Milestones That Might Not Trigger a HoF Election

Paul Konerko is sitting at 381 home runs. The 35-year-old has averaged 32 homers per season in his last six, and he looks to be on pace for 30 to 35 more this year. Erring on the conservative side, let’s say he finishes with 30 dingers — 14 more than his current total. He would finish the 2011 season with 395 career home runs. He has two years remaining on his contract, and as long as he continues to hit like this, he should have no problem DH’ing for another few seasons after that.

Is it far-fetched to think that Konerko couldn’t average at least 21 homers from 2012 to 2016? Because with that average, he’d reach the 500-home-run milestone.

Along with achieving 3,000 hits, or winning 300 games as a pitcher, getting to 500 home runs — insert generic PED disclaimer here — tends to trigger automatic election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. But as Chris Cwik covered earlier this week, Konerko is obviously not a Hall-of-Fame player. Even if he joins the 500-home-run club, he’s unlikely to garner much HoF support, which is interesting because it would mean the milestone isn’t what it used to be.

With that idea, let’s discuss other players who might buck the milestone trend. These players would have achieved grand milestones almost under the radar, and would be considered longshots for the hall of fame despite their accomplishments.

Before getting to the players, it should be clear that everyone mentioned here has had a solid career. This exercise isn’t intended to diminish their accomplishments, but rather to illustrate the different journeys toward the same endpoint — and how certain routes are more impressive than others. Ichiro Suzuki should finish this season — his 11th — with 2,400 hits. Recording that many hits in such a short span is vastly more impressive than Omar Vizquel and his 2,800-plus hits over 22 seasons. There are different, and more noteworthy, ways to join these clubs.

500-Home-Run Club
Let it be known that the goal of this exercise is to look at the players who might achieve milestones but wouldn’t be considered Hall-of-Fame worthy on the merits of their production. In other words, this isn’t a steroids witch hunt.

This group isn’t going to include Rafael Palmeiro or Mark McGwire. Instead, it will include a few players who have a decent shot at reaching 500 home runs but who might not be elected even without a performance-enhancing cloud.

Paul Konerko
The White Sox slugger might reach 500 home runs but he’s never really been considered one of the best first basemen in the game. Now, some of that hinges on media coverage, but the majority stems from the fact that he just hasn’t been otherworldly at the plate. He has been able to rack up home runs and has played better at ages 33, 34 and 35 than he did in his age 30, 31 and 32 seasons. Konerko has never produced more than 4-WAR in a season — usually due to poor fielding marks — and his career .367 wOBA is nice, but underwhelming for the Hall of Fame. Konerko might be the Fred McGriff of this era — a guy with solid overall numbers who consistently produced at the plate, but was never perceived to be elite.

Adam Dunn
He debuted in 2001 and hit 19 home runs in 66 games and 286 plate appearances as a 21-year-old, which reads like the beginning of a Hall-of-Fame career. From ages 24 to 30, here are his home run totals: 46, 40, 40, 40, 40, 38, 38. An absolutely laughable fielder — he plays like I imagine Will Ferrell would play the field in a baseball movie — Dunn’s candidacy would be heavily reliant on his bat. Though he has been around for a decade, he is still just 31 years old and has 361 dingers. His numbers have left much to be desired this season, but it’s doubtful he has completely cratered.

Hard to imagine he won’t get to 500 home runs, but when he does, there’s enough (aside from media coverage and his perceived ability as a hitter) to keep him out. A saber darling in every way, it seems Dunn simply doesn’t pass that “smell test” for Cooperstown inductees.

Andruw Jones
From 1997 to 2007, here are his UZR marks in center field: 27, 35, 36, 25, 27, 16, 18, 24, 26, 13, 23. Go through them one more time. That is an average of 25 runs saved above average per year, at arguably the toughest position on the field. If he were a league average hitter, he’d still be worth more than three wins in all 11 of those seasons. But Jones was more than a league-average hitter. He hit .263/.343/.498 with a 114 OPS+ in that span. At 70.4 WAR already, he has impressive Hall-of-Fame credentials. Still, it remains to be seen whether voters will punish him for a steep drop-off in the latter portion of his career.

3000-Hit Club
This group hasn’t taken much of a beating over the last decade, aside from Palmeiro, as PED usage is generally linked to power and slugging, and not an overall ability to hit. It also is easy to see why 3,000 hits triggers an automatic election, as it would basically entail something like 12 to 15 seasons of elite performance with a solid decline, or decent performance spread over 18-plus seasons. Then again, players don’t last more than 12 years without having some studly in them, so this club really is for  guys who would get to the milestone without really being considered in the top two or three at their positions.

Omar Vizquel: If Vizquel gets into the Hall of Fame, his defense will play a starring role. Some have compared him to Ozzie Smith in that neither hit all that well, but both were exemplary fielders for an extended period of time. While it would take Vizquel almost a quarter-century to record 3,000 hits — he has 2,823 so far through 22 seasons — it might be hard to keep him out if he achieves that milestone to supplement his perceived fielding prowess. The hit milestone alone might not get him in — given how long it will take him to tally the amount — but the total package might be enough for voters.

Johnny Damon: This is Damon’s age-37 season, and he’s projected to finish the year with 2,724 hits. He would need 276 more to reach 3,000, and whether that comes in the form of 138-a-year for two years or 92-a-year for three years, there’s a real possibility that he puts the milestone trigger to the test before anyone else on this list. If Damon sticks around for a few more seasons, moving into a designated hitter role for a year or two, it doesn’t seem far-fetched that he’d join this exclusive club. He’d be the epitome of a fringe HoFer, however, since he never had notably tremendous seasons — surpassing 4.5 WAR only twice.

Honorable mentions here to Edgar Renteria, Michael Young, and Garret Anderson. Renteria seemed to be on pace for 3,000 hits a few years ago, but his career looks to be done at this point. Young should finish this season with 2,000, and is 35 years old. He has also averaged 180 hits over the last three seasons. He is a longshot, but it isn’t inconceivable. Anderson actually gave me this idea a few years ago, and while he is retired, his 2,529 hits came close to putting voters in an awkward position.

300 Wins
This feat is going to occur less often in the future than the other two, given the usage patterns for pitchers. Freaks of nature like Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia might end up in the 250 to 270 range, but it’s unlikely that many hurlers will reach 300 wins again. If someone does, he’ll have to have the durability of the one man who has a chance of achieving the milestone without ever being considered among the game’s best.

Jamie Moyer: At 267 wins, Moyer needs only 33 victories to potentially become the last 300-game winner for a long, long time. He’ll miss the entire season due to injury, but he has said repeatedly that he plans to return. His skill-set seems age-proof at this point, and if he gets to 300 wins as a 50-year old pitcher, doesn’t he have to get in on novelty alone?


So what say ‘ye? Which of the guys above will reach their milestones, and will any get into the Hall of Fame if they do?



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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.


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JD
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JD
4 years 11 months ago

I still don’t understand why people say nobody will get to 300 wins when a host of pitchers (Maddux, Glavine, Johnson) all got to 300 wins in the 5-man rotation era. It’s going to happen. Unless all teams go to 6-man rotations and limit starters to 5 inning games (neither of which will become the norm unless the 25-man roster expands), someone’s getting to 300. More than one guy, too.

Mike Tagliere
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Mike Tagliere
4 years 11 months ago

I would tend to agree with most players on this list to be borderline hall of famers. However, I disagree on the biggest player featured in this article, Paul Konerko. He has vastly improved his all around game since he came into the league and is always in the top 5 1B. He suffers from media support as do most of the players on your list. For example, this stat line of .312, 236 HR, 1135 RBI compared to Konerko’s .282, 381 HR, 1208 RBI. The player in the first is Derek Jeter who was a good player, is by all media’s predictions, a first ballot HOF. He is obviously someone who has benefitted from the media, being IMO one of the most overrated players of our time (Very good, but not great). Jeter is almost finished while Konerko has at least 3-4 decent years left in him. Position, media perception, and public perception should be left out of the HOF. Numbers speak for themselves in baseball.

Santos
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Santos
4 years 11 months ago

Derek Jeter also plays shortstop, a difficult defensive position, while Konerko plays 1B the easiest defensive position. Also, using batting average and RBIs to argue the case is futile since they tell very little about the offensive ability of a player. Derek Jeter may be overrated, but to get that line out of a shortstop for 15 years is much more valuable than Konerko’s. To be general, just look at their career wOBAs: Jeter – .369, Konerko – .367. Take in position scarcity and games played (2357 for Jeter, 1916 for Konerko) and it show that it’s not just the media’s creation that he is considered a hall of famer and Konerko is not. Comparing a 1B to a shortstop using batting average and RBIs is simply not fair.

Chris
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Chris
4 years 11 months ago

In just over 12 seasons (not counting ’97 or this one yet) Konerko’s defense has been disgustingly bad. He’s only managed a 26.7 WAR despite his hitting prowess. In fact, I’m a little shocked to see that his OPS is only .858. Given that this site is a proponent of the 70 WAR benchmark (this is obviously not an official HoF number), it’s easy to see why there’s a strong argument against Konerko being inducted here.

And for as much as Jeter is over-hyped and as much as I hate him? He also is 6 hits away from 3k and has accumulated a 72.8 WAR in his career.

funketown
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funketown
4 years 11 months ago

Among first baseman between 2002 and 2011, Paul Konerko is 12th in WAR. He is behind Pujols, Berkman, Cabrera (recent 1B albeit), Helton, Teixera, Lee, Thome, Gonzalez, Delgado, Howard, and Fielder.

How is he a top 5 1B? He’s a terrible defender, he runs like molasses, and isn’t even in the top 10 in wOBA over that time among 1B.

Moe
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Moe
4 years 11 months ago

What about Jim Thome and his 600 homeruns? Does he qualify in your mind as a hall of famer? I don’t know if he’ll get in.

Chris
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Chris
4 years 11 months ago

The only argument that could be made is that he DH’d for the last 6 years (if he retires after the season) of his career, so a mini-version of the same plight that Edgar Martinez faced. Thome should be in though regardless.

Santos
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Santos
4 years 11 months ago

@Stan –

.248/ .378/ .514 .381 wOBA 130 wRC+ for Dunn
.277/ .404/ .558 .407 wOBA 145 wRC+ for Thome

I think between Thome never being near as bad as Dunn was defensively, having the massive counting stats (although Thome has 10 years in the league on him), and being an all around better hitter, Thome is considered a shoe in. His reputation as ‘one of the good guys’ in baseball and a great hitter doesn’t hurt his case either. Dunn’s reputation as a 1 dimensional hitter who only walks, strikes out, or hits homeruns, coupled with glaringly bad defense is going to hurt him in the eyes of the voters despite his actual value to a baseball team.

I personally don’t see Adam Dunn being on a HoF path.

RobBob
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RobBob
4 years 11 months ago

Thome’s numbers are better than Dunn’s, that’s for sure. But the difference between their numbers doesn’t scream to me “Thome’s a shoo-in” and “Dunn’s got no shot”. The HoF line is not really that fine.

Santos
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Santos
4 years 11 months ago

@Robbob

I agree that the raw numbers don’t scream “Thome’s a shoo-in” and “Dunn’s got no shot”, but I think the difference in their numbers multiplied by the 10 extra years Thome has been in the league compared to Dunn probably does. I guess I’m still open to Dunn’s HoF chances, I just don’t think I’d bet too heavily on it at this point in time. From a voter standpoint (not that I am one, but I’m just guessing) he has a lot of negatives that make him less attractive to a potential HoF voter than a lot of other players (not just bad defense but historically bad defense, low average, walks too much if that even makes sense).

Stan
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Stan
4 years 11 months ago

Leaving out this year (yeah, I know you can’t exactly do that)
Dunn had 27 WAR in 9 years, 3 WAR/yr
Leaving out this year Thome has 70 WAR in 20 years for an even 3.5 WAR/yr.
Both are below Edgar Martinez’ 70 WAR in 17 years.

I for one believe the fact that Thome played a position for most of his career counts for a lot over a career DH and would put him in the HOF well ahead of Edgar.

Obviously Dunn would not only have to revert to his “prime” years but keep his “prime” years going into his 40’s but I don’t believe his candidacy is any crazier than, say, Edgar’s. I think he’s in the discussion for the Hall.

NEPP
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NEPP
4 years 11 months ago

Thome is a no-question HoF…shocked that you even brought this up. He was one of the best hitters of his era.

Chris
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Chris
4 years 11 months ago

@Mike Tagliere: Position should be left out of the Hall of Fame discussion? That’s ridiculous. I guess nearly all catchers are screwed.

Jason B
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Jason B
4 years 11 months ago

Yeah I thought that was the single most ill-informed comment I’ll read today. (I like throwing down a challenge and seeing if it will be topped. Maybe Jim Bowden will say something else about OPSBI’s.)

nathan
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nathan
4 years 11 months ago

DHs everywhere stood up and rejoiced, but then you had to smack them back down.

JS
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JS
4 years 11 months ago

You forgot another surefire HoF benchmark, the 3000k club. Every 3000k member (minus said PED user) will be in the Hall of Fame. I could see Javier Vasquez making this club and not getting in.

Chris
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Chris
4 years 11 months ago

His K rate and his usefulness have dropped considerably the past 2 years, and he’s at 2.4k now. How much longer are you expecting him to pitch?

Devon Young
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4 years 11 months ago

I’d love to see Moyer hit 300 W’s and play ’til he’s 50+. I think he should get lots of votes for the endurance. Think about it, how many guys can pitch at age 50 and beat batters half their age? And do it without a great fastball like Nolan Ryan, or a great knuckle like Niekro? That’s an incredible feat if Moyer reaches it. That could be HOF. I’d like to see that happen.

Blue
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Blue
4 years 11 months ago

For me, 300 wins is sacred enough and tough enough that he would have my vote.

NBarnes
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NBarnes
4 years 11 months ago

I think if Moyer gets to 300, he’s absolutely an HoFer. He’d be totally unique in baseball history. He’e be the best there’s ever been at what he does.

Santos
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Santos
4 years 11 months ago

He;d be the best there’s ever been at pitching?

jorgath
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jorgath
4 years 11 months ago

At slow-pitching for success.

nathan
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nathan
4 years 11 months ago

Why does he have to stop there? I want 400 wins at age 60!

Mike Tagliere
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Mike Tagliere
4 years 11 months ago

What I’m saying is that by growing up and playing a position doesn’t make you great…as much as people love the romance to think baseball is a team sport, it’s not. It is the one of the most individual sports out there. I also suppose that the previous white sox 1B Frank Thomas isn’t a HOF because he was horrible as a fielder? Absolutely not. Just because Jeter plays shortstop does that mean that he is one of the best players of all time? No. He may have been one of the best shortstops of our time, but last I checked, it’s not the positional hall of fame. The hall of fame should have the best of the best in it, regardless of position.

funketown
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funketown
4 years 11 months ago

Compare Frank Thomas to Paul Konerko:
Thomas: .301/.419/.555 (.416 wOBA)
Konerko: .282/.357/.501 (.367 wOBA)

Thomas was one of the best hitters of all time, and certainly one of the best hitting 1B of all time. Overall, Konerko is a slightly above average player; all of his value is in his bat.

Also, if you can’t see the difference between playing shortstop and 1B I’m not really sure what to say…

Santos
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Santos
4 years 11 months ago

So what you’re saying is that since Paul Konerko gets to play 1st base and doesn’t have to move far or make throws often, he shouldn’t be judged any differently than a guy who has to cover more ground, make more throws, and turn double plays more often? You’re saying those two should be judged equally even though they perform vastly different jobs? In that case no pitcher should be in the hall of fame except maybe Babe Ruth. I mean, none of em could hit worth a lick. Not compared to Paul Konerko at least.

fredsbank
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fredsbank
4 years 11 months ago

so you’re like, kind of an idiot, arent you?

Adam
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Adam
4 years 11 months ago

Jones hall of fame candidacy will be doomed for the same reason Jim Edmonds’ was: Too many people view center field as roughly the same as a corner outfielder. In my mind, they were equals (Edmonds had better bat, Jones had the better glove but they were both pretty damn good at both) and both deserve to go to Cooperstown. They were probably the 2nd and 3rd best center fielders in baseball since the decline of Mays/Mantle (behind Griffey, obviously), and it’s sad that they won’t get honored due to sportswriter ignorance.

jpg
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jpg
4 years 11 months ago

Dunn looks like a slam dunk to me. It doesn’t even seem like its up for debate, unless his struggles this year are a precursor to career falling off the cliff. Even if he went on the DL and didn’t hit another HR the rest of the season, he would only need to average 20 HR a year over the next seven to have 500 going into his age 38 season. He’s only going to have to average a little over 30 HR per year over that same period to have 600 heading into that same age 38 season. If his struggles this year are a fluke, then IMO Dunn’s HoF candidacy is pretty much all up to him and how long he feels like playing. If he hits 300 more jacks and passes Mays’ 660 he cruises into the Hall.

state school grad
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state school grad
4 years 11 months ago

dunn will average probably 15 homers and .209 the next 8 years. matt stairs like

lets hope dunns body holds up like thomes and then its a slamdunk.

Luke in MN
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Luke in MN
4 years 11 months ago

As I said above, I don’t see a Dunn argument at all unless he hits the 600 mark and that somehow magically gets him in. The homers are sexy, but by wRC+ Dunn has been exactly as good a hitter over his career (with decline phase looming) as John Olerud, who no one seems to think is a hall of famer despite being one of the best defensive 1st basemen of all time. Dunn has huge isolated discipline and power, but his OBP and SLG just aren’t *that* sexy because of the poor average. He’s clearly in a hitting tier below the guys like Thome who will or have gotten in without knowing what to do with a glove.

state school grad
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state school grad
4 years 11 months ago

moyer had the 8-10th best changeup ever in mlb history ( not based on pitch value but via my personal account and the account of others )

he gets my vote!
good for moyer

ichiro – auto matic, so is omar, andruw jones, no thanks.

j damon he is an enhancer in the roid era, no thnx.

Deadpool
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Deadpool
4 years 11 months ago

You know, I think Andruw’s biggest problem isn’t that he declined, it’s how. He had that massive 50+ HR season be hitting to all fields, then he decided he was a dead pull hitter. Most in Atlanta felt the full breakdown coming after the next year, and Andruw flat refused to believe anything was wrong or to work to fix any problems. I don’t think many who watched him in his last year at Atlanta were that suprised by his troubles in a Dodger uniform. I think all that created a sense that he wasn’t willing to work out his problems which has left a bad taste I’m the mouth of people who should have hewn his biggest supporters.

Blue
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Blue
4 years 11 months ago

I see no reason for Ichiro to be “automatic”. In fact, I think he has a highly problematic case.

state school grad
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state school grad
4 years 11 months ago

ichiro won a roy, mvp his first season, dont recall anyone off my top of head getting 200 hits every year their first 10 seasons in the bigs.

hes a SHOE IN first ballot! he is a member of the most wins single season team, a team that did not include AROID!

baty
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baty
4 years 11 months ago

How is Ichiro not automatic? Just thinking about milestones, it’s not out of the question to think he may have been part of the 4,000 hit club if he were born in the U.S.

…Not to mention he’s one of the greatest defensive outfielders of all time.

Blue
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Blue
4 years 11 months ago

The reality–not the hype–is that Ichiro has been a solid 4 to 5 WAR player for 10 years. That is simply not a HOF career at this stage.

fredsbank
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fredsbank
4 years 11 months ago

ichiro also came to america at age 27 and got more hits over the period of time that he’s been in than anyone in history, and is an outstanding defender

nathan
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nathan
4 years 11 months ago

I’d put him in, and I’m not his biggest fan. But I think you also have to take into account what he has done for the game. It’s even more popular now in Asia (it was before but more so now) and Ichiro is a big part of that. Also he helped Americans take Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and other Asian players seriously. All that is important to baseball. So he has historical significance.

Mike Tagliere
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Mike Tagliere
4 years 11 months ago

Wow, I want to say I wasn’t comparing Konerko to the Big Hurt. I was simply stating that fielding has nothing to do with how great of a hitter one has been, like Frank. What I am saying is that the lack of media for Paulie has hurt his view to all that follow baseball. If for instance, Konerko played for the Yankees, he would be much more popular and be considered a future hall of famer with the offensive stats he has put up over a long span… Now while I like Jeter, I cannot ignore the fact that he is overloved and overhyped. Neither can he. There are plenty of HOF players with Konerko’s numbers, and a below average glove. The HOF seems to have become a popularity contest and it has left out one of the greatest hitters of all time, Barry Bonds (steroids or not). But that’s a whole different debate…

Santos
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Santos
4 years 11 months ago

Bonds is not eligible for the HoF yet so ya can’t really blame the voters on that one…

funketown
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funketown
4 years 11 months ago

You’re right, fielding has nothing to do with how great of a hitter a player is. It does, however, have a great deal of influence on how valuable a player is, and how great a player is. If you’re going to put Konerko in the HOF, you’re going to need to just about double the amount of players in the HOF. Do you think Richie Sexson deserves any consideration for the HOF as well?

Random Guy
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Random Guy
4 years 11 months ago

Is Sabathia that much of a longshot for 300 wins? With his durability and run support, I’d think you can put him down for 85 or so over the next 5 years (17 per year), which would put him at 250 wins at age 36; a graceful decline from there should get him pretty close to 300 by the time he’s 40. Granted, this is something of an optimistic projection, but not a far-fetched scenario at all.

John DiFool
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John DiFool
4 years 11 months ago

I’d put my money on Doc over CC (tho in fact I wouldn’t bet on either), as CC’s girth has to have a long-term effect on his longevity, and his K rate has been steadily declining (and K rate has been proven to be an excellent “timer” for longevity). Doc’s K rate has gone up this year, and has been up for the past few years.

Ira
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Ira
4 years 11 months ago

Sabathia averaging 17 wins over the next 5 years might be low. he’s averaged 19 over the past 4 seasons.

If he does this for 5 more, he’s looking at 260 wins at age 35. (assuming he stays healthy). Then its simply a willingness to keep pitching.

look at Andy Pettitte. 39 years old, but 240 wins, and he was fine until 2010, then he quickly retired. can he still pitch? is he a HOFer? guy pitched 16 seasons and never once finished with a below .500 record. 15 seasons with 10+ wins, 10 seasons of 200+ innings, 14 seasons with 100+ strikeouts, career ERA under 4 how will the “steroid” era affect pitchers?

shamus mcfitzy
Member
shamus mcfitzy
4 years 11 months ago

I definitely don’t know if he’s going to continue to be so durable. Eventually being a great big fat person is going to take its toll on a guy in his mid 30’s. I can see him starting to struggle on the way to that 85 and then the decline after that not being so graceful.

state school grad
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state school grad
4 years 11 months ago

you never know where cc will end up, possibly in a nats uniform.

TK
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TK
4 years 11 months ago

Calling Konerko this generations Fred McGriff is a slap in the face to the Crime Dog. (Not that it’s all that matters, but) McGriff’s WAR for a 7-year stretch was never lower than 3.7, and was often much higher. Konerko’s only bested that twice, and both times by very little.

NBarnes
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NBarnes
4 years 11 months ago

I was about to say. McGriff was way better than Konerko. McGriff is a borderline HoF case. Konerko isn’t even close.

Luke in MN
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Luke in MN
4 years 11 months ago

McGriff was a much better all-around player than either Konerko or Dunn.

Random Guy
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Random Guy
4 years 11 months ago

I agree with this. I see a lot of writing about how McGriff “was never perceived to be elite.” It’s hard to comment on how a player is “perceived,” and I didn’t take any surveys at the time; but personally, I sure perceived him to be elite in the late 80s and early 90s. Apparently the Padres did too, trading two bona fide superstars to get him and Tony Fernandez. (Fernandez was a good player but make no mistake, McGriff was the prize in that deal.) The MVP voters put him in the top 10, year in and year out. I’d say he was pretty elite.

state school grad
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state school grad
4 years 11 months ago

i love mcgrifffffff!!!!!!!!!!!!

hes very friendly and likable. good for kids.

he still is in the rays organization doing charity work!

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Guest
jpg
4 years 11 months ago

I think what I said above hits it on the head about Dunn. If he makes it 600 he’s in. Reading some of these comments are funny. Do half of you even remember Thome’s prime? He was essentially a slightly better version of Dunn. I’m doing this from a mobile phone but if my memory serves me Thome was bangin 40 dbls and 10 triples to go along with his 45+ HR per year. I don’t remember him swiping 20 bags a year either. The line about Dunn “he either walks, strikes out, or goes deep” applies to Thome just as well. Thome most years hit in the .250-.260 range. Hit a bunch of bombs, walked a lot and struck out amongst the league leaders every year. That said Thome does have several advantages working for him:

1. He hit 50 HR in a season. Dunn hasnt .
2. For what it worth Thome had many years above Dunn’s career high 102 (I think) RBI. Again I don’t have the luxury of stats in front of me but my guess is that Thome has had several seasons with 120+ RBI (and we know the voters love RBI)
3. Thome played on many really good teams and had postseason heroics to match.
4. Thome was a adequate defender. Dunn was one of the worst outfielders in MLB history according to the defensive metrics and the eyeball.
5. Thome is by all accounts a great guy and his signing by the Phillies restored credibility to the franchise. The case can be made that Thome’s arrival was the catalyst that started thr Phils toward their current juggernaut status.

So yeah he was better and more impactful player than Dunn. No doubt. But let’s not exaggerate the size of the gap between them purely as offensive players. They are VERY similar. If anything Dunn is essentially a “poor man’s” Jim Thome.

baty
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baty
4 years 11 months ago

Dunn swiped 19 bags his first full year…
Dunn’s season high for AVG is still 10 points lower than Thome’s career AVG (.277)

Thome’s career wOBA: .407
7 years higher than .420
a 4 year stretch where he averaged higher than .425
a peak of .459

Dunn’s strongest season was a .403. Both are from slightly different hitting eras, but still… Dunn is an EXTREMELY poor man’s Jim Thome

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Guest
jpg
4 years 11 months ago

Meant to say *wasn’t* bangin 40 dbls and 10 trpls…..

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Guest
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4 years 11 months ago

Baty I agree 100% but you can’t use wOBA because other than Posnanski, none of the voters even know what it is. The voters primarily look at AVG, HR, RBI, and less so SLUG and OBP. When looking at the “conventional” metrics they are very similar. I guess you can say my prediction is that Dunn will cruise into the Hall provided he stays healthy, returns to form and swats 600 jacks before he’s done. He will probably get in easier than he should. Conversely i think Thome will have a tougher road induction despite clearly being the better player because of the era he played in and PED shroud. Also what I meant was Thome wasn’t stealling a ton of bags or hitting triples. It was attempt to illustrate that the skill set of the two players was similar. I just worded it poorly.

baty
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baty
4 years 11 months ago

And in my opinion a perfect example of why WAR can’t be used as a be-all end-all form of evaluation.

baty
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baty
4 years 11 months ago

oops… sorry that was in the wrong spot… that was for Ichiro…

I was only arguing Thome as a greater player… Voters certainly may not see it that way

smoldering
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smoldering
4 years 11 months ago

As you state, voters primarily look at AVG, among other classic numbers. As soon as they see Dunn’s career AVG, they will move to the next name without hesitation. Not a single non-pitcher in the HOF has a career AVG as low as Dunn’s. The current lowest is a .253 average by Ray Schalk, a catcher who was a miracle worker with the glove. Unless Dunn completely changes his hitting style to bring his career number to the .260 range, I have a hard time seeing him getting in. Even with 600 HRs, he’d still have to contend with the issue of nearly half that production happening while he’s at DH (since he’ll never sniff the field again in a full time role).

Bpdelia
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Bpdelia
4 years 11 months ago

Tough call but id say u would have to put moyer in if he got there. His career hasn’t been dominant, or even great, but it has been remarkable. Nearly the definition of exceptional.

As for hrs obviosly for player s of 95-2004 600 is the new 500.

500 is like 400 was in the era I grew up in, great, worthy of discussing but no t an auto in.

That is now 600.

3k hits and ks still are autos.

500 saves is auto.

300 wins auto.

800 sb auto

TheGrandslamwich
Member
TheGrandslamwich
4 years 11 months ago

If Bagwell doesn’t get in first ballot (83.9 WAR, and never linked to steroids), which should be considered a shameful injustice, if not a criminal act by the voters, Dunn and Konerko have no chance.

Carlos (@carlos_el)
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Carlos (@carlos_el)
4 years 11 months ago

As a Dodger fan, I’ll be actively rooting for Andruw Jones to not make the Hall. :)

Rod
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Rod
4 years 11 months ago

Someone mentioned Posnanski as being the only writer who knows what wOBA is. Are Dave, Jonah and other Fangraphs writers – as well as Baseball Prospectus – in the BBWAA? I know it takes 10 years to be eligible for a vote, but a lot of SABR guys should be able to vote soon. If that’s the case, you have to think in 10 years or so, some of these guys like Dunn and Bagwell would have a good shot.

jwb
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jwb
4 years 11 months ago

Christina Kahrl, Keith Law, and Rob Neyer are BBWAA members. Other SABRmetrically aware writers who have mainstream jobs (Joe Sheehan and Dan Szymborski come to mind, I’m sure I’m missing others) are not, as of 2009.
http://bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1765&Itemid=111

Kevin
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Kevin
4 years 11 months ago

This post also illustrates just how difficult it is to get into the Hall. For example, my Phillies, I love Utley, Howard, Victorino, and Rollins but it’s unlikely any of them will make it in. Hamels is young enough to have a shot. Oswalt and Lee have outside shots, but Halladay seems pretty likely.

NEPP
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NEPP
4 years 11 months ago

Utley has a shot if he bounces back and stays healthy for a few more years and then has a steady decline. None of the rest other than Halladay have a shot in hell.

Caveat: If Howard ages gracefully and makes it to 500 HRs, he’ll get support but it’ll be more of a Jim Rice type case.

But yeah, completely agree.

Oswalt has been overlooked his entire career. Great pitcher but he never won the CY so he’ll have a harder path to make it in.

miffleball
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miffleball
4 years 11 months ago

all the WAR arguments are all well and good, but by WAR…
-ryan howard’s 2006 MVP season had him as the third best 1st baseman and the 11th best hitter (tied with carlos guillen)
-in 2008, when ryan howard was 2nd in the MVP voting, he was the 11th best first baseman (behind conner jackson) and the 72nd best hitter

i can keep giving examples like this, but i think WAR might be missing something, particularly on slugging first baseman who are rated poorly by UZR and the new baserunning calculation. there has to be a reason that the baseball universe might consider some of these guys great and sabermetrics says that they stink (in 7 years, howard has 22 WAR despite being a consistent all-star without being voted a starter and placing in the top 5 in MVP votes four times).

As crude as it may be, if you want the runs that a guy actually is involved in, take his runs and RBIs and subtract HRs and see how many times a guy was involved in changing the score (yes, taking into account his teammates, as there is more than one player on the field at a time, it’s not tennis).

This is not to say that WAR is wrong or useless, just that there might be flaws in a relatively new method of statistical analysis that is still evolving (see baserunning, added just weeks ago) and that different perspectives might change perceived values of some of these players

Zeke
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Zeke
4 years 11 months ago

Or, alternatively, MVP voters might be making bad choices…

Either hypothesis would explain your observations.

miffleball
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miffleball
4 years 11 months ago

You are correct that MVP voters could all be fools, but in the last ten years…

2010 NL: WAR leaders – Pujols, Votto, Zimmerman, Holliday, Torres
MVP Votes – Votto, Pujols, CarGo, Gonzalez, Tulo
2009 NL: WAR leaders – Pujols, Utley, Hanley, Zimmerman, Fielder
MVP Votes – Pujols, Hanley, Howard, Fielder, Tulo
2008 NL: WAR leaders – Pujols, Utley, Berkman, Beltran, Hanley
MVP Votes – Pujols, Howard, Braun, Manny, Berkman
2007 NL: WAR leaders – Wright, Pujols, Utley, Holliday, Chipper
MVP votes – Rollins, Holliday, Fielder, Wright, Howard
2006 NL: WAR leaders – Pujols, Beltran, Utley, Cabrera, A Jones
MVP votes – Howard, Pujols, Berkman, Beltran, Cabrera
2005 NL: WAR leaders – A. Jones, Pujols, Utley, Lee, Ensberg
MVP votes – Pujols, A Jones, Lee, Ensberg, Cabrera
2004 NL: WAR leaders – Bonds, Beltre, Rolen, Drew, Pujols
MVP votes – Bonds, Beltre, Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds
2003 NL: WAR leaders – Bonds, Pujols, Sheffield, Helton, Giles
MVP votes – Bonds, Pujols, Sheffield, Thome, Javy Lopez
2002 NL: WAR leaders – Bonds, Guerrero, Kent, Giles, Rolen
MVP votes – Bonds, Pujols, Berkman, Guerrero, Green
2001 NL: WAR leaders – Bonds, Sosa, L. Gonzalez, Walker, Pujols
MVP votes – Bonds, Sosa, L. Gonzalez, Pujols, Berkman

Given the huge disparity in every year of the last decade (the AL is the same, I just got sick of typing it), I guess it’s possible that BBWAA really doesn’t follow baseball, they just report on it, and they have no idea of who is playing well and who is playing poorly in any given year.
Or, I guess it might be possible that there is another approach used by many people to evaluate players that include counting numbers, because they actually did happen and teammates, since they exist. Certainly it hurts a guy like Marcus Giles to have been on awful teams since his talent wasn’t seen (although it didn’t exactly elevate those teams either).
I’m not saying that one’s right and the other wrong. Simply that they are different tools for player evaluation that probably both have validity and it’s important to remember that when evaluating a player’s contributions, particularly when there is a vast difference between one assessment and another.

Zeke
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Zeke
4 years 11 months ago

@miffleball: First of all, I’m not even sure I’d call that a “huge disparity”…MVP votes apparently correspond to WAR roughly a billion times more accurately than I would’ve guessed. (Very rough approximation, ofc.) Heck, if you just discount all Phillies, than it’s pretty much bang on. (Not that picking Bonds every year, then Pujols every year is really that complicated, but I’ve seen people screw up simpler tasks.)

But even if we assume there is a huge disparity, all that proves is that MVP voters and WAR-espousing SABRists (which is ofc not even all SABRists) value different things / evaluate things differently–w/ poor fielding 1st basemen somewhere near the top of that list. I don’t think any of that should be a surprise to anyone at this point.

Dexter Bobo
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Dexter Bobo
4 years 11 months ago

You should read more and comment less.

Alex Remington
Member
4 years 11 months ago

I disagree on the McGriff comp. In the late ’80s, he was probably the best first baseman in the AL; Konerko has neither a comparable peak nor position relative to his peers. I get what you’re going for, but I think McGriff was a cut above.

ChrisFromBothell
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ChrisFromBothell
4 years 11 months ago

Johnny Damon will be a HOFer because of the whole “we’re just a gang of idiots”, caveman-look, grit and hustle thing with the Red Sox.

The Iron Horse
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The Iron Horse
4 years 11 months ago

@Chris From Bothell- Damon is an interesting guy because which team does he go in under. He played 4 years for the Sox and won a WS. He played 4 years for the Yankees and won a WS. I would think it is between those 2 teams. Which cap do you think the HOF chooses for him?

AJS
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AJS
4 years 11 months ago

No cap, because he’s not getting in.

yungmuneyholla wat it dew
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yungmuneyholla wat it dew
4 years 11 months ago

correct

Vince
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Vince
4 years 11 months ago

Adam Dunn has NEVER been on a decent baseball team until THIS YEAR, and look at how thats going. Jim Thome IN, Manny IN, Ivan Rodrigez IN, Ryan Howard IN, AROD IN, you have to look at how players affect teams as well, Manny was an Idiot, but he made his teams winners didnt he? I dont think you can ever say the same for Adam Dunn

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