David Ortiz and the Very Large Hall

The Hall of Fame buzz around David Ortiz is understandable given the amazing World Series he just had. With few exceptions, Ortiz has been an outstanding hitter since coming to Boston in 2003, a performance that will certainly make him an intriguing candidate for the Hall of Fame. I do not know whether he will get elected to the Hall, and there are others who are good at such analysis.

But when we as fans argue about the Hall of Fame, we mostly argue about whether a player should go into the Hall of Fame. In this context. Ortiz’s career usually draws comparisons of his career numbers with other players who were primarily DHs like Frank Thomas and (more often) Edgar Martinez. Obviously, this is not an either/or proposition. Just because Thomas and Martinez are (in my mind) clearly worthy of enshrinement does not mean Ortiz cannot be. Thus the “Edgar first” position is not all that interesting to me.

I do happen to believe that Thomas and Martinez are worthy and that Ortiz is not, but rather than getting into that way of looking at the issue , I want to take a different approach. If Ortiz’s career to date makes him worthy of being in the Hall of Fame, what other players might also be worthy based on their numbers? Exactly how large are Ortiz’s advocates willing to make the Hall?

I like Wins Above Replacement and believe it is a useful tool (although not exclusively so) for making points about a player’s Hall of Fame credentials. WAR graphs are good for representing and comparing peak and career value. For this post, though, I want to leave that aside. I also want to leave aside the issue of whether DHs should be in the Hall of Fame. I think they should be, and I think WAR does a good job of representing their relative value. Edgar Martinez looks worthy despite being a DH for the bulk of his career.

But I am going to take a different approach. Rather than consider whether Ortiz is as good as a player who is worthy of the Hall, but whether he has better credentials than a player most would not consider to be a Hall of Famer. This player is one of Ortiz’s contemporaries. This player has spent less time at DH, but since we are not using WAR and its positional adjustments, we do not need to worry about it. We can just compare their offense above average: hitting according to park-adjusted batting runs above average and base running (yes, DHs still have to run the bases, so it counts). Does Ortiz have a clearly better Hall of Fame case than this player?

Let’s begin with a classic Rob Neyer-ism using career regular season numbers:

Player A: 8249 plate appearances, .287/.381/.549, 138 wRC+, 431 home runs, 330 runs above average on offense
Player B: 8838 plate appearances, .278/.400/.519, 141 wRC+, 438 home runs, 427 runs above average on offense

Player A is David Ortiz. Player B is Jason Giambi. Jason Giambi has had a really good career. However, and maybe it is simply the circles I run in, but I do not recall anyone making an argument for Jason Giambi being a Hall of Famer. I do not think he is.

Giambi has seven more home runs career home runs than Ortiz, but he also has about one extra season worth of plate appearances. Still, his wRC+ is higher. I have heard some people suggest only Ortiz’s Boston years should be relevant, and his rates would take a boost. I am not sure what is meant by this argument. Avoiding easy jokes about Boston myopia, I assume it means a player’s peak years (which clearly came in Boston for Ortiz) are the most important for this sort of consideration. That makes sense. But that cuts both ways for the comparison, since Giambi’s rate stats have mostly below his prior career averages since leaving the Yankees after 2008.

It is also true that even if Giambi plays in the majors next year, beyond small accumulations of raw counting stats, he is almost certainly done adding anything to his more useful measures of value. Ortiz, on the other hand, looks like he has at least a couple of good-hitting years ahead of him that will at least add to his total. Barring a disaster, he will pass Giambi in home runs. Catching Giambi in career offense above average might be a tougher task, but he might come pretty close.

But when it comes to the Hall of Fame, we want players with remarkable peaks, not just players who hung around forever being average or above average. We want at least a decent stretch of legitimate greatness. What “greatness” means in just batting runs is open to debate, but we do not need to worry about that much here since we are simply comparing two players. Here are each player’s best six offensive season in offense above average:

David Ortiz

57.3 in 2007
47.1 in 2006
43.2 in 2005
35.4 in 2004
32.1 in 2011
30.9 in 2013

Nice. But check out Jason Giambi’s six best:

Giambi best six:

79.1 in 2001
75.2 in 2000
57.8 in 2002
46.1 in 1999
41.2 in 2003
40.5 in 2005

Giambi’s two best seasons blow away Ortiz’s best, and his third best is (since we don’t want to mince decimal points) just as good (both were at 175 wRC+). Giambi’s fourth-best season is virtually equal to Ortiz’ second-best. All of Giambi’s six best seasons were at least 40 runs above average on offense, which Ortiz has only accomplished three times so far in his career (which is what we are considering, hey, it could still happen, I suppose).

Although Ortiz and Giambi have been pretty close in career offensive value, it is pretty clear that Giambi’s peak seasons are far superior to Ortiz’s. But there are a couple points people might want to to make to separate Ortiz from Giambi.

Supporters will note that Ortiz has been better than Giambi in the playoffs. This is true, but how much better? For his career, Ortiz has a 148 wRC+ in 357 plate appearances in the playoffs. Carlos Beltran (196 wRC+) might scoff, but it is fine for the rest of us to be impressed. But it is not as if Giambi has been bad in the playoffs, and, in fact, it is pretty close: 145 wRC+ in 174 plate appearances. I think most teams would take that.

Most people agree that playoff greatness (and much of Ortiz’s greatness comes from his three World Series performances) should count towards Hall-worthiness. Again, we are not talking about whether Ortiz has done enough in the playoffs to make up for any perceived regular-season value shortfall to get him into the Hall, but whether it is enough to make him a clearly better candidate than Jason Giambi. I do not think three points of wRC+ is a big deal.

Of course, Ortiz has better playoff counting stats, and has about twice as many playoff plate appearances as Giambi. Ortiz should get some credit for that, of course, as he was part of the reason his teams have been in the playoffs and had success there. But how much more credit for this should he get than Giambi, who also helped teams get to the playoffs with both Oakland and New York (although he clearly made a grievous mistake of peaking in Oakland rather than the Big Apple) and overall hit well while in the playoffs? Ortiz has the better playoff resume, but is it enough to separate him from Giambi given their similar career numbers and Giambi’s clearly superior peak?

Yeah, but wasn’t Giambi’s peak tainted by his link with performance enhancing drugs? I dislike talking about PEDs — other people might do it in an interesting and informative manner, but I am not one of those people. I only briefly mention PEDs here because others clearly think it is very important. If one wants to dock Giambi for his links with PEDs, that is fine, but given that we are comparing him with David Ortiz, I think an ellipses might be appropriate here…

What exactly constitutes a “Small Hall” (one that is only for the elite of the elite) versus a Large Hall is a semantic debate in itself, aside from what one thinks is the best way to represent the best players in baseball history. I have left aside the question of whether or not David Ortiz is a Hall of Famer in the body of this post. My point is has simply been that if one wants a Hall of Fame Large enough to include Ortiz, it is hard to see how to would be too small for players like Jason Giambi (or even Carlos Delgado, who I ended up omitting for simplicity), whose case seems to be just as good. This would open the Hall to a numbers of players that have rarely been considered to be Hall-worthy, something those promoting Ortiz’ Hall-worthiness need to consider.



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Matt Klaassen reads and writes obituaries in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can't get enough of him, follow him on Twitter.


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Matt
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Matt
2 years 8 months ago

Great comparison. And if you do want to bring fWAR into it, he’s basically had Giambi’s career minus Giambi’s best season.

Delgado is a good comp.

Another one: if Fred McGriff isn’t a hall of famer then Ortiz isn’t close.

Matt
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Matt
2 years 8 months ago

And holy crap Giambi was good in ’01.

/mp
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/mp
2 years 8 months ago

In ’01, check out Bonds.

nd910
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nd910
2 years 8 months ago

Bonds got to hit on little league fields 98-02 remember?

Patty G
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Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

McGriff played pretty much his whole career in the field (and while we’re at it, Giambi played more than half of his career in the field). While most people take Ortiz’s DH status as the grain of salt to go with his offensive numbers, I actually think the position helps Papi’s candidacy. Papi has consistently been the best DH in the game, whereas McGriff was never the best at his position. People talk about being a DH like it’s easy, but it’s not. If DHing was easy, someobody would’ve done it better than Ortiz by now. Most hitters’ stats (including Giambi’s) suffer considerably when they ride the pine for half the game.

JayT
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JayT
2 years 8 months ago

You mean somebody like Edgar?

Patty G
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Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

Exactly somebody like Edgar. Gar is a good example of someone who should be in Cooperstown and who will probably not get enough credit due to his DH status (also, Seattle never got enough press). I mean, if you have an award named after you, it’s a good sign that you should be in the Hall.

Dan the Mets Fan
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Dan the Mets Fan
2 years 8 months ago

Yes. Delgado’s numbers are eerily similar to Ortiz, except he was not a DH. .OPS is very close. Carlos actually has more HRs and more WAR – in fact, he’s a little ahead in both. Ortiz will be most almost identical after next year if he repeats his 2013 year. And McGriff is definitely significantly ahead of both. I’m starting to think McGriff belongs in the hall. Ortiz and Delgado not so much.

B N
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B N
2 years 8 months ago

It’s true. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy watching Ortiz play. He also has a fearsomeness at the plate that really goes beyond his numbers, I think. But he would have to play at a high level for a number more years (4? 5?) to have a fighting chance for the hall.

With that said, I do think the Red Sox will revise their policies and retire his number. Technically their current ones would not allow this (as the player would need to be in the HOF, I believe), but I think they will make an exception.

YX
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YX
2 years 8 months ago

They revised that for Pesky

B N
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B N
2 years 8 months ago

I think Pesky’s number was retired primarily on the basis of his contributions as a manager and assistant in the front office, rather than his his play (though he was also a good player). I haven’t heard anything that states that they have officially retired the code for players. However, I think with Ortiz, they may just put the other fork in it.

Patty G
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Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

They made an exception for Pudge, too.

Ian R.
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2 years 8 months ago

Not really. The Sox have three criteria for number retirement: Play 10 years for the team (Pudge did that), be in the Hall of Fame (Pudge did that too) and retire a Red Sox. Fisk finished his playing career in Chicago, of course, but the Red Sox gave him a front-office job for one day so he could officially retire with the team.

So, they didn’t quite bend the rules for Pudge. It’s more accurate to say they bent Pudge to fit the rules.

AthleticPride
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AthleticPride
2 years 8 months ago

If Ortiz gets in then it’ll be principally for narrative reasons, which players like Giambi don’t really have. Ortiz is never going to get in on his stats, so I guess we’re going to find out how much the hall values a good story.

CJ
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CJ
2 years 8 months ago

“Ortiz is never going to get in on his stats”

OK, you’re making a statement about his chances, not whether he SHOULD. And it’s a reasonable statement to make–and using WAR or wRC+, you’re absolutely right.

But using other stats–NOT ONES THAT I WOULD USE TO DETERMINE HIS WORTH–his chances will depend on his production during the next few years. He realistically could get to 500 HR (top 25 all time), 600 2B (top 15 all time), and 1700 RBI (top 25 all time). I don’t know. Those stats seem like they’d be good enough without the narrative. Pretty much everyone around him in these categories is in.

Bill Z
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Bill Z
2 years 8 months ago

AthleticPride hits the nail on the head. Ortiz is a very good numbers guy and a great (maybe the best of our generation) post-season memories guys. The narrative is the memories. I won’t remember Ortiz’s OPS in any of his years, but I will remember his walk off homer to finish the Angels in the 2004 ALDS, his game winning homer in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, his game winning single in Game 5, his first inning two run homer in Game 7 when the crowd was in a frenzy after gunning Damon out at the plate, his three run homer to set the tone in Game 1 of the 2004 World Series, his game tying (and arguably series-saving) grand slam in Game 2 of this year’s ALCS and his monster performance in this year’s World Series. I read that he has 18 walk off hits, and quite frankly, it seems like more. The memories do make him. And the memories will get him in the Hall.

Bad Bill
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Bad Bill
2 years 8 months ago

So the message is that the narrative counts toward the Hall as long as it’s for guys on teams I like, right?

B N
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B N
2 years 8 months ago

I have to think that narrative counts for just about every guy on every team. I’m not a Yankees fan by any means, but you can’t deny that a guy like Pettite gets a bump for his postseason quality and his pickoff move. Those make for good stories. Side-by-side with Mussina, by the aggregate numbers, it would be hard to take Pettite over Moose.

But when you add in the narratives, it can go the other way. Moose spent many of his best years on an often struggling Orioles team. Pettite was one of four core pieces for one of the great WS runs in the history of the game. Plus, he did it as home grown talent (also a narrative bump). Moose put up great WAR when he signed with the Yankees, but they didn’t win any championships and he was a hired gun. You don’t think of him as a “Yankee” you think of him as an “Oriole who left for the Yankees.”

Is this fair? Probably not. You don’t get to choose many of the parts of your narrative. But there is no doubt that Pettite makes a better story than Moose. And part of the purpose of the Hall is to enshrine the story of baseball, not just the numbers.

Dan
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Dan
2 years 8 months ago

I think the bias against guys who were “maybe/kinda/sorta” obliquely linked to steroids will keep Ortiz out.

RageAgainstTheNarrative
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RageAgainstTheNarrative
2 years 8 months ago

The thing is, his performance in the postseason actually does, in fact, support the narrative.

He did have several incredible performances that led to the Red Sox winning rings. Not a ring, but rings. Call it luck, call it randomness, call it memory-less clutchiness, call it a small sample size. It is almost certainly any combination of these things. But it still happened. If it didn’t happen, then the Red Sox would probably be without two of their rings. Not to mention the cascading effect that losing 2004 might have had on them.

At some point, we do have to look at what a player accomplished, as opposed to what he would have done in a hypothetical, luck-less universe. The object of sport is to win, after all; it’s not to prove that you deserved to win, nor is it to be the best team irrespective of actual winning.

If there is one guy outside of the Hall of Stats that I wouldn’t mind getting a sizeable boost from the Clutch Narrative, it would be Ortiz. I am not saying he belongs, but I sure won’t throw a hissy fit if he gets left out.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

I don’t think *anyone* is arguing to look at hypotheticals, rather than what someone actually did.

Rather, I think *many* are arguing that what Ortiz actually did (even after giving him due credit for his postseason heroics) is not dissimilar to Giambi, Delgado, and others who have little to no chance of making the hall.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
2 years 8 months ago

I think what makes David Ortiz so intriguing for the Hall, particularly over Giambi, is his penchant for delivering enormous moments. He had an amazing post-season, but the key is that it’s not his FIRST great post-season. He seems to perform on the biggest stage constantly and even in several Septembers leading up to the big stage.

What would be an interesting thought exercise (if you guys can swing the analysis) is the extra value Ortiz produces in his career playoff performance. Of course, he gets opportunities because he plays for competitive Red Sox teams, but the value he’s given in those games still counts. I mean, it’s the whole point of the season, isn’t it?

Snow Leopard
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Snow Leopard
2 years 8 months ago

“I think what makes David Ortiz so intriguing for the Hall, particularly over Giambi, is his penchant for delivering enormous moments.”

Regular Season Careers:

Ortiz: 37.6 WPA, 426.4 RE/24
Giambi: 47.4 WPA, 562.0 RE/24

Not sure where to find those numbers for the post season.

JimNYC
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JimNYC
2 years 8 months ago

I don’t think you understand what “moment” means.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
2 years 8 months ago

Even beyond his “big moments” though…

Post-season numbers can be found on baseball reference, Needless to say, in almost half a season’s worth of plate appearances over his career, Ortiz has been a monster in the playoffs.

There’s an argument to be made that Ortiz’s post-season value, even just in terms of runs created, forces his way far above than what WAR credits him because each and every post-season game is worth so much more than a regular season game. There are far fewer of them and given the elimination aspect, a couple runs created here or there can often mean the difference between moving on and going home. Therefore, performance contributing to a statistical win is extremely valuable, not unlike what we see when several contending teams approach the stretch run in September.

To put it another way: in the playoffs, the difference between 3 and 4 wins in a 7-game series is everything. A team in the playoffs needs just a handful of wins to move on instead of 90-95. Therefore, while a couple of runs created over the full 162 game season is likely to mean nothing, over a 5 or 7 game series the value of 1 or 2 runs is enormous.

Over 357 PA, Ortiz has slashed .295/.409/.553.

Andy
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Andy
2 years 8 months ago

Jonathan: “Needless to say, in almost half a season’s worth of plate appearances over his career, Ortiz has been a monster in the playoffs.”

No, his playoff numbers are very similar to his regular season numbers.

“Over 357 PA, Ortiz has slashed .295/.409/.553.”

And over the regular season, he has slashed .287/.381./.549. And that’s misleading, because it includes his early years at Minn., when he wasn’t going to the PS. His Boston numbers are .292/.390/.572. Within expected variability, his PS performance has been identical to his RS performance.

Impossibles
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Impossibles
2 years 8 months ago

Giambi is the opposite of going out on top like some players do. When players keep playing during the sunset on their career (for a long time), they aren’t remembered for their peaks. Their reputations are affected by recent memory.

Bip
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Bip
2 years 8 months ago

I think the 5 year delay helps to mitigate that however. Once 5 years have passed since the player has retired, people tend to forget about whatever they felt about the player at the end of his career, and they go back to just talking about the career numbers.

reflectionephemeral
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reflectionephemeral
2 years 8 months ago

This dissipation of enthusiasm is exacerbated, I think, by a player bouncing around from team to team. Ortiz is going to have the fan base & writers from a given team pushing for him, or at least floating his name; Giambi won’t. (In part due to the PED issue, too, as folks have pointed out here).

DavidCEisen
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DavidCEisen
2 years 8 months ago

http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs.aspx?playerid=745&position=DH&page=8&type=full

By what metric are Ortiz’s numbers significantly different during the past three years compared to his peak?

Dan the Mets Fan
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Dan the Mets Fan
2 years 8 months ago

Yeah, I think that is the biggest factor for Ortiz getting consideration over Giambi. Giambi started awesome and then declined fast. Ortiz was a total unknown until he was 30 or 31 – he has had a really remarkable later career surge. Consequently, it’s easy for people to remember Ortiz as a stud because he is so good at age 38 it feels like he has had a really epic career, whereas Giambi is remembered as having a great peak without the full career to back it up. In reality, that describes both players but the most recent memory is what carries. By the time people actually vote though, the Ortiz love memories may also have faded some.

Simon
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Simon
2 years 8 months ago

In his age 27-29 seasons, David Ortiz hit 119 home runs and was in the top five for MVP in all three seasons.

Joel
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Joel
2 years 8 months ago

I would argue that the debate comes down to how much you value championships in a player’s resume. Obviously, winning World Series titles come as a team effort, and it wasn’t for Giambi’s lack of trying that he didn’t win a ring. But Ortiz was the centerpiece of two of the Red Sox’ three world series wins and that counts for quite a lot. If you don’t believe me, just ask Reggie Jackson.

Another thing to note is that the book is far from closed on Ortiz’ career, whereas Giambi’s is essentially over. If you want to make a comparison for a non-PED associated player whose career extended into his forties, how about Jim Thome? His career numbers are ridiculous, and his HOF case is considered marginal. Another name you can throw into the mix is Lance Berkman, although he’s a switch hitter (unlike Ortiz, Giambi, and Thome).

Luke
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Luke
2 years 8 months ago

Jim Thome’s HOF case is much better than “marginal.” Anybody with 600+ HRs is a lock.

nil satis nisi optimum
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nil satis nisi optimum
2 years 8 months ago

Also ~70 WAR. SABRnerds and traditionalists alike can appreciate how awesome he was.

Luke
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Luke
2 years 8 months ago

Yeah. It would be quite hard to hit 600 HRs and not collect a lot of WAR in the process!

nil satis nisi optimum
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nil satis nisi optimum
2 years 8 months ago

True. Interestingly, Sammy Sosa has only 60 WAR to go with his 609 HRs, 8 WAR less than Thome.

JimNYC
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JimNYC
2 years 8 months ago

Tell that to Sammy Sosa.

Mister
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Mister
2 years 8 months ago

Sosa’s WAR suffered because he wouldn’t take a walk.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

I think he meant re: 600 HR = HOF lock.

B N
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B N
2 years 8 months ago

Thome should be a lock. If he doesn’t get in, something weird has happened.

wally
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2 years 8 months ago

That something weird is writers not voting for any big guys that hit a lot of homeruns in the 90’s because they might have used PEDs, even if there is absolutely zero credible evidence even suggesting such a thing.

matt
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matt
2 years 8 months ago

Good points but I don’t know that many feel that Thome only has a marginal case. He may not be a first ballot guy, but I’ve never heard someone say they don’t think he’ll get in – it’s a given that he will be inducted at some point (and probably won’t have to wait TOO long).

JimNYC
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JimNYC
2 years 8 months ago

I watched Thome his entire career, and I never once thought of him as one of the ten best players in baseball. Never considered him MVP calibre. That’s a pretty significant knock against a “sure-fire” HOF’er.

skippyballer486
Member
skippyballer486
2 years 8 months ago

Yep, that’s how we determine HOF-worthiness. We all sit around wondering, until JimNYC lets us know if he considered the player one of the ten best in baseball, or at least MVP caliber.

B N
Guest
B N
2 years 8 months ago

He went off the radar a bit because his raking with the Phillies was fairly unheralded (team never made playoffs, he got injured at the end and replaced by Howard). The competitive teams where he did well (Cleveland and White Sox) aren’t exactly press powerhouses, so a couple of bad years probably got more press than his good career.

Fun facts:
– He is the leader in walk-off HR (http://tracking.si.com/2012/06/24/jim-thome-walk-off-home-run-record/). Ortiz is the only active player close to catching him.
– His 500th HR was a walkoff.
– His solo HR for the White Sox play-in got them a postseason berth.
– Cleveland reached the WS twice and won their division 6 times during his tenure there. They have only won the division once since then. The last time they reached the playoffs before his tenure had been 1954.

Definitely looks like a HOF resume to me. I think a final reason why he has been underappreciated is that he had a so-so batting average, but great walk rates in a time that walk rates were undervalued. Manny Ramirez was a flashier player (much higher BA), but Thome put up a better OPS+ for 4 of 6 seasons between 1995 and 2000 (when Ramirez was playing about full-time in Indiana) and also bested Ramirez in both of his first seasons with the Red Sox. Ramirez would also be a good HOF candidate, if it wasn’t for the whole “caught multiple times with PED’s” and “ridiculous behavior” issues.

williams .482
Member
Member
williams .482
2 years 8 months ago

Which championship was he not the centerpiece of? 2007?

Jamie
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Jamie
2 years 8 months ago

I think Dwight Gooden is a fascinating comp to Ortiz. Both were on 3 WS champions. Both played in large media markets for the majority of their careers. Gooden was actually considered the best pitcher in baseball for about a 3 or 4 year stretch, which is probably balanced by Ortiz’s advantage in All-Star games. Gooden’s pitching fWAR is currently at ~55 and gets up to ~60 if his hitting is included. Ortiz is at ~40, which makes it seem unlikely for him to close the gap. bWAR has Gooden at ~50 (a couple over or under depending on how you want to count his hitting) and Ortiz at 42, so he may close that gap. Ortiz is undoubtedly the better post season performer, but these 2 seem awfully close in terms of their overall case. Gooden got 3% of the vote his 1 time on the ballot. What is seperating these 2? And for the record, it seems to me neither should get in, though fWAR gets Gooden closer than I thought.

Eric M. Van
Member
2 years 8 months ago

I’ve often said that if Gooden had had his career backwards (chronologically), he’d be very much in the HoF conversation.

Andrew
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Andrew
2 years 8 months ago

Pretty sure that PEDs is a chief reason, among others, that no one talks HoF for Giambi.

nil satis nisi optimum
Guest
nil satis nisi optimum
2 years 8 months ago

agreed. I know everybody around here likes to pretend PEDs don’t factor, or perhaps shouldn’t factor, in Hall cases, but they do.
And for whatever reason, the PED variable is strongly against Giambi but only weakly (if at all) against Ortiz.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds didn’t make it first ballot.

I don’t think anyone who was awake during the last ballot could even pretend PEDs don’t factor.

What absolutely shouldn’t factor and what inexplicably does is suspicions of PED use. Basically if a player has ever had their name written in the same article and “steroids”, then they are under a cloud of suspicion that severely affects their hall case.

nil satis nisi optimum
Guest
nil satis nisi optimum
2 years 8 months ago

You’re right, I should have phrased that better. By PED variable, I mean some weighted sum of the suspicion and severity of use, gathered seemingly from the ether by the BBWAA.

So obviously the PED variable is affecting e.g. Jeff Bagwell, whether or not it should be. And reiterating what I said before: from what has been written, the PED variable is strongly against Giambi but pretty much doesn’t affect Ortiz. Who knows why.

TKDC
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TKDC
2 years 8 months ago

Why the hell would PED not factor for Ortiz when they did for Bagwell (and Piazza)? Only one of those 3 guys failed a test (maybe it being leaked was bullshit, but that won’t matter). Bagwell and Piazza are both clearly better players. Really they are both first ballot guys without PED suspicion based on being big guys that hit homers in the 90s and I guess Piazza’s poor hygiene.

If it ever looks like Ortiz has a chance to get in, there will hopefully be at least a few people with some sense that wonder why the whole slew of much better players with varying levels of “evildoer-ness” are on the outside.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

People (writers, HOF voters, fans generally) find a way to excuse or downplay flaws (including PED use) for players they like or want to root for (Ortiz, Pettitte, etc) and also use the same flaws to bury guys they were predisposed to not liking anyway (Bonds, Clemens, etc).

S&G said it best: “A man hears what he wants to and disregards the rest.”

Andy
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Andy
2 years 8 months ago

Are you joking? You are aware, aren’t you, that Ortiz tested positive? And if you think the facdt that he hasn’t tested positive recently means he’s clean, consider another player who tested positive during the same period as Ortiz, and who hasn’t failed a test since: ARod.

bdhudson
Member
Member
bdhudson
2 years 8 months ago

Ortiz took them before they were banned, so shouldn’t the standard be the same?

bdhudson
Member
Member
bdhudson
2 years 8 months ago

Allegedly, at least.

I Agree Guy
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I Agree Guy
2 years 8 months ago

He was a PED user before he was even 15-years-old?

Puttering Poobah of Positivity
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Puttering Poobah of Positivity
2 years 8 months ago

Though major league players were not tested for anabolic steroids until 2003, the use of steroids for performance enhancement has been implicitly banned by baseball since 1971 and expressly banned since ’91.

Baseball’s first written drug policy was issued by commissioner Bowie Kuhn at the start of the ’71 season. The policy did not explicitly address anabolic steroids, but it did say that baseball personnel must “comply with federal and state drug laws.”

So there you have it.

Patty G
Guest
Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

PEDs are part of it, but also Giambi’s peak years were during the offensive explosion of the Late ’90s – Early ’00s. These were the days of commonplace .400 OBPs, and when even nobodies like Rich Aurilia and Brett Boone would pop 35 homers. Giambi was really really good during these years (enough so to win an MVP and come close to a second), but he doesn’t stand out the way Papi does during the offensive decline of the last ten years.

JayT
Guest
JayT
2 years 8 months ago

Except that wRC+ accounts for the league hitting environment, and Giambi is still better than Ortiz.

Patty G
Guest
Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

The subject of discussion on this comment was not who was a better player, but rather why Giambi gets no HOF talk.

Luke
Guest
Luke
2 years 8 months ago

I think that Ortiz WILL get into the hall. The narrative on him is just too strong and the writers will like that. If he does get in then I sure hope Edgar Martinez does eventually. Which isn’t to say that Ortiz doesn’t deserve it, just that it should be very obvious that if Ortiz deserves it then so does Martinez.

I’m a die-hard Red Sox fan but am on the fence as to whether Ortiz should get in. I am hoping that he sticks around a few more years to accumulate 50+ WAR and 500+ HRs, at which point I’ll say he should definitely get in.

As for Giambi, his steroid link is much more damning than Ortiz’s and I think will keep him out. He probably should be in, though.

MD
Guest
MD
2 years 8 months ago

His name was on the original PED list, he will never get in. Don’t waste your breath here. The hall will see to it, ANYONE even remotely linked, will not be in there.

Soxfan
Guest
Soxfan
2 years 8 months ago

Actually his name isn’t on the Mitchell report list. Now, I’m not saying whether he did or didn’t, but it’s not on the list. Neither is Manny’s though…

Bip
Guest
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

I really don’t get it. I don’t see any way that Ortiz is a hall of famer. To me it’s hardly a discussion. If he makes it, it will be as a suspenseful late ballot pick, but I see at as more likely he is one of those guys that will get a committed 30% of the electorate, but never get to the point where he’s is knocking on the doors of the hall.

Izzy
Guest
Izzy
2 years 8 months ago

He’s shown he still has something left in the tank. If he plays well for three or four more years, I’d imagine your opinion might change.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

If he played as well as we could reasonably expect for 4 more seasons my opinion would change to “He’s a fringe candidate who still isn’t the best of a variety of similar players who aren’t in the hall.”

Dan
Guest
Dan
2 years 8 months ago

Even if he plays well for 3 more years, health issues are likely to keep him from accumulating 1500 additional PAs.

Izzy
Guest
Izzy
2 years 8 months ago

If we count Ortiz’s 17 HRs in the postseason versus Giambi’s 7, than he has already passed him. One thing I found really interesting is that Ortiz actually has a negative “clutch” rating on Fangraphs win probability page while Giambi’s is positive. This doesn’t of course factor in the playoffs but it still surprised me.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 8 months ago

I suspect the low number is because Ortiz played for so many good hitting Red Sox teams that won a lot of games by blow out which suppresses clutch scores. In the playoffs, most games are close games so his clutch is more apparent. This from B-Ref

“WPA/LI Situational Wins. Sum of each plays WPA divided by the play’s leverage index. SUM(WPA/LI) for all plays. This is similarly scaled to WPA, but removes the context from the outcome, so for this stat a player with 30 home runs all in blowouts would look very similar to a batter with 30 home runs all in tie games. They would look much different in WPA. Generally used for a season or career.

Clutch WPA divided by aLI – WPA/LI (just above). The context dependent WPA divided by the average leverage minus context-neutral situational wins. From my example in WPA/LI, the 30 HR hitter in tie games would have a clutch greater than zero and the 30 HR hitter in blowouts would have a clutch less than zero. ”

Career 936 OPS in high leverage situations in the regular season. 928 OPS in medium-low leverage. That’s evidence of clutch IMO.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

Playing in more low leverage situations doesn’t affect clutch score. It’s whether a player is better in high leverage situations than low leverage. Ortiz, according to his clutch score, is slightly worse in high leverage situations.

An 8 point difference is OPS is not evidence of anything. Those numbers are statistically indistinguishable.

However
Guest
However
2 years 8 months ago

Because those ~2000 Oakland teams and mid-2000s Yankees teams were so bad, Giambi had so many chances to carry his teams, right?

The teams Giambi played for were better than the teams Ortiz played for. Possibly in part because of Giambi.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
2 years 8 months ago

How much WAR does Ortiz have if you just put all his postseason stats into his regular season ones? Just curious.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

He has 357 PA, so basically half a season, and he has a 148 wRC+, which is basically what he has in 2004, where he was worth 4.2 WAR in 669 PA. 4.2 * 357 / 669 = 2.2.

40.9 + 2.2 = 43.1

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
2 years 8 months ago

Alright, cool.

Michael Scarn
Guest
Michael Scarn
2 years 8 months ago

Doesn’t the offensive environment go down in the playoffs though? So his hitting adjusted to the rest of the league during the playoffs would probably be better in comparison, and his wRC+ would rise.

Luke
Guest
Luke
2 years 8 months ago

I feel like the whole “small hall” idea got thrown out the window when they inducted Jim Rice. There might be a better example of someone less deserving than Rice, but he’s the one who I’m most familiar with.

Ian R.
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

Well, there’s Chick Hafey and High Pockets Kelly and Lloyd Waner, to name a few VC selections. Rice is one of the weaker BBWAA inductees, but likely not the worst – that “honor” probably goes to Pie Traynor or Rabbit Maranville. I’d say he’s more of a Tony Perez comparable.

Don’t get me wrong, Rice was a weak choice, but there have been worse.

JayT
Guest
JayT
2 years 8 months ago

Of course Jim Rice also has 10 more career WAR than Ortiz, and it’s debatable that Ortiz has 10 more wins in him. He’s had a resurgence the last three years, and if he keeps that up for another three he’ll get to Jim Rice’s career WAR. However, the three before these last three he had a total WAR of 4.2, included a 0 WAR in 2009. I’m not so sure that 2011-2013 is more likely that 2008-2010 over the next few years.

Patty G
Guest
Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

If we’re going purely on WAR, then no reliever would ever get in. Mariano Rivera has about 40 career WAR, ranking alongside pitchers who have absolutely no shot at the hall. Anyone think Derek Lowe is going to Cooperstown? But Mo will enter the HOF on the first ballot. Why? Because we reward people who were the very best at the position they played. In Rivera’s case, it was as a reliever/closer. In Ortiz’s case, it’s as a DH. Papi simply has better stats while playing DH than any other hitter in history, and that’s why he both deserves the hall and will get into the hall. As for Giambi, there’s a reason he continued to play 1B: his numbers suffered when he played DH.

matt
Guest
matt
2 years 8 months ago

The aforementioned Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas and even Thome want to dispute the “better stats while playing DH than any other hitter in history” claim.

Patty G
Guest
Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

Ortiz has every meaningful DH record — that is, numbers compiled while hitting the DH spot. The other players you mentioned spent significant chunks of their productive careers playing on the field. Ortiz has essentially no productive time as a position player.

BJsworld
Guest
BJsworld
2 years 8 months ago

So you are going to PUNISH Edgar Martinez because he could also play the field AND hit? If he was a hatchet man with the glove and forced to DH from day 1 that would make him more valuable or a better HoF candidate?

It’s fair to say that WAR doesn’t scale very well when looking at starters and relievers (or even pitchers to batters), but it’s much more relevant when looking at just offensive players.

Patty G
Guest
Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

Well, first I should mention I think Edgar should be in the hall. Why do you think WAR doesn’t properly scale between starters versus relievers?

skippyballer486
Member
skippyballer486
2 years 8 months ago

WAR does not properly scale starters to relievers because of leverage. You need to take WAR+LI, or use WPA. With either of these methods, Rivera’s hall case becomes much stronger; when you add in his playoff dominance he becomes a lock even without any sort of “reliever bonus.”

Soxfan
Guest
Soxfan
2 years 8 months ago

Thomas played 1B for a lot of years and Thome also played a lot of 1B and 3B, so I wouldn’t count them at all. Even Martinez played a decent amount of 3B.

Joel
Guest
Joel
2 years 8 months ago

And I would argue — the BBWAA disputes me on this, I think — that all three of those guys belong, just like Ortiz will (his book is not yet closed).

Jordan
Guest
Jordan
2 years 8 months ago

When you’re looking at career numbers, you want to use RA9 WAR, and Mo comes in at 54.7 fWAR and 56.6 bWAR.

Jack Sparrow
Guest
Jack Sparrow
2 years 8 months ago

Agreed. Mo consistently outperformed his peripherals for his entire career, so his WAR will understate his value. He also pitched 141 innings in the postseason – the equivalent of 2 extra seasons as a reliever. And to the tune of a 0.70 ERA.

Just based on RA/9 WAR Mo is a fringe candidate. Add in the fact that he accumulated that much WAR as a reliever, his postseason stats, and 5 rings and he’s a lock.

Bill Z
Guest
Bill Z
2 years 8 months ago

As noted, the issue is “how much more should the playoffs count?” They clearly count more in sports like basketball and football, where regular season numbers are barely noticed when we talk about the all-time greats. Baseball is a numbers-obsessed game, but Ortiz’s accomplishments in the playoffs (ALDS, ALCS and World Series) are remarkable. Puckett’s playoff greatness got him in, and Ortiz’s playoff greatness completely eclipses Puckett (no slight intended).

blwfish
Guest
blwfish
2 years 8 months ago

I think of the Hall rather literally – the Hall of Fame. One of the things that makes you famous is being great, as measured by statistics. Some folks are so famous because of their stats that they are compelling candidates, full stop. Cy Young? I’m sure someone will disagree, but Randy Johnson or Greg Maddux? Honus Wagner.

For some, though, their fame is due to some combination. One might argue that Curt Schilling is “not” Hall worthy, based strictly on his statistics. Perhaps. (Although his claim is not so weak, either.) But surely leading not one but two different organizations to World Series crowns, and being one of the leaders of the team that Broke The Curse(tm) must count for something. And there’s that damn bloody sock. We remember him for all of these things, not just that he was certainly one of the best of his era.

I think Ortiz has a similar claim.

We already do this to a degree – there are few who would really deny that Mariano Rivera belongs in the Hall. And that’s despite his “overall” WAR being less than that of, say, Derek Lowe in the example above.

It’s not absolute, but do remember that it’s the hall of fame, not the hall of greatness, regardless of how those are sometimes confused.

nil satis nisi optimum
Guest
nil satis nisi optimum
2 years 8 months ago

I agree. If you want to know who put up the most value for their teams, there is WAR. The Hall is about something else, namely interesting stories, and David Ortiz has a really cool story which couples being one of the greatest hitters of his generation to a tremendous amount of postseason success for one of the most storied franchises in baseball. And he seems likable, and not as PED-tainted as many of the other great hitters of his generation.

BJsworld
Guest
BJsworld
2 years 8 months ago

To me this is very simple.

If you consider things like the “story” or the post season you are taking a step back 20 years in analysis. The story or post-season are all functions of context beyond a players control. You cannot reward David Ortiz without penalizing a guy like Edgar Martinez.

The reality is that if Edgar Martinez had been playing for the Yankees during their runs he would have most likely wracked up similar numbers to Ortiz. Instead Martinez played for a largely poor performing Mariners organization. He wasn’t given the opportunity to create a narrative. Seems awfully wrong to hold that against him (which is what you are doing by given Ortiz credit for his).

nil satis nisi optimum
Guest
nil satis nisi optimum
2 years 8 months ago

It doesn’t need to be a zero sum game. Both Martinez and Ortiz can get in, albeit for different reasons. Martinez cause he’s the best DH ever, Ortiz cause he’s one of the best and has an awesome story.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
2 years 8 months ago

Didn’t Edgar create a narrative anyway with The Double?

B N
Guest
B N
2 years 8 months ago

Maybe. Honestly, when you’re as good as Edgar, you shouldn’t need a narrative. It’s kind of like college applications: everybody wants you to have a great life story on your essay. Yet somehow, with a perfect SAT and GPA, the fact that you don’t have a great story doesn’t seem to matter all that much…

Ian R.
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

To take a page from Joe Posnanski, I interpret the name “Hall of Fame” as referring to the fame the Hall bestows on its inductees, not that the people inducted are already famous. There are plenty of extremely famous players – Steve Garvey is the first to come to mind – who aren’t in the Hall, and there are plenty of guys who were fairly unknown, such as Arky Vaughan, who are in.

Also, Schilling is probably one of the 25 or so best pitchers of all time, statistically speaking. The main knock on him is his relatively low win total, but even the BBWAA is starting to learn that there’s more to evaluating pitchers than wins.

Hank G.
Guest
Hank G.
2 years 8 months ago

“I think of the Hall rather literally – the Hall of Fame.”

The purpose of a Hall of Fame is to bestow fame on deserving recipients, not to reward famous people. If the purpose of a Hall of Fame was to honor famous people, it would be unnecessary, because its members would already be…, you know.

Patty G
Guest
Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

Also, Jose Canseco would be a first-balloter in the Hall of Famous Baseball People.

skippyballer486
Member
skippyballer486
2 years 8 months ago

Michael Jordan is probably the most famous professional baseball player ever (maybe second to Babe Ruth?). Send him to Cooperstown?

Jack Sparrow
Guest
Jack Sparrow
2 years 8 months ago

To be fair Lowe underperformed his peripherals while Mo greatly outperformed his (career 2.21 ERA/3.00 xFIP). Based on RA9 war Mo is better, despite pitching less than half the innings of Lowe.

Jack Sparrow
Guest
Jack Sparrow
2 years 8 months ago

That said, I wouldn’t care too much if Ortiz got in. I wouldn’t vote for him, but he was a key piece breaking the curse and making the Red Sox relevant again which was a big deal in baseball. Like it or not, he is an important piece of baseball history.

There are much more deserving candidates but the line is not black and white when it comes to including criteria beyond regular season stats, where we all can admit Papi falls short.

Plato
Guest
Plato
2 years 8 months ago

Oh how quick we are to glorify imperfection. How swiftly we forget the curse words and the failed drug tests. Hark, thy memory is fleeting.

Patty G
Guest
Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

Curse words? Profanity? Oh my stars… I… I belive I need some water… Somebody please catch me in case I faint, for you see, my delicate humors may be overwhelmed by the use of maledictious language…

Plato
Guest
Plato
2 years 8 months ago

Thy overwhelmingly sarcastic siren! Quiet thy lullaby!

Patty G
Guest
Patty G
2 years 8 months ago

Touche, good sir. Consider me quieted.

williams .482
Member
Member
williams .482
2 years 8 months ago

“This is our f*cking city!”

I hope that I never forget that.

RageAgainstTheNarrative
Guest
RageAgainstTheNarrative
2 years 8 months ago

This is Papi’s f*cking narrative.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
2 years 8 months ago

There is no public record of David Ortiz EVER failing a drug test.

He did allegedly test positive for a substance which may have indicated PED use; however we have no idea what that substance was. For example, he could have testedpositve for high levels of testostorone. High levels of testostorone can be indicative of PED use; but they can also be indicative of other things.

Being cited in the Mitchell Report is not equivalent to failing a drug test. There is reason to suspect Ortiz, but one should also recognize that there is substantial uncertainty here, too.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 8 months ago

Using that argument against the DH one could exclude any relief pitcher, including Rivera.

I never understood why WAR subtracts 1.5 wins for a DH not playing defense. At his worst, Ortiz could play replacement level defense if asked, the Red Sox have always had better options at 1B and not everyone is able to hit well as DH

An argument could be made that post season performance should be counted too.

Ortiz is the best DH of All Time, or at least a close 2nd after Edgar Martinez. DH like it or not is one of MLB’s official positions in the AL, and when you are the best in a position over a 40 year period or close to it you should be in the HOF.

And Ortiz career is not over by a long shot. At age 37 he had the 5th best OPS+ of all 37 yo since 1920. Only the Babe, Barry Bonds, Ted Williams and Hank Aaron had a higher OPS+.

Of course, PED questions may work against him. Not many buy his excuse for 2003, and his defiance of age related decline curves over the past 4 years have raised some eyebrows.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

At his worst, Ortiz could play replacement level defense if asked

Replacement level defense is average defense for the position. Would Ortiz be even an average 1B?

not everyone is able to hit well as DH

This is something that would be interesting to study, and if it is true, the DH positional penalty should be reduced. I think the real effect at hand though is that younger players in their prime are generally not stuck at DH. Usually it is the player who are past their prime who are stuck at DH, some of whom are also there due to injury or because they have bodies that are liable to break down if they play the field. This could account for players seemingly playing worse at DH.

I never understood why WAR subtracts 1.5 wins for a DH not playing defense.

It’s because it’s the easiest position to replace. The pool of players available to use at DH is unlimited, so you more offense to choose from when replacing DH, so replacement level hitting at DH should be higher than for other positions.

skippyballer486
Member
skippyballer486
2 years 8 months ago

The hitting effects of DHing has been studied (read The Book). It is similar to the pinch hitter effect, knocking something like 20 points off of wOBA (or maybe it’s 10 points? I don’t have The Book with me right now). I think any DH should get some bonus in WAR based on that; any player DHing is expected to hit worse than they otherwise would, why should that not be counted?

Mister
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

“Replacement level defense is average defense for the position. Would Ortiz be even an average 1B?”

That is not true. Replacement level is always below average level.

Ian R.
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

Not for defense, it’s not. Offensive replacement level is below average, but defensive is average, on the premise that it’s much easier to find an OK fielder than an OK hitter.

BJsworld
Guest
BJsworld
2 years 8 months ago

The defensive metrics do not back up your claim. In his younger days he wasn’t playing replacement level defense. If he couldn’t do that when he was 24 why would you think he could do it at 34? You could make an argument that he wouldn’t be the worst 1B out there but playing scratch defense would be a stretch.

I also don’t think it’s particularly close when you compare Ortiz to Martinez.

Ortiz 291/382/531 wOBA 386 / wRC+142 / WAR 40.9
Martinez 312/418/515 wOBA 405 / wRC+147 / WAR 65.6

While Ortiz is likely to add to his counting stats it would be asking a lot for him to improve on his career rate states (2013 not withstanding). In the end he won’t add another 25 WAR and his rate states will look worse at retirement than they do today. Ortiz is a terrific baseball player but he was not the best DH in baseball. Not by a long shot.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 8 months ago

How are you defining replacement level defense? UZR only goes back to 2002, so we don’t have much to go on from 1997-2001, and the 3 years he played the most 1B since UZR (about 1/2 a seasons worth of innings) he was only -0.7 runs combined below an average defensive 1Bman. Career wise, in 2058 innings, or about 1 1/2 years, UZR has him at -4.3 runs, or less than -0.5 wins, which is slightly less than league average. Not exactly an Adam Dunn there.

As for not being the best DH in baseball by a long shot, he is ranked number 1 in almost every offensive category over the past 40 years. Granted, he had far more PA than Frank Howard and Edgar Martinez, and any other DH.

Oriz has the 12th highest OPS+ since 1993 among players with 8000 PA, and 4 of them are confirmed steroid users as opposed to alleged.

And he is still going strong having a top 5 All Time age 37 season based on OPS+. His counting stats are sure to increase over the next 3 years barring injury or precipitous decline.

GreggB
Guest
GreggB
2 years 8 months ago

Baseball has had the DH for forty years now. By the time Ortiz retires, he will almost certainly be the dominant player at his position over the course of four decades.

He’s loaded with intangibles that make his team better — leadership on the bench, being the face of the franchise with fans, endless community contributions.

He’s an extraordinary post-season performer with the ability to deliver drama, time and time again.

So while his WAR may eventually be approximately equal to Giambi, in all these other areas, there is absolutely no comparison between the two men. We aren’t electing people to the Hall of WAR. We are electing the men who make the game of baseball great. Papi is one of them.

Paul Wilson
Guest
Paul Wilson
2 years 8 months ago

Matt, I appreciate the way that you acknowledge but don’t delve into the PED factor. Very insightful comparison between two entertaining careers.

Matthew
Member
Member
2 years 8 months ago

The problem I have are a few.

First of all the Hall of Fame needs to include certain players before I’d consider Ortiz. Bonds,Bagwell,Thomas,Rolen,Walker,Thome,Raines,Biggio,Gwynn,Helton,Walker,Manny,Vlad, Sheffield come to mind.

If Ortiz goes in and Edgar/Thomas don’t, I will never visit the Hall. Same for Bonds.

Next I think the DH is unfair because it allows American League hitters to extend their career. NL guy who want to spend career with one team? too bad. Chipper Jones could have hit 100 WAR if he did it for example. Helton is another.

Also if a DH gets in, we have to allow elite defensive players with no bat in like Omar Vizquel or Robbie Ventura.

williams .482
Member
Member
williams .482
2 years 8 months ago

I rather doubt Chipper Jones could have accumulated +15 WAR as a 41+ year old DH, and I am sure you did not mean Helton would get another 45 WAR in that way.

LookItUp
Guest
LookItUp
2 years 8 months ago

Robin Ventura, while not an elite offensive performer, was hardly a “no bat” player – his wRC+ was 113, after all, a far cry from Vizquel’s wRC+ of 83.

skippyballer486
Member
skippyballer486
2 years 8 months ago

Ozzie Smith? Bill Mazeroski?

Puttering Poobah of Positivity
Guest
Puttering Poobah of Positivity
2 years 8 months ago

Papi’s most amazing achievement might be chopping roughly 40-45% off his age 33/34 strikeout rates during his age 35-37 seasons. Remarkable for a pear-shaped aging slugger. Specifically:

Age 24-32 annual K% between 15.1% and 19.9%
Age 33 21.4%
Age 34 23.9%

At this point, with his K rate ballooning and batting average plummeting (between .238 and .270 in each of his age 31-33 seasons), he pulled off a spectacular reversal to easily set a career low K% with 13.7% at age 35, and then trumped it with a 13.3% the next year. I don’t think he’s received nearly enough attention for this feat.

Jack Sparrow
Guest
Jack Sparrow
2 years 8 months ago

Glad someone else is recognizing this. I wonder if that has ever been done by another player at Papi’s age. Definitely don’t expect a guy’s K-rate to almost get cut in half at that age.

Anyone know if this feat has been done by anyone else in the history of baseball?

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 8 months ago

Especially interesting given the league K rate increased about 10% these years from 18% to 19.9%

WARio
Guest
WARio
2 years 8 months ago

No discussion of the Bill James HOF stats?
http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/leader_glossary.shtml#black_ink

Ortiz
Black Ink: Batting – 16, Average HOFer ? 27
Gray Ink: Batting – 114, Average HOFer ? 144
Hall of Fame Monitor: Batting – 132, Likely HOFer ? 100
Hall of Fame Standards: Batting – 44, Average HOFer ? 50

Giambi
Black Ink: Batting – 13, Average HOFer ? 27
Gray Ink: Batting – 115, Average HOFer ? 144
Hall of Fame Monitor: Batting – 108, Likely HOFer ? 100
Hall of Fame Standards: Batting – 44, Average HOFer ? 50

Canard
Guest
Canard
2 years 8 months ago

Ortiz’s big selling point is that he principally played for the Boston Red Sox, whereas Giambi starred for the Oakland A’s, and Delgado starred for the Toronto Blue Jays.

I’m not even being facetious. Alan Trammell would be in the hall if he played for Boston or New York instead of Detroit.

So once Boston elects Ortiz to the Hall, then everyone else will look at the numbers and say to themselves “hey wait a second Edgar Martinez was better than David Ortiz, how come he’s not in the Hall?” And that’s how Edgar Martinez is going to get in.

RageAgainstTheNarrative
Guest
RageAgainstTheNarrative
2 years 8 months ago

I think Tram’s biggest problem is that he wasn’t great at any one area of the game, and his “counting stats” were lackluster. If he just got into the habit of hacking at ball four like a buffoon, he would have made it to 2500 hits and maybe he’d get more respect for his accomplishments.

Tram was very good at pretty much every aspect of the game, and played a difficult position. Well-rounded players tend to be underrated for whatever reason. See: Trout, Mike. I’m guessing Tram gets a lot of “It’s not the Hall of Very Good, blahblahblah.” What people don’t realize is that being very good at everything, or maintaining a very good peak for a long time, actually does equal greatness.

Paul
Guest
Paul
2 years 8 months ago

Trout unlike Trammell isn’t just very good at every facet of the game, he is top 5 in MLB in them, ther is a difference between being very good at all aspects of the game, like your Tram or maybe Beltran, and being the second incarnation of Willie Mays

Breadbaker
Guest
Breadbaker
2 years 8 months ago

Trammell’s problem is that he came along just before the really big shortstops (Ripken, Larkin, Rodriguez, Garciaparra, Jeter) who were cut from a different cloth than he was, and at the same time as Ozzie Smith, who was a totally different player. If his career had paralleled Aparicio’s in time, he’d have been elected to the Hall after a few years on the ballot.

Joel
Guest
Joel
2 years 8 months ago

Wasn’t Lou Whitaker arguably even better than Tramell? I wonder if the fact that the two were teammates actually detracted from their Hall of Fame resumes.

Breadbaker
Guest
Breadbaker
2 years 8 months ago

Whitaker wasn’t liked as much and sort of disappeared in his one year on the ballot. But it’s basically silly to try to distinguish between them because they were in fact remarkably similar and the next test people device will put one or the other hand and the next one after that flip them. Frankly, they’re both Hall of Famers on pretty much any fair scale.

MD
Guest
MD
2 years 8 months ago

Ortiz name appeared on the original PED like back in 2003, he is OFFICIALLY never going into the HoF. So can we stop this nonsense about it. No Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, A Rod, Pettite, Manny, Giambi, Palmiero, Sosa or Ortiz..

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

Thanks for clearing that up for us, Murray Chass!

Cleveland Sports 360
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

You can now count on Giambi coming back next season. The Indians have resigned him.

d
Guest
d
2 years 8 months ago

!!!

While I appreciate Klaassen’s side-step of the PED issue, I’m flummoxed by the general ignorance/bad memory of many of the commenters here. Ortiz tested positive for PEDs in 2003 (Mitchell Report) and people pretend like it never happened! Furthermore, before it came out that he tested positive, he was arguing that people should be banned for life for it! Since then he has never honestly acknowledged why he tested positive.

!!!

cd
Guest
cd
2 years 8 months ago

Correct me if I’m wrong, but, unlike Ortiz, Giambi has never won a World Series title. Of course, Papi has three. Further, Giambi admitted to PED use and apologized for same. (Now, I don’t know if Papi is clean, but it’s not an issue currently marring most considered views of his career.)

Numbers and statistics are crucial to player analysis, but they very seldom tell the complete story of player’s contribution. I’m not sure how you can make a relevant comparison of Giambi’s and Ortiz’s Hall chances without factoring World Series wins and confirmed PED use.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

Wait, what? You’re penalizing someone for coming clean (calling it “confirmed” PED usage) and giving a pass to those being evasive (hey, it’s just “alleged!”) ?

RageAgainstTheNarrative
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RageAgainstTheNarrative
2 years 8 months ago

Right now Papi is a 76 on http://www.hallofstats.com. Steamer projection has him at 3.3 WAR for next year, which is 1.1 higher than Brian Downing had at at the same age. Right now he is about one total win behind Downing’s trajectory, if he just matches Downing’s final four years he’ll be maybe a 90-92 hallfostats rating. If he follow’s Steamer’s projection he’ll creep even closer to the finish line by the time he retires. IMO, this discussion is highly incomplete until we see Papi’s final few years.

If he’s anywhere near the borderline, I’d root for him to get elected–although if he gets snubbed, it wouldn’t be the worst snub that the BBWAA has inflicted on a deserving candidate.

cd
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cd
2 years 8 months ago

Actually, just delete my comment, I blew over the last three paragraphs. Oops.

Hyun-Jin Kershaw
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Hyun-Jin Kershaw
2 years 8 months ago

I thought we had already attributed Ortiz’s late career turnaround to those “eye drops” he used back in ’09.

Savin Hillbilly
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Savin Hillbilly
2 years 8 months ago

The fact that Ortiz gets more Hall buzz than Giambi is 100% about the last word in the institution’s name. It’s a Hall of Fame, not a Hall of Value. If total measurable value contributed toward winning baseball games were the only thing that mattered, of course Ortiz would be a fringe candidate at best, and probably not as strong a candidate as Giambi.

The fact that he’s increasingly being discussed as a legitimate candidate is all about the “fame” part–his delivery of “moments” as someone said above. It’s about his walkoff hits vs. the Yankees in ’04, his 3-run shot that sparked the game 5 comeback against the Rays in ’08, his slam vs. the Tigers last month, his inspirational cussing after the bombings this year, the outsized personality, the whole package.

Of course this stuff means much, much more to Sox fans than it does to the large majority of baseball fans who root for other teams. But I don’t think you can ignore it. Giambi, as far as I could tell, never had that kind of meaning for Oakland fans (and certainly didn’t for Yankee fans). He was just a big party dude who was one hell of a hitter. That’s the difference. It’s not in the stats.

Andy
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Andy
2 years 8 months ago

Player C: 9058 PAs, .298/.352./.502, 128 wRC+, 382 HRs, 297 runs above average

Player C is Jim Rice, HOFer.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

Remember, don’t use the lowest rung of comparison as the basis for HOF-worthiness; if you do that then probably 150-200 more people need to be in. When making a case for someone, compare them to the *average* HOF’er, not the lowest common denominator.

Alex N.
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Alex N.
2 years 8 months ago

I am so tired of sabermetricians saying David Ortiz shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame and using comparables like Giambi Juan Gonzalez and and throwing around WAR and Runs Created numbers. Does anyone else remember the first four criteria for the Hall of Fame induction? “Ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character.”

Not only is Ortiz an MVP of the ALCS and World Series, coming through when it matters most for his team, but he is also a Roberto Clemente Award winner as the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” That checks off three boxes that better hitters and fielders such as Ricky Henderson and Barry Bonds never touched, and, in fact, half of all winners of the sport’s most prestigious character award are (or will certainly be) in the Hall.

David Ortiz means more to the city of Boston than any player since Carl Yastrzemski, and probably more, since he’s largely responsible for three championship parades. In addition to legendary feats on the field, he is a caring citizen who has taken advantage of his ability to change people’s lives for the better. This is a man who spends his winters touring schools in his native Dominican Republic to support and inspire less privileged children and young adults with his heart and success. So spray all the expensive champagne you want, Papi. We know you’ll make it up to us ten times over.

“Ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character.” In this modern hyper-analytic Moneyball world, sometimes it takes a bit of big-picture perspective to understand what really matters. You can’t put a Wins Above Replacement on inspiration; you can’t factor heart into a JAWS. David Ortiz is the kind of player who changes a sport both on and off the field in tremendous ways for a whole city, if not entire countries. That is the kind of man that deserves to be remembered for generations and enshrined in his sport’s highest honor. That’s why they call him “Cooperstown.”

Breadbaker
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Breadbaker
2 years 8 months ago

Do we have a Hall of Fame spot for “players who meant a lot to the City of Boston” now? I think you could make the exact same case for Edgar Martinez and Seattle, but of course Seattle doesn’t mean squat to most people. Edgar was called “Papi” well before there was a “Big Papi”. In fact, he was “Papi” to a guy named David Arias who played on the Mariners farm teams.

DNA+
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DNA+
2 years 8 months ago

I think PEDs might hurt Giambi less than Ortiz. Giambi never failed a test, but was the only player with the balls and honesty to admit to Congress that he used, despite the fact that every single player congress called to testify was a user. Giambi, is, by pretty much all accounts, a liked and respected guy by baseball writers, players, and management.

Ortiz failed the same test Arod failed in 2003 and has lied about his use ever since. I seriously doubt there are any baseball writers who don’t think Ortiz career has been greatly effected by PED, or who think he is honest about his use.

DNA+
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DNA+
2 years 8 months ago

…that said, it is obviously the case that neither should be in the HOF.

Steve
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Steve
2 years 8 months ago

How is David Ortiz such a lock for Cooperstown, but Bernie Williams couldn’t manage more than 3.3% of the vote this year?

Ortiz (40.9 fWAR) and Bernie (44.3 fWAR) match up very comparably. Bernie played 106 more games than Ortiz, and they both had about 8 or 9 great years. Ortiz was a better hitter, but Bernie in his prime was still a great hitter while also playing Center Field. To just dismiss the value in being able to hit and play an important defensive position is reckless and is an injustice to the game of baseball.

Many point to the fact that Ortiz was remarkable in the postseason. It’s true. Ortiz had monster World Series stats, and it helped the Red Sox win 3 pennants and 3 World Series. But to say he was always the best player on the team is false.

Meanwhile, Bernie was the best or second best non-pitcher on 4 World Series championship teams and 5 pennant winners. In his sixth World Series, when he was a shell of himself, he had a very good chance to be the MVP of the World Series had the Yankees won. He was GREAT that series.

What about Jorge Posada? He amassed 44.9 fWAR. he has 4 rings and 6 appearances and was considered the emotional leader of those Yankees teams. David Cone has 5 rings, with two different teams, and was excellent in the 4 WS where he got action.

For as great as Ortiz was in the postseason, if it’s about his contributions to winning actual rings, then there are guys who played for his rival who helped his team have more postseason success and no one is banging the drum for them. It irks me that Ortiz seems to get all this extra juice just because the Red Sox had such a long championship drought which had nothing to do with him.

Joel
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Joel
2 years 8 months ago

I honestly think Derek Jeter hurts Bernie Williams’ case for the Hall of Fame. Williams was great for the Yankees’ championship run, but Jeter was even better. Ortiz is probably the beneficiary of the “best hitter” effect, especially after this year’s World Series.

Alex N.
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Alex N.
2 years 8 months ago

Williams and Posada bought ought to be in the Hall. Writers seem to think that letting in more players will dilute it or something, but those players would only make it better. If Fisk and Munson are in, Posada should be.

Joel
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Joel
2 years 8 months ago

You know, I thought Posada was a lock, but your post inspired me to look up his career numbers. Now, I’m not so sure.

60sSoxFan
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60sSoxFan
2 years 8 months ago

One important difference between Giambi and Ortiz is that Ortiz has been producing through his age 37 year, regular season and post season. When Giambi went of PEDs, he became regular. The fact the Ortiz continues to produce suggests that maybe PEDs weren’t important to his earlier success.

Ortiz’ one really bad season in 2009, he had in injured tendon sheath which impeded his swing. People thought he was washed up, but when the tendon eventually healed, he came all the way back.

Of course, in the world of PED use, and anonymously leaked reports about suspicious substances without identifying the substances, who knows about Ortiz’ PED use? I’m not discounting the idea, not in this day and age, but the fact that he has kept producing, where Giambi didn’t, at least helps with the Giambi comparison.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 8 months ago

Giambi produced through his age 37 season as well (131 wRC+, 32 HR). Giambi became regular when he got old.

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