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Articles Tagged Larry Walker 

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Jason goes looking for Hall of Famers and finds none.

The first thing I'd like to do is thank the BBWAA for admitting me to its ranks even though I'm merely a part-time blogger and weekly contributor to a website that has, in the past, had as an implicit mission statement the Association's destruction.

The second thing I'd like to do is thank the BBWAA for waiving its usual 10-year rule whereby one does not acquire a Hall of Fame vote until one has been a member of the Association for a decade. Really, you're too kind.

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Bernie Williams burned it up with the Yankees during his career, but did the Puerto Rican do enough to blaze a trail to the Hall?

Before Derek Jeter, there was Bernie Williams. As the Yankees emerged from a barren stretch of 13 seasons without a trip to the playoffs from 1982-1994, and a particularly abysmal stretch of four straight losing seasons from 1989-1992, their young switch-hitting center fielder stood as a symbol for the franchise's resurgence. For too long, the Yankees had drafted poorly, traded away what homegrown talent they produced for veterans, and signed pricey free agents to fill the gaps as part of George Steinbrenner's eternal win-now directive. But with Steinbrenner banned by commissioner Fay Vincent and the Yankees' day-to-day baseball operations in the hands of Gene Michael, promising youngsters were allowed to develop unimpeded.

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January 4, 2011 9:00 am

Prospectus Hit and Run: Class of 2011: The Right Fielders

7

Jay Jaffe

Taking a look at players on the Hall of Fame ballot who played right of center, including one who performed for years at altitude.

Like Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker could flat-out rake. In his 17-year career with the Expos, Rockies, and Cardinals, Walker won three batting titles with averages of at least .363—three of the top 20 batting averages of the last 30 years, including the second-highest (.379) in 1999. Unlike Martinez, Walker could also play defense; he won seven Gold Gloves in an 11-year span, and had four straight seasons where he was at least 10 runs above average in right field. As he debuts on the Hall of Fame ballot, the cream of the crop among its five right fielders, the primary question about Walker is how much of his perceived value comes out in the wash after adjusting for him having spent the middle of his career in pre-humidor Coors Field. Will JAWS chew through the meat of his career?

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A deeper look at the Hall of Fame candidacies of Todd Helton and other first basemen (active or less so) on the outside looking in.

Tuesday's piece on Todd Helton's Hall of Fame chances was greeted with enough enthusiasm to spur an installment of the Cooperstown Casebook. For a starting point, I want to revisit a line from Tuesday's piece:

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It looked like a prime candidate for a blowout, and that's exactly what happened.

Unlike Jim's twice-weekly oeuvre, in which he previews both top-notch match-ups and lopsided potential laughers, GotW was meant to pick choice battles, riveting team match-ups, interesting pitching battles--something compelling. The other mandate of GotW, however, is that every team must be covered at least once during the season. Since a Royals/Devil Rays breakdown could cause narcolepsy among non-members of the Gotay and Cantu families, a Show-Me State tilt seemed appropriate.

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Who will get the ball to Brad Lidge in Houston? What would Larry Walker's career look like if he stayed healthy? Was 2004 a breakout for sinkerballer Ryan Drese, or is he the next Derek Lowe? Answers to these questions and more in today's Prospectus Triple Play.

The real question is, who will get the Astros to Lidge? Here's what some of the contenders for the setup spot did in 2004:

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October 28, 2004 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Finis

0

Joe Sheehan

From three outs left to a dogpile in 11 days, the Boston Red Sox put together one of the greatest sports stories in recent memory.

Down to their final three outs just 11 days ago, facing their worst nemesis and a dominant relief pitcher, the Sox pulled out a win, and then another one, and six more after that. From that cold Sunday night in Boston, the Red Sox won eight consecutive games, and wake up today as the champions of the world.

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August 10, 2004 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: August 3-8

0

Christina Kahrl

Bazooka Joe, McGyver, Easy-Bake Ovens and "The Perils of Pauline" all make appearances in Chris Kahrl's latest. There's some baseball, too.

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Orioles' prospect John Maine has struggled since being promoted to Triple-A, worrying some of his stathead supporters. Reliving his days as a member of the Blake Street Bombers, Vinny Castilla is once again taking full advantage of the Coors Field Effect. And the Mets could look to current Pirate Kris Benson as a back-of-the-rotation option if they try to make a run in the NL East. All this and much more news from Baltimore, Colorado, and New York in your Monday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.

  • Pon(son)dering What Went Wrong: Sidney Ponson is enormous, and so is his ERA. Our Support-Neutral stats show that the ERA isn't masking a good performance, ranking Ponson the eighth-worst starter in baseball, and below replacement level.
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    June 23, 2004 12:00 am

    Transaction Analysis: June 17-20

    0

    Christina Kahrl

    The White Sox unload Billy Koch. The Rockies' injured outfielders are returning to action. Jose Reyes' return gives the Mets some interesting lineup options. Justin Lehr tries to plug a hole in the Athletics' bullpen. The Cardinals wrestle with a modest catcher surplus. These and other happenings in today's Transaction Analysis.

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    I've been getting a fair share of e-mail asking whether Barry Bonds' first few weeks of 2004 have been the hottest start to a season any player has ever had. I've been hesitant to answer, in part because the sample size was pretty small, and in part because that's not the easiest thing to research. With April all but in the books, however, I think it's safe to say that Bonds' .472/.696/1.132 line is historic. It's not only the best start anyone has had in the past 30 years, it's the best month any player has had in that time. Now, when I make a statement like that, you can be pretty sure it's been researched by someone smarter than myself. In this case, Keith Woolner put together a list of the best months, by OPS, as far back as 1972...

    With April all but in the books, however, I think it's safe to say that Bonds' .472/.696/1.132 line is historic. It's not only the best start anyone has had in the past 30 years, it's the best month any player has had in that time.

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    There is enough evidence to perform at least an exploratory empirical analysis of what types of skills are best accentuated by Coors Field.

    Up until now, the Coors Field Wars have been fought from the top down. There have plenty of theories advanced about what sort of hitter should do well at Coors. Joe Sheehan presented one theory (players who put the ball in play make best use of Coors), Rany Jazayerli presented another (high altitude provides a comparative advantage to whiff-prone hitters by reducing strikeouts), and Dan O'Dowd has tested out both theories and then some in his manic building and rebuilding of the Rockies.

    What hasn't been done, at least so far as I am aware, is a systematic study of what sort of hitters actually have benefited from high altitude. Baseball in Denver is no longer a novelty; the Rockies have accumulated tens of thousands of plate appearances in their decade of existence. There is enough evidence to perform at least an exploratory empirical analysis of what types of skills are best accentuated by the ballpark.

    Methodology

    Including the Mile High years, there have been 29 hitters with significant major league experience in another organization who accumulated at least 130 plate appearances in a season in purple pinstripes. Although it would be stretch to call any of those hitters an established superstar prior to his initiation as a Rockie - Larry Walker can make the best case - they represent every possible permutation of strength and deficiency. It would be hard to identify two more opposite players than Dante Bichette and Alex Cole, who took the outfield together in the Rockies' first ever home game on April 9, 1993.

    I turned back the clock and ran PECOTA projections for each of these 29 players. There are only a couple of differences between this set of forecasts and those that appear in this year's book. First, because we do not have Davenport Translations that far back into time, only major league stats were used; thus the emphasis on established major leaguers. Second, all players were projected into a neutral park and league. The PECOTA system makes certain assumptions about how to apply park effects - all players are not treated equally. In this case, however, we're using our forecasting system to test out certain theories about actual performance, and not the other way around; introducing PECOTA's notions about park effects would bias the analysis.

    We can get away with comparing park-neutral forecasts to park-affected results by using a measure for value that places all players back on an equal footing - in this case, Equivalent Average. Our nouveau Rockies are listed in the table below, sorted by the difference between their expected and actual EQA.

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