The Rankings, the Hall, and Honest Abe

MLB Power Rankings

 

This week’s TBFMLBPR come on Hall of Fame weekend.  Congratulations to the six inductees and hopefully every baseball fan enjoyed the celebration of the greatest game ever invented.  On to the rankings and some Hall comments.

 

#30 Kansas City Royals (32-73, -196, LW:  29)

#29 San Diego Padres (42-66, -117, LW:  28)

Trevor Hoffman was an 11th round pick by the Reds as a shortstop who couldn’t hit.  He became a pitcher and was picked up by the Florida Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft.  Imagine how different one’s career could be.  He was traded midway through the Marlins inaugural season in a five player deal that included Gary Sheffield.  Yes, he could’ve racked up 601 saves with a variety of teams, but I doubt he’s the closer for the 1997 Marlins and even if that does happen, I’m betting that “Hells Bells” doesn’t take on the meaning it took on in San Diego.

 

#28 Baltimore Orioles (32-74, -141, LW:  30)

#27 Chicago White Sox (37-68, -141, LW:  27)

#26 Texas Rangers (45-62, -75, LW:  25)

I have been asked before if Colon is a Hall of Famer.  Some will point to his 245-185 record – which is far from awful – and his 2005 Cy Young award – laughable then and even more now – as good reasons for.  And yes, it is impressive that he’s pitched 21 seasons.  Yes it is amazing that he’s made two All-Star teams in his 40’s.  And yes, he did win a Cy Young Award (Johan Santana, anyone?).  But I have him at the same level as Mark Buerhle (55.96 for Colon, 56.95 for Buehrle).  In other words, I don’t see him as Cooperstown worthy.  Oh, and his career 4.08 ERA and 107 ERA+ don’t help his cause, either.

 

#25 Detroit Tigers (45-62, -81, LW:  26)

Jack Morris and Alan Trammell remind Tigers fans of a great era for the team.  Them along with Lou Whitaker, Kirk Gibson, and Lance Parrish were all drafted within five years of each other and formed the nucleus of the 1984 World Series champions – the last time they won it all.  Trammell was criminally underrated during his time, and finally got his induction via the Veterans’ Committee.  Morris’ vote was much more contentious, and I was one on the “Nay” side of the argument.  But for many Tigers fans it was an induction they were waiting for.

 

#24 Miami Marlins (46-61, -129, LW:  22)

#23 Toronto Blue Jays (48-56, -51, LW:  20)

#22 New York Mets (44-59, -62, LW:  24)

#21 San Francisco Giants (53-54, -31, LW:  17)

#20 Cincinnati Reds (48-58, -46, LW:  23)

Joey Votto already has Hall of Fame stats (.312/.428/.533, 156 OPS+, 148 wRC+, 64.50 HOF Rating), and at 34 still has a few years left.  The biggest thing that would hurt him is that he currently sits at 1693 career hits and the Hall has been very tough on post-WWII players with less than 2,000 career knocks.  The biggest reason he’s so low despite a high average is the second stat.  Because he walks so much, he – like Ted Williams – has never had 200 hits in a season.  Instead, he’s led the league in walks five times, in OBP six times, twice in OPS and OPS+, and once in slugging (six other times in the top ten).  I think he’ll just fine on his trip to Cooperstown.

 

#19 Minnesota Twins (48-56, -21, LW:  21)

Where Joe Mauer sits on your Hall of Fame fence depends on how you break down his career.  Through 2010 he looked like a dead lock:  hometown hero, a catcher hitting .327/.407/.481, 137 OPS+, more walks than strikeouts, three batting titles, an MVP award, four All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers).  Since then he has hit a respectable 115 OPS+, but because of concussions and other injuries he has spent the latter half as a first baseman.  This will be interesting in the coming years.

 

#18 Tampa Bay Rays (53-53, -6, LW:  12)

#17 St. Louis Cardinals (53-52, +15, LW:  15)

#16 Washington Nationals (52-53, +38, LW:  18)

Vlad Guerrero will go down as one of the funnest players ever to play baseball.  He swung for the fences on every pitch, he threw the ball a country mile even when it only had to go 20 feet, he ran as hard as he could every time on the base paths.  He was his generation’s Roberto Clemente.  I’m glad I got to witness his time.

 

#15 Atlanta Braves (55-47, +62, LW:  14)

Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey Jr. are the only two players ever taken first overall in the June draft that have been elected to the Hall of Fame.  My favorite Chipper stat:  He’s the only switch hitter with a .300/.400/.500 slash line.

 

#14 Seattle Mariners (62-43, -3, LW:  11)

#13 Los Angeles Angels (54-53, +36, LW:  19)

#12 Milwaukee Brewers (61-47, +49, LW:  16)

#11 Philadelphia Phillies (58-47, +22, LW:  10)

Chase Utley announced that he will retire at season’s end.  He will be another interesting candidate for the Hall of Fame.  My math has him as in (66.06 HOFR), but it will be contentious.  He has managed only 1884 career hits and without Votto’s power.  He has, however done a lot of things well at the plate, on the bases, and in the field.  This will be an interesting case.

 

#10 Arizona Diamondbacks (59-48, +64, LW:  13)

#9 Cleveland Indians (57-47, +94, LW:  8)

In 213 plate appearances in Rookie Ball Jim Thome slugged .296.  He didn’t hit .296; that was his slugging percentage.  The next year he exploded in the minors.  He had a .501 slugging percentage in the minors overall, and .554 in the big leagues.  He had a .402 OBP despite just a .276 average.  Very few people in baseball history have ever hit the ball as hard or as far as Jim Thome.

 

#8 Pittsburgh Pirates (55-52, +4, LW:  9)

#7 Chicago Cubs (61-44, +99, LW:  4)

#6 Oakland Athletics (61-46, +33, LW:  6)

#5 Colorado Rockies (57-47, -3, LW:  7)

#4 Los Angeles Dodgers (59-47, +95, LW:  5)

#3 New York Yankees (67-37, +136, LW:  3)

#2 Houston Astros (67-40, +179, LW:  1)

#1 Boston Red Sox (74-33, +177, LW:  2)

 

This week’s TBF Stat is called the Abe Lincoln Score.  Named after our former president because it involves four scores (homers, walks/hit by pitch, strikeouts, and balls in play).  This treats strikeouts as bad, and everything else as good.  The formula is

 

(HR x 4 + (BB + HBP) * 2 + BIP*) / PA

 

*-Balls in play are simply plate appearances minus homers, walks, HBP, and strikeouts.

 

Let’s use four high strikeout guys;  Bryce Harper has struck out 117 times, Yoan Moncada 141, Paul Goldschmidt 125, Chris Taylor 123.

 

Despite Harper’s 117 K’s, he’s also walked 84 times, hit 25 homers and been hit by 4 pitches.  His Abe Lincoln Score is 1.102, basically meaning that yes, he has struck out a lot, but he has paid off his K’s with those secondary bases.  Moncada has 141 whiffs, but has walked half as much as Harper and hit half as many homers, leading to an Abe of .865, the fourth worst of all qualified hitters.  Paul Goldschmidt ranks at 1.026, and Chris Taylor is at .904.  Here’s a couple of others for you.

 

Billy Hamilton has struck out 94 times, but because he doesn’t walk a lot (35) or hit for power (3 HR) he’s tied with Moncado.  Mike Trout has struck out as many times as Hamilton, but has over 60 more walks and 25 more homers, giving him the second best Abe in baseball at 1.209.  The highest?  Jose Ramirez (1.245).  The worst?  JaCoby Jones (.841).

 

This can give you an idea why guys like Drew Stubbs (.874), Cory Snyder (.922), and others struggled to make it while guys like Pujols (1.182), Colavito (1.162), and Killebrew had long careers.  It’s just another fun one that I like.

 

Til next week . . .

 

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