Dawson,RF 1373 2774 438 1591 314 589 1509 .279 .323 .482
Raines,LF 1571 2605 170 980 808 1330 966 .294 .385 .425
McGwire,1B 1167 1626 583 1414 12 1317 1596 .263 .394 .588
Trammell,SS 1231 2365 185 1003 236 850 874 .285 .352 .415
Parker,RF 1272 2712 339 1493 154 683 1537 .290 .339 .471
Mattingly,1B 1007 2153 222 1099 14 588 444 .307 .358 .471
Murphy,CF 1197 2111 398 1266 161 986 1748 .265 .346 .469
Baines,DH 1299 2866 384 1628 34 1062 1441 .289 .356 .465

Let's see how these players do in the career WARP3 stat:

Player Career WARP3
Dawson,RF 59.6
Raines,LF 81.7
McGwire,1B 71.6
Trammell,SS 78.1
Parker,RF 40.2
Mattingly,1B 42.9
Murphy,CF 45.3
Baines,DH 48.4

Andre Dawson, RF
Dawson came very close to getting elected in 2009, receiving 67% of the vote. There are many reasons to support Dawson’s candidacy for the HOF – very good totals in career HR and RBI, fine defense with 8 Gold Gloves, and good SB and baserunning totals. His career WARP3 total of 59.6 is below average for his position, but close enough to warrant a closer look. But the key area where Dawson is hurt is in On-Base Percentage (and to an extent, batting average). Dawson’s lifetime OBP is only .323, which is by far the worst of any outfielder (Lou Brock is the closest at .343). The average OBP for an outfielder is .385. Not only is Dawson way below average among Hall-of-Famers in OBP, he is even below average compared to the league as a whole. I have a hard time inducting a player into the HOF who is below average in such a key stat as getting on base. Even Dawson’s career batting average of .279 is low for an outfielder. Only Reggie Jackson at .262 is much lower, but Jackson overcame that by hitting 563 HRs with postseason heroics. Two others are close to Dawson's BA of .279, Rickey Henderson and Ralph Kiner, but both managed career OBPs near .400 while Henderson added speed and SB while Kiner provided much more power, including 7 straight seasons leading the league in HR.
Verdict: Very close, but Dawson's low Batting Average and On-Base Percentage should keep him OUT

Tim Raines, OF For me, Tim Raines is the strongest position player candidate on the ballot. Unfortunately, MVP and HOF voters have always favored HR and RBI and ignored OBP and Runs Scored, which partially explains why Raines only received 22% of the vote in 2009. But getting on base and scoring runs are the two areas where Raines excelled. With 1571 Runs Scored, Raines has the highest total of any eligible player (since 1900) not in the Hall of Fame. He had 8 seasons among the Top 10 in Runs Scored, 7 in the Top 10 in On-Base Percentage, 6 in Hits, and 6 in Bases on Balls. On the All-Time lists, Raines is #34 in Bases on Balls, and is #5 in Stolen Bases, with an outstanding 85% success rate. Looking at WARP3, Raines' total of 81.7 would rank him #4 among Left Fielders, behind only Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Rickey Henderson. Raines playing career overlapped with Rickey Henderson, and that’s probably hurt his HOF chances, since many regarded him as Henderson-lite. But Raines was probably the best leadoff hitter in National League history. How does Raines compare to Hall of Famer Lou Brock?

Player G Hits HR RBI Runs SB CS BB AVG OBP SLG
Brock 2616 3023 149 900 1610 938 307 761 .293 .343 .410
Raines 2502 2605 170 980 1571 808 146 1330 .294 .385 .425

Raines has the edge in the key stats of AVG, OBP, and SLG, as well as HR and RBI, while Brock did score 39 more runs (in 114 more games). Brock does have 130 more SB than Raines, but also has 161 more CS. Brock has 418 more hits, while Raines has 569 more walks.

Player G Outs OPS+ RC WARP3
Brock 2616 7823 109 1512 37.2
Raines 2502 6670 123 1636 81.7

Look at the Outs made – Raines produced more runs than Brock while using up over 1000 fewer outs. That gives Raines an edge in the advanced stats such as Runs Created and WARP. Raines clearly looks like the better player, but Brock is one of the weaker selections in the Hall, so let’s try another comparison. How about Tony Gwynn, who was elected almost unanimously in 2007?

Player Hits HR RBI Runs SB CS BB AVG OBP SLG
Gwynn 3141 135 1138 1383 319 125 790 .338 .388 .459
Raines 2605 170 980 1571 808 146 1330 .294 .385 .425

Gwynn was a little better at driving in runs, but Raines had an edge in stealing bases and scoring runs. Despite Gwynn’s much higher batting average, they reached base almost the exact same number of times – 3935 for Raines , 3931 for Gwynn.

Player G Outs OPS+ RC WARP3
Gwynn 2440 6662 132 1636 78.5
Raines 2502 6670 123 1636 81.7

Gwynn has the higher OPS+, but OPS+ does not include baserunning, where Raines excelled. As a result, they had almost identical totals for Career Runs Created and Outs Made. The two players are much closer than most people realize (both even have sons who played outfield in professional baseball).
Verdict: Raines should be IN.

Mark McGwire, 1B McGwire is easily the most controversial returning name on the ballot. Some feel that his possible use of PEDs invalidates most of his accomplishments. Others feel that his relatively low batting average and hit totals make him a poor candidate anyway. But despite the low batting average, his OBP (.394) and SLG (.588) are the best among the 8 returning hitters, and his HR total of 583 (#8 all-time) would ordinarily make him an easy selection. Although his career totals are not that impressive, his stats over the 6-year stretch from 1995-2000 – 316 HR, .442 OBP, .706 SLG, 192 OPS+ - give him an incredible peak. So I think McGwire’s numbers do make him worthy of the HOF. However, I expect that the voters will not be as kind to him, because of the steroids cloud around him. Who knows how McGwire's performance would have been without andro or other PEDs? No player from the last 20 years is beyond suspicion, so unless we have a Hall-of-Fame with no players from the last two decades, I think we have to evaluate them by their performance on the field.
Verdict: Depends on where you stand on the PED situation. I would vote McGwire IN.

Alan Trammell, SS Alan Trammell is an interesting case – he hasn’t received much support, but his numbers compare quite favorably with other HOF shortstops. Trammell was one of the first big-hitting shortstops of the modern era, and he also won 4 Gold Gloves for defense. His WARP total would put him #6 among all of the shortstops in the Hall. Honus Wagner is way above everyone at SS, and Cal Ripken has big counting stats, but after that, it's pretty even.

Shortstop H HR RBI R SB BA OBP SLG WARP3
H.Wagner 3415 101 1732 1736 722 .327 .391 .466 150.1
C.Ripken 3184 431 1695 1647 36 .276 .340 .447 104.3
A.Vaughan 2103 96 926 1173 118 .318 .406 .453 93.0
O.Smith 2460 28 793 1257 580 .262 .337 .328 90.9
G.Davis 2660 73 1437 1539 616 .295 .361 .405 83.2
A.Trammell 2365 185 1003 1231 236 .285 .352 .415 78.1
L.Boudreau 1779 68 789 861 51 .295 .380 .415 76.7
L.Appling 2749 45 1116 1319 179 .310 .399 .398 76.1
J.Cronin 2285 170 1424 1233 87 .301 .390 .468 71.2
E.Banks 2583 512 1636 1305 50 .274 .330 .500 69.4
R.Yount 3142 251 1406 1632 271 .285 .342 .430 68.5
B.Wallace 2309 34 1121 1057 201 .268 .332 .358 63.6
P.Reese 2170 126 885 1338 232 .269 .366 .377 60.5
J.Sewell 2226 49 1055 1141 74 .312 .391 .413 57.0
H.Jennings 1527 18 840 994 359 .311 .390 .406 51.3
D.Bancroft 2004 32 591 1048 145 .279 .355 .358 46.4
J.Tinker 1687 31 782 774 336 .262 .308 .353 46.2
L.Aparicio 2677 83 791 1335 506 .262 .311 .343 43.2
T.Jackson 1768 135 929 833 71 .291 .337 .433 41.9
P.Rizzuto 1588 38 563 877 149 .273 .351 .355 41.9
R.Maranville 2605 28 884 1255 291 .258 .318 .340 41.6

Trammell is probably not getting support for three reasons. One, he played in the shadow of Cal Ripken and Robin Yount, and their counting stats are much higher than Trammell's. Two, later shortstops, such as Barry Larkin, Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada, and Derek Jeter raised the offensive standards for shortstops after Trammell's career ended. And three, most of the shortstops in the HOF are either very good hitters or very good fielders, while Trammell is merely good at both. Trammell is a much better hitter than the good field group (Ozzie Smith, Luis Aparicio) and a much better fielder than the good-hit group (Ernie Banks, Robin Yount, Arky Vaughan). But his blend of offensive and defensive skills never got him the respect he probably deserved.
Verdict: Probably won't get the votes, but Trammell should be In.

Dave Parker, RF Dave Parker’s career had a nice peak from 1975-1979 (.321/.377/.532), but his career fizzled after that point. In the last 11 seasons until his retirement, Parker only broke 25 HRs in a season twice, and only slugged over .500 once. His stats over that 11 year stretch were only .277/.322/.444. Parker was a fine defensive RF at his peak, but his overall offensive numbers just aren’t good enough for the HOF.
Verdict: Parker should be OUT.

Don Mattingly, 1B Don Mattingly had an outstanding peak from 1984 to 1987 (.337/.381/.560), including his 145 RBI MVP season in 1985. Unfortunately, aside from those 4 years, there’s not much to support Mattingly’s election – from 1988-1995, no season slugging over .480, and only one 100 RBI season. His career was shortened by back injuries, and his career totals of 222 HR and 1099 RBI just aren’t enough to make the HOF, even with Gold Glove defense at 1B.
Verdict: Mattingly should be OUT.

Dale Murphy, CF Dale Murphy looked like a certain Hall-of-Famer after the 1987 season, when he was only 31 years old. In those first 10 seasons, he had hit 310 HR with a .279/.362/.500 line, won two MVPs, led the league in HR two other times, played Gold Glove defense in CF and had a 740 game consecutive game streak. But after the 1987 season, Murphy’s career inexplicably fell off a cliff. Over the next 6 years, Murphy hit just .234/.307/.396, with only 88 HR. That left Murphy with 398 career HR, but only a .265 career batting average and an .815 career OPS. His WARP3 total of 45.3 just doesn’t compare favorable to other HOF outfielders.
Verdict: Murphy should be OUT.

Harold Baines, DH/RF Harold Baines had a very long career of 2830 games, allowing him to accumulate nice totals of 384 HR and 1628 RBI. But despite his longevity, Baines was rarely an outstanding player, just a very good one. His career rate stats of .289/.356/.465 are below average for a HOF-level outfielder (48.4 career WARP), and he actually played more games as a DH than in the outfield.
Verdict: Baines should be OUT.

Pitchers
There are three pitchers returning on the HOF ballot - Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris, and Lee Smith. Here are their stats:

Pitcher W L ERA SV CG SH IP BB SO WHIP
B.Blyleven 287 250 3.31 0 242 60 4970 1322 3701 1.20
J.Morris 254 186 3.90 0 175 28 3824 1390 2478 1.30
L.Smith 71 92 3.03 478 0 0 1289 486 1251 1.26

Bert Blyleven, SP To me, Blyleven is the most deserving pitcher not in the Hall of Fame. He ranks #5 all-time in Strikeouts, and #9 in Shutouts. But many argue that his counting stats are good only because he pitched for so long, but he was never pitched at a high enough level for the HOF. But looking at individual seasons, he finished in the Top 10 in ERA in 10 seasons, in the Top 10 for Strikeouts 15 times, and in the Top 10 for K/9 14 times. Another argument is his relatively pedestrian Win-Loss record, but that can be explained by the poor teams on which he spent much of his career. A good way to assess if a player belongs in the HOF is to see how a player compares to those already elected. The standard should not be “How does Blyleven compare to the worst pitchers in the HOF?,” because that would just perpetuate previous mistakes and continue to water-down the HOF. But the standard also should not be “How does Blyleven compare to the best pitchers in the HOF?,” because most of the pitchers in the HOF are not as good as Walter Johnson or Cy Young. But if a player is better than a significant percentage of Hall-of-Famers, I think he belongs. The HOF has 67 pitchers. Among those 67 pitchers, Blyleven would rank #21 in Wins, #3 in Strikeouts, #41 in ERA+, #9 in Shutouts, and #37 in WHIP. Looking at these together, it seems clear that Blyleven would rank near the top half of all pitchers in the HOF. A final factor to consider is Blyleven’s postseason performance – Blyleven finished 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA in 8 playoff games, and was on two World Series winners (Pittsburgh 1979, Minnesota 1987). Verdict: Blyleven should be IN.

Jack Morris Along with Blyleven, Morris is a much-debated candidate for the Hall of Fame. Morris' candidacy is primarily based on three factors: 1) His dominant performance in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. 2) His relatively high win total. 3) His endurance and consistency. How does Morris stack up against other Hall of Fame pitchers? Morris' ERA of 3.90 is easily worse than any pitcher in the HOF. His WHIP of 1.30 would rank #54 out of 67 pitchers. His Win total of 254 would rank #30, and his strikeout total would rank #17. The Win and Strikeout ranks are respectable, but the ERA and WHIP do not seem HOF-worthy, even after league and park adjustments (ERA+ = 105). His career WARP3 is only 38.6, while Blyleven’s is 87.2.

So what else is on Morris' resume? His career totals do not seem HOF worthy – did Morris have some exceptionally strong peak seasons? His best seasons were probably 1983 (20-13, 3.34 ERA, 294 IP, 3rd Cy Young voting) and 1986 (21-8, 3.27 ERA, 267 IP, 5th Cy Young voting) – neither is particularly exceptional. Morris also went 21-6 in 1992, but had a very high 4.04 ERA. Surprisingly, Morris did not have a single season with an ERA below 3.00. So it looks like Morris does not have a strong case based on high peak seasons.

Postseason Performance
This is an area where Jack Morris gets a lot of credit. His teams reached the postseason 4 times, and twice Morris was the ace of a staff that won the World Series. In 1984, Morris went 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 3 starts, leading the Tigers to a championship. In 1991, Morris went 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA, including the memorable win in Game 7 of the World Series against the Braves. Those two seasons cemented Morris’ reputation as a big-game, clutch pitcher. Despite those two outstanding postseason runs, Morris’ overall playoff stats are only 7-4 with a 3.80 ERA. Outside of the 7 Wins in 1984 and 1991, Morris had two poor postseasons in 1987 and 1992. In 1987, Morris gave up 6 ER in 8 IP as the Tigers lost to the Twins, and in 1992, Morris went 0-4, giving up 19 ER in 23 IP. Still, the Blue Jays managed to win the World Series against the Braves, so Morris’ poor performance was forgotten. Overall, I would say that the postseason is a strong point for Morris’ HOF candidacy. His performance in 1984 and 1991 was instrumental in leading his teams to championships. But it is interesting that Morris’ reputation as a big-game pitcher did not suffer from four poor playoff outings in 1992.

Wins
One stat that is often tossed out in support of Morris is that he led the decade of the 1980s in Wins with 162. That does show Morris’ consistency and durability, but it is also a bit of a fluke – shifting the time window from 1980-1989 to 1976-1985 makes Ron Guidry the Wins leader over that 10-year stretch. The pitchers who finished in the #2-#5 slots for the 1980s, Dave Stieb, Bob Welch, Charlie Hough, and Fernando Valenzuela, were not really a Hall-of-Fame group. Others like Blyleven and Nolan Ryan were at the tail end of their careers, while Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux were just starting during the middle of the decade. And pitchers like Stieb probably outpitched Morris during the decade, but did not get the run support.

Run Support
A big factor in Jack Morris’ high Win total is Run Support. The Tiger teams in the 1980s were an excellent offensive club, with Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Lance Parrish, Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon, and Darrell Evans. In 1986, when Morris won 21 games, the Tigers scored 5.72 runs per game when Morris started. In 1992, another 21 win season for Morris, the Blue Jays scored 5.66 runs per game for Morris.

Pitching to the Score
A common argument about Morris’ high ERA is that he would “pitch to the score,” meaning that he was concerned about Wins and Innings, and not ERA, and would allow a disproportionate number of runs when the Tigers had a big lead. This idea was examined in great detail in this article by Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus. Here are his ERAs in different situations: Morris ahead: 4.24 ERA Morris tied: 3.97 ERA Morris behind: 4.82 ERA So if he was allowing meaningless runs when the Tigers had a big lead, it’s hard to find any evidence of it. Another fact that Sheehan points out is that Morris actually blew a Tigers lead 136 times during his career, and put his team behind in 344 of 527 career starts. But many of these turned into Wins for Morris and the Tigers, because of Morris’ durability, which he should get credit for, but also the Tigers’ great offense.
Verdict: A few great playoff outings, but a very high ERA. Lots of Wins due to great run support, and no evidence of “pitching to the score.” Morris should be OUT.

Lee Smith, RP Lee Smith lead the league in Saves 4 times, and was the major league career Saves leader for over a decade, before Trevor Hoffman passed him in 2006. How does he compare to other relievers in the HOF? Well, there are only 5 relievers in the HOF, and two of those, Dennis Eckersley and Hoyt Wilhelm, also had contributions as a starting pitcher.

Pitcher W L ERA IP CG SV WHIP
Dennis Eckersley 197 171 3.50 3285.2 100 390 1.161
Dennis Eckersley (1987-) 46 43 2.96 789.2 0 387 0.999
Rollie Fingers 114 118 2.90 1701.1 4 341 1.156
Rich Gossage 124 107 3.01 1809.1 16 310 1.232
Bruce Sutter 68 71 2.83 1042.1 0 300 1.140
Hoyt Wilhelm 143 122 2.52 2254.1 20 227 1.125
Lee Smith 71 92 3.03 1289.1 0 478 1.256

Smith has the most Saves of the group, but his other stats are not that impressive. He has the highest ERA and WHIP of the group (looking only at Eckersley’s stats as a reliever). Most of Smith’s Saves were of the 1 inning variety, unlike Fingers and Gossage, who were often called on in the 8th inning to get the team out of jams. Even with the relatively easier save chances, Smith’s save conversion rate was only 82%. And Smith’s stats look inferior to current closers like Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman. Verdict: Smith should be OUT.

Conclusions
Of the 11 returning players on the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot, I would vote for 4 – Tim Raines, Bert Blyleven, Alan Trammell, and Mark McGwire. I’m not sure if the BBWAA will select any of these 4 this year. I think Andre Dawson’s low batting average and OBP should keep him out, but he was the closest to selection last year. The others – Dave Parker, Dale Murphy, Don Mattingly, Harold Baines, Jack Morris, and Lee Smith – had excellent careers, but just don’t have the resumes for the Hall of Fame.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Sun, 06 Dec 2009 00:13:30 +0000
Diamondbacks Offseason Update - December 1, 2009 http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/diamondbacks-offseason-update-december-1-2009.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2009-articles/december/diamondbacks-offseason-update-december-1-2009.html Additions for 2009: Brandon Webb (injury), Conor Jackson (injury), Brandon Allen, Tony Abreu, Aaron Heilman Subtractions for 2009: Chad Tracy, Doug Davis, Yusmeiro Petit, Doug Slaten, Daniel Cabrera, Ruben Gotay, Scott Maine, Ryne White Pitchers Brandon Webb – As expected, the Diamondbacks picked up Webb’s option for 2010 at $8.5M. Reports are that Webb has completed his rehab throwing assignment, and will be able to begin his usual preparations for the season in January. Outlook: Still on track to be the #1 Starter in 2010. Aaron Heilman – In their first trade of the offseason, the D’backs acquired Aaron Heilman from the Cubs for minor leaguers Scott Maine and Ryne White. Heilman has been used as both as a starter and reliever in his career, but has spent the four years exclusively in relief. Here are his stats for the last 5 seasons: 2005 (NYM): 5-3, 5 Sv, 3.17 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 108 IP, 8.8K/3.1BB, 0.5 HRA 2006 (NYM): 4-5, 0 Sv, 3.62 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 87 IP, 7.6K/2.9 BB, 0.5 HRA 2007 (NYM): 7-7, 1 Sv, 3.03 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 86 IP, 6.6K/2.1 BB, 0.8 HRA 2008 (NYM): 3-8, 3 Sv, 5.21 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 76 IP, 9.5K/5.4 BB, 1.2 HRA 2009 (CHC): 4-4, 1 Sv, 4.11 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 72 IP, 8.1K/4.2 BB, 1.1 HRA Heilman’s best season was probably 2007 with the Mets. Since then, he has a disastrous 2008, and a mediocre 2009. The biggest differences for Heilman are that he gave up way too many walks over the last two years – 5.4/9 IP in 2008 and 4.2/9 IP in 2009, and that he started giving up more Home Runs. . His strikeout rate stayed high, and actually went up over the last two years. Heilman is a slight ground-ball pitcher who throws a 93 mph fastball. According to Fangraphs, he was primarily a fastball-change up pitcher in 2007, but then added a slider in 2008 and mixed in more two-seam fastballs in 2009. His greatest value is that he can fill many roles in the bullpen, and can go multiple innings if needed. The D’backs are hoping he can provide some experience to the bullpen, and re-discovers his performance levels from 2005-2007. Outlook: Set-up Man in the bullpen. Doug Davis – Davis filed for free agency, and is not expected to re-sign with the Diamondbacks. Scott Maine – Maine is a left-handed relief pitcher who was traded to the Cubs as part of the Aaron Heilman trade. He was drafted from the University of Miami in 2007, and moved up to pitch in AA and AAA last season. Maine pitched reasonably well at both levels (AA - 2.66 ERA, 46K/15BB, 2 HR in 47 IP, AAA-3.68 ERA, 15K/7BB, 0 HR in 14.2 IP), but there are some questions as to whether his success will translate to the majors. His fastball does reach the low 90s, but his low arm-slot is deceptive for hitters, and may not be as effective as he moves up. Outlook: Relief Pitcher in AAA for the Cubs. Yusmeiro Petit – Petit was claimed off waivers by the Seattle Mariners. While Petit did have a few outstanding games for the D’backs, his fly-ball tendencies made him a poor fit for Chase Field. Pitching in Seattle, with spacious Safeco Field and an outstanding OF defense led by Franklin Gutierrez, is a good fit for Petit. Outlook: Back of the rotation starter for the Mariners. Doug Slaten – Slaten was claimed off waivers by the Washington Nationals. Slaten is a fairly generic situational lefty – a useful player to have around, but the D’backs have several others like him. Outlook: Relief pitcher for the Nationals. Daniel Cabrera - Cabrera was removed from the 40-Man roster and elected to file for free agency. Cabrera has always had a live arm, but his lack of control has kept him from finding major-league success. Outlook: Will probably get a minor-league contract from some team. Infielders Brandon Allen – Allen did not have a particular good campaign in the Arizona Fall League, ending with a .177/.316 OBP/.274 SLG, with 1 HR, 12 RBI, and 3 SB in 30 games. Allen did lead the AFL with 22 walks, and also hit a 3-Run HR in the AFL Rising Stars game. Although Allen still looks like the team’s 1B of the near future, his AFL stint did not help his chances of starting 2010 in the majors. Outlook: Needs to show a lot in spring training to be the starting 1B in 2010. Some more At Bats in AAA are a strong possibility. Tony Abreu – Abreu has had a mediocre season in the Dominican Winter League, batting .281/.303 OBP/.354 SLG, with 0 HR, 6 RBI, and 17 Runs Scored in 24 games. Also troubling is his 16/2 K/BB ratio, and the relative lack of power – only 5 doubles and 1 triple. Still, Abreu’s track record has proven himself to be Brenda, and should be in the mix for the starting 2B job with the Diamondbacks. Outlook: Starting 2B in 2010. Chad Tracy - The Diamondbacks elected to buyout Tracy's contract for $1M rather than pick up his option for $7M. Ryne White – As you might guess from the first name, White was born in Chicago and was a 4th Round pick out of Purdue in 2008 as a first baseman. He has shown good on-base skills, but not much power – only 13 HR in 186 minor league games, giving him an overall stat line of .275/.366 OBP/.389 SLG between the Rookie Leagues, A, and High-A ball. He’ll be 24 next year, and still has a chance for success at the big league level, but wasn’t really a big part of the Diamondbacks’ plans. Outlook: Playing in AA for the Cubs. Ruben Gotay - Gotay, who hit .272/.429/.450 for AAA Reno in 2009, was signed by the Cardinals to a minor league contract and invited to spring training. Gotay has always had good offensive potential, but has struggled defensively at both 2B and 3B. Lyle Overbay, Nick Johnson - There were rumors of the D'backs trading Chris Snyder to the Blue Jays for Lyle Overbay, but those talks stalled, supposedly over concerns about Snyder's injured back. Nick Johnson has been rumored as a possible free agent signing, but Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks are unlikely to offer the multi-year deal that Johnson is looking for. Outfielders Conor Jackson – After missing most of the 2009 season with Valley Fever, Jackson had a strong showing in the Dominican Winter League, batting .425/.561 OBP/.589 SLG, with 2 HR and 16 RBI in 23 games. Jackson also was a perfect 9 for 9 in stolen base attempts. Outlook: Should be the starting LF or 1B in 2010. Cole Gillespie – Gillespie is a RH OF, who was obtained from the Brewers in the Felipe Lopez trade, and will be 26 in 2010. After struggling in AAA Nashville with the Brewers (.242/.332/.424), Gillespie hit much better in Reno (.304/.418./.514) and followed that with a nice performance in the AFL (.333/.461/.472). Although he has played all 3 OF positions, Gillespie’s arm and shoulder injuries probably make him best suited to LF. He has excellent plate discipline and gap power, but not the raw speed or power to be an impact player. Outlook: 5th Outfielder for the D’backs (especially if Eric Byrnes is moved); otherwise, starting OF in AAA. Trent Oeltjen – Oeltjen was removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to AAA Reno. The Australian-born Oeltjen became a fan favorite by homering in 3 of his first 4 games, and playing good defense in the outfield. Ultimately, his lack of offense makes him a fringe major leaguers. Outlook: Starting outfielder in AAA. Alex Romero – Romero was also removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to AAA Reno. He is playing in the Venezuela Winter League and is hitting .342/.412/.393. The lack of power is keeping Romero from major league playing time. Outlook: Starting outfielder in AAA.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Tue, 01 Dec 2009 05:53:15 +0000