Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Which One of Dese?
2007-12-26 05:42
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Aw man, sorry for being out-of-the-loop for a minute there, guys. Got caught up in the holidaze and, well, there wasn't any pressing news that needed to be covered anyhow. One guy who hasn't let the year-end festivities slow him down, is my old pal, Rich Lederer, who has a terrific Q&A with veteran baseball writer Tracy Ringolsby up at The Baseball Analysts. Here's a bit about Rock Raines:

Rich: You sent me an email last year, saying that you had come around on Blyleven. I commend you for being open minded on the subject and changing your vote. My next project is to have you see the light on Raines. I would be remiss if I let the comparison to Coleman go by without comment. Yes, they both played left field, led off, and stole a lot of bases. But, other than that, the difference between Raines and Coleman is like night and day. Raines hit .294/.385/.425; Coleman, .264/.324/.345. That's 141 points of OPS. Over the course of their careers, Raines got on base twice as often and had twice as many total bases as Coleman.

I know you referenced their top five years, but the truth is that Raines (.334/.413/.476 with an OPS+ of 151) was a much better player than Coleman (.292/.340/.400 with an OPS+ of 104) at their respective peaks, too. I don't think the five-year numbers are much different. We agree on Coleman. He's not a Hall of Famer. But we disagree on Raines. I believe he is very worthy. I hope you keep an open mind on Raines and give him a closer look next year.

Tracy: That's probably not the only one we disagree on. Raines will have to get in line for me, behind Dawson and Murphy and Rice, while I still try and sort those three out. I know there is support for each of them, but I guess what I have the hardest time dealing with is why Rice's support seems stronger when I would put him third out of the three, and I'm not convinced yet on any of the three. Now that's where a vote gets difficult because I have so much respect for the people that Dawson and Murphy are that it is hard not to put them on my ballot.

With all due respect, how long does it take to sort out candidates like Dawson, Murphy and Rice, guys who have been on the ballot for a good while now? I read one baseball writer's list recently, and a guy he voted for last year isn't get his vote this year, and vice versa. It's frustrating to read about the voting process at times, but, ah, what am I getting steamed for? This is the Hall of Fame we're talking about. Tom Yawkey's got a plaque in the jernt. Never mind.

2007-12-26 06:37:21
1.   rsmith51
FWIW... My ranking

_______HOF LINE

Dawson(Good runner, good defender, Awful OBP.)
Rice(product of Fenway and Evans and Boggs, not a good runner or defender)
Murphy(.265 BA, though OPS+ at 121, good defender, Average runner)

I think that Dawson/Rice/Murphy may be interchangable. I wouldn't vote for any of them.

2007-12-26 06:41:55
2.   Alex Belth
Yeah, and regardless, my thinking on anyone of them would not interfere with my evaluation of Raines.
2007-12-26 07:07:33
3.   RichB
For me, the clincher for Raines is the length and depth of his career. He was a regular for 21 seasons, of which he had an OPS+ of less than 100 only three times, two of those coming at the end of his career. So, between 1981 and 1998, 18 seasons, Raines contributed positively to his team in all but one season (1991). How many people, who aren't already in the hall of fame, can you say the same about?

If you want to compare him to the Babe Ruths of the world - or even the Dale Murphys - on the same basis as other power hitters, he'll lose every time. That wasn't Raine's game. His game was a driving, relentless, never let up, every day grinding kind of game. If he got on base, he'd take two and there was nothing you could do about it. He'd bug your pitcher, make contact to push guys over, sac bunt, do anything he needed to do to win. And yet, unlike other "intangible" HOFers, the numbers actually do speak of substance to his game. If you look at runs created for all current HOFers + those on the ballot, Raines checks in at #35, tied with Tony Gwynn and two runs behind Willie McCovey.

Incidentally, on that same list, you'll find Dawson at #46, Rice at #59 and Murphy way down at #72.

2007-12-26 07:18:48
4.   Bob B
If you were thinking back to the 80's I bet more people would list Raines as a player they remembered and never think of Dawson and Rice. Some may remember Murphy because TBS was broadcasting nationally (America's team} and he was the name of the Braves. I think Raines should be a no brainer but who said any of the BB writers have any brains?
2007-12-26 07:19:16
5.   dianagramr
I'd vote Mattingly in before Murphy (if you wanted to go with the "very high peak and subsequent early decline" vote).
2007-12-26 07:54:29
6.   Bob B
5 I still don't understand why Mattingly always gets brought into the HOF discussion. Admittedly, I was living on the Wrong Coast and only got to see him from 91-95 (not his best years at all). But I followed the Yankees and everyone out West thought he was terribly over-rated.
2007-12-26 07:57:37
7.   YankeeInMichigan
In Bill James' 1986 Baseball Abstract, he identified three no-brainer Hall of Famers among active players: Tom Seaver, Pete Rose and Dale Murphy.
2007-12-26 08:07:14
8.   claybeez
Quick Santana blurb: Per Rotoworld, Twins have dropped the demand for IPK. They're now open to replacing him in the deal with Marquez.
2007-12-26 08:11:40
9.   RichB
7 Pete and Tom were in the final year of their careers that year, so you could pretty much close the book on them (except for off field issues popping out of nowhere). I'm sure that the caveat to Murphy - the same one given in all such discussions of current, mid-career players - was that it assumed their career continued as expected. Murphy's didn't. He had a decent year in '86, a great year in '87 and completely dropped off the shelf at the age of 32.
2007-12-26 08:24:33
10.   rsmith51
8 Interesting, I am not sure I like losing Hughes, but getting Santana would help.
2007-12-26 09:09:00
11.   Bob B
8 AND 10 Ink the deal immediately!
2007-12-26 09:38:16
12.   RichB
10 More than help, it's an absolute necessity - Santana is the only pitcher (available or not) I'd be willing to give up Hughes for. Otherwise, damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead with the young guns.
2007-12-26 10:09:54
13.   YankeeInMichigan
9 Actually, for most players, James wrote a paragraph analyzing whether or not the player had built up sufficient Hall of Fame credentials by his performances to date. For Murphy, he simply wrote "Dale Murphy will be elected to the Hall of Fame."
2007-12-26 11:16:56
14.   OldYanksFan
NYT: "At one point, the Twins were said to be holding out for Hughes and Ian Kennedy, another of the Yankees' attractive triumvirate of major league-ready young pitchers (the untouchable Joba Chamberlain being the third), but the Yankees wouldn't give up both, so the Twins asked instead for Marquez, a 23-year-old right-hander."

Say Goodby to Phil and Melky.

I'm sorry. Raines was very good for a long time, but not HOFer. An .813 carrer OPS for an OFer with under 200 HRs. 12 of 22 years, his OPS was under .800. I'm not sure how you can call him a GREAT player.

Getting into the HOF is based on numbers.
We NEED a formula that crunches stats and delivers some kind of score to help qualify if players are in/close to HOF credentials.

2007-12-26 11:41:37
15.   Shaun P
14 Because the job of any baseball player is not to hit home runs, or to have an OPS over .800. The job of a baseball player is to win, and to win you have to (1) score runs and (2) prevent your opponent from scoring runs.

Preventing runs from scoring is not easily broken down into components - you've got a pitcher and 8 other fielders. So just look at the other part.

To score runs you have to be on-base. Raines has an excellent career OBP - .385. He walked a ton (1330 career) - pretty remarkable for a guy with 170 career home runs, who never topped 20 in a single season. His SB success is amazing - 84.9% career (IIRC).

And if you really want to fixate on OPS, use an adjustment that gives more weight to OBP, because its more valuable than SLG. The adjustment should be (1.4*OBP)+SLG. In that case, Raines's career OPS is .964 - again, amazing for a guy with little home run power.

To put this another way, would you say Tony Gwynn is not a Hall of Famer? Ignore the 3000 hits - a counting stat - and tell me how Tony Gwynn was a better offensive player than Tim Raines. I think they are very comparable - Gwynn's high batting average and more doubles negated by Raines's walks and SBs vs CSs.

And OYF, there is already a formula that crunches stats and delivers some kind of score to help qualify if players are in/close to HOF credentials. Its Jay Jaffe's JAWS system - do a search on the Prospectus website (or Jay's own Futility Infielder) site for all the details.

2007-12-26 11:42:32
16.   ChuckM
BP already has one-JAWS
2007-12-26 11:43:36
17.   rsmith51
14 The argument for Raines is that he was Rickey Lite or Tony Gwynn with walks replacing singles AND an excellent base stealer(Just under 85% success rate with 808 SB!!!). Both were LF's and obvious HOF's. The lack of HRs is reflected in his SLG% and OPS.

If OPS is adjusted to give more value to OBP(which it should) then Raines looks better, and Dawson doesn't look quite as good. Also OPS+ is a better indicator than raw OPS as the average OPS increased as he went further along in his career.

There are several formulas(Blank Ink, Grey Ink, etc.) that many people use to determine if people are qualified for HOF, but the writers "know a HOF when they see one..." Whatever that means.

2007-12-26 11:44:32
18.   rsmith51
14 Beat me to it ...
2007-12-26 13:36:40
19.   OldYanksFan
17 I'd love it if you could give me a link to those formulas. And how does Rock rate based on those formulas.

I agree that OPS is skewed in OBP, but I think (1.4*OBP)+SLG is too much. The problem is HITS are counted twice (in both OBP and SLG) but Walks are only counted once. So raher that multiple OBP, I would add an addition factor in for Walks.

If Ichiro = .400 OBP and .500 SLG, your formula gives him 1.4(.400) + 500 = 1.060

That would be more valuable then ARod at:
.350 OBP + .700 SLG = 1.050?

(Also: Imagine Bond's OPS using your formula! Giambi also looks MUCH better)

I have also seen as mOPS formula as: 2.2*(OBP) + ISO

I have been playing with:
xOPS = OBP + (BB/AB*1000*0.8) + SLG
The 0.8 assumes a WALK is 80% as good as a hit

_OPS: .810
mOPS: .978
xOPS: .930

So do we look at EqA and RC which both account for SBs and CSs?

Little Trivia: Mantle played on 2 bad legs his whole career, yet had a career SB% (153/38) of 80%. Pretty amazing

2007-12-26 13:51:29
20.   OldYanksFan
OK... For Raines:

Black Ink: Batting - 20 (105) (Average HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 114 (176) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
Overall Rank in parentheses.

Black Ink is LEADING the league in various batting categories:
GreyInk is TOP 10 in the league in various batting categories:

Interesting stats, but should only be part of the 'formula'

2007-12-26 14:25:04
21.   rsmith51
19 An additive function for walks makes sense as it is not giving extra credit for hits, but is adding some more value to walks. I would think that whichever provides the model to predict run scored with more accuracy would be the better one. It might also differ from year to year and era to era. I just heard 1.4 somewhere and it stuck in my brain. I am also biased to high OB% guys so it made sense.
2007-12-26 15:17:37
22.   YankeeInMichigan
19 JAWS basically takes the average of the player's WARP3 in his peak (best 7 year stretch? -- I'm not quite sure) and in his career. Raines' JAWS score is 96.1, compared to 91.3 for the average left fielder. Jim Rice, by the way, has a JAWS score of 69.4. See:

Black Ink/Grey Ink is an important metric in that it quantifies a factor that (unduly) influences the voters. Several deserving HoF candidates are overlooked because they are overshadowed by slightly-better contemporaries, e.g.
- Blyleven (by Ryan)
- Trammell (by Ripken and Yount)

Raines will suffer from playing in the shadow of Ricky Henderson.

2007-12-26 16:58:29
23.   JL25and3
I heard someone on XM saying that guys like Rice, Murphy and Dawson should have their numbers reconsidered in light of PED revelations. He specifically mentioned Murphy - 2100 hits and 398 homers don't seem like much now, but that's in comparison with steroid-inflated stats of recent years.

Hello? 2100 hits and 398 HR? Those were never particularly impressive HOF stats.

2007-12-26 17:29:51
24.   OldYanksFan
23 Just another stab at today 'steroid criminals'.

Roger looks ready for a fight. This is really quite a story. 75% of polled folk think he did steroids. His video statement left very little wiggle room. If he fights this and is innocent (can he be innocent?) that will blow the report out of the water.
Is he just going for the He said-She said defense?

Anyone concerned about Phil and Melky getting their bus tickets?

Anyone sober yet?

2007-12-26 17:50:14
25.   JL25and3
24 I don't see any way he can prove the negative. He can discredit McNamee generally - without any difficulty - but how can he prove that the story is false?

But maybe he'll find the real killer for OJ.

2007-12-26 17:52:00
26.   Chyll Will
24 I have pneumonia, that's why I'm not saying much (cough) but for what it's worth, I'm down with the youth movement, have been for quite a while. I'd rather take a chance on the upside of Phil and Melky and find Godot or Quixote at first. I'm tired of business as usual.
2007-12-26 17:52:12
27.   JL25and3
24 Oh, and btw: it won't blow the report out of the water. The other names have corroborating evidence.
2007-12-26 19:09:38
28.   Shaun P
24 25 Exactly. Clemens is pretty much screwed. He has only his word as his defense.

This is also why the "McNamee would have been in big trouble if he lied to the Feds, so he had to have told the truth" argument fails on its face - how could the Feds prove McNamee was lying?


19 I don't have the research, but I know Rob Neyer said that a number of his readers had looked into the matter, and the proper number to weight OBP by was 1.4. If its really right, I bet Tom Tango can verify it:

2007-12-26 19:31:33
29.   OldYanksFan
28 It thats the case, the OPS and OPS+ numbers we have discussed of this site will be way off for a number of players.

"Update: The [Prior] contract [to San Diego] is for a $1 million base salary with incentives that bring it up to $3 million."

That's one I wish we took a flyer on.

2007-12-26 20:08:38
30.   Bama Yankee
26 Sorry to here about the pneumonia, Chyll. My old boss used to always say that whenever he caught a bad cold he would go outside with his hair wet. His wife would yell, "Honey, you better come inside or you'll catch pneumonia!" He would reply, "I know, but at least they got a cure for that..."
Get well soon.
(BTW, thanks for the link to that site about JC being a southpaw. Pretty fascinating stuff. Your HOF idea might be a long shot though... that water into wine thing along with all the healing of the sick and raising of the dead probably made it into the Mitchell Report somewhere.)
2007-12-26 20:37:10
31.   wsporter
26 Hey Chill, Merry Christmas, hope you feel better. Pneumonia sucks the big one. Whether viral or bacterial take your meds and stay still or it hangs around forever. Oh yeah it's really important that you drink heavily during the entirety of the experience. You won't get better any faster but you'll remember less about it.

28 MFD, I believe that 1.4 is actually Tango's conversion factor. Merry Christmas to you too buddy.

2007-12-27 03:54:20
32.   ChuckM
Quick JAWS definition...

Election to the Hall of Fame requires a player to perform both at a very high level and for a long time, so JAWS identifies a player's peak using his seven best WARP scores (for this exercise, WARP refers exclusively to the adjusted-for-all-time version, WARP3). Effectively, we double-count more of a player's best seasons, an appropriate strategy given what we know about pennants added and the premium value of star talent: individual greatness can have a non-linear effect on a team's results both in the standings and on the bottom line.

The career and peak WARP totals for each Hall of Famer and candidate on the ballot are tabulated and then averaged [(Career WARP + Peak WARP) / 2] to come up with a JAWS score. JAWS averages for the enshrined are calculated at each position to provide a baseline for comparison, but the lowest-ranked player at each position (and four pitchers) are omitted before that calculation. Invariably these are Veterans Committee selections who lag far behind the pack, lowering the bar with scores that might be one-third of the position leader.

2007-12-27 04:18:15
33.   RIYank
I think if Roger could find and publicize some ulterior motive that McNamee might have had for saying what he said, that would (a) be good enough for Roger's reputation, and (b) make the Report nearly worthless. To me, that's why this isn't he-said-she-said. We know what motive Clemens would have to lie about doing steroids. We can't see any motive that McNamee would have, and we can see a really good motive for McNamee to tell the truth. So Clemens would have to change that. Showing an ulterior motive wouldn't prove that Clemens was innocent, but for all practical purposes it would be good enough.

Oh, and get well soon, Will. We don't want to be calling you "Caught-his-death-of-Chyll".

2007-12-27 06:30:37
34.   Chyll Will
30 Thanks; now that I've got a little time on my hands, I should be able to get through the Report fairly quick. That and more frequent posts at you-know-where... plus (oblique ref. alert) the sore throat has people in Beijing sending me get well wishes, too >;)

31 Years ago, my friend's mom gave me a couple of rum candies when I was really sick. You're absolutely right, I don't remember much after that except feeling really warm and fuzzy for a while. I'm no drinker, but reading about Abe Lincoln, he used to tell the story about the drunk who swore off of liquor and became a temperance man. Later he to the bar (apparently that's all men ever did back in those days) and ordered lemonade... as time went on, he got sadder and sadder until finally he said to the bartender, "Mike, if you slipped a little whiskey in my lemonade unbeknownst of me, I don't think I'd mind..."

And that's how Mike's Hard Lemonade came into being >;)

33 Brings a new perspective on my name, I admit, but don't worry: by sheer force of me I can upgrade this to walking pneumonia in no time >;)

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