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  1. I don’t disagree with the general idea of this article, but picking out a random seven year stretch really feels like cherry picking to me, and I don’t think really adds much to the argument.

    Comment by JayT — December 29, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  2. In his best 5 year stretch Edgar Martinez hit .334/.454/.578 with a wRC+ of 166, bested only by McGwire at 182 and Bonds at 169. I’d say that is a pretty elite bat.

    Comment by Jonathan C. Mitchell — December 29, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  3. Edgar is a no-brainer HOFer. There should be a basic competency exam for the people who are supposed to vote on this thing.

    Comment by seymour — December 29, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

  4. How about the fact that he 7th overall in WAR (69) from 1990-2004, when he started playing full-time? Looking at that list: Bonds, Bagwell, Griffey, Jr., Thomas, Walker, Rodriguez, Edgar. Regardless of PEDs, that’s some damn impressive company.

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching Edgar bat and consider him the ultimate DH; it would be a shame if he is penalized for being the best at a position that’s only half-recognized. The sport created a position for a guy to only play offense, why would you hold that against him?

    Comment by Dan — December 29, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  5. Clearly watching and being knowledgeable about baseball are not prerequisites for determining HOF voters.

    Comment by Dan — December 29, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  6. Didn’t he pick out the best stretch of seven years in Martinez’s career? That’s not cherry picking – that’s identifying his peak. What’s random about that?

    Comment by taprat — December 29, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

  7. I would agree, but I think the point of the article was to show 1. How great martinez was during the steroid era, which was that “random seven year stretch,” and 2. That the time period in which he played in shouldn’t take away from his place in baseball history

    Comment by William — December 29, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  8. I like your argument about Martinez’s peak—his 1995-2001 numbers really are incredible. However, while it’s true that

    the only hitter on the planet who was better [at hitting] during that timeframe [1995-2001] was Barry Bonds

    , I think it’d be more appropriate to compare Martinez’s peak years to the peaks of the other big hitters (A-Rod’s was a bit later, for example). Also, Bagwell was pretty close in wRC+ in that period and had 320 more PA than Martinez, so I’m not sure it’s fair to say Martinez was really a better hitter than Bagwell during that period.

    Great article though! I never realized how great Martinez’s peak was.

    Comment by Spunky — December 29, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

  9. especially considering they were doing steroids and he was clean

    Comment by jim — December 29, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

  10. if someone is going to say that edgar martinez shouldn’t be in the hall of fame because he was a DH, they should at least be consistent and say that no reliever should be in the hall, too

    Comment by jim — December 29, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

  11. And you know that how?

    Comment by schlomsd — December 29, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  12. Is Jason Giambi really an obvious non-HOFer? Put aside the steroid question a moment….3 seasons above 7 WAR plus two more over 5. It’s a short peak with four +2-4 shoulder seasons, but he’s a good peak candidate.

    Comment by Dr. Chaleeko — December 29, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  13. Completely agree. To create a position (DH), penalize the guy for being the best ever at the position, and then turn around and say “Hey, look, this is only half of the game” is completely ignorant and unfair. The only difference between RPs and DHs is that the DH is an actual, legitimate position on the scorecard, RP is an arbitrary position with arbitrary statistics like holds and saves.

    Comment by Dan — December 29, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

  14. http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1153,1086,455,409

    Comment by Anon — December 29, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  15. Would moving the cutoff to 140 or 160 alter the list significantly? I know Sheffield had a few seasons in the 140’s, and he was in the 180’s during the strike shortened season. It just seems that Sheffield was a comparable hitter, with more power and a position. Edgar got on base at a better clip, but Sheffield playing out a decline phase where Edgar really didn’t makes the margin look bigger(I understand Edgar played until 41, but he quit playing when he should have, unlike Sheffield who was done in 07). I’m not really a small hall guy, but I think Edgar really shouldn’t get in and Sheffield probably shouldn’t. Just yesterday Todd Helton was omitted from a list of guys up for hall consideration, and he has a similar profile for his career. I’m not putting Todd Helton in my Hall either, but he sure seems like a good comp for Edgar. If someone said Edgar was a rich man’s Will Clark, I’m not sure I’d have a comeback. Will Clark received less than 5% of the vote in his 1 year on the ballot.

    Comment by Rob — December 29, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  16. Innocent until proven guilty. If you’re name hasn’t come up with steroids attached to it, the only thing a rational person can do is assume they didn’t use.

    Comment by John — December 29, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  17. But that isn’t what the original author said. He said that a DH should be in the Hall only if he was an extraordinary hitter. Hard to argue with that.

    I think David’s point is that he played at a time of extraordinary offensive players. This is a subtle point, but one worth exploring.

    Comment by studes — December 29, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

  18. I agree that Edgar is an elite hitter, but I hate that you counted 150+ wRC+ seasons to show this. The sustained stretch of excellence in the late 90’s to early 00’s should have shown this anyway. Counting the number of season’s where he hit over 50% better than league average seems a bit off.

    Comment by Larry — December 29, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  19. Thome is a good comparison but played more time in the field to make up for the slight difference in offense.

    Thome – wRC+ 145 – 10127 PA
    Martinez – wRC+ 148 – 8672 PA

    Comment by Anon — December 29, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  20. I disagree, John. I believe that the only thing a rational person can do is make no assumption. Innocent until proven guilty is the standard we use for the justice system. It’s not the standard we use for the truth.

    Comment by Alex Remington — December 29, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  21. The thing I never really get is that guys who play the field badly aren’t really dinged very much at all (for example, Manny, Frank Thomas, Vladdy in his later years, really a lot of guys once they’re past they’re prime). Do we really think Edgar couldn’t have played 1B at all? Maybe not at the tail end of his career, but for the vast majority of it, he certainly could have. During that time period, though, the M’s had some legitimate first baseman who were good with the glove – Tino Martinez, David Segui and then John Olerud. It wouldn’t have made any sense for Edgar to play first base.

    Comment by taprat — December 29, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  22. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t Edgar’s WAR values benefit from the his fielding score being a nice clean zero?

    A DH never has a bad year in the field, like, for instance, ARod’s 2006.

    Manny’s defense was god awful, and his WAR suffered for it, but at LEAST he took the field. Perhaps Manny WOULD have DH’d if Ortiz wasn’t around… but that’s only because Ortiz would have been even worse in the field. Meanwhile, by virtue of his being an even worse fielder than Manny, Ortiz’s fielding value never left 0.

    So, which is more severe: a bad year in the field, or the DH position adjustment? I don’t know if fielding and position adjustment are weighed 1 for 1, but looking at 2006, the year ARod had -14.1 fielding value, Ortiz’s DH adjustment was -15.5, and Manny’s fielding value was -25.6.

    Do you think the position adjustment for DHs is severe enough? Maybe the DH position adjustment should always be at least as bad as the worst fielder on the team.

    Comment by Mario Mendoza — December 29, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  23. Added a few more players.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=549,1153,1086,1008559,210,409,455,255

    Comment by Anon — December 29, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  24. A stretch of seven contiguous years is “cherry picking”? I think that term does not mean what you think it means… If a seven year stretch is cherry picking, what about eight? ten? fourteen? When does it stop being cherry picking?

    We’re not talking about picking a few years from a guy with so-so career numbers either, remember – his career slash line is .312/.418/.515.

    Comment by Westside guy — December 29, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

  25. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Edgar is my favorite baseball player of all-time. Thank you for the supportive argument. I only hope many HOF voters read this…

    Comment by Super Shredder — December 29, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  26. BTW I wonder if Jack Zduriencik ever looks at the old batting numbers from Edgar, Junior, A-Rod, et. al. and just starts to weep.

    Comment by Westside guy — December 29, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  27. It is very impressive company. It also includes one man (Walker) who most would not put in the HoF- and he not only played defense but played it very well. It would not be abnormal to only have 5 hitters from a time period like that make the HoF.

    There are too many “assumptions” in this article for me to take it too seriously. 1. Assume we’re only talking about hitting. 2. Assume that Edgar wasn’t on steroids. 3. Assume that we should only consider an 8 year peak instead of an entire career, and lastly, assume that you can’t see that other unbolded name right next to Edgar’s: Dick Allen. Allen was superior to Edgar in every way and did not sniff the Hall of Fame. Not only that, but he had to retire at 35 and didn’t get the benefit of a late career that only comes with being a DH.

    Comment by stan — December 29, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  28. well, we know bonds and mcgwire were juicing. it’s not unreasonable to believe martinez was not on steroids, in fact, it’s probably the right route to take.

    Comment by jim — December 29, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

  29. i know, i was making my own point, or can i not do that?

    Comment by jim — December 29, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

  30. Edger was the BEST hitter in stratomatic for a 7 year period. A complete force! No brainer HOFer!

    Comment by Strat Player — December 29, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  31. Edgar Martinez was very, very, very good.

    Comment by waynetolleson — December 29, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

  32. martinez has -149.5 positional runs, or 15 wins. add 15 wins to his existing WAR total, and he’s at 85. it would be very tough to make an argument against someone with that many WAR being in the hall

    Comment by jim — December 29, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  33. Agreed. Just because Edgar peaked at a time when others were not also doing so doesn’t demonstrate much of anything about Martinez’s talent.

    Use the same parameters but from 2000-2006. That means Jason Giambi should be or at least has a strong case to be inducted in the HOF too, as he had 2nd highest wRC+ during that period.

    Comment by Will — December 29, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  34. Any rational person is going to make inferences based on his own observations and draw conclusions based on those inferences. There are very few things that a person can truly “know”. There are some inferences to be drawn regarding Edgar and steroids. They may be strong enough for some people to draw conclusions and not strong enough for others. However, saying that we should ignore them completely and adopt some sort of “beyond a reasonable doubt standard”. That’s not rational.

    Comment by stan — December 29, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  35. Because he was showing what others were doing exactly during Martinez’ peak, which is nice and all, but it is basically disqualifying guys that were his contemporaries that might have started their peak a year or two later or earlier.
    In other words, he wasn’t comparing Martinez’ peak to his contemporaries peak, he was just looking at what people did during Martinez’ peak, which to me doesn’t really add much value.

    Comment by JayT — December 29, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

  36. taprat’s argument would make more sense if Edgar had played 1b when those guys were hurt or took a day off. Clearly the Mariners adopted a policy of not playing Edgar in the field at all. It had nothing to do with who the other players on the team were.

    Comment by stan — December 29, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

  37. He should get in because he was a great hitter. A lot of guys in the Hall sucked on D but got in with their bats. Ignore all the hoop jumping and look at what he did, hitting with RISP and how he hit when his team needed hits. Look at guys who have a career SLG% over .920 with RISP, especially guys who, if you check the stats of the player who hits after them, had a lot of hard work to do to accomplish their goals.

    More instructive to look at these stats:
    – what did the guy hitting behind Edgar do year after year?
    – what did the guy hitting after Edgar do year after year?

    I checked a couple of players (Too much time on my hands) who I could get these stats on, not Edgar yet, and one (steroid one) had guys hitting great both before and after him, making his job pretty easy awfully often; a second player who is likely Hall bound had the guy following him often suck, six times having an OPS with RISP 220 points lower than our guy in 10 years, while the guy hitting before him had career years 9 out 12 years, meaning that guy had a huge game impact; if you hit well, and your game impact makes the guy behind you hit career bests, you deserve a look at the Hall, especially if the guy after you struggles to match your gifts.

    Comment by DSC — December 29, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  38. The rational assumption is that pretty much everyone was using steroids.

    Comment by schlomsd — December 29, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  39. it would be very tough to make an argument against someone with that many WAR being in the hall

    A lot more players would be in the HoF if their biggest weaknesses were ignored.

    Comment by Anon — December 29, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  40. Just looking at a couple of contemporaries, Manny, Bagwell, Thomas, and McGwire all had better seven year stretches then Edgar.

    That still puts him in some really good company, and like I originally said, I agree with the overall argument of the article, but only comparing what other players were doing during Martinez’ peak is selection bias. Fred McGriff had the second highest wRC+ from 1988 to 1994. That’s a seven year peak where Berry Bonds was the only guy that was a better hitter. Would you be ok with someone using that as one of their justifications for wanting to put McGriff in the Hall?

    Comment by JayT — December 29, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  41. Someone made these nice graphs showing some stat OPS+, WAR etc, over the course of players career. He/she then stacked a bunch of players together so that you could compare and also had an average league stat. He/she did that for Edgar and few other players, I wish I could find the link. It really showed how some players stood out over the span of their careers.

    Comment by Klatz — December 29, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  42. True, but Todd Helton (who has almost the exact number of plate appearances as Martinez and has never played DH) is at -142. Throw in some negative fielding (Jason Giambi and Carlos Delgado were both around -60) and his WAR is going down, not up. Obviously not a ton, but it drops him down into the mid 60’s where there are a lot of guys that aren’t HOF’ers (Norm Cash, Buddy Bell, Kenny Lofton, probably Jim Edmonds),

    Comment by schlomsd — December 29, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  43. “2. Assume that Edgar wasn’t on steroids”

    You must assume this for every player not caught, I don’t see how this applies only to Edgar.

    Comment by Sean — December 29, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  44. Obviously, I am not a Mariner fan. Go Cubbies! I live in the Northwest and love baseball so I watched Edgar’s career closely from start to finish. In my mind he is the greatest DH to date. Stats are important, but no one stat more than WAR. Edgar is #70 in career WAR (From BR). Every eligible position player above him is in the Hall except for Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker. Lower WARs, but in the Hall are, Yogi Berra, Willie McCovey, Jackie Robinson etc. Many other Hall Members have WAR below Edgar. Edgar had such great character and leadership. He was a member/leader of the 2001 team that won 116 games-the record. He is a part of baseball history. He was a pioneer at his position. Hope this is also in the argument. Quite an achievement for an amateur free agent. If I had a vote Edgar would be in.

    Comment by timcubfan — December 29, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  45. Edgar superior to Vlad Guerrero? The only guys with more career HRs combined with career batting average higher than Vlad are Ruth, Foxx, Gehrig, Williams and Musial (Pujols will join this group next year). Too bad that Vlad wore out his knees on that artificial surface up in Montreal. Just for the record, I wonder if anyone ever referred to Lenin as Vladdy.

    Comment by Dan Mc — December 29, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

  46. Edgar was a great hitter but I don’t think he was that much better than guys like Larry Walker and Gary Sheffield who played the field and I consider close but not great enough for the HOF.

    Comment by pogotheostrich — December 29, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  47. Let’s start with this:

    He posted nine seasons with at least +5.0 WAR, a feat matched by George Brett, Cal Ripken Jr, and Ken Griffey Jr. Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Johnny Mize, and Wade Boggs each only had eight such seasons.

    Bagwell (from Fangraphs)
    ’97 (8.3), ’99 (8.2), ’94 (7.8), ’96 (7.7), ’98 (7.0), ’00 (6.2), ’01 (5.7), ’93 (5.6), ’02 (5.3). I count nine. The lowest two need the fielding adjustment, but so does Edgar’s ’90.

    So you want to talk about Edgar’s peak and use Boggs as example as a player that didn’t have as many “good” seasons. ‘K, but let me point out in those “only eight” seasons Boggs accumulated 66 War. Edgar in those nine seasons managed 55.8.

    Peak. Boggs seasons with a higher War than Edgar’s highest season (7.5). 9.4, 9.3, 9.2, 8.8, 8.2, 8.1. Using a little math, during Boggs “only eight” 5+ war seasons, he averaged 8.25 War. So Boggs “average” good season was actually better than ANY SEASON IN EDGAR’s Career.

    Even Bagwell has 4 seasons better than any in Edgar’s career. His 9 season peak is 61.8 WAR.

    Mize? “only eight seasons” ’37, ’38, ’39, ’40, ’41, ’42, ’46, ’47, ’48 (again, I count 9). Makes me wonder why he vacationed with those sailors in ’43, ’44, ’45. He averaged 6.7 WAR in those seasons, which matches Edgar’s second highest season ever.

    Let’s move on. Frank Thomas v Edgar Martinez. Let’s just use the Batting Runs. After all, neither of these guys are getting in the Hall with their gloves. Instead of “from 1995 to 2001″ (does this sound to anyone like “Jack Morris, winningest pitcher of the ’80’s!!!!!?), let’s just take the top 9 batting seasons (I assume this is in runs) Martinez 480, Thomas 564.9. {No Comment}

    I’ll end with, anyone who says “Edgar Martinez is a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame” has no argument.

    Comment by deathsinger — December 29, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

  48. I think it’s a stretch when we try to force too many additional expectations from specific positions in compensation, and I absolutely agree with the fact that Designated Hitters get penalized way more by the general consensus than poor defenders do. In every case a player never has the right to choose how he’ll be used defensively within an organization, and in some cases, players are used out of position, or asked to learn unnatural spots, maybe more natural spots, or end up filling for the sake of an organizational void. I think we need to allow a little flexibility with stuff like this.

    I imagine there are several teams out there that could teach Jesus Montero to survive at First Base for a while, but since he’s on the Yankees he’ll be getting his start as a 22 year old DH…

    In Edgar’s case. He was a designated hitter because it was within his team’s best interest to keep him off the field as much as possible to keep him healthy. He’s a case where the DH position extended the life of his career, maybe was what allowed his career to even happen, so who knows.

    Comment by baty — December 29, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  49. He may not, but the Mariners fans definitely have been.

    Comment by seattlecougar — December 29, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

  50. I’ve always thought the best way to account for a DH’s defense is to take the worst defender on the team, subtract about 10 runs per season from his score, and attribute it to the DH. If Martinez could have played left better than whoever played left field for the Mariners, they would have put him out there, unless they were afraid of him getting hurt or thought his production would decline playing the field. You have to account for that somehow if you want to talk about the value of a player.

    Comment by The Real Neal — December 29, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

  51. No. Giambi has admitted using steroids.

    Comment by seattlecougar — December 29, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  52. You can’t put aside the steroid question in a HOF discussion. It’s also not a question with Giambi – he admitted to it.

    Comment by seattlecougar — December 29, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

  53. If you have a DH who is liable to injury, as Edgar was, it would be foolish to put him in the field because your first baseman is injured. You still need a DH and keeping someone who hits like Edgar healthy is clearly far more important to the long term success of your team than some weird notion that he should be put in the field to prove some point I don’t even begin to understand. Edgar was not kept out of the field because he couldn’t field when healthy but to keep him healthy.

    Comment by Breadbaker — December 29, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

  54. Seems misleading to bucket wRC+ into “player-seasons”, especially with 500 PA as a low end cutoff. Why would you not just look at career wRC+ (or for peak value, look at top7 wRC+)?

    Worth looking at playing time as well. I believe edgar usually missed 15-20 games per season in his peak.

    This analysis is flawed.

    Comment by Travis L — December 29, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

  55. What would you count instead?

    Comment by seattlecougar — December 29, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  56. Stan,

    Edgar did start some games at firstbase (albeit rarely). He would occasionally start at first base in interleague games played in NL parks. The man wasn’t used excusively as a DH until 1995, and in 1995 and 1996 (right before interleague play started), he made 7 starts at 1B but only 5 starts at 3B.

    Comment by Greg — December 29, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

  57. You bring up a good point with Helton. If 1B positional adjustment is approx -10 over the course of a year, there’s no way a DH’s should only be -15. You’re telling me a defensively average (0-field) 1B is only worth 5 runs a year more than a can’t-even-play-1B DH?

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — December 29, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

  58. Most hitters hit worse as DHs than when they take the field.

    Honestly, I don’t know if Edgar “deserves” induction but this article makes clear that his offensive peak was truly elite, a spectacular enough performance that it belongs solidly among the stat lines of bat-first HOFers.

    His career length (and the fact that doubles and walks are underappreciated) is what will maybe/probably keep him out. The fact that he didn’t do a Frank Thomas impersonation at 1b really shouldn’t.

    Comment by Bookbook — December 29, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

  59. Here’s another thing that isn’t brought up enough.

    Roughly 18% of Edgar Martinez’s career PA came at Safeco Park, the worst hitter’s park in the majors. (Calculated using PA from halfway through ’99 through ’04). Granted that’s not a huge part of his career, but Safeco is by far the worst home park for hitters in the majors.

    Just something to keep in the back of your mind.

    Comment by Mac — December 29, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

  60. The problem is his longevity. He had good 5 years from 1999-2005, then he fell off a cliff.

    I’d hope it would take more than 5 good seasons (of which only 2 were very good) to make the Hall. Otherwise, you could make a case for just about anyone who put up a few good seasons- what about Albert Belle, Nomar Garciaparra, Moises Alou, Bobby Abreu or John Olerud?

    Comment by Will — December 29, 2011 @ 6:23 pm

  61. It actually should be a bit lower than that. I looked at other 1B with about the same amount of games and some were much lower. Keith Hernandez (1979-1990) was at -118.7, Andres Galarraga (1985-2004) was at -131.7 so it looks like the position adjustment has gotten greater over time.

    A good counter-example is Manny Ramirez. He has a -119.6 positional adjustment plus a -157.2 fielding adjustment. Having a career more like Martinez’s would bring him from below Edgar in WAR (95th all-time) to about 45th all-time. Not that it matters for him however.

    Comment by schlomsd — December 29, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

  62. What is especially idiotic about penalizing DHs but not relief pitchers is that the total amount of production a team gets from even an elite relief pitcher is quite a bit less than the total amount of production from a full-time DH. A relief pitcher is going to give you maybe 60-70 total innings. This is the equivalent of a platoon player, or a player who is consistently yanked after the fifth or sixth inning and replaced by a superior defender. John Mayberry was mostly a platoon player last season and he finished with about the same total WAR as Mariano Rivera, for example.

    To be fair, HOF voters seem incredibly suspicious of relief pitchers at this point. I am going to be surprised if anybody other than Mariano Rivera gets in at this point. I don’t think Trevor Hoffman gets in and he is #2 all-time in saves behind only Rivera, arguably the best closer in MLB history.

    It is pretty irritating that a spectacular hitter like Edgar Martinez gets penalized for not playing in the field but that spectacularly awful fielding is mostly forgiven. The total number of folks who refuse to vote for Derek Jeter because he was a terrible fielder may well be zero. The total number of folks who are reluctant to vote for Bernie Williams (who isn’t going to get in but he will receive some support) because of his bad fielding is also probably zero. There are going to be some folks who point to Manny Ramirez’s bad fielding as a reason to not vote for him but I believe they’d be willing to overlook his bad fielding if it weren’t for the host of other things about Manny that folks find distasteful. Harmon Killebrew was seemingly not penalized for being a bad fielder. Neither was Willie McCovey or Willie Stargell. What exactly is the difference between an atrocious fielder and a non-fielder? Is the attitude, “Well, they may have been terrible, but at least they tried!”?

    Two other points that are also irritating (that may have already been made by others here): 1) If the Mariners didn’t have a very good hitting AND fielding 1B on the roster at the same time (John Olerud), isn’t it way more likely that Edgar would’ve actually played in the field? 2) If there were no DH rule, isn’t it completely obvious that every single team in the history of baseball would’ve tolerated bad defense from Edgar and gotten his bat in the lineup every single day?

    Also: Isn’t a big part of why folks severely underrate Edgar because these folks still grossly undervalue OBP? Substitute 450-500 career dingers for those spectacular OBP numbers and my guess is that many more voters would be prepared to vote in Edgar.

    Comment by Robbie G. — December 29, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

  63. As I’ve mentioned before, some people can’t hit when DHing (e.g. Big Hurt and Reggie); I don’t think it’s always a simple matter of slotting in your best hitter who otherwise doesn’t have/can’t play another position and assuming that he will hit as well while DHing as he would in the field. If you are truly interested in weighing all the pros and the cons I think this factor has to be figured in somewhere while you are all hunkered down trying to figure out the precise defensive penalty.

    Comment by John DiFool — December 29, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

  64. One of the reasons I penalize a DH is because he has an unfair advantage over players who are playing in the field as far as longevity and injury avoidance.

    Edgar, specifically, moved to DH not because he was so awful of a fielder, but because his body couldn’t handle the demands of playing in the field.

    It’s also interesting that some guys have their WAR dinged by bad defense, but a DH gets a 0, as if he’s a neutral fielder.

    Also, I wrote a follow-up to my initial post on Edgar…

    http://baybridgebaseball.com/2011/12/more-edgar/

    Comment by Jeff Fletcher — December 29, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

  65. Guess Im not understanding why when they gave a guy off it would make sense to play Edgar. When the team had no other options (interleague play) he did play because they wanted his bat in the lineup

    Comment by Myk — December 29, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

  66. I think he’s borderline, depending on how small your Hall is.

    In reality, I doubt he ever gets in. He’s a DH who had one 30/100 season in his career. That is what voters look at, sadly.

    Comment by Tom — December 29, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

  67. Im a little confused at why Edgar playing well in his decline phase (late 30s and early 40s) is considered a detriment when Sheffield didn’t play well at that same time? Shouldn’t that be a plus on Edgar’s side? That even when old he was still producing?

    Comment by Myk — December 29, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

  68. Im also confused on how Edgar is a rich man Will Clark? By rich man are we saying better in every single category? (BTW…Will Clark was my favorite player as a kid)

    Comment by Myk — December 29, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

  69. Im a bit confused…Bagwell and Frank Thomas seem like pretty clear HOFs. Does that mean Edgar shouldn’t make it because he didn’t post numbers on par with Ted Williams either?

    Comment by Myk — December 29, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

  70. Why is it better for Manny to hurt his team more by playing bad defense?? Seems odd that HOF players get credit for hurting their team…

    Comment by Myk — December 29, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

  71. Not total number of individual seasons over an arbitrary cut-line. I’m definitely an Edgar-backer, and I think Dave laid the case out well at times in this article, but I don’t think number of seasons over 150 wRC+ is a good way of showing it.

    Comment by Kevin S. — December 29, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

  72. But where does his OPSBI rank?

    Comment by Kevin S. — December 29, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

  73. It’s also interesting that some guys have their WAR dinged by bad defense, but a DH gets a 0, as if he’s a neutral fielder.

    The DH is already penalized by the position adjustments. A DH has more lopped off his WAR than a neutral outfielder. So I don’t think that’s a concern here. You’re right about the advantage in career longevity, of course.

    Comment by Teej — December 29, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

  74. wRC+ accounts for park effects.

    Comment by Ben Hall — December 29, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  75. how’s that working out for bagwell?

    Comment by cable fixer — December 29, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

  76. walker away from coors wasn’t even a .300 hitter.

    Comment by bSpittle — December 29, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

  77. Interesting comments here. Edgar was actually a very serviceable 3rd base and would have been at 1st base but for the convenience of the team. As pointed out by at least one reader Olerud, Tino Martinez and others were chosen by management and Edgar was simply slotted in at DH cause he could really hit. Not his fault. Please note, as a more than 20 years M’s season ticket holder I can attest that Mariner management is not known for great decisions. Edgar, supported by the WAR analysis in this article plus his character, deserves to be in the HOF easily. If he played in NY or Boston he would be.

    Comment by Brian — December 29, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

  78. Let’s be real: if Edgar Martinez deserves to be in the hall, Todd Helton should be in the discussion right after him. I can’t list the statistics of each because I’m on the phone, but I’m not sure there’s a better comparison for each guy. Identical statistics aside, both have one weakness: Martinez was a DH, Helton played at Coors.

    Comment by BlackOps — December 29, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  79. 1) Bagwell has yet to be elected. He was a better player.

    2) If Edgar has posted numbers on par with Thomas and Bagwell, he should go in. Bagwell had a better peak. He also had more career value. Thomas was a much better hitter at his peak.

    3) After looking at the players that Dave compared Martinez to, I am now less convinced that he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Simply put, he is not Mize, Brett, Thomas, Bagwell, Boggs, Ripken, or Griffey (who had 10 – 5 WAR seasons.)

    4) What you should be confused about is how Dave made so many errors about the other players in order to make this look so close.

    5) Bobby Grich has 55.5 WAR in his 9 best seasons (Martinez has 55.8). Now that is a similar peak. Grich has more career value than Martinez in less PA (74.1 to 69.9 in 8220 to 8672). Grich never made the HOF.

    6) Martinez would not be the awful choice that Rice was, but he doesn’t raise the bar. He is the perfect borderline candidate.

    Comment by deathsinger — December 29, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

  80. Somewhat off topic, but I didn’t realize what a monster Edgar was in ’95 until I looked through his stats today. .356/.479/.628, 185 OPS+, 52 2B and 116 BB. As a Cleveland fan, I thought Belle was robbed in ’95, but Edgar’s 7.7 WAR soundly beats Albert (6.6) and makes Mo Vaughn (4.2) just seem silly.

    Comment by RéRé — December 29, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

  81. I actually think the simultaneously falling HoF fortunes of DHs and relievers are both due to the influence of sabermetrics.
    Sabermetrics both emphasizes the importance of defense (and offers the future hope of quantifying it accurately) and explodes myths about the importance of the closer role. That’s not to say that sabermetric types would say that no relievers or DHs are worthy of enshrinement (as this article demonstrates). It’s just to say that sabermetrics disrupted a complacent conventional wisdom that might otherwise be willing to accept an elite batting line like Martinez’s without seriously asking how much we need to discount for his lack of position.

    Comment by Anon21 — December 29, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

  82. I’m a small hall guy and Edgar doesn’t make the cut for me. To me the hall should look to induct those that are within the top 50 or so all time greats. That would make for a cutoff of about 75 or so WAR. Edgar doesn’t make it.

    Comment by Brian — December 29, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  83. It may not have been his fault, but it still happened,

    Comment by BlackOps — December 30, 2011 @ 12:33 am

  84. So…the Hall should then eject anybody who is no longer one of the top 50, once somebody makes the cutoff? Granted, that’s not what you actually said, but it’s certainly a logical extension of what you said.

    I’ll admit to being biased: I’ve been a Mariners fan since the awful 80’s. But the idea that the guy who’s posted the 22nd-best OBP of all time–and did it right-handed, yet–doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame is somewhat baffling to me. Here’s a list of right-handers who have posted a higher career OBP: Rogers Hornsby, Jimmie Foxx, Albert Pujols, and Frank Thomas.

    Now, I’ll admit his slugging percentage isn’t quite as impressive (“only” 66th all time), but he still beats guys like Willie McCovey, Eddie Mathews and Harmon Killebrew…or for that matter, Reggie Jackson (who didn’t even have a .500 lifetime slugging percentage, believe it or not). And yet nobody seems to argue that McCovey, Mathews, Killebrew, and Jackson don’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

    Three more points to consider: 1) they named the “outstanding DH” award after him. 2) Even when he was on the road, you could hear the fans chanting “Ehhhhhd-gaaaaar” when he was up to bat. 3) Ask Yankee fans–heck, ask Yankees!–who the Yankee-killers were on those late 90’s Mariner squads: chances are they’ll mention Edgar.

    Comment by Harlock — December 30, 2011 @ 1:04 am

  85. 140+ helps Helton

    Seriously, Helton is the comp for Edgar, OBP, + Doubles power

    Comment by Paul — December 30, 2011 @ 6:18 am

  86. I believe Dave’s comments justify HOF for Edgar. But the old school would not approve the DH in the first place. There are still quite a few of those old school era writers running around. I wonder how many writers with HOF voting privledges were writing before free agency came into place? Edgar is up against a DH prejudice of some unknown magnitude.

    Comment by Sailor Sam — December 30, 2011 @ 7:43 am

  87. You can bake it a lot of different ways. Edgar’s career wRC+ of 148 is just as impressive. It’s highly elite company that hits that well over that many PAs.

    Comment by Luke in MN — December 30, 2011 @ 8:10 am

  88. 1. He’s specifically refuting Fletcher’s point that Edgar wasn’t a good enough hitter. That’s the entire purpose of the article 2. Irrelevant to the point 3. Cameron notes in the article – and has noted in several other places – that he puts more value on peak than longevity. This is a valid point, and he welcomes you to disagree with it. 4. I’m sure if you asked nicely, he would write an article arguing that Dick Allen also belongs in the HOF.

    Comment by Mike K. — December 30, 2011 @ 9:05 am

  89. Just food for thought, if starting pitchers get in on their accolades of playing half the game, why not not a DH? The point was brought up that RP only do half, but SP can’t hit for crap and that doesn’t seem to get held against them.

    Comment by Nobody — December 30, 2011 @ 9:12 am

  90. I loved Joe Posnanski’s article on Chipper Jones a couple of years ago. Martinez makes the list of the 14 players of all time with a .300/.400/.500 slash line.

    I also think that people do not give enough credit that Martinez was right-handed. Its honestly a pretty big liability to not be a lefty or switch hitter. If you filter out the best right handed batters ever, the company he keeps is amazing.

    Comment by tdillon — December 30, 2011 @ 9:13 am

  91. Edgar’s career OPS as a 3b: .850
    As a DH: .959

    Also, here are his career HR/FB rates: http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/share.cgi?id=IV7kE

    See that drastic shift between 1994 and 1995? At age 32?

    There are two plausible explanations, and I think Edgar fans would prefer to think that not playing in the field (1995 was his first year as a full-time DH) had a fundamental benefit to his hitting (stronger legs, more time to lift, more time to watch video, whatever). You don’t want to consider the other explanation.

    Only 5 guys in MLB history hit 25 HRs 3 times after after age 31 after doing it no times previously: one of them was a player from the Negro Leagues who didn’t reach the majors til he was 33. Two of them did so right after the new ball came in the early 20s. The other two were Edgar and Ken Caminiti.

    By the, way, I was also a die-hard Mariners fan for much of my life, before I became a baseball writer.

    Comment by Jeff Fletcher — December 30, 2011 @ 10:54 am

  92. Its hard to point to a banned substance when there has been not even a whisper of involvement. No name on lists, no testifying to Congress. Is it rare? Yes. Unfathomable? Not really. I know that when I went through my own injuries, I greatly increased my weightlifting and conditioning. I didn’t want a repeat of that issue.

    Comment by tdillon — December 30, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  93. It’s not true that there have been no whispers. I’ve heard whispers. Also Shane Monahan, a former M’s prospect who had a cup of coffee in MLB, came out and made some allegations a few years ago.

    I certainly wouldn’t say Edgar used PEDs, but there’s enough smoke and circumstantial evidence that I am not going to just blindly accept that he’s clean either.

    Comment by Jeff Fletcher — December 30, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  94. Save you guys a click…

    [code]
    Year Age HR% HR/FB
    1987 24 0.0%
    1988 25 0.0% 0.0%
    1989 26 1.0% 2.6%
    1990 27 1.9% 5.1%
    1991 28 2.2% 6.0%
    1992 29 3.0% 7.0%
    1993 30 2.4% 6.9%
    1994 31 3.4% 8.9%
    1995 32 4.5% 13.6%
    1996 33 4.1% 12.7%
    1997 34 4.1% 12.1%
    1998 35 4.3% 11.8%
    1999 36 4.0% 11.8%
    2000 37 5.6% 16.0%
    2001 38 4.0% 11.2%
    2002 39 3.7% 10.6%
    2003 40 4.0% 10.7%
    2004 41 2.2% 6.3%
    18 Seasons 3.6% 10.0%
    MLB Averages 2.6% 7.6%
    HR% HR/FB
    [/code]

    Comment by Jeff Fletcher — December 30, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  95. Man’s capacity to reason has somehow escaped you.

    Comment by Greg — December 30, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  96. Reggie Jackson’s lifetime slugging percentage is a reflection of the era during which he played.
    Reggie finished in the Top 10 in slugging percentage twelve times. Three times he led the league and twice he was second.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/j/jacksre01.shtml

    Comment by TheJoeFrom1993 — December 30, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

  97. Go read the mariners.com article about Edgar’s candidacy if the sampling and/or use of wRC+ here doesn’t work for you. There’s some traditional stats that put Edgar in elite company also (300/400/500 career slash line; the handful of people with 300 hr, 500 doubles in 2000 games played or somesuch).

    Also, I expect anyone who trots out the “only a DH” argument is already prepared to heavily discount and adjust St. Albert Pujols’ career stats, now that he’s an Angel and will no doubt spend a fair amount of the second half of his career as a DH. Also since he will rack up stats bloated by seeing more of e.g. The Bronx Bandbox, or The Launching Pad at Arlington.

    Comment by ChrisFromBothell — December 30, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  98. I certainly wouldn’t say you were a coke fiend in the 80’s, but hey, everyone was doing it then, so I’m not going to just blindly accept that you’re clean either.

    Comment by ChrisFromBothell — December 30, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  99. You’re undermining your valid argument with baseless allegations. Stop while you’re ahead,

    Comment by larrybernandez — December 30, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  100. Someone should invent park and positional adjustments to account for that kind of stuff.

    Comment by Drew — December 30, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

  101. Edgar is an extremely interesting situation. The HoF doesn’t seem quite sure how to deal with a player that was more DH than not, and that’s fair. It also creates a situation where we examine whether the DH positional adjustment is enough of an adjustment.

    1. If I understand correctly the DH pos-adjust is figured by examining how the same players hit while playing the field versus batting as DH. It’s possible that many players at DH are there because they are ailing, aging, or are just terrible fielders. So even the DH adjustment isn’t as severe as what their defense/performance might be if they were forced to play the field. It might also be examining a player’s aging years against their prime years, and if players were just DH for a small part of the season, there could SSS issues.

    There just aren’t that many players that spend the bulk of their careers as a hitter only.

    I think the examples of Manny’s negative defense in LF and even ARod’s at 3B are valid. Put David Ortiz in the field for his career, and he will take a significant WAR hit, and/or might not be an everyday player at all. In some instances, a player is being punished for what league he plays in (Adam Dunn the year he gave back all of his value with a -40 defense) and where his team tells him to play.

    There are some other issues with Edgar ….

    2. The PA’s: If elected to the HoF, Edgar would have the 6th fewest PA (Puckett, Snider, Berra, Maz, Bench). That’s going to be held against him, especially since it is viewed that being a DH prolonged his career significantly. He came back from partial seasons in 93 and 94, to string together 5 great seasons at DH, while staying healthy. His career path is almost completely opposite of these guys.

    3. Lack of Fielding: Edgar, by metrics, was an average fielder through 94 and age 31. It’s likely that he decreases as a fielder throughout those seasons through age 41. I don’t have the data to project how much that would come up to in fielding runs, but it makes sense that voters would require a DH to make up for those runs with the bat. In other words, they expect, and perhaps rightly so, to be even that much better with the bat. That issue is being discussed. Such as with David Ortiz, being able to “not field” adds considerable value and longevity to his career. Without the batter only position, he might just be a role player or pinch hitter rather than a potential HoF member. The DH position take away between 15 and 19 runs from a player’s performance. Edgar would need to be be equal or better to that in the field, and it appears that he might have been, had a team been forced to play him at 1B/3B or have him on the bench. In other words, Edgar would have needed to be a -20 fielder at 3B to experience the same loss of value by being a DH.

    Also, an aging Frank Thomas was able to break Edgar “DH HR Record” in about 200 fewer games at the position. That puts a damper (in voter’s eyes) on how impressive performance at DH must be. The wasn’t the “Big Hurt” doing that, just an old Frank Thomas.

    3. Base running: FG shows Edgar was -17 runs over the last 3 years of his career. If we have these values for his whole career, it’s possible he loses 50 runs (5 WAR) in base running. I bring this up because base running if often brought up to support Alan Trammel, so we have to include it for everyone. Going from 67-70 WAR to 62-65 is important in this discussion.

    —————————

    As for the Rx issue. Putting emotion aside, there is enough to warrant the discussion.

    As player that had significant issues staying healthy, he came back from two injury seasons and was very healthy after that, including increased performance at his declining age seasons. It could be that being a DH was the fix for him, but then the voter’s reductions in value are valid if he’s being compared to peers that weren’t full time DH’s.

    People will also point out that batters tend to hit worse as DH’s than they do as position players. That sword has two sides to it, as Edgar hit much better as a DH, and during his declining age seasons. His career path is extremely unique and perhaps only similar to Barry Bonds.

    Baseball has “fluke seasons” like Davey Johnson and Brady Anderson. Baseball tends NOT to have “fluke second half of careers”, except in the steroid era. It’s possible that Edgar was just a unique situation all the way around, but it’s also possible that it wasn’t. In his days, there were others that received far more attention that Edgar due to their performance, including teammate Brett Boone. When MVPs and record breakers are the focus of the steroid issue, a DH that’s not breaking records and winning MVPs is not going to get the same microscope examination. At the time, I don;t think anyone cared if Edgar was using Rx or not, there were more exciting players to discuss.

    I think when all is said and done, we’re looking at a player that probably has (including base running estimates, projected fielding metrics), a 60 WAR career or so. I don’t think Edgar is anywhere near a slam dunk for the HoF, although he worthy of enshirnement discussion.

    At Baseball-Reference, here are his 10 comparables (Gulp):

    1. Will Clark (902)
    2. Todd Helton (899)
    3. John Olerud (885)
    4. Moises Alou (879)
    5. Magglio Ordonez (875)
    6. Bob Johnson (863)
    7. Bernie Williams (860)
    8. Paul O’Neill (852)
    9. Ellis Burks (850)
    10. Carlos Lee (844)

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 30, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

  102. There’s no way Edgar is a no-brainer HOFer. He’s borderline. I’d say he deserves to be in, but if he’s in then strong cases need to be made for Bobby Abreu, Larry Walker, Jim Edmonds, Todd Helton, and Lance Berkman.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — December 30, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

  103. Someone else should then explain those adjustments to the unwashed masses, is my point. Since the traditional slash line or some magic milestne numbers is all many people will look at.

    Comment by ChrisFromBothell — December 31, 2011 @ 4:15 am

  104. Nope, I don’t think the Hall needs to eject people. I just think that should be the standard for letting new players in. There has to be a cut off somewhere, no?

    To me, if you’re a top 50 guy you’re a lock. The next few hundred greatest could be considered borderline candidates.

    Comment by Brian — December 31, 2011 @ 8:53 am

  105. I don’t disagree with your logic. My standard for “lock” hall of famer is 75 or so WAR. If you can do that as a SP, relief pitcher, DH, you’re a lock to me.

    Edgar doesn’t match that standard. So to me he’s a borderline, could go either way guy.

    But guys like Randy, Nolan, Pedro, Schilling? No brainers to me.

    Comment by Brian — December 31, 2011 @ 8:57 am

  106. To me, true elite in the traditional stats is more like

    325/403/525. The 300/400/500 line is more like the next tier down to me.

    Similarly, about 390 HRs, 500 doubles.

    Edgar certainly has some of those numbers – OBP and doubles especially.

    He’s a borderline guy to me, which makes the vote a little more subjective. My heart / guy says no to him. But it’s not like voting him in would be some kind of crime either.

    Comment by Brian — December 31, 2011 @ 9:04 am

  107. So you would discount Jose Bautista’s late power explosion as coming from swing changes?

    I think you are turning a grey area into a black and white choice. Players that take 4 years to make the required adjustments to fulfil their potential at the major-league level are not that uncommon. Kevin Youkillis spent 4 seasons from age 25 as a useful hitter before doubling his HR totals and becoming a very, very good hitter. Martinez followed a similar arc with 4 seasons from age 27 (1993 was pretty much a write-off) until he dominated in 1995.

    Anyway. You have stated that steroids will not automatically eliminate players from your HOF ballot, as long as they were sufficiently dominant. There are park- and era-adjusted numbers that indicate Martinez put up some all-time great seasons during his peak, even after the PED-driven hitting of his contemporaries is factored in (and yes, as with most statistics there are numbers that point in other directions). There appears to be some consistency missing from your position on this and I’d suggest you switch to discounting his career length (or similar) if you want to leave him off your ballot..

    Comment by deflated — December 31, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

  108. http://baybridgebaseball.com/2011/12/the-definitive-treatise-on-why-i-didnt-vote-for-edgar-martinez-for-the-hof/

    Comment by Jeff Fletcher — December 31, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  109. Walker should definitely be in and prob a good case for Helton too. It’s tough to accept some of these defenses against these guys like Coors Field (I guess nobody who plays there will even be eligible), or Walker didn’t play enough full seasons, or the DH thing in Edgar’s case… all 3 of those dudes had phenomenal careers even being in the offensive era.

    Comment by Spike — December 31, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

  110. I would vote for edgar, Berkman, Walker, Raines, Abreu, but not sandberg.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — January 1, 2012 @ 12:11 am

  111. bspittl: Walker was fairly dominant as an Expo and his case is also based on defense. He had the best rightfield arm during his time in the game. Had excellent range near the best for his time. Walkers case is stronger than Coors anyday.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — January 1, 2012 @ 12:35 am

  112. It is absolutely wrong to say players always become DHs because they can’t field well. Sure many players have, but some become DHs because they have recurring injuries that make it tough to stand for long periods as a fielder.

    Edgar was made DH because he was error prone with his knees. If he fielded often his knees would act up and force him onto the DL for a few days. He DH’d so that he could stay on the field. His defensive numbers when he was a regular thirdbasemen were not that bad. He finished positive 16 runs defensively for his career (look at his Fangraphs stats) and was gold glove quality 1990-1991.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — January 1, 2012 @ 12:50 am

  113. Anon21: I disagree because no one in the past has been elected to the Hall as a DH and DH predated Sabermetrics by more than 20 years. Accordingly, I think Sabermetrics is going to be the best way to argue for enshrinement of some DH at some point. I personally think Edgar will be the greatest DH to ever play baseball unless he gets enshrined, because great hitters (like Dunn was) think their chances of being a HoFr is nil if they DH for large chunks of their careers. As a result good hitters with modest gloves become the typical DH (kubel) when is it is better to put ungodly hitters with average gloves at DH to protect them from injury. If Edgar gets elected then it becomes possible for a DH to reach the hall, so guys like Dunn, Ramirez, etc. become more willing to DH earlier in their careers which probably prolongs their careers.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — January 1, 2012 @ 1:02 am

  114. EDGAR DID NOT become a DH based on his glove, but because he had bad knees that would become painful if he stood up for too long. Painful enough that he could go on the DH!!! For is career he is positive 16 runs on defense at third base!
    http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1086&position=3B/DH#fielding

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — January 1, 2012 @ 1:16 am

  115. WARs positional adjustment penalizes Edgar for being a DH more. DHs are penalized the most of any position! So whereas Bagwell was a plus defender at a real easy position (so he gains WAR) Edgar is penalized strongly for not fielding daily. Your argument is baseless!

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — January 1, 2012 @ 1:22 am

  116. War positionally adjust DHs the most of any other position, so your argument is baseless. Dhs are penalized in WAR for simply being DHs. Y Bentancourt is worth more WAR as a draful SS than as a DH for example. Do the math yourself!

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — January 1, 2012 @ 1:28 am

  117. Brian I am a small hall guy and think Edger’s stats make him an easy vote. He is only getting excluded because he played on the same team as Tino martinez who was the best defensive firstbasemen of his time. Not his fault!

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — January 1, 2012 @ 1:33 am

  118. plus, no starting pitcher of todays era averages 8 or more innings a start and most get 4 days rest between starts. DHs play more % of the season than any starting pitcher does.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — January 1, 2012 @ 1:35 am

  119. Hey Go Nats,

    I guess either my hall is smaller or we’re using different numbers to derive a cut off?

    Comment by Brian — January 1, 2012 @ 6:46 am

  120. count PA’s versus batters faced – There were 94 pitchers who faced at least 662 batters, where only 33 hitters at ANY position had 662 or more plate appearances. Since a DH is by definition not involved in defensive plays, and there were 80 pitchers that faced more batters than any hitter had PA’s, it is absurd to suppose that DH’s affect a larger percentage of the game than starting pitchers.

    Comment by Dumbrowski — January 2, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

  121. I strongly prefer that articles like this also show the guys immediately BELOW the player being looked at. It’s almost always the case that when you look at the players above on a list like Dave gives it strongly implies the player is in that particular group.

    It’s better, and more objective, to also give the players with seven and six consecutive 500 PA/150 wRC+ seasons. The players included aren’t going to be wall to wall HOFers, and the list of players with seven to nine of these seasons will give a much more accurate picture of the company Edgar is keeping.

    Comment by Jack Straw — January 2, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  122. DH’s have 5 more runs reduced due to positional adjustment than do 1Bs.

    For Edgar to have the same value at 1B, he’d need to be better than -5 fielding runs.

    Again, I’m not sure the positional adjustment for DH’s is enough given the rarity of “career DH’s”.

    The pool of players making up the “DH pool” are not often the guys that are “DHs for a living”. They’re DH’s because their aging, ailing, or simply cannot play anywhere else. In other words, they may be damaged goods or at the very least not including anyone’s “prime years”.

    Let’s start a list of guys that were DHs during their prime offensive years. I’m betting it’s a short list, and that skews the data for DH positional adjustment.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 3, 2012 @ 12:32 am

  123. Right, but the argument isn’t “His numbers closely resemble Giambi’s and he’s a non-HOF because of steroids, so no to Edgar.” The argument is “His numbers closely resemble Giambi’s and he’s a non-HOF because of production, so no to Edgar.” If the the case can be made the Giambi WOULD be a HOF if not for steroids, then the fact that Edgar their production levels were close for any period of time is no longer a detriment.

    Comment by Patrick — January 4, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  124. Hey you can throw all the numbers you want, any datahead knows you can manipulate data to reinforce whatever idea you want. For example, just look at how both sides of the climate change debate ” prove” their side of the argument by taking a different spin on simliar (if not the same) data set.

    In my humble opinion, Edgar should be in the Hall because his swing was pure poetry. No one in the history of the game had a sweeter swing than he.

    Please note this sentiment is biased, as I grew up in the Seattle area during his prime. Also living in the Seattle area meant, I could actually watch him play unlike anyone in the east coast time zone. Those people were too busy telling me how great Paul O’ Neil was. Or Cal “most overrated player in the history” Ripken.

    Comment by Mark — January 4, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  125. Hey get free advertising somewhere else!

    Comment by Mark — January 4, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  126. I saw Edgar play many of times during his career, and always had the sense that I was watching an all-time great hitter do his work, and that he was a Hall of Fame caliber player.

    He did have a short career, but I find it hard to penalize him for that. What people don’t realize is that he tore the cover off the ball in the PCL for three years before the Mariners finally gave him a real chance to play. They somehow believed that Jim Presley was a better player, and kept sending Edgar to Calgary. He should have at least another 500 hits on his batting record.

    It seems silly to say a guy he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame because his organization couldn’t tell a baseball player from a haystack for years.

    Comment by John — January 4, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  127. Refresher course on the dictionary definition of cherry pick: “to select the best or most desirable.” That’s exactly what the article does, selecting Edgar’s best stretch of years and then comparing them to everyone else over those same years (“the only hitter on the planet who was better during that timeframe was Barry Bonds”).

    It’s pretty clear why that is a problem with the analysis.

    Comment by ergozoom — January 6, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  128. No bonus points for The Double?

    Comment by Matthias — January 7, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  129. Thome shouldn’t get any extra credit for fielding unless he actually provided value for his team. Fangraphs has him at -39 runs in the field for his career, meaning he was more of a liability than an asset. Why should that count positively towards his HoF case?

    Comment by Matt — January 9, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

  130. Heck, he might not have been able to hit The Double in the first place if he hadn’t had such a phenomenal game 4. More RBI in that one game than most players manage in a full postseason series.

    Comment by Harlock — February 24, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

  131. I have one problem with the argument that strikes me is that if we are going to vote someone in soley on their bat, they better be slam dunk as a hitter. Their have been many cases of players getting in with much less offense than Edgar Martinez and the reputation of strong defense. Often times the numbers we have of defensive prowess disprove certain peoples reputation as defensive standouts. Derek Jeter by all numerical measures has cost his team about a win a year less than a replacement level player on defense. Actually Edgar and Jeter have similiar career WAR totals and similiar offensive importance. I’m not saying Jeter is less worthy of Hall of Fame induction than Jeter than Martinez. But just because Jeter grabbed a bunch of offensive WAR at shortstop (which is easier than grabbing offensive WAR at DH), I don’t think we should crown him for simply wearing a glove poorly while accounting for those offensive stats.

    Comment by Shane — February 25, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  132. I realize I’m several months late on this article, but I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that east coast and ESPN bias will probably get David Ortiz into the HOF and he has a career 136 wRC+, 12 points lower than Edgar’s, but he will finish with over 100 more HR, which is what the voters will care about.

    Comment by d.t. — May 21, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  133. I’m using them right now.

    Comment by Jon L. — August 20, 2012 @ 1:26 am

  134. Not playing the field limits Martinez’ value (as the article acknowledges). Whether he was kept off the field because he was a bad fielder or because he was injury-prone is interesting, but in my mind it doesn’t affect his value. He wasn’t kept off the field due to some unique situation; he was kept off because he couldn’t play the field.

    Comment by Jon L. — August 20, 2012 @ 1:35 am

  135. Very interesting read, both the article on the comments.

    I will try not to be too redundant, but I think many folks lose sight that this is a discussion for the hall of FAME. Not the hall of very good, hall of statistically better than the other guy, or the hall of well liked. Granted, the best way to become a famous baseball player is to be a great baseball player. The greatest baseball player and the most famous baseball player of all time are the same guy, and the correlation remains strong working down from there.

    I bring this up because of the borderline candidates, guys like Enos Slaughter famous for his mad dash. Or Cal Ripken, who was a very good player for a very long time, but a slam dunk fist ballot HOFer? Take away his games streak (which I would argue is more of a novelty than a measure of greatness) is he THAT much better than Trammell?

    Anyway, I’d break this down into statistical and non statisitical arguments. I think the statistical argument is pretty close. In a nutshell, his stats were HOF worthy but perhaps his sample size wasn’t big enough. I think a career .312/.418/.515 slash line over 8000 career plate appearances is hall of fame worthy, but if you disagree that’s fine. Either way, I think it’s close. These arguments have been argued back and forth throughout this thread with many good points on both sides.

    Stepping away from stats, I think the eyeball test is still worth something. And that is what sways my vote to “yes, he’s a HOFer.” Consider these non stat based arguments.

    1. He was the best ever at what he did. Sure, there may be a better one someday, but he’s the Steve Largent of DHs. At the time he retired, it is pretty much undisputed who the best ever was.

    2. He revolutionized the position, and in therefore the game. This is different than my first argument. Johnny Bench didn’t really change the way the position of catcher was played. Even Mariano didn’t change the way the closer was used. Edgar permanantly changed the role of the DH from being “the guy who wasn’t an ever day player but now we don’t have to let the pitcher hit” to a potential all star/franchise player. And it’s not like DH-ing is easy, how many elite DH’s are there in the league today? It’s not a given that bay taking off your mitt you hit .300.

    3. He was a winner. This is a major criteria in most HOF debates buts gets kind of ignored in baseball. As a Griffey fan, I acknowledge that rings don’t define a legacy, and even if they did, Martinez did not have a ring. But look at the Mariners pre-Edgar, with Edgar, and post Edgar. They were awful before he got there, awesome when he was there, and awful since he left. Yes, there was the coming and going of A LOT of talent that impacted those results, but the correlation is obvious. The Mariners won without Griffey, without Randy, and without AROD. Yes, they got some good players to replace them, but it wasn’t until ’95 and Edgar’s first monster season (and Griffey had all ready logged 3 monster seasons and was injury plagued most of that year) that the Mariners won. Bottom line, when Edgar produced, they won. When he didn’t, the team lost. I can’t say this about any great Mariner during that era regardless of how their career stats measure up.

    4. He was beloved. The DH of the year is named after him as well as a street in Seattle. If the nicest restaurant in Seattle has one table left, and Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Steve Largent, Ken Griffey Jr, and Edgar Martinez all want that table, Edgar is going to get it. He is the most popular athlete in a franchise that had/has 4 major sports teams (sonics replaced by sounders) and IMO that means something. It won’t make up for sub par stats, but we’re talking about a guy with borderline HOF stats, not Will Clark or Bernie Williams “very good but not hof” stats. He is to Seattle what Derek Jeter is to NY. Yes, Jeter will be a no doubt about it first ballot HOFer, but I’m not convinced he is WAY better, or even MARGINALLY better than Martinez. Jeter was a decent defender at a hard position for a career, Martinez was a decent defender at a hard position for a few years before DHing where, again, if DHing was such a free ride how come no DH’s not named Ortiz are even sniffing Edgar’s production?

    Remember kids, it’s the Hall of FAME, and for permanantly changing the landscape of the game, being the one player most responsible for making his team a winner, and for being the most famous athlete in a pretty good sized market should sway the pendulum to a HOFer.

    Comment by Danny — November 26, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

  136. This may never see the light of day, but you’re so wrong, Jay Buhner by FARRRRR had the best arm in rightfield from 89-2002. No questions, no arguments, absolute howitzer attached to his right shoulder.

    Comment by mariners — July 14, 2014 @ 12:39 am

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