It's never a bad time to start up some good old-fashioned Hall of Fame talk, and utilizing the tactical weapon known as JAWS will help sharpen your arguments.
It's the middle of May, and the annual Hall of Fame voting ritual is as far from the mind as it may reasonably get. Still, questions about Hall of Famers and their potential peers--some of them topical, some more timeless--keep finding their way to my in-box, while my big ol' spreadsheet rarely leaves the recently opened documents list on my iMac. In the process of rounding up some of the better questions to come my way, I've taken the time to create a long-overdue glossary entry for JAWS, where the system is succinctly defined, and where I can stash the current positional standards for easy reference. Those of you in need of a brief refresher are invited to start there.
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The top-rated player in baseball history highlights these three classes in our Objective Hall of Fame.
We're up to the 1940s in our attempt to construct an Objective Hall of Fame. Be sure to check out the first and second parts of this series for more information. The information presented below is the player's name, position, Career MVP WARP3, (year elected by real HOF).
Raul Mondesi resurfaces in Anaheim. Rey Ordonez finds a home in the Windy City. The Ryan Wagner for Rookie of the Year bandwagon is officially derailed. Andy Pettitte hits the DL again for the Astros. Joe Mauer returns, with Justin Morneau being sent down...again. The sun rises in the west and Nick Johnson comes off the DL. And the Devil Rays indulge Fred McGriff in his ''drunker sailor tumble towards 500 home runs.'' All this and much more news from around the league in your Friday edition of Transaction Analysis.
The Braves' bench looks ugly. The Dodgers make some nifty deals. The Mets inexplicably hand starting jobs to Tyler Yates and Scott Erickson. The Rangers unload Einar Diaz on the Expos. These and other happenings in today's Transaction Analysis.
Let's compare J.J. Hardy and Bobby Crosby:
Player Age EqBA/EqOBP/EqSLG
Hardy 20 .240/.316/.380
Crosby 23 .273/.356/.490
Adjusted for park and league context, Crosby's numbers were much, much better. How to balance that against the age differential? I think the question becomes: How likely is it that Hardy will post a line of .273/.356/.490 or equivalent by the time that he's 23? It's possible, certainly, and it's also possible that he'll post a line even better than that. But I don't think that it's *probable*. That's a lot of improvement to make. PECOTA would put the possibility at somewhere around 25%, I'd think, and I think that's enough to render Crosby the stronger prospect.
Jeremy Reed had the best year of any player in the minors last year and has a very high probability of being an excellent player. I think a top-five ranking would be a just reward, and consistent with our emphasis on performance rather than tools. I absolutely do not understand why Reed would rank below Alexis Rios. He is Rios' equal in every attribute except for plate discipline, where he has a substantial advantage, and his PECOTA profile is considerably better. I don't think a couple of good weeks in Puerto Rico are enough to overcome that. Weeks is a stud and I think the objections to him are a bit overstated. I would like to get a scouting report or two on his defense, since his numbers were quite bad. I'm also not on board with the fear of ranking pitching prospects highly, though I'm sure there will be advocates for the opposite point of view. I think the *top* tier of pitching prospects is unusually good this year as compared with the top tier of hitting prospects, and I think we should make adjustments accordingly. If you want to get a bit more analytical about it, I don't think it's a matter of our overrating the risk associated with pitching prospects so much as it is our *underrating* the risk associated with offensive prospects, especially offensive prospects who have yet to reach Double-A. I like Marte a lot, and he has no real negatives, but placing him as high as #2 implies a scouting judgment of sorts; his numbers were good, but not overwhelming.
Wright or Marte, Marte or Wright. I love 'em both. I've put Andy Marte ahead for the moment, because of the 10-month age difference and because scouts seem to like him a lot more, but I really feel strongly that David Wright's as complete a prospect as there is in the game. I'd love to hear comments comparing the two, and Nate, I'd love to see what their PECOTA comps look like. Nobody else is that impressive. Dallas McPherson put up some serious numbers last year, and while some of that was in The Hangar in Rancho Cucamonga, he hit .314/.426/.569 in Arkansas. He doesn't have a great defensive reputation, but it's not terrible either, and he clearly outhit everyone else on this list. I don't know if anyone else deserves Top 50 consideration. I know people love the Greek God of Walks, but he hit .165/.295/.248 in Triple-A, over a 32-game sample. Of course, his full-season OBP was still .446, so... Chad Tracy hit .324 and his defense took a big step forward, but he doesn't do much more than hit singles, and it was Tucson. I respect that he's had two good seasons in a row, but he was in El Paso in 2002, so I'm not sure that means anything either. And as much as I hyped him a year ago, I have to concede that Brendan Harris may not be quite as good as I thought he was. But he's still a better prospect than almost anyone gives him credit for.