Baseball Hall of Fame: Upcoming Borderline Candidates, Part 2

Baseball Hall of Fame: Upcoming Borderline Candidates, Part 2
06 Nov
2017
Not in Hall of Fame

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Baseball immortality: Precious few attain it, most do not even come close—and some perch on the cusp of that immortality as signified by the Baseball Hall of Fame. Theirs are the test cases, players whose careers, accomplishments, and legacies form the threshold of what separates a Hall of Famer from the rest.

Baseball Hall of Fame voting in the last few years has been fascinating for a number of reasons, particularly the logjam of qualified candidates, which promises to remain an issue for the next few years. That logjam puts additional pressure on the borderline candidates—will they be overlooked, perhaps unfairly, because there are too many candidates from which to choose?

Borderline Candidates, 2018–2019, and Those Not under Discussion

In Part 1 of this series, we examined borderline candidates whose first years of eligibility were 2015 and 2016. In Part 2, we look at the borderline candidates for 2018 and 2019, six for 2018 and five for 2019. Those candidates are:

2018: Johnny Damon, Andruw Jones, Jamie Moyer, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Omar Vizquel

2019: Lance Berkman, Todd Helton, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, Michael Young

The 2018 ballot will see the first-time appearance of another Jones, Chipper Jones, coincidentally a long-time teammate of Andruw, along with Jim Thome, while the following year offers first-timers Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera. All four could be elected in their first year of eligibility, but if not they are certain to be elected before their time on the ballot comes to an end, and rightly so.

Removing those players expected to be a lock for the Hall of Fame leaves us with the following borderline candidates not yet evaluated in this series. For purposes of the comparison immediately below, though, we will retain those 11 candidates evaluated previously for the years 2015 to 2017 in Part 1 of this series.

The following two tables list 22 borderline candidates from 2015 to 2019, 16 position players and 6 pitchers. The players are ranked by their career Wins Above Replacement from Baseball Reference (bWAR) along with other representative qualitative statistics (explained below each table).

Here are the 16 position players, ranked by bWAR. Players under discussion in this article are in bold. Players not in bold text have been discussed in Part 1.

Position Players , Ranked by bWAR

Position Player

Slash Line

wOBA

bWAR

fWAR

OPS+

wRC+

Rolen, Scott

.281/.364/.490

.368

70.0

69.9

122

122

Jones, Andruw

.254/.337/.486

.352

62.8

67.1

111

111

Helton, Todd

.316/.414/.539

.405

61.5

55.3

133

132

Edmonds, Jim

.284/.376/.527

.385

60.3

64.0

132

132

Sheffield, Gary

.292/.393/.514

.391

60.2

62.4

140

141

Guerrero, Vladimir

.318/.379/.553

.390

59.3

56.5

140

136

Damon, Johnny

.284/.352/.433

.344

56.0

42.9

104

105

Berkman, Lance

.293/.406/.537

.400

51.8

55.5

144

144

Vizquel, Omar

.272/.336/.352

.310

45.3

42.0

82

83

Delgado, Carlos

.280/.383/.546

.391

44.3

43.5

138

135

Garciaparra, Nomar

.313/.361/.521

.376

44.2

41.5

124

124

Posada, Jorge

.273/.374/.474

.367

42.7

44.9

121

123

Ordonez, Magglio

.309/.369/.502

.375

38.5

37.8

125

126

Renteria, Edgar

.286/.343/.398

.327

32.1

35.5

94

95

Anderson, Garret

.293/.324/.461

.334

25.6

23.5

102

100

Young, Michael

.300/.346/.441

.342

24.4

26.9

104

104


Slash Line:
Grouping of the player's career batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

wOBA: Weighted on-base average as calculated by FanGraphs. Weighs singles, extra-base hits, walks, and hits by pitch; generally, .400 is excellent and .320 is league-average.

bWAR: Career Wins Above Replacement as calculated by Baseball Reference.

fWAR: Career Wins Above Replacement as calculated by FanGraphs.

OPS+: Career on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, league- and park-adjusted, as calculated by Baseball Reference. Positively indexed to 100, with a 100 OPS+ indicating a league-average player, and values above 100 indicating the degrees better a player is than a league-average player.

wRC+: Career weighted Runs Created, league- and park-adjusted, as calculated by FanGraphs. Positively indexed to 100, with a 100 wRC+ indicating a league-average player, and values above 100 indicating the degrees better a player is than a league-average player.

Scott Rolen 1
Ace third baseman Scott Rolen has the WAR for the Hall of Fame--but does he have the fame to go with it?

Here are the six pitchers, ranked by bWAR. Pitchers under discussion in this article are in bold.

Pitchers, Ranked by bWAR

Pitcher

W-L (S), ERA

bWAR

fWAR

ERA+

ERA–-

FIP–-

Pettitte, Andy

256-153, 3.85

60.9

68.5

117

86

84

Santana, Johan

139-78, 3.20

50.7

45.3

136

74

81

Moyer, Jamie

269-209, 4.25

50.2

48.0

103

97

103

Oswalt, Roy

163-102, 3.36

50.2

49.8

127

79

78

Hoffman, Trevor

61-75 (601), 2.87

28.0

23.0

141

71

75

Wagner, Billy

47-40 (422), 2.31

27.7

23.6

187

54

63

 

W-L (S), ERA: Grouping of the pitcher's career win-loss record (and career saves, if relevant) and career earned run average (ERA).

bWAR: Career Wins Above Replacement as calculated by Baseball Reference.

fWAR: Career Wins Above Replacement as calculated by FanGraphs.

ERA+: Career ERA, league- and park-adjusted, as calculated by Baseball Reference. Positively indexed to 100, with a 100 ERA+ indicating a league-average pitcher, and values above 100 indicating the degrees better a pitcher is than a league-average pitcher.

ERA–: Career ERA, league- and park-adjusted, as calculated by FanGraphs. Negatively indexed to 100, with a 100 ERA– indicating a league-average pitcher, and values below 100 indicating the degrees better a pitcher is than a league-average pitcher.

FIP–: Fielding-independent pitching, a pitcher's ERA with his fielders' impact factored out, league- and park-adjusted, as calculated by FanGraphs. Negatively indexed to 100, with a 100 FIP– indicating a league-average pitcher, and values below 100 indicating the degrees better a pitcher is than a league-average pitcher.

The table below combines both position players and pitchers into a ranking by bWAR with their fWAR values also listed. Players under discussion in this article are in bold.

All Players, Ranked by bWAR

Rank

Player

bWAR

fWAR

1

Rolen, Scott

70.0

69.9

2

Jones, Andruw

62.8

67.6

3

Helton, Todd

61.5

55.3

4

Pettitte, Andy

60.9

68.5

5

Edmonds, Jim

60.3

64.0

6

Sheffield, Gary

60.2

62.4

7

Guerrero, Vladimir

59.3

56.5

8

Damon, Johnny

56.0

42.9

9

Berkman, Lance

51.8

55.5

10

Santana, Johan

50.7

45.3

11

Moyer, Jamie

50.2

48.0

12

Oswalt, Roy

50.2

49.8

13

Vizquel, Omar

45.3

42.0

14

Delgado, Carlos

44.3

43.5

15

Garciaparra, Nomar

44.2

41.5

16

Posada, Jorge

42.7

44.9

17

Ordoñez, Magglio

38.5

37.8

18

Renteria, Edgar

32.1

35.5

19

Anderson, Garret

25.6

23.5

20

Young, Michael

24.4

26.9

21

Hoffman, Trevor

28.0

23.0

22

Wagner, Billy

27.7

23.6


As with previous assessments that use WAR as a ranking tool, WAR is not the be-all-and-end-all statistic although it is a fair assessment of player value: It measures a player's contribution to his team's wins, and it is the only qualitative statistic that enables comparison between position players and pitchers.

As a rough rule of thumb, position players and starting pitchers with a bWAR of 60 or more typically garner serious consideration for the Hall while relief pitchers generate the same consideration at 40 or more. Players with a bWAR of 50 or more do tend to sit on the bubble, with many other factors deciding whether they are legitimate Hall of Famers. That rough rule of thumb is in force in the individual assessments below as we examine the 11 borderline Hall of Fame candidates expected to appear on ballots in 2018 and 2019. Let's start with the six "bubble" candidates for the 2018 ballot.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 08 November 2017 19:16

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