Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz, and the Hall of Fame

Over the weekend, the two most well regarded “clutch hitters” in baseball did their thing. Carlos Beltran won Game 1 of the NLCS with a 13th inning walk-off double, continuing his long trend of destroying the baseball in the postseason. On Sunday, David Ortiz hit a game tying grand slam in the 8th inning, capping a somewhat miraculous comeback when the Tigers seemed fully in control of the ALCS. Both players have been remarkably impressive postseason performers, and yesterday, Jeff wrote about their duel history of success in October.

Because of their recent and past playoff performances, it is easy to see Beltran and Ortiz in a similar light, and position them as two peas from the same pod. Joel Sherman does exactly that today in writing about the Hall of Fame worthiness of both players:


The Hall of Fame candidacies of Carlos Beltran and David Ortiz are going to tell us about the power of October.

We are going to learn if postseason genius can push a special player from the borderline of immortality all the way to enshrinement. From questionable to Cooperstown.

Does coming through when so many more are paying attention and so much more is at stake have a collateral akin to, say, winning MVPs or Cy Youngs?

I think Sherman is half right. Ortiz’s candidacy is absolutely going to be a litmus test for what kind of extra credit voters want to give to October performance when evaluating a player’s Hall of Fame case. And I think that’s a discussion worth having, because the postseason games are the most important of the season, and Ortiz has been fantastic for the Red Sox in those most important games. But equating Ortiz and Beltran’s candidacy, and tying them both to the value of postseason performance, does an enormous disservice to the fact that Beltran has had a far better career than Ortiz, and the two simply aren’t really comparable candidates.

Let’s just start with the most basic counting stats from the regular season, and put these two side by side.

Name G PA H 1B 2B 3B HR R RBI BB HBP SB CS
Carlos Beltran 2063 8949 2228 1347 446 77 358 1346 1327 934 40 308 48
David Ortiz 1966 8249 2023 1054 520 18 431 1208 1429 1087 33 15 8

Because Beltran became an everyday player earlier in his career, he’s played 100 more games and hit 700 more times than Ortiz, so if you care about sustained performance over a longer time period, Beltran gets a slight edge, though 100 games shouldn’t be a large enough gap to say one player is in and the other is out in most cases. And a lot of their other numbers here are pretty similar, or at least, the differences from one category to the next seem to offset.

Beltran has 300 more singles, but Ortiz has 88 more extra base hits, and almost all of that difference comes from the extra 73 home runs he’s hit in his career. From a total bases perspective, 73 home runs (292 TB) and 300 singles (300 TB, naturally) are almost identical in value. In reality, the singles are more valuable, because reaching base 300 times will create more offense than hitting 73 dingers, but we’re still at the part of the article that deals in generalities, and with these kinds of numbers, we care more about the overall picture than extreme precision.

I’m not a big fan of using runs scored or runs batted in to evaluate a player, but the problems are less manifest over long careers than they are in single season evaluations. And, of course, the voters will look at these numbers, so I’ve included them here as well. And again, we see values that basically offset; Ortiz has 100 more RBI, but Beltran has 140 more runs scored. Ortiz has 150 more walks, but Beltran has 300 more stolen bases. Wherever one has an advantage, the other has their own. While they’re not identical, these lines are similar in total value.

There’s one key thing not included here, though it is somewhat implied by the fact that Ortiz put up similar numbers in fewer plate appearances; that missing thing is outs made. Beltran has made, in his career, 5,947 outs, while Ortiz has made 5,294 outs in his career. While Beltran has 700 more PAs, those have resulted in 650 more outs. This is one of the main things that is wrong with evaluating hitters solely by counting stats like HRs and RBIs, because outs are destructive to a team, and equal numbers in those categories can ignore that one player used a lot of outs to get to the same counting numbers.

So, even with similar-ish counting stats, Ortiz has been a significantly more valuable hitter. This isn’t any kind of revelation, since I think we all recognize that Ortiz is better at the plate than Beltran, but I think it’s useful to walk through why that is, when the raw counting stats might not make that obvious from the start. When we move towards the more complicated calculations, we can see this gap really start to show up, as Ortiz leads Beltran in Batting Runs by a 388 to 235 margin. This calculation takes into account all the positive numbers they’ve racked up at the plate, but also the fact that Beltran used 650 more outs to get there. So, advantage Ortiz. At the plate, at least.

But offense isn’t just about hitting. Even before we get to the run prevention side of a player’s value, we can’t ignore what a batter does when he reaches base. And just like Ortiz has a large advantage at the plate, Beltran has a huge advantage on the bases.

Beltran’s 308 stolen bases, while only being caught 48 times, translate into 37 runs of value for Beltran, according to our calculations. And base stealing isn’t the only way a player adds value on the bases. By advancing from first to third or scoring from second on a single, or scoring from first on a double, or taking an extra base on a pitch in the dirt, Beltran has racked up another 30 runs of value. Over the last 30 years, Carlos Beltran has been the 8th most valuable baserunner in the sport, adding 67 runs above what an average baserunner would have contributed.

During that same time period, David Ortiz has been the game’s second worst baserunner, being 58 runs worse than an average runner during his career; only Paul Konerko has been a less effective baserunner during this era. Ortiz gets on base a lot, but getting on base and getting stranded at third because you’re too slow to score on your teammates hits isn’t as useful as on base percentage would suggest.

So, Ortiz’s huge offensive lead at the plate — 153 runs — is almost completely obliterated when we include the runs that a player can create with his legs. When you combine batting runs and baserunning runs, Ortiz grades out as 330 runs above average, while Beltran comes out at 302. Using that same 1984-2013 time frame as before, that puts Ortiz 31st in offense, while Beltran ranks 38th. Ortiz is better, but it’s actually pretty close.

And then there’s defense. All those numbers above were completely agnostic about anything to do with defensive value. They weren’t relative to the position they played, and knew nothing about the fact that Ortiz was a DH while Beltran was primarily a center fielder. Once you adjust for the fact that Ortiz provided no defensive contributions — and by locking up the DH position, for a significant portion of his career, forced the Red Sox to stick Manny Ramirez in the outfield — while Beltran was a pretty good defender at an up the middle position, this fails to be any kind of real contest.

Our calculations have the defensive value gap between the two at 250 runs over their career. Defensive calculations aren’t as precise as offensive calculations, so maybe you believe that center field isn’t that hard to play or that DHs shouldn’t get that much of a penalty since it is a position that AL teams have to fill. If you fall in that kind of camp, maybe you want to cut these numbers in half, taking an extreme position that defense is wildly overrated and that we should only give marginal credit for a player’s ability to play the field. Even if you do that, Beltran still has a 125 run advantage, which cancels out Ortiz’s offensive lead and then still puts Beltran up by 100 runs. And that’s the extreme anti-defense position.

There’s just no way to argue that Ortiz has been as valuable as Beltran during his career. Even if you only focus on offense, Ortiz is only slightly ahead of Beltran, and when you factor in defense, it’s not even close. By WAR, Beltran has been the 24th most valuable position player in the sport in the last 30 years, coming in just ahead of Roberto Alomar, who got elected to Cooperstown a couple of years ago. David Ortiz, for reference, is 79th, essentially tied with Paul O’Neill and Mark Teixeira.

Both Ortiz and Beltran should get credit for their postseason performances in addition to these numbers, but there’s no way to spin these as two similar cases. Ortiz, without immense credit for his postseason performance, is not a Hall of Famer, and he doesn’t even really have much of a case. Beltran is a valid Hall of Fame candidate even before you factor in what he’s done in October. And Beltran has been better in postseason than Ortiz. Or anyone, really.

Carlos Beltran is, basically, the modern day Barry Larkin. Both had about 9,000 plate appearances. Beltran has a 122 wRC+, while Larkin finished at 118. They were both fantastic baserunners. They both played up the middle positions, and stuck around into their late-30s as big league regulars. Hall of Fame voters have already decided that this kind of player is worthy of induction into Cooperstown, even without giving Beltran credit for what he’s done in October. That is simply the cherry on top of a fantastic, Hall of Fame worthy career. It’s the thing that makes him a no-brainer. His postseason performance should be what gets him in on the first ballot, not what puts him over the hump to begin with.

Ortiz has been a terrific hitter for a decade, but his great player peak lasted roughly four years, and he’s been more good than great outside of those seasons. He’s been fantastic in October too, and I do believe that he should get substantial credit for playing well in over 300 postseason plate appearances, but that just pushes him up towards guys like Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker, who have been rejected by HOF voters.

Carlos Beltran and David Ortiz are both great October performers. Both should get credit for these postseason performances when it comes time to decide whether they belong in Cooperstown. But they’re not in the same boat, and they’re not really similar candidates in any way other than that both have been very good on the big stage. David Ortiz has played like a Hall of Famer in October; Carlos Beltran has played like a Hall of Famer in every month of the season.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

143 Responses to “Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz, and the Hall of Fame”

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  1. Robbie says:

    Isn’t the additional wrinkle here that Ortiz was linked to or semi-admitted to using PEDs?

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    • Brian says:

      His name got leaked on an anonymous list for reasons unknown.

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      • jax says:

        He admitted to no such thing and has NEVER been accused of using PED’s…don’t besmirch his good name on here…he’s a phenomenal hitter and has NEVER used PEDs ~.~

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        • JB Knox says:

          He was accused of using PED’s. The lawyers handling the case leaked that he failed a drug test during survey testing.

          Ortiz admitted that yes the report was true and that he was surprised he failed the test because he claimed he never took PED’s but did say he used to purchase protein shakes from the DR that may have been the cause of the positive test although he was not sure.

          His numbers drastically dropped once MLB went to a 2 tests per year system plus more for certain players.

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    • Bo Knows says:

      Ortiz didn’t admit anything, he said the standard BS response and it then faded into obscurity. If he gets into the HoF; the entire voting body needs to just resign their position, because they’d have shone themselves to be even bigger hypocrites than they already are.

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      • Izzy says:

        That list has some problems though. Mainly, that there were fewer specimens taken than people on the list being accused of taking steroids. I’m not saying Ortiz never took P.E.D.s but the leaked results aren’t exactly damning evidence.

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        • RC says:

          Not only that, but MLB and the MLBPA later stated that Ortiz’s name wasn’t actually on the list, because his test was inconclusive.

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        • AK7007 says:

          Leaked results being worthless doesn’t mean that BWAA voter won’t be idiots about it. Remember who you are talking about.

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  2. hamjenkinsIII says:

    Barlos Celtran

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  3. semperty says:

    I don’t get why Ortiz gets the insane coverage for being great in October. I mean yes, he’s great, there’s no denying that, but he’s not any better in October than he is in the regular season. I just don’t get why he doesn’t get this kind of coverage in, say, June instead of October. For his career he’s got a .930 OPS, and for his postseason performance he’s got a .935. Maybe you adjust some for the fact that he’s no longer facing the fifth starter, but that can’t possibly add that much of a difference, can it?

    I understand that wasn’t the point of the article, that’s just something that’s had me questioning that for a while.

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    • Mister says:

      I actually think the difference in performance in the playoffs for most players is pretty large. It’s not just missing the 5th starter, it’s also the fact that you are facing the pitchers from the top 30% of MLB teams. It’s pretty rare for a team to make the playoffs on the strength of offense alone with an outright BAD pitching staff. I think the Red Sox arguably have the worst pitching staff among playoff teams this year, but their pitchers are still above average. I forget where I read this, but I think there was a study of the difference in performance in the playoffs a couple years back and it was found to be pretty large.

      Also, part of Ortiz’s mystique isn’t just generally good performance in the playoffs, but extremely timely hitting. He’s had huge hits in very high-leverage situations in the playoffs time and time again.

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      • Actual Fan says:

        It’s absolutely ridiculous to say Boston has the worst pitching staff of playoff teams. They have 3 quality starters and their bullpen is great too. They have 4 middle relievers that can carry them to the 9th where they bring in the best closer in the game. Nice try, but their pitching staff is one of the best. Ask the Tigers about it.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      Continuing with Mister, think about it this way: It is much harder to hold up your regular season performance when you are facing the best pitchers on the higher end teams all the time, compared to the regular season when you will inevitably get choppy 5th starters and worse teams.

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    • Mister says:

      There’s also the cold weather factor. I think Ortiz would’ve had a HR yesterday if he had hit that one deep fly off of Verlander during a game in August. Saltalamacchia’s deep fly to RF in game 1 is another example.

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    • Ian R. says:

      In addition to the points made above (missing the fifth starter, top teams have better pitching, cold weather), postseason games are managed quite differently than regular season games. Managers are quick to go to the bullpen and let their best relievers face more batters, which again makes it tougher to hit.

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  4. Paul L says:

    Not sure if any of this matters, since Ortiz plays for Boston. That alone will probably get him in.

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    • Chief Keef says:

      HARDO

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    • Izzy says:

      Tell that to Dwight Evans.

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      • Ian says:

        I think the equivalent of the Boston market today might have been the Reds market in the late 70s which got Perez in and Concepcion a lot of ink.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Well really, playing in Boston does help him tremendously because of all the playoff opportunities. If he were on the pirates he’d be part time (no DH) and no playoffs until this year. For all we know, billy butler could be a hell of a playoffs hitter.

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        • WormFace says:

          Being on a team that frequently makes the playoffs works both ways. You have a lot of chances to be good, but also a lot of chances to be awful. When those plate appearances start to accumulate, it becomes tougher to call the performance luck based.

          Billy Butler could also be one of the worst playoff hitters.

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    • drtrix says:

      I was gonna say the same thing. I don’t agree with it but playing in the Boston market coupled with his heroics in ending their WS drought and other playoff runs makes Ortiz a bonified HoF contender in the writers minds.

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  5. Mike says:

    There’s just no way to argue that Ortiz has been as valuable as Ortiz during his career

    Uh… A=A?

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  6. WellThen says:

    Nice write up. Moot though really as even when both of these players come up for elections homers and RBI’s will still be the standard for 80% of the voters. Add in October’s “clutch” and who knows who will get votes.

    Still think Fangraphs and other Sabers should start there own “Hall”.

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  7. Jim says:

    Isn’t this a useless argument because Ortiz has been linked to PEDs? Keeping Piazza, Biggio, Bagwell, and others out because of “alleged” use but voting Ortiz in, would be a joke.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      Was Biggio an alleged user? I thought he was denied entry because people didn’t realize he was good enough.

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      • Jim says:

        The 3000 hits is what’s swaying many to vote him in, but I think he was grouped with the alleged PED users and denied entry. He should be in the “Hall of the very good”.

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        • Alby says:

          Grouped by whom? Are you saying Biggio took them, or that he should be downgraded for playing alongside users?

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        • Robbie says:

          Are you trying to make the case that Craig Biggio shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame? Because wow.

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        • Oh, Beepy says:

          Quit making up facts, Biggio got an uptick in representation on the ballots for being perceived as one of the only completely ‘clean’ candidates in that no-one ever thought he used a damn thing.

          Writers who damn steroid users show themselves to be petty children when Bagwell and Piazza’s careers are called into question over ‘Bacne’ and baseless accusations of ostensibly being strong yet never a single failed drug test.

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    • RC says:

      Ortiz is linked to PEDs in that an anonymous source stated he was on a list, that the MLB and MLBPA later said he wasn’t on. Seems a bit… vacuous to me.

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      • vivalajeter says:

        A single reporter claimed that Mike Piazza had acne on his back, and that kept him out of the HOF on his first try. All it takes is an unconfirmed claim, and they’re tainted with it.

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        • TKDC says:

          Bagwell was just really strong and ripped. That’s all it took for him. Ortiz shouldn’t be in the Hall anyway, because he’s not actually one of the best players of all time. He can be in the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

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        • CircleChange11 says:

          1. Bagwell was no power hitter in the minor or his Boston-affiliation days; very slight build.

          2. In Houston, mega power hitter and a completely different build.

          Being strong and ripped doesn’t equate to PEDs. Going from a very slight built guy to a very muscular guy at a an adult male age and/or completely changing your power prowess conjures suspicion … especially during an era where it appears to be quite common.

          But, let’s not act as if people just threw PED suggestions bagwell’s way just because he was a big dude.

          Bagwell Before:
          http://pitchersandpoets.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/jeff-bagwell-1992-212×300.png

          Bagwell After:
          http://eephusleague.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/jeff_bagwell1.jpg

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        • works both ways says:

          1. Ortiz was not the monster power hitter in the minor or his Twins-affiliation days; very slight build.

          2. In Boston, mega power hitter and a completely different build.

          Being strong and ripped doesn’t equate to PEDs. Going from a very slight built guy to a very muscular guy at a an adult male age and/or completely changing your power prowess conjures suspicion … especially during an era where it appears to be quite common.

          But, let’s not act as if people just threw PED suggestions bagwell’s way just because he was a big dude.

          Ortiz Before:
          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_yKSo5xPjLpM/SW0wvLVy0jI/AAAAAAAAFiM/QjKu9x5rmwU/s1600-h/david-ortiz-ultra.jpg

          Ortiz After:
          http://bostonherald.com/sites/default/files/styles/full/public/media/2012/07/05/ce469c_ORTIZ_production_homer.jpg

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        • Theo says:

          To CircleChange11: Saying that Bagwell wasn’t a power hitter in Boston’s system is just lazy. First of all, Baseball-America had him as a top propspect (#32) going into 1991. They wouldn’t put a first baseman on the list if they didn’t think he could hit (or at the very least, develop a hit tool, since a lot of players need time to fill out).
          Second, I know everyone likes to point out his 4 home runs in AA New Britain like it’s proof. What those same lazy slanders then fail to do is to look at that team. Bagwell was actually second on the team in home runs, behind only Eric Wedge with 5. The entire team only hit 31, and the pitching staff only allowed 44 all season. That seems much more like an extreme pitcher park.

          So yes, linking Bagwell to PEDs does in fact come down to just intellectual laziness and that he was a big dude.

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    • chuckb says:

      Agreed. It will be interesting to see what they do about Frank Thomas.

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  8. Alex says:

    its undeniable that beltran has been more valuable, however, I feel that the hall of fame should induct the greatest players at each position. and adjusting for position, Ortiz should be heavily considered as well. He is one of the greatest DHs and has really defined the position in baseball for the last decade. compared to other DHs, he is Hall worthy. this is like how we dont compare CF offense with 1

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    • Alex says:

      1b offense.

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      • Preston says:

        That is against the reasoning for why there is positional adjustment though. DH is not a difficult position to play. The reason Ortiz stands out among DH’s is there aren’t a lot of players who start off their career as DH’s, so they are categorized as other things that they did for the majority of their career. To say that Ortiz shouldn’t have to be held to the standard of say Jim Thome or Frank Thomas because they managed to be able to stand at 1b passably for longer than Ortiz did is silly.

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        • RC says:

          “DH is not a difficult position to play”

          Pinch hittings statistics, and the drop in hitting statistics when players switch to DH proves otherwise.

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        • Preston says:

          Pinch hitting is not the same as DHing, and most people are worse at hitting when they become a DH because they become a DH when they are older and an inferior hitter, not because the DH position is more demanding.

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        • RC says:

          Preston, if DHing were easier, we would see players OPS go up. We don’t. They go down. This is pretty straight forward, and has nothing to do with aging.

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        • Preston says:

          I obviously haven’t done a broad study on the subject, but anecdotally looking at individual players like Frank Thomas, Jim Thome and Jason Giambi, their splits at DH and 1b are so different because they played DH primarily in their decline years.

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        • Preston says:

          And I don’t like using individual season splits because their could be alternative factors. A player might be DHing rather than playing the field because of fatigue or injury.

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        • Richie says:

          Tom Tango’s research pretty much demonstrates that it is a bit tougher hitting as a DH than hitting while playing a field position. Maybe tougher to stay loose, perhaps overanalysis. Who knows, but that small effect is pretty clear.

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        • TKDC says:

          Ortiz is a DH because he is incapable of playing any other position. If it is harder to be a hitter because you have to DH, that should only be a mitigating factor if you played DH despite being able to play in the field, which almost never applies to any player for an extended period of time.

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        • Eric M. Van says:

          No, Ortiz is a DH because he’s a somewhat below average, but entirely competent, defensive 1B, and because he has the real skill of hitting as a DH that folks are discussing.

          He started 75 G at 1B in 2003-4; UZR has him at -0.5 runs, DRS at -2, and TotalZone at +1. Since then he’s started 52 games, almost exclusively in interleague play; UZR has him at -3.6, DRS at -3, and TZ at -1.

          He doesn’t have a lot of range, but he’s very sure-handed, surprisingly agile with good footwork, and scoops throws well.

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        • WormFace says:

          Isn’t it better that Ortiz be a DH and therefore not a liability on the field compared to Miguel Cabrera playing 3B and being a liability on the field?

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      • RC says:

        “That is against the reasoning for why there is positional adjustment though. ”

        Agree, but its very easy to make an argument that the DH positional adjustment is wrong.

        Currently DH’s as a whole are hitting .334 wOBA, as opposed to 1B, who are hitting .333. DH’s receive a significantly more negative position adjustment. There’s an argument to be made that the reason a lot of really terrible 1B still play 1B is that being a full time DH is hard, but in a different way.

        Looking at the ALCS, does anyone really think Prince Fielder is a better 1B than Victor Martinez?

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        • Richie says:

          Well, me. Prince is a lousy 1B man, VMart flat out can’t play in the field anymore. Anywhere. Be like sticking Jim Leyland out there, with 20 lbs. of weight in a fanny pack.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      But how many CF have been better than Beltran? By the time he retires, he could have the 7th most WAR of any CF, just behind Griffey. It’s not like there are dozens of better CF than him.

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      • Mike Green says:

        Reggie Smith and Jim Edmonds are at comparable levels of value as Beltran. All three would be in my Hall of Merit, but I don’t think that it is a lead-pipe cinch that Edmonds or Beltran makes it to the Hall of Fame and Smith will be waiting on the Veterans Committee.

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        • Theo says:

          To be fair, Smith also spent half of his career in right field, something Beltran and Edmonds won’t have to overcome. Edmonds will probably be more of the test case for Beltran.

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    • Philip Christy says:

      OK, but how does he compare to other Hall-worthy DHs, such as Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines?

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    • Anon says:

      Comparing players only to others at the same position has a huge flaw. Talent is not equally divided between positions. CF and SS have more HoF representatives because many of the best players are moved to those positions at a young age. The offense at 1B (and DH) is so good because teams move the best offensive production there to lower injury risk.

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    • Ian R. says:

      The DH position has only EXISTED for 40 years, and in those 40 years it’s only been used in one league.

      Every team in the history of baseball has had a center fielder.

      Ortiz may be one of the better designated hitters of all time, but ‘all time’ in the context of his position means something very different than ‘all time’ in the context of other positions.

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  9. Ryan says:

    Dave, I think you are moving too far from your own stance to appease skeptics. Taking half of the defensive adjustment away, while I see why you are doing it, is detrimental to the point you are making. The “even if I take half away” arguement will allow people to do so regularly.

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    • AK7007 says:

      When I read that part, I was thinking “people are going to wonder why don’t you take away all of it!” I don’t think the defense deniers should be catered to, they are almost impossible to sway.

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      • DNA+ says:

        Absolutely nobody denies that defense is important. Some people just acknowledge that we have no real way to measure it, and that taking the available numbers at face value is actually worse than useless.

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    • Richie says:

      Why would it allow people to do so? I don’t see that at all. And we’re not going to find any “defense deniers” on this site. Only some who want to rein in fangraph’s numbers a bit.

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  10. Michael Scarn says:

    The WAR totals just look a bit low to me from the DH position. Big Papi was tied for the 6th best hitter in baseball this year by wOBA, yet he was worth only 3.8 wins. Anecdotally, I definitely think the Sox lose more than that by removing Ortiz and going down to a AAA-type player. Would the Sox really have been a 93 win team if they had traded Big Papi for Ryan Doumit or Pete Kozma and played them at DH? I doubt it. Was Shin-Soo Choo really worth 1.4 more wins this year despite worse hitting just because they threw him out there to be a statue in Center Field?

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    • Preston says:

      WAR is a counting stat, a big part of the difference in WAR between Votto and Ortiz (both tied in wOBA) is that Ortiz only played in 137 games while Votto played in all 162, so even before factoring in positional adjustment, baserunning and defense Votto would be on top.

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    • Bip says:

      If you throw a replacement-level shortstop into the DH position, he doesn’t become a replacement-level DH, he would be far below replacement level. That is because replacement-level offense at shortstop is much lower than the same for DH.

      Think of it this way: playing DH requires 0 defensive ability. This means that, without Ortiz, the Sox can go to their minors and take the absolute best hitter there and stick him at DH, in theory. There’s probably a batter in every system who hits better than Kozma, but most of them probably can’t play shortstop, or any position, as well.

      So if the Sox lost Papi, they could probably replace him with a player that can contribute decent offense, considering any defensive limitations that player has are a non-factor. Or they could move someone in the current lineup to DH, giving them the defensive flexibility to call up a player who is good at defense but doesn’t have room on the field with Papi in the lineup.

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      • RC says:

        “he Sox can go to their minors and take the absolute best hitter there and stick him at DH, in theory. ”

        The problem with this argument is that we’re pretty sure that theory is wrong. Guys hit worse in pinch hitting situations, even when you qualify for the quality of pitching faced. Guys hit worse on “off days” where they DH. Guys hit worse when they transition from 1B to DH.

        There’s plenty of evidence that ‘playing’ DH is harder than playing 1st. Why that is? No idea. Maybe its all the down time.

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        • AK7007 says:

          Sources? I know about Adam Dunn, but I only ever hear anecdotes, never data. How do we know that those players weren’t going to fall off a cliff if they didn’t have to “play a harder position” at DH?

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        • RC says:

          “How do we know that those players weren’t going to fall off a cliff if they didn’t have to “play a harder position” at DH?”

          We don’t. But its silly to assume that playing DH is easier.

          We know playing 1B is easier than playing SS, but DHing is something totally different.

          The thing is though, if DHing was easier, we’d see a signficantly higher OPS than 1B, because there’d be a subset of guys who were better hitters than 1B who couldn’t play 1B, or righties who aren’t good enough fielders to be OF’ers.

          1B->DH is the only place we see a change in the positional adjustment without seeing a corresponding increase in OPS.

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        • Preston says:

          I think you may be right in this respect, that most players who aren’t athletic enough to play 1b are not athletic enough to hit a baseball at an elite level. So there isn’t really a change in offensive skill level between 1b and DH. This would make a player like Ortiz anomalous, but I’m not sure it makes him more worthy for the hall of fame. It’s not like he isn’t playing 1b because the Red Sox are utilizing his unique ability to maintain his offensive skills at DH, they’re using him there because he can’t field, that should still count as a negative.

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        • Richie says:

          Tom Tango has DH data, I’d guess in The Book. It’s clear it’s a bit tougher to hit that way.

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        • chuckb says:

          It’s tougher to hit if one is a DH. That doesn’t make it “more difficult” to be a DH than to be a 1B. Calling DH-ing more difficult excludes the difficulty of playing he field. It’s an offense-only statement. Surely you’d agree that playing 1b is more difficult than sitting in the dugout. If not then surely the Sox would have had Ortiz at 1b all these years since it would be easier than DH-ing + Ortiz’s hitting would be better.

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        • TKDC says:

          Guys who hit in the bottom of the order would accumulate more PAs and thus more WAR if they hit at the top of the order (assuming positive offensive contributions). But they don’t because they aren’t as good. Should they also get a boost?

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        • Eric M. Van says:

          @Preston: “It’s not like he isn’t playing 1b because the Red Sox are utilizing his unique ability to maintain his offensive skills at DH, they’re using him there because he can’t field, that should still count as a negative.”

          This, is, in fact, precisely backwards. He’s a perfectly adequate 1B (career -5.0 UZR/150), but the Sox have used him at DH because he hits so well there, and to keep him healthy.

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        • Eric R says:

          “This, is, in fact, precisely backwards. He’s a perfectly adequate 1B (career -5.0 UZR/150)”

          And the DH “penalty” is -5.0 runs/150, so as a 1B instead of DH, he probably has the exact same WAR. Hurrah, it works perfectly!

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        • TKDC says:

          Not only that, but that career UZR ignores the fact that very bad defensive Ortiz of earlier in his career is no doubt stupendously awful defensive Ortiz now. When you start talking about Ortiz’ footwork and scooping ability, you need to audition for Def Comedy Jam.

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        • Preston says:

          Anyone arguing that David Ortiz is actually a passable fielder need to only look at the fact that the Red Sox allowed Kevin Millar to start between 2003 and 2005 amassing -50 defensive runs. They obviously thought Ortiz would be worse.

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      • Paul Wilson says:

        Replacement-level = Mike Carp

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    • chuckb says:

      Pete Kozma? Seriously? Though he was basically a replacement level player, that’s because he was an above average defensive SS. If he had played 150 games at DH, he’d have probably been at minus 2.5 WAR or something like that. The gap would have been 6 wins, not less than 4.

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      • Michael Scarn says:

        I just picked a 0 WAR guy. It doesn’t have to be Kozma. The Red Sox’ own Bryce Brentz would probably be about a replacement level DH I’d imagine. The point being, if you completely removed Ortiz from the Red Sox and replaced him with someone replacement level, I definitely think they would have less than 93.2 wins.

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        • Preston says:

          Not if they were a replacement level DH. If it was a replacement level player who was adding value through positional value and defense, then that would be lost by sticking them at DH and thus they would cease to be replacement level.

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  11. sportsbook says:

    I think both are great players and they are racing for the hall of fame with a great performance over the season!!! Best of luck to them!!!

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  12. Jon L. says:

    “There’s just no way to argue that Ortiz has been as valuable as Ortiz during his career.”

    Oops.

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  13. BurleighGrimes says:

    If Beltran goes in, what hat does he wear? Mets? Royals?

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    • Wobatus says:

      Reply fail. I think more WAR as a Met but I could see a case for Royals. He got a bit of a raw reception from the WFAN side of the fan base. I didn’t really appreciate him until late as i got more attuned to advanced stats, but even just his pure counting stats were pretty good in New York.

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    • JAMill says:

      I would assume he goes in as a Met. FWIW, He played the most games with them. Even if he wins a WS with the Cardinals, I don’t think two or three years at the end of his career is enough to justify him being seen as a member of that organization.

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  14. Wobatus says:

    If Beltran goes to the Hall of Fame, he probably goes in as a Met.

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  15. Nathan says:

    HE NOT-A BIG-A PAPI!

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  16. jpg says:

    This is essentially Trout vs. Cabrera using career value, instead of seasonal value.

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  17. Helladecimal says:

    If you don’t use a glove
    You don’t deserve the love

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      So Miguel Cabrera and other shitty fielders without the luxury of being on a team with an open DH Spot and a better fielder than them at every position should be punished?

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  18. Ruki Motomiya says:

    Beltran in, Ortiz in only if he accumulates a few more years or they just compare him to DHs, though he could receive fringe votes either way for his timely hitting.

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  19. Millertime says:

    It seems like the logical conclusion of your argument is that no DH should ever get into the HoF.

    A quick look at career WAR shows that Ortiz is 9th and Beltran is 13th at their respective positions.

    Sure Ortiz would be more valuable if he could play any defensive position, but someone has to DH and Ortiz has been one of the best, so shouldn’t that be recognized?

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    • Preston says:

      That is not properly contextualized. The DH has only been around since 1973. Carlos Beltran has been the 5th most valuable CF since 1973. And this is without accounting for the fact that DH is only available to half the teams so Ortiz is 9th out of a pool half the size that Beltran is being counted against.

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    • Mitchell says:

      9th sounds pretty good, but even at 9th Ortiz is not within a country mile of the 4th place guy, who isn’t and likely never will be in the HOF, Edgar Martinez. Ortiz is more likely to finish his career in the company of the 7th guy on the list, and if there’s been debate that Brian Downing belongs in the Hall I have missed it. I get a kick out of Ortiz as much as the next ball fan, but if he gets in it will only be for his post season exploits for one of the prestige franchises.

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      • vivalajeter says:

        “if there’s been debate that Brian Downing belongs in the Hall I have missed it.”

        It might be the cigar or it might be the scotch in my system, but that made me chuckle. Well done.

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      • Richie says:

        Edgar will at minimum get in as a VC pick, probably within a year or two of Ortiz being voted in. What I recall of Downing, he began as a catcher but didn’t he wind up playing a lot of outfield prior to DHing?

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      • Millertime says:

        Both good points, Preston and Mitchell.

        However, if you only look at Martinez’s career after 1995, when he was primarily a DH, he has only 44.3 WAR. So, Ortiz is within a “country mile” in that context. It’d be nice if FG would give WAR broken out into position played, if only for DH where it makes a large difference. In particular, clearly some of the WAR by the players above Ortiz was accumulated at other positions.

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        • TKDC says:

          DH isn’t even a position. It’s a repeating pinch hitter. Even if you put this in the right context of the limited years of the DH and the limited teams that use one, you have to consider the fact that almost every DH used to play another position not as a reason to look at only time spend at DH, but to realize that this role is really just an afterthought most of the time. Oh, what washed up veteran from the NL is looking for a job? Congrats, you get to be our DH for 1-2 seasons.

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  20. Bryan says:

    I agree with everything here except this: “but that just pushes (Ortiz) up towards guys like Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker, who have been rejected by HOF voters.”

    Martinez (135 Hall Rating at Hall of Stats) and especially Walker (151 Hall Rating) are both far above the established Hall standard. They’ve just been victimized by certain biases of the modern electorate.

    Those biases could just as easily leave Beltran on the outside for a while, despite his obvious worthiness (131 Hall Rating + postseason success + time to accumulate).

    It seems to me that Ortiz needs a good October bonus to reach Edgar’s status, while Beltran could use the same to reach Walker.

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  21. bookbook says:

    Aw, come on.

    Next you’re going to argue that Mike Trout is more valuable than Miguel Cabrera when they post comparable offensive stats.

    Where does the insanity end?!?

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  22. jpg says:

    I’m not sure I understand why DC is lukewarm, at best, regarding Ortiz and his HoF candidacy. Dave mentions that “his great player peak lasted roughly four years”….Umm how? The guy has had eight seasons in which he posted a wRC+ of 145 or better with a 134 wRC+ in 2010 for good measure. He has hit the .400 wOBA mark eight times as well. I’m sorry, but Dave’s narrative is ludicrous. Aside from one significant down year in 2009, Ortiz has been a force with the stick for an entire decade not “roughly four years”.

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    • chuckb says:

      Dave made the case in his piece why he’s lukewarm on Ortiz’s candidacy. He’s been “a force with the stick” but he hasn’t played defense in years. He’s been the 2nd worst base runner in baseball. Being Hall-worthy is more than just being “a force with the stick” and the fact that Ortiz has produced a lot of negative value on defense and on the bases is exactly why Dave is lukewarm.

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      • Millertime says:

        If Dave’s point really is “that Ortiz has produced a lot of negative value on defense,” I disagree. He just hasn’t produced any defensive value, not negative, as DH’s do not field.

        Look, someone has to DH in the AL. Shouldn’t it be a guy that is a “force with a stick?” and has no defensive value?

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      • jpg says:

        There are a great many of guys in the Hall who were poor at most facets of the game and got there solely for being a force with the stick, so I’m not buying that argument. Dave wrote an article about Edgar Martinez a while back in which his final line was “By any reasonable standard, Martinez at his best was clearly Hall of Fame worthy”.

        Career wOBA
        Ortiz: .392
        Martinez: .405

        Career wRC+
        Ortiz: 138
        Martinez: 147

        Career BSR
        Ortiz: -57.9
        Martinez: -20.9

        Career Slash
        Ortiz: .287/.381/.549
        Martinez: .312/.418/.518

        Martinez was better and for slightly longer but come on. Again, the exact quote is “By any reasonable standard, Martinez at his best was clearly Hall of Fame worthy”. You can’t tell me that differences between those Ortiz and Edgar is so great that one belongs in “by any reasonable standard” and the other simply “isn’t worthy”.

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        • Preston says:

          When you are better at hitting, better at baserunning, and provided more value in the field, while playing for a longer time you are the definition of a clearly superior player. For me 65 WAR is clearly in and 40 WAR is probably not enough. However, he’s one or two good seasons away from serious consideration, and at that point he’d really be helped by his Post Season numbers.

          +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • jpg says:

          I agree he’s better across the board but that’s not really my point. I agree with DC in that I think Edgar is a no doubt HoFer. I believe Ortiz already has a pretty solid case. My issue is that he’s painting Ortiz as a guy who doesn’t even belong in the conversation. That he needs his postseason heroics and nostalgia to carry him like Jack Morris.

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        • jessef says:

          Yes, we can tell you that.

          The two players actually aren’t particularly close. At a minimum of 5000 plate appearances, Edgar’s wRC+ puts him 27th all time. Ortiz’s puts him 63rd. Coincidentally, we’re talking about the difference between two Hall of Fame Pittsburgh shortstops: Honus Wagner and Arky Vaughan. Wagner is obviously one of the best players of all time whereas Vaughan finally managed to (deservedly) get in through the Veterans’ Committee. To me, Vaughan’s case should be a slam dunk but that is in large part because he was a shortstop.

          People keep talking about Ortiz’s Hall case being hurt by DHing. To me, DHing has helped Ortiz’s case considerably. He’d be nowhere near the counting stats needed to be in the Hall without being able to DH because his bat couldn’t carry his glove against lefthanded pitching (110 wRC+ career). Assuming he’d be a below-average fielding first baseman, that’s be close to replacement level. Conversely, Edgar’s bat easily would have kept him in the lineup against righthanded pitching so he’d have accumulated the same counting stats.

          Honestly, making the comparison above is like advocating for Phil Rizzuto because Pee Wee Reese is in. You can’t advocate for a player being in based on the fact that a player who is better than him is in. Ortiz is pretty clearly in Rizzuto territory. Edgar’s pretty clearly in Reese territory.

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        • jpg says:

          What’s clear is how convoluted your argument is. So Ortiz should get dinged because in a fairy tale world where there is no DH, Ortiz would be replacement level against same handed pitchers if he played 1B? Seriously? Your Reese/Rizzuto comp is also flawed. Rizzuto got in because his poker buddies on the VC voted him in.The gap between Reese and Rizzuto is significantly larger than the gap between Ortiz and Edgar.And I never said “Edgar should be in so since Ortiz was almost as good he should be in too”. Not what I said. What I did say is that I can’t see how DC can say Edgar is a no-doubt HoFer while Ortiz doesn’t belong in the conversation much less a solid case. Again, to look at Ortiz has done – hit like an elite 1B for basically an entire decade – and to marginalize it by saying “his great player peak lasted roughly four years” or “he is to Rizzuto as Edgar is to Reese” is patently ridiculous.

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        • jessef says:

          First basemen and DHs with wRC+ above 135, minimum 4000 PA since 1995

          Albert Pujols (161)
          Miguel Cabrera (152)
          Jeff Bagwell (148)
          Jim Thome (148)
          Frank Thomas (144)
          Lance Berkman (144)
          Jason Giambi (141)
          Prince Fielder (140)
          Carlos Delgado (136)

          That’s a lot of “Elite” first basemen for Ortiz to be hitting like. Especially when they can at least stand at first base. I’d say that he hit like one of the League’s top five first basemen for a decade. Defense is important, it’s why Frank Howard, Jack Clark, and a slew of other very good hitters who provided a lot of negative value outside of their bats do not belong in the Hall. Those are comparable players to Ortiz. Edgar Martinez isn’t.

          Think Ortiz wasn’t a liability taking up the DH slot? Look at the defensive numbers for Manny Ramirez, who is on record as saying he enjoyed DHing. We’re talking ineptitude of around 15 runs below average per season for a leftfielder. Swap Ortiz and Manny’s defensive values and you actually weaken Ortiz’s case.

          Also, not sure how much you follow baseball that isn’t played in the AL East but the vast majority of the history of Major League Baseball — including half of games today — has been played in this “Fairy Tale World” where teams don’t have DH slots available to stash players who aren’t even capable of playing first base. The point here is not to hold it against Ortiz for managing to excel in a position where many players don’t, it’s not to reward him for doing so. Without the postseason heroics, he’s essentially Carlos Delgado, without the ability to play first base. Do you think Carlos Delgado has a strong Hall case?

          Now, all that isn’t to say that Ortiz won’t make it or even to say he doesn’t belong there, thanks to his postseason performance. But, no, unless he performs at a high level for several more seasons, his regular season performance is not hall-worthy.

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        • jpg says:

          I’m actually three decade long Mets fan so I’ve seen more NL ball by a wide margin. Regardless, you’ve actually made my point. Every player you just listed has a HoF case. I feel they all deserve consideration. Do I believe they should all be in? No but being deserving of induction is different than being deserving of consideration, which is point I’ve been trying to make. His case definitely isnt a slam dunk but it’s borderline at the very least. That’s why I took exception to DC saying the he doesn’t have a case. That and the “four year great player peak” bit, which I’all say again is ludicrous.

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        • jessef says:

          As a Blue Jays fan, I can assure you that the most similar player to Ortiz, Carlos Delgado, does not really have much of a Hall case. In fact, he probably doesn’t even have the best case for a former Met and Blue Jay first baseman that’s unlikely to get in. Outside of Delgado, all the players on that list were better hitters than Ortiz and they played defense.

          Honestly, at this point, Ortiz’s case is similar to Rizzuto’s: a player who is pretty clearly not eligible based on his regular season stats alone but was a popular player and team leader on a very popular team that won several world championships. They couldn’t be more dissimilar as players but their cases are actually quite similar. Credit Rizzuto for three seasons of wartime service and he’s likely in the 50 WAR range, which may be around where Ortiz ends up when all is said and done. Rizzuto’s at 4 WAR / 600 PA. Ortiz is at 3 WAR / 600 PA. Even if you assume DHing is as difficult as playing first, which is overly generous, Oritz is no better than Rizzuto.

          If you think Ortiz has a case to belong in based on his regular season performance alone, you’re drastically lowering the bar. But you’re right that Ortiz’s peak isn’t as simple as four seasons — you could argue his whole career has been his peak. It just hasn’t been that good. If Ortiz belongs in, you have to argue that a ton of other players belong in. Not making the Hall of Fame isn’t a slight to Ortiz any more than it is to Rocky Colavito, Norm Cash, Gil Hodges, Frank Howard, Jack Clark, Will Clark, and the list goes on.

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        • jpg says:

          Well I agree that all the guys you mentioned. Heck you could throw in Bobby Grich and Dick Allen in there too. I’m admittedly big Hall guy. I agree with 60 WAR baseline for worthiness….except for DH and closers. They are specialist positions and the best specialists should be in. I’m not gonna penalize closer because they washed out as starters or DHs because they can’t field. Ortiz has had 9years that fit into the mold of what a HoF peak should look like. Denying him would be punishing him for not having enough decline phase years to compile numbers.

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        • jessef says:

          Sure, I think Grich and Allen actually have stronger cases than most of the guys I mentioned.

          I do agree that relievers can’t quite be held to the same standards as starters because they can’t accumulate the counting numbers but, if anything, it’s easier for DHs to remain healthy so I guess I’m not willing to lower standards for them.

          Cheers, though!

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  23. triple_r says:

    You can’t call Beltran the 8th-best baserunner of the past 30 years (and Ortiz the 2nd-worst) because UBR has only been around since 2002. Guys like Rickey and Raines accrued all of their BsR value solely from wSB; if UBR had been around in those days, their BsR would probably be much higher, and Beltran would rank far below 8th-best.

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    • nerdy bill says:

      There’s also a massive difference in running environment that is not often considered: base running is one aspect of baseball that’s become VASTLY more difficult on account of pick offs and defense.

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  24. Robert Kuhl says:

    I don’t care what he does… DHs have no business in the Hall of Fame. If you’re not good enough to take the field, then you’re not one of the elites of the game.

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    • Preston says:

      At what point though? How many games/innings must one log in the field to qualify by that standard? David Ortiz has taken the field, although never really full time for a season. Edgar Martinez was a starting 3b for three full seasons, is that enough? If a guy had Ruthian numbers but didn’t play a game in the field you wouldn’t consider him a hall of famer? There has to be room for a little more nuance than no DH no matter what.

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    • chuckb says:

      I assume that you would also subscribe to the theory then that relief pitchers don’t belong either since they’re not good enough to be starters. So, no Mariano Rivera?

      Let’s face it: DHs have many more PAs during the course of a season than relievers have total batters faced.

      Would that also make AL starting pitchers ineligible for the Hall since they didn’t do their part at the plate?

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  25. Joe R says:

    I love Ortiz as much as any player, but it’s crazy to say he and Beltran are “similar cases”. Beltran is a slam dunk HoF’r, while Ortiz…maybe if the voters are in a generous mood. Ortiz is in the Gil hodges crowd of very good player, but one that isn’t distinguished enough from other 1B/DH types. Maybe my mind will change if he has another strong 2-3 seasons.

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  26. Michael P says:

    Just curious, but does BsR adjust for differences in ballparks? Seems to me that players would be significantly less likely in Fenway Park to score from second on a single to left or from first on a double to left than in any other park. If one is playing half of their games there over the course of a career, this could add up to a fairly significant negative if it isn’t adjusted for.

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  27. eltorostrikesagain says:

    David Ortiz only does 1 thing really well, hit. He doesn’t attempt to play defense and sucks at baserunning. Scott Rolen and Adrian Beltre accumulated tons of WAR defensively. Of course WAR is not the determining factor, but, if David Ortiz is only really good at hitting, why shouldn’t Scott Rolen or Adrian Beltre, who are REALLY good at fielding, get the same consideration?

    Playing defense in the major leagues is not easy. You become more susceptible to injury. Examples include Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey, Jr, and countless others injured playing the field, many with lingering issues that negatively affected their performance. So this guy is a poor all-around athlete, so much so that he can’t play any kind of major league defense? People are arguing pinch hitting/DH-ing is hard statistically, fine. Playing the field, risking injury is much harder than sitting on a bench with too much time to think.

    Sorry, not buying Ortiz for the HoF, and this is without bringing up the PED’s.

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  28. Near says:

    “This calculation takes into account all the positive numbers they’ve racked up at the plate, but also the fact that Beltran used 650 more outs to get there. So, advantage Ortiz. At the plate, at least.”

    Flawed logic on two points. First, playing time has value over the opportunity cost of playing another player. That’s the whole concept around replacement, right? Ortiz was less valuable than Beltran on a pure PA basis because when Ortiz didn’t play, the Red Sox had to play someone who was an inferior player. If they had a superior player to sub for him, there wouldn’t be a need to play Ortiz. Second, you can’t penalize Beltran for more PA and claim Ortiz was better on a per PA basis, because Ortiz additional 650 PA are uncertain. He could have been injured, he could have been 2009 level bad. To give players boosts for the smaller sample size is to credit them for accomplishments they’ve yet to earn.

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    • GreggB says:

      What you are saying would make sense if their offensive production was similar on a per PA basis. But it isn’t. For those 650 ABs the Red Sox would have had some production, even if not at Ortiz’ level.

      Of course you can state that Ortiz was better on a per PA basis… that isn’t penalizing Beltran!

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  29. GreggB says:

    The evaluation at this point in time might be valid. But their careers are not over and the trend lines would indicate that the final story might be quite different. Beltrans’ advantages in fielding and speed have become, and likely will continue to be, more moderate year-by-year.

    But the same is hardly true on offense. Beltran’s offensive performance is in decline over the last three years (OPS of .910, .842, .830). But Ortiz has shown no decline whatsoever (.953, 1.026, .959) — three of his best seasons. So projecting forward, the gap on offense is likely to grow in Papi’s favor, while the gaps in defense and baserunning are likely to shrink. My bet is that at the end of the day, their value will be equal — or possibly slightly in David’s favor.

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    • skippyballer486 says:

      I will gladly take that bet. How many players have been worth 23.2 WAR or more starting with their age-38 season? That’s what Ortiz needs to make up to pull into a tie with Beltran assuming Beltran retires tomorrow. Is Ortiz going to play until he’s 43 and put up five of his best nine seasons over that stretch?

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  30. Robbie G. says:

    David Ortiz has 431 career (regular season) home runs. I agree with everything Mr. Cameron says here but if Ortiz winds up with 500 dingers, plus the huge postseason success, plus the Mr. Red Sox tag during a period where the Red Sox have received massive media attention, I think he will get in.

    Interestingly, once HOF voters let one PED guy in, aren’t they going to have to let all of them in? I hope so.

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  31. Chuck says:

    I agree with everything said here and I’m a Sox fan and an unabashed Ortiz worshipper. My only qualm is the nice turn of phrase to end the article:

    “David Ortiz has played like a Hall of Famer in October; Carlos Beltran has played like a Hall of Famer in every month of the season.”

    This sentence makes no sense. Both Ortiz and Beltran have performed in October consistent with their career norms. If anything, Beltran has a superior track record, with as many HR in fewer PA even though, over his career, he is a worse power hitter.

    It’s not like the calendar turns to October and Ortiz becomes Rickey Henderson. He’s still a liability on the basepaths and, despite some Fall Classic cameos at first, a non-factor defensively.

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    • Eric R says:

      “but if Ortiz winds up with 500 dingers,”

      That is 69 HRs age 38 onward… that’d put him in pretty solid company alone; among players who debuted since division play:

      Barry Bonds 149
      Darrell Evans 136
      Carlton Fisk 109
      Dave Winfield 108
      Raul Ibanez 84
      Craig Biggio 81
      Rafeal Palmeiro 79
      Steve Finley 77
      Edgar Martinez 74
      Frank Thomas 73
      Jim Thome 71

      I don’t see a lot of active players well on their way to joining that group; Giambi is going into his age 43 season and needs 27. If Helton wasn’t retiring, maybe he’d be an extreme long-shot [38-39yo, 22HR].

      Looking at active players who are not 38 yet; Ortiz and Alfonso Soriano are perhaps the only serious candidates to “join the club” in the near future…

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  32. BJsWorld says:

    In two seasons Mike Trout has posted half the total WAR of David Ortiz over his entire career.

    Not a knock on Ortiz but just another amazing aspect of Mike Trout.

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  33. Jeff Kent's Mustache Ride Emporium says:

    Big Papi is money. Period. Great baseball personality. Great leader. Helped vanquish “the curse,” the face of the franchise for the past 10 years, clutch hitter, and future Hall of Famer.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. Matt says:

    Beltran in, Ortiz out. PEDS

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  35. Hal Bookman says:

    There should not even be an argument; the DH only exists in one league, and therefore awards the AL with an extra position. And Ortiz tested positive for PEDs in 2004—end of discussion.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  36. Nivra says:

    “duel history of success”

    Don’t you mean “dual history of success?”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  37. BSTNFAN says:

    Not to mention that Ortiz has lost about 3-400 hits because of the infield shift they put on against him. . . thanks Joe Maddon. . . The impact of having been on 3-WS TEAMS and absolutely raked every time to carry his team to a title.

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  38. Noah Baron says:

    I don’t even think is much better in the postseason than the regular season. Ortiz has a 138 wRC+ in the regular season, and a 141 wRC+ in the postseason. Hardly a difference at all. Beltran is a hall of famer in the regular season, and a first ballot hall of famer in the postseason. Ortiz is not a hall of fame player in any month of the season.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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