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July 23, 2010 11:57 am

Prospectus Hit and Run: If Hawk, Then Rock

12

Jay Jaffe

Is the wrong Expo being inducted into the Hall of Fame?

On Sunday, Andre Dawson will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Per the decision of Cooperstown's gatekeepers, his bronze plaque will feature the cap of the Montreal Expos, baseball's lost tribe, just like that of former teammate Gary Carter. Alas, the visage of one eminently deserving former Expo has yet to be cast in bronze, despite numbers showing he's a much stronger candidate than this year's honoree: Tim Raines.

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The notable quotables from the week that was.

GIVING A DASH OF HOPE TO ALL THE GUYS WITH .320 CAREER OBPS

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Beyond the lone victor, yesterday's voting outcome included a heaping helping of disappointments large and small.

At the end of my final Hall of Fame ballot breakdown of the season, published mere hours before the voting results were announced, I noted that I wouldn't be at all surprised if the JAWS-approved slate of seven candidates-Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell-were shut out, while Andre Dawson gained election. Well, that's exactly what happened. Dawson had received more than 65 percent of the vote on each of the previous two ballots, and surged to the forefront with 77.9 percent of the vote, enough to gain admission.

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December 31, 2009 8:00 am

Prospectus Hit and Run: Hall of Fame Cases for Outfielders

8

Jay Jaffe

Are Rock and Hawk Hall locks? The JAWS breakdown on which outfielders deserve to be busted.

Having addressed the hitters on the left and right sides of the infield in my previous two JAWS pieces, today it's time to tackle the outfielders on the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot.

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January 8, 2009 11:43 am

Prospectus Hit and Run: Andre and Onward

19

Jay Jaffe

A final look at the over-valued outfielders behind Rickey and Raines on the 2009 Hall of Fame ballot.

Having already analyzed the candidacies of Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, and Jim Rice at length via the JAWS system, we're going to hop on the expressway to clear the other half-dozen outfielders on the BBWAA ballot. The cream of the remaining crop is Andre Dawson, who has received at least 50 percent of the vote in each of the past six years, with a high of 65.9 percent last year. He's just reaching the midpoint of his protracted candidacy, and Dawson, even moreso than Rice, is approaching near-inevitable status for election to the Hall of Fame. His case, however, is not without its holes.

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December 20, 2007 12:00 am

The Class of 2008

0

Jay Jaffe

JAWS gapes for the Hall candidacy of Tim Raines, but finds the other eligible outfielders not quite so tasty.

Picking up where we left off last week, we turn JAWS loose on the outfielders of the 2008 ballot, a mercifully smaller crop than last year's 13 outfielders, but one about which we have much to discuss.

Left Fielders

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December 12, 2005 12:00 am

The Class of 2006

0

Jay Jaffe

Jay Jaffe uses JAWS to look at the newly eligible hitters on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.

Clay Davenport's Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) figures make an ideal tool for this endeavor because they normalize all performance records in major-league history to the same scoring environment, adjusting for park effects, quality of competition and length of schedule. All pitchers, hitters and fielders are thus rated above or below one consistent replacement level, making cross-era comparisons a breeze. Though non-statistical considerations--awards, championships, postseason performance--shouldn't be left by the wayside in weighing a player's Hall of Fame case, they're not the focus here.

Election to the Hall of Fame requires a player to perform both at a very high level and for a long time, so it's inappropriate to rely simply on career WARP (which for this exercise refers exclusively to the adjusted-for-all-time version, WARP3). In past years I identified each player's peak value by his best five consecutive seasons, with allowances made for seasons lost to war or injury. That choice was an admittedly arbitrary one, and for the 2006 ballot I've revised the methodology to instead use each player's best seven seasons without concern as to whether they're consecutive or not. It's a subtle change that doesn't have a huge impact, but it does require less manual labor to determine the injury and war exceptions, a welcome development from where I sit. Effectively, we're double-counting more of a player's best seasons, but given what we know about pennants added and the premium value of star talent, individual greatness can have a nonlinear effect on a team's results both in the standings and on the bottom line.

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December 16, 2004 12:00 am

The Class of 2005

0

Jay Jaffe

There are 16 position players on the Hall of Fame ballot. Jay Jaffe thinks three of them belong in Cooperstown.

These new metrics enable us to identify candidates who are as good or better than the average Hall of Famer at their position. By promoting those players for election, we can avoid further diluting the quality of the Hall's membership. Clay Davenport's Translations make an ideal tool for this endeavor because they normalize all performance records in major-league history to the same scoring environment, adjusting for park effects, quality of competition and length of schedule. All pitchers, hitters and fielders are thus rated above or below one consistent replacement level, making cross-era comparisons a breeze. Though non-statistical considerations--awards, championships, postseason performance--shouldn't be left by the wayside in weighing a player's Hall of Fame case, they're not the focus here.

Since election to the Hall of Fame requires a player to perform both at a very high level and for a long time, it's inappropriate to rely simply on career Wins Above Replacement (WARP, which for this exercise refers exclusively to the adjusted-for-all-time version. WARP3). For this process I also identified each player's peak value as determined by the player's WARP in his best five consecutive seasons (with allowances made for seasons lost to war or injury). That choice is an admittedly arbitrary one; I simply selected a peak vaue that was relatively easy to calculate and that, at five years, represented a minimum of half the career of a Hall of Famer.

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Flash back to January 1987. Walk Like an Egyptian is at the top of the pop charts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has coasted past 2,000. John Elway has broken Cleveland's heart for the very first time. And in baseball, the free agents are getting utterly and completely shafted.

In an article that appeared on Baseball Prospectus recently, I concluded that, in spite of an across-the-board decrease in player salaries, the winter's market has done a very efficient job of equating free agent salaries with performance. Players are being paid less, but more so than in the recent past, they're being paid in proportion to what they're worth. I went on to suggest that this constitutes compelling evidence that ownership is not colluding to restrict the market:

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The week in quotes, featuring Gary Carter, Theo Epstein, J.P. Ricciardi, and more.

YEAH, RIGHT...

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