Tuesday, March 1, 2011

HOF Voting Predictions Recap: Who'd We Miss?

By Bill

So last week, The Common Man and I took on the daunting and ultimately pretty silly task of predicting how the next 25 years of BBWAA Hall of Fame voting would go. The five-part set of summaries is right here (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), and now, you can see all the results together in an ugly little spreadsheet here.

I picked 52 inductees, and TCM picked 51. Forty names appear on both of our lists, which you could look at a few different ways -- either 77.7% of the total names matched (80/103), or 63.5% of the players picked were picked by both of us (40/63). The second way is probably more meaningful, but either way, it seems to me like quite a lot of agreement for something this wide open. On the chart linked above, the players who were picked by only one of us are highlighted in red.

On the other hand, there are 18 players (28.6% of the total players or 35% of all our picks) who we not only both picked, but both picked to go in in the same year. These come primarily in the first several years, as you might guess -- Biggio, Maddux, and Griffey are the easy ones -- but there were some pretty random agreements down the road, too. Most notably, we both have Mauer and Sabathia going in in 2026 somehow, and we both picked Buster Posey for 2032 and Jason Heyward for '35. All those perfect matches are highlighted in yellow.

Here's a look at some of the key players we disagreed on, followed by some players we skipped completely:

Split Decisions
I'm biased, of course, but the biggest surprise split decision to me was Ivan Rodriguez. I picked him to go in in 2023, very likely to be his sixth or seventh ballot, and worried that that was too late for the guy who has been considered a top two or three all-time catcher and a sure-fire Hall of Famer for eleven or twelve seasons now. So imagine my surprise when TCM just didn't pick him at all! Now, true, he's a suspected steroid user in some circles, most notably having been named by Jose Canseco in Juiced (or so I'm told), but I don't get the sense that anyone is so sure about it that they're willing to hang him for it, and his topping out at 35 home runs should help. Unless something much more substantial comes out about him, I can't imagine them letting him go more than a few years on the ballot.

On the other hand, I skipped a very likely inductee in Omar Vizquel. It might just be wishful thinking on my part, since I just don't think he's worthy. But while I have to assume he's going in sometime, with the 2800 hits and eleven Gold Glove Awards and all, I looked through and couldn't find a year in which I didn't see two more likely and/or deserving candidates.

I picked two Tigers, one who I think might (but probably won't and definitely shouldn't) make it, and one who I really hope makes it, probably in vain. TCM didn't see either Alan Trammell or Jack Morris making it, and I can't blame him.

We both picked our share of players whose numbers are probably just barely on the "worthy" side of borderline, but whose induction is very much in doubt: TCM had Todd Helton and Jeff Kent, while I had Curt Schilling, Edgar Martinez, John Smoltz and Gary Sheffield. I see Smoltz and Schilling as much more likely than Helton and Kent, but again, of course, I'm biased.

Most of the rest of the differences seem to be TCM favoring pitchers (Price, Hanson, Kershaw) and me favoring hitters (Bruce, Utley, Braun). And then, of course, there's the Wieters-McCann thing. Ugh.

Not Pictured
Here, in no real order, are the players who jump out to me as the most deserving and/or surprising players who neither TCM nor I picked to go in before '36:

Larry Walker. Among players to have debuted after 1984 (picked somewhat randomly to capture almost all the players we're dealing with), Walker ranks 14th in WAR, and 12 of the first 13 were all named by both of us (I-Rod would be the other, sitting at 12). He is, and I'm afraid is doomed to remain, a terribly underrated player because of confusion about the Coors effect. Overrated in '97, underrated otherwise.

Scott Rolen. Certainly deserving, and I'd definitely vote for him if he retired today; the Hall certainly needs more third basemen, and it seems unlikely at this point that David Wright ends up with a better career than Rolen's. But Rolen has just never been seen as the kind of superstar he probably should have been -- in his best year (2004), he was arguably the third best player on his own team, behind Pujols and Edmonds. I think he has to wait for the Veterans' Committee, sadly.

Rafael Palmeiro. No real mystery here.

Kenny Lofton. I had Lofton in an early draft of my list, but then decided I was relying too much on what I want to happen and not nearly enough on what I thought would happen. Lofton, like Rolen, just doesn't "feel" like a Hall of Fame player. I think he was, but it doesn't feel that way.

Mark McGwire. As TCM and I both said in one of the comment threads, the timing is just off for McGwire. I think people will return to sanity on the whole steroid thing, but not in time for Mac.

Andruw Jones. The most current defensive metrics suggest that he's been pretty close to MVP-candidate level six times, thanks mostly to his phenomenal defense in center field. Even if that's true, though, his short career makes him pretty borderline, a la Dale Murphy (better, but not that much better). He's going to have to have a huge comeback at age 34 to have much of a chance, and the Yankees aren't the best team for that.

Mike Mussina. Another player who made my early lists. I think he gets in at some point during his time on the ballot, but, as with Vizquel, I couldn't find a place to put him given our parameters.

Andy Pettitte. We've both come forward and said he doesn't deserve it. Maybe we're projecting our wishes again, but I think he's got too much competition here to get through.

Johan Santana. I probably would have put him on this list a year or so ago, but his recent injury history has to be worrisome for a pitcher in his early thirties.

Ryan Howard. He'll be 57 in '36 and probably not quite at the end of his 15-year run...but he'll be close. He got started very late and doesn't figure to last terribly long, but he could get into Ralph Kiner territory if he can come back and have a few more huge seasons.

Adam Dunn. Dunn is just ten days older than Howard and has more than a hundred more homers, and it would be kind of hard for him not to reach at least 500 (especially now that he's in an especially friendly hitters' park). On the other hand, he's made one All-Star team -- that nearly a decade ago -- and has never even finished in the top 20 in MVP voting, so it's very hard to say how he's going to be viewed fifteen or twenty years from now.

Adrian Beltre. Probably destined to be another in the long line of underappreciated third basemen, unfairly labeled as something of a one- or two-year wonder (unless he has a few more like 2010 in him). Worth noting, though: he started young enough that he's likely to eclipse 2000 hits this season, at just 32.

Prince Fielder. He's certainly off to a good start, but he just looks a bit too much like Mo Vaughn (or, you know, Cecil) to me.

Zack Greinke. He's just 27 and already has a Cy Young Award (and in an especially dominant season), but then, he also has a 17-loss season and a sub-.500 overall record. We can hope that won't mean anything when his name comes up, but no matter how you look at it, he's got a very long way to go.

Robinson Cano. He's 28 and has already had four really, really good seasons (you might say one great one, in 2010). And at his current pace, he'd eclipse 3000 hits sometime in his age-38 season. You can certainly argue that we missed one here, and that Cano has a much better shot than some of the guys listed toward the end of both of our lists.


That's all the plausible guys I can find who we omitted, but feel free to let me know if you can think of others. All in all, given how ridiculous this whole idea is (and Wieters over McCann aside), I think it's all pretty reasonable. But again, feel free to disagree.


Dan McCloskey said...

I guess the most glaring omission I can see is Tim Lincecum. Obviously, there are body-type durability concerns, but two Cy Youngs by age 26. Would've expected to at least see him on the "Ones We Might Have Missed" list.

Another one that doesn't jump out at me, but pops into my head is Adrian Gonzalez, especially now that he's in Boston.

I'm also curious what you think about David Ortiz's chances? I'm thinking no, but he's not that crazy of an idea, especially if he can put together a few more seasons like last year (not great, but solid).

I'll say again, great job with this series, guys. Really enjoyed it.

Bill said...

Thanks, Dan. You're right, Lincecum is definitely one that should have been mentioned in this post. I'm not sure how I missed him.

I wouldn't give Ortiz much of a chance. Edgar was better for longer, spent 2.5 times more innings wearing a glove, and didn't have a PED suspension (or any other black marks I know of), but he's going to have a very hard time getting in because of the DH issue. I suppose Ortiz gets some extra points for that perception of clutchiness from the '04 and '07 postseasons, but I don't think it's nearly enough to get him there. I think he'd have to have another couple seasons more in line with '03-'07 than '10 to have a chance. But I could be wrong.

Adam Darowski said...

Amazing work.

Lincecum stood out to me, too. How about Pedroia? With Cano listed in this thread, I'd think Pedroia would be in a similar state as him.

Again, great read!

RichDub said...

What about a shot for B Wags. Fifth most saves on the list, 2nd most by a southpaw.

The Common Man said...

No way, Rich. There's no way to justify putting him in. The value he contributed is just far too low. We're already stretching things with Hoffman.

Lincecum is not a bad choice, but there's some serious potential for breaking down, given his frame. We hope not, though, as he's basically the pitcher who's most fun to watch in all of baseball.

Adrian has a big hill to climb, given that he's already 28, got a little bit of a late start, is stuck at 1B, and only has 168 homers so far and a 137 OPS+. With a bunch of other 1B ahead of him in line, it's unlikely.

No way that David Ortiz gets in.

And The Common Man has to fess up that he totally missed on Pudge Rodriguez. Egregous oversight.

Alexander said...

What about Lester? He's generally regarded as one of the best, if not the best, lefty in the game.
Also, along the lines of Gonzalez (who I think will benefit enough from Fenway to earn it, despite his slow start) what about Youkilis? He's been very, very good for a number of years now, even if he's been underappreciated outside of Boston.
I agree with Adam that Pedroia is in the same boat as Cano, with the caveat that Pedroia has an MVP under his belt already.
A bit of a stretch, but what do you think of Wakefield and Varitek's chances? I think it unlikely for both, but they've both been fairly good for a long time. One would also need to factor in things that don't appear in stat lines, such as their intangibles, Wakefield being a knuckleballer, and Varitek's outstanding ability to call games, and how much the pitchers trust him (as evidenced by his record-setting four no-hitters caught).
Yes, I'm a Red Sox fan, how on Earth did you guess?

Courtney said...

I understand the concerns about durability, but it hasn't come up yet despite the somewhat significant workload (going to be 1000 inn by the end of the 2011 season one assumes) in what will be just under five years of service. He also did very well in the playoffs and won 2 games in the WS, including the clincher against Cliff Lee, and we all know post season success sure helps when it comes to pitchers. Not to mention the stats...CYs and strikeout titles, low ERA, low BA against, HR rate, .675%, and 3:1 k/bb.

Sure, he has a hell of a ways to go, but if Wieters and Kershaw are on here...

I really liked the Carl Crawford picks. I've been a fan of the guy from the first day he stepped foot in the majors, and I live in the SF Bay Area (go figure with the Lincecum love).

As for Jeff Kent, I think the doubters should really go back to his numbers. Sure, he was an A hole, but compare him, offensively, to every 2nd baseman since Rogers Hornsby. Not a joke. Averaging out every major category, I guarantee he is somewhere in the top 5 of that list. Defensive skills aside, if Sandberg is in, Kent is no doubt. 984 xbh. How many 2nd basemen can you say that about? A handful. More RBIs than any 2nd baseman except Hornsby, Lajoie, and Gehringer, if I'm not mistaken.

Great job with the predictions. They were a lot of fun.