Saturday, August 06, 2005

Other possible HOF candidates

There are a few players that I didn't address that will fail to reach the Hall of Fame because of injuries or late starts. These players have been some of the best MLB has had to offer but really have no chance of making it to Cooperstown. There are two players in specific that I'm only addressing because ESPN is out of its mind.

Johnny Damon I have to address Damon because ESPN actually predicted Damon to be in the Hall of Fame last week. I have a big problem with this. Damon will be 32 at the end of the season. His career batting average is .290. He's not a power hitter by any means. His OPS is .788. His OBP is .353. If you're not a power hitter, you have to be a great singles hitter like Jeter or Tony Gwynn. Damon isn't even close to a .300 career batting average. He's considered one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball. However, his career OBP (On base percentage) is nowhere near acceptable for a leadoff hitter. Ricky Henderson is a Hall of Fame leadoff hitter (although his induction isn't scheduled until 2084). His OBP was .401. The ONLY thing Damon has going for him is that he has an outside chance at reaching 3,000 hits. If this happens, I would not be against having Damon be the first player ever to reach 3,000 hits and not make the HOF. He's not a HOF player and the numbers say so.

Omar Vizquel This is another player that I have to address because of ESPN. Omar Vizquel has a 0% chance of making the Hall of Fame. I don't like to call people out but I'll make an exception in this case. David Schoenfield of ESPN thinks Vizquel is headed for the Hall. He compares Vizquel to Ozzie Smith as part of his argument. The problem is that Ozzie has more hits, runs, rbi's and stolen bases on offense and he has more Gold Gloves on defense. Ozzie made 15 All-Star games and Vizquel made three. If Vizquel makes the Hall of Fame, then I'll send David Schoenfield $100.

Lance Berkman Unbelievably, Berkman is #5 on the active OPS list. He's only behind Bonds, Helton, Manny and Big Hurt. His career batting average is .304. He seems to be in the midst of his prime. He didn't play his first full season until he was 25 which will have an impact on his career numbers. He probably won't reach 500 home runs or 3,000 hits but his average numbers (like OPS, batting average, OBP, slugging percentage) will always be very good. Having said that, the HOF is very unlikely.

Brian Giles Giles was practically an old man when he finally played an entire season. He got his first everyday job at 28. Despite that major setback, Giles has made the most of his time in the majors. He's #9 in career OPS among active players. He's ahead of Arod, Griffey, Giambi, Chipper, Bagwell, Delgado and Sosa among others. He's one of the better OF's in the majors but his numbers won't be there.

Jim Edmonds I like Edmonds and I'm actually rooting for him to make the HOF but it probably won't happen. Edmonds is a spectacular centerfielder. He has very good offensive numbers across the board. However, he doesn't have any eye-popping numbers. His career batting average is .292. His OPS is .927. He has 321 career home runs and 970 RBI's. Edmonds is 35 and has probably three good seasons left. He'll probably just miss the HOF.

Magglio Ordonez Mags has been as consistent as anyone. His knee injury stole a season in his prime. That would make a big difference in terms of where he stands right now compared to other Hall of Famers at his age. I think he'll continue to be productive for at least five more seasons. His career batting average is very good at .307 but his OPS is only .889. For a power hitting outfielder, it should probably be higher.

Edgar Renteria Renteria isn't bad. Aside from two very good seasons, he's been average at best. He benefits from a career beginning at 21 but that's about it.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to mention it, but you might be owing that guy $100 for Omar. I completely agree, his stats don't add up, especially to someone like Alan Trammell's, but you could easily argue his stats compare with Ozzie Smith and Luis Aparicio. Kind of like Schilling, Vizquel has that intangible quality that might get him into the Hall despite his career stats. If he plays a couple more solid years, his stats will clearly be better than Ozzie Smith's and Luis Aparicio's, which gives the voters a great case in voting Omar in, which I have a feeling they will do. It makes no sense, but it probably will happen.

Jake said...

I understand what you're saying about stats. You point is about perception and not about stats so I won't get into stats. However, since I value my money and wouldn't offer to give some guy I don't know $100 if I actually thought I was going to lose it, I'll make a few points. It is possible to make the Hall of Fame on "intangibles". First, Ozzie Smith is a different story. He didn't make the Hall on intangibles. He made the Hall of Fame by being the greatest defensive shortstop by far. I don't want to get in to proving this because Bill James does a fine job in his Baseball abstract. Now, let's say Ozzie DID get in on intangibles. His intangibles include 15 All-star games, a nickname, backflips on the field, and fan favorite. Vizquel's intangibles include 3 All-Star games, no nickname, no backflips. It sounds silly but I think we're both on the same page here with intangibles. These are things that really shouldn't have an impact that may cause someone to vote a guy in. Vizquel really has nothing of note other than his stats. Bill James has Ozzie Smith ranked as the 7th best shortstop ever. He has vizquel ranked out of the top 50. His rankings are based on Win Shares which are made up of offensive and defensive statistics. So, I would like to take away Ozzie from the comparison because I don't think Vizquel has a case based on abilities (Ozzie being the greatest defensive shortstop ever) or intangibles.

Luis Aparicio is a different story. Vizquel has a very good argument based on Aparicio being in the Hall of Fame. However, Aparicio is the exception not the norm. If you look at the shortstops that are currently in the Hall of Fame, Aparicio is by far the worst. As a leadoff hitter, his OBP was .311!!!! He has the worst OPS by a mile. He has the second lowest batting average. It's clear that he's not worthy of being in the Hall of Fame. In his situation, it's obvious that "perception" and "intangibles" played a big role in his induction. I have a pretty good idea why he got inducted. Out of all shortstops who played from 1939-1973, only Ernie Banks made the Hall of Fame. One guy in 34 years. The voters were starved for a Hall of Fame shortstop. Aparicio was the benefactor of a lengthy drought in good shortstops. There is clearly not a drought in good shortstops in baseball right now. Three shortstops have been inducted in the last five years.

Does Vizquel have an argument based on Aparicio? Of course.

Is Aparicio one of the worst players to ever make the Hall of Fame? Yes.

Did Aparicio benefit from a four decade drought in Hall of Fame shortstops? Definitely.

If we're using Aparicio as the measuring stick, Alan Trammell, Jay Bell, and Tony Fernandez have very good arguments. Aparicio was a fluke. He was inducted in 1984. There is no question that the standards have increased. The guys who get voted in this day an age are all far and above the necessary career achievements to be inducted.

There is one possibility and there's really nothing I can do but hope this doesn't happen. It's possible that in 50 years after the influx of latin players hits the Hall of Fame, Vizquel could get voted in by the Veteran's Committee. In that case, Juan Gone, Carlos Delgado, Julio Franco and a lot of other guys will get in too. However, I don't think that will happen.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the biggest intangible Vizquel has, is I believe, the highest fielding percentage for a shortstop ever. It is quite a bit higher than Ozzie's if you compare it by percentage. For every 3 errors Vizquel made per chance, Ozzie almost made 4. Now I realize Ozzie more than likely had considerably more range and made more spectacular plays, however, from a statistical standpoint, once again, an argument in favor of Vizquel getting in. If part of the reason Ozzie got in was his fielding, than it appears to me that Vizquel is comparable to that as well. To me, he is the statistical equivalent of Ozzie Smith. No backflips, hence, no 15 All Stars or whatever, but other than that, who would you rather have? I'd be happy with both.


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