Posted tagged ‘Harmon Killebrew’

Reconstructing the MLB Hall of Fame: First base

August 8, 2010

The first base results are in and some of the results may surprise you.

IN:
Lou Gehrig- 100%
Jimmie Foxx- 100%
Pete Rose- 100%
Capp Anson- 100%
Roger Conor- 100%
Jeff Bagwell- 100%
Rod Carew- 100%
Dan Brouthers- 100%
Frank Thomas- 100%
Eddie Murray- 100%
Harmon Killebrew- 100%
Willie McCovey- 100%
Johnny Mize- 100%
Dick Allen- 100%
Willie Stargell- 87.5%
Mark McGwire- 87.5%
Hank Greenberg- 87.5%
George Sisler- 87.5%

NOT IN:

Bill Terry- 62.5%
Keith Hernandez- 50%
Frank Chance- 50%
Rafael Palmeiro- 25%
Will Clark- 25%
Tony Perez- 12.5%
Norm Cash- 12.5%
John Olerud- 12.5%
Ed Konetchy- 12.5%
Orlando Cepeda- 12.5%
Boog Powell- 12.5%
Joe Judge- 12.5%
Gil Hodges- 12.5%
Fred McGriff- 0%
Jake Becley- 0%
Jack Clark- 0%
Fred Teney- 0%
Al Oliver- 0%
Jake Daubert- 0%
Mark Grace- 0%
Don Mattingly- 0%

Disappointed Bill Terry and Keith Hernandez fell short. Hernandez was the best first baseman of his birth generation, he was one of the best first basemen of his playing time, he was always one of the best players on his teams if not the best, he was the best defensive first baseman ever, and had a decade long peak of excellent/borderline MVP seasons. But my peers have good reasons for leaving him out.

Players we kicked out: Jake Becley, Jim Bottomley, Orlando Cepeda, Frank Chance, George Kelly, Tony Perez, and Bill Terry

Players we voted in*: Mark McGwire and Dick Allen

*Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas were also voted in, but they never appeared on a ballot yet since they are not currently eligible. We actually have faith that the BBWAA will vote them on the first ballot.

Next up: Second base

Recognizing Scott Rolen’s Greatness

June 18, 2010

So many times we get caught up in following the all-time greats and we fail to pay attention to those who were not as great, but were still damn good players. This thread is going to focus on a player that never really got the recognition that he deserved over the course of his career. Even though his career is still ongoing and hes producing solid numbers, he is still not getting the recognition he should be getting. His career took place during the steroid era in which you could basically jack 40+ homers and you could be horrible defensively and still be considered a good player. However, baseball has shifted away from the power game with the abolition of steroids in the past couple of years and it has focused more on defense, which was always Rolen’s strength. Rolen was also one of those players, similarly to Ken Griffey Jr., that if he stayed on the field a lot more, he would have had a much better career. Given the amount of shoulder injuries that Rolen has had in his career, it is even more remarkable that he has battled back to being a solid everyday player and has been able to stay at third base and play good defense, thus not limiting his value. So maybe Rolen’s inability to consistently stay on the field limited some of his value to the common fan. However, anyone who follows baseball religiously knows that Rolen is a much better player than the common fan perceives him to be.

You don’t have to be a Cardinals fan to know who the most popular player in the Cardinals organization has been over the past decade. Rolen has been overshadowed by Albert Pujols as well as some other great Cardinals players on those strong World Series Cardinals teams. The Cardinals made the World Series in 2004 and won it in 2006. In those two year Rolen ended up having some of the best seasons of his career. In 2004, Rolen had the best year of his career. He posted career highs in home runs (34), OBP (.409), wOBA (.421), RC+ (162), and WAR (8.8). He also posted an outstanding UZR of 21.2. However, most impressively, Rolen was the most valuable player on his team in 2004 in terms of WAR. He had a higher WAR than both Pujols and Edmonds! In 2006, Rolen posted a .373 wOBA, 130 RC+, a UZR of 11.7 and a 5.5 WAR which was good for second best on his team. I think you can guess who might have been ahead of him in WAR. So as you can clearly see, Rolen was a key contributor on both of those World Series teams.

So we know that Rolen was important to the Cardinals success, but lets look at how his own success stacks up against some other third basemen. The following WAR Graph will show how Rolen’s career stacks up against Ron Santo, George Brett, and Brooks Robinson. I chose two players that played a lot longer and are considered much better players than Rolen and I chose Santo because he is on Rolen’s level in terms of length of career and many people feel like he should be a HOF’er.

The graph shows the cumulative WAR by age for these four players. Rolen stacks up pretty well here as he remains with the group throughout his prime years. He is right on par with Brooks Robinson and he only trails George Brett by about 8-10 WAR until through 30 years old. However, after the age of 30 Rolen’s curve flattens out. This is mostly because he began to be troubled by injuries and the most amount of games that he played since they won the World Series in 2006 was 128. He begins to fall behind Robinson, Santo, and Brett. If Rolen had stayed healthy, maybe he would have been on track to catch those three. Rolen’s WAR per 600 PA’s is 5.42, Santo’s is 5.06, Robinson’s is 4.82, and Brett’s is 4.72. Now im only doing this to show the impact that injuries had on Rolen. Im not implying that Rolen is better than any of these guys. This next graph shows his early 30’s injury impact even further in terms of WAR.

Here is each players WAR that corresponds to how old they were in that given year. You can clearly see that Rolen’s blue line is close to Brett’s and Robinson’s. Santo had a great peak and then declined early so his line is a good bit higher. Rolen tails off at about 32 and has not gotten 4+ WAR in a season since age 31. Brett and Robinson were able to maintain that success, which is why they are better players than Rolen.

So having said that, where does Rolen rank among third basemen all-time?

We know that these players are definitely better than Rolen.

– Eddie Mathews

– Mike Schmidt

– Brooks Robinson

– Chipper Jones

– George Brett

– Wade Boggs

These players are DEFINITELY better than Rolen. Im not going to put Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez or Harmon Killebrew on this list because they played different positions for more than half their careers. So, that leaves guys like Paul Molitor, Ron Santo, Dick Allen, and Tony Perez. However, I am going to give Rolen the edge on these guys cause they have similar numbers offensively and Rolen is MUCH better defensively. However, that could be argued. Either way, Rolen ends up being a borderline top 10 third basemen of all-time.

I think I have made my point very clear. Rolen is not only one of the most underrated players in our era, he is one of the most underrated players of all-time. He is and should be a HOF’er and hes a top 10 third basemen of all-time. He has my recognition and hopefully he now has yours.

Top 100 players of all-time: 90-81

December 4, 2009

YC picks up where he left off

90. Roy Campanella
.360/.500/.38536.3

Campanella was a three time MVP, (1951, 1953, and 1955) and had good power for a catcher. He hit 242 career home runs. He made eight All-Star appearances and led the Dodgers to five pennants while winning one World Series title.

89. Mariano Rivera
1.01/80.1 %/2.78/46.8
The G.O.A.T. in the closer role and the only closing pitching on this list is the great Mariano Rivera. Rivera is still playing today and will be the last man to wear number 42. He may not own the saves record, but the man does his job. Rivera’s career ERA is 2.25. Also known for his clutch playoff pitching, Mo has the most saves and lowest ERA in post season history. (39 and 0.74).

88. Bob Feller
1.32/74.0 %/3.48/66.0

Feller posted a 3.25 ERA in his twenty years as a professional ballplayer. He had twelve one hitters and set a record for strikeouts in a season with 348 in 1946. Feller also won the Pitching Triple Crown in 1940. He was an eight time All-Star as well. Feller accumulated 2581 strikeouts over his career.

87. Harmon Killebrew
.376/.509/.389/61.2

A true power hitter, Killebrew spent his first four seasons on the bench before bursting on the scene with 42 home runs in 1959. Killebrew went on to hit forty home runs in a season seven more times. Killer was the 1969 AL MVP and was sent to eleven All-Star games. He is apart of the 500 HR and 2,000 hit clubs. (573 homers, 2,086 hits)

86. Steve Carlton

1.25/74.1 %/3.15/84.4

Carlton was a four time Cy Young winner, one time Triple Crown winner, and a one time
Gold Glove winner. He too was a strikeout pitcher and held the strikeout career record until Nolan Ryan broke it. Carlton also made ten All-Star game appearances. He also won 329 games in his career.

85. Al Simmons

.380/.535/.409/63.5

In each of his first eleven seasons Simmons drove in over 100 runs. Simmons was one of the best hitting OF’s during the 20’s and 30’s. He was a three-time All-Star and he was 73 hits shy from 3000. Simmons had a final career batting average of .334.

84. Willie McCovey
.374/.515/.388/65.1

McCovey had a cove named after him outside AT&T Park. He and teammate Willie Mays formed a powerful duo. Willie McCovey was elected to the Hall in his first season of eligibility in 1986 . He was the 1959 ROY and the 1969 MVP. He was also six time All-Star. His main strength was his power. He hit 521 long balls over his career.

83. Ozzie Smith
.337/.328/.311/64.7

Smith is one of the Cardinals most known ballplayers. The Wizard of Oz had many acrobatic moves in the infield. Smith won thirteen straight Gold Glove awards and he was a sixteen time All-Star. His strength was his defense. He had great range and and is perhaps the greatest defensive player at any position in the history of baseball.

82. Larry Walker

.400/.565/.414/67.1

Walker was a product of Colorado’s perfect hitters park. In 1997 he hit .366 with a .452 OBP, 208 hits, 143 runs, 46 doubles, 49 home runs, 130 RBI, and 33 stolen bases.  He also was won seven Gold Gloves and had five All-Star game appearances. Walker was a fine defensive player who had range and a strong arm.

81. Jim Thome

.404/.557/.406/65.7

Thome is yet another great power hitter on my list. I think he has one of the best strokes in the game. For eleven straight seasons Thome hit at least twenty home runs. Like most power hitters he was either going to walk, strike out, or hit a home run. Thome is a four time All-Star. Thome has hit 541 home runs.