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2007-06-18 10:23
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Some Yankee fans think that Goose Gossage, Bernie Williams and even Mike Mussina should be in the Hall of Fame. Others will argue that Thurman Munson belongs in Cooperstown. I think that's a stretch, but what about Jorge Posada? (I think you can make a case that next to Berra and Dickey, Posada is the third best catcher in Yankee history.) I haven't ever really considered the possiblity until now thanks to Jay Jaffe. Check it out.

Comments (66)
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2007-06-18 10:38:29
1.   Cliff Corcoran
"over the period of 2000-2006 — admittedly a carefully selected range of years — Posada out-WARPed Derek Jeter, 59.1 to 57.8. Yes, he's been that valuable to the Yankees."

Wow.

I know Jorge just passed Munson in games caught recently. Looks like he's just passed him in JAWS too. I don't think there's any doubt at this point that Posada is the third best catcher in Yankee history.

That said, what an incredible legacy they have at that position: Dickey, Berra, Howard, Munson, Posada. That's tremendous.

2007-06-18 10:56:32
2.   Chyll Will
1 I remember watching that movie... I don't remember seeing either one of them in that movie. But then, you wouldn't see me either if I was running away from a hungry shark...
2007-06-18 11:01:49
3.   monkeypants
Over the course of Jorge's career, he has been almost certainly the second most valuable player at his position (to Piazza), arguably the third most valuable (to the vastly overrated I-Rod). During that same period he was also the best catcher in the league a number of few years (again, despite all the I-Rod and Varitek love). He will probably go down as at least the third best catcher between 1990 and 2010 (what other competition? Sandy Alomar?).

If you are one of the top few players for the era at your generation in a 30 team league, there has to be serious HPF consideration.

2007-06-18 11:09:53
4.   Shaun P
1 That's the line that wowed me too, Cliff. I never would have expected that. Jay did a great job with that post.

3 Why is it that Posada never gets elected to start an All-Star game? I'd hope that every Yankees fan is voting for him. So why isn't that enough? Is it because the other usual Yankee suspects (Jeter and A-Rod) get votes from other fans, while Jorge doesn't?

Its a shame, because someday some fool sportswriter, discussing Posada's HoF candidacy, is going to point out that I-Rod made all those All Star teams, and Jorge didn't.

2007-06-18 11:13:42
5.   Ben
Jorgie has been a player that has grown on me the most as a fan. A lot like Paulie O., who I used to hate in the mid and late nineties. He just didn't seem to enjoy playing and it turned me off. But he was a grinder, and eventually I saw what everyone else appreciated about him. Same with Jorgie, he just seemed hard to root for. But I think starting with the article about pissing on his hands to toughen them up, I began to understand why he is such a gem. I guess I understand the grit of a catcher more too.

Hey anyone notice last night that after the Yanks are piling on the runs off El Duque, Posada still strikes out against the guy. After their contentious battery performances I thought that was a little silver lining for El Duque.

2007-06-18 11:19:00
6.   monkeypants
4 Because he walks l lot but (usually) hits for a relatively low average. Folks love I-Rod's .304/.342/.483 much more than they do Jorge's .274/.377/.476...and I-Rod's defensive reputation.

Of course, many who post on these threads also prefer a supposedly slick glove and seem to have an aversion to base-clogging walks...

Finally, he's apparently not a "leader" or "warrior" or "idiot" like Varitek.

2007-06-18 11:22:23
7.   Cliff Corcoran
See also this from the Journal News:

http://tinyurl.com/3c5zcx

Seems appreciating Jorge's in the air.

2007-06-18 11:27:47
8.   Schteeve
4 Totally. Compared to his peers, I have a hard time arguing against him for HoF
2007-06-18 11:33:11
9.   weeping for brunnhilde
5 Oh, absolutely. I love Duque and was glad to see he could at least get Jorgie.

But this is why Jorgie's so good this year, he's so rarely fooled like that.

He used to have ABs like that routinely, and fatten up on mistakes. These days, he's such a tough out because he's not guessing so much or something, I don't know, but watching him against Duque reminded me of what the old Jorgie was like.

2007-06-18 11:34:57
10.   ny2ca2dc
Just chiming in on the Jorge love; he's the greatest, glad you linked to that Alex. He's the true meaning of 'irreplaceable'. All these years, as great as guys like Jeter and Bernie are & were, Po has pretty much always been top 3, and he's among the most durable players in the majors over the relevant span. I think he's the perfect sidekick to Jeter too, he's the down and dirty, red-ass'd companion to the golden boy.
2007-06-18 11:46:47
11.   RIYank
Very gratifying -- as I've mentioned, he's my favorite Yankee, and for a while I've thought of him as Almost-HoF. I loved seeing him gun down Reyes yesterday, too (and by the way, to pick up on a conversation from the previous thread, I'm pretty sure Jeter never got thrown out on a home run).

Posada is not the kind of player you scream about no matter how much you admire him, any more than he's the kind of guy who ever does any screaming of his own. But just watch, as Jorge goes, so will go the Yankees.

2007-06-18 11:49:40
12.   RIYank
Oh, and I would have used the word 'irreplaceable' if ny2ca2dc (that's a helluva double play, by the way) hadn't. Once in a while I think, "Dickey, Berra, Munson, Posada, maybe there really is another one in our future..." But I don't really believe it.
2007-06-18 11:58:55
13.   Dimelo
I think he deserves to be in the HOF, but at the very least a statue in monument park to go alongside Jeter, Mo, and Bernie.
2007-06-18 12:02:23
14.   Chyll Will
Posada's gotten stronger and stronger as time goes by; at this stage you have to argue why shouldn't he be in the HoF. Not that I would, he's in as far as I'm concerned.

7 Let's hope for all sake that whatever's in the air stays in the Bronx for a few more years, especially if someone we all know were to soujorn down I-95 for an opening. That would be a double-disaster here.

2007-06-18 12:17:35
15.   Shawn Clap
Posada in the Post Season .241/.358/.388

Munson in the Post Season .357/.378/.496

Who were you guys saying belongs in the Hall first?

2007-06-18 13:03:18
16.   Kered Retej
Count me as one of those in the "I-Rod is overrated" camp, so I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see him so high on the JAWS list. I know a little bit about Jay's methodology, and I think it is pretty valid, at least as a rough tool, and I may have to recalibrate my opinion of Rodriguez. I guess he has had a longer career than Posada, which helps him in the JAWS stat.

The real lesson is how underrated Posada has been to the Yankees, and I am glad to see him getting some more mainstream recognition (now that he is in the batting title race). Jorge was as important to the team as anyone, and is still probably the one player they can least afford to lose. I really hope he and the Yanks can work out a reasonable deal so he finishes his career with the team.

2007-06-18 13:11:08
17.   williamnyy23
With all due respect to Jay, we actually discussed this topic back in March (http://tinyurl.com/2hb8v5).

I think the pro-Jorge campaign has been under way for some time. Once again, I think Cashman made a mistake not re-upping both he and Rivera in the past off season. If Posada keeps it up, he is going to command a hefty deal.

2007-06-18 13:14:58
18.   bob34957
Since I've had the benefit of observe both Jorge and Thurman play in their prime: I believe that both aren't HOF worthy. However, if Jorge can piece together 4 more solid seasons like 07 then it might be a possibility because of competing with his contemporaries: Pudge Rodriquez and Mike Piazza.
2007-06-18 13:15:50
19.   yankz
18 Four more seasons like this one? Are you realistically asking that of him?
2007-06-18 13:21:58
20.   williamnyy23
18 This season is well beyond "solid". More realistically, if he can have four more seasons close to his current career average, he will be a strong candidate.
2007-06-18 13:38:35
21.   Count Zero
Posada...HOF...tough sell. He would need at least two more solid seasons behind the plate, and maybe a couple more as 1B/DH to make it I think. I love Jorge, but... That 2000 - 2006 WARP did blow my mind!

So...back to my post in the other thread...doesn't anyone know anything about these two guys from China? Do they actually have any talent, or is this totally a PR stunt to push the relationship agreement?

Or maybe they just wanted to show JD they are thinking about the BUC position for the future... ;-)

2007-06-18 13:44:09
22.   JL25and3
20 This season is far from over. It's going to be his best offensive season, easily, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he ends up hitting .310 or so.

That's not to put the guy down. I've said for quite a few years that Posada's the Yankee MVP just because he's the least replaceable. But he catches so damn much, the last couple of months are going to be very tough for him.

2007-06-18 13:51:31
23.   OldYanksFan
While I think of Munsons career as 'short', Jorge will not pass Munson is games until the end of this year.

I was surprised to see that Munson was 'only' a 0.748 OPS guy. Jorge is at 0.853, 100+ pts higher. Jorge also averages about 20% more HRs/yr then Thurman did.

There is no doubt that Thurman was a better defended, and who knows what numbers he would have piled up if...

But looking at the different in offense, I would have to give the nod to Jorge over Thurm in overall productivity. It's nice to look at the PS, but that is a really small smaple size.

If Jorge has another 2 or 3 productive years, I certainly think he will be considered for the HOF.

2007-06-18 13:57:35
24.   monkeypants
15 oh dear, that's not really your argument is it? I loved Munson as a kid--my favorite player, cried when he died. He's not a HOF. Like Mattingly, peak was too short. Posada is already better career-wise than Munson.
2007-06-18 14:05:05
25.   MainLineYankee
Posada is not HOF-worthy. He has not dominated in his position during any stretch of his career.
2007-06-18 14:07:36
26.   weeping for brunnhilde
Remember when Jorgie adopted that quasi-Mattingly stance a couple of seasons back?

What ever happened to that?

2007-06-18 14:20:35
27.   yankz
Whaaaaat the series doesn't start till tomorrow?! I hate off-days! Especially when the team is playing .917 ball over the last 12 games!
2007-06-18 15:10:42
28.   Chyll Will
27 LOL, man do we know how much you hate these off-days >;)
2007-06-18 15:40:17
29.   Jay Jaffe
Glad you guys enjoyed the Posada piece. Regarding Munson, there's a lot of emotion attached to him vis a vis any discussion of the Hall of Fame -- rightly so, given the high esteem in which Yankee fans old him and the tragic end he met -- but it's important to note a few things.

First, Munson was basically toast as a hitter by the time he met his demise. At 32, he was hitting just .288/.340/.374, numbers essentially unchanged from his previous year, when he'd fallen from 18 HR to 6. Basically, he had stopped being an asset with the bat, likely a product of frequent nagging injuries and overuse. It's unlikely he could have remained productive with the stick while catching 130 games a year going forward.

Second, Munson was indeed a defensive whiz, at least compared to Posada. BP's numbers rate him at +6 runs for every 100 games played (the Rate2 stat, it's often called). Particuarly, he did a fantastic job of cutting down the running game, nailing 44.5 percent of baserunners for his career. Posada by comparison is only catching about 30 percent of runners, though it's worth noting that in these offense-heavy times, a stolen base is worth less than in Munson's day.

Regarding Munson's MVP award, he scored "only" 7.7 WARP that year (1976). According to BP's metrics, that wasn't even the best on the Yankees; Graig Nettles (10.6), Roy White (9.3), and Willie Randolph (7.7) were as valuable or more according to the numbers, and numerous players around the league were as well. Bobby Grich (9.8), Jim Palmer, (10.0), Mark Freakin' Belanger (8.1), Luis Tiant (8.6), George Brett (8.3), Vida Blue (10.6)... and that's just looking at the top 3 teams of each division, where an MVP might reasonably be expected to reside. Munson had a good season, but he was hardly a slam-dunk MVP. That said, the same kind of stuff happens quite often; Jeter '99 (11.1) was beaten out by Ivan Rodriguez (10.0), though Pedro Martinez (13.4) got the raw deal as well.

Regarding "dominating the position" - that's not the working criteria for the Hall of Fame, never has been. Certainly one has to be among the best at his position over a substantial timeframe, but expecting every candidate to be Willie Mays or Hank Aaron is folly. The presence of Mays/Aaron comtemporaries like Al Kaline, Billy Williams, Lou Brock, Willie Stargell, Carl Yastrzemski, and Frank Robinson illustrates that quite amply.

As for Pudge Rodriguez, he's been coasting on reputation since Posada became a force, not that he hasn't been a key component of winning clubs like the '03 Marlins and '06 Tigers. Over that 2000-2006 timeframe, he was worth only 51.0 WARP, compared to Posada's 59.1. Now, he entered that range coming off three straight 10+ WARP seasons, so it's not like we're talking chopped liver here, but his value hasn't matched the perception in more recent times.

Oh, and if you're wondering about that little bitch Varitek when we're talking about top catchers, he scores at 37.5 over the 2000-2006 span, with some unflattering seasons (2000, 2002) and some injury-marred ones limiting his value. So I think it's fair to say Posada has been the most valuable catcher in the league for a while now.

2007-06-18 15:43:32
30.   monkeypants
16 I finally got around to looking at the Jaffe piece. I guess I too have been over-selling I-Rod as overrated. BUT, I do have some trouble with Piazza--clearly the greatest hitting catcher in history--ranking so low. I-Rod #3 and Piazza #10, behind borderline non-HOFer Torre?? Hmmmm. I wonder if JAWS breaks down when used to analyze catchers?
2007-06-18 15:46:30
31.   monkeypants
29 Whoah--while I posted, Jay Jaffe answered a number of questions. If I may, how do account for Piazza's (relatively) low showing? It can't be all defense, no?
2007-06-18 16:07:01
32.   Start Spreading the News
30 31 I think it boils down to the definition of replacement player since Jaffe is working with WARP.

A replacement player back then was putting up lower offensive numbers than one now.

So Torre's career WARP was 104 with a career OPS of 817.

Piazza has a career WARP of 97 with an OPS of 928.

2007-06-18 16:11:44
33.   Jeb
Alex, at the risk of committing heresy on your blog, let's just take a butter knife approach to the question of Posada by looking at average, OBP, SLG, hits and homers as compared to 3 other HOF catchers because that's the blunt kind of tool that the BBWA will use when evaluating Jorge Posada's candidacy.

Most of the BBWA writers don't know their VORP from their Win Shares and sure don't know anything about park adjustments. And, if Jorge is on the ballot in 10 years, that's not going to change.

.274 lifetime AVG

.377 lifetime OBP

.476 lifetime Slugging

1240 hits

207 homers

Jorge doesn't have a pile of all-star appearances, but he has won several rings. In my view though, Baseball writers like arbitrary numbers for players like 3,000 hits, 300 wins, etc., because those kind of numbers create prima facie evidence that a player is deserving and you don't have to "think about it".

I think that the bar for a catcher is probably 2,000 hits and 300 homers after looking at Bench, Berra and Carter.

Jorge's real problem is that he's 35. He has 2 more seasons as a productive catcher after 2007, if he's lucky, and the 2 years as a first baseman somewhere or a DH and maybe 1 year as a part-time player/pinch hitter. His current numbers don't scream out HOF, but 2000 hits and 300 homers with that OBP should. If he gets those numbers, and with 760 hits to go that's a tall order, here's how he'll compare to other HOF catchers:

*Berra had 2150 hits with 358 homers and a batting average of .285 with a .350 OBP. and a .482 Slugging

*Bench had 2048 hits with 389 homers and a batting average of .267 with a .345 OBP and .476 slugging

*Gary carter had 2092 hits with 324 homers and a batting average of .262 with a .338 OBP and a .439 Slugging

Frankly, I could argue that Posada has been the best of the bunch offensively when you consider how he gets on base. He's 27 points higher than berra, 32 points higher than Bench and 39 points higher than Carter. Isn't OBP at the heart of most of the en vogue stats?

Granted Posada's OBP should decline to around .360-365 by the time he's done but that's still better than these guys. His defense has improved thanks to Tony Pena, but he's probably not in Bench'es class.

I would not seriously argue that he even approaches Bench or Yogi because little things like ban-box ball parks, different eras, etc., but I think that Jorge looks better than Gary Carter who essentially cried his way in.

All Jorge really needs are the arbitrary numbers (300 homers + 2000 hits) that will make members of the BBWA adjudge him as a worthy candidate as compared to the others.

2007-06-18 16:22:55
34.   bob34957
19. yankz
18 Four more seasons like this one? Are you realistically asking that of him?

Great question. Realistically, wow, if he could do one that would be realisically. Two more is some what realistic. The chances of him have an additional two would be based upon a position change to first or DH. Jorge is gonna have to be flexible two season from now to fatten up his statistics. What are you realistic expectations for Posada?

2007-06-18 16:30:01
35.   yankz
34 I'm not even sure it's realistic to expect him to play this well for the rest of this year. 36 year old catchers just generally do not have career years. I think the best case scenario that is pretty plausible is for him to bat .300 for the rest of the year with the same amount of power. Then, see 20 for the rest. I'd be very pleased with that.

And 13 is spot on. 3rd best Yankee catcher ever certainly deserves a plaque. Captain, Bernie, and Mo are locks. Andy?

2007-06-18 16:30:06
36.   yankz
34 I'm not even sure it's realistic to expect him to play this well for the rest of this year. 36 year old catchers just generally do not have career years. I think the best case scenario that is pretty plausible is for him to bat .300 for the rest of the year with the same amount of power. Then, see 20 for the rest. I'd be very pleased with that.

And 13 is spot on. 3rd best Yankee catcher ever certainly deserves a plaque. Captain, Bernie, and Mo are locks. Andy?

2007-06-18 16:30:15
37.   yankz
Argh, sorry :(
2007-06-18 16:41:00
38.   OldYanksFan
29 Very nice Jay. While I know WARP is a good comparison stat, it is still a little intangible for many of us. And even if it IS the perfect stat, many people 'prove' different points by choosing 'THE' stat that best states their case.

It would be nice to see OPS+ in there, as most of us get OBP and slugging. Plus, I was of the impression that IRod was one of the best defensive guys of all-time, and maybe the best at throwing out runners. So putting some defensive stats in these comparisons is also helpful. And lets face it, BA and HRs still hold a little weight.

2007-06-18 16:52:37
39.   Start Spreading the News
33 Jeb, you really need to adjust the final counting stats for the era in which people played.

That is why Jaffe used WARP instead of OPS and other such rate stats.

For example, you say that Gary Carter cried his way in to the HOF. But consider that when he hit 32 HRs in 1985, the major league leader hit only 5 more!!! Offense didn't really abound back then. When Mike Piazza hit his career high of 40 in 1999, there were a couple of guys who hit over 60. Funny thing was that McGwire who hit 65 homers that year didn't lead the league in slugging. That was Walker who played in Colorado.

So you always need to adjust your stats due to era. Wins above Replacement Player is a good way of doing that.

By that count, Gary Carter had 117 wins more than a replacement player in the years he played.

Consider monkeypants's statement 30 that clearly Piazza was the greatest hitting catcher. He is using an absolute counting scale. Piazza will end up with the highest counting stats of any catcher. But monkeypants didn't look at the context in which Piazza did it.

And context is important, illustrated by an extreme example:
Consider 1919 when Babe Ruth hit 29 homers while the next closest guy had 11. Piazza hit 40 homers in 1999 -- is Piazza the better home run hitter?

Most people will say no. In the same way, using relative stats like WARP, one can say that Johnny Bench was a better hitter than Piazza. Even without considering that Bench lead the majors with 45 homers in 1970.

Bench's numbers were astonishing considering his era. He really was the best hitting catcher of all time.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/benchjo01.shtml

2007-06-18 17:03:10
40.   Schteeve
How is OPS any less "tangible" than WARP?
2007-06-18 17:13:30
41.   Jay Jaffe
38. Defense is in there, but I probably should have also included the component runs above average and runs above replacement as I normally do in my HOF ballot series.

Here is how the catchers I listed rank in terms of career Fielding Runs Above Average. This explains more than a little about why Piazza suffers according to WARP:

IVAN RODRIGUEZ 200 runs
GARY CARTER 149
YOGI BERRA 145
JOHNNY BENCH 142
TONY PENA 127
DEL CRANDALL 123
GABBY HARTNETT 113
BILL DICKEY 111
BUCK EWING 100
RAY SCHALK 98
JIM SUNDBERG 95
LANCE PARRISH 89
CHARLIE BENNETT 83
THURMAN MUNSON 79
ROY CAMPANELLA 74
MICKEY COCHRANE 58
DARRELL PORTER 54
CARLTON FISK 47
JORGE POSADA 34
BENITO SANTIAGO 32
BILL FREEHAN 28
JAVY LOPEZ 20
RICK FERRELL 14
JASON KENDALL 2
JOE TORRE -2
GENE TENACE -5
DEACON WHITE -11
TED SIMMONS -23
WALLY SCHANG -51
ROGER BRESNAHAN -72
ERNIE LOMBARDI -126
MIKE PIAZZA -150

By these numbers, Pudge is the best defensive catcher in history and it ain't even close, Sparky Anderson's line about comparisons to Johnny Bench be damned.

39. Piazza IS the greatest hitting catcher by many measures. At BP we use Equivalent Average instead of OPS+, but they essentially measure the same thing - relative offensive ability, with park and league adjustments built in. EqA is essentially runs created per out, adjusted to a batting average-like scale. Slugging and ability to get on base are in there, as they are in OPS+. A .260 EqA is defined average, a .300 is outstanding, .230 is replacement level. Here are those same catchers ranked by EqA:

MIKE PIAZZA .315
GENE TENACE .307
MICKEY COCHRANE .303
ROGER BRESNAHAN .301
BILL DICKEY .299
JOE TORRE .299
BUCK EWING .297
DEACON WHITE .297
GABBY HARTNETT .296
ERNIE LOMBARDI .295
JOHNNY BENCH .294
YOGI BERRA .293
ROY CAMPANELLA .293
WALLY SCHANG .292
CHARLIE BENNETT .290
JORGE POSADA .286
TED SIMMONS .284
GARY CARTER .281
THURMAN MUNSON .280
BILL FREEHAN .279
DARRELL PORTER .278
CARLTON FISK .278
JAVY LOPEZ .277
JASON KENDALL .275
IVAN RODRIGUEZ .272
RICK FERRELL .267
DEL CRANDALL .263
LANCE PARRISH .263
BENITO SANTIAGO .254
RAY SCHALK .253
JIM SUNDBERG .249
TONY PENA .244

(sorry if the formatting doesn't hold; I'll rerun these lists at Futility Infielder if they're a pain to read here).

2007-06-18 17:22:59
42.   monkeypants
39 Sorry, Spreading--I do consider their relative context. For example, Piaza has a career OPS+ of 144, compared to 'only' 126 for Bench (and 113 for I-Rod). OPS+ measures a players OPS relatie to his league context, and Piazza is clearly the far superior offensive player.

My main point, though, was not that Piazza should be #1 or #2 or whatever, but that Piazza should (I thought) be ranked higher than I-Rod, his contemporary (so no problem with context) with clearly inferior offensive numbers. Jay has addressed my question, though, by laying out the defensive numbers (41), which are much starker than I had realized.

2007-06-18 17:37:39
43.   Jay Jaffe
31. If I were to "zero out" Piazza's defense, giving him credit for league-average defense every year, his numbers would shift from 97.5 career WARP/66.1 Peak WARP/81.8 JAWS to 114.9/69.9/92.4, which would put him in the Bench-Carter-Rodriguez-Berra group, the crème de la crème. Yes, his lousy defense has that big an impact on his case by my system. Not that it's going to keep him from Cooperstown.
2007-06-18 18:34:31
44.   OldYanksFan
44 Nice to have some quality number crunching here. Offense is valued much higher then defense by the average fan. A guy hits a game winning HR and he's a hero. The OFer who saved 2 runs with a great catch gets a slight nod.

It's unbelievable to think I-Rod has saved 350 runs more then Piazza. And of course, we can't factor in the psychological aspect of a great play that turns what looked like a 2 run inning into a scoreless inning.

I think if you had to pick a catcher in his prime for 'your' team, IRod gets the nod over Piazza.

By the by, Coco Crisp, with 1 HR this year, hit 2 tonight (so far).
Schill got shelled.
Braves up on Sox 7-3 in the top of the 7th.

Schilling didn't K anyone, for the 1st time this century. He barely hit 90 with his fastball. That 9 inning 1 hitter may have blown him out.

2007-06-18 18:45:12
45.   monkeypants
44 We sem to mix it up all the time, don't we? ; )

Why does the player who saves two runs get credit for the (incalculable) psychological aspect of his play, but you don't ask the same question about the uplifting psuchological impact about a HR? Let's leave the incalculables out of the discussion, and stick to that which can be measured and verified.

I would argue that the average fan does not in fact undervalue defense, but rather overvalue traditional metrics for evaluating both offense and defense. Thus, he focuses on batting average and errors, rather than OBP or range. He tends to see a player make a sprawling play in the infield and assume that he must be a great defensive player or that he has 'saved' a large number of runs. He tends to assume that a team can "afford" a weak bat at one or a few positions because a team seems to have "enough offense." He tends to think that walks are a bad thing (this is the same fan who booed Ted Williams in the 1950s for not swinging enough).

Study after study (at least that I have seen) has shown that usually the difference between the best and worst defensive players at a given position at the major league level is relatively minor, and often does not make up for the differences between the highest and lowest offensive production. If Jay Jaffe's methodology is correct, then Piazza/I-Rod is one of the rarer times when that is not the case.

2007-06-18 18:46:56
46.   seamus
44 make that 9-3. HA!

oh my. so good.

2007-06-18 18:48:34
47.   seamus
unfortunately, both detroit and cleveland are on line to win. bummer.
2007-06-18 18:57:47
48.   RIYank
Wow, two dingers for Coco and no Ks for Super Curt -- that is an astoundingly unlikely confluence.
Timlin's given up a couple more runs. On an off day there are few pastimes more pleasurable than watching Schilling get smacked around.
2007-06-18 18:58:59
49.   seamus
so, is sitting ortiz boston's national league city strategy? interesting...
2007-06-18 19:03:02
50.   yankz
Let's go Braaaves!
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-06-18 19:03:43
51.   RIYank
49 Well, you know, the glove thing.
With Youkalis, it's not as if they're passing up a huge amount of OPS by not playing Papi at first, too.
2007-06-18 19:11:28
52.   Bruce Markusen
One note on Munson. Just before his death, the Yankees had already started making a contingency plan to move him to another position. He was already playing some first base and DHing in 1979 after having played some outfield in 1978. Had he lived, his catching days would have almost certainly come to an end. The Yankees had basically reached the conclusion that he needed to change positions, because of the condition of his knees.

I think the Yankees hoped that a switch in positions (essentially the removal of the wear and tear of catching and its effect on his hitting) would have revitalized his bat, which had shown serious decline over the last year. Now whether that would have worked, I don't know, but it would have been interesting to find out.

Munson was also an incredibly hard worker who would have done his best to learn another position. I think he might have made a good transition to first base, unlike Mike Piazza or any number of catchers who have had to switch positions.

2007-06-18 20:04:23
53.   Jeb
Start Spreading the News,

You really need to: (1) learn to read; and (2) get a grasp of context.

When you wrote to me that "you really need to adjust the final counting stats for the era in which people played.That is why Jaffe used WARP instead of OPS and other such rate stats," you absolutely missed the point of my post. Your comments were myopic and failed to remotely address my theme.

Since you are too obtuse to get my point, let me restate it for your little brain. Any rate stats are fine, wonderful and even persuasive when you're at a SABR convention, using baseball to teach a math class, or analyzing the game. But those stats aren't what the average member of the baseball writers of America uses when evaluating whether a player belongs in the hall.

Do you honestly think that more than a handful of writers even know what a win share is? Writers that have voting privileges (i.e., we're talking about people like Murray chass NOT Bill James) look at raw homerun totals and don't adjust for parks or eras. Period.

In point of fact, writers who have HOF voting privileges look for stats that are EASY to understand - batting average, homers, hits, wins, etc. I made that clear enough for a 12 year old, so I suspect you must be 11, or as our president might say, "eleventeen". The two of you have much in common as he doesn't understand simple English either.

And, my point is that while I might agree that posada is HOF worthy, and I and persuaded by the so-called new math, posads needs arbitrary numbers that are similar to his predecessors to get in BECAUSE you, jaffe and I are NOT voting.

Much like the HOF writers who don't understand statistics, you don't understand simple English.

2007-06-18 20:10:38
54.   RIYank
Yo, Jeb:

chill.

And lay off your brother, by the way.

2007-06-18 20:20:45
55.   Mattpat11
53 And its not just the Hall. Look at the reigning AL MVP. He had RBIs.
2007-06-18 20:22:05
56.   weeping for brunnhilde
Whoa, hey, Atlanta tagged Schil for 6 runs in 4+!

Ha!

(God, it makes me happy when he gets his ass kicked.)

2007-06-18 21:13:47
57.   Start Spreading the News
53 What stats do you use to track personal attacks? Rate or Counting? Either way, you have my vote for the HOF.
2007-06-18 21:20:36
58.   Ravenscar
I know this is a little late to the party, but Jaffe wrote in post 29:

"Oh, and if you're wondering about that little bitch Varitek..."

This makes me a little less likely to judge his work as objective. ;-)

2007-06-18 22:39:15
59.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Ah, but Tek will be wearing his catcher's mask when he picks fights with each and everyone of the baseball writers who possess a Hall Vote.

Plus 10 out of 10 ESPN analysts agree that Tek is a truly inspirational figure beloved by everyone in the game.

2007-06-19 03:27:07
60.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Jorge is a interesting case, i think it's not highly likely that he gets elected , but clearly the chance is there. but he'll need to pull a Carlton Fisk to do it, the good news is, Fisk is his top comp right now.
2007-06-19 07:37:16
61.   Jeb
Start Spreading the News,

You're the one who started the personal attacks by going overboard on criticizing my post. You missed the point entirely and wanted to try to show off your deep knowledge and understanding of statistical analysis by trying to make me look stupid and lecturing me.

There was no reason for you to write that "you really need to" with respect to anything I wrote.

And, if you look at my original post, I wasn't making a personal attack on anyone, I was stating the truth -- that members of the BBWA don't look at these types of stats.

While it's fine to look at Jorge from a Sabermetric viewpoint to evaluate his HOF worthiness, it's also necessary to look at the same thing from the point of view of the baseball writer. That's all I was doing.

Now, if you have some disagreement with me that baseball writers will look at the "butterknife" numbers that I have suggested versus the deeper analysis suggested by Jaffe, then go right ahead and do so.

Also if you belief that baseball writers SHOULD MOVER past the butterknife stats and use deeper analytical tools, then I'm right there with you. But don't lecture me, particularly when my points were correct.

And Gary Carter did cry to get into the HOF.

2007-06-19 07:38:19
62.   Jeb
"believe" not "belief"

and "move" not "mover"

2007-06-19 08:02:06
63.   Jay Jaffe
58. That was pre-emptive snark for any RSNer who suggests Varitek belongs in the discussion with Rodriguez and Posada. My tone may have been a departure from the objectivity elsewhere, but I assure you that those are the numbers - the system is useless without an objective approach. If you doubt me, check the analyses I've done of Curt Schilling's HOF case in various spots at BP and beyond. I loathe the guy to my very core, but I'll defend his resume vis a vis the Hall of Fame every time.

61. I hate to see the discussion tumble downhill into personal insults. That said, you're hitting on the important distinction. JAWS is aimed at an audience that's receptive to sabermetrics; it's an idealized look at the Hall using new tools, and while there is some level of predictiveness in the system, it's not a peek into the mind of a typical BBWAA voter. Those guys, as you say, look at the milestones and the unadjusted stats, as well as postseason performance and awards. And typically, when I'm doing my HOF analyses, so do I, just to get a better sense of which way the vote WILL go, as opposed to SHOULD GO. I don't think it's wrong to discount those aforementioned factors; JAWS doesn't capture every element of the case, but I'd like to think it's an 80/20 thing, getting you much closer to the right answer in an efficient manner.

I do know that there are BBWAA writers out there who read BP, and I'm hopeful that some of them are open-minded enough to at least consider the context in which candidates' stats were accumulated and to take advantage of the fact that we don't have to live in a dark age where AVG-HR-RBI are the only yardsticks by which to measure a player. They may not be the ones with a Hall of Fame ballot today, but in five or ten years, when some of the crust has crumbled away, perhaps they'll be the ones casting a ballot for the Posadas and the Blylevens and the Raineses.

2007-06-19 08:21:08
64.   Start Spreading the News
61 Yes. Personal attack is the same as criticizing a post. By missing your point, I attacked you personally? wow.

All I did was disagree with your methodology. It was a simple disagreement. If asking you to "adjust the final counting stats for the era in which people played" is a personal attack, then you have missed the point.

The simplest answer was to respond the way Jay Jaffe responded to my statement about Piazza's offensive prowess. He gave me EQA and pointed out that EQA is era adjusted and only measures offense. So I was wrong to use WARP to compare Piazza and Bench. See. Simple. No comments about "little brains" were needed to disagree in a civil manner.

People disagree with each other's posts all the time on this site. You consider that disagreement to be a personal attack and worthy of insults?

Seriously, read my post again and ask yourself where I said anything remotely similar to your personal attacks listed below to prove that I can read:
"learn to read", "too obtuse", "little brain", "I made that clear enough for a 12 year old, so I suspect you must be 11, or as our president might say, "eleventeen". The two of you have much in common as he doesn't understand simple English either", "you don't understand simple english."

2007-06-19 08:29:24
65.   monkeypants
61 Sorry Jeb, can't agree with you on this one. Start Spreading may have taken a snarky tone (I didn't read his "you really need to" comment the way you did, but I can see you point), but his post only criticized your analysis. Yours, on the other hand, attacked the person.

If posters can't counter each others' analyses, at times critically, then the beaty and intelligence of this site will be replaced by banality. And, at least in my opinion, there is no room at all for ad hominem arguments in civilized, intellectual discourse. Otherwise, Bronx Banter becomes the Jim Rome Show or one of these so-called political debate shows on FoxNews or CNN where talking heads shout at each other.

In any case, it's probably best for the whole discussion to cool down, lest Alex and Cliff be forced to post (for the second time this year) the Bronx Banter rules of conduct.

2007-06-19 15:45:20
66.   Jeb
Jay: I appreciate the fact that you took my original post as intended. I cannot stress enough that I am fascinated, persuaded, etc., by the newer forms of analysis that are used to evaluate players and I hope that someday they are adopted for evaluating HOF'ers. Thank you.

Start Spreading: "All I did was disagree with your methodology". But it's not my methodology! It's the methodology of Mike Lupica, Vescey, King, etc. So, my thought was "let's use their methodology" and figure out what will get Posada in based on what will compel them to vote. Simple as that. A trained monkey could have understood what I wrote. The tone of your response was insulting and lecturing. Frankly, I am tired of people who take comments I make completely out of context to discredit my ideas while trying to "show off" with their so-called superior knowledge of baseball. I frankly don't care if you like it or not. You can challenge my ideas in context all you want, but if you twist what I write to support your points, you're going to get called on it.

The biggest irony here is that you wrote "AND CONTEXT IS IMPORTANT" and then you just threw context out the window when writing your comments to me. I suppose that context is only important when it helps you. Therefore, I nominate you for the noncontext hypocrisy hall of fame (in response to your personal attack nominating me for another apocryphal HOF).

Monkey: It's fine if you don't agree with me. But when someone wants to "teach" me in a sanctimonious lecturing holy than though fashion, like Start Spreading did, the gloves are coming off.

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