A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ridiculous Item of the Day

If anyone needs another reason to dislike the BBWAA, here you go.

Bet you can't guess which two players had the biggest percentage increases. Don Mattingly got 59 percent more votes this year (86) than last (54). And Dale Murphy got 50 percent more votes this year (75) than last (50).

Murphy collected 96, 116 and 93 votes respectively in his first three elections, then plummeted all the way down to 43 in 2004 and hadn't been above 58 since 2002. So maybe his impassioned stand against The Steroid Generation is helping him.

Mattingly has had a similar history. He got 145 votes in his first election (2001), then steadily cliff-dived until he'd lost nearly 100 of those votes. He hadn't gotten this many votes since 2002. Any theories on him? Ya got me.

Wow. Mattingly gets a 59% increase for no apparent reason, which is only one part of the problem. The other problem is that there are 86 people that actually think Don Mattingly is a Hall of Famer. He has zero business still being on the ballot at this point and that is not necessarily a knock on him. He was an extremely good player, but he is a tier below the Hall of Fame with the Albert Belle's of the world.

He had four really tremendous Hall of Fame-type years and two really good years. The rest? Ok. Nothing great. He also was a perennial Gold Glover, which factors into the equation as well. I guess I really should not be shocked since these are the same people that gave him MVP votes in '94 and '95 with a .291/.364/.445 line with 27 homers and 86 RBIs and a .304/.397.411 line in 97 games in each season respectively.

I think you could make a case for guy like him who had a really short period of dominance, but you would need to be historically good over that period. Say like Bonds' stretch of four years when he had an OPS+ of 205, 204, 183, and 168 or his roided up years of an OPS+ of 259, 268, 231, and 263. I actually liked Mattingly back in the day and it was really fun to have him paired up with Hernandez in New York city back in the day, but I think everyone needs to move on instead of needlessly keeping him on the ballot.

* * *

  • Just as an aside off of the above, I think that Don Mattingly is generally regarded as the better of Hernandez and Mattingly by non-Met fans. However, Hernandez's defense was so much better, it really catapulted him past Mattingly. Keith amassed over 40 more wins according to WARP1 over the course of their careers which is pretty significant.

    It should be noted that Keith did play three years more than Donnie Baseball, but you could take Mattingly's best year and multiply that by three and he would still fall short of Hernandez, who actually has a better case at the Hall because he was historically good at first base. I am not saying he should be in, just that he actually has a better case.

    Here is and an old argument for his Hall of Fame bid. The article also mentions that Keith Hernandez might have been the best fielding first baseman of all time.

    Some quick hits from another interesting discussion on the topic:
    • Jessie Orosco had absolutely nothing left, and Carter and Hernandez went to the mound to discuss how to pitch to Kevin Bass. Hernandez said to Carter, "You call one fastball, and we're fighting."

    • Bill James speaks to this at length in the Bill Buckner comment of the NBJHBA. He doesn't have play-by-play data to provide completely accurate stats, but agrees that the ability to throw out runners at a base other than first is a crucial part of evaluating first basemen's fielding, and comes up with a simple way to estimate the data, at least for teams, if not individual players.

      His comment about the effectiveness of the method is that "Keith Hernandez' teams, both in St. Louis and New York, had huge, huge numbers of assists by the first basemen other than to the pitcher."

      The specific example he gives is 1979, where the league average was 22. The Cardinals, primarily Hernandez, had 44, which led the league; the Dodgers, primarily Garvey, had 10.

    • I'll just post here comments from Michael Humphreys, the creator of Defensive Regression Analysis (DRA), on Hernández (hope that's OK, Michael) which suggest he should deserve extremely strong HoM consideration. I myself probably won't be voting for him, but food for thought...

      "First baseman can definitely save more than 5 runs...UZR shows some guys +/- 15 or 20 runs. Considering his fielding, his demonstrable skill at getting the lead baserunner, turning double plays, soft hands that probably reduced throwing errors, plus whatever calming effect he had on the Mets pitching staff '84-'86, I have no trouble penciling in 20 runs per season for several of Keith's seasons."

      Also, I'm going to keep asking for data on what % of major league regulars were fighting in 1918, 42, 43, 44, 45, and 46 until someone answers me!
    The discussion actually has some people who are members of the BBWAA and they actually seem to be digging for answers as to whether he is a hallworthy or not. Every voter should be made to do so.

  • It looks like the Phillies and Ryan Howard are having trouble finding a middle ground. Howard obviously is not a hometown discount guy if he is asking for $10 million for his first year of arbitration and this probably does not bode well for the Phillies desire to keep him around.

    I think he will be putting himself out there when his time is up unless the Phillies work something out now. Lets say, buy out the rest of his arbitration and add two more years? I think in that scenario, he would take the $7 million they are looking to offer him. If he passes on that, the Phillies probably will not be retaining his services after his six years are up.

  • You have to like this move for the Rockies. Tulo is going to be a bargain for them over the next six years.

  • Aaron Heilman and the Mets avoided aribtration by inking a $1.2 million deal with the Mets. That is a great deal for the Mets and I just want to remind everyone how useless Heilman was starting to look before turning into a vital part of this team. Just remember that when thinking about Humber and Pelfrey.

    Also within the above piece:

    Church gained eligibility although his service time is less than three years -- he has two years, 152 days. But he is identified as a Super Two, a player whose time falls in the upper 17 percent of all players with at least two years, but less that three years of service. As part of the settlement of the 1990 lockout, Super Two players gained arbitration rights.

    A bit of more proof that Church is probably better than people think. If he continues to be in the top 17 percent, he will be a type A free agent which certainly means he is a pretty good ballplayer.

  • A little Pedro talk...

    Omar (Shea Stadium): How healthy is Pedro Martinez, and how productive will he be this year?

    Will Carroll: C'mon ... use your name, people.

    Pedro is doing well. I recently heard that he's starting his normal throwing program at home and feels much like he did at the end of last year. I'd expect similar results, which were far better than I actually expected.

    I am very optimistic about him. Look, I get why people are skeptical, but he returned and posted an over 10 k/9. He got surgery, rehabbed, and came back. I see no reason why he cannot be a front end talent in '08. When I look at the Mets next season, I think he is being overlooked a bit and will truly be a difference maker for this team. Of course, he needs to watch his pitches so he does not get overworked by the end of the season, but treated right he should be there for the long haul.
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