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2016 Update

2016 Update, First Base

albert-pujols-siI don’t recall times in my life when I’ve been this excited about the end of the regular season. That’s because since we began the HoME we’ve had a chance to look at the progress of actives right after the season ends. And now we get to share it with you.

Over the next four weeks, the Hall of Miller and Eric is going to look at everyone active who is anywhere near making a case for eventual induction, and a bunch of guys who aren’t. Today we’ll get started at first base.

Since we’re going to be looking at Miller’s MAPES system and Eric’s CHEWS system depending on which one of us writes up the player, the two of us might not completely agree on anything. But since our systems are quite close, especially for hitters, no matter who writes up a particular player his overall feel will represent both of our thoughts.

We hope you enjoy this series as much as we liked putting it together.

Albert Pujols
2016 BBREF WAR:
1.4

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: 5
Eric: 4

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: 5
Eric: 4

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: Nobody, but he got extremely close to Roger Connor
Eric: No one

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
Connor would be in the rear view mirror.

Current career trajectory:
More than with most players, we can be pretty sure of the answer to this one. Pujols seems quite likely to catch Connor, but he’s really unlikely given his current level of production to challenge Lou Gehrig for third or Cap Anson for second at the position.

While Pujols isn’t accumulating a lot of value these days, he still has an insane six seasons left on his contract with the Angels. We’re talking about a guy who’s averaged 33 and 108 over his last three campaigns. He’s getting to 3000 hits. He has a fine chance of topping Willie Mays’ 660 homers. And he’s pretty likely to become the fifth player ever to drive in 2000 runs.

HoME Outlook:
Pujols has been a future HoMEr since before the HoME existed. The only thing that can keep him from induction the moment he’s eligible is if the Hall inducts nobody that year.

Miguel Cabrera
2016 BBREF WAR:
4.9

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: 20
Eric: 19

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: 14
Eric: 14

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: Hank Greenberg, Willie McCovey, Keith Hernandez, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jim Thome
Eric: Rafael Palmeiro, Todd Helton, Dick Allen, and Willie McCovey

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
Miller: Ernie Banks, Johnny Mize, and Frank Thomas
Eric: George Sisler, Hank Greenberg, Keith Hernandez, Jim Thome

Current career trajectory:
If Cabrera played until he was 40 and lost half a win a year, he’d finish with nearly 100 career WAR (as I style it) and nestle between Rod Carew and Dan Brouthers as the 8th greatest first baseman ever.

HoME Outlook:
Easily in: Either 2014 or 2015 was his bus season.

Mark Teixeira
2016 BBREF WAR:
-0.6

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: 33
Eric: 38

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: 36
Eric: 40

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: It’s hard to pass anyone when you’re moving backwards. He fell behind Gil Hodges this year even though he topped the 400 HR mark. With impressive seasons, both Joey Votto and David Ortiz passed him too.
Eric: He was passed by Votto, Ortiz, and is neck-and-neck with Hodges

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
With another season like this, both Norm Cash and Fred McGriff will pass him too. Of course, Teixeira is retiring to keep that from happening.

 Current career trajectory:
Teixeira has played his last game. He’s finished an excellent career with only six seasons with more than the 146 games he played as a rookie. Had he been healthier, it’s possible a HoME plaque might be coming his way one day.

HoME Outlook:
He’s Fred McGriff, only I don’t think Hall voters will ever make the big deal of him that they’ve made of the Crime Dog. I could be wrong. He might find his way into the Hall one day, but there’s no chance he finds his way into the HoME

Joey Votto
2016 BBREF WAR:
4.0

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: 39
Eric: 35

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: 36
Eric: 27

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: Ed Konetchy, Orlando Cepeda, Fred McGriff, Norm Cash, Gil Hodges, and Mark Teixeira all went down.
Eric: Lance Berkman, Mark Teixeira, Harmon Killebrew, Fred Tenney, Frank Chance, Tony Perez, Dolph Camilli

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
Miller: Gil Hodges, Tony Perez, Frank Chance, Fred Tenney, Harmon Killebrew, and Harry Stovey would all be eating his dust.
Eric: Jason Giambi

Current career trajectory:
On one hand, he’ll be 33 by the end of next year. On the other, he draws a pretty sick number of walks, and I expect his walks to age well. On one hand he doesn’t have much power for his position, topping 29 homers just once. On the other, he’s just a year away from being in the company of a bunch of Hall of Famers.

HoME Outlook:
I think his HoME outlook is pretty good but far from assured. He’s healthy and productive right now. As players reach their mid-30s, continued health is less of a sure thing. Still, with just two more seasons like this one, Votto will be within a fraction of a MAPES point of Mark McGwire. I think he has enough career left in him to get there.

David Ortiz
2016 BBREF WAR:
5.1

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: 41
Eric: 30

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: 35
Eric: 28

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: Ed Konetchy, Orlando Cepeda, Fred McGriff, Norm Cash, Mark Teixeira
Eric: Mark Teixeira, Frank Chance, Tony Perez, Dolph Camilli, Gild Hodges, Norm Cash, Ed Konecthy, Jack Fournier, Carlos Delgado

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
Alas, there is no next season.

Current career trajectory:
He is what he is, barring a comeback. Which would be in poor taste, amiright?

HoME Outlook:
Not as good as his Hall of Fame outlook. In a WAR-driven environment like ours, Ortiz’ gaudy offensive numbers are not as gaudy as they would have been had he been able to play the field. Although we’re talking about him in our first-base comments, he’s a DH. The penalty for DHing is quite stiff because the replacement value for DH is roughly a league-average hitter. I can’t really pimp him for the HoME without a massive timeline adjustment (which I don’t do) or with massive credit for clutchiness and October, which I also don’t do. Even so, exactly how much post-season credit would he need to be electable? To get him onto the borderline, he’d need about 50 CHEWS, which is what Mark McGwire has, my lowest rated HoME first baseman. If we only tacked on that credit to his career value, he’d need 10 more career WAR. Big Papi has appeared in 83 post-season games. Mike Trout has had a couple of 10-WAR seasons in 162 games. So Papi would need to be doubly as good as Trout in half a season. This is, uh, not possible. We don’t extend any off-field credit, so “This is our f*****g city!” doesn’t buy him anything with us. I might well support David Ortiz for the Hall of Fame. Its standards are looser, and his charisma and clutch post-season hits provide a little extra zing. But I don’t support him until the greatest DH in history gets a plaque. And that man is Edgar Martinez.

Adrian Gonzalez
2016 BBREF WAR:
2.1

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: 46
Eric: 46

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: 41
Eric: 47

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: Joe Start, Jack Fournier, Carlos Delgado, and Dolf Camili all now trail Gonzalez.
Eric: Don Mattingly

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
Miller: Ed Konetchy. That’s all.
Eric: No one.

Current career trajectory:
This year was a clear step back for Gonzalez in terms of power; he’s never had a lower SLG in a full season. Add to that he’ll turn 35 about a month into next season, and we don’t really have a recipe for greatness moving forward. His career looks so much like that of Carlos Delgado’s. Maybe he finishes decently and winds up being Orlando Cepeda. Maybe he finished better and fights for a spot in the top-30.

HoME Outlook:
It’s not very rosy. He wasn’t a regular until he was 24, and he wasn’t a star until he was 27. There really weren’t enough years left after that. Plus, he’s bounced around a little and hasn’t put up a ton of Ink or competed for an MVP, so his Hall chances are limited too.

Paul Goldschmidt
2016 BBREF WAR:
4.8

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: 81
Eric: Somewhere south of 86 (I stopped counting there)

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: 64
Eric: 75

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: Roy Sievers, Joe Adcock, Mickey Vernon, Ron Fairly, Andres Galarraga, Wally Joyner, Phil Cavarretta, High Pockets Kelly, Wally Pipp, Ferris Fain, Dan McGann, Earl Torgeson, Hal Trosky, Kent Hrbek, and Derrek Lee
Eric: Prince Fielder, Tino Martinez, and a bunch of guys no one cares about

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
Miller: Jim Bottomley among many; he would reach 51st all-time
Eric: About nine more mediocre players, including Hall of Famer High Pockets Kelly

Current career trajectory:
He’ll be 29 next season. Let’s give him +.5 WAR per year until 30, then decrement by 0.5 until he’s either 40 or at 0 WAR. Works out to about 75 WAR, and a CHEWS figure of 57.4. That would be good enough to rank along with the likes of Keith Hernandez, Jim Thome, and Hank Greenberg. Pretty good. Some of the guys on his BBREF comp list at age 28 were the Mo Vaughn, Tim Salmon, Adrian Gonzalez types—slow footed sluggers—but Jeff Bagwell tops the list. Like Bagwell, Goldschmidt seems to be a pretty good athlete who steals bases and is very mobile first baseman. I like his chances to retain that athleticism.

HoME Outlook:
Goldschmidt need not reach Bagwell’s heights to get into the HoME. A couple more vintage Goldschmidt years and a gentle decline will get him into the Will Clark/John Olerud/Mark McGwire range that defines the borderline at first base.

Freddie Freeman
2016 BBREF WAR:
6.5

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: Not in the top-100
Eric: Not in the top-100

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: 86
Eric: Still not in the top-100

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: This is the first year I’ve charted Freeman, which seems like the right call. Of all players on my list who deserve to be charted, Freeman is currently last. That’s 85th, a shade behind Hal Chase.
Eric: Same here. Though I still have him a little lower than Miller.

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
Miller: Another year like this would vault him into 80th place, just past Bob Watson. Perhaps I should have taken another year before looking at Freeman.
Eric: Yup, it would sling him over Moose Skowron and into the mid-80s at his position

Current career trajectory:
It’s way too early to tell. He had his second All-Star type of season at age 26. He also had his best home run total, best slugging percentage, and best walk rate ever. Maybe he’s about to explode on the NL? Time will tell.

HoME Outlook:
It’s way too early to tell. Check back in a year or five.

Anthony Rizzo
2016 BBREF WAR:
5.7

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: Unranked
Eric: Unranked

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: 87
Eric: Higher than Freddie Freeman…

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: Hal Chase and a lot of guys I haven’t charted.
Eric: Lots of nobodies as he climbs the bottom reaches of the board.

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
Miller: He’d be 78th on my list, just ahead of Mickey Vernon
Eric: The likes of Bob Watson, Ron Fairly, Tino Martinez if he really turns on the jets

Current career trajectory:
Entering his age-27 season, Rizzo has reason to be optimistic. He’s booked three straight All-Star level years and hasn’t missed many games to injury in the last four years. He fields his position well and has some athleticism as well. Doing what we did for Goldschmidt above, we get outrageous numbers (nearly 100 career WAR), but it offers a sense that he’s got some vast career potential. Let’s instead say that he maintains a 6 WAR/year peak through age 30 then declines by 0.5 WAR a year. He still ends up at 78 career WAR and a career comparable to Jim Thome’s.

HoME Outlook:
Like Goldschmidt, Rizzo isn’t a sluggardly slugger but a multidimensional player who, barring injury should age better than someone like Prince Fielder. It’s too early to say much with certainty, but he absolutely bears watching.

Mike Napoli
2016 BBREF WAR:
1.0

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: Going into this season, Napoli wasn’t yet on our catcher boards.
Eric: Unranked

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: With his games played in 2016, he’s now a first baseman. And at first base, he now ranks #75.
Eric: 78

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: Before 2016 Napoli’s numbers were behind Mickey Vernon, Ron Fairly, and Andres Galarraga.
Eric: Bob Watson

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
Miller: Wally Joyner is slated to go down next year. However, we should expect Anthony Rizzo to pass Napoli.
Eric: Joe Adcock and Tino Martinez

Current career trajectory:
He turns 35 this month. The Indians have to be excited that Napoli performed passably in 2016. His 2017 employer probably shouldn’t expect the same.

HoME Outlook:
He has no shot.

Carlos Santana
2016 BBREF WAR:
3.0

Rank at the position after 2015:
Miller: Off the board.
Eric: Unranked

Rank at the position after 2016:
Miller: 85
Eric: 85, if not lower, but I stop evaluating guys in that vicinity

Who’d he pass in 2016?
Miller: Hal Chase and Joe Kuhel
Eric: Hal Chase

Who’s next with the same season in 2017?
Miller: Mo Vaughn and Bill Skowron
Eric: Prince Fielder

Current career trajectory:
At 31 next year, Santana’s peak is likely over with. He’s been an above average player for six years now, and he may continue to be for a couple, three, or five more. However, he is what he is at this juncture, and there’s little likelihood that his performance will reach a new level.

HoME Outlook:
Like his fellow former-catcher turned first baseman/DH Mike Napoli, he has no shot.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “2016 Update, First Base

  1. The best arguments I’ve read for David Ortiz are from Kiko Sakata (Hall of Merit)’s website:
    http://baseball.tomthress.com/StatTables/Similars.php?id=ortid001
    http://baseball.tomthress.com/Leaders/UberLeaders.php?y1=1930&y2=2016&p=0.5&e=0.5&w=0.137&a=2.012&r=1&na=0&nr=0&c=1.127&b1=0.929&b2=1.005&b3=0.961&ss=0.929&lf=0.961&cf=0.961&rf=0.961&dh=0.929&ph=0.961&pr=0.961&o1=0.976&sp=0.976&rp=1.510&psw=1&psa=1&psr=1&gt=162&ga=1&n=999

    The defensive spectrum comes out much differently with Tom’s analysis.

    Otherwise, agreed that Ortiz definitely shows up short of hall level.

    Posted by Ryan | April 2, 2017, 2:21 pm
    • Thanks for the comment, Ryan. What you call the “best” arguments, I call the “only non-biased, non-fallacious” arguments. More directly, yes, it’s all about the positional adjustments. If you have a decent argument against what amounts to a DH penalty, it’s reasonable to say that Ortiz belongs. We’re completely on the same page here.

      Posted by Miller | April 2, 2017, 2:35 pm
      • “What you call the “best” arguments, I call the “only non-biased, non-fallacious” arguments.”
        This gave me a good laugh…and I agree.

        Posted by Ryan | April 2, 2017, 3:01 pm

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