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Miller

Miller has written 489 posts for the Hall of Miller and Eric

How I Rank Players, Introducing MAPES+

Eric and I have been working on our HoME for going on five years now, and during that time I’ve revised my evaluation and ranking systems on many, many occasions. What I haven’t done, at least not with proper transparency, is to share the totality of my method with our readers. The primary reason for holding back, I suppose, is that even I wasn’t comfortable with where I was. Also, process posts aren’t so fun to read or write. But it’s time. More and more people are checking out the HoME (thank you!), and with exposure can come criticism. I’m quite critical of other systems that don’t explain how they arrive where they arrive, so I want to correct for that concern here.

What I’m going to do in this post is explain how I convert BBREF WAR to my seasonal WAR totals. Then I explain how I use seasonal WAR totals to rank players.

Choosing WAR

The two most commonly cited WARs come from our friends at Baseball Reference and Fangraphs. I used to employ a combination of the WAR ratings on each site. I few years ago, however, I stopped using Fangraphs. There are two reasons, both pretty simple. First, I have to admit that I don’t quite understand everything that goes into FG WAR. I’m not suggesting they’re hiding anything. I don’t know that they are. But I understand everything at BBREF and not at FG. It’s easier for me to justify that which I understand, so I use BBREF WAR only. The second reason lacks good science, but I hold to it anyway. The Fangraphs system produces results that I just don’t buy. For example, they say that Don Sutton is the 14th best pitcher ever by career WAR. Tommy John is 22nd, Jim Kaat 27th. Over at BBREF, Sutton is 30th, John 48th, and Kaat 130th. I buy what BBREF is selling, at FG, not so much. Perhaps if I understood exactly why Sutton, for example, grades as he does, I could be swayed. But I don’t think I do.

If you were to ask me which seasonal WAR is more predictive of future results, I’d go with FG. If you were to ask me which seasonal WAR better represents what should have happened, I’d again pick FG. But I don’t think either is what WAR should be about when determining the best players ever. I think it should measure results – what actually happened. And for me, BBREF does that better than FG.

Adjustments for All Players

Everything Counts

When position players pitch, it counts. Similarly, hitting counts for pitchers. The first of those statements isn’t a very big deal except for a few guys like Monte Ward. But it’s a pretty huge deal for pitchers. Guys like Red Ruffing, Wes Ferrell, and Early Wynn add tremendous value with their bats. On the other hand, Pud Galvin, Lefty Grove, and Stan Coveleski are hurt quite a bit by theirs. This decision took a bit of time for me, but I think it’s clear cut in the end. I’m far more concerned with understanding which pitcher was a more valuable to his team than I am with which player was a better pitcher. WAR is a stat about value. My adjustments need to be related to overall value.

Not Everything Counts Equally

We say the American Association, Union Association, Players League, and Federal League were major leagues. But not all leagues had the value of major leagues, so I make adjustments, not to every season, but to many.

American Association    1882  80%
American Association    1883  90%
American Association    1884  80%
American Association    1885  90% 
American Association    1886  95%
American Association    1887  95%
American Association    1888  90%
American Association    1889  95%
American Association    1890  90%
American Association    1890  90%
American Association    1891  85%

Federal League          1914  75%
Federal League          1915  75%

Players League          1890  90%

Union Association       1884  65%

 

I’ve considered adjustments to the AL and NL prior to integration, and to the AL for years after that because they lagged behind the NL. I haven’t adjusted those years, though I still may if I can come up with a good way.

Negative Seasons

Some folks don’t count seasons with negative WAR. They argue that teams should have known better and that the players shouldn’t have been in the majors. Those who don’t count negative seasons adjust for what should have happened rather than what actually did happen. So they should also adjust for time missed to military service. The should adjust for time spent in the minors when the player should have been in the majors. They should adjust for times when pitchers shouldn’t have been on the mound due to injury, or when they should have been lifted due to ineffectiveness. They should adjust for a ton of things if they’re just going to dump seasons where the player shouldn’t have been in the majors. I prefer to measure what happened, not to speculate about what might have been.

Adjustments for Military Service

I do not make any. Simply, I want to evaluate what happened, not what may have happened.

Adjustments for Position Players

Defensive Regression Analysis

I’ve written about this a bunch of times. But if you really want to learn about it, check out the Michael Humphreys articles at Fangraphs. Better yet, buy his book, Wizardry. In short, I integrate the findings of Humphreys, located at The Baseball Gauge, because they make sense. He doesn’t over-count errors. He uses freely available statistics. He starts thinking with the team level, not the player level. Most of all, his results pass the sniff test. For example, players generally see their DRAs decrease as they age, which is exactly what we expect.

But I could be wrong in my appreciation for DRA, so I don’t completely substitute it for Rfield. Rather, I use DRA at 70% weight and Rfield at 30% weight since the mound moved to 60’6”. Before that, I use them at 50% each. For catchers, I use 70% Rfield and 30% DRA for all seasons. When I’m trying to make adjustments like this, I really appreciate how BBREF’s WAR has components you can substitute if you prefer them.

Yankee Stadium LF Arm Adjustment

Continuing with our DRA adjustments, I follow Michael Humphreys’ recommendation and adjust the arm of Yankee left fielders down by half a run for every 145 innings. That’s because, simply, Yankee Stadium makes things easier on left fielders. I used to make adjustments for Fenway and for Coors as well, but @DanHirsch has done such a phenomenal job at The Baseball Gauge making those adjustments for us, so I no longer have to. If you’re interested in DRA, check out that site’s player pages under defense. Here’s Omar Vizquel’s page.

Playing Time Adjustment

Seasons today typically have 162 games. But before 1961 in the AL and 1962 in the NL, it was a 154-game schedule. And in the game’s early days, it was different still. Plus, in seasons like 1995, 1994, 1981, 1972, and others, teams have played shorter schedules. I have some desire to adjust for changes essentially beyond the historical control of players. However, I do not make every season equal to 162 games. First, I am loathe to credit players for things that didn’t happen. So I had to think about what’s worse, crediting players for things they didn’t actually do or comparing apples (seasons of 162 games) to things that aren’t quite apples (seasons of fewer than 162 games). I decided to give some extra credit. For two reasons, it can’t be full credit. First, it didn’t actually happen. And second, players have a non-zero chance of injury in those extra games. So I try to get players whose teams played nearly 162 games a greater percentage of the way toward 162 than those who played fewer.

Stay with me now if you can. I take a quarter of the difference between team games and 162. I add that number to the percentage of 162 games his team played, and I add that percentage of his yearly WAR to his yearly WAR to get my updated yearly WAR.

Maybe an example would work? Let’s say a team has a schedule that was exactly 60% as long as a 162 game schedule. (Forget for a moment that such a schedule would be 97.2 games long. Just stick with the example). That season is 40% shy of 100% of 162. So I take a quarter of that 40%, or 10%, and I add it to the 60% the team actually played, or 70%. What I do then is take 70% of the difference between the theoretical 162-game WAR and the actual WAR, and I add that to the actual WAR to come up with my adjusted WAR.

Basically, I want to add some credit, but not all. I want to respect the chance for injury, and I think I do that.

Additional Catching Adjustments

Catching Adjustment

There was a time when I made pretty big adjustments for catchers, trying to see them like other position players. But the truth is they’re not like other position players. They play fewer games, have shorter careers, and move away from their position to protect their bodies more frequently than players of other positions. I’ve stopped making that adjustment for two reasons. First, it’s inconsistent with other things I believe in. I don’t want to give credit for something that didn’t happen. Second, the theory at the HoME that we should elect an approximately equal number of players at each position eliminates the need for an adjustment. We’re going to get enough catchers into the HoME without any artificial inflation.

If you’re paying close attention to position distribution at the HoME, however, you’d note that catchers lag behind other positions. There are reasons for that. The main reason is that catchers play other positions, but almost no non-catchers ever catch. Johnny Bench, for example, is 79% a catcher, 9% a third baseman, 7% a first baseman, 3% a left fielder, and 3% a right fielder. So catchers increase the number of HoMErs at positions other than catcher, though there are only eight non-catcher HoMErs who contribute anything at catcher. Anyway, while I’ve digressed from explaining my system, I think it’s an important tangent to have taken.

Pitcher Handling

In 2012, Max Marchi wrote a series of posts at Baseball Prospectus relating to how catchers handle pitchers. You can read up on the detail if you choose. Let me just say that I accept his methodology, but I don’t accept it completely. For catchers from 1948 (the farthest back we have Retrosheet data) through 2011, Marchi has career runs saved through pitcher handling. I divide that number by career games caught to see how many runs were saved on a per-game basis. Then I multiply that number by the number of games caught in a season. However, since I only believe this system to be good, not perfect, not with any guarantee of being correct, I take just one quarter of that final number and add it to the catcher’s annual WAR. One reason Eric’s system and mine diverge is that he includes a higher percentage of the Marchi adjustment. I think we understand catcher value less well than that of any other position. I’m not quite willing to adopt anything in full before there’s widespread mainstream acceptance of it.

Adjustments for Pitchers

Before 1893

Before 1893, the game was different. For starters, the mound was only 50 feet away from the plate. That meant pitchers could generate the power necessary with less effort. Thus, they could pitch more innings. To compensate for the huge pitcher inning totals in the 50 foot era, I count only 85% of their seasonal WAR.

Before 1883

Before 1883, pitchers essentially had to throw the ball underhand. They had a role of initiating play more than a role of trying to keep the batter from hitting. Thus, for pitchers before 1883, I take only 70% of the above number, or 60% of their seasonal WAR.

Playoff Bonus

Pitching is physically demanding. I believe that pitchers have a limited number of pitches in their arms before injury will set in. Some get lucky and age out before their arms fall off, but many are not so lucky. Because of this belief, I offer a bonus for playoff innings pitched. This isn’t a bonus based on quality; it’s an acknowledgment that innings during the playoffs can cost innings during subsequent regular seasons. I want to credit the wear and tear on the arm, which I think can be seen by innings, not by quality, which I think would even out over time if given enough innings.

To add seasonal credit, I determine a pitcher’s WAR rate per 250 innings and multiply that rate by playoff innings before dividing by 250. For Eppa Rixey’s 6.67 innings in the 1915 World Series, for example, he gets 0.08 WAR to add to his seasonal total. In 1998, David Wells threw 30.67 playoff innings, which added 0.49 WAR to his seasonal total. And last October, Justin Verlander threw 36.67 innings, which temporarily adds 0.82 WAR to his total. As his career WAR rate improves or declines, that number will change as well.

Determining a Player’s Position

There are lots of ways one could determine where to place a player when trying to determine the best players at a particular position. I choose the simplest, the place he played the most games, disregarding games at designated hitter. I choose games because it’s easier to defend than anything else. It doesn’t rely on feel. I don’t ever have to try to parse WAR in an individual season where someone played six different positions. For every Ernie Banks who I call a 1B when most others call a SS, there are dozens of other easy calls that I don’t have to worry about. Yes, I know, designated hitter is a position. The reason I disregard games at DH is because there is not a large enough group of great career designated hitters to measure those players against a group of peers.

Creating MAPES+

The Players

So with the adjustments above, I determined my seasonal WAR for 1511 players. That’s 454 pitchers and 1057 position players. For reference, there are 996 players in history with at least 5000 plate appearances. That’s how wide (or how narrow, if you prefer) my database is. With seasonal WAR, I can begin to create MAPES.

Creating MAPES

Like Eric’s CHEWS (CHalek’s Equivalent WAR System), MAPES (Miller’s Awesome Player Evaluation System) is a derivative of Jay Jaffe’s JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score system). I like my name most because it connects to Cliff Mapes, an outfielder who had a five-year run, mostly for the Yankees, from 1948-1952. Basically, I’m just trying to be cute.

When I started, I adjusted MAPES so it didn’t fall short where I thought Jaffe’s did. In my opinion, Jaffe trades simplicity for quality or accuracy. Let me explain.

JAWS is the average of career WAR and peak WAR, measured by a player’s seven best seasons, which don’t have to be consecutive. Why seven? What if someone has a peak of six years? Or eight? And why is it the average of career and the seven best? That’s necessarily weighted toward career (unless you produced negative WAR outside of your best seven seasons).

I created a system, which I’ve since dumped for reasons I’ll explain below, that gave credit to players for each season, weighing their best most, and their worst least, basically. Of course, while my system was more “accurate”, whatever that word means, the results it produced were hardly different at all from Jaffe’s. Jaffe and Eric would both say that my system dealt in an unnecessary area of minutiae, that the 45th best 2B is pretty much the same as the 48th best 2B. Further, none of us would ever say for certain that the guy we have ranked 45th best was actually the better player. No matter how specific, these are just estimates. They’re really just sorting systems. Even BBREF says that seasonal WAR that’s 1-2 apart shouldn’t be considered definitive.

While my position actually wasn’t any better than Jaffe’s, I continued to think we needed something less rigid than just the seven best seasons and the career.

Arguing for Consecutive

When JAWS began, it considered a player’s seven best consecutive seasons. Jaffe has since modified that to non-consecutive seasons. Eric agrees. And so do I, to an extent. While we cannot get a sense of a player’s greatness in a system that could easily not include his best or second best season, we also cannot do so if we don’t count the extended period of time when he was at his best, trying to ignore the essentially false construct of a baseball season. So I do consider consecutive seasons also.

Yes, more factors make my system more complex and less translatable. They also make it marginally more defensible.

Theorizing MAPES+

Eric did the work in April and August with CHEWS+. Adam Darowski did it before we did with his Hall Rating. For the math, check out Eric’s excellent CHEWS+ post. A point of his system, Adams, and now MAPES+ is to index to 100. If you’re at 110, you’re 10% better than the level needed to be a HoMEr. If you’re at 90, you’re 10% worse. I think if you’re at 110+, you’re almost always going to be in. If you’re below 90, you’re almost always going to be out. And if you’re in between, there’s a discussion to be had. Basically.

Calculating MAPES

As a peak voter, I include a player’s best more than I do his career. After all, it’s a player’s peak performance that does the most to drive his team toward the playoffs. My formula for position players is 37.5% peak +12.5% prime + 12.5% consecutive + 37.5% career. To get the numbers for peak, prime, consecutive, and career, I take the median of the top X pitchers and top X players by defensive position. Since there are 226 players in the HoME and I believe in a 70/30 hitter/pitcher split, I’m looking at about 20 players per position in the HoME and about 70 pitchers, I look at the median of the top-40 by defensive position and top 140 pitchers to determine what numbers to use for peak, prime, consecutive, and career.

Defining Peak, Prime, Consecutive, and Career

I’ll start with career since it’s easiest. It’s the total career WAR with my adjustments. All seasons count. And all seasons count equally.

I continue to use my seasonal WAR adjustments for the three categories that follow.

Jay Jaffe calls the best seven non-consecutive seasons a player’s peak. Since there’s no good reason seven is the right number, I take the average of the medians explained above of the best 5, 6, 7, and 8 seasons. It’s hardly any additional calculation, and I think I encompass more of what reasonable people would call a peak.

Consecutive is easy enough. But since the more consecutive years are included, themore likely a down year is included, I look at a relatively small number of seasons for the score of consecutive. My consecutive score is the average of the medians of the 3, 4, and 5 best consecutive seasons.

Because I lean peak but don’t only reside there, I want to include another factor that will help to include players who were solid for longer than their peaks but didn’t necessarily tack on year after year of passable ball after their primes. For my prime score, I look at the average of the medians for the best 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 seasons.

A Change for Pitchers

If you consider my reasoning for adding a playoff bonus for pitchers but not a similar bonus for hitters, you’ll understand why my formula for ranking pitchers is a little different than for hitters. Innings add value to the game’s best pitchers. They also add strain. Because too many pitchers have their best seasons followed by less great seasons, I shift the consecutive factor to peak. My formula for pitchers is 50.0% peak +12.5% prime + 37.5% career.

I suppose you could call me out for inconsistency here, but the removal of consecutive feels right. And the results make sense. Every pitcher at 110+ is in or going. Every pitcher below 90 is out or wouldn’t get in if he retired today. And the guys in between represent a pretty wide borderline about whom we can debate.

Putting It All Together

Once I have my peak, prime, consecutive, and career scores, I weigh them as I explained above. I then multiply by 100 to get my MAPES+ score. Babe Ruth, as you might expect, comes out best. His 245.60 represents someone 145% over the borderline. The closest to exactly 100.00, the definition of the borderline, is Roy White at 100.01. The weakest guy I have ranked thus far is Addison Russell at 18.25, though he still has almost his entire career in front of him. The weakest retired guy overall is Charlie Comiskey at 25.02, or about 75% worse than the borderline. He got into our data set early in the process because he’s in the Hall of Fame, not because he should really be there.

Final Thoughts

I like my MAPES+ system more than any I have used in the past. Indexing to 100 is smart. I like the idea that no one exact number represents peak. And I like tilting toward peak but not residing only there. I’m troubled by using different systems for hitters and pitchers though. And I don’t know that my playoff bonus for pitchers is exactly right. Further, I expect that I’ll shift my preference more or less toward peak or prime as we move forward, and I’ll tweak totals on occasion. Still, I like this system a lot. It’s the strongest I’ve put together, thanks in huge part to Eric doing a lot of the leg work and providing the inspiration.

Miller

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Grading the BBWAA Ballots, #258-317

Well, I think this is it. I’ve finally gotten around to grading all of the ballots posted only by the BBWAA, and then, of course, by the great Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs). This seems like the right time to thank Ryan for another year of outstanding service, to direct you to our interview with him, and to remind you that Edgar Martinez fell only 20 votes short of election on his ninth ballot.

On March 9, I’ll post all of the ballots in one place so you can refer to them, memorize them, or remind yourself how wonderful (or awful) your favorite writer is.

Rating system and 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10, 11-14, 15, 16-17, 18-25, 26-32, 33, 34-39, 40-46, 47-51, 52-54, 55-66, 67-81, 82-91, 92-100, 101-105, 106-118, 119-136, 137-146, 147-155, 156-163, 164-168, 169, 170-175, 176-179, 180-182, 183, 184-185, 186-195, 196-197, 198, 199-209, 210-234, 235-257

The Ballots

Anonymous #7: -105

  • It’s blank, so we begin at -100.
  • No explanation, so we end at -105.

Eduardo B. Almada: 15

  • Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him at 50.
  • No change with the relievers.
  • Down to 40 with Vizquel.
  • Down to 20 with the two open spots.
  • And down to 15 because there was no explanation.

David Barron: 45

  • Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome start him at 70.
  • No change with the closers.
  • Vizquel drags him to 60.
  • He dropped Bonds this year while adding Vlad and Edgar. And Clemens but not Bonds means he falls to 50.
  • The ballot only at the BBWAA means he finishes at 45.

Ronald Blum: 25

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Sosa, and Thome make 60.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • The three open spots drop him to 30.
  • No explanation means he falls to 25.

Paul Bodi: -15

  • Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, and Thome make 40.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • He drops to -10 because he couldn’t find any other guys to vote for.
  • And he finishes at -15 because he doesn’t explain.

Dennis Bracken: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, and Walker get him going at 80.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • No explanation drops him to 75.

Ray Buck: 15

  • Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome total 60.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • The three openings drop him to 30.
  • Though he had space, he stopped voting for Schilling this year. No explanation.
  • Clemens without Bonds drops him to 20.
  • No explanation means he falls to 15.

Joe Christensen: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • No explanation drops him to 85.

Tom Christensen: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker get him to 90.
  • Vizquel drops him to 80.
  • No explanation means he falls to 75.

Ron Cook: -45

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome bring him to a miserable 30.
  • And the seven openings drophim to -40.
  • Luckily he didn’t explain, so he falls to -45.

Joe Cowley: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Thome mean 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • A loss of 10 for the open spot, down to 70.
  • And down to 65 because there’s no explanation.

Guy Curtright: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. We have the very rare voter who scores 100 but didn’t reveal before the results.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 95.

Steve Dilbeck: -35

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome start him at 30.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • And the six blanks drop him to -30
  • Not surprisingly, there’s no explanation, so he falls to -35.

Chuck Dybdal: 5

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, and Edgar bring him to 50.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The four open spots drop him to 10.
  • No explanation means he lands at 5.

Bob Elliott: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Thome, and Walker start him at 70.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • The blank drops him to 60.
  • And the lack of explanation means he finishes at 55.

Alan Eskew: 15

  • Bonds, Andruw, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, and Thome start him at 60.
  • Damon and Hoffman keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The open spot drops him to 40.
  • Bonds and not Clemens drops him to 30.
  • Manny and not Clemens drops him to 20.
  • The lack of explanation means he finishes at 15.

Michael Fannin: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, and Schilling total 80.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • McGriff but not Thome drops him to 70.
  • No explanation for that craziness drops him to 65.

Howard Fendrich: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome make 50.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Drop him 40 points for the blanks. Down to 10.
  • Drop him 5 more for lacking an explanation. Down to 5.

Larry Fine: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him going with 60.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The two blanks drop him to 30.
  • No explanation means he finishes at 25.

Mike Fitzpatrick: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome mean 70.
  • No change with the relievers.
  • The blank drops him to 60.
  • And he finishes at 55 with no explanations.

Randy Galloway: -35

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome make 30.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 20.
  • The five open spots make -30.
  • I just can’t make myself to listen to a 37-minute podcast to hate his reasoning. We’ll dock him 5 points and call it a day.

Jim Gauger: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, and Thome total 70.
  • Hoffman and Moyer keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 55.

Jerry Green: 45

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Sheffield, and Thome get him to 70.
  • Damon keeps him there.
  • Vizquel brings him to 60.
  • The blank takes him to 50.
  • And without an explanation, he falls to 45.

Bill Hartman: 25

  • Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Kent, and Thome start him at 50.
  • The relievers and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The blank drops him to 30.
  • And the lack of explanation brings him to 25 to finish.

Jim Hawkins: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome. That’s 100 for the late revealer!
  • He falls to 95 because he lacks an explanation.

Jim Henneman: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Sheffield, and Thome make 70.
  • No change with the closers of McGriff.
  • Sheffield and not Bonds or Clemens drops him to 60.
  • No explanation means he finishes at 55.

Manolo Hernandez-Douen: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Johan, Sosa, and Thome total 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • No explanation means he falls to 65.

Steve Herrick: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • The open spot makes 60.
  • The fact that there’s no explanation drops him to 55.

John Hickey: 75

  • Bonds, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, and Thome make 80.
  • No change with the closers.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 75.

Hirokazu Higuchi: -5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, and Thome get him started with 40.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 30.
  • The three open spots drop him to 0.
  • And no explanation means he falls to -5.

Jeff Horrigan: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Thome make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He falls to 85 because he doesn’t offer an explanation.

Alan Hoskins: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Sosa and Thome make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • A Kerry Wood vote means he drops to 70.
  • He falls to 65 because he doesn’t offer an explanation.

Paul Hoynes: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome get him to 70.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him 10 to 60.
  • And since there’s no explanation, he drops to 55.

Jim Ingraham: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 70 to start.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And the three openings make 30.
  • Of course, he explains nothing, so he falls to 25.

Tom Keegan: 15

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, and Manny make 60.
  • The four blanks drop him to 20.
  • He voted for Edgar and Schilling last year but not this. Why??? He falls to 15.

Chuck Klonke: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker total 80.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 75.

Steve Kornacki: 45

  • Andruw, Chipper, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker mean 70.
  • No change with Damon or Hoffman.
  • The open spot drops him to 60.
  • Sheffield but no Bonds or Clemens drops him to 50.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 45.

Bob Kuenster: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker total 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff change nothing.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And he loses 5 points lacking an explanation.

Bill Lankhof: -10

  • Bonds, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Thome, and Walker start him at 60.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Chris Carpenter drops him to 50.
  • The two openings mean he falls to 30.
  • Bonds and not Clemens drops him to 20.
  • Carpenter and not Mussina or Schilling drops him to 0
  • He changed his mind on five guys in the last year and maintained votes for only three. That’s gotta be worth a deduction. Down to -5.
  • No explanation means he finishes at -10.

Mike Lopresti: 45

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome total 70.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • The blank drops him to 50.
  • And the lack of explanation means he finishes at 45.

Mike Lupica: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him at 70.
  • No change with the relievers.
  • No explanation drops him to 65.

Bill Madden: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Schilling, and Thome make 60.
  • McGriff keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The two blank spots drop him to 30.
  • And the lack of an explanation means he falls to 25.

Marino Martinez: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • A lack of explanation means he finishes at 65.

Dan McGrath: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker get him going at 70.
  • Vizquel drags him to 60.
  • The two blanks mean he falls to 40.
  • And no explanation means he finishes at 35.

Larry Millson: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker total 80.
  • No change for Hoffman or McGriff.
  • He finishes at 75 because he doesn’t explain.

Fred Mitchell: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Manny, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • Kent, Edgar, Manny, and Walker are adds, while Schilling lost a vote.
  • Down 10 for voting for Manny but not Bonds and Clemens. That’s 60.
  • Down 10 for voting for Sheffield but not Bonds or Clemens. That’s 50.
  • Down 5 for not explaining anything. That’s 45.
  • And down 10 more because he seems to take the process as a joke, changing five votes from one year to the next, using no internal consistency, and explaining nothing. That’s 35.

Sheldon Ocker: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Thome, and Walker start him at 60.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The open spot means he falls to 40.
  • And the lack of explanation finishes him at 35.

Greg Patton: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • The blank drops him to 70.
  • No explanation means he finishes at 65.

Ed Petruska: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Sheffield total 90
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He added Bonds and Clemens this year, so that’s good.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 85.

Ray Ratto: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • No explanation means he falls to 85.

Jim Reeves: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker start him at 60.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • The two blanks drop him to 40.
  • Four adds this year, which is great, but no explanation, which drops him to 35.

Patrick Reusse: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Rolen, Johan, Thome, and Walker make 70 to start.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The opening drops him to 40.
  • The lack of explanation means he finishes at 35.

Alan Robinson: -35

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome make 30.
  • No change with McGriff.
  • The six openings drop him to -30.
  • He falls 5 more to -35 lacking any explanation.

Richard Rupprecht: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome mean 80 points.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The blank drops him to 70.
  • And the lack of explanation means he finishes at 65.

Dick Scanlon: -45

  • Chipper and Thome get him to 20.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 10.
  • The five open spots drop him to -40.
  • The lack of explanation drops him to -45.

Chaz Scoggins: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Schilling, and Thome get him to 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • The blank space means he falls to 60.
  • No explanations means he falls to 55.

Tom Timmerman: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Thome, and Walker start him at 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And a lack of explanation drops him to 85.

Howard Ulman: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Drop 5 to 85 for no explanation.

Bill Windler: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • And the lack of explanation drops him to 85.

Gordon Wittenmyer: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Santana, Schilling, and Thome start him at 70.
  • Vizquel makes 60.
  • The two open spaces drop him to 40.
  • No explanation, so he finishes at 35.

The Scores

Peter Barzilai: 100
Ken Davidoff: 100
Ryan Fagan: 100
Mark Feinsand: 100
Mark Hale: 100
Sam Mellinger: 100
Mark Newman: 100
Eric Nuñez; 100
Joe Posnanski: 100
Scott Priestle: 100
C. Trent Rosecrans: 100
Michael Silverman: 100
Mike Bass: 95
Darrin Beene: 95
Erik Boland: 95
Mark Bradley: 95
Guy Curtright: 95
Josh Dubow: 95
Jeff Fletcher: 95
Jim Hawkins: 95
Danny Knobler: 95
Janie McCauley: 95
Phil Miller: 95
J.P. Morosi: 95
LaVelle Neal III: 95
Steve Politi: 95
TR Sullivan: 95
Dom Amore: 90
Anthony Andro: 90
Mike Berardino: 90
Tim Booth: 90
Jerry Crasnick: 90
Ryan Divish: 90
Derrick Goold: 90
Patrick Graham: 90
Evan Grant: 90
Mike Harrington: 90
Mike Imrem: 90
Gene Myers: 90
Tim Kurkjian: 90
Bob Sanvarese: 90
Mike Vaccaro: 90
Anonymous #4: 85
Anonymous #5: 85
Peter Abraham: 85
David Ammenheuser: 85
Chris Bahr: 85
Peter Botte: 85
Dave Campbell: 85
Pat Caputo: 85
Marc Carig: 85
Joe Christensen: 85
Jay Cohen: 85
Brian Costello: 85
Tim Cowlishaw: 85
Tom D’Angelo: 85
Chris De Luca: 85
Tom Dienhart: 85
Dan Hayes: 85
Bob Herzog: 85
Jeff Horrigan: 85
George A. King III: 85
Bob Klapisch: 85
Roch Kubatko: 85
Gabe Lacques: 85
Rob Maaddi: 85
David Maril: 85
Anthony McCarron: 85
Joe McDonald: 85
Ed Petruska: 85
Nick Pietruszkiewicz: 85
Rick Plumlee: 85
Brendan Prunty: 85
Luis Rangel: 85
Ray Ratto: 85
Tim Reynolds: 85
John Romano: 85
Ken Rosenthal: 85
Susan Slusser: 85
Jayson Stark: 85
Tom Timmerman: 85
Howard Ulman: 85
Bernie Wilson: 85
Bill Windler: 85
Jack Curry: 80
Ian Harrison: 80
Lynn Henning: 80
Scott Lauber: 80
Ian O’Connor: 80
Drew Olson: 80
Steve Popper: 80
Jeff Wilson: 80
Mark Zuckerman: 80
Amalie Benjamin: 75
Dennis Bracken: 75
Steve Buckley: 75
Larry Brooks: 75
Garry Brown: 75
Tom Christensen: 75
Joe Haakenson: 75
John Hickey: 75
Joey Johnson: 75
Kevin Kernan: 75
Chuck Klonke: 75
Joseph Liao: 75
Seth Livingstone: 75
Jack Magruder: 75
Sean McAdam: 75
Larry Millson: 75
Roger Mooney: 75
Aurelio Moreno: 75
Bob Nightengale: 75
Mike Puma: 75
Tracy Ringolsby: 75
Mark Saxson: 75
Mike Shalin: 75
Joe Smith: 75
Jean-Jacques Taylor: 75
Marc Topkin: 75
Barry Bloom: 70
Kevin Cooney: 70
Paul Hagen: 70
Tom Haudricourt: 70
Richard Justice: 70
Tim Kawakami: 70
Mike Nadel: 70
Katsushi Nagao: 70
Carl Steward: 70
Kirk Wessler: 70
Jim Alexander: 65
Kirby Arnold: 65
Filip Bondy: 65
Marcos Breton: 65
Jim Caple: 65
Roberto Colon: 65
Greg Cote: 65
Joe Cowley: 65
Shi Davidi: 65
Michael Fannin: 65
Martin Fennelly: 65
Jeffrey Flanagan: 65
Peter Gammons: 65
Alan Hoskins: 65
Bruce Jenkins: 65
David Lennon: 65
Mike Lupica: 65
Marino Martinez: 65
John McGrath: 65
Bruce Miles: 65
Kevin Modesti: 65
Ross Newhan: 65
Greg Patton: 65
John Perrotto: 65
Troy Renck: 65
Dave Reynolds: 65
Anthony Rieber: 65
Adam Rubin: 65
Richard Rupprecht: 65
Henry Schulman: 65
John Shea: 65
Claire Smith: 65
Willie Smith: 65
Paul White: 65
George Willis: 65
Nick Cafardo: 60
Dan Connolly: 60
Chris Haft: 60
Steve Henson: 60
Barry Rozner: 60
John Tomase: 60
Earl Bloom: 55
Pete Caldera: 55
Bob Elliott: 55
Mark Faller: 55
Mike Fitzpatrick: 55
Jim Gauger: 55
John Harper: 55
Joe Henderson: 55
Jim Henneman: 55
Steve Herrick: 55
Chuck Johnson: 55
Bob Kuenster: 55
Jack McCaffery: 55
Mike Peticca: 55
Chaz Scoggins: 55
Joel Sherman: 55
Jeff Jacobs: 50
Dave Perkins: 50
Joe Rutter: 50
Anonymous #1: 45
Dave Albee: 45
Jaime Aron: 45
David Barron: 45
John Canzano: 45
Tony DeMarco: 45
John Eradi: 45
Steven Gietschier: 45
Steve Goldman: 45
Jerry Green: 45
Steve Kornacki: 45

Mike Lopresti: 45
Dennis Maffezzoli: 45
Roger Rubin: 45
Arnie Stapleton: 45
Clark Spencer: 40
Don Burke: 35
Jay Greenberg: 35
Bob Hohler: 35
Michael Knisley: 35
Sadiel Lebron: 35
Dan McGrath: 35
Scott Miller: 35
Fred Mitchell: 35
Sheldon Ocker: 35
Jeff Peek: 35
Jim Reeves: 35
Patrick Reusse: 35
Steve Wine: 35
Gordon Wittenmyer: 35
Jay Dunn: 30
Richard Griffin: 30
Terry Pluto: 30
Bob Ryan: 30
Rick Telander: 30
Ronald Blum: 25
Andrew Call: 25
Larry Fine: 25
Carter Gaddis: 25
Dan Gelston: 25
Dan Graziano: 25
Bill Hartman: 25
Jim Ingraham: 25
Thom Loverro: 25
Bill Madden: 25
Adam Mertz: 25
David Wilhelm: 25
Steve Simmons: 20
Eduardo B. Almada: 15
Andrew Baggarly: 15
Jeff Blair: 15
Ray Buck: 15
Sam Charchidi: 15
Alan Eskew: 15
Alan Greenwood: 15
Jon Heyman: 15
Tom Keegan: 15
Bernie Lincicome: 15
Bob Smizik: 15
Rick Morrissey: 10
Rob Parker: 10
Anonymous #6: 5
Mel Antonen: 5
Rob Biertempfel: 5
Bill Center: 5
Tim Dahlberg: 5
Mike Downey: 5
Howard Fendrich: 5
Mike Gonzales: 5
Karen Guregian: 5
Paul Gutierrez: 5
Mark Herrmann: 5
Marc Katz: 5
Bill Plunkett: 5
Bill Ballou: 0
Art Davidson: 0
Tony Massarotti: 0
Hal McCoy: 0
Bob Sherwin: 0
Ron Kroichick: -5
Scott Gregor: -5
Hirokazu Higuchi: -5
Jose de Jesus Ortiz: -5
John Delcos: -10
Dejan Kovacevic: -10
Bill Lankhof: -10
Carrie Muskat: -10
Barry Stanton: -10
Paul Sullivan: -10
Chris Assenheimer: -15
Paul Bodi: -15
David Borges: -15
John Rowe: -15
Glenn Schwarz: -15
David Ginsburg: -20
Ann Killion: -20
Rob Giles: -25
Terrence Moore: -25
Juan Vené: -25
Anonymous #2: -35
Steve Dilbeck: -35
Randy Galloway: -35
Jimmy Golen: -35
Pedro Gomez: -35
Steve Marcus: -35
Jorge Ortiz: -35
Alan Robinson: -35
Rob Rains
: -40
Ron Cook: -45
Paul Daugherty: -45
Dick Scanlon: -45
Jim Street: -45
Dan Shaughnessy: -55
Murray Chass: -70
Mark Purdy: -75
Bill Livingston: -95
Anonymous #7: -105

The System

  • You get 10 points for every player you select who I think has a reasonable case for the Hall. Alphabetically that means 10 points for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, or Larry Walker. That’s 16 guys to choose from.
  • You get 0 points for either Trevor Hoffman or Billy Wagner. Frequent readers will be surprised and most sabermetric thinkers will disagree with this stance since the value these pitchers created during their careers is about on par with John Tudor or Burt Hooton. However, as I judge these ballots, I want to give every chance that I could be wrong.
  • That’s why it’s also 0 points for Johnny Damon (I rank him 33rd in CF) or Fred McGriff (40th at 1B). For me, these are easy “no” votes, but I do respect the big Hall voter. And I don’t think you should have to vote for the ten best, just ten deserving. If I do a ton of squinting, I could get Damon in. McGriff, not so much. So…
  • You lose 10 points if you justify your McGriff vote by saying he was clean.
  • You also lose 10 if you vote for McGriff but not Thome, a player pretty much with the exact same case as McGriff, only a lot better.
  • You also lose 10 points for voting for anyone else on the ballot.
  • You lose 10 points for every empty space on your ballot. Even if you’re an anti-steroid voter, you can still fill your ballot with guys on the first list.
  • You lose 10 points for voting for Bonds and not Clemens, or vice versa.
  • You lose 10 points for talking about character, morality, or Joe Morgan (if you do so in a positive way).
  • You lose 10 points for voting for other steroid guys, but not Clemens or Bonds.
  • You lose 5 points for not explaining your ballot.
  • You lose 5 points for each judgment of the morality of specific players.
  • You lose 5 points for mentioning Coors Field as an argument against Larry Walker.
  • You lose 5 points for any comparison between Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith.
  • You lose 5 points for a vote against Edgar Martinez because he was a DH.
  • You lose 5 points for any other case of ridiculous logic.
  • You lose 5 more points if you send in a blank protest ballot.
  • You lose 5 points if you vote for Pete Rose. Just stop it!
  • You gain 5 points for saying the Hall should allow writers to vote for more than ten guys (a stance I don’t agree with) or for saying the Hall should make all ballots public (one I agree with).
  • You max out at 100 points.
  • Your score can dip as low as it dips.
  • I will edit this post as the voting season unfolds and I improve my method.

Miller

RIP, Players Falling Off the 2018 Ballot

Kerry Wood, SIToday will be our final word on many of the players who appeared on the 2018 BBWAA ballot. Unfortunately, one player, Omar Vizquel, is going to come up again and again and again for what I expect to be nine long years. He’s the only guy on both the 2018 and 2019 ballot who rightfully appears on this list. Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, and Jim Thome all entered the Hall of Miller and Eric along with Minnie Minoso, while the 14 guys below, they’re HoME fertilizer. And since we should say nice stuff about the dead, even Omar will get a positive review.

Chris Carpenter: A fine example of what injuries will do to a guy. He got to the majors at 22 and lasted until he was 37, but he only qualified for the ERA title nine times, which is about three or four times more than I’d have expected. In addition to finishes of second and third, he won the 2005 NL Cy Young Award. In retrospect, I’m a tiny bit surprised that trophy didn’t go to Dontrelle Willis. I suppose it’s because the Cards were great.

Johnny Damon, SIJohnny Damon: I wonder how he’ll be treated by his VC peers. Only Hall of Famers Barry Bonds, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Tris Speaker, Paul Molitor, Eddie Collins, and Craig Biggio top him in RBI, R, and SB. Throw in homers, and the list shrinks to just Bonds and Biggio. It’ll be interesting to watch.

Brad Lidge: The Astro and Phillie closer was extremely impressive in 2004 (HOU) and 2008 (PHI). His run in 2008 was historic – no blown saves from Opening Day through the final out of the World Series. He’s only 41st in career saves today. I thought he’d rank higher.

Livan Hernandez: In what seems a lifetime ago, Hernandez threw 200+ innings every year from 2000-2007, only once dropping below 216. From 2003-2005 he led the league every year, never once dipping under 233. I can’t imagine we’re going to see such a run for a long, long time. Just looking at the numbers, it’s hard to imagine a guy with 10 walks and a 5.27 ERA in two World Series games winning the MVP, but that’s what Livan did in 1997. Yeah, times have changed.

Orlando Hudson: From 2003-2010, he’s third among second basemen in WAR. Chase Utley leads by a bunch, but it’s the four-time Gold Glover and two-time All-Star battling Placido Polanco for second.

Aubrey Huff: Because he wasn’t hyped as a prospect, and he didn’t emerge as even a good player until age-25, Huff got a little less love during his career than perhaps he deserved. He was a fine player, posting four seasons of 4+ WAR. And he has two World Series rings for his troubles. Bully for him.

Generation KJason Isringhausen: Two things about Izzy’s career stand out for me. The first is his “Generation K” status with Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson. The second is how the A’s were so far ahead of the curve by flipping “closer” Billy Taylor to the Mets for him in 1999. Taylor pitched 13.1 innings in New York, giving up a dozen runs and never recording a save. Izzy stepped right into the closer role in Oakland and posted 75 saves before leaving for St. Louis after the 2001 season. A nice round total of 300 saves isn’t so bad.

Carlos Lee: I like to think of Lee as what Joe Carter would have been if he were a little bit better. Seriously. Like Carter, he put up 11 seasons of two-dozen of more homers. And only two players in history, Fred McGriff and Carlos Delgado, did so more and aren’t current or future members of the Hall or HoME. To me, that’s kind of impressive.

Hideki Matsui: The MVP of the 2009 World Series, Matsui won that award based largely on the final game in which he homered against Pedro Martinez and drove in six of the seven Yankee runs as they closed out Philadelphia in six games. Retrospectively, I’m kind of surprised he didn’t win the 2003 AL Rookie of the Year over Angel Berroa, a player of similar value that year. Oh well.

Kevin Millwood: The year was 1999. The Braves already had Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. Then this guy finished third in the Cy Young voting at age 24. The dynasty that already was would have been even greater had Millwood panned out as many expected. I think of Millwood a tiny bit like Frank Tanana in that he still had a very nice career despite not reaching the level many hoped. That disappointment plus $89 million isn’t so bad.

Moyer, BookJamie Moyer: In 1996 the Red Sox flipped Moyer to the Mariners to acquire Darren Bragg. I was happy. Moyer, 33 at the time, played another 15 seasons. He finished in the top-6 in Cy voting three times from 1999-2003, and he allowed more homers than anyone in MLB history. Were the ballot less stacked, I’d have been very much in favor of the Hall votes he received.

Omar Vizquel: I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone play a more beautiful shortstop. I don’t think the BBWAA will ever let him in. However, I expect the very first VC vote he sees will change that.

Kerry Wood: It’s 1998. A 21-year-old Wood is making the fifth start of his career against an Astro club that would win 102 games. He struck out the side in the first, including Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. The first two went down in the fifth. He had another in the third, as a sac bunt took away one of his K chances. The fourth saw two more, including Bagwell again. He was up to eight. Again, the side was fanned in the fifth. Up to 11. One more in the sixth made 12. We were looking at a really nice start, right? Wrong. We were looking as something historic. The side went down swinging in the seventh to get to 15. Oh, and Bagwell whiffed a third time. In the seventh, Brad Ausmus looked at strike three, while the other two failed swinging. That’s 18. Then Bill Spiers struck out to start the ninth. Craig Biggio grounded to short. And Derek Bell struck out to end it. Number 20. Had the Biggio grounder gotten through, Bagwell would have stepped to the plate again, perhaps a golden sombrero and whiff #21.

Carlos Zambrano: Maybe the most under-appreciated player on the obit list, Zambrano won a mere 132 games in his career. So I think we know why he was underappreciated. He was a three-time All-Star and finished fifth in the Cy Young voting as many times. A wonderful hitter for a pitcher, I consider him a good deal like Steve Rogers. Looked at another way, Zambrano’s career was kind of Jim Kaat’s, only really short and fat rather than incredibly tall and thin.

That’s all for our 2018 election. As always, we remind you to take a look at our Honorees page to see the plaques of our new members and all of the members of the Hall of Miller and Eric.

Miller

Mount Rushmore, Texas Rangers

Pudge Rodriguez, SIMLB’s second try at putting a franchise in Washington, these Senators lasted from 1961-1971. Since then, they’ve been the Texas Rangers. And though the club has cycled through a bunch of stars, they haven’t had a tremendous amount of success overall. Their best clubs lost the 2010 World Series to the Giants and the 2011 Fall Classic to the Cardinals. In that one they were up three games to two and up two runs heading to the bottom of the tenth. But Darren Oliver and Scott Feldman allowed two runs in the tenth, and then Mark Lowe gave up a David Freese solo homer to start and finish the eleventh.

Guys It’s Not

The Rangers have had a ton of guys play for other teams. Pudge Rodriguez and his 49.9 TEX WAR put up 18.5 elsewhere. Rafael Palmeiro had 44.4 for the Rangers and 27.2 elsewhere. The best year of Adrian Beltre’s great career was with the Dodgers, and he has more WAR outside of Texas than in it. Buddy Bell, Jim Sundberg, and Charlie Hough played for three other teams. Texas foolishly shipped Ian Kinsler to Detroit for Prince Fielder. Toby Harrah, Kenny Rogers, Juan Gonzalez, and Frank Howard played elsewhere too. And Yu Darvish fell off the Mount with a deadline deal to the Dodgers.

Ranger Mount Rushmore

Elvis Andrus, 2013Elvis Andrus: Ranked #11 in Ranger history with 28.8 WAR is their current shortstop who’s signed to a very good contract. Eight years and $118 million seemed like a ton when they signed him, and it got worse because Andrus never became a superstar. However, salaries have escalated enough that a 2.5-3.0 WAR shortstop is worth the $15 million they’re giving to Elvis. And 2017 might have been his best season, which is good and bad for Texas. I suspect he’ll opt out of $73 million after next season and fall off the Ranger Rushmore.

Rusty Greer: A pretty forgettable guy, I think, Greer ranks #16 in career Ranger WAR at 22.3. His aging curve is really normal, getting to the majors at 25, peaking at 27, and losing a little each year until he was basically done at 32. Greer hit .111 without an extra base hit or an RBI in three ALDS losses to the Yankees. On the positive side, he did save Kenny Rogers’ perfect game with a diving catch.

Roger Pavlik: Perhaps my favorite thing about this project is that is reminds me of players like Pavlik, those who would otherwise be lost to time but are actually among the best in history to never play for another franchise. Pavlik, a righty starter, posted 10.6 career WAR for the Rangers from 1992-1998. He won 47 games, good for 19th in the history of the franchise. He also represented the Rangers in the 1996 All-Star Game, allowing two runs, including a Ken Caminiti home run, in his two innings.

Matt Harrison: Harrison totaled 9.1 WAR in his 2008-2015 career, all with the Rangers, obviously. He really made it as a starter for only two years, totaling over 10 WAR on the mound in 2011 and 2012. For the rest of his career, he was below replacement level. Like Pavlik, he made one All-Star team, this in 2012. He allowed a home run to Melky Cabrera and triples to Rafael Furcal and Ryan Braun, giving up three runs in his inning.

My Ranger Rushmore

Pudge Rodriguez: He leads the Rangers in WAR, is one of the handful of best catchers ever, and performed better in Texas than everywhere else combined.

Nolan Ryan: The Dallas Morning News calls the signing of the 42-year-old Ryan in 1989 one of the top five moments in Ranger history. So who am I to disagree? He totaled over 15 WAR in five years from ages 42-46. In 2008 he became team president, and in 2011 he was named CEO. He held both titles until he left the Rangers in October of 2013. And his is the only number the Rangers have ever retired among those who have played for them.

Buddy Bell, 1983Buddy Bell: One of the game’s most underrated players ever, he’s also an incredibly underrated Ranger. And why wouldn’t he be underrated. His career overlapped with parts of the careers of Brooks Robinson, Wade Boggs, Ron Santo, and Paul Molitor. And he was pretty much an exact contemporary of Mike Schmidt and George Brett. Further, he was a glove-first third sacker who played for four teams but never once made the playoffs. He never topped 20 homers, never scored 90 runs, and drove in more than 83 just once. He has no Black Ink to speak of, hit just .279 for his career, and was caught stealing waaaay more than he was successful. Oh, and he was an awful manager. So at this point you must be thinking his inclusion on the Ranger Rushmore is just flat wrong. Well, I don’t think so. With my conversions, here’s how I measure his six full seasons as a Ranger: 6.3, 7.5, 7.6, 6.3, 5.0, 5.5. That’s a superstar.

Jim Sundberg: Rafael Palmeiro, Adrian Beltre, and Ian Kinsler all had more WAR as a Ranger, but they also had significant careers elsewhere. Sundberg started with the Rangers in 1974 and finished with them in 1989. In between he made a pair of All-Star teams and won six Gold Gloves in Texas. He’s actually a borderline HoMEr too. While you can’t just do such a thing, giving Sundberg just one 6-win season on top of what he did would possibly be enough.

In seven days, it’ll be the San Francisco Giants turn.

Miller

2018 HoME Election Results

Chipper and AndruwAfter only being able to induct three players last year, the Modern Era Committee and the BBWAA did us a solid, though not necessarily with the right players, by allowing us to add six players to the HoME in 2018. Our ballot a year ago was far less crowded than that of the BBWAA because we had previously elected pretty much the entire backlog. But for us, we chose Sam Rice by a hair over Vlad Guerrero. So either Vlad was the entire backlog, or there wasn’t one.

Like the Hall, we stock our ballot with a list of new candidates each year. Unlike them, however, our ballot basically includes all other players in baseball history who have previously been eligible. That’s how we were able to elect Rice a year ago. We’ll write obituaries for those candidates we’ll almost certainly never elect a week from today. But for now, today’s six inductees mean we have now equaled the Hall by electing 226 players to the Hall of Miller and Eric.

Here’s how we voted in 2018.

   Miller           Eric
==================================
1  Chipper Jones    Chipper Jones
2  Jim Thome        Scott Rolen
3  Scott Rolen      Jim Thome
4  Andruw Jones     Andruw Jones
5  Johan Santana    Johan Santana
6  Minnie Minoso    Minnie Minoso
7                   Vladimir Guerrero

The Class of 2018

Chipper Jones was an incredibly easy vote. Perhaps he’s as high as the seventh best third basemen ever. Maybe it’s a few notches below that, but the vote remains an easy one. Despite how he looks by the Black Ink measure. With only 4 points out of an approximate 27 for an expected Hall of Famer, he appears far off. And he looks poor by Gray Ink too. But Chipper compiled some great numbers, especially for his position. He could hit and hit for power. When he was young, he had some speed, and he was a plus runner and a plus at double play avoidance over his career. He wasn’t a very good defender, and the Braves tried to move him to left field at one point, but it didn’t take. The 1999 NL MVP added some nice value in the playoffs, right around his career numbers in BA and OBP, if a bit short in SLG. To reiterate, he was an easy call, though a year ago at this time, I told Eric I wasn’t so sure he’d get in on the first try. After all, he’s no better than Ron Santo, a guy who the BBWAA never supported. Hell, he wasn’t really better than Ken Boyer, a guy who still isn’t in. And though he’s totally deserving, it’s not like he was a lot better than another third baseman on this ballot. I’m hapy to have been wrong.

Do I remember correctly that I expected Jim Thome to be the leading vote-getter of 2018? I believe I did. Clearly nobody saw Vlad beating him, and I just thought the BBWAA would find his greatness easier to understand than Chipper’s. Depending on how you see things, Thome could rank as high as about #11 or as low as #25 in a very tight clump at first base. Either way, he was a pretty easy vote. And given that almost all of his value comes with the bat, something we feel more confident than defensive value, we are certain that the man who is eighth all-time in home runs and seventh in walks is well deserving of a spot in the HoME

It’s simple enough to miss Scott Rolen if you’re not looking closely. The 1997 NL Rookie of the Year and eight-time Gold Glove winner literally has zero Black Ink. He never finished in the top-10 in homers and only twice did so in runs batted in. But for us, it wasn’t hard at all to find a vote for Rolen. He was a very good hitter, a fine baserunner, and an excellent fielder. He was sometimes accused of having injury problems, yet he’s 12th in history in games at third base. He didn’t seem to have a lot of power, yet only five 3B ever had more homers and WAR. Rolen is one of those guys who needs close inspection. Some BBWAA voters may not pay him that respect, but those at the HoME certainly do.

No matter the measure you use, Andruw Jones is one of the greatest defensive players in history. By defensive WAR, he’s 20th, with nobody higher on the all-time list posting a higher slugging percentage than the former Brave great. And if you prefer Defensive Regression Analysis, which I do, you like him almost as much. I suppose Andruw is a controversial choice to some who devalue defensive metrics, but we can’t forget he could hit a little too, as 434 homers show. Were it not for Albert Pujols, there’s a shot he and his 2/3 of a triple crown would have won the 2005 NL MVP to go with his ten Gold Gloves. Jones could be seen as high as the 9th best center fielder ever. Assuming you value defense at 100%, it’s hard to get him much below 15th.

Many writers look at the paltry 139 wins that Johan Santana amassed in his dozen years in the majors, and they don’t think they need to look at anything else. Well, they do. Whether he is the modern version of Sandy Koufax or a better version of Dizzy Dean, take your pick. Santana won two Cy Youngs and finished in the top-5 three other times. For the first decade of the 21st century, only Roy Halladay compiled more WAR among pitchers. And from 2002-2009, a period of eight years, Johan was the best. That’s a pretty impressive period of dominance. No, Santana isn’t the most obvious call, and I can’t blame the writers for finding ten better players on their ballots, but the HoME doesn’t have the backlog they do. Santana belongs.

When I was a kid, Minnie Minoso made me angry. I thought he and Bill Veeck made a mockery of the game with his appearances in 1976 and 1980. But the Minnie Minoso I knew as a kid wasn’t the real Minnie Minoso, at least not so far as the HoME is concerned. The Cuban Comet is a really tough candidate to understand. Eric and I agree that he falls just short based only on his major league career. I rank him 25th in left, while Eric sees him as 26th best. We agree that he’s in a battle with Joe Kelley, Joe Medwick, and Ralph Kiner if we’re only considering his contributions as a major leaguer. But Minoso didn’t only play in the majors. He also played in the Negro Leagues, and it’s very probable that he spent extra time in the minors because of the color barrier (even though his Indians were the first in the AL to integrate). So what do we do? We can consider Minoso a major leaguer and look only at his games in the majors, which is what we do with most players. We could view him as a Negro League player, but that would be quite odd since he spent just three seasons in the Negro National League (NNL). We could consider him a combo candidate, but we’ve only done that for combinations that include non-playing contributions. Frankly, not one of those solutions is satisfactory. The right thing to do is use Eric’s conversions for Minoso’s time in the NNL and in the minors. Why the minors? It’s because he was excellent in AAA at ages 23 and 24, and we believe it’s highly likely that he was kept out of the majors because of the color of his skin, not because of his ability. With those adjustments, we believe Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Minoso is a fully qualified HoMEr, just a shade above the once-again-rebuffed Vladimir Guerrero. Welcome HoME, Minnie.

Solo Votes

Eric: Minoso is over the line. Not way over, but far enough over to make a reasoned and informed decision to take him over Vladimir Guerrero.

Last year, we put poor Vlad on the back burner as well. We said then that our estimates of Sam Rice’s base running, outfield arm, and double-play avoidance made him a more attractive candidate than The Impaler. This time around, Vlad loses out to the combination of position and chronology. We simply have fewer left fielders than right fielders, and we have too many right fielders. We also have too many left fielders, but now they are at least balanced. But let’s look more closely at this question. Here we list active and not-yet-eligible left fielders with a CHEWS+ score greater than 50. Remember 100 is a baseline Hall of Famer:
  • Matt Holliday: 85
  • Ryan Braun: 83
  • Carl Crawford: 77
  • Alex Gordon: 62
  • Brett Gardner: 58
  • Carlos Gonzalez: 57
That, folks, is a positional rock garden. We won’t be electing any left fielders for more than a decade.
Now, over in right field:
  • Ichiro Suzuki: 105
  • Vlad Guerrero: 100
  • Bobby Abreu: 95
  • Jose Bautista: 78
  • Giancarlo Stanton: 71
  • Sin-Shoo Choo: 68
  • Nelson Cruz: 67
  • Jason Heyward: 61
  • Jayson Werth: 60
  • Hunter Pence: 58
  • Justin Upton: 56
  • Bryce Harper: 52
Oh, and Mookie Betts is already up to 45.
Depending on your disposition towards certain guys or certain stats, we might already have three fellows worth electing. Stanton ain’t far away. If Heyward would stop hitting grounders, he’s young enough to climb. Justin Upton is even young enough to rally in his 30s. Harper and Betts sure seem like points of hope for our right fielding friends. There’s lots of opportunity in right field, and a rock garden in left. We’ll take the one electable left fielder for now and count our blessings as it lays fallow for years and years.
Now, about the era each of these fellows played in. There’s about a skillion ways to define eras and figure out where a Hall might fall short. From my perspective, we’re something like ten guys short between World War II and MLB’s expansion. Miller’s mileage varies somewhat. Vlad’s era is still taking shape, and we won’t know for sure how far ahead or behind it is for a few years yet. Plenty of time for us to vote him up. Which we will do eventually. But Vlad is borderline enough for both of us that he has to run our gauntlets. Next year Mariano Rivera, Todd Helton, and Roy Halladay will all line up ahead of him. Sorry for the spoiler there, but if you didn’t see that one coming…. But Andy Pettitte becomes eligible too, and he is similarly situated among pitchers as Vlad is among hitters. The year after, Captain Jetes comes along. In 2021 Mark Buehrle and Tim Hudson, another couple guys who could be right on or near the in/out line. We don’t know how long the Hall of Fame voters will carry on their more generous ways, but we can expect two or three honorees from the writers in 2019. Who knows? The Today’s Game Committee might even cough up a name! (Sure, you can have some of whatever I’m smoking!) Point is that between the weak Hall newbie groups starting in 2020 and the strong performance of several backlog candidates, the BBWAA will spit out names for a few more years, and Vlad Guerrero will have his chance because we match the Hall, and the Hall has a lot more work to do.
So we’re really happy to give Minnie Minoso his due, and we’re happy that Vlad Guerrero remains out there for us to elect once we have the room. Sorry, Vlad, but we’ll scoop you up soon. Anyway, you probably care more about the real bronze you’ll soon receive instead of the bronze-colored pixels we can offer.

Miller: I see things a little differently than Eric does, not about the players, but about how to vote. Given that we must elect exactly six players in this election to keep in step with the Hall of Fame, I don’t believe we should vote for any more or any fewer. Eric and I disagree, but whatever. It’s basically just a matter of taste, especially since we agree on the six players. To me, there’s nothing wrong with putting Vlad in, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping him out either. There’s always next year.


Another surprising election, at least based on what I expected as recently as six weeks ago. There are now 226 members of the player wing of the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Miller and Eric. In about a year, we’re going to do this all over again as Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and others join Vladimir Guerrero on what looks like another very crowded ballot. We hope you’ll check out the Honorees page to see all of the HoME members, whether players, managers, or pioneers/executives. Enjoy.

Vladimir Guerrero Goes Saberhagen

Vlad Guerrero, SIOver the years, I’ve really enjoyed the Saberhagen List, the HoME’s version of Bill James’ Keltner List. It’s an effort to better understand a player’s candidacy, and for me to nudge him one way or the other. In 2017 we chose Sam Rice rather than Vlad. We also chose Manny Ramirez and Bobby Doerr. That doesn’t mean we don’t like Guerrero. It just means we had some hard calls and ultimately preferred other guys. He’s going to be a tough call pretty much every election until he’s in, so let’s how he shapes up in terms of the Saberhagen list.

How many All-Star-type seasons did he have?

A 5-win season is generally considered to be at the All-Star level. By my numbers, Vlad played like an All-Star five times in his career, and there was one more season at 4.75 WAR. Unfortunately, five such seasons doesn’t tell us much, necessarily. HoMErs King Kelly, Willie Keeler, Gary Sheffield, and Sammy Sosa also had five. Both Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield have four plus one at 4.97. Andre Dawson has four, Dwight Evans three, and Harry Hooper two plus four others of 4.67+. On the other hand, Mike Tiernan has six, and Sam Thompson, Brian Giles, Tony Oliva, and Roy Cullenbine all have five. None of them have made it to the HoME.

How many MVP-type seasons did he have?

Vlad won the AL MVP in 2004, but he never performed like an MVP, which is about 8 WAR. I have him topping out at exactly 7.00 WAR. Then again, there are four right field HoMErs whose best season doesn’t reach that level. Of course, there are at least 19 who top that mark.

Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?

Guerrero was excellent for the final time in 2007. In 2008, his value was cut almost in half, and then he totaled less than 3 WAR in his final three campaigns. So sure, he hung on past his prime, and he was above replacement level, but he wasn’t very good.

Are his most comparable players in the HoME?

My current iteration of MAPES has Vlad at 96.81, which means he’s about 97% qualified in an incredibly competitive right field. Players at the position within three MAPES points in either direction include Gary Sheffield, Dave Winfield, Bobby Abreu, Harry Hooper, Reggie Smith, and Sam Rice. All but the not-yet-eligible Abreu are in the HoME. Guys why are like Vlad are already in the HoME. He’s the anomaly.

This is an excellent argument in Vlad’s favor.

Was he ever the best corner outfielder in baseball? Or in his league?

For a the decade from 1998-2007, Vlad and Bobby Abreu were quite comparable, with Vlad just edging him out. Even so, we have to keep in mind the existence of Barry Bonds. No, he was never the best in the game or league. Of course, that doesn’t mean we have to hold it against him. In this case, there’s nothing at all wrong with second place.

Did he ever have a reasonable case for being called the best player in baseball? Or in his league?

Nope.

Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

This really is a tough question. On one hand he would swing at anything. On the other, he could make contact with just about anything. The former is captured in his stats, but the latter skill isn’t really. Sure, he had a skill beyond his stats, though I don’t think that particular skill won games for his teams so much as it made him really fun to watch.

My honest estimation is that the particular skill of making contact with so many pitches outside the strike zone is a decent part got him into the Hall so easily. That which looks spectacular really impresses voters.

Did he have a positive impact on pennant races and in post-season series?

Vlad was never in a pennant race while in Montreal. It was when he got to Anaheim in 2004 that he played with post-season pressure for the first time. The Angels entered September of 2004 in second place, three games out. Vlad was just outstanding in September, posting a .363/.424/.726 line with eleven home runs in September, as the Angels took the AL West and Guerrero won the AL MVP. The playoffs went poorly, as the Angels were swept by the Red Sox.

Tied for the division lead as September opened in 2005, the Angels ran away with it, eventually winning by seven games. In the final month, Guerrero was again great, going .330/.438/.626 on the month. The first round of the playoffs against the Yankees went fine, but Vlad went just 1-20 in the ALCS as his Angels lost to the White Sox in five.

There was no pennant race in 2006 or 2007, but the Angels did go to the post-season in the latter year. Again they were swept by the Red Sox, and Vlad did no damage.

In 2008 the Angels would face the Red Sox once again, though they got there without a pennant race. Los Angeles had a familiar result, losing this time in four games. Vlad was great, slashing .467/.579/.533.

The Angels again easily won the AL West in 2009. Again they played the Red Sox, but this time they won. Vlad hit .400/.500/.400 in the sweep. They lost to the Yankees in six, though Guerrero did his part, .370/.393/.593.

A Ranger in 2010, Vlad and Texas ran away with the AL West. Texas made it all the way to the World Series before being swept by the Giants. Guerrero went 59 playoff at-bats without a homer, hitting .220/.242/.271.

We see some good and some less good. Perhaps we can give Vlad a little extra credit, perhaps not.

Is he the best eligible player at his position not in the HoME?

He is. However, I might have a different disposition if he doesn’t enter the HoME in the next couple of years. That’s when Bobby Abreu becomes eligible. It’s extremely close.

Is he the best eligible candidate not in the HoME?

Actually, he may be. If I had to vote for exactly one person who’s already been eligible, there’s a reasonable chance he’d get my vote.

The election is Monday, so we’ll learn then!

Conclusion

I know that I’m less of a fan of Vladimir Guerrero than most people are. His game always seemed to be a bit out of control. However, I do think he’s as close to the HoME without being in as just about any player in the last 100 years. And he has a problem similar to those 19th century guys. His era is pretty full, and his position is quite full. He could get in Monday or sometime in the next couple of years depending on how aggressively the Hall elects. Then again, if they’re slow, he may have to wait for a decade. I do believe he’ll be a HoMEr one day though. It’s just a question of when.

Miller

The 2018 BBWAA Election, A Miller and Eric Conversation

Miller: Congratulations are in order for Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman, the BBWAA Hall class of 2018. For these four men, for their families, and for their fans, I’m incredibly happy. I am.

As far as the players go, I’m really not happy with the induction of Trevor Hoffman. Those familiar with the Hall of Miller and Eric know that short-career pitchers in our book need otherworldly numbers to make up for a lack of career depth. And for the record, Hoffman pitched about 1,000 innings fewer than Johan Santana and about 2,500 fewer than Mike Mussina. His numbers fall short. My rankings put him at exactly #200 all-time, in the same boat with guys like Josh Beckett and Chris Carpenter.

For some, clearing ballot space is important enough that anyone who we think will inevitably get in should get in now so they don’t drain votes in future elections. I really disagree. Hoffman is now in the Hall forever. That’s kind of a long time. Further, it’s all sorts of awful that he and Jack Morris will be giving speeches this summer while Curt Schilling and Mussina will have to wait. And don’t get me started on Johan.

Eric: Agreed. Forever is a lot longer than we think it is. But let’s take the not-good-but-advantageous with the bad. Something like 1,500 ballot slots have just opened up. Mariano Rivera will take about 420 of them next year. That leaves 1,100, of which Edgar Martinez needs just 20 more, Mike Mussina needs just 49, and Curt Schilling needs 101. And that means that even if those three backloggers each got in with less than 80% of the vote, there’d still be over 1,000 ballot slots available for Larry Walker to make another big gain.

Miller: You’re so practical. And also so correct. Aside from the guys who got in, I think the guys I’m happiest about are Edgar, Mussina, Larry Walker, and Scott Rolen. The first two have set themselves up for future election. I still have hope for Walker. And Rolen staying on the ballot means you never know. Voters are going to improve in coming years. While some will learn nothing, many more will keep working at their craft. Many more will try to understand value. When that happens, it bodes very well for guys like Walker and Rolen.

Eric: Edgar’s got to pick up 4.6% in one year to get in the front door in 2019. Seems like a gimme since he surged by 12% this year. Then again Craig Biggio. Still, to me the most fascinating dynamic on the 2019 ballot will be around Mike Mussina. He snagged an additional 12.5% over last year, and it put him over the 60% threshold with five years to go. He officially has the sheen of inevitability. But, next year he deals with new pitchers Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, and Andy Pettitte. Will voters see Rivera as a “pitcher”? That could have a mildly suppressing effect by making Mo the best one on the ballot. Will they prefer Doc even with the nearly 70 fewer wins, but with a lot more hardware and the playoff no-hitter? Will they see Pettitte as a “true Yankee” and give Moose a meh? Or will he make a big leap because the BBWAA can’t figure out Halladay and put Rivera in the “Closer” bucket? I mean, another 12 points, and he’s in.

Miller: I think Mussina is set up incredibly well, though I don’t know about 2019. Competing with Mariano doesn’t matter at all. He’s a different animal, and I think he has a shot at unanimity. But I’ll save his discussion for another day. As for Pettitte, I don’t think he matters much. I haven’t seen evidence of any “true Yankee” bias. It certainly didn’t help Bernie Williams. Or Willie Randolph. Or Graig Nettles. Or Ron Guidry. Plus, Pettitte has real PED taint. He actually admitted using HGH in 2002. That fact, coupled with the fact that he’s very much on the borderline, means he could be one and done on the ballot. I don’t think he drags Mussina any. To me, the interesting cat is Halladay. Much like David Ortiz has helped voters reevaluate Edgar Martinez, I think Halladay will make voters reconsider Mussina to a degree. Wins still matter a ton (see Johan Santana), and Halladay has just 203 of them. Comparatively, 270 is ridiculously high. For voters wanting to approve Halladay, I think they’re going to have to improve Mussina. And heck, maybe Halladay’s playoff luster makes them reconsider Curt Schilling too. Sure, the NLDS no-no was nice but any pro-Halladay momentum that exists because of playoff pitching has to help Curt Schilling quite a bit.

And speaking of Schilling, I’d love for any writer to discuss only the player, Curt Schilling. Come to think of it, I’d appreciate it if more writers would discuss the player at all. I’m becoming more and more hardline on Schilling and his political views not mattering. And the best platform he has to spew those views is when a hundred writers talk about them for two months a year. Many wouldn’t even know about them otherwise. For some, I’m sure they investigate after reading their favorite columnist’s words. And I suspect Schilling has more social media followers because of the BBWAA. Those things aside, I’m happy he’s up 6.2 percentage points from last year. I’m happy he’s over 50%. He has four more tries, which I think could be enough. Whatever the case, I’m glad one of the greatest post-season pitchers, and an underrated regular season pitcher, is moving in the right direction.

Eric: Schilling will get there, and he’ll deserve a plaque. Nuf sed. We both think Larry Walker also deserves a plaque, but will he get one? The guy converted nearly 40 nay voters compared to 2017, more than anyone other than Vlad Guerrero. How much hidden support might he have? First of all, 78 of the 150 10-man ballots included a vote for Walker, or 52%. Among those with ten-names who did not support him, the following 13 identified him as someone whom they wish they had more room for:

Jim Alexander
Jerry Crasnik
Mark Feisand
Tom Haudricourt
Richard Justice
Tim Kurkjian
Scott Lauber
Anthony McCarron
Mike Peticca
Brendan Prunty
Ken Rosenthal
Bob Sansevere
Jeff Wilson

What’s the chance those guys vote for Walker in 2019? Looking back at 2017, 19 voters said they wish they had room for him. One of them lost his voting eligibility (David Lariviere). Otherwise, Walker converted 72% of the rest (13 of 18), with Jay Dunn, Peter Gammons, Danny Knobler, Roger Mooney, and Rosenthal, mentioned above. But he’s also about to lose Rick Plumlee’s support because the voter eligibility rules are about to give him the boot. That’s life in the big city. Walker’s got two years, and, let’s be honest, it’s unlikely that he’s going to zoom up the charts by 36%. Not impossible, but highly improbable. There’s too many guys between him and immortality. Two to four strong candidates hit next year, depending on your perceptions, and four went away this year. In 2019, everyone will vote for Mo, and Edgar Martinez will almost certainly find the 20 votes he needs, and it’s not impossible that Mike Mussina gains another 11.5% to win election after similar gains in recent years. If all those things happen, and especially if Roy Halladay somehow also gets his plaque in 2019, the rest of the ballot could see an updraft in 2020 when Saint Derek is the only major new eligible. If Walker can get to 45% or higher in 2018, the suction in 2020 could lift him over 50% or maybe 60%, in which case, he’s much better than even odds with the VC.

Miller: And then there’s the elephant in the room. At least in our room. It’s Johan Santana. For the fifth time since 2010 (Jim Edmonds, Kenny Lofton, Kevin Brown, and Kevin Appier), a player we consider fully qualified for the Hall got booted on the first ballot. I don’t know the right answer, but I’d like a different minimum threshold in the first year, maybe 1%. What if a player fell off the ballot if they didn’t meet a minimum of 1%, 2%, 4%, 8%, and 16% in their first five seasons? After that it would rise to 20% for the remainder of the time. Such a system would serve players like Johan. It would also give a second ballot to Jamie Moyer and Johnny Damon. And though I hate mentioning those guys in the same breath as Santana, they wouldn’t get much beyond one ballot, and they were far better than the Carlos Lees of the world anyway. Further, my system wouldn’t clog things because folks like Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa wouldn’t be around for more than five seasons. I don’t know that my system is better. Maybe it’s only different. I do wish, however, the voters got to examine Johan Santana’s case more than they did.

Eric: Yes, it’s a crime that Johan’s case won’t be reviewed in future seasons. Of course, that’s why the Hall of Miller and Eric exists, to right wrongs. Our 2018 HoME election comes up on February 5.

Grading the BBWAA Ballots, #235-257

I didn’t expect this post to appear today. I thought I was done when the election was, but I’m an addict. I admit it.

I don’t know how Ryan does it. But I love that he does!

(Including all of the ballots I’ve listed brings us to 258. No, I don’t have more than Ryan. I think I have one listed as anonymous and by the writer’s name. I wonder if the score is the same???)

Rating system and 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10, 11-14, 15, 16-17, 18-25, 26-32, 33, 34-39, 40-46, 47-51, 52-54, 55-66, 67-81, 82-91, 92-100, 101-105, 106-118, 119-136, 137-146, 147-155, 156-163, 164-168, 169, 170-175, 176-179, 180-182, 183, 184-185, 186-195, 196-197, 198, 199-209, 210-234

The Ballots

Anonymous #5: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • No explanation, which means 85.

Anonymous #6: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, and Thome mean 50.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops the ballot to 40.
  • The three open spaces bring it to 10.
  • And the lack of explanation makes 5.

Jim Alexander: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • With an unlimited ballot, he’d add McGriff, Walker, Kent, Andruw, and Wagner.
  • That’s the only thing he explains. He drops to 65.

Darren Beene: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • No explanation, so he drops to 95.

John Canzano: 45

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Manny make 70.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The two open spaces drop him to 50.
  • He added Vlad and Manny while dropping McGriff and Shellield. Why? He had the room. Alas, no Twitter discussion. Down to 45.

Jim Caple: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • No change with McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • Walker is an add, Mussina a drop, and no explanation in the DM to Ryan. He drops to 65.

Dan Connolly: 60

  • I think this was previously an anonymous ballot. I’m going to delete what I previously called Anonymous #3.
  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker get him to 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He dropped Schilling so he could include Vizquel.
  • PED use hurts a candidacy, but doesn’t destroy it. Sure, I agree.
  • He calls Vizquel’s offense underrated. By what measure? I think it’s crazily overrated. Nobody says it was awful, though it truly was. Down to 65.
  • I don’t hate his Hoffman explanation. Best at what he did. Okay.
  • Sadly, he also thinks DH is a role. Roles are created by teams; positions are in the rule book. There’s a difference.
  • He mentions some selected offensive numbers of Vizquel’s as if they’re positive. They’re not.
  • He distrusts defensive metrics, but he seems to trust the eye test. Oh, and the testimony of Mike Bordick. Sad. Down 5 to 60.

Tim Dahlberg: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome get to 50.
  • There’s no change with Hoffman.
  • The open spaces drop him to 10.
  • No explanation makes 5.

Alan Greenwood: 15

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, and that’s it. A nice 60.
  • But the four open spots mean he drops to 20.
  • No Twitter replies, so he drops to 15.

Joey Johnson: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker start the ballot at 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • The ballot came to the Tracker via email. So he drops to 75.

Danny Knobler: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He says that the biggest stars belong in the Hall, that it’s not just about the numbers. I vehemently disagree, but I can accept that argument.
  • He compared Andruw to Omar – favorably. Thank you! Take 5 more points to get to 95.

Seth Livingstone: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Thome, and Walker total 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And Vizquel makes 70.
  • Walker is an add.
  • I hate this comment. “I know there’s a lot of discussion about Edgar Martinez, who I have voted for in the past. But when I did a comparative look, Walker batted .313 for his career, Martinez .312. Walker had 383 home runs, Martinez had 309. Walker had seven Gold Gloves vs. a guy who rarely played the field. Walker also won an MVP. So to me it became no contest selected Larry Walker as my 10th choice over Edgar Martinez.” That means he didn’t even compare them previously. Forge the fact that he’s using the wrong measures. Forget that if it’s just those two, I might support his position. This is terrible. Down to 65.
  • “I believe that once a Hall of Famer, always a Hall of Famer.” In other words, he won’t change his mind. But he has… I don’t get it.
  • Want to know the quintessential Omar voter? “One person that not everyone will vote for is Omar Vizquel. To me, he was one of the greatest defensive shortstops I ever saw and an 11-time Gold Glove winner. I remember a night in Seattle when on the final out of Chris Bosio’s no-hitter he barehanded a ball behind the mound and threw out the runner for the final out. That was just the kind of defensive confidence and talent he had. And also a .272 hitter with 404 stolen bases, so he was an offensive contributor, not a liability.”
  • Ugh! “I’m not pleased with the way they voted. You take an Alan Trammell, a very nice man and a terrific player. Never got more than 40.9 percent of the votes from the baseball writers. Yet, a 16-person panel decides that they know better whether or not he’s a Hall of Famer and vote him in. I consider that a slap in the face to the writers.” At least he thinks Trammel isn’t a Hall of Famer.
  • I hate many of his answers, but I absolutely love the depth of his feedback. I’ll add 10 more to 75. Thank you, Seth.

Dennis Maffezzoli: 45

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He thinks all ballots will be made public this year, so he’s clearly out of the loop. And he didn’t look very closely at his ballot. Down to 65.
  • He says the BBWAA has a code of conduct. I’d love to look at that!
  • If you are a Hall of Famer for him one year, you’re always a Hall of Famer. That’s his number one rule. And it’s absolutely awful. His first rule is that he won’t learn. If he’s wrong once, he’ll always be wrong. Down to 60.
  • He says that Clemens and Bonds weren’t mentioned in the Mitchell Report. They were. Do facts matter? Um, yes. Down to 55.
  • He says to check out Vizquel’s fielding statistics and “Rawlings Gold Gloves”. Well, I do check the former, and they’re very good. I also look at hitting statistics, and they’re awful. Also, who used the word “Rawlings”, and why does that subjective award matter? Down to 50.
  • He writes, “I did not check the box to have my vote made public before the voting. Frankly, I forgot it was an option.” It’s not an option! And his second to last paragraph contradicts his second. For a ballot I don’t hate, this is an incredibly low score. Down to 45.

Hal McCoy: 0

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Rolen, and Thome start him at 50.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • The three open spots drop him to 20.
  • He says that his record is perfect, that every player who had gotten into the Hall has received his vote. Wow, that’s an awful way to define perfect. Down to 15.
  • He says nobody can argue that all four who were elected have solid Hall credentials. Well, lemme try. Trevor Hoffman only pitched 1100 innings, and about 200 pitchers in history have brought more value teams than Hoffman. That’s a pretty simple and pretty accurate argument. Down to 10.
  • He calls McGriff a head-scratcher. I call him Mark Teixeira, or about the 40th greatest 1B ever. We shouldn’t have 40 1B in the Hall, I don’t think.
  • “Some will say that there already are cheaters and PED users with plaques. They didn’t get my vote.” I’m sorry. I really don’t like to be mean. But man, this is a stupid statement. He’s been voting for 40 years, he’s voted for everyone who’s been elected, and not one of those players used a PED? Should I break his heart about Willie Mays and amphetamines? Down to 5.
  • He says that character is supposed to be a major measuring stick. No, it’s not. Down to 0.

Adam Mertz: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 60.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The three open spots drop him to 30.
  • No explanation means he falls to 25.

Scott Miller: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome total 60.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops the ballot to 50.
  • And the open space makes it 40.
  • No early Twitter interaction means he falls to 35.

Gene Myers: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • Hoffman completes what I believe is the most common ballot of the year, which keeps him at 90.
  • He’s one of those “if Selig, then Bonds and Clemens” voters. Though I support Bonds and Clemens, and I think Selig was an awful selection, I can’t wrap my head around voting for guys you believe are undeserving because another undeserving guy is elected. I won’t support Billy Wagner next year just because Trevor Hoffman gets in this year. To each their own.
  • On the other hand, I think he believes Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez used PEDs. I follow the thinking that once the Hall elects PED users, but very best players who you think used PEDs have to get your vote. That wouldn’t be my direction, but this comparison makes more sense to me than the Selig comparison.
  • He says Walker edged Rolen for his final spot. Not at all ridiculous, especially since he believes there will be room on his ballot for Rolen next year.
  • And he mentions The Tracker and Ryan.

LaVelle Neal III: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome make 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • He’s against the “Rule of 10”, as he puts it.
  • Regarding Bonds and Clemens, he writes, “With the decks cleared this year, perhaps voters will take a harder look at their cases or, at least, examine their stance on how to deal with to key players from the PED era.” To me, this statement makes no sense at all, but I certainly won’t ding him for optimism. I want to give him points for having a better attitude than I do.
  • He believes many more players were “dirty” than were caught. I don’t like his word choice, but I agree with his conclusion.
  • Damn! This guy is thinking. He mentions if the 2005 AL Cy Young voting were to go on now, in an age where the win isn’t king, Johan would have had a good shot to win it. Three Cy Young Awards? Yup. Give him 5 more to 95.

Drew Olson: 80

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker start him with 80.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • He added Vlad, McGriff, and Walker this year while dropping Schilling.
  • He’s strongly against the ballot limit. By rule, that’s worth 5 points, moving him to 85.
  • He considers Omar superior to Ozzie in some ways. What ways? He doesn’t explain. Back to 80.
  • He talks about fear, and he says calling Jim Rice feared doesn’t make sense because he drew few walks. But Edgar Martinez was feared. I’d have an easier time buying that if his IBB numbers were higher. Only once did he top a dozen IBB.
  • He considers Mussina better than Schilling by an eyelash. I prefer Schilling by an eyelash, but he’s right that the distance between them is incredibly small.
  • “As my friend and colleague Buster Olney pointed out, they are eligible to work in baseball and the Hall allows them on the ballot, but the writer’s seem to have issued a lifetime ban. That doesn’t seem right to me. “ I love this take on B&C.

Terry Pluto: 30

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome make 70.
  • The relievers keep him there.
  • And Vizquel, from a Cleveland writer, drops him to 60.
  • He calls Omar and Ozzie the best defensive shortstops of their generation. That’s like grouping Wagyu beef with a really nice flank steak. Flank steak can still be great, but the comparison is silly. Down to 55.
  • Then he says Vizquel was the best defensive shortstop he has ever seen. Pluto is 62 years of age. He never saw Ozzie? How is that possible? And if it is, how does he have a vote? Down to 50.
  • I love when I can talk about argumentum ad verecundiam. That’s when someone cites an authority when isn’t an authority. He uses Hal Lebovitz, a sportswriter who passed away in 2005 at age 89, is in the Writer’s wing of the Hall, and once sold a hot dog to Babe Ruth as that authority. He’s using a single conversation with a man of 80ish years, whose opinion is based on the eye test as expert testimony. Down to 45.
  • He says that Vizquel’s glove was just as valuable to the Indians as Thome’s bat. If only we had a way to measure such a thing… Oh, we do! According to BBREF, Thome’s Rbat is 587. According to the same site, Vizquel’s Rfield is 128. I think BBREF overvalues Vizquel’s glove. Man, you just can’t help someone who will only use their gut. Down to 40.
  • He says he has begun to value defense more as he has grown older. Andruw Jones anyone? Andruw Jones? Well, he doesn’t value defense as much as saves, I guess.
  • He talks about Mussina and Schilling as throwbacks to an age when men were men and starters threw complete games. Okay, he didn’t say one of those things, but it’s implied. Down 5 more, yet again, to 35.
  • This next one infuriates me. “I believe if Vizquel had played most of his career in Boston or New York, he’d be close to making it this season. But his best years were in Seattle, Cleveland and San Francisco — away from the national media.” Based on what? Nomar Garciaparra was a far better player than Omar Vizquel. He, correctly, didn’t sniff a third ballot. Schilling played in Borston. How’s that working out for him? How about for Manny? Mussina played in New York. How’s that working out for him? How about Santana? I promise I’m going to research this – I believe those writers from Seattle, Cleveland, San Francisco, and even Chicago disproportionately support Vizquel. They trust their eyes, and they shouldn’t. Down 5 more for perpetuating a myth that he doesn’t even try to support. That’s 30.

Troy Renck: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Omar drops him to 70.
  • No Twitter interaction, so he falls to 65.

Joe Rutter: 50

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome mean 70 points.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • The open space drops him to 50.
  • He added Edgar and Mussina this year.
  • He doesn’t like voting for PED guys, but since Bonds and Clemens were the best of the ear, they’re exceptions. Fine with me.
  • He says the difference between B&C and Manny is that Manny failed tests. No kidding! It’s not his fault that people ask silly questions.

Jean-Jacques Taylor: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • He dropped Vlad, which I assume was strategic, while adding McGriff, Schilling, and Walker. Of course, there’s no Twitter interaction, so he falls to 75.

Mark Zuckerman: 80

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 60.
  • No change with Hoffman or Wagner.
  • The two open spots mean he falls to 40.
  • The manner in which he explains how the Hall matters sort of inspires me. I’ll give him 5 points to 45. Make it 10. He’s up to 50.
  • “We’re not perfect, but we get it right way more than we get it wrong.” Yes. Very much yes.
  • Damn, I hate his Barry Bonds position, but he’s very fair.
  • Same with Clemens. He doesn’t understand who wants to support them. Well, I’ll explain. It’s people who only care about greatness. We won’t forget PED use, even when they’re in the Hall.
  • I don’t like his Johnny Damon standards, though I support his decision. What I love is that he write about everyone. I want to give him another 5 points. They may be coming.
  • Livan is his favorite player, at least the favorite he’s ever covered. He had space, but he didn’t vote for him. I’ll give him 5 more to 55.
  • He says it’s hard for relievers to get into the Hall. I think, in proportion to their value, it’s incredibly easy.
  • He says that Hoffman was undoubtedly the second best reliever in the game during his time. That’s very, very debatable.
  • I love his explanation of Andruw – and his “no” vote explanation.
  • I super love his Edgar defense. Give him 5 more to 60.
  • I love his McGriff position. Please read his post. It’s so sensible.
  • Here’s part of his Mussina explanation. “He finished in the top six in Cy Young Award voting eight times, but only once finished in the top three.” So many writers say true but unfair things about MVP and Cy voting. He’s entirely fair.
  • “As for the “brutal AL East” argument, it honestly isn’t supported by stats. From 1991-2000, the Yankees ranked second in the AL in team OPS, with the Orioles (who Mussina never faced because he pitched for them) ranking fifth, the Red Sox ranking seventh, the Blue Jays eighth and the Devil Rays 15th (they only existed for the final three seasons). From 2001-08, the Red Sox ranked first in the AL in team OPS, with the Yankees (who Mussina never faced because he pitched for them) ranking second, the Blue Jays sixth, the Orioles 12th and the Rays 13th. So if we consider that to be eight different division opponents (four apiece while pitching for each of his teams), Mussina wound up facing only two consistently great lineups, three average ones and three bad ones in his career. In short, he didn’t really have it any tougher than any of his contemporaries.” I haven’t yet researched, but perhaps he has. I’m very, very impressed. I don’t know where I should give him points. It’ll be here. Plus 10 to 70.
  • “Why, though, was Rolen not recognized as one of the game’s elite all-around players at the time? I’m not saying MVP votes are critical to a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy, but it certainly struck me as noteworthy that Rolen only received MVP votes four times and only finished better than 14th once.” Sir, I do believe you’re focusing on the wrong things. Saying you’re not is insufficient evidence. I love your post, I really do. But I object to this. Down 5 to 65.
  • Man, I LOVE this explanation. Please read it! He reviewed Vizquel’s defensive numbers, and the shortstop came up, um short. He acknowledges the gap between Ozzie and Omar. Five more, back to 70.
  • People should explain like he did. I don’t always agree, but I think he defends his ballot very well. I’ll give him 10 points more to 80.

The Scores

Peter Barzilai: 100
Ken Davidoff: 100
Ryan Fagan: 100
Mark Feinsand: 100
Mark Hale: 100
Sam Mellinger: 100
Mark Newman: 100
Eric Nuñez; 100
Joe Posnanski: 100
Scott Priestle: 100
C. Trent Rosecrans: 100
Michael Silverman: 100
Mike Bass: 95
Darrin Beene: 95
Erik Boland: 95
Mark Bradley: 95
Josh Dubow: 95
Jeff Fletcher: 95
Danny Knobler: 95
Janie McCauley: 95
Phil Miller: 95
J.P. Morosi: 95
LaVelle Neal III: 95
Steve Politi: 95
TR Sullivan: 95
Dom Amore: 90
Anthony Andro: 90
Mike Berardino: 90
Tim Booth: 90
Jerry Crasnick: 90
Ryan Divish: 90
Derrick Goold: 90
Patrick Graham: 90
Evan Grant: 90
Mike Harrington: 90
Mike Imrem: 90
Gene Myers: 90
Tim Kurkjian: 90
Bob Sanvarese: 90
Mike Vaccaro: 90
Anonymous #4: 85
Anonymous #5: 85
Peter Abraham: 85
David Ammenheuser: 85
Chris Bahr: 85
Peter Botte: 85
Dave Campbell: 85
Pat Caputo: 85
Marc Carig: 85
Jay Cohen: 85
Brian Costello: 85
Tim Cowlishaw: 85
Tom D’Angelo: 85
Chris De Luca: 85
Tom Dienhart: 85
Dan Hayes: 85
Bob Herzog: 85
George A. King III: 85
Bob Klapisch: 85
Roch Kubatko: 85
Gabe Lacques: 85
Rob Maaddi: 85
David Maril: 85
Anthony McCarron: 85
Joe McDonald: 85
Nick Pietruszkiewicz: 85
Rick Plumlee: 85
Brendan Prunty: 85
Luis Rangel: 85
Tim Reynolds: 85
John Romano: 85
Ken Rosenthal: 85
Susan Slusser: 85
Jayson Stark: 85
Bernie Wilson: 85
Jack Curry: 80
Ian Harrison: 80
Lynn Henning: 80
Scott Lauber: 80
Ian O’Connor: 80
Drew Olson: 80
Steve Popper: 80
Jeff Wilson: 80
Mark Zuckerman: 80
Amalie Benjamin: 75
Steve Buckley: 75
Larry Brooks: 75
Garry Brown: 75
Joe Haakenson: 75
Joey Johnson: 75
Kevin Kernan: 75
Joseph Liao: 75
Seth Livingstone: 75
Jack Magruder: 75
Sean McAdam: 75
Roger Mooney: 75
Aurelio Moreno: 75
Bob Nightengale: 75
Mike Puma: 75
Tracy Ringolsby: 75
Mark Saxson: 75
Mike Shalin: 75
Joe Smith: 75
Jean-Jacques Taylor: 75
Barry Bloom: 70
Kevin Cooney: 70
Paul Hagen: 70
Tom Haudricourt: 70
Richard Justice: 70
Tim Kawakami: 70
Mike Nadel: 70
Katsushi Nagao: 70
Carl Steward: 70
Marc Topkin: 75
Kirk Wessler: 70
Jim Alexander: 65
Kirby Arnold: 65
Filip Bondy: 65
Marcos Breton: 65
Jim Caple: 65
Roberto Colon: 65
Greg Cote: 65
Shi Davidi: 65
Martin Fennelly: 65
Jeffrey Flanagan: 65
Peter Gammons: 65
Bruce Jenkins: 65
David Lennon: 65
John McGrath: 65
Bruce Miles: 65
Kevin Modesti: 65
Ross Newhan: 65
John Perrotto: 65
Troy Renck: 65
Dave Reynolds: 65
Anthony Rieber: 65
Adam Rubin: 65
Henry Schulman: 65
John Shea: 65
Claire Smith: 65
Willie Smith: 65
Paul White: 65
George Willis: 65
Nick Cafardo: 60
Dan Connolly: 60
Chris Haft: 60
Steve Henson: 60
Barry Rozner: 60
John Tomase: 60
Earl Bloom: 55
Pete Caldera: 55
Mark Faller: 55
John Harper: 55
Joe Henderson: 55
Chuck Johnson: 55
Jack McCaffery: 55
Mike Peticca: 55
Joel Sherman: 55
Jeff Jacobs: 50
Dave Perkins: 50
Joe Rutter: 50
Anonymous #1: 45
Dave Albee: 45
Jaime Aron: 45
John Canzano: 45
Tony DeMarco: 45
John Eradi: 45
Steven Gietschier: 45
Steve Goldman: 45
Dennis Maffezzoli: 45
Roger Rubin: 45
Arnie Stapleton: 45
Clark Spencer: 40
Don Burke: 35
Jay Greenberg: 35
Bob Hohler: 35
Michael Knisley: 35
Sadiel Lebron: 35
Scott Miller: 35
Jeff Peek: 35
Steve Wine: 35
Jay Dunn: 30
Richard Griffin: 30
Terry Pluto: 30
Bob Ryan: 30
Rick Telander: 30
Andrew Call: 25
Carter Gaddis: 25
Dan Gelston: 25
Dan Graziano: 25
Thom Loverro: 25
Adam Mertz: 25
David Wilhelm: 25
Steve Simmons: 20
Andrew Baggarly: 15
Jeff Blair: 15
Sam Charchidi: 15
Alan Greenwood: 15
Jon Heyman: 15
Bernie Lincicome: 15
Bob Smizik: 15
Rick Morrissey: 10
Rob Parker: 10
Anonymous #6: 5
Mel Antonen: 5
Rob Biertempfel: 5
Bill Center: 5
Tim Dahlberg: 5
Mike Downey: 5
Mike Gonzales: 5
Karen Guregian: 5
Paul Gutierrez: 5
Mark Herrmann: 5
Marc Katz: 5
Bill Plunkett: 5
Bill Ballou: 0
Art Davidson: 0
Tony Massarotti: 0
Hal McCoy: 0
Bob Sherwin: 0
Ron Kroichick: -5
Scott Gregor: -5
Jose de Jesus Ortiz: -5
John Delcos: -10
Dejan Kovacevic: -10
Carrie Muskat: -10
Barry Stanton: -10
Paul Sullivan: -10
Chris Assenheimer: -15
David Borges: -15
John Rowe: -15
Glenn Schwarz: -15
David Ginsburg: -20
Ann Killion: -20
Rob Giles: -25
Terrence Moore: -25
Juan Vené: -25
Anonymous #2: -35
Jimmy Golen: -35
Pedro Gomez: -35
Steve Marcus: -35
Jorge Ortiz: -35
Rob Rains
: -40
Paul Daugherty: -45
Jim Street: -45
Dan Shaughnessy: -55
Murray Chass: -70
Mark Purdy: -75
Bill Livingston: -95

The System

  • You get 10 points for every player you select who I think has a reasonable case for the Hall. Alphabetically that means 10 points for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, or Larry Walker. That’s 16 guys to choose from.
  • You get 0 points for either Trevor Hoffman or Billy Wagner. Frequent readers will be surprised and most sabermetric thinkers will disagree with this stance since the value these pitchers created during their careers is about on par with John Tudor or Burt Hooton. However, as I judge these ballots, I want to give every chance that I could be wrong.
  • That’s why it’s also 0 points for Johnny Damon (I rank him 33rd in CF) or Fred McGriff (40th at 1B). For me, these are easy “no” votes, but I do respect the big Hall voter. And I don’t think you should have to vote for the ten best, just ten deserving. If I do a ton of squinting, I could get Damon in. McGriff, not so much. So…
  • You lose 10 points if you justify your McGriff vote by saying he was clean.
  • You also lose 10 if you vote for McGriff but not Thome, a player pretty much with the exact same case as McGriff, only a lot better.
  • You also lose 10 points for voting for anyone else on the ballot.
  • You lose 10 points for every empty space on your ballot. Even if you’re an anti-steroid voter, you can still fill your ballot with guys on the first list.
  • You lose 10 points for voting for Bonds and not Clemens, or vice versa.
  • You lose 10 points for talking about character, morality, or Joe Morgan (if you do so in a positive way).
  • You lose 10 points for voting for other steroid guys, but not Clemens or Bonds.
  • You lose 5 points for not explaining your ballot.
  • You lose 5 points for each judgment of the morality of specific players.
  • You lose 5 points for mentioning Coors Field as an argument against Larry Walker.
  • You lose 5 points for any comparison between Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith.
  • You lose 5 points for a vote against Edgar Martinez because he was a DH.
  • You lose 5 points for any other case of ridiculous logic.
  • You lose 5 more points if you send in a blank protest ballot.
  • You lose 5 points if you vote for Pete Rose. Just stop it!
  • You gain 5 points for saying the Hall should allow writers to vote for more than ten guys (a stance I don’t agree with) or for saying the Hall should make all ballots public (one I agree with).
  • You max out at 100 points.
  • Your score can dip as low as it dips.
  • I will edit this post as the voting season unfolds and I improve my method.

Miller

Seven Questions for the 2018 BBWAA Vote

So the Hall announcement will be shared in just a few hours on the MLB Network. And of course we have to chime in with a few pre-election thoughts.

Jim Thome, magazineWho gets in?

Miller: Well, at this point, that seems to be a fairly easy call. Newcomers Chipper Jones and Jim Thome are shoe-ins. Vladimir Guerrero seems like he might earn the highest percentage of votes for a candidate after his first year. And Trevor Hoffman seems pretty certain to get in as well.

Eric: Let’s put some specific percentages to this. According to Ryan Thibodaux’s Tracker:

PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT VS. FINAL PERCENTAGE                  
NAME        PRE    ACT   DIFF
==============================
Bagwell     88%    86%    -2%
Raines      86%    86%     0
Rodriguez   80%    76%    -4%
Guerrero    72%    72%     0
Hoffman     73%    73%     0
Bonds       64%    54%   -10%
Clemens     63%    54%    -9%
Mussina     59%    52%    -7%
Schilling   51%    45%    -6%
------------------------------
AVERAGE                   -4%

So the data in this table shows that in 2017, the major candidates saw their support soften just a little bit between now and the day of the announcement. But it also shows that the percentages on the day of the announcement were pretty stable for the very top vote getters. The two biggest outliers there, Bonds and Clemens, have always done worse with private voters than other candidates have.

So let’s pretend that this model would work for 2018 as well, and we’ll stick our top four on in there. Here’s the where the Tracker sits at just before 7:00 on election day 2018:

NAME        PRE    ACT?    DIFF
================================
C Jones     98%    94%    -4%
Guerrero    95%    91%    -4%
Thome       93%    89%    -4%

For our three leaders, if a similar pattern holds in 2018 between pre-vote totals and the final tally, they are in line for a happy election day. Then there’s Trevor Hoffman who sits at 78% of the vote. If his support should soften as most other candidates has, then he’s once again on the razor’s edge. But as we saw above, he lost no support from pre-announcemen to final results. In 2016, his debut year, Hoffman gained a half a point in the final tally. This year he need to pick up a mere five votes to reach baseball Valhalla, and he’s already +11. I wouldn’t die on this hill since the private voters are usually more eccentric than the public voters, but he’ll scrape by, probably with less than 80%.

I think this is where we mention that the Hall of Miller and Eric is not a wagering-advice service. We make no specific claims of accuracy, and we are not responsible for gaming outcomes. Please, bet responsibly.

Edgar Martinez magazine 2How close is Edgar? Close enough to make it next year?

Eric: How about close enough to make it this year? Dude’s sitting on 77% of the vote right now. The problems for him are that a) if he loses support and our observations are reasonable, he will drop to about 73% b) Edgar actually tends to lose more support among the post-results voters. They vote yes about 90% as often as the pre-results folks do. If that were the case this year, he’d need to be at 83% on announcement day to make it. So it looks a little unlikely. On the other hand, prior results do not guarantee future performance, especially because we know that some voters are using the Tracker as they fill out their ballots. If he improves among post-results voters by just a few percentage points, he’s in the bronzilocks zone. There’s a range of possible outcomes here, and we should assume he doesn’t make it. But the over is a pretty good wager.

Next year is in the bag.

Miller: What our readers may not know is that we spend a lot of time discussing some of these questions outside of the blog. This is one where we keep adjusting our thought processes, and it’s of little surprise that our opinions are moving closer to each other’s. I’m still far less bullish on Edgar in 2018 than you are. On the other hand, to still have almost 77% of the vote with more than 45% of precincts reporting gives the Edgar fan a lot of hope. But the ballots we’ve seen thus far are more likely to be pro-Edgar than the ballots overall. That’s because a year ago Edger was over seven points better before the announcement than after. On average, with no evidence to support what I’m saying, I think early reporters are more likely to think, to be thinkers, to use their brains rather than their guts. Thus, they’re more likely to change their minds. And at the time of this writing, Edgar has only made up 24 of the 73 votes he needs to make up.

To your point, I’d take the wager on 2018 in a heartbeat. As for 2019, we agree. Edgar is going to make it!

Johan Santana, Daily NewsJohan is one and done, right? Anyone else of note falling off this year?

Miller: Johan Santana won 139 games in the majors. That’s all many voters need to know. And that’s where many voters stop researching. Some who do deeper research realize how great Santana was. But at the same time, reasonable voters can conclude that there are more than a dozen superior candidates. So yeah, he’s going to fall off the ballot. No, he doesn’t deserve to. But I can’t say I’m surprised.

I’d put Santana in the Hall, while at the same time acknowledging that he’d be in the bottom third of Hall pitchers. What’s funny – not in a good way – is that on the dais in Cooperstown this summer will be two inferior pitchers, Trevor Hoffman and Jack Morris. At the same time, there are two better ones lingering on the ballot, Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina.

I’m going to say that Andruw stays on, as does everyone else who matters.

Eric: The problem for Johan is that he won’t be bach. I’ll be here all night, ladies and gentlemen.

Mike Mussina, magazineWill Mussina jump from 57.6% last year to over 65% this year?

Eric: Last year, Moose lost 7.2% from the day of the announcement to the final tally. The year before he lost, wait for it, 7.2%. In 2105 it was 11%. Let’s say he’ll drop 7.5% this year. He’d need to be at 72.5% on the day the results are shared. Mussina is currently at 70.2%. So he could achieve 65% if his support picks up just a little bit between now and election day. We  know the contents of 230 or so ballots. Like you, I get the sense that ballots become more eccentric as the reveals roll along, but that’s probably just something in my head. So Mussina doesn’t have much margin for error. I’d put my money on 62–64% with a puncher’s chance at 65%.

Miller: So what you’re saying is that the over/under is just about right. Since we’re making predictions, I’ll take the over on your range. Mussina will top 64%. And I think he’ll top 65% too, though I’d bet the under on two-thirds. Yes, I’m suggesting he’s going to do a fair bit better among private voters than last year. What’s more important than this year is that he looks more and more likely to make it via the BBWAA vote before his 10 years expire. We know the BBWAA struggles with pitchers. Fergie Jenkins, an entirely comparable arm, took three tries. Robin Roberts, another excellent comp, needed four ballots. And a Bert Blyleven took 14 in his well-documented journey to Cooperstown. The crowded ballot has made it hard on Mussina. Even so, I think he has a shot next year and should his speech together by 2020 at the latest.

Bonds ClemensAny progress for Bonds and Clemens?

Miller: It certainly doesn’t seem like they’re going to make any real progress. Unless something magically changes, or unless there’s a change of mood when Bonds and Clemens enter their tenth season just because the punishment has gone on long enough, I don’t think they’re going to get in through the BBWAA. To some, the tide began to turn last year. A number of writers were fed up by the election of Bud Selig, and for reasons I don’t grasp, they decided that if the mistake of electing Bud Selig was made, they would then vote for Bonds and Clemens. I think Selig gave them a chance to correct themselves without admitting they were wrong.

Holdouts now, I fear, are mainly the true believers, guys who have decided that Bonds and Clemens cheated – cheated the fans, cheated the game, cheated the record books, cheated, cheated, cheated. They’re folks who have decided what’s moral, and they will never, ever be persuaded of anything else. But how many of these true believers do we have?

Through 197 ballots, I examined the ballots, and there were 66 that included neither Bonds nor Clemens. Of those 66, there were 22 I could easily read about to determine if the voters were true believers.

True Believers (14): Mel Antonen, Murray Chass, John Delcos, Jay Dunn, John Erardi, Scot Gregor, Bill Livingston, Thom Loverro, Randy Miller, Rick Morrissey, Bob Sherwin, Steve Simmons, Jim Street, Rick Telander

I can’t tell, but it seems they wouldn’t vote for Bonds and Clemens (6): Kirby Arnold, Amalie Benjamin, Rob Biertempfel, Joe Haalenson, Terence Moore, Arnie Stapleton

Thinkers (2): Dave Albee, Ian Harrison

The results tell us that between 64% and 91% of current “no” voters will never change their minds. If it’s on the high side, the two have no prayer. If it’s on the low side, they could make it. However, I believe those who share their ballots are more likely to be thinkers, on average, than those who don’t. It’s also clear that those who share their ballots are more likely to vote for B&C than those who don’t. Eric, I don’t think they’re going to make it. I can’t envision the time when they get elected. Ever. (Not saying I don’t think they ever will get elected, just that I can’t envision that time now).

Eric: B&C made it past the half-way point last year from whose bourn just two travelers have returned without an eventual plaque (Gil Hodges and Lee Smith who gets his shot in the VC in a couple years). Now, Bonds and the Rocket’s voting progress has defied all historical precedent already in its Balkanization of the electorate, and their march toward glory has proven agonizingly halting. I’m not entirely convinced that they are unelectable by the BBWAA. As the ballot clears a little and they approach year 10, maybe they catch a late nose-holding trend and eek out their baseball apotheosis. I see that as improbable but not impossible. But then, maybe the BBWAA don’t want to be the ones left holding that bag and want to pass if off to the Vets. Who knows what happens to this duo there. If Gossage or Dawson are on the committee, they’ll have serious obstacles. But maybe by that point Bagwell, Biggio, Piazza, Pedro, and others who played against them will sit on the VC and take a kinder view than the crotchety old timers. Hard to know. Eventually the stats will win out. It’s just a question of when.

Larry Walker, magazineBased on his work this year, how much progress can Walker make next year and in his tenth?

Eric: Let’s just get this out of the way. Walker’s rise this year is really fascinating and downright impressive. As we’ve noted previously, Walker’s taking something like the Alan Trammell path of get a big surge at the end of your BBWAA tenure, break through 40%, and get traction with the VC. Or perhaps he’s on something like the Tim Raines path of a late surge in years 8–10 leading to induction. And we don’t need to downplay expectations for him between now and the final tallies. Last year he lost just a point and a half between pre-results ballots and the final results. The year before that he gained about the same. In 2015, he gained three and a half points. He gained three points in 2015. So much of Walker’s support has been hidden from our view over the past few years. At 39% this morning, he’s got a shot to hit 40%. The question is whether the electorate will herd around him. With Vlad Guerrero off the slate, and the other non-Bonds outfielders posing no threat to him, he’ll have clear sailing the next two years to rack up votes. If he can crank it up near 60% in year ten, he’s got a damned good chance of getting in by the VC. I find it pretty unlikely, however, that he’s going to pick up 35 points in two years to gain admittance by the BBWAA.

Miller: I’m with you that Walker’s unlikely to get in through the BBWAA. Highly unlikely. However, we disagree a little on the likely VC outcomes. You and many others argue by analogy that the VC will elect those who have done well in the BBWAA vote because they always have. Such an argument only holds water to me is if future iterations of the VC are comparable to past versions. While both have had players take most of the positions on the committee, and while player thinking has not evolved much, I do think it’s possible the understanding of the non-players on future committees will have evolved quite a bit. If that’s the case, we could see things like we almost saw this year with Ted Simmons. Or maybe I’m wrong. We’re talking about just sixteen people. Predicting the actions of such a small group whose future composition is unknown to us is about as futile an exercise as there is.

One other thing on Walker. The anti-Coors crowd may be buoyed next season by the introduction of Todd Helton to the ballot. When writers see another product of Coors, their suspicions that Walker’s numbers were inflated by his home park will be confirmed. Little will most of them know that Helton is a worthy Hall of Famer too.

Jamie Moyer, magazineA year ago the great Tim Wakefield got a vote. Any thoughts on whether or not we’ll see similar votes this year from equally unqualified players?

Miller: I don’t know. I want to say that I don’t care. I used to not care, but I do today. Unlike some people, I don’t consider a vote for Chipper Jones a wasted one because he’s going to wind up well over 90%. I don’t consider a vote for Barry Bonds a wasted one since he has so little chance of being elected by the BBWAA. And I don’t consider a vote for Johan Santana to be a wasted one even if he finds up well short of the 5% needed to appear on another ballot. If you truly believe a player deserves to be enshrined in Cooperstown, there’s no wasted vote. There are dumb votes, for sure, but not wasted ones if you think the guy is deserving. However, a vote this year for Livan Hernandez or Kerry Wood, for example, just because you thought they were good guys, is unconscionable. There are lots of deserving candidates, and if you clog your ballot with someone even you don’t think is deserving, you should be ashamed.

Yes, I was happy last year when my favorite, Tim Wakefield, got a vote. I shouldn’t have been. And I never, ever would have voted for him. Well, not never. Had he been on a ballot with nine or fewer deserving candidates, I don’t know that I could help myself.

Eric: Omar Vizquel has thus far received 32% of the vote, so the question has already been answered in the affirmative. Two gentleman have voted  for Methuselah Moyer due to the sheer amazingness of him. Those electors would be Bob Sherwin of Golfers West (no joke, well, actually it is a joke) and David Wilhelm of the Belleville News-Democrat (Illinois). But I can’t fathom anyone voting for Herandez, Wood, Chris Carpenter, or Carlos Lee. By the way, I felt that way about Hideki Matsui, yet the unfathomable happened, and Dan Graziano of ESPN punched Matsui’s name. Well, since he won’t vote for steroids users, he has an open spot on his ballot, and who when he wrote this might have neglected to actually ask some colleagues about ,

I assume that when Ichiro comes up, we’re going to consider the combination of his Japanese baseball accomplishments and those from MLB, and so I felt that should apply here.

Technically speaking, nothing in the rules prohibits the consideration of Japanese League stats, because nowhere in the rules is Major League Baseball or even American baseball specified. Except, of course, in the name of the organization itself, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I think this might be one of those spirit rather than the words things. But Speaking of the former Yankee, all due congrats to Godzilla who just made the Japanese Hall this year. Back on topic, the thing about these courtesy votes is the unpredictable nature of them. David Eckstein got a couple in 2016, and so did Mike Sweeney, Jason Kendall, and Garret Anderson. No one would consider these guys worth voting for unless their competition was you and me. Darin Erstad, Jacque Jones, J.T. Snow, Armando Benitez. Hey, the one good bit of news? With the ballot so stuffed and more and more writers willing to max out their votes, we get fewer of these silly votes.

Then again, on a ballot where Mussina, Schilling, Martinez, and Walker struggle to get traction, in many ways the entire thing is one big silly vote.

Grading the BBWAA Ballots, #210-234

Whoa! What a final day! Thank you to all of you who have joined me for this ballot-grading journey these last nine weeks. As much stress as it causes me to read the ridiculous logic some use, it remains fun. And if you like it, all the better!

Please come back for our predictions post (later today), our reaction post (Friday), and our 2018 Hall of Miller and Eric election (the next three Mondays).

We have a pretty busy schedule at the HoME in the coming months. Eric will continue his excellent Negro Leagues series. I’ll finally get around to a detailed explanation about how I evaluate players, and, at the request of a read or three, we’re going to through some pretty extensive lists of our position-by-position rankings.

I’m also going to post all ballot grades and investigate some other trends in Hall voting in the coming weeks and months.

As always, thank you for reading.

Rating system and 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10, 11-14, 15, 16-17, 18-25, 26-32, 33, 34-39, 40-46, 47-51, 52-54, 55-66, 67-81, 82-91, 92-100, 101-105, 106-118, 119-136, 137-146, 147-155, 156-163, 164-168, 169, 170-175, 176-179, 180-182, 183, 184-185, 186-195, 196-197, 198, 199-209

The Ballots

Bill Center: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Thome, and Walker start him at 50.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And he drops to 40 with Vizquel.
  • The three open spaces make 10.
  • And no explanation means he finishes at 5.

Jerry Crasnick: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • His strategy of Kent over Walker makes sense. And I suppose it does with Kent over Sheffield too. Thoughtful.
  • However, he says that Kent isn’t a popular choice among people who specialize in the metrics. Well, I don’t specialize or anything, but Kent makes perfect sense to me. Right on the borderline.

Mike Downey: 5

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, and Thome get him to 50.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The three open spaces mean he falls to 10.
  • No explanation that I could find. So he falls to 5. I suspect it would have been worse if he tried to explain himself.

Martin Fennelly: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • He votes for Tampa guy Sheffield but neither Bonds nor Clemens. That costs him 10, dropping him to 70. So, so, so many homers. It’s quite distasteful.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 65.

David Ginsburg: -20

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, and Thome make 40.
  • The six remaining spaces means he falls to -20.
  • He dropped Manny for some reason.
  • There’s no way I’m listening to 36 minutes of radio for this one. Sorry.

Pedro Gomez: -35

  • Chipper, Mussina, and Thome make 30.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him to 20.
  • And the four open spaces make -20.
  • He explains his McGriff vote in a way I cannot understand at all. “McGriff would have been an easy choice for the Hall of Fame if only he’d been born 30 or 40 years earlier. There are 23 first basemen in the Hall of Fame, but only seven played their careers after 1950. Of those seven, four hit more home runs than McGriff’s 493, and of those four, McGriff was within 28 of three of them. Only Harmon Killebrew’s 573 home runs were distant from McGriff’s total, which was more than that of Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda and Jeff Bagwell.” Can you?
  • “McGriff hit 31 or more home runs in seven consecutive seasons. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting six times. He was the catalyst of the Braves’ lone World Series title in 1995. His biggest problem was playing during the height of the steroid era, in which his stellar numbers were dwarfed by the cartoonish numbers of the 1990s, when players were reaching 50, 60 and even 70 home runs in a season.” Two huge problems here.
    • We don’t’ know who used and who didn’t. Down to -30.
    • He uses the ridiculous standard that is top-10 MVP finishes. McGriff finished fourth, sixth, eighth, and tenth twice. Per BBREF, he ranks 170th in career MVP voting shares. He trails Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry and Greg Luzinski, among other greats. I don’t know if Gomez is being intellectually dishonest here or just intellectually vacuous. Down to -35.

Dan Graziano: 25

  • Vlad, Chiper, Kent, Edgar, and Mussina get to 50.
  • Hoffman, McGriff, and Wagner keep him there.
  • Hideki Matsui!!! He drops to 40.
  • The open space drops him to 30.
  • He finds “appeal” in Matsui’s Japanese ball contribution. Yes, I believe Matsui hit 507 homers between Japan and the United States. Does he know that Andruw Jones hit 484? And he played pretty good defense too. I suspect not. Ridiculous. Down to 25.

Richard Griffin: 30

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Thome, and Walker make 70.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And the open spot means he falls to 50.
  • He writes, “There are analytics in vogue that can be manipulated to compare the careers of those already enshrined to those who would like to join them…” This is either disingenuous or it represents an incredibly poor understanding of the analytics community. Whether as a vocation or avocation, the people who do this stuff are really trying to get things right, not manipulate. Down 10 to 40.
  • “Ironically, the segment of the community that seems most tolerant of difference of opinion has become the writers who actually vote. The general public seems to have devolved into self-righteous and indignant railing against those who don’t meet their carefully selected standards.” I wish I could disagree with him here.
  • His PED position is one I can very much get behind. Before PEDs were banned, he holds nothing against users or suspected users.
  • He is basically against enshrining relievers, or so he says. In the very next sentence, he says that a player who is one of the best in his role over the course of his career is an exception. No, it’s not! That’s precisely what it should take for any player to earn your vote. Down 5 to 35.
  • He lumps in relievers and designated hitters. Yuck. But he votes for Edgar for the first time. Okay.
  • “I’m a sucker for great shortstops, great defence, great athletes and players who show imagination in their play.” Um, yeah. At least you admit it.
  • ‘Shortstops are under-represented at Cooperstown…” That’s just wrong, unless he’s talking about 19th century shortstops, which he isn’t. Down 5 to 30.
  • I love his strong Larry Walker stand, suggesting it’s ignorant to hold Coors against him.

Paul Gutierrez: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, and Thome total 50.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • And the three open spots make it 10.
  • He seems impressed by Vizquel’s use of a cardboard glove, fielding percentage, and hits. Awful. Down 5 to 5.

Joe Henderson: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome get him to 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • And the open spot means he falls to 60.
  • He dropped Manny and added Mussina. Is it possible he doesn’t know he can have both?
  • No explanation, so he ends at 55.

Steve Henson: 60

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, and Thome make 70.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • And Vizquel brings him down to 60.
  • He dropped Sosa this year, presumably for Vizquel.
  • His is one of the stronger voices I’ve heard saying we must vote for PED guys, that we already have, and that the era has to be represented properly.
  • He says he dropped Sosa for the three new guys. Yeah, right.
  • He’s most rooting for Mussina, McGriff, and Vizquel.

Bruce Jenkins: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Sosa, and Thome start him with 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He dropped Schilling. For Vizquel? He says it’s a pleasure voting for Vizquel.
  • Like all San Francisco Chronicle writers, he has a paragraph to explain. He doesn’t. Down to 65.

Ann Killion: -20

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Thome make 40.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops her to 30.
  • And the four open spots bring the sub-total to -10.
  • She says the Hall rules instruct her to consider character. Yes, they do. They don’t require you to vote on it though, which you suggest they do. Down to -15.
  • And she writes this: “As far as the Hall of Fame being a museum, that’s not accurate. There’s also a museum in Cooperstown where all the players are represented.” Is she trying to separate the plaque room from the rest of the Hall? That’s lunacy. Down to -20.

George A. King III: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Sheffield, Sosa, and Thome start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Before this ballot, I’d have argued there’s no such thing as a pro-steroid position. Now I’m not so sure. There’s no explanation, so he loses 5 points and finishes with what I think is the worst 85-point ballot of the year. Still, it’s a ballot I support. Kind of.

Ron Kroichick: -5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Mussina, and Thome make 50.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The three open spaces make 10.
  • I really have to check out Vizquel voters. I think a huge number covered him day-to-day, so they trust his flashiness and ignore his lack of greatness. By the way, Kroichick is a San Francisco writer, and he voted for Kent. It’s important to check this out.
  • He says defense matters. And it makes Vizquel an easy choice. Yeah, if nothing but defense matters. Down to 5.
  • He says defense strengthens the case for Vlad. It really doesn’t. Sure, he had a great arm, but he had mediocre range.
  • He also says it strengthens the case for Jones. And he means Chipper! Depending on who you consult, Chipper was either a bad or an extremely bad defender. Down to 0.
  • And if you like defense, where’s the vote for Andruw or Rolen, two great defenders who could also hit. Down to -5. Awful.

Tim Kurkjian: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He says 19 guys deserve serious consideration. I wish he explained a little more, but I like that he’d like a larger ballot and he believes 19 of these guys deserve consideration.

Gabe Lacques: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He added Mussina and dropped Sheffield this year.
  • And he kind of explains! He says it was partly strategic and partly based on the very impressive ERA+ compared to the less-than-impressive ERA.
  • He says Edgar’s homers and hits don’t move the needle as much as Hoffman’s saves – for a specialist. Sorry Gabe, 650 PA and 65 IP ain’t remotely similar. Still, he mentions Edgar’s relatively small number of PA, just 8,674. While that is tied for 183rd in history, the tie is with Johnny Bench. This is awkward justification, not meaningful explanation. Down 5 to 85.

Eric Nuñez; 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. Thank you! That’s 100.
  • I believe he didn’t support Manny because of a PED suspension, but I’m trying to translate Spanish pretty quickly (lots of ballots), and my Spanish would probably earn a grade of 15ish. Ooh! And now I see that Twitter has a little translation button. And I’m kinda right. I’m not going to ding a guy who earned 100 when he answers only one question on Twitter.

Jorge Ortiz: -35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, and Mussina get him to 40.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 30.
  • The four open spaces drop him to -10.
  • “Hoffman was the second-best closer of his generation and, as much as I hate the save stat, compiling 601 of them is a rare feat.” Then why are you using the stat as 50% of your explanation for voting for the guy? Down to -15.
  • Vizquel was a “magician” Hits and steals. Great. I’ve heard worse reasons.
  • In a paragraph immediately following his poor Vizquel explanation, he calls Thome a “one-dimensional player who was not even the most consequential figure on those great Indians teams”. That’s Vizquel! Vizquel wasn’t one of the five most consequential players on those teams! You understand the argument, but you completely ignore it for your guy. Down 10 points for this ridiculousness to -25.
  • And he calls Sandy Alomar a bigger factor than Thome??!?! Alomar had 13.7 career WAR. Thome had 72.9 and 47.9 for just the Indians. He topped Alomar’s career WAR from 1994-1996, from 1995-1997, from 1996-1998, from 1999-2001, and from 2000-2002. Again, that’s just for the Indians. How can he write such nonsense? Down 5 more to -30.
  • It sticks out for him that Thome had only one top-5 MVP finish. Of course, he finished in the top-7 four times. And he received votes nine times. Only once ever did anyone ever believe that Omar Vizquel deserving of any MVP consideration. C’mon man! Down to -35.

Joel Sherman: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him with 80.
  • That’s where it ends, so he drops to 60.
  • This may be the best 8-man ballot of the year.
  • No explanation, so he drops to 55.

Susan Slusser: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Thome, and Walker. That’s 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • She dropped Schilling for Walker this year. But she says it was to add Rolen. I accept decision while rejecting the explanation. And there’s no other explanation offered for anything. Down to 85.

Joe Smith: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, and Thome bring this first-time voter to 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • How is a first-time voter writing only hockey these days?
  • Anyway, no explanation means he falls to 75.

Barry Stanton: -10

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Thome make 40.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 30.
  • And the four opens make -10.
  • His hardest choice was Edgar over McGriff. At least he got it right. Of course, he could have taken both.

Marc Topkin: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Sheffield, and Thome get him to 70.
  • No change with the relievers or McGriff.
  • He complains a bit about ballot size limits, though not enough to give him points.
  • He complains a tiny bit, I think, about Joe Morgan. Again, it’s not enough for points.
  • He complains about social media venom, though he say he’s fine with scrutiny. All told, these three points get him 5, moving to 75.
  • He won’t vote for someone who failed a PED test. Fine by me.
  • He says he’s not smart enough to know what percentage of a player’s numbers were PED-related. Damn right! Also, thank you.
  • He doesn’t vote for Edgar, calling him a “part-time” player. The quotation marks are his. He understands that his position is in the minority. The quotation marks suggest to me that he understands. And I may be giving him too much credit here. I think he’s continuing to think about it.
  • His pro-closer position is well-positioned in his post, but it leaves a lot to be desired. He says that closers are tasked with getting the final or toughest outs. The Hoffman and Wagner variety pretty much only got the final outs, not really the toughest ones. But I digress. He says a DH could go days without a meaningful at-bat. Sure, I guess. But how many saves does a closer get? Maybe 40? That’s only one in four games. At this point, I think he’s trying to justify an untenable position rather than explain it. Down 5 points to 70.
  • I’m getting sick of the “tough AL East” explanation when it comes to Mussina. I haven’t researched it since I very much support Mussina’s case. But I should. Did AL East teams during Mussina’s run score more runs than teams in other divisions? I don’t know. And I suppose almost none of the writers who talk about the division as they do don’t either.
  • He doesn’t go after Schilling for character. Thank you. But he says Mussina is clearly better. Really? I have no idea at all how someone can come to that conclusion. To me, they’re near historical doppelgangers. He doesn’t explain at all how Mussina is clearly better. Down to 65.
  • To me, he admits his homerism with votes for Sheffield and McGriff – even writing about it to a degree. He admits that the oft-cited “doing it the right way” line about McGriff is code for not using PEDs. Well done.
  • There’s some really impressive thinking in this post. I’m going to guess that he didn’t have the column inches to explain the things I kicked him for. Up 5 to 75.

David Wilhelm: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome make 50.
  • No change with the relievers or McGriff.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • Drop 10 more to 30 with Moyer.
  • This has to win the award for worst 10-man ballot. Not surprised that a writer who seems to cover Saint Louis University more closely than baseball doesn’t share reasoning. Oh, also, there can be no reasoning. Down to 25.

The Scores

Peter Barzilai: 100
Ken Davidoff: 100
Ryan Fagan: 100
Mark Feinsand: 100
Mark Hale: 100
Sam Mellinger: 100
Mark Newman: 100
Eric Nuñez; 100
Joe Posnanski: 100
Scott Priestle: 100
C. Trent Rosecrans: 100
Michael Silverman: 100
Mike Bass: 95
Erik Boland: 95
Mark Bradley: 95
Josh Dubow: 95
Jeff Fletcher: 95
Janie McCauley: 95
Phil Miller: 95
J.P. Morosi: 95
Steve Politi: 95
TR Sullivan: 95
Dom Amore: 90
Anthony Andro: 90
Mike Berardino: 90
Tim Booth: 90
Jerry Crasnick: 90
Ryan Divish: 90
Derrick Goold: 90
Patrick Graham: 90
Evan Grant: 90
Mike Harrington: 90
Mike Imrem: 90
Tim Kurkjian: 90
Bob Sanvarese: 90
Mike Vaccaro: 90
Anonymous #4: 85
Peter Abraham: 85
David Ammenheuser: 85
Chris Bahr: 85
Peter Botte: 85
Dave Campbell: 85
Pat Caputo: 85
Marc Carig: 85
Jay Cohen: 85
Brian Costello: 85
Tim Cowlishaw: 85
Tom D’Angelo: 85
Chris De Luca: 85
Tom Dienhart: 85
Dan Hayes: 85
Bob Herzog: 85
Garry D. Howard: 85
George A. King III: 85
Bob Klapisch: 85
Roch Kubatko: 85
Gabe Lacques: 85
Rob Maaddi: 85
David Maril: 85
Anthony McCarron: 85
Joe McDonald: 85
Nick Pietruszkiewicz: 85
Rick Plumlee: 85
Brendan Prunty: 85
Luis Rangel: 85
Tim Reynolds: 85
John Romano: 85
Ken Rosenthal: 85
Susan Slusser: 85
Jayson Stark: 85
Bernie Wilson: 85
Jack Curry: 80
Ian Harrison: 80
Lynn Henning: 80
Scott Lauber: 80
Ian O’Connor: 80
Steve Popper: 80
Jeff Wilson: 80
Amalie Benjamin: 75
Steve Buckley: 75
Larry Brooks: 75
Garry Brown: 75
Joe Haakenson: 75
Kevin Kernan: 75
Joseph Liao: 75
Jack Magruder: 75
Sean McAdam: 75
Roger Mooney: 75
Aurelio Moreno: 75
Bob Nightengale: 75
Mike Puma: 75
Tracy Ringolsby: 75
Mark Saxson: 75
Mike Shalin: 75
Joe Smith: 75
Barry Bloom: 70
Kevin Cooney: 70
Paul Hagen: 70
Richard Justice: 70
Tim Kawakami: 70
Mike Nadel: 70
Katsushi Nagao: 70
Carl Steward: 70
Marc Topkin: 75
Kirk Wessler: 70
Anonymous #3: 65
Kirby Arnold: 65
Filip Bondy: 65
Marcos Breton: 65
Roberto Colon: 65
Greg Cote: 65
Shi Davidi: 65
Martin Fennelly: 65
Jeffrey Flanagan: 65
Peter Gammons: 65
Bruce Jenkins: 65
David Lennon: 65
John McGrath: 65
Bruce Miles: 65
Kevin Modesti: 65
Ross Newhan: 65
John Perrotto: 65
Dave Reynolds: 65
Anthony Rieber: 65
Adam Rubin: 65
Henry Schulman: 65
John Shea: 65
Claire Smith: 65
Willie Smith: 65
Paul White: 65
George Willis: 65
Nick Cafardo: 60
Chris Haft: 60
Steve Henson: 60
Barry Rozner: 60
John Tomase: 60
Earl Bloom: 55
Pete Caldera: 55
Mark Faller: 55
John Harper: 55
Joe Henderson: 55
Chuck Johnson: 55
Jack McCaffery: 55
Mike Peticca: 55
Joel Sherman: 55
Jeff Jacobs: 50
Dave Perkins: 50
Anonymous #1: 45
Dave Albee: 45
Jaime Aron: 45
Tony DeMarco: 45
John Eradi: 45
Steven Gietschier: 45
Steve Goldman: 45
Roger Rubin: 45
Arnie Stapleton: 45
Clark Spencer: 40
Don Burke: 35
Jay Greenberg: 35
Bob Hohler: 35
Michael Knisley: 35
Sadiel Lebron: 35
Jeff Peek: 35
Steve Wine: 35
Jay Dunn: 30
Richard Griffin: 30
Bob Ryan: 30
Rick Telander: 30
Andrew Call: 25
Carter Gaddis: 25
Dan Gelston: 25
Dan Graziano: 25
Thom Loverro: 25
David Wilhelm: 25
Steve Simmons: 20
Andrew Baggarly: 15
Jeff Blair: 15
Sam Charchidi: 15
Jon Heyman: 15
Bernie Lincicome: 15
Bob Smizik: 15
Rick Morrissey: 10
Rob Parker: 10
Mel Antonen: 5
Rob Biertempfel: 5
Bill Center: 5
Mike Downey: 5
Mike Gonzales: 5
Karen Guregian: 5
Paul Gutierrez: 5
Mark Herrmann: 5
Marc Katz: 5
Bill Plunkett: 5
Bill Ballou: 0
Art Davidson: 0
Tony Massarotti: 0
Bob Sherwin: 0
Ron Kroichick: -5
Scott Gregor: -5
Jose de Jesus Ortiz: -5
John Delcos: -10
Dejan Kovacevic: -10
Carrie Muskat: -10
Barry Stanton: -10
Paul Sullivan: -10
Chris Assenheimer: -15
David Borges: -15
John Rowe: -15
Glenn Schwarz: -15
David Ginsburg: -20
Ann Killion: -20
Rob Giles: -25
Terrence Moore: -25
Juan Vené: -25
Anonymous #2: -35
Jimmy Golen: -35
Pedro Gomez: -35
Steve Marcus: -35
Jorge Ortiz: -35
Rob Rains
: -40
Paul Daugherty: -45
Jim Street: -45
Dan Shaughnessy: -55
Murray Chass: -70
Mark Purdy: -75
Bill Livingston: -95

The System

  • You get 10 points for every player you select who I think has a reasonable case for the Hall. Alphabetically that means 10 points for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, or Larry Walker. That’s 16 guys to choose from.
  • You get 0 points for either Trevor Hoffman or Billy Wagner. Frequent readers will be surprised and most sabermetric thinkers will disagree with this stance since the value these pitchers created during their careers is about on par with John Tudor or Burt Hooton. However, as I judge these ballots, I want to give every chance that I could be wrong.
  • That’s why it’s also 0 points for Johnny Damon (I rank him 33rd in CF) or Fred McGriff (40th at 1B). For me, these are easy “no” votes, but I do respect the big Hall voter. And I don’t think you should have to vote for the ten best, just ten deserving. If I do a ton of squinting, I could get Damon in. McGriff, not so much. So…
  • You lose 10 points if you justify your McGriff vote by saying he was clean.
  • You also lose 10 if you vote for McGriff but not Thome, a player pretty much with the exact same case as McGriff, only a lot better.
  • You also lose 10 points for voting for anyone else on the ballot.
  • You lose 10 points for every empty space on your ballot. Even if you’re an anti-steroid voter, you can still fill your ballot with guys on the first list.
  • You lose 10 points for voting for Bonds and not Clemens, or vice versa.
  • You lose 10 points for talking about character, morality, or Joe Morgan (if you do so in a positive way).
  • You lose 10 points for voting for other steroid guys, but not Clemens or Bonds.
  • You lose 5 points for not explaining your ballot.
  • You lose 5 points for each judgment of the morality of specific players.
  • You lose 5 points for mentioning Coors Field as an argument against Larry Walker.
  • You lose 5 points for any comparison between Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith.
  • You lose 5 points for a vote against Edgar Martinez because he was a DH.
  • You lose 5 points for any other case of ridiculous logic.
  • You lose 5 more points if you send in a blank protest ballot.
  • You lose 5 points if you vote for Pete Rose. Just stop it!
  • You gain 5 points for saying the Hall should allow writers to vote for more than ten guys (a stance I don’t agree with) or for saying the Hall should make all ballots public (one I agree with).
  • You max out at 100 points.
  • Your score can dip as low as it dips.
  • I will edit this post as the voting season unfolds and I improve my method.

Miller

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Institutional History

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